Fourth Ray Software is owned and operated by Peter Vanvliet as a sole proprietorship, and is based in Houston, Texas.
Fourth Ray Software is not some fancy corporation with elaborate offices and lots of overhead. No, it is just me, working from home. Doing exactly what I love to do. There are no other employees, so I come up with the ideas for new products, do the design work, write the source code (which is all written in C++, by the way), test, document, and support the products by myself. When you contact Fourth Ray Software for technical support or to share your thoughts about the products, you are directly interacting with me. This is what I do full-time. And I love it!
(The rest of this page uses the "royal 'we'"; it is quite possible that I might add people to my staff at any time)
The idea of being able to create source code, compile it into an executable, and then be able to use said software to help others be more productive, is what drives us. Our software's objective is to be easy to use, accomplish what it was set out to do, and do so in an elegant and beautiful way.
Software gets a bad rap these days. People are either worried about viruses or other forms of malware being included in software that they download, or that the company is using the software to spy on, and collect data about, their customers, which they can then sell to the highest bidder. That is where they make their money; the software is just used as bait to lure you in.
The reason why our company's slogan is "Shining a new light on software", is because we want to do our part in creating simple, easy-to-use applications that help you become more productive in some small way, without all the "nasties"; bring a positive light into the world, not a dark and gloomy one.
We started a company called Visual Sage in August 2001. In October 2004 we renamed the company to Fourth Ray Software. However, I became a professional C++ programmer long before that. In 1990 I started working for a local software development consulting company, and eventually became a Senior Software Engineer. I wrote several software applications for a large oil company to be used in-house by their oil exploration engineers. The last project I did for that client was work as the technical lead for the user interface team for a huge 3D oil/gas reservoir simulator. There were about 30 developers on that team. During the dot-com craze of 1999/2000, the consulting company I worked for was bought out by a larger web consulting firm from Atlanta, Georgia. Although they bought our company because of our programming expertise, most of their work was still just creating basic web sites. Because of the "Everybody gotta have a web site" craze, the prices that the company charged for web design were ridiculous. I left that company in early 2000 to start working for a local software company. They were trying to build the "next web browser", and were in negotiations with AOL® to make their product be their next browser. However, in 2001 AOL bought Netscape®, so that effectively put an end to the application this company was developing. None of the other projects that the company had under development were of interest to me, so I decided to take the leap and start Visual Sage. I had been thinking about doing that for several years, but it takes guts to quit your well-paying job!
I had lots of experience writing software applications. I thoroughly enjoy all phases of developing and maintaining software applications, from concept to design, to planning and actually coding, to testing and documenting. Most people in the software industry only enjoy one part of the process, but I like taking applications all the way from beginning to delivery, and then maintaining them.
A big part of the reason why the 1999/2000 dot-com craze happened and then crashed is related to funding. There are many venture capitalists companies out there who will take investors' money and invest it in companies that are getting started. If the company they are investing in is a success, the investors win big. If they fail, then they are a loss to the investors, and can be written off as tax deductions. At that time, if you had ".com" in your name, you could get a lot of money quickly. The cost to the start-up company was that they are surrendering a large percentage of their ownership in their own company to the venture capitalist company. As anyone who has ever looked into lottery winners will realize, when people get a sudden influx of money, they do crazy things. Many of the concepts behind these .com companies were just silly. Most had no product whatsoever to show for themselves, and, of course, most failed. Even if they were successful, the fact that the owners now only owned a small portion of the company's ownership meant that they, personally, didn't really make much money when it was all said and done. Millions of dollars went down the drain with nothing to show for it.
I never wanted to be a part of that scheme. So, Fourth Ray Software was created out of the savings I had created over the previous years (by living frugally), so that I could maintain my independence. Fourth Ray Software is 100% owned by me, Peter Vanvliet, and the company has no debts or obligations to anyone else. The downside of this approach is that there is very limited funding available, so no big advertising campaigns. I rely on my customers' word-of-mouth, product reviews, and other unsolicited positive feedback to help my company grow.
Our overriding philosophy is to constantly work on improving our existing software products. Early on, when we only had a few applications to maintain, we had more time to create new products. Nowadays, however, it takes a lot longer to create a new product. Not because the new products are harder to create, but because we take great pride in making sure our existing applications remain relevant, incorporate all the latest technology (real ones, not the hyped-up ones!), and have all known issues fixed in them.
Fourth Ray Software now has well over 25 software applications. That is a lot to maintain. So, the rate at which new applications might appear in the future will slow down significantly. As stated above, our primary focus is to maintain the existing applications.
Below is a listing of the dates when Microsoft stopped, or is going to stop, support for that version of Windows. The ones that are struck-out are those that Fourth Ray Software also no longer supports.
Our plan is to continue to support our applications to run under Windows 7 for as long as possible. There are still people using Windows 7. Usage of Windows 8 is almost completely gone. New computers have to have Windows 10 or 11 installed, so their market-share will continue to grow.
The market shares for Linux and Apple's Mac are simply not there (when compared to Microsoft Windows), so we have no plans to support either of those operating systems. And, our software is intended to be used on desktop or laptop computers that run Windows, so we don't support any mobile devices.
Fourth Ray Software does not participate in any adware, malware, phishing, spam, or any other nefarious or underhanded schemes. When you install our software, you only install our software. No secret tracking or advertising applications are installed; no web browser hacks are installed; nothing but our software application is installed. Our installation programs do not contain viruses. Period. If your anti-virus program complains about our installation program, it is simply lying (also known as a "false positive"). Some anti-virus companies allow us to file a complaint and have them manually check our installation program for themselves, but since we are a small company, they pretty much ignore us.
See the McAfee Site Advisor.
If you have any questions about the products, feel free to use the Contact link at the top of the page. Enjoy browsing this web site, and enjoy using the products that we have put my heart and soul into! Tell your friends, co-workers, and family members about our products. Everyone can use at least one of our products!
We also maintain web sites for a select few clients. If you are interested in seeing that list, please visit this page.