Tampa and spring training, Yogi got it right, version comparisons, bank balance display, revenge of the Bedouin nerds.
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FarmSMART                                                 February 2011 

In this Issue:

Tampa and Spring Training
Yogi Got It Right
Version Comparisons
New Website
Bank Balance Display
Webinar Schedule
Revenge of the Bedouin Nerds?


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Bedouin Nerd
Bedouin Nerd?


Did February 2011 seem like it would never end?  Maybe we're influenced by the Bill Murray movie we watched multiple times during the February 2nd blizzard.    Although one trade show and travel plans were disrupted, Phil the groundhog didn't see his shadow so we're ready for Spring!


Find out what's going on in the software world in this month's newsletter.  Also what it's like being hacked twice by Bedouin nerds.


Time for Tampa and Spring Training

Commodity Classic

March is just around the corner.  That means two things:

  1. Corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers will fly south to the annual Commodity Classic Conference, held this year inTampa, Florida (indoors, of course!).  You'll find FBS in booth #941.
  2. It's time to begin "stretching" with "Spring Training" on your FBS software.  Now that you're through the yearend routine, learn new skills and build up your planning and analysis power.  You don't need to travel to Florida or Arizona to participate; we'll come to right to your farm or connect computers over the web.  Make sure you're prepared to compete in the 2011 season by calling or e-mailing our sales (sales@fbssystems.com) or support (support@fbssystems.com) departments.
Yogi Got It Right 

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Yogi Berra

It's easy to lose track of all the game-changing technological disruptions farm computer users have encountered over the past 30 years:  hard drives, migration from Radio Shack, Apple and CP/M to IBM/MS-DOS/Windows, precision farming "standards," the Internet and smart phones.  Each "New Thing" had to be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Does the New Thing actually work?
  2. Will the New Thing work in my operation?
  3. How much does the New Thing cost (realizing that technology costs almost always drop...see "Moore's Law")?
  4. What's the payback for the New Thing (considering that it will likely be obsolete within three years)?
  5. Will there be an upgrade path once the New Thing is obsolete?
  6. Which of the alternative New Things will become the New Standard?
  7. Do I adopt the New Thing now or wait for the dust to settle?

The closer you find yourself to the leading edge in the adoption curve (i.e. "innovator" or "early adopter"), the more frequently you've had to evaluate these complex alternatives and make these difficult decisions.

As your management information supplier, FBS also must formulate "offsetting" strategic decisions anticipating the future of both agriculture and high technology:

  1. Where is the computer and software "big world" headed?
  2. What new capabilities are our users requesting?
  3. What new capabilities will our users require that they don't yet recognize?
  4. Which technologies do we utilize to assimilate #s 1-3 when they they are needed?

In general, the answers are:

  1. The computer world is ascending to "the cloud" while "local" computing resources will continue to grow in power and capacity.
  2. So far this has been a two-way dialogue between individual FBS users and our development team.  We're now opening this up to a wider discussion through our blog site.
  3. Part of the goal of our newsletter, blog site, website, webinars and seminars is to educate our audience on management trends that most opinion leaders are neglecting (for example, management accounting and budgeting).  

For the past 31 years, FBS's strategy has been to:

  • Aggressively an cost-effectively incorporate the innovative (and therefore, non-standard) concepts requested by FBS "power users."
  • "Bake in" business practices (such as Farm Financial Standards) that are critical for world-class management control.
  • Maintain and upgrade our underlying software "platform" so it is compatible with constantly-changing hardware, database andcommunications technologies.
  • Not neglect users who don't have the latest computers and/or just expect a stable, well-supported work environment.

Specifically, over the past two years we've concentrated our development resources on converting our Windows software from Microsoft Visual Basic (VB) 6.0 (FBS Version 8.1) to .NET 2010 (Version 10.0).  At the same time we've continuously maintained and updated Version 8.1 via the Internet. Because .NET requires more resources and computing power than what many of our users currently have we're going to follow the same path we took when we converted from DOS to Windows:

  • FBS CDs will include both the VB (8.x) and .NET (10.x) versions.
  • We will support both technologies.

See the table below for comparison of your options.  We will also be sending an e-mail survey to all current users to help them determine the best direction.

So, just like ol' Yogi says, choose either the "high road" (Version 10) or the "low road" (Version 8.1).  They both go in the right direction.

Version Comparison Chart
Version Comparisons
Visited Our New Website Yet?
FBS Systems Home PageThere's a wealth of timely information waiting your inspection at our new website. Check them out now by clicking on the image or any of the links below.

To start your tour, click on the image above. 

Leave comments or suggestions regarding our website.

Q&A of the Month--Bank Balance Display

Q.  Why is the bank balance I see when I go to write a check not the correct balance for that checking account?

Check Entry
Check Entry bank balance display. 

A.  The balance seen on the check or deposit entry screen is a quick "snapshot" based on all cleared/uncleared entries for the current year. Unlike bank balances in reports like the Bank Account Summary, Check Register,Trial Balance or Balance Sheet this value is not a calculated from accounting transactions.  In effect, it's the "tail of the dog," not the "dog" itself.


Change Bank Balance Display
Changing Bank Account Display

If this value ever gets off, it's easy to correct.  Run a one of the reports above through the last entry date for the year, then go to Setup | Accounting | Ledger Accounts and find the appropriate bank ledger account.  Highlight it and click Change.  You will see the bottom field that says current bank balance. Type in the correct bank balance then click OK and Save.  Emphasizing again, this will not affect ledger bank balances; this is a display value only.

March Webinar ScheduleWebinar Screen


Open Questions, March 7th.
Fine-Tuning Crop Records, March 14th.

LifeCycle Budgeting, March 21st.

DTN Interface and Hedging, March 28th.

To register, e-mail support@fbssystems.com by 9:00 am CST on the day of the webinar.

Mid East Turmoil Spills Onto FBS Website

San Diego, California (where our website is hosted) is a long way from the Tunisia or Morocco.  Yet we've been recently received collateral damage from the political upheaval sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East.

The first attack occurred around February 1st and came from Tunisia:


Tunisian Hacker
Remember, Tunisia was the first domino to tumble in the region, starting the revolution that spread to Egypt, Libya and beyond.  Our web providers had barely scrubbed the graffiti from our pages when we got hit again, this time ostensively from Morocco.


Moroccan Hack


Other pages were also broken and defaced in this second attack.  While the site was being restored and security upgrades applied we were unable to post software updates.

While it's exciting to be (indirectly) involved in today's front page stories, these acts of vandalism are inconvenient and frustrating (but fortunately, not deadly).  No matter how noble the cause, it's wrong and ineffective to vandalize a website halfway around the world that's not even directed toward your potential audience.

Why was www.fbssystems.com chosen by these Bedouin nerds?  Since launching our new site on November 30, 2010 we've hosted visitors from 69 countries.  Or maybe they didn't like the pig photo on our home page.


FBS Systems

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