Category: Noodlesoft

New Store

March 20th, 2008 — 4:47pm

In my recent quest to deal with some long needed “home improvement,” I’ve just rolled out my own store based on PotionStore. For those that don’t know, PotionStore is an open-source store implementation done by Andy Kim. It’s used by PotionFactory, of course, as well as a few other shops.

Until now, I’ve been using Kagi for all my payment processing. Kagi is great for someone starting out as they provide the store, deal with taxes and can even provide a license number generator. I think when you are doing your first release, outsourcing the commerce side to someone else can save a good deal of time.

So why am I switching off Kagi? Mainly much lower commissions on each transaction and more control over the store itself. I was finding that the commissions were adding up to significant money as my volume rose and there were certain features I wanted to add that I couldn’t. On top of that, there was a bit of confusion regarding having customers dealing with a 3rd party.

Unfortunately, now with my own store, I am going to have to charge sales tax to New York residents. One of the downsides to living in the same state as me. Trust me, I’m not looking forward to doing the tedious sales tax filings.

Using PotionStore has been great. The integration took a bit longer as I had to learn Ruby on Rails at the same time (more on this possibly in a future post). I also had to change the code a bit for certain requirements I had (sales tax, license files, family packs, etc.). My thanks to Andy for sharing his code. I hope to see other devs pick it up and maybe even contribute to it. Oh, and a thanks to Gus Mueller for letting me crib some Javascript from his store.

The result of all this is a store which I hope looks nicer and has a more streamlined flow. I’ve added the ability to download your licenses immediately as well. You’ll still get them emailed to you but this way, you’ll get instant satisfaction coupled with some level of redundancy.

So, give it a spin. Maybe even buy something :). If anything goes wrong, or even if everything goes right, I’d love to hear about it.

2 comments » | Noodlesoft, Web

New new home

March 4th, 2008 — 8:48pm

If you are reading this right now, then that should mean that the host migration was successful. No, I didn’t accidentally re-post my last article. I’ve moved Noodlesoft to yet another hosting provider. Noodlesoft is now on SliceHost.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with WebFaction so I decided to go shopping again.

While many people were recommending SliceHost, I resisted as I wasn’t relishing the idea of doing sysadmin work. I’ve done my fair share in my lifetime, including compiling kernels, setting up firewall rules and mucking with files. The whole purpose of using shared hosting was that I could pay someone else to do it. Nonetheless, I found myself in need of a higher level of reliability and control. I had to bite the bullet.

I signed up and within minutes, was logged in to my slice. And oddly enough, I found myself actually enjoying setting up my server. Sure, it took some time to get everything up and running but not as long as I expected. It’s put together the way I want and if something goes wrong, it’s hard to beat the response time of going in and fixing it myself. It’s not for everybody but if you know what you are doing then I say give it a try. I would recommend paying extra for the backup feature where you can save snapshots (or have snapshots automatically taken daily or weekly). Restoring slices from these snapshots is quite easy in case you mess up or something else goes wrong. They also have articles on how to install most of the software you’ll need to get up and running. My only beef right now is that I’d like more snapshots slots available (you only get 3).

Here is the obligatory/shameless SliceHost referral link in case you are interested in signing up.

Oh, and I am keeping my DreamHost account for things such as hosting my mail. Also, since DH’s plans offer ridiculous bandwidth, it’ll be good to have as a backup when there’s some sort of burst.

And because it’s what I’ve been dealing with for the past couple weeks, you’ll probably see some sysadmin articles from me in the near future. I’ve even added a “System Administration” category. I’ll post a report on SliceHost and my experiences with VPS hosting in a month or two.

5 comments » | Noodlesoft, System Administration

New home

February 25th, 2008 — 11:49am

If you are reading this right now, then that should mean that the host migration was successful. You probably didn’t notice anything but Noodlesoft has switched hosting providers. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve moved the site from Dreamhost to Webfaction (note: this is an affiliate link).

The transition had its share of bumps and glitches as the two providers do things a bit differently. Except for the forums being offline during the migration, hopefully you shouldn’t have noticed a thing. If you do find anything not quite right, please let me know.

It’s too early to tell whether this was a good move but I’ll post a report/comparison after I’ve developed a track record with the new provider. In the meantime, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that nothing blows up.

5 comments » | Noodlesoft, System Administration

My (Real) Desktop

January 31st, 2008 — 1:56pm

It seems customary for people to post pics of their workspaces and Rands’ recent post has spurred me on to post mine. I’ve been spending this early part of 2008 clearing out my desk area so the timing is a bit serendipitous. I’ve finally packed away my old, dusty PC, which is now in the other room ready to be given to a friend. I’ve also installed a cable management solution which gets most of the cords and cables off the floor and (mostly) out of sight.

So, here it is (pics hosted on Flickr):

NoodleDesk NoodleDesk - Close Up

It is also in Rands “Pixel Rigs” group where you can find other people’s setups.

Some notes:

  • The cheese grater on the left is a PowerMac (2.3GHz DC). It is being retired in favor of the Mac Pro next to it. It was the machine I originally developed Hazel on. Will be looking to sell it so drop me a line if you are interested in it.
  • The monitor on the left was intended as the second display for the main machine but is attached to the old PowerMac for the time being.
  • I like large tabletops, but getting the second monitor cut me off from the left side of the desk. Real desktop space sacrificed for virtual.
  • There is a scanner hidden away behind the left monitor. It’s a very low traffic item so I don’t mind having to get up to get to it.

Additional pop-up notes available on Flickr.

By the way, this is my desk on a good day. Unfortunately, I haven’t ported Hazel to RL (real life) so my desk can accumulate quite a bit of stuff. With great desk space comes great clutter.

3 comments » | Noodlesoft

The Noodle in Review: 2007

December 31st, 2007 — 4:20pm

As the year winds down I thought I’d do the obligatory year-end reflection. As usual, I’m overdue for a blog post so this will make good filler until I can come up with something more interesting.

The main thing to note is that I’m now fully indie. What that means is that Noodlesoft is a full-time affair and that it is supporting me financially. This actually has held true for some months now though it’s only now that I’ve realized that I haven’t really mentioned it here. So yes, Hazel has gone from a preoccupation to an occupation. I have done the occasional side contract here and there but Noodlesoft is paying the rent on its own.

After what seemed like an unending beta period, 2007 saw the release of Hazel 2.0. With that release, I felt Hazel had become much more the product I had originally envisioned and its reception has been great. I also dabbled with promotions this year, including MacUpdate and MacSanta, both of which were great successes. Also, a promotion with ScreencastsOnline worked out wonderfully as, in addition to the added sales, I got screencasts out of it which I’m now using on the site.

What didn’t go so well? Well, I’d say the main thing would be Leopard. A lot of stuff broke that shouldn’t have and I’m still tackling Leopard bugs now. Yes, I’ve had access to seeds for some time now but fact of the matter is that a lot of the stuff was fixed by Apple in the final month or so and more stuff broke with the GM and subsequent releases.

I hesitate to make any announcements on what’s in store for 2008 but I’ll mention that Leopard adoption is much higher than I anticipated. As a result, I am seriously considering making Hazel 3.0 a Leopard-only release. What’s going to be in 3.0? I still haven’t worked that out so it will be some time until that happens. Until then, there will still be 2.x releases that will still run on Tiger as there’s still stuff I can put in there that doesn’t require Leopard. And of course, there’s always the possibility of a new app though I have to say that nothing has gotten past the drawing board phase yet.

In any case, 2007 was a good year and I’m hoping that 2008 will be even better. A big thanks to all of you for your support this year and best wishes moving into the next.

Comment » | Hazel, Noodlesoft

MacSanta is back in town

December 7th, 2007 — 1:05am

It’s that time of year again. MacSanta is here, providing discounts on all sorts of Mac software for the month of December. I couldn’t get my act together last year but this year Noodlesoft is participating.

Today, Hazel is one of the apps being featured. That means you can get 20% off Hazel for today and 10% off for the rest of the month. Just saunter on over to the MacSanta site for the coupon codes to get your discount on Hazel as well as some other great software.

Comment » | Hazel, Noodlesoft, Software

On Leopard compatibility

October 22nd, 2007 — 11:31am

Hazel 2.1 has just been released. One of the main focuses of this release was Leopard compatibility but what does this really mean?

In this case, it means that, for the most part, Hazel will work on Leopard as it did on Tiger. As other devs have pointed out 1, 2, 3, we do not get the final version of Leopard any sooner than you do. Actually, unless we go into a store and pay for a copy on launch day, we will probably get it later.

The implications of this are that there could be changes that have occurred since the last prerelease and the final version that could break things and we won’t know until launch day. It’s a gamble but I’d rather have something usable in your hands the minute you upgrade to Leopard. This version addresses the known Leopard issues to date and should be ready to help organize your Stacks come August 26th.

As for the longer term roadmap with Hazel on Leopard: Hazel is not providing any special Leopard-only functionality currently. When will Hazel start using exclusive Leopard features or go fully Leopard-only? It’s hard to say. Leopard does provide some functionality that Hazel can take advantage of. But until I feel comfortable that a good number of my users have upgraded, I’ll try and support both Tiger and Leopard.

As a user, you do have the ability to influence this. When checking for updates, you have the option of sending anonymous data about your system. One of the things sent is your OS version (you can see all the data sent if you click on the “More Info…” button). Using this data, I can get a sense of Leopard adoption. If you want to be properly represented, then check the “Include anonymous profile” box in the update settings. I keep the data to myself and won’t do any bad things with it. Your participation will help guide Hazel’s future development so, if you’re not doing it already, please consider casting your vote in this manner.

So, in the end, I just want to clarify that there’s a bit of a juggling game here. I’ve tried to make sure that everything works as smoothly on Leopard as it does on Tiger. If it turns out that something changed in the final release or if I just flat out missed something, I’ll fix it. Leopard compatibility is not so much a state as it is a commitment.

2 comments » | Hazel, Noodlesoft, OS X, Software

The Road To Leopard

October 16th, 2007 — 12:06am

As Apple is hurtling towards a Leopard release, we developers are scrambling to make sure our apps work. With the clock ticking down, I am making Hazel 2.1 beta available for testing. It should be Leopard compatible so if you have access to Leopard, I’d love it if you could download it and let me know how well it works.

I’ve also added a couple new features and a bunch of fixes so even if you are using Tiger, this release should have something of interest. For instance, you can now properly format the “Authors” Spotlight field so you don’t get the annoying parentheses and quotes (chalk that up to me stupidly using NSArray’s -description method). In any case, Hazel should be useful for replicating the iTunes folder structure of artist/album/song now.

I’m looking to go final with this next week so no time like the present to try and break things.

Enjoy: Hazel Beta page

Update (Oct. 16, 2007): It’s official. Leopard is shipping on October 26th, available for pre-order now.

Comment » | Downloads, Hazel, Noodlesoft, OS X

Hazel on ScreenCastsOnline

August 27th, 2007 — 12:17pm

Noodlesoft is sponsoring the latest episode of ScreenCastsOnline. Don McAllister does a great job of guiding you through Hazel’s features. Nothing gets the point across like seeing it in action.

You can check it all out here.

Oh, and there’s a discount code in there, if you need any more enticement to watch it.

Comment » | Hazel, Noodlesoft, Software

Post Mortem 2.0

August 7th, 2007 — 4:50pm

Hazel 2 has been out for a few days and I’ve had a chance to sit back and reflect a bit. Of course, things are a bit different this time than when I was releasing 1.0. For one, I have users now. That meant that I had to split my time to do support in addition to development. But that also meant that I had more people giving me feedback and a larger pool of beta testers. Yes, it’s time consuming to process all that but it made for a better product in the end.

There were a couple decisions that weren’t applicable when doing a 1.0 that I had to deal with this time:

1.2 vs 2.0

When planning the next release, I went back and forth on whether it was 1.2 or 2.0. What’s in a version number anyways? Well, making it 1.2 would have made some things easier. It’s generally understood that point releases are free so there would have been less confusion on that point if it were 1.2. On the other hand, there were major chunks that were rewritten. The artwork was redone. I ended up labeling it 2.0 as it does indicate that it has significant improvements and that the product is more mature, which is the case here.

Why a free upgrade?

Several factors played a part in this. There were issues in 1.x that 2.0 addresses and they were the type of thing I wanted every user to have access to. Plus, I do feel grateful to all of you who took a chance with not just a new application. If I could, I’d meet with every one of you and shake your hand but I get the feeling that it would be unfeasible. In any case, I think you’d appreciate the free upgrade more. You don’t know where my hands have been.

• • • 

Overall, the pre-release went pretty smoothly. The one thing that was less than ideal was the timing and length of the prerelease period.

Because of issues with 1.x’s use of launchd, I had to write my own task runner/scheduler. Since some users were being affected by this, I released the alpha earlier so that they could have access to the new fixed version. Also, since it was a critical part of the system, I needed it to be tested for as long as possible. So, in retrospect, the alpha came out a bit earlier with fewer features ready than I would have liked but I felt it was necessary given the circumstances.

As for the length of the prerelease, it did run a bit longer than I wanted. A few factors came into play here including a good bit of contract work I was doing during the Spring and logistics concerning the business (including converting Noodlesoft to an LLC).

What surprised me this time around was the amount of attention my beta received. I had multiple articles in the press at each step of the way which was great. A big thanks to all of you who kept up with the pre-releases and sent in feedback and bug reports. I feel that 2.0 is pretty solid out of the gate as a result.

• • • 

In the end, I’m quite happy with how 2.0 turned out. There were some rough edges that I was finally able to polish and I feel like I’ve filled out the feature set while keeping it all cohesive.

What’s in store for the future? I’m still working that out but most likely, 2.1 will be focused on getting Hazel working properly on Leopard (without breaking it on Tiger, of course). I think the next major improvement won’t be in the product itself, but on the Noodlesoft site. People have been clamoring for some sort of repository of Hazel rules so I need to hunker down and figure out how that should work. As always, your feedback helps to shape the future direction of things so keep it coming.

Comment » | Hazel, Noodlesoft, Software

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