The Puppy Dog Close

I understand there’s a technique in sales known as the “puppy dog close.” Imagine a family going into a pet store “just to look.” The sales person says “No problem, I know you don’t want to buy anything today, but while you’re here why not hold this just for a minute” and proceeds to put a puppy in the arms of the kid who’s only too happy to play with it. Of course the kid and the puppy hit it off instantly, and the dad grudgingly gives in to the inevitable. In other words they go home with the puppy. **That** is the puppy dog close.

Shareware and try-before-you-buy software are based on the puppy dog close, but all too often I find it surprisingly easy to walk away after trying it. This past week, tho, I bought three different pieces of software as soon as the trial period ended.

The first program, Dangerous Mines, is an addicting Minesweeper type game I’ve been trying out for the past month. Of the three game variants, my favorite is Gauntlet, where you have to complete a level in a limited amount of time to proceed to the next level. The Hard game, which seemed impossible to play just a few short weeks ago, I now tackle in the morning while the coffee is brewing. Maybe I play it a little too much (are my mouse fingers supposed to feel numb?), but I just got a high score over a million so I’m lucky I can quit anytime. Really. The game is well done, tho a little pricey at $25 (PC version, Mac version available as well).

The second program is the fine NetNewsWire, an RSS aggregator I’ve got collecting feeds from about four dozen websites so I can stay on top of new posts without having to visit all those sites all the time. I love the interface, and how it can be customized, and it keeps getting better. I’m using the beta of version 2, highly recommended at $25 (Mac only).

The third program is Panic Software’s Transmit, a fine little FTP client. I’ve been using Fetch forever to do FTP, since 1995 I think, when Robin introduced me to the internet (“Too geeky” I said, “it will never catch on with the masses.” She felt differently, and Once Again, She Was Right). Fetch went commercial with the OSX version, and I ponied up for it. It’s gotten a little long in the tooth and hasn’t kept up with the times. Panic, on the other hand, did a fine job with Transmit, and I’m a sucker for a nice user interface anyway. Nice utility, does what it’s supposed to and even looks pretty, $30 (Mac only).