Saturday, March 28, 2009

The ongoing discussions about MacHeist

Discussions. Is that the correct word? I'm not so sure. Blatant flinging of opinions may be more accurate.

Those of us not on the inside would do well to stop flinging opinion and accusations at the crew that started and currently manage MacHeist. At least there are a few more people who are calmly making posts about it now. That's refreshing after fora, blog and podcasting flame wars that ensued in the first two years of the event. To be sure, MacHeist still has it's share of detractors.Among them this time around is Marco Arment, who is certainly entitled to his opinion. One response to Mr. Arment's posted opinion is from a dev who is involved directly with MacHeist.

Here is some additional opinion from a developer at M Cubed Software and Buzz Andersen's Sci-Fi Hi-Fi blog post.

So, what more can I seek to add to all of this discussion that gets exhumed and rehashed with each iteration of MacHeist?

I'm the consumer. I've purchased all three bundles that have been offered. I've participated in all but the very first "heist", only because I didn't get invited until just as that one ended and didn't have time.Overall, it's been delightfully entertaining and a great core community has grown up around the annual bundle releases. By far, as the consumer, I'm more annoyed by whiners and complainers who think every step should be picture perfect with no hiccups or issues than with anything I've had to deal directly with the MacHeist team about.

The MacHeist folk are treading new ground in many instances, pushing the envelope and bringing us interesting puzzles, free software to try — or to ignore or delete if it isn't useful to us — and a bundle of software that is so reasonably priced that it really is hard to pass up.

What I think a lot of the naysayers and supporters alike are missing is the ongoing community aspect that sprung up without originally being intended by the creators. That community is acknowledged now, within the MacHeist team but, originally, the forum was an afterthought. To be sure, in the thick of activity building to a bundle there are a lot of fluff posts. It got even fluffier with the advent of teams and points that none of us knew how to really earn other than myriad speculated methods. We still don't have an explanation as to what points are all about or how we gain and lose them. Meh, big deal.

I took a quick, and silly, quiz. I got assigned to the Green Team (my husband gave nearly identical answers and ended up my opponent on the Orange Team but he's not really into it anyway). I've now made a group of friends via our Team Chat. A super core of people on the team with whom I interact regularly. We are Mac users. We help each other find apps of use, hardware recommendations and a variety of other things including sharing our musical tastes via

Oh, and did I mention, as a consumer I've been willing to check out independent software developer's wares much more since I did my first heist. I've gotten some great software from MacUpdate's mupromo and macZOT, both of which are ongoing, year-round.

We even have an enterprising MacHeist community member who is digging up deals for us and posting them in the fora for all to take advantage of on a regular basis. I've gotten in on two of those so far was well. Folks are certainly entitled to their own opinions. It's akin to people who complain about the posts of people they are following on twitter being annoying... Unfollow! If you as a dev don't think you will get a good deal out of participating in MacHeist... Don't! If you can't afford the bundle, even with the ridiculously low price for what is included or you don't see software in it you want... Don't Buy It!

Oh, and if you don't like the FREE software you got for solving the puzzles don't whine to the rest of us who are quite happy to give them a try or just ignore ones we don't want. No one is being forced to do any of these things against their will. Gee whiz, they were FREE.

I've spent money to upgrade some of the free apps that I found useful. I've spent money to upgrade bundle apps as well. I'll echo others when I say that I likely would not have sought out some of the apps that came in the bundles. Those very apps for which I've paid upgrade fees to the devs. I've bought other apps from some of the devs I'd possibly not have found otherwise. My exposure to MacHeist has certainly produced a positive for developers of software that I make use of on a regular basis.

Participate in the community a bit before accusing, whining or denigrating it. It would be refreshing to see people do some real research before spouting off.

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