Comments on: DataViz Acquires and Rebrands ThinkDB Products

DataViz announced today its purchase of ThinkDB, a relational database program, as well as other product assets from thinkingBytes Technology. Simultaneously, today DataViz is releasing ThinkDB under its own brand, SmartList To Go. The financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed, as both companies are privately held.
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I wonder how this will effect licenced Think product users?

Token User @ 10/21/2002 12:05:17 PM #
Just curious - I use Think Office (as well as Dataviz's Desktop to Go).

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~

***THIS SUCKS!!!!!***

Palmcicle @ 10/21/2002 12:18:24 PM #
"Smart List" ThinkDB happens to be my favorite Palm OS App. This is perhaps the most powerful Palm DB App out there...and to make it sound like a shopping list app. IS A TRAVESTY!

I certainly hope they DO NOT bundle this app. with any other "office" applicatiions that I do not need or want. Just leave it alone!

This Bites!

Phew! Whats that smell!?! Did someone Zire in here? Buy Palm's only a nickle.

RE: ***THIS SUCKS!!!!!***
Altema @ 10/21/2002 1:05:55 PM #
I'm with you all the way, ThinkDb is one of my primary apps. I just hope they don't mess with it. Changing it too much will not only make me look for an alternative, I would probably drop Documents To Go Premium from my "Recommended List" when I setup new users.

RE: ***THIS SUCKS!!!!!***
ardee @ 10/21/2002 2:44:55 PM #
I agree. The name was fine as it was. Why ruin it?

RE: ***THIS SUCKS!!!!!***
Marc333 @ 10/21/2002 3:03:54 PM #
I cannot agree more with this!!!! ThinkDB is one of the apps that I cannot live without. This program makes designing powerful applications for the individual a snap. It is NOT a to-do list.

What was DataViz thinking?

RE: ***THIS SUCKS!!!!!***
thompsonsjkc @ 10/24/2002 6:41:21 PM #
I agree. This is going to ruin a great product. I have thinkDB 2.5 and I won't be upgrading any time soon, not if I have to pay an outrageous upgrade fee.

I dropped Docs to Go in favor of Wordsmith when DataViz wanted like $40 for an upgrade. I told them how I felt and that they lost me as a customer. I have yet to pay to upgrade Wordsmith.

Brand Name

markmp @ 10/21/2002 1:19:19 PM #
Why destroy a powerful brand name like ThinkDB? Tons of people already know about the product - and know it is the leading DB app for the Palm OS. Seems like a mistake to slap a super generic name on it just so it gels better with the rest of their app names. When comparing two products, what product do you want to buy for your database, SmartList or HanDBase? I think I'll choose HanDBase every time because it has a better brand (and HanDBase isn't the best brand either). This ain't about features folks, it's about percerptions in the marketplace.

RE: Brand Name
Altema @ 10/21/2002 1:47:11 PM #
Yes sir, your order for the 2004 Lexus has been placed, but we renamed it to "Smart Cart".

I'm in kind of a quandry. I love ThinkDb, and I like a lot about DatViz, but I'm hoping this marriage does not hurt the product or downgrade the features.

RE: Brand Name
ardee @ 10/21/2002 2:45:58 PM #
Well, it seems the reaction to the name change is nearly unanimous. Do you think the company might actually listen to their customers and re-think this idiotic move?

RE: Brand Name
narnia_77 @ 10/21/2002 3:21:20 PM #
Add me to the list of people who don't like the new name. Even if they wanted to make it sound like the rest of their TO GO products, I would think that something like "ThinkDB To Go" or even "Database To Go" would be better than SmartList...

"There's always hope, because it's the one thing nobody's figured out how to kill yet." -- Galen, Crusade (B5)
RE: Brand Name
Don MacG @ 10/21/2002 3:33:08 PM #
Hey you all.

Sounds like at least they are still standing behind the Palm OS.

Like the name or not at least they are not leaving us behind - like our ThinkDB friends.

See below:

RE: Brand Name
Marc333 @ 10/21/2002 4:03:13 PM #
When I look here, it looks like to me that they are still looking at Palm, but (it sounds like) moving the computing onto a server network. So you wirelessly connect, sync up(without the PC) and go with your information(like Lotus notes).

Their customer base is changing, looks like they are going from the consumer to major corporate accounts. Can't blame them, most likely much more profitable.

Then later, moving their product to the PPC.

What about my TinyBytes
sralmas @ 10/21/2002 5:04:19 PM #
Does this mean that my TinyBytes are now called "TinyToGos."

Man, this new name really "bytes." :-)

RE: Brand Name
The Professor @ 10/21/2002 10:41:13 PM #
I have been reading PIC for a number of months, and have always held back from adding my two cents worth, but I feel compelled to respond to some of these foolish and childish comments. While it is reminded of you repeatedly, the people who read this newsletter on a regular basis are "pda geeks" (myself included). You are concerned that people will forget that "Smartlist" is really a database, and not just a list maker. But why do you care? Don't you realize that the average PDA user does not know what a relational databse is?

Thinking Bytes has been around for just about 1000 days as a company. In that time, they have sold approximately 100,000 copies of ThinkDB. That is 100 per day, in a self admitted installed Palm userbase of 13 million. This represents a less than 1% penetration of the Palm marketplace. It is difficult to continue to support a product with such a small installed base.

That is why we should all be thankful that DataViz purchased this product. Number one, they will increase the userbase by marketing the product as a more user-friendly "database". People do not care what type of software a product is, they want to know what it does. In this case, it makes smart lists. Once DataViz increases the userbase, they will be motivated to upgrade the product, provide better support for SD cards, etc. DataViz is very good when it comes to enhancing their product line; Thinking Bytes was a bit behind in their upgrades.

So before you are so quick to condemn this re-branding, think of the benefits. And quit worrying about the name. Who cares...and if more peole buy the product, how can this possibly be bad?

RE: Brand Name
Ben S @ 10/21/2002 11:03:34 PM #
Quoting "The Professor":

> People do not care what type of software a product is, > they want to know what it does. In this case, it makes > smart lists.

No, it does *not*. It makes *databases*. Powerful ones, relational ones (in a non-strict sense, anyway). It is much *more* than a "smart list", and if Dataviz tries to market it this way (or modify it this way), they will lose one of the major strengths ThinkDB has. Despite what Shakespeare said, there *is* something to the name. In this case, the rose *doesn't* smell as sweet.

RE: Brand Name
The Professor @ 10/21/2002 11:42:46 PM #
Ben, you miss my point. Of course it makes great databases, but how many people actually care? If more people cared, the product would have been more successful, and ThinkingBytes would not have sold it.
Let me give you another example. ACT is a great relational database program, but it is sold as a Contact Management Software program. People (average people)want to do know the basics as to what a product does, not how it is built.

RE: Brand Name
sixty-four @ 10/22/2002 9:00:46 AM #
Ben S. sez:

"Despite what Shakespeare said, there *is* something to the name."

Can you explain how simply changing the name of a software product changes its functionality? Or are you simply making the assumption that DataViz has changed more than just the name of this product?

RE: Brand Name
Altema @ 10/22/2002 11:34:16 AM #
"If more people cared, the product would have been more successful, and ThinkingBytes would not have sold it."

I certainly care, but how many copies should one user purchase. The name change is a minor issue... what concerns me is that the product may be stripped down to match its new name. On the positive side, perhaps DataViz will fix the desktop version, and at least we know they are commited to making this work.

RE: Brand Name
napalm @ 10/22/2002 1:46:00 PM #
The Professor, I think you've overlooked one major factor in the whole rebranding thing of their 'new' product.

You said,

"Number one, they will increase the userbase by marketing the product as a more user-friendly "database". People do not care what type of software a product is, they want to know what it does. In this case, it makes smart lists."


"Of course it makes great databases, but how many people actually care? If more people cared, the product would have been more successful, and ThinkingBytes would not have sold it."

How many people do you think are willing to pay $49.95 for a mere list maker?

RE: Brand Name
Ben S @ 10/23/2002 6:24:56 PM #
Napalm grasps the problem. The name "SmartListToGo" doesn't accurately reflect the underlying power of ThinkDB. Even if Joe Blow only uses it to make lists, there are many of us out here who've made industry-level data collection tools that run on ThinkDB. Marketing it as a list maker, even a powerful one, is a mistake. You're going to immediately discard potential new customers looking for a powerful database solution. It's ironic, because ThinkDB is probably the *most* powerful DB app for the PalmOS.

RE: Brand Name
George256 @ 10/24/2002 11:01:18 AM #
I think the Professor's analysis is exactly right.

Dataviz is trying to make this product appeal to a broader audience. At 100,000 licenses (if that is correct), ThinkDB is hardly a powerful brand name. ThinkDB is a great product, but the name only appeals to PDA geeks (including me) or other early adopters. SmartList to Go, I think will appeal to a much broader audience. Few people know what a database is, far fewer know or care (or have any need, for that matter) for a relational database. But many may be interested in maintaining a list of CDs, books, DVDs, clients, products, etc.

I don't know where the notion that product names need to reflect their underlying power to be successful came from. If that were the case, how does one explain Windows, Act, Quicken, Word, Goldmine, etc?

- G

Great software, terrible name

Ben S @ 10/21/2002 5:57:54 PM #
I am in the uncharacteristic role of agreeing with everyone. "SmartListToGo" goes to the top of the pile of "worst named programs ever". If they *had* to rebrand, "Database To Go" would have been *much* better.

I'll be keeping ThinkDB and ThinkDB desktop, thank you very much. In the unlikely event that DataViz releases a significant upgrade, I'll consider installing it, but I certainly won't install a rebranded version with no enhancements other than the name. :-(

RE: Great software, terrible name
macfixer @ 10/22/2002 9:51:40 AM #
Well, they probably wanted to call it "Access to go" and MS probably balked.

Now, where's my Mac conduit?


Lets ask Dataviz to reconsider the dumb name (link bellow)

Roberto_tores @ 10/21/2002 6:08:46 PM #
Dataviz has a feedback form, maybe if we all go there and ask them politely to reconsider their naming they might change it.

A good name would have been DataBase to go.

And while we are at it lets ask them to bring back support for hyperlinks, asian characters and tables of contents to Word to go. Also they should include chart to go as part of the basic product.

Here is the

RE: Lets ask Dataviz to reconsider the dumb name (link bellow)
Palmcicle @ 10/22/2002 1:12:03 AM #
Great idea Roberto. I appreciate your clear thinking and great idea. I gave my feedback using your link. Lets hope others follow.

Phew! Whats that smell!?! Did someone Zire in here? Buy Palm's only a nickle.

What were they "thinkDB"ing?

BobT @ 10/21/2002 10:06:29 PM #
I agree, rather foul name for such a great product. Renamimg thinkDB, with its' reputation and following, will (in my opinion) accomplish 2 things...
1. Send alot of new and possibly current customers to look elsewhere for Palm DB programs.
2. Give the perception that "SmartList" is in fact nothing more than a list type program with no mention of DB capabilities.
ThinkDB is an intregal part of my mobile Palm office, I hope the plans at DataViz are to continue and improve "ThinkDB" rather than make it a list program, no matter how "smart" the list. Let us hope the people assigned to continue developing the product are not the same ones who misnamed it.

...stepping back from behind podium.

Just for grins, I downloaded my free copy of SmartList from DataViz. (Registered users of thinkDB can get it for free.) Its a whopping 27 megs. Better do something "smart" once installed or its back to thinkDB.

Please DataViz... "SmartList To Go"?

RE: What were they
Marc333 @ 10/22/2002 1:11:21 PM #
After installing, was there any difference?

RE: What were they
jjsoh @ 10/22/2002 1:34:43 PM #
: After installing, was there any difference?

Heh. My thoughts exactly.

I personally don't like the name change, either. However, if this product continues to function the same way it always has, I don't see how name changing will do it much harm. In the end, it's still the same product.

Even though I love this little app, if there's a better PalmOS DB out there for me, then I'll probably pick that one up. But I'm pretty confident that I (as well as the majority of people) won't be choosing one based just on the name.

Until then, thinkDB or SmartListToGo is still for me, depite the horrible name. ;)


Free "cross"grade?

Galley_SimRacer @ 10/21/2002 11:41:08 PM #
It appears that current ThinkDB users may get a free crossgrade., whereas Thinking Bites wanted me to give them $25-30 just to upgrade from version 2.0 to 2.5 of ThinkDB.

Current thinkingBytes Software Owners
Registered DBSync, ThinkDB Desktop and ThinkDB customers can crossgrade to SmartList To Go at no charge. Registered tinyBytes customers can crossgrade for just $19.95. Please enter your e-mail address for registration verification below:

"Life is what you experience between racing games"

Galley_SimRacer @ 10/21/2002 11:46:06 PM #
A free upgrade to the latest version, including the desktop app and the DBsync!!! I had registered ThinkDB "back in the day" when it included the desktop app at no charge (version 1.2, I believe). I may have paid a small fee to upgrade to version 2, but refused to give Thinking Bites any more money for a "point upgrade".
I have just finished downloading the new app, and I'm fixing to install it. :-)

"Life is what you experience between racing games"
RE: Free
Palmcicle @ 10/22/2002 1:16:37 AM #
Getting DBsync is for free is a real bonus. How does it look?

Phew! Whats that smell!?! Did someone Zire in here? Buy Palm's only a nickle.
RE: Free
Galley_SimRacer @ 10/22/2002 1:10:43 PM #
Haven't had time to try the DBsync, but the desktop app seems to work OK so far.

"Life is what you experience between racing games"
RE: Free
Ben S @ 10/23/2002 6:29:07 PM #
DBSync is useful, but a generic ODBC conduit would have been a much better move. There's no need to tie it to one specific database app. Especially Access, which is a horrible database.

Of course, DBSync already existed. Writing a new ODBC conduit from scratch would have been harder. Hopefully they'll get around to it someday (hey, I can dream, can't I? :-)

Smart move for DV

jumex @ 10/22/2002 10:25:31 AM #
This will make DV the only provider of a complete MS Office-like suite, complete with syncing to all office apps. That puts them in a very strong position compared to the leading competitors (CES, BlueNomad, and iambic).
They might not be the best, but they are complete, and that is a strong thing to be. It will be interesting to see how the future of Palm office products turns out...

Trevor Menagh


writedoc @ 10/22/2002 11:19:56 AM #
Thank you for this news item, which I read on my new Sony SJ20.

I immediately went to DataViz site and found that the SmartList-to-Go was a free download for registered thinkDB customers (which I am). I notice that that the product includes two-way syncing with Microsoft Access (which I use in the office). I've also had very good experiences with DataViz over the years and am pleased to see dbThink as part of their product line and hoipe to see closer integration with their Docs-to-Go product in the future.

There is also a new Yahoo group that supports the new product, see

The only constant is change; learn to embrace it!

I'm still confused...

sixty-four @ 10/22/2002 11:22:55 AM #
Has DataViz made any changes to ThinkDB after this acquisition? If so, what is the nature of these modifications? Functional? Cosmetic? I'm assuming that everyone complaining here has tried out the rebranded application since they're all so upset.

If no changes were made, can someone explain how the renaming of a product affects a user's experience with that product?

Someone please step up and answer - there's a lot of upset folks here and they probably have good reasons for their feelings.

RE: I'm still confused...
Galley_SimRacer @ 10/22/2002 1:11:46 PM #
I haven't noticed any changes to the interface, although I was still using ThinkDB 2.1. The SmartLists' names still begin with TD2_...

"Life is what you experience between racing games"

Anyone tried the cross-grade yet?

Altema @ 10/22/2002 2:51:13 PM #
I registered, saved the download, backed up my Palm, and created a manual restore point on my laptop.

Oh, well, here goes!

RE: Anyone tried the cross-grade yet?
Altema @ 10/22/2002 3:24:54 PM #
It... it... LIVES!

Ok, so I survived the cross grade, and it looks like Think, er, SmartList came through with no functional changes. All my databases work exactly the way they did before.

Seems to run slightly quicker, but this could be just my perception. Only obvious changes are the name references in the menus and the Launcher icon. SmartList does NOT roll all your databases into the DTG file list and force you to use the "Documents" icon, it has it's own icon. The PRC file size is only slightly larger (up from 527k to 554k). There is a lot of documentation that comes with the install. The desktop version is the same, even generates the same errors and still does the annoying "drop down a list menu when you select a list field" when you really just wanted to select the cell. The Sync Manager software seems nice, but I never had DbSync for comparison. Sync lets you sync and share files with Access over a network, or Intuit across the internet (could be a killer feature). Launching the Palm application automatically deletes ThinkDb, but you can make a backup if that concerns you. The desktop version does NOT automatically delete ThinkDb desktop, but recommends you do it yourself.

Everything looks ok so far...

Anyone notice the version number change

dsaroff @ 10/23/2002 10:39:19 AM #

Went to Dataviz to download SmartList To Go (ugh) and noticed it has version number 2.6.01 versus the latest ThinkingByte version of 2.5.01. I think I'll wait for a few more reviews before I install it. Paranoid.

RE: Anyone notice the version number change
Ben S @ 10/23/2002 6:31:53 PM #
It looks OK to me. I think the point-revision was just for the re-branding. I'm a fairly heavy user, and I haven't noticed anything gone awry yet (I upgraded yesterday).

RE: Anyone notice the version number change
dsaroff @ 10/24/2002 9:06:02 AM #
Is there any REASON to install the cross-grade? In your previous posts you indicated an unwillingness to upgrade unless there were major features--sounds like you may have been tempted by the devil to cross-grade, anyway :) I am fighting the same temptation. But, if there is no compelling reason, I'll resist (for once).

RE: Anyone notice the version number change
Altema @ 10/24/2002 2:48:12 PM #
I'm a heavy-duty user as well, and everything's running fine after 3 days. It does not appear they did anything substantial with the code. A quick window pops open on the PC desktop for the conduit when you do a sync, but you still can sync with the DB open on the Palm. This is something I wish they would do for DTG... it's a real pain going back into a DTG spreadsheet and closing it manually just so it will sync, even when the prefs are set to autosave. MiniCalc syncs even when the DESKTOP spreadsheet is open! (the MC charts are better too)

If it's "free", get it now.

narnia_77 @ 10/24/2002 3:31:15 PM #
I would register and download it, even if I didn't install now (or later). If DV makes major changes in the program later, you will already be in their books as a "SmartList" user when you are ready to upgrade.

DV currently "does not charge a 'penalty' for skipping upgrades", but I'm just covering my bases...

- - - - - - -
"There's always hope, because it's the one thing nobody's figured out how to kill yet." -- Galen, Crusade (B5)

yes, I cross-graded

Ben S @ 10/27/2002 8:45:55 PM #
I upgraded mostly out of curiousity, but I also couldn't find my copy of DBSync, and needed it. I'm quite pleased they decided to bundle it in with the base product. I did leave feedback and suggest "DataToGo" as a much better name :-)



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