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Update News for December 2021

Update News for December 2021

Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:

    • Merry Christmas 2021
    • An Email Essay Question
    • Term4Sale – Zip Code Listing Warranty
    • Zip Code List FROZEN Until
      January 10, 2022
    • Zip Code Renewals Must Be Paid By
      January 7, 2022
    • We Continue to Develop
      and Test The New CQS.EXE
    • Our Current Programming Plans for 2022

These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.

Merry Christmas 2021
Despite the fact that the cost of your Thanksgiving meal was much higher this year, I hope and trust that you had a blessed Thanksgiving.

This year I would like to pass along something that I myself received at Christmas time last year. I explain it in more detail here:

An Email Essay Question
I frequently get short emails with questions that require essay answers. I don’t generally write essay answers, and prefer to pick up the phone and call to discuss the question because I never am sure someone is going to follow my lengthy answer, and what points in that answer are going to require more or less explaining.

This email was just such a question, but I thought it a good question and one that others have asked before, and so I decided to write an essay answer which I will share in this bulletin.

Here’s the email I received:

    • Can you reset my browsers for quoting.
    • Would be nice to add a button on the software to do that.
    Or a true IOS app so it’s not needed.

Resetting the browser was easy, a simple click on our end. The next two points required much more explanation. Here’s my response:

    • Apps are programs that run on computers.
    • Your smart phone is a computer. It’s is a very powerful computer, more powerful than the computers on the Apollo moon missions, more powerful than the computers that were on the Space Shuttle, and more powerful than the first computers for which Compulife introduced its software in 1982.
    • Every computer has it’s own operating system. Unfortunately many of those operating systems are not compatible with others.
    • Windows is NOT compatible with Apple Mac computers. Mac programs do NOT run on Windows computers, Windows computers do NOT run on Mac computers, unless you buy a very useful program called “

Parallels

    • ” which then lets you run most Windows programs on the Mac.
    • There were, for a brief time some Microsoft devices like tablets and phones (that they called “Windows” devices). Those did not run Windows programs either. You had to buy programs specifically written for those devices and those Windows Operating systems that really were NOT Windows operating systems (they were just called that). Anyone that took the risk to write a program for those devices needed to have made their money quickly, because no one buys those devices anymore – they are not available (except used).
    • Before you laugh, Mac programs do not run on Apple iphones or tablets. Why not? You would have to ask Apple. Worse, some programs that ran on older Apple products won’t run on newer Apples products. This is a routine problem with Apple and one of the reasons I am not a fan.
    • Then there are the myriad of other operating systems. Some that are now defunct, some still alive and kicking, many of these things are compatible with each other. If you write software for one of those operating systems, it won’t work on others.
    • Microsoft does not get off easily here either. They have progressed though software written for 8 bit (DOS), 16 bit, 32 bit and 64 bit computers (Windows). The 64 bit Windows computer will not run the old 8 bit or 16 bit software, it is incompatible. 64 bit Windows software will not run on 32 bit Windows computers.
    • So who cares, you may ask? Some of our customers care. We provide a service/option called “Historical Data”. Some of our customers want to look at premiums for life insurance in history (we have versions back to the 1990’s). We have many, many old monthly editions of our software and our subscribers can get access to those program (past monthly updates) by paying a one time fee of $99.
    • Sounds great, but now we get a lot of complaints from those customers. Why? Because some customers can’t run the older programs that are 8 and 16 bit because they are running 64 bit windows OS (Windows 10). Personally, I keep alive both a Windows XP and Windows 7 computer (which I keep off-line due to virus vulnerability – those old operating systems are no longer supported by Microsoft). I keep the older computers just so I can run old DOS and Windows programs that will not run on Windows 10 computers.
    • The fun bit is when “Historical Data” customers ask if we have programs to run the OLD data on NEW computers (Windows 10). The answer is no, you cannot make money writing software to run OLD data that the majority of people could care less about. I tell those who ask that we’ll pass the hat so they can go on ebay and buy an old laptop computer for $75 that will let them run the old data.
    • And herein lies the problem for Compulife in writing software. Our software is really two things. It is a computer program but it is also a data service. The vast majority of people in the market buy our software not only to get a program, they buy our software to get up-to-date (current) and accurate life insurance premium quotations for multiple companies. The data is a VERY important part of our software, really the most important. That data is routinely changing and needs to be updated. Customers who buy our service are not just buying our program, they are buying the ongoing updating of the software.
    • For a time we had CP/M software (that’s an antique operating system). You younger folks won’t remember CP/M, but before there was Windows, and before there was PC-DOS, there was CP/M. And those early CP/M computer cost a lot. You would typically spend $4,000 and up for a CP/M computer. We not only offered software for those CP/M computers, we updated that software monthly.
    • Then along came DOS. In the early days many of our customers still bought CP/M computers because they were half the price of DOS computers, and many of the CP/M computers came jam packed with software like word processing, spreadsheets, databases, etc. But over time DOS machines got cheaper and cheaper and pretty soon people stopped buying CP/M computers. But Compulife was stuck to continue updating those old CP/M computers even though no one was buying new versions of those computers anymore. We began a program of selling DOS computers at “cost” in order to get our subscribers to upgrade from CP/M machines to DOS, and over time we got most of those customers to upgrade. But some didn’t, and you should have heard the screams and wailing when we no longer supported CP/M. Those customers were angry – it was all our fault.
    • We went through the same routine when we decided to no longer support floppy disk (only) users and you had to have a hard drive to run Compulife. Once again, we offered hard drive upgrades for customers stuck with flopping disk (only) machines, but as before, some customers did not upgrade the old machines and you should have heard the screams and cries when we discontinued floppy disk (only) machine support.
    • And those unhappy customers hurt us. The negative comments of ONE person can undo the positive comments of 10 people, and the 10 people who are happy with your service are generally inclined to say nothing. Unhappy customers want you and everyone else to know that they are unhappy. You have the same problem in politics, but back to this long answer to your question.
    • Handheld computers (like your phone) have become VERY popular. We first noticed this when we were getting calls from customers wanting to know if we were going to have software for their Palm Pilots. We got lobbied – HARD. Agents told us if we had Palm software, every agent would want our service. We looked at it, decided we could do it, and spent the time and money to generate Palm software. Our programmer did a fabulous job.
    • Who cares? Palm devices are now defunct. No one uses them anymore. We continued to support that Operating System until AFTER the last Palm was being used by our customers.
    • Now you (and others) ask, will we support Apple Operating Systems, including the DIFFERENT operating systems that are the Mac and iPhone, neither of which is compatible with the other (except they can talk to each other).
    • The plain answer is NO. For me the Mac underlines the fickleness of people who say they want something. In the case of a Mac you can pay less than $100 for the “Parallels” software program that not only runs Compulife on the Mac, it will then run all sorts of other Windows programs on the Mac. But I actually get prospects who say, “I don’t want to put Parallels on my Mac computer”. Then you don’t really want to run Compulife, you’re just winding me up.
    • More important, most customers now have computers and devices that are different, but all can run browsers that can run software on the web. “Compulife Basic” which is the product that you are running in this case, is specifically written to be run on a browser. And that is where Compulife intends to develop further in the future. Why? Because instead of the market standardizing on a single operating system, which actually happened in history, the market is now breaking apart with many different operating systems all running on limited amounts of hardware, where people are now buying hardware that is NOT based upon the operating system but on how the hardware looks and feels.
    • So the common connection between all these devices is the internet and even Microsoft “gets it”, now offering “Office 365” which is a web based version of their “Office” product which provides programs like “Word”, “Excel”, “Power Point”, etc. – all “on-line”. Our programmer Chris has told me that Microsoft generated 50% of its profit from web software last year. It is the growing part of their business.
    • Are we going to write software for your IOS? NO, not a chance. Flat out, not a chance.
    • The problem with the Internet is THEFT. I have just spent 6 years of my life dealing with a guy who STOLE our software and turned around and allowed over 13,000 people FREE access to what he stole from us. How much software can you SELL to people who get it for FREE? I have spent hundreds of thousands in legal costs to stop this. I had NO CHOICE.
    • How did he get the software? By gaining unlicensed access to our software through the internet. Let me underline that it is hard, DARN hard to stop internet theft. I feel badly for singers and musicians who have had the carpet pulled out from under them by people taking their material and publishing it on the Internet for FREE distribution and use.
    • Securing software on the internet is a nightmare. When you hear stories like hackers getting into a company’s website and stealing 7 million credit cards, it’s because no matter what kind of security road block you build, it can be hacked. It just requires a persistent hacker who wants in, and who has access to the programmers who can figure out how to hack in.
    • Currently, with Compulife Basic, we have a VERY low level of security. When you first access the program you enter a password and then our program writes that password to a “cookie” file which is a file YOUR browser keeps on YOUR computer (device) which identifies the password (so you don’t have to enter it again) and which identifies the browser you are running on that computer. We also record that data in our on-line database that controls access to Compulife Basic. The next time your computer (device) visits Compulife Basic, the software asks for the information from the cookie file. If it sees information that matches what we keep on record about the device, including the password, and if it all matches, then we consider your device “authorized” and simply returning for a new quote.
    • But there is an option in your computer (device) that tells your browser to NOT allow cookies. If you have that option activated, then your device will not allow the creation of the cookie and you will have to enter the password even though you did it once before with that device. Your computer (device) is then counted as a new computer.
    • Compulife Basic customers have a LIMIT as to how many devices their account allows. WHY? Because if there was no limit, there is no stopping someone from getting a Compulife Basic account and then giving it for free to 13,000 of their friends. Does that make sense?
    • Now there are other issues with cookies. Some people like to “clean” their browsing history because they are told it will “speed up” their computers. Some of that “cleaning” software also removes cookie files. If that happens, and you come back to Compulife, then your computer (device) will be treated as a new device because there is no cookie file.
    • I suspect (in your case) that there are now computers (devices) which will not allow you to visit a site if the site wants to put a cookie on your device, without first asking your device for permission to put the cookie on your device. And THAT is what I think you are up against. This can likely be fixed by visiting the settings on your device, or the settings on your device’s anti-virus software.
    • Either way, the KEY to all your problems will be rooted in the way your device is handling cookies.
    • Is Compulife going to re-write our software, or support a different IOS to get around that problem, NOT A CHANCE. I strongly recommend that you take the time to figure out why your computer (device) is misbehaving. It’s not a problem on our end.
    • Why the long response?
    • Because this response (more fully edited) will be an article in the next bulletin. Fear not, your name will not be shared with our subscribers, but I consider your email and those questions to be important enough to discuss with everyone.
    • And finally, I have RESET your Compulife Basic account, and you can start over with your devices.
    • Give me a call if you want to discuss this further. Generally I don’t like to write essay answers to questions posed in emails, it is easier to just talk on the phone. That’s one of the features on your smart phone, you can actually use it to talk to people. Of course I jest. But it’s why I don’t have a smart phone, just a flip phone, because all I use it for is to talk. I can’t stand “texting” and there are some questions you just can’t text a response to.
    I hope you have a great weekend.

Term4Sale – Zip Code Listing Warranty
The warranty that Compulife provides is that for every 3 zip code listings that you have, you can expect ONE legitimate email contact through the system per year (we don’t count tests and duplicates; spouses and partners are NOT considered duplicates). If you didn’t get that one for three contact then those 3 zip codes will be free listings for the following year and the warranty will carry over to that following year as if you had paid the full normal fee.

If you think that may be the case for you, do NOT pay your term4sale invoice until the last week of December.

NOTE:  Term4sale Zip Code invoices for “additional zip codes” will be sent on or about November 15, 2021; you have until January 7, 2022 to pay that invoice.

In that last week of December (between Christmas and New Year) call us and we will review your email contacts with you, and compare that to the number of zip codes that you had in 2021. If you came up short, we will issue the appropriate credit and reduce your invoice. If you pay that reduced amount you will keep ALL the zip codes you were invoiced for in mid-November.

How is the credit calculated (if you qualify)?

EXAMPLE:  You have 14 zip codes, three local and 11 that you purchased. For 14 zip codes we expect: 14/3 = 5 contacts (4.67 rounded up). Let’s assume that you had only 3 email contacts (note: we do not count duplicate or BOGUS contacts) On November 15th, we would have invoiced you $198 (11 X $18) for 2021 renewal. However, you really only got the activity we would have expected for 9 total zip codes, which would have been 3 local zip codes, and 6 additionally purchased zip codes. Therefore, we will credit your invoice DOWN to $108 (6 X $18) and give you the same 14 zip codes for 2021. In other words, you will have 5 of those 11 paid zip codes for free.

IMPORTANT:  There are NO REFUNDS. What we do is reduce the renewal cost for the SAME zip codes for the following year. After January 10th you can add zip codes (and pay for those) or you can swap your zip codes for other zip codes.

This guarantee is designed to act as a way to retroactively balance out the cost of zip codes listings that have not produced. Sometimes, particularly for those with smaller numbers of zip codes, or with zip codes in poorly populated areas, the results are not as good. We understand that and our warranty is designed to moderate the cost when results are disappointing.

And, if you are a card player, you know that sometimes you run hot and sometimes you run cold. We’re glad when you run hot, and will try to help if you get cold decked.

Zip Code List FROZEN Until
January 10, 2022
Immediately following bump week, the zip code list will be FROZEN meaning there will be no opportunity to add, remove or exchange zip codes until January 10, 2022. This will prepare us for the invoices that will be sent out to renew additional zip codes for 2022.

There are NO CHANGES to pricing from last year.

Once you receive your additional zip code invoice for 2022, you can pay in 2021 if you want to expense the advertising in that year, or you have up until January 7, 2022 to make your payment which allows you to expense the advertising in 2022.

Zip Code Renewals Must Be Paid By
January 7, 2022
Nothing compels you to renew your additional zip code listings and you will continue to be listed in those zip codes until January 7, 2022 in the event that you elect not to pay those renewals.

IMPORTANT:   If your payment has not been received by the end of business on January 7, 2022, the additional listings that you have will LAPSE and be made available to other subscribers at noon on January 10, 2022.

If you believe that you did not get sufficient email contacts (as per the warranty) and that we will need to make a warranty adjustment to your invoice, do not pay your invoice until the last week of December. I would encourage you to contact us on December 28th and we will review your total number of email contacts and weigh that against the number of zip codes that you have, and the number of contacts that you are entitled to. If you are short, we will determine the credit that we need to make against your invoice for 2022.

We Continue to Develop and Test The New CQS.EXE
Our programmer has been working to remove a programming component from our software called “Delphi”. Delphi is a programming tool that generates the screen and menus that you see in Compulife. It has been part of our Windows software since the time we first rolled out Windows software. It is also one of the reasons that our software “looks” dated and old fashioned. While current subscribers worry much more about function than appearance, newer software prospects tend to put a lot of emphasis on how it looks. That’s going to be changing with the new software, and while we are at it, we are retooling some of the menus to make them easier for new customers. Existing customers will NOT like the new menus at first but we are convinced that you will like them once you get used to them.

The first goal was to convert the program “as is” to get rid of Delphi. That work is now finished. Rather than re-create the OLD look and feel of the software, our programmer has moved forward with redesigning the menu systems in accordance with the new design that we are going with. The fact is that there is a LOT of debugging involved in making the new software work properly, and the decision has been made to adopt the new look and feel and debug that. This is pushing our initial release further down the road, but we think it will be a time saving strategy over all.

I want to warn you that the new look and feel will be VERY different. But the key to keep in mind when you first see it is that we are going for a design and layout that can be REPLICATED in a browser when the program is developed for the web. As I have said before, the objective is to have two options for customers, one is the Windows based software and/or the other is the web based software. We do NOT want there to be a difference in look and feel between the two.

Once this work is completed we will roll out the new CQS.EXE which you will be able to use while still having access to your current GOWIN.EXE. We want you to have the option of either program as we then direct our attention to the new “data structure” and overhaul of our database technology. Once we start rolling out the new data files, those new data files will be what the new CQS.EXE uses. The existing data files will continue to work with the old GOWIN.EXE.

As we have promised, you will have both old and new on your computer for a few months (after the job is done) to ensure that everyone is happy with the new software and that our internet engine customers have updated and are using the new data files. Once that is all settled we will then retire the existing windows software and old data files.

And finally, once that happens some big changes can then begin to happen. The new data structure will allow us to quickly abandon many old limitations which will simplify our system. Following that we will incorporate new features and functions that will help us to dramatically improve our product.

Our Current Programming Plans for 2022
The following is the current order for new work that we will be doing in 2022:

      • Introduction of New PC Version: CQS.EXE
      • Overhaul Of Current Product Data Files
    • Introduction of Compulife Basic Plus (with Pick 12)

Anyone with questions about any of these upcoming projects can call Bob Barney to discuss:

(888) 798-3488

Please don’t email me essay questions, just call. If I’m not in, email me your phone number, I’ll call you.

These planned objectives will easily consume our programming time during 2022. The good news is that once the product data files have been converted, and we have introduced the new CQS.EXE, and upgraded our internet engine to use the new data files, Compulife will be turning it’s full attention to our web based, Compulife Basic software. The long term goal is to have a web based product that does everything our PC based software does.

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