Today I have a review for you that is a little different. Lately I have been toying around with different excel spreadsheets to try and keep track of my cigars. It just so has it that I got an email a couple weeks ago from Peter AGARDI, he asked me if Stogie Review could do a review on Cigar Register. I graciously accepted the opportunity.
If you aren’t aware of what Cigar Register is, it is a Windows stand alone program that tracks and records all of your cigar activity. It has a built in cigar database with 3800 cigars for you to browse and add to your virtual humidor.
Cigar Register has several other interesting features some of which include:
Storing relative humidity and temperature readings in all of your humidors
Switch between Millimeters and Inches for cigar dimensions.
Transfer cigars from one humidor to the other.
Attach reviews to your cigars as you smoke them.
You can check out many more key features at the Cigar Register website.
Now that you know a little bit about the software itself, ill get into my impressions. As you open the program the first thing you notice is the large buttons and easy to follow layout of things. Being the type of person that I am, I don’t tend to read instructions, and I just dive in and start tinkering. Within minutes, I had a humidor created and was on my way to adding cigars.
After getting some cigars added and entering Temperature and Relative Humidity levels I was able to generate statistics to see how my humidor was fluctuating as time passed.
On a few occasions when I got to unpopular stick, or one generally found in the US only I wasn’t able to enter it into my collection. I have read that this is a possibility, but I havent had any luck with it.
Overall I think that this software has a lot of promise. Speaking with Peter via email he seemed very dedicated to making the Cigar Register as successful as possible. Even with the small setback of not entering a few cigars, I found the software to be very useful. The most difficult part for me was actually adding my cigars to my virtual humidor. This took a lot of time, but the overall result was all worth it in my mind.
While speaking with Peter over the last couple weeks I approached him about doing an interview with Stogie Review. He accepted and the result was a very informative and interesting interview from both Peter ARGARDI and Mate BENDE.
StogieReview: I see that Cigar Register has a team of three members. After reading a little bit about each of you, it seems you all have different cigar experiences in general. How did you meet one another?
MÃ¡tÃ© BENDE: Peter and Zsolt have known each other for 5 years, they graduated in the same IT highschool. I was a member in several cigar-related forums and I met Peter on the biggest hungarian cigar forum. We had a mutual interest in cigars generally and we found ourselves posting about the lack of cigar collection management softwares. We wanted to keep record of our cigars on the PC, but we did not find any proper software for that. We all had some ideas to solve the problem so we met for a smoke and we started to discuss our ideas.
SR: Here in the U.S. we have been going seeing a lot of taxes and smoking bans over the recent months. Is this something that you have been dealing with as well?
MB: In Hungary every tobbaco product’s price contains a pretty big tax. It’s about half the price of the cigar. We sell cigars on the highest prices in Europe following Great-Britain. This is a big problem of the cigar market here, because the cigar is much cheaper in the neighboring countries (like Austria or Slovakia) or even in western-european countries like Germany, Spain or France.
But on the other hand we don’t have a strict smoking-ban policy like the US or Ireland. You can smoke in restaurants at the appointed tables, in cafes or parks. There are plans to ban smoking in restaurants and public places but it will be a matter of years before they’ll actually take effect.
SR: Living in a country that permits you to purchase Cuban cigars, do you find yourself smoking many non Cubans and if so what kind?
MB: You can find almost all of the Cuban brands in the cigar shops in Hungary, so I can say we smoke mostly Cuban cigars. There are also some Dominican, Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars too but if you choose the more famous brands like Davidoff or Dunhill, you’ll end up paying nearly the price of a Cuban. There are a lot of european machine-made cigars and cigarillos too, in a quite friendly price as well. Unfortunately you can not buy the biggest non-cuban brands like Padron, Fuente or CAO here because it wouldn’t make any sense with these high tax-rates.
PA: Although I smoke a lot of non-Cubans and I like them very much, my first thing when I got home from this year’s RTDA from Las Vegas was to smoke a good old San Cristobal. I admit that other cigars have potential, but it’s still a different category!
SR: Is there a specific cigar related moment that sparked the idea to develop this software?
MB: The first time we met in a cigar corner of a restaurant we didn’t have the exact idea of a cigar software like this. We sat in the big leather-chairs, lighted up some cigars (Cuban Bolivars and Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure no.2 to be exact) and started to discuss our ideas. Then we gave ourselves some time to think about the foundations of cigar softwares, cigar blogs and community sites again. We met for another smoke a week later and we all knew that what we need is a cigar related software with a professional approach.
SR: Cigar Register is very user friendly, how long would you say it took you to develop?
MB: The first meeting was in February and the cigarregister.com site started in August. So it took about 7 months to create the first version of the program. We met every week to discuss the process and to test the results so we had to smoke about 40 cigars each during the whole process.
PA: Yeah it was though work for sure! 🙂
SR: Were there any features in the software that you found difficult to design and make adaptable for varying cultures and users?
PA: The most outstanding features in this category are the conversion between metric and imperial units and the availability to enter different currencies while entering the prices of cigars. Our best hope with this feature is to make the software comfortable for every aficionado around the world. So far it’s working fine but we already have ideas to improve it.
SR: Were there any features that did not make the cut?
PA: When we started the design we knew that some of the feautres will have to wait until 2.0, so we didn’t have to drop any features on the way because we knew that most of them will be implemented in the next version. The only feature we left out from 1.x is the option to track box codes. MÃ¡tÃ© kept pushing it from the beginning, but at the end we didn’t have the time to implement it. After the release it turned out that most of feature requests is about managing box codes¦
SR: Do you get many requests for technical help and do you offer support in getting the software up and running?
PA: As the project spreads over the Internet we are receiving a lot of technical questions through e-mail and cigar forums. Although we have no official support service, we try to answer every question and we document every bug report to fix them in the upcoming releases. We’ll help if we can.
SR: Will Cigar Register always be free or do you have plans on using it to help offset the cost of website hosting and software development?
PA: We started this development as a side-project next to our normal job. Our goal was to bring something new to the cigar community, a modern software that we all like. We’re still not thinking about making money out of it, but even if we’ll do that, I can promise that we’ll be true to our original concept and Cigar Register’s users will always get the app for free.
SR: Cigar Register seems to be doing very well. Are there any plans for adding new features and if so what can we look forward to?
MB: Actually it’s quite impressing to see that in a few weeks after the release hundreds of aficionados have downloaded the software. They’re constantly sending us suggestions, ideas and compliments and they keep alive the related forum threads too.
PA: As I mentioned before, we already had our plans for the second version when we started developing the first. Weâ€™ll keep most of the features as a secret in our cigarsmoke-filled laboratory until release, but I can give you a few guidelines! First of all, you’ll have a brand new section next to “Cigar Database”, “My Cigars” and “Smokeroom”. The Settings panel won’t be so empty like now either, and the toolbar will have a newcomer too. And an exact feature from the next major release revealed exclusively for the stogiereview.com readers: Cigar Register will go multilanguage, so more and more cigar lover from around the world will be able to join the project!
If your interested in checking out Cigar Register, it can be downloaded at www.cigarregister.com