The Numerous Faces of Spell Catcher

or

This Product Has Been Around For How Long?

Hope this brings back memories (more about the era than the product), at for least some long-time Spell Catcher users. Hopefully our new customers will find it interesting as well!

Warning: Some links on certain pages (Thunder 7-related) lead to sites with what might be considered R-rated language (just the text, images are fine).

Click any image to get going.
Thunder!

Thunder!
Batteries Included, 1985-1986 - First Mac version.
Electronic Arts (Version 1.1), 1987-1988.

Thunder!

Batteries Included, 1985-1986
Electronic Arts, 1987-1988 (Version 1.1).

First-ever Mac version (the Atari ST version was released a couple of months earlier). Developed on a home-made "Fat Mac" with a 10M Hyperdrive hard disk installed (the drive cost $3,500 CAD), using Consulair C. Existed as an old-style Desk Accessory.

Batteries Included sold the rights to this product and a few others to Electronic Arts shortly after releasing Thunder! for the Mac, then closed their doors. See .

Wins MacUser Editors' Choice Award (Eddy) in 1986, and again in 1988 (or 1987 - EA has that trophy).

Thunder II

Thunder II
Electronic Arts, 1988-1990 - Major re-write from Desk Accessory to a Control Panel.

Thunder II

Electronic Arts, 1988-1990.

Electronic Arts took a good stab at getting into Utilities and Productivity software. They were a pretty cool company to work with. Ultimately, they lost interest in products like this, and stuck to what they really knew - games (obviously). They're doing just fine without us...

EA sold Thunder II to Baseline Publishing as I was readying a pretty major upgrade that they weren't interested in publishing.

Thunder!

Thunder 7
Baseline Publishing, 1991-1994 - First version to include a thesaurus.

Thunder 7

Baseline Publishing, 1991-1994.

Baseline Publishing picked up the product when EA lost interest. For those that don't remember Baseline, their claim to fame was The Talking Moose. Believe it or not, the Moose lives on and runs on OS X!

Baseline, however, did not fare as well. Their CEO was, well, a bad guy that pretty much sucked the company dry of any and all funds (and apparently didn't just stop there). Read about some of this strange tale, as told by mlcs (a Spell Catcher Plus customer to this day, and one of Baseline's good guys).

This was the first version to include a Thesaurus, and its release more-or-less coincided with Apple's System 7.

Thunder 7 1.5

Thunder 7 1.5
Baseline Publishing, 1991-1994 - Now with Ghostwriter!

Thunder 7 1.5

Baseline Publishing, 1991-1994.

Baseline Publishing did one relatively major upgrade to the product, including Ghostwriter for the first time, and adding a bunch of newly-designed icons.

Spell Catcher 1.6

Spell Catcher 1.6
Casady & Greene, 1996, two years after Baseline Publishing "disappeared".

Spell Catcher 1.6

Baseline Publishing, 1991-1994.

Baseline Publishing did one relatively major upgrade to the product, including Ghostwriter for the first time, and adding a bunch of newly-designed icons.

It took almost two years after Baseline had stopped shipping the product and essentially gone out of business before they actually agreed that the rights to it were no longer theirs. I sold a few copies myself in the meantime. Casady & Greene expressed interest early on, but wouldn't touch the product with a 10-foot pole until they were truly satisfied that Baseline's CEO wouldn't try to cause them any grief.

Spell Catcher Plus 1.x

Spell Catcher Plus 1.x
Casady & Greene, 1998 - First Windows version.

Spell Catcher Plus 1.x

Casady & Greene, 1998

We had been looking at doing a Windows version of Spell Catcher (it was still named Thunder) with Baseline, but that never materialized (probably a good thing). C&G decided to fund the effort, and after a year or so Spell Catcher Plus 1.0 was published. A bad consignment-type deal with a major reseller just about killed the product. Almost every copy that was shipped in the first year got returned. Even though it was a great product and customers loved it, it was a financial failure. Many lessons were learned (the hard way) about the Windows retail software channel.

Spell Catcher 8

Spell Catcher 8
Casady & Greene, 1999 - Total re-write, first multi-lingual version, new linguistics supplier.

Spell Catcher 8

Casady & Greene, 1999

This was a total re-write of Spell Catcher 1.6, from Control Panel to Application + Extension, from THINK Pascal to Metrowerks. This was the first multi-lingual version, and used Proximity Technology's linguistics for both spelling and look up (thesaurus and dictionary definitions).

The "8" referred to the 8 languages that were included, and that it was built with Apple's Mac OS 8 in mind.

Spell Catcher Plus 2.0

Spell Catcher Plus 2.0
Casady & Greene, 2000 - Major re-write of Windows version, same linguistics as Spell Catcher 8.

Spell Catcher Plus 2.0

Casady & Greene, 2000

Not shying away from the Windows marketplace, we did a major re-write of the Windows version, using the same linguistics as Spell Catcher 8. The products were now basically on-par feature-wise, maybe a little bit ahead on the Windows side. We still couldn't make any significant inroads into the bizarre world of Windows consumer software.

But at least the product kept getting better.

Spell Catcher X 10.0

Spell Catcher X 10.0
Casady & Greene, 2003 - Total re-write for Mac OS X.

Spell Catcher X 10.0

Casady & Greene, 2003

A total re-write was required (and I mean total) for Mac OS X. This was a very different operating system from Mac OS 9. And Spell Catcher 8 was not a product that could be "Carbonized" so that it worked on both OS 9 and OS X - the core technology it used was totally yanked from OS X.

I never actually saw a Spell Catcher X box, and I'm not sure whether one actually existed. This image is lifted from the pdf of the manual. All the others here were scanned from actual boxes I have on my shelf. Maybe someone reading this can enlighten me...

As you probably know, Casady & Greene closed their doors in July of 2003. Unlike the other publishers we've been with, they made an extra effort to ensure that the rights to the products they published were returned to the developers. This meant we could start selling it pretty much right away, and that it wasn't tied up legally or financially by any C&G shareholders, creditors, receiver, or bankruptcy court. We owe them huge thanks for that.

Spell Catcher Plus 2.6

Spell Catcher Plus 2.6
Rainmaker Research Inc., 2005.

Spell Catcher Plus 2.6

Rainmaker Research Inc., 2005

Our first boxed product, available soon! One of our overseas distributors has been clamoring for this for a long time. If you're a reseller that can deal with us directly, let us know if you're interested.