Help Request

Bug reports, feature suggestions etc...

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Help Request

Post by Programmer »

Could I take a minute of everyone's time to make a request of everyone who uses the program? This only applies to people who use the program and think it's any good, otherwise you don't have to read on :)

In the last couple of months the number of people registering the program has dropped very significantly (to almost no-one). One theory, which was aired in here, was that the price of the program, which has gone up to 40 USD for a full user licence, was putting people off. I gave certain credence to this idea and a couple of weeks ago I introduced a new, Single Machine licence at the old price. I figured that most people only use the program on the one machine that they have at home, so when they buy a full user licence (which lets them use the program on two other machines as well) in most cases they are paying for something they don't need. But it hasn't made any difference, and I think I can rule out price as having very much to do with it at all, especially bearing in mind a much more glaring reason: almost no-one is entering the OTZ as a guest. I think the problem is quite simply that very few are aware of its existence, or, if they hear about the program they are put off by the associated .NET Framework download.

In fact it seems to me that the beginning of this downturn in numbers was when the program was upgraded to run on .NET 2.0.

One of the reasons I think this to be true is that I have made some modifications on the server which lets me see which version of the program people are using, and I see that many of the guest users that do make it into the OTZ are still using old versions of the program - which don't even give them access to the new Deck Exchange.

Having given this quite a bit of thought I have come up with this idea: for a limited time I am going to send out CDs free on request to anyone who would like to try the program and doesn't have access to a good internet connection. The CD contains the .NET Framework and the Orphalese Tarot Program, along with simple instructions for installing it. I don't know exactly how long this offer will last but I am prepared to sink about a thousand dollars into cutting the cds and mailing them out (actually I have a friend who is doing this for me). I will evaluate the situation again after the initial budget is used up.

The favour I would like to ask of everyone is that they could let people know about this offer in the various forums and news groups that they belong to. The reason I need the OTZ community to do this for me is that, quite rightly, most of these groups have rules against people self-promoting their goods and services.

If you think you can help in this way, here are some things to bear in mind:

Remember that the person who receives the disk needs to have some internet connection in order to register the program and enter the OTZ. Really the offer is aimed at people who connect via dial-up or have very sketchy or unstable connections.

The new style deck exchange, and in fact the whole Orphalese Tarot Zone, is now open to guest users. This means that guest users can browse through all the decks on the exchange, which makes the program an invaluable tool for someone who is thinking of buying a tarot deck and wants to preview it first. So installing the Orphalese Tarot should still be an attractive proposition, even for people who have no intention of ever registering it. Obviously the payback to the community will be that some people will feel a desire to reciprocate and they will register the program and upload some decks of their own.

Of course, they should also be reminded that unlike most software, the Orphalese Tarot is available on an unlimited free-trial basis - no 28 days, no strings.

I would be really grateful if we could get this message out. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and the more parts we have (especially when they are uploading interesting, sought-after tarot decks) the better for everyone.

Cheers!

Richard
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Re: Help Request

Post by Rhutobello »

I think .Net 2.0 is the big bad wolf, and until more programs depend on this platform, this program will slow or halt your sale.

I don't belive that you manage to fix this with free CD's, becasue you have to fight for the maybe user will to install another program on 2-300MB before he/she can try out yours. I think this downfall will last until .Net become more common used as platform.

A Thought, that I belive can help you more then free CD's, is to bring back ver 5.5 or the last program you had whitout Net.
Have this as a try out program on your homepage and state that all free upgrades need .Net 2 which also is free.
This way the user try out the program, if he/she like it he upgrade (we all did that upgrade with a smile because we knew) to :Net 2
The program whitout .Net was great too, so it should work good as a promotion after all.

Maybe you have to make a new dummy Zone for this program to point out the new features if they upgrade for free:)

And agree that we all mention Orphalese when we talk Tarot:)



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Re: Re: Help Request

Post by Programmer »

Hi Rhutobello,

Well, it is a good suggestion. But to clarify, the download of .NET version 2.0 is only 20megs. With a decent internet connection that is about two and a half minutes. I think the problem is that there is a perception that .NET is a huge download, when for broadband or ADSL users it is negligible. And when hard drives routinely come with 40 or 80 gigabytes of memory, who cares about the odd 20mb?

It is also worth stressing that anyone using Windows with their autoupdates feature switched on probably already has version 2.0 of .NET since quite some time. It downloads quitely in the background while you are doing other stuff. But I think the problem is the perception - many people think they don't have version 2.0 when they do, but this doesn't stop them being put off by the idea of a huge download.

Of course, if someone has a 56k dialup connection they probably don't have Windows Updates switched on. And in fact it would take 49 minutes and 55 seconds for them to download 20 megs, according to the eggheads at http://www.onlineconversion.com/downloadspeed.htm.

So I think the problem has two parts: the general perception that the .NET Framework is huge (when 20 megs is just what a short movie taken with a semi-decent digital camera would represent), and the fact that it is still relatively huge for the small number of people that have dial-up connections. The CD campaign is aimed at the later group. My only worry is that the CDs will be sent out to broadband users who haven't even realised they could download the whole lot in the time it takes to visit the bathroom (if they don't have it already because of autoupdates).

I am going to give it a shot though anyway.

Cheers,

Richard


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Re: Re: Re: Help Request

Post by Rhutobello »

Yep....agree it says 20 mb.on download...but if you do as me and maybe other then you look at the req for the install. It state 280MB free space, this is the value many possible downloaders will say ohhhh....maybe later, not thinking this is only when installation occure:)
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Re: Help Request

Post by Zula »

For me, .NET 2.0 is a drawback. I haven't upgraded to Service Pack 2, required for installation of .NET 2.0, because I need to clean up my machine and back up all of my files before I install it--a daunting task, given how much stuff is on my computer. It's one of those things I've been meaning to get around to but constantly put off. I'm making do with the older version of Orphalese.
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Re: Help Request

Post by purple_scorp »

Hi Richard,

Okay, my two cents worth. .) Just putting my marketing hat on for a minute. I am writing this with total respect for you as a very clever programmer. And you know I think this is the best Tarot software out there, so I'm not writing this as a criticism.

I don't understand why people aren't buying the software......it's such a fantastic program. Especially with all of the new features that you've packed in. Hmm, maybe it's the unlimited free use that you offer which is satisfying them. Even though that limits them to three decks, some people like to stick with Rider Waite and don't go much outside of that. I always thought this was such a generous offer you made (unlimited free use) and it could now be to the detriment of future sales.

I didn't get much of a response when I posted my review last year on Lindaland (Linda Goodman's Astrological website/forum). One member commented on how artificial she found electronic tarot. Despite my attempts to persuade her of the value of Orphalese, simply as a Tarot Journal, she preferred to draw the cards manually and write her interpretations with pen and paper. I guess some people are not technically inclined.

But there are plenty of tarot readers that are. Take a forum like Aeclectic Tarot for example. There are now over 10,000 international members. Maybe I should start publicising Orphalese in some of the reading exchange sections. Whenever I participate in an exchange, I use my physical decks to draw the cards, but then I use Orphalese to lay the cards out on the screen. Given that I post their reading electronically, it's so much easier to use the Reading Wizard to add my own personal notes, and then hand-select the relevant points from the LWB notes.

There is still an area which you haven't developed at all in Orphalese, and that's extending some of the database fields to contain deck collection information. Like the tarot database software that is available from the Tarot Garden website.

I really feel that you need to rethink/revamp the www.orphalese.net website for potential users. You have made it so that a guest can post in the forum, and view the deck exchange, but this can still only be accessed through the software itself. So what you are in fact expecting a new user to do, is to download and install the software before they are able to really explore OTZ which means that they don't really get a feel for our little community here. I think OTZ is a good draw card. I know you've said that opening up OTZ to the general public is on the back burner but perhaps you need to bring it to the front.

And, how about creating some little flash movies (or similar) on Orphalese for the web site? The guided tour only shows static photos. I know that for people with a dialup download times can be a hassle, but to actually be able to see a reading in progress, and how easy it is to deal, create the reading notes etc.....wow, that's where you might sell some more licences. At work, I actually have software that captures software programs and mouse/cursor movements. I use this to create movies that show our staff how to use different software. The moves can be exported as .swf's (with html's that call the swf), or as .exe's etc. I would be happy to create some mini movies on Orphalese if you think it would help.

I felt that your partnership with Ciro for the Tarot of Dreams was an excellent vehicle to further registrations too. It's an area that perhaps you should explore with other deck creators. I see that Aeclectic are advertising their fourth community tarot deck project and Solandia has said that it will be available in Orphalese format.

No other tarot software that I researched had the compare cards feature. I mean this tool in itself is so valuable to anybody that is studying the tarot because it gives them the ability to display the same card from a number of different decks in the one place. Okay, I don't need to tell you how great the software is. You already know that I love it.

Okay, I may have gone overboard a bit now. I'm taking my marketing hat off and putting it away.

regards
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Re: Re: Help Request

Post by Rhutobello »

Nice article, many wise word there purple:)

Back to .Net.
Another thought that struck me is as follow….Don’t say Orphalese need .net2, but instead stress that Orphalese is developed with the last window technology which is the .Net.

For those who have automatic update of their operating system this might have been installed. You can look for it under “add remove- programs in your control panel.
If not there, upgrade your OS whit this 20MB extension to have benefit from future development in windows application.

This way you turn .Net into something positive to download and not only something they need to try out your software.
This way they get at least 1 benefit after all, they upgrade their OS.
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Re: Re: Re: Help Request

Post by Merlin »

Hi Richard,

The idea for a one machine, one license is good, but you may be right about .net......

Purple Scorp has a good idea for doing online readings, (and a potential new future feature: that of online readings.....) (Can we say Empire of the OTZ?)
LOL!!!!!

(If we're doing conspiracies, Let's go for it!) ./)

As part of my new site, I want to put a blurb (and an ad) as well as a link to this site, so (Everyone!) send me a blurb to send to the programmer........

A non- .net version could be good, but letting guests have access to the site could go both ways......

Just My Two Cents,

Marvin
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Re: Re: Help Request

Post by Programmer »

Hi Scorp,

Thanks for these ideas, there is certainly food for thought here. Because of the time limitations I am under at the moment I will have to limit myself to the those that require fewest changes or development time, so revamping the website is out for the time being (part of the drag factor there is that any changes to the text on the site involve co-ordinating with eight different translators - it is quite a time consuming process at the best of times).

Also the database idea is certainly something that the program will try to include at some point, but not in the forseeable future.

I like the idea of the movies...could you send me a quick example one so I can get a better idea? I was also thinking along the same lines as you about more collaborations. I will write to Solandia and see if she would be interesting on having either three or four available on CD. I was also thinking it would be great to produce a special CD featuring the decks of our very own resident deck guru Dominatrix. The great thing about these CD's is that you load them up and straight away you see a customized background that matches the deck, even a customized cursor or whatever...So that is two emails I am going to be writing :)

Cheers

Richard
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Re: Re: Re: Help Request

Post by Programmer »

I like it Rhutobello...we will have to call you the Spin Doctor from now on :)
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