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Update News for February 2023

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

    • You Decided – New Icon

    • New Program or Old Program – You Will Decide

    • Then We Start To Push The New Program

    • Getting Rid of Old Limitations

    • Making Things As Simple as Possible

    • New Data Files Should Be Smaller

    • Our Current Programming Plans for 2023

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

You Decided – New Icon
Thank you to all the subscribers who voted in our old versus new icon poll. There were actually more who voted than I thought would and I appreciate the level of interest. The results were as close as I expected. The new icon edged out the old icon by 53.3% to 46.7%. So, to go with the new program we will have a new icon.

Compulife

The new icon will have the word “Compulife” under it, nothing else. The old icon will still say “Compulife Quotation System” underneath.

New Program or Old Program – You Will Decide
I think the new icon will be for the better in the mid term, as you will have both old and new software (and old and new icons) on your computer for a period of time. The old icon will run the old software and the new icon, when the new software is ready, will run the new software.

Initially the old and new software (when the new is available) will be processing quotes from the same data files. If there is a difference or discrepancy between the old and new it will be 99% certain that it is a bug that we have not identified with the new software.

The new program will have a menu item to let you easily switch back to the old program. If you are not sure of a quote that you are running, you will be able to use the menu to flip back to the old program and see if you get a different result.

The automatic appearance of the new icon on your desktop will demonstrate our level of confidence. Initially there will be no new icon even when the new software is first available. The new CQS program when first released will be discussed in a bulletin and there will be instructions on how to MANUALLY make an icon. That way, only people who read bulletins and those who have the skill level to manually make an icon will be the first to get a look. That will keep our first test group relatively small and we do expect that initial group will find some issues. Having said that, we will try to catch as many of those issues before we provide the new software to you, and we are still catching plenty at this point in our own testing.

Part of the delay at this point is fixing bugs, but a lot of the delay is perfecting the new look and feel of the menus and client entry screen. These are the things where you will see the biggest changes. Under the surface the changes are much more radical as we have removed all the old graphic interface and replaced it with newer code. The new program will be 100% C++ code versus the old program which had a user interface tool called Delphi. Delphi was based upon a different language that created code that could be linked into C++. Our programmer had to basically work in two languages but the new program will be all C++ and that will make things much easier long term. Note that Delphi was not part of our web based software.

After our smaller groups have run out of issues, we will then create the new icon automatically. In addition to that new icon, there will also be a menu choice in the GOWIN.EXE software to go to the new CQS.EXE software. You will be able to flip from old to new and back again.

Then We Start To Push The New Program
Updates to the software create a situation where the sub programs such as the update download program (CQSDOWN.EXE) and the decompression program (DECOMPW.EXE) automatically call GOWIN.EXE when they are done processing whatever update related job that they have completed. When we think the new program is bullet proof, those programs will be changed so that they return to the new CQS.EXE and not to the old GOWIN.EXE. You will still be able to flip to the GOWIN.EXE, but if you keep using GOWIN.EXE it will be a bit frustrating. The idea is to get you using the new.

Eventually, when when both new program produces the same quotes flawlessly, we will begin the process of converting to the new data structure. Converting the old data to the new data will take some time and testing on our end and, only after we are certain that it is working solidly, will we update the CQS.EXE software so that it connects the new data.

We think that the new data structure will be relatively problem free as a certain amount of that new data structure has already been implemented for the quoting of renewal premiums. Most renewal premiums come from a data file that is different from the base rate tables, and that new renewal file is built using the new data structure.

Once that conversion is complete, the new program will be working with the new data structure and the old program will be working with the old data structure. At that point bugs that show up will most certainly be coming from the new data structure and not the new program.

Only AFTER the new software with the new data structure is working without any issues will we abandon the old program and old data structure. Our incentive will be to do that sooner than later, as producing two different sets of data will be a lot of extra work and it will mean we are shipping twice as much software as we otherwise would need to. Nonetheless, we will not be in a rush as we want to ensure that there are no outstanding issues when we pull the plug on the old system.

Shipping both is not that big a deal. Our program and database are relatively small because of the high level of compaction that we achieve in storing data files. Two copies of Compulife will still not be that big compared to many of the other software products on your computer. On the other hand, we would like to get this wrapped up and move to the new structure so that we can start adding the new features and capabilities that we have been planning for a long time.

Getting Rid of Old Limitations
There are many limitations in the old software caused by the limits of our older DOS programs that were 8 bit. For example we could not have a record size of more than 64K and while that was a huge amount of data in the good old days, it’s not that huge anymore. One thing that we had done to keep us from testing those limits was to set a maximum number of bands in the old software to 6. While 6 was a HUGE number in the old days, we have a few cases where in order to properly quote a company we have to go over 6.

Recently one of the more popular companies in our U.S. software went from 4 to 7 bands on their basic level term plans. That doesn’t keep us from quoting their products, but we had to break the product into two product entries and quote one of product entry for a certain range of face amounts, and the other product entry for the remaining range of face amounts. We have done this before and it is not the only example in the software. When running comparisons there is no real issue for subscribers at all. On the other hand, if you are trying to quote the product individually from the company/product menu, you have to pay attention to which face amount range you select and that can be clunky. Let me underline, we don’t like clunky. What we like is simplicity and we know that you like simplicity too.

Making Things As Simple as Possible
A similar issue exists for most preferred plus quotes. Our current maximum of 4 health classes in a single product entry means that we often have to use a second product entry in which to store an additional class such as preferred plus. As with second product entries for bands, that particular issue is invisible when running comparisons. Further, and because it is such a common problem, we long ago made it largely invisible when running individual quotes. The clunkiness shows up when you attempt to print a list of products where product entries appear individually on the printed list.

You also see the problem when updating state approvals. State approvals changes have to be done on a product entry by product entry basis, which doubles my work load anytime a state approval changes. With the upgraded database, instead of changing two product entries I will have only one product entry to change. There is now way the old data structure would easily accomodate those kinds of changes when at the same time we were faced with 64K product entry limits.

On a side note, currently you have the ability with the old program to change state approvals yourself. That option for you will be gone from the new software. State approvals had been the only way that you could modify the product data files in the system. With the new data structure only Compulife will be able to make the state approval changes. Now that midmonth updating is fast and easy there is really no need for you to have that feature and VERY few ever have to use it.

New Data Files Should Be Smaller
One of the reasons you will not be able edit state approvals in the new data structure is because we will not be able to edit the files we send to you either. Currently the files you get from us are the same files we work on with our software which knows how to encrypt “on the go”. The new system will keep our copies of files in a much simpler form, and then our rate entry software will “compile and compress” those simple files into a tight final package that the program must suck in and decompress in memory before using.

As we have already discussed, in the old days computers did not have the volume of computer memory that they do now and so our software could only hold so much data in memory at any one time. The new program will literally uncork and decrypt the whole compressed data file into memory. After that, the program will use that data from memory until you close the program. While most new computers are so fast that you won’t notice any real difference in speed, it will make our programmer’s life much simpler when writing code that talks to the data files.

Our Current Programming Plans for 2023
The following is the current order for new work that we will be doing in 2023:

      • 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 the balance of this year and throughout 2023. 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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