End of 2017: State of the Update

Season’s greetings! It’s been…quite a year, hasn’t it? Who knew that compulsively scanning the rolling TV news chyrons for signs of an imminent global thermonuclear conflict would prove to be such an exhausting habit? Existential dread aside, we thought we’d take a minute to let you know that we’re still here, limping towards 2018 – and we’ve kept busy throughout all the craziness.

We’re acutely aware that many of you are wondering when you’ll be able to get your hands on TypeIt4Me 6.0. Well, there’s good news to report on that front, at least: it’s about to drop. There may have been a couple of false dawns along the way, but it’s coming very soon, for real this time. Keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of days.

Dad and I would like to thank you all for your extraordinary patience and understanding in what’s been a challenging time. The kind words of support, encouragement and helpful suggestions we’ve received mean a lot to us. As you may know, we had originally aimed to release TypeIt4Me 6.0 by the first quarter of 2017, but development setbacks, combined with a number of unexpected events outside our control eventually thwarted that ambition. As happens sometimes, we had to adjust our work schedule to deal with life and death matters.

It pains us to report that since you last heard from us in the spring of 2016 we’ve lost two members of our close family. This hit us pretty hard. Britain’s impending withdrawal from the European Union has also presented an ongoing distraction and something of a bureaucratic time sink for us; one that’s periodically diverted our attention away from the simple joys of tinkering with software. As Italian long term residents of London, dad and I have spent a substantial chunk of the last 12 months anxiously playing document ping pong with the Home Office in order to secure our immigration status, keep the family together and ensure we can continue trading in the UK beyond B-Day. Riccardo is due to be sworn in as a British citizen within the next few weeks. We’re working on his elocution in advance of the ceremony in the hope that he’ll be able to sing the national anthem without causing grave offence.

So. It’s been an intense period, to say the least. We just wanted to let you know where things stand and to dispel any notions that we might have been slacking off to binge on the latest Netflix pop culture sensation instead of delivering the goods (poor Whitey, though…). The upcoming TypeIt4Me 6.0 release may have taken longer than expected to get here, but its delayed arrival is part of a grand tradition of software deadline slippage to which even the bestest and brightest developers can attest. While TypeIt4Me 6.0 is no Red Dead Redemption 2, it does have lots of moving parts that interact with each other in often complex ways, so we thought it best to take the time to test thoroughly and make sure we got it right. Other factors then compounded the delay. Sorry! Rest assured, the wait is almost over. Keep the faith and look out for an official launch announcement to follow along shortly.

Peace and goodwill to all.

-Guy

A Few Words on Pricing, or “What Doesn’t Go Up…”

Hello again. Riccardo and I are happy to report we’re making headway responding to our mountain of emails. Last week it was big enough to blot out the sun, but now there’s just a partial eclipse. Thanks for bearing with us. If we haven’t answered your question yet, rest assured, we are closing in on it.

Pricey fruit

There’s a common refrain that’s cropped up a lot in the flurry of inquiries we’ve received this past fortnight. Many are hoping that, in light of recent developments, we might be tempted to offer a special low price as an incentive for disenchanted TextExpander users to switch to TypeIt4Me.

We don’t mind being asked; dad and I enjoy a good haggle from time to time and we are sympathetic to the plight of anyone who can’t afford the new monthly subscription for Smile’s TE6. That said, we hope you’ll understand we just had a month-long 75% off promotion in January to mark TypeIt4Me’s 25th birthday, so we’ve no plans to drop the price again for a while. As a rule, we reserve flash sales for celebrating milestones or special occasions. To be first to know about the next one, you could sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.

In response to our stance, some interested parties have floated the idea that to get around holding another sale so soon we could instead offer a temporary exclusive discount to TextExpander émigrés. We briefly considered something along those lines, but ultimately decided against it because it felt a little too predatory. We also didn’t want to unfairly discriminate against ‘regular’ customers who are new to the text expansion game.

Right now, leaving TypeIt4Me’s price unchanged seems like the right thing to do. We don’t want to hustle anyone into snapping up a special time-limited bargain while feelings are still running high, in case people later regret a hasty purchase. It’s long been our position that we’d rather not take anyone’s money until they’re really sure they want to commit to TypeIt4Me. You have a whole month to try it for free, guys: take your time and weigh up your options. If you like it and it saves you lots of keystrokes, we’d greatly appreciate a twenty dollar vote of confidence to encourage its continued development. We feel that at $19.99 TypeIt4Me represents decent value for money, and that it remains fairly priced in view of all the late nights and weekends we devote to supporting it.

…Wow, this has gone on a bit – sorry! We’ll wrap things up for now, but not before saying a very grateful hello and thanks to all the enthusiastic new customers who’ve just discovered us. Thanks, too, to all the loyal TypeIt4Me users who’ve stuck with us throughout the years. We really appreciate your kind words. It tickled us when a long-time fan informed us recently that according to her statistics our app has so far saved her over 12 hours of 2-finger typing – or as she put it: “almost enough time to binge-watch an entire series of Daredevil.” That’s what we like to hear. May TypeIt4Me free up lots more time for you to spend curled up with your loved ones watching a noble underdog in spandex pummel scary ninjas :)

-Guy

On Subscriptiongate and other matters.

It’s been an eventful week. Over the last 7 days Smile Software’s recent controversial decision to migrate to a cloud & subscription-based model for TextExpander has been creating waves, to put it mildly. We had initially planned to just keep our heads down and our mouths shut, but our inbox is now overflowing with anxious emails seeking reassurance. We don’t want anyone to misread a tight-lipped response, so here goes: our view is that Smile’s new plan constitutes a bold move, albeit not one we would consider making ourselves.

Why not? Well, partly because we’ve no wish to raid anyone’s piggy bank on a monthly basis and partly because we’re a tiny, somewhat oldskool outfit. We’re also allergic to complicated legal admin. The thought of the security and privacy headaches being responsible for a cloud service would involve makes us break into a cold sweat. Then there’s the simple fact that we’re not enamoured with the idea of effectively renting apps to customers. The one-time $19.99 purchase with optional upgrades model suits us just fine and people seem happy enough with it. So if you’re a TypeIt4Me user alarmed by Smile’s new direction and worried we might follow in their footsteps, you can relax: that’s not going to happen.

…Now, how to put this? Aside from questions about our plans, there have been suggestions in some quarters that we must be lapping up the fallout from Smile’s announcement. Are we relishing the commotion? The answer is no. There’s no bad blood between us and Smile. We’ve enjoyed a cordial, healthily competitive relationship with them since around 2006, when they acquired Textpander from Peter Maurer – a gifted indie developer whose work we’ve always admired a great deal. At times, yes, we’ve envied Smile’s larger talent pool and the superior resources that ultimately enabled their dev team to outpace us. All the while, we couldn’t help but doff our caps, because they’re consummate professionals and we are indebted to them for popularising text expansion. Smile cannily leveraged sponsorship and used its affiliate relationships to introduce text expansion to the mainstream at a time when we simply weren’t equipped to do so. Throughout the years they and our other friendly competitors have motivated us to keep raising our game.

Far from rubbing our hands with schadenfreude, we’re mainly a bit spooked by some of the unbridled scorn being poured on a previously well-regarded team that’s successfully marketed a solid, dependable utility for years. Watching a decade’s worth of goodwill unravel in the wake of a surprise decision that alienated a lot of customers has been a sobering lesson that we need to tread carefully ourselves. So, as always, we’ll do our best not to disappoint anyone and just get on with making TypeIt4Me better.

To recap, then: there’s no cloud service or subscription pricing in our foreseeable future, we hope everyone at Smile is OK and we’re just going to carry on doing what we do. Our aim is to keep chiselling away at the rough edges of TypeIt4Me with each release so that it continues to gradually improve. We’re aware that it’s been showing its age; version 5.5 was the first step in our plan to do something about that. We still have quite a laundry list of features to add and refine, which ought to keep us busy and hopefully out of trouble for a while yet. We think you’ll like Version 6.0 when it drops, but its release is still quite a way off and there will likely be a couple of minor incremental updates before then. It takes us a while to design, develop, localize and test new features rigorously and we also have a couple of other irons in the fire to attend to. In the meantime…keep the requests and suggestions coming! We may not be able to cater to all of them, but we do like a challenge. Hope this has shed enough light on our thinking to put you at ease.

-Guy

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