25 October 2009

Just like that...

Responsiveness in a software publisher or supplier is always welcome, and more common than is often realised, but I've just experienced a particularly impressive case.

On Thursday, I downloaded a 30 day trial copy of FX Draw 3 – part of FX MathPack, a suite of mathematics resources for the secondary education market by Australian publisher Efofex and available in the UK from Chartwell-Yorke).

I had in mind buying a copy for use on a laptop with all the neighbourhood teenagers who drop in hopefully for assistance with homework, and in the café based outreach work with which I'm involved. Since the next topic likely to come up is bearings, I skipped to the angle measure resources and specifically to the onscreen protractors.

There are two protractors: 180° and 360°. Both are very flexible and intuitive to use: they can be drawn on the fly, during an explanation, in less than a second, with one flick of the mouse. For bearings work, the 360° is by far the preferable one ... but bearings are measured clockwise from north, and this protractor showed the full three hundred and sixty degrees only in the counterclockwise direction. After fiddling and exploring on my own for a bit, I emailed a query to Chartwell-Yorke.

On Friday I received a reply from Efofex: no, there was no clockwise scale, but they would add one.

Today, Sunday, another Efofex email dropped into my inbox: a clockwise scale on 360 degree protractors has been added to FX Draw (that's a sneak preview of it in the illustration – as always, click it for a larger view) and will appear in the next release (no date as yet for that release, which has to include other developments, but it's expected “in a few weeks”.)

You really can't fault that.

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