WPIDalamar writes "I work for an educational software company and have been tasked with finding a cheap solution to allow two way communication between students in a classroom and a centeralized software application. The device should allow students to respond to questions posed by the teacher and give some minimal feedback. The input could be in the form of buttons, swtiches, or some other simple mechanism. The feedback would ideally be in the form of a 2 or 3 line LCD text display. The devices should be battery powered and communicate wirelessly to a base computer (802.11b, bluetooth, or a custom RF or IR signal). There would often be 20-40 of these devices operating concurrently in a single classroom. We'll likely partner with a device manufacturer to get them produced. But here's the tough part, they should be in the $10-$20 price bracket. We'll also need a way to identify which student is using which device. Any ideas there? A barcode scanner (with some sort of student ID card) is one idea, and thumbprint scanner another but those will both likely be cost prohibitive.
Perhaps more interestingly, imagine you had such a device. What purpose could you see it put to use in a school classroom environment?" top
WPIDalamar (122110) writes "Last year I created a new project scheduling application that's since gotten some great reviews and even won a fairly large contest. I'm currently selling between 1 and 10 copies of it every week, all with very minimal advertising or PR. Unfortunately, I don't know what to do next.
One of my options is trying to build a larger business around it. Currently, the program has a list of features on the drawing board and it has some bugs in it (both known and probably some unknown). Right now, I'm developing software alone in my spare time and it is starting to get to the point where that just doesn't cut it anymore. It could really use a full time developer/QA team working on it (QA is sorely lacking right now). It could also really use someone to put in more time and effort into advertising, customer service, sales, website design, etc. But unfortunately at it's current sales it wouldn't be able to support me, never mind a staff I'd want to hire.
Another option is trying to get the application acquired by an organization large enough to bring it to it's full potential. That's awfully appealing since it could mean a single large payoff, but I'd hate to see my creation completely leave my control. Unfortunately, I don't know how to start looking for such an opportunity.
A big problem with both of those solutions is I'm a software developer, not a business guy. Either way I'd have to find a smart person interested in the success of the product that could bring it from where it is now, to that next level. How do you attract someone to help you figure out the business model when you only have an idea?
In the past, Slashdot has helped me with a question about how much copy protection was appropriate for such an application. The input from that was most valuable so I'm hoping you guys can help me out again. So, answer me this....
WPIDalamar writes "I have a common story that I'm sure a lot of people out there have. I had an idea for a software application, I wrote that application, and a lot of people ended up liking it. After asking you guys what types of copy protection make a good balance between customer and owner rights, I started selling copies. So now it brings in a meager income, nothing I could quit my day job and live on yet. But I've come to the realization that writing software is fun, but running a business isn't. What's next?
I guess there's a few options. I could find a business partner willing to deal with the "business" issues of selling, advertising, etc. Or I could try and find a company willing to acquire the application. Or I could go all-out and try to find some investors so I could work on this full time, hire employees to do the stuff I don't want to do and get some real advertising. But I just have no idea on how to go about any of those options. I know some of you will say to just open source it, but those dollars are just too tempting, how might an open source plan end up creating revenue? If you found yourself in this type of position, what would you do to figure out the next step (besides asking slashdot!)?" top
WPIDalamar writes "Marc Hughes (Me!), the author of AgileAgenda has won Adobe's AIR Derby best in show award. He has won a $100,000 travel voucher and an amazing assortment of prizes. You can read more about it at Adobe's site. Marc's an avid reader of Slashdot and will be sure to follow the story answering any questions.
AgileAgenda is a project management software suite for people who think like developers instead of managers. It was started because of the author's hate of that other project application." top
WPIDalamar (122110) writes "I'm currently working on a piece of commercial software that will be available through a download and will use a license key to activate it. The software is aimed at helping people schedule projects and will be targeted mostly to corporate users. With the recent Windows Vista black screen of death, it got me thinking about what sort of measures I should go through to prevent unauthorized users from using the software. While I don't wish to burden legitimate users, I do want to prevent most piracy. How much copy protection is appropriate? Is it acceptable for the software to phone home? If so, what data is appropriate to report on? The license key? Software version? What about a unique installation ID? Should I disable license keys for small amounts of piracy, like when there's 3 active installations of the software? What about widespread piracy where we detect dozens or hundreds of uses of the same license key? Would a simple message stating the software may be pirated with instructions on how to purchase a valid license be sufficient?"