Software news

No such thing as a free lunch

Cloudmark's Spamnet has been my spam filter of choice in outlook for sometime. It's been in beta for quite some time, perhaps so long it lulled its beta users into an ignorant bliss. Consider them awake now. The final version of Spamnet has launched, and it's not free. Version 1.0 will cost $3.99 per month, though beta testers like me get a discounted rate of $1.99, or the option to continue using the beta version for free. Seems fair to me.
As the company president states in a post on his discussion board, his company needs revenue to survive. And they responded quickly to complaints about having to pay for licenses on multiple machines by expanding allowing users to spread their subscription across 2 machines. In addition, friends and family of beta testers can also get the $1.99 per month pricing (note to my friends and family: let me know if you're interested) and everyone who signs up for Spamnet and cites me as a referrer earns me a free month of the service.
My tolerance for paying for web content has increased over the years, and I'm not alone. I've paid for online subscriptions to Salon and Baseball Prospectus, for online billpaying through Yahoo (though Bank of America now offers it for free), and for an occasional article or e-book. The pricing for services on the web aren't always fair (they should pass through the lower cost of distribution, IMO), but in most cases we've received, and continue to receive, a huge bargain in accessing the vast resources of the Internet.
[My title is inaccurate. Given the vast and nascent landscape of the Internet, there are still lots of free lunches to be had, and not all of them bad. For example, Cory Doctorow's clever book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is available from his website as a free download.]
Blogger Pro versus TypePad

Been thinking about switching over to Movable Type from Blogger. These things require focused time and energy, like moving into a new home, or setting up a new PC, and I haven't had enough of either recently to tackle the task. My room is still a collection of unread mail, unfolded laundry, and other junk that accumulated while I was out of the country.
Another excuse is to wait for the next revs. Since Pyra Labs was acquired by Google, the Blogger team has been in hiding, coding their next release, nicknamed Dano. It will be interesting to see what improvements that contains. In the meantime, an improved Movable Type (with hosting thrown in) is promised with Typepad. Given that switching costs are not trivial (especially since the more fully-featured versions won't be free), aspiring weblog authors may wish to wait, or at least do some due diligence.