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April 1999



All Bark, No Bite

By Peter W. Lazenby - plazenby@yellowhead16.net

At some point in our lives, we are all exposed to Accountingware. Some of us more than others, but a common experience regardless.

Accountingware is just my term for Products That Never Materialize (Accountingware sounds much better than PTNM), a.k.a. vapourware. Why the focus on accounting? Well, it seems that business accounting applications tend to fall under this category a bit more than any other product I've ever wanted or needed. Personal finance programs for OS/2 users abound, but small business and SOHO users are limited to four choices; InCharge - http://www.spitfiresoftware.com, some outrageously expensive commercial product intended for extremely large corporations, some win-os/2 compatible product, or some dos product. The last two will more than likely become a problem at the beginning of next year. Win-os/2 may be Y2K compliant, but accounting applications that don't require a win32 operating system are rapidly disappearing. Ask for a dos product, and you'll probably be laughed at... "DOS? Who uses DOS?", or "DOS? Whassat?"

So, for the small business and SOHO user who, like me, refuses to install win-os/2, there is really only one OS/2 native package available, and that's InCharge - http://www.spitfiresoftware.com. If that user's business has employees, then he/she has a problem....

Welcome to Accountingware...

And the winner is...

The all time winner of the Accountingware title has to go to Cybercom's AccuCount/2. In 1996, Cybercom announced that they were taking presale orders for a product that was due out "later this year" (this year being 1996). The offer was too good to pass up... specially priced at $19.00 US for a limited time. I am one of the many who got excited and rushed out to send off the funds for this up and coming application...

So, where is this product?

If you visit their web page, it appears its right around the corner... the AccuCount/2 page says "Beta page coming soon". I know "soon" is a rather ambiguous word here, but I fully expected it to mean "sometime within MY lifetime". At Cybercom's site, once in a while the pages content changes; I think this has happened 3 times since 1996... once was a complete makeover including the url, the other two were minor cosmetic changes. However, the beta page announcement has only undergone one transformation in that time, and that was its creation in August of 1998.

The phone and fax numbers provided on my copy of the invoice have been disconnected, and snail mail sent to their address never gets answered. It doesn't get returned though, so somebody's getting it.

My last correspondence with anyone from Cybercom:

On Mon, 09 Feb 98 12:19:31 +0700, Peter Lazenby wrote:

>I still have had no word from you on the status of AccuCount/2
>Peter W. Lazenby, C.Tech
>VOICE Treasurer (http://www.os2voice.org)
>Member [Team OS/2] (http://www.teamos2.org)
>... Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

In March, we will be posting plans for the release of AccuCount/2 (finally). Unfortunately, we were plagued with delays due to delays in resolving some bugs in the development tools we are using (an issue being dealt with by the makers of those development tools and IBM). Currently, we are still waiting on the final version of the new development tools to be shipped. When the AC/2 announcement is posted in March, an offer will be made for all pre-registered purchasers to either wait for the final release, downloading and testing the beta code at that time, or to request a refund, which will be processed in bulk in April (all requests). We have every intention of releasing AccuCount/2 (and 4 other software packages that are in the works - though at a much more limited pace as our efforts are primarily being focused on AccuCount/2), or refunding the money to those customers who do not wish to wait, or think AC/2 is unsuitable for their needs. Though we have run into delays (waiting for the aforementioned bug fixes and final version of our development tools), we have used the time to increase the functionality of AC/2, adding many unannounced features. At this time, we are making every effort to release AC/2 with all expediency. Every month delayed is one more month of salaries Cybercom has to pay for continued development of AC/2 (when the time and money could be used on production of the other software packages we have in the works). We are, as always, 100% committed to OS/2 and the OS/2 community. We are also aware that our home page is greatly suffering the need for being updated. Expect a brand new home page to be posted in the next two weeks - hosted on our own machines, on our own network, running OS/2 Warp and Warp Server. Besides having easier access to changes, as well as real time feedback, user forums, etc... this will also allow one more crucial issue to be resolved - the customer beta page - fully operational, fully accessible, AND full of beta code. A new URL will be posted on the main page that is currently known by most AC/2 pre-order customers (or other interested people). Thank you for your patience, and hoping we prove it all worthwhile. If you cannot wait, please check our pages in March for a refund form - by then, there will be a good amount of beta code for you to download and test, helping make your decision easier, with a much better knowledge of what you have been waiting for. Our best. For the entire AccuCount/2 Development Team, Robert Damian Mauro President
Robert Damian Mauro http://www3.smart.net/~cybercom/ Cybercom rmauro@cybercom.smart.net
If it isn't for OS/2... ...we didn't write it! ____________________________________________________________

The above was from February, 1998. Since then, all my emails have gone unanswered.

Around June or July of 1998, an "employee" of Cybercom burst into the efnet #os/2 channel brimming with excitement because AccuCount/2 would be in beta by the end of that same week. Shortly thereafter, Robert Mauro was the guest speaker at one of our speakups, stating approximately the same thing, but also promising a demo "soon" (there's that word again). Neither have materialized...

First Runner-up

First Runner-Up in the Accountingware category goes to The Software Development Group's BizWiz. BizWiz was supposed to be unveiled at Warpstock 98, but the developers encountered a hard disk failure, and couldn't show anybody the product. They did however hand out order forms (I still have one that was mailed to me), because the special Warpstock/unveiling price would only be in effect for a limited time (until November, 1998).

We were also told that a small bug had emerged in the application, and that TSDG would be fixing this, preparing a time-limited demo version on their website, and revising their website.

Guess what? The website remains unchanged from the pre-warpstock 98 days...

Hmm... do we see a pattern emerging here?

Phone calls to TSDG will get you an answering machine. I suppose that's something since Cybercom has had phones disconnected. You are asked to leave a message, and someone will get back to you. The message makes no mention of what calendar year this will occur, so I'm still waiting.

My last email that netted a reply from them was also in the pre-warpstock 98 days. All it said was that the special price reflected on the webpage would be extended to coincide with the unveiling at Warpstock 98... it was, just shortly before the event and has remained that way since.

You can order BizWiz though... Indelible Blue has it in their online catalogue, and apparently some of us didn't have the pleasure of the AccuCount/2 experience. I wasn't going to fall for it, so instead I phoned IB and asked what I would get for my money.

Apparently I get a promise, and I'm fed up with those. I phoned IB in February, 1999 and asked. They had been told that the product would be shipped to them "soon" (hmm, will "soon" soon become an "accountingword"?), but the last time they had heard anything from TSDG was in January of this year.

Second Runner-up?

There may also be a contender for the Second Runner-Up position! Woohoo, no lack of good Accountingware these days. I know nothing more than there was a brief mention by somebody in a newsgroup somewhere. The person who reported this said he'd keep his eye open for more news, but more news hasn't been made...

So there you have it. The votes are in, the ballots counted. Winners: Accountingware developers. Losers: the OS/2 Community.

Go ahead, Cybercom and TSDG, prove me wrong...


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