Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chinese Toolbox

I just want to let you all know how Chinese Toolbox is progressing. I've had lots of feedback on version 11 since releasing it in July. I have completed work on nearly all of those recommendations, and now I'm working mostly on simplifying and improving the interface. Some of the features in version 11 were designed for Chinese Toolbox FREE back in 2007 and had not been updated since, in particular, the system of review. The changes I'm currently making to the program do not require much time investment, but they will make a big difference in the useability of the program. I originally expected to release in August, but I've recently decided to take a little more time to incorporate more of my ideas for interface improvement.

By the way, it's nice to be back in Taiwan.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chinese Toolbox 2011 finally released!

Relief! It's finally done. I've been working on Chinese Toolbox 2011, an update of Chinese Toolbox READER 9.2, since October 2009. I had expected it to have been completed in 2010. One thing led to another; it was difficult to find a stopping point. I finally completed development of Chinese Toolbox 2011 on March 7, 2011, and until CT was released on May 17, I was focused on testing. I use CT almost daily, and it looks very stable. Of course, if you run into any problems, you'll let me know, right?

Though I've still got a to-do list a mile long, I am very pleased with this program, and I think you'll like it too. It does not cover all the bases, but it does provide a unique system of learning to read Chinese that exists in no other product. If you'd like to know a little more about Chinese Toolbox 2011, the Overview might be the best place to start.

Chinese Toolbox 2011 is the successor of both Chinese Toolbox FREE and Chinese Toolbox READER. The way these two can be combined into a single program is through a "mode" paradigm. Chinese Toolbox 2011 running in FREE Mode is the successor of Chinese Toolbox FREE. And as its name implies, it is free to use.

More advanced functionality (much more in fact) is provided by READER Mode. The features in READER Mode are what I'm proudest of. But I guess there's a little bit of a down side, in that READER Mode is not free. I have spent more than 10 years developing Chinese Toolbox software entirely at my own expense. In order to justify continued development of this project, it must become profitable. At least the revenue should cover my additional costs of development, and not be a drain on my family.

Having said all this, I hope the $29.95 per year price tag will not drive you away. Your support will better enable me to continue developing innovative software for learning Chinese. If money is a problem, you can contribute by helping to promote Chinese Toolbox 2011. More information on promoting Chinese Toolbox 2011 can be found here. By the way, when you support this project, you receive free program updates during your entire license period. So if, for example, you purchase a 3-year license, you will be entitled to all program updates over the next three years. There will be no additional charges for updates and support during your license period.

With the exception of the license agreement, there are no strings attached to downloading Chinese Toolbox 2011, not even registration. Installation is free, too. After installing the program, you can use it for 15 days entirely free of charge. Chinese Toolbox 2011 will run in TRIAL Mode, which supports almost all the functionality of READER Mode. At any point, you can go to my PayPal page to purchase a license, or just let the trial period run out. After 15 days, you can continue to use the program in FREE Mode.

Please let me know what you think of Chinese Toolbox 2011. Even if you do not support it financially now, your critique can help me focus future development on the features that really matter.