- Your MP3 software source for CD rippers, mp3 cd burner, mp3 converter and cd label makers

CD Ripper Software

AltoMP3 Maker
Audio MP3 Maker
Fast CD Ripper

DVD Ripper/DVD Burner/DVD Converter

DVD Cloner 7
1 Click DVD Copy PRO
iPod Video Converter
AVI to DVD Pro
CopyToDVD 4
Super DVD Ripper

More DVD Software:
1 - 2 - 3

DVD Authoring/Video Editing

CD/DVD Photo Slideshow

Game Copy Software

DVD Burner Hardware Guide

MP3 Converter

Audio Converter Pro
MP3 To Wave Converter
Advanced WMA Workshop
Audio Convert
Audio MP3 Converter

MP3 CD Burners

Acoustica MP3 CD Burner
MP3 CD Converter
Audio CD Maker
Audio2x CD Workshop
MP3 CD Maker

MP3 Editors & Sound Recorders

Mixcraft New!
Musician's Bundle
Spin It Again
MP3 Audio Mixer
Super MP3 Recorder
Coding Workshop Ringtone Converter

MP3 Music Management

CD Label Maker
Visual MP3
Zortam MP3 Media Studio

All In One MP3 and DVD Software

Roxio Creator 2011
Blaze Media Pro
Toast with Jam for Mac
Virtuosa Gold
X2CD Music CD Burner




MP3 Terms and Glossary
DVD/MP3 Tutorials and Articles
DVD Software Guide
Bookmark This Site!
About Us

Home > MP3 Tutorials and Articles

Unrelated Inventions Q&A Interview

By Gabriel Nijmeh

This is a first in a series of Software/Shareware developer profiles as presented by Let's get started with a brief profile of Unrelated Inventions.

Unrelated Inventions is an umbrella for shareware developed primarily by Andrew Fish. The name comes from the fact that Andrew doesn't want to be tied down to writing collections of software with related purposes, preferring to keep his imagination in tip-top shape by developing a broad range of applications and using lessons learned developing one to improve the other unrelated inventions. He also feels that he should develop software which doesn't pander to the broadest range of people by only including those features which most of them will use, but to provide for a broad range of people by providing software which is flexible enough to be adapted to many tasks, providing many unusual features whilst lacking none of the obviously useful ones. Few people will use all of the features, but all will benefit from some. Hence the Unrelated Inventions motto: Catering for the uncommon denominator.

What motivated you to create shareware software?

I never actually intended to create shareware. Audiotools was developed to solve a particular problem that I faced back in March 1998 and the release as shareware was an afterthought. After that I was drawn into continuing its development by the interesting code and by user feedback.

In developing software, what part of the process do you most enjoy?

I love the actual process of working out new algorithms and techniques - Audiotools is not an off-the-peg package by a long stick of limestone, so there's a lot of scope for imagination. I also like responding to user comments - when I used to work at BSS, the marketing manager told me that nobody ever contacts you just to say how well you've done: well I've got stacks of email that proves him wrong, so I'm quite happy about that.

Do you have a clear vision of what the end product will be?

Haven't a clue. The software is partially driven by my ideas and interests and partially by user requests and, since one effects the other, I can't really predict the future. I'm continually working out ways to increase the feature count without overburdening the software with complexity, so I imagine that the "end product", if there ever is one, will have some unique user interface features anyway.

What is your favourite feature of your software?

In development terms, probably auto-track - it's a very elegant piece of code and there were some good ideas went into it.

What do you think is the key to developing good software?

Good ears. The key is to listen to your customers - don't blindly take on every feature that they request as they request it, try to distill it into something more general which serves a wider set of purposes.

What were some of your setbacks and highlights you encountered in developing software?

In terms of setbacks, the obvious and periodic one is the unexplained bug. I have a virtual armoury of tools to help me test Audiotools on different versions of Windows, but I can't test for different combinations of hardware. There's nothing worse than a showstopper bug which you can't reproduce. In terms of highlights, the fact that two of my users have freely given time and effort to translate the program into French and German and to continue translating as I make changes is incredible. I just couldn't have predicted that degree of support when I started out.

What do you find to be the most effective marketing and promotion vehicles of your software?

I don't really focus on marketing or promotion - perhaps I'd be a millionaire if I had ;-) My main focus is to keep the software going out and make sure that it's available from a wide range of websites. I occasionally get approached by magazines who wish to covermount the software and I usually accept those. Most of my sales come from word of mouth.

What distinguishes your product from others on the market?

In the beginning it was a combination of being a direct-to-disc recorder and having auto-track. A few programs now contain an approximation of auto-track now, but I'm told that mine is probably the most effective. Now, I guess that the sheer weight of features is a big selling point as well as the degree of customer support I offer. There are lots of little uniquities (if that is a word) in the software, but it's really up to the user whether those are what they're after.

What kind of market research did you perform prior to developing your product(s)?

I didn't. I don't really go with the idea of looking for a market and developing a product for it - it's too calculating and it means that you'll have less interest in what you're doing than in how much money is coming in. Good shareware works because users are dealing with a fellow enthusiast.

What tools do you use to manage your software development business?

My development is done with Visual C++ 6.0 under Windows 2000 with Visual Sourcesafe for revision control. I have VMWare for cross platform testing and use a combination of Microsoft Word and Doc-to-Help 2000 for my help development. The rest of the operation is handled by a fusion of MS Outlook, MS Access and a huge amount of home grown VBA code and C++ plugins. It's a real timesaver having your website, backups and even your release procedure totally automated and it also removes the likelihood of mistakes caused by shipping the wrong file (it used to happen occasionally). I used to use Installshield Express for distribution, but the old version broke on systems which had used installs from the new version and the new version couldn't be automated as easily, so I now use my own installer. Finally, for distribution, I have Aid Submission Genius, PadGen, AddSoft and Submass (all paid for, of course) and for keeping an eye on my website I use 123 Log analyser. There are other tools I use for various purposes, but nothing which is development specific.

Where do you see your business/software heading in the future?

I'm branching out into writing now - my other shareware projects haven't met with the same degree of success as Audiotools and I don't really want to keep all my eggs in one basket. There may be some more shareware coming in the next couple of years (I have a couple of products in development) but I imagine that Audiotools and my books will be my main focus. I even plan to write a book about Audiotools at some point, to give shareware developers "the inside story" as it were. Ultimately, I follow the path of least resistance, so my direction in the future will very much depend on my successes in the present.

That concludes a very insightful conversation with Andrew Fish from Unrelated Inventions. Please take the time to visit his web site and check out his software and some of his writings.


Search for software:

Powered by RegNow

(c) Copyright 2010
Privacy Policy