About Ancient Brit

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ancientbrit.ca is the web site of Colin Griffiths.  It hosts an eclectic mix of software, opinions and references.

Colin Griffiths is an ancient brit having lived in Canada for over 40 years.  These many years of experience have given him a decidedly warped yet humane view of the world.  For more than 20 years he produced an annual update to each of several Macintosh software products under the brand name GriffTax, modelling the Canadian income tax returns, T1 for individuals and T2 for corporations.  These were all personally rewarding, but far from financial successes.  In fact, striving for acceptance in the larger PC market, he managed to go bankrupt.  The software was resurrected under the name TaxTron™, and has continued to have a modest if limited presence in the Canadian market.

Now retired from that rat race, he has time on his hands to build opinion pieces for his web site, and to develop iPhone and Pad software.  The eclectic mix ranges from the software, through a series of blogs, and other items covering politics, birding and music.

For those of you interested, here is a history of GriffTax:
•  1980 First tax program created on a Z80 microprocessor using ZBasic
•  1984 Mac purchased, one of the first in Ottawa
•  1985 First spreadsheet published and sold handling the calculations of the 1984 T1 using Multiplan
•  1987 Excel spreadsheet published with CRA paper filing approval, introduction of the brand name, GriffTax
•  1989 Work commenced on stand alone Mac program using Turbo Pascal
•  1991 GriffTax Mac published for 1990 T1 tax returns
•  1995 (approx.)First NetFile version of GriffTax.  NetFile was introduced first as an experiment in parts of the prairies, and we did not sign up till the second year.
•  1998 GriffTax on the Web launched, CRA approved for NetFile
•  2003 GriffTax Simple launched, CRA approved for NetFile
•  2004 Year 2 of GriffTax Simple, and we get sued by Computer Associates, owners of Simply Accounting.  Failed to get CRA aproval in time, and went bankrupt.  Sold to SoftTronTax, giving partial relief from bankruptcy.
•  2005 GriffTax resurrected as TaxTron.

From a technical perspective, several generations of technologies were used for the software.  From Turbo Pascal, a conversion was made to CodeWarrior Pascal.  From Pascal, a conversion was made into C, using the PowerPlant toolset of MetroWerks.  GriffTax on the Web used Java and backend calculation and web server engines written in Pascal.  TaxTron, based on GriffTax Simple used standard Windows development tools.  The latest incarnation of TaxTron now uses Apple’s XCode development system and its Cocoa and Objective-C technologies.

TaxTron 2011, still uses the underlying pagination, page layouts and calculations of GriffTax 1990.  The presentation looks dissimilar, but the guts remains the same, recast maybe, but essentially unchanged.

In that I take some pride.


According to some stories, the Ancient Brits used to paint themselves blue.  The blue colour, known as woad, originates from a herb of the same name, that someone once had nothing better to do, than to boil and boil down, thus rendering a somewhat inelegant brassica, into a dense blue paste.  That paste painted onto the bodies of ancient british warriors, was thought to offer some kind of protection from whoever the day's enemies were.  It may have healing properties.  I dont believe it worked, though it may have put the fear of whatever gods they worshipped into their enemies and scared them away.  A horde of naked blue men rushing towards you might do that to anyone!

Whatever, I am now painting the world green.  Not literally, but if our sign campaign works, maybe so.  I consider the Green Party of Canada, and indeed the green parties of the world, as better bets for a safe, sage and sustainable future than any of the others.  I have decided to run as the candidate in the Pontiac in west Quebec in the coming 2015 general election.  My little bit to get King Stephen out of office.

© Ancient Brit Productions    Updated March 20, 2015