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a Run Through the Jungle of Software Development and Unrelated Sagas

Archive for September 2008

Million-Dollar Idea – Quickbooks / MYOB for humans

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Disclosure: I hate Quickbooks – it takes control of my livelihood and obfuscates it. It literally makes me angry that I have to learn such a complicated error-prone system.I could (probably should) track my money in MS Excel just so I can understand what the hell is going on in there.

The only thing I hate more is MYOB. Go on, press the escape key just once too often and you’ll lose everything it took you so long to figure out in the data-entry page that just disappeared. These 2 piles of steaming shit are only written to keep accountants (big buddy customers of both these shysters) in easy money. This sort of trivial stuff is their version of Hello World. Surely it annoys them even more than it annoys me.

C’mon folks – this is a no-brainer. Tax works in a very predictable, rule-driven manner. All we need is someone who understands these rules and workflows to code them up into a workflow so I don’t have to do it step by bloody step.

User Requirement: I don’t want to learn a complicated mechanism for something that should take less than 1% of my time and headspace. I also want it to be transparent and tell me what it is doing in a simple, no accountancy degree required manner.

ForExampleInstance – I buy a laptop for $2000. I already told my software I’m on the Simplified Tax System / Small Business Entities Provisions so it knows how to deal with an assett.

  1. Ask me what percentage I use it for business. Why, all of it, Sir (wink)
  2. Apportion the GST as per my answer in step 1. Remember this for my BAS
  3. Add it to to my short-term asset pool because it cost me more than $1000. If it cost less than a grand the write the whole lot off right now – but you’ll still need to remember it’s an asset in case I sell it.
  4. Create a fixed-asset sub-account for the new asset to track its value
  5. Create a fixed asset sub-account to track the depreciation for both the business and personal portions.
  6. Do other weird bean-county shit
  7. Automagically create the depreciation transactions on the last day of the financial year for 15% for the 1st year and 30% every year thereafter. Set & forget.
  8. If I sell it, drop it or whatever, remove it from the asset account and record the income from the sale, or my misery at the pile of broken plastic.

For me, the user, all I want to do is click “I bought someting”, pick a category, type in a few details from the invoice / receipt and click ok. I don’t want to got to the Chart of Accounts and frig with registers or whatever the hell they call it. Can you guess how easy it is for me to totally fuck that up ?

I am not an accountant – I am a human being (in my best John Merrick voice with apologies to the accountants out there). I don’t want to be an accountant and I don’t want to pay an accountant to do such boring, trivial CRUD. Accountants should be paid for their expertise and advice, not for deciphering inevitable user-error in counter-intuitive, 3rd rate BookKeeping software. No, I don’t want to pay a bookkeeper for something that should be really easy to do myself … point and click.

So, here is your challenge today – Break the duopoly! Make bookkeeping a pleasant User eXperience. I will pay you. I’ll even pay every year. Tax rules change & so does your config file. That means a software assurance subscription. Just don’t try to extort hundreds of dollars for it – or not.

I already linked to it (duopoly) but this article is an interesting read too.

Somebody – Help!

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Written by CADbloke

September 19, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Firefox Plugins That I use

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Firebox 3 Extensions that I’ve found handy … There’s a few …for Craig …

  • Adblock Plus – Ads were yesterday!
  • Browser View Plus – View Firefox pages in IE or other external browser
  • Close Button – Adds a Close Tab button to the toolbar
  • Cooliris – Cooliris transforms your browser into a full-screen 3D Wall for searching, viewing and sharing the Web.
  • Download Statusbar – View and manage downloads from a tidy statusbar
  • DownThemAll! – The mass downloader for Firefox.
  • English (Australian) Dictionary – I’m sick of all my favoUrite coloUrful language being marked incorrect.
  • Extension List Dumper – Dumps a list of the installed extensions.
  • Favicon Picker 3 – Replace bookmark icons from the bookmark properties dialog.
  • FaviconizeTab – The width of the specified tab becomes small up to the size of favicon.
  • FEBE – Backup your Firefox data
  • Fetch Text URL – Open text URLs from the context menu.
  • Firebug – Web Development Evolved.
  • FireFTP – FTP Client for Mozilla Firefox.
  • Flashblock – Replaces Flash objects with a button you can click to view them.
  • Google Gears – These are the gears that power the tubes! 🙂
  • IE View – (Disabled) – Open pages in IE via Firefox menus
  • Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant – Adds ClickOnce support and the ability to report installed .NET Framework versions to the web server.
  • NewTabURL – (Disabled) – Select default URL when new tabs are opened.
  • nURL Suffix – Change the prefixes and suffixes which are used to complete a URL.
  • OpenDownload – Extends the “Save” dialog by a button to open the file directly.
  • Pearl Crescent Page Saver Basic – Save an image of a web page to a file.
  • Prism for Firefox – Create Prism applications directly in Firefox
  • QuickRestart – Adds a “Restart Firefox” item to the “File” menu.
  • Smart Bookmarks Bar – Hides bookmarks’ names in the bookmarks bar.
  • SQLite Manager – Manage any SQLite database on your computer
  • Tab Mix Plus – Tab browsing with an added boost.
  • Tab Scope – Preview and navigate tab contents through popup.
  • Weave – (Disabled) – Weave is the Mozilla Labs prototype for online services. (Well, it would be if it worked, which it doesn’t).
  • Web Developer – Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.
  • WebAii 2.0 Automation Infrastructure – Firefox Client – WebAii’s Firefox support client.
  • Xmarks – Bookmark Sync and Web Discovery

That’s just my list or part thereof that I’m using today. There’s plenty more out there and it is well worth exploring the gamut.

 

[edit – Sep 29 .09] Check these out too – http://designreviver.com/freebies/22-firefox-3-plugins-web-designers-cant-live-without/

Written by CADbloke

September 11, 2008 at 9:03 am

Posted in Wot I use

Tagged with ,

This Koolaid tastes good

Firstly dear reader welcome to my blog. Contained herein will be the rantings and ocassional observations of a born-again coder. My last big exercise in coding was a game called Meltdown that involved hunting around 9 mini-games looking for a few control rods to stop a nuclear reactor from doing its Chernobyl thing. I’ll claim foresight on that one cos I wrote it in 1983 on a Vic 20 – not just any Vic 20 … I had the Super-expander so I could spoil myself with 6-1/2 k of RAM. Them’s were the days.

Nowadays I return to the codeface for entirely different reasons but that’s another blog topic. Suffice to say that I am requirements- driven and I have a comprehensive list of requirements.

Koolaid ? This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to tendencies of cultism I have observed, ironically mostly in the ‘opposition’ to Microsoft (Open-source, Linux & Mac users). We all tend to be a little religious about our choices and I’ll probably rant on just like everybody else so don’t bother flaming me, I’m well-aware of my hypocracy.

I am writing this sitting in last presentation of day 1 of Tech.ed Australia 2008. It’s my 1st Tech.ed and I like it. Like most things Microsoft it costs not an insubstantial amount to partake and participate but like most things in life you get what you pay for. I remain convinced that the .NET platform is a homogenous and powerful platform that can straighforwardly accomplish anything I care to think of. I haven’t had any issue (yet) radily finding an aspect of the platform that can service the requirements that I can dream up.

So, if you’re interested at all in the ramblings of the journey of a re-noob into the world of .NET development, stick around. I plan to ramble on about my journey into .NET and how I managed to approach it. For those who can’t stand the suspense – MSDN & the local (human) .NET community, including user groups and events like Tech.ed make it a whole lot less scary. Thems what amde these things are right here in front of me telling me how it works and answering all my dumb questions with a straight face.

That’s alright, eh?

Written by CADbloke

September 3, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Posted in .NET

Tagged with , ,