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Any interest in software?

rusiriusrusirius Posts: 565 ✭✭
Dunno if I ever mentioned this, but by trade I'm an IT manager... I also happen to be a software developer. Tonight I started developing a program for myself, but will no doubt release it for cigar lovers later once it's finished / debugged...

I'm wondering if anyone here would have any interest in it. As I said, I'm writing it for myself, but after it's done I'll release it and sell it for a modest price... For the folks on here that are interested, I'm sure we could work out a deal maybe trading for some sticks or something like that if you don't wanna lay out the cash...

At this point I'd like to just kinda gauge interest just to see how far I should really take it and just how spiffy I should make it...

Just as a brief rundown of some of the features:
It will keep track of your humidors... When they were seasoned, how much they were purchased for, etc...

It will also of course keep track of your inventory of sticks... Which humi they are in, when they were bought, all the info on the stick itself, the msrp, your purchase price, etc...

Likewise it will also keep a journal of all your smokes... Keeping track of your details on the smoke, i.e. construction, flavor, burn, impression, misc notes, etc... Each of the categories will also have a rating you can assign which will generate an overall rating of that smoke...
It will also generate and print out a hard copy version of the journal (by page as each page is completed) which will also contain a spot to tape the band to, etc...

It'll keep track of trades as well... Who you traded with, what was traded, etc...

Then of course it'll have reports that can be generated... For example, you could generate a report that showed msrps and what you paid to show how much money you've saved by buying deals, etc... You could generate a report on a single type of stick which would average all your rating details... Or do the same, but the rank all of your sticks... generating a "Top 5", "Top 10", "Top 20", etc... Perhaps a report that will show aging on all the sticks, etc... That kinda stuff...

So there ya go... Anyone have any interest in something like this???
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Comments

  • rusiriusrusirius Posts: 565 ✭✭
    Hell maybe I could even work out a deal with Alex to sell it exclusively on c.com... Stick out tongue [:P] He get's profit, I get lots and lots of sticks... Muahhahaaha
  • idrivea9idrivea9 Posts: 44
    I like your idea thus far! Brian
  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    Sounds very interesting
  • dutyjedutyje Posts: 2,263
    I like it. Sounds a lot like my spreadsheet.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    i already do all that. i mean if you can find anyone willing to PAY for that by all means go for it. buy i do it myself with very little effort for free in a notebook.
  • dutyjedutyje Posts: 2,263
    One recommendation, Shirley, is that the scoring algorithm needs to be highly configurable. I have a hunch that anybody who's a big enough dork to track all this stuff electronically is likely to want substantial control over customizing his own scoring and ranking algorithms. Don't ask me how I came to this hunch :)

    Kuzi - I agree with you that we haven't yet described software that will sell. But there are plenty of improvements that will help it take off and become something even I would be willing to buy. A cigar database which updates itself periodically (say every 3 months), and includes data from the manufacturers regarding the origins of the filler, binder, and wrapper, as well as the sizes offered and their MSRP. It would generate reports and recommendations based on the smokes you've enjoyed in the past. You can add sticks to your inventory, it will track their age. You can smoke and rate. Now we're getting somewhere.

    Now, Shirley, this becomes less a snapshot of some software a consumer would buy. Rather, this is software that an on-line tobacconist would buy and offer as a service on their site. I wonder where we can find an on-line tobacconist who is interested in offering special added services to its customers. Maybe someone who is willing to put up a forum where customers can come and talk about cigars. hmmm.....
  • rusiriusrusirius Posts: 565 ✭✭
    kuzi16:
    i already do all that. i mean if you can find anyone willing to PAY for that by all means go for it. buy i do it myself with very little effort for free in a notebook.
    Well sure you can do it in a notebook yourself... But I think to have the opinion of "Why would anyone ever value something like that?" is perhaps a bit short sighted... ;)

    Let's extropolate that idea for a moment... I COULD type all my letters and documents on a typewriter, but I CHOSE to pay $300+ for microsoft office... I COULD cook every night over an open wood fire outside, but I CHOSE to buy an oven for inside and a grill for the outside... I COULD watch an over the air signal free on TV, but I CHOSE to pay to get satellite... etc...etc...etc...

    I guess my point is, the whole idea of this software would be to make those tasks much easier... If I ask you right now how much your entire cigar collection is worth, how long would it take you to get an answer from your notebook? How long would it take to go through and add up the value of everything in your inventory? Now what if I ask you how much you PAID for your collection... Same thing... How long would it take? Suppose you remember a year or two back when you had this one cigar that had this really odd marshmellow undertones and you wanted another but couldn't remember the name... How long would it take paging back through your notebook reading all the notes trying to find the one you were talking about? Versus simply doing a keyword search and looking through a few...

    Now don't get me wrong... I'm not saying those are things that YOU would value... But your comment seemed to imply that you couldn't imagine anyone finding any value in it... I for one would have to disagree... Hell if there was anything close to it out there already I'd certainly buy it instead of writing it... Unfortunately the whole thing that spawned this off was me looking through page after page of google results trying to find something to do just these things... The closest I came to was a piece of software that basically did nothing but a very basic inventory and very basic notes on smoking that inventory. While it asked for several items like cost, it didn't let you access that information ever again... No sort of reporting, not even to view or edit...
  • Bad AndyBad Andy Posts: 848
    dutyje:
    I have a hunch that anybody who's a big enough dork to track all this stuff electronically is likely to want substantial control over customizing his own scoring and ranking algorithms. Don't ask me how I came to this hunch :)
    DORK!!!

    Thats how...lol
  • dutyjedutyje Posts: 2,263
    Bad Andy:
    dutyje:
    I have a hunch that anybody who's a big enough dork to track all this stuff electronically is likely to want substantial control over customizing his own scoring and ranking algorithms. Don't ask me how I came to this hunch :)
    DORK!!!

    Thats how...lol
    I even have an algorithm for determining which cigars are my favorite smokes to share with non-smoker friends. And I can view these recommendations/rankings side-by-side with the expected cost/stick to decide what I want to buy based on how much I'm looking to spend.
  • rusiriusrusirius Posts: 565 ✭✭
    dutyje:
    One recommendation, Shirley, is that the scoring algorithm needs to be highly configurable. I have a hunch that anybody who's a big enough dork to track all this stuff electronically is likely to want substantial control over customizing his own scoring and ranking algorithms. Don't ask me how I came to this hunch :)

    Luncinda, My original idea is to encapsulate the basic categories in two different ways... All categories will add up to 100... For example, construction is one category... it might be assigned 20 out of 100 points... I could make each category configurable, so for example a user could adjust construction to be only 15 out of 100 points and then add a "packaging" category worth 5...

    BUT... This plays into another area... The reason my original idea was to keep it pretty standard was because it could also be tied into a central database... If everything is standardized then the information could be shared... In other words, comparisons could be made with these ratings... (No information OTHER than the ranking number would be centralized of course)... In this way, the data could be quantified to make recommendations...

    Think of it like this... If 80% of the people using the software rank "these" 6 cigars at 90 or higher, and they ALSO rated "x" cigar 90 or higher, then there's an 80% chance that YOU'LL like "x" cigar too... In this way a full recommendation platform will exist...

    Allowing that data to be completed configurable would eliminate the possibility of quantifying it...

    However... That standard data could remain a constant but the ability to "add" other categories outside of the "standard" ranking and values could be done...

    Also, for each of these "standard" categories, there will be full notes associated with it as well, which of course will be freeform... So Construction won't just be "1 to 15" or whatever.. It'll be ranked PLUS full notes about WHY...

    dutyje:
    Now, Shirley, this becomes less a snapshot of some software a consumer would buy. Rather, this is software that an on-line tobacconist would buy and offer as a service on their site. I wonder where we can find an on-line tobacconist who is interested in offering special added services to its customers. Maybe someone who is willing to put up a forum where customers can come and talk about cigars. hmmm.....
    My original concept certainly falls in the realm of a standard software platform, but there's no reason it couldn't be adapted to a web platform... I'll have to give that some thought... I wouldn't want to develop as a web app if there wouldn't be any interest in it being utilized in that way... But you're right... We already have "accounts" with cigar.com... If they wanted to provide something like this it would be pretty nice.... AND at that point things like the "recommendations" could be tied in with "view" or "add to cart" links which ultimately could increase their sales...
  • rdnstnrdnstn Posts: 993 ✭✭
    This sounds like a good idea but it seems like you are going through a lot of trouble to write a progam when there is already one that exists for such a thing if you know how to work it.

    What you are talking about doing can all be done in Microsoft Access by anyone that knows how to use it.
  • rusiriusrusirius Posts: 565 ✭✭
    rdnstn:
    This sounds like a good idea but it seems like you are going through a lot of trouble to write a progam when there is already one that exists for such a thing if you know how to work it.

    What you are talking about doing can all be done in Microsoft Access by anyone that knows how to use it.
    To a great extent yes... IF you know how to code with access... But that's kinda the point isn't it? I could just as easily say that what I'm doing could all be done in Microsoft Visual C++... Sure it can, that's how I'm going to write it in the first place... But that doesn't mean every, or for that matter even a small minority of cigar smokers out there know how to do that... Same with access... Access is very easy to do very basic database projects... But when you start getting into generating custom reports, coding custom interfaces, etc... the tables turn a bit... Hell, even basic linked tables can be a daunting task for someone who isn't really familer with the concept of data structure, etc...

    Further, Access requires ... well... Access... A $230 program... Here we'd be talking about a low cost program which would require no additional components. (Well, other than a PC of course!)
  • rdnstnrdnstn Posts: 993 ✭✭
    True. Like I said, it's a good idea, but I'm not sure if it really has a market. You never know though so go for it. On the upside you could make lots of money, on the down side you're out a bunch of time but still have your personal digital journal of cigars.

    An idea for you though, what about being able to scan a cigar band into the journal instead of just a space to paste it on a printed page?
  • dutyjedutyje Posts: 2,263
    To add onto Shirley's latest point, I only tend to develop something if I have a need and I don't see a satisfactory solution available. About 6 or 7 years ago, I got a GPS for Christmas. I wanted a basic mechanism to maintain my GPS data (waypoints, routes, etc) on my machine at home and transfer it to the GPS. I had a cable for transferring data, but no software. The software that existed was relatively expensive ($150+) and didn't really do things the way I wanted. So I downloaded the Garmin protocol specifications and went to work.

    If the software is available to a large quantity at a reasonable price (say, as a freebonus or paid upgrade feature to subscribers to the COTM -- cue the Hallelujah Chorus), and offered features that would be difficult or impossible for even a dedicated user to build himself (such as recommendations based on other cigars smokers with similar tastes ... or detailed information about the content, sizes, and prices of every cigar out there), you'd find people will be willing to pay for the software.
  • rusiriusrusirius Posts: 565 ✭✭
    rdnstn:
    True. Like I said, it's a good idea, but I'm not sure if it really has a market. You never know though so go for it. On the upside you could make lots of money, on the down side you're out a bunch of time but still have your personal digital journal of cigars.

    An idea for you though, what about being able to scan a cigar band into the journal instead of just a space to paste it on a printed page?
    Good point... My original idea was to allow pics of cigars and scanning of bands.. Most likely I'll still do something similar... The reason I wanted to focus on a page to allow taping was that it would allow a broader base of users (i.e. those without scanners) to be able to still have a presentable journal...
    I think really the best option is just to allow both... Personally for a printed journal I'd rather have the actual band... Just seems a little more ... i dunno ... meaningful? to me...
  • rdnstnrdnstn Posts: 993 ✭✭
    I agree completely. Give them both options. I too like to save all my bands. At least the first one from any particular cigar.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    rusirius:
    Now don't get me wrong... I'm not saying those are things that YOU would value... But your comment seemed to imply that you couldn't imagine anyone finding any value in it... I for one would have to disagree...
    im not saying zeor people would value it. in fact i am 100% sure that there are many people that would.

    ...just how much value.
    i mean yeah, its cool to know the monitary value of your stash at a glance, and the keyword thing, (tangent: have you looked at my catalog? i have a copy on my computer and backed up on disk so i can search like that, it helps cos im in more than one notebook) and all the other points you brought up. would I personally be interested in that? no
    ... but only because i dont care what i paid for my collection, i know whats in it off the top of my head at any given moment and i have my routine down for my catalog...

    would anyone else want it? yes. given the right price.
    would you profit? maybe, it depends on the price...
    and how user friendly it is.

    its not a bad idea at all. I just dont know if you can market it. if you are doing it out of the kindness in your heart... well, the price will be right for many, MANY people to use it.
    ...and you'd need your head examined.
  • rdnstnrdnstn Posts: 993 ✭✭
    Well said Kuzi. I think you might be able to make a little money off of it, but I think your best outcome will be to pass it out to people here that are interested in it and then in return I'm sure many of them will reward you with free sticks.
  • dutyjedutyje Posts: 2,263
    I've got news for y'all here... if we're talking about software that would make anybody here a significant profit, we've already lost the vision that doomed most of the dot-com startups. If you're in the business for anything other than the fact that you love what you're doing, and you look at the profit as a bonus, you may have a chance of succeeding.

    If we're talking about this software as a business model which will be sufficient to support a family and a small company, you can forget about it. The market won't be there, the margins will be low, and the copycat competition will wipe out your profits shortly after they start to flow if you're ever lucky enough to get that far.
  • rusiriusrusirius Posts: 565 ✭✭
    dutyje:
    I've got news for y'all here... if we're talking about software that would make anybody here a significant profit, we've already lost the vision that doomed most of the dot-com startups. If you're in the business for anything other than the fact that you love what you're doing, and you look at the profit as a bonus, you may have a chance of succeeding.

    If we're talking about this software as a business model which will be sufficient to support a family and a small company, you can forget about it. The market won't be there, the margins will be low, and the copycat competition will wipe out your profits shortly after they start to flow if you're ever lucky enough to get that far.
    Sorry I didn't quote you Kuzi, but let me address you first... Thanks for that... I took your initial comment in a completely different direction than it was intended from the sounds of things. Sorry about that. I see your points and agree completely...

    As a follow up to that, along with what Doodie-ly-doo-doo said above, I'm not talking about something here that I'm looking at developing to try to make a fortune off of or something like that... I'm developing the app first and foremost for myself... In fact, my whole reason for trying to gauge interest here was just to see if I should write it quick and dirty just for myself or rather I should spend just a little additional time and make something that others could potentially appreciate as well... Would I GIVE it away? Maybe if it were someone I was aquinted with and as pointed out above would potentially repay the favor by throwing some sticks my way or something like that, sure... Otherwise nah, I'm sure I'd sell it... How much? I dunno, but we're talking about something like $30 here or something, not $300... ;)
  • zoom6zoomzoom6zoom Posts: 1,214
    Sounds interesting. For an example of a program with an online database kept updated by users, take a look at DVD Profiler (www.dvdprofiler.com). New items including cover scans (think bands!) are submitted by users (and vetted by other members prior to inclusion in the database to keep out errors and crap). A free trial of this product is downloadable. As far as M$ Office goes, after having used every version from '95 to present, I installed OpenOffice (a free open source product) on my new laptop and am very happy with it. It opens every Office document I've thrown at it.
  • I too am an IT manager, I haven't written anything in a long time now.
    I think some of these features already exist in software packages out there.

    I simply googled "cigar software" and found quite a few interesting sites.

    I think your idea on Humidor seasoning and such are still valid and I know I would be interested.

    I can only imagine, cigar shops would be VERY interested as well in the reporting tools.
    Good luck and Have Fun.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    I once was an IT Manager as well, but now I'm a consultant. For a "small" fee I can show you how you could do this better.
  • LukoLuko Posts: 2,004
    madurofan:
    I once was an IT Manager as well, but now I'm a consultant. For a "small" fee I can show you how you could do this better.
    Dear lord, I am not smart enough for these here forums. I can't get my home computer to turn on at the moment. It seems like an overwhelming perponderance of y'll are either involved in IT or just way smart and good on the interwebs.

    So, do you think a high percentage of IT folks are cigar smokers (for instance, I have a theory that cigar smokers tend to be social conservatives), or, is it just that a high percentage of cigar smokers who frequent internet forums are savvy in the ways of IT?

    Either way, I'm in over my head here as an English major. I keep my cigar info in a spiral notebook. Works just fine for me...my favorite part of the pasttime is lighting up and having a nice beverage.
  • i like the thought of this software but if you want cheap you label your cigars and could keep track of them in excel
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Luko:
    or, is it just that a high percentage of cigar smokers who frequent internet forums are savvy in the ways of IT?
    That ...
  • rdnstnrdnstn Posts: 993 ✭✭
    Luko:
    ... or, is it just that a high percentage of cigar smokers who frequent internet forums are savvy in the ways of IT?
    Definitely doesn't apply to me. I'm lucky if I can get from one page to the next. But it does seeem we have a rather intelligent group here...or at least some good actors.
  • rusiriusrusirius Posts: 565 ✭✭
    rdnstn:
    Luko:
    ... or, is it just that a high percentage of cigar smokers who frequent internet forums are savvy in the ways of IT?
    Definitely doesn't apply to me. I'm lucky if I can get from one page to the next. But it does seeem we have a rather intelligent group here...or at least some good actors.
    I think maybe it's a function of the environment... I mean think about it... When I think about the people that I know that really smoke cigars (i.e. they weren't just handed one at a wedding or something, but actually purchase and occasionally smoke them) they tend to be somewhat higher on the intelligence scale... And I'm refering to high quality cigars here, not something you pick up at the local 7-11... ;) This also means that MORE than likely they're a little higher up on the pay scale...

    Add to that the fact that you're talking about an online forum that would most likely not be found unless you purchased or at least browsed the ccom site...

    Then there's the fact that you have to notice the commuity tab, be curious about it, and then at least have some understanding of what a forum is and be inclined enough to sign up for it...

    Last but not least, you have to choose to reply to an existing thread, or post a new one (in order for "us" to see them...)

    So let's see... We've got a person who holds a decent paying job which typically shows they have at least a little intelligence, they're savey enough to smoke high quality cigars, intelligent enough to know they can get a good deal on them online, found ccom which is one of the better sites out there in my opinion, found the forum, signed up for it and started posting...

    I'd say just by the nature of the beast you've already narrowed it down to mostly "intelligent" people...
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    rusirius:
    I'd say just by the nature of the beast you've already narrowed it down to mostly "intelligent" people...
    ... i wonder how I made it in here....
  • dutyjedutyje Posts: 2,263
    hmm.. shall I go with the "blind squirrel / nut" metaphor or the "exception to every rule" cliche?
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