Omni goes skating, skating rink wins.

by Rowan on March 5, 2007

To celebrate the launch of OmniPlan, the Omnis went to the Lynwood Skate and Bowl, where we had way too much fun.  What we discovered is that Ken has an alternate life as a professional roller skater (or something), and proceeded to skate circles around the rest of us (usually backwards, on one skate).  He then took us to the bowling alley, where he showed me how to throw many strikes in a row.  I did not fare as well, but at least I beat my old record of 27.

There were unconfirmed reports of some morning-after sickness which may or may not have been related to the food, though apparently people not even present had some problems, which tells me that the food served was of a truly spectacular and long-reaching variety.

Liz decided that she didn't need her wrist guards that she uses for rollerblading, she was wrong:

liz broken


It's hard out here for a weasel

by Linda Sharps on March 5, 2007

You know, it's tough to be a marketing weasel in a company like Omni. I'm forbidden from telling outright lies, or padding product copy with too much rich, delicious, creamery hyperbole. I can't email all of our customers with Enticing Limited Time Offers because Omni has this totally RESTRICTIVE belief that spam is evil and only people who deliberately join mailing lists should hear from us and even then, I'm forbidden from using the phrases “reverses aging” or “consolidate debt”, and the word “enlarges”.  (Which is too bad, because I had this great campaign idea about OmniPlan Enlarging Your Productivity 2 To 5 Inches, but apparently that's a NO GO.)

Omni actually cares about being as genuine as possible, and not dripping sales-slime all over the place as we conduct our business. Then again, we are a business, and even though we don't want to trick people, even though we want you to make your purchase because you're happy with what we're offering, we do sort of have to, you know, ask for the sale.

So I'm hoping you can give us some feedback on an issue we've been struggling with lately. As you may know, we offer demo versions of all our software. Currently, we've got a few different unlicensed-mode strategies going on: OmniWeb lets you try everything for 30 days; OmniOutliner, OmniGraffle, and OmniPlan limit you to 20 items or less, and OmniDiskSweeper disables the “delete” button. You can download one-day trial licenses for any product on our website, too.

Here's our challenge:

• We'd like to have a consistent approach to these demos

• We'd like to allow a potential customer to adequately try the features of a given app

• We don't want to be too annoying

• We do want to encourage people to make the purchase if they like it

• We can't let people use our software for free (well, except for OmniDictionary)

What are your thoughts? When you use demo software, what system works best for you—that is, doesn't drive you nuts, helps you determine whether you like it, and ultimately makes it easy for you to buy it?


OmniFocus timing (some guesswork required)

by Linda Sharps on February 27, 2007

Some nice people from Macworld magazine came by last week to visit the Omni offices, including the formidable Mr. Jim Dalrymple, who challenged us with the same question I'm sure some of you would like the answer to.

Jim: “So when is this OmniFocus going to be released, anyway?”

Me: *chokes on a slurp of coffee, narrowly avoiding spraying the entire table Gallagher-style*

Jim: “Wow, you must really suck at poker.”

I like to think my near-asphyxiation was just coincidence, but then again, maybe I was a little overly excited to hear what our official answer would be. Every time I ask, I get one of the following Engineer Brushoffs:

“The bug graph is holding steady this week.”

“(Something incomprehensibly technical).”

“Look, something shiny!” (runs away)

And my favorite,

“It will be done when it's done.

(Do you feel my pain? DO YOU?)

I actually can't remember exactly what we told Jim (he was probably too busy snickering at my Coffee Inhalation of Doom, anyway), but here's our most recent best guess at a date for an OmniFocus beta: late April or early May.

It's been really difficult to make accurate estimates for this product's timeline, and I hope the April/May timeframe is on target. My apologies in advance if it's not, but I thought it would be better to give you what information we can, rather than none at all.

As a reminder, you can sign up to be on the beta tester list here, and we've posted some FAQs here.

Oh, and one last thing, here's a work-in-progress draft of the OmniFocus icon. What do you think?