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  • Shane Drew

    July 15, 2007 at 11:09 pm
    quote Barbara Eden:

    quote :

    Shane said:
    My sister and father developed the first computerised Cash Book

    This wouldn’t be the Cash Book would it Shane sold by Acclaim Software?


    Barbara, ours was the original. It was the first Electronic Cash Book ever sold on a PC. Many copied the program as it was so successful.

    Dad opted not to continue with the program after he was hit ‘big time’ by software pirates out of Hong Kong, and after an American company negotiated the US rights to distribute the program. They purchased a few 1000 but never released it on the US market. They were the people behind a program now starting with a ‘Q’ and ending with ‘OOKS’. By the time Dad tried to get out of the contract he had with them, they had released their copy of our program called the M64 Cashbook, even though it was full of bugs. My dad was very naive then, in big business.. way too honest and took people at face value. Turns out they wanted our program off the market so theirs would be the only one available.

    Our software was being pirated so badly, only 1 in 3 programs in the market were legit 🙁 , we pioneered the ‘dongle’ to ‘lock’ it from pirates, but the damage was done, and dad lost his house. The law was no help as it was still a new industry in those days. Interesting read on piracy here

    Dad opted not to try and fund a rewrite for Windows, so we closed up our programming dept. We traded as Pittwater Distributors, and our UK Distributor was Dataflow, who also sold word processors in the UK.

    The Acclaim software is very similar to our original concept, and it could be argued that ours was the forerunner to that software, at a DOS level. Its been improved of course. Its a very good program.

    Interestingly, when we were in the market, we offered free support, a help line, free upgrades and a competitive price ($99 ea). M64 undercut our price at $69. When we withdrew from the market, their price immediately tripled, they no longer offered free support, and now you pay big money for an upgrade. We experienced first hand the predatory actions and aggression on a large scale.

    Our DOS version of the software even had the Y2K thing sussed in the late ’70’s. We still had old clients using the DOS versions of our software around 2001.

    Our programmers were kids that were misfits by todays standards. One guy taught himself to program on a trs80, and was a genius. The education system labeled him as a freak. My dad took him on and he was brilliant, an eccentric mind, but brilliant. The other kids were the same, we just left them alone with a bit of direction and they produced some mind blowing stuff for the time. Unfortunately when we let them go they couldn’t ‘fit in’ and 2 of them got into drugs and, if they are still alive, are probably in an asylum somewhere.

    The third young Indian lady lost here father whom she idolized, and lost interest in life.

    Interesting days.

    Sorry to hijack the thread, and go on a bit, but it was a time in my life that has a lot of memories. Some bitter, but most enjoyable. 😛