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THE IMPORTANCE OF SOFTWARE REVIEWS

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					  THE IMPORTANCE OF
  SOFTWARE REVIEWS




Pasco Area Computer Users Group

          By Shirley Finefrock
Most important is establishing a review program which
eliminates having to search for vendors to attend your
club meetings.

The program enables you to have access to new and
updated programs of interest to your members at no
cost to them.

It’s a good way to get members involved in something
other than the weekly classes.
I‟ve been chair person of the Review Program for about 2 years.
It is a very interesting project and I really like working with it.

It‟s great to be able to accumulate the information and prepare it
for presentation to our group members.

I go to great lengths to have all the information available, to make
it as easy as possible for the members to install the program on
their computer.
   CONTACT WITH
SOFTWARE COMPANIES
The main contact with software companies develops through your
Website. You have exposure by being part of FACUG with the
listing of your site and your group e-mail address. There are also
ways of contacting companies by checking for new product releases,
with the help of search engines.
The company that contacts you will be notifying you as a
representative of your users group. They request that you notify
members by presenting the information in their product release.

It is best to request the full version of the program before making
any announcements to the members.
We never do a review on a trial version.

If the company doesn‟t provide a license for a full version,
it‟s best to simply file their release in the “Circular File.”
The method of contact is important. Using e-mail directed to the
CEO or their support group. When you receive a release notification
it always lists the main contact and if the person‟s name is included,
always use their full name when contacting them.
I have been using my own personal e-mail address and the replies
have been directed to me. This has worked well for me to date.
I found that the personal touch has been to the advantage of the club.
I use a form type letter for my contact and 99% of the time I
get a response. There are some occasions when the company
just doesn‟t want to give away the free program. That is their
loss, as reviewing their program gives us a chance to present
the benefits of the program to our members via our newsletter
and also presented on our website for all to see.
                        SAMPLE FORM



Dear ___________


As the Chairman of the Review Program for the(list the name of your group), I would like to request a full version,
with the Registration Key, of your program “_______” so a member of our club can do a complete review.
When the review is completed, our Webmaster will post it on our website (Your URL here) and I will send a copy
to you.
Thank you for considering my request. (E-mail address)


Sincerely,
your name
club position, club name (letters) i.e. secretary, FACUG
   HOW & WHY TO
DOWNLOAD PROGRAMS
The main reason to download a program is to make it easier to
present to our club members. If it is already on a CD, it is much
easier to get a member interested in reviewing the program. There
are some members that are on dial-up service, which
takes too much time to download, making it possible that the service
could be cut off before the program is complete.
When downloading the program I always choose “SAVE” and direct
it to my desk top. This makes it very simple to locate the “EXE” file.
I also create a separate folder listed „DOWNLOADED PROGRAMS”
which I maintain until the program has been reviewed and all aspects
of the program have been completed. This includes presenting the
printed review for proofreading, then sent to the editor of the
newsletter, then on to the Web Master to enter on our Website.
I burn the program to a CD and mark the CD accordingly.
I use a CD label program (Acoustica CD Label Maker) which
makes a very neat and clear description of the program. I
include the name of the program, the name of the company
and also include any graphics that are available to help
visually describe the program. Another item that I include
is the fact that it is a PACUG project and the date the program
was burned to the CD.
The company supplies a license code to be used by the member
accepting the responsibility of reviewing the program. The code,
if it isn‟t exceptionally large, can be placed on the label for easy
access. Some codes are very complex and the company informs
you that it is best to cut and paste to prevent any error that may
occur in typing the code. I have also recorded the code (when
exceptionally difficult) on a floppy disk but that is going out of
style as most new computers do not have a floppy drive. The other
option is to copy and paste the code to some type of word processing
program and then print it on a separate paper that can be cut to size
and clipped to the CD jacket.
WHY A PRINT-OUT IS
   IMPORTANT
When first receiving an e-mail regarding a new release , it
provides information about the sender and the person receiving
the message and then the release information follows.
It is best to make a copy of the complete information. Then copy
and paste only the release information. Also, edit the contact
information listed last in the release. The reason this is done is to
eliminate anyone other than yourself to contact the person who
originated the message. The fewer contacts the better.
For immediate release

July 4, 2007

Contact: Luo Gang
Company: Qiwang Computer LTD
E-mail:
support@registryeasy.com


**********************************
**********************************
******


NOTE TO EDITORS: Please, let us know
if you have any questions or would like
any additional information on Registry
Easy. Contact Luo Gang at
1. support@registryeasy.com for more
information. A free registration key is
available upon request to all editors
considering a review.

Product page:
http://www.registryeasy.com
Direct download link:
http://www.registryeasy.com/download.ph
p (1.4 Mb)
Company web-site:
http://www.registryeasy.com
E-mail: support@registryeasy.com
The full copy print-out is for your file and the release copy, along
with the CD, is to be given to the member agreeing to do the review.
It is necessary to keep a complete copy for reference. You will have
the necessary information to help, if the member contacts you
regarding a problem. You also will need this information
to inform the company when the review is completed.
PRESENTING OPTIONS TO
      MEMBERS
Before every meeting you should set up a separate table displaying
the programs that are available for review.
Encourage members to take advantage of the programs that you have
to offer, stressing that they are great programs and the company is
providing the program at no charge. Most programs vary from $30.00
all the way to $100.00 and several I have received were even higher.
The program is on a CD and ready to be installed on their computer
and all they have to do is work with the program and then report how
it works for them, noting the positive side and the negative side if
there is one. It‟s ok to list the negatives, be truthful, but not to harsh,
as you hope to hear from the company again in the future.
Our club‟s experience in that case found that there was never
another contact after reporting a completely negative review.
There has to be something positive in every program, so be sure
that you make special note of that.



                      +
PROPER PREPARATION OF
       REVIEW
When a member has agreed to take a program for review they should
be given instructions as to how you expect the review to be prepared.
You should have a printed guideline indicating
the information required to prepare a good review.
1. Name of software being reviewed listed at the top of the page.
2. Name the kind of software being reviewed, i.e. Games, graphics,
   utility programs.

   This is important since there are so many different types.
3. A description of the software – what it does and so forth.
   Also include in your evaluation, matters such as ease of
   installation and operation, major features, user friendly, clarity
   of documentation, support and any special hardware
   requirements.
4. A summary of the program‟s features in your “OWN” words.
   Please DO NOT copy the software description off the box or
   the release form, as the review. The company will reject the
   review and the review will need to be redone.
5. Let everyone know if you would or would not recommend
   the software
6. Positive and negative comments about the software.
   Please remember that this is a review of the program
   and not necessarily what your preferences are.
7. You have 30 days to do the review and return it to the program
   chairman. Please have a printed copy and a copy on a 3.5
   diskette, noting the word processor program used, i.e. Word
   Perfect or Microsoft Word
8. Please type title in ARIEL and use TIMES NEW ROMAN
  for the body of the review.

This is requested by the editor of the newsletter to prevent having
to retype the entire review for publication.
9. REMEMBER: This is your software to register and keep
   once the review has been completed and accepted.
Please do not:
 Include images such as photos, clipart or screen shots.
 Some online form submissions cannot accept image formats.
Your signature is required, as the reviewer, at the bottom
of the document
Also list the name of your club member they can contact for help
if they have a problem with the program
SAMPLE FORM
GUIDELINES FOR PROGRAM REVIEWS

1. Name of software being reviewed at the top of the page.

2. Name the kind of software being reviewed; Le. games, graphics, utility programs, this is important since there are so many
different types.

3. A description of the software -what it does and so forth. Also include in your evaluation maters such as ease of installation and
operation, major features, user friendly, clarity of documentation, support and any special hardware requirements.

4. A summary of the program's features in your OWN words. Please DO NOT copy the software description off the box as the
review. The company who provided the software will reject the review and the review will need to be redone.

5. Let everyone know if you would or would not recommend the software.

6. Positive and negative comments about the software. Please remember that this is a review of the program and not necessarily
what your preferences are.

7. You have 30 days to do the review and return it to the program chairman. Please have a printed copy and a copy on a 3.5
diskette with the word processor program used; Le. WordPerfect, or Microsoft Word

8. Please type title in ARlEL and use T1MES NEW ROMAN for the body of the review.

9. REMEMBER: This is your software to register and keep once the review has been done and accepted


Please do not:

System requirements are no longer needed in the review and please do not include images such as photos, clipart, or screens hots.
Some online form submissions cannot accept image formats.

Your signature as the reviewer at the bottom of the document is required

For help e-mail Shirley at shir.:fine@verizon.net or Marie at svesta@tampab~.rr. com
                                           SOFTWARE REVIEW FORM

Thank you for volunteering to review software for the club. You and the club will benefit from your work.

Once you have been given the software to review, that particular program is now yours and, therefore,
will need to be registered under your name. It is your program to not only review but to enjoy as long as
you wish to use. By registering the software, you will be activating it in your name which will entitle you
to any updates that are released for that product.

Please submit your review within 30 days with a printed copy and a 3.5 diskette. Please state on your
diskette which word processing program you used to write the review, i.e. Microsoft word or Word
Perfect. If a review is NOT turned in, that club member will no longer have the privilege of doing future
reviews.

If you have questions or need help, e-mail Shirley at shirfine@verizon.net or Marie at
svesta@tampabay.rr.com.


Date:_______________      Phone No._________________


Reviewers Name:________________________________________________________

Software Name & Version:_________________________________________________

Signature of Reviewer:____________________________________________________
 GRAMMAR &
PUNCTUATION
You want to be certain the version of the review that is presented
to the company is „PROFESSIONAL.”
You want to establish with the company that they are dealing
with a reputable and well-educated group. The company may
choose to use your comments on their web site when advertising
their product and you want to know you are grammatically correct.
Having someone within your group that is proficient in English
Grammar and Punctuation, should be a proof-reader of all
submitted documents.
Some word processing programs have a tool that checks and
corrects grammar and spelling. This can be used if the
human factor is not available.
Have the document as professional as possible, as it will appear
for all to see on your Website and also appears in the newsletter
that is presented to all members.
UPLOADING THE FINAL
     REVIEW
When all phases of the document have been finalized, it is time
to send it onto the software company
Always address your e-mail to the main person that sent you
the original release information
Be formal: as Dear_________ and if they included their position
within their company, in the original information also include that
in the salutation.
Indicate that the attachment is a copy of the review of their
program “_______.” Most companies seem to use MicroSoft Word
and that is what I use when uploading the review. I have had a
request to send as a PDF and this is acceptable by most companies.
Include information regarding the member‟s name that prepared
the review and any additional information that you feel is pertinent
to the review.
Always include the information that the review will be posted on
your Website and list the URL for that site.
I also include the fact that the information about their program
has been presented to our members and is included in our
newsletter to all members and list the number of members in
our group.
Finalize the e-mail by thanking them for including your group in
their notification of programs and to please keep you informed of
any future releases.
Sign: by including your name and position within your group.
MAINTAINING FILES
In the very beginning I told you how I created the printout of the
original e-mail which included the name of the Software Company
And the person directing the release information to you. I noted
that the information would be needed when it is time to upload
the review.
You should be maintaining this printed record in a “Completed” file
along with a printed copy of the review, showing the date the review
was returned to you and the date given to the editor and the
Webmaster and also the date uploaded.
There are times when the company will notify you that they have a
free upgraded version of their program. It is necessary to know
which member has the program installed on their computer so you
can notify them to take advantage of the upgrade. Without
maintaining these files you wouldn‟t know who to contact.
Carry all pertinent information to all meetings.

Keep folders for:

    1. Programs available for review
        (These are put on display for members to check what is
            available)
     2. Pending Reviews
     3. Reviews to be proofread
     4. Special folders for passing the printed review and
         the floppy disk to the Editor and Webmaster.
     5. Also folders containing the Guidelines and
        review forms
Make sure you have the necessary information available at each
meeting to get the programs into the hands of members, keeping
the review program up-to-date. It‟s important to get the review
back to the company as quickly as possible.
THE END
  This concludes our session for today

           THANK YOU
For attending this Round Table presented by:
  The Pasco Area Computer Users Group

The remainder of our time can be devoted to
Questions         and        comments

				
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