In the early 1990s, I started marketing myself as “Randomworx” and picking up various coding jobs. I quickly realized I needed a product I could sell over and over to avoid selling my soul for lawyer-like hourly charges.
I was doing other C/C++ projects at the time, several related to audio on Macs and PCs. Those were two very different worlds that didn’t communicate well. Using some free libraries to start with, I created a version of a plugin for a program called “Authorware” that provided the functionality to make your own way to record, play, save and delete simple audio files from within your Authorware environment for a client. For the user, I made it work on Macs and PCs exactly the same.
Several times I re-wrote the code, fixing all the things I hated about my first version. I updated the libraries and made a Director version for it, and then advertised it on a few different developer boards.
The second product I developed was even simpler: It only worked for Authorware on a Mac and provided a simple function: Scan whatever Mac computer it was on and tell your program where the floppy drive was located so you could read and write data to it from your application.
While cleaning out a closet some time ago, I ran across the two original disks I used to make copies from. Really fun to recall I did, in fact, have my own digital products from the very earliest days. I believe I sold about 50 copies of The Floppy Hunter and about 200 copies of VoiceX – with only one tech support inquiry for both. I didn’t get rich from them, but they got me in the game.
Both were retired when upgrades to the Mac OS and Authorware made them unnecessary, unusable, and non-upgradeable.
But I will never forget the pride I had in just having my own product and the sheer thrill every time I sold a copy. You should try it!
Writing this reminded me how much I loved Authorware. To me, it was what the vision of object-orientated programming was supposed to be all about. It allowed detailed code to be written from, to, or about any object in your program while making it visually easy to get it all going.
Authorware also made it easy to create programs with audio, video, complicated logic branching, and many more.
Here’s a little video showing how fun Authorware was to create with: