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April 2020

Dear Friend,

Mod 1 Mod 1 expanded
1978 Model 1 (4K with cassette tape drive for $500) 1980 Model 1 (48K, 2-83K drives + printer for $4,500)

With the arrival of spring we're celebrating the "first fruits" on our 5th generation of agricultural software.  Our first software seeds were planted in the late 70s and emerged in 1980 using Microsoft Basic running on a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1 (see above).  As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year we'll look back at some historic and quaint events, but more significantly we'll share our vision for the future.

Compared with a contemporary PC or even a smartphone the first personal computers were incredibly limited, expensive and challenging to program.  For example, the "expanded" Model 1 on the right had 48K of RAM memory, which is 1/333,3333 of a low-end 16 GB PC, tablet or phone.  Even more striking, to have the equivalent storage capacity of a $6.00 16GB thumb drive would require 91,000 floppy disks and cost $455,1110!  Thank you, Gordon Moore!

Looking ahead in this month's FarmSmart:

  • V.11.4: A Version With a Vision.
  • Mark your calendars for August when we'll be resuming our annual Ag Software Success Summit.
  • Where Are My 11.2 Updates?



Version 11.4 Screen  

V.11.4:  The "First Fruits" from a Version With a Vision

As FBS begins its 40th year of service it's reasonable to ask, "Why keep cranking out upgrades?"  (Version 11.4 is our 20th Windows upgrade.)  Here are the reasons behind our commitment:

  • Continuity for our customers across multiple generations of computers,software languages, operating systems and families.
  • Compatibility with evolving accounting and reporting standards.
  • Capacity to accommodate increasing business scale and complexity and harness advancing computer power.
  • Collaboration with customers to equip them for the future.

This last point has lead to the formation of the Mutual Agricultural Software Alliance (MASA), a network of FBS users who share and financially support our vision:

  • MASA is owned and controlled by the production agricultural firms who will utilize this Ag Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to operate and manage their farms and ranches.
  • MASA is developed on the FBS Systems, Inc. foundation of existing agriculture software.
  • MASA intends to interactively work with allied organizations to develop applications that will integrate with the MASA ERP database using an open API (Application Programming Interface).

Both FBS customers and MASA members will benefit from Version 11.4, the "first fruits" of our aggressive software migration and modernization project, which in conjunction with the upcoming FBS 11.5 release (planned for the 4th quarter of 2020) will move key Setup data into SQL database tables and provide .NET modules for maintaining the data.   These new SQL database tables will enable future enhancements to improve FBS reporting performance and flexibility and better integration of FBS data with other software for MASA members.

Center Setup
Cost / Profit Centers is one of 12 FBS setup files converted to SQL.
Chemical Setup
Thirteen setup screens have have be converted to .NET.
Chemical Printer Preview
An example of the new FBS print preview screen.

The Version 11.4 CD is being shipped to FBS and MASA on-premise users this month.  AgCompass hosted users will be converted over the coming weeks.  Thanks for your patience!

Ag Software Success Summit 2020 Breakout 2019

Save These August Dates for the Ag Software Success Summit

Celebrate the "reopening of America" on August 24-26, at the Stoney Creek Inn, Moline, Illinois at the premier knowledge and networking event for farm business owners, accounting staff and advisers.  The 2020 Ag Software Software Summit will help you adjust to the "new normal" with outstanding management experts, new technologies and plenty of opportunities to challenge one another with best practices.

Watch this newsletter for more details as we await the green light from the governor.  

Q&A:  Where Are My 11.2 Updates?


Q.  When I go to Utilities>Check for Updates my FBS Version 11.2 is not finding anything.

Sarah 2019

Sarah Dixon, FBS Support Coordinator

A.  We're no longer updating version 11.2 (which came out in 2017).  As we release new versions of FBS we stop publishing updates for the older versions.  So when we released Version 11.3 updates for 11.2 stopped. 

Here's the reason:  We can only support and maintain the latest version of our software.  When you renew your support packages you're also paying for the newest release (upgrade) and any updates to that release.  People who don’t renew their support package no longer have access new updates and don't receive the new version of FBS either.  So if you're up-to-date on your renewal you should receive the newest release (currently 11.4).  Once you've installed it, go to Utilities>Check for Updates and the software download and install any updates that are available.   


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