Monday, April 24, 2006

I Nearly Torpedoed This Blog On Day 2

Some out there in the blogosphere feel that I wouldn't really say anything bad about ResultsManager, that there's some sort of secret deal I made with Gyronix, etc. You know the type? The kind that after the first verbal spew all you hear is "Blahblahblah," just like the adults in the Peanuts cartoons?

Let me tell you how I nearly torpedoed this blog on its second day. It's a cautionary tale of making sure you have interpreted the facts correctly . . .

My MindManager X6 was running fine and fast prior to installing ResultsManager. I could zip along opening maps as fast as I pleased and have as many open as possible -- right up until I installed the third (and my final) trial of ResultsManager.

Boom! Suddenly it's like being in a car and going from 60 to 0, and I face-plant on the windshield.

One moment I can rapidly open MindManager maps all over the place and the next -- literally, no joke -- I can take a shower and make coffee in the time it takes ResultsManager to load a dashboard. About half as much time to just open MindManager.

That's no exaggeration. But the problem wasn't ResultsManager. It was MindManager, as you'll see in a moment. But at the time, I didn't know that.

At day 2 I was making up my mind that, while I still thought ResultsManager was an incredibly useful tool, there was no way in hell I was gonna buy it at the end of the trial. The most likely outcome was to run through the trial and report on it, because I was sure that ResultsManager was one of the biggest frickin' memory hogs in the software industry.

Sure it was the most effectively tool, but at that time, I thought it needed some work on the memory usage end.

Livid, I emailed Nick Duffill, Gyronix's CTO and told him that his promising app just slowed my usage of MindManager to a crawl.

I lost hours of productive time troubleshooting this issue while waiting for him response (in all fairness it didn't take him too long to respond -- it's just there's an 8 hour difference and I emailed during the middle of the night in the UK). During that time I also did the research on what it would take to uninstall ResultsManager.

Nick's response assured me it was not anything with ResultsManager. I rolled my eyes so far back into my head, I was looking at my brain. You see, as you've read here I'm used to dealing with developers and programmers, and with those guys it's never the fault of the app.

And when you report the problem you hear a lot of "It's not supposed to . . ." and "It's supposed to . . ."

And in this case, how convenient to get to blame the main application.

But Nick coolly and calmly proved his case and in the fine tradition of Ronald Reagan dealing with the Soviets, 'I trusted, but verified' what he told me. So I went digging into MindManager forum/knowledgebase.

Sure enough, buried deep in there was the fact that MindManager X6 has problems validating add-ins and they hoped to correct it in the upcoming SP1. It's what the software industry calls a "known issue."

And the only add-in I have is ResultsManager. So naturally (incorrectly) I was blaming ResultsManager and Gyronix for a MindManager problem.

While this is the first time you're reading this, Gyronix heard plenty. And I have apologized . . . several times . . . for my ahem . . . spirited and adverse initial reaction.

Still, even given that, I recognized that it was such a productivity enhancer and it solved so many problems that I face as a entrepreneur of three companies -- I was willing to work with it until the SP1 was released.

How did I do that? I found a way to work around the problem until it got fixed.

I would launch X6/ResultsManager when I went into the office each morning (at the end of a grueling 30 second commute). Then while I showered and made coffee, MindManager was grinding away trying to validate the ResultsManager add-in so I could get some real work done.

Usually we finished about the same time.

That's why I was so happy when SP1 was released and I tested it out . . . and it worked! As promised! Double Bonus! Woo-hooo!

Now I can see what the Gyronix folks were saying -- that it should open in seconds -- not minutes. Because now it does. It's truly a beautiful thing.

But you know, ultimately it really didn't matter that much. Even at its slowest, it was still a more effective tool than anything else on the market. And that says a lot about any product.

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