About Shiblon Software
I have been asked by a few people who I am and what my motivation is for
creating these applications. (Okay, no one has asked what my motivation was for
creating the free applications, just the shareware.) My life is an
open book so I don't mind explaining
if you don't mind reading.
I changed jobs in August of 2001. I was fortunate to have my new company
provide me with a palm pilot. I really didn't have much interest in them before
then, but hey, who wouldn't take a free Palm IIIc??? So my Palm and I became
inseparable and I wanted to use it for everything. I looked far and wide for a
home teaching program and found one in the
lds-palm Yahoo! discussion
group. It was called HTHelper-ReleaseCandidate1 by Kevin White. It was a
good start but it didn't seem to have everything I wanted it to do, plus it took
over 300K on my palm. So I decided to try to write an application for the palm.
I had some programming experience with a few languages but I found most
programming on the Palm is done in C and C++. I was taking my first C class in
school and so I was a little hesitant about
starting a project in C. I did have quite a bit of experience using Visual
Basic and eventually found NSBasic. They
had a free demo version that was fully functioning but only allowed the program
to run for 5 days after it was compiled. I created my first home teaching
program on the demo version and called it HTLite. Why HTLite? I don't know,
probably because it didn't yet
have all the features I still wanted to add to it. I posted it on the lds-palm
group discussion board. I explained that it was only a demo and would only run
for five days. Despite this I got some positive feedback and suggestions to make
it shareware to recoup the cost of registering NSBasic. I also got a suggestion
to donate half to the perpetual education fund. I thought about it for a
while but didn't do much. (I actually didn't know how I was going to explain to
my wife that I wanted to spend $150 on this program.) Well, I attended the
October 2001 priesthood session in the overflow of the Supernacle (conference center). I
noticed that a couple people in front of me had their Palm Pilots out taking
notes (or something). Then when President Hinckley focused his talk on the
Perpetual Education Fund, I got a really good feeling that I would be able to
make my money back on the application and be able to donate to the PEF. I really
wanted to donate to the Perpetual Education Fund. I can't wait for it to reach
South Africa. I served in the South Africa Cape Town Mission and I have made a
lot of friends I hope this program will someday benefit. As soon
as I got home I explained my plan to my wife. She agreed to it and I registered
NSBasic and released the program after setting up a webpage on
It was kind of slow in the beginning but I started getting a lot of requests
for an application tailored towards Elders Quorum presidencies and Home Teaching
coordinators to track multiple companionships and families. That's when I
started developing HVTCoordinator. I have never been a coordinator or in the
Elders Quorum presidency so I got some help from some users and from my wife who
is our ward's Relief Society president on how the structure is set up. (Looking
back I probably should have tried to looking into MIS since I was a ward clerk -
this would have allowed for better compatibility). HVTCoordinator began to sell
and after about 3 months I had recouped the cost of NSBasic. Now it provides a
small extra income - about enough to pay our monthly gasoline bill.
Since then I have created a few more applications as you can see. They are
ones that I have thought would be handy for my own personal use and some that
people have requested I build.
So what's in store for Shiblon.com?
Well, my first priorities are to support and maintain HVTracker and
HVTCoordinator since they what makes all the other freeware applications and
this website possible. I would really like to re-write both of them in C so they
don't require the NSBasic Runtime module. This would make them so they don't
take up as much memory and run much faster. I'm still not quite ready to make
the transition to C and I can't promise that I ever will because it seems the
more I am learning the more I get my hands into different projects. I certainly
can't neglect my wife and daughter! If anyone is into
programming in C on the Palm and would like to contribute just
let me know.
What's the story on your other applications?
I am responsible for collecting the monthly/quarterly stats in our ward.
Sometimes people would come up to me in church and give me their stats. I would
have to jot out a long not to explain the numbers I just wrote down and then
gather them all together and call the remaining people to get them. I wished for
something handy that could keep the explanations of the different stats plus the
names and numbers of the people who I should contact to get those numbers. Thus
was born MIStats.
Pros & Cons
I tend to get obsessed with things. When my old
emachines got a virus in it's bios I
convinced my wife we needed to use our tax return to invest in a new computer.
She agreed (wow! It was that easy!). I just couldn't decide between
Totally Awesome Computers. My
Dad had always
taught me when I needed to make an important decision to "write down your pros
and cons". (I suppose we can relate this to "study it out in your mind"). I was
obsessed with finding the right computer and fast. I would think of new pros and
cons at the weirdest times and then forget them. I wanted a tool on my Palm to
keep track of them all and rate them on importance and then just tell me what to
do! Thus was born Pros & Cons.
By the way, my wife came up with some weird adaptation of using this to help
us agree on a name for a our baby!
Oh, and PS, after getting the new computer I did and "fdisk" to get my old
emachines up and running again. It now runs Red
Hat Linux. I also opted for Totally Awesome because the pros outweighed the
cons... or vice versa...
This actually came about out of a request for something to track sacrament
meeting minutes. I personally don't have to and didn't know that anyone did.
Once I finished it, I emailed it to the person that requested it. I don't know
if he uses it or not. It seems he had found a different solution. So I put it up
on the web and got some feedback that most people don't have to track sacrament
meeting minutes, but they would find this useful in PEC, Bishopric, Welfare,
etc. So instead I added onto it and it is growing steadily in popularity. And
that's it. OK.
This was an idea long long ago, I think just after finishing HVTCoordinator.
I wanted to make more $$. Yes, seeing a little extra money come in was exciting
and I wanted another shareware application. But, as you can see I changed my
mind. Probably because I was too lazy to enter all my trivia questions. I had a
notebook full of Book of Mormon trivia question I had written on my mission.
This was my way of studying. I would hold BOM Jeopardy in District and Zone
meetings. As I got more and more busy this just sat on the back burner. I
decided to get it out and release it for free. I figured free would get a few
more users and hopefully more questions. HOPEFULLY!
Anything else? Any future apps in the works?
Um, not really. I currently maintain what I have written. I am not working on
any new programs. I am trying to re-write Minutes in C on the GCC compiler. I
don't know that it will ever be completed though.
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