Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Abassis Work Desk - Feedback

I've posted about the Abassis Work Desk idea on the business of software forum in Joel on Software. Here is some of the feedback I got. Thanks guys!

Sounds kinda like basecamp, which is a good idea, and a market that could probably support a few new players.


Why can't I accomplish the same functionality with MS Outlook on the client and server-side Exchange and synchronization between them? Most of the sales people I know use that already.

Alex Moskalyuk

I think the biggest problem will be in trying to integrate with all of the other external data sources. For example, do I still need to use Outlook to send and receive mail or will your product take over that responsibility? If I still need to use Outlook, Project, Word, etc. anyway then why do I want one more tool to have to bother with?


Lots of people have been doing exactly this using CVS for quite a while. I use Subversion, but it's essentially the same thing.

Just automate the commit/update cycle and you have what you're talking about....


Your description is a bit general, but I think the GOAL you're after "all your project's digital resources accessible in one view/screen" is a VERY GOOD *goal*. I think it may be difficult to implement.

Mr. Analogy {ISV}

What I think Mauricio is talking about is much better if he can get it to work. I'd love to be able to sit down anywhere, at any PC and open up to the same workspace I last left - just like as if I'd pressed "standby" and came back.

I know that you can sync your repositories and get files from Outlook, but software should go further. If I've got the SW on both machines, everything should be the same. Key mappings, window placements, the position of the scroll bar, the zoom setting on my PDF spec, the page of the CHM for the API I'm looking at - EVERYTHING. And with the push of a button it's all zipped up and on a USB key then I can go home and resume work push another button and be back up and running EXACTLY where I left off.

I mean, why not?

That would save countless hours. That's the kind of integration and immersion you'd need. I'd pay for that. I know I'd get my boss to pay for that too. This kind of software needs to get written.


Early criticism is important for new ventures. This helps avoid making so much effort on things without a chance of success. Of course, you have to take every input with a grain of salt. I have just a few friends with enough experience in technology that I can share my ideas and get some criticism, and most of them are burned already because of all my previous tries, that they do not expect me to ever succeed. It was nice to hear from people on the Joel forum, I got some great insights, and I think the idea resisted the walk through the "Polish Corridor".

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Abassis Work Desk

I decided that the name of this new product will be "Abassis Work Desk", does it sound good? A friend of mine suggested "Virtual Work Desk Anywhere", but I thought it had too many adjectives *grin*

English is not my first language, I find it really hard to come with good names for products. As some sites order software alfabetically, I decided to just use the name of the company (Abassis) and what the software does.

For this one I tried to come with some combination of words related to the product, like project, tasks, job, work, and what it does, like virtual, focus, handy, but to no success. My concept of success is that the name of the product returns my website as one of the top three links on Google, and any search with such combinations on Google returns millions of hits already.

One feature Outlook doesn't have is the guarantee that you have all the documents needed for the project/task with you, up to date. As I said, this software will be a sort of cockpit, integrating with other applications where needed and adding features that none of them have.

I'm making this software based on my needs and by analysing the people working around me. For example, though the sales people all have notebooks with base stations, they still most times have to ask coleagues to send documents on the network by e-mail, because they forgot to bring the documents with them.

For myself, I have Source Safe on my main workplace, and don't have access to it at the customer site nor at home. In some situations I lost code due to making changes in files that weren't up to date.

Outlook is good stuff, but AFAIK it does not have a way to FTP its data so you are able to open at home the same Outlook data you have at work.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

New Product

After a few months doing nothing but recovering from all the past failures, I think that I'm ready to go back on developing new products. I'm working on a new product. My idea is a work desk for projects. Everything one needs to work on some project, in only one window, with support for mobile users through a sync or ftp backup/retrieval feature.

I thought about this idea because I work at two different places besides at home, and at every place I have a different enviroment and tools, and no way to keep all of then in sync. This software would be handy for me. I learned my lesson, if I don't eat my dog food, and use my own software daily, no chance of it ever becoming good.

This product will be a mix of Outlook and Source Safe. The user can create projects, where he adds calendar events, browser bookmarks, relevant e-mails, document files, adress book entries, annotations and to do tasks.

So, in this sort of project cockpit, the user see the tasks to work on, the contacts, the files, everything that when he turns on his computer he will be able to get right back to work. And if the user have to go on a business trip, work on the customer site or simply work at home, with this software he is always sure that he has all the data he needs, in the latest version.

This is the type of software that I think is a good candidate to use the strategy of free for personal use and paid for commercial use, which I want to try out. Some companies would like to have something like this specialy for their notebook enabled employees.

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Monday, February 21, 2005

Free for personal use

I've been thinking about making an application which is free for personal, to have more users and still sell it. I've posted about that in the Software Business forum of Joel on Software.

Since the next application that I have in mind has an appeal for personal and business users, I will give it a try.

My final post on the topic:

Thanks all, I believe that it's worth a shot. I have a shareware program, Abassis Finance Manager http:/ and had a few sales, but the problem is that I'm not motivated enough to continue working on it, because I know that only a few people are using it. And although they contributed to the development with their very welcome money, they have never to this date sent an e-mail with suggestions of even criticisms.

I believe that one motivating factor, at least for me, is having a sizeable user base. If only to brag on family reunions that I work on some software used by thousands of people.

I will treat a free for personal use version as a marketing and strategic move. And hope that I have as much success as Anon's company had with it. I'll post about my next product on a new topic.

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Revamping Abassis

It's been a long time since I've been able to work on Abassis. Real Life called really hard. I've been through a plentora of personal problems that limited considerably my free time, added to a depression attack that prevented me from getting any work done for months.

I really want to revamp Abassis, work on new versions, put other products online, but it's been hard to get past the planning stage. I hope that this blog post will be a good kick start. Truth is, now I will have more time to work on Abassis, since for at least a month I will get 40 minutes in the morning, before commuting to my contract job, to do anything I want while the rest of the family is sleeping (trust me, I haven't had such daily free slice of time for myself since I got married and had kids).

First I want to fix some things on the website, wrong details like that "Copyright 2003" are getting to my nerves. The Abassis website must allow for other products than Abassis Finance Manager, so I want it to be more generic and clean. Bradbury Software's website will be a good source of inspiration.

Then, I will make Abassis Finance Manager freeware. There's still a lot to do in this program, and I badly need more users giving criticism and suggestions. Then it must be fully compatible with XP. And faster, I must rethink about storing all data in a XML file, or discover a way to read this file faster.

Then, I have two other products that could be launched as freeware. DeskTools, which is a suite of some small utilities I developed years ago, and a multi search tool still nameless (SearchWiz and SearchGun are good names, but are taken already).

And THEN, I could start to work on a new project that I can't get off my mind since thought about it.

That's it. I hope to get the wheels of change rolling soon...

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