Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.

The following document contains information about obtaining review copies of Alchemy Mindworks software and Steven William Rimmer's novels. All of the following is subject to change without notice — the lawyers made us say that. It is provided only as a guide to the internal policies of Alchemy Mindworks concerning reviews. We reserve the right to amend, refine or modify these guidelines as we see fit. This document does not constitute a guarantee or assurance that anything described herein is factual or will take place.


Alchemy Mindworks is pleased to assist reviewers who want to write about our software, convince uncounted millions of users to buy our stuff and make us unspeakably rich.

Software reviews are a cooperative endeavor. In writing one, you'll get editorial content for your publication or web page, and we'll get some free publicity for our products. Your readers will enjoy an objective, third-party look at our products, which will benefit them as well.

We appreciate that software reviewers are not always paid the vast salaries they so richly deserve, and that some of them are hardly paid at all. To this end, we're happy to provide complimentary copies of our applications to genuine reviewers.

We also appreciate that there are lower life forms who like to pretend to be software reviewers just to get free stuff, and businesses which do a bit of software reviewing on the side to avoid having to pay for the software they need. We're a lot less sympathetic to these parties, and we'd cheerfully upload camel spiders to them if the technology to do so existed. Camel spiders are really nasty — they secret a local anesthetic that numbs your skin and proceed to chew your face off while you sleep. No foolin'.

Our resources are limited, and we aren't able to check the credentials of everyone who approaches us for a review copy. To this end, we have established the following guidelines for software reviewers.

  1. Alchemy Mindworks shareware applications are distributed in an uncrippled, fully functional state so that prospective users of our software can try out all their features. This works equally well for reviewers. You can download a shareware copy of our software and review it just as you would if we sent you a copy on CD-ROM. The only things you'll have to deal with will be the shareware notices, which we'll get to in a moment.

  2. If you write a review of one of our applications, we'll be pleased to e-mail you a registration code for the software in question as soon as your review appears in publication — that is, in a book or magazine, or at a web page which features software reviews. The following are a few of our considerations for reviews:

    • Your review must be objective and fair. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be wholly favorable, although we'll be just tickled if it is. It must not contain erroneous information about our software, or obviously bogus or unfair detractions. For example, observing that our Graphic Workshop Professional software is a far less capable word processor than Microsoft Word would be unfair, as Graphic Workshop Professional isn't a word processor at all. If you really want to compare our applications to other software, we ask that you make sure you're drawing a fair and reasonable comparison.

    • Your review must be original. If it consists largely of a reproduction of someone else's review, or a copy of some of the descriptive or promotional text we've written to describe our software, it's not a review.

    • Your review must maintain a reasonable level of professionalism, subject to our judgement. Really bad HTML and lots of spelling and grammatical errors are likely to leave readers of your review unimpressed — and ourselves as well.

    • Your web page or publication must periodically publish reviews, such that people are likely to visit your page or read your publication looking for them.

    • Your review of our software must remain "in print" for the duration of one edition of a paper publication — there's not much way around this — or for a period of no less than 180 calendar days for a web page. In the latter case, "in print" means on line and reasonably accessible through links at your page.

    • A feature comparison chart of multiple applications does not constitute a review for our purposes.

    • At present we are only able to consider reviews that are written in English. That's contemporary English, by the way, rather than, say, Chaucerian English. Neither jive nor val-speak constitute English for the purposes of this discussion. Inserting the word "blimey" into another language at regular intervals doesn't qualify as English either.

    Note that our support desk is available to everyone, and this certainly includes software reviewers. If in working through one of our applications you encounter a problem or have some questions, we urge you to get in touch with us. Just click on the foregoing link.

  3. If you require screen shots of one of our applications without the "unregistered shareware" text in its title bar, you can:

    • Use a paint application to remove the text in question — this is dead easy.
    • Get in touch with us to provide them.
    • Visit our web page — all our application-specific web pages include screen shots.

  4. If you will be reviewing our GIF Construction Set Professional or PNG/MNG Construction Set and you're interested in how well they compress files, you'll probably note that these applications add an extra comment block to each file they create when they're used as unregistered shareware. This comment block increases the sizes of the files in question by exactly 238 bytes for GIF Construction Set Professional and 257 bytes for PNG/MNG Construction Set. Subtract these numbers from your file sizes to ascertain the actual file sizes that would be created by registered copies of this software. Note that these applications also add several optional comment objects to the files they create — to arrive at the smallest possible files size:

    • Open the Setup dialog of the application in question.
    • Turn off Identify Files.
    • Turn off Write Directory Blocks for GIF Construction Set.
    • Turn off Write Uncompressed GIF for GIF Construction Set.
    • Set PNG Compression to 9 for PNG/MNG Construction Set.

  5. We may, at our discretion, add a link from one of our pages to your review. We do not guarantee that we will do so. Our reasons for adding review links are wholly selfish — we'll consider a link if we feel that your review supports our product, looks attractive and professional and if the page for the software in question is not currently fairly full of review links.

  6. If you are writing an on-line review which is later moved or taken off line, we ask that you notify us.

  7. We will not under any circumstances compensate software reviewers monetarily, even if your review claims that we and all our friends are gods and includes notarized, authenticated photographs of us performing miracles. If you so much as suggest that we might like to pay you, we'll have nothing more to do with you.

  8. Please note that at such time as we do provide you with a complimentary registration code for review software:

    • The code is for your use only, and may not be shared with or disclosed to others. If we learn that you've been passing your review code around, we will not provide complimentary codes to yourself or anyone else from your publication in the future.

    • Our user database does not keep track of registration codes provided to reviewers. If you lose your code in the future, it's gone and we will not be able to provide you with a replacement.

  9. We can provide some additional editorial material for reviewers, depending upon our workload and available resources at the time. These can include things like sidebars with comments from the developer, for example. We are unable to disclose information about future releases of our applications.

  10. If you decide to review a beta release of one of our applications, we ask that you clearly indicate that it's a beta in your review. Detracting a beta for being incomplete or unstable — characteristics inherent in beta copies of software — would qualify as being unreasonable.

  11. Magazine reviewers who wish to include shareware evaluation copies of our applications on their cover disks should see the book-disk document. This describes the procedure for obtaining permission to bundle our shareware with publications.

  12. Alchemy Mindworks reserves the right to make fair use extracts of any published reviews of its products.


We can provide complimentary copies of Steve's books to reviewers. The following criteria apply to book reviews:

  1. You must have either previously written book reviews which have been published or provide us with a letter from a publisher we're likely to have heard of to the effect that you have been engaged to write reviews. In the former case, web page reviews are fine as long as they appear reasonably professional and are part of web pages which deal with books, other literary matters or with subjects which in some way relate to the contents of the books you're requesting review copies of. In the latter, we'll want the name, telephone number and preferably the e-mail address of your editor.

  2. We'll need a valid street address or secure post office box to send your review copies to. We are unable to ship books by courier.

  3. You undertake not to sell, lend, reproduce, translate, transmit or otherwise distribute all or part of the books or contents thereof provided to you for review.

  4. Astute book reviewers will notice that Steve's books are also the registration keys to a number of Alchemy Mindworks bookware applications. At such time as your review is published, you're welcome to use them as such — have fun.

  5. We will not provide review copies of Steve's books to reviewers who in our opinion are likely to have their reviews published in unsuitable environments. Examples of such environments would be "adult" or fundamentalist christian web pages or magazines.

  6. We can provide some additional editorial material for reviewers, depending upon our workload and available resources at the time. These can include things like sidebars with comments from the author, for example.

  7. Please get in touch with us through our e-mail page to request review books for review.

  8. Alchemy Mindworks, the author and the publisher reserve the right to make fair use extracts of any published reviews of Steve's books.