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From: firstname.lastname@example.org (klmok)
Subject: Re: Contract Dispute questions.
References: <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.21/32.243
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 20:46:05 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 13:46:05 MST
Organization: Shaw Residential Internet
On Wed, 20 Nov 2002 16:42:23 GMT, Spehro Pefhany
>>> All the software written to date wouldn't even fill up one floppy
>>> disk which had room for two gerber files and had disk space to spare.
>>> We are looking at a small program way under 700KB.
>> Actually that sounds like a rather large program.
Okay. Glad I found out about the pitfalls of this line of argument
here. I will have to dig out the floppy he gave me to see the exact
size of the program
It is for a cutdown computer keyboard display with 66 keys identical
to a standard PC keyboard . This is the main program written by the
engineer. Plus another screen with just 8 signage style icons.
Think of one finger typing. Each letter, number or keyboard control
key is highlighted in sequence. The user clicks a switch to send the
highlighted letter to the word processing page.
5 more are non standard keys . Three are used to select one of 3
foreign language keyboard layouts (programming not attempted), one to
toggle back to the 8 icon display. and one to select a mouse (disables
the keyboard function while the mouse is being used.) The mouse is
entirely hardware circuit although he originally promised to implement
it in software.
Think of changing the plastic keytops on your keyboard. Only the
visual appearance of the keyboard letters is changed for the
alternative keyboard layouts. The keycodes sent to the PC are exactly
the same as from a standard PC keyboard.. Commercial foreign language
software packages take care of the actual PC screen display.
On startup the default LCD screen is the 8 icon display. Click on the
PC icon when it is highlighted and up pops the simplified QWERTY
keyboard layout. That's all the 8 icon display can do.
The other 7 icons are meant to access control ports for other devices.
No development work was done on this although it is the third item
written into the contract the first two being the mouse and the
keyboard. Therefore Phase 1 was never anywhere near completion.
Nothing is novel and nothing is patentable as described so far.
(I had designed a custom keyboard layout to facilitate scanning. This
visual is patentable but not worth the effort.)
How much coding work (time) and program size (lines) would the above
>How many lines is it? If it was written in C or some other
>HLL, the code will be cheaper per object code line, but not
>necessarily much different per source code line.
Okay I am at sea here as my programming skills are non existent other
than ancient classroom work and a good idea of what can be implemented
in software. Its written in Windows CE. The printout of the
engineer's program was around a dozen pages, at most two dozen. I
wasn't about to wade through the stuff I cannot read. But it was easy
to notice repetitive routines like filling in the correct keycodes to
correspond to the key placement on the LCD screen. In fact the
engineer assured me that was all that was needed to get the program
working in a week or so on many occasions when I complained about the
>And what's with these Gerbers? You said PCB design was Phase II or
>later, how come these were complete enough to send for quotation?
Good point. My having to answer your objections will help me in my
This was done in January this year as part of his revised deal to sign
off on Phase 1 using DIP chip implementation. Since I contracted with
him in the first place because he had production facilities I asked
him for a quotation to make me two populated functional boards. Its
his project in the first place. He ignored me. I very well could not
accept the breadboard project as the proof of function because
everytime we moved that monster a wire would come loose and I would
not have the knowledge nor should I be forced to sort out where that
sphagetti strand was connected to. The contractor had assured me that
I could get a PCB done from his gerber files, just transfer the DIP
chips from the breadboard, solder onto the PCB and it will work. My
antenna buzzed aloud and I went for PCB quotations so that I could
check out that before he cut off all support to me. The other not
unexpected shock was being unable to source the DIP chips he used
because they were so ancient. And all I needed was another copy in
case one died. I wanted to have a (expensive) working proof of
concept. I also hoped I could find another contractor to clean up
his work unlikely as that would be.
>(that you didn't get responses says something to me, but not
>what you imply it does). Is there another side to this sad (but not
>that atypical) story? Has your new contractor been given the exact
>same specification or have you significantly refined it? Be
>prepared to disclose these things as you would in a full-fledged
>examination for discovery (share the documents with the defendant
>ahead of time), your credibility may depend on it.
Way before my engaging this contractor I laid a track record of
talking through my project with the funding agencies, etc. on the
project design objectives that have not changed. Plus they are on
record on my funding applications. This contractor doesn't half
satisfy what was written in our contract. He underperformed.
The new contractor was given exactly the same design objectives with
no reference to the development work already done. He wisely refused
even to look at the breadboard or the schematics. He came up with a
much better implementation that has no commonality with the first
contractor's. Thus I won't have the first contractor haunt me on
>I agree with Win, settle this between yourselves and move on,
>don't get the courts involved, even small claims court. Are you
>sure your contractor does not have a potential counter-claim
>against you? I predict if you take it to court the results
>will not be particularly satisfactory to you anyhow, and
>it will surely consume a lot of mental and emotional bandwidth.
>Canadian judges tend to be very fair, and I suspect that little
>money will flow one way or the other at the end of the day.
Please see my earlier post on my chances of succeeding in court and
the risks. I have already accepted in my mind and in my bank account
that I may not come off with anything. But then again I may win good.
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