e-Newsletter, October 18, 2001

Roundtable Software E-Mail Newsletter Issue #11, October 18, 2001

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  • Release of 2001 Tax Forms Patch
  • Windows XP
  • How Many FILES and BUFFERS

  • 2001 W-2 / 1099-MISC Patch Released

    The federal government had a real itch to redesign forms this year, and they scratched that itch like crazy with the W-2 and 1099-MISC forms. Both forms have been changed to the point that it is not possible to print them properly using your current RTS Advantage software. Therefore we have issued a major patch for version 3.3 that updates the programs and forms in all four modules where they can be printed (General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and Payroll). This patch is available free on our website. The patch can be installed on any Advantage version 3.3 system and you will find complete instructions on the website for preparing for, applying and setting up the patch. Because of the size and complexity of this patch, we recommend that you print the instructions and study them closely even if you are already familiar with applying patches.

    Beyond the basics of making Advantage compatible with the redesigned forms, you'll also find a few significant new features added to Payroll in the patch, making forms printing more convenient and adding new capabilities:

    * New employee number range for printing W-2s and 1099s - great when you need to reprint a few forms that misaligned or for which data needed editing.

    * Report more types of special disclosure items, including 403(b), 408(k), 408(p) and Golden Parachute excise taxes.

    The Unix version of the patch is also available on the website. Those who need it can call Roundtable for the login and password needed to access this area. You will need to provide the serial number of your Unix version of RTS Advantage to get the login information.

    Note that this patch does not include an updated version of our Magnetic Media Reporting utility. The federal government has revamped the requirements for magnetic media reporting from the ground up, which means that we are now in the process of rewriting the MMRS module from the ground up as well. The new MMRS package will be ready before the end of the year. However, in view of the fact that it has had to be rewritten, and the fact that other accounting software manufacturers charge thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars for similar functionality, the new version of MMRS will not be a free patch, nor will it continue to be included as part of the standard Advantage Accounting System package. MMRS will be sold separately at a suggested retail price of $249 ($395 for the Unix version). We will issue a newsletter to announce the release of the new version.

    Windows XP

    As you have probably heard, Microsoft is about to release their latest version of Windows, this one called XP. According to an XP beta tester who is also an RTS Advantage user, our software runs fine under this new version of Windows. Better yet, XP does not continue the annoying trend of the Me version of not using a CONFIG file. CONFIG setup on XP is the same as for Windows NT and 2000 - in other words, the FILES= statement can be added to the CONFIG file in the WINDOWS/XP directory; you do not need to edit INI files as with the Me version.

    Speaking of Windows 2000, some dealers have reported a problem on some installations where maximizing the Advantage DOS window creates an odd situation where the window goes full screen but Advantage still shows up at the small 'windowed' size. One dealer has now discovered that the problem can be alleviated by adding the line "DEVICE=ANSI.SYS" in the CONFIG file. This may be a bug in Windows that only shows up with certain video cards because the problem only occurs on certain machines. We do not know if this bug has been fixed in Windows XP, but if it has not presumably the same fix will take care of it.

    How Many FILES and BUFFERS Do I Need?

    There is some confusion over the number of files that should be requested in the CONFIG's "FILES=" statements, mostly stemming from the fact that the requirements have been increased in our last two releases. Here are the minimums required:

    Advantage Version 3.3 -> 75
    Advantage Version 3.2 -> 65
    Older Versions -> 50

    We do not expect to have to increase this requirement again, so 75 should be fine from now on. Setting to anything more than 75 files is a waste of resources unless you have other applications that specifically request more. Don't think that setting FILES to anything higher will boost performance - if anything it hinders optimum performance. On the other hand, setting less than 75 file will also cause problems in certain parts of Advantage that open the most files, like Order Entry, Billing and Point Of Sale.

    The BUFFERS setting remains as we've always recommended - set it to the lowest number possible. While a large number of buffers will slightly increase performance, the increased likelihood of operating system induced data corruption is simply not worth it. We cannot give you a specific number because we have found that different Windows machines have different minimums. Some can be set all the way down to 1 buffer, most need 5-8 to function properly. Determining the minimum is easy, if a bit time-consuming. After setting the BUFFERS in the CONFIG, shut down the machine and reboot. Now try to shut the machine down again - if the machine hangs while doing its shutdown procedures then the number of buffers must be increased. Start this process at 1 buffer, and just increase it until the machine shuts down properly.

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