Snagit Charges for “Upgrade”

lipstick on a pig photo

Look! This pig has lipstick.

I am completely fine with paying for software that I really like and that serves a purpose for me. However, if you are a software company that is going to use the ‘paid upgrade’ model of charging customers to upgrade to the next major version of your product, make sure the next major version contains new features worth paying for.

In the case of TechSmith’s Snagit, they have failed to provide anything of real value in their latest release (version 3.0 for Mac, or 12.0 for Windows), yet they are asking for $24.95 to upgrade to the latest version.

I paid for version 2 of Snagit for my Mac (that’s version 11 for you Windows users), and I really enjoyed using it. It became a tool in my arsenal that I relied heavily upon for doing quick screen shots and adding text, notes, arrows, and more.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago the updater ran and I was suddenly looking at a trial version of Snagit 3.0. And it said it was going to expire unless I paid the discounted upgrade fee of $24.95.

Aggravated, I hoped to have my mood changed and be wowed by version 3.0. So I tested it out for a few days. I quickly found that it had a nicer look and feel about it, but other than that, there were no noticeable enhancements or actual upgrades to the product. It was the same product with about one new feature related to the video clipping tool — something I could care less about. And that new feature was only a new arrow selector of some sort. Not impressed.

Jason Eagleston, the “Snagit Product Owner” at TechSmith even admits in their self-congratulatory release video that “with this release we had a focus on updating the way Snagit looks and feels, partially to bring that consistency across all the Techsmith things that you are going to interact with, but ultimately it’s only focused on getting your content to be the most prominent thing on the screen.”

Hmm…I only interact with one Techsmith product, so why should this be a feature worth paying for? And how is it not the most prominent thing on my screen if I’m currently using it in the first place?

A couple of more employees in the video go on to talk about how much nicer the product will be to use, and that they really wanted people to feel like they were using something current and not outdated. So it really isn’t about an upgrade, it’s about a change of clothes.

The whole video is about them admitting that their product didn’t look that great, so they spent a lot of effort making it look better (or “flatter,” as they say in the video, which is supposed to be something we should like), and now they want their customers to pay for that. No real tool enhancements or additions, just a subjective improvement to the design. For $24.95? No thanks.

For those of you looking for a free alternative to Snagit, check out Skitch. With or without Evernote, it’s a nice tool that does just about everything Snagit does for screen capturing.

Photo by Darin Barry

Gigabit Internet Coming to Asheville Soon

This is what the Internet looks like as it travels through the tubes.

You read that right!  According to the WRAL “Techwire,” Raleigh and Asheville will soon be getting blazing fast gigabit Internet, well ahead of Google Fiber reaching our neck of the woods.

That’s about 1000 times faster than your average Charter or Comcast cable Internet service. You can download an entire HD movie in roughly 30 seconds. Believe it or not, this will bring us more in line with the rest of the planet, where speeds have far surpassed those in the US in recent years.

When Does it Happen?

“Asheville will receive service about the same time as Raleigh, according to RST Fiber co-founder and CEO Dan Limerick.”

According to the article, that will be within 60 days or so.

The part about a-la-carte TV service sounded appealing to me as well. Imagine only paying for the channels you want. I’ve been a proponent of this concept for years. It remains to be seen how this will actually work, but there is hope.

This is exciting news!

Net Neutrality Is Dead

US Appeals Court Kills Net Neutrality

There goes the Internet.

Your broadband provider can now decide to throttle Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube streaming into your house and  leave unthrottled their own crappy on-demand service for which they charge you to watch movies. Let’s hope the Supreme Court gets to rule on this, and that they have the people in mind rather than the corporations.

A visual example of what your Internet service could soon look like:

 

 

Adios, Feedly

rss_iconReading RSS feeds from multiple websites in a central, organized location that lets me quickly save items of interest without bothering me about posting to Facebook or telling what my friends are doing is a very important piece of my life. A good, clean RSS reader lets me quickly devour the day’s news, the latest trends, things my friends and family have written, and whatever else may be of interest to me.

I was an avid user of Google Reader until they shut it down earlier this year. Along with many other people, I sought an alternative home for my collection of important RSS feeds. I quickly found Feedly, and move everything over there. They seemed pretty hip, and while the interface and options took a little getting used to, it managed to satisfy my RSS needs (along with the mobile app) for a while.

Feedly started deploying a paid subscription model to get extra features, which seemed like a logical part of being a business, and I was OK with that. They didn’t take away anything I was used to in my free account. But they started making some boneheaded decisions, and the doubt started to percolate in the back of my mind.

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I am digging the options in InoReader so far

After perusing Reddit this morning, the last straw was drawn when I discovered this thread and this blog post dicussing Feedly’s new approach to hijacking shared links, thus cutting out the original content publishers (something they apparently backpedaled on pretty quickly). Not being someone who tries to make money from his blog, this was mildly concerning, but not that upsetting to me.

What did it for me was the CEO of Feedly making some off-putting comments on that blog post and generally being a jerk about it rather than listening to concerns and doing PR the right way. I decided to take my feeds and head over to InoReader. It was an easy import/export process, and InoReader feels much more comfortable to me so far. Their Android app looks decent as well.

Feedly's "support" page

Feedly’s “support” page

The funny thing is, I went to try and cancel my Feedly account, but I could not find a way to do so anywhere in the settings. I clicked on the “Support” link, and was taken to a page that advertised their services. There were no support options to be found anywhere.

If I figure out how to completely cancel my Feedly account, I will let you all know.

I will hopefully be happy in my new RSS house, but if not, there are still plenty of good looking alternatives out there.

Are you still an RSS user? What is your favorite reader?

Hey Microsoft, I Heard You Need a New CEO

Dear Microsoft,

It’s been all over the news this week that Steve Ballmer has decided to step down as CEO. At first this seemed like a decision he had come to by himself, perhaps having felt as if his work here was done. Some started speculating that he was forced out by the board. Whatever the case, it has become clear that you will be seeking out a new CEO over the coming 12 months.

You need to choose me, and here is why:

1. I will work for half the money. It was reported that Ballmer made $1.3 million in 2012. I will step into his job for half the money.

2. I know what is wrong with your products, and I know how to fix them. I am someone who is intimately familiar with your apps and operating systems, and I am even more intimately familiar with fixing them. From disinfecting them, hardening them, cleaning them up, making them usable, and working around their aggravating inconsistencies, I know what is wrong with your shit. And I know how to fix it.

3. I know your competition. I got so fed up with you around the time Windows ME came out, I wrote you off completely, wiped all my machines, and became a Linux die-hard. I only used you when I had to. Eventually I ended up becoming a Mac user as I matured into adulthood and could actually (almost) afford the damn things. I know what it’s like to hate on Microsoft, I know why people do it, and I know what you can do to turn that around. I know what makes a Mac so much more appealing in the eyes of those customers you are so quickly losing.

My experience is based in reality. The reality of day-to-day usage and frustration with your products. When is the last time Ballmer sat down and tried to wipe a hard drive and reinstall Windows XP for someone? When is the last time anyone on your board, for that matter, had to disinfect a Windows 7 box riddled with malware and explain to their mother-in-law how her computer completely stopped functioning and why she now needs to change her online banking passwords?

Sure, there are thousands of consumers such as myself who are equally as familiar with your problems, and each have their own opinions on what you need to fix about yourself, but I bring to the table the experience of seeing you fail in many environments: colleges, non-profits, corporations, and federal government. I have worked across all of these sectors over the years, and I have witnessed each one seek out alternative solutions to the problems you consistently present.

Microsoft, you are out of touch, and that is why you are quickly becoming irrelevant. As you seek a new CEO, I hope that you strongly consider someone who is in touch, and I hope you even more strongly consider that person to be me.