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ATPM 9.08
August 2003

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Segments: Slices from the Macintosh Life

by Eric Blair, eblair@atpm.com

Farewell, Casady & Greene

It is with profound regret that we inform you that Casady & Greene will close its doors on July 3rd, 2003, after nineteen years in the Software Publishing business. We have endured many industry downturns, but the last three years have presented a series of economic disasters from which we were unable to rebound. Please know that we are deeply grateful for your patronage and have been honored to serve you and please accept our very sincere apologies for any difficulties or inconveniences caused you by our closure.

I was saddened when I originally learned of this development on MacCentral. I think I’ve used software published by Casady & Greene almost from the first day I’ve had a Mac.

Those new to the Macintosh platform might not recognize the name Casady & Greene, but long-time Mac users know it as the publisher who presented programs like Conflict Catcher, SoundJam, and Crystal Quest to the world. That might not seem like much today, since anybody can set up a Web site and hawk their own wares. Casady & Greene, however, was in business for 19 years. Software was distributed on 3.5" floppy disks, on store shelves, and in the back of magazines. Looking back and thinking about how hard it was to find Macintosh software in stores for a long time makes what the folks at Casady & Greene were able to accomplish all the more impressive.

Of all the programs published by Casady & Greene, Conflict Catcher was easily the one I used the most. Back when I had a Performa 630 with 8 MB of RAM, I went crazy customizing it with many random system extensions (much to the chagrin of my parents, I might add). However, if I wanted to get anything productive done—like blowing away some Pfhor in a game of Marathon—the first thing I did was fire up Conflict Catcher and load up my specially prepared “Game” extension set.

Even when I upgraded to a Power Mac G3 with 256 MB of RAM, Conflict Catcher still held an important place in my tool kit, living up to its name and tracking down the ever-present conflicts between system extensions on the Classic Mac OS. Yes, I was usually cursing during the time it took to run conflict tests, but the satisfaction of slaughtering the offending extension(s) without sacrificing untold number of innocent bits more than made up for the time spent watching my Mac reboot.

cg-conflict-catcher

For some reason, SoundJam never really clicked with me, but I know a number of people who swore by the music player. In the days before iTunes, there were actually a number of different MP3 players for the Mac. Programs like SoundJam, Audion, MACAST, and GrayAmp were all competing for the ears of Mac users. I was more fond of Audion, but the folks at Apple had their eyes on SoundJam. The necessary papers were signed, Apple acquired the rights to SoundJam, hired SoundJam developer Jeffrey Robbin, and turned SoundJam into what we today know as iTunes.

I don’t think Casady & Greene ever recovered from the switch to OS X. When you have two marquee applications like Conflict Catcher and SoundJam and cannot sell either of them to OS X users, it can’t bode well for your future.

cg-soundjam

Done right, an application like Conflict Catcher could be useful on OS X. Extensions, as they were on the Classic Mac OS, don’t exist under OS X, but there are a number of new things that could use managing—kernel extensions, Internet plug-ins, contextual menu items, and haxies all come to mind. As I was reminded by John Gruber’s article on Casady & Greene’s passing, Jeffrey Robbin was not only the developer of SoundJam, but he was also the developer of Conflict Catcher.

Even in its waning days, Casady & Greene is still treating its customers better than many companies that, sadly, will outlive it. If you go to the Casady & Greene home page, you will find a farewell message, along with contact and support information on every Casady & Greene product. In a few cases, the Web site states that a given product is no longer supported by anybody, but the majority of the products are being supported by their original authors.

If you have a chance, read the farewell message on the Casady & Greene home page. In this day and age, where many companies go out of business and either leave their Web pages untouched or disappear from the Internet without a trace, the farewell message shows the same care that Casady & Greene put into the products they published. They actually thank and apologize to their customers for any inconvenience their closing might cause.

When Casady & Greene’s farewell message was first posted, it contained no contact information for Conflict Catcher—it looked as though the venerable application’s obituary would read “Check back for information. At this time Conflict Catcher does not have a support contact.” That has since changed and support is available via e-mail. I don’t know who is sitting at the receiving end of that address, but it’s nice to see that Conflict Catcher will continue in some small way.

The same day Casady & Greene announced their imminent demise, some folks were discussing the point of the 10th Anniversary BBEdit Anthology on Erik Barzeski’s Weblog. My point of view is that 10 years is worth celebrating. Casady & Greene published quality software for 19 years. As a longtime Mac user, it’s sad to see this company go, but it is also worth celebrating everything they accomplished.

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