Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Last Entry for TekTalkin

This will be the last entry I am going to make on this blog. Over the past year or so it has become difficult to keep the separation between this blog and my company blog over at

Therefore I have setup a new blog over at, rss: feed://

This will purely be a personal blog and will cover a wide range of topics with no crossover with the official Arten Science blog.

I hope some of you will join me there :-)

Cheers for all your support and encouragement.

-Steve Cholerton

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Bulk Email Sending For Windows

Early this morning I released the Windows version of R10BatchMail. This wasn't in the plan but I did have a few requests for it so it seemed worthwhile. I am so glad I used REALbasic for the development though - takes away a lot of the pain of cross platform development.

R10BatchMail is available at an Introductory Price at the moment which runs out on the 4th May, so if you'd like a copy then now is the time :-)

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Saturday, 25 April 2009

R10BatchMail - Early Results

R10BatchMail has had a very promising start. All licenses that I have shipped so far have been Site Licenses. In addition people are taking advantage of my bundle offer with R10Clean to clean their data prior to using it for mailing.

I've worked hard every day on adding additional tweaks and features that customers have requested, the feature set is now far richer than it was when launched a few days ago :-)

One customer has even taken advantage of my bespoke services to have R10BatchMail pull the data from their corporate database and store the results back as customer history. Very pleased with that.

Sales of R10BatchMail have meant that I have already exceeded last months income, for the 4th consecutive month of growth - long may it continue !

Despite some of the negative issues (see previous post) this has been a very successful product launch.
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Morality of Creating Bulk / Batch eMailer Software

I have received some criticism recently - not criticism of my software as such, but criticism for writing it in the first place.

I wrote R10BatchMail initially because I wished to send my customers our 1st Arten Science Newsletter.

I spoke to a few people and found that they couldn't recommend any Mac software for this purpose. R10BatchMail was born because it met a need that I and a number of other people have.

Can it be used by spammers ? Yes. Do I believe I am responsible for their actions ? No.

In the same way that the manufacturers of a kitchen knife are not responsible when the knife is used in a domestic stabbing. Most objects can be used in a correct and responsible way and also in an irresponsible and incorrect manner.

I don't think I deserve criticism for producing something that fulfills a gap in the market - even if it could be used in a manner that I certainly *do not* endorse.

Is Apple and Microsoft responsible for the viewing of child pornography because their browsers allow those evil few to use it in such a manner ? It's about time we embraced the good old virtues of *personal responsibility*. Sadly, especially here in the UK that concept is largely ignored in favour of legislation and condemnation.

I could go on - but I won't. Soap box discarded for now.

Have a good weekend :-)
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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Instapaper - Awesome

This is simple web app that I use all the time. I see a page I'd like to read but time is short so I click the link and Instapaper stores it for me to read later, either on my desktop, laptop or iPhone.

Really, really good.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Bulk Email Sending Software for Mac OSX

Arten Science today launched a new product: R10BatchMail.

What is it ?

R10BatchMail is a simple to use Bulk Email Sending program for Macintosh OSX.

R10BatchMail is useful for sending a newletter, informing of change of address, marketing or any one of a thousand other reasons for contacting your customers, prospects or suppliers.

With R10BatchMail there is no need to clutter up your Address Book with prospects in order to contact them via email. Data is imported into R10BatchMail from an industry standard TAB Delimited file. A TAB Delimited file can be created from almost any application that holds data, and is the default format for 'bought in' lists.

R10BatchMail records what was send and who to and allows you to export this history to Excel, a TAB Delimited File or Comma Separated File. From this file you can update your corporate database if necessary.

R10BatchMail was designed primarily to be easy and quick to use, whilst still providing the essential functionality required.

Who's it For ?

For anybody who needs to communicate with their customers, prospects or suppliers quickly and easily using HTML email.

How Much Does It Cost ?

R10BatchMail is available in three editions:
• Free Edition - Contains a link to R10BatchMail at the footer of each email
• Standard Edition - £25
• Site License - £100

R10BatchMail Features

▪ Supports HTML and Plain Text Email
▪ Minimal configuration - just enter the 'From' address.
▪ Email Addresses imported from a Tab Delimited File
▪ Columns can be sorted
▪ The HTML Message can be previewed within R10BatchMail
▪ Message text can be dragged/dropped from within another document
▪ A text file can be dropped over the message input area
▪ Select Some or All of your Imported Contacts
▪ Session History can be Exported to XLS, TAB or CSV
▪ To help with Proof Reading R10BatchMail can Speak your message
▪ All Actions have a Keyboard Shortcut

Note: If you wish to pull information directly from your corporate database, and push the results back - Arten Science will be happy to quote for your personal requirements.
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Sunday, 19 April 2009

279 Days to Overnight Success

This is a great document, very informative, honest and a very easy read.
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Software Updates

R10Clean 2.2.1
The grid Font and Size can now be changed using the onscreen controls.

R10Cipher 2.0.8
Minor Bug Fixes.

macVCR 2.4.1
Minor Bug Fixes.
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Friday, 17 April 2009

Mac SQL Database Tool, Orac. Updated

Version 0.9.66 of Orac has been uploaded.

This version features the following updates.

You can now query any SQLite database. The window settings, stored servers and stored scripts for Orac are all stored in a SQLite file in the Orac directory, Orac_LocalCache.r10. You can view them using csh_win_main, csh_set_main and csh_sql_main respectively.

A text file containing a SQL query can now be dragged and dropped onto the SQL query input field.

The useless 'splash' window has been eradicated with extreme prejudice. What was I thinking ??

Many small UI tweaks.

I have had a number of requests to continue with my original idea to make this product work on Windows. I can do this but there are a few technical issues I would have to solve and to be honest I am still of the opinion that it would not be cost effective from a business perspective. Besides, the shift towards all things Mac continues ... ;-)

Sales have been very poor this week, although compared to the same period last month I am almost exactly at the same position, still - it's worrying, so next week will be mostly spent marketing :-)
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Thursday, 16 April 2009

Syntax Highlighter Module Released for REALbasic Developers

I released my Syntax Highlighter Module for REALbasic Developers today. The example application can be downloaded from

Download the Example Application to test the Syntax Highlighter with the supplied SQL Keywords file or alternatively your own Keywords file.

The Syntax Highlighter Module operates against any EditField in your REALbasic Application. As you type, your words are matched against a text file containing keywords, words that you wish to have highlighted in some way on your EditField, an example would be a SQL Query or a Language Editor.

Whatever you type in the EditField is highlighted if contained within your Keywords File. This text file can be easily created and then edited to include or exclude additional keywords.

The Syntax Highlighter is supplied as an Encrypted RB Module which you include in your own applications. There are no royalty fees involved.

The encrypted module and the unencrypted example application will be sent to you via email following purchase via Paypal from our website at This encrypted module can be used in any of your projects without limitation or credit.

To use the Module within your own application, follow these simple instructions:

1. Create your text file of Keywords
2. Load the Keywords file (possibly at program startup) with the following code:
3. Place the following code in the EditField TextChange Event:
The Parameters are: (EditField, Capitals as Boolean, Bold as Boolean, Colour as Boolean, Colour Value)

Words within single or double quotes are not affected and neither are words that are part of another word.

A screenshot of the example program is shown below:

Updates to this module will be made over time as feedback comes in and as it is used in one of my own products I will no doubt be adding enhancements over the next few weeks / months.
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Orac and ArtenSUITE Updates

Yesterday was an interesting day. My first task was to do some custom development in ArtenSUITE. Essentially the customer wanted to show his clients on a map with a different icon depending on the type of client (Broker, Individual, Manufacturer etc.) and a different colour depending on the status of the client (yellow = customer, red = on hold etc.).

I sweated on this for a while and then implemented the solution using Google Maps. The HTMLViewer control in REALbasic is very poor and while this caused a few problems I was able to win through in the end. It works well and I impressed even myself :-)

Having earned my corn for the day I decided to make some more changes to Orac my Mac OSX SQL Tool. These changes were based on tester feedback and have in my opinion made the product much better. Although in the early stages of development there does appear to be a lot of interest judging by the download statistics, although not yet much in the way of feedback.

The changes I made were as follows:

1. Enhanced Keyboard Support. If you turn on the 'tab to all controls' option on your Mac, you can now use the keyboard for most things in Orac.

2. The Results List now uses a clearer, larger font by default and if you adjust the font size the row height increases proportionally.

3. The UI has had a major re-design to make everything clearer and more accessible. The window size will now (just!) fit on a 1024 x 768 monitor.

4. The Stored Server setup now allows you to specify the particular type of database this configuration applies to.

5. A lot of behind the scenes work to make working with multiple types of databases and switching between them much easier and cleaner and from my point of view the code will be far more manageable.

You can see a few screenshots below:

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Orac: Mac OSX SQL Tool Updated

Orac Update
Version 0.9.6 of Orac is now available for download.

This version works with Oracle 9i+, and will refuse to connect to an Oracle 8i database. Until I sort out the reason for the issues with 8i I decided it was preferable to not let the software connect at all. 8i support coming soon though :-)

In addition I think the Syntax Highlighting facility is working properly now, all the edge cases that I am aware of have been sorted.
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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

REALbasic Starter Kit

Today I made available the first release of my Starter Kit for REALbasic Developers. The version available for download is a very early 'proof of concept'. The idea came about through talking to associates and friends who are considering moving to REALbasic but dread the initial learning curve.

The RB Starter Kit executable demonstrates and documents a module of predefined functions that will mainly be of use to new and intermediate REALbasic Developers.

The idea at the moment is that purchase of the Starter Kit gives you the source code for the examples application. The module that performs the functions remains encrypted but can be used in any of your projects without restriction.

As well as the module that can be used within your own projects, the source code for the examples application can be used to learn how to do things such as automatically creating a local SQLite database to store the locations and sizes of all the windows in your application, how to populate and react to events on a Listbox Control, use of Toolbars, Menus Etc.

More information from here:

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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Orac Update

Version 0.9.4 of Orac is now available for download.

There are a number of small improvements to this pre-release version, mainly the Syntax Highlighting when entering a SQL Query. You can choose for the SQL Keywords to be formatted as Bold, Uppercase or Coloured, or any combination of the three.

The keywords are derived from a simple text file that comes with the application, therefore additional keywords can be easily added/amended/deleted if necessary.

A screenshot is shown below. Click the image for a larger picture.
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R10Cipher 1.1 Free with MacFormat Issue 207 - May 2009

R10Cipher 1.1 is available for free on this months MacFormat magazine.

1.1 supports the easy encryption and decryption of text. Version 2 is needed if you wish to encrypt and decrypt files.

R10Cipher is Cross Platform and available for Mac OSX, Windows (XP,Vista,7) and Linux.

Owners of Version 1.1 are eligible for a 25% discount on Version 2. Contact for details.
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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Arten Science 1st Quarter Sales Results

I thought it may be of interest to other small software companies if I were to share the results of my sales for the 1st Quarter 2009. I'm not going to show actual values, but you can nevertheless see the trend, which is an important factor given this 'worldwide recession'.

Here is a graph showing my first quarter of internet software sales:

Obviously I am pleased with these results given my lack of marketing budget, and lack of marketing in general. What is significant is that sales in 2009 far exceed 2008 which I believe is mainly down to the fact that I read, and more importantly put into practice some of the advice from Bob Walsh's excellent 'MicroISV Sites that Sell'.

One of the biggest changes I made was to create websites for my individual products, rather than lump them all within the website. This had made a big difference I believe. These seperate sites can still all be accessed from my main site but more importantly they now have their own domains as well.

I intend this month to spend some time on further refining these websites and doing some marketing. We'll see what difference that makes :-)

How is everybody else doing ?
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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

A Change of Direction for Orac

Following feedback from my last post regarding Orac, my new database query and management tool, I have decided to alter the scope of the development.

For a start I now intend to support Mac OSX only (Universal Binary) and add support for several additional databases. The decision to drop support support for the Linux platform was easy, the Linux community being closely tied to the Open Source movement are not fond of paying for software so that was an easy decision. As for dropping support for Windows, that was a much harder decision.

Although over 80% of my software sales go to Mac users, a product like Orac could potentially draw in more Windows users. However I now believe that the market for this kind of product is adequately covered on Windows and I would be unlikely with my small marketing budget and even less resources to be able to make the effort worthwhile. Therefore I am developing Orac for the Mac and maybe later if the product is successful will I consider making it available for the PC.

I have been unable to find a decent database tool like this for the Mac, there are two available that I know of at a reasonable price, and to be honest I do not like either. I'm stuck with Oracle SQL Developer on the Mac and although it's a fine program it has many limitations, not least it's complexity.

More information on Orac including a pre-release download can be found here:
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Friday, 27 March 2009

Developer / Consultant for Hire !

I am coming up to the end of my current software development contract and am now looking for my next project. If you require any software development doing for Windows, Mac or Linux by an experienced developer with 20 years experience then please contact me at I also do database and security work as well as technology consultancy.

I am a Chartered Information Technology Professional awarded by the British Computer Society and a Fellow of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers. I am certified in many different technologies from Security to Databases. You can see some comments from my customers here:

For examples of my work, all the following websites and the software they advertise, I have created myself:

My rates are reasonable and I am happy to work anywhere in Europe.
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Thursday, 26 March 2009

Orac: Cross Platform / Multi Database Query and Maintenance Tool

At the weekend I started development on Orac.

Orac is a 'Cross Platform / Multi Database Query and Maintenance Tool'.

In a nutshell this means an application that will run natively on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP, Macintosh OSX and Linux. Orac is not developed in Java or any other 'runtime' environment, the software is provided as native executables on each platform.

The early versions of Orac operate against Oracle only. Before commercial release it will work with Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL. Support for further databases will be added following release.

This tool is designed to replace the five or so different tools that I currently use to query and manipulate the databases I support. If I have this problem, then likely so do many other people. Orac will be a one stop shop for database querying and maintenance without the need to even install, let alone load and run the software provided by the database manufacturer. In addition no middle ware or ODBC configuration will be necessary. Orac itself doesn't even need installation. Download and extract the zip file, double click to run. You could keep versions for all your supported operating systems on a USB drive and use them on any computer - no installation necessary.

Orac is a long(ish) term project. I have to earn a living with my consulting gigs as well as finish a couple of other applications over the next few weeks, but I expect Orac to be available for commercial release by the third quarter this year.

With respect to the feature set, I am looking for feedback. If you currently use a commercial or Open Source database management or query tool I would like to hear from you as to what are your favourite features and what features do you wish were available ?

The development of this tool will be very public. Early releases will be available to anybody who wishes to be part of the Alpha / Beta test program. Substantial discounts on the finished product will be given to anyone who contributes significantly to the development in terms of feedback.

Very early screenshots of the Mac OSX versions are shown below. Click the screenshot to view the images full size.

If you would like further information on Orac or would like to join the Alpha / Beta program, please contact
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Thursday, 26 February 2009

R10Clean Lite Released
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R10Clean 2.0.1 Update

R10Clean 2.0.1 has been released with the following small updates:

R10Clean now defaults to the standard system default encoding.

You can now specify in the preferences the character used for CSV files. Some countries use the ; character as a delimited instead of the comma character.
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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

R10Decrypt. Free Decryption Tool

A free tool for Decrypting files, documents or text Encrypted using R10Cipher has been released today. It can be downloaded from the R10Cipher website.

This tool will prove useful to those who receive encrypted files but do not need to send them. The total cost of ownership for an R10Cipher solution has therefore been potentially significantly reduced.
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Monday, 23 February 2009

R10Clean V2 Professional Released for Mac/Windows/Linux

R10Clean Version 2 Professional was released today.

This is a free upgrade to existing users. Please email us for a new license key.


A powerful tool for working with, manipulating and cleaning large amounts of data.


For anyone frustrated with Excel who needs to clean, fix, de-duplicate or generally manipulate structured or unstructured data.

Download a fully functional trial version, non time restricted, for Windows, Mac OSX or Linux. The Trial Version is limited to manipulating 50 rows of data.
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New Website: Protect Client Data

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Mac Developer Network Podcast - Code Reuse

I was lucky enough to be a guest on the last Mac Developer Roundtable Podcast. The (hotly debated) subject was Code Reuse.

You can download the audio file and see the show notes at the link below:
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Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Great Review on Version Tracker from Beta Customer of R10Clean

See Pic, Click to Enlarge :-)
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R10Clean Beta 2 - Significant Updates

Significant enhancements to R10Clean Version 2 Beta:

The home page for the current version of R10Clean is here:
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Saturday, 14 February 2009

Encrypting and Decrypting Files with R10Cipher

You can download a trial version of R10Cipher for Windows, Mac or Linux here:

Double Click R10Cipher to launch the software. You will see the R10Cipher main screen. The Windows XP Version is shown below with the Drag and Drop Encryption Area highlighted:

Enter your Shared Secret (this is your encryption key) into the area at the bottom left of the screen. This can be between 4 and 16 characters. For example: yuetrtytpl*565r0.

Drag one of more files into the Drag and Drop Encryption Area (highlighted above). Press the Batch button to the right of the list of files.

The encrypted files will be saved to your desktop with the same filenames as the originals but with the file extension .r10Enc.

Decrypting Files and Documents

Double Click the encrypted file, following the double click you see this window:

All you have to do is enter the Shared Secret and the file will be decrypted and saved on your Desktop with the same name as the original, pre-encrypted file.

NOTE: Before you use this feature for the first time you may need to associate the R10Enc files with the R10Cipher Software. How you do this depends on your Operating System. We have instructions in the Manual Addendum for Mac OSX and Windows XP.
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Thursday, 12 February 2009

macVCR 2.2.5 Available
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R10Cipher Dedicated Website

R10Cipher now has its own dedicated website:
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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

R10Clean (formerly DataClean) Version 2 Beta

R10Clean Version Beta available for download:
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