General Interest

Update on BookSmart 1.9

Naturally, there is a lot of interest here in the Forums about the next
release of BookSmart, and I want to give everyone a quick update.

In short, we’ve made some very good progress on our 1.9 release, but
unfortunately it’s not quite ready for the final release. We have a release
candidate, but have discovered some issues during our final print testing.
Rest assured that we are working 24/7 with our network of printers to
overcome these issues and to release a rock solid version of 1.9 as
quickly as possible. Stay tuned for updates – we’ll announce the
availability of 1.9 here in the Forums first, the minute the release is
publicly available.

Thanks,
Jack

Replytopic_b_normal
Posted by
JackLyon
Oct 2, 2007 3:44pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

Will the next version allow for a picture to span accross two pages?

 

-Sasha Kelly

sasha@kellycafe.com

Posted by
2sasha3
Oct 2, 2007 6:02pm PDT
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2sasha3
 

New version will be for Mac, too, right? Not just Windows? Because I can’t run the current version on my PowerBook. The previous one worked all right (if slow). This one just locks up and won’t do anything. Very frustrating. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the new release – but PLEASE say it’s for Mac, too.

Posted by
hereBdragons
Oct 2, 2007 7:47pm PDT
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hereBdragons
 

hereBdragons –

Absolutely — we will be releasing the Mac and PC versions at the exact same time. A huge part of the Blurb community (as well as the Blurb staff) are hard core Mac people, so no worries!

Posted by
JackLyon
Oct 2, 2007 8:46pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

No chance for a sneak preview? Maybe a list of new features added?

We are just all so curious (popping on this forum every few hours this last week to see if there is an update on 1.9).

Dirk 

 

Posted by
didekeer
Oct 3, 2007 9:10am PDT
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didekeer
 

yeah, RIGHT.  where’s the new version?<cite>??</cite>

 you put out a product, get our expectations up, want us to purchase the book after we’ve created it, and the program doesn’t even load!!!

get a LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!  and get some programmers that know what they’re doing!!!!!!!!!

BETA my ass. 

Posted by
dogdog
Oct 6, 2007 2:47pm PDT
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dogdog
 

Dog, thanks for posting how many of us feel.

Jack, seriously this last poster is really telling you how many feel I am sure, your over a week late now, seems time for an update.

Posted by
tothomas69
Oct 7, 2007 5:33am PDT
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tothomas69
 

I’m with you on that observation tothomas.

For those of us with deadlines to meet (and a dead program on our computers and I am not able to work with it at all without it freezing up the computer) time is a wasting.  If the new release is not ready within the next couple of days I will be forced to go elsewhere in order to meet my deadline.

 

Posted by
4Nefertiti
Oct 7, 2007 7:18am PDT
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4Nefertiti
 

when you say you will go elsewhere…what are other options to the blurb service?

Posted by
dabrooks
Oct 7, 2007 1:06pm PDT
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dabrooks
 

As a software developer, I would like to add that it can be somewhat difficult to hit a exact release date. Coding can be challenging, and issues may not come up when testing at first. Unfortunately, delaying a release is a good thing, as if you put a bad product out, you vultures would swoop in a complain that they release junk.

So it looks like Blurb can’t win here.

 

Posted by
jpeetsma
Oct 7, 2007 2:23pm PDT
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jpeetsma
 

Feature request:

I see that BookSmart uses the “iText Library” for the page layout code. The iText Library supports fully justified text, any chance of implementing this is the next iteration of BookSmart? ...

I’d rather the Blurb code poets take their time and get it right, the current version is a little kooky, but it’s still a smart bit of work using some great bits of Open Source code. :)

Posted by
vargus
Oct 7, 2007 3:23pm PDT
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vargus
 

totthomas:

thanks; i’m just trying to get this company to realize that  they’ve got a lot of people that would like very much to use their product, but can’t due to software issues.

 they’ve released a beta version that works sometimes and doesn’t work other times.  right now i’ve got a book of about 150 pages and 250 photos that i can’t open.  i’ve been working on this for weeks now, and i feel like it’s all been for nothing.

i’d like to know what other options folks here are using to get their books printed.

thanks.

 dogdog

Posted by
dogdog
Oct 7, 2007 6:22pm PDT
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dogdog
 

Hi All;

Well – disappointment reigns!

I’ve been away for 3 weeks, and looking forward to r1.9 being available when I got back so I can start building my next book – but no sign of it!

I understand the difficulties in timing of s/w releases – but WHY oh WHY put out a dateline when it’s not going to be met! That only gets hopes up – and creates more frustration when the dateline is not met!

Jack – do you have any (realistic) update on a revised release date for 1.9?

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Oct 8, 2007 6:50am PDT
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lkb-28
 

OK, BLURBTODAY IS MONDAY OCTOBER 8, 2007.  YOU HAVE QUITE A FEW DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS ON YOUR HANDS BECAUSE OF THE SOFTWARE ISSUE WITH VERSION 1.8.

A LOT OF US HAVE BOOKS THAT WE’VE BEEN WORKING ON FOR QUITE A LONG TIME THAT WE CAN NO LONGER OPEN WITH THIS VERSION OF YOUR SOFTWARE.

I THINK WE DESERVE AN UPDATE ON EXACTLY WHEN THIS NEW VERSION IS GOING TO BE MADE AVAILABLE TO US.

IF IT’S NOT SOON, YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE A LOT OF CUSTOMERS OVER THIS.

BLUEMAX2

Posted by
bluemax2
Oct 8, 2007 8:20am PDT
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bluemax2
 

You know, I’m relatively new to blurb, but I am as frustrated as others.  I realize this is an open forum and I understand with the frustration and wanting to let blurb know you’re not happy campers.  I can only imagine how crappy it is to have a large book that won’t open in the wonky software.  I feel your pain.  That said, I fully appreciate the time blurb is taking (even though it is taxing my patience) as I will welcome all the more a release of the software that works, works well and has many more options than the beta version.  I’m hopeful and impatient!

Posted by
rudyfan
Oct 8, 2007 8:37am PDT
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rudyfan
 

Gee, funny how tech support doesn’t post anything here about when the new version is going to be available!

I for one will be looking elsewhere to publish.  This company obviously just doesn’t give a @#$&!! 

Posted by
bluemax2
Oct 8, 2007 1:47pm PDT
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bluemax2
 

as much as I want to rant about how my book wont open & how I’ll never reccomend blurb to anyone & what a waste of time it’s been doing a few hundred photos worth of layout & finding out how useless the software is.

 I’d hope blurb really tries to learn from this, what went wrong, why are we loosing customers & what can we do to make it up to them (free shipping anyone). I understand software is a pain I’ve worked in the games industry & bugs are a real problem to find. Their priority (imho) is fixing the fact you cant open your books any more rather than adding anything major to this update. Stability is a major issue forget features, doesnt matter how nice the radio is if you cant start the car!

To keep everyone on board as customers you should keep us informed as to whats going on, start asking if people want to beta the software (with all those risks involved to their books), we want you to fix this but patience will run out I’m afraid & your reputation will take a pounding,

 My 2 pence worth.

 Ronski

Posted by
ronski
Oct 8, 2007 2:33pm PDT
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ronski
 

Hey folks, believe me you will be the first to know when 1.9 is released.  We’re working in real time here so rather than set an arbitrary date that we think it will be ready please know that were are literally working on this release 24/7.  Please keep watching this space for updates!

Best,

—bw 

Posted by
bruce
Oct 8, 2007 4:59pm PDT
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bruce Icon_staff
 

To follow up on what Bruce said – we hear your frustration loud and clear and are doing absolutely everything we can to get 1.9 out the door. Please keep in mind, this is a fairly new technology that’s not as simple as you might think.

Creating a print-on-demand book makes use of several different moving parts that go well beyond the BookSmart client, and we need to make sure they all work perfectly together. From a stable client, to proper file processing and rendering on our servers, to order distribution, to our network of printers, to proper book printing and binding – all of these elements require explicit verification before we can release the new version of the BookSmart client. If a bug is found and code changes, we have to go through this same process again. If we release 1.9 without it being properly tested at every step, there’s a significant risk of similar or even new issues arising, which nobody wants.

If you take a look around the Forums, you’ll hopefully see that we do anything and everything we can to try and make all Blurb customers satisfied – it is our top priority. Those of you that can’t open books in 1.8 and have contacted Customer Support, you’ll be taken care of as far as any required coupons or specific support, if you haven’t been already.

Again, we’re doing our best to make a rock-solid release of 1.9 available. We want to get there as much as you do. At this point, we’re talking a matter of days. However, we simply can’t say an exact date of the release until we have a candidate that returns successful tests with all the areas mentioned above. The second we get to that point, we will announce the availability of the release here in the Forums.

Thanks,
Jack

Posted by
JackLyon
Oct 8, 2007 6:11pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

Dear Jack,

Like everyone I’ve been waiting for months to start on my book. However, I’ve put it on hold due to the many limitations I encountered in version 1.8. I would greatly appreciate if you can inform us of what specific features have been added to the software.

Thanks!

Posted by
dondiliza
Oct 8, 2007 8:46pm PDT
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dondiliza
 

Dear Jack, I too have been keen to see 1.9 released and see what is new on it. In fact I have delayed making a book of our vacation to see if there are any new layouts or improvments that could make my book better. I am using 1.8 on a macbook and have made 2 great books that I am delighted with and have experienced no problems. I am happy to wait until you are sure that all bugs and reliability issues are ironed out. Don,t let these moaners on here push you into rushing out the new version, after all if you do and it has faults these same guys will be the first to complain about it!
Rgds Ritch.

Posted by
ritch
Oct 9, 2007 12:55am PDT
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ritch
 

Jack,

I too am hugely frustrated about the slow delivery of 1.9.  I’ve spent over 100 hours working on a book I can no longer access.  However do I know about software delivery and if 1.9 has many features I guess I’d like to be sure it was fully tested and any niggles ironed out.

But that raises another serious issue (or future reference!) ......if you know there is a specifc bug that is causing the "hang up problem" so many of us are suffering, then please do not bundle the fix for that into a larger release full of lots of other changes.  Instead send out a patch or even a stand alone utility that fixes the problem.

Realistically if 1.9 is not out by the end of the week I’m going to have to can this project and go for a much simpler approach with someone else. I have 50 people waiting for a copy of this photo book by the end of the month and I can’t risk more delays.

KD

Posted by
tiagd
Oct 9, 2007 1:13am PDT
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tiagd
 

Jack, its nice your hearing us but honestly it does not appear your listening. Let me offer 2 options

1. Make an older FUNCTIONAL version available for download so we can work on our books

 2. Make a patch available that allows us to work on our books with the current version

 Ultimately and correct me if I am wrong here folks, we could care less at this point about a new version we need to have something anything that allows us to work.

3. If you cannot do it, let us know. I would prefer honest bad news to no news or misleading expectations.

We have a need, that need must be fulfilled and either Blurb does it or it does not, telling us one way or the other is better than leaving us frustrated and in the dark.

Posted by
tothomas69
Oct 9, 2007 7:29am PDT
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tothomas69
 

Jack, I totally agree with you to the extent that I hope users of 1.8 like myself that thus far have not  encountered problems can continue to use 1.8 until later. My experience is that you will fix every problem that you find for yourselves but hand the software out to the legions of us our there and we will find a few more.  Because I will guarantee you will have glitches in 1.9 as soon as it is released. (Just being realistic and no negative reflection on Blurb.)The idea of a patch seems like a good one if you have a way to do this. For one thing it eliminates the need to promise a new version to solve "minor" problems for some users that may be show stoppers for others. The promise of a new version usually entails a promise with a release date which is rarely met by the best of companies.

Posted by
lcarreira
Oct 9, 2007 9:19am PDT
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lcarreira
 

Dondiliza and everyone – you should feel free to start your book in BookSmart 1.8. While the issue of some users not being able to open their book is extremely serious, it has also proven to be a rare issue, affecting less than 1% of all books created in 1.8.

We’ve made some significant foundational changes in BookSmart 1.9, some of which should help those who have book files that can’t open. Naturally, we would have happily released a patch if it were possible. It’s something we seriously discussed at the first report of issues with 1.8. However, to pull that specific code out of the 1.9 build and put it into a working patch release would have taken significantly longer than simply releasing 1.9 itself. Again, for those that are experiencing issues, please get in contact with Customer Service. We will do everything we can to help.

lcarreira – You’re right. I’m sure once 1.9 is publicly released, some (hopefully minor) glitches will inevitably be found. As you alluded to, this is true of any software product. We schedule time for a patch release after every major BookSmart release to address these glitches that can only be found in real-world testing. And I trust you, along with the rest of the folks in the Forums, will help us find these glitches.

Posted by
JackLyon
Oct 9, 2007 1:25pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

Hello Jack!

No complaints on the wait from me.

Take the time you need, and am looking forward to the update.

My admiration goes to those with the knowledge to even create such a wonderful product.

Best wishes,

Robert Tracy 

Posted by
reconeco
Oct 9, 2007 2:33pm PDT
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reconeco
 

This is all well and good, but so far there’s nothing about when the new software is going to be released.  Hours?  Days?  Weeks?  Months?

 C’mon, guys!!!  When is it?  On behalf of those of us who can’t open our work: STOP LEAVING US HANGING AND GIVE US SOME ANSWERS!!!

Has anyone used the Shutterfly website for publishing?  It doesn’t look quite as slick as booksmart, but at least it will work!

 Still waiting…

Bluemax2

Oh, and P.S.:  where are the coupons/discounts you promised us??? 

Posted by
bluemax2
Oct 9, 2007 3:16pm PDT
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bluemax2
 

bluemax2 –

Quoted from this post I made earlier in this thread:

"At this point, we’re talking a matter of days."

Also, I’m not sure what you’re referring to as far as "coupons you promised us." Rather (from that same post):

"Those of you that can’t open books in 1.8 and have contacted Customer Support, you’ll be taken care of as far as any required coupons or specific support, if you haven’t been already. "

It doesn’t appear that any books have been uploaded from your account, so if you’re having problems opening/uploading your book, please contact Customer Support and you’ll be taken care of.

Thanks,
Jack

Posted by
JackLyon
Oct 9, 2007 3:45pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

"Those of you that can’t open books in 1.8 and have contacted Customer Support, you’ll be taken care of as far as any required coupons or specific support, if you haven’t been already."

Yes, Jack; this is what you said.  I have contacted "Customer Support" and haven’t received a response as of yet.  This was, oh, I don’t know 2 or 3 days ago.

And of course I haven’t uploaded any books from my account, Jack.  I can’t get your program to open the book I’ve been working on for the past 3 weeks, so how can I possibly upload it???

Bluemax2 

Posted by
bluemax2
Oct 9, 2007 3:54pm PDT
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bluemax2
 

bluemax2 –

Apparently Customer Support contacted you via email yesterday at around 1:30 PST. Did you not receive that email?

Jack 

Posted by
JackLyon
Oct 9, 2007 4:41pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

Jack, good to hear. Does it make sense hence to go ahead and load up pics and work on a layout for a book and then just do the upgrade when it’s ready, or just wait for 1.9 then do it all? I have some work I need to do for my next book, but don’t want it to be redundant…please advise. thanks

Bob 

Posted by
photobob
Oct 9, 2007 4:47pm PDT
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photobob
 

photobob -

I would say you should feel free to get started. As mentioned above, there is a fairly rare issue in 1.8 where some members cannot open their book files (less than 1% of 1.8 users have had this happen). But, on the off chance this does happen to you, you should be able to reopen the file in 1.9 and continue making the book – saving you from any redundant work.

Jack   

Posted by
JackLyon
Oct 9, 2007 5:19pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

No, Jack I didn’t receive an email from customer support.  Please have them resend.

 Bluemax2

Posted by
bluemax2
Oct 9, 2007 6:18pm PDT
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bluemax2
 

As a software developer myself I say, hang in there…its not said enough.  I often feel the negative comments pretty hard when going through a new release.

 

That being said throwing the users a bone once in a while like older versions and feature lists never hurt anything.

 

Good luck with your next release, I will be waiting since my first book with you guys turned out great. 

Posted by
jkuter
Oct 9, 2007 6:22pm PDT
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jkuter
 

Hi Bluemax,

I am sorry you did not receive Craig’s reply to you on 10/8. Please check your spam/bulk mail folder if you do not see it in your inbox. Also, please expect an update from me by the end of the week, which should clarify the v1.9 timeline somewhat.

I appreciate your continued patience and good will.

Cheers,

Jeremy 

Posted by
jbates
Oct 9, 2007 7:01pm PDT
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jbates
 

I’m waiting for v1.9! BookSmart rocks … there is nothing better out there.

I’m looking forward to seeing what is new in v1.9.

Carry on … 

Huckster 

Posted by
huckster
Oct 9, 2007 7:27pm PDT
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huckster
 

Jeremy,

No, I definitely did not receive any response from customer service.  Not in my inbox or spam/junk folders either.

I’ll be looking for your update on the release of 1.9.

Bluemax2 

Posted by
bluemax2
Oct 10, 2007 2:49am PDT
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bluemax2
 

Well, all this nonsense about books and photos not printing as well as they should and the fact that blurb STILL HASN’T RELEASED THE NEXT VERSION OF SOFTWARE has made me change my mind about using this program.

I’ve just downloaded the MyPublisher Bookmaker and will be using that instead.

You would think that with venture capital of $12 MILLION, they would have been able to produce a piece of software that actually works and produces a quality product!!

http://www.americanventuremagazine.com/news.php?newsid=1452
Posted by
bluemax2
Oct 10, 2007 4:11pm PDT
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bluemax2
 

As said by others… most of us have been using version 1.8 just fine. I finished my book without any issue and was very pleased with the results (I am in the Printing Industry and can be very critical of quality).

There seems indeed to be a small numbers of customer who do have problems with version 1.8 and I feel their pain. But I prefer to get a new version that actually works instead of an early release with even more problems.

And don’t forget, they are still a lot cheaper if you make books with many pages.

And no, I’m not maried to blurb. If there is another supplier out there with simular or cheaper prices and as good or better quality, I would defenitely try them out. But I haven’t found one yet….  MyPublisher is way more expensive in high page counts. More that I’m willing to pay.

I wish they would release a new feature list though…. 

And for those who are waiting to upload their book…. once 1.9 comes out, everybody will start uploading. I wonder how many dealy in production that will cause. If you don’t have a problem, you are better of ordering your book right now. 

Dirk 

 

 

Posted by
didekeer
Oct 10, 2007 6:31pm PDT
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didekeer
 

I have had none of the reported problems using 1.8, and though I was waiting for 1.9 to see if there were new layouts or features I wanted to incorporate, I decided that the flood of books that will come when it releases might slow delivery down considerably, so I went ahead and uploaded my book. The result? All in all, not bad! I took vector art and output it as jpg, so it’s not ideal, but I was in a hurry so I may not have read all the tips that I could have. At any rate, I won’t be embarassed to give this to my niece for a wedding shower gift, and as a graphic designer, I’m picky.

I look forward to the next release, as the software is very kludgy, but the product is just fine!

Thanks,
amy

Posted by
AmyA54
Oct 10, 2007 8:55pm PDT
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AmyA54
 

I just wish that Blurb would let new users know the 1.8 problems that everyone has been having, at least then maybe people would be more understanding and/or wait for the new version. My book would not open and kept freezing up my computer, so I kept re-starting and trying over an over again thinking it was my computer. I finally re-loaded booksmart and started a whole new book thinking that would do it…nope all that work and it won’t open AGAIN! I highly doubt it is only 1% of users having these problems, they are most likely the 1% who actually complains to Blurb about it. I didn’t …..thought it was my computer until reading the forum. I am also getting sick of checking in everyday, hoping this is the day it 1.9 will be ready. Can you PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL OUT TO ALL USERS WHEN 1.9 IS READY!

Posted by
meleya
Oct 11, 2007 12:02am PDT
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meleya
 

Hey Blurb Folks,

 Thanks for creating such a great program! Even though there are a few bugs in your software you have still created such a cool tool for us amatures to use. I never would have thought about writing a book without a tool like blurb. You came highly recommended and I have seen one of your printed books and it looked great. Thanks also for not releasing your new version until you are satisfied you have resolved most of the major issues. Take your time and do it right and you will never regret it. Release it too early and everyone will be mad and disappointed. Regards!

Posted by
girlsdadx3
Oct 11, 2007 3:49am PDT
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girlsdadx3
 

Hello folks;

I am new to Blurb.  I have only created two books so far with this company.  The only problem I have run into is that my C: drive is too small for the book data files, and unfortunately I can not point the program to the other internal hard drive I have on my computer which has twice the capacity.  And yes, there are a few things that I can’t do with this software that is available on other POD software, but I can turn around and point out things on this software that I can’t do on others. 

 And as far as the time it is taking for the new version, as an IT person, I can tell you that you will be happier dealing with your frustration on how much time this is taking than with the frustration when things don’t work properly on a newer version.  I say as long as this delay is due to a diligent effort to ensure that everything functions properly, take the time – It will be well worth it.

Anyway, that’s my two cents worth.

Posted by
2sasha3
Oct 12, 2007 6:57am PDT
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2sasha3