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Platform preferences? September 5, 2011

Posted by gbsoftware in Uncategorized.
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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

Posted by gbsoftware in Uncategorized.
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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

Posted by gbsoftware in Uncategorized.
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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.