Back in the good old days I developed 3D animation software
on Silicon Graphics workstations. We sold the software
directly to 3D animation studios and through 3M as a VAR
that branded it under their own name. The cost of a
license was $100,000 but for $200,000 we would include the
SGI workstation. If a customer had a problem we would send
someone on site until it was fixed.
In many ways IMS software is more advanced and more
reliable than our old 3D animation software. There is a
significant difference however. IMS Web Engine costs less
than $100, IMS Web Spinner costs less than $30 and IMS
Web Dwarf is free. It is consequently not possible to provide
the same kind of support especially when we now have over a
1000 users for every 3D animation user we had.
Even so, it is necessary to provide end users with support. We
do this through this newsletter, through the IMS forum and
directly when necessary by responding to problems sent to support
A recent posting in the IMS forum hosted by Becky asked
why the newsgroup was so quiet with only 2 or 3 postings a
day. It is a good question that I don't have a clear answer for. I
suggested that it might be because our software was so good
that no questions are necessary. But no software is that
good; not even ours.
We are primarily a technology driven company and do not
promote ourselves in the same way that many marketing
oriented companies do. Even so, through word of mouth and
several good reviews we are slowly getting noticed. Web
Dwarf especially is becoming popular with well over a 100
downloads a day. The fact is that Web Design is a relatively
complex process and many of our users especially Web Dwarf
users, are new to it.
There are several possible reasons why the IMS forum does
not receive more questions.
First, it is possible that unless a link is immediately at hand a
lot of user will not look for it. If it is found, the process of
figuring out how to sign up and post a question to the
newsgroup may be too bothersome.
Second, many of our Web Dwarf users are new to Web
Design and may not wish to expose their ignorance by posting
an apparently dumb question.
Finally, since IMS Web Dwarf is free, many users may be
concerned that there is either an alternative motive to our
software or that they are not entitled to post questions.
To answer the first question, a link that will take you directly
to the Becky newsgroup is included in all IMS Software under
the Help menu. Becky also uses pretty standard software that
is common to many newsgroups. It is not actually very complex
The second point is more difficult to answer. I have posted
dumb question on several newsgroups in the past. At least I
now know which questions are dumb and which aren't.
Suffice to say that many of our users are novices. If it is any
comfort they probably will not know if it is a dumb question either.
Finally, our motive behind giving away IMS Web Dwarf is
our hope that many users will like it enough to upgrade to IMS
Web Spinner or IMS Web Engine at some time in the future.
We understand that many people won't but we would still
prefer to have a Web Dwarf user than no user at all. As for
support it is as I said at the beginning, not possible to provide
it at the same level we did for customers that used to pay well
north of $100,000 to buy a software license. But support is
The Becky forum can be used to mirror this newsletter in
many ways. You can post questions related to the use of any
IMS product. You are also welcome to post Web Design and
Web Promotion questions. If you know the answer to a
question, please post it also. If no other answer is posted, we
will try our best to answer your questions as quickly as we
The IMS forum is hosted by Becky and can be reached by
linking to our newsgroup page.
Finally, many people prefer to use a Mail List. For those of
you that may not be familiar with them a mail list will
redistribute posted email to everyone on the list. In this way
you will receive all the questions and answers through your
email. Some lists are quite large and can generate a flood of
email on a daily basis. I belong to several that easily generate
over a 100 emails a day. I simply redirect them through my
mail program to their own directory, read the ones that I am
interested and ignore the rest.
If enough of you are interested, we can setup a mail list on any
Web related topic or topics. Send me an e-mail.