The Last One, Personal Computer world and me

Still clearing out the office, ready for the move. Still chucking out my life by the recycling-bin load.

But, today, lurking in a corner, I found this 26-year old issue of Personal Computer World:

Boy, did I get it in the neck for this one.  Not from my publisher or my colleagues, but from other journalists and editors. They thought it was a huge joke and that I (at the time, both the writer of the piece and the editor of the magazine) had made a monumental mistake.

It’s only now, looking back, that I realise that they probably didn’t even read the article. Or, in fact, read the coverline which ends with a question mark. Truth is, they were probably jealous at the attention we were drawing away from their titles.

The program in question was called "The Last One" and it not only worked (eventually) but, for donkey’s years, its publisher made money out of a consulting business wrapped around the software.

Marck Pearlstone was the programmer who was called in to rescue the project in the early days, when it was very buggy. He’s been my partner (and the programmer) in Brainstorm Software for the past ten or eleven years.

If you’re interested, The Last One generated application code for commercial applications.

Network Neutrality, BrainStorm praise

If you like the internet the way it is: anyone/anything connecting to anyone/anything, paying for on-ramp and off-ramp according to bandwidth, get ready for a shock. The lawmakers in America are hell-bent on creating a two-tier internet. This will have global repercussions.

I’ve blogged about it for Information World Review and also written a piece which will be published shortly. I’ll link when it’s uploaded/published.

Someone told me if I don’t toot my own horn, no-one else will do it for me. Well, since that’s not really in my nature (should I change it?), there are a couple of blog posts over on thinkerlog which praise my software, BrainStorm. One from a writer, the other from a sales trainer (among other things).

If you use Windows and need to keep on top of things, you might find BrainStorm useful. I do. After all, I wrote it originally to help me cope with being an editor, software publisher, trainer and writer. You won’t be surprised to learn that I still use it habitually. Marck D Pearlstone is the programming genius behind the Windows version.

Right now, I have four ‘models’ open (out of the 2169 on this computer):

– One contains the entire website of a potential business partner –  I ‘screen scraped’ it quickly, BrainStorm picked up the text automatically and I printed it out, to read en route to a meeting with her.

– One contains (oops, sounds repetitive) the entire website of a charity. The idea is to review the content and structure to make it snappier, more usable and more interesting. I actually pasted it into Word for a spelling and grammar check.

– Another contains most of my network neutrality background reading – all 86,333 words of it. I must be mad. I discovered (don’t know why it took so long) that a lot of my life involves distilling masses of often complex stuff to save other people time.

-The last one contains stuff about integrating BrainStorm and ToDoList – a free project management tool from AbstractSpoon Software. The two are pretty harmonious already and will become more so.

The price of BrainStorm is an absurdly low £20. Plus VAT if you’re in Europe. You can see why it sits in the ‘hobby’ part of my brain. But it’s good fun, it keeps me involved in the real world and I get to know some really interesting (and passionate) users.

Gosh. I didn’t set out to write all that.