Friday, 10 October 2014

Shareware Through The Ages


Shaun Green looks at how shared software has grown and changed over time.

The story of shareware runs parallel to the tale of the modern PC, from 1980s inception through to the present day. It may be surprising to think that something as innocuous as a method of distributing software can have had such significant roots and have left such a deep impression on the landscape of computing.

Shareware was born of humble origins all the way back in 1982 -just one year after the arrival on the market of the first IBM PCs, the great granddaddies of most modern personal computers. And in one of those odd coincidences that crop up again and again throughout history, shareware was invented almost simultaneously by two men - both Americans and both software developers.

BackBeat Pro

BackBeat Pro

Michael checks out new headphones from Plantronics.

These BackBeat Pros are a set of noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones from Plantronics. Tthis well-padded product is of the over-the-ear type, offering simultaneous dual-source connectivity, fold flat capability and a battery life that can deliver up to 24 hours of listening power.

Plantronics have also included power and audio leads in the box for use with this device. You also get a ‘Ballistic Nylon Travel Sleeve', a grandiose description for the soft-lined black pouch with Velcro fasteners for storing the headphones. Both of the supplied leads are of a reasonable length (94cm for power and 147cm for the 3.5mm jack) with a rubber coating for better protection. The audio lead has a volume adjustment controller, but this only appears to work with certain Apple devices.