Complicated

For the last year and a half or so I have been using Quicken Quickbooks for managing the finances of my home-based business, Asheville Technologies. I bought the software originally thinking it would take care of all the stuff I’m bad at: remembering to send recurring invoices, preparing taxes, and keeping track of my checking account.

Last night, after Quickbooks crashed for the umpteenth time, I decided it was time for a change. The program was just too complicated and obfuscated for my needs, and I found myself not even wanting to open it when I needed to.

I searched high and low on Google, and finally discovered a gem of an application. It is called CG Invoicer, and is produced by a company called Chicken Girl Software. Being a fan of barnyard animals, I knew it was the app for me. The simplicity and ease of use is exactly what I was looking for.

  • Create a product
  • Create a client
  • Generate an invoice
  • Send invoice via email

It’s unfortunate that Quicken doesn’t offer something that is watered down for those of us who don’t need to generate projected earnings in 10 years with customizable bar graphs. Quicken comes with a 200 some-odd page manual and has volumes of books written about it. CG Invoicer was so simple to use and easy to figure out, no manual or help file was included.

The point of all this is that these big companies spend all this money to pack a program with features, while a small outfit can make something simple and functional and charge a fraction of the cost. This concept translates into many other areas too.

The ‘kewl’ news of late for me is that my employer is buying me a G4 Powerbook. That’s a Mac laptop for all you moms and dads 😉

Oh, the mobility!

The bad news is that the fender bender my wife had in a parking lot last week was her fault and totalled the other person’s car.

Grrr…mobility can bite you in the butt!

Made in 1998

Even though Allmusic.com’s new web site was released this week, by taking a look at it, one would think it was created in 1998. A warning message to users of non-Internet Explorer browsers is at the top:

Notice: You are accessing allmusic.com with a browser that is not currently supported. The appearance and functionality of the site could be impacted. allmusic.com is optimized for Internet Explorer 5.5 and above for Windows.

It makes one think they took a time machine back to 1998 to find a web development team. This one wins the “Missed The Bus to 2004” award.

Pickin’ & Grinnin’

Last night marked the first time in nearly 4 years that I played music with Ty and Lance, both of whom were in the bang-tango Second String Bluegrass Band with me. We met up at Asheville’s Shindig On The Green, a weekly pickin’ party and bluegrass concert attended by a couple thousand people.

It took a few songs for me to dust off the cobwebs from my fingers, but I quickly found myself back into the flow of playing my Banjo. We were graced by the presence of Wayne Erbsen, old-time/bluegrass musician extraordinaire, who accompanied us with his award-winning fiddle playing. It was a great 3 hours, and made me want to start getting back into the banjo again.

We were asked to get onstage and perform for the crowd, but we all felt a little iffy about that, so we declined. Maybe next week 😉

For those of you who wish to check out some infamous Second String recordings, I have them posted at my free Mp3 page, Hober.tk.

The Fun Doesn’t Stop

In continuation of the Free Music theme, I found a link to the 100 Song CD. This CD contains 100 songs, an amazing feat in and of itself. True, they happen to be short songs, but they are by good bands.

You can even download the cover artwork and jewel case inserts to print out.

And in other news, as soon as I figure out how to upgrade to gdlib 2 on my web server without screwing up every site I host, I will have the new picture gallery up and running. Anyone have any suggestions?

MP3 Wonderland

By way of Scrubbles I found this absolutely terrific site called the 365 Days Project.

One MP3 a day… for one year.

The MP3’s offered are something else. From two unknown women singing irritatingly close to in-tune with each other to Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians (who?) singing “Fo Fum Fi Fee”, this collection of found songs will be keeping me entertained for some time.

And from Kevin Rose I found some ways to search Google that bring up loads of open directories containing MP3’s for download, among other things. I found that entering the name of an artist/band before the search string will tailor the results to your liking. I was suprised to find mostly unheard of artists and music rather than directories full of pop tunes. I am betting the RIAA knows this trick too.

The Evidence Mounts

I can’t count how many viruses, worms, and security patches it has taken for this to occur, but the evidence mounts against Internet Explorer. The buzz all over the internet this week is that security experts everywhere are recommending people use a different browser.

Read about it at IT Week, Business Week, Microsoft-owned Slate.com, and even the Department of Homeland Security’s US-CERT site.

I know that this all seems great for the efforts of Firefox, Opera, and other browsers to regain a piece of the browser market pie, but I’m afraid it will take a lot more than this for the average user to stop using something they are used to. Many people don’t even know that alternative browsers exist. It may take something as drastic as a virus that erases or disables Internet Explorer for anything to really change. I’d like to think not, but it may.

Update: Here too 😀