You Want It, You Got It

Rapoza Columns Inc. leverages add-ons to boost product.

Jim Rapoza Columns Inc., a leading producer of technology opinion and analysis, announced today the introduction of a new value-added strategy that will greatly increase the reach and accessibility of the companys award-winning column product, "Tech Directions."

Starting this week, the company will be the first vendor of technology-oriented columns to apply time-tested software extension techniques to the production of opinion columns.

"Tech Directions has been a great product for us now for many years. However, while most of our readers love the column just the way it is, some readers wish that it had some additional features, such as more comedy, sarcasm or how-to tips," said company President and CEO Jim Rapoza.

"One solution for us would be to simply add these features to all our Tech Directions columns," said Rapoza. "But, being the savvy analyzers of software business models that we are, weve hit on a new strategy that will greatly increase options and flexibility for our readers without creating any extra work for ourselves. Just like Windows, Office, Firefox and pretty much any software application out there, Tech Directions can now be extended through the use of third-party extensions, plug-ins and add-ons."

Jim Rapoza Columns Inc. expects that hundreds of hobbyist columnists will rush to add new and exciting functionality to the Tech Directions product. In fact, several well-known ICWs (independent column writers) have already announced forthcoming extensions to Tech Directions, including the eagerly anticipated TechDirectLaughRiot extension, which adds 30 percent more comedy to every column.

Just as many software companies have been able to shrug off criticisms about missing or removed features by simply saying, "Dont worry—theres an extension for that," so, too, will the good folks at Jim Rapoza Columns Inc. be able to claim nearly endless capabilities without having to put in the effort to add the functionality.

"Most users will love the flexibility and customization options that will come from the many extensions that will be offered for Tech Directions," said Rapoza. "We wont be shy about leveraging the popularity of these extensions to put our product in the best light. And, in those cases where an extension causes problems or product failure? Hey, thats not our problem—talk to the extension writer. Really, the customer should have thought twice before he or she plugged in an extension from some anonymous person out on the Internet."

Jim Rapoza Columns Inc. officials promise that the main Tech Directions product will continue to include all the core functionality that readers have come to expect and that extensions will be limited to mainly nonessential features and capabilities—at least for now. "It may turn out that an extension will become so popular that we will decide to make it a standard feature of the core Tech Directions product," said Rapoza. "Or we may decide that a currently core feature is actually best served through the extension/add-on model. Basically, we want to do whatever makes the product look good while cutting down on the amount of work we have to do ourselves."

Readers also should keep in mind that, as new versions of the Tech Directions product are released, it is highly likely that all existing extensions, plug-ins and add-ons will cease to operate properly and will need to be recoded to work with the new version of Tech Directions. Some may complain, but this is the price of progress.

"Throughout my pilot of the beta of the new Tech Directions with extensions, Ive been much more productive and gotten more enjoyment out of my use of the column," said beta tester Diego Fox. "I especially like the Sarcasmatron plug-in, which really boosted the sarcasm level of the column."

As new extensions are released, the company will notify users through the Add-Ons area of the column. All media, press and other inquiries should be sent to the e-mail address below.

Jim Rapoza, Labs director, er, president and CEO of Jim Rapoza Columns Inc., can be reached at