WinPatrol First to Create BirthdayWare
When WinPatrol was first released it was created mainly for friends and family. At the time, I stayed pretty busy working on unique programs for Microsoft, Gateway, Epson and was working for Capital Cities/ABC when Disney took over the company. WinPatrol was just a hobby while I worked on other fun popular programs.
Working for a variety of companies was fun. My Windows programming experience meant I was in high demand and I was able to play with new secret equipment. While it was never published I created one of the first DVD players as a project for Gateway. It kept me busy enough that WinPatrol didn’t seem as important as it turned out.
I never expected how much crap would start appearing in the Startup programs list and how popular WinPatrol would become. If I had known at the time I would have patented the concepts used by WinPatrol and could have retired by now. Ironically, a lot of the work I did for other companies would be considered disposable startup programs like my Epson Ink Monitor and my Gateway Warranty reminder. At least when possible my startup junk would exit once performing its function.
WinPatrol was just a program I created on the side for my own use. Instead of just giving WinPatrol away for free I came up with something called “BirthdayWare”. Once a year on my birthday WinPatrol would display a example of a programmers ego.
It was a lot of fun to receive Email from WinPatrol fans but soon the volume of the Email was overwhelming. I was pleasantly surprised and confused when birthday Emails started to come in on the day before my actual birthday. I finally noticed the first greetings were from locations like Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and other sites where the date had already changed. WinPatrol has always been very popular in Vietnam. ( btw, The Email listed above is no longer valid.)
In addition to the large amounts of Email, I discovered WinPatrol users were making a serious error. Many fans took the time and effort to create animated greeting cards to wish me a happy birthday.
Unfortunately, back in those days the sending of a greeting cards was a popular method to distribute adware and spyware. Essentially, in the process of thanking me they were infecting themselves with adware. If I opened their well intended greeting card I would also get infected.
After a few years of fun, I was forced to disable the birthdayware feature and did without the personal celebration. Some long time users still continued to wish me a Happy Birthday even without the reminder and to this day I still receive birthdayware greetings.
Next month on November 19th we’re going to celebrate, not my birthday, but the 14th anniversary of WinPatrol or Scotty’s Birthday. There will be prizes and all the special treats I can think of between now and then. Stay turned for all the fun.