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Well, that was interesting… August 29, 2016

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Over the past week or so, we’ve had a service interruption at the web site. Since there were more parties involved than we had thought, it took a while to work through, but we believe that everything is back up and readily accessible. Certainly, if you have had a problem accessing the web site, please try again, and let us know (either via a comment here or by email to support@gb-software.com) so we can fix things.

While it’s always good to exercise the ol’ site-management muscles, we’d just as soon not go through this again.

Thanks for your patience, and please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.

 

New release of PCAD February 15, 2016

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After achieving Google-like duration in beta (it has been a while, hasn’t it?), we’ve moved PCAD3 to current release status. The previous version, PCAD 2000, is still available but is moving toward end-of-life. Official support for PCAD 2000 will end on 31 December 2016.

So, what’s new? For details, you should consult the User’s Manual (warning – PDF file), but the most noticeable differences are in the user interface. The PCAD3 screen still has a lot of blank space (until you start scoring), but there’s a bit more structure and context than there was in PCAD 2000:

main screen

Now, when you open a file, it’s scored automatically. The current sample file is shown in a tree view on the left of the screen, with metadata about the selected sample within the file displayed in fields at the top, above the text and output data. Alternatively, you can type in a sample in the Sample Text tab, optionally add metadata like subject identification, education, and gender, and use the File menu to save and score it.

sample text

Other tabs hold output data like that produced by PCAD 2000, including the sample text itself (shown above), scored clauses, scale summaries, and analysis and diagnosis screens. Putting the output material on tabs makes it easier to access since it’s not all one long scroll of text. Here’s scored clauses:

scored clauses

Scale summaries (notice the subtabs – each scale summary is on a separate subtab):

scale summaries

There are also a couple of new presentations – you can see which clauses were assigned a non-zero score, by scale (the Scored Clauses tab shows all clauses in the sample, whether they were scored or not).

clauses by scale

There’s also a Sample Summary tab that offers a quick overview of the scoring results.

sample summary

And, if you were looking closely, you may have noticed on the Scale Summary subtabs that there’s a new scale – Narcissistic.

Of course, you can route the content from any or all of the output tabs (and in any order) to an output file, and the spreadsheet output feature of PCAD 2000 is still available.

The User’s Manual has been updated to reflect the way that PCAD3 operates, and the website has also been updated. Ordering works as it always has, and the download page still has PCAD 2000 as well as PCAD3 for your use.

If you have any issues using PCAD3, or have suggestions for the next version (which we hope will not be so long in development), please contact support@gb-software.com or info@gb-software.com. Thanks for being so patient as we matured PCAD3.

Platform preferences? September 5, 2011

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PCAD has always been a PC-based software system. (Well, at least as long as there have been PCs. Earlier versions ran on DEC mainframes and minicomputers, if there’s anyone out there old enough to remember them.) We started PC work on DOS, and migrated to Windows many years ago.

From time to time, we’re asked if PCAD can run on other platforms. The answer, in theory, is yes. There is nothing in the underlying processing that PCAD performs that is tied to Windows. As a practical matter, however, the user interface is dependent on the underlying operating system, which means that moving to some other platform (Linux, MacOS, etc.) could require a fair amount of new development. Supporting multiple platforms is also usually more costly than supporting only one.

All that said, we’re interested in finding out if there’s significant demand for PCAD on other platforms. The obvious targets would be the Apple Mac and (one or more flavors of) Linux. It’s also possible to imagine a web-based version of PCAD, though that raises many thorny issues of privacy and data protection that are potentially simpler in a single-machine environment.

Right now, we’re not sure that there’s a good story about PCAD on a smartphone (or on a tablet), other than possibly though a web-based implementation accessed through a browser – but perhaps we’re not thinking it through clearly.

Let us know, either in comments here or in email to our support or info addresses, if you would license a version of PCAD for the Mac or Linux, if you would use a web-based version of PCAD, or if you see a way that the functionality would be useful to you on a phone/tablet. Thanks for the input!

New payment options September 5, 2011

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The holiday weekend here in the United States has not been completely misspent – our website has been updated to support payment using PayPal and electronic download of the PCAD software. Of course, we still accept purchase orders, electronic fund transfers, and checks, but we hope this will make things easier for potential users.

Academic users will need to email evidence of academic status to qualify for a discount. Once that’s received and reviewed, we’ll send out a link for access to the academic purchase page.

Please let us know through our support email address if you have any issues using the new ordering process.

Considering a new approach to delivering PCAD March 10, 2011

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I’m not really a Luddite, I’m just slow.

For a long time now, we’ve delivered PCAD on CD-ROM. While an improvement over the old floppy disk technique, it’s got lots of disadvantages. It introduces a delay between when someone orders and when they receive the software (not that I think we’re getting lots of impulse buyers), it requires moving physical objects around, which is subject to all sorts of glitches, etc. The rest of our ordering process is, if anything, even more archaic – in most cases, we force people to actually send us a physical object (checks, purchase orders). Taken as a whole, it’s pretty indefensible in this modern era, with the fast Internet tubes and all.

Over the past year or so, we’ve experimented with electronic delivery on a very small scale. On request, customers can download PCAD from a Dropbox folder. This has several advantages, and seems to be a popular option. However, while it was fine for proof of concept, I don’t think that Dropbox is a long-term solution. It works, but it’s not what it was designed for.

Accordingly, I’m going to start investigating (well, actually, re-investigating) electronic fulfillment options. I’d like to have a way for people to click on a button at the website, provide billing info (probably credit card information), and be directed immediately to a page where they can download PCAD.

Just so it’s clear, my intent is to eliminate CD-ROM delivery completely (though I can probably always be talked into special cases – at a premium price), while at the same time eliminating the need for purchasers to send checks. Purchase orders will still require special handling, but those seem to have an electronic path via email.

Like I said, I’m slow, so it’s unlikely that this will happen immediately, but I figured it would be worth putting up a post to see if anyone feels strongly enough to encourage or discourage the change. Who knows? I might get inspired and make the shift in the next few days.

Recent (relatively) book January 1, 2010

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Book CoverWith the help of a lot of contributors, Louis Gottschalk and I (Bob Bechtel) put together a book describing some ways in which the PCAD software has been used. Released in late 2008, Computerized Content Analysis of Speech and Verbal Texts and its Many Applications can be ordered from the publisher or from Amazon. Not surprisingly, Louis and I have a few chapters of our own.

So, what’s going on? January 1, 2010

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For the one or two people who have been paying attention, it probably seems that we’ve fallen off the edge of the earth. The GB Software website has not been updated in some time, and we’ve not had many publications or other visible signs of movement.

There are some reasons for this. Most notably, Dr. Louis Gottschalk, creator of the Gottschalk-Gleser content analysis scales and one of the founders of GB Software, passed away in late 2008. Without his regular encouragement (nagging, whatever), inertia took over and it was easier to do nothing than to do something. At the same time, other obligations demanded attention, resulting in the stagnation of our efforts.

All was not lost, and there has been some activity. In particular, we have several efforts in various stages of completion that may lead to new capabilities and even new software products in the foreseeable future. Without making any promises or going into a lot of detail, some projects that are at varying states of maturity include:

  • A new version of the Psychiatric Content Analysis and Diagnosis (PCAD) software. The currently released version is PCAD 2000, which is available through our website. The new version, PCAD 3, has been shipping in beta for over a year. (Users who ordered PCAD 2000 during that time have also received PCAD 3.) We’re nearing the point of releasing PCAD 3, and I hope to describe some of the new features here in the run up to that release.
  • A new Narcissism scale. One of the last technical contributions that Dr. Gottschalk made was to support the addition of a Narcissistic Content Analysis Scale (NCAS) to the PCAD 3 base.  It provides an objective measure of the relative magnitude of narcissism. The characteristic captured in the Narcissistic Scale appears to be the degree to which a person feels entitlement versus a sense of responsibility for his or her accomplishments and failures. While there are no norms available, the basic scoring function for this scale will be part of the PCAD 3 release.
  • Website updates. In particular, we’re going to find a way for users to buy PCAD licenses directly through the website, rather than having to physically send payment and wait to receive a CD-ROM containing the software. We’ve been doing electronic deliveries (downloads) for a while where possible, and we’d really like to make the process as simple as we can.
  • Support for German and Dutch. Working with Uwe Hentschel of Universiteit Leiden, we’ve been working to be able to score text in German and Dutch. An initial implementation (based on the PCAD 3 code) is complete, though there’s a lot to be done yet. We have not, for example, tried to change the interface language from English, though this would be an obvious step.
  • Web enablement. On an experimental basis, we’ve adapted the PCAD scoring software to work as a module within a website. The website owner/administrator can use PCAD to score entries provided by site users – for example, to generate analyses of journal entries. This could also provide a web-based PCAD, though there are numerous issues that will have to be addressed.

That’s not everything, but it does hit the highlights. Let us know in the comments if any of these are of interest, or what in what other directions you would like us to take our technology.