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Poco Forums • View topic - Is PocoSystems Support and Development Dying?

Is PocoSystems Support and Development Dying?

Discussion not related specifically to one of the topics below

Moderators: Eric, Tomas, robin

Is PocoSystems Support and Development Dying?

Postby dsilvia » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:42 am

Hi!

I added a new contact to PocoMail4 and filled out a template for use with that contact. I just tried using that template. :( I hope you will forgive me for being so blunt, but the whole feature is so clumsy and cumbersome as to be unusable.

Firstly, if I have chosen a signature for a particular account to use, why would I want a template to automatically overwrite it? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a "Signature" field in the template and if that field is empty, don't overwrite, if it isn't empty, replace the signature?

Secondly, if I have indicated a template for a contact, why isn't it just automatically used when sending email to that contact, just like the email addr and other particulars of the contact? I believe that's what most people would expect when they see the Template tab in the New Contact dialog. I don't believe anyone, intuitively or otherwise, would expect that after specifying a template in a contact entry that they would then have to manually add that template and rewrite any other "canned" features of the New Mail overwritten by the template.

I know, you'll probably say, "The user can set up a custom Poco Script to do this...". I have 3 replies to that:

1) If the user can, then why not give an explicit example?

2) If the user can and you can give an explicit example, then why not just write it at PocoSystems and add it for this purpose?

3) If the user can and you have no intention of doing either 1) or 2), then why have the template feature in the New Contact dialog at all? You're only inviting users to be disappointed, upset, or dissatisfied, all of which are negative and aren't very good business moves! :roll:

I don't mind saying that a few years back, I was very happy with PocoMail/Barca because it had seen what the user wanted, beyond what other email clients were offering. But, frankly, I've seen it stagnate somewhat and it doesn't appear that new feature requests from users are being addressed to any high degree. Add to that, in the past, your support addressed problems directly and dispositioned them, letting the user know, first hand, what to expect. With the new "Help Desk", sadly, users tend to get very non-specific answers, or some such statement as, "unfortunately, PocoMail doesn't do that"! :evil: Sorry, gang, but these practices are not the best way to "win friends and influence people" and insure a business future.


[NB: BTW, we're in the second half of 2008 and your copyright statement at your website still says "Poco Systems Inc © 1999 - 2007..." ... I believe it's called "sink or swim"?]
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Re: Is PocoSystems Support and Development Dying?

Postby Eric » Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:14 am

Hi dsilvia & welcome to Poco Forums, :D
dsilvia wrote:Firstly, if I have chosen a signature for a particular account to use, why would I want a template to automatically overwrite it?
Don't get it here :?:
If I have a template which does have its signature, it will still be the same when using that template.
Or did you mean something else?
Wouldn't it make more sense to have a "Signature" field in the template and if that field is empty, don't overwrite, if it isn't empty, replace the signature?
All my templates have their signature, so my default signature is never used.
Secondly, if I have indicated a template for a contact, why isn't it just automatically used when sending email to that contact, just like the email addr and other particulars of the contact?
If you use Contacts to send a message to that person, then that template will be used.
If however you select the email address in that message, no template will be used. In for some improvement in that area, I agree. :)
3) If the user can and you have no intention of doing either 1) or 2), then why have the template feature in the New Contact dialog at all? You're only inviting users to be disappointed, upset, or dissatisfied, all of which are negative and aren't very good business moves! :roll:
Don't know why you're saying you can't send a template from a contact?
It works here, so either you're doing something wrong or else something got corrupted. :?
I don't mind saying that a few years back, I was very happy with PocoMail/Barca because it had seen what the user wanted, beyond what other email clients were offering.
FWIW I'm still happy with my Barca Pro. It does it a lot better compared to .... Even the one at my work doesn't allow me to reply with a template, unless you pay for it. :shock:
I'm not saying PSI products are perfect, but they still do the tasks better then some for which you pay a lot more.
But, frankly, I've seen it stagnate somewhat and it doesn't appear that new feature requests from users are being addressed to any high degree.
I have no clue what features may be coming in next coming update this month, as posted by Slaven. However I don't think PSI is stagnating. On the other hand I think they put a lot of work/research into the new version to address high priorities on their list which were reported by us users.

I'm not asking for new features, but we never know what they'll come up with. Adding features is one thing, using them is another.
If nobody needs those, then better not add it.
IMHO Bloat must be avoided. Keep it simple. 8)
With the new "Help Desk", sadly, users tend to get very non-specific answers, or some such statement as, "unfortunately, PocoMail doesn't do that"! :evil: Sorry, gang, but these practices are not the best way to "win friends and influence people" and insure a business future.
If at present Poco/Barca doesn't do that, then that's the only response you can get. I don't see anything wrong there.
Maybe you're expecting them to tell you these will be added, but that would be even worse when it doesn't get added. :roll:
You did get an answer to your question, so they didn't lie about it. :)

I know Poco/Barca does have some shortcomings, but that can be said from other email clients too. It will only get better with every new version.
I'm not asking for a new version each month, because that would be too much. I just want bugs and high priorities to be addressed.
[NB: BTW, we're in the second half of 2008 and your copyright statement at your website still says "Poco Systems Inc © 1999 - 2007..." ... I believe it's called "sink or swim"?]
I know, their website needs some freshening up.
That's however not the most important thing. Poco/Barca development is and that's where their priorities go to, I guess. :D

All this is how I see it, not PSI's view on things. :wink:
Eric
 

Postby dsilvia » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:33 am

Don't know why you're saying you can't send a template from a contact?
It works here, so either you're doing something wrong or else something got corrupted. Confused


Hi!

Well I got it from the Poco Systems Help - Using Templates:

Assigning Templates

Once you have created one or more templates, you can use them in several ways:

· While composing a message:
In Compose window go to Format menu and select Open Template (it overwrites the current message with the chosen template), Open Template Body (overwrites the current message body with the templates but leaves your headers intact) or Add Template Body (does not overwrite any part of the current message, just adds template body to the current message).

· Automatically for New messages, Replies, Forwards and Bounces:
Open Edit Account for the account you want to change; click on Templates tab and select a template for the action you need. From that point on, the selected template will be used automatically.

· Manually for New messages and Replies:
From the main application window go to Message menu and select either New Message from Template or Reply with Template.


Nothing here says anything about opening a new mail message from a contact. Besides, to my mind, that would be bass ackwards, too. Why should there be multiple, obliquely related, places to initiate a new message?

You sound a great deal like someone who is somewhat of an insider, i.e., someone more familiar than average with how the product is "supposed" to work. The problem with that is the reason why I, and most other developers I know, have someone else check how an application works. Someone completely unfamiliar with the application and with nothing to use but the application and it's existing documentation. If they cannot use it easily and readily without resorting to fora and user groups, then I've failed in my development design or my documentation thereof, or both.

Sorry, that's just the way I look at it. I feel too many companies are sloughing off these days, using a forum instead of good documentation and testing (got to admit, it's sure cheaper than doing it right!), and letting all other aspects of the business slide (like up to date websites) because they're "busy doing important things". It's all important! Sure, actual coding and playing with the software is more fun, but that's not how to run a company. That's how you run a hack software open source site.

When I pay $80 for a software package, yes, you're right, I expect it to work and I expect it to be properly documented.

jmtcw:
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Postby Eric » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:02 pm

dsilvia wrote:Well I got it from the Poco Systems Help - Using Templates:
Sure, I know those ways to create a template.
When composing a message, chosing a template will overwrite your current message. :?

Apart from that you can define which template to use for a certain contact. Edit a contact and go to the Templates tab and select the one to use.
Nothing here says anything about opening a new mail message from a contact. Besides, to my mind, that would be bass ackwards, too. Why should there be multiple, obliquely related, places to initiate a new message?
Depends on where you're at that moment.
Looking up a contact allows you to immediately start a new message for that contact. I find that not akward, but instead useful. :)
You sound a great deal like someone who is somewhat of an insider, i.e., someone more familiar than average with how the product is "supposed" to work.
Not an insider, however I've participated in several betas and of course moderating this forum. I do know a lot more than the average user, although I don't know everything either. Sometimes I do make mistakes too. :oops:
Someone completely unfamiliar with the application and with nothing to use but the application and it's existing documentation.
There's still the beta-testing which offers users the chance to participate. Even a new user may be accepted.
I do agree that the documentation is incomplete, so that's why a lot of tips/tricks can be found here. 8)
If they cannot use it easily and readily without resorting to fora and user groups, then I've failed in my development design or my documentation thereof, or both.
I disagree on that point. There are lots of apps who have a forum to help their users on any question, problem they may have. It's very useful and it does reduce direct support.
Also there's an interaction between fellow users, some of them know a lot more.
Sorry, that's just the way I look at it. I feel too many companies are sloughing off these days, using a forum instead of good documentation and testing (got to admit, it's sure cheaper than doing it right!), and letting all other aspects of the business slide (like up to date websites) because they're "busy doing important things".
And there are other companies who don't use a forum. Instead they use a ticket system or even both.

I even encountered apps with no documentation at all, so that's even worse.

An up-to-date website sure helps, but as said before PSI isn't a big firm to use their resources at will. It will take some time for that to be updated. :?
It's all important! Sure, actual coding and playing with the software is more fun, but that's not how to run a company. That's how you run a hack software open source site.
Sure, it's equally important.
How they run their company is their business, so I'm not going to tell them how to do it.
I'm sure they'll give priority to the application first, the rest will follow in time.
When I pay $80 for a software package, yes, you're right, I expect it to work and I expect it to be properly documented.
All I can say is that the documentation needs some work, but even then not everything will be adressed.
Creating a good documentation isn't easy either. :?

Maybe the next version will address your concerns, so I hope it will. :wink:
Eric
 

Postby dsilvia » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:05 pm

Even a new user may be accepted


I'm hardly a new user. I've had PocoMail and Barca for about 4 years (I started back when they had direct customer help, you know, exchange email with the guy who really knows what can/cannot be done schedule/expertise wise). A couple of years ago, before they changed over to the quick and dirty way to do support, I wrote reviews for Barca and PocoMail on the web giving them an excellent rating. :oops:

You see, I do know what I'm talking about. That's why the current trend with PocoSystems is so disturbing! :shock:


And there are other companies who don't use a forum. Instead they use a ticket system or even both.

I even encountered apps with no documentation at all, so that's even worse.

An up-to-date website sure helps, but as said before PSI isn't a big firm to use their resources at will. It will take some time for that to be updated.


How other companies handle their business is not the issue here...
(btw, didn't your mother ever tell you, "well, if everyone else jumped off the Empire State Building does that mean you should do it, too?")! :wink:


All I can say is that the documentation needs some work, but even then not everything will be adressed.
Creating a good documentation isn't easy either


When I first started in engineering, there was an engineering manager who was fond of saying, "If the documentation isn't done and complete, then we're not ready!" He was a very demanding individual, but, he was right! There was a poster in his office of a little boy on a potty chair, reaching for the roll of toilet paper, with a very unhappy look on his face. The caption read:

No Job Is Complete Until The Paper Work Is Done!


So that the meaning doesn't escape, the gist is "Sure, it's a sh*tty, distasteful, tedious, and boring part of the job, but it is part of the job, so it must be done!"


The other attitude of, "Well, they've got a lot to do and their a small company and..." is actually quite juvenile and irresponsible...

jmtcw:
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Re: Is PocoSystems Support and Development Dying?

Postby Tomas » Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:07 am

Hi Dave
dsilvia wrote:With the new "Help Desk", sadly, users tend to get very non-specific answers, or some such statement as, "unfortunately, PocoMail doesn't do that"!


All user feedback is forwaded to developers as bug reports or enhancement requests. Particularly as well thought out reports or requests as those that were coming from you.

Unfortunately support cannot provide any better feedback (of the kind "great idea, we scheduled it for 2nd quarter"), maybe it was working better in that respect in the past when the support was more tied with / provided by developers.

we're in the second half of 2008 and your copyright statement at your website still says "Poco Systems Inc © 1999 - 2007..."


I have admittedly no clue about the web development conventions in that respect, but as the last major release of Pocomail was in 2007, I think this truthfully reflects the situation. Unlike some webs that just use Javascript to serve whatever year/date it is no matter that last update happened years ago, or some that I visited at the end of 2007 that were in 2008 already.
Tomas
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MyInfoToGo

Postby mmaritz » Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:26 am

Will we see a new version of myinfotogo.

It is very old and I am looking to move away from it.

Any News?

Thanks
Mark
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Postby Tomas » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:22 pm

Hi Mark,

the future of MITG is being decided now, I believe more might be known once the upcoming updates to Pocomail and Barca are released.
Tomas
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Postby blakelyg » Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:40 pm

Tomas wrote:Hi Mark,

the future of MITG is being decided now, I believe more might be known once the upcoming updates to Pocomail and Barca are released.


Hopefully it will be positive. Nice little product. Seems that there would not be a lot of changes necessary... maybe they are looking at just having barca with a portable install (ie using ini and no registry entries), at the time of installation. That seems to be the way of many of the PIM's being release now.

Speaking of which do you have any idea when the next "release" (beta or otherwise) will be available. The current beta is fairly dated (been several months now).
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Postby Tomas » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:44 am

Yes, I hope decision beneficial for both the company and users will be selected, there is a need for that kind of functionality.

As for the release, it's my feeling that we are talking about weeks and not months here.
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Postby blakelyg » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:47 am

Tomas wrote:Yes, I hope decision beneficial for both the company and users will be selected, there is a need for that kind of functionality.

As for the release, it's my feeling that we are talking about weeks and not months here.


Thanks for the reply Tomas here and in the post on MITG. The release candidate has been made available (and quickly after your post I might add). I tried Barca and see that it is still not portable. Hopefully Slaven or someone else will not delay to long in letting the community know of their decision. :)

Gord
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Postby bareges » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:29 am

I have just received this email from Rose City Software Courier/Calypso developer David:
RoseCity Software is pleased to announce that the long-awaited upgrade for Courier users is finally ready for release. The new flagbearer that will carry Courier-specific features forward, plus provide many other features, is PocoMail 4.8, which has just been released after seven months of beta test. PocoMail was already a significant and popular email client, and is now more feature-rich than ever, now that it embraces several key Courier functions. A list of major features that will be of interest to Courier users is on our website at http://rosecitysoftware.com/pocomail . Here are some of them:

- Easy switching between plain text and HTML, with even more options than Courier provided
- Multiple search options, even more powerful than Courier's
- Multiple font and character set options, similar to Courier's
- Ability to color-code responses and flag email, similar to Courier's
- Ability to edit subject line and content of received and sent mail, similar to Courier's
- Extended ability to manage mail directly from server, if desired, an extention of what Courier provided
- Periodic email backup service, similar to Courier's
- Powerful filter capability, similar in some ways and stronger in other ways to Courier
- No dependence on Internet Explorer's HTML engine, reducing exposure to viruses
- VBscript not supported, further reducing exposure to malware
- Spelling dictionaries for 20+ languages
- SSL support. Yes, it works fine with Gmail... :)
- IMAP support. Although not 100%, IMAP works better than in Courier and, in online-to-server mode, you can copy mail between folders. This is a definite improvement.

Yes, we could go on and on and on about the new services. True, some Courier features are gone. No longer can you select a WAV file to play when mail from a given account comes in. The bulk send and blind send features are no longer available as features (although both can be functionally achieved), along with a few others... Still, we are convinced that this is the best email client available today.

Although more features are listed at our Rosecity website, the MAJOR benefit is that you will have direct and immediate support as you migrate from Courier 3.x to PocoMail 4.8. I developed a Quick Start Guide that will help you and this can be downloaded from the http://rosecitysoftware.com/pocomail site. This guide is also referenced in the PocoMail help file. That is significant, so let me explain. RoseCity Software and Pocomail have been working hand-in-hand for over a year to bring this product to you. In becoming a customer of PocoMail, you are joining a community that has been preparing for you. The tech support staff members have Courier 3.5 on their computers. I and the lead technical specialist from PocoMail, Tomas Drahokoupil, will be monitoring our BBS and the Yahoo forum throughout the upgrade period to assist people migrating to PocoMail 4.8.

To upgrade: PocoMail sales team have offered a special upgrade price of $19.95 good until December 31, 2009. We encourage all Courier users to take advantage of this price reduction. Visit the website for the details.

NOTE: This upgrade offer expires on December 31, 2009. We want to help all Courier users to make this positive migration to PocoMail 4.8, but the price reduction expires on midnight of the last day of 2009. Courier users can always upgrade, but the cost benefit expires at midnight on the last day of 2009.

FURTHER NOTE: We don't want to discourage ongoing tips and help for Courier 3.5 users here. We hope we can all use this forum together for help to Courier and Calypso users and also for help to users who are migrating to PocoMail 4.8.

Yes, I've been looking forward for some time to make this post. I've been using the new PocoMail for many months and it is awesome.
david"

Apologies for the length but I hope that it proves interesting!!
Kind Regards
Charles
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Postby blakelyg » Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:52 am

bareges wrote:I have just received this email from Rose City Software Courier/Calypso developer David:
RoseCity Software is pleased to announce that the long-awaited upgrade for Courier users is finally ready for release. The new flagbearer that will carry Courier-specific features forward, plus provide many other features, is PocoMail 4.8, which has just been released after seven months of beta test. PocoMail was already a significant and popular email client, and is now more feature-rich than ever, now that it embraces several key Courier functions. A list of major features that will be of interest to Courier users is on our website at http://rosecitysoftware.com/pocomail .


There have been some inquiries in the Courier (now Courier/Poco?) Yahoo group listing, about portable software. I believe Tomas replied there that a decision was yet to be made about the direction that Poco would go. Indications were that there might even be a Poco portable version. It did mention MITG and thought I would revist the issue here. Is MITG going to continue in some form or another and when will that decision be made?

Comments about future development and direction now seems to be laid to rest (my opinion) with the Courier/Poco issue. One final comment I guess should be the development cycle for version 5.x (the issue of rendering engine was also brought up in the Courier forum and the issue of the next release of Poco). Only time will tell however. So far I am pretty happy with Poco 4.8 and hopefully will see more answers to the viability of MITG. I am a registered owner of both products and would love to see some of the Barca/Poco features incorporated in MITG. If the decision is made to cease development of MITG will register users be offered an acceptable upgrade path to Barca?

Gord
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Postby Tomas » Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:18 am

Hi Gord, this is still an open issue and I have mostly told on Courier forum what was discussed here. All possibilities are open.

If MITG was going to be abandoned (theoretically, no such decision was made), I'd be very surprised if there wasn't an upgrade path.

Last time I talked to Slaven he wrote that decision might be made after Pocomail 4.8 and Barca 2.8 are out, so now is a good time for me to reopen that issue with him.
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Postby blakelyg » Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:00 am

Tomas wrote:Hi Gord, this is still an open issue and I have mostly told on Courier forum what was discussed here. All possibilities are open.

If MITG was going to be abandoned (theoretically, no such decision was made), I'd be very surprised if there wasn't an upgrade path.

Last time I talked to Slaven he wrote that decision might be made after Pocomail 4.8 and Barca 2.8 are out, so now is a good time for me to reopen that issue with him.

Thanks Tomas will be interested to hear the results of your discussions with Slaven (if u can reveal them).
That is good to hear... I got the impression it was more of a fait accompli. The current implementation does meet my needs. I generally use MITG for syncing mail between my PC (Pocomail) and the USB key (for when I travel). I am actually more interested in the development cycle for version 5. There are numerous display issues (especially when using an external monitor with my laptop. (Such as the app appears on one monitor but the menu for selecting the account (using the button bar) appears on the other. Or the way that multiple messages are selected no9t the same as other apps. Or... well will go into that when dev cycle is known.
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