ThatAdamGuy
Hi there,

I've been using Evernote, OneNote, and MyLifeOrganized, but have recently become intrigued by PersonalBrain. I started playing with it a couple of days ago, have been lurking in the forum here to learn tips and tricks, and so on.

My intention was to continue trialing the software (with a subset of my data) and if I found it to be more effective/powerful than my current software solution, to become a paying PersonalBrain user.

But all of this sort of came crashing down, and in an unexpected way. You see, I regularly use three computers: My desktop at work, my desktop at home, and (on my extensive travels), my laptop. I figured that -- as with pretty much *ALL* other software I've paid for in the past -- this would pose no problem at all. One person, one user, multiple computers, one license.

But nope, that won't work with PersonalBrain apparently. After finding the (somewhat buried) two-computer limit listed on the site, I wrote this company's customer service folks asking for a clarification. Sorry, two-computer limit was the response. I wrote one polite followup asking for a good-faith exception (heck, I'm not even married, so it really would be just me using this!), but... nope, no exception. But hey, I could use a USB stick as a workaround.

I don't intend to be mean but... really? Seriously? You want me to go back into the dark ages, away from DropBox and other much more elegant solutions, and inconvenience myself to get around your inflexible licensing solutions?

Sorry, but no. And with no disrespect intended, this is Customer Service FAIL. I can't promise that I would have become a customer (I had just started trialing the software after all), but with this policy, I can guarantee you that I won't become a customer.

So I have to ask: how many customers are you losing? How much piracy are you really stopping?

Please reconsider your stance. I have enough money and plenty of need to make my life more efficient, but I'm going to support those companies that treat their customers better. In particular, I really appreciate those (thankfully many) companies that either don't DRM their products or at least are sensibly flexible when it comes to customer requests.

First impressions matter. If I can't trust a company to do right by their potential customers, what am logically expected to think about the way they must treat their paying customers?
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punkmonksf
They treat us just fine, thanks!
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ThatAdamGuy
Hi Dyslucksia,

Nope, I hadn't thought of that... well, until one of my buddies mentioned the idea in a thread I started about this here on FriendFeed.

At $250, the pro version of this software already feel a bit pricey to me, since I'd be using it just for my own personal, individual brain management. So I'm not even sure if I'd be willing to pay an extra $100 from that.

At this point, I'll probably just explore more options with the apps i currently use. I don't really need much of the Pro features in PersonalBrain, but I kinda liked the idea of setting dates (for to-dos).

Anyway, thanks for the input, Dyslucksia and punkmonksf.
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webbbrain
Thanks for the advance warning! This was not something that was evident in the product.

I was just at the stage of purchasing PersonalBrain Pro, but this problem is a BIG problem for me as well.

I think people call that "cost of lost oppertunity" for TheBrain.
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zenrain
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Thanks for the advance warning! This was not something that was evident in the product.


It's covered in the verbiage for the first point (#1) in the licensing agreement that you have to check the box that you agree to when you download (and install). Generally most developers add information here to what the terms of use are.

Yes, I know I click past it all the time too, but usually I skim it the first time I install something that I'm fairly serious about testing. Mainly I look for uses and how privacy is handled.
Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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Darkstar
Personal Brain licensing has changed several times, IIRC.

First, it started out, as much as you want, so long as you only ran it on one computer at a time.

Then it went to install it only on 5 or less stations--- and only run it one at a time.

Then it moved around between 3 and upwards...

It finally slid down to 2 in PB 5. I *think* PB 4 still has the "three installs, including the ability to install to USB device" (counts as a install).

I think TheBrain is being stupid with their licensing terms--- especially at just 2 instances per license. I think that for the price of "Pro", you should be able to install it on as many machines as you need--- so long as you are the ONLY user. Seriously.

Core should allow either 3 or 4 "active" installs. I'd personally be comfortable with 3 (that would give most users the ability to have an active install on their main workstation, their main machine at home, and a laptop or USB device), but I can see others needing 4 (one for home big box, one for personal ultra-mobile machine, one for their work big box, and one for a work issued laptop or secondary workstation/server).

I cannot see TheBrain leaving the active install limit count at 2. That just doesn't seem like a product aimed at professional market--- which, frankly is the target audience. If you are a normal college student or "regular joe" coming up with the professional license cost is going to be a LOT for software to manage your personal favorite URLS, web sites, and data (docs and pictures).
-Darkstar
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ThatAdamGuy
THANK YOU!

I can think of so many other options that would help the folks here fight piracy while still reasonably supporting customers' needs.

For instance, I'd even be okay with a phone-home provision, which'd check for concurrent sessions, e.g., "It looks like another copy of software on this license, nicknamed 'Home Desktop', is currently running.
_ Save your Brain on that machine, close the session, then start a session on this machine
OR
_ Do not alter that session, and cancel opening new session on this machine."

That would also be a super thing to help prevent sync problems from open sessions! So it'd help prevent piracy AND actually help existing customers! .
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vlad1
I agree that the PB licensing structure is not geared for professional use. I too need to use a desktop at work, notebook, and desktop at home. The demarcation between work and home life, for me, became blurred many years ago. A licence that allows 3 installs for the base version would make a lot more sense than the current licence.
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bfisher
+1
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nw
The limit of 2 harks back to the usage model of a desktop & a laptop. I think for many people you can add a second desktop or a netbook or a portable application suite on a USB stick to the equation. All of which makes at least 3 installs more applicable.

Nigel
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marcus
Carrying around a USB stick is almost a laughable suggestion if you ask me.

+1 to the idea that less, not more, restrictions make for more loyal customers.
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westbroek
+1 or second 2 seat license 1/4 of the price. Not going to pay 500 dollar...
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haldane
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April 06, 2009 at 06:35 PM          #9
I agree that the PB licensing structure is not geared for professional use. I too need to use a desktop at work, notebook, and desktop at home. The demarcation between work and home life, for me, became blurred many years ago. A licence that allows 3 installs for the base version would make a lot more sense than the current licence.

+1

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webbbrain
Hi all, this inflexible licensing issue weighed in for me to decide NOT to purchase PersonalBrain. Also the fact that NOBODY from TheBrain reacted in this thread amazed me. They therefore seemed to me to not be interested to sort this out. I can't have that with this kind of software.
Believe me, I have tested the PersonalBrain and created many Brains with lotsof thoughts.

Furthermore, I am a big fan of desktopsearch software (I've been using Copernicus Desktopsearch). I noted that the textfiles that I inserted in Brains could not being indexed, which I would have hoped.

Finally, I was already using programs like MindMap which can do alot of what I need. Sure, PB could do more, and seemed interesting. But, all in all, this all resulted in me deciding NOT to use it and purchase a (Pro) license.

Good luck to all, and I sincerely hope that someone from TheBrain takes notice of my feedback.
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vlad1
I am not that worried about the $US 250 cost for a PB licence - I am more concerned about the $US 25000+ licence cost. The inability of PB to be multi-user unless you pay $US 25000 (for the EKP server) + $1000 per seat definitely prevents PB's use in many corporate environments that are not flush with funds. This was the case before the global financial meltdown, and it is even more the case now. A pity - a multi-user version of PB would definitely assist some companies with doing their business.
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