TreeCents Program FAQ categories
Computer Operations--getting it to run correctly
Design & Function--how it works for my analysis questions
TreeCents Program Computer Operations FAQ's
A1: Is it on your CD? We randomly check our production disk functions, but there could still be damage to a CD surface from handling or storage that makes it unreadable. In most MS-WINDOWS versions you can use Windows Explorer or My Computer to show the contents of your CD (usually E: drive). The TreeCents program is stored inside a TreeCents subdirectory. Look for an .xls format file icon labeled "TREECENTS." Usually a double left mouse click is enough to both call the MS-EXCEL program and start TreeCents.
A2: If you are in MS-EXCEL, pull down the file menu, left click on the open menu. In the open window, scroll through the "look in" cell until your CD drive (usually E:) appears. Go through the list of programs until you find an .xls format file icon labeled "TREECENTS." If it is there, proceed as above. If it is not there, e-mail us and we'll send you a replacement disk gratis.
A1: TreeCents is a Visual Basic shell to format and organize many Excel spreadsheet functions. The Visual Basic programming uses macros to work. You must tell Excel that you authorize it to "enable macros" so that it will work.
A2: Excel has internal security settings for its own virus protection. The high level of security interprets macros as a potential virus threat. In order to run TreeCents, or any other spreadsheet template with macros, you must first reset the Excel security to medium. Go to the "tools" menue, click on "options." In the "options" window, click on "security." Under "security" go to "macro-security" and reset the security to "medium." This will allow you to run macros and still protect against most viruses.
A1: Whoa! There is no TreeCents run password! Somehow you have gone beyond Excel into the Visual Basic program that we use to write the program code. Please don't go there as it is possible to screw up the program function. Start over. Call up Excel. Run TreeCents like any other Excel spreadsheet. Call the TreeCents program and it should open like any Excel spreadsheet.
A1: Did you copy the CD files to your hard drive (usually C:)? Remember that if you run the program from the CD, it is read-only. You must run from the hard drive to save your own data sets. From there, TreeCents will ask you where to store your data sets. We suggest you use the data set subdirectory that we organized for you and you copied onto the hard drive.
A1: Most TreeCents versions approach 8 Mb of code, not a huge program, but on older computers it will be slow to load. We've seen 30+ seconds on 266 Mhz machines with 64 Mb of RAM. There is window change hesitation as well. Faster chips and more RAM usually help. Tests on a 2.0 Mhz chip with 512 Mb RAM showed 4 second load and instantaneous program function.
A2: A highly fragmented hard drive will really slow program function. This happens on heavily used machines where frequent read and rewrite positions the files all over the physical disk surface. Use your windows "defrag" function to reorganize the disk.
A3: We've analyzed several cases where users tried too much multi-tasking that put excessive loads on their processors. Slim down. Run only TreeCents and the manual at one time. We've also seen excessive orders of subdirectories confuse Excel program function (usually more than 6). Run TreeCents from its own subdirectory in "my documents" and this won't happen.
A1: Our brilliant mathematical programmer made a C-- in college English. Actually, if you make the error once and insert it using an automatic labeling routine, your goose is cooked. Yes, we should have caught it before you did especially since it was in big letters on the first page. A new revised TreeCents 2.4 has just been released. If you have a TC2.4 CD purchased before December 2003, send it to us for a free replacement. The new CD also has a revised expanded .pdf manual to boot.
A1: Good question! We think they will, but don't have these systems ourselves and haven't tried. Our new year's resolution is to find some anti-Bill Gates misanthropes and borrow their machines to test the hypothesis.
TreeCents Program Design & Functions FAQ's
A1: What a question to ask a salesman! We'd love to sell you another copy, but the formats, program logic and math are almost identical. Only the forestry pictures, imbedded example yield functions, measurement unit options, and to a small extent, tax modules vary between regional editions. Functionally you can get an Inland West 2.1 to represent a northern forest by varying your own inputs.
A2: The main reason to buy multiple copies is to comply with your site license. We sell one copy that can be loaded on one desktop plus one field laptop. If you have different computer systems at different places, you should buy another copy.
A1: We looked into it and intentionally limited our program to financial analysis for technical reasons. Technically, we could link to yield simulator outputs, but which one? We would have to uniquely program for each available simulator and there are many.
A2: Now the real reason--marketing. Our target clients are non-industrial forest owners. Yield linkage would really make the program huge, hard-to-learn, and unwieldy on the personal computers they typically use. Integrated systems already exist for industrial users--the cheapest we found was $2800--and TreeCents' after-tax calculator module is way better. Adding integrated yield modules would violate our "cheap" design criterion. Then the program would get complicated and violate our "easy" design criterion. We like the fact that we are supplying really cheap and easy financial analytical power to forest owners, even if they have to get personalized harvest projections from another source.
A1: We are actually building a TreeCents international units edition for use in international development projects. It will be in modern metric units, but unfortunately our first target language is Spanish, not French Canadien. An English variant should follow. It is scheduled to be available in 2004.
A2. In the meantime, it is easy to trick TreeCents into thinking Canadian but it may be illegal under the patriot act. Take the input columns based on cubic foot entries, and use only them. Enter volumes, costs and prices consistently in steres (cubic meteres), Loonies (Canadian $)/stere, C$/metric ton, C$/kilometer, or C$/hectare. As the math is the same, every time you see archaic English units written, mentally replace them with the metric equivalent. Ignore the board foot column entirely. This will reduce your product/price grouping flexibility, but to still higher resolution than we had in the first program release.
About taxes...as I recall, Canada is a civilized country that does not tax capital gains as they are mostly taxes on inflation (the inability of government to maintain a stable currency). For the other taxes, you can probably emulate Canadian provincial taxes with the broad tax system flexibility already built into TreeCents.
A1: You can't! TreeCents uses your tax situation to approximately predict the interactions between your tax brackets, your tax environment and your long-run timber income and project expenditures. And it uses some short-cut approximations to slice through some of the really complex IRS code inconsistencies to get to a generalized effect of taxes on investment decisions. For example, TreeCents calculates depletion units for timber cost basis depletion but does a single acre approximation with a fixed linear depletion unit. I.e. it doesn't do the form T volume ingrowth downward adjustments of the depletion units. The TreeCents way does increase the harvest income taxability but not with the same formulaic precision needed for filing in any particular year. We recommend that you rely on USDA-Forest Service Ag Handbook #178 "Forest Landowner's Guide to the Federal Income Tax" available from the government printing office, and on-line at www.timbertax.org .
A2. However, several users have reported using TreeCents to retroactively calculate what the land and timber basis allocations should have been at date of purchase. Between judicious use of a yield simulator, and historic market conditions on the date of purchase, TreeCents will calculate approximate per acre forest values and bare land values as of that date.
A1: We miscalculated our market. TreeCents was conceived as a quick cheap easy tool to put computational power in the hands of forest owners. However, we've sold more TreeCents programs to forestry consultants than to forest owners even though there are about 2000 times more landowners. Many consultants hadn't been doing financial analyses before TreeCents due to the cost and complexity. Now financial calculations are easy for them too. One consultant told us: "We can buy your program for $50 and charge $$ hundreds for every property that we apply it to...thanks TreeCents."
If TreeCents problems persist, send us an e-mail describing the problem to email@example.com and we will try to quickly find a solution for you. Please include a phone number in case we have to call you for clarification.
Copyright © 2003
Forest Econ Inc.