MyGunDB Developer To Attend SHOT Show
If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’re probably at least somewhat interested in firearms. Maybe you’re a gun enthusiast, collector, dealer or otherwise involved with firearms. Either way, you can probably appreciate the situation that many gun owners face in keeping track of their firearms. Many owners and collectors wish to keep track of their collection of firearms and accessories for insurance purposes, to stay current on periodic maintenance and a variety of other reason. Licensed dealers are required by the ATF to keep records detailing all of their firearms acquisitions and dispositions and, if they’ve got any sense, they want to keep a close eye on their inventory.
Enter MyGunDB, a cross-platform software application from Intelligent Firearms Solutions that meets all of the above needs and more. MyGunDB allows users to keep a secure, detailed database of their firearms and accessories that includes prices, actual values, maintenance schedules, rounds fired, purchase and sale details and much more. MyGunDB is such a valuable tool that various entities, including the CMP, have chosen to pair up with the developer to release their own licensed version of MyGunDB. In fact, there is even a MyGunDB GunLink Edition!
GunLink: Hi, Alan. How are you doing today?
Alan Ellis: Excellent! Getting ready for a new release so coding, coding, coding!
GL: So, you’re the man behind the MyGunDB software? Tell us a little about the software.
AE: Yep, MyGunDB is my baby! A user once described MyGunDB as Quickbooks for your firearms. It’ll help you track your firearm stats, accessories, pictures, factory and reloaded ammo, maintenance schedule — pretty much everything a collector needs! It’s the best way to keep your collection organized on Windows, OSX and Linux machines, if I do say so myself.
GL: How did you come up with the idea for MyGunDB?
AE: Well, I kept looking for a good way to store my bound book data on my computer but I couldn’t find anything that worked the way I thought it should. I mean, I have poor handwriting and I’m a computer geek, so the idea of a hand written bound book just seemed silly to me. So I decided to write my own. Now a lot of the features weren’t my own idea; there are several thousand posts on forums between users and myself talking about what users need and want — it’s grown far, far behind anything I imagined when I first mocked up the interface thanks to them!
GL: Are you a professional software developer?
AE: I used to be, way back. I got tired with programming for other people’s specifications and projects, and got out of it to go into the Army as Infantry — about as far from coding as I could possibly get.
I swore I’d never do it for a living again because it just wasn’t as fun coding on someone else’s project versus doing it as a hobby working on what I wanted to work on. MyGunDB is a labor of love first and foremost, and a business a distant second. Currently I work at an internet infrastructure company where I’ve been for the last 7+ years and code MyGunDB as basically a second job for myself — luckily a second job i can work at from home, though, or my girlfriend and dog would never see me!
GL: Have you been to the SHOT Show before?
AE: No, I couldn’t qualify before as I wasn’t in the industry. I was over visiting my dad a few months back and the subject of Shot Show came up. I was like “Man, I wish I could attend. I always see videos and it looks incredible!” and my dad goes, “Uh, you can now, you idiot.” — I’m actually bringing him to Shot Show!
GL: Are you exhibiting your product here this year, or just attending?
AE: Just attending. I was out of time for getting a booth this year as the show books incredibly quickly.
GL: Can we expect to see you exhibiting in the future?
AE: Absolutely, already planning on exhibiting next year!
GL: Are you a “gun guy?”
AE: Well, my father was a FFL dealer, I was an Infantryman and I run a company sponsored range club… I guess I am! They fascinate me the same way most tools do; the balance of form and functionality. A good firearm is efficient, practical, dependable… the same as good programming code. I have firearms for specific tasks and I don’t overlap — target .22, pin shooter, Assault rifle, tactical pistol, CCW piece, etc.
GL: I understand that your software can help FFL holders meet BATFE digital bound book requirements? Tell us how your product helps meet those requirements.
AE: MyGunDB tracks all changes to your Bound Book data that the ATF requires. It stores all changes as new entries. Because of that, you can print an ATF Change Log, which is basically an A&D report but displaying all changes.
GL: That’s handy. Are you an FFL holder, a collector, or did you just see a market for this type of product and try to meet the needs of that market?
AE: I am a collector with a C&R license. I started writing MyGunDB out of personal need. I didn’t have a clue as to how big the market was until I was giving copies of MyGunDB away for free and people started writing in wanting to donate money to help support the development.
Turns out there’s an unbelievable number of people out there that have been looking for the same thing as I was.
GL: How long has MyGunDB software been available?
AE: I started mocking up the design in the last week of April 2011 and released it as a public Beta 3 weeks later to see if anyone else might be able to use it too. I’m constantly working on the code, so I always have new functions and tweaks coming out.
GL: How much does it cost to use MyGunDB?
AE: Nothing! MyGunDB is free and fully functional for up to 10 firearms. The full version is $39.95 for unlimited firearms, and there is a basic version that removes a few functions but is for those just are just storing info for insurance purposes and doesn’t need the ammo tracking, A&D reports, etc. I’ll always offer a free version, and free lifetime upgrades, because the community has been so supportive that it’s my way of giving back. I always say MyGunDB was built on 95% user feedback!
GL: What are some of the special features of MyGunDB that you think makes it stand out from other firearms inventory methods, either in paper or electronic format?
AE: If I spill my coffee on my laptop and lose everything, so what?
My database is automatically backed up to a thumbdrive and to the optional integrated Dropbox service, so it’s easy to recover my data.
If I spill my coffee on my written bound book though, I’ve got problems.
And with a bound book, anyone can pick it up and read it, or I need to keep it under key — with MyGunDB, the database is encrypted to your own password and you don’t have to add another key to your keyring.
A lot of people use spreadsheets or Word documents, but those are pretty limited in functionality and clunky as they’re not designed to be database — linking firearms to your ammo inventory the way MyGunDB does it would be difficult to duplicate, for example.
GL: Is MyGunDB secure? How is the firearm information protected?
AE: Absolutely! Not only does the installer prevent tampering by use of an SSL Code Signing cert validating the publisher, but the database uses 256bit AES for the encryption. Your password is never stored and instead is used to generate the encryption key hash on the fly — if you lose your password then you arent’ getting into the database. On top of that, no database data ever leaves your computer. Security and privacy were at the top of my list when prioritizing functionality during early development.
GL: Are there any upcoming software features that you’re working on that you want to let readers know about?
AE: Aside from the mobile versions for iPad and Android, a range log addon and mobile version, a competition scoring addon and mobile version, a reloading inventory addon, a ballistics addon and adding functionality for wishlists/selling between users? Yeah, there are a couple other things in the works as well. Those who follow me on forums know that I LOVE having a disgustingly huge ToDo list!
Something else to consider is that I offer rebranding for organizations to help raise funds for their groups. For example the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) even rebrands MyGunDB so that part of every purchase of [their version] goes directly to the CMP. The community has been supporting MyGunDB so it’s MyGunDB’s way of supporting them.
GL: Anything else you’d like to add?
AE: Yeah, anyone who finds me wandering ShotShow and says to me “GunLink rocks” gets a free registration of MyGunDB.
GL: That’s great! Thanks for your time, Alan. Enjoy the show!