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PocketDOS is awesome!

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Rich Hawley Page Icon Posted 2021-09-10 1:10 PM
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You gotta feel sorry for the guy. Sounds like a 1-man show who put in a lot of hours working on something that never gave him the return he hoped for.

Hopefully one day he will simply release the key generator into the public domain with the understanding it is offered "as is" without support in accordance with our "exemptionware" guidelines as other commercial developers have done here.
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PocketDOS Page Icon Posted 2021-09-10 1:57 PM
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It was a one man show. I wouldn't feel sorry for me though, I did pretty well out of it at the time (and definitely got better returns than I ever expected for it). I don't feel I ever got any value out of the H/PC Mag giveaway though (or from the print ads I paid for there). It was/is a unique product in that no amount of advertising (or lack of advertising) could change how many people used it. You either needed it and found it, or didn't need it and didn't care. I expect it is probably the #1 best selling software for Windows CE ever, both in numbers and longevity. That is pretty damning for Windows CE.

If anyone cares, this is the software I make nowadays:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/992490/iVRy_Driver_for_SteamVR/

Edited by PocketDOS 2021-09-10 2:25 PM
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dl1av Page Icon Posted 2021-09-10 4:14 PM
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PocketDOS - 2021-09-10 8:33 AM

In the meantime, if you want to support the product, you can make donations (or purchase licenses) via PayPal (details available via email info "at" pocketdos.com).


That´s a word I will send you an email.

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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2021-09-10 5:00 PM
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PocketDOS - 2021-09-10 12:23 PM

Regarding the 2007 "Best of Everything" promotion: I'm no longer honouring those license requests, as it was a promo deal made 14 years ago. I don't think it's reasonable to expect me to hand out free licenses indefinitely. IIRC all I got in exchange for that was a tiny print advertisement. I don't think it made any difference to sales at the time, and I ended up honouring it for much longer than I wanted to (through PPC magazine etc.).

Regards being a resource on DOS and/or Windows CE, I doubt my input is relevant nowadays. I've moved onto other things, and haven't even looked at a Windows CE device in about 12 years. I was never a DOS expert, I started the XT-CE project as a result of a "wish-list" somebody set up back in the very early days of Windows CE (IIRC the first release of XT-CE was 1 April 1999). My interest in it was technical and limited to emulating the hardware/BIOS with an emphasis on performance. My view being if that was done properly then everything else should "just work".

If someone wanted to get my attention they could either DM me (which will cause an email notification), or email me directly. I don't see myself being an active member here, as I think all of the WinCE hardware I have has long since decayed (not to mention it being woefully underpowered compared to modern mobile devices), so I probably don't even have a device to run anything on.

For anyone still reading, I did get most of the way to implementing "PocketDOS 2.0", which was a rewrite of most of the code with an emphasis on cross-platform compatibility. I had it running on an iPad at some point, before I lost interest in it completely.


Just be clear, I was referring to https://www.usedhandhelds.com/handheld-resource-cd-over-300-worth-of... . I am shocked to learn that you were not receiving royalty payments from this! I had always just assumed that everyone got a % of sales.

I understand fully about the dichotomy of changing interests and loyalty to history, so no shade from me in that respect. It is very interesting to hear the back-story on it though and that there was a 2.0 in the works. It would have been interesting to see.

Kudos on the VR. Do you code for yourself as your work, or work 9-5 and coding was your side hustle?
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PocketDOS Page Icon Posted 2021-09-11 5:30 AM
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C:Amie - 2021-09-10 5:00 PM
Just be clear, I was referring to https://www.usedhandhelds.com/handheld-resource-cd-over-300-worth-of... . I am shocked to learn that you were not receiving royalty payments from this! I had always just assumed that everyone got a % of sales.

I understand fully about the dichotomy of changing interests and loyalty to history, so no shade from me in that respect. It is very interesting to hear the back-story on it though and that there was a 2.0 in the works. It would have been interesting to see.

Kudos on the VR. Do you code for yourself as your work, or work 9-5 and coding was your side hustle?


No, I never got $1 of money from any of the Thaddeus publishing promotions, and stopped providing unlock codes for them in 2009. Their promise of "but you'll get publicity" (much like those promises made to artists instead of paying them) never amounted to much. I may have some details wrong, but I definitely didn't get royalties, neither was I promised any.

PocketDOS 2.0 didn't offer much in new functionality. It was pretty much a rewrite of the entire code base, and it took forever to get it to a point where it worked properly. By that time (around 2010 or 2011), there was zero point in working on DOS emulators, and I haven't really looked at it since.

I work for myself, something that PocketDOS enabled me to do in the early 2000s (XT-CE was originally developed as a side hustle). I did lift a few lines of code from PocketDOS for the VR product. IIRC it was some of the copy-protection code. There was an arms race between myself and Russian and eastern European crackers in the late 2000s. They were bored (long winters, I guess) and spent ridiculous amounts of time cracking PocketDOS, just to give it away (it was a challenge for them to beat copy protection, they didn't even want to use it). Eventually, I won, with the more recent versions of PocketDOS having incredibly complex copy protection, that AFAIK no one ever cracked. It's certainly not what I wanted to be doing at the time, but learning how to crack software just so I could beat the crackers was good education. At that time, I believe the attention span of the crackers was about 100 hours, so if you could keep them busy for that long, they would eventually give up.

Edited by PocketDOS 2021-09-11 6:01 AM
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PocketDOS Page Icon Posted 2021-09-11 5:44 AM
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Here is a quote from the email I got regarding the "UsedHandhelds" promotion:

"Get a year's worth of national Print Advertising in our "Ultimate Smartphone & Pocket PC How-to Guide"
-- with no out-of-pocket expense --
in exchange for licenses of your out-of-date Handheld PC software!

We would like to include the full licensed version of your Handheld PC software on our new “Great Handheld PC Software Package" CD!

In exchange, we'll give you:

?FREE $600 Print Ad in new "Ultimate Smartphone & Pocket PC How-to Guide"
This issue will be distributed at newsstands, to our subscribers, and all throughout 2007 to our new subscribers. This groundbreaking issue is already generating a lot of interest with software vendors who want to get their message out. (more info and example <http://www.pocketpcmag.com/media/ShowcaseExample.asp> )

You'll also receive:
? A FREE on-line enhanced Encyclopedia listing!
? Distribution of your Pocket PC demo software!
? Lots of ongoing publicity throughout the year!"

Edited by PocketDOS 2021-09-11 5:49 AM
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2021-09-11 2:40 PM
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Thanks for sharing the story.

My Pocket Aiueo app I was selling circa 2004 made it to the Pocket PC magazine back in those days. I even subscribed to their magazine from Japan, always waiting for it to arrive. haha

I think a lot of my softwares etc. are still on some other sites, but they make free money off it... (I doubt anyone buys these Pocket PC / Windows Mobile apps much though)

Things are much better now with App Store and Google Play, I guess. I want to put some apps again on Google Play when I have the chance to.

Edited by stingraze 2021-09-11 2:55 PM
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2021-09-11 5:18 PM
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I am very sad and surprised to learn that you weren't getting royalties for it. I genuinely had always assumed that there would be (say) an 80:20 split between developers and Thaddeus on it.


I would encourage you to setup a direct pay via PayPal page - something like our subscriptions page https://www.hpcfactor.com/info/help/subscriptions/ or donate to download https://www.hpcfactor.com/support/patching/download.asp

You can unpick yourself from third party merchant sites, provided you're okay with processing the occasional order when and if it comes in. I know that we still get people writing in and asking about it.
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timob0 Page Icon Posted 2021-09-11 7:43 PM
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Full ack. I‘d buy a license straight away.
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dl1av Page Icon Posted 2021-09-12 5:43 AM
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me too. You seem to have a loyal fan community in Germany
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PocketDOS Page Icon Posted 2021-09-12 6:07 AM
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I have put a Paypal payment option on the "ordering" page of the PocketDOS website. As per previous licensing options, one license can be used on up to 5 devices.
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PocketDOS Page Icon Posted 2021-09-12 8:06 AM
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C:Amie - 2021-09-11 5:18 PM
I am very sad and surprised to learn that you weren't getting royalties for it. I genuinely had always assumed that there would be (say) an 80:20 split between developers and Thaddeus on it.


Doesn't really matter, they only ever distributed the "demo" version, as I refused to give them a "perpetually unlocked" version for their CD, due to it not being "old software". Back in the day when I was honouring their requests, the user would open a URL and enter the disk number to get an unlock code. I issued 284 licenses through the "Best of Everything" and "The Great Handheld PC Software Package" promotions from 2007-2009.

Edited by PocketDOS 2021-09-12 8:08 AM
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2021-09-12 9:19 AM
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It does matter, because if you weren't getting royalties, then neither were the other dev's on the CD! Even if all the Dev's on the CD were getting $2 each at the original CD price, it would have been some form of passive income for them. We've really struggled to get developers to Exemptionware their legacy apps or to continue to let people buy them on a no-support basis. We had thought this to be a good way to preserve user access to software back in the day.
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PocketDOS Page Icon Posted 2021-09-12 10:05 AM
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Well, I don't believe any developer was ever under the impression that they would get royalties. They were certainly never offered, and no part of any of the wording could have made them believe that they were due any. All proceeds of the CDs always went to Thaddeus, who they go to nowadays I have no idea. It was terrible value for money from my point of view, as my product was still active. The idea with the promotions was that you would give your old software away to get some free marketing for your new software. It lost me a few thousand $ in sales though, all for a crappy $600 advertisement.
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2021-09-12 10:09 AM
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Sure, I appreciate that. What I am saying though is that we didn't realise that from the non-contractual consumer side of the table. We all assumed we were helping dev's bring in a few £/$/€/¥ without doing any work.
I agree fully that from a contractual side, it made zero sense.
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