Monday, June 16, 2008
Last week in San Francisco, Bee Docs' Timeline 3D Edition was awarded "Runner-Up Best Mac OS X Leopard Application" at the Apple Design Awards 2008. I made it one of my career goals to win one of these awards three years ago and am very proud to be recognized with this award.
The best part of receiving the award is to be in the club with so many other developers that I respect who have won the award in the past. Plasq, Delicious Monster, Panic, OmniGroup, Vara, Boinx, etc... These guys have been my inspiration. Thanks again to Gary who made all of the 3D timelines work in a few short months in order for us to make the award deadline.
Here are my kids wearing their Apple shirts to celebrate:
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
It appears that Quicktime 7.5 update released by Apple this week may be causing 3D Export functionality to stop working, at least for some customers (including myself).
I am working on an update to Bee Docs' Timeline that will fix the issue. My goal for the release is Friday.
Until then, please avoid the upgrade to Quicktime 7.5 if you are using Bee Docs' Timeline 3D Edition. Thank you for your patience and I'm sorry for the inconvenience.
Update (June 13, 2008)
This QuickTime incompatibility has now been fixed with release number 2.1.2. Please use "Check for Updates" to download the update. Note that the update is only for the 3D Edition.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Last year I had the idea of sending hand written thank you notes to every first time customer in order to add some humanity to the on-line order process. I started with just the USA and then expanded to international customers a few months ago. Hopefully many of you have received them. My first order of cards was from an on-line digital postcard company. I just ran out, so that means 2,000 cards have gone out so far!
Volume has increased dramatically due to the 3D Edition, and it is tempting to further automate or scale back the thank you card production. But then I thought, more volume should equal more thankfulness... Why not do the opposite?
To make the cards even more special to receive, the next 4,000 cards we are going to be hand printed cards with a Gocco printer. A few weeks ago I received three Gocco printers that I ordered from Japan. I've commissioned a very exciting artist from Istanbul / Turkey named Engin Korkmaz to design the postcards and I'm building a network of crafty friends and family members to help with the printing process.
One big challenge was finding a good paper that would have a high quality feel, work with an offset printer (for the return address), work with my laser printer (for the "to" address), work with the Gocco printer, and also with my fountain pen. After several frustrating failures, I found Kelly Paper who's great sales people were able to help me find some options that met all the criteria.
With any luck, everything will come together and the new cards should start going out next week. By the way, I love this kind of stuff and am very grateful for everyone who has supported Bee Documents over the past few years and made it possible for me to have the kind of business where I can pursue all my crazy ideas.
If you are interested in Gocco printing, be sure to search Google, YouTube, and Flickr for more information. Here is a video I found on YouTube of the Gocco in action:
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Tomorrow at 10am is Steve Jobs' WWDC keynote. I thought I'd take a moment to tell you what I'll be on the lookout for...
A longer term trend I have been watching is convergence of the mobile and desktop operating systems. Of course, this has been talked about in the Java and Microsoft worlds for some time but I think that we are getting to that point in history where the lines really start to get blurry between different categories of devices. Though everyone has been trying, I think Apple will be the one who will finally ignite our imaginations at the boundaries of previous categories. My gut says the iPhone is only "step one" in the same way that iTunes was only step one of the music revolution.
The thing I want most from the next iPhone is not 3G, Video Conferencing, GPS, blah blah blah. What I want is some little LED lights that let you know at a glance whether you have any new e-mails of phone calls. My Sidekick had a great light that would do different flashing color patterns based on the number of type of messages you had. Doesn't the Blackberry do the same thing? Why do I need to wake up the iPhone to see if I have any new messages? It doesn't have to be big light... a tiny little LED like the iPod Shuffle has would be fine... Please?!?
3rd Party iPhone Apps
I'm sure we'll be seeing some 3rd party iPhone apps in the Keynote. I can't wait to see what the development community is working on. As a developer, I'll be looking out for holes of opportunity as well.
Announcements that will lead to more Mac OS X market share
My success will always be a subset of the platform's success, so I hope to see announcements in the Keynote that show how Apple is going to take it's current momentum to rock the Mac market share numbers in the coming year or two. If the iPhone is the only thing talked about, I will be disappointed but I am cautiously optimistic Jobs will spend 45 min talking about the iPhone and then change the subject to Mac OS X (if they aren't so converged as to be the same subject).
Mac Market Share Gains
I'm very interested to hear the latest numbers on Mac market share and Leopard usage in particular. Everything points to huge gains, but each year I like to see one of those charts that goes off the page.
High Density Displays
Apple has been pushing developers to build resolution independent applications. Isn't it about time we saw some hardware to go along with that technology? Don't you think? Maybe at least one one pro-level display with a high density display... I would be first in line for one.
Well that is my list for Santa (Steve Jobs). What are you hoping to see in the WWDC Keynote this year?
Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the two logos I posted. You didn’t say what I thought you were going to say, so it was very educational to hear your first impressions.
As you may have guessed, I have begun a process to rethink the brand of Bee Documents. I picked the name and came up with the concept for the original logo (pictured here) in December 2002. At the time, I was working exclusively on a web-based document management system for lawyers, thus the “Documents” in Bee Documents.
In the last five and a half years a lot has changed. The focus of the company is now timeline software, I have much more business and life experience, and the company generates income to name the first three things that come to mind. I’ve decided it is time to update the branding. It is an ongoing process, but hopefully you will see some improvements to the brand in the coming months. Eventually the changes should show up on the website, blog, videos, product design, etc…
By the way, the black and white logo that I posted first was meant to represent the stamen and other inside parts of a flower. I had this ambitious concept that instead of making the viewer look at a bee, the perspective would be reversed and the viewer would become the bee looking at the flower. Out of the concepts that I have played with so far, this was my personal favorite but I can see now that it is too abstract for folks to grasp at first glance. So, back to the drawing board…
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Here is another logo from Design Hovie Studios for which I would appreciate your feedback. Just to reiterate, the kind of feedback that is most useful is not what you would change about the logo or even whether or not you would personally choose it, but rather the feelings, connotations, and impressions that the logo gives you. Thanks!
Here is a new company logo I had designed by Design Hovie Studios. Would you please a quick comment with a word or two that describes the your impression of the logo (For example, "breezy", "uplifting", "oppressive", "bubbles", "itchy", etc...). Please be creative and don't just say -liked it-.
There are a few hundred people subscribed to this blog so I would like to see at least 50 different comments on this one. It will only take a second... Please?!
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I was speaking to a Martin King, founder of Exbiblio, about the desire to expand Bee Documents and bring on some more people. We were chatting about who the next person should be... a programmer? an assistant? customer relations? a web expert? a graphic designer?
His insightful answer was that a competitive advantage of Bee Documents so far is that I have been doing all of these tasks myself and thus can bring perspective from one discipline to another. For example, the feature design and prioritization is directly related to the customer service conversations I have on a daily basis. He suggested hiring more generalists who can do a bit of everything alongside me instead of hiring to take certain focussed tasks off my plate.
With that in mind. I'd like to introduce Larry Staton Jr. who is helping me on a part time basis from his home office in Charlotte, North Carolina. Larry has been a long time customer of Bee Docs Timeline, signing up for the very first beta mailing list back in December 2004 when he was a law student. He was also part of the "T2 Customer Design Panel."
In 2005 we collaborated to design and build a custom web application for a law firm in Florida. Larry is now a full fledged intellectual property lawyer and runs a blog called Scripting for Lawyers. He is also a Web / AJAX developer and knows some Cocoa programming too.
Larry has been helping me update the beedocuments.com site as well as prototyping some web-based timeline interface ideas. Also, I have asked Larry to help field customer service e-mails, so some of you may get to hear from him over the coming weeks. As a long time customer of Bee Docs' Timeline, Larry should be able to share some good tips and tricks especially concerning the integration of Timeline with other applications using Applescript.
Everyone give Larry Staton Jr a warm welcome!