Aquarium Tracking Software - ReefCon Pro
Today's Review: ReefCon Pro by Infinity Software.
Cost: $19.00 (single), or $40.00 (unlimited upgrades)
Rating: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :blueworry: (4 out of 5 stars)
Website: Infinity Software - Home of Quality Software
ReefCon Pro is an aquarium tracking program with features more specific to the needs of the Reef aquarist. While the target consumer for this program appears to be the ReefKeepers, it can also be used for freshwater, and fish-only marine systems. This is a great little program with lots of potential. Like nearly every other aquarium tracking program available to hobbyists, ReefCon Pro allows users to maintain an inventory of livestock and equipment, records of maintenance and testing, tracking of expenses, and other specifics about ones aquariums. Users are able to track multiple aquariums, keeping seperate records for each, and can quickly and easily switch between tanks. The program also comes with access to a vast database of user submitted livestock entries divided by Fish, Plants, Corals, and Inverts, with the option to download specific entries into a personal database for easier browsing. The developer offers a free trial version which allows users to sample the product for 30 days without obligation, and information is carried over to the full version if purchased.
The feature that sold this software for me was the ability to set pop-up reminders for any number of maintenance tasks. This not only ensures that maintenance tasks are completed as necessary, but that the details are recorded as well. In addition to the number of pre-existing tasks, users can create custom tasks, and set reminders at any frequency, for each of the tasks (you could even set it to remind you of your wife's birthday or your anniversary if you really needed to). Any reefkeeper knows that keeping faithful regular practice of maintenance and supplementation is crutial to success. This feature has allowed me to keep a perfect track record with all of my maintenance tasks (and I am a very forgetful person).
While this program has been very helpful, it is not perfect. To my knowledge, there is no way to set electricity usage parameters to the equipment (as seen in other products) for the purposes of maintaining operational expenses. This, in my opinion, renders the expense tracking inaccurate and useless.
The the downloadable database filled by other users, has been peppered with duplicate entries, incomplete entries, and has also been spammed with hundreds of with perscription drug reference entries. While this is not the fault of the developer, and is of no consequence to the functionality of the software, it is an annoying little tic that, in my opinion, leaves the developer with a slightly unprofessional appearance.
My research into the opinions of other users has led me to discover that there are stongly contrasting reports on the support recieved from the developer. Some folks reported that they had never recieved responses to their requests for support. Other siad that support was always prompt and problems resolved quickly. While I cannot provide personal insight on this matter, I will say that It seemed that those with negative experience with the support appeared to be the minority. I did however attempt to gain information from the developer regarding the status of any current and future development, to which I never recieved a response.
My only other quam is that it would appear that there has been no further development in the past few years. The state and contents of the developers site lead me to believe that any work by this developer has come to a standstill. This conclusion is further solidified by the lack of response to my afforementioned emails. This raises a bit of concern since I was able to track recent website work by this developer for a local reef club forum with which he is affiliated.
In the end, I still feel the product is of good solid value, and well worth the current price of $19.00. I however chose to take a leap of faith, and shelled out the $40 for unlimited upgrades. I hope the extra contribution will help fuel the continued advancement of this helpful tool.
I don't mean to steal your thunder but there are many free programs on the web also. I don't keep logs or diaries but here is and example.
Yes, Infinity Software also offers a stripped down Free version of their software called ReefCon 2000. I am currently preparing to provide reviews on other software titles as well. The features I've found Reefcon has that other's have lacked so far, is the reef specific features, and the pop-up reminders. I'll take a look at Aquarium lab for my review series as well.
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