2005 - 12 - 25, 10:50 pm:

Salary Hikes, Taxes, and a new version of WinPower is available, which includes the new, below-rate base for Local 74 people...  Go to the "Easy Download Page..."

Here are the release notes for the prior version --769.exe:
769.exe was released mainly to increment the number for the benefit of all the new Custodians...

The major new feature of release 768 and up is that you can now test the integrity of your backed up data.  Quite often especially with 3.5" floppies and CDs the computer will seem to indicate that it has performed back up, but has not.  Now you can test.  There is a new command button in the first "Welcome to:" screen (third command button down) and the final "Save" screen.  It is entitled "Test Backup Data."  Give it a whirl.

As always, we urge people away from the unreliable 3.5" floppies, and recommend either Iomega's Zip Drives, or the newer technology of memory sticks (or flash drives, or thumb drives, et. al.)

This new version also warns you of impending expiration dates
– if any – in WinPower, pending overdue payments.

Another feature:  You can now write multiple checks to Locals 74 and 94 within the same quarter, without workarounds...  (Thanks AC and DM)

Of course, it has a splendid and striking array of new, though somewhat modest features, suggested by our many newer clients !  There are fixes, too...

2005 - 08 - 01, 9:00 am:

Vacation for 2M, and, So Many New Custodians !

if you don’t mind, please share the following with your WinPower-ed colleagues who don’t receive their mail in the summer, or, who don’t have (or pick up) their email…    Thanks !!

We write mainly for two reasons:

First, we are taking our first vacation since well before our 9/11 evacuation, Yuko’s surgery, Kai’s birth, and so much more…  We are going to Japan; young Kai will first meet his relatives there.  We are leaving August 5th, and will be returning September 10th.
      You don’t go to Japan for just two days. (!)

In the past, we were so well treated by you when we went on vacation that we still remember it !

As you have done in the past, we ask that you communicate with us exclusively via email or through our web page during this time.  We will be able to process TCs and New Assignments, and even new orders this way (go to www.2m.org/tc.htm – more on this later).  We will be checking our email constantly, and responding in as timely a manner as we possibly can, as we have done in the past through crises, and/or vacations…

We ask that you refrain from leaving messages on our voice mail.  Picking them up is very costly, and returning them, even worse.  Besides the cost, there is a 13 hour time zone difference.  However, if you do have an emergency, we will respond with phone calls, if need be.  Regardless, if you do not have email, for this period of time, could you use a colleague’s?

♦ ♦ ♦

Second, we are aware that there have been many new hires added to the ranks of Local 891.
Congratulations !!

In the past, we have taken pity on these courageous souls, who are starting with no money, and few advantages.  As many of you know, I am a public school graduate, and have great admiration for those of you who kept me safe, and are now doing the same for more than a million other children.

What I mean to say is that we have fronted the program to new Custodians, knowing the state of affairs when they start.  All we have asked is that a client in good standing vouch for them when requesting WinPower.  For people coming in from the outside, we even waive that request…  We really do understand what they face, and seek to accommodate them as much as we can.

This year, obviously, we will not be around when some of your new colleagues are finally able to contemplate automation.  However, they can use the web site to request WinPower.  If you are in a position to do so, and you do endorse WinPower, please advise them of this: www.2m.org/tc.htm.
      Once again, thanks again !

If you are wondering, yes, we hope you miss us very, very much, as we will surely miss you !!

-Eric (Mandelbaum) & Yuko & Kai

2005 - 03 - 29, 6:34 pm:
Old Release Notes for Version 767


Use the same instructions above (for Tax2005.exe) for installing version 767.exe.

You will know the installation was successful if – in the upper right hand corner of the first, "Welcome To" screen – the date and time is: "Tuesday, 12/21/2005, 1:00 am."

Read below for:
Instructions for 2-week PO1s, and the Year-End PO1, when the time comes, for each:


Backup (always).


Do the payroll for the period ending 12/30/2004.


Do the two-week PO1, ending 12/30/2004.
You can set the dates by using the up and down arrows, or just by typing them in.
Just click the regular "PO1 Print" command button when you are ready.


Enter employee hours worked for 12/31/2004 (and beyond, if you like).  But...
Do not (DO NOT !!) cut checks for them !!


Do the Year End PO1. 
Leave the dates as 12/17/2004 to 01/13/2005 !!
Select 1-Day PO1, not 15-Day. (This option is for other years, if the Board changes its mind about how to do this.)
Click the "Year-End PO1 !!" command button...


On January 13th, or earlier, if you like, do the 1/13/2005 payroll.


Do the two-week PO1 for period ending 1/13/2005.
You can set the dates by using the up and down arrows, or just by typing them in.
Just click the regular "PO1 Print" command button when you are ready.

  Done !!

Finally, WinPower's Calendar Year & Fiscal Year End splits for the 202 and Pensionable Salary amounts are based on a 14-day pro-rating, not a 365-day pro-rating, like the Board's.  Therefore, WinPower will be pennies off.  Be on the lookout...

2004 - 12 - 10, 1:36 pm:


Old WinPower hands:  Could you put this on a few disks (along with tax2005.exe), and give them out to the very new WinPower-ed guys who are just working their way through the Internet, and WinPower itself?  Thanks !!

2004 - 12 - 10, 2:19 pm:


Tax Tables are available for download !  They were published by the IRS at 9am Monday, and we posted them one hour later !

They will NOT work without new version 766.exe, which is also posted to the web site, right below tax2005.exe.

Go here – www.2m.org/easy.htm – to pick up these updates.

In our 7 years in this market, we’ve never asked this…  But this year is different…  Veteran WinPower-ed custodians:  Could you download 766.exe and tax2005.exe to several disks, and bring them to check pickup Thursday, for those very new WinPower-ed custodians who are just beginning to find their way through the Internet, and through WinPower?

We are reluctant to ask anyone else to do what is unquestionably our job (and we’ve never asked before), but this year is a bit different, and we think the all-around benefits are higher if we swallow our pride here, at least this one time…

Year-End PO1 instructions:
Make sure you’ve run the 12/16/2004 PO1, and…

When you have finished your 12/30/2004 payroll and inputting employee hours for 12/31/2004, just go to the PO1 Print Dialog Box.

There you will see the once-per-year occurrence of the BIGGEST Command Button in all of WinPower-land:  “YEAR-END PO1 !!”

Click that YEAR-END PO1 Command Button, follow the prompts, watch the printer spit it out, and you are done.  Don’t change any dates.  Just click the Button.  You can do it and re-do it as many times as you want…

There are no “requirements” for this.  Just make sure each day that you need to include in the Year-End PO1 has the information for it.  THAT IS ALL.  Please don’t be tempted to overcomplicate things on the basis of old programs you had.

If we don’t speak to you beforehand, have a very happy holiday season !!

2004 - 12 - 09, 1:00 am:

Small fixes and additional features:  In the Time In and Time Out text boxes of Frames 1 & 2 in the Spacesheet Window, if the values are blank, and you hit the up arrow on your keyboard, you will get an "am" value, while hitting the down arrow will give you a "pm" value...

Fix in PO2 Section -- no longer get the boot with new Item after entering Split PO2 Item...

Employment Record Date (in Staff, PO66) no longer requires 4-digit years...

Merge PO18 Address and Assignment Code now added...

2004 - 12 - 06, 8:00 am:

Notes from old Release 764.exe:

Since last time, very small changes in appearance... BUT !! Delayed, though nonetheless extra special thanks for an early-warning tip, and ensuing fix therefrom, to the magnanimous EVM from Q !!

PO66 Print fix:  If no phone number, the other info jumped up on the page.  This has been remedied.  Thanks JT of M!  Also, if you ask WinPower to process a check on a PO1 of a different period than the check, there is now a flag seeking confirmation. If you choose to continue, it is indicated in the "Summary and much more" Window.  Thanks, KL of Q!

Codes of "T" and "Non-Reimbursable Notes" will no longer trigger a warning message for "Orphaned" reimbursements.

As of the 5/13/4 release of 764.exe, you can more easily set the default for the Plant Manager for the PO18, and there is more error trapping with key BOE Addresses.

the announcement of the new release April 15th, a fix regarding Garnish Checks that are printed with the payroll has been added.

Note Well:  If you are updating from a version 760 or less, it is really time to call us... 

In the main, this new release fixes an obscure PO66 print problem, and attempts to accommodate lemon printers that are producing "overflow" problems (see the bottom link to the left, "Overflow Printer Problem").  You now also have the option to leave out the PO2 "check date" if the PO2 item was a cash item.  On your PO18s, we have attempted to make WinPower smarter about selecting Default Principals.  Changing Tax Categories to "No Cat/No Deduction" is easier, too.  Terminated employees no longer appear in the "74, 94 Dues" Frame of the Banking Window, and we believe our algorithm for computing each next new quarter is working in a more practical way.

2004 - 11 - 14, 11:30 pm:

Quite a few people have called over the course of the last year, recommending that we get our 2005 Annual Invoice out to you earlier than we did the last time.

They said it would be easier for them, vis-a-vis year-end budget planning, and after we thought about it a bit, we realized it would be easier for us, as well !  And so, we did it !!  You can probably expect it to reach you by the end of the week, hopefully, sooner.  If anyone believes they have received the invoice in error, or has any problem with it whatsoever, please do feel free to call.

We simplified the language (again, at the strong urgings, in this case, of almost everyone), and also took the opportunity to communicate on a variety of issues, on the back of the invoice.  To wit:
* Anti-virus software -- We are spending more and more time helping people determine that viruses are behind the gremlins on their systems, and walking them through acquiring and running anti-virus software.  IF YOUR COMPUTER EVER GOES ON LINE -- AND ESPECIALLY WITH THE 'ALWAYS ON' T1 CONNECTIONS, YOU NEED TO HAVE ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE !!

* Good news for the people who don't like to do backup.  There is a new technology that is fast, easy, reliable, small in size and price, but big in capacity -- These backup devices are known as:  Thumb Drives, Memory Sticks, Flash Drives, etc.  They cost around $30, are smaller than your thumb, and the smallest capacity is 64 MB -- enough for your career times two.  If you are still using floppies, or if you are not performing backup, and you have a USB port, please consider this device.  Make sure your operating system supports it.
* Please advise your colleagues who don't have email to continue to consult www.2m.org to learn of the latest about WinPower from the 2M Corp.
* Given the withdrawal of our last colleague from the Custodian Software market, and the wonderful arrivals of all your new colleagues, we have been a bit busier than we could have expected.  A special thanks to all of you who have been "mentoring" your colleagues who are new to WinPower !
Finally, congratulations on all the wonderful achievements of the past year  !!

2004 - 07 - 14, 11:05 am:
The program that updates School Holidays and Universal State Insurance Fund Rates is now available.

Go to www.2m.org, and click the link that says “Easy Download Page”  HDAY2004.exe is the name of the program, and it can be found in the second row in the table of programs to download.  (You may need to scroll down a bit.)

Even if you don’t use the PO67 or SIF components of WinPower, the payroll is keyed to these values, as are many other parts of the program.  Therefore, you MUST download and run this program, for each of your computers that host WinPower.


2004 - 07 - 02, 5:17 am:
First, congratulations on yesterday – a real Red Letter day.  I remember what was supposed to be happening now, as of a year ago.  And I imagine – as crazy as it is right now – that this is a whole lot better !!

I write now on 5 topics:

1) If you have gotten – or will be getting – a TC, please remember that you should request it through our web site at www.2m.org/tc.htm.  Please do it this way – it is a whole lot easier than playing telephone tag all day, and your giving dictation while being interrupted by the beeps of call waiting. (!)

2) New Custodians:  We know how it is for them, as compared with how it should be.  They have a thimble-full of floor wax to do all the summer cleaning for the whole school, they won’t be getting any money for a while, and they have received virtually no training from the Board.

Increasingly recently, we have been willing to work with New Custodians about getting WinPower into their hands as quickly as possible.  It involves some risk for us, but recent history shows us that it is really almost no risk at all.

We know that many feel that New Custodians should start with the paperwork manually – to force them to learn this part of the trade – but one might consider that under the circumstances, it might not be a bad idea to ameliorate any burden that they currently face.

Moreover, it has been reported that the mentors of New Custodians have a lighter workload when performing paperwork with the benefits of automation.

Finally, if a New Custodian STARTS with WinPower, then they have the opportunity to have their whole career electronically stored…

So, if the above makes sense to you, and you are mentoring a New Custodian, or just know one, it is really ok to send them our way.  Our experience tells us better sooner than later, and if at all possible, avoid December.

3) Regarding the 15-Day Pay Period / 29-Day PO1 Period, we have instructions for how to do this on our web site, for those of you who need it, or know someone who will.  Go to www.2m.org and click the link in the box with the red border entitled: "7/1/2004 hires and 7/1 TCs: 15 Day Pay Period, 29 Day PO Period..."

4) The PO66 Starter Program had a typographical error in it that would derail it.  It said 7/2/2004, when it should have said 7/1/2004.  We corrected it quickly, but if you experience this error, just go back to the Easy Download Page of www.2m.org, and download the (corrected) program (again).  I’m really sorry about this…

5) As promised, I have completed my dissertation on what I perceive to be the relative merits of the various methods for performing backup.  It is on the web site, under the link entitled: "Backup Device Advice" … (catchy?)

2004 - 06 - 28, 4:11 am:
In July, there are many WinPower related items that come up. I've reviewed them below, with a few more topics. Please at least skim and make note of them all...

1) WinPower automatically does the Fiscal Year-End split with respect to Day Money (202) and Pensionable Salary, in your DAR. However, the numbers are a bit off because WinPower works on a 14 day formula for prorating, while the Board uses a 366 day formula for prorating. Moreover, this may be a good time to check if your standard 202 and Pensionable Salary amounts correspond to this year's 366 day calendar (leap year). Check by going to the DAR Window, and looking at the upper right hand region for "Set Amounts."

2) As amazing as today's computers are when it comes to the lack of a need for climate control, the past two years have been characterized by excessive heat and humidity. And not altogether too surprisingly, not only have our own computers acted a bit weirdly as a result of this, but we've received quite a few calls from people experiencing weird problems that were corrected when an air conditioner was either turned on, or brought in and turned on. So ! Take note: If you use your computer in a hot and steamy environment (and maybe even if you don't), and the thermometer and humidity is climbing as it does during the summer, take steps. Most problems are simply of the keyboard-not-working-so-well variety, but also, databases can become terminally damaged, too.

3) For those of you who are using the PO66 component of WinPower successfully, please take note: The program does NOT automatically convert un-used PDs to VCs. You need to do that yourself, manually, through the "Edit and History" frame under the "PO66" Frame of the Staff Window.

4) If you are unsure of how to do 2nd checks for staff who worked through their vacations, or how to make a note on the PO1 that an employee took vacation days that were not put in for reimbursement, please consult our web page entitled: "P066 Primer, Working thru Vacations..." Go to www.2m.org for this. Look for the "link" in the white panel on the left. For 2nd checks, you can also click the green label in the very first payroll screen of WinPower that says: "Click here for 2nd Check" for instructions.

5) FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NOT USING THE PO66 MODULE, BUT WOULD LIKE TO START (especially new clients): The PO66 Starter Program for 2004 is ready. It is called po662004.exe, and it has been posted to the "Easy Download Page" of our website (www.2m.org). Go there to download it, but also visit our page entitled: "P066 Primer, Working thru Vacations..." for instructions. It is easy to use (that is the point), but you might be reassured of this after reading this page. Once you finish with po662004.exe, delete it. You are set up for the entire stay in your building. This program must be run AFTER the production of the 7/1/2004 PO1, but before the 8/12/2004 Payroll.

6) I won't be in the office after 3pm this coming Thursday and again after 3pm on Friday.

7) We will soon be taking down our old web address of www.732-2m2m.com. Please remember to use www.2m.org at all times from now on.

8) I have been getting an increasing number of technical support calls regarding backup and anti-virus protocols. This is really a good thing. In fact, in the coming weeks, please look for separate pages on our web site dedicated to these issues.

9) Each year we distribute a program that updates the data for the State Insurance Fund that is universal to all custodians, and also updates the School Holidays for the coming year. We do not have that program ready yet, but will in the next few weeks. Stay tuned...

10) Please continue to consult your email inbox for more from us. I might have missed something in the notes above. If I have, I will send out another email.

Of course, please feel free to call about any of the topics above, or for anything else for that matter...

Thank you for being the great clientele that you are !
   Take care,

2004 - 05 - 04, 9:54 am:
It has been reported that WinPower's holidays -- culled from the Board's Holiday Listing Circular -- may not have been accurate as regards the Spring Break and Good Friday as they presented themselves in the Old PO150 -- The Custodian Time Report.  Please check your printout, if you haven't already, to ensure accurate data.  Thank you, all...

    -Eric (Mandelbaum)
         The 2M Corp

2004 - 04 - 19, 5:57 am:
Greetings !
Three things:
- We have a new web address: 2m.org

- At the new web address, there is a new release: 764.exe.  Its specifications are listed at the site.

- And please also note that there is a persistent hardware problem with cheap, fire-sale printers.  If you might be buying a new printer, please consult the "Overflow" Printer Problem web page at our site.  It is the last link in the white panel on the left side of the screen.  If you plan to go ahead and buy one of these printers, please at least hold on to your old printer until you are assured the new one works properly.

Best wishes for a good weekend...
    Take care,

2004 - 02 - 25, 4:23 am:
Tomorrow (today?) -- 2/25/04, we will be out at the office in the afternoon, on our way to the last pre-natal checkup before the c-section, which has been scheduled for March 2nd.

And, for obvious reasons, we will be less accessible for the week of March 2nd.

We apologize for not being around for all of tomorrow, but we figured it would be better to miss one day of a pay period, rather than a whole week.

(How will we be able to explain to our son that his birth was scheduled to correspond with Custodian pay cycles? Just kidding -- we are not that nuts.)

We will be available to respond to emergencies next week, but we do ask that you please limit requests for technical support to genuine emergencies.

For those of you who are offended by all this information (and we know who you are), we apologize...

Wish us luck,

    Take care,