IcoBlog: June 2008

The official Blog of Iconico & SoftwareMarketingResource

Thursday, June 26, 2008

LookDisk 4.1, with Office Document Searching

LookDisk We've had a quick update to LookDisk, our file searching application. Version 4.1 now supports searching for text within Office documents, including .doc and .rtf files. This adds to the already in-built ability to search in text files and PDF documents. Version 4.1 is only available for Windows 2000 or later, but for those of you on Windows 95 or 98 we're keeping the old version up.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Customers for Life

A couple days ago I had the displeasure of calling a major communications company about a small problem I had. After wading through a phone tree, holding, dialling in my inside leg measurement, being told that my call was extremely important to them, waiting, and finally speaking to an operator who needed my inside leg measurement again, misheard, misunderstood and finally summarily dispatched with I felt a little like this:

I hate having to call companies on the phone. I hate having to email them. I get a sense of foreboding every time my mouse hovers of a 'Contact Us' link when I can feel the next hour of my life being wasted dealing with overburdened underpaid staff who often fail to understand my problem.

When I started a company I didn't want to put other people in this type of position and, out of my own frustration with the status quo of customer service gradually ended up at a few good rules.
  1. Make my cellphone number available online
  2. Stop what I'm doing to answer emails promptly, if possible
  3. Keep up to date with my message forums, and reply
  4. Reply to my uninstallation survey comments if appropriate
  5. Help people with their problems, regardless
  6. Don't get hung up about money or who bought what
These are pretty simple rules and from what I've heard from my customers there are not a lot of other companies out there that do the same. Now I've seen on message forums many people bemoaning the fact that they have to deal with their customers, and some software developers plainly profess to having hundreds of unanswered support requests in their inbox; I'm glad that I didn't purchase their software!

The software industry is rather unique in that the actual product, assuming that you're selling over the web, costs nothing. This might be a bit hard to swallow for your midnight-oil burning developer. "What do you mean nothing, do you know how many hours I put in building it?"

It still costs nothing. Think of it this way, if your sales doubled tomorrow the actual cost to your business to produce twice the material goods to be sold would not double. The cost is in the upfront work.

So when someone is buying a product from you, what exactly are they buying? Well if they buy from Iconico I'd like to think that they're getting a bit more than just a digital download, and that's why I go out of my way to try and help people when they contact me.

I have some free software on my site, and if people call up about it I treat them just the same as if they had purchased one of our larger software titles. I routinely recommend competitors products if I think it will help, after all I don't want to give the hard sell and then have a customer turn around and be annoyed that it won't do the job. I've gone off on tangents and helped one lady find therapy for her back pain as she happened to mention it in passing.

So why do this? Why waste my time/money on non-billable work. Because by following these rules you, from time to time, will get customers for life. People who see what you're doing, trust you, and wish that the rest of the world ran the same way that you ran your business. These people remember you, tell other people, and I think that creates more impact than spending the same money on an advertising campaign.

This is an actual email thread from a few days back.


You, You, You...Your Good!...
Thank you,
Please, send me the serial for the "Screen Tracing Tool"..!
Customer for ever...!

> James,
> Not a problem. Probably the easiest is if I send you the serial number
> for the application you want. Let me know which one.
> Nico Westerdale
> Hello Nico,
> I made a mistake in my order yesterday, and would like to if possible
> get credit for "Data Extractor", a program, that's not going to work
> for me. I should have look closer, I really can't get into the
> javascript, right now.
> I know the program will just waste away on my computer. So, if you
> would help me get credit for another program instead, I would be
> much obliged!...
> Thank you
> James

Thursday, June 5, 2008

LookDisk Released

LookDisk We're happy to announce the release of LookDisk. I know I've been frustrated by the regular search that comes standard with Windows, and once I've turned off the little animated character that comes with it i'm often left wanting more. With LookDisk you get all the advanced searching capabilites that you've wanted.

LookDisk is excellent at finding duplicate files, searching for files and finding text in files. Being able to specify multiple places to search in is a real timesaver, and the results grid has some powerful options that you can access by right clicking a file. You can easily select file groups based on your own parameters.

The software is available on trial download and can be purchased for $29.50. Feel free to download and give it a test run.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

DHTML Bookmarks Using JSURL

There's hardly a website out these days that does not use some dynamic HTML to enrich the user interface. It's great to have tabs and other user interface widgets which can be easily flicked between without needing a page reload to show different content.

The problem is that there's no easy way for a user to bookmark a page in the state that they left it. Here's an example of the problem, say I'm looking at a slideshow on Flickr and I see a really great picture that I want to bookmark or send the link to a friend.

Well I don't see any handy email button in the user interface so I grab the URL out of the address bar and save it, but the URL goes to the first slide in the sequence, and I wanted it to go to the picture I chose!


Ok, there's the problem, and I stumbled across the solution on a recent consulting job. If you take a look at the slideshow on YourProm.com you'll see that what they have done is to save a variable to the URL using a non-existant anchor tag. What they did was to use javascript to change the URL to add on '#picture=234', which allow the page to be bookmarked using the regular browser bookmark button. Then when you return to the page a little bit of JavaScript is used to read that variable out again. Neato!

Ok, so lets go one better. Lets write a handy little library called JSURL that allows us to take any JavaScript variable and read and write it to the URL. You got it!

We've written this all up as a javascript library with four handy functions that you can use to store Numbers, Strings, Dates and Booleans to the URL. You can specify the token to be used in the URL, and here's the syntax:

var variable;
// Read from the URL
variable = variable.jsurlRead(token);
// Save to the URL
// Remove token from the URL
// See if the token is in the URL

Here's a demo of this in action, saving the state of a colored chip in the URL. There's also another demo showing multiple objects being saved to the URL.

If you want to use this please go ahead, you can Download the JSURL Zip file, and yes it works on all modern browsers.
Labels: ,

Iconico, Inc. Software Stores

Accurate Design and Development Software

24 Hour Discount Deals on Fantastic Software Applications

Iconico, Inc. Software Services

You Wrote the Code, Now How do you Sell it?

Our Official Blog

© copyright 2004-2009 Iconico, Inc. All Rights Reserved