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jato unit (jay'-toe yoo'-nit) n. a unit for assisting the takeoff of an airplaine consisting of one or more rocket engines. [acronym from Jet-Assisted Take-Off.]

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Thursday, January 12th, 2006
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

Hello Sweetie, Goodbye Margit

This week finds us beginning to adapt to a new software tool we are calling Sweetie, the arrival of which means we're also saying good-bye to one of our part-time employees, Margit Gedra. But while Margit's departure is a sad thing, the arrival of Sweetie is the first step towards an exit we're all really looking forward to: the retirement of SuperFRED!

Some readers may be surprised to learn that we want to get rid of SuperFRED. After all, we've invested a lot of resources in developing this custom software tool, and after years of development, SuperFRED is finally working pretty well. But as I said a few weeks ago when I unveiled an all-new ruleset for Just Desserts, sometimes the best thing you can do in a situation like this is to just completely throw out what you've been struggling to make work, and start again with something fresh.

So it is with SuperFRED. Commercial business-support software tools have come a long way since we first looked at the options and decided to build our own, and the options that now exist are way beyond our increasingly-obsolete custom-built solution. So, as soon as we can complete the transition, we'll be putting SuperFRED out to pasture.

Obviously, this plan has long been in development... Kristin has been looking at other software solutions for quite some time, and since she found this particular option many months ago she (and Meg and Robin and Craig and Marlene) have been poking at it in great detail to make sure it will really do everything we need it to do. We're all really excited about the solution we've chosen... it's a software package called NetSuite, and we've nicknamed our local incarnation Sweetie.

Meg was in town for three days last week, working hard with Kristin and Margit to get ready to close out the 2005 books, and rebuilding our chart of accounts into Sweetie, and now Josh is in town plotting and scheming convention planning and working with Kristin and Robin making plans for how we are going to move our company into this new software. I keep hearing really exciting comments from everyone who is learning about the many new features Sweetie will provide. (There's also much satisfaction in certain quarters over not having to do it the SuperFRED way any longer.)

Of course, many of Sweetie's benefits to us will be invisible to you the customer. For example, we're really excited about the sales and marketing tools Sweetie will offer our sales department. Similarly, it will be a whole new world for accounting. And that's where Margit comes in.

I've known Margit since college, and for the past several years she's been helping us out, a few hours a week, with standard book-keeping tasks and running the clunky interface that transfers orders between SuperFRED and our old accounting program, MYOB.

She's a diligent worker and she's been fun to have around and she's been a great help to us these past few years... but unfortunately, the switch to Sweetie is automating her out of this job. Everything will work differently with the new software, changing or making unnecessary many of the tasks she's been doing for us. The expertise she has built up with the MYOB software is no longer useful, and with the new system, Meg will now be able to manage our corporate finances more completely from her home office in Kansas. This means there just isn't enough left for Margit to do.

So, thank you Margit for all the help! We really appreciate it, and we wish you all the best in future endeavors! I'm sure we'll continue to be good friends...

AndyThanks for reading, and Don't Forget to Play!

Thought Residue

My favorite "Suggested Alternatives" to 33 commonly-stated reasons people give for having children:

  • "We can't experience everything. Far better to regret not breeding than to regret breeding."
  • "Do great things with your genes, rather than expecting the next cultured batch to do it."
  • "Save money and prepare for retirement. Be nice to people so they will visit you in the home."
  • "Accept mortality. Spread memes not genes. Socrates' heirs are not apparent, but his ideas linger strong."
  • "Choosing to breed precludes most other things you'll just want to do."

"I'm the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way. Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!" -- George W. Bush, in a closed meeting with Republican Congressional leaders in late 2005, as reported by Doug Thompson, who says he confirmed this quote with 3 people who were present at the meeting
"Organization is the key to success in all endeavors." -- Dave Bondi, during his recent visit, quoting something I first said 10 years ago, when we were working together at Magnet Interactive Studios

"Whilst at Gen-Con, someone I did not know came up to me (I repeat, I swear this is true) and said "I'll buy you that game" pointing at FLUXX. I was taken aback at this offer from a stranger, but being a Scot at heart, I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. He went on, "and if you don't like it, I'll give YOU, MY money back!" And so he bought it for me, adding before he departed, "I just wanted to do that to somebody - to introduce them to that wonderful game". And do you know something? Since then I have done the same thing TWICE to complete strangers. It's a wonderful feeling to do something as unpredictably generous as that." -- Drew @ Spiritual Weightlifting

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