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Medlin Software, Dennis

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Everything posted by Medlin Software, Dennis

  1. When we started: We managed to stuff 1000 paychecks into about 510k of memory. Could not count on anyone having more, and many had less available. Found a way to handle the 5 key on the key pad (it was an issue back then). Kept checks for the current quarter, and balances going back farther. Printed a list of the line numbers and values to enter on 941. Had to publish a list of printer codes to get the margins set to fill in tractor fed W2 forms. Literally had to give instructions such as close the drive door. And yes, at least once, someone got up and closed their room door instead. Duped 5.25 single and double sided floppies for each customer. Stuck a label on them, wrapped with a folded receipt, stuffed into a mailer. Could be found on any shareware rack in North America, and better back then, we were in all the shareware catalogs (paper). (A big reason shareware authors are going away, there is no way to get noticed without spending big $.) The big names back then were just regular ish folks who liked to tinker.
  2. I suppose I'm spoiled. I know/knew most of the original shareware developers, and we all seemed to use each other's products, such as AsEasyAs123 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As-Easy-As). We even met at conferences and such. I always chuckle when I read or discuss role playing games, games with add on's, and how games are so immersive. It was all likely started by "id software", the four shareware guys who created DOOM (and other games). It was a huge jump in game play from anything available at the time, and they were the first to do so many things. As of the end of this year, Medlin is likely the last of the originals still ongoing.
  3. Sure, but no one really wants to hear them. If you do, read on, first is my stock reply when someone asks. --- We stopped offering phone support in 2019. This allows us to be fair, and efficient, with our support. We stopped allowing voice mail messages in 2021, as many were not leaving their email information, customer ID, etc. We stopped accepting text/SMS messages as well, for the same reasons, and because they are simply inefficient, as they do not contain any of the previous information. We were also getting SMS messages such as "help", or "what is wrong", in other words, messages it is impossible to give a solution to. Since at least 2010, the overwhelming majority support questions have been arriving via email. When we get a stack of messages awaiting replies (such as overnight, waiting for a reply when we open for the day), it is not fair to bypass the queue and allow a phone caller to jump the line of those already waiting. We have pondered offering paid support, but we run into the same issue of fairness. We are not comfortable with someone having to wait longer because another person paid to jump the line. Even on our most busiest days, Mondays and Fridays in September, December, and January, we are usually able to reply within an hour. We strive to offer a usable reply/solution in our first reply, saving you from waiting longer to get back to work. We also OFTEN reply outside of business hours, especially if the message contains complete information explaining the issue. Thank you for your understanding. --- The additional information, which I don't normally include, is customers cannot always be counted on to give pertinent information. After 40+ years of development, the software is very stable, and gives messages as needed (such as trying to delete an employee when there are paychecks to said employee). Types of messages I get: "help" (literally, that is all the message from the customer contains), "why can't I", how do I", and where is my". The ones with nothing useful, I have a stock reply asking to elaborate, including sending images of messages or something else showing the issue is welcome. Essentially a "what are you trying, what happens when you try" type of response. The "how do I" messages are almost always answerable by a screen grab of the documentation. This used to be considered rude (last century), but actually is a good method, since we have taken the time to create documentation which is complete. The where is my messages also have a stock reply, stating how email works, that senders can only control sending, etc. The outliers can sometimes get a stock reply, but most only need a sentence or two as other than random rare things, we have seen or heard it before. This time of year, it is usually explaining how withholding calculations work, to contact the tax agency directly to register for their efile process, why is WH lower for the new year, etc. All of the above is likely normal customer support. No real reason to tie up employees on the phone, staff a phone bank, etc. When working, I reply within minutes, after the overnight messages are handled. (Consider what you pay for employees, ones with actual training and experience!) The tough ones, and maybe the most important reason not to support over the phone. Customers who contact you for your expertise, and trust your software, yet question the information you share, or tell you your solution is wrong, inaccurate, or do not follow the instructions and want to lay blame outward. A trail of the interaction is needed, which written is the only way to go. Just had this a few days ago where someone misunderstood some information, then posted their opinion online. I posted the entire thread, and let readers judge for themselves. The unusual part was this person actually contacted me after, to apologize. That was a first or maybe second ever. 99.9% of customers are kind, and I sometimes miss chatting on the phone, but given even modest thought, chatting was not really fair to others who were waiting...
  4. Are any of your backups kept in a separate location? Meaning if you had to walk away from the computer, safe, and jumps, do you have other options?
  5. Remedy this ASAP! Meaning unless you have actually tried and successfully restored all needed data, you have no idea if your backup is worth anything at all. Worse yet, you may have a false sense of security, thinking your backup will be there if you need it. Also make certain you have multiple backups (a series, I use monthly, quarterly, and annual sets). Restore into a temporary folder, not over your live data, then compare. Better yet, restore onto your spare computer and see if the results are satisfactory. 4 times a year is reasonable to test your backup, I use the quarter changes. Ideally, your test involved starting with nothing at all, meaning install the needed software, see if you have the logins/passwords/etc., see if you can restore, and what is restored. Yes, it takes effort, but if done, you will be absolutely certain you can start over at any time, with no existing machine needed.
  6. Cobian for me. It handles the file gathering, full and intermediate backups, encryption, and can send the data to local and.or remote storage. I separated the file gathering and prep from storage many years ago, so I can be in control. I don';t like the canned backup stuff because they lull most into believing they are storing what they need, rather than the truth (no canned offering is perfect, cannot possibly know all information you need to keep). I also stopped installing things into any default folder (app or OS default), as those can get corrupted during OS resets. I went back (and what I have required for my consumer software from the very start) to installing into something other than "program files" or any "user" folder. REMEMBER< the default OS settings are to protect the OS maker from providing support, not for your actual benefit. So I have a root folder called "Other Apps" I use to install any app not part of the OS.
  7. I am referring to any storage, local or remote. There are consumer level things like 7zip which can pwd and encrypt files. For me, I use Cobian for making backups, which included PWD and encryption and can send to multiple places local or remote. My online backups are on servers I control, with a redundant copy on the server(s) of a public service. The key is my files are encrypted before upload, so even if someone found them, and broke the encryption of the storage server, they are not going to get into my file without big $ in mainframe time. For what they can gain from me, it is a money loser. Cobian does probably 20 backups or so per 24hours for me, and lets me know if there are any issues, real time. I do not use any sort of mirror or live remote shortage like OneDrive, since I cannot control when or how the data is stored. Even though our family group is not all using apple photos and sharing the family photos, I have been around enough to know to make my own backups of those as well (my phone uploads to my computer, and I have a routine to backup the actual photos to several places). For photos, I use AMZ Glacier as it is very cheap, and it is not an issue waiting a day or three to download if ever needed. AMZ S3 or similar is good for online storage too, but again, after encrypting myself, and with the understanding AMZ, like all online servers, does fail from time to time. Even for photos, I use two different regions for redundancy reasons. -- I was just sharing similar with a now former customer who believed program level PWD is a requirement, and is actually secure. Program level PWD has been dead as real security for quite some time, as is anything where you can have a reset ability. (This is why I encrypt first, then I don't have to wonder or inquire as to the security of the location I choose for saving.)
  8. Been there. With a group first incorporated in the 20's (1920's). No one had bothered to keep up (this was the 80's), so before accepting BOD position, I required corp refresh. The attorney suggested a new corp, and let the old one lie (which is likely what is best here too). But, if they took in donations or had other financial transactions which depended on NP, some sort of revival, at whatever the cost is, may be best.
  9. I have not been in a car collision this century, yet I still make sure I belt up properly, and keep my seat as far back as I am comfortable with. I rode a motorcycle for just over a million road miles and never had to lay it down, yet I gave it up when I had kids because I cannot control others, and it did not seem fair to be so risky. I have raced boats, cars, and karts. Never got hurt, yet I wore all safety gear available at the time. Same for being a baseball ump. Best gear I could get, yet the one time I was hurt (besides a few more bell rings), it was a HS kid who bailed on the first pitch of the game, THEN told me he had never caught before. When someone tells me they are no good with a computer (yet they want to use my software), either they are being honest, and they likely should be hiring out their accounting/payroll, or they are being less than honest, and want me to do some of their work for them. Usually the latter these days. Either way, it is a huge red flag not to be ignored. Unless the data you put in your google drive (or sheets, docs, whatever the current verbiage is) is encrypted before you upload, you may as well consider it public. Same for any of the "drive" type sharing services. Any online storage can be hacked. Online storage is great, but you must first secure the data before upload. Look back and see the number of times such services have been compromised already.
  10. Sub vs version licensing is tough. Years/decades ago when computer users were computer experts, versioning worked. After 40 years, we went away from version based to time based license to remove any excuse for using non current software. No more having to support multiple versions, keeping old versions available for install, etc. No holding off additions to wait for the next new version. A win win in our case. With all candor, for any software you depend on and/or use for important data - you must keep the software current.
  11. I have used two. As-Easy-As, and now, Open Office.
  12. Are those making the deposits for others comfortable with (insured for) being in the liability chain? Meaning are you confident all is being deposited timely, no employee/contractor/reasonable comp games, etc? While the risk is likely low, it is not zero. I am almost at the point of turning away folks who ask about “1099 employees” , paid once a year, and other suspect items.
  13. Not sure. What would be logical is the other party has to add you.
  14. EE UI rates are nice to have, but not needed until end of Q1. Most are close using their prior rate, and can bump it if they had high usage.
  15. But they do have to do at least enough to justify their budget! NY, trying to ding me (years ago) for submitting junk data to a test only forms person (via mail) for approval to print the form. The data was unusable, with invalid EIN and SSN, but they still sent me a bill - and I did not send to the normal forms adress. Tax agencies who change just text on their form to cause new approval processes. Tax agencies who cannot use simple programming commands like trim, remove, etc, and reject good data.
  16. Rather than creating a 1036 (which has not been used for a few years), the IRS added a spreadsheet to the draft 2024 15T as an "early release" of the 2024 federal withholding formula. Works great for me, as the sooner I get those figures, the less "when will you have the 2024 calculations?" type of message! One state has new calcs, which depend on whether or not a new state W4 is used, but they have yet to publish the new W4
  17. The new postings are usually Tue-Sat. For me, just after midnight PT.
  18. Ours recently had two weeks of in patient rotation with repeated issues of things not moving, requiring manual assistance. Dues paying, but also very enlightening.
  19. My one useful reminder here. If you are waiting or looking to see if a certain tax form is available, check the tax agency's web site before asking the tax form software vendor. For the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/forms-instructions-and-publications I click on the posted date until it sorts to latest first, then scroll for the latest date (something I look at nearly every day). You can also use the search to look for a specific form. I have never seen any non public availability, so it is likely the case if not in this list, it cannot possibly be included in your tax software either. Over the years, the reports here are anything from a few days to a few weeks between form release and form including in your tax software. With fewer using paper forms, the delay is likely all programming and priority (meaning volume), not any sort of wait for IRS approval. For DRAFT IRS forms: https://www.irs.gov/draft-tax-forms Use the drafts to get an idea, but while not often, they sometimes change from raft to release. The one draft form I will usually include before release is 940a, as the form rarely changes other than the credit reduction % (which is known weeks before the form is released). And as always important this time of year, and never too often to reconsider, there is no such thing as an accounting emergency! which ties nicely to what our medical student offspring will say "this too shall pass", coupled with drink more water!.
  20. Another clue is since the IRS csv is limited to 100 forms, but is not restricted to only 100 forms per EIN, multiple submissions is not an issue. On another note, I would add a late fee of some sort for those who bring in data after saying it is all there. Something someone here long ago suggested to me (along with firing at least one customer every year).
  21. I cannot speak specifically to your question. But, the IRS, while suggesting they prefer one set of forms from an EIN, had zero issue and zero regulations against multiple forms from one EIN. The example I can speak on is 941. Many employers use (for some stupid reason) the same EIN for more than one location/store. It is common to send 941 forms by location/store, rather than have to compile into one form. (The normal suggestion, for those who seek professional advice, is to keep each location separate to protect one from any other, for bookkeeping, and to make it easy to close/sell one location.) So I strongly suspect one EIN can send any number of 1099 "sets". I wonder if there is even a 1096, or is it inferred by addition? The CSV submission in IRS does not require any sort of total that I have seenm, since it is easy for the software reading the CSV to add the forms together.
  22. The start of the calm, before the storm. To all of us here, I wish some rest and clear minds in the next few weeks. (My storm is all Dec and Jan, and partial Feb.) And the will to remember the storm is what feeds us and ours, and that there is no such thing as an accounting emergency, not ever! so stick to your personal time at work ability, not a minute more.
  23. I have no worries. I have been using them since they started. Better than asking here, contact them directly to answer your questions/concerns. While worrying about the security of others, clean your own house, such as have a physical firewall (I use Firewalla), a computer which is encrypted (like surface pro devices), separate connections for work and non work devices, etc. Firewalla is interesting to watch. How many incoming attempts "hit", and what your software might be sending out. The only issue is on our family connection, there is a game SWMBO uses, which sends/receives ad data to a server in a county I block. I setup a separate pipe for her device so she can play the game. At this point, I would never be without something like Firewalla again, including having a second one for travel.
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