Introducing LicenseKeeper 1.0

After many months of development and hard work by the beta test team, LicenseKeeper 1.0 has finally been pushed out the door for release.

The demo version can be downloaded from the LicenseKeeper product page and is available for purchase on the newly redesigned Outer Level website and online store.

This is a very exciting time for me. LicenseKeeper is the first software product I’ve published for sale. It has been an incredible learning experience technically and especially business-wise.

Over the past few days I’ve received an increased interest in LicenseKeeper and I’ve been biting my tongue and chomping at the bit to finally announce its release. Thanks for the patience and I hope that it lives up to your expectations.

10 thoughts on “Introducing LicenseKeeper 1.0

  1. Congratulations Jon!

    There’s nothing like that 1.0 feeling, and now you’re on your second!

    Actually, that’s plain greedy, how dare you! 🙂

    Also, just took my daily look at MacMinute, and guess what story was at the top?! Guess your press release worked a treat.

    I’ll be downloading LicenseKeeper later, sounds great.

    Congrats again,

    Ian

  2. Thanks Ian.

    You’re right there is nothing like the 1.0 feeling. But this one was different, being the first one released for sale. There’s a big difference between releasing a commercial product and free-ware.

  3. Jon:

    The first thing I do every morning is check MacCentral.com for the latest Mac news. So when I saw the blurb about your new product I immediately went to learn more. Like many Mac users I have a need for an easy to use serial number tracker program.

    But I have to admit I was disappointed when I compared what your program does to what the MacCentral.com article implied it did. For example, it says that your program includes “auto scannning of email to capture serial numbers”. But when I tried to figure out how to do this I could not find anything about auto scanning email. Only attaching emails was explained when I selected Help. Also, by saying “email” or not “Apple’s Mail program” the article implied that any email could be scanned. But your Help info only talks about using Apple’s own Mail program. Since I use MS Entouragel this feature is rendered moot for me.

    What I do like is the “Import Application” feature which, if nothing else will put all of my applications in one place so that I can go back and fill in the serial number at a later time.

    Here is what I think would make your product a much better serial number tracker tool.

    1. Have a summary report feature that provides a sortable list of all programs catalogued by your program. You should be able to sort by name, import date, purchase date, type of program (shareware, freeware, commercial) as well as program category (utility, graphic, web, video, etc.).
    2. To do the sorting as I describe in #1 you should have more fields such as import date, purchase date, program type, program category, purchase price, etc.
    3.Unless I missed it having the ability to select a subfolder in Entourage or Mail where one may keep email receipts for application purchases – and then import all of the files to find and catalogue application names, serial numbers, etc would be outstanding. It’s the feature I found so appealing when I read the article about your product.

    The results of each import would have to appear first as a list where you could delete emails that were older versions or were incomplete or where you no longer used the application. Then what you are left with are the records for your purchases. I keep two subfolders within my Entourage InBox: online purchases and ID Numbers. If i purchase something and get an online receipt then it goes into the online purchases subfolder.

    If I simply get an email with a serial number and download link then it goes into the ID Number subfolder. If your program worked the way I wish it did then I would be able to drag one subfolder at a time, have your program search through all emails to find and catalogue every email with a serial number in it.

    Maybe this feature is simply impossible to offer because you may not be able to figure out a way to accurately determine if any email scanned actually has a serial number and then if it does to match it against an application name and concurrently discover the vendor who owns the application. But it sure would be a great feature if you could. In my case I have many many emails that I’ve never taken the time to go through and pull out this information. That feature alone would be worth twice what you are asking for your product.

    Of course I would love to be wrong about all of this. Maybe these features already exist and I just can’t find them. Please help me find them if they are there.

    Best of luck.

    Tim McB

  4. Tim McB:

    Sorry to hear you were disappointed by the email scanning feature. Hopefully, I can help with the confusion a bit.

    LicenseKeeper does indeed scan email for serial numbers. It occurs automatically when you attach an email from Apple Mail. By using the “Attach Email” toolbar button (or menu item) or by dragging the email into LicenseKeeper, the email will be copied and saved into the LicenseKeeper database and then it will be scanned for common serial number formats. If one is found it will be copied to the Serial Number field and saved there as well.

    If you use a third party email reader, you can still use the email scanning and attaching but it needs to be done manually. First, export the individual email you want to attach in LicenseKeeper to a text file. Then from LicenseKeeper use the “Attach Document” toolbar button (or menu item) to copy the text file into the LK database. Next, you can use the “Scan for Serial Number…” menu item under the main “Attachments” menu to scan that item for your serial number.

    I have received many requests to support third party email readers and will definitely look into it for a future version.

    But when I tried to figure out how to do this I could not find anything about auto scanning email. Only attaching emails was explained when I selected Help.

    Thanks for pointing out the shortcoming of the help file. I’ll add details on how to handle email from other readers in the next update.

    Also, thanks for your suggestions to improve the application. I especially like the summary report idea.

  5. Thanks for the quick reply. I hope you understand that from my perspective if I have to export emails and go through the steps you suggest I might as well just open the email copy the serial number myself and then paste it into any number of programs from Yojimbo to serial number tracker to a database I could easily set up in FileMaker Pro. So my advice would be to make your program really unique and really useful to all of us Entourage and other third party users you need to get that feature added to your product ASAP.

    The best example I could give of how I would love for your product to work is as follows:

    1. I open your program
    2. I open Entourage (or any third party E-mail program that I might use)
    3. I open the subfolder or subfolders that hold emails that hold or might hold my serial numbers
    4. I drag the icon of the subfolders one at a time to your program.
    5. Your program opens, searches, finds and then copies product name, serial number, vendor name, purchase price or any combination of these snippets of info as long as they include the serial number and product name or vendor name.
    6. Your program presents me with a list of records that had no serial number and vendor name or product name as well as a list of emails with serial numbers but neither vendor name or product name, and finally a list of records that have at least the serial number and vendor name or product name. That way I might be able to fill in the blanks from the information you do have and I’ll still have a record of the serial numbers that show up without any other pertinent info so that later I can match up serial number to application. This might be done by opening up each application and seeing if the serial number appears at startup or in the About ______ box. When all of the importing is finished I have a list of records that shows what I would call “complete” files and those that fall into two categories of “incomplete”. But at least I will know what I have and where I don’t have all the information I need to have a complete record of each application that I own.
    7. I then sort all “complete” and those “incomplet with product names” records.
    8. I can then go to my application list, open applications, drag the application to the logo area to have your program copy the application logos of all programs that I can match up with a specific record.
    9. Now I’m almost done. All have have to do at this point is assign a keyboard shortcut to open your program any time in the future that I buy a new program or upgrade where I get a new serial number. Then I would go throught the searching process all over again but this time I would know what program and vendor is attached to the serial number.

    I can think of three other fields I would like to see on your main screen. Those would be version number, date of purchase and price. It might also be nice to note if the purchase was a download only or included a CD or DVD copy of the program. If I am going to track my applications I might as well have quick access to these useful facts.

    One last request. More and more when I make an online purchase within Safari, my browser of choice, I safe the confirmation page that quite often gives me my new serial number. It would be nice if your program could read these web documents as well. They are in the .webarchieve format.

    Happy programming!

    Tim McBrayer

  6. Tim:

    Wow, thanks again for such detailed feedback. This is great.

    I have logged all of your suggestions and will consider them for a future version of LicenseKeeper. These are all great ideas.

    One note, though it is a minor one. LK does have a field for the software version on the main window.

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  8. Very nice release! I do have another question/feature request in regards to importing emails. I noticed that it doesn’t import the full email, for example the “To” header shows “”. The only way I can find to get the full email is to “Save As… Raw Message Source” from Mail, and then import that as an attachment. Why does the application not copy over the full source when attaching an email? Even if it didn’t show all the SMTP headers by default (like Mail does), it would be nice to know that data is there just in case I need to refer to it.

    Overall, a *great* 1.0 release though.

  9. Will: Thanks so much for the feedback. Great to hear you like LicenseKeeper.

    Right now, LK only copies over the basic headers and the body of the email. But, you have a good point. It should copy the raw headers in as well. I’ve logged your request in my issue tracker and will consider it for a future update.

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