Tag Archives: wiitransfer

Miitomo and Wii Transfer

On episode 18 of my Timetable podcast, which I just published this morning, I mention the new Nintendo game Miitomo. Federico Viticci also wrote about it today:

I’ve been keeping an eye on Miitomo – I still don’t completely understand it, but I’m intrigued by the premise of a friend-based network with mini-games and the ability to collect coins. Those coins can then be used to claim rewards and redeem other Nintendo-related content such as games and customizations. I’m curious to see how Miitomo will perform outside of Japan.

For a several years between 2006 and 2010, I sold and actively worked on a little Mac app called Wii Transfer. It was the first time I realized that I could make a living selling Mac software, even though it didn’t always have great sales consistently by itself. To this day, one of the features I’m most proud to have ever written is the Mii export, which could sync Mii data over Bluetooth from the Wii remotes and render it to let you save your Miis as PNG files on your Mac.

I’ve often mused on Core Intuition that I stopped selling the app too soon. At one point I worked on a companion app to the Nintendo DS with similar themes, but didn’t ship it. And I considered building a version for iOS just with the Mii functionality.

From a blog post in 2012, announcing that Wii Transfer would no longer be available:

I’m retiring Wii Transfer to focus on my other apps. It’s not that it doesn’t sell; it still does. It’s just that it’s not an app I actually use anymore. By officially shelving the whole project, I hope to remove a psychological burden of sorts — to no longer worry that I’m ignoring an active product.

I’ll never know if it was a missed opportunity — a mistake for the direction of my indie business to stop selling something that people liked — or the right call to refocus around what I actually cared about. In any case, I’m glad Nintendo is doing something new with Miis. As I play with Miitomo, there’s a part of me that regrets not doing more with Nintendo-compatible software while I had a competitive head start.

Podcast interviews and the new Riverfold

I was interviewed for two podcasts recently. The first is the CocoaConf Podcast. Daniel Steinberg does a fantastic job of editing his show with a tight format, mixing together interviews and community news.

We talked a lot about my new microblogging project and working on things that matter. I told the story of shutting down my Mac app Wii Transfer to focus on other projects:

“It was really popular. I remember when I shipped 2.0 it was one of my best sales days ever, probably the best sales day ever. But what I came to is that as neat as it was, as useful as it was for some people, in the big scheme of things — if you take 5 years out, 10 years out — that app just wasn’t that important. It was neat, but it’s time had come and gone.”

The other podcast I was on is a new one called Consult. It’s an interview show all about consulting and client work. I had a good time chatting with host David Kopec about evolving Riverfold Software to include consulting while at the same time expanding into a full-time indie business.

Justin Williams kills 2 apps

Justin Williams on his decision to stop selling his apps MarkdownMail and Today:

“Financially, it may not have made much sense to cut off the revenue streams, but therapeutically I’m freeing up that portion of my brain to focus my full attention on the next version of Elements and the dozens of other ideas that that are circling in my head.”

I felt exactly the same way when I stopped selling Wii Transfer earlier this year. It wasn’t until a month later that I realized how much I had been enjoying that revenue, limited as it had become. I don’t regret it, though. It was the right thing for my potential customers, not to be misled into thinking there would be new versions. And it was the right thing for my focus, working on other projects.

Saying goodbye to Wii Transfer

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” — Walt Disney

There are many posts on this blog about Wii Transfer, the little Mac app that launched commercially almost by accident, and convinced me that it would be worthwhile to invest time in this side business called Riverfold Software. Early posts like the launch post in 2006 or this one about the first 75 days, and this one covering the price bump in version 2.5. But the app has been fading over the last couple of years, no longer as relevant today as it once was. It’s time to let it go.

I’m retiring Wii Transfer to focus on my other apps. It’s not that it doesn’t sell; it still does. It’s just that it’s not an app I actually use anymore. By officially shelving the whole project, I hope to remove a psychological burden of sorts — to no longer worry that I’m ignoring an active product.

It also doesn’t fit into a new theme I have for Riverfold: apps that are all about keeping and remembering what matters. For Clipstart, that’s family videos. For Tweet Library and Tweet Marker Plus, that’s old tweets. Wii Transfer is about… listening to music on your Wii? It doesn’t fit, and in the world of the Apple TV and Roku, modern streaming technology has passed the app by.

If anyone is disappointed that Wii Transfer will no longer receive updates, of course I offer refunds. I won’t be selling or open sourcing the app, preferring instead to continue to support existing customers myself for as long as they want to use the app. And I’ll keep the automatic bookmark service running that makes setup easy, as well as the Mii rendering service, so nothing breaks.

I put a lot of work into Wii Transfer over its 5-year lifespan. It’s not easy saying goodbye, especially to some of the unique things that only Wii Transfer could do, such as exporting Miis as images. Maybe I can bring that back one day. For now, I’m following the path started by my apps Tweet Library and Clipstart, for which there are many new things still to do.

Wii Transfer 2.7.2

And now for something completely different. I released a bug fix update to “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ last night, the first in over a year. It doesn’t have some of the bigger things I’d like to finish for the app, but it does have an important bug fix to Mii rendering.

At some point in a recent update to Safari or Mac OS X, Miis started appearing blank in Wii Transfer. These are rendered in an offscreen window using Flash, then saved as thumbnails in Wii Transfer with the option to export a JPEG. The fix — for reasons I’m still not clear on — was to switch to using NSBitmapImageRep’s cacheDisplayInRect instead of initWithFocusedViewRect. Needless to say, customers were frustrated that this was no longer working, and I’m sorry I didn’t take care of the problem more quickly.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the future of Wii Transfer and its companion “@wii”:http://twitter.com/wii Twitter account. This little Mac app is overdue for a rename and refocused feature set.

Removing features

“Lukas Mathis writes”:http://ignorethecode.net/blog/2010/02/02/removing-features/ about removing features:

“You don’t _have_ to try to please everybody and eventually create an application that is liked by nobody. In fact, since your users are in all likelihood in a situation where they can switch applications easily, and since they probably are not locked in by the need to open a specific file format in its native application, it might be a really bad idea for you to go down the ‘simply add up all the requested features’ route of application design.”

He also links to “my Wii Transfer survey”:http://www.manton.org/2009/07/wii_transfer_survey.html, so I thought I’d post a quick follow-up. I eventually did remove a feature, and the survey to customers served as a nice sanity check that the feature wasn’t heavily used. The interesting part, to me, is that the feature I removed was the entire 1.0 product for Wii Transfer. Literally everything that 1.0 did is now gone.

It’s been two weeks so far without any complaints. I like to think that it removes a distraction from the app — one less place in the app that could lead the customer down the wrong path. And hopefully it’ll eliminate a tiny part of my support load, as no one can ask me questions or have problems with that feature again!

On an internal company mailing list I once wrote:

“Products that don’t exist yet have a way of attracting new features because everyone sees the potential in something that has no form”.

I was talking about resisting the urge for everyone on the team to pile on their favorite features before 1.0, but I think this applies to apps with a minimal design as well. A simple app shows promise. A cluttered app with too much going on looks “done”, and sends a message that it is mature and maybe going in a different direction than what the user wants. In that way, the irony is that removing features (the wrong features) may actually make an application more appealing to new users.

Wii Transfer 2.7

I finally took the time to give “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ some much-needed attention, releasing version 2.7 of the application tonight. It’s got the usual bug fixes and some small visual improvements, but the most important change is better video streaming. The biggest mistake I ever made with Wii Transfer was to buy an Apple TV instead of forcing myself to use my own application.

For this release, I sat down with Wii Transfer and a ripped copy of Star Trek, and I just watched it over and over, experimenting with different Flash Video conversion settings and tweaking networking code. I wasn’t going to release this until I could watch a 2-hour movie without any rebuffering. The quality is never going to be as good as a console or set-top box with dedicated video streaming features — this is Flash on the Wii we are talking about — but I’m happy with what I came up with.

Wii Transfer is still only $19, and version 2.7 is a free upgrade for any customer who ever bought the application going back to 1.0 over three years ago. Also an important reminder: all sales go to charity starting tomorrow, January 20th, as part of “Indie Relief”:http://www.indierelief.com/.

Wii Transfer survey

Yesterday I sent out a newsletter to all my “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ customers. You can see the “text of the newsletter here”:http://www.riverfold.com/newsletter/2009/07.html. I wasn’t sure how effective this would be, but I immediately got a bunch of responses to the survey, and hopefully more interest in Clipstart too.

I decided against doing any specific tracking for number of views and links clicked, but there was an obvious spike in traffic for a couple hours as people clicked on the links in the email.

The survey results are about what I expected. Most people are buying Wii Transfer to watch movies and listen to music on their TV. I’ll use this feedback to simplify the user interface around these features, and prune back a feature set that had grown a little too fast for its own good.

Here’s a chart of the results so far:

Survey chart

I used “Campaign Monitor”:http://www.campaignmonitor.com/ for sending the newsletter, and as usual I’m very pleased with how simple they make this. I did a full customer export from my registration database and Campaign Monitor merged it with the existing list from my newsletter last year, weeding out duplicates and removing anyone who had already unsubscribed.

Family packs

I rolled out “family pack” pricing for “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ over the weekend. I had to make changes to my custom PayPal integration scripts to support it, and I also modified the product page to use a simplified checkout (no standalone store page). Pretty straightforward.

I was less sure about pricing. A quick survey of other Mac developers yielded results like these (normal price / family price — all of these are for 5 users):

“Radioshift”:http://www.rogueamoeba.com/: $32 / $59

“Yojimbo”:http://www.barebones.com/: $39 / $69

“Hazel”:http://www.noodlesoft.com/: $21.95 / $39.95

“iLife”:http://www.apple.com/ilife/: $79 / $99

“Bento”:http://www.filemaker.com/products/bento/: $49 / $99

“TextExpander”:http://www.smileonmymac.com/: $29.95 / $44.95

“MoneyWell”:http://nothirst.com/: $39.99 / $69.99

Additionally, some companies don’t have a family pack, but offer discounts for multiple copies:

“Acorn”:http://www.flyingmeat.com/: $49.95 / 2+ (20% off)

“On The Job”:http://www.stuntsoftware.com/: $24.95 / 2+ (20% off)

“BusySync”:http://www.busymac.com/: $25 / 5+ (10% off)

“Transmit”:http://www.panic.com/: $29.95 / 10+ (10% off)

So 5 copies is the standard for family packs. My original idea was 3 copies for $29, so I threw that out. Five copies for only 50% more seemed way too cheap, especially since Wii Transfer is already the least expensive software of any company I found. True, this is “free” money — most customers don’t buy more than 1 copy anyway — but on the other hand they are getting 5 separate serial numbers. Unlike Apple’s iLife (which has no serial numbers), or Radioshift and BusySync (which allow a special serial number to be used on multiple computers), Wii Transfer’s URL bookmarking feature requires each copy of Wii Transfer to have a unique serial number to identify the computer.

I think customers buying a family pack are exceptionally honest. They are going out of their way to do the right thing. But at the same time, it needs to be a fair enough price that I’m not losing anything if a few customers decide to share their “extra” serial numbers with a friend.

In the end I settled on $39 for the 5-copy family pack, essentially double the normal price of $19. The Bento pricing model convinced me that it was doable, even if percentage wise it’s slightly higher than other products. I’ll be watching stats over the next month to see how well it works. “Decisions are temporary”:https://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch06_Done.php. I’m not afraid to change the family price or drop it altogether if it doesn’t meet my expectations.

Campaign Monitor

Last month, on the 7th episode of Core Intuition, we talked about promotion. In particular I had good things to say about Campaign Monitor, and the folks who built it heard the episode and wanted to ask a set of follow-up questions to use on their own blog. “That mini-interview with me”:http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2008/10/manton_reece_talks_email_marke.html about how I used the service is now online.

In closing out that blog post, Mathew Patterson of Freshview suggests a couple things I agree with, including sending a newsletter more frequently than once a year. In fact I would love to send another one soon, to link up a survey to get some more information about why customers are purchasing Wii Transfer.

Unfortunately my hands are tied with yearly. When I put together the Wii giveaway promotion, I specifically told users opting in that it would be about once a year. I did this to encourage people to sign up without wondering if they would be spammed all the time. And also, I doubted that I would have the time to send a newsletter much more often than every year. So it’s not ideal, but there it is.

Since then we’ve recorded 2 more shows. The latest “Core Intuition”:http://www.coreint.org/ hits the lifting of the NDA, the iPhone Tech Talk Tour, and Apple’s stock price.

Tracking sales referrers

The primary way to track marketing and word-of-mouth about your product is to look at web site referrers. Easy. Just install “Mint”:http://www.haveamint.com/ and you’re done.

But not all referrers are created equal. A prominent link on Digg might lead to sales or it might lead to dozens of “wish it was free” comments on your blog. To really judge the effectiveness of referrers (and in turn give a better idea about where resources should be placed in the future) take it one step further to track the initial referrer link all the way through to purchase. You want to know where the customer first learned about your product.

This isn’t a new idea and I’m certainly not the first to do it. Wil Shipley spoke at length about this technique during “his C4 talk”:http://www.viddler.com/explore/rentzsch/videos/4/ in 2007, in the context of online advertising. In talking with other developers it became clear to me that most people don’t do this, even though it can be achieved in about a dozen lines of code.

The basics are pretty simple:

  • When a link comes in to your site, see if a special cookie is set. I called mine “WiiTransferRef”.

  • If the cookie is set, you have a repeat visitor. Nothing to do at this point.

  • If the cookie is missing, this user is likely visiting your site for the first time. Put the referrer value in the cookie.

  • After a purchase is complete, check for this cookie and add an entry to the database with the referrer value and timestamp for the order.

You can add more intelligence as suits your requirements and available time, but the basics don’t need to be any more complex than this. For bonus points and slightly improved security, you could add a database entry that tracks the referrer value and use the cookie as a session that simply points to that row, updating the database to show completed orders, but I chose not to do that to keep the database uncluttered.

Here’s the PHP source for my main product page:

And then the source for the final “thanks!” page after a purchase is complete:

Note that because I am using simple PayPal buttons, not all customers actually reach the last page, because they can ignore the “return to seller” link after a completed transaction and instead go wherever they chose. This limitation goes away if you have rolled your own store or used something like “PotionStore”:http://www.potionfactory.com/potionstore.

I’ve been tracking these for over a year now. I’ll share some stats about what I’ve learned in a future blog post.

Wii Transfer 2.6 and August

As I mention on the next “Core Intuition”:http://www.coreint.org/, which I’m currently finishing editing and should be out tomorrow, “Wii Transfer 2.6”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ was very well received. I put out a 2.6.1 tonight to address Mii problems for some customers, and with new encoding settings that improve movie streaming quality significantly.

The following chart shows the spike in sales for August along with every month of 2008 and 2007. This isn’t revenue but total units sold for the month.


While I don’t expect nearly this level for September, I am nevertheless interested in how far it will drop. Maybe I’ll post an updated chart at the end of the year.

For the extra curious, the jumps in September and October of last year were when I released version 2.5 and when I did the MacZOT promotion. December was MacSanta, and somewhere in the middle of there I did the Nintendo Wii giveaway.

FLV metadata performance

One of worst-kept secrets of “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ is that the movie playback is not as good as what you might see on an Apple TV, Xbox 360, or PS3. I do my best to improve the quality with every release, but let’s face it: while the Wii is perfectly capable of playing fullscreen video, it stumbles when put to that task inside the Opera web browser through Flash.

In the upcoming version 2.6, I’ve added the ability to skip directly to any part of a playing movie by clicking on the timeline with the Wii remote. It was frustrating not to be able to do that in previous versions and made it difficult to watch or fast-forward through long movies.

The way many Flash movie players handle skipping is by inserting metadata into the FLV file that contains a map between seconds in the timeline and file positions for the keyframes, and that’s the way Wii Transfer works as well. Unfortunately this requires rewriting the entire FLV file when post-processing movies. (“Ian Baird”:http://blog.skorpiostech.com/ suggested a future optimization would be to store the metadata separately and redo the player to send seconds instead of file offsets to the server.) I was initially using the open source flvtool2.rb to achieve this, but it was extremely slow, so I rewrote it in Objective-C. (Not a port. The Objective-C version was written from scratch and is significantly shorter than the Ruby version in terms of lines of code. It does a little bit less, but it’s optimized for exactly what Wii Transfer needs.)

This chart shows the performance improvements when processing a couple large movie files. Measured in seconds, so shorter bars are better.

FLV chart

The other good thing that came out of all this work is that I can now look at a FLV file in a hex editor and not be totally confused. “Hex Fiend”:http://ridiculousfish.com/hexfiend/ was one of the best ways to debug what my code was doing when it failed.

MacSanta 2007 in time for Christmas

Wii Transfer’s featured day for “MacSanta”:http://www.macsantadeals.com/ starts at midnight tonight, but I’ve already rolled out the coupon code. Because I’m still using simple PayPal “Buy Now” buttons, I hacked together a little custom coupon field just for MacSanta (based on a simple JavaScript trick posted to the MacSB list). I tried to come up with a clear interface even though there isn’t a traditional online store, because it just doesn’t make sense to spend time on a full store for only one product. (Plus, look at that cute MacSanta logo! Aww.)

Here’s a screenshot “from the web site”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ after you’ve redeemed a code:

MacSanta coupon

On Friday the discount drops to a respectable 10% off for the rest of the month. Happy holidays!

Wrapping up the Wii Giveaway

Sending away second Wii After sitting on a shelf in my office for 2 months, unopened and unloved, I finally shipped off the Nintendo Wii today to the lucky winner. I was initially worried because he didn’t respond until well into the second day after I notified him, but he was pretty excited (“You’ve made my holiday”) and I’m glad it could ship out before Christmas. The picture here is in the car before I went into the UPS store to fill the box with peanuts.

The promotion took a surprising amount of effort, but it was fun and definitely worthwhile. There were a total of 2447 unique submissions (1925 for the email form, and 522 from Twitter). Of those, over 1/3 agreed to sign up for my annual Riverfold Software newsletter. I consider that alone a success, although until I look at the stats more closely it’s not clear what percentage of potential-customers are actually using Macs. My “Wii Twitter account”:http://twitter.com/wii also doubled to about 300 followers.

Although sales were initially flat, both “TUAW”:http://www.tuaw.com/2007/12/05/wii-transfer-maker-giving-away-a-wii/ and “Ars Technica”:http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2007/12/06/win-a-wii-to-go-with-your-wii-transfer-for-mac ran nice stories on the promotion. I also “wrote a press release”:http://riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/press/giveaway.html, with the idea of hitting some of the bigger gaming sites for the second week of the contest. In the end I decided not to, because I wanted to focus on Mac users, and because frankly there were plenty of submissions and I was burned out on the process.

The contest easily paid for itself, but the extra sales really weren’t that significant. I have a database that tracks referrers through to the actual purchase, so I noticed an increase of only about 10-20 copies out of the 100 sales for the month so far. Part of that is no doubt the catch-22 of giving away hardware that is required for your software product, but I know that long-term there will be a benefit to the wider exposure.

Mistakes? I should have made the whole promotion last just a day or two, and hyped it before launching instead. I also should have required that Twitter users follow Wii before entering, which would have boosted those followers and also greatly simplified tracking submissions (replies were spread over 3 RSS feeds and 33 iChat log transcripts). Relatively minor complaints, though, overall.

To everyone who provided feedback on the idea, thanks. Maybe next year I’ll implement some of the more interesting promotion ideas I heard.

Holiday Wii Giveaway and Twitter

A few months ago I was in Target and they had some Wiis in stock, so on an impulse I bought one. I’ve owned a Wii since launch day, but I had this idea to give one away for Christmas as an experiment to help promote Wii Transfer. I sat on the idea for a while, listened to feedback from others, and finally “rolled it out this morning”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/giveaway/ with two methods to enter: web form (with field to notify a friend about the giveaway) and via Twitter (by sending a reply to @wii).

Unfortunately there was a major snag with the Twitter idea. It turns out that @wii replies won’t show up in my Replies tab (or RSS feed) in Twitter unless the user posting the tweet is already following “twitter.com/wii”:http://twitter.com/wii. I now regret not making that a requirement, but I also know that it would have hurt the simplicity of entering via Twitter.

So what’s the solution? For now, a combination of things. I am now tracking every tweet that contains “wii” (try it, there are some fun ones), which I will aggregate with the standard replies as well as results from a search on “Terraminds”:http://terraminds.com/twitter/ to fill in any of the tweets I missed. It’s all a bit cumbersome because the tracking results come through IM (luckily iChat transcripts are XML now).

It feels very fragile, but hopefully I won’t miss any entries. There’s no cost to submitting multiple times, so consider sending another @wii tweet next week or entering with the web form to guarantee you’re in the drawing. If in doubt, re-read the “last line on the fine print”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/giveaway/.

Android and getting real

“Steven Frank”:http://stevenf.com/2007/11/try_again.php on Google’s phone announcement:

“Find someone, ONE person, with a unique vision. Lock them in a room with some programmers and a graphic designer. Twenty people, tops. Change the world. Quit re-hashing the same old bullshit and telling me it’s new, exciting, or in any way innovative. Be ready to fail, many times, but for love of all that is holy take a stand on something.”

I heard about the Google phone consortium pretty much exclusively through Twitter, and the reaction seems about universal from the folks I follow (admittedly, half of them are total Mac geeks). I’m honestly not sure how the Google phone is relevant to me, but then again, I don’t like Gmail.

Although this week’s “37signals post on personas”:http://www.37signals.com/svn/posts/690-ask-37signals-personas isn’t about Android, some of the points are relevant to committee-led design:

“I don’t think you can build a great product for a person that doesn’t exist. And I definitely don’t think you can build a great product based on a composite sketch of 10 different people all rolled into one (or two or three).” […] “Every product we build is a product we build for ourselves to solve our own problems.”

Not using your own product can turn into a real problem, and I realized after I bought an Apple TV that “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ suffered from it. So I forced myself to use my own product instead, and that made all the difference. Plus, it was easy to unplug the Apple TV because the thing got so hot I was worried it would burn the house down while I slept.

Wii Transfer 2.5.2 and Leopard

Happy Halloween! “Wii Transfer 2.5.2”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ is now available. This is probably one of the most difficult bug fix releases I’ve done. Full changes are in “the release notes”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/releasenotes/, but the biggest stuff includes fixed Leopard UI glitches and a new 2-pass encoding that should result in much more consistent movie streaming quality. Along the way I touched most of the corners of the product, including many hours of trial-and-error debugging the Flash FLV player component.

While testing Wii Transfer on my TV the other day I had a moment to reflect on how this product has evolved. What started as a one-weekend hack has grown into something quite a bit more complex. It has a few rough edges, sure, but I’m proud of this little app and how I’ve been able to put a simple UI on all these different technologies (embedded web server, HTML/JavaScript/Flash UI, MP3 and FLV conversion, iLife integration, etc). I have a few new features planned and in various stages of development, but I think the just-released 2.5.2 is going to start a trend of refinement; there’s a lot I could do to improve the movie conversion and streaming experience before introducing anything radically new.

So, Leopard. I had originally planned to just wipe my old Leopard seed partition on the MacBook and test the GM, but at the last minute I dove full in and did an upgrade install on my primary machine, the Mac Pro. I have nightly SuperDuper clones just in case, but the upgrade was completely smooth. It’s a great OS foundation and I can’t wait to see what other developers have been working on.

Wii Transfer on macZOT

After I shipped Wii Transfer 2.5 I decided to start spending a little time promoting the product. Every month or so I’ll do some small thing to improve sales. Last month that was a “press release”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/press/2.5.html, followed by the “ad on The Talk Show”:http://www.manton.org/2007/10/the_talk_show.html, and next month I’ll be giving away a brand new Nintendo Wii as a holiday promotion.

Today Wii Transfer is on sale at “macZOT”:http://www.maczot.com/ for the incredibly low price of just $9 (half off!). To be honest I have mixed feelings about these kind of promotions, and the first time macZOT approached me about it I declined. I worry that it can reinforce a message that all software should be cheap — that even $19 is too expensive — but on the other hand it’s great exposure to an audience that might not otherwise hear about Wii Transfer.

Lisa at macZOT has been great to work with, letting me set the price (even though I get a small fraction of what a normal sale would be, I felt it was important to do the promotion to its fullest and go below $10), and making sure macZOT pings my backend script so that serial numbers go out to customers right away. I know people can be frustrated if they have to wait to receive the product, and I also have a new serial number lookup form on the site that ties into all of this quite nicely.

It’s a fun experiment. If you’ve been thinking about purchasing Wii Transfer but thought it was too expensive, head over to macZOT to pick up your copy. The “discussion page”:http://maczot.com/discuss/?p=563 will probably have some comments too.

The Talk Show ad and porting to Windows

Episode 11 of “The Talk Show”:http://www.thetalkshow.net/ is up, and I’m happy to say that “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ is this week’s sponsor. Even if you’ve been subscribed since the first show, click over to see the new site design by “Airbag Industries”:http://airbagindustries.com/. It’s beautifully done and I tried to create an ad graphic that feels at home there.

For the Wii Transfer ad text I included “Only for Mac”, partly to discourage any Windows listeners from clicking and to set expectations that Wii Transfer is not a web site, but also because after a decade of being ignored I think Mac users like to be reminded that there is a bunch of great software just for them.

Earlier this month “Daniel Jalkut wrote about the unlikelihood of MarsEdit for Windows”:http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/394/blogging-from-windows:

“I love writing software for the Mac. If I had to write software for another platform, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as interested in doing it. Heck, I might work more on becoming a musician, or a designer, or one of the other many trades that I have an interest in. For that reason, the chances of MarsEdit for Windows are almost nil.”

I love that Mac indies are receiving so many “what about a Windows version?” requests. I get similar emails every couple weeks about Wii Transfer for Windows, and luckily there are a couple Windows or open source alternatives that I can point people to. (Some of them are even cross-platform and available for Mac, but they are of the “double click this Java .jar file” variety, so I don’t generally consider them direct competition.)

It used to feel strange getting these requests. I would respond with “maybe” and “unlikely”, suggesting that it’s probably not going to happen but leaving open the possibility, as Daniel did when he said “almost nil”. Then I realized — who am I kidding? — I’m never going to port this to Windows regardless of demand. Never. “With the right team”:http://www.vitalsource.com/ I enjoy working on cross-platform apps, just as I appreciate meetings, planning, and the other formalities (in moderation) that come with a more corporate environment. But Wii Transfer isn’t about any of that; it’s my vacation from the real world, and on my time I use and build for Macs.

Also read the Airfoil for Windows section of “Ars Technica’s interview with Paul Kafasis”:http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2007/2/2/6863 from February.