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Jul

02

Join the FindApp Community!

 General

FindApp plans to be the best source of downloadable Windows software.  I'm proud to announce the launch of FindApp Personal Accounts.  We designed the Personal Accounts to make FindApp easier for you to use, and to solve some of the most common problems people have with downloaded software.

I use a lot of software, and I love it.  One thing I like is that programs tend have new releases pretty often.  Of course, when you have to update each of your programs manually, it's easy to forget to check for updates.  Your FindApp Personal Account ends this problem.  If you add a program to your FindApp Watch List, we will notify you by email whenever it gets updated.  Your Watch List keeps you up-to-date, it's just one click to download the new version.

I don't have a perfect memory, so I have often had this thought:  "I'd really like to use that software I downloaded last month.  What was it called again?"  It's not a problem any more, because a FindApp Personal Account includes a My Downloads page.  With a complete record of all the software I have downloaded, I will always be able to find the one I liked. 

We've made it even easier to post a review.  Just visit your My Downloads page.  Every program you download will be listed there. Click the Post a Review link and you're ready to rate and review.  By rating the software, you will be helping everyone else who uses FindApp. You'll also be helping the software publishers. Good reviews reward the developers of good software. Even a bad review helps the developers, by telling them where they need to improve.

Personal Accounts work on any PC, so you can log on from your home, your office, or your neighbor's house to find the software you need.  There is no cost, and we will not share or sell your email address.  Please go ahead and create a FindApp Personal Account, then rate and review the programs you download.

Dec

11

Is software-as-a-service important to you?

 General

There is a big media "buzz" these days about the end of software.  Instead of installing software on your PC, these writers say that soon you will just use web sites and web services that do the same things.  If you want to edit a photo don't install PhotoPerfect, just visit a photo-editing site.  If you want to play music, you stream it from an online music station, instead of running Zortam Mp3 Media Studio.

Why use software as a service?  Proponents mention certain advantages:

  • You can use the software from anywhere that you have an Internet connection, on any computer.
  • You don't have to worry about installing software on your PC.
  • Upgrades and bug fixes are automatic.

However, even though mega-company Google has moved into this area, software as a service has not taken the world by storm.  Providers are seeing growth, but the stand-alone software industry is also doing well.  So why do many people and companies still prefer to use software programs installed on their own computers?

For one thing, there is the issue of security.  If you use an online document-editing program, your data will be travelling across the public Internet, and will be stored on servers that someone else owns and someone else maintains.  If they miss a security problem, your information is now vulnerable.

Performance is often still an issue.  Even with a fast cable modem or corporate high-speed Internet connection, editing a document by connecting to a server over the Internet can be much slower than working on that same document stored on your own PC.  Of course, if you are disconnected, for instance on a plane, you simply can't use these services.

If you are using a service to edit and store your data, what happens to you if they shut down and stop providing that service?  For instance, if all your photos are stored on a photo service and the owner of that service has a problem, all your photos become unavailable, maybe forever.  One day, you try to work on your photos and they're just not there.  Software installed on your PC is much less likely to simply vanish, and your data will always be where you can get at it.

Stand-alone applications offer much more variety—FindApp has over 40 choices in Photo Albums alone!  In general, applications will have a more mature, polished feature set.

None of these points says that software as a service is always a bad idea.  I believe that it's especially useful for team and group applications.  If people have to share information, having it stored on a central server has huge advantages. 

Just don't believe the hype. Stand-alone software isn't going to be going away any time soon.

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Dec

06

Why buy software online?

 General

In a previous article, I talked about shareware, programs you can try before buying.  When you plan to buy software, one decision you will make is whether to buy boxed software or download it. Obviously, we editors here at FindApp are believers in the idea of getting software online, and I'd like to explain why.

With apologies to David Letterman, here are the top 4 reasons to get your software online:

  1. Try Before Buying: As I explained in the earlier entry, with downloadable software you have the chance to try it for a while before making your buying decision.
  2. Instant Delivery:  Once you decide what software to use, you can pay for it and be using it within minutes
  3. Selection:  FindApp has over 10,000 programs available.  With downloadable software, you will always have a wider range of choices than you can find any bricks-and-mortar store.
  4. Support Directly From the Publisher:  When you buy downloadable software, you are buying directly from the maker.  Because of this, you have a direct relationship with them, and can get support from the experts who publish the program.  Most shareware has at least email support for all registered users.  If you purchase software in a box, you may have to deal with a retailer for support.

How much do we at FindApp believe in downloadable software? I personally have bought exactly one program in a box in the past 10 years.  When I asked around the office, none of us can remember buying boxed software in the past 5. It's no contest: online is the way to go.

I'd like to wish you all a joyous holiday season, and thank you for using FindApp.

Dec

04

What is Try-Before-You-Buy software?

 General

One of the main reasons people use FindApp is to get try-before-you-buy software.  As I start this blog, I thought I'd take the time to explain the way it works for anyone new to the system.

Also known as shareware, try-before-you-buy software is commercial, copyrighted software.  Anyone is entitled to download and try the software, but the software has some sort of limitation on it that can only be removed by entering an activation code.  For instance, a program might only work for 15 days from the time that it is first used, and then stop working until paid for and activated.  Other software will work forever, but certain features don't work.  For example, a shareware video editor might limit the user to saving only 30 seconds of each file until it is registered.

Generally, try-before-you-buy software is activated online.  When you decide that you like the program and want to activate it, you navigate to the maker's web site, and purchase the software.  You are then emailed a "serial number" or "activation key".  Typing this key into the program unlocks all the features.  You almost never need to download a new version of the program, you simply activate your already-installed trial version.  If you lose the serial number, there is usually an automated system to send it to you again.

The try-before-you-buy model has been increasing in popularity since it was first introduced. Major companies like Microsoft and Adobe now let you download and activate their software.

An example of popular shareware is Auto FTP Manager, an file transfer program.

Shareware is different from freeware.  Freeware is software that is completely free of charge.

Some software is free for personal use only.  If a business wants to use the program, they are required to purchase it.

Almost every software company has its own license terms.  It's always a good idea to read the User Agreement.

In a future blog, I'll talk about how to pick the best shareware and freeware.

That's all for now.  Thanks for reading.

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