Monday, 29 June 2009

Apple Downloads Staff Pick!

We've now been listed on Apple Downloads, and they were kind enough to make us a Staff Pick. As we're one of only 2 OCR products listed, and ReadIris hasn't been updated in over 2 years and doesn't provide a demo download, we are now officially uncloaked and ready to receive the pent-up demand of Mac users for Simple Affordable OCR.

Friday, 26 June 2009

A Promising Start

Thanks to everybody who has downloaded and tried VelOCRaptor, and in particular to those who have paid for a license.

In a spirit of openness I thought that I'd share my first day (25th June)'s results with the world. For the record, it's not clear to me which timezone Google analytics uses, so these figures are for approximately 24 hours, but not necessarily in any particular timezone.

On the first day I publicised the release only through this blog, the release notes on the apps autoupdate, and MacInTouch. MacInTouch was published Thursday morning EDT, and my first licence was shipped at 13:56 GMT+1

In the 24 hours that followed, VelOCRaptor.com had 510 visits from 459 visitors, 418 of them new to the site. 68% of the total was referred by MacInTouch.

MacInTouch was the only site to publish the donation page allowing people to licence by donation, rather than paying full-price. This page was visited by 193 people.

The application itself was downloaded 49 times. [Update 2009-07-29 - the server logs say 241 downloads]

In the 24 hours since the first licence was sent, I have received 45 donations and 2 full-price registrations. The smallest donation was $1, the largest $29. The average of donations and registrations was $9.95.

No doubt things will go quiet now, but again, a big thank you to everyone who's been a part of these numbers.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

VelOCRaptor 1.0 launched!

Like all the best software, VelOCRaptor was released at a little after midnight.

Frankly, apart from the licensing, there has been no change to the app for a couple of weeks now, so I hope that there are no surprises. The only real effect of declaring this build 1.0 is that we can start charging real money, and drumming up a little publicity.

I plan to submit our details to the Apple downloads site tomorrow. I wonder if anyone will be interested? I'm nervous that Apple downloads visitors may be less accommodating than our friendly bunch of early-adopters, but I can't put it off any longer.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

So near and yet so far

I was all set to release VelOCRaptor 1.0 yesterday, but it was my wedding anniversary, so I didn't quite finish all the tasks before we went out to dinner and a movie (Last Chance Harvey, seeing as you ask).

I was just about to push the big green publicity button this evening when I received an email asking how to donate. As I wrote the reply, my mind went through the steps required to process the licence in the program, and I realised that it doesn't work! The licensing code had a whole bunch of tests, which pass, but relied on a folder which exists on my Mac because I created it by hand when I was prototyping the code, and won't exist on any other Mac.

So I very nearly released version 1.0, charging $29 for a licence that doesn't work.

In the Windows world we solve these problems by installing software into clean virtual machines for testing, but in their wisdom Apple stop developers from doing this for Mac OS. So now I'm off to the iMac to just check that I can install the latest release...

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Where does the time go?

I've been hard at work trying to integrate the latest version (0.4) of OCRopus with VelOCRaptor. Just compiling it on the Mac has been a challenge, and now that it's running I have to report that it's accuracy is not noticeably better that 0.3. This isn't a surprise, as the new release has not been trained on much character data, but it is disappointing, as I have spent over a week not improving our product.

So, with bills to pay I've decided to release VelOCRaptor 1.0 with OCRopus 0.3. Its accuracy on good quality scans is sufficient for finding finding them again with Spotlight, and for copying sections of text. I expect to be able to release a version with demonstrably better performance before the end of the year, as OCRopus 0.5 promises much.

We're now set up to receive payments via PayPal and automatically send out licences by email. I've edited but not yet published the v1.0 website, and am just preparing the copy for the Apple downloads site. If you want a cheap licence by donation, I'd get in there quick!

Friday, 12 June 2009

I'm no graphic artist but...

...I know what I like. And I think that I like our new homepage. I've removed the news to its own page, replacing the rather naff link to the blog. The grabs on the front page now all zoom pleasingly, giving more information on the features.

It's not perfect, but I do believe that it's fit for purpose, which is of course, to let me release Version 1 next week. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

More web site updates

I've updated the site with a fresh new look. Please let me know what you think.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

New Screencast

I've just posted an screencast showing how to use VelOCRaptor with the Apple Image Capture application to produce readable PDF's directly from your scanner.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Licensing, Bug Fixes and Tidying

While Simon and I are keen for people to use VelOCRaptor, we're also keen to make some money. So I've been adding licensing code to the application. You can't yet buy a licence, so not having one doesn't disable any part of the program, but we're one step closer to release.

To which end I've been busy on holiday, and since I've come back, fixing some pesky bugs, making the app look a bit nicer and stretching my meagre graphic design talents over the website. Actually I think I may have made this blog look worse - I'll revisit Blogger later.