Open Source otak?

As you know, it has been ages since I last updated otak.  There are many reasons of this, but the chief is the fact that I’m no longer an active coder in my day job, and the reasons for installing and running VB6 became much more difficult to justify.  There are many things that I want to do with otak still (one user memorably asked if the ‘PIM’ in otak PIM stood for ‘Printing Is Missing’), but realistically I can’t see myself pumping in anymore time into this project.

I’m thinking of open sourcing this project, but unsure if it would make a difference.  Would it be hubris to expect people would even be interested? 🙂

But there are many reasons to do so – someone with the interest could upgrade the code to .NET (sorely needed, now that I get questions on Win7, and there’s no guarantee that Win8 would even run VB6.  Although I need to recheck that, since there’s no reason VB proggies wouldn’t run provided the VB runtimes are installed).

Or I could hit a lottery and I finally get some time off to do it myself, without working about my day job. 🙂

Well, I’m still pondering this.


10 Years!

I just realized a couple of days ago that in about 8 months’ time, I will have reached a milestone.  My earliest entry in my copy of otak is dated 22 Sept 2001, and if you were to have asked me if I would use a piece of software for 10 years, I would have laughed.

But here we are. otak is an essential piece of my life; it is still the first piece of software I install on any new machine, is the first directory I set my automated backup software to protect, is one of the first software I run every morning.

Believe it or not people are still sending me email on questions and feature requests.  I’m grateful to all my users, and am glad to hear all sorts of stories of how otak has helped in their daily lives.

I’ve just upgraded with a new look, after a move to a new webhost. I suppose it’s timely since we’re reaching a milestone, and I would want to commemorate this with something tangible.  Well, aside from a new release, that is. 🙂

otak awarded Softpedia’s “100% Clean”

Softpedia 100% Clean

Wow. Unexpected. I recently got an email from Softpedia, a prominent freeware directory service, telling me that otak has been tested and certified by their labs to be “100% Clean.” It means that otak “does not contain any form of malware, including but not limited to: spyware, viruses, trojans and backdoors.”

Well, I could have told you that myself. 🙂

Anyway, it’s great that it’s recognized as such by an independent party, and such a distinguished party at that. So I’m grateful to the Softpedia team for this award.

Check the statement by Softpedia here, and if you want, you can download otak from the Softpedia site too.

Still more roadworks

Tweaking the list of items I’ve listed in my previous post. Life has a way of zooming past you if you’re not looking, and that’s certainly the case with me and otak. When you’re juggling to many things, it’s hard to notice what’s happening in the background – in my case, it’s “What? It’s been 8 days since my last update at”

One of the things I’m also doing is cleaning up my otak code and repackaging it… this time to make it a step towards portability. Soon, I’ll make it run from a USB thumbdrive, although my idea is pretty experimental.

Another day, another update

Another day has been spent fixing up It’s amazing how the time goes by when you’re working on seemingly easy tasks.

I’ve added the ability for you to add yourself to the otak Announcements Mailing List, found in the Releases/Announcements link under Contact/Feedback. Users and the curious may now be able to add themselves to the list, and be updated when I have something to announce.

I have a couple of things yet to add:

  1. Closer integration with phpList (what I use to manage the mailing list)
  2. Tweak the website colours
  3. Do up the main page – it still feels wrong, and I will fix that soon.
  4. Add new FAQ entries on USB drive usage, upcoming fixes/enhancements, and using it on multiple PCs (it can’t, btw, unless you do some magic.  I’ll teach you the spell, as it were).

Man, I gotta go sleep.

Phase 1 of Website Refurbishing- completed!

Whoa. I had not idea.

I’ve finally completed the first phase of the refurbishing After years of using the previous design (which I coded by hand), I’ve decided to change it. I’m using WordPress as the base, and slowly moving in content that I’ve backed up.

When I embarked on this this morning, I thought I’d be done in half a day, max. It turned out to be a full day, with meals and a couple of hours out shopping in between. I’ve used WordPress previously when I set up my wife’s blog, but I had no idea that when I’m customizing it to my very precise needs that I’d have to invest the time to really study the nuances of the software. Granted, it’s powerful, but it’s also not terribly efficient. Takes a long time to get the simplest edit done, and I have to move back and forth menu items to change the CSS. Maybe when I get a little more experience things will ease up.

I’m glad to say the worst is over.

I’ll be spending the next few days putting in my prior blog entries, warts and all, and will continue to update this site more regularly.

On the otak development front, I’m happy to announce that otak is not completely forgotten, although if I’m honest I’ll admit being distracted with a brand new project. You’ll see nothing there at present, but soon… 🙂 In any case, I’ve never relied on otak more in my current work, so I will definitely continue to develop it.

As if it’s not enough, I’ve found out a little about the iCalendar standard, which I hope otak will support in the future. Ah, on second thought, maybe after a short list of urgent enhancements first… Maintenance

Hello… if you’re seeing this, please don’t fret – hasn’t disappeared.  I’m doing a long overdue overhauling of the site, so please bear with me for now.  I will restore everything as soon as I can.

Well, at least I’d be surprised if this takes more than a day.

To quote the Californian governor: “I’ll be back.”