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Last post Author Topic: Complaints about Direct Access Text Expander Taking Ideas from Others - Split Topic  (Read 18857 times)

bmms

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Normally, we do not comment competitor's products. But in this particular case we kindly ask you to check out this video:
http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=t36Omxil0Dw&fmt=18

There are many more conincidences if you compare the version history of both products.

That is, why we would like to give all DonationCoders 70% discount on the brand-new version 6 of PhraseExpress. This is less than $15!

Simply use the discount coupon "donationcoder" at http://shop.phraseexpress.com. The coupon is valid through January 2009.

PhraseExpress is even free-of-charge for personal use. More info at http://www.phraseexp...ess.com/freeware.htm
Michael
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 09:33:42 AM by BartelsMedia »

nagar

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 11:59:23 AM »
Hey, I really feel chased by this guy. Wherever I post there another post of his telling me that I copied his product. I really don't understand.  :(
It feels like he's very frustrated to me.
--
Andrea Nagar - Nagarsoft
http://www.nagarsoft.com
Discover the power of Direct Access to speed up your personal computing experience by reducing time consuming, repetitive tasks through the use of abbreviations.

bmms

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2009, 05:19:54 PM »
Andrea, it is not about "frustration" or "chasing", it is about ethics. Continuous stealing of ideas is unethical.

Watch the video. Or compare the version histories over the years. You lack creativity so much that you steal even marketing concepts letter-by-letter.

Evidence required?!

1. Our website since January 17

2. Your website on Januar 25

...and suddenly a few days later (See "RSI syndrome").

And this is just one out of many "similarities".

Andrea, competition in general is not an issue. There is AutoHotKey, ActiveWords, SmartKey, Typing Assistant, AsUType, LetmeType and so on. You will not find us worry about these products which are all more or less distinctive.

Users have a smart sense whether a programmer has fully understood a feature and crafted it thoughtful with a bigger picture in mind or whether it is just a knock-off which tries to imitate superficially. The problem is that a copycat often ignore the "big picture" behind a long-term strategy and is rather busy with following others while realizing of always being 12 to 18 months behind. I will not comment on your product’s quality but I am certain that you completely understand what I mean.

We will give-away PhraseExpress wherever you post about DirectAccess until you re-think your business ethics. It was a "nice" move from you to even use the same hotkey associations as in PhraseExpress. Along with our DirectAccess import feature it will make it easier for the users to switch.
Michael
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 05:22:59 PM by BartelsMedia »

nagar

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2009, 05:44:02 PM »
Well, do it as you like. User will judge for themselves. Direct Access is not a copycat of Phase Express. We are in the same business. Should I avoid implementing a feature that my user request because it's something already available in PhraseExpress? It doesn't really make sense to me.
I didn't want to mention that but you have "copied" as you said some features of Direct Access and included in Phrase Express: for example, the ability to launch the email client.
Another strange thing I notices is that soon after we published the autocorrection dictionaries in many languages on our website, they appeared on yours too.

So, please don't talk to me about ethics. It just seems to me that you have no idea of what business competition is. I don't think that Donation coder people will appreciate "your business ethics".
--
Andrea Nagar - Nagarsoft
http://www.nagarsoft.com
Discover the power of Direct Access to speed up your personal computing experience by reducing time consuming, repetitive tasks through the use of abbreviations.

bmms

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2009, 06:15:58 PM »
Quote
Should I avoid implementing a feature that my user request because it's something already available in PhraseExpress?

Certainly not. But I have difficulties to believe that your users only demand exactly the feature list of PhraseExpress. Or that they demand to use identical hotkey associations as in PhraseExpress. :-\

Quote
for example, the ability to launch the email client.

Do you mean our #run or the #mail macro? Both included in PhraseExpress since v3 released in early 2006. :P

Quote
Another strange thing I notices is that soon after we published the autocorrection dictionaries in many languages on our website, they appeared on yours too.

Funny, that you bring on this one. Not that we or you invented AutoCorrect but here we go:

PhraseExpress AutoCorrect library download offer, dated 06/2007 as verified at Archive.org -> Link

Would you please tell the audience when you put on your first AutoCorrect library?  :P
Michael
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 06:23:06 PM by BartelsMedia »

cranioscopical

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2009, 07:28:33 PM »
To:
BartelsMedia
and
nagar

May I advance a personal point of view?

While watching a little of your bickering might be entertaining, I do wish, now, that both of you would squabble somewhere else.

I, for one, am perfectly capable of looking at two pieces of software and forming my own opinions.
Perhaps I am alone in this view but, then again, perhaps not.

It doesn't matter to me who began this but I'd certainly appreciate a tie if you'd both drop it at the same time.

All the best to you both for 2009!


Darwin

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2009, 07:47:44 PM »
Thanks, Chris. This exchange has been making me a tad uncomfortable as well   :o I appreciate the frustrations on both sides, but perhaps this conversation can be moved to a private forum (e-mail, PM, etc.).

Having said that, I always appreciate having developers participating in our discussions.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

cranioscopical

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2009, 08:12:47 PM »
I always appreciate having developers participating in our discussions.

Indeed, it's great when they do.  And I very much appreciate developers' posts.

I hope both will continue to participate, constructively.

J-Mac

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2009, 10:48:46 PM »
Thanks, Chris. This exchange has been making me a tad uncomfortable as well   :o I appreciate the frustrations on both sides, but perhaps this conversation can be moved to a private forum (e-mail, PM, etc.).

Having said that, I always appreciate having developers participating in our discussions.

Car crash/trainwreck syndrome, eh? A "tad uncomfortable", but you just can't turn away from it, or avert your gaze. No?   8)

Jim

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2009, 02:25:31 AM »
A couple of thoughts off the top of my head, some of which are contradictory:

  • I think the general sentiment from dc posters is that we would rather not see this particular argument continue here, because it seems like it's one of those arguments that is going to get personal and ugly if it continues.
  • I think everyone has made the point they feel like they need to make -- my general feeling with such arguments is that sometimes even though something makes you uncomfortable it's important to let people at least make their case before you curtail discussion.
  • There is a substantive and very complicated muddy issue being raised here, the idea of ideas started in one program being used in other programs..  This is such a sticky wicket that trying to discuss it on a thread like this is, in my view, inappropriate.  It might be a good subject for a separate discussion that doesnt focus on one particular program.
  • Trying to look at things from both sides.. i know that both of these programs have fans, and for good reason.  I can see how both sides would feel offended by the other -- and i'm not in any position to take sides or decide who is "right" or "wrong".
  • DC readers are intelligent enough to research the issue and continue the debates on the company websites if they wish, so there is no need to beat dead horse here.

We welcome both companies to participate at DC --but i think we should ask them both to respect the fact that their positions have been advanced now, and that it would be unreasonable/unacceptable for either party to make an attempt to "disrupt" the other person's threads going forward -- in other words, without saying anything about what has been written so far, i'd ask both people to avoid engaging in a tit-for-tat continuous process of arguing on each others threads.  Have faith that the DC readers will learn about both programs and decide which is best for them.

bmms

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2009, 03:15:49 AM »
It was just that, if your ideas are being imitated over such an extended time, you hopefully understand that there can be a growing feeling to set the record straight.

I will stop here.
Michael
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 03:17:27 AM by BartelsMedia »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2009, 05:04:12 AM »
Can I suggest that this thread is either locked or posts from both sides of the argument removed from the thread before round two starts!

mouser

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2009, 05:28:31 PM »
I suggest we split off the "complaint" about directaccess and move it to the complaints sub-board, and re-open for normal directaccess discussion.

Josh

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Re: Direct Access - text expander - Complaints about company
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2009, 03:13:49 AM »
Mouser, If all that is going to happen is the two authors bicker back and forth then I feel that a split-off will do more harm than good. One of the authors has already "backed out" only to come back and try and reprove his/her point. I feel this thread is best locked until another discussion about DA or PE comes up.

mouser

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I have split the threads and move this one here.  The original thread is here: http://www.donationc....msg147173#msg147173

I felt this was the fairest way to make sure everyone had their say and decorum was preserved.

bmms

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Mouser, thank you for taking care of this matter in such a respectful and professional manner.

By the way, we seems not to be alone in this case:

Andrea, can it be that have had a close look at other companies text copy as well as an sources for "inspiration" as you can see in attached screenshots.

Or is it yet another conincidence and do you still pretend to not understand what it is all about?
Michael
« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 04:26:57 AM by BartelsMedia »

app103

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I have a few questions about this allegation of copying:

  • Does BartelsMedia hold a patent on the implementation of any of the features in which there is a claim of copying?
  • Does BartelsMedia mean to suggest that nagar reverse engineered his product in order to discover proprietary secrets to enable him to duplicate the features?
  • Does BartelsMedia mean to claim that nagar stole the source code to his product and used it in his?

If the answer is no, then I don't understand where the issue is.

If he did not infringe on any patents, did not use stolen code, and wrote his own implementation of these features, then he has done nothing wrong.

Having the same keyboard shortcuts for the same purpose as another program isn't stealing. If it were, then only applications created by Microsoft would be allowed to use F1 to display Help. And only 1 game in the whole world would be allowed to use the arrow keys to control direction.

Furthermore, I'd like to call your attention to a post I made awhile back concerning ideas and patents.

There is a reason why the US patent office doesn't allow one to patent ideas and only allows the patenting of the implementation of ideas.

One can have or use the same idea as someone else, but when it comes to the actual implementation they can be different. Unless the source code of both applications are identical for the identical features, then there really wasn't any real copying. There could be major differences in the way it's coded to such a degree that they are actually very far from being anywhere near alike (and it is possible in theory, that the "copy" can actually be much better than the other because of the way it was implemented).

To illustrate my point, I would like to call your attention to ReactOS which aims to duplicate Windows XP without illegally reverse engineering it and infringing on any of Microsoft's rights. It is possible to do this using clean-room design and that is why the project continues to exist.

I would understand if Microsoft became upset about this, but legally they wouldn't have a leg to stand on if it was all done legally and not by stealing code, infringing on patents, etc.

If only 1 application was allowed to have certain features, then most of mouser's screenshot captor's features wouldn't exist, because only 1 screen capture utility would be allowed to exist with certain features.

And along the same line, should mouser follow Bill Gates around and act in the same manner that BartelsMedia has, since many new features in Vista resemble applications he had created? (ok, that was meant to be a joke, but it is still true to a certain degree, even if it is funny)

My suggestion is for both BartelsMedia and nagar to keep working on their products to make them the best they can be and as bug free as possible and offer the best support to users as they can. because where one lacks, the other can certainly excel and that will be where the real difference in the applications will be noticeable. Running around chasing each other to bad mouth and complain will only show users that neither product should be considered and a third option would probably be best, one developed by someone with a lot more maturity.

Paul Keith

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app103, great post but if I may interject, (from my perspective) I think BartelsMedia is not so much objecting the decision for legality but for the ethics behind the decision.

He's not giving us reasons to not use the other products because he plans to sue them. He's opening awareness for a possibility that his product is specifically being targeted by another developer as their model without them working on anything new on their part.

With ReactOS, you know the developers are trying to reverse engineer Windows. Everyone who looks up ReactOS knows that. With his product, he may fear that it isn't popular enough that people won't be aware that another developer is seemingly copying his application feature per feature. Not just on similar shortcuts or interfaces. Basically when he releases a new feature, soon that feature goes into the other product without any new addition.

I think he just wants some clarification on this so users won't be wondering who made what feature first.

bmms

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Quote
I would understand if Microsoft became upset about this, but legally they wouldn't have a leg to stand on

App103, I am sorry if I was mistakable. You are right if you say that we cannot do anything against it from a legal perspective. Just like the Apple/Vista case.

If you read my postings again, you would not find me saying, that his software is a complete rip-off. It looks different and he has apparently coded it by himself.

Here is another approach to describe the situation:

1. We release a new feature A. For Andrea, there would be hundred potential other features to make, but a he feels the urge to release a quickly drafted me-too feature A after a few months.

2. As we move on, we introduce a new feature B. Not, that we necessarily invented this feature and we do not hold a patent on it, nor would be valid to patent by us. But again, Andrea would have to close many gaps in his software or could have opted for hundred potential other features to make, but no, he seems to be in a hurry to release an uncut counterfeit version of feature B.

3. We then release a new feature C. Bet, was is next on his task list...

And this did not happen just two or three times, but way too often to let me believe that it is a "conincidence". The features I mean are also too special to let me believe they have been demanded by his users as he explains. Additionally, his strategy comes along with blatant 1:1 stealing of text copy as shown in the video.

And here is a very important point:

Have you recognized the similarity of the text copy in above screenshots? Would you deny that both versions are based on the same text but just slightly modified?

As he intentionally re-worded the text copy just slightly does it not mean that he is fully aware of doing a very questionable business and just tries to avoid copyright litigation?

We do not believe that his software affects our corporate sales at all. PhraseExpress is free-of-charge for personal users and we only sell to the corporate market which requires professional features and an infrastructure which can hardly be provided by a one person part-time hobby project.

It is not about money. It is the embarrassment that he is taking ideas and concepts over an extended period of time regardless we told him that it is not appreciated.
Michael
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 02:34:41 AM by BartelsMedia »

app103

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You might do well to read this part again:

My suggestion is for both BartelsMedia and nagar to keep working on their products to make them the best they can be and as bug free as possible and offer the best support to users as they can. because where one lacks, the other can certainly excel and that will be where the real difference in the applications will be noticeable. Running around chasing each other to bad mouth and complain will only show users that neither product should be considered and a third option would probably be best, one developed by someone with a lot more maturity.

Maybe whatever he does won't really affect your sales in a negative way, but what you do, will.

bmms

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Hello "app103",

Quote
Maybe whatever he does won't really affect your sales in a negative way, but what you do, will.

No need for you to worry about our sales and I am sorry if you have mistaken this thread as self-promotion.

If you re-read our offer you probably understand that there can be no sales loss for us as we give away PhraseExpress free-of-charge for personal use. “Free of charge” here means 0 (zero) dollars or in other words “no money involved”.

And we do not mind at all if you choose a 3rd party alternative. I gladly help:

www.autotext-software.com (Freeware, basic but completely free)
www.activewords.com ($50, out-dated but an established oldie)
www.asutype.com ($40, Best in class spelling-checker)
www.autohotkey.com ($0, cryptic but has extensive automation functionality)
www.clipmate.com ($20, if you only need the clipboard cache feature)

We just don’t want you to spend money on a product with a questionable business background. And if you do anyway, that you are at least aware of the issue. That's it.

Michael
Michael
« Last Edit: January 20, 2009, 04:32:47 AM by BartelsMedia »

wraith808

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Truthfully, reading this, I'd be less likely to even try PhraseExpress.  Because the whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  The points may be salient, and the frustration understandable.  But the way in which this whole thing is being carried out- especially since Andrea seems to have backed out only to continue to be attacked, and the attacks justified, leave me as a customer cold on PhraseExpress- and I have been for a while thinking about trying it because of the price difference compared to DirectAccess for a similar feature set.

bmms

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@wraith808:

How can stealing be justified?   :huh:

The only thing I could find is that he pretends to be clueless. And if you read my reply on his sort of "justification" you would find his counter-attacks a shoot in his own foot.

I could not blame you if you do not want to bother with actually verifying what is said but if you take his action even as an justification you find me wonder.


Quote
leave me as a customer cold on PhraseExpress

I just wanted to make you aware that if you wear a fake Rolex and believe it is original, that it is not so original. If you continue to wear it with pride and don't care, well... no problem. In this particular case, we do not share the same opinion about the value of originality and authenticity.

But again, we had no intention to use this thread as self-promotion for PhraseExpress. I gladly repeat above statement for you: I do not mind at all if you choose a 3rd party alternative. I gladly help:

www.autotext-software.com (Freeware, basic but completely free)
www.activewords.com ($50, out-dated but an established oldie)
www.asutype.com ($40, Best in class spelling-checker)
www.autohotkey.com ($0, cryptic but has extensive automation functionality)
www.clipmate.com ($20, if you only need the clipboard cache feature)


Quote
because of the price difference compared to DirectAccess for a similar feature set.

Only because there seem to be a lot of surprisingly coincident similarities of the feature list evolution over time it would be a wrong conclusion that the overall feature set is similar.
Michael
« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 01:23:24 AM by BartelsMedia »

Josh

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    Quote from: app103
    • Does BartelsMedia hold a patent on the implementation of any of the features in which there is a claim of copying?
    • Does BartelsMedia mean to suggest that nagar reverse engineered his product in order to discover proprietary secrets to enable him to duplicate the features?
    • Does BartelsMedia mean to claim that nagar stole the source code to his product and used it in his?

    I re-iterate these comments from app103. If none of the above are true, then I think this entire conversation about "stealing" is moot in point. Yes, it does suck if in fact the features in question were copied, but if no patent is held, then the ideas are open for use by others and no wrong doing is being done.

    Let us remember that if it were not due to copying of features, we would not have some great products like we do today. Opera was the first to implement tabs in a way that made it easy to use for the common user, but others have taken the idea and ran with it and now we have the great customizability of thousands of solutions which utilize tabs as a means of navigation and organization.

    Case and point, unless a patent is held, then no wrong is really being done legally. While there may be a moral issue, again, it's a cut throat world and those who can, will, and those who can't, will be run over. [/list]

    Paul Keith

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    Guys, I think many of you are missing the point BartelsMedia is pointing out here.

    Most of the focus on patents approaches this in an issue of legality rather than ethics. That's far from BartelsMedia's intent whether you agree with him or not. He just wants to inform people that based on the actions of this other person, they seem to be deliberately copying exactly the features that PhaseExpress releases in that order.

    To use the analogy of Opera. It's no different if the core developers were to point out how Opera and not Firefox was the first to implement a feature. They're not saying they're going to sue Firefox and they have a patent on that feature. They're simply pointing out this issue so that people will be informed.

    To quote BartelsMedia:

    "I just wanted to make you aware that if you wear a fake Rolex and believe it is original, that it is not so original."

    I'm not siding with him nor saying this is exactly his side because I can't read his mind but if we just judge the pattern of his conversation, certainly it has strong implications towards this intent and you all seem to be treating him unfairly by focusing on the patent issue when that isn't his point.

    Edit: If you notice, I edited the words. In my opinion, it's not wrong to bring up the patent issue because that's a legitimate concern but continuously steering that issue to that sole topic is being unfair to the complainant when he has already responded to that issue and implied that, that wasn't his issue with the defendant.
    « Last Edit: January 31, 2009, 12:17:09 AM by Paul Keith »