Tensai 0.93

After much wait and little fanfare, Tensai 0.93 is released!

There are two major changes in this release. First, it’s fully shareware now; so if you use Tensai please buy a license. I’m starting it at an introductory price of $30, with the intention of raising that price as I implement more planned features. Unlicensed copies of Tensai are limited to a max vocab list size of 10 entries. If you’ve been using an earlier version, don’t worry. Your existing vocab lists won’t be changed by 0.93. You will no longer, however, be able to add any entries to those lists over the limit. Unless you buy a license, of course. The limitations placed on unlicensed users will change with each release as new features are implemented.

Second, vocab lists are much improved. Addition, deletion, multiple selection. Entry dragging can start from anywhere not occupied by text. Selection can be changed/grown by arrow and modifier keys. Try command-clicking and shift-clicking entries. Also try pressing the delete key when a vocab list’s entries are selected.

Oh yes, and dragging and dropping entries to text editors gives you nicely formatted plain text copies of the entries.


21 Responses to “Tensai 0.93”

  1. Derek Says:

    Starting at 30 USD and going up? Going up to how much?

  2. hkstar Says:

    Hi - I’m a programmer myself. I know how much work goes into writing this kind of thing. But I think you’ve made a mistake with this pricing .. $30 is way too much. I doubt you’ll get many sales at that price.

    Personall I think you need to price the app around $10-15. Maybe $12.95 is a sweet spot but definitely under $20. People just won’t pay more.

    If it was under $15, and a universal binary, I’m happy to buy it.

  3. Taro Says:

    I definitely agree with hkstar: $30 (and going up!!!!) is a real stopper for me. I only just started checking this program out and was starting to like it. But now I’m a little less interested in spending time learning all its features. I think I’ll see what else is out there first.

  4. Greg Says:

    i guess i’ll thirdly agree. great program, i use it everyday but $30 just seems a little too high. i would definitely pay $10 and i would consider $15 but $30 is just too much in my opinion.

  5. Andrew Says:

    Seriously. I can understand that you put a lot of work into developing this program, and everyone needs to make money, but $30 is an appallingly high price to ask. And in light of the multitude of free alternatives out there, I don’t see what good it will do you. I for one would never pay so much.

  6. Justin Says:

    Derek: I haven’t decided yet. It will depend on how many features get added. Not over $40 though.

    Others: I’m not surprised by your reactions, but I think that in time you will find Tensai’s price to be reasonable. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that a license bought today will get you more than just 0.93, but everything through the 1.x releases to come, and all of the features they will include.

    If a license today only bought the feature set of 0.93, I’d agree that $30 would be too much, but there is still much more to come. When Tensai 1.0 is released, I believe you won’t be as surprised by its price. In the meantime, think of the $30 as a discounted price for people who like where Tensai is going and wish to encourage it.

  7. hkstar Says:

    Justin: You just had 4 users, users who obviously care enough to come to your website and write comments to you, tell you that they’re willing to pay $10-15, and are not willing to pay $30. Four times $15 is $60. Zero times $30 is zero. You do the math.

    I don’t want additional features or vocabulary lists - I never even knew that feature existed before you said it was now limited! I just want a good japanese dictionary that is a universal binary for my intel Mac. I will pay you for that, not many good things in life are free, I really like Tensai, and I’m happy to reward you for your efforts. But not $30 for an interface to a free dictionary, which btw comes from Monash University - I’m Australian so the wordlist you’re using was originally developed using my tax dollars!

    Maybe you could consider two versions. Tensai and Tensai Pro, perhaps? Charge $10-15 for just the unibin dictionary app. Charge $30+ for this super vocabulary learning swiss army knife omnibus program it seems you’re working on. But just give us the choice, and don’t try to charge too much, because then you’ll end up with nothing.

    So how about it? :-)

  8. Justin Says:

    hkstar: Except for not being universal yet, Tensai is already what you’re asking for. The unlicensed version of Tensai has no time limit and does everything the licensed version does, just with a limit on the size of vocab lists. So as a JMdict and kanjidic2 lookup app it’s totally free already. Even for making short vocab lists it’s free. The only part of Tensai that isn’t free is vocab lists larger than 10 entries.

    I completely agree that Monash University is doing a great service to students of Japanese everywhere by providing and maintaining their dictionaries. I also believe that basic lookup from their dictionaries should be free, that’s why I’ve kept so much of Tensai free and unlimited.

  9. sam Says:

    $30 bucks for something useful is hardly a lot of money; people who think otherwise don’t value their time or their tools very much.


  10. wvh Says:

    I like Tensai a lot, and I prefer it to JEDict for basic lookups. The main reason I prefer it is because it’s simpler and cleaner; it has less extraneous features. As such, it seems odd that Tensai would cost *more* than the featureful JEDict. I think part of the appeal of a simpler application is that it requires less development resources, and so it can cost less money.

  11. Christopher Drum Says:

    I, too, do development (despite the age of my last update on my website) and I am also concerned by the proposed pricing structure. There is nothing going on between v.92 and v.93 to warrant the $30, other than making the vocabulary lists work like one would expect them to work. I fear there is an attempt here to milk your user base for cash in an attempt to strengthen your own resolve to continue developing Tensai.

    I know, it’s hard, thankless work sometimes. And when you have something people like, it’s hard not to cash in to ease the pains of development. However, the proposed pricing structure is a bit out of hand, in my personal opinion. I just bought the Japanese/English dictionary for my Nintendo DS. For $40 I get A LOT. I can bookmark to my heart’s content, look up kanji characters via handwriting recognition, quiz myself, use the world clock, start a Japanese language chatroom via WiFi, play some hidden mini-games, jump between dictionaries, and more.

    I guess my point here is, “What does Tensai do now that is worth 3/4 of the price of this other dictionary?” Perhaps if you gave us some kind of roadmap of your intentions so we could see where the investment dollars will go? Maybe a screenshot of version 1.0 in progress? I will reserve complete judgment until version 1.0 comes out. Who knows, maybe you’ll blow my mind! However, the current release does not instill such confidence in your plans to warrant the cash.

    Personally, I think any software released these days should be Universal Binary by default, so I’m not particularly willing to pay for that “feature.” I think Tensai, with full vocabulary list functionality, could possibly be worth $5. As is, it’s really just a viewer program for a free dictionary file. It’s nice, but isn’t the “must have” program the $30 fee suggests.

    I recommend you at least get version 1.0 out the door before jumping into the shareware fee waters.

  12. Justin Says:

    I guess I just don’t see the situation in the same way. Most of Tensai is free to use. If it’s not worth $30 to you yet, perhaps a later version will be. In the meantime, you can use it unlicensed.

    It’s turned shareware before 1.0 because I need a way to limit full access to 1.0’s paid features during these pre-1.0 releases. I don’t feel that expiring betas work well, and I’d rather have gripes about the price now than about turning it into shareware later.

  13. hkstar Says:

    Justin: Fair enough. Hope you didn’t take my comments the wrong way. I have a couple of friends in the Mac shareware game, one very successfully, and know something about the extreme price sensitivity of the market. Just be aware that it will have to be a pretty special app to sell for $30+. Of course I’ve bought software (including shareware) that costs over that, but generally work-related only. For interest-related software like this .. I just don’t see it, but what do I know anyway.

    Thanks for the replies and good luck with the development effort! Looking forward to the UniBin, obviously. Any hints on when we’ll see it?

    And I guess here’s a good place as any to start making feature requests: how about “look up in Tensai” as a contextual menu in Safari, like you get on a selected word for Dictionary.app?

    Christopher Drum: Love the Advertisement Warning Labels! I also have Rakubiki Jiten, and agree it’s absolutely great. In fact I bought my DS Lite just to use it.

  14. Patrick Says:

    Justin, thanks for making a great piece of software. I think wvh’s assumption that it takes less resources to develop a simpler program is not true. I appreciate the elegance and simplicity that Tensai offers. I won’t tell you to change the price, but I will tell you that I, Patrick, will gladly pay you $15 for a Universal version with an elemental kanji finder that works quickly and elegantly.

    As sufficient for everyday use as it usually is, the JEDict has many errors, inconsistencies and omissions. Even with all the features you could possibly pack in, any more than $15, and I’d rather put my money toward a reference work based on professional scholarship.

  15. Gene van Troyer Says:

    Since this is so obviously still under development–betaware, it seems to me–$30 is too steep at this stage. $12 with a promise of free upgrades when you hit the 1.0 mark would be more in line with realistic oricing, and then modest upgrade charges after that. This way you make the folks happy who want to donate because they believe in supporting useful software development, and who want to keep a live wire like you charged; and you get others who aren’t donators ushered in because they see that the project is going places. In other words, $30 for betaware is too much for most.

    This is probably not the place to mention this, but a really useful app for pre-OSX Macs was Just Systems’ Dr. Mouse. You could hover the mouse pointer over any word in English or Japanese in any document for any app, and a dictionary definition would pop up in one or the other language. Is there anything around that does this in OSX? Maybe you could make your app really useful by adding the auto-lookup feature.

  16. Kevin Laverman Says:

    Your improvement work on the application is coming along nicely. Keep it up! But I also would balk at a $30 price on software that is basically a frontend for a public domain dictionary. JEDict is $25 and loaded with a much richer feature set. I would offer a pricing structure competitive to that, with a student discount for academic users. You’ll make it up in volume sales, as they say.

  17. John Says:

    As virtually everyone else is saying, $30 is simply too much for this app. There are excellent freeware alternatives. I’d say $12.50 or so would be reasonable. Paraphrasing hkstar said, $30 times 0 is 0, while $12.50 times 4 is $50. Which would you prefer?

  18. Chris Says:

    Ive just read all these posts and I have to agree. if this app was 15$ I would DEFINITLY buy it. if it is going to be 30$ or more I won’t. Even if it has a million great features. I ONLY need to look up things in a japanese dictionary. While I understand that portion is free right now, If you are goign to charge I would feel good paying 15$ for that. If oyu MUST charge 30$, maybe you could set up something where there are two levels of payments. one for 15$ to get most basic features unlmited, and one for 30$ (or 15$ upgrade after someone buys a basic license) to get advanced features. tat was people who want things worth 30$ can buy taht and most of the people out there (the majority of this board also) can pay 15$ for what we are looking for. ? I think that sounds like a good plan for everyone. It’s really up to you though.

  19. panda Says:

    I hope there’s a version for the iPhone. Perhaps as a dashboard-style app.

  20. panda Says:

    oh dear -



  21. Johan Says:

    any chance you could make a similiar app but with chinese-characters/pinyin/english instead. Would buy at instant!!

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