Looking Back to 1994

From the October 1994 Bits of Blue Newsletter

Secretary’s Report

MINUTES OF 9/14/94 MEETING
and Personal Comments by
Jim Clark, Tampa PC Users Group

This was another great meeting, but the rain was once again not a friend to our meeting. However, the rain did not interfere with the very good meeting that took place, including a fine presentation on a very new and powerful program — Ca$hGraf Business Office.

USER GROUP NEWS

ADOPTBBS: Harvey gave a brief summary as to what the Adopt The BBS fund raiser is all about and why and then pointed out that the newsletter includes a how-goes-it thermometer to reflect our progress toward achieving the funding needed to improve the BBS — add a second phone line, another modem to support that line, and add a 500+ MB hard drive to provide more file storage capacity. He reported that as of newsletter publication time only $200 in contributions had been received. He emphasized how important the additional funding is to the BBS and urged all members using the BBS to lend their support to this fund raiser.

MEETING ANNOUNCEMENTS VIA FAX: Harvey announced that the Board of Directors (BOD) had decided to send notices of our general meetings via fax to area business and educational institutions as a means of making those organizations aware of us and what we do. These one page notification flyers would be sent to a selected group of organizations for the next meeting. Any organization that desires the notifications should inform the user group at the address shown on the back page of this newsletter, along with organizational info (name, address, fax number, etc.), or notify any member of our BOD. On the other hand, anyone who receives the flyer via fax that does not wish to receive future notifications should also let their wishes be known in the same manner.

CORPORATE MEMBERSHIP: The BOD has created a new membership category, Corporate Membership. Annual membership fee is $50, with membership commencing when the application for membership is approved and continuing for one year thereafter. This includes membership for three (3) corporate personnel, each of which would have full membership rights. The corporation may sponsor membership for additional corporate personnel if desired for an annual membership fee of $15 per person; however, the expiration of these memberships will be concurrent with the expiration of the sponsoring corporate membership. Each of these additional personnel will also have full membership rights. The initial application should be sent to the user group under corporate letterhead and include the names of all corporate personnel for which membership is requested. Requests to add additional personnel may be submitted at any time thereafter; this request, also under corporate letterhead, must include the names of the additional persons for whom membership is requested.

TBOL PARTICIPATION: Tampa Bay On-Line is in full swing on Prodigy. Harvey explained how our user group is participating in providing reviews and articles for posting on TBOL. All articles provided by us to TBOL will have first been published in our own Bits Of Blue newsletter. Several, usually about four, will be posted on TBOL every month; articles are be retained on TBOL until they become outdated. Nothing will posted on TBOL by this user group until after it has been made available to our own membership.

INDUSTRY NEWS: A number of news tidbits from the industry were tossed out from the podium and from the membership as well. Probably the item of greatest interest is that Microsoft has selected a name for Chicago/Windows 4.0—the name announced is “Windows 95,” after the year in which it is expected to be released. Yes, the industry now expects “Windows 95” to be released in the 1st or 2nd quarter of 1995. (Will it have to be renamed Windows 96??)

PRESENTATION Ca$hGraf Business Plus

Our own St. Petersburg-based Target Software Group, Inc. favored us with a visit by four of their staff. Richard Muscarella, Sales Manager, gave us a rundown on the company and the development of Ca$hGraf Business Plus—a comprehensive, interactive financial management program designed for small businesses. Rich explained how the company and this program evolved. Ca$hGraf was in development about 5 years and was first released only last May at Comdex. It has won numerous awards since release from a variety of industry reviewers and critics. The name of the software evolved from Ca$hGraf, to Ca$hGraf Office Plus, then to Ca$hGraf Business Plus because of a need for a name which more accurately reflects the breadth and comprehensiveness of the program. Rich described it as the only fully integrated, single solution financial management software available and the only piece of software a small business would need. Moreover, Rich explained that great emphasis was given during development to ease of use and true user friendliness, the result being that anyone would be an effective user in a very short time. That lead-in raised our level of expectations and set the stage for the presentation of Ca$hGraf Business Plus.

Chris Payne II, Regional Representative for Target Software, followed Rich with a review of Ca$hGraf. The introduction given by Rich soon became evident in the review. A very comprehensive program, Ca$hGraf includes: A financial awareness and goal tracking system, with loan and savings scheduler; full business accounting, including budgeting and projections; supports both cash and accrual accounting simultaneously; handles 3 types of invoices; does credit memos and billing statements; provides a general ledger; does full perpetual inventory with location and multi-location and price levels by item; handles check writing and deposit tracking with up to 99 accounts; provides a preset and user definable database; complete instant text and graphical reporting on all data in the program; provides contact management in client database with “Phone Script” and autodial throughout; includes word processing, complete with spell check and thesaurus, and mail merge from databases and financials; prepares purchase orders; prints to preprinted forms or will accept and fill in scanned forms; supports bar codes; does time and billing accounting; supports tab tables; provides a day planner and appointment scheduler for an unlimited number, to name just a few. And all of these features are fully integrated and interactive so that data in any portion of the program is instantly usable in all other areas of the program. Boy, that is a mouth full!!

The size of the files that Ca$hGraf will support are limited only by the limitations of the host computer and disk drive space. Ca$hGraf is not yet network compatible, but a network version is currently in development. Meanwhile, an easy-to-use full security capability already exists within the program that provides the capability to limit individual user access to specific areas of the program. True context sensitive help is available at every location within the program. Moreover, a single comprehensive manual provides ready information about the program in the unusual event that you cannot find your answer with on-line help. And if that still isn’t enough, free technical support is provided by Target Software via toll-free telephone. To speed up the learning curve, Target includes a 1 1/2-hour videotape with every copy of the program; this video gives the guidance needed to use the program effectively quickly.

Ca$hGraf Business Plus requires a 386 or better computer, with at least 4 Mb of RAM (preferably 8 Mb), Windows 3.1 and a total of 11 Mb of hard disk space for program files. The program lists for $299 but is available at an introductory price of $199 for a limited, but unspecified, time. For those in need of that kind of program who did not attend this meeting, you blew it because Target made the program available to those present for an even better price, Better luck next time.

To Target Software, Rich and Chris, and all who helped with the presentation, THANK YOU very much for an excellent presentation about Target and Ca$hGraf. We appreciate your making our membership aware of both Target and Ca$hGraf.

AND THE WINNER IS

Thanks to the generosity of Target Software Group and Brainchild Computer Distributions, there were a couple of very nice door prizes. Those among us to have the good fortune to win are:

Dave Clary - MosesAll!! [networking card]
Torn Cone - Ca$hGraf Business Plus

The meeting adjourned at about 8:45 PM. u