Everything Else

Promises, promises... the Helix Top 10 List for 2003

...with apologies to David Letterman

31 December 2003--From the home office here in cyberspace, we ask you now to gather your wits because the sands of time are running out quickly on 2003 and there’s a great deal to cover in a limited amount of space and time. So here we go. And please, folks...some of this might be a bit sarcastic, sick and twisted, and some just tongue-in-cheek, so bear with us!

The topic for tonight’s list is:

"The Top 10 Reasons a Helix User Should Be Looking Forward to 2004."

#10--We won’t be hawking those "2003 Expedition Recovery Team T-Shirts" anymore.

Actually, there are still a few of these collector’s items left, so if you hurry, you can still buy one tonight and count it among 2003’s business expenses!

#9--The Helix web site will keep getting better and better...

We’re going to keep on updating the MIA list (thank you to those who have let us know where you are). Our support database will keep growing (and you can use Helix Client 5.2 to get into it!). Our Knowledgebase will continue to expand and much more is planned.

By the way, while we’re on the subject of our web site, here’s an excerpt from one of our most frequent exchanges with end users about finding stuff on our web site:

Helix: Go to our home page and click "User Services."
User: OK.
Helix: See that button marked "Technical?"
User: Yup.
Helix: Click it.
User: OK.
Helix: See that button marked "Knowledgebase?"
User: Yeah?
Helix: Click it.
User: OK.
Helix: The thing you want is on that page.
User: I don’t see it.
Helix: Scroll down.
User: Oh. I see it now.

Sometimes, we get all the way to "Scroll down" and the user says, "Actually, I’m not on line right now. I’m just writing down everything you told me." ;^)

#8--As soon as we ship Helix 6, we’ll be a lot nicer to talk to when you call with support questions.

Of course, we’ll be especially nice to those who understand that Support is no longer free. Remember--your upgrade purchases all get you User Service Units (USUs) that can be used to pay for support questions and you can purchase support in advance in our web store. And if you’re just looking for a way to justify giving us a bunch of money to get this thing done, call it support, buy a bunch of USUs and later, we’ll let you convert whatever you haven’t used directly into money to pay for your Helix 6 upgrade when it’s ready.

#7--Helix Training will expand

There’s still time to register for Helix Training in February in the Houston area. Get details on the Training page.

And as long as we’re talking about training, we’d like to point out that in spite of how much you think you might know about Helix, there’s always much more you can learn.

Beyond Helix’s not yet being in Windows or not yet being in macOS, one of the biggest reasons we lose Helix users is because they don’t know how to improve their applications. The person who originally wrote it did a terrible job and then left, quit, was fired or died and didn’t tell anyone how to do anything. A little knowledge can sometimes be a dangerous thing, but no knowledge is always worse. Sign up for training! Send someone from your company to learn about what is really possible with this powerful tool. It’s one of the best investments you can make in your business.

#6--We’ll continue fixing problems as we find them.

In fact, we are very shortly about to (finally) beta test Helix 5.2.1, which contains about a dozen little fixes that will make users very happy.

#5--On our home page, we alluded to some projects that were nearing completion.

One of these is something called the Helix Maintenance Manager (HMM), which was announced back in July. It’s the long-awaited sequel to an old Helix favorite called "Database Chequer."

HMM has completed one round of testing. Some problems still exist, but we think you’re going to be knocked out by how great it is once it gets into your hands.

On a related subject, we’ve mentioned from time to time that the Helix Utility and Update Collection were being modernized as well. Something you might not have noticed a few years ago was that the Helix Utility had grown from a mere hundred or so Kilobytes to 4 Mbytes. Turns out that there was no really good reason for this other than the fact that once it was done, it was a mess to undo. We don’t like messes, so we’ve cleaned that one up too.

#4--TCP/IP is going to work the way it always should have worked

As we said when we announced the Helix 6 project, a significant portion of the effort would be devoted to improving the Helix TCP/IP implementation.

That work is nearly complete. One of the few remaining issues we have to resolve is how the new networking code behaves under stress. We did a small scale beta test of this yesterday. In that test, we asked users to log in to our Support database at 3:30pm EST and do whatever they wanted with the available selections as long as they entered at least one record during the half hour test.

One of those testers--who wisely didn’t identify him- or herself--entered a record that said "It didn’t work...I tried to enter a record and couldn’t." If that were true, of course, we’d have never known about it!

Anyway, we’re so pleased with the results of that test that we are planning a very large-scale public test of this functionality shortly. Watch the web site for information. We want as many people as possible to bang this baby up before we let it loose.

#3--Helix 6 is coming.

It really is! Progress is being made every day. There’s still quite a bit left to do, but make no mistake about it...Helix 6 is on its way.

And as promised, every time we talk about Helix 6, a picture will help tell the story. More pictures will be posted soon.

Before you get too excited, a little mathematics. We’ve figured out that the average Helix 5.2 upgrade pays for about a day’s work for a Recovery Team member. Each time a user contemplates an upgrade and decides that "they’re so close, they don’t really need my money right now," it sets us back another day.

The idea that Helix 6 is close to completion shouldn’t stop you from helping to make it happen sooner. Even if you don’t think you need Helix 5.2 right now, think of how much you need and want Helix 6. And don’t forget that while all the details have yet to be worked out, your purchase of a Helix 5.2 upgrade today buys you a substantial discount on your Helix 6 upgrade when it ships.

#2--Helix 7? It’s coming too.

If we had a segment on our show called "Stupid Helix Questions," the number one most stupid Helix question would be, "When will Helix be available for Windows and Linux?"

We can now say for sure that it won’t be here in time for next Christmas. But (and see #1 below) if things keep up the way they are going, we can safely say that work on Helix 7 will begin the minute we ship Helix 6.

And finally...the #1 Reason a Helix User Should Be Looking Forward to 2004...

...because of your insane devotion and dedication, because people of good will have stepped up to the plate week in and week out since this crazy trip began back in June 2002, there WILL be a Helix 6 and there WILL be a future for all of us.

We couldn’t have done any of this without your help. It’s the number one reason we believe we’re going to make it. Thanks for everything, keep up the great work and have a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

Find PreviousFind Next