A Massive Undertaking

I’ve wanted to update powerOne for six months now, ever since the iOS 7 announcement. Actually I wanted to update powerOne long before that. The problem is I couldn’t justify it. The product’s sales have dwindled horribly over the years and even a weeks worth of work was more than a months pay. I didn’t have the money or time to devote to it.

But still… it’s powerOne! It’s the product I’ve labored over for more than a decade, that has been with me through marriage and children, love and loss. Not working on powerOne, letting it languish and die, felt like I was a god handing out cancer to long ago friends.

I’ve been trapped in this hell for months, trapped between I can’t pay the bills with this product and I don’t want it to die. I spent too much time thinking about how to revive it and modernize it. What if powerOne was free with ads? What if we could make it easier to create templates? What if there was only one version? What if we could turn it into a web service? What if… what if… what if.

But the reality is the product was designed for a different software era. It was designed for an era when we called it software and spent $100 for it. It was designed for an era when most software was sold in the US. It was designed for an era when there was two major mobile computing platforms, Palm and Windows Mobile, not one where we think about Android and iOS and Mac and Windows and web (and maybe Windows Phone).

Most of my time has been spent on contract work this past year or so, mostly out of necessity. Got to pay the bills, after all. And any extra time we’ve had Rick and I have worked on Equals, which in my mind is a better powerOne, designed for the modern app era with many of powerOne’s shortcomings in mind.

So here we are, reaching the end of 2013, almost six months after iOS 7 was announced and three months after it launched. powerOne sales continue to languish and I have a gap in my schedule as I await Rick’s work on Equals. Finally, a chance to work on powerOne. We already had the designs. I just had to convince myself not to do a major overhaul. Modernize without disrupting, as much as possible.

And that’s where I have been the past week, trying to modernize powerOne. I thought, given other experiences with iOS 7, that it shouldn’t take more than two or three days of heavy lifting. Ha! Updating the calculators (iPhone and iPad are separate) alone took three days! I worked straight through the weekend and I’m still going as of this writing.

It’s not going to make it in time for Apple’s break (Dec 21-27) but we should be ready soon thereafter. I’m at least excited to see the old girl with a beautiful new facelift and some fine-tuning under the hood. She looks thoroughly modern. And who knows? Maybe that’s all she needs to help pay the bills again.