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Update News for November 2008
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.
In order to make some serious changes and expansions to product categories in the U.S., and in order to improve the way that we can add and change categories, Compulife will be making a serious change to our software for November. The change is the first step in a major revision to our software which we will be working on over the next year. We will talk more about the overall project at the end of this bulletin.
One of the benefits of the category change for Canada is that we will be changing the Quick Pay Guaranteed Whole Life category and replacing it with two new categories:
During October we introduced improvements/changes to the Analysis programs in Compulife. These changes are complete and we have addressed all known bugs. The changes were released with our October midmonth updates and so they have been well used and tested.
One of the bigger changes is the elimination of the old display year by year windows. We have standardized all the Analysis programs to go from the data entry windows directly to the "Print Preview" window. The advantage of the Print Preview window is that the user determines how large the characters are on the display by zooming in or out on the page. This should address past comments that we have had about the current year-by-year displays being difficult to see because the fonts were too small.
And finally we have updated the Analysis printouts to use newer arial fonts rather than the old fixed pitch courier fonts. This makes the printouts more attractive and consistent with the rest of the comparison/quotation printouts that our system is able to generate.
To date Compulife has completed three more video tutorials.
For the U.S. and Canada there are now a total of 5 tutorials.
The first tutorial shows how to request and install a 30 day Free Trials.
The second tutorial shows how to complete the "Dare to Compare Challenge" and, by doing so, how to get 4 free months of Compulife without any obligation to purchase.
The third tutorial shows how to use the Preferred Health Analyzer to determine if you client qualifies for the lower Preferred Plus or Preferred rates offered by life companies.
The fourth tutorial shows how to use the Table rating feature in Compulife in order to add a table rating to Compulife.
The fifth tutorial shows how to use the ROP Analysis feature in Compulife, to determine the effective rate of return being offered in an ROP product. You can view the tutorials by clicking on this link:
The ROP tutorial is not available to Canadian subscribers. Instead the Canadian fifth tutorial shows how to use Compulife new Canadian Critical Illness Comparison software. While we are not offering this software in the U.S., we thought you might like to take a look. If you are selling Critical Illness here in the U.S., let us know and let us know which companies that you are selling for. If we determine that there is sufficient demand, we will give consideration to adding it to the software. Here is that tutorial:
The next tutorials that we introduce will show you how to use the new Analysis program. While many Canadian customers really make use of these programs, many having benefited from seminars we gave in Canada many years ago, we suspect that most U.S. subscribers do not use these handy tools. We believe the Analysis tutorials will demonstrate why the options are in our software, and how/why they can be used to assist consumers and make your sales presentation much simpler.
Apart from the Analysis tutorials, if you have an area where you would like to see us do a tutorial, drop Bob Barney a note at:
The terminology "mid-month update" seems to confuse some subscribers who think it means a single update in the middle of the month - NOT TRUE! The mid-month update is any update that we make between monthly updates.
The concept of monthly updates began 26 years ago when Compulife was distributed on floppy disks. The first reason that we elected to do it monthly, at the beginning of each new month, was that we wanted a routine time frame for doing updates so subscribers would know when to expect the software and to contact us if they didn't get it.
The second reason was to tie the service to a monthly billing process (in those days $79 per month). Of course prices have dropped substantially from that, and all billing is annual, but we still find the monthly time cycle a useful way to set subscription deadlines and anniversaries.
Having explained the background, the mid-month update is our way to get you the changes that we make to the system, as quickly as possible. While we can go as long as a week between mid-month changes, there are times when we are doing them daily. For that reason, and because most customers have high speed internet access, we think that subscribers should increase the frequency setting for obtaining mid-month updates.
The default mid-month frequency is currently set to 7 days. What this means is that 7 days after you last checked for a mid-month update, your system will check again. We recommend that you change the 7 to 1, which means that each day your system will check to see if there is a newer mid-month update. As we have already discussed, high speed internet connections make this check very quick, and because your computer is always on-line, you will hardly notice it happen. Those using dial-up may want to leave the check for 7 days, meaning that they do not have to log-on to the web each day they try to run Compulife.
Changing the frequency of mid-month update checks is done by clicking on "Options" at the top of the Compulife Red Master Menu. When you click on Options a drop-down list will appear, and one of the last choices on the list states: "Number of days between update checks (7)". The 7 in brackets would indicate your frequency is set to once every 7 days. When you click on this option a small window will display where you can increase or decrease the number.
IMPORTANT: We think you should change the number from 7 to 1. This means that once a day, whenever you first run the program, the system will check to see if there is a newer mid-month update.
If for some reason you feel the need to have it check even more frequently, you can set the value to zero which will cause the program to check for a midmonth update everytime that you run it.
Once again, providing that you are on a high speed internet connection, and providing that you have given Compulife access to the web (meaning you do not have a firewall blocking access), then you will find these checks are very, very fast. All Compulife does in order to perform the check is to download a 16 byte text file which indicates the date and time of the update on the web, and compares that to a copy of the last 16 byte file you downloaded and processed, to see if there is a newer version available. If it finds that there is a newer file, you are advised that there is a new mid-month update, and you simply say yes to obtain it.
The process is so fast because the 16 byte file takes virtually no time to download. The only reason to not check more frequently is if you have not got a fast internet access or Compulife does not have simple access to the web.
As we mentioned last month, with the completion of the changes needed to the Canadian software, we have turned our efforts to some 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 distribute to you.
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.