Clipmate software - warning about hidden problem

  DisasterAwaits 23:22 18 Mar 2011

About 10 years ago I bought Clipmate, a well-known text and image clipping programme that has greater capabilities than the one included with Windows. It has been probably my most used piece of software, like a trusted friend. Unfortunately that trust was misplaced because it now turns out that Clipmate has a secret limitation which purchasers were not told about - Chris Thornton, creator and seller of Clipmate, omitted to inform people that if the database of their clips exceeds 2GB then the backups don't work! I exceeded that 2GB database size 6 months ago and this means that I have now lost the last 6 months in information terms: thousands of pages of notes for books, references to resources, financial information, photos, etc, etc are now gone, a devastating loss.

I have contacted Mr Thornton who has admitted he is "truly sorry" but "did not foresee" that the database file could grow that big. He "had thought that 2Gb was practically impossible to achieve", but since the software appeared to be perfect for storing screen-prints of pages, I had taken hundreds if not thousands of screen-prints and there was no warning not to do so.

Mr Thornton has baulked at my suggestion that he should compensate me for 6 months information loss. Imagine trying to find again all the webpages, bits of information, screen-prints that you had looked for or found and stored over the last 6 months - and I am a researcher who had used Clipmate on average for 5-10 hours a day! It would require huge effort and much time to attempt to refind the information, and much will never be refound.

Moral - do not buy Clipmate if you think you might put a lot of information in it - you stand to lose months and maybe years of information as I have done.

  lotvic 00:10 19 Mar 2011

It's like e.g. Outlook Express then, it can't handle more than 2GB worth of files either, go over that and it starts to malfunction and lose emails.

  DisasterAwaits 00:45 19 Mar 2011

I don't know about Outlook Express but the point is that surely people who sell commercial software have to warn people about the limitations of the software. I have lost 6 months of my information life because the creator of Clipmate failed to appreciate that people might do what the software explicitly helps them to do -take very many screenprints.

Does anyone know how I would go about suing this guy? I believe this sot of stuff is tricky because he lives in the USA and because it's software but surely people can't be allowed to get away with this type of stuff....

  uk-wizard 08:51 19 Mar 2011

It was designed for Win 98 when the use of memory was much smaller. Also, it is a relatively cheap program for use as an add-on extender to the Windows clipboard, I doubt that the designer could even dream of 2Gb of storage in those days. I am afraid you will have to accept that you were pushing it's boundaries a little too far.
As for the lost of your data, then if you have made backups of your computer then you should be able to go to an old one and get at the data. In the commercial world data backups are made every few hours and taken off-site (I have a garage with cabinets full of tapes and Omega disks that go back for the required 7 years) even at home I do a weekly back-up to a separate hard drive and make a CD every three months.

  Forum Editor 10:39 19 Mar 2011

how I would go about suing this guy?"

Well, in purely practical terms you would consult with a lawyer specialising in software litigation, but be warned - it's a minefield, and you need to think carefully.

In general terms what tends to happen in cases of software litigation is that two experts, each acting for one party to the dispute, spend time attacking the problem from opposite points of view. The expert for the software developer sets about trying to demonstrate that the software is 'fit for purpose', and the expert for the plaintiff conducts tests to discover what, if any, flaws exist that could mean the application is not fit for purpose.

The idea is that both experts end up meeting in the middle, as it were, with an agreed list of disputable points. Ideally the two parties might agree that there's either no ground for going to court, and settle the matter.

It would be very much in your interests to adopt this position if you decided to take things further, as going into court over a matter like this can be very expensive.

I'm not a lawyer, but my personal advice would be that unless you can find others who have experienced the same problem you are on unsure ground. You would also need to be able to demonstrate that you have suffered financial loss as a result. The software has been in use for 16 years, and has been highly praised by respected names in the computer press and by software review sites.

Litigation is to be avoided if at all possible.

  Simsy 10:44 19 Mar 2011

that Win 95 could only see HDDs that were up to 2 GB in size.

It's not unreasonable to suppose that software written at "about that time", (which this may have been, bearing in mind that Win 98 only came out in late '97) would have no expectation of needing to deal with file sizes bigger than 2GB.

I am sorry for your loss... I can't imagine what it must be like.

But I'm sure that if you were to persue this in a legal domain, any court would apply some kind of "reasonable expectation" clause, and that you would not succeed. It's also possible that there is some kind of disclaimer in the EULA for the software.



  spuds 12:38 19 Mar 2011

The age of the product would be one of the stumbling blocks as far as your case would be.

Things have moved on rapidly in the computer world since the product was first released, and that is why companies like Microsoft keep bringing out new products on what now seems a regular basis. There are also the regular updates, most products require nowadays, so as to keep them functioning properly?.

As the item been superseded by a bigger than 2GB product?.

  bremner 13:59 19 Mar 2011

The 2GB limit suggests that this is a 16 bit application.

On What OS are you currently running it?

  MAJ 15:51 19 Mar 2011

While agreeing with the rest of the guys, it appears to me, not knowing the software you're talking about, DisasterAwaits, that to save your 'clips' the software would have to save them in an image file somewhere (the 'Database' you mentioned?). So maybe a scan with an image recovery application like Digital Image Recovery click here might throw up a positive result. I have used DIR on a number of occasions and it surprised me how good it is and how many old images it recovered from my drive. Always worth a try.

  MAJ 19:58 19 Mar 2011
  HondaMan 21:24 19 Mar 2011

Surely one point of such a device is to enable the data created to be downloaded to a computer or does this device not link to a computer?

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