Connectix, makers of Connectix PowerBook Utilities (CPU), Virtual 3.0, MAXIMA, Hand-Off II, and the new InfoLog, is offering lower than normal prices to online services users. Since you're reading TidBITS, there's a good chance you fit that category. The offer involves ordering direct from Connectix, so the prices are excellent - noticeably better than mail order (I found a few mail order prices for comparison in the table below). Add $4 for shipping in North America, $10 for international orders (for one or more), and if you're in California, add the 8.5% state sales tax. Although international orders are fine, Connectix cannot accept orders from all countries due to agreements with local resellers, to whom Connectix will refer you if necessary.
Product List Mail Online -------------------------------------------------------- Connectix PowerBook Utilities (CPU) $99 49 39 Virtual 3.0 99 39 MAXIMA 2.0 69 45 29 InfoLog 149 44 HAND-Off II 99 55 39
If you are on AppleLink or America Online, Connectix has online order coupons you can download and redistribute. On AppleLink, check for AppleLink -> Third Parties -> Connectix -> Connectix "On-Line Coupon" and on America Online, look in a new Connectix Forum opening next week in the Macintosh Utilities Forum. It may also be worth checking on Connectix's forum on CompuServe in the Macintosh A Vendors forum (MACAVEN).
If you can't get a coupon, send your name, organization, street address, city, state, zip, and phone number; email address and service (I imagine "Internet" is fine for most of us); and credit card type (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express), number, and expiration date to Connectix at an electronic address below. Sorry to list all that out like that, but I have confidence you can figure it out.
Connectix says it will take about 10 days for delivery and the offer is void where prohibited (I like that phrase. It reminds me of a sign I saw once that said "Illegal activities prohibited." What, and they're OK everywhere else?). Finally, all of Connectix's products have a 30-day, money-back satisfaction guarantee. I approve. You can order one of each product per email address, and the prices expire 30-Jun-93.
You can order these products via email or, if you prefer (and we don't) via fax. As much as it's a bit clumsy to order this way, you can see how much money goes into the software distribution channel. If more companies conducted business online, we'd have cheaper software and less packaging waste since the companies would be interested in shipping smaller packages, not in creating hefty boxes to look good on shelves. Connectix, by the way, is good about packaging if the copy of Virtual 3.0 I just received is any indication. The disk is in an envelope inside the slim manual, and the whole thing is shrink-wrapped. No box, little waste.
And to preempt comments, yes, I know that if we rid ourselves of the software distribution channel that dealers won't be able to stay in business and provide the tech support users require (although Roy McDonald of Connectix made a point of telling me that Connectix provides toll-free support). In this instance, I fall back on running dog capitalist theory and say that the market would adapt.
Some people have legitimate concerns about sending credit card numbers through email. I expressed that concern to Roy, who said they set up the fax for this reason, and so far they have received three times as many responses via email as via fax. I'm glad that email is beating fax, but I'd like to see (and if I get bored someday I may write it) a HyperCard stack or application that has fields for the relevant data, does error checking, and then writes data to an encoded text file. The coding scheme could be as simple as a slightly modified rot13 (take the ASCII value of each letter, add 13, convert back to a letter, and repeat), but it would ensure basic privacy. There's no point in trying to protect that number too hard - if people want to steal it they will anyway and you will have to rely on your bank for help. The other value of this program would be to allow automatic data entry of the orders with a moderately intelligent mail system.
Send your email order to:
Roy McDonald, Connectix -- firstname.lastname@example.org