Ok, so this is not directly NexusDB related, just something that has been bugging me. Bear with me. :)

I've been a user of Cerious Software's ThumbsPlus utility for quite a while to catalogue my digital pictures. Version 7 has been working well since its 2007 release. However, since then, Cerious has been working on version 8, which has been promised to be a great step forward. Full rewrite, proper win7 support, features galore, and for almost 3 years the promise has been that the version would arrive soon. For at least a year its been possible to pre-buy version 8 in order to be allowed to help beta-testing. (!!!)

Naturally, many customers didnt take kindly to being made to pay for a future release in order to test it. Even worse, the beta program had slow and irregular releases, and with every release, there were always more problems than fixes to previously reported problems.

Come November last year; out of the blue, a "Release Candidate" is given to the beta tester customers. Immediately, the Cerious newsgroups fill with reports that the conversion of version 7's database format to version 8 is still not working, and plenty of other things besides. Remember, this is a Release Candidate; you'd expect that such an important function as a conversion from the previous version would be working, wouldnt you???

Now, come January 2nd, version 8 is released with great fanfare. Note, no other beta release was put out after the RC. No sooner is the release out the door, than the newsgroups fill with complaints that the conversion from version 7 is STILL NOT WORKING!!!

Now, ask yourself, as a customer, how would you like this situation?

There were plenty of irate customers voicing their frustration on the Cerious newsgroups. No surprise there.

The surprise came a few days after the release, when a fix for the conversion problems were made available, and the Cerious newsserver suddenly became unavailable.

Yes, Cerious software decided to close their newsserver and stop open discussion among users about their product. They have made no official statement saying it was a concious decicion, but it is the only explanation left since the newsserver has now been down for a month. It doesnt take a month to get a newsserver up and running again.

I emailed Cerious to ask after it had been down for a week, and again after it'd been down for a month. This is the response I got:

"Our news server was overloaded when Version 8 came out, and we will have it back up sometime soon."

I got exactly the same quote both times, even when the 2nd time I asked, I made it clear to them that the answer was unsatisfactory the first time around and that I was in the process of writing about it. Obviously, given the problems of the new version, they have no interest in letting customers discuss.

Now, I'll guess as to why this all happened. By their own admission, they have only one software developer. From the long and slow v8 beta progress, it seems clear that this developer could not have been working on the product anywhere close to full time. This also goes for the couple of other Cerious personell who occasionally posted to their newsgroups; they very rarely posted, so it was impossible to get support or response in a timely manner.

My guess is that Cerious is a very tiny company who tries to keep alive by stringing customers along with bad promises, while spending the majority of their worktime on non-Cerious things. This practice now seems to have caught up with them, and given that they are not alone in their software category, I think they will have a hard time surviving. Existing users will be very pissed off. For myself, I have no plans to update until other people can convince me the new version is good enough; sadly for Cerious, since there's now no open forums on which to check the state of the product, they won't be getting any return business from me.

Cerious <> serious. End of story.

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