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Stuller's new "system"

   OK..OK....systems people out there tell me it's a 90-10 or
95-5.... YEAH.....! 

I’m a legacy systems graybeard so I can’t quote what the actual
percentage but back when I was developing software we would shoot for
3 bugs per 1000 lines of code average so or 99.97-.03. For example
the space shuttle software was debugged to 1 bug per 1000 lines.
That metric doesn’t apply today because back the we coded for
efficiency as we had less computing power. Today I’m sure it’s more
like 80-20 or 90-10 but then you have many different software
packages making up one system so if becomes the finger pointing game
when your trying to resolve problems.

When we developed mainframe systems with dump terminals
we had to provide sub-second response time (that is the time measured
from when the user hit enter and received a response). Now response
time of 30 seconds or more is acceptable. Plus, we keep building
faster and faster computers but the software runs about the same
speed or slower because of coding inefficiency’s.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://home.covad.net/~rcopeland/

    And, to avoid problems with MS Outlook, consider Eudora. 
After years of putting up with inferior software, I finally got
Eudora and it's *amazing.*  It's absolutely terrific software and
you can try it for free. 

I switched to Eudora around 8 years ago for this very reason. It
works very well and has most of what anybody needs, including
filters, stationery, voice recognition, etc. I use the sponsored
(free download) version, and only have to deal with one small ad box
in the bottom corner. I’ve also scanned it for spyware and found
none.

    You might also want to consider the freeware Pegasus mail.
http://www.pmail.com/ 

Pegasus is another excellent application that had only one flaw when
I was a network designer: It somehow managed to disassociate
printers from the network, but I’m sure they have that bug fixed by
now.

James in SoFl

I’ve been working with Stuller in one level or another for over 20
years now. I have had few problems. There were some glitches when
the system changed over, in my case all shipping related. Nothing
really problematical, didn’t cost me anything but a little time.
Once in a while I’ll get something wrong, but usually it isn’t worth
the postage to send back. If it is, they accept the return just
fine. The only real complaints I have had over all these years are
the holiday season and an occasional problem that seems to compound
rather than getting fixed. During the holidays, with all of the
short term help they hire in to handle the extra load, there are
invariably (no matter how much training they do) communication
failures. Annoying, especially at a time when patience is wearing
thin, but nothing worth pitching a fit about. And, as someone else
on here has already pointed out, nobody else is perfect either. I
have used many suppliers over the years, and still do use many.
Some are narrow focus with a specialty that they do really well.
Others are broad spectrum like Stuller. At this point, they still
are about the best at ‘one stop shopping’. Let them know when you
have problems, they will work on it. For my ordering, I almost always
use the on line ordering. It lets me put together the order on my
own terms, save it aside til later if I need to, confirm
availability and accuracy. Don’t have to wait on hold, just do my
thing as it suits my day. I place the order at the end of the day,
it shows up when I expect it. Other than a few errors in the early
days of the new system, I’ve had no problems or delays. They have
so many options to tailor to your needs that the occasional glitch
shouldn’t be a real problem for anyone. Jim

http://www.forrest-design.com

Thanks, Greg;

I’ll try the online ordering. I’d never needed an open account over
the years. I usually put in relatively small orders, and used to
debit it from my checking account. These days, I’m a little leary of
doing an open account, because my trade accounts aren’t the most
prudent businessmen, and tend to run up the bill, ignoring my
policies. I’d be afraid of ruining my good credit if I ran up the
account and my accounts recievable got high enough that I couldn’t
pay it. Right now I’ve been unable to draw a paycheck for a month
because of the money owed me. I’m giving them one more week before I
cut them off and go after their retail customers. I’m hoping they’ll
realize what I can do to their business if my back is up against the
wall. I have no competitors around here, I’m the only real
goldsmith in town. I’m getting pretty tired of financing other
people’s screwed up priorities. The stone dealers hereabouts are
offering fantastic deals around here but nobody’s buying, they have
no money. But there’s lots of repair work. If I got the 3-time
markup on that work, instead of one-third, I think I could do quite
well. But to me, running up my own debt is not advisable. Don’t you
just love this economic recovery?

David L. Huffman

As someone who fortunately (or unfortunately) does a fair amount of
systems work – and who did it extensively for over 20 years – I can
tell you that what Gary says is true. It’s for good reason, too.

A while back (the 80s, iirc) a concept of “zero defects” swept
through manufacturing in America. Quality programs sprang up all
over to try to achieve the mythical 100% quality goal. Tons of money
was spent trying to achieve the goal.

In reality – and especially in software systems designed to
interact with humans – it was recognized that zero defects was not
an achievable goal in most cases. In truly life-and-death
manufacturing, the tolerances are set so high and the testing is so
rigorous that the costs become astronomical in order to achieve that
near-zero status. In less critical areas, though, reality and cost
management set in.

Unfortunately, that meant that some shops went the other way
(Microsoft, notably) and started going for 80-20, with the explicit
goal that the end users of the first couple of iterations were
actually helping to test the software.

Today, I’d say most systems are closer to 95-5 BUT it’s almost
impossible to test all scenarios and anticipate how the end user will
actually USE the system. In the case of our jewelry, how many of us
have been surprised at some point by a customer taking one of our
pieces and doing something utterly surprising with it? Wearing it
upside down, turning a pin into a swizzle stick, wearing the necklace
wrapped around the upper arm, or something equally unanticipated?

So no matter how much thought, planning and anticipation go into
designing a human-interaction system, those pesky humans will ALWAYS
find a way to make it break. It’s the bane of designers – software
and jewelry – everywhere!

Hope this perspective helps shed a little light.

Enjoy,
Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller
Hand-crafted artisan jewelry

David,

If you are not into running up your own debt and plan on using a
debit card to pay online, watch out!!! Since the new system switch
in July, it results in a temporary double charge. This is similar to
the problem Rio Grande has, where if you give a debit card payment,
they place a hold on the funds for an estimated amount and then run
the charge for the order separately once shipped. So the first hold
is considered a “pending” transaction, and that cash doesn’t
actually get removed from your account, but you still don’t have
access to that money until several days later (10 days if you gave
a PayPal debit card) when the funds are finally released. Doing this
with a large enough order on your checking account can cause things
to bounce while your cash is on hold. Rio Grande tells me not to use
the online ordering, and to call to have the order “hard charged.” I
have to put my orders on account with Stuller, rather than prepay,
so I can avoid the problem.

Mary Latterman

     If you are not into running up your own debt and plan on
using a debit card to pay online, watch out!!! Since the new system
switch in July, it results in a temporary double charge. 

Hi Mary;

Thanks for that I have never had that problem, I
think, because they must be running the charge to the debit cards as
a credit card charge, which can be done because even though it is a
debit card, it’s on the Master Charge system. After reading your
post, I will make sure that’s how it’s done in the future.
Primarily, I use a credit card owned by my business, and then send
the payment to the credit card company. We call that “Spike Lee
Financing” since Spike financed his first film using credit cards.
Albert Paley also financed the famous gates he made for the Renwick
Gallery in the Smithsonian using this system. It was a better deal
than the SBA loan I was offered, and less risky too.

David L. Huffman