Emerging from Lockdown

Conker Group was an old-fashioned tech business before the lockdown. We even had a server room in one of our offices, housing dozens of servers, and often Kev’s bike. And, a unicycle left behind by an IT manager from many years ago – I often wonder how he got home.

Almost everybody went to the office almost every day. We didn’t have Dilbert-style cubicles but we were office-centric. It was changing slowly; in the past few years most new projects, such as Audacity, have been hosted on Amazon’s cloud with no office presence at all. But, slowly.

And now, we’re getting the hang of not meeting face to face very often. I’ve not been to the office for almost six months, and I’m not alone. Although Kev and a handful of others are in there a day or two a week, tending to the servers and the plants.

There hasn’t been an Audacity update for more than four months, not since version 2.7 in April. My apologies to our loyal users who have stuck with us despite occasional promises that something was ‘just days away’. But it’s finally out. It’s called 3.1. in honour of the first ‘real’ version of Windows, launched in 1992 when Conker was an embryonic business. Ah, the things we could do with Lotus 123, when we weren’t playing Minesweeper…

Audacity 3.1. changes everything. I’m so proud of what the team has achieved during lockdown. We’ve gone from a 10 second lag when syncing between devices, to a real time sync – amazing work, Chris, Jon and Vinnie. Real time was essential because we now have chat/comments about tasks. We’ve also got date ranges for when a task will be worked on (thanks, Francois, for the user feedback that led to this), and a Star for favourites, just like Wunderlist had. We can not only go toe-to-toe with any of the established To Do players, but we’re ahead.

Of course, Todoist and others have the edge on us when it comes to platforms – we’re only iOS at the moment – Android merely remains ‘in progress’. I’ll blog about this next week.

I hope everyone who relies on iPhones or iPads will try Audacity, because like Windows we just got ‘real’. Not everyone will like it, that’s the way of the world: one reviewer dismissed it as ‘too slick’, although it was overall a useful and thoughtful review. But it can help everyone organise their personal lives, and it’s free which is a bonus in a recession.

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