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  1.    #1  
    Warning: Expired Demos Causing Problems?

    Over the past year, between my Palm IIIC and now my Treo 300, I think I have now encountered at least three to four instances where expired demo software has caused mysterious malfunctioning on my pda.

    I am not going to name the products because they are otherwise excellent software and I could still be wrong, but I think it would be helpful to bring this issue up for both users and developers.

    The problem does not arise with standalone programs. After all, if you go to use an app and the demo tells you it expired, that's all you need to know - you either then purchase the unlock code as instructed (although I actually ran into one demo that told me it was expired but didn't offer even a clue, let alone instructions, as to how or where to go to buy the poor guy's product); or you simply delete it.

    The problem I believe arises with apps or hacks that are designed to work behind the scenes, adding or enhancing a function in the use of your pda or pda/phone. When the demo expires, you get no notice, and if the added functionality was a subtle one, you may not even notice it's missing. Worse, as I mentioned above, I think that in 3 or 4 instances, the expired demo then contributed to mysterious malfunctioning of my Palm IIIc and Treo 300.

    Of course if we all had perfect memories or were compulsive record-keepers, we wouldn't have been motivated to buy palm devices in the first place to track things for us, so it is unfair for developers to think we as users are going to remember and/or keep track of all this installed demo stuff either in our heads or with paper and pencil.

    Therefore, to users I post this as some sort of a warning to watch out for expired demo apps and hacks and consider them as first not last suspects when unrelated malfunctions arise on your palm device.

    And to developers, I would suggest that, for "behind-the-scenes" type apps and hacks, you try to come up with some scheme for your demoes that announces that the expiration date has passed, maybe when the pda is turned on, without the user having to go to your software and try to use it before knowing. After all, not only would that benefit your user base, but it would probably convert more demos into sales. If this is not possible to do, then at least ensure that whatever your expired demo stops doing, or now starts doing, doesn't cause malfunctions to the user's pda.

    Regards,

    NateS
    Treo 600 - what a "Marvel"ous device!
  2. #2  
    I probably have "demo'd" 50 programs on my Treo. Most of them have been popular applications from mostly established vendors. I have never experienced the problems you are describing. In looking at my device (thank you for bringing this subject up), I have 7 demos are are expired that I am just now removing. Hacks are a little different. Depending on the hack, some don't play well with other applications even when they are registered. With a good hack manager, many of these problems can be mitigated.

    I happened to notice that you posted regarding a possible problem with TreoPictureCallerID that as a user of that product, I can't verify nor can other posters, apparently. Are you sure you don't have a problem with your Treo300?
  3.    #3  
    Originally posted by Maniac8888
    . . . I happened to notice that you posted regarding a possible problem with TreoPictureCallerID that as a user of that product, I can't verify nor can other posters, apparently. Are you sure you don't have a problem with your Treo300?
    Let me explain it this way. When it was finally suggested that I check intercept programs like TCRinger and TreoPictureCallerID with regard to my problem on my phone typically not receiving incoming calls, I found that TreoPictureCallerID demo had expired, but was still set to "Enabled" and when I re-set the demo to "Disabled" I started getting incoming calls again.

    So then I was at a cross-roads as to whether to delete the demo version or purchase it. On the strength of yours and other high marks and reassurances for this program, I purchased and re-installed it last night and set it to "Enabled" of course.

    So far today, with the purchased version enabled, I am getting calls just fine. Of course, I can only hope that continues!

    So my suspicion, although it is only from deduction so far, is that the demo, expired but still set to Enabled, was the culprit. In which case I would suggest that if possible programmers set demo versions to more fully disable themselves upon expiration. This would seem logical but maybe there is a bug in just what code lines gets turned off when a demo expires. That would be beyond my knowledge so I am just speculating.

    The demo version for TCRinger is a bit more clever. Before you buy the unlock code, every few incoming calls, maybe four, it puts up its Welcome Screen even though you are not then in the app. That's a good idea. However, if recollection serves me correctly, the screen does not tell you why - that it is coming up because you have not yet registered, so some people may think that they will always get that screen even after paying, which would be an annoyance.

    At least TCringer demonstrates my point: that there is a way for developers to write apps so that they can announce themselves in some way when still in demo mode, even when the user does not intentionally go into the app to check it.

    Regards,

    NateS
    Treo 600 - what a "Marvel"ous device!
  4. #4  
    It is possible that some expired programs could be causing telephony problems but I believe it is because these particular applications share two characteristics:

    1. The applications when active intercept inbound calls and do something with the calls - custom ringer or picture.
    2. When you install the application your Treo resets itself as part of the install. Or the application is a hack - essentially a system extension.

    Hacks and files that required a reset upon install are attaching themselves to the system software so that they can watch for system events like an inbound call.

    I suggest that if you use applications like Ringo, TCRinger or PictureCaller ID that you will see problems with delayed caller ID or direct to voicemail behaviors. The issue is the speed of the software in attempting to identify an incoming Caller ID and performing the right action - a ringtone or picture display. I have removed all custom calling from my Treo 300 with the exception of the speed dial based rington customization that is built in.

    To be fair to the vendors of these Caller ID based apps. if you have a small address book you are unlikely to notic problems. But if you have several thousand numbers like I do in your address book, you are likely to see problems.

    I suggest you delete apps like Ringo, TC Ringer and PictureCallerID from your system if you are not actively using them. I use Ringo but not for caller based ringtones. I only use it to move tones into the phone.
  5.    #5  
    Originally posted by Poryphyron
    It is possible that some expired programs could be causing telephony problems but I believe it is because these particular applications share two characteristics:

    1. The applications when active intercept inbound calls and do something with the calls - custom ringer or picture.
    2. When you install the application your Treo resets itself as part of the install. Or the application is a hack - essentially a system extension.

    Hacks and files that required a reset upon install are attaching themselves to the system software so that they can watch for system events like an inbound call.

    I suggest that if you use applications like Ringo, TCRinger or PictureCaller ID that you will see problems with delayed caller ID or direct to voicemail behaviors. The issue is the speed of the software in attempting to identify an incoming Caller ID and performing the right action - a ringtone or picture display. I have removed all custom calling from my Treo 300 with the exception of the speed dial based rington customization that is built in.

    To be fair to the vendors of these Caller ID based apps. if you have a small address book you are unlikely to notic problems. But if you have several thousand numbers like I do in your address book, you are likely to see problems.

    I suggest you delete apps like Ringo, TC Ringer and PictureCallerID from your system if you are not actively using them. I use Ringo but not for caller based ringtones. I only use it to move tones into the phone.
    This sounds very logical and your final sentence is very revealing:
    "I use Ringo but not for caller based ringtones. I only use it to move tones into the phone."

    Could that explain why my ringtones installed by TCRinger are still working for callers who I have set for hotkeys in the Phone app even though I set TCRinger to Inactive?

    I like TCRinger and would like to keep it on my Treo, and would be satisfied if I could use it just to install Ringtones, then assign those ringtones to my family and business associates through the HotKey pages in the Phone app, and to the Known and Unknown caller settings in Prefs/Ringers. That alone makes the price and use of TCRinger worthwhile, even Inactive.

    Am I getting this point correctly, or am I misunderstanding you and/or Scott?

    Regards,

    NateS
    Treo 600 - what a "Marvel"ous device!
  6. #6  
    Originally posted by Poryphyron
    It is possible that some expired programs could be causing telephony problems but I believe it is because these particular applications share two characteristics:

    1. The applications when active intercept inbound calls and do something with the calls - custom ringer or picture.
    2. When you install the application your Treo resets itself as part of the install. Or the application is a hack - essentially a system extension.

    Hacks and files that required a reset upon install are attaching themselves to the system software so that they can watch for system events like an inbound call.

    I suggest that if you use applications like Ringo, TCRinger or PictureCaller ID that you will see problems with delayed caller ID or direct to voicemail behaviors. The issue is the speed of the software in attempting to identify an incoming Caller ID and performing the right action - a ringtone or picture display. I have removed all custom calling from my Treo 300 with the exception of the speed dial based rington customization that is built in.

    To be fair to the vendors of these Caller ID based apps. if you have a small address book you are unlikely to notic problems. But if you have several thousand numbers like I do in your address book, you are likely to see problems.

    I suggest you delete apps like Ringo, TC Ringer and PictureCallerID from your system if you are not actively using them. I use Ringo but not for caller based ringtones. I only use it to move tones into the phone.
    TCRinger is not a hack; it uses hooks provided by Handspring for all its work. It does not require a reset upon install. I believe that the apps that displays pictures may use hacks (the authors will need to verify this). As for slowing down recognition of the number and possibly causing calls to go to voicemail, that is still possible. However, I have not seen one report of this.
  7. #7  
    Originally posted by NateS
    The demo version for TCRinger is a bit more clever. Before you buy the unlock code, every few incoming calls, maybe four, it puts up its Welcome Screen even though you are not then in the app. That's a good idea. However, if recollection serves me correctly, the screen does not tell you why - that it is coming up because you have not yet registered, so some people may think that they will always get that screen even after paying, which would be an annoyance.
    The title of the dialog says "Unregistered TC Ringer". Granted that this may not be much of an indicator, but it does tell you why the screen is there.

    I think that you have demonstrated one of our reason for not having the app just stop work; the user would forget about the app and not purchase it. Our method still lets you use the app, but reminds you to purchase it.
  8.    #8  
    Originally posted by sgruby


    The title of the dialog says "Unregistered TC Ringer". Granted that this may not be much of an indicator, but it does tell you why the screen is there.

    I think that you have demonstrated one of our reason for not having the app just stop work; the user would forget about the app and not purchase it. Our method still lets you use the app, but reminds you to purchase it.
    Scott, I agree with everything you just said except for your assumption that everyone will know that this screen goes away when they register. For all they know, it might thereafter pop up and say "Registered TC Ringer" instead. It's too subtle for us bozos.

    I would suggest something more specific - like "Please register to eliminate this reminder screen - thanks!"

    Regards,

    NateS
    Treo 600 - what a "Marvel"ous device!

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