Friday, June 27, 2008


It's not elegant to start a new topic on Friday. Before tackling new difficult concepts, an interview is more relaxing. In almost two years of blogging, this is our first interview, and a special one, with my alter ego Giuseppe Balacco, author of iNMR (the name says it all). I meet Giuseppe in a hot summer afternoon. He is sweating into his hot room, watching at the quotes of the stocks on the monitor and listening to one of his records. The first questions are almost instinctive.
Q. Are you monitoring your stocks?
A. I only had €10K invested, for 3 months. I sold everything one month ago, with a gain of 300, more or less. I am lucky that I have no money to invest, because these prices are too luring to resist. Actually I suspect that stocks are, still, way too overpriced, and they will keep falling for a long time. Italian stocks at least can keep falling for another couple of years: there's no parachute. It's funny to watch these movements, because they are unpredictable. Look at Buzzi Unicem: the ordinary stock goes up +1.13%, while the preferred stock goes down -0.93%. It's the same company, isn't it funny? It's also funny to compare the movements with the forecasts! Well, I know, this time should be invested into real work, instead of speculation; actually I am doing nothing at all, it's too hot for any kind of activity! I am more inclined to philosophy. These continuos movements of money are the symbol of the world we live into: every day we are exploited by banks and speculators.
Q. What's the name of the record you are playing?
A. "From the Hot Afternoon", by Paul Desmond. It's an atypical pop effort by him. I prefer his solo records over what he did with the David Brubeck quartet, because I dislike Brubeck. "Take Five" is the exception that proves the rule. Unfortunately Desmond had little time to make records under his own name. According to the established classifications, he should be the quintessence of cool. Do you feel the cool?
Q. May I have a glass of ice-cool water, please? Let's talk about your product. Why have you changed the package of iNMR?
A. It all started on the Firefox Download Day. We were sitting on the sofa, watching the football match (yes, the European Championship), and my daughter was, at the same time, surfing the internet with her laptop. We began talking about what she was doing and then I saw her installing Firefox. I liked that minimalistic blue background and I said to myself: "Copy that style".

Q. Were you tired of the old background? Wasn't it more spectroscopic?
A. The old background was nice, otherwise it wouldn't have lasted almost 3 years. It was too baroque, but that's good because I like the baroque style. The fact is that, initially the icon of iNMR derived by the old icon of SwaN-MR. In 2006 a new icon was introduced, but the background wasn't changed; it had to be. It was a little too heavy, I mean it weighted 140 KB, while the new one is only 36 KB. Let's save a little of bandwidth, why not?
Q. It's also more in line with what Mac users expects nowadays?
A. Yes, this new kind of packages, with the huge Application folder alias, emerged in 2005, the same year that marked the appearance of iNMR. I should have adopted it earlier, but there were different priorities. My policy is to follow the directions given by the users and nobody had never asked for a different package, nor did anybody found it difficult to install the evaluation copy. They have been keeping asking for a lot of changes, but nobody complained about the package.
Q. I have noted that your policy about evaluation copies is to limit their functionality, rather than setting a time limit.
A. That sounds obvious to me. If you had evaluated iNMR in 2006, then in 2007 and then again today, you would have found a lot of new things each time. Look at the list of recent changes. This one covers the last 17 months only, the whole list would be longer! I wanted people to be able to try all of the additions, as they were appearing. And, obviously, with no expiration date there is one thing less to decide: how long should the evaluation period last? Every user has different needs. 1 day can be enough and 1 year can be not. Last, but not least, I myself am using other programs in evaluation mode. Take, for example, the blue background of the new package. I made it with WouldjaDraw, a program that can be used for free 20 times, before you have to pay. Up to now I made two pictures (in 2 years). I know that a similar thing happens with iNMR. If you only need it once a year, and you don't need to print anything, you can use it in evaluation mode, and pay nothing. You can also use it every day, it's perfectly legal, but at this stage people prefer to become regular customers. There are too many advantages, compared to the price to pay.

At this point Giuseppe saw I was tired and offered an ice-cream. We spent the rest of the time listening to Paul Desmond. Soon or later I will return to his room with a camera, for a full reportage...


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