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back to article Sage 50 activation blackout: Shops sent back to paper age

New and existing retail customers of the Sage 50 online accounting service were left in the lurch following a “massive” server outage last week. Shops installing new versions of the Sage 50 accounts software or upgrading their existing accounts were unable to register their serial numbers or activation keys for the new systems …

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Anonymous Coward

She added Sage is "using this situation to further improve our communications process with our customers going forward, based on feedback we have received from them".

As opposed to using it to improve the RAS of the activation service... Hmmmm.

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Anonymous Coward

Terrible software and British too.

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Surely better to be fleeced by a British firm than an American one...?

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If I'm a Californian who agrees, am I a hipster?

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Anonymous Coward

The software is pretty awful, but as with any accounting software you get used to it.

I have been using a Inuit Quickbooks which is reasonable when compared to Sage, but far from perfect, you get used to one incarnation and then have to put up with a 'new' upgraded product and have to learn from scratch again.

In most cases the upgrades are visual with menu items moved around just to add to the confusion but they contain very little new functionality. They are also ridiculously expensive, except for the base product which is next to useless.

I stay away from the cloud, for this very reason.

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This post has been deleted by its author

So remind me again ...

why I would want me db's in the cloud?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Roo
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Facepalm

@Alan Bourke Re: So remind me again ...

"why I would want me db's in the cloud?"

So you can blame your failure on others.

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Crap product we know...

...here's 5% off next time you buy it.

Am I missing something? THAT'S compensation? I need a new dictionary.

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Re: Crap product we know...

I guess sage are hoping their customers are unfamiliar with the concept of consequential damages.

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Big Brother

Cloud Crash Causes Complete Calamity!!!!!!!!

I wonder if the tax man would accept a cloud excuse?

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Facepalm

Yellow rain from the little dark cloud

One datacenter isn't much of a cloud. In fact, it's more like a hosting environment that one would call a "datacenter."

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Anonymous Coward

Don't You Just Love DRM

How they bleat on about piracy costing them BILLLLEEEEEOOONNNNSSSSS but when it fucks up costing your business TRILLLLLEEEEEONNNNSSS all they want to give you is 50 necter points and no liability for loss of profit.

Heads they win, tails you lose.

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Re: Don't You Just Love DRM

Pretty much.

People wonder why I refuse a Steam or Origin account and like to get rid of WGA at any and every opportunity.

This is why, and in this case it's a lot worse than just being unable to play with a few toys, too.

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" left the retailers writing receipts for customers by hand and writing down invoices in the books "

I'm surprised they didn't try to charge them extra for the 'enhanced security'.

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Been there, avoided that.

I had a business partner that wanted to move to an online accounting service and I said no for this exact reason. His motivation was being able to remotely monitor the books if he wasn't in the office. If something happened to the system at the office, I could throw money at the problem and get it fixed right away. I'm very doubtful that any one customer has any leverage with a faceless 'net-based provider. You can't bribe them, ply them with liquor, sexual favors or your everlasting well wishes so they get YOU back up and running. It's also very difficult to develop a back up plan to cope with this sort of co^kup.

A small business could adapt in the short term with paper and pen as the owners and and managers can muck in with a quick workaround. What does a department store do when all of their employees only know one way to ring up a sale? Close the doors, I imagine. So, lost sales, fines possibly for late pay, a right mess to sort out later with lots of overtime. How much did they save by going to a cloud based accounting systems exactly?

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Re: Been there, avoided that.

So, lost sales, fines possibly for late pay, a right mess to sort out later with lots of overtime. How much did they save by going to a cloud based accounting systems exactly?

That's NOT the point.

DAMAGEMENT can deflect blame for their incompetence.

"WE didn't fuck up. the cloud provider did!!!"

You are best NOT being around when IT does hit the fan. Usually, the bastards responsible for the clusterfuck are long gone, and some other sap has to clean up what hit the fan. WHY should it be you?? When you see signs of DAMAGEMENT SYNDROME in your company, get the fuck out, and fast.

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FAIL

Re: Been there, avoided that.

Something that got lost in the story (or perhaps readers simply missed it)...

This outage affected CLIENT-SIDE installed software -- not online services. Just like Microsoft's products, Sage 50 Financials requires a serial number during install. The client software then sends that serial number along with a hardware signature to Sage's activation servers. Because those servers went offline, all new installs and upgrades failed.

I am the IT consultant mentioned in the story. My client purchased 5 additional user licenses. When I added the new serial number to their terminal server, activation failed and the entire package went tits up. The truly painful part is that Sage North America sold my client the license AFTER their registration servers were already down. Had they warned us -- or better yet delayed shipping the serial number -- we could have avoided this outage entirely.

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Not to worry

That cloud computing thingy is the greatest invention since the wheel... or NOT!

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Silver badge

Says something for open source options.

I had an argument with some friends who claimed that open source was "free", compared to quite expensive closed options. I reminded them that perhaps the "purchase" cost was free, but you need to hire consultance to set it up, maintain it, install upgrades, worry about rare add-on modules that develop problems where development had stopped on them. Sometimes the stress isn't worth it compared to a proprietary option where all these fiddly issues are taken care of.

I'll have to change my tune a bit if something like this outage happens - yes I know it was a could issue, but it could very well have been an internet outage that brings your business to its knees.

At least with open source, you have choice in where and and how it works.

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Roo
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Re: Says something for open source options.

" I reminded them that perhaps the "purchase" cost was free, but you need to hire consultance to set it up, maintain it, install upgrades, worry about rare add-on modules that develop problems where development had stopped on them"

Strangely enough you have to do the exact same thing for commercial software too, it does not look after itself !

With regards to supporting stuff where development has stopped: with a commercial product you usually have to rip and replace the whole shebang if they drop support, so the costs can be considerably higher when support for commercial software is dropped (YMMV or course).

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widespread?

I've got 2 mates complaining they didn't get paid this week due to unspecified "payroll" problems so I'm guessing this isn't just the odd licence renewal issue.

Sage is a horrible piece of software that gives every impression of having evolved from something that ran under DOS and has only really had cosmetic changes ever since, absolutely everything is unnecessarily difficult and / or convoluted.

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Facepalm

Re: widespread?

That's so they can sell training too.

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Always a "small" amount of customers . . .

Why do PR always say that only a small amount of customers were impacted? Do they really think that makes them look better or that people are that dumb? If someone's business has been crippled by a fault exactly how much better do they feel when told that only a few customers are affected?

Over here in Australia, I've experienced similar problems with MYOB's live service: it's Amazon's fault. Apparently.

As a customer (well, tech support calling on behalf of a customer) I don't CARE if it's due to Amazon - you sell the software, you designed the systems, so YOU are responsible. If there are issues with the cloud provider chosen then it's your fault for using Amazon or not making provisions for service continuity in the event of an outage.

You might say that the end users are similarly at fault but it's a much simpler matter for a large software services company to implement a redundant database configuration (say, hosting their own pervasive farm for backup services) than it is for a company to somehow implement a redundant accounting, inventory and payroll system.

As with DRM (mentioned above) - the assumption from the vendor is that their system will always work perfectly so things like constant connectivity and continual re-activation are coded in relying on that. People should design such software with the assumption that it WILL fail at some point and build in measures to allow paying customers to work around it.

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Re: Always a "small" amount of customers . . .

People should design such software with the assumption that it WILL fail at some point and build in measures to allow paying customers to work around it.

<sarcasm>

YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!!

According to the Business Software Alliance Bullshit Society of America, software piracy is increasing exponentially.

Thew only way to combat such piracy is to include ever increasing draconian forms of DRM (Digital Rights Management), (Digital Rectal Manipulation). The only acceptable way forward is to adopt a fuck the paying customer attitude. End of story.

</sarcasm>

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Coat

Re: Always a "small" amount of customers . . .

(Digital Rectal Manipulation)

I was going to say: Colourful, just colourful. Except it just occured to me it's actually a real thing, a cure for hiccups as I understand. Who would have thought that DRM is a good thing??

Ahem, I'll be going then...

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