Episode 033 – “Send Me an Angel”


Windows Phone 7 Marketplace Statistics
PhoneGap mobile HTML5 framework adding support for Windows Phone Mango
Network Dashboard
Microsoft’s Ben Lower Updates Us on Student Developer Activity
Rivera Goes Digging Around the Microsoft Geo-Location Lawsuit

Developer Tip of the Week

Walkthrough: Updating a Local Database Application for Windows Phone

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  1. Oliver Ulm says

    Hey Guys,

    as you’ll know I’m the Developer of the second App called Connectivity Shortcuts. I know what the whole mess looks like but I still wanted to provide you with my side of the story as I did not know of Network Dashboard when I did and submitted the App.

    Last sunday I was looking through the Namespaces using Intellisense and came accross the Task for accessing those settings. Being a Moderator in a german spoken forum on WP7 I knew instantly that pinning those to start was something LOTS of people would want as this was something people requested right from the start of WP7. If up to that point someone would have done such a Mango App it would have been in the “news” I figured but it wasn’t so I spent 3 hours to put a quick and dirty version together (what is exactlly what the v1.0 looks like).

    I submitted sunday evening and waited for the certification. Wednesday morning it went through and I thought: you have to get this out to the people so I tipped WPcentral and WMPowerUser on it. Later that day I got a message by someone who had stumbled upon the Network Dashboard. I downloaded it and was amazed at how similar it looked and how refined it was. Clearly a lot more time was spent on it.

    In my XDA Thread on the Connectivity Shortcuts I got contacted by the dashboard’s developer hinting at the similarities. I tried to explain (maybe badly) that somehow it made just sense to do it that way.

    Up until now I have been contacted by 2 other people who had roughly the same idea and as far as I know have already submitted it for certification – so we might see even more of those apps over the next few days.

    What really troubles me now is that I only wanted to give people this option (What profit is to be gained of ripping off a free App as a free App?) and it turned out to be a complete mess. The option of pulling the App occured to me but I’m not entirely sure that this would be fair to the people using it right now who might not know of the alternative.

    So my current plan is to update the App with better visuals, build upon the feedback I received from users to add some things they’d like to see and leave it at that.

    In the end of coure it is up to you whom to believe. It just astonishes me that instead of seeking a dialogue with me after his initial Post on XDA developers he decided to contact you and tell you I ripped him off. Sry if I stole his spot in the spotlight (which he deserved putting together a much more refined version) but there is nothing I can now do about it.

    Although this episode really hurts me I really like to listen to your Podcast, keep up the good work

    PS: If he wants to contact me he knows my name on XDA.

  2. Travis Lowdermilk says

    Oliver —
    First, I want to thank you for reaching out to us. Of course, there are two sides to every story and I’m very glad you took the time to share yours.
    I also want to extend an apology. We had a responsibility to dig a little deeper and we should’ve tried to reach out to you for comment. George is a good friend of the show, and our comments were meant to be supportive of his efforts and have a little “fun” with the situation.
    If you feel that you were personally harmed by our comments, we apologize. That was not our intent.
    Here’s what we’d like to do:
    We would like to share this comment on the air to give our listeners the entire story.
    It, most likely, won’t happen next week, as we are doing the Build Blogger Bash, but I will put this in our notes to talk about the following week.
    Again, thanks for reaching out and listening to the show.

  3. Oliver Ulm says

    I sent George an E-Mail just now trying to start a dialogue on this as I really hope we can solve all this so there is no bad blood between us. I don’t really blame you because I know exactlly what it looks like and if I were in your position I believe I would have reacted pretty much the same.

    I also can understand what George must have felt like when he saw my App as it pretty much took my breath away when I first saw his (and all the similarities).

    So all in all I would be really glad if we (George and I) could sort out the whole mess and you could report on the other side or – which I would much prefer – that things got sorted out in the end in the next episode in which you can make room for it.

    I just hope there is not too much more reporting on the copycat thing on other blogs by then :(

  4. says

    Hey Oliver,

    I took the time to read through your post above. As a “vocal” chat contributer each week (when I can) to Ryan and Travis’ great show, I just wanted to say sorry for any number of my comments in support of George, at your cost, over this situation.

    Obviously the world is a large place, and the same idea occurring at roughly the same time without any relationship to the other is a possibility. I think Alexander Bell for instance, got his patent in for the telephone just before Elisha Gray, otherwise we might all have been using telephones with a liquid insert to transfer sounds!!!

    So my apologies if any of my remarks were insensitive or for any offence. The WP7 community needs to be supportive of all it’s members and I shouldn’t have been so quick to jump to incorrect assumed conclusions.

    Good luck with your continued WP7 app development!


  5. says

    Ryan, Travis, Oliver,

    As Oliver stated, we’ve hashed this out amongst ourselves and all is well. I’m taking Oliver at his word that it was a coincidence that our apps are so much alike… stranger things have definitely happened!

    Both apps are free and Windows Phone users are, of course, free to choose whichever app they prefer! :)

  6. Oliver Ulm says

    @Sheeds: I did not follow the chat – guess thats for the best. Thanks for the post though.

    @All: I believe this whole situation shows some very interesting things. For one it shows that there are lots of people looking into ways to make WP7 ever more useful and to fill in the gaps that Microsoft left even in Mango. The developer community is strong already :)

    Another thing is that if you want your App to get known it is not sufficient to put it on the Marketplace and post about it in your own Blog. You have to tip/work Blogs and Forums to succeed as every day over a 100 Apps enter the Marketplace and most people are not looking through those new submissions. I personally rarely use Marketplace search and many Apps I have installed I would never have known about if it were not for WMPowerUser and WPCentral.

    Maybe how to go about promoting ones Apps would be an interesting topic for a future podcast?

  7. Tom Servo says

    I don’t even see the contention here. Sorry for being blunt.

    Both of your applications pretty much look like the group contents page in the Mango people hub (marketplace screenshots), and everyone wants the new custom tiles. Given that Microsoft is always showing this off way ahead and even encouraging the replication of their UI style, I find it entirely plausible that this is just a coincidence.

    I mean, I can understand if one of you two is grumpy. Back before WP launched, I showed off an application on XDA, which I intended to submit. Lo and behold, someone else copied the idea down to the general UI style, both badly, and stole my interim name of it. So I see from where you’re coming.

    Luckily that didn’t work out too well for him at the end.

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