Tracking Hive Tracks
Most of my Hive Tracks-related mail comes from Hive Tracks, but this comment from Kiwiland stirred up my old impatience with digital bee-ware.
Hivetracks is a simple and brilliant piece of software. I am from New Zealand and we have just starting to use it as my Son is a beekeeper. I will be putting many Kiwi Beekeepers on to this extremely innovative beekeeping software. As an accountant I know how important the management function of a business is, especially the ability to manage risk. If you loose you little notebook you would be hugely disadvantaged and you cannot back up a notebook. Also Beekeepers notes can be hard to read and for others to follow. The other huge risk if a beekeeper was incapacitated or seriously injured and its the families sole income… well need I say more. With Hivetracks its all there and because it is so easily to follow for . The family or another beekeeper will have constant access to all the important information so the business can go on. I highly highly recommend Hivetrack as an important part of any beekeepers risk management system. Awesome product Hivetracks! Keep up the good work. —Gavin
It seems that Hive Tracks has been significantly improved since I first wrote about it three years ago in February 2011. I looked at it again about two years ago, but I admit that was the last time. The folks at Hive Tracks don’t like what I wrote, but it was an honest opinion at the time, and honest opinions are what I do here.
If someone is interested in hive management software, then by all means he or she should try it. The basic program is still free, and I know that many of the recommendations that beekeepers offered early on have been incorporated. I have nothing against the people or the program—the software is actually kind of cool—but it’s not for me.
The thing to remember is that many beekeepers—myself included—keep bees as a way to connect with nature. Bees offer a distraction from the modern digital world and they help to ground us in reality. Personally, I spend most hours of most days working with bits and bytes, so my apiary is a welcome respite from data strings.
You say Hive Tracks is a “simple and brilliant piece of software.” I have no doubt. If you or your son want to keep bees at a keyboard, then by all means go for it. I adore a great piece of software, and I cannot fault people who enjoy and benefit from innovative programming. I’m just saying that people keep bees for a variety of reasons, they have different goals, and they approach management in creative ways. A beekeeper who does not use software in the apiary is not negligent, and he shouldn’t be made to feel that way.
You say you understand “how important the management function of a business is.” I daresay that most beekeepers are not running a business but keep bees for the pure wonder of it. If I were trying to make money off my bees, I might act differently, but I’m not now—nor will I ever—try to keep bees for profit. That is a completely different type of insanity.
Your other arguments are spurious:
- You say, “If you lose your little notebook you would be hugely disadvantaged and you cannot back up a notebook.” And if your computer or phone is lost or stolen you can be hugely disadvantaged as well, even with your info saved online. I’m feeling hugely disadvantaged right now because my password won’t let me in. Maybe they’ve had enough of me? In any case, having been a writer for most of my life, I can tell you I have backed up many notebooks on a photocopier.
- You state that “beekeepers’ notes can be hard to read and for others to follow.” Notes written by physicians are illegible too, but a good many of them still write prescriptions by hand. Somehow we all muddle through.
- “The other huge risk is if a beekeeper was incapacitated or seriously injured and it’s the family’s sole income.” That is an irrelevant reach. If a family’s sole breadwinner is a carpenter, or an electrician, or a lawyer, or a tailor, or a nurse, how often can another family member just read his or her notes and take over? Get real.
- “The family or another beekeeper will have constant access to all the important information so the business can go on.” And a paper copy could do the same. But remember, beekeepers are part scientist, part artisan, part whisperer. The successful ones keep bees by feel, not by reading recipes. So if another beekeeper took over the family business, he would start by opening the hives and having a look, regardless of the notes.
I am very happy you enjoy Hive Tracks and I hope others will read your recommendation and try it. In fact, I wish all beekeepers would try it, just so we could move on.