Future of Schedule Importer

SGraff

New member
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
2
Neal (I hope you are reading this),

I have some thoughts on your latest comments regarding the Schedule Importer:

You may have noticed a message at the bottom of the Schedule Importer site about the consideration of a small subscription fee for use of the schedule importer system. Please do not be concerned, again, we are only considering it at this time. I realize no one wants to pay money for anything they can avoid paying for. We've provided this service free for years but it is not free to develop, maintain, or keep online for you. We have to stay in business to provide you services such as this. We pay programmers to keep the filters updated, we have to update the software on the site, we have to have a server, and of course hosting to provide this service to you. Just like anything, it costs money to keep running and your APDL purchase of $59.95 years ago isn't going to cover it. With that said, we also have users of this system that are not APDL or Logbook Pro customers, we are aware of this. So our plan down the road is to provide this service FREE for our customers with the built in schedule importer features embedded in the next version of Logbook Pro and for those that want to use the web portal will be required to pay a subscription fee.
I completely understand that this is a business you are running and appreciate that the Schedule Importer is an excellent tool that requires skills and funds to maintain. However, once again, you show your bias by suggesting that the only free option in the future will be for customers of your next Logbook Pro. You make no secret of your disdain for Macintosh but many of your users are Mac users and this will adversely effect us.

Since you have no intention of making a Logbook Pro for Mac users which means we will not have the embedded schedule importer feature available to our PC brothers, I respectfully request that you rethink this plan for the future of the online Schedule Importer. Might I suggest that you offer a combination subscription option where we could pay for, perhaps, a 3 year subscription which would include unlimited use of the Schedule Importer as well as a reduced or free update/transfer to either a different version (palm to PC or vice versa, or another device should that happen) or the next release of APDL during that time. That way, you would still be able to charge non-APDL/Logbook Pro customers while both providing an incentive for those people to purchase the products and keeping non-PC/Logbook Pro customers (don't forget the people who just prefer your online Schedule Importer) satisfied and loyal.

It is not really our fault that you have decided to rest on your APDL laurels (I realize you feel it is a feature rich product that does what is required even though there have been several requests for additional features) rather than offer updates requiring additional purchases. We do appreciate the fact that you haven't felt it necessary to make minor updates only to change the version number so you could charge us and lock old users out of the Scheduling Importer. That being said, if you are truly hurting for money and need to build income, please don't do it at the expense of loyal customers. Remember us when you are developing your pricing plan and, please, remember that, even though you don't like the OS yourself, many of your loyal customers are Mac users and will be very bitter if you treat us like outsiders.

You have every right to charge for your services but we ask that you do not punish your current customers through future plans.

Thank you
 

Neal Culiner

Founder, President
Staff member
Joined
Nov 14, 2001
Messages
12,568
Location
VA
Hello Steve,

Thank you for your feedback. First and foremost by using a MAC OS you are not restricted from using Logbook Pro. You can run Logbook Pro on your MAC now, you know this, and you will be able to run Logbook Pro vNext on your MAC as well. You will need to host Windows on your MAC using VMWare Fusion, Parallels, a separate partition, etc. I am sure that the phenominal features, functionality, and services of Logbook Pro vNext will warrant the small fee of a Windows emulator if you so choose to remain with the MAC platform. You will have the option to evaluate Logbook Pro vNext just as you did with version 1, I am sure you will find it well worth it and realize our commitment to the aviation community of which APDL will follow as well.

So it will be your choice as to whether or not to license Logbook Pro vNext with the embedded schedule importer or pay a small subscription fee to use the web based edition which is entirely up to you and demonstrates our efforts to continue to support all platforms. We provide a MAC .SIT file for APDL Palm OS users again showing our consideration for our MAC community and will continue to do everything we can to support MAC users more as time goes on. We simply need MAC users to continue to tell us what they need short of a native MAC platform, that will not happen. We have chosen the unrivaled Microsoft .NET framework for our application framework to provide you and other aviators the absolute best application possible, as you will see.

More on APDL - just like when Microsoft acquires a product from another company they have to go through the product top to bottom and eventually perform a total rewrite. Unfortunately that is the case with APDL. It is not designed to our standards and we will have to rewrite it completely. We rescued APDL from complete demise, it was going to totally go away so we did everything we could working with Paul to make the transition and then further improve the quality of the product over time. SingleSync was the biggest support nightmare, we rewrote the sync engine and did away with the SingleSync nightmare. The schedule importer was extremely limited, we completely replaced it with a better system. APDL is stable and functional to meet the task in which it was designed. Today, we are focusing all development efforts at this time on Logbook Pro vNext which will include ALL of APDL's features. The majority of the developers at NC Software ARE airline pilots including international airline pilots. After Logbook Pro vNext we will transition the code base from Logbook Pro's airline feature set and move them to the PDA to come out with APDL v7, or do away with APDL altogether and merge the brand into "Logbook Pro" and have the airline features available via license levels. The core functionality is the same, log flights, tracking duty time and then performing all the related calculations on top of that are ancillary functions (crew rest, expenses, duty, etc.).

I do appreciate your feedback including the idea of subscription benefits with new licenses which may be yet another option to consider. There are many ways to handle it. Bottom line is that we must ensure a positive revenue stream to ensure we remain in business even as business remains strong and we continue to set record sales even after a product has been on the market for 10 years! I want to ensure the future of Logbook Pro so that you will have these services available for years to come, not end up like some companies (AppForge for example, one we depended on for the Logbook Pro PDA product) that closes its doors with no notice at all! One day they completely disappeared! I will not let that happen and I hope you, as a customer who benefits from our services, will do your part to ensure the future as well.

There will always be features you want in your software, I want in our software, that is the nature of software. We have to evaluate every feature request and decide if and when to implement it. Some features will be held off for the version 7 edition of APDL, some will be rolled into maintenance releases. I am glad that our APDL product continues to perform well and satisfy the needs of the airline community in addition to the schedule importing services we have offered for years and will continue to do so. Internet Explorer isn't perfect, Windows isn't perfect, and MAC OS X isn't perfect. No software is perfect, but, does it allow you to do the job of its intended purpose? I'd say yes to all of the above including our software products. If not, you have the right to find what meets your needs elsewhere. You chose MAC for a reason, you probably use a different browser, that is the luxury we have, we have the right to choose what we want to use. It is my job to ensure NC Software's products earn your choice. I think you will find that to be the case in the year ahead.

Thank you again for your feedback. All I can ask for is a little patience while we are developing the new versions of our products, web sites, and web services to make your life easier as a pilot with your aviation needs as our priority.
 

SGraff

New member
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
2
Thank you for the thoughtful and rapid response.

I do, indeed, have a windows emulator on my Mac because my company has also limited access to certain HR/productivity tools to Windows and Internet Explorer (even though they are web based tools that could be programmed for universal access) and look forward to trying vNext. However, there are still quite a few Mac users out there without the Intel processors who will be left behind (unless they have Microsoft's Virual PC) until they have to upgrade. Furthermore, it is not always advisable or convenient to sync a single PDA to both the Mac and Windows side of an Intel Mac so the process will probably be awkward.

I must tell you that I tried one of your earlier versions of Logbook Pro and did not feel impressed enough to move away from the spreadsheet I had been using for years. I am sure that you have made many improvements that will make it worth my while so I will certainly give it a try even though I really don't need the logbook aspects in my current situation. If you should end up integrating features of APDL (with improvements warranting a v7 designation) into the new Logbook Pro PDA version and eliminate the standalone APDL, it will be an interesting decision for me and those like me.

It surprises me that you don't have Mac programmers on your team of pilot/programmers; I know quite a few of them myself and that's from a fairly small circle of friends. I bet there would be a couple people out there willing to attempt a port of your products and join the team (some may even agree with your opinion about .NET) but that is above and beyond my stake in this issue.

In the meantime, I'm glad you are considering different options and may offer a loyal-customer pricing plan for those of us who really like the standalone APDL for its simplicity and convenience. I also appreciate the Mac support you currently provide.

SG
 
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