Are you planning on discontinuing desktop Insight?

No, not for a while. That being said, it is becoming more difficult to support it and keep it going. Almost all software companies are moving to an online model, presenting functionality through a web or webapp interface. That is what we have done with This is a necessary evolution to survive in today's online world and to remove development barriers. Few people today know how to download and install software, how to backup or even find their files, they expect to do their work online. And operating systems are making it more and more expensive to create and support desktop software, they are forcing developers to sell through their app-stores. That means creating multiple versions to support all the different platforms. Few software companies, including us, have the resources to do this.

Can I just try Insight-live?

No. We do not want just anyone inside, only those who are serious (for security reasons). You need to purchase 6 months of standard membership to try it, it only costs pennies a day. This help system has plenty of information to help you decide.

How private will my data be?

Very private (see the section on 'Security, Privacy' for more information (we have taken key measures that very few other sites have taken, can take, or even want to take to assure security). How private is your data right now on your PC? How sure are you that that your computer has not been hacked and that others have access to your data as you read this? Or that you PC is in a botnet? Breaking into someones network and then their PC is a far easier task than breaking into a proprietary web server like Insight-Live.

We all work almost everyday on sites like Facebook, Ebay, iCloud, our bank, etc. These companies have our credit card information within their systems, but we have learned to accept the risk to get the benefits. That being said, we do not keep, or ever even become aware of your payment information, it is handled externally (through Paypal, Stripe, etc). For the vast majority of users, information within Insight-Live is not sensitive. And you are not required to maintain any information other than your email address.

How safe will my data be?

Very safe. Much safer than on your PC. Insight-Live is hosted on a dedicated server in a large data warehouse (Codero), this company hosts many of the mega-sites that you may be visiting everyday. At frequent intervals it is synced with a second shadow cloud server hosted at another data warehouse (Amazon, the #1 hosting company in the world), that server is kept ready-to-go at all times. We control the DNS records on the backup server and can make a switch-over in minutes.

Think about how safe the Insight data is on your PC now. We have found that many customers do not do regular backups. Even if they do, they do not understand exactly where Insight keeps its data and how it uses it; this lack of understanding can lead to problems during upgrading. These dangers are inapplicable on Insight-Live.

I do not want to pay every month?

To survive and thrive we need a monetization plan. Think carefully before trusting your data to a place that does not have this. Insight-live is very powerful and comprehensive and will grow steadily because we have a secure income that we can budget.

You can pay semi-annually, annually or less frequently. You might want to own software and install software on your PC the way we did in the past, but those days are rapidly disappearing.

If you do not renew your Insight-live account we do not erase your data, so you can renew anytime and it will still be there. You will even be able to login and see your data before renewing (although not able to edit it).

Is this for the benefit of Digitalfire or for me?

Both of us. Certain things are better delivered and consumed/used on the internet, others in a locally installed application on your PC. Glaze chemistry calculations, for example, are interactive and better done on the PC. Cooperative management of a materials database is better done on the net whereas management of a private materials database is better done locally on the PC. Management of a testing program by a group of people is obviously better done on the internet. We are developing a strategy for this now and we simply cannot do it without the leveraging the advantages of each platform.

Why did you move from desktop app to online

Internet operability is the number one focus of almost every software company on earth (including us). We work online today, students especially expect to be connected, these are a big chunk of our customers. There are key advantages of internet applications:

  • Auto-Update: Every user is always working on the latest version of the software, there is no need to install anything on your computer.
  • Any time, anywhere: It is always there in the cloud, ready to connect to.
  • Use your own device: Users can connect using a wide range of devices and operating systems.
  • Focus: It gives us one central place to focus our development efforts and you one place to store all your data.
  • Cooperation: It provides more opportunities to develop ways for users to share data, help each other, communicate and mentor.
  • Mature infrastructure: Modern data warehouses that host dedicated and cloud servers are extremely reliable and fault tolerant systems, much more so than your PC.
  • Auto-backup: Most desktop Insight users do not know where it stores its data and do not back it up (even though we clearly document this). Many have lost their data when their PCs crash. There is much less chance of losing your information in an account at Insight-live.
  • Security: Most PCs are not secured well, tens of millions are being infected with spyware constantly. Security is our number one focus.

Why can I not continue to just use desktop Insight?

You can. Deskop Insight is a separate product and it is now free (you download it from the Files manager within your Insight-live account). However it does not have near the capability of Insight-live.

Is Insight-live difficult to use?

If you expect something super simple, you are in the wrong place. We are dealing with putting within your reach complex chemistry and physics record keeping and a science that imposes a physical presence that requires analysis on many levels. But our job is to put that within your reach. But it is possible to use the system in a simplistic way to just record and print recipes, for example.

We are also trying to achieve a high level of functionality, so the simplicity of low functionality is not possible. In addition, Insight-live uses tried-and-true web standards that work on any device. We are not trying to mimic desktop applications and do not use javascript frameworks, ajax, CMS systems, etc. So there may be lots of sites that look easier, but their pages are full of bloat and incompatibilities and they are slow.

We provide videos to demonstrate all functions of the site and these are created on an ongoing basis. So once you learn how to use Insight-live, then you will likely agree that it is not difficult. Of course, we are always open to ways of changing the user interface that will simplify things without sacrificing functionality.

Does Insight-live do glaze chemistry?

Yes. There are videos, step-by-steps and posts here on this, There is a link to click at the bottom of each recipe to selectively turn on the display of its chemistry (e.g. for clay bodies you would not normally need to see the formula or chemical analysis). When chemistry is calculated Insight-live does checks and warns you of any issues that could affect the accuracy.

Compared to Desktop Insight

It's online, runs in the cloudYesNo
Works on all Smartphones, Tablets YesNo
No need to install, update softwareYesNo
Features evolve automaticallyYesNo
Units-of-measure supportYesNo
Firing schedulesYesNo
Unlimited materials, recipesYesNo
Physical testing data managementYesNo
Recipe variationsYesNo
Picture searching, managementYesNo
Group accountsYesNo
Advanced searchingYesNo
Advanced import/exportYesNo
Inter-recipe linkingYesNo
Reference recipes, materialsYesNo
Side-by-side recipes, materialsYesNo
Secure, backed upYesNo
Low initial expenseYesNo
Included free with desktop InsightYesNo
Easier tech supportYesNo

Why don't you have an app?

Simple answer: App development is expensive, the market is small and we are small. That being said, we are transforming to an API driven system so it will be more possible to develop smartphone and desktop apps. For now, Insight-live is like AutoCAD or Excel, people know the power of these desktop software products and accept the learning curve for the payback.