Times of Change

By Benjamin Rister on 2011-09-09

This has been a time of great change in the tech industry. Steve Jobs stepping down from Apple. HP leaving the computer business. And now the industry is truly going to be rocked to its core: today is my last day at Decimus.

Before anybody freaks out, Synk is still fine, continues to be supported, and will have future releases. Don't worry! Everything is in good hands.

The new venture that I mentioned in the State Of The Union post last January will be commencing shortly, ahead of the original schedule. I can't speak publicly about what exactly I'll be working on, but I look forward to someday showing off my latest creation! In addition, I'm expecting my first child in January, so I have significant incentive to ensure that my workload remains tractable and doesn't consume my life. Decimus has been known to do that on many occasions.

It's extremely important to me that all of you are taken great care of. In anticipation of this eventual possibility, I've been looking for a good replacement for a while now. Since last year, Tony has provided tech support to many of you and has been helping out around the company, learning both the products and the Decimus Way, and doing a great job. He has experience in running companies, and understands the principles of passionate customer service that has always been the foundation of Decimus. So I'm pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Tony will be managing Decimus's products.

We've been doing boot camp recently, getting him up to speed on all of the tasks and infrastructure that will be part of his new job. I'm sure that there will be some transitional pains, but I have the utmost confidence in Tony, and I'm sure you'll be patient with him as he takes on his new role. He's going to take great care of all of you.

I started working on Synk, which led to Decimus being created, nearly a decade ago. It's been a lot of hard work, with good times and bad, but I'm proud of having done the indie thing and been successful at it. I'm going to miss it a lot (particularly when I have to put clothes on to go to work).

More than anything, I'll miss a lot of my great customers from over the years. I may not have met many of you, but I've certainly talked to some of you more over these years than I have some members of my family. Feel free to email me at this domain with a username of bdr if you want to get in touch. (You obviously should still contact support if you have any questions about the products, but I can chat about some other things if you're interested.)

Catch you later.


Japan Relief

By Benjamin Rister on 2011-03-24

I recently got back from a vacation in Hawaii, my reward for finally getting Synk 7 shipped. The tsunami destroyed the ground floor of our hotel on the Big Island, we spent the night in a gym, many of the events and historical sites were closed or damaged, and as some added bonuses, the volcano collapsed the week before we got there so there was no more lava, and the B&B for one leg of the trip was decidedly Bates Motel-like. All told, it was pretty par for the course for a Rister vacation.

However, having some inconveniences on a vacation are a far, far cry from what the people of Japan are going through. While we've never had a blog to post about it before, anytime a disaster like this occurs, Decimus will usually make a contribution to relief efforts. So while we're a bit late to the party because I was out of town, I'd like to announce that Decimus sales for the remainder of March will be donated to benefit relief efforts in Japan. Please join us in supporting a worthy cause, and get a piece of software as an extra bonus.

State of the Union 2010

By Benjamin Rister on 2011-01-04

Happy New Year! I thought I'd take a quick moment to briefly note where we've been over the last year, and discuss plans for the future (as least far as I'm comfortable commenting on publicly, given how often they change).

It's probably not a surprise to anybody that the bulk of 2010 was consumed by the massive beast that is Synk 7. While we fit in maintenance releases to our other products as possible and needed, pretty much every available hour was dedicated to Synk 7, particularly as the year went on.

The road to Synk 7's release was actually amazingly painful, in large part due to a sequence of shockingly bad experiences with various personnel. It took a long, long time to find people who could actually successfully deliver quality work on time and as promised. (In all modesty, I have a new appreciation for why clients are so thrilled with me on those occasional times when I do a bit of contract work for someone!) I even ended up having to learn entirely new systems and do stuff myself outside of my expertise—the snazzy backend to our new website is all personally crafted by me, which is a novelty for somebody who'd never even looked at Rails before.

We had a staff change in the course of these events, and Tony Gonzalez has taken over as the main face of Decimus tech support. He's a great guy and is getting up to speed on all of the many details of how the products work. He'll also be helping with various QA tasks along the way, as well as possibly translating apps into Japanese at some point.

2011 is going to be a very interesting year, and possibly one of significant change. The Mac App Store, which is going live in a couple of days, could very well be a significant problem, because Apple won't allow the kinds of apps that Decimus makes in the App Store. As long as the kinds of people who would want our products don't forget about the world outside the App Store, we should be OK, but the prospect of utility-based companies like Decimus fading away certainly keeps me up at night.

While software development is always mercurial and plans constantly change, once the fires are put out from the Synk 7 launch, the current plan is to start work on the next major version of DTerm. I'm very excited about the vision for the new release, and very much look forward to seeing it start to come together.

After that, things are much more nebulous, and will depend in large part how the different products are doing and what the outlook on the market looks like. There are of course incremental releases sketched out for Synk 7 as well as DTerm 2. I also have a really big and fascinating new project I'd be interested in doing, but it's big enough that I'd need to spin off a dedicated new company for it and find a business partner so that I could focus on the product development side of things.

So after one very crazy and stressful year, it looks like 2011 is going to be another, including a bunch of stuff going on out in the "real world" too. What can you do?