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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