The Opposite of “Nobody Home”

Heading up our technical support department, I’ve heard almost every question there is about our software and a lot of other programs as well.  I always find it interesting when someone asks why we still answer our phones or why we give away updates for free.  Those are funny questions when you think about it and perhaps odd questions to be asking technical support.  But we do get all kinds here.

I believe the answer would be different for each of us here at Chaos Software.  Personally, I believe this shows a simple respect for our customers but I also believe this is what I would expect from any other software company.  Perhaps expect is the wrong word.  We use a lot of different software here and I almost never expect a software company to answer their phones or provide free upgrades.  So instead, I will say this is what I wish we would get from every other software company.  And if this is a level of service we wish from other companies then the least we can do is provide it ourselves.

I think for me, the most frustrating part of using a product, especially a new piece of software, is an overwhelming feeling that “no one is home”.  This trepidation can be slight if you have a simple usability question and can be devastating if you actually run into a problem.  I hope that, for my small part in technical support, we provide the antithesis to that “nobody home” feeling.  Hopefully we give you the feeling that despite what happens with the software, even if something can’t be fixed, at least there is someone on the other end of the download that cares about what happened.

Thoughts on Creating a New Version

I thought it might be interesting to give you a small amount of detail into what goes into a creating a new version of Intellect or Time & Chaos.  Unlike other software companies, we do not release a new version of our software based on the year or simply because it feel like it’s time our users paid for the program again.  Rather we have a list of changes we would like to make in any certain release.  If those changes can’t be made to the current version, they become long term changes that we would like to add if we completely rewrite the program in the future.  If that long term list gets long enough, it starts to feel like a completely new release is the best course of action.

What we implement is based first on how we use the software on a daily basis and second based on how we hear the software being used.  There are no favorites when recreating software from the ground up.  Every feature or function is evaluated.  Is this feature used by most people?  Is this feature intuitive?  Does a change make the program more confusing or less confusing, more functional or less?

Skip ahead through the months of development and testing and we will usually have a version that is almost ready for public consumption.  This is a bit like the “not ready for prime time players” of old Saturday Night Live.  Finally releasing this to your eager hands is a bit like crossing a minefield to move into a new house.  Yes, we are going to run into snags along the way but with time and patience, all snags can be traversed and the destination can be welcoming.

Of course, once you move in, it’s time to start redecorating.  The same is true with our software.  We almost never see a release as a finished product.  There is always room for growth and change.

New version: Legal Billing 7.5

Legal Billing has been a very popular program and not only for Law offices. It is simple and basic and at a great price point, too. Track time slips (hourly billing), expenses (flat fee charges) and payments. Generate invoices for everyone that owes you at the end of the month or billing period. Nothing complicated.

Legal Billing can be used with or without one of our contact manager programs. When used together, our contact managers (Intellect, Time & Chaos or Chaos Free), can plan for what’s next: upcoming meetings, phone calls, court dates, deadlines, while Legal Billing worries about the important part: getting paid!

So, what’s new in Legal Billing 7.5?

First, an updated contact database. When used with one of our contact manager programs, both need to use the same contact data to share information. With the recent updates to our contact managers, Legal Billing needed to be updated for compatibility. Legal Billing 7.5 is compatible with Intellect 4, Time & Chaos 8 and Chaos Free 8.

Second, direct support for cloud synchronization. Previous versions of Legal Billing had to be used in combination with one of our contact managers to sync with our ChaosHost cloud service. With version 7.5, Legal Billing can now sync directly with ChaosHost to keep two computers up to date with the same billing information.

If you own Legal Billing already, this is a free update that uses your same registration password.

Try the new cloud support with a free ChaosHost trial

If you would like to try out the cloud synchronization between two computers with Legal Billing, our sales department can also setup a free 30 day trial for you on request. Email them at sales@chaossoftware.com if you would like to get started. You can also suggest a login name (one phrase with no punctuation or spaces).

Should you decide to continue with ChaosHost after your trial period ends, you can subscribe for one year for $99 or two years for $149.

Add Chaos Free (it is actually free!)

Chaos Free is a basic and FREE version of our Time & Chaos contact manager. It has your contacts, your appointment schedule and your task list of to-do’s, all on one screen. Users of Time & Chaos or Intellect will recognize this as the classic screen in those programs.

There is no catch and no ads either! Chaos Free can sync with our ChaosHost cloud service and/or use shared databases on a network, so this can be a great choice if you have other people on your team who you need to share data with.

Is Legal Billing the only product from us that you use? Chaos Free offers you a way to use the same list of clients from Legal Billing to plan for the future: what meetings you have, phone calls to make, deadlines to meet. Our contact manager software helps you make sure nothing gets forgotten or missed, Legal Billing helps you get paid after you do things. These programs complement each other well! With Chaos Free being actually free, it is a great way to see what you’ve been missing.

Do you share data with others who work online through ChaosHost.com? If the other users have just been working through the web site online version of Chaos Data Live, giving them Chaos Free on their Windows computers will provide a much richer experience while continuing to coordinate the changes or edits they make with the rest of the team.

It’s easy to upgrade later if you start with Chaos Free! Chaos Free is compatible with our current versions of Intellect 4 and Time & Chaos 8. Later, if you need advanced reports or need other views of your data such as monthly or weekly calendars, you can consider upgrading to one of our paid products. Intellect 4 or Time & Chaos 8 will continue using the same data but with more features and capabilities.

Download Legal Billing 7.5 and/or Chaos Free today!

You can download any of the products mentioned in this email through our web site at http://www.chaossoftware.com/products.aspx .

20 Years of Chaos Software

Chaos Software Group, Inc. is proud to be celebrating our 20th birthday this year! Lots has changed in computing since version 1 of Time and Chaos came out back in 1992. In those days, shareware meant trading disks with friends, finding a download on a computer bulletin board (the Web hadn’t been invented yet) or sending off a letter for a disk by mail. Take a look at some of the disks we sent out in earlier days…
old disks for Time and Chaos

No matter the method of getting our software, there have always been many choices to pick from and one vital way to sift through all the options was a great recommendation from a friend who found us first and told you to try us out!

We have always worked hard to keep improving our software over these twenty years, too, to keep it worthy of your recommendations. From that first version, we have kept updating to keep up with changes with Windows. We have kept updating to keep with with changes to technology. We have added an enhanced version of Time & Chaos with email called Chaos Intellect to our product line, too.

Just a couple of months ago, we released a new generation of our product line: Intellect 4 and Time & Chaos 8 and a new product called Chaos Free, a freeware version of Time & Chaos stripped down to just the popular classic screen. These new versions include many long requested enhancements but these are also complete remakes, so you’ll want to learn more about them before you install them. Most important is that you must update together if you share data with others as these new versions use new data files!

We are very proud of these new versions, but they are not just a update patch you can install from inside your current version. These are new programs you can download and install from our web site, if you choose to make the change. I’m sure you will understand that being different, you’ll need to take some time to get to know it before bombarding our tech support department with comments and questions! There is also nothing broken with Intellect 3 or Time & Chaos 7 if you decide to stay with them for now.

Our web site has a great video training section we call Chaos University. We have completely updated it with videos on our new versions. All the new videos are under 5 minutes long and you can view any of them through your web browser at http://www.chaossoftware.com/university/ .

If you know our software well and are considering the upgrade, we can recommend 201 Docking Panels, 202 Columns and 601 Name vs Last, First, Company as videos of particular interest…

You can also read more about these new versions and what has changed on our products page at http://www.chaossoftware.com/products.aspx .

If you already own Intellect 3 or Time & Chaos 7, these are also FREE updates, so you can make your decision not on price, but on your tolerance for change!