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One company, several names

Colony West Software Company was formally created in January 2005 under the trade name August Sapphire. The trade name was changed to Colony West Software Development in December 2005 when the company was formally moved to Polk County, Iowa. The name changed once again to Colony West Software Company when the company moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and was registered with the State of Missouri.

Informally, Colony West started back in 2000 initially as "Ballard's Computer Miscellaneous" (don't ask) and resided on Yahoo! Geocities. The name was changed mid-September 2001 to Clarke County Code Brewing Company. The name was derived from Des Moines, Iowa's, Court Avenue Brewing Company and conjured when an advertisement for that restaurent was playing on the radio. The name was changed in 2003 to Clarke County Software Company, then again in 2005 to Colony West.

In 2004, we changed web hosts from Yahoo! Geocities to 1&1 Internet, when they were having a special where you received 3 years of hosting free. I took advantage of the special, including registering the domain, and we've been with 1&1 ever since -- 7 years as of January 2011.

Our proprietor - Kenneth Ballard

Kenneth Ballard is a December 2004 graduate of Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, specializing in Computers and Management Information Systems.

Prior to that, Kenneth received an Associate of Science degree from Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, majoring in Computer Programming and graduating in May 2002.

Kenneth was formerly employed by the MediNotes Corporation in West Des Moines, Iowa, where he worked as part of a team of developers actively improving upon their flagship product MediNotes e.? He was laid off from MediNotes in late March, 2008, following their merger with Bond Technologies in Tampa, Florida. MediNotes has since been acquired by the Eclipsys Corporation of Atlanta, Georgia, a direct competitor of Kenneth's current employer, the Cerner Corporation of North Kansas City, Missouri.

He is also a published author with four articles published by IBM developerWorks, three of which are still available under the series title of "Secure Programming with the OpenSSL API".

Aside from programming, Kenneth enjoys several hobbies including video and computer games, fiction writing, television, movies, and various other side interests. He currently resides in the Kansas City metropolitan area with his fianc?e and two cats named Charlie and Shadow.

Some of his side interests have involved anime, which include the anime television series Fullmetal Alchemist and movies released by Studio Ghibli (Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away to name two). He has also had a number of programming experiments, some of which were the foundation of this company near the very beginning.

You can read his resume/CV to learn more about what he's done. You can also view his profile on LinkedIn.

Software evolution

Back in the "code brewing" days and before while residing on GeoCities, several code libraries were developed and distributed, but no real applications until mid-2002.

The most popular of these libraries was HttpMail, a Java and C++ library that provided the ability to communicate with the Hotmail servers using Microsoft's proprietary, WebDAV-based protocol called HTTPMail, first introduced to the general public built into Outlook Express 5, released back in 1999. HttpMail went out of maintenance development back in 2004 and has not been touched since late 2003. A plugin for Eric Raymond's FetchMail application was planned and partially developed in 2001, but never went far.

Breaking into applications

Released back in August 2002, MD5 for Win32 was the first application released by Colony West. It was a simple application, calculating only the MD5 hash for one file, but it was accessible from the right-click menu.

As of the time this page was written, virtually nothing has matched the simplicity introduced with MD5 for Win32. It is the first completely free (as in price) application with right-click simplicity. That application was expanded to include multiple-file capability and the SHA-1 algorithm.

MD5 for Win32 was expanded into digestIT 2003, which was further expanded into digestIT 2004 and released in December 2003. It was also the first project for which a 64-bit version was also released, following a request by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation. You can read about it on the project page.

Our philosophy and the future

Colony West Software holds the philosophy that the entire software development community, from the largest corporations and game companies to the smallest software houses, from open-source teams of a hundred developers to solitary developers just trying to put an idea into code, we are all one group of people trying to colonize territory discovered and opened in the 1950s and 1960s.

New landscapes and markets are being colonized all the time as ways are found to use computers to make others lives and jobs easier.

Perhaps Colony West will be involved in colonizing and exploring new landscaps and frontiers in the future, perhaps not. We can't know, and more importantly we don't entirely care. It would be nice to be "the next big thing" in the software world, and if we are, we'll take that accomplishment with a sense of humility and move forward. But unlike a lot of other individuals out there, we are not looking for special recognition for anything. We just want to write software that will be useful to others.

And so that is what Colony West will continue to do. We will continue to divise projects and write applications that will be useful to others and libraries that will be useful to other developers. We aren't out to establish a "blue ocean".

We just want to write software, and that is what we're going to do.

And what we develop and release will be an eclectic mix of applications, not targeted to one particular market or niche. Look at our front page: we have an application for file integrity, a helper application for an online game, a weather application, and other projects that have been developed depending on where our interests led us.

In short, like the colonists themselves, we are no one special. We're just developers, and we're just going to do what developers do best: write software.

Legal speak

Colony West Software Company is a registered fictitious name chartered with the Department of State for the State of Missouri. "Colony West Software Company" and "Colony West Software Co.", and the compass graphic with text are trademarks of Colony West Software Company in the United States and other countries.

This web site is copyrighted by Colony West Software Company. All rights reserved. Any trademarks mentioned or used not owned by Colony West Software Company are the property of their respective owners and used here under proper license or fair use.