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Martin Holmes

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  1. Martin Holmes

    Half-Baked Software Charity Month

    Hi there, Many thanks indeed for the extra publicity. We're hoping we can raise a significant amount for charity, and this will help a lot. The Masher program enables you to build complete units of HotPot exercises (and other Web pages), all with a consistent appearance, linked together with navigation buttons, and including an index. It's intended for people who create large Websites consisting of many units of material. The v6 Masher can also handle Quandary mazes, and when TexToys 3 comes out next month, it will also integrate with the Masher, so it will be possible to build complete units of material including static Web pages, HotPot exercises, Quandary mazes and TexToys exercises automatically using the Masher. The Masher is included with HotPot 6, and without registration it will build units of up to three pages/exercises. To build more, you need a key, which you can get with a HotPot licence. Cheers, Martin
  2. Martin Holmes

    Half-Baked Software Charity Month

    Hi there, The rules for Hot Potatoes licences are: Hot Potatoes is free for use by individuals working for state-funded educational institutions which are non-profit making, on the condition that the material you produce using the program is freely available to anyone via the WWW. However, you need to purchase a licence under any of the following conditions: * You are working for a company or corporation, or an educational institution which is not state-funded. * You are in business for yourself. * You charge money for access to the material you make with Hot Potatoes. * You do not make the material freely available through the WWW. http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/hot_pot_licence.php If you buy a licence, you get a registration key for the Masher program as well; there's no other way to get a Masher key. Quandary, in contrast, is straightforward shareware (everyone pays). I know the HotPot licensing terms are a little hard to understand, but our concern has always been to support HotPot development through sales to those who can afford it (corporations, private schools, publishers, Web design companies etc.) while making it free to those who have less money to spend, and who are prepared to share their materials with the community. We get regular emails from folks in the US military who are convinced that they work for a state-funded educational institution, but so far we've held out against their assaults. Cheers, Martin
  3. Martin Holmes

    Half-Baked Software Charity Month

    Hi there, [We hope you'll forgive the intrusion of company information, but this message is really very un-corporate.] It's with great pleasure that we announce that in celebration of the fifth birthday of Half-Baked Software Inc., we have decided that for the whole of the month of May 2004, we will give all the income received from purchases of Hot Potatoes and Quandary licences directly to charity. The University of Victoria has agreed to waive its royalty percentage, we will waive ours, and the company will cover ongoing costs out of its savings, so every penny of the software licence fee will go directly to charity. If you buy a $50 licence during May, we will give $50 to charity. So if you've been thinking about buying a licence in the next little while, May is the time to do it! If you really ought to have a licence, but you can't stand the idea of paying money to something whose name ends in "Inc."; or if you really should have purchased a licence before, but you just haven't got around to it, do it in May! If you're a Hot Potatoes user but you haven't yet tried Quandary, give it a try now! For full details of the charities we're supporting, and weekly reports on how much we've received and contributed, check out the Web page here: http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/charity.php If you are a member of any other mailing list or newsgroup whose members might be interested in this, please post this message on to them. All the best, Martin and Stewart Half-Baked Software
  4. Martin Holmes

    Origins of Hot Potatoes

    Hi Graham, I love your Sainsbury's thing. but there is one difference between groceries and software: you can't produce infinite numbers of copies of a cabbage for free, but you can produce unlimited copies of a piece of software for nothing. There are distribution costs for any hard copies, but propagation over the Web is very low-cost, so it is practical to give software away. However, if you want to make any money, you have to make your free distribution fit into a well-thought-out business plan that includes revenues from other sources which will be enhanced by the free distribution. Figuring out how to make that equation work can be difficult. What we really sell nowadays, rather than "software", is technical support and the promise that the software will continue to exist and be fixed/upgraded etc. Freeware can rarely promise this (with some obvious open-source exceptions). More and more users realize that it's in their interest to pay, rather than use a cracked warez version, because that way they help to ensure the health and longevity of the product -- and if they use it a lot, they will be relying on that. Cheers, Martin
  5. Martin Holmes

    Origins of Hot Potatoes

    Hi there, We don't give it away free, actually. The terms of use are here: http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/hot_pot_licence_terms.php Only teachers working for state-funded educational institutions who share their work through open Websites are allowed to use it for free. There are enough corporations, small companies and individuals who want to hide their materials behind Websites or sell them to provide Half-Baked with a small income; some of that goes to the university general coffers, some into our own unit (to buy computers for us), some goes to us as individuals and directors of the company, and some stays in the company to provide for future growth. It's working well. We're not going to get rich, but I don't think anyone gets rich from educational software! Cheers, Martin
  6. Martin Holmes

    Origins of Hot Potatoes

    Hi all, John Simkin asked me to post a brief outline of the origin of Hot Potatoes, so here it is, adapted from an article we published a few years ago: Hot Potatoes arose initially out of our own needs. By 1997, the use of Web pages in support of educational courses was already widespread, and we found ourselves with the need to create a wide range of interactive exercises for the Web, in support of various language programs. At the time, JavaScript was the only practical and reliable method of doing this, so we evolved a set of template scripts for simple exercise types (multiple-choice, short-answer, gap-fill and so on) which enabled us to create exercises more consistently and quickly. However, creating exercises manually based on the templates proved very time consuming, and it wasn't long before a Windows-based authoring tool (the first version of JQuiz, the short-answer quiz generator in Hot Potatoes) was written to automate the process. It was first created to make our own work quicker and simpler, but it occurred to us that it might be useful for others working in the same field, so it was packaged up with an installation routine and a Help file, and issued as freeware. Further applications followed, with JBC (the multiple-choice quiz generator) issued under the invented name "Half-Baked Software". The name derived from a picture created by our graphics expert, based on a scanned image of my lunchtime potato, and this became the splash screen for the product. At this point, interest was growing in our authoring tools, and more specific demands were beginning to arise in terms of support for foreign language characters, different operating systems, and browsers. In April 1998, we decided to create an integrated authoring suite bringing together new versions of five applications, and make it available for Windows and Macintosh. This became Hot Potatoes, which is now in version 6, and has nearly two hundred thousand registered users. It has spawned a real company called Half-Baked Software Inc., which we co-own with the university, and has become a small but useful source of revenue for our unit, the Humanities Computing and Media Centre at the University of Victoria. Cheers, Martin
  7. Martin Holmes

    Website Creation Tools

    Hi all, These are two that have been mentioned: http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/hotpot/ (Hot Potatoes) http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/quandary.php (Quandary) I've also written another pair of apps called TexToys that are similar to Hot Potatoes, with different exercise types: http://www.cict.co.uk/software/textoys/index.htm You'll need modern Web browsers to access most of the pages above; we've moved away from supporting old browsers in the last year, in favour of supporting current Web standards, and encouraging people to upgrade. Cheers, Martin
  8. Martin Holmes

    Introduce yourself here

    Hi there, I'm an ex-ESL teacher, now a computer programmer and instructional designer at the University of Victoria, Canada, and I'm one of the Half-Baked Software (Hot Potatoes and Quandary software) guys. My details are here: http://www.mholmes.com http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com I hold a BA in English, an M.Phil (both from Manchester), and the RSA DipTEFLA. I previously taught EFL for 15 years in several countries. In my current job, I provide Windows and web-based programming services to support university language teaching and research. Cheers, Martin