Monday, 30 June 2008

An Experiment

I know that nobody does it and I’m probably entirely wrong and have with full knowledge of my deeds broken every rule in the ‘Web Page Designers Handbook’, but ... it’s an experiment. I’ve added several ‘speech bubbles’ to my Home Page to inform the user quickly and at a glance of key information relating to the site. Let me know if you like it, or if you hate it !

Mail me here:


Ultimately it’s about the User Experience. Does it help them find what they are looking for quickly ? The argument could be that it shouldn’t be necessary if the site was better designed, and that’s a compelling argument - however I’m going to stick with it for a while and gauge feedback. Not just from computer literate users but from the everyday guy who doesn’t know and doesn’t particularly want to know about ‘web standards’ - how is it for them ?

Peace - Steve

"True happiness... arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self." - Joseph Addison


Two books that I have read this month that could well be of interest to people reading this:

From Program to Product
Rocky Smolin
Quick Rating: 3.5 / 5
Summary: Nothing new here and some quite dull interviews but useful text regarding software development all conveniently located in one small book.

Dreaming In Code
Scott Rosenberg
Quick Rating: 4.5 / 5
Summary: Excellent book about the (still incomplete) Chandler project started by Mitch Kapor, Chapter 10 discusses software ‘engineering’ (or is it art?). Great stuff !

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." - Henry Ward Beecher

SMSRelay Suite: Keepin' Goin' :-)

My product is done (well ... not so much done as I have decided to stop working on it for a while, is software ever done ?), but when I started this project I had no website from which to sell it. I have rectified this now and the website is up and running. There’s still a way to go though because during the last 30 Days I have also made one of my previous programs into a product (ArtenScan) and I need to put screenshots and ‘use cases’ on the web for both SMSRelay and ArtenScan and then the final hurdle is e-commerce.

Of course SEO and Marketing are (very) important and I will start on that when I get back from holiday.

So is this feed going to stay utilised as we all carry on finishing and marketing our products ? I think it should - I for one am very interested to see how we all do and what trials and tribulations we all encounter along the way :-)

Anyway - its the end of the ‘30 Day Sprint’ and I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed the whole experience. Here’s to the next one ;-)

"O that a man might know the end of this day's business ere it come!" - William Shakespeare

Friday, 27 June 2008

Merge !

I’ve decided to merge my Bespoke Software and Consultancy business, GENeSYS Solutions, with my Commercial Software venture, Arten Science. As a small business it can only lead to confusion having two ‘identities’, besides some of my GENeSYS customers are also customers of Arten Science and vice versa. The two businesses are complimentary so it makes sense for me to merge the two under the Arten Science banner.

Starting today I’m going to make the transition of GENeSYS into Arten Science. I’ll be adding extra pages to to represent the additional services that were previously offered by GENeSYS, and I have already updated the About page to reflect some of the changes.

I’m excited about the changes and feel I now have a clear vision of the business going forward in a simple and streamlined fashion.

If it wasn’t for the fact that the power supply on my 30’’ Apple Monitor has just died, I would be in a exceptionally good mood today :-)

"A true man never frets about his place in the world, but just slides into it by the gravitation of his nature, and swings there as easily as a star." - Edward Chapin

Thursday, 26 June 2008

30 Day Benefits: Group Hug :-)

I don’t know about anyone else but I am finding lots of benefits from taking part in the ‘30 Day Challenge’. First of all, there is the increased motivation that comes from working on what feels like a collaborative project, yeh, we are all doing different things but it feels like a team event and the motivation is there to continue and contribute.

Second, and connected to the first - is the fact that a someone who works from a home office (which I believe many of us do) does not always get the chance to take part in ‘water cooler moments’ - when you work on your own most of the time it can be good to communicate with others in a way such as this.

Third, I have a new found respect for the work ethic, skills and intelligence of you guys. There is some truly *great* stuff being created.

And Fourth, the hints, tips and observations from you all. For example this from Philip. I wouldn’t have known about this product except for his post.

I think it would be good if we all had some memento of this event, a graphic or something made up of the names of everyone involved, details of the challenge etc. I would do it myself but as I have said before - I have the graphic skills of Stevie Wonder :-( Any volunteers ? Or am I mad ? Anyone else think this is a good idea ?

"The thing that I'm always left with is this overwhelming desire for people to be rooted and the only way that they feel rooted is through another person." - John Allen

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Web Page Up :-)

LOTS of work done on my website today. You can see the results so far here:

In particular I am pleased to have gotten the SMSRelay page up and running, albeit without a price or a way of buying it yet ... so plenty to do tomorrow including e-commerce.

"To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can." - Og Mandino

SMSRelay Suite: Website Work

I wanted to add Google Analytics to my website. Simple. Not so with iWeb, which I had used to create the website. Fortunately Echo One provide an Automator plug in to help with this task. The plugin can be downloaded here.

It is simple to install and works great, the only problem is that you have to remember to run the Workflow against the website folder prior to uploading it to your live website. So using Automator it is very simple to add the upload (by automating Transmit) to the Workflow. This means that to add Google Analytics tracking code and upload all the files to my website can now be done just by right clicking the local copy of the website folder.

Automator is great, I wish I had more time to play with the features, I think they could save me a ton of time. Below is a screenshot of my ‘Add Google Analytics and Upload’ workflow:

Incidentally, if you wish to open the workflow again later for edit purposes it is saved in the rather unwieldy location:


"Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them." - John Updike

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Nearly There

The coding is now complete for my SMSRelay Suite project. The last couple of days have been spent on documentation and the website, with lots more work on the website required :-)

There are lots of features I would have liked to add before release but I think it is important to get *something* out there. Extra features can be added later. Some of the features I intend to add in the next release are:

Save the Messages to a Hierarchal Structure
Scheduled, Repeating SMS Text Messages.
Convert to ‘Txt Talk’ ie: ‘before’ to ‘b4’, later to ‘l8r’ etc.
Save / View / Analyse and Export History
Accept SMS Replies

The website is here:

A Trial Version of the software can be downloaded here:

The documentation can be downloaded here:

The client software is zipped individually for each platform and can be downloaded from the links below:

ArtenSMS Client for Windows

ArtenSMS Client for Macintosh OSX

ArtenSMS Client for Linux

SMSBatch Client for Windows

SMSBatch Client for Macintosh OSX

SMSBatch Client for Linux

If any of the ‘30 Dayers’ would like a free of charge license for SMSRelay Suite, let me have your name, company name and address and I’ll send you a license file over.

"I must govern the clock, not be governed by it." - Golda Meir

Sunday, 22 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Quick Update

Well, I solved my Linux ‘button display’ problem, it only happened under certain (rare) circumstances so I was able to implement a work around - so all is good with the world :-) Tomorrow I am concentrating on documentation ... wow, the fun never stops :-)

"There is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero." - Walt Whitman

2 x Book Reviews

I’ve been reading books at a rate of knots recently and the two most recent are:

High Stakes No Prisoners - A Winners Tale of the Internet Wars


Showstopper! - The Race to Create NT

Showstopper is a book about how Bill Gates recruited Dave Cutler from Digital and asked him to head development of the next Windows Operating System, Windows NT. This book is very well written, exciting and moves at a good pace. Although the subject matter (NT) is old, the lessons learned are still applicable today. Dave Cutler was an old school coder, a macho tough guy who made things happen and pushed NT through to release over 5 years and $150 million dollars. Deadlines, politics, bugs and in-fighting - it’s all here. This is for anybody interested in Microsoft, Software or just likes to read about a huge struggle and a triumphant ending. Recommended.

High Stakes No Prisoners is a different kind of book. It chronicles the story of Vermeer, the company that created Frontage and went on to sell to Microsoft within two years for $140 Million dollars. Written by Charles Ferguson (founder of Vermeer), he pulls no punches in his descriptions of the people and the events that surrounded his successful startup. Sometimes it seems to me that Mr Ferguson and his ego got in the way of a good story a bit, but overall it’s reasonably well written and entertaining enough to be read over a weekend. Interesting and detailed but maybe not that relevant anymore.

"If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase." - Epictetus

SMSRelay Suite: Linux Testing Etc.

I’ve been using Ubuntu Linux recently for testing the Linux versions of my software. The ideal way of doing this for me has been to download a Virtual Appliance from VMWare and run this under Fusion on my Mac. This works extremely well. With a new version of Fusion a couple of weeks ago my Linux VM was telling me that my VMWare Tools were now out of date.

It’s not immediately obvious how to update the VMWare Tools, the following method is what worked for me:

Load the Ubuntu VM and log in

Select Update VMWare Tools from the Fusion menu

Drag the VMWareTools-X.X.X-XXXXX.tar.gz file to the /tmp directory

Double click the VMWareTools-X.X.X-XXXXX.tar.gz file and drag the vmware-tools-distrib folder from the archive into the /tmp directory

Open a terminal window and type the following: cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib

Type: sudo ./

Enter your root password

Press RETURN to accept the default response to all the questions asked by the installer

When the installer has finished, type: vmware-toolbox & to run the VMWare Tools

I do have a problem to solve however. Under this particular version of Ubuntu my dialog buttons aren’t displaying correctly, but the buttons on my form are rendered fine ... This might be a tricky one to overcome as I don’t think I have much control over dialog buttons. Until I solve this it could turn out to be a showstopper for the Linux versions of my software, at least with this version of Ubuntu, unless it’s a screen resolution, DPI type problem ...

On a lighter note, here’s a screenshot, and I can definitely recommend the KAsteroids game :-)

"A raise is like a martini: it elevates the spirit, but only temporarily." - Dan Seligman

Thursday, 19 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Flyer Feedback !

A couple of posts ago I uploaded an early version of a flyer I am creating to advertise my SMSRelay product. I’ve had loads of feedback via email and it was all useful. The best one however came from my former boss, a company owner and entrepreneur who included the following sentences in his evaluation:

The product’s great but you’re no more a Graphic Designer than I am

and ...

Don’t forget you buy with your eyes !

Harsh ! this made me laugh out loud. I recognised the truth in what he was saying immediately, that’s what I call honest feedback - no sugar coating at all :-) I’m not going back to the drawing board on this however, I had a lot of other great suggestions which I am going to incorporate and then run with it. It’s the classic ‘Chicken and Egg’ situation, but I would like to earn some revenue from this product before I spent more money on professional artwork and design.

I have had a professional Graphic Designer working on my company logo however. The image below is where we are with it at the moment. I would appreciate any comments on this logo, this is something I do need to get right. What do you think ?

"The world is not yet exhaused; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before." - Samuel Johnson

SMSRelay Suite: SMSBatch

Today I managed to sit down for a few hours and code SMSBatch. SMSBatch is a cross platform utility that is designed as part of the SMSRelay Suite. The purpose of SMSBatch is to allow a single SMS message to be composed and then sent out to multiple people. An example of this would be informing your customers or suppliers of something important or urgent, a move of premises perhaps.

At the moment SMSBatch supports an import of Names and Telephone Numbers from either CSV or TAB delimited files. Once the list is imported and the message written it can be sent to all the contacts highlighted in the grid.

To make the message personalised I have incorporated a ‘placeholder’ option. If the text [Name] is found within the message it is substituted with the appropriate contact name when the message is written.

SMSBatch is shown below: (Mac OSX Version shown)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Flyer, 1st Attempt

So today I attempted to pull together a draft ‘flyer’ document. The sort of document I can include in a mailshot or give to interested parties. Graphics and design are not my strong suit but that doesn’t stop me trying. Below I have enclosed an image of what the document looks like currently. It will of course be tweaked over the next couple of weeks, and the logo for Arten Science is still not final but overall I am quite pleased that I have at least *something* :-)

Tomorrow I am back to my IDE for some more programming, the clock is ticking ...

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Back Online ...

Time flies. A combination of a 5 day break with the family, meetings with customers, Chamber of Commerce events and a sudden lack of network access within the home office has all meant that virtually nothing has progressed over the last week or so. I’m intending to put in the effort again soon, starting tomorrow. I’m going to concentrate on some promotional / marketing stuff first and then get back to programming hopefully by the end of the week.

I hope the rest of you ‘30 Dayers’ are doing better :-) I’ve caught up with my blog reading today and there seems to be some incredible software being developed.

"Never advise anyone to go to war or to marry." - Spanish Proverb

Monday, 9 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Quick Update

The ArtenSMS client application now has an AutoUpdate function that checks on startup (subject to preferences setting) for the latest version and offers the user the option of downloading an update. I have also included a ‘Check For Updates’ menu option. The client application is written in REALbasic and this now works well for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux, only downloading the version for your specific platform.

The main program, SMSRelay is written in so at some point I have to investigate how .NET handles HTTP so that I can use the same infrastructure at the server end regardless of the code I have written the application in. Once that is done however I will have reusable code for handling online updates for .NET and REALbasic for the three operating system platforms.

One area I am struggling with is the visuals, screen layouts, colours and icons ... I have the graphic design skills of Stevie Wonder, I may have to enlist the help of a former Jedi Apprentice who used to work for me ... :-) If you are reading this Danny - what do you think ? :-)

"Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated." - Robert S McNamara

Sunday, 8 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Licensing Issues

For SMSRelay and other commercial applications I am, and will be, developing I need to establish a method for licensing. Having been annoyed and frustrated by software licensing in the past I have decided that the primary goal of whatever licensing mechanism I introduce will be to not frustrate genuine customers for the sake of trying to stop thieves. Therefore it is necessary to keep it simple and to a certain extend rely upon the honesty of my customers.

Therefore I am tinkering with the following idea:

Upon payment an XML file is generated which contains the Name of the customer and a Serial Number which will be an AES 128 encrypted version of the Name. The contents of the file will look similar to this:

The software will check for the existence of the file and when (if) the file is found the software will become a fully working version.

There will be nothing to stop the user copying this file to another machine and then activating a second (or third, or fourth) copy of the software. There will be nothing to stop the customer giving this to their friends and therefore enabling their version of the software.

If somebody covertly obtains, or is given, the license file they will have to put up with the fact that the software has the name of the genuine customer in various places. Any attempt to edit the customer Name in the XML file will cause the software to not run unless the encrypted Serial Number is also edited to match the edited Name. Without access to my encryption phrase there is not much chance of them succeeding to ‘license’ it to themselves.

The drawbacks mentioned above are problems for me. The customer however has a simple and easy way of licensing. If they need to install on a third or fourth computer they can do so easily and immediately, and if they are honest they will inform me and pay a reduced fee for subsequent licenses.

The second copy of the program will be allowed under the EULA, as I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that people may have both a desktop and laptop computer nowadays and wish to install on both, I don't expect them to pay twice for this.

This is new to me, my previous commercial programs were protected by the fact they were large corporate systems that needed support contracts etc. (Nobody trusts their Finance and ERP systems to 'pirate' software) and the rest of my experience has been developing for a single customer from within the corporate environment, where obviously licensing wasn't an issue.

I’d appreciate any thoughts or feedback on this and am interested to know what other developers are doing concerning licensing.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." - Albert Camus

Friday, 6 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Cross Platform Preferences

The client software for my SMS suite is cross platform. The main program is written is VB.NET which is obviously not cross platform, so the client software is being developed in REALbasic, which allows me to develop on my platform of choice (OSX) but compile the finished application for OSX, Windows and Linux. One of the issues I faced is where to put the Preferences file. Originally I stored it in the program directory, then I changed my mind and wrote some code to test for the platform and put the file in a more appropriate place, according to current platform.

Today I discovered ‘PreferencesFolder’, a FolderItem object that holds the location of the ideal place to store the preferences, according to platform. REALBasic defines the appropriate place as:

OSX: /Users/{username}/Library/Preferences
Windows: C:\Documents and Settings\{username}\Application Data
Linux: /home/{username}

Thats good enough for me :-)

I have the following code now that sets a property with the path and filename for the Preferences files:

pScreenSettingsFileName = PreferencesFolder.AbsolutePath + pProgramName + "ScreenSettings.ini"
pGeneralSettingsFileName = PreferencesFolder.AbsolutePath + pProgramName + "GeneralSettings.ini"

and when loading or saving the Preferences:

'Open File Stream
f = GetFolderItem(mProgramInfo.pScreenSettingsFileName)

I’m quite pleased because I am storing the file where it should be stored and haven’t had to resort to any switching code according to platform :-)

"All I can say about life is, Oh God, enjoy it!" - Bob Newhart

SMSRelay Suite: Standardised About Window

I only managed a few hours today on this project. One of the things I wanted to do was get a standardised ‘About’ window sorted, one that I can just import into a project and it will work with little or no effort to customise it to the application. This proved to be straightforward. One thing I wanted was a link to allow the user to send feedback via email. For ease of sorting and filtering the email, I wanted the email address to directly relate to the application and version.

In the end I decided on the following method:

Dim strFeedbackAddress As String = "mailto:" & My.Application.Info.Title.ToLower & "-" & wMain.strVersion.ToLower & ""

I’m quite pleased with the About window now and intend later to add another tab for the EULA. I’ve used this window in another one of my projects now and it looks like this:

and clicking the ‘Feedback’ label (which shows as underlined if you hover over it) gives you this:

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you." - Diana Spencer

Thursday, 5 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: Cross Platform Client

Just a couple of hours today to work on the ‘30 Day Challenge’ :-)

ArtenSMS is a cross platform SMS TXT client which works in conjunction with SMSRelay. The client creates an XML file containing the details of the SMS message and stores this on a shared directory. From here it is picked up and sent via SMSRelay.

The client is fairly basic at the moment, but is now fully functional. I have just added the ability to edit the users configuration data from within the interface rather than by hand editing the XML configuration file, not something you really want your users doing :-) When running on Mac OSX the ‘Edit Settings’ window (and also the About window) slide down from the top of the parent window. To achieve this I’ve used a form type called ‘Sheet Window’. When the application runs on Windows or Linux however this is replaced by a very basic window which doesn’t have quite the same effect ! I may have to check for OS platform before opening these forms and do something different if running on the non OSX platforms.

I have the code in place to allow online version checking / updating and it works cross platform which is great. I need to complete implementation and testing of this before moving on to the final program in the suite which will allow import of TXT/CSV files containing names and numbers and then provide bulk SMS sending abilities.

"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." - Bertha Calloway

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

SMSRelay Suite: SMSRelay

The key component of the SMSrelay Suite is SMSRelay. This is the application that does the actual work of taking an XML text file, parsing it, sending the contents as an SMS TXT and then archiving the file.


SMSRelay is an application designed to run on a server with internet access. It monitors a particular designated network share for XML text files. These XML files contain a telephone number , a message and a sender.

When SMSRelay finds one or more of these files it reads the information and then sends it as an SMS message via the 2SMS gateway. It then moves the XML file to the ‘Sent’ directory and appends the date and time to the filename.

SMSRelay has two interface skins which are chosen by editing the configuration file. The two different interface skins are shown below.


SMSRelay handles messages longer than the 160 characters allowed by the SMS protocol. It does this by automatically splitting the message for you, and sending it as two consecutive SMS messages.

A default ‘signature’ can be setup within the SMS settings file, for example: ‘ - From: Arten Science’. This can be overwritten on an individual message basis by specifying the <From> parameter in the SMS message file, for example: ‘ - From: Steve’.

The window of SMSRelay, if using the FUNKY skin, although irregularly shaped and having no title bar, can be dragged to a new position on the screen by clicking anywhere around the edge of the window and then dragging.

For both skins the window position is saved when the program is closed and it reopens in the same position next time. I have prevented the program from saving the co-ordinates of any additional monitors, because of the problems that can occur if the additional monitor is subsequently removed.


Configuration settings are stored in the SMSRelayGeneralSettings.Xml file. This can be edited with any text editor.

This is the logon to your account at 2SMS.

This is the password to your 2SMS account.
Note: Access to the SMSRelay program directory should be restricted.

Incoming Message Path
This is the path where Outgoing messages are looked for by SMSRelay

Sent Message Path
This is the path where Sent messages are put by SMSRelay

This is the default “from’ setting for each SMS Message and is appended to the message.

How often SMSRelay polls for new messages, in milliseconds. 60000 = 1 Minute.

Screen Style
ScreenStyle accepts two parameters:
FUNKY gives you a modern/retro colourful interface with a non standard shape and YAWN gives you a simple Windows style interface with dull unimaginative colours and layout, but it does have slight transparency which adds a little bit of sex appeal.

Test Status
For Production use this setting should be set to FALSE.

Interfacing 3rd Party Applications with SMSRelay

To enable your applications to create files that will be sent as SMS messages by SMSRelay, it is necessary to do two things.

Create an XML text file
Save this file in the ‘Waiting’ directory

The format of the text file is as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

The parameters shown in blue should be replaced by the telephone number of the recipient, the message text you want to send and the senders name.

Test / Debug Mode

SMS Relay has a Test/Debug Mode built in:
Set Parameter in SMSRelayGeneralSettings.Xml to TRUE

With TEST Mode enabled two extra buttons appear on the screen, TEST A and TEST B. In addition, in Test Mode automatic polling of the ‘Waiting’ directory is disabled.

Test A

Test A is designed to test the interface from SMSRelay to the SMS Server. An SMS Message is sent using the following details from the SMSRelayGeneralSettings.Xml file.

Mobile Number:
Message: <TestMessage>This is a Test</TestMessage>

In addition the Version and Build Number of SMSRelay and the Date and Time are appended to the end of the test message.

Information relating to the test is shown on the SMSRelay screen.

Test B

Test B is designed to test the complete operation of SMSRelay. It will effectively run the same routine that the polling system does, but it does it just the once. This is useful for running a controlled sequence of tests.

Notes and Tips

The ‘Sent’ directory will eventually be populated with hundreds or thousands of small Xml files, this will eventually degrade performance. It would be wise to instigate an archive procedure at a regular interval to clear down this directory.

SMSRelay does not have to run on the same computer as the directories where the files are stored. It does however need Read/Write access to those two directories.

If your SMS messaging needs are not urgent SMSRelay could be launched to run overnight and take advantage of cheaper text messages.

If you are running a screen DPI setting other that the standard 96 DPI you may have problems with the windows displaying incorrectly. To adjust the DPI setting go to the Display Control Panel, select the Settings tab then the Advanced button. The DPI can be selected from the DPI Setting drop down menu. Future versions of SMSRelay will cater for non standard DPI settings automatically.

SMSRelay is designed to work with 2SMS as the provider of the SMS Gateway.

2SMS provides trial accounts with twenty free messages if you do not already have an account and you wish to evaluate the trial version of SMSRelay.


Required Files


System Requirements

Microsoft Windows XP, 2003, Vista
.NET Framework V2.0 Installed
Internet Access Required
Shared Directory Required

Trial Version Limitations

The words ‘Trial Version’ shown on the screen.

The words ‘**SMSRelay Trial_Version ** appended to the end of each txt message.

In my next post I’ll discuss the Cross Platform SMS Client software, ArtenSMS.

"Everything you do in life, every choice you make, has a consequence. When you do things without thinkin', then you ain't makin' the choice. The choice is makin' you." - Mark Steven Johnson

My 30 Day Project, An Overview

The application I am working on for this 30 day challenge is called SMSRelay Suite.

SMSRelay is designed to allow the sending of SMS TXT messages from your desktop computer. At the moment the program is designed to work with SMS Gateway provider, 2SMS. 2SMS provide desktop SMS clients free of charge as do several other independent developers. Where SMSRelay differs is that it is designed as a corporate SMS solution, with all messages being sent and then archived by a central relay, with a simple way of interfacing to it from almost any application.

The SMSrelay suite will comprise of three programs:

SMSRelay sits on a server within the enterprise monitoring a shared directory. When messages are placed in this directory it parses them, sends them and then archives them.

ArtenSMS is a simple desktop client for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux that sits on the users workstation and creates the messages that are then picked up and sent via SMSRelay.

This application will be a cross platform application that will take as input a tab delimited or comma separated list of names and numbers and send a selected SMS TXT message to each number, a kind of SMS mailshot. Ideal for informing customers of something important or urgent.

The SMS message is created as a simple XML text file. This means that in addition to the client applications detailed above, it will be very straightforward for IT staff within the enterprise to generate SMS messages from existing legacy applications or even batch files, scripts etc. For example it would be easy to create an SMS message during a delivery note run which would advise the customer by SMS when their delivery was due. Another example would be creating an SMS message as part of a backup script, if something failed. In these and many other scenarios the advantage is that only a simple XML text file needs creating and saving in a shared directory. All the sending, error checking and archiving is done by SMSRelay.

So that’s the overview of my challenge. At the moment SMSRelay is nearly complete, bar a decision on how to do licensing. ArtenSMS is early Alpha and AppWithNoName (working name ‘Clint’) has not been started. In addition I need to do documentation, installers, website etc. etc. This is going to be an interesting month :-)

In my next post I will show some screenshots of SMSRelay and discuss the program in more detail.

T-Shirt Terrorist Threat

This guy was stopped from getting on a plane at Heathrow yesterday. Why ? His T-Shirt has a picture of a cartoon character holding a gun. It's good to know the defence of our airports is in the hands of people with common sense. ...

Click here for the full story.

uISV 30 Day Dev Challenge

This looks really interesting:

I have an application in the early stages of development that I think it would be fun to develop alongside these guys. The application is SMSRelay, and the final product will consist of a suite of three programs, one of which is already written, one of which is alpha and the final one is complete vapourware at the moment.

I'll go into more detail about the application in my next post.

The SMSRelay Suite will be the first product for a new venture I have setup. The enterprise is called Arten Science and is at There is only an early version of a logo there at the moment, so a lot of work still needs to be done.

For me this 30 day challenge is not just about creating a product, but it sees the start of a whole new venture. Everything from website design, payment processing, product development, manual writing etc. will have to be handled in the near future.

Wish me Luck :-)

Sunday, 1 June 2008

First Post on Blogger :-)

Livejournal just wasn't cutting it anymore, so here I am on Blogger. I guess the next job is to figure out how to get my old posts over ...