Driftwood on Sanibel Island in western Florida is sometimes the most beautiful wood there is. Full of character scarred with knots and blemishes life has carved into its skin over time. You can get lost in the waves of grain. It is one of the stopping points when you are strolling the shores of Sanibel which gives you a glimpse of the peace and serenity you will find here.
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In This Issue

April 2017

Supply Chain Penalties



Welcome to News from trif.com! First time readers, I am glad you're here! Returning readers, welcome back!

As always, we try to keep you up to date on the latest trends and issues that face us. Please keep in mind, I don't want to waste your time. Articles will contain generally less than 250 words. Please have a look and give me your feedback. If you want to see the Newsletter archives, there are more than 6-years available on our Newsletter page. Have a look and by all means, forward to a friend. Thanks. Questions? Send me an email!

Supply Chain Penalties

A feature of trickle down economics is when a retailer like Target, Walmart or Bed Bath and Beyond crack down on their vendors by charging penalties, fines or charge-backs for late shipments, bad shipping labels, cracked pallet, packing list layout or timely shipment status updates. It has been reported that retailers are creating a profit center by increasing revenues by as much as 13% with major hits for suppliers who fail to provide complete and accurate product information. Late fines range between 1-3% and are said to increase to 5%.

EDI has provided almost real-time information since the 1940's and was improved in the 1970's but retailers are looking for even better communications. They are assessing fees and demanding better information. For example:

    • Unusable acknowledgement (997) - DSW charges $100
    • No EDI shipping notice (856) - Belkin charges $10 per carton

A modern alternative to EDI, a web service APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) enable instant communication, resulting in dynamic information needed for supply chains to maximize performance and implement proactive strategies. API's operate on a trigger system, if something happens, an event, it triggers a notification. Unlike EDI, there is no mailbox or post-office to drop and send information. An API can provide information instantaneously.

Improved communication doesn't solve the woes of transportation however. Trucks still break down and accidents still occur. Trucking companies will not be able to absorb 3% charge-backs for long. In the end, transportation rates will need to reflect an imperfect world which will trickle down to the consumer while the retailer increases profitability before product hits the shelves.

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Interested in taking a step forward with technology? Looking to take advantage of the latest advances? Or just want to take advantage of your new computer?

Email me at rmj@trif.com The first consultation is always without charge.


What does a multi-billionaire do when he gets bored? Steve Ballmer decided to take advantage of the Data Act signed by President Obama in 2014. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act moves the U.S. Government into an era of data visibility with regards to spending. Specifically, the Data Act discloses direct federal agency expenditures and linking federal contract, loan, and grant spending information to federal programs to enable taxpayers and policy makers to track federal spending more effectively. The government set up usaspending.gov which provides a great deal of information about spending. Ballmer decided to build a site that would compile this information into a searchable database.

Bloomberg reports, "USAFacts breaks down government operations into four main segments based on the preamble to the Constitution. For “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,” they chose police, workplace safety and child welfare; another includes military, defense, foreign affairs and immigration; the third has the economy and caring for the poor; and in the last, civil rights, environmental sustainability and education."

If you spend time with the site, you will see that it is a bit slow. The project is built on Microsoft Azure, using technologies including SQL Server. They use a REST API built in .NET for the back-end. They hope to add PowerBI later to let people mix and match their own data sets and visualizations. We will see.


TRI is a

Specializing in deploying


This is an off-beat topic, but indulge me. I thought it was interesting and maybe important. For the past few years, I have become involved (entangled) in the act of citizenship in my local community, specifically as the Chair of a Committee charged with the care of a building. The building happens to be our Town Hall which was built in 1835. It's a wonderful building with historical significance beyond description. A simple task I thought. I have had no education in citizenship. No classes in high school or college provided even the basics for conducting meetings, obtaining funds, selecting vendors, communicating, ethics let alone small town politics and the hard fact that everyone has an agenda different from yours.

It all must be learned by every citizen who choses to get involved. You need to know Robert's Rules of Order and parliamentary procedure, Massachusetts Open Meeting Laws, Massachusetts laws on ethics and a great deal more. Because of this, very few citizens choose to get involved. It is hard and time-consuming work. Sometimes, I think it is too hard for the common everyday citizen who is trying to earn a living, raise children, take care of the house, keep the cars on the road, enjoy a little free time, and the list goes on. So, in a small town, where do we find our citizens to help govern and more importantly, where do we find our future leaders? It is a problem too big to solve and ultimately causes apathy.

So what is the answer? It seems that every child beginning in grammar school should begin to learn about citizenship, what it means and how it works. Why should it wait for a political science major in college? A century and further ago, it was required learning -- when our democracy was young and fragile. When did it become less important than Math and English? What is to become of us if we all aren't well-versed in our civil society and democracy,


Independent guide to implementing electronic logging devices. Available in paperback or PDF instant Download


Nuts and Bolts

Windows changes and so must we. 

Used to be, adding a program to your Startup was easy. We do this so that the program always started when your PC booted.  Just copy it to start-up which was always right there when you clicked Start.  But in Microsoft’s infinite wisdom, they moved it (out of our way) to the task manager. Really?  So now, to add a program to start up every time you boot your computer, you must copy that program to your startup folder which is hidden away. 

Here is where the folder is now in Windows 10 (substitute your username for {username}:
C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup


Robert McKay Jones
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Sterling, Massachusetts 01564

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