Archive for May, 2009
We just received an email from one of our clients telling us they were going to be upgrading their Timberline this weekend from 9.4 to 9.6. They wanted to know if we had any “resources or information for their IT consultants”. And of course we did! DB Data Inc’s Senior Consultant Gary Jacobson offers the following advice if you plan on upgrading your current system.
“The most important thing to do is to read the ‘Getting Started’ guide carefully before you start to make sure you know the steps and procedures well. This upgrade moves some program files to a new location (in order to be compliant with Windows Vista and future operating systems), and so it also requires a new shared folder and an additional mapped drive. The ‘Getting Started’ guide explains all that, but sometimes it’s a little confusing. You can call me, or have your IT person call me, if you want to just go through a rundown of what to do before you get started.”
Need more information? Got a different issue that needs solving? Feel free to email Gary at email@example.com.
The Stimulus is helping.
That’s the message carried to Washington D.C. last week by members of the Associated General Contractors of America. They met with Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Their mission: Talk about the stimulus and the progress being made. One by one, contractors recounted how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is benefitting them.
North Dakota contractor Paul Diederich, who repaves roads, on Monday started a stimulus project with a crew of three, one of them a 20-year employee of his company and another who has just finished high school. His was just one of many stories.
LaHood believes the summer will bring more construction jobs. You can find the entire report by clicking here.
If YOU have a stimulus success story you would like to share PLEASE feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks. I wish you continued success!
This Memorial Day I am grateful for so many things, my job, my family, my friends, my country. As a former journalist I am also thankful for the many people in the Armed Forces who shared their stories with me. Before moving to Phoenix, I lived in El Paso, Texas. Fort Bliss is there and in the 8 years I worked there as a television news reporter and anchor I witnessed so many incredible and heartbreaking events. So for today I would like to share a couple of my experiences, so that we can all spend a little time remembering that today, Memorial Day is MUCH more than a 3-day weekend, an excuse to barbecue or an all day drink fest.I remember the day I first met the handsome young Marine who came back paralyzed from the waist down. I was there when the military plane carrying him landed at Fort Bliss. They told me him would never walk again. He was 19, a former high school football hero from El Paso who joined the Marines, against his mother’s wishes. He wanted a better life. He felt the Marines would give him the discipline, the maturity and the education he needed to marry his girlfriend and raise a family.
When he came back paralyzed he feared his pretty young girlfriend would leave him. She did not. In fact her own mother told me she was shocked at the changes in her daughter. She was at her boyfriend’s bedside day and night, cleaning him, caring for him, keeping him company. Loving him.
That young Marine looked me in the eye and told me not only would he walk again but that he was going to do so because there was no way he was going to be pushed down the aisle in a wheelchair on his wedding day. Everyone smiled at the thought and hoped for it to happen but it seemed impossible and contradictory to what the doctors had told him.
More than a month later, I got a call from his mother saying physical therapy was going better than expected and that he was going to try and take his first steps the next day. Would I like to come? I JUMPED at the chance and showed up with a top-notch photographer. Not only did we capture him taking his first steps, we captured the look on his fiancé’s face, his mother and the faces of everyone who witnessed it. Everyone was crying, men, women, mother, photographer, me. How on earth could it be that this young Marine, high school football star and soon to be husband had defied the universe? I still get choked up thinking about it. Here was this young man, HALF my age doing the impossible. He was WALKING. His face was a study in concentration. Each painful step cost him dearly. Something we take for granted every day – he did not. He was determined to master the art of putting one foot in front of the other. I was and still am SO grateful to him for letting me witness his victory.
In case you’re wondering, he was wounded in Iraq shortly after the U.S. invasion following September 11th. He and his fellow Marines were just turning in for the night after a long, hot day of patrol when he heard it, the blood-chilling and unmistakable sound of a home-made grenade rolling into their camp. He pushed his fellow Marines out of the way and tried to throw himself on it to save their lives. He did. That’s how he became paralyzed.
He will tell you he’s not a hero. He will tell you he is just a person who was looking out for his friends. He will tell you he is no one special. He couldn’t be more wrong. He IS a hero. He is a hero to me, to his family, his fellow Marines whose lives he saved and to this country. After he could walk again, the first thing he did was marry his beautiful young girlfriend.
He wanted to rejoin his fellow Marines against both his mother’s and wife’s wishes. He felt is wasn’t fair that his fellow Marines were out there still fighting while he was now perfectly healthy and ready to go back and protect this country, our freedom and his fellow Marines. The Marines told him, no. He was honorably discharged.
He is the reason I am free. He is the reason I am proud to be an American.
I realize today is a day to honor those who have fallen. As a reporter I witnessed so many heartbreaking scenes of caskets arriving at Fort Bliss draped in the American flag. So many young, strong brave people marched into Iraq only to be shipped back home to their families. An American flag their comfort, their companion. I spoke with the heartbroken mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, boyfriends, girlfriends of those who did not make it back alive. I saw the anguish in their eyes, the exhaustion in their bodies. I listened as they explained to me what their favorite foods had been, what their nicknames had been, what their dreams had been.
Freedom has a price. I witnessed what the universe charges for our freedom. The all-too-painfully high cost of living the precious way that we do. It was paid for by warriors HALF my age. Many of those who did not make it back alive to hug their loved ones weren’t even old enough to drink. They paid the price. They paid it willingly. They did it for me and for you and even for those who do not appreciate what it is they are doing. Willingly given to them, paid for one precious soul at a time.
I was drinking a decaf soy latte while doing some internet surfing this weekend (like I always do) in preparation for the coming workweek, when I came across a highly informative blog. Since they were clearly speaking to the construction industry I thought hmmm, I bet YOU will find this interesting. After all they are talking about billions is government construction jobs…
Reuters devoted an entire section to infrastructure and details the events and speakers heard at the first-ever Reuters (the news agency) Infrastructure Summit. The multi-state summit was held New York, San Francisco and Washington during the week of May 4.
Several reporters posted blogs and included sound bites from those who attended. One blog talks about the growing popularity of Public-Private Partnerships, or P3′s as industry insiders like to call them. You can read more by clicking here.
To read some of the other blogs posted or to read more about the Summit itself, click here.
People attending the summit also heard fro the Chief Economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, Ken Simonson. He urges the government to move forward on outlining its infrastructure strategy and creating a blueprint for transportation spending.
Doing so quickly, Simonson told the group, would mean construction workers could get back to work. “They’re in place,” Simonson said, “They’re waiting for a call back.
What he did not say is that Arizona especially could benefit from the stimulus projects. Right now, the state has a 21 percent unemployment rate for construction workers, the highest of any state in the nation.
Congress has a September 30 deadline for passing the surface transportation bill. While many are eager for the new bill, many more fear Congress will miss the deadline thereby postponing the much-needed jobs. For those in all facets of the construction industry, the new bill can’t come fast enough.
In the coming weeks you can expect the Arizona Department of Transportation, ADOT, to put up for bid the last seven American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus projects. At this time there are 13 available to bid on – you can find them here. ADOT has already awarded half of the 41stimulus projects. It will receive an estimated $350 million in ARRA funds for highway projects around the state. Here’s the money trail…
~ Maricopa County will receive $130 million for five projects
~ Pima County will receive $46 million for eight projects
~ 13 other counties in Greater Arizona will receive $175 million for 28 projects.
The state estimates more than 6,000 construction jobs will be created or sustained through these ARRA projects. In Maricopa County, 2,180 jobs have been created as a result of five awarded projects. ADOT is also reaping some rewards. The sagging economy is actually benefitting ADOT’s purse book. Lower-than-expected bids for the 21 already-awarded projects have added up to nearly $15 million dollars in savings. That could, in turn, mean more jobs to bid on.
The economy has been especially brutal to Arizona’s construction workers. Between 2007 and 2009, Arizona’s construction industry lost 77,000 jobs. One-third of Arizona’s construction workers are unemployed. That rate is higher than any other state and dramatically higher than the national average of 21 percent construction unemployment rate.
Not an approved ADOT contractor? Click here to apply!
The exempt, on-hold and join check status no longer displays in Enter Invoices or Change Invoices
What You Really Need To Know:
Sage Timberline knows about the issue and will soon issue a fix. Be assured that the issue is isolated to the display itself. The Exempt, On-Hold and Joint Options are working just as they always have.
Why’s it doing that?
The addition of distribution grid lines adjusted the items that will display in the Enter Invoices and Change Invoices screens.
The format you added to the phone number field is not retained after saving the employee.
How To Fix It:
If you imported your employee phone number using ODBC and there is no formatting, retype the whole number, or use Cut and Paste, and then add the format.
Why’s it doing that?
Payroll automatically adds formatting to employee phone numbers (xxx)xxx-xxxx when setting up a new employee. However, if you import the employee information using ODBC, the employee phone number may not be formatted correctly and adding the formatting will not be recognized without changing the number.
You’re getting an Error 1904 message.
What it means:
This means the install failed to register multiple dlls.
How To Fix It:
Uninstall and reinstall Pervasive on the server or the affected workstation.
Why’s it doing that?
Pervasive was not correctly installed on the computer.
The Property Management Comparative Occupancy Analysis does not run for February.
How To Fix It:
Go in and change the design formula named “Test on February” from Month-As of Date (Design Formula) = 2
to Month-As of Date (Design Formula) >= 2
Hope this helps!
Industry experts were quick on the draw after the Associated Press released its assessment of the more than 5,500 stimulus transportation projects being planned throughout the country. It looked at how states planned to spend the first installment of highway money granted by the stimulus. The AP followed the money trail and reported some eyebrow-raising findings. The AP reports states are planning to spend 50 percent more per person in areas with the lowest unemployment rather than in those that have the highest.
BUT Ken Simonson, Chief Economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, had plenty to say about the AP’s findings. FIRST of all, he pointed out, “The intent of the infrastructure portion of the stimulus was clear; put construction workers back on the job. So far as early reports from our members make clear, the stimulus’ transportation investments are doing just that.” Simonson went on to say that construction workers are nomadic. They go where the work is and so it is highly likely that those from places where unemployment is highest might be the ones actually working in the lower unemployment areas. They will then take their wages back home and inject it into their local economy.
Another consideration, materials like concrete and steel are made somewhere else so even though the jobs may not be in the high unemployment areas the materials needed to build the projects may be coming from highly-impacted areas. That would put money in the pockets of those who make the materials as well as those who ship them.
Simonson also pointed out “the Associated Press analysis fails to take into account the significantly higher unemployment levels within the construction sector than the rest of the economy. Construction unemployment is now nearing 19 percent, while the overall U.S. unemployment rate remains below 9 percent. As a result, even in counties where overall unemployment may be low, construction unemployment may be significantly, and surprisingly, higher.”
The Transportation Department responded by saying it will review the AP’s findings and see if they can duplicate them. It will also continue to pressure states to give the money to those most in need.
For a list of construction companies already benefitting from stimulus funding click here.
Timberline’s new version 9.6 doesn’t share common application files with Maxwell Systems Estimation. Don’t put these 2 applications on the same computer until both software companies figure a way to resolve the problem. Programmers at Maxwell Systems have been working on a fix for at least a month.
As of today, both applications still don’t work together. Sage Timberline and Maxwell compete for the same market share so they don’t normally help each other fix problems. Eventually, both will find a way to work together. It will just take some time.
As of May 1, 2009 the state of Arizona increased its withholding rates. They are as follows.
Misc Tax Code Old Rate New Rate
1 10% 11.5%
2 23% 26.5%
3 25% 28.8%
4 31% 35.7%
5 37% 42.6%
6 19% 21.9%
A client just called us to say she had made the changes but wanted to ensure how to double-check to ensure the changes had been accepted by Timberline Payroll. Here’s how you can do that.
In Timberline Payroll go into SETUP TAXES then TAXES, then TAX RATES then click on the drop-down menu and select AZSWH. Look at the bottom right-hand corner. There should be an Effective Date of 5.1.2009. If the date is there then you can rest assured the changes have been accepted into Payroll.
If you missed the blog on how to actually make the changes, I am including it below. Thank you for using Sage Timberline and as always Daren and I are more than willing to answer any questions you might have. Never hesitate to contact us!
Connected to the internet, use DOWNLOAD TAXES in payroll to download the newest update. (If you want, you can also view a list of the latest tax updates and future tax updates from there as well.) There is a checkbox that asks if you want to update taxes, say yes and your taxes should be updated. If your computer is not connected to the internet you can download these files from another computer that is connected and then install the tax file on the proper computer.
As to whether employees should fill out new A-4 forms our Senior DB Data Inc Consultant Gary Jacobson says it’s not necessary. But he does think it might be worth doing so that 1)employees are aware of the changes and 2)it will allow them to make any adjustments they feel are needed.
In version 9.6 of Timberline Software, the default reports have larger and cleaner-looking fonts. Many have also changed to a landscape orientation instead of traditional portrait. For some, it may be difficult to get used to. If you miss the old DOS looking reports, they are still available to use. It’s just a matter of locating them on the server installation files and moving them to the new reports location.
For instructions for bringing the older looking reports back to life in the most current version, refer to knowledgebase article KB132335 located in the Sage Timberline Knowledgebase.