In April 2007, I bought an upgrade to the formidable contact manager Now Up-to-Date and Contact. I’d used it off and on for some years and was looking for something a bit more powerful than Apple’s Address Book and iCal. It had gotten old, and wasn’t really happy with OS X. What Now was promising with “Nighthawk” sounded interesting enough for me to pony up $40 for an upgrade sight unseen. Besides, the software was supposed to ship that June. Two months wasn’t so long to wait.
I’m certain that I forgot to ask “June of what year?”
In June 2007, CEO and head programmer John Wallace sent around an e-mail to the early adopters saying things were going to be a bit delayed. It wasn’t going to be June. Betas would be August and both client and server for Mac and Windows would be January 2008. OK. Six more months. Things happen.
Not so much. Progress — agonizingly slow progress — continued. To their credit, the company established a bulletin board that on some weeks looked like a pinata party with company bosses as the guests of honor. People demanded (and got) refunds. Those who stuck with them were promised great rewards for their patience.
Time passed. The earth cooled. Betas were shipped. Dinosaurs ruled the earth. iPhone shipped. Then iPhone 3G. Closed betas were announced. Then iPhone3GS. The open betas. Release candidates came and went — 7 of them.
And suddenly, today — Nighthawk — rechristened along the way as Now X — shipped. Just the standalone. And just the Mac version. Server and Windows? They’re not even saying “real soon” anymore.
Two years and four months since I sent in my money, and they had to have been working on it before then. Twenty-six months after the shipping version was promised. It took them about three years to produce this product. And I just don’t understand how they thought in April 2007 that they were going to ship that June, when it took them more than two additional years!
I paid $40 as a pre-release price. The current upgrade price: $50. My reward for waiting all that time: $10. I know software is hard, and I understand that this was a bottom-up rewrite. But three years? This had better be one fricking terrific piece of software, is all I’m saying.