Archive for the ‘Alchemy Mindworks’ Category.

Version Five Upgrades

pictureThe 2014 major upgrade for Alchemy Mindworks’ software – stepping up to version 5 – will initially embody most of its changes “under the hood.” We’ve devised an improved software architecture to allow our applications to make better use of contemporary multi-core microprocessors, larger memory footprints and Windows 7 and Windows 8.

You can’t really see a new architecture unless you work here and read the source code, but it will enhance the performance of the upgraded software – the version five applications should run faster, and consume fewer system resources while they’re doing so.

The updated architecture will also allow us to add new features to Graphic Workshop, GIF Construction Set, Presentation Wizard and the other Alchemy Mindworks applications that were impractical or genuinely impossible under version 4.

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Classic Windows Paint for Windows 7 and Windows 8

pictureEarlier releases of Windows – most notably the much-beloved Windows XP, now something of a fond memory – included the elegantly simple and occasionally berated Windows Paint application. For the most part, it was about as useful as a left-leaning politician in a riding with absolutely no bribable voters – but there were situations in which its childlike simplicity and twentieth-century dearth of features made it the ideal software for manipulating a few pixels.

By comparison, Windows Paint under Windows 7 and Windows 8 resembles the drooling idiot offspring of a cheap date in which neither participant was demonstrably human. It’s just sophisticated enough to allow its imperfect antialiasing, questionable drawing tools and counter-intuitive user interface to get in the way.

Long-time users of Paint from a bygone era can often be heard mourning its loss.

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Error Creating the Specified File during Version 5 Validation

pictureWhile it’s thankfully uncommon, we have encountered instances of the version 5 Alchemy Mindworks software refusing to validate, and displaying a message that says “There has been an error creating the specified file.” We’ve yet to reproduce the beast in house.

Contrary to rumors and innuendo in this matter, this problem does not lie with either frenzied weasels creeping into our offices late at night in search of leftover pizza, or with the depredations and treachery of left-wing politicians… although you can never be entirely certain of the latter.

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Sponsored Links at mindworkshop.com

The Alchemy Mindworks web site takes a lot of hits, and it enjoys a favorable ranking in the popular search engines – such as Google, Bing and so on – because of its popularity.

picturePages with links from mindworkshop.com will also benefit from our search engine ranking. The logic behind search engine ranking would probably make your socks explode if you really understood it.

To this end, we’re periodically approached by the owners of other web sites to add them to the Sponsored Links section of our home page. If you have a page that you’d like to improve the ranking of, we can do the same for you.

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Free Advice (Is Usually Worth What it Costs…)

pictureThe support staff at Alchemy Mindworks receive a considerable number of requests for advice, information, assistance, sage council and general dispensed wisdom regarding things other than our software and related issues. In ages past, we were happy to address these requests, time and wisdom permitting. We still are, although with the coming of the great recession and the end of civilization as we know it, our bookkeeper has become involved in the process.

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A Word About Updates

Most of the Alchemy Mindworks applications are updated several times a year. A few of the more active ones – Graphic Workshop, GIF Construction Set, PNG MNG Construction Set and so on – have seen upgrades once a month.

Users of these products have at times inquired whether it’s necessary to install all the updates, and how important these updates really are to the functioning of the great cosmic clockwork that drives the universe as we know it.

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Version 4 Updates in 30 Seconds

The process of installing updates to Alchemy Mindworks’ version 4 applications is somewhat more involved than was the case for their ancestors. While doing so will unquestionably entail more clicking than users of our products may be used to – for which we’re suitably contrite – you can minimize the additional work required if you understand what the little man behind the curtain is up to.

Earlier releases of our software used a custom installer that we wrote, and as such, that we were able to nuance into being a fairly effortless installation experience. It was typically done with an installation so quickly as to make describing its activities as an “experience” just this side of pretentious.

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Is There a 64-Bit Version?

The transition from 16-bit Windows software to 32-bit Windows software over a decade ago was an event that future archeologists will no doubt write papers about and bore people at parties with until they all make up excuses about having forgotten to hypnotize their ferrets and leave. Admittedly, archeologists get excited about the damnedest things.

It’s been our experience that neither archeologists nor most of the people who use Windows software actually know why 32-bit applications are preferable. This is arguably as it should be – well-written software should allow its users to do whatever they bought the beast for and never concern themselves with that’s going on under the hood.

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About Your E-mail…

We’ve become aware of an issue that may affect your future receipt of the Alchemy Mindworks E-mail Update List, replies from our support staff, order confirmations and most other e-mail communication from us. It could also affect your receipt of e-mail from other on-line merchants you do business with, your physician, your bank and possibly your great-aunt Blothelda.

You’ve got to wonder who thinks this stuff up…

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