DejaOffice responds to Google Disruption

The high tech keyword for our century is Disruption.  Investors seek disruptive partners.

Disruption means an innovative company enters a stable market environment, generally with a low cost service, and knocks the current players out of the market by providing lower prices and better service. In this sense, Google has been disruptive to the Search Engine industry by providing a fast effective tool without visible advertising.  They have also disrupted the Cell Phone OS market, the Internet Browser market, and the Online News market. They have captured a firm lead in all these areas.

There is a second aspect to disruption that investors seek.  Once a company gains ascendancy over the competition, the disruptive company raises their prices to consumers so that the disruptive company becomes highly profitable. Consumers end up being worse off than they were before.

With Google, the profit motive appears to increasingly be made by isolated Silicon Valley based executives, with little feel for how they play out in the real world.  It is a sad truth that where Google once stood for innovation and low cost development tools, now they are nearly a constant headache to fend off their mistaken motivations and increasing prices.

Google Calendar API – Batch Endpoints Change

In March 2018, Google Announced that their Batch Endpoint for many API commands was changing.  The current API URL is to be deprecated March 25th 2019.  Somehow, Google figures that every customer with an API dependent software tool created before March 2018 will update their tool within this year grace period.  Clearly Google Management has no idea how long software cycles are.  We still have customers using Windows XP!  No one likes to change software versions.  More information is available here: https://www.companionlink.com/support/google-batch-endpoint-advisory.html

Google Geocoding API – Whopping Price Increase

In June 2018, Google announced that their website Geocode API was going to increase their pricing.  Geocoding is what is used when we look up an address, and replace it with a Logitude/Latitude value for map purposes.  Google Geocoding also includes location pictures and mini-map.  We use this in DejaOffice for iPhone, DejaOffice for Android and DejaOffice on the PC.

The price for a basic lookup changed from $0.005 per lookup to $0.02 per lookup.  What this means for DejaOffice is that our service in map lookups changed from being under $100, to suddenly becoming a $2000 per month bill.  This is for a free APP on the App store!  We quickly changed our Android and IPhone map lookups to the new Mobile Maps API, which was suggested by Google as an alternative. Customers saw this change go into place in November, and it seems to be a good drop-in replacement.

Google Geocoding API – Whopping Price Increase – Redux

So in February, Google announces that they “improved” the Mobile Maps API.  We have a six month window to switch to the improved version.  The improved version will change $0.02 per lookup.  Just Wow!

First we have a required App change, and second, we get our $2000 bill back.

So in DejaOffice you can count on mapping changes again in the next four months.  It is likely we will add an in-app tool to add funds for people who use a lot of mapping features.  Also we will be adding more location info to our sync, so once you map a contact or calendar event, you do not have to look it up again, thus avoiding a chargeable item.  Isn’t Disruption fun!

Google READ_SMS and READ_CALL_LOG Permissions

In November 2018, Google informed us that they would be removing all apps that used READ_SMS permission on Android.  In DejaOffice, we use these to add SMS text to Contact History.  We also use READ_CALL_LOG to add call followup information, and DejaOffice Caller ID.

Google’s handling of this issue is largely machine based, and heavy handed.  We have requested an exception.  However, DejaOffice does not fit into their set list of apps that are allowed these permissions.  They will remove DejaOffice from the App store if we do not remove these capabilities from the App.  We have applied twice, but can’t get by their machine blocker (probably named HAL – Open the Bay Door, Hal!)

So in February 2019, we have been forced to remove a number of DejaOffice features from our Android product:

  1. Read SMS Text to Contact History
  2. Identify incoming calls using DejaOffice Contact list
  3. Follow up on inbound calls to add a Contact History item

We are seeking another external tool, maybe Whatsapp, which may allow us to restore this functionality through that tool.  But obviously, Google Android is wanting to limit our access, and cannot be flexible because an innovative product does not fit their rigid expectations.

Google is a great technology partner.  But these moves show they clearly are going the path of IBM, then Microsoft, then Apple, then Google.  An innovative Disruptor, upon market dominance, becomes an intractable barrier to innovation.

An Ode to Ecco Pro

As we begin the rollout of DejaOffice PC CRM, some of the pioneers of small business Contact managers are on my mind.

A caller this week mentioned Ecco Pro, which was a very popular program back in the mid 1990s.

Ecco Pro as I recall was built on a foundation of an outline manager. Originally it was only an outliner. As it grew, there was a Contacts, Calendar, Task and Notes application. Originally published by Arabesque software, the company got purchased by NetManage in Seattle.

I don’t recall that it was very expensive at the time. Maybe $99 or $59 or something like that. I never used it. At the time we were working primarily with TeleMagic (DOS) and GoldMine (DOS). Both TeleMagic and GoldMine used dBase II format files, an so it was easy to make add-on products. Ecco had a proprietary file format.

By 1997 Ecco Pro had about a million users. Inexplicably, NetManage closed down the entire program. There were rumors for years that someone would buy it, but no on ever did. Ecco died a corporate death; sold to a company that did not know what they had.

Douglas P. Rice has a great writeup about being hired by NetManage just before the big fccollapse.  We don’t often think about how software was sold before the internet was commonly used, and it’s funny to read that they did not ship product updates online.

More resources:

James Kendrick – Memory Lane – Ecco Pro

Wikipedia – Ecco Pro

EccoMAGIC – EccoMagic Forums

A decade after Ecco went off the market, the Ecco User’s Group approached CompanionLink to write a sync to Phones at that time (BlackBerry, Pocket PC).  I was staunchly against it. First, there is no API. Second, the user base could not grow; only shrink. The CompanionLink Meme is to provide free telephone technical support to our customers. Some call this foolish, but I feel that many people need the help from time to time. But I don’t want to get caught getting unlimited phone calls for an unsupported product.

For those that wanted Ecco Pro to be a Contact Manager, we finally have a new product for you. DejaOffice PC CRM Standalone will handle Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes, and synchronize them easily to Android and iPhone. At $49.95 we hope it can be a worthy successor to this industry pioneer.

DejaOffice PC CRM Standalone
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.86 out of 5 based on 601 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $69.95

Google Sync for Outlook – Competitive Upgrade for Batch Endpoint Move March 2019

A year ago, Google announced a change to their Batch Endpoint URL  Batch enpoints are used by any application that wants to update a number of records in a Google API.  One can hardly have an efficient Google Sync if you do not use the batch endpoints.

The announcement states that the old endpoints will cease working on March 25, 2019.

Free update for CompanionLink Customers:  CompanionLink Customers with software purchased after January 1, 2014 (a five year period) will get a free update for their software.  Purchases from 2014 through 2016 can update CompanionLink 7.  Purchases from 2016 through 2018 are current with CompanionLink 8.  Please download your update from our updates page.

$29.95 update for customers using Competing Products:  CompanionLink extends our upgrade pricing to competitive products.  Upgrade to CompanionLink 8 like you are one of our family.  The upgrade price for CompanionLink for Google is $39.95 and we offer a $10 discount.  Click here to purchase it for $29.95.  You can also purchase CompanionLink for Outlook for the same price, which offers direct support for sync from Outlook to Android/iPhone using USB, Wi-Fi or DejaCloud sync.

DejaOffice PC CRM – Beta Released!

Having spent nearly 6 months developing this, it is a great moment for us.  The first time we can show what we have been working on!

Download to try it out yourself:  https://www.companionlink.com/downloads/download-dpc.php

Setup guide:  https://www.companionlink.com/support/kb/DejaOffice_PC_CRM_Sync_Setup_Guide

This is a 14 day demo but we are happy to extend the demo.  We are looking for feedback and ideas.

Tech Support:  (503)243-5200 hours – 7am-3:30pm
or Email:  support@companionlink.com

Sales (503)243-3400 – sales@companionlink.com

Forums:  https://www.dejaoffice.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?36-DejaOffice-PC-CRM-(DPC)-for-Windows

Video:

 

Thank you all for your support!

 

DejaOffice PC CRM Standalone
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.86 out of 5 based on 601 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $69.95

DejaOffice PC CRM – Dec 2 Update

Here is a new video we made.

We are now feature complete.  As you can see from the video, moving from screen to screen is working well.  Pinned windows are awesome. Most features are working well.

What is not working currently is that auto-sync is brand new, and still a bit bumpy.  Sometimes the app stops while sync is in background.  There are still some crashing behavior for advanced operations  like Add task, then add category within the add task view.

We are going to have a first-launch wizard for settings and I don’t think that is done yet.  That’s at least a day’s worth of work.

We will be doing advanced inhouse testing December 3-8.  We will know in a week whether we are on schedule for the beta test December 15th.

Other Schedule Changes:

Act! Assistant is moved up due to changes in the Act! community.  We finished some Act! Specific features like History and Opportunities so they will be available in the December beta release.

Outlook Plugin – moved the date out a bit so our Programmer can have a Christmas break.

Hoping to get to beta Dec 15th.

If you have not opted in already – do it here.

Maximize your Productivity with DejaOffice CRM App on iPhone XS Max

Our iPhone XS Max arrived today.

While Samsung has explored the phablet space, many phones with 6″ or more screen size, Apple has only recently realized how productive you can be with a larger display.

There are plenty of articles to cover the may features of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. There are plenty of articles to explore that.  One of the concerns is that few iPhone Apps take advantage of the larger real estate. 

When we first created DejaOffice, our goal was to make a PC-like experience for the iPhone.  Part of this experience is to allow a smaller font size which maximizes the display.  You can really see that benefit by comparing to the Outlook App:

DejaOffice App on the left.

Outlook App on the right.

Same phone, same database, actual screen shots September 2018.

The difference is as clear as a Dynamo Display! DejaOffice is a must-have for people who need to communicate with customers on the road.  You can access more data with fewer taps, use colors to show customer types, easily call or text while you are moving, and synchronize everything back to your PC in less time than it takes to open Outlook.

DejaOffice uses our proprietary sync technology to synchronize using USB, Wi-Fi and DejaCloud.  These are secure methods that handle more fields and data types than Microsoft Exchange sync.

On the PC side we feature CompanionLink for Outlook, or CompanionLink Express for Act!, or IBM Notes and CompanionLink Professional for GoldMine.  For Contacts Calendar, Tasks and Notes, DejaOffice is clearly more productive with the large screen devices.

Handy Links:

CompanionLink for Outlook – $49.95

For Act! sync to iPhone XS Max

Compare Outlook App to DejaOffice, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes on iPhone

DejaOffice Classroom

CompanionLink for Outlook
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.86 out of 5 based on 601 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $14.95 3-Mo Subs - $69.95 One-time License.

Outlook 2019 on Windows, Mac, Android and iPhone – Resources and Announcements

Sync Outlook to Android and iPhone

CompanionLink for Outlook Sync with DejaOffice

Microsoft has now confirmed Office 2019, with updates to Outlook, will be coming soon.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4133312/office-2019-commercial-preview-frequently-asked-questions

It appears that Consumers who subscribe to Office 365, will be getting Office 2019 as an inline release.

This looks something like the Windows 10 Creator’s update, where suddenly you wake up, and after waiting an extra hour for your PC to reboot, you had a new version of Windows 10 with virtually nothing different.

Businesses hate the downtime, so they will get a Commercial Preview.  This allows them to download it for testing and training purposes.  Also, people to don’t use an Office 365 Subscription will be able to download Office 2019 at some point.  See our link on how to use Outlook without a Subscription.

What’s in it?

More importantly, how will Outlook 2019 change my world?  So far, for guidance, we have two sets of announcements.  One set from the above website June 2018:

Outlook – “Manage email more efficiently”

  • Updated contact cards
  • Office 365 Groups*
  • @mentions
  • Focused inbox
  • Travel and delivery summary cards

The contact cards have not changed in the last 18 years, and no one uses them, so sure, updating is fine.  Office 365 groups looks like a co-worker management function.   Focused inbox relates to email and letting Microsoft sort your mail into important vs unimportant, but you can turn this off.  Summary cards sound intriguing, but this doesn’t look essential.

So far, so good.  In the June 2018 announcement is no significant change to Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes.  I would stop here because this is not a story

Outlook User Interface Changes.

However, in Fall 2017, Microsoft made some pretty clear announcements that the interface for Microsoft Office would be changing soon.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/16/16481190/microsoft-outlook-windows-mac-redesign-features

A summary of those changes are:

  1. Ribbon will go away.  O_o
  2. List view is to be Mac like.
  3. Calendar simplified

I remember when the ribbon was introduced, we all hated it and asked Microsoft for a setting to turn it off.  Microsoft made a statement they would not give us a setting.  Now, the “new thing” is to take away the thing we hated.  Awesome.

The Mac-like interface looks scary.  Outlook on Windows, as used by something like a billion people, is not a toy. It certainly is concerning if you come in to work one day, and suddenly your PC reboots and your contact list and calendar look different.  So this is something to watch.

While Microsoft has not updated their October announcement, they have rolled out a new design for Outlook.com (the old Hotmail web site).  It shows a new fluent design UI that is reminiscent of their Apps.  So this looks like a hint of what is to come for Windows.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/14/17121032/microsoft-outlook-web-redesign-features

So it looks like we will see these changes in Fall 2018, which is actually Spring 2019 in Microsoft Years.  The future will tell this tale.

CompanionLink for Outlook
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.86 out of 5 based on 601 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $14.95 3-Mo Subs - $69.95 One-time License.

Best way to sync Gmail Task App to Outlook and Office 365

I remember well when Google started becoming a Personal Information Manager. In the early days it was a big secret. Around 2006 or so, we got an invitation to a secret meeting on Google campus. I flew down with an engineer and in a room of 60 fellow attendees we learned about Google Calendar.

That was 2006. Google Calendar works great now.  Gmail works good.  They started a Task App, and then abandon it when it was half formed.   Every other PIM tool ever created has priorities and categories for tasks.  Not Google.  After the second year, Google Tasks seemed relegated to the back burner while still half finished.  More recently Google brought out Google Keep (no API) and Google Reminders (no API).  Suddenly this week, the focus is back on Google Tasks.

Gmail has acquired a new interface, and as part of that an integrated tasks panel.  Just go to Gmail and go to Settings, Use the new interface.  As a part of this, you can now drag and drop an email to become a task.  Just like Outlook 2002 did (and still does).  It’s almost as if Google’s Engineers finally checked out the Windows PC in the locked room.

Google has also brought out a Standalone Android app for Tasks, called Tasks.  You can recognize it from all the other Task apps because it’s from Google, LLC (because incorporation costs too much for a tiny operation like Google).

Of course, with Google Tasks you still can’t assign priority, category or color.  But at least you can see them on your phone now.

Here’s how to bring Google Tasks into Outlook so you can handle them efficiently:

  1. Download CompanionLink for Google – 14 day free trial
  2. Click on Settings to connect it to Google
  3. Sync

All your Outlook Contacts, Calendar and Tasks will go to Google and to your phone if it sees your Google Account.  All your Google Contacts, Calendar and Tasks will come back to Outlook.

After 14 days you can purchase the software for $14.95 per 3-Months, or make a one-time purchase for $49.95.  Your one-time purchase can be used for three computers as long as it’s for you, so work, home and laptop.  You can use Mac or PC (there’s a separate download for Outlook for Mac).  CompanionLink supplies free telephone technical support, and also email support.  Here are some resources for all that:

Setup Guide: https://www.companionlink.com/support/kb/CompanionLink_for_Google_-_Outlook_to_Google_Sync_Setup_Guide

Advanced Settings: https://www.companionlink.com/support/kb/CompanionLink_for_Google_Advanced_Settings

Ask us a question: https://www.companionlink.com/aboutus/howcanwehelp.html

14 Day Trial Download: https://www.companionlink.com/downloads/download.php?product=CLG70

Buy it now – 90 day guarantee: https://auth.companionlink.com/buynow/orderform.php?product=CLG80

CompanionLink for Google
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.86 out of 5 based on 601 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $14.95 3-Mo Subs - $69.95 One-time License.

 

 

 

How to use Microsoft Office without A Subscription

The easy secret smart businesses use to avoid paying Microsoft a monthly fee for Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Portland, Ore – Kudos for Microsoft in keeping the ability to purchase Microsoft Office outright.  Clearly their company focus is on driving subscription revenue.  They are not the only company to do this.  But it is a double-edged sword.  While it may make shareholders happy to see increasing revenue, it also puts the onus on Microsoft to introduce features and services that have value to business people.

Microsoft Office has achieved rare dominance in the professional world. A businessperson’s standing with customers requires presentations in PowerPoint and documents in Word. They use Microsoft Office Picture Manager for managing, editing, sharing, and viewing pictures on computers.

However, like Comcast, Microsoft products are not dramatically different than ten or twenty years ago. Bold and Underline is the same. Outlook contacts have not gained any more usefulness. Task priorities still do not handle Franklin Covey techniques. So why does Microsoft think you need to pay $12.50 per month for something you can buy outright for $229?

I have owned a business for 31 years, or as I commonly say, “through four of the last three recessions.”  I pay hard costs when the economy is good and run lean during the downturns. I buy furniture, equipment and software that lasts, and then milk it when I need. Half the battle of staying in business is to survive the unexpected; the snowstorm that closed our office for two weeks, the 9/11 shutdown of all domestic aviation, the unexpected lawsuit and the IRS audit. Surviving the unexpected means when business veers to idle, our monthly operating cost drops closer to zero. You cannot do that if you are paying a monthly fee to a vendor that is not providing significant ROI.

Moore’s law ensures that technology becomes cheaper, faster, bigger and less expensive.  The only rising cost I have is personnel and benefits which rise with the growth of the economy. If the features you need for Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows is inherently the same, then it should be optional for you to pay for Microsoft’s expensive service model, not a requirement.

CompanionLink has published a guide for people who want to “cut the cord” and free themselves from Microsoft’s subscription model. The guide covers how to capture your data locally, how to set up local email, and how to purchase a one-time license to the appropriate Microsoft Office version.

You can read our guide here.

About CompanionLink Software
CompanionLink® Software, Inc. is a pioneering developer of data synchronization solutions for mobile phones and CRM software and services. They also develop a DejaOffice® for Outlook® App which runs on Android, iPhone®, iPad®, Windows Phone®, and BlackBerry® devices. For 30 years, CompanionLink has helped mobilize information across devices, computers, applications, and web-based services. For more information, please visit www.companionlink.com and www.dejaoffice.com.

CompanionLink, DejaOffice and DejaCloud are registered trademarks of CompanionLink Software, Inc. Other product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

CompanionLink for Outlook
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.86 out of 5 based on 601 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $14.95 3-Mo Subs - $69.95 One-time License.

How to sync Samsung Galaxy S9 to Outlook without using Exchange

Why can’t Outlook App actually work like Outlook?

To sync Outlook to Galaxy S9 without needing an Office 365 subscription.

  1. From Google Play Store, install DejaOffice on your Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+
  2. On your PC, download CompanionLink for Outlook on your PC.
  3. Configure both for DejaCloud Sync
  4. Watch your Outlook Contacts and Calendar appear on your phone.

DejaOffice is Free.  CompanionLink runs on a two-week trial.

For more information on running Office without a subscription click here: https://www.companionlink.com/support/kb/How_to_Use_Outlook_without_Subscription

Samsung Galaxy S9 is the latest flagship from the world leader of Smartphones. There’s nothing faster or more effective.  Here I have an argument with Apple.  With iPhone there is no Widgets, and Widgets are so useful, you’ll never catch me using a phone without them.

What is a widget?  A widget shows App information on the phone desktop.  A widget allows me to quickly see my day view, and my contact list – without opening an app.  I can quickly tap on the location and get to my next appointment.  No search, no scroll.  Just one tap and I’m in maps.  One tap and I can call or sms.  Automatically updated all day.

Special features of DejaOffice:

  • Time zone management, so when you land your Calendar doesn’t go wonky
  • Calendar Colors that match Outlook
  • Templates that save time entering new Appointments and Tasks
  • Persistent alarms to be sure I don’t miss anything.
  • Recurring tasks compatible with Outlook
  • Optional:  Franklin Covey task priorities  A1, B2, C99
  • Works same on Android and iPhone, Phones and Tablets.

Check out https://www.dejaoffice.com for more information.

CompanionLink for Outlook
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.86 out of 5 based on 601 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $14.95 3-Mo Subs - $69.95 One-time License.

SM-G960 and SM-G965, Outlook, Office 365