Friday, February 29, 2008

I love February

I Love February. It is like Pluto (the ex-planet, not the cartoon dog), in that it is totally out of character with it's peers. How come February only got 28 days when they were days were being allocated?

I can just imagine the months all lined up for their allotment of the standard 365 days in a year. There was January, March, May, July, August, October, December, April, June, September, November in the queue, agreeing on the order in which they would put themselves. They each thought they would get at least 33 days, with maybe January and March getting 34, since they were first in the queue. Then suddenly, February comes running up right on the cut off time, and starts making a noise about how it wasn't his fault that he was late - he had been held up with Valentines Day, who is so demanding, what with the flowers and chocolates and foot rubs! So each of the months decided to give up three days to February, but July, August, October and December thought they were just as important as January and March, so only gave up two days.

I think that there should be equal parity between months. I'm sure someone could work out a better system - perhaps a metric calendar based on ten months. It would have 36 days in five months, and 37 days in five months? And then we could share the extra day every four years around to each month? Hmm, actually that sounds almost as confusing as what we have now! Maybe we'll just keep what we have for the meanwhile.

However, if there is one change I would really like to see, it is to make the 'leap day' an international Public Holiday, involving free beer for everyone.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What is the next Technology Tsunami?

It's been a couple of weeks since my last poston this blog, mostly because it has got so busy at MYOB, which is common for this time of year. But a conversation over lunch with a good friend got me thinking of the difference between 'Technology Tsunamis', and 'Technology Rising Tides'.

Firstly, what's the difference between the two.

Well, a Technology Rising Tide is where there is a gradual change or shift in what people (or businesses) use technology for. Whereas a Technology Tsunami is a sudden, sometimes unanticipated change. I would describe Tsunamis as an imminent change, something likely to happen in the next twelve months, while a Rising Tide could take several years.

Here's some examples that I have experienced over the last twenty years:
EFTPOS - this is a Rising Tide, in that people became aware of the availability, and slowly started to adopt it over time. The banks persuaded us further by making the alternate (cheques and cash) less convenient and (sometimes) more costly. Linked in with how easy EFTPOS is to use, and the wider acceptance of credit cards, it had a semi-predictable outcome.
EFile - this is a Rising Tide. The IRD encouraged Tax Agents to use it, but didn't enforce it. It's now very rare to find a Tax Agent with more than 100 clients that doesn't use EFile, particularly with the introduction of Internet connectivity in the last few years.
Windows - another Rising Tide, although there was broad interest with the release of Windows 95, it wasn't significant enough overall to give it Tsunami status. The big change for Windows came with Y2K.
Y2K - a Tsunami. This was unstoppable, and had significant effect on the established technology base. DOS was drowned by the Y2K Tsunami.
Australian GST - another Tsunami, and a great opportunity for technology, as the Australian Government subsided the adoption of software. For example, this had a significant effect on the success of MYOB.
NZ Kiwisaver - a Rising Tide. Since the NZ government didn't make it easy for businesses to adopt technology to make their life easier, this will be a gradual change, similar to the adoption of EFile.
Australian Superannuation - a Rising Tide, similar to NZ Kiwisaver.
The Internet - perhaps the biggest ever Technology Rising Tide.

So why am I even bothering to talk about this? I guess I am intrigued to see what Tsunamis might be on the horizon, and what Rising Tides we are currently experiencing. So I'm keen to hear your thoughts on this.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Accountants Office - ten year anniversary

I've recently had to move my desk at MYOB. After all this time of being 'confined' in my own office, I've now been let loose into the greater MYOB ecosphere. Somewhat in anticipation of the impending outcome, a few weeks ago I started to tidy up my stuff, and came across an original CA-Systems Accountants Office 98 release CD.

So I created a VMWare image, installed Windows 95, installed Accountants Office, and loaded it up to take a look at what was (realistically) the first proper release of the software. First things first though, here are some stats (for the geeks out there). My VMWare image has 64Mb RAM and 2Gb HDD. Actual total disk usage is 170Mb. Windows 95 boots in 8 seconds, and shuts down in 2 seconds. CA-Systems Accountants Office 98 starts faster than I can measure!

Here is the desktop (click on the picture to get a bigger one)

It's sad to admit, but it was me that originally created the icons for each of the modules. They were meant to be placeholders until we got a graphic artist to create new ones. That didn't happen for many years.
I got to thinking about all the people involved in the creation of this masterpiece. My good friend and CA-Systems colleague Daniel was pivotal to keeping consistency across the suite of individual applications. Don, Mark, Russell & Martin provided the coding expertise. Mike tirelessly drove us forward. David, Julian & Mena (university graduates, wanting work over Xmas) found every single fault with Tax. And many others (Chris, Jason, Ian, Doug, Sandi, etc)eagerly contributed to the end result. My involvement was as Project Manager.
It was hard work, and it was great fun. We were breaking new ground, and building something that would forever change the way that Accountants worked in New Zealand. It was exciting and exhausting. Eventually I ran out of steam, and left CA-Systems. MYOB bought them several months later, and CA-Systems Accountants Office became MYOB Accountants Office.
I'm quite proud to have been involved at the inception of this software. And the fact that thousands of Accountants are using MYOB Accountants Office ten years on is (in my opinion) indicative of the hard work originally put in, and the continuing desire of other individuals since that time to provide the best possible Accountants suite.
If you've been a part of this phenomenon, I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Thanks Trev

So my good mate Trev has provided a background image for me on my blog. As you can see, he is exceptionally talented, and I'm sure he'd love to hear from you if you are looking for any graphical work. You can check out his site here:

Now I just have to figure out how to actually put this on my site!