Friday, February 12, 2010

The Past Never Leaves You

I am a lazy blogger. To make it easy on myself, I am digging up a post from my old blog before I started using Blogger here and WordPress elsewhere. These posts were hand written and I never moved them over to either of my current blogs.

I was reminded of this one by an email I received today. Here's the past coming up from behind...

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

He Still Uses ExSell!

I got a call at work today from one Ray Alexander who is, apparently, a
long time ExSell user. He still uses ExSell. Still. Uses. ExSell.

ExSell (a MSDOS-based product) ceased to be a product in 1993 when Sharkware came into existence and an import function was available to migrate ExSell data into Sharkware. At that point ExSell had not been updated in at least 3 years because I (the only developer for it) had been working on other things and on Sharkware. Sharkware ceased to be a product around 1999 or 2000 after CogniTech was purchased by MultiActive. I left CogniTech in 1998 leaving Jeff Browning, Bill (I am ashamed to admit that I do not recall his last name), and Philip Lingo as developers. Even then the product and company were on the path of rapid decline which had started about 2 years before and had accelerated the year before when George Welborn, the creator of the Sharkware concept and founder of CogniTech, was forced out by the board of directors.

It amazes me to find people still using ExSell. I have some sympathy for their plight. ExSell did what it did very well. It was fast in its day and blazes on newer machines. It is not likely to work in the newest machines because it has some hardware-level code to write to the screen which was necessary way back then for performance, but is likely to be forbidden in the current DOS-box in Windows. Anyone still using ExSell is likely to have a considerable data investment that is not likely to be easily extracted and converted into anything else. It once would have been possible to convert it to the Sharkware format and from there into other CRM formats. With Sharkware now defunct, that is not likely to be possible.

In the past six months this is the 3rd person to contact me about ExSell or Sharkware. One tracked me down though the ATA school by way of a Google search for Sharkware. One by email after I put my email address (in a jpg) on my resume (which the previous person pointed out was missing). And now Ray, who called me at work at Synchrologic apparently also by finding my resume (the only result from a Google for 'Excalibur Sources ExSell').

As much as I feel for these people and others who might also find me by way of searches that now might lead to this post, there is nothing I can do to help them. I do not have any of those programs in any form (source or executable). It is unlikely anyone would be willing to pay me what I would charge to write conversion programs for them (I would, but you are likely to faint at the cost).

The best I can suggest for them and anyone else coming this way on this topic is that they should investigate the current crop of Contact Management and CRM (Customer Relations Management) programs. I have not researched any of these and so have no opinions on which is better or even suited to a particular need. There are certainly magazine and websites that have reviews and comparisons that can help in choosing one. There are companies which have in the past imported Sharkware data into various CRM packages. A Google search will turn up those companies. There is not much that can be done for the Exsell users.

Good Luck to all of you. Please do not call me at work, do not track down my family, and do not bother any of the organizations I am involved with since they cannot help either. If you realy want to ask me something, my email address can be found somewhere on this web site.

1 comment:

Philip said...

Hi Butch!

Hope you and your family are doing well! We now live in Centerville, TN doing some "organic" farming, Philip (P.S. - Bill's last name is Helms. I need to email Bill and find out what he's up to.)