Microstiff - Microsoft Outings of the Third Kind

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Free Accounting Express 2007 -- Thanks for Nothin’!

You get what you pay for? Could be with Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007.

I am an accounting-type geek – Great Plains, QuickBooks, Solomon, Peachtree, SBT -- which means I can teach people how to write programs AND do accounting. Crazy combo, I know, but that's just how the brain cells twisted around each other to create that entity known as me!

Yesterday, my accounting side got the better of me when I saw FREE Microsoft software and I downloaded the 300Mb + express version to my Gateway 3.06 HT, ATI Radeon Express 200, 2048Mb memory, 200Gb HD system. Express version means, mostly, no Inventory Parts Control, Job Costing, Asset Management, and Dashboard and Cash Flow Analysis. Other than that, you’re good to go with a very hearty accounting system in the QuickBooks genre, for a very nice price…FREE!

Oh, if I only could discover if it works for me! Yah see (George-istic), it’ll work for a while and then, Pfffffftttt! Here’s what’s gone wrong (now, mind you I’ve got a pristine hardware setup here; high speed, plain vanilla):

  • After initial download and program launch, my free, bundled AOL firewall asked me if I wanted to let the Evil Empire through; I said sure. Hung up and stayed hung, trying to register online with MSFT. O.K., I’ll give you that, sorta. Maybe everybody hitting at once. Solution: Warm boot, ostensibly because included SQL server will not give up the “End Now” ghost.
  • IPL again and got same. Decided to try in morning.
  • Morning. IPL lets me past, this time and I am in the driver’s seat. I put on my green arm garter, green visor and turn on my green accountant’s lamp. Choose a sample company and proceed to create an invoice. All’s well until I want to look up customer credit history. Pffffffttt! Hangs up. Solution: Cold boot. Sometimes warm boots don’t work (old computer operator wives’ tale).
  • IPL and want to create a Quote (convertible to an Invoice later). All’s well until I want to lookup tax information. Pffffffttt! Hangs up. Solution: Cold boot.
  • IPL and now I get the dreaded all-links-are-in-light-gray-you-can’t-choose-a-f#*king-thing application window. Solution: Cold Boot.
  • Chose Data Files on the Express 2007 menu and repaired them. Says there “were no errors”.
  • IPL and now I can’t get past the original problem of signing in with MSFT.

Bottom line. Thanks for nuttin’, Microsoft. And I’m a computer guy. Most SMB owners would have given up a long time before I did! Sometimes FREE means you get what you pay for!

Moral: Free download is the very same thing as a new product launch. Everything should be seamless and transparent…ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE TALKING SMB OWNERS. Shame on you!

Mini-Microsoft: Microsoft FY07Q1 Results

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