How is user-time calculated for PanX?


#1

In the subscription model for PanX, I have searched for detailed explanation of the Peak User month charge. I can’t seem to find any details.
I know it is supposed to be generous in terms of time, but in the past year I have somehow gone over my allotted single user month twice, getting dinged two months use at the end of one month.
I could see this happening for a power user, but 99% of the time I’m using PanX as a simple expense spreadsheet and another as an encrypted database of passwords. 2 files, both I access several time a day, from either my laptop or desktop. But I typically don’t dwell on them.
So I must be doing something that’s racking up the hours. Is it opening and closing the file many times a day? What is the minimum time it charges you? If I open and close my file for a minute 12 times a day to add an expense or check a password I wonder what I’m being charged.
I also don’t know what exactly triggers a peak user month charge.
I have gone up to 32.75 hours per month usage and have not been charged extra, and twice it’s been charged at 26.25 and 29.25 hours. (it gets charged as 2 peak user months)
I just want to know what the algorithm is so I don’t feel I have to jump on and off to avoid excess fees. I love the program and think subscriptions are a fair way to compensate the people putting the hard work in, but I don’t like the feeling of a time clock ticking while I’m working in the program. I would rather just buy a year subscription and not worry about how I was using the program. Thanks for any insights!


#2

Panorama is used by organizations as well as individual users. Obviously it costs more to have several users running the program instead of just one. Panorama monitors its operation to detect when multiple users are running the program simultaneously on different computers. But since we don’t have cameras and chair occupancy sensors (nor would we want them if available), we have to approximate. If Panorama detects that two computers had activity within a 15 minute period, it considers that as two people. If that happens several times in a month, then you’ll be charged for an extra user during that month.

Notice that I said “activity.” Simply having Panorama open doesn’t count as activity, there must be mouse or keyboard activity. You can leave Panorama open on two machines without incurring a double charge, as long as there is only activity on one or the other at a time.

Panorama assumes that a single person normally isn’t going to jump back and forth between multiple machines, if it sees that it assumes that there are two people using the software. Obviously it can’t do that perfectly without following you around, but it seems to do pretty well, less than 4% of monthly charges have been for use of more than one computer. I expect that will increase a lot when Panorama X server becomes available. On the other hand, some users are running Panorama X for hundreds of hours per month across multiple computers, month after month, which I find very encouraging.


#3

Thanks Jim for that explanation. I thought it was based on time since they showed how much time I spend on it, but I also see why it wasn’t explained that way for the general public. I’m glad I know how it works though, so I can adjust my jumping from one computer to the next habit, which doesn’t impact me very much at all! Cheers!


#4

I will occasionally use Panorama X on both computers simultaneously because it is easier to refer to the screen on the other one than to set up switch screens on one. But I am a one-person operation.


#5

A short time ago, I received a usage summary that said I had a negative balance. But looking at my history, it seemed to say I hadn’t used Panorama since April. And when I do use it, so far it has mostly been to launch for updates.

If somehow I had used it in excess of that allowed time in the past, and that is being carried forward, I would understand. But this is the first time I recall getting a negative balance statement. I thought I might have launched Panorama X and forgotten it was running - I don’t have any saved PanX files - but again, the history shows no use.

It would be helpful to understand what triggered the negative balance so I might manage my PanX activity better in the future. At this time I have zero credit but hopefully I can contribute financially in the future.


#6

Paul, are you saying you got an email saying this? If so, could you forward a copy to me? Looking at the records on our server, it shows you have a zero balance, not a negative balance, and it also indicates that the last time we sent you a usage summary email was April 4, 2018. We don’t send out monthly emails if there is zero usage.


#7

Jim,

  Your records and my account history show the same thing - probably the same database

  I couldn't find what I remembered to be the email and I have email in my email Trash (not emptied) that would be older. So where did it go?

  Then I launched PanX to make sure I had the latest update and THAT'S where the negative balance comes in. I get the puzzle picture.

Paul


#8

This dialog interprets any non-positive balance as a negative balance, and that includes zero. I suppose it could be reworded as “non-positive balance.”

If you go to the Payment tab of the Site License window I believe it will show that you have 0 months remaining.


#9

Non-positive is true. “…negative balance.” is not. When I was a baby programmer - back when art was valued more than production, we took pride in “getting it right” - adjusting dialogs to reflect correct plurality. Just like Panorama does when converting decimal numbers to script numbers (dollar vs dollars, etc. warms my heart). If a programmer created a dialog for attaching a file to email, and used the verb “Open”, instead of, “Attach” in the dialog, his/her credentials would be questioned (these were days before MicroSoft).

So if it were me, at the next opportunity I’d change it to “non-positive” because that’s what it really is. If it had said that, we wouldn’t even have had this exchange because I would have seen it and said to myself, “Self, I’ll have to do something about that.” But when it said “Negative”, and I knew it wasn’t, then , “Houston, we have a problem.”

But I enjoyed the chat and super fast response to the issue. :slight_smile:


#10

I changed the wording to “Your Panorama X account does not have a positive balance. Please open the Site License window and submit a payment.”


#11

That I understand - Thank you Jim.