Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dateline Woodstock:
We don't have any statistical evidence to submit, but we believe Vermonters as a whole (and Woodchucks in particilar) are behaving as proactively as anyone to curb our individual carbon footprints. We believe that, should the polar ice caps really melt at the rate those scientists are predicting, we have as good a chance as any of waking up one morning and finding ourselves festooned with kelp. Those of us who have traded our 100 watt bulbs for high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs and our Jeep Grand Cherokees for Toyota Priuses were dealt a significant setback this week when the Woodstock Athletic Committee unveiled the new night lighting for the WBD (Woodstock Baseball Diamond). The Diamond is now surrounded by six 80-foot stainless steel poles -- each topped with 25 gleaming 4,000 watt high-intensity flood lights. The design for the WBD looked good on paper, but it has had a few unexpected side effects. First of all, by the third inning of last night's game, the Woodstock Ice Arena noticed a big wet puddle in center ice. So they were forced to crank up their cooling plant to HIGH (requiring an additional 800 kilowatts per hour). Fortunately, they were able to refreeze the rink just in time for the Woodstock PeeWee hockey game to begin. On the saving side of the equation, new numbers coming out of the Woodstock Highway Department indicate that the Town can save $540 per night by dousing all streetlights while games are being played at the WBD. Last week the State of Vermont sent its highway inspectors down to Woodstock with their high-tech multi-array photovoltaic sensors to confirm that, during a baseball game, the light level on every sidewalk, street, and corner exceeded 1800 lumens -- a level deemed by the Vermont Department of Fishing to be sufficent for tying flies outdoors at midnight. Although there are many of us who still believe new lighting at the WBD has upset the balance of our carbon offsets, we were beginning to think that cooperation between the Woodstock Athletic Committee and the Woodstock Highway Department just might work out. Unfortunately, the local chapter of the American Cancer Society has weighed in on the matter, arguing that the Town must agree to provide each player, coach, and spectator with a free bottle of sun block (SPF 45 or higher) before the next game is played.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Advanced Training on MISys SBM. We are hearing from more and more users of MISys SBM who would like to participate in an on-line training course covering Manufacturing Orders, Master Production Scheduling, and Material Requirements Planning. If you are among these users but haven't put your name of our wait-list, please contact MISys Customer Service at 802/457-4600 to register your interest. We have not yet picked a date for Advanced Training on MISys SBM, but your interest could spirit us on. There is no cost or obligation to be on our wait-list, so call 802/457-4600 today!
Training on MISys SAE. Speaking of training, users who can benefit from additional training on MISys SAE should not miss the Basic Training and Advanced Training workshops scheduled for the week of May 19th and June 2nd respectively. Click here for more information or contact MISys Customer Service at 802/457-4600.

Friday, April 18, 2008

MISys SBM Update Released. A new update for MISys Small Business Manufacturing was released earlier this week. This update fixes a number of little bugs which have been discovered recently. A list of the changes in version is posted in the Public Notices area of the MISys Community Forums. When you next log in to MISys SBM, watch for the pop-up message urging you to update your software. This process is quick and easy, so we hope you click the OK button and update your software today.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dateline Woodstock:
There are two groups of people who live here in Woodstock: those who want Spring to come as soon as possible, and those who want Winter to linger on as long as possible. You might be surprised to learn that, despite their apparently disparate points of view, these people get along quite well. Those of you who live in parts of the United States (or the world for that matter) where the snow has already melted can sympathize with Vermonters who still have 1 to 2 feet of the white stuff in their dooryards. Many of us haven't seen bare ground since the beginning of October, so we can't wait for the last remnant of the winter to disappear and for green grass and real flowers to appear. On the other side are all the maple sugar makers who are tending their fires hoping that the sap will keep flowing a few more days, even a week or so, so they can get a good c! rop of sweet maple syrup in. Here in Vermont a good maple crop is an economic necessity. Or tiny state is the top maple syrup producer in the United States, and many Vermont farmers depend on it for their livelihood. Starting about mid-March, maple syrup makers (called "sugarmakers") start drilling small holes (called "taps") in large stands of sugar maple trees. All up the side of a Vermont hill you can see hundreds of trees connected to each other with plastic tubing, with 2 or 3 taps per tree each contributing a steady but slow drip, drip, drip of clear and tasteless sap. At the bottom of the hill, each drip has turned into a gusher of sap which collects in a 200-500 gallon tank. The contents of the tank is pumped out quickly and transported to the "sugarhouse" where it is heated to 217'F and about 39 gallons of water out of every 40 gallons of sap are boiled away as sweet-smelling steam. What is left is bottled and used by Vermonters on blueberry pancakes (the official ! state breakfast). What we don't use ourselves is sold to tourists (cal led "people from away"). Our neighbor Mary, over at Top Acres Farm, is just finishing a great crop of Fancy and Grade A syrup which she can ship anywhere in the US in quart cans. If you'd like to sample some of Vermont's finest, give Mary a call at 802/457-3779 with your particulars. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Training on MISys SAE. Speaking of training, users who can benefit from additional training on MISys SAE should not miss the Basic Training and Advanced Training workshops scheduled for the week of May 19th and June 2nd respectively. Click here for more information or contact MISys Customer Service at 802/457-4600.
New Service Pack For MISys SAE. A new Service Pack for MISys Manufacturing for Sage Accpac ERP (MISys SAE) version 5.4 was released last week. All users of MISys SAE v5.4 should download and install this update as soon as possible. The best way to get this Service Pack is to click the CHECK FOR UPDATES button when you next log in. This will take you directly to the file you need to download. You can also download the file from the MISys Web site.
The details of this and other Service Packs for MISys SAE are posted in the Public Notices area of the MISys SAE Community Forums. If you don't currently have access to these forums, it takes just a moment to register. Once registered and your registration is confirmed, you will have regular access to a world of information about MISys Manufacturing software.

Monday, April 07, 2008

MISys Manufacturing Satisfaction Survey. The recently completed survey of users running various versions of MISys Manufacturing for Sage Accpac ERP (MISys SAE) has yielded some very valuable insights into how our customers are using the software, what they find most valuable, and what functionality (if any) they would like to see in future versions of the product.
Clearly, seamless integration with Sage Accpac integration is still a very important reason why manufacturers buy Accpac in the first place -- and why they stick with Accpac. By and large, users are exercising the full range of integration with Accpac; integrating with General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Inventory Control, and Order Entry. On the other hand, the majority of users reported that they did not feel they were using the full pallet of features available to them, and that additional training would help alleviate this.
Each user who completed the survey received a $1000 reward, issued as a credit toward the purchase of selected products. This credit expires on May 1, 2008 so, if you are one of those who completed the survey, don't forget to make your purchase (either through your business partner or directly with MISys) before the end of this month. For more information, or to claim your reward, contact MISys Sales at 802/457-4600.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dateline Woodstock:
About this time every year, Vermonters start thinking about Spring. Not that Spring will be sprung anytime soon, but we find no small comfort in just thinking about it. One of the major events of Spring, one that you may not have heard about, is the Joe’s Pond Ice-Out Contest. The contest came about as a result of cabin fever. In the mid 1980’s, Jules Chatot, a Joe’s Pond summer resident for many years, regularly visited his camp in the winter. He and his family and friends would hang out together to party, snowmobile, play cards—it was like “deer camp” in the dead of winter, or “spring break” in deep snow with howling winds and muddy roads. The weather is always a favorite topic of conversation among Vermonters, and by late February or March people in the area of Joe’s Pond invariably expand it! to “when do you think the ice will go out?”
Jules and his friends had been making wagers for years about when the ice would be gone. They’d go into West Danville every day for coffee at the Joe’s Pond Country Store or for supplies at Hasting’s store, and naturally local folks had strong opinions and took up the challenge. Jules kept track for everyone in a little notebook he kept in his pocket.
Jules was president of the Joe’s Pond Association and sometime in late 1987, he and his buddies decided to turn the rapidly expanding friendly game into a real contest. They decided “a buck a guess” was fair, but then they needed some foolproof way to determine the actual time the ice was out. They put their heads together and came up with the hi-tech, sophisticated control system that is still in use now, twenty-one years later. They placed an old electric clock (now estimated to be at least 40 years old) on Homer and Elsie Fitts’ deck, tethered it to a cinder block wired to a wooden pallet placed 50 feet or more out on the ice just off the fishing access by the Fitts’ camp, and there it was—the perfect solution to inevitable arguments about when the ice was actually out of all the nooks and crannies and coves of the pond. When the block went down, the clock stopped, and that w! as it—the “official” ice-out time. Whoever guessed closest to the date and time the clock stopped won the contest.
That first year, April of 1988, there were a few hundred people in the game. By 1990, there were 1500 tickets sold, and to keep track of all the names, times, and dates, Jules’ daughter, Judy, set up a database. In 1994, Manuel “Chico” Carcoba took over the database and logged in 2,500 tickets. The game has grown steadily over the years, and in 2007, “Chico” logged in over 9,000 tickets. People all over the United States and some from overseas play the game.
The Joe’s Pond Ice-Out Contest isn’t as much about winning (although last year the winner got $4,216!!), it is more about playing the game and shaking off some of the effects of a long, cold Vermont winter and muddy spring—and it’s about having fun. We aren’t sure why so many folks from other states like to get into the game, but it sure makes it more interesting for everyone.
After expenses, proceeds are split between the Joe's Pond Association and the contest winner. The Ice-Out Contest is the biggest fundraiser the Association has. Joe's Pond Association's share of the proceeds is used for its free public July Fourth Fireworks display.