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Update News for December 2009
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our subscribers a Merry Christmas. December 25th, a statutory holiday, is when many gather with friends and family to celebrate and if you are also using that holiday to gather with friends and family, we hope that your day is a good one. Your business through the year is deeply appreciated and we know that you are a big part of the reason that there will be food on the table at our home this Christmas. On behalf of our staff, let me say Thank You.
December 25th was first set aside as a holiday because it is Christmas day, a day that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior. The message of Christmas can be summed up in this passage from the New Testament:
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
Of course Christmas is when Christians celebrate that God gave us his only begotten Son, who was born of the virgin Mary. And while we mark the birth of Jesus as when the gift was first given, the gift was not just His son, it was what His son would do. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, would become the path to eternal life spoken of in the above passage from the Bible. That is what makes the gift the most important gift that God ever gave to man.
The key question coming from the above passage in the Bible is: What does "believe in Him" really mean? Well that is tricky and that's what Christians try to work out as they search the Bible in an attempt to understand their faith.
And in previous Christmas greetings I have tried to share my thoughts on that subject and I hoped that those thoughts would be of some benefit to those of you who wonder about the Christ of Christmas. Rather than talk about that again this year, I thought I would give you some links to past Christmas reflections, and then talk about intellectual property theft. Here are those past Christmas greetings:
What is "intellectual property"? Here is what Wikipedia defines it as (until somebody changes it):
Now generally if it can't be copywritten, trademarked or patented it is not thought of as IP but I think that when someone has an idea that has fallen into the public domain, then at least credit is due to whoever had the idea. Isn't that fair?
And so this year I was quite unhappy when the Governor of the state of Kentucky decided that he would no longer refer to the Christmas tree that is erected each winter in the state capital as a "Christmas tree", but would instead call it a "Holiday Tree". Why? Because, as the thought process goes, not everyone is a Christian and the word Christmas is offensive to those who are not Christians.
OK, then the solution seems simple. Cancel the December 25th federal holiday which is Christmas Day, and move the holiday to another day. I offer January 2nd as a suggestion. I am unaware of anyone else having a religious celebration on that day and I think we should call the new holiday, "Holidays". That way, when the greeting cards say "Happy Holidays", you will know exactly what they are referring to and people can continue to use the old cards which will save the trees.
While Christians did not invent the idea of the evergreen tree covered with lights, they certainly popularized it, promoted it and standardized its use as a Christian symbol of Christmas through the centuries. I am unaware of any other religion that puts up an evergreen tree with lights on it to symbolize their religious celebration, are you?
So to folks like the Kentucky governor, let me suggest that if you are opposed to Christmas, please do not use Christian ideas and symbols and pretend like they aren't Christian ideas. I realize that the Christmas tree and all the other related stuff is not protected by IP law, but if you are going to use that stuff to celebrate the December 25th holiday, then please stop being offended by "Merry Christmas" or discussion about the "reason for the season". December 25th is a religious holiday, and the religion is Christianity.
And there is a group of young Christians who have a way of expressing that same idea with a more "in your face" music/message presentation. I enjoyed this performance but then I'm a Christian.
WARNING: If there is anyone who was offended by anything that I have just written, then please DO NOT WATCH the following video. Do NOT PUSH THE PLAY button. If I said something that offended you, and you watch the following video, YOUR HEAD WILL EXPLODE. And I certainly don't want you head to explode right before Christmas.
You have been warned (do not watch this):
Over the last couple of months we have caught two different entities, who have purchased Compulife and who offer it to agents on the Internet, infringing our internet software agreement. We need to explain what we mean.
In addition to you being able to add Compulife to your website through one of our authorized web providers (you can now do that through Compulife itself for only $99 per year), we also sell our internet software program to others who can then offer agents the same thing. And we think that we are darned generous in the deal that we offer.
If you buy our internet web engine ($995 per year) we will let you hook it up for ANYONE YOU WANT, and charge them WHATEVER YOU WANT, and you get to keep ALL that money.
Wow, what's in it for Compulife you ask?
Simple, you cannot hook up the internet quote technology for someone else's web site unless that person or agency is a subscriber to the PC version of Compulife. That's how Compulife makes money on the deal and it's not like it's all that expensive. If you buy Compulife's internet engine you can buy PC based subscriptions at bulk buying discount prices where you pay a fraction of the retail price that an individual agent or agency pays for the software.
Does that sound like a rip off to anyone? Does it sound like Compulife is being unreasonable? Is there anyone dumb enough to think that at these prices we are piling up so much money that we need large duffel bags to carry it to the bank?
But does that stop some people from trying to rip us off? No it doesn't.
Two Compulife subscribers, using our product on the Internet, were caught red handed hooking up internet quote systems for folks who are not Compulife subscribers. Of course the usual exchange of emails generated the same old "I didn't know" and "I thought the way were doing this was OK"; yeah, yeah, yeah. And before you know it they are mad at us, don't we know how hard they worked to set this up and we are so wrong to blame them; yeah, yeah, yeah.
Look folks, this is how my family earns a living. And I now have grandchildren that depend on this company to put food on their table. If it sounds like I take it personally, you've got the idea.
Anyway, thanks to these two, in the next couple of months we are going to make some significant changes to our software that will allow us to immediately put an end to anyone we catch doing this stuff. And we are telling you this now because we are hoping that we can convince those who may be stealing from us now to stop doing it NOW. And we are telling you so that you know if we do catch you stealing, we will be able to terminate your use of Compulife immediately, while it is on your computer or server. Once we pull the new trigger, your next update of Compulife, and only YOUR update of Compulife, will shut down your use of our software. Hopefully that will be an incentive for you to ensure that you remain legit.
Sometime early in the new year we will be adopting a new data version that will be incompatible with old versions of our software program. If you try to run the new data, with an old GOWIN.EXE, PDA program or internet software program, it will choke and not work.
Now those using our PC software will have a smooth and simple transition. We will introduce the new program files at the same time as we release the new data files. There will be nothing that you will need to do.
However, it does means that those of you who are using our Internet software on your own servers MUST UPDATE to the new version or you will be stuck - COMPLETELY.
This does not apply to you if you are using Compulife on your web site through Compulife or a third party web provider. They are the one's who will need to update the Internet engine and they have some work to do, not you.
Now we realize there are some using our Internet software who have had some trouble updating and have gone back to the old version of the program. You will not be able to do this much longer. Once we introduce the new data version, our updates will be incompatible with the old engine. So the first priority is to get the most current version working on your server and you need to get that done ASAP. I am sorry to cut your upgrading time short, but we really do need to pull the plug on the offenders.
Once we make the switch to the new data version, you will need to upgrade to the new engine literally that day. We will announce "the day" well in advance. The internet software that runs the new data will be completely plug and play, simply because it will have an identical interface to what the new engine already has, it will simply have some new internal functions that do not affect normal web operation.
Once we have transitioned to the new software that is needed to run the new data, that new software will have a new function that lets us instantly pull the plug on anyone caught infringing our license agreements.
And when that plug is pulled for a given user or users, our software will cease function on the web, on the PC and on the PDA for that user.
As one Monty Python actor said in one skit, "say no more, say no more".
Building security into our new online PDA service, to ensure that we can track online users of our new on-line PDA software, has been a challenge but we are getting close to cracking the nut. We hope that we will have the new individual PDA software working shortly.
In the meantime, if you need to run quotes on a PDA that has a web connection, just click on the following link:
The service that will replace this current service will give you the ability to personalize quotes. There will be an Administration Panel that lets you include only those companies that you want to quote. Those of you who are now trying Compulife's new web quotes for your web site will have already seen the new administration panel. The one for the PDA version of the software is exactly the same.
Unlike the new web quoting option that you can buy for $99 per year, the new PDA quoting service that we are rolling will be FREE but it will be for your personal use only. Your web address, for your PDA online quote system, must be kept confidential and it must not be used by others or made available on your web site. That's why we are implementing features to track who is using your PDA quote system. Remember, this is the FREE version for YOUR PDA only. We will be able to monitor the specific PDA's visiting your PDA quote site, and if more than the allocated number are doing so, the software will notify Compulife and well will shut down your PDA quote site.
If you want a PDA quote site that others can use, we can set that up for you for only $99 per year and we can do that now. And keep reading, you can get the first 4 months of the public PDA version for FREE. Once a public site has been set up for you, you can give the address to anyone that you want.
During November we added a significant number of new users to our web quoting service. There are now about 6 Canadian subscribers (about 50 U.S. subcribers) who have our quote system on their web site. Remember, you too can add the quote system to your web site, for 4 months, ABSOLUTELY FREE. At the end of 4 months, if you wish to keep the option, it's only an additional $99 per year. Click Here for complete details.
You can see some examples of the look and feel of the new and improved quoting software by visiting this page:
IMPORTANT: When reviewing the sample web site please note that we have deleted a number of the popular brokerage companies using the administration option. If you order the on-line quote option, you will also have your own personal administration panel where you select those companies that you want to quote on your web site. All the companies and types of products in the PC version of Compulife are also available for your web site to quote. You decide what is available.
Compulife has reduced the number of companies in our Sample On-Line Quote system because we don't want it used as a cheap alternative to the software which subscribers pay for and support. If you want to set up a web site that includes the companies that you want to quote, then you can do so for only $99 per year (that is the optional cost in addition to your normal subscription to Compulife).
The purpose of the Sample Site is for you to see the look, feel and options available. All the companies, products and categories that are in the PC version of Compulife are available for quoting using the internet version.
If you are a current subscriber to Compulife, and have never before had our web quotes on your web site, you can have the option for 4 months for FREE - with no obligation to purchase the service at the end of 4 months. This is a standing offer.
First time trial users of Compulife, who qualify for 4 free months of service, can also add quotes to their web site for FREE for 4 months.
To obtain your 4 months of free quotes for your web site, complete the application here:
When you visit our Sample On-Line Quotes web page, we have given you some things to play with which will let you see the various looks, styles and options that you can choose for your version of the web quote system.
The first option on the page is a drop down menu where you can choose from multiple templates. These control the look and feel of your comparison results page. This is NOT something that you will let a user do on your web site, it is a choice/decision that you will make for your web site and once you set that it can only be changed by you. Our Sample site is designed as a place where you can play with the various styles available. We expect the number of styles to expand as we move forward. If you don't see what you like, let us know what it is you need.
The actual selection of the style for your web site will be specified in the "quote.html" page which we will email to you when you request the online term quote option from Compulife. The quote.html page is the first page that a client sees and it is where they enter their birthdate, sex, face amount, etc. That page, which you will have complete control over, will be placed on your server. If you are not able to do that keep reading to learn about our $50 per year quote site web hosting option.
Once the client information is entered, and the "Compare Now" button is clicked, your quote.html page will pass the data to our server at compulife.net which will then use the template that you have specified in the quote.html page. When the results are displayed for your web site visitor they will be in the style that you specified with the companies that you selected.
So once again, the ability to change templates on our Sample site is so you can try the different styles that are available. Once you settle on the style that you like, you specify that in your quote.html page which goes on your site (unless you host that with us - keep reading). If you change your mind later, just edit the quote.html page. Remember, that is your page on your site.
As you review the different styles that we have already created, and if you see something that is close to what you want but not exactly what you want, please give us a call. We will be happy to work with you to add to and extend the list of default styles that are available.
The colors used in the various style pages are actually another option that you will be able to control from your administration page - so color is not the key element to be concerned about. If the colors that you need to use are different, again give us a call and we'll add those to our color chart.
IMPORTANT: You can only select from the default styles that Compulife offers. While we intend to add to the number of style options, Compulife will NOT be doing any custom styles. If we like a style that you are recommending then we are happy to create it at no charge to you and add it to our list but anyone and everyone using our online system will also have access to that style once it is on that list. If you want a custom style that is unique to you, and you don't want anyone else to have it, then we suggest that you talk to one of our other providers who may offer the ability for you to customize styles. And if none of our providers can give you what you want, you can always purchase the internet engine to place on your own server. That option will give you complete autonomy and control over the on-line quotes that you are producing.
Included in the new templates are two new features that we have built into the internet engine. These are the "Request Application" or "More Info" buttons. You can read the difference at this webpage:
As we note: "The Request Application will gather information from the client and email that information to you at the email address that you specify on your control panel."
If you want to see what the email will look like, simply use a "Request Application" template at the sample site, press the button and fill in the information. Make sure that you enter in your email address. When you send it to us we will turn around and forward it back to you so you can see what you will be getting from YOUR VERSION of the web site.
The email address(es) are entered and controlled by you at your Administration Panel. Compulife will NOT be getting those emails and we don't want them. The web link for "More Info" is also entered by you at the Administration Panel and any of this can be changed or modified anytime that you want.
The other thing that is controlled from your Administration Panel are the list of companies that you quote. You can edit/change/modify that list anytime that you want and the changes are updated immediately in the internet software.
For a one time $50 charge you can add either or both of our calculators to your web site. The first is the "Income Replacement Calculator" and the second is the "Retirement Calculator". Both are options on your Compulife program and work the same way.
You can play with the web versions of these calculators which we have sent up on the Sample Web page. Here is that link again:
The calculators should be self explanatory but if you have questions you can give us a call. Both calculators are on our list of future video tutorials which we will be back to creating later in the winter. New Video productions will follow once we have completed adding the on-line PDA quote options which we are now working to wrap up.
One of the options for online quoting is that Compulife can create a quote web site for those agents who do not already have a web site. We have done some of these with our first beta installations of the new service.
Setting up a second, separate quoting web site works well from some subscribers because their existing site is not easy for them to change or modify. By creating a separate web quoting site, you can then just link your existing web site to your new quoting site.
For the $50 per year Compulife will register a domain name for you (that is included in the $50) and we will set up a site with that domain name. Note: the domain name will be your property.
If you do not have any web site, then for $50 per year you can have a web site that provides a personalized on-line quote system. In the future, should you wish to establish a more significant site using that same domain name, the domain name is YOUR PROPERTY and we are happy to transfer it to you.
Once again, for those who already have a web site, and who buy the basic $99 per year service, you will be sent the client information page which must be added to your existing web site. If you are able to do that, there is no need to pay the extra $50 per year.
If you take advantage of the 4 month free option, the 4 free months does not apply to the $50 new web site option. If you elect to pay the $50, you can still have a 4 free month look at the quote engine itself, and if you do pay the $99 at the end of 4 months, we will stretch the $50 option to match the $99 option (you will in effect get a 4 month bonus on the web site option.
NOTE: All annual fees for online quoting services will be adjusted to come due at the exact same time as the basic subscription to Compulife. So, if you have 6 months left to go on your basic subscription, you will be charged $99 times 50%, and then on renewal will be billed for both the basic subscription and web option at the same time.
One of the options not on the Sample On-Line Quote web page is the on-line Forms Library. That option, which is $120 per year, will only make sense for those using on-line quotes to serve their agents as opposed to consumer. If you want to see a sample of that, you will need to give us a call. We keep a copy of that at a hidden location.
For a complete list of all the on-line quoting options from Compulife, and a further description of those options, click on the following link:
The fact that Compulife is now doing our own web providing does that not change the relationship that Compulife has with our existing web providers. If you are already using Compulife's web quoting engine through an existing web provider, that relationship continues as it did before. We think our web providers are doing a great job and we would not have established a relationship with them otherwise.
Further, all Compulife web providers, and any purchasers of our internet engine, have access to ALL the templates, options and features that Compulife is implementing in conjunction with our own web quoting service and our new and improved internet engine. Therefore, if you are already using Compulife's web quote system with one of our providers, we would encourage you to remain happy with your current provider. Remember, at the end of the day it is still Compulife technology that is powering those sites.
On the other hand, if you are a subscriber and you are not already using Compulife through one of our providers on your website, you can get a 4 month free subscription completing the application here:
Trial users of Compulife, who qualify for the 4 free month subscription, are now able to get 4 months of on-line quotes for free as part of that deal. That is why we are offering the 4 free months to any existing subscriber who is not already using the web quoting engine now.
Once our work on the web engines and PDA/Phone software is complete, we will be turning our attention to some important maintenance work that is needed to the data entry systems. Those programs have not been updated for quite some time, and some need to be converted to take advantage of the newer programming compilers that we have been using for the Windows software that we already distribute to you. Our goal is to make it easier to program future software, which will ensure that we can roll out changes and improvements more efficiently.
Further, having reviewed where we are heading over the next few years, and the changes that we would like to be able to make in the future, we have decided to stop and do a much more extensive overhaul than simply changing our data entry software. We have determine that we would also like to implement a better data storage structure that will make maintenance easier on both a data entry basis, as well as a programming basis.
To achieve our goals in this regard, we will be spending a fair bit of time reviewing our new data storage needs, and then building conversion software that will convert our existing data files into our new data file structure. Once we have done that, we will then introducing new comparison software that does exactly what it does now, but which derives its results from the new data structure. In other words, you will end up with a new program that does exactly what the old program did/does.
Once this first stage is completed, we will have both old program and old data, with new program and new data. Moving forward we will use the old data entry systems to maintain the old version, then converting old data to the new data forms for general distribution.
The next stage is to create the new data entry systems that talk to the new data format. Once we are satisfied that the new data entry system give us everything that we have now, we will then switch to the new data structure alone. We will only do this once we have thoroughly tested the new software to ensure it gives us no problems in maintaining the date. This may take several months. As far as the part you use, by the time we make that transition, you will have been using the new software for several months.
The point of sharing this with you is that the process will be quite lengthy and so from this fall throughout most of 2009, you will not be seeing many changes and improvements to the software that you use, even though the underlying foundation will be going through a massive change. Once the foundation has been reconstructed, and all the tools to work on the foundation have been built, the program will be in a position to make some substantial moves forward.
Think of it as transplant surgery, where you need to keep the patient alive and well, at the same time as you are swapping out the organs.