A Comment From Dick Werner President of The ACBS Regarding The Amish and The Rain Forest.

I had it coming! Way to go Dick, this is a great letter back to WoodyBoater, and more importantly shows that the ACBS is trying new stuff, and has a fantastic sense of humor about it all. This is a hobby after all, not world hunger! Here is Dick’s Letter. Dick is the one on the left by the way on the shot above…. Enjoy.


Well, as Ronald Reagan said in one of his campaign debates, “Here you go again”.

I am sure you must know that ACBS is and has been computerized for at least 15 years! The only consolation I will make to you is that our present software does not allow us to do everything on line that an organization of our size should have the capability of doing.

Unfortunately the software that would satisfy all our needs including the 57 chapters, you cannot go to office depot and just pull it off the shelf. Several of our board members have spent countless hours researching out software that would meet our present and future needs. It would appear to be a rather simple task with all the different software possibilities out there. They found relatively few that could provide everything we needed.

A little over a year ago they hit “pay dirt” and a software was found that could do it all. The company came with good references and we went for it. More time was spent as well as money and just as we were within weeks of going on line, the software company closed its doors.

What a disappointment! We are still computerized, but with older technology. On the bright side, we have two other promising possibilities. By the end of the summer, hopefully we will be up and running with new high technology software.

I am again disappointed in your over all impressions of ACBS’s ability to communicate with their members and probably think we only use a tin can and a string.

Also, I imagine there are more trees wasted producing the amount of junk mail we receive in a week that would be used to produce a lot of directories.

How important is the directory to the members? Two years ago we did a membership survey (electronically) and the directory came back as being one of the more important perks for belonging to the association. Hopefully next year we will offer to the membership the directory either in hard copy or electronically. My guess is that most members will elect to receive the hard copy. Interesting enough, only about 65% of our members have e-mail.

Also Matt, how many Amish do you know own a computer? The Amish I know do not own computers, phones or FAX machines. I believe they can only use these methods of communication if it is owned by non Amish.

How do I know this? I have draft horses (Percheron) and when I need parts for some of my horse drawn equipment, often times the only place I can obtain them is from the Amish. some of the Amish shops in the Midwest run adds in a couple draft horse publications. There will be an address listed but no phone, email, Web site or FAX numbers. I do know that there are some so called Amish companies that have Amish working for them, but are owned by non-Amish and therefore have computers.

Matt, I am just trying to keep you honest, but in the other hand, maybe the Amish in Virginia have computers.

The invitation is still open for our quarterly meeting in St. Michael’s in June. At that time maybe we can discuss a little more about the Amish and even about a few boats.

I am now trying to decide how best to send this to you…..Pony Express or telegraph. Possibly, I may have a neighbor that has one of those new fangle email machines!

Dick Werner
President ACBS

10 replies
  1. jfrprops
    jfrprops says:

    hold on to the can, and pull the string tighter…good letter, good posting, healthy,
    John in Va

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Dick Werner, a very impressive letter indeed. Software is the hold-up which is somewhat understandable. I wonder what the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club uses and if it has the volume capability that’s needed for dealing with the larger ACBS database. I suppose hardware is part of the solution as well, however.

    The CCABC has the distinct advantage of being associated with Basler Design Group for porviding the necessary hardware, software and technology. They are truely blessed with Bill Basler’s generosity in providing all of this for the Club without upping the dues.


  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Hey Dick,


    Phone: 717.743.3778
    Fax: 717.427.1548

    ALSO! Lancaster County Barns now offers Alpaca Run-In Sheds I bet you can let your draft horses (Percheron) run in there and I can find a couple of Amish who accept Visa®, Mastercard® and American Express® to transport them to PEDIGREE to help promote strong bones, healthy joints, and provide optimal health in a complete and balanced meal for my Old English Sheepdog (AKC Breed Standard) and Labrador Retriever (AKC Breed Standard).

    Joe- Hard working Amish that went loose on Rumspringa

    Please file your paper in the 1 d i 0 t folder

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Got to give Dick credit for keeping it light hearted. He didn’t even make any cracks about the color of your truck, classy.

  5. WoodyBoater
    WoodyBoater says:

    Despite my issues regarding the ACBS online world. All the folks I have met, Dick and Gene included have been a class act and don’t deserve the crap I hand out. But it all needs to be said.The hobby needs younger folks to get into it. And the ACBS is in the position to make that happen. Both WoodyBoater and the Chris Craft club are growing at a 20% or so clip a year. I am not sure the ACBS can say the same. Not that Woodyboater is some sort of miracle site. We are just one of only a handful of sites doing this.

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    There are others sites that do this? Where? I don’t believe it. I can’t think of any. It is great to see something new each day even if a person didn’t agree with it all. As you say it is only a hobby for people with the condition. Plus I don’t like to think I am hanging out with a bunch of old men

  7. WoodyBoater
    WoodyBoater says:

    The old men part I actually like. Its not very often find myself with folks that have life experience. Also as a 50 year old I feel old in every other aspect of my life. At work I am the one that is stinking up the place with my 1980’s mentality. I supose thats why I am so frustrated, because i know i am way behind the times, and i thought the world had moved on regarding email and online worlds. I was fasinated by the Shreck looking lady on the britons Got Talent deal. Over 80 million hits on you tube. We are talking super boawl numbers here. So.

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Singers, wood boats and most else should follow the same rule, Don’t judge a book by its cover.

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Dick’s message is appreciated. With all due rspect, I do take exception with the point that 65% of the members do not have email. DON’T believe it. Many just won’t include it in their profile for obvious reason(s); they want to avoid things like SPAM and unwanted email both of which can deliver a virus. Simply put – they are protecting their privacy. It was a while before I decided to include my address in there. Many have told me the exact same thing. So seriously, it is not because they don’t have email.

    I also believe that the majority want their directory online. Its is fresh, searchable, cost-effective and environmentally sound.

    Not sure why here in the 21st Century you must wait for people who don’t have computers. I will bet you the numbers is much smaller than the association suggests. By the way, would we hold up progress for those who don’t have a phone yet?

    We are about to conclude the first decade of the 21st Century. C’mon – Let’s join it.

  10. Bill
    Bill says:

    Thanks for the kind words regarding the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club, and Basler Design Group. I’ll let everyone form their own opinions on that one.

    When I started with in my role with the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club, one of the things that we immediately set our sights on was our web presence and tools, addressing “back end” systems before we worried too much about putting a beautiful “paint job” on the web site. In a few years, we have developed Boat Buzz, the online Archive (still in its infancy from a development standpoint), our online Hull Registry, the online Membership Directory, TradingDock.org and now the Wiki. In fact, even today, we have not quite gotten to redesigning the Club’s web site, but the site offers some really exceptional features.

    Each of these technology bits create value and benefits to our members. Some of them also serve our needs from an admin side. For example, the online Member Directory, provides our membership with all the information they need to get in touch with other members. But, from an admin side, the programming that makes the online directory work as a member benefit, also helps us manage email addresses, mailing lists, and so on.

    Simply, we could not operate without our web-based tools…with the added bonus of providing benefits to our members.

    The hull registry is a similar scenario. To manage hull records, via paper, or offline through an Excel database is just impossible for a whole host of reasons.

    The ACBS has a few different challenges, given their chapter structure. This is where relational databases shine, however, so the solution is doable.

    What is difficult though, is that custom development, (ie: SQL, PHP or ASP, server-side functions, hosting) is not cheap.

    This is likely one of the reasons, the company that the ACBS contracted with is no longer around. These membership management systems are the culmination of thousands of hours of programming, at whatever the going rate is for such tasks. A “system” cannot be a “system” without investing the hours to make it such. And once those hours are invested, the quickest path to financial health is to kind of “shrink wrap” it, and sell it as a package to others who need a similar solution. The problem is, that few companies make it over the hump. They invest the time, often cash flowing the investment themselves or with investor money, and never quite make it to the point that they sell enough copies to recoup their time.

    This is one reason why our system is in an ongoing, steady state of enhancement. It takes years to do, unless there is a budget available to make it a “real job.”

    A couple of years ago I talked with Gene Porter (then President of ACBS) about ACBS’s needs. It was a good conversation, but it never went to the next step. We were willing to help, but shortly after that conversation, the company (that recently went out of business) was deemed a better route to go.

    Honestly, I can understand what the ACBS has gone through. It happens fairly often in software development. I am hoping that only time was lost and not a pot of money.

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