A Couple of Free Books :-)

I have the following eBooks that I have written which are available for Free download.

  • Securing the Network: An eBook on Corporate Security Issues for the Non Technical (40 Pages)
  • Oracle Database 10g Exam Cram (70 Pages)

Please confirm your Name and Email Address, and select the book you would like from the dropdown menu, and your book will be with you shortly.

You can also access these books from the Free eBooks Page.

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Dereliction of Duties

Wow! Did I really neglect my Blog for so long? I’ve undertaken three major projects this year which until recently have been taking all my time. So do I put the kettle on, feet on the desk and read my Facebook Feed? No! Instead over the next few days I’ll be updating this site and paying a bit more attention to the ‘public facing’ side of my business.

Feels good to be back 🙂

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ContaxCRM: Now Free of Charge !  

Happy New Year ! This is my first post of 2015, a year in which I intend to focus and streamline my business with a discipline that I have been previously lacking !

I have a lot to tell you about, and I will cover this in far more detail later, but for now just a quick note to say that ContaxCRM, for Mac and Windows, is now available free of charge. No strings.

Of course if you require additional services such as training or software changes then these will be quoted and charged appropriately. The software however is now free to use, although I still of course retain the Copyright.

Until I get the website updated you can get a free license from me directly by emailing me at scholerton@gmail.com

Best Wishes – Steve

Export data from your CRM with oneSql

I’ve uploaded another movie to our YouTube page today. This one shows an example of how to use oneSql to export contacts from your CRM system.

I have also been testing Mac OSX Yosemite Beta on one of my development computers. Here is a picture of oneSql running on Yosemite. Note the new native  control designs and colours. I think I like it 🙂

onesql yosemite beta sql query toolThat’s all for now 🙂

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The Best SQL Tool for Mac: Updated

oneSql 1.0.1 was released earlier today and I'm very pleased to say that there was not a single bug fix 🙂 Surely a testament to the guys and girls who participated in the Beta program earlier this year. So a very big 'thanks' to them 🙂

This update consists of a change to the way the SQL Keywords mechanism works. Previously the file SQLKeywords.sjc was loaded from the application folder or the SupportFiles folder and all the SQL keywords were loaded into an array and this array was accessed after each keystroke when typing occured in the SQL Text Area. If a match was found then the appropriate action was taken, ie: the word was capitalised, or coloured etc.

In version 1.0.1 the array of SQL keywords is built internally without reference to the SQLKeywords.sjc file. However if this file is present any words within this file are added to the SQL keywords array. So for example any words that you wish to be treated as keywords for your own purposes, or any keywords you find that I have missed when building the keyword array, can be added in a file called SQLKeywords.sjc which needs to be located in the same folder as the oneSql application or in the SupportFiles subfolder.

In addition to the changes described above there are half a dozen small interface tweaks which just tidy things up very slightly.

New CRM Software: Video Preview

A new video has just been uploaded to YouTube. This video demonstrates how simple and straightforward it is to insert and print a Sales Invoice using blackdogCRM, currently in Beta. (There is only so many hours in the day!) 🙂

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New Pinterest Account

We now have a Pinterest account. Still in it’s infancy and only a few dozen images so far, but if you want a peek, here it is:

Follow Steven’s board chol.technology on Pinterest.

 

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A Radical View of Software Licensing

My article on Software Licensing and Piracy is now available in the current issue of Better Software Magazine. You can download the issue here, or alternatively you can see my article only at this link.

A Radical View of Software Licensing

Thanks for your interest.

Feedback

chol.technology article feedback

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Easy to Use SQL Tool | oneSql 101: User Prompts

Visual Guide to oneSql: Part 4, User Prompt Fields

New, Easy to Use, Fast, Cross Platform, Multi-Language SQL Query Tool: oneSqlupf5

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Easy to Use SQL Tool | oneSql 101: Preferences

Visual Guide to oneSql: Part 3

New, Easy to Use, Fast, Cross Platform, Multi-Language SQL Query Tool: oneSql

 

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Easy to Use SQL Tool | oneSql 101: DataViewer

Visual Guide to oneSql: Part 2

New, Easy to Use, Fast, Cross Platform, Multi-Language SQL Query Tool: oneSql

Results Tab Selected

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Database Objects Tab Selected

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Statement History Tab Selected

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Easy to Use SQL Tool | oneSql 101: Connections

Visual Guide to oneSql: Part 1

New, Easy to Use, Fast, Cross Platform, Multi-Language SQL Query Tool: oneSql oneSql Connection Window   busbanner Affiliate Links

oneSql Database Tool 1.0: Press Release

[prMac.com] Ripley, Derbyshire. United Kingdom – chol.technology are pleased to announce Version 1 of a brand new MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB and SQLite SQL Query and Data Import / Export program for Mac OSX, Windows and Linux. Three Operating Systems, Four Databases and Five Languages Supported including in addition to English; French, Spanish, Italian and German. Clear and unrestrictive Software Licensing, putting customers needs first.

oneSql is a stand alone, lightweight, no install neededSQL Database Tool for OSX, Windows and Linux.

The target audience for oneSql is initially technical people, Database Administrators, Developers, or ‘power users’ who need a simple, efficient, cross platform SQL Tool on their computer, or in the Utilities folder of their portable USB Drive. DBA’s, System Admins, Developers, Accountants – all have a need for oneSql.

These users may currently have a favourite tool for each operating system platform they use. I’d like to supplement or even replace their existing tools with oneSql. I hope to do this by focusing on the features that are most important to them and eliminating those that seek to overcomplicate competing products.

We have also introduced new functionality that will likely interest those same individuals who can now get additional benefits from using oneSql. For example the ability to put the Mac, Windows and Linux versions of oneSql onto a USB Drive and then connect the drive to virtually any computer and load and use oneSql, without installation, is fairly unique and extremely useful.

With the unique ‘User Prompt Fields’ functionality, use within an organisation can extend far beyond the Technical User and to the desktop of the End User. Scripts written by the Technical User can be run as Reports by the End User without modification as each variable, for example Data Start and Date Finish, is prompted for appropriately. The End User needs to know nothing about SQL or the script.

Benefits Include:

  • One SQL Tool for Mac, Windows and Linux
  • One SQL Tool for SQLite, PostgreSQL, MariaDB and MySQL
  • Unlimited Time Limit for the Trial Edition
  • Unrestricted Features for the Trial Edition
  • Small and Lightweight, Approx 20Mb for all Versions
  • Speed with Reliability
  • Scripts Library to Store Your Scripts for Future Use
  • Easy and Simple to Use
  • No Installation Required
  • Save Time with Data Import Templates
  • Saved Connections Stored Safely using Encryption
  • Get Started Quickly with the Examples Database
  • Productivity with User Prompt Fields
  • Increased Database Security
  • Full Manual Included as a PDF
  • Written and Supported in the United Kingdom
  • Simple, Fair and Inexpensive Licensing
  • Zero Effort Corporate Licensing
  • Corporate Licensing Available
  • 50% Discount for Education Establishments and Students
  • 50% Discount for Charities and Non Profits

Features Include:

  • SQLite, MariaDB, PostgreSQL or MySQL
  • Objects Tab – Tables, Views and Columns
  • Fully Customiseable Results Grid
  • Auto Highlighting of SQL Keywords
  • User Editable SQL Keywords List
  • Built in Script Library
  • Example Database Supplied
  • Export Data in Tab Delimited Format
  • Export Data in CSV (Comma) Format
  • Export Data in CSV (Semicolon) Format
  • Export Data in JSON Format
  • Save and Load SQL External Scripts
  • One Click for Record Count, any Table
  • Quick Query One Click to Fetch 20 Records
  • One Click to Fetch All Records
  • Insert a SQL Template
  • SQL History List – Double Click to Recall
  • Window Sizes and Positions Saved on Exit
  • List View Configurations Saved on Exit
  • Option to prefix Columns with Table Name
  • Option to append a Comma to the Columns
  • User Input Prompts
  • Enhanced Connection Encryption Options
  • Parsing of Multiple Statements
  • Sequential Statement Execution
  • Highlighted Statement Execution

Taking Security Seriously:

There are two choices for how encryption is used to secure your database connection information. The first choice encrypts the connection password in such a way that it is then specific to your computer. If you copy oneSql and the settings files onto another computer then the stored credentials will not work. This choice is ideal for use in a more secure environment, where for example access to databases is only permitted from select computers and / or locations.

The second choice encrypts the connection password in such a way that you can copy the oneSql folder from your computer, put it onto your laptop, or another computer, and your stored credentials will work fine.

This also means that you can copy oneSql onto a USB Drive, run it from that USB Drive on any Mac, Windows or Linux machine you plug it into.

Licensing:

With the development of oneSql came the development of a new Software Licensing scheme, designed to put customers first and to ensure they we never punish the genuine, fee paying customer for the actions of the software pirate. Our customer friendly, super simple software license is shown below:

‘You can copy and use oneSql on your own personal computers with one instance of oneSql allowed to be in use at any one time. You can put oneSql on a USB device and plug that into anyones computer and use oneSql from the USB device for as long as you need. All Licenses are valid for all supported Operating Systems, all supported Languages and all supported Databases.’

Half price licenses are available to Educational Establishments and Students also Charities and Non Profit Organisations.

Software Referral Scheme:

Also new with oneSql is a Software Referral Scheme. Payment will be made to an existing customer thirty days after a new customer makes a purchase based on an existing customers referral, and quoting the existing customers referral ID within forty eight hours of purchase. The payment amount is ten percent of the new customers spend (before taxes) and the payment will be made via Paypal.

Pricing:

oneSql is available from $30 for the Single User Edition

Availability:

oneSql is available now.

Testimonial:

‘I believe oneSql has found its niche; simple and powerful. Unlike many other SQL Tools oneSql is slim and easy to work with’ – Dennis, Beta Tester

Something Different:

We wanted to do something different to mark the release of oneSql, so we have decided that the first 10 people to purchase any edition of oneSql, with the exception of the Single User Standard Edition, will receive a Limited Edition oneSql mug (1 of only 20 in existence) as well as a goody bag of assorted promotional items and 10% cash back after 30 days. We’ll ship these bonus items anywhere in the world.

The first 100 purchasers of oneSql Single User Standard Edition receive 10% cash back after 30 days.

oneSql is dedicated to Alison Fowler RIP. See ‘ya Ali B. We miss you.

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chol.technology is the trading name for Steven Cholerton. Since the late 1980’s Steven have been heavily involved in Software Development and Information Technology.

He is a Chartered Information Technology Professional, awarded by the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers, a Certified Ethical Hacker, an Oracle Certified Professional, author of several eBooks and many Commercial Software Products, and a committed and passionate developer of Custom and Bespoke software for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android.

Steven personally designed and wrote the R10Cipher file encryption software used by Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, Cancer Research UK.

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Software Licensing and Software Piracy: Part 3

If you’ve made it Part 3 then you either find this subject really interesting or else you have difficulty sleeping at night 🙂  This final part of my article on Software Licensing discusses some of the ‘nitty gritty’ and gets down and dirty with some real code samples. All code samples are taken from oneSql.

The value of Part 3 of this article will be mainly to developers using the Xojo Programming Language for Cross Platform Software Development, although developers in any language can benefit and in fact anybody with an interest in going ‘behind the scenes’ of software development.

One thing very noticeable when preparing this article is just how much ‘behind the scenes’ work is necessary sometimes to give the customer a simple, slick experience. Simple is hard ! The way this article is structured with a Customer Experience section followed straight after by a Behind the Scenes section, makes this very clear.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE [1]

When the customer decides that your product is for her, as far is as she is concerned the following two events take place:

  • The customer clicks the Buy Now button and is taken to the Paypal login page.
  • The customer decides whether to pay via Card or Paypal, then fills in the form and submits the document.

BEHIND THE SCENES [1]

chol.technology receive the Order Confirmation via Paypal. The chol.technology LicenseBoss Software automates the following sequence of events:

  • Product and Edition Information fetched from the LicenseBoss Database
  • The Encryption Key for the Product Editon is retrieved. Abbreviated as Key1
  • LicenseBoss parses and Inputs: User Name, Email Address, TimeStamp and Transaction ID
  • LicenseBoss combines the input into a string with appropriate delimiters and identity markers
  • We now have a ClearTextLicenseString
  • The ClearTextLicenseString is then encrypted using Key1. We now have the EncryptedLicenseString
  • The ClearTextLicenseString and the EncryptedLicenseString are then concatenated
  • We now have the FirstPassLicenseFileString
  • FirstPassLicenseFileString is then encrypted using the License File Encryption KeyKey 2
  • We now have the EncryptedLicenseFileContentsString
  • An email is then generated from a Template and the EncryptedLicenseFileContentsString  is appended
  • The email is sent to the customer

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE [2]

The customer receives an email which looks similar to this:

licenseemail

The instructions are Clearly Documented for the customer in an email as a Four Step Process. After Step 4 the product is fully licensed, and the window below is displayed briefly before closing automatically:

onesqllicensewindow

BEHIND THE SCENES [2]

The Software License window, accepts the email pasted into it and immediately strips the unnecessary information and displays the encrypted license. The actual encrypted license is contained between the <CHOLTECH> and </CHOLTECH> tags, therefore the only part of the pasted email that is displayed and then processed is the part taken from between those two tags.

When the Save button is pressed the encrypted license is created as a text file and stored in the SupportFiles folder within the oneSql folder. The newly created license file is called oneSqlLicense.lic

At this point the License File Decode method is called with the license file contents as a string parameter. Multiple flags are altered and adjusted within the program to indicate that the product is now licensed. Further details on that wouldn’t be prudent for me to discuss publicly 🙂

The actual license file decode method is straightforward. All the Encryption and Decryption routines are pre-build, based on my R10Cipher File and Text Encryption product, (shameless plug –  developer licenses are available for the Encryption modules, contact me for details) and imported into my products as a module whenever I start to develop a new program.

Obviously the DecodeLicenseFile method basically reverses the work done by the EncodeLicenseFile method in the LicenseBoss program as described in step by step detail earlier.

I know some of you out there are Xojo Developers, so here’s a commented example of the code. You can see how straightforward it actually is:

decodelicensefile1

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NOTE: Licensing in this fashion has an additional benefit. It caters for Zero Effort Configuration.

In a corporate environment if you were rolling out oneSql to dozens of computers, you could have a centrally situated Corporate or Site License which could be copied to each persons computer using a script. Very Fast, Very Simple and Damned Convenient 🙂  Essentially zero interaction required from the user. That’s got to be a good thing 🙂

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oneSql Multi Database Tool: Final Beta

The Final Beta of my Cross Platform, Multi Language, Multi Database Tool – oneSql is now available. Hopefully I’ve got everything right and it performs as expected with no (major!) bugs. Existing Beta Testers can download from the usual place, and new Beta Testers can sign up HERE.

Prior to release I have to finish the Manual, finalise Pricing, setup Paypal and also setup a Sample Database for new users to use during their Trial Mode. I also need to put the oneSql website live … mmm more than I realised … 🙂

The final artwork has arrived back for the oneSql box and the oneSql manual, you can see the images below:

onesqlcoverimages

Note that for this final Beta you should delete both your Settings and your Preferences file as there have been changes involving encryption.

For information on Software Licensing for oneSql, have a look at my recent blog posts on this subject, here and here.

I wanted to do something different to mark the release of oneSql, so I am toying with the following idea of a bonus or incentive, I’d love to know your opinions:

The first 10 people to purchase any edition of oneSql (except the Single User Standard Edition) will receive a Limited Edition oneSql mug (1 of only 20 in existence) as well as a goody bag of assorted promotional items. In addition they will receive a printed and signed edition of my computer security ebook, ‘Securing the Network’. I may even throw a T-Shirt in there as well 🙂 I will ship this bonus to anywhere in the world. 

The first 100 purchasers of oneSql Single User Standard Edition receive a voucher worth $5 off their next purchase from chol.technology.

As always – leave you comments below. If you don’t talk I can’t listen.

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Software Licensing and Software Piracy: Part 2

Part One of this article finished with the following question:

What is it fair to expect your customer to do to license their copy of your product, and so help protect your product, your sales, your livelihood and the future investment and development in a product that is important to both you ?

I believe that it is fair to expect the customer to do something to help the software developer protect their product, after all if the developer doesn’t stay in business then the product doesn’t have a future and the customer could be left high and dry.

That’s not to say the customer can be expected to jump through any hoops … the emphasis is on the developer to provide a method of licensing their product that can be done quickly and easily and thus encourage the customer to purchase and use a legitimate copy of the software rather than paying a visit to **insert name of dodgy virus ridden download sites here** or similar.

My opinion is that if I, as a user, purchase a piece of software for my own use, then I should be entitled to copy it onto my PC and my Mac and my Laptop for use whenever I like. I should also be able to copy it onto a USB Drive, connect the drive to a friends computer and use the product there also. I should not however copy the software to my friends computer thereby giving them the ability to use it in my absence. I expect to have to follow a documented procedure to identify to the software that I am the legitimate owner. This should be a simple and one off process.

I believe the previous paragraph is fair to both the customer and the software developer. I believe most people are honest and do not mind paying a reasonable price for a quality product. The software industry has in some ways become its own worse enemy with some companies having complex and unworkable, illogical and unfair licensing practices. ‘We need the customer more than they need us’ is something developers should be bearing in mind.

What prompted me to look into Software Licensing and then to write about it and to ask for feedback from other colleagues, professionals and interested parties, is that I have a new product soon to be released. In my opinion every new product is an opportunity to improve the purchasing and licensing experience for your customer. You only really get the one chance to get it right.

oneSql (www.onesql.uk) runs natively on Windows, Mac and Linux. It supports five languages and four databases. It is a tool that some DBA’s and Developers will want to put on a USB drive and carry around. Does (should?) copying oneSql to a USB Drive go against the Software License ?

No. Restricting access to a single computer either by the installation of Configuration Files or Registry entries goes against the design of Utility software. Utility software which in my humble opinion is the Developers or DBA’s equivalent of the tradesmans tools.

Can you imagine a screwdriver being licensed to only be used on a given object ? What if you had to pay for another license for every object on which you used your screwdriver ? Forget the expense, it’s just not convenient. I don’t want to punish legitimate users of my software in a vain attempt to stop people stealing my software.

The Software License I have settled on for oneSql is simple, and is basically per User / Concurrent. It is so simple it is summed up in the following, single, paragraph.

The oneSql Software License

You can copy and use oneSql on your own personal computers with one instance of oneSql allowed to be in use at any one time. You can put oneSql on a USB device and plug that into anyones computer and use oneSql from the USB device for as long as you need. All Licenses are valid for all supported Operating Systems, all supported Languages and all supported Databases.

I am making it easy for the customer to know if they are infringing the spirit of the Software License agreement. I am not stopping them, or even making it particularly difficult for them to disregard the license, but I am asking them for honesty. If that fails then there are several other incentives to help the customer make the right decision …

Active Incentive: Referral Fee
With a referral fee paid to a oneSql customer when they recommend someone else, it is in the customers financial interest to get their friends and associates to purchase a oneSql license.

The following short and simple (can you see a theme here?) paragraph explains.

The oneSql Software Referral Scheme

A payment is made to an existing customer 30 days after a new customer makes a purchase based on an existing customers referral, and quoting the existing customers referral ID within 48 hours of purchase. The payment amount is 10% of the new customers spend (before taxes) and the payment will be made via Paypal.

Passive Incentive 1:
The licensed user name is displayed in the titlebar of the startup window as well as on the main window. Hopefully this is a deterrent as the original purchaser does not want their name showing up elsewhere and the user doesn’t want to see someone elses name where theirs should be.

Passive Incentive 2:
oneSql is fairly priced. That’s self explanatory. Customers do not want to feel they are being ‘ripped off’ or being taken advantage of.

Passive Incentive 3:
Offer a choice of license types and schemes that not only give the user choice, but also offer additional discounts for worthy establishments, education and charities for example.

The different types of software license that are necessary in order to give the customer the choice they require, can also bring additional and unwanted complexity. In order to also give the customer the licensing choice as well as the simplicity they desire the additional license types are all costed at N * x. N is the Single User Standard Price, here shown as $30 and x is the multiplier. An example is shown below:

onesqlpricinggrid

Trial Mode

The above incentives are for a potential customer who has obtained an illegitimate license from somewhere and I am trying to attract them into the fold. What about a customer who has downloaded a Trial Edition of the software ? For them we have to give them the chance to see the full capabilities of the software, while also convincing them to reach for their wallet. Trial Mode restrictions can make or break a product. For oneSql I have implemented the following:

  • Restricted the Saved Connections to Four
  • Generated a Nag Message after Every Query

Note that I have not restricted the Trial to 30 days or similar, nor have I restricted the functionality in any way. The potential customer can still see and access the full capabilities of the product, I have just made it a little bit less convenient than if they had purchased a licence.

In order for the Trial Mode to be successful for you and the potential customer it is necessary to again pay attention to the overall customer experience.

For oneSql I supply a configured sample database so that the user can experiment with the product immediately. I also supply a full, quality manual. Something missing in the vast majority of software products available today. Will every customer read it ? No. Will a high percentage of customers notice if it’s not there? Probably. The customers experience is what will get you a sale,  or not. I believe that is how it should be.

Part Three of this document discusses some of the technical methods, issues and problems involved with Software Licensing.

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