for October 2018
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this
Term4Sale - IMPORTANT DATES Coming Up
There are two KEY DATES coming up for those who participate at www.term4sale.ca, or who may be interested in becoming involved at www.term4sale.ca. I urge you to mark these dates in your calendar:
Monday, November 5, 2018 (12pm EST)
Monday, January 14, 2019 (12pm EST)
November 5, 2018 is the beginning of Bump Week. If you have previously taken advantage of your option to "Bump" then you don't need to do it again.
Bumping is where you can use your local postal codes (Windows PC personal users can have 3 local postal codes, standard licenses can have 6) to muscle your way into the best postal codes in your local area if those have been purchased by people who did not use local postal codes to get those listings.
NOTE: The majority of postal code listings in our system are NOT local postal codes.
January 14, 2019 is the date that we place onto the internet the new list of postal codes that have renewed for 2019. Unlike local postal codes, additional postal codes are invoiced on a calendar year basis. Those invoices go out in the middle of November AFTER bump week.
Customers have until Wednesday, January 9, 2018 to pay their renewal for their postal codes, otherwise their listings will be dropped from our system and the new list of postal code listings, with those listing removed, will be posted early on Monday, January 14, 2019. Customers can then use that morning to research and find which postal codes have opened up and become available using the Postal Code Analyzer:
NOTE: Any postal code with less than 3 listings (number in left column) is available for sale to a qualifying subscriber. You can still buy available postal codes NOW. The ability to buy additional postal codes will be frozen from mid-November (after invoices go out) until January 14th.
On the morning of January 14th, once you have determined what postal codes that you would like to add, you can email in your request to purchase additional postal codes starting at:
Monday, January 14, 2019 (12pm EST) SHARP!
We recommend those postal code lists/requests be emailed to:
IMPORTANT: You cannot jump the noon gun on those January 14th requests or your request is invalid.
Do not worry about payment. Once we have reviewed your list, to confirm what is still available, we will call you for your credit card.
We will have more about this in next month's bulletin, and will explain the importance of local postal codes and bump week.
It has become the wild, wild west in the anti-virus market and Compulife has been a victim of that and an idiotic internet provider during the middle of September.
As you may recall, if you have ever run Compulife's OLD installation process, there was a Step 1 and a Step 2. Both were EXE program files that put a copy of Compulife on your computer.
NOTE for Canadian Subscribers: We have not yet switched Canadian customers over to the new installation process. We have other work we are doing on the website compulife.com, which we need to finish before converting Canadian customers over to the new installation system sometime later in October.. We were forced to act VERY quickly regarding the U.S. website, as you will read below, and so far the Canadian site has not faced the same attack. What you are reading about will occur for you sometime during the coming month.
Step 1 was a file called StartCQS that all customers used to get common program files onto their computer. Step 2 was a file called Renew which put your personalized Compulife files on the computer.
The Renew program file (OLD STEP 2; now gone) contained the files that are unique to each customer. They identify who you are and how long your subscription is paid, and what options you had purchased. The problem was that the Step 2 file Renew was individually built for each customer, and so each customer's Renew program was unique (different) and used only by that customer.
NOTE: We have NEVER had an occasion when there was ever a virus in a Renew file; EVER! And each year each customer got a different Renew program file meaning that there have been thousands and thousands of these files over many years and there was NEVER a virus.
How can we be so sure? When we first designed our self extracting EXE installation file system, which creates a program containing compressed versions of the files that are installed to your computer, we added a "checksum" value that told the sofware what was in the EXE file after we built it. The self installation checks the file's checksum before running and compares it to the checksum written in the file. If even one BIT of information in the file has been altered, the checksum changes and the program WILL NOT RUN and produces an error. The same self checking applies to our proprietary CMP files which are the monthly and midmonth update files. If one BIT of those files is altered, our decompression software will not process the file.
Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Unfortunately modern anti-virus programs have moved to the "guilty until proven innocent" method of protecting your computer from malicious software. Some anti-virus products will immediately flag a program as "dangerous" if they have not seen someone use it before. It doesn't matter if there is no virus in the file, they are just IGNORANT about the file, and so instead of actually analyzing the file to see if it has a virus, they assume it does. So while Step 1 was used by enough people that most anti-virus products left it alone, Renew was commonly flagged as a dangerous file and we had to assure customers there was nothing wrong with it and that you could run it safely. Even so, some persistent anti-virus products would clobber it anyway, and we had to get you your personalized files another way.
We had been living with and working around all this nonsense until the middle of September.
In September an IT person for one of our customers decided that our advice to run a flagged renew program was just not acceptable and the person proceeded to then complain to our Internet Provider about our website where those files are hosted.
On a Friday the Internet Provider investigated the complaint and ran a virus analysis on our website. They found 50 of these renew files flagged as suspicious by one anti-virus product (out of 60) and decided it warranted quarantining the entire site (effectively taking our site down).
So for an entire weekend the compulife.us website, which included compulife.com, was taken off-line. We redirected compulife.com to compulife.net, our backup site so our website still worked, although those trying to do a fresh installation of software could not do so without calling us for help.
Ultimately we did not get the issue resolved until the following Tuesday. During the entire time the Internet Provider never voluntarily advised us of the takedown or the reason for it. Even when we began asking about it Monday morning they did not fully explain the reason until much later on Tuesday morning.
How angry do you think all of that made me (Bob Barney)? Yep, I was steaming.
First, there were no and have never been viruses in our programs. Of over 60 anti-virus products used to analyze our site, only 1 said there was a virus. You would think, if there was a pea sized brain in the minds of the IP, that they would suspect that maybe the 1 of 60 anti-virus products had it wrong. Oh no, better to be safe than sorry; idiots.
Second, the manner in which the remedy was applied (pulling down our entire site) was COMPLETELY unacceptable, COMPLETELY inexcusable. They had a report as to which files were at issue, they could have quarantined just those files. But instead they decided to use a sledge hammer to kill the fly.
It was the straw that broke the camel's back. We quickly focussed our attention on modifying our install procedure and have come up with a new install process that will allow you to install Compulife to a new computer using the same program as everyone else (a new Step 1). The new program is InstallCQS. As you can imagine, the first few times we used it, because it was new, some anti-virus programs flagged it as suspicious. Grrrrrr!
Anyway, we shall suffer through it until the new program becomes a known entity to the anti-virus community. Beyond that, the new install process will require you to enter your serial number into the system in order to complete the installation process. This is a 7 digit number assigned to each customer, based upon their licensee name. When we provide an installation email, the serial number will be in that email and the new email will PROMINENTLY identify your serial number.
I have hereto avoided doing this because we remember the good old days when customers had to type in their names and serial numbers each month with a new copy of Compulife. Because the serial number process is intolerant (it's like a UserID and password), adding or changing any bit of punctuation, or getting one number in the serial number wrong, meant you were stuck. With this new process you would think that putting in a 7 digit number would be simple enough, but I know (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that the phone is going to ring with people who put in the wrong number or can't find their number.
That was the beauty of the Renew file when we first brought it out. You could run it and it did it all for you. But then along came these assinine and lazy anti-virus products that decided, in the name of safety, to flag a file as dangerous even though it isn't. And the problem has only been getting worse.
So if you need to install Compulife on a new computer, or reinstall it because you changed your license number, or your antivirus program attacked a different one of the Compulife files, don't blame us. We'll help you get through it, BUT IT'S NOT US; please don't blame us.
New CQSdown File
NOTE for Canadian Subscribers: We will probably not introduce Canadian customers the new CQSDOWN.EXE program until November 1st. That's good news as that will give the anti-virus community time to acclimate to the new CQSDOWN.EXE that we are rolling out to our U.S. customers first.
The file that downloads Compulife's month updates, midmonth updates and subscription renewals is a program file called CQSdown.exe. We are now using that program to complete the installation process and so that file was changed and the new file is part of the October monthly update.
Guess what the anti-virus programs are going to do with that? Yep, some of them are going to flag it as dangerous because they have not seen it before and so some of our customers computers are going to quarantine that file. If you are lucky, and you are one of the people using an anti-virus product that actually alerts you to what it is doing, and asks you before doing it, then you can create an exception for it. Of course most people "sleep at the wheel" when the notice pops up and think "I don't know what that is" (because they don't) and tell their computer to go ahead and quarantine the file. And some anti-virus programs will quarantine it without saying a word and then there are the real pieces of junk anti-virus products that will simply delete the file and it is gone.
All of this to say that if your computer stops getting midmonth updates during October, or tell you that cqsdown.exe is missing, you know in advance what is likely the problem. When you call in to get help, we will be asking you to check your quarantine for:
and if you find it, you will need to restore it. If not, then we will have to help you through the reinstallation process.
If You Have To Reinstall Compulife
One of the problems with the new version of Compulife is that in the event you need to Re-Install the program, to a computer that had a previous installation, you may find the program coming up and asking you for your licensee name and serial number. At that point you have some options.
You can enter your licensee name and serial number. PRECISION is IMPORTANT. Remember, it's like a UserID and password, change anything and it won't work.
Alternatively you could delete the old COMPLIFE folder and install again, but the problem there is that you would lose settings and configurations you may have previously had. Some people make elaborate changes to our Pick 12 styles and never back it up. Losing that is NOT a good idea.
Renaming the COMPLIFE folder is a better way to go. We typically, when we are dealing with an existing customer's program that is misbehaving, will have the customer rename COMPLIFE to COMPLIFEOLD. This has the same affect as deleting the old program. A new installation simply creates the COMPLIFE folder (again) and puts the new files into that folder, gets the updates and carries on fresh. If by chance you needed something from the COMPLIFEOLD folder, it is still there and we can get it.
We have also introduced a new batch file into the program called "FIX.BAT". FIX.BAT is located in the COMPLIFE folder and was delivered to you with this month's update. If you run FIX, it will initialize the second step of the installaton process and you will only need your serial number. If you run FIX, and the Compulife program asks for your name and serial number, then something went wrong and you can run FIX again. If after a couple of tries you can't get past the name and serial number request, it is time to call Compulife. We will then fix it a different way.
It's NOT OUR FAULT
Once again, our new installation procedure makes it more complicated (you have to correctly enter your serial number) but it's simply not our fault. The old Step 1 and Step 2 process was simple and as idiot proof as we could make it, until the anti-virus world made our lives miserable. And in fairness, some of these products are/were worse than others. The most difficult thing to try and explain to customers is that they can be motoring along just fine with their particular anti-virus product and then suddenly, one day, their anti-virus just decides to attack Compulife; customers wonder why.
The problem with anti-virus products is that they are being constantly updated with new virus information and changes to their own software. An anti-virus program that liked our software yesterday could suddenly attack Compulife's program today. Why? Because the anti-virus company changed something in their product.
And we find out about such changes pretty quick. Someone calls and says that their Compulife icon isn't working and the first question we ask is, "What anti-virus software are you using?" They say "such and such" and we proceed to do whatever we have to in order to help them get Compulife back up and running. By the third call for the same issue, and the third time we hear "such and such" was the anti-virus software, we know exactly what is going on.
OK, so I have done my venting. Some people won't think much about any of this, right up until they get attacked by their anti-virus program. Yes, that is not a typo. It is routine for an anti-virus product to ATTACK the programs on your computer. It's called a false positive, and while that seems like no big deal, it is a big deal if one of your favorite programs no longer works.
If it happens to Compulife, when you call us for help one of the things you will hear is, "Have you checked your anti-virus quarantine chest/vault/database, to see if the missing file is there?" If you say you don't know what a quarantine chest/vault is, then you will hear me explain that an anti-virus program is like the safety on a gun. If you are going to have a gun with a safety on it you better learn how to use it. There is no point having a gun for self protection if you have to ask the perp that you need to shoot to wait a minute while you figure out how to take the safey off the gun.
Two Anti-Virus Programs
Don't Make You Twice As Safe
And finally, if you are running Windows 8 or newer, the Windows operating system already has it's own anti-virus product called Windows Defender. A second anti-virus product is the Department of Reundancy Department. You stimply don't need two.
If you are still running Windows 7 or older, then you do need a separate anti-virus and I recommend AVAST because you can get it for FREE and the FREE version is perfectly good. Is it better than the others, who knows? And I mean, WHO KNOWS? But if you need help with it, we can help because we use it.
If you need help with Norton, MacAfee, AVG, Bit Defender, whatever, we don't use them and you will need to talk to whoever put that stuff on your computer. And if they put that stuff on your Windows 10 machine, and you are paying extra for a SECOND anti-virus product, you might want to ask why they think you need two.
Reviews - We Are Now Over 50
Here's the current list of reviews:
Thanks to all the subscribers who took the time to post a review and thanks to all who helped us push it over 50 during October.