A little background on me and my venture, for the curious. The Hard Sell. I hope you will read this... but you don't need to. It tells you why I think my products are good. It tells you about my design priorities.
Do Sheepdog Software programs make entries in my Registry?
Do Sheepdog Software programs make changes to system .ini files?
No... but any delivered in InstallShield "wrappers" may cause one as part of the IntallShield "service".
Do Sheepdog Software programs use .ini files?
Sometimes. I like ini files, myself. If one of my programs has an ini file, it will either reside in the same folder as the program, or some clearly defined place, usually of your chosing.
I have unusual needs. Are your terms negotiable?
Absolutely! Tell me your circumstances, what you propose.
Do you have any programs for Linux or Macintosh users?
No, no programs. However, areas of my web site may interest you anyway.Visit my homepage for an overview.
Probably the easiest solution is merely to click the "Download" button that follows the program's description in my catalog.
If you have trouble with a download, please email me? (click here for contact details). I'll send the file as an attachment if necessary, or mail single programs on floppy. It would be very helpful if you were to quote the reference ID that appears with each download button.
There is no charge for trying my programs, beyond your usual internet access charges. Many files come 'ready to run'. Sometimes the download consists of a zip archive. Do you know about 'unzipping' files? If not, if the file you get is named <something>.zip, ask a friend who's been using online sources of shareware. It's easy. (or read all about it in the zip related FAQ answers). Sometimes (usually the name will have "SE" or "SU" in front of the ".EXE"), what you download will be a self extracting archive. You can just double click on it... you will be given the choice of where you want the software installed. Things will not be put in C:\Windows\System, etc. (Unless you specify that folder! (Bad idea!!)).
I can also send you floppy discs or a CD with most of my programs on them, unzipped and organized neatly in directories. Send $15 or 8 British pounds to: TK Boyd, PO Box 367, Essex, CT, 06426. 3.5", 1.44 meg discs or CD-ROMs. I'll assume you want the CD unless you specify floppies. Tell me which program(s) you are most interested in. My CD is not always as up to date as the website.
Please do! But that invitation should not be taken as a grant of an exclusive license. Also, please be very careful not to give away any registration codes you may have been given. That would void your license to use the software, for one thing. It would probably be best just to refer friends to my website, so that they get up-to-date versions of the software by the time they feel they want to try it.
Do Sheepdog Software programs store or access things outside of their own folder?
Generally speaking: no.
As I write this, .dlls are not needed by my programs. If later I write a program that uses a .dll (unlikely), I'll put it in the same folder as the .exe file. However... any delivered programs in InstallShield "wrappers" may create one (in the program's folder) as part of the IntallShield "service", in connection with the uninstall option, I believe. InstallShield may also be making an entry in the registry, for the same reason.
Some of my programs access .ini files, often for a code to confirm that the user has registered the shareware. Such .ini files are in the .exe file's folder. In fact, most if not all of my programs can be run from floppies.
Some programs allow the user to save things created while using the program. They may, usually, be stored where the user likes. They will typically be reloaded from there later.
Why do you dislike programs that need .dll's, etc.?
I think you'll agree that the following brands are "major league". I once bought a Compaq. I wanted to use the bundled fax software and Wordperfect with it. When I installed Wordperfect, it replaced a system .dll... MFC42.dll, as I remember it. Wordperfect worked, but the fax software didn't. I then restored the pervious version of the .dll. The fax software worked... and Wordperfect didn't. I even spent over an hour trying to get everyone happy by being clever about where the .dlls were. No joy. Moral of story: For every external element your software uses, new ways of making it not work are introduced.
A second objection: With some programs, the .dlls go into a system folder. Lets say you install a program using WhatsIt.dll. Subsequently, you install another program which also uses WhatsIt, and by a happy coincidence (is it any more than that?) the second program needs from WhatsIt the same functions provided by the already present WhatsIt. All is well... so far. Later on, you uninstall the first program. It removes WhatsIt, in a well meaning attempt to be "helpful". Life being what it is, the second program isn't one you use often. Only several weeks later you discover it no longer works. Are you going to remember removing the first program?
My programs, thanks my use of early versions of Borland's Delphi, are self sufficient. They don't rely on .dlls, so .dll problems cannot interfere. Nor should my install routines interfere with things that are working on your machine. Due to customer demand, I have "wrapped" some of my programs with InstallShield. When you install the program, InstallShield puts a .dll in the program's folder, and, I think, makes an entry in the registry. Bah! But customers asked for this. I believe the .dll and the registry entry are connected with the uninstall option set up by InstallShield.
First: What it is not: It is not a file held on the floppy disc alternative called a Zip drive made by Iomega.
Long ago, a man named Phil Katz noticed that the big bunch of numbers which make up a typical computer program (or data file) had patterns in it. Using those patterns, he devised a way to translate the big bunch of numbers into a not-so-big bunch of numbers, "squashing" the program into a smaller file that could be sent across things like the internet faster than the big bunch of numbers. The "squashed" version is called a "zip" file. It won't run as it stands, but after it is in your machine, you "unzip" it, i.e. turn it back into what it was before it was zipped. A zip file may contain more than one file. It's name usually ends .zip, but some Win9x machines are set up to hide that part of the name, which is called the extension.
When Windows XP came along, it came with build in "un-zipper". (Thank you Mr. Gates, another person's income dried up, and innovation in another area died.) Formerly, you needed a program to unzip things. Your computer may already have such a program. Put the zip file in a folder of it's own. You may also want to put a copy of the zip file someplace safe at this point. Copying a file to a second location on your hard drive takes a lot less time than re-downloading it if something goes wrong!
Once you've taken the two precautions mentioned above, try double-clicking on the name of the zip file. If things happen, you probably had an unzipper already set up on your machine. (Or were using XP or later.)
With Win 9x you got an "Open with..." dialog, or...
With Win 3x you got "Cannot Run... no application associated with this file
....... then you need an unzipping program.
The late, great Phil Katz released a copy of his program as freeware. It is called PKUnzip, and is widely available. (His story is interesting, by the way.)
Alternatively, I like WinZip. The cost is very reasonable, and it is shareware. It has lots of good features... without having too many. You can find out more from their site. Maybe you don't need all of it's features today, but why not get something that you won't outgrow after just a little progress in your computing sophistication?
So: You have a zip file. You've obtained and installed an unzipper. WinZip will take care of setup chores for you. (Restart your computer after installing it.) Now, with WinZip, you just double-click on zip files and follow the instructions. Be careful to put the proceeds of the un-zip operation in the folder of your choice. WinZip may put them somewhere you didn't intend.
For those of you who want to use PKUnzip with Windows 3.1, don't be discouraged by the fact that PKUnzip is a DOS program- you can still use it, without any fancy front ends. The screen goes blank for a moment or two while the unzip takes place, which is a little alarming, but it does work! Set things up as follows:
Use File Manager File|Associate. Enter ZIP as extension. Use Browse to find your copy of PKUnzip.
Once that has been done (once), then to unzip files you proceed as follows:
Create a folder for the results. Copy the ZIP file to that folder. Locate it with File Manager (This shouldn't be hard, because you probably accomplished the previous steps with File Manager. Double click on the ZIP file.
From other sources, you will frequently encounter install routines. You start a program, typically called "Setup", and it does things. Now... I'm known for being paranoid and reactionary. I concede that most installers do no harm, and make your life simpler. However: You don't know me. Why should you trust something written by me with unsupervised access to your computer?
To install my programs, you won't be asked to click on "Next" and hope for the best. You may have to unzip a zip file, but once you have the files for the program, then the most complicated thing you have to do is decide where YOU want them on your disc. I recommend that each program be given its own folder, and that these folders live in a folder called "Sheepdog" which itself is a folder within "Program Files" on a Win9x machine, or anywhere you like on a Win3.x machine. The programs will still run if you choose to put them elsewhere. Some of the simpler programs don't even need their own folders. If you find there's only one file, it might as well go in the "Sheepdog" folder.
It once cost me $200 to get my machine back to a bootable state after a failed install.... and the program that caused this came out of one of the big games houses.
With Windows 9x, you often start programs by clicking on a shortcut, or an entry in the Start menu.
In almost every case, you are saying at least "Run program SomeSuch.exe". In other cases, for example when you click on "Readme.txt", you are telling Windows to start up the program that someone set your machine to use for .txt type files, and load ReadMe.txt into it.
Now... clps... Some programs are written so that in addition to understanding simple "Run SomeSuch.exe" instructions, the system can accept things like "Run SomeSuch.exe mult". The "mult" part is a command line parameter, a clp. If "mult" is a valid clp, then the program may be an arithmetic tutor, and when you run it with the "mult" clp, the program presents only multiplication problems. The valid clps for a given program are determined by the programmer, and should be clearly documented in that program's User's Guide.
Such things are not solely the domain of Win 9x. Similar arrangements are allowed when you are working with Win 3.x, or even DOS. (See How do I work with clps? below for details)
If you remember the 'bad old days' of DOS, and ever used DIR /P, then you have used a clp. The /P modified how DIR would behave.
The great thing about clps is that you can set up several shortcuts to launch one program, but it behaves differently for each shortcut. Clps can also save you the overhead of an .ini file in some cases.
I have a little program which helps children practice an important reading skill. Once you have a copy, you CAN start it without clps, but you are missing some extra features!!! If you start it that way, you have to read some advertising and answer some questions. However, you might want to set up two (or more) shortcuts. Name one 'Easy Reading', and the other 'Hard Reading'. Add the clps /Q /L /F after TRD1.EXE for the Hard version, and /Q /S for the Easy version. One program... two difficulty levels and sets of options.
Where clp options exist, they are explained in the program, and it will run with some functionality without them.
Under Win 9x : Create a shortcut for the program. Right click on it. Click on the "properties" menu item. Add the clps to the right hand end of the "Target" information on the "Shortcut" tab.
Use Windows (not "Internet") Explorer to open the folder containing the application's .exe file. (You can start Windows Explorer by holding down the "Windows" key, like the shift key, and pressing (and releasing) the "E" key.)
Right click on the application's .exe file. Click on "Create Shortcut". (You will probably want to move it elsewhere, but you can do that later.)
Right-click on the shortcut. Click on "Properties". Edit what is in the "Target" edit box to add clps which will be used when the application is started with that shortcut.
Under DOS : You can type "SomeSuch.exe mult" (without the quotes) to run SomeSuch with the mult clp. You can make batch files to simplify repeatedly invoking something complex.
Shareware was a great idea invented many years ago by authors who wanted maximum exposure for their product at minimum distribution cost. Remember that buyers ALWAYS pay the seller's costs. No free lunches.
The slogan "Try now, pay later" pretty well says it all. You are allowed to acquire my programs and see how they work without paying me a penny. If you like them, you have three choices: Pay up, stop using the programs, or be a thief.
As we live in an imperfect world, the implementation of shareware is imperfect. Often the version of my program that you can try without paying me is a cut down version, lacking some of the features which will be yours when you have paid for a license to use the program. Often, until you pay for the license, you will be subjected to "nags" with advertising, entreaties to pay, etc. They go away after you've obtained a license.
I use "Registering" and "Obtaining a license" as two ways of saying almost the same thing.
Most of my programs come with specific instructions, but just send me an email saying "I want to register for >program<" if you don't have better instructions. I'll usually need some information to tailor your license key to your needs. I may need payment (see next item). Once all is well, I will either send you a new .exe file with the licensed-user version of the program, or I will send you a small file to be stored in the same folder as the program you have registered to use. Many shareware authors use a system under which you call up a command from the program's menu, and type in a registration code. None of my current programs use this, but I may use it in future and forget to revise this FAQ!
Don't worry... I'll give you what help you need, if a need arises!
What forms of payment are acceptable? Which currencies?
I prefer payment by PayPal... but only if it is an account backed by a bank account. If your PayPal account only goes to your credit card, PayPal will charge me more than I want to pay to accept your payment that way. I've had a bank account backed PayPal account for many years, am generally Grumpy and Paranoid, and have had no regrets... when using PayPal to pay for things. For one thing, it takes care of currency conversions, although the rates can be less than wonderful.
I can accept checks (cheques) in US dollars or British pounds. (No Euros, thank you!) I don't accept credit card payments.
If dollars or pounds are an insuperable problem for you, I may be willing to accept a check in your currency payable to a recognized major international charity. Suggest a charity, and let me have their ther website, showing their postal or email address in your country, and tell me how much you propose to give them. (I'll expect a premium over my usual price for the license involved.) If I'm happy with your proposal, you'll send the check to me to be forwarded. I may delay sending your license until the charity confirms that the check has cleared.
The programs I list as freeware are yours to use without payment. You may pass them on. You may even make a reasonable charge to cover distribution costs. You may not modify the programs, enter into agreements about them, etc. Even though there is no charge for the programs, I would appreciate hearing from you. Postcards of your area are nice. (Or email, if a card is too much trouble.) I would also welcome any publicity you can give my program or website.
Some programs (from other sources) with legitimate reasons to access the internet come with routines (which can be hidden) causing additional automatic communications with sites on the net which are not essential to your reasons for giving the program a net connection. This is illegitimate, in my opinion. The program has access to your computer. What information from it has it sent to the spyware site? You can't be sure.
Not all programs which access sites in addition to the ones you ask for explicitly are behaving badly. They may, for instance, merely be checking with the vendor of your program to ensure that you are a licensed user.
I do not insinuate spyware in my programs. (You can learn more about this suspicious development at my page on the subject.)
Why do you think DOS programs are worth considering?
A 'small' Windows program will take up 200,000 bytes of space on your disc. There are many jobs that can be done perfectly well without the overhead. Not only does a Windows version of a program use more disc space.... it also takes a lot more to write. Would you rather have five small, useful programs from me, or one of them in a Windows version? The Windows version would do very little that the DOS version doesn't!
I don't mean to suggest for a moment that NO program should be written for Windows... There are many things that benefit enormously from the Windows environment... but there are plenty of things that don't need it, too. Don't pass up good, inexpensive programs (from me, or from hundreds of others) just because they are in DOS.
Isn't using a DOS program on a Windows machine difficult?
Difficult? In what way? You just set up a shortcut to the program, and away you go! You can right-click on the shortcut to access the shortcut properties if tweaking is wanted. Either use the DOS names for files, e.g. C:\WINDOWS\STARTM~1\.... or put the path+ name in quotes if using Win 9x names with spaces, e.g. "C:\WINDOWS\Start Menu\..." (If you have any clps (see clp FAQ), they go outside the quotes.)
Looking for email, domain registration, or web site hosting? If you visit 1&1's site from here, it helps me. They host my website, and I wouldn't put this link up for them if I wasn't happy with their service. They offer things for the beginner and the corporation.
Ad from page's editor: Yes.. I do enjoy compiling these things for you. I hope they are helpful. However... this doesn't pay my bills!!! Sheepdog Software (tm) is supposed to help do that, so if you found this stuff useful, (and you run a Windows or MS-DOS PC) please visit my freeware and shareware page, download something, and circulate it for me? Links on your page to this page would also be appreciated!
Page tested for compliance with INDUSTRY (not MS-only) standards, using the free, publicly accessible validator at validator.w3.org
Why does this page cause a script to run? Because of the Google panels, and the code for the search button. Also, I have my web-traffic monitored for me by eXTReMe tracker. They offer a free tracker. If you want to try one, check out their site. Why do I mention the script? Be sure you know all you need to about spyware.