© 1998 Website design and content Tim Bentinck

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Programming

"AGENT"

A relational database program for Voice Agencies

Until well into this century, Agent continued to do the same accounting, invoicing and remittance work for a voiceover agency that it was doing in the late eighties. Written originally in Dbase II on the Amstrad PCW, it became bug-free for twenty years and the only reason to upgrade it to Visual Dbase, a Windows version, was for better analysis of data, being able to print via USB(!) and the look of the thing.

It used three databases; one for Companies, one for Artists and one for Job Details. By using three status flags for each Job;
1. Invoice Sent to Company
2. Payment Received from Company
3. Payment made to Artist
- all the paperwork got done and the resulting financial data was then available for analysis.

When I first wrote it I hawked it around and got a lot of interest, it was among the first such programs, and being designed specifically for a voice agency, was an extremely viable product. That's where I've always needed a business partner, or brain - I sold it precisely twice.

One of the main things I've learned from being in charge of other people's businesses like that - when a computer failure is disaster and only you can help - is that it's so horribly easy to exploit. If I were not an honest man, and I had similar control over hundreds or thousands or millions of people's computers, I'd be tempted to throw in a bug or two and make a fortune from the helpline and the expensive upgrades.

Oh, did somebody else think of that first??