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Newsletters 2002

Click on a link to any of our recent newsletters, or just scroll down. Every month there are valuable tips and hints on Microsoft Word, Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and more! In Internet Explorer, you can search this page for keywords using Ctrl+F. On our home page you can search this entire web site.  Click here for the list of ALL Newsletters.

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Communication in Action – January 2002 Newsletter

New Hopes and New Goals

After 2001, we can only refocus and realign for 2002. With so many challenges ahead, we are going to have our work cut out to make business thrive this year. See below for some suggestions!

Since 1999, the economy has not grown at the rate required or anything like it. Unfulfilled expectations by way of jobs, healthcare and education are mounting up and the backlogs are growing. South Africa is in a state of Stagflation, where the economy is stagnating and we are experiencing inflation because of the weak Rand. Interest rates are predicted to rise again, further tightening belts, downsizing companies and reducing spending – thus greater job losses and more unemployment.

What can we do? Those of us with SME businesses may consider whether it is now appropriate to form a lobby group to bring government to the growth table. Big Business has had its lobby for many decades, but its interests are not those of SMEs. Our needs are for less complexity in government, especially with regard to taxation administration and the levels at which we are taxed as businesses and individuals. How many hours do SMEs spend in completing the array of forms for SARS each month, making sure that payments are made and the forms copied and stamped on delivery at the local office? How much time is wasted on phone calls to SARS to sort out queries? How many times have your returns disappeared completely and it’s your responsibility to prove that they were delivered?

Are you aware that all owners of businesses will have to pay PAYE each month on what you earn? Provisional tax is falling away from 1 March 2002 and you need to average out what you have earned during tax year 2002 and then pay the required monthly tax.

Again, as with VAT, SMEs are going to be paying SARS on money yet to be received!

So tighter control is required. Careful watching of cash flows and clearer budgeting needs to be done. Most of all – even more creative thinking around your company’s goals and aims in the market place.

Start dreaming now and take the first steps towards the journey of opportunity that is 2002! If you need some help, visit www.mindjet.com and take a look at their MindManager software. Download a trial version and test it to see if it can stimulate your creativity.

We’ve the World Earth Summit coming this year and taking place in Johannesburg. Are there opportunities for you or your business to make an impact? We have the lowest cost around for overseas purchasers of our goods and services, the most magnificent holiday destinations – what can we do to really promote our product?

For us, it is to provide reliable and cost-effective software solutions for companies here and abroad. Out of hours, to promote the river trails around Johannesburg and encourage people to walk them. Learn more about this amazing area that is Gauteng and North West Provinces with their heritage sites and rivers, wildernesses and recreation areas. Become a guide and a promoter of all that makes this country potentially a tourist Mecca and a cradle of opportunity.

Change of Postal Details

Our new postal address is PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052. Our Rivonia box will be available until the end of 2002.

FREE Quotation Spreadsheet

"It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done." – Winston Churchill.
...How reliable are your quotes?

Doing quotations is fundamental to most businesses. If the process can be simplified and automated and you can trust the accuracy of the figures you give to your client, would your job be made more satisfying?

We have released a free Excel 97/2000/XP spreadsheet for producing general quotations. It will let you put in your own price lists and then select items from those lists when you produce a quote. For manufacturing concerns, it can also produce a Bill of Materials.

You can get this file in one of two ways:

1.       E-mail quotesheet@softwareafrica.co.za and we will e-mail you the 252 KB self-extracting file; or

2.       Visit our web site and download the spreadsheet.

Your feedback is welcome to our regular e-mail address.

Pastelizer 6.0 is coming...

If you are using Maximizer 97is, 5, or 6 with Pastel Accounting version 6.0, please note that we are upgrading Pastelizer to work with Pastel 6. Communication in Action is now the sole worldwide supplier of Pastelizer. Our knowledge of the technology for communicating with Maximizer and Pastel databases allows us to offer you customised connectivity solutions for either or both of these packages.

The Falling Rand making solutions too expensive?

Yes, we do have to pay Dollar and Pound prices for our Microsoft, Lotus, Adobe and similar software and there’s no getting away from that. However, do we have to pay the same prices for support or programmed solutions which can be sourced here?

Of course not! By using local companies, locally based and supported, it is possible to cut costs and help the economy. It also helps to keep qualified people in the country as they are employed.

Imported is not always best and it’s time to demand excellence from local suppliers and keep our money at home! In fact, by doing so, we will strengthen the currency because we will be showing faith in it. Be willing to pay a fair price for what you are buying – it’s not charity but good sense to go local right now.

What does a local company offer?

A local company knows the business challenges and the internal market conditions, plus the economic situation. Their people talk your language – or at least one of them! Best of all, they are close by and can respond easily. Meetings are not a challenge! Best of all, they charge in Rands!

Benefits

No unexpected rises due to exchange rate fluctuations; help is a local call away and a friendly voice clearly answers your cry! You help grow the economy and your commitment shows that Business SA is truly at work and worthwhile. Who knows, your need may be answered by the creation of an internationally marketable product that further enhances the country’s growth and prosperity.

Plus, you can feel good about doing something whilst winning as well!

Tips from the Help Line:

Question (from us this time!): Our NT workstation refused to find the Windows 2000 server using either a static IP address or DHCP. We checked the network card, changed the port on the hub and the network cable with no success. Changed the identification from domain to workgroup – and then attempted to go back again, no joy.

Answer: So what worked? Going into Windows 2000 Server’s administrative tools, Active Directory Users and Computers; here we reset the computer’s account. Bingo – back on the domain! This despite the fact that the account was active and reporting no problems on the server.

Q: How can I import data from Outlook into Maximizer?

A:  There is a problem with the amount of information that Outlook exports into the Windows comma delimited file. When you open it in Excel, you will see what is happening. Outlook has many more fields than you need in Maximizer, so delete all the blank ones in Excel first and then do a File | Save As to make sure that it keeps the *.csv format. Excel will complain but ignore it. You can then import the edited file into Maximizer and match the fields with each other.

Note: import companies and individuals first and ignore contacts by placing the Skip field tag by First Name, Last Name etc. Then Import the contacts.

Q: Why would my networked Access database keep getting corrupt?

A: In the recent case of one of our favourite customers, our hardware people diagnosed a faulty hub. Remember that databases are very sensitive to corruption, and you need to keep frequent backups.

  Q: How can I create my own Excel shortcut key for frequently-used operations?

A: Record the operation as a Macro: Tools > Macro > Record New Macro. Name the Macro (no spaces). Put it in the Personal Macro Workbook if you want it to be available at all times. Here you specify the shortcut key: Hold in the Shift key and press a letter on the keyboard. (Shortcut keys with "Shift" work best because there is no risk of their replacing built-in shortcuts like Ctrl+C (Copy). You can however use the letter unshifted.) During recording, pay attention to whether you want to record Absolute or Relative references –the results can be very different! When you have finished performing the actions, Stop Recording! Save your file in case of mishaps. To test your macro, hold in the Ctrl key and press the Shift+Key combination you set earlier.

Courses and Projects

The next Maximizer user course is 25 January 2002 and there are still seats available.

We will train members of the Community Police Forums’ administrative staff and staff of similar organisations at half price – please ask your local CPF if they need help.

Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.

Excel for Engineers and Scientists and Programming Excel –  two powerful courses that are run on demand. We also run Visual Basic 6 courses (Beginners' and Intermediate).

We are possibly the only company that still trains and offers support on Lotus 123 and Lotus Approach. If, however, you are moving away from these packages, we can convert your Lotus data and macros to the equivalent Microsoft product.

That’s all for now from the team! Bye!

Judith

Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

The entire contents of this newsletter Copyright© 2002 Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd. Please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or post it on your site as long as it is left intact with all links unchanged and includes this notice. Back to top


Communication in Action – February 2002 Newsletter

Up and Running again

January saw so many people enjoying the sunshine and a long holiday that we found ourselves enjoying empty roads until the schools went back! Needless to say the traffic jams are back and everyone is busy again!

Communication in Action is going to be running articles on various topics supplied by Text 100, the PR company. This is to enable you, our customers, to obtain an overview of developments in new software and hardware releases. Please let us know if this works for you or otherwise.

Change of Postal Details

Our new postal address is PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052. Our Rivonia box will be available until the end of 2002.

Piracy doesn’t pay

You may have noticed a recent article in the press about successful actions against people selling pirated software. They were selling the software and pirated DVDs at the Boksburg flea market. Each person was fined R10 000. Check the credentials of flea market software – you could be buying a very expensive mistake if the software is pirated.

In another case, Microsoft has reached settlement of R30 000 with computer vendor, Johannesburg-based Computer Telephony Solutions, for copyright infringement of its software products.

Please protect your legal software from theft. It is too easy for people to walk out with your costly CDs, leaving you in the lurch and liable as you no longer have the original software. If you are uncertain about your licensing situation, we will do an audit and advise you accordingly.

Pastelizer 6.0 is Here!

You’ve waited patiently and we have beavered away at producing the new version. Now it’s here and ready for you to run and give feedback on. You’ll find it on our website after 4th February!

Anyone purchasing version 6.0 now will be eligible for free upgrades for the rest of the year. We envisage these coming about from your requirements as the user. Both Pastel and Maximizer 6.0 offer so many more features that we feel you may want to drive the process towards a feature rich Pastelizer.

We are also changing our pricing structure and having a “fire sale” for the Pastelizer 5 and 5.2 versions! (click here for latest prices)

Please let us have your wish list!

Communication in Action is now the sole worldwide supplier of Pastelizer. Our knowledge of the technology for communicating with Maximizer and Pastel databases allows us to offer you customised connectivity solutions for either or both of these packages.

Insurance Information eXchange Update

This product is growing in functionality and in user base. Over R4.5million worth of policies are handled by the system and we have a number of major companies – not just brokers but underwriters and insurers – using it daily.

For Hollard brokers, the link into Hollard will go fully live in the next few weeks, giving on-line quoting for Hollard products.

In addition, for up to 15 users, it is no longer necessary to use SQL Server as IIX will run on Microsoft’s Data Engine (MSDE) which is provided as part of Office 2000. This offers a considerable cost saving for the smaller broker.

Call Centres thrive on the product because everything about the client is instantly accessible.

Please remember that IIX takes a month for your staff to fully implement so start planning now and we can have you up and running from March/April. Once everyone is trained, we just keep you updated and you do everything else!

The New Visio 2002 – an introduction from Text 100

Communication is essential in the business environment to ensure the effective transfer of ideas and information. Microsoft Visio 2002 assists business professionals in documenting and communicating a broad range of ideas, information and systems.

 “Visio 2002 allows the user to more effectively place work into the right modules and components,” explains Tracy McKinon, product marketing manager at Microsoft South Africa. “Business processes can be visually documented allowing the business owner to put the pieces into context with each other and then move processes around without having to struggle.”

With Visio, businesses can cut long text documents down into a few pages and business owners can visualise the data they work with every day—using Visio to automatically generate organisation charts and timelines from existing information.

You can publish Visio diagrams as Web pages, complete with online zoom capabilities, a custom property viewer, and built-in navigation for multi-page diagrams. It is easy to assemble diagrams by dragging task-specific Microsoft SmartShapes onto the page. Unlike clip art, Visio shapes behave like the real-world objects they represent. Text boxes stay with their shapes; connectors stretch and change angles when you move things around.

Visio features Office XP user-interface enhancements, such as personalised menus, customisable toolbars, and task panes, plus Office classics: AutoCorrect, background spelling checker, and keyboard shortcuts.

Business diagrams in Microsoft Visio Standard 2002 and Visio Professional 2002 help businesses visualise, document, and share ideas with flowcharts, organisation charts, office layouts, and more. With the familiar Office interface and tools, the user can create visuals with ease, and use these images in any other Microsoft business application, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Irritating Viruses

Recently we received a pair of very irritating viruses. One whose effects were nearly catastrophic as it was a new one in the wild and not detected by our antivirus program. It offered a screensaver to look at. This looked safe as it came from a known and trusted source and it has an attachment called gone.scr file. Do not click on it! It replicates itself to every e-mail address in your Outlook contacts and starts sending out. Fortunately, we have a dial-up connection and suddenly saw a lot of mail going out, pulled the plug on the dial out and stopped it leaving the premises!

The next one has a heading “New WordPad Document” and has the same characteristics. As it came from an unknown source, we caught it on suspicion alone!

Snowhite is still around so delete her as well!

Which brings me to mail monitoring!

Firewalls are becoming the best way to stop these attacks happening. Your antivirus software sits in front of your mail server with the firewall and handles the unwanted intrusion before it can damage your server. Firewalls also prevent spamming and can be used to monitor content, so that your business connection is not overloaded with personal mail. Large PowerPoint presentations really clog the lines – externally and internally – and if they are personal and not business in origin, does your company need them?

They can be either hardware firewalls or software. CISCO routers offer “hardware” firewalling whilst Mail and Web Marshall give a complete and reasonably costed software solution including antivirus. The other thing that firewalls do is prevent your mail server being used by an outside server to route its mail – sound off-the-wall? It’s not, we know of at least two mail servers that have had this problem.

Support for Office 97

As this product is now 5 years old, we are discontinuing support for it. All support will assume that the version of Office is 2000 or later.

Support for Lotus Smart Suite

We are able to do support for Smart Suite Millennium and later. Earlier versions are not supported.

Tips from the Help Line:

Question: Why can’t I send out my mail shot? I get an error message saying no disk space available for this procedure.

Answer: Unfortunately that’s why – clear some space on your PC’s hard drive so that there is room to write the files to it, by deleting the *.tmp files from it. If you are really short of hard drive space, then you will have to look in depth at what else is not wanted on the drive or purchase a new drive for your PC.

Q: Can I use Microsoft Office on my laptop as well as my PC?

A:  Providing it is an 80/20 situation, you may load your copy of Office on both. The two must each have their own operating system software as this cannot be shared.

Q: Maximizer 6.0 does not recognise my e-mail connection even if I disable extended MAPI 

A: Ask us for Service Pack 2 or download it from www.multiactive.com/support 

Q: Someone developed a Program/Web Site for me, now they say it is their intellectual property and refuse to give me the source code. What can I do?

A: To avoid this problem you should always have a development contract in which copyright and ownership of code are explicitly stated (we always do this in our development contracts). If it is developed exclusively for you, you should have copyright and ownership. If you have only a verbal agreement, you may face a legal battle to get them.

Q: Someone wrote a program for me a few years ago. They have now disappeared and I need the program modified. Can you do it for me?

A: With great difficulty, if at all, unless you have the source code! Always insist on the source code of anything that is developed exclusively for you. If you aren't entitled to the source code (as with off-the-shelf software), does the supplier have a support plan in case they are no longer willing to support the software? Communication in Action has taken over Pastelizer from Partner Systems, and various programs from EngiNet (Pty) Ltd.

Courses and Projects

The next Maximizer user course is 22 February 2002. There are still some seats available.

As long-term QuickBooks users, we can train your staff one-on-one on this most user-friendly accounting package.

We will train members of the Community Police Forums’ administrative staff and staff of similar organisations at half price – please ask your local CPF if they need help.

Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.

Excel for Engineers and Scientists and Programming Excel –  two powerful courses that are run on demand. We also run Visual Basic 6 courses (Beginners' and Intermediate).

We are possibly the only company that still trains and offers support on Lotus 123 and Lotus Approach. If, however, you are moving away from these packages, we can convert your Lotus data and macros to the equivalent Microsoft product.

That’s all for now from the team! Bye!

Judith   Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

The entire contents of this newsletter Copyright© 2002 Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd. Please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or post it on your site as long as it is left intact with all links unchanged and includes this notice. Back to top


Communication in Action – March 2002 Newsletter

Of Taxes and Currency

The budget seems not only to have brought us a personal tax break, but a marked strengthening of the currency. Perhaps this means that we can now prosper from our work efforts and grow the economy!

Certainly, we are seeing positive movements in terms of decision-making and order placing, plus our enquiries are rising. With a number of projects close to completion, we are ready for new challenges to come our way. We wish everything of the same for you!

Change of Postal Details

Our new postal address is PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052. Our Rivonia box will be available until the end of 2002.

Piracy doesn’t pay

But you can have your Lotus CDs refreshed or replaced if you lose them – contact Judith for details!  

Pastelizer 6.0 update!

Pastelizer is the package that selectively feeds your Maximizer Address Book entries through to Pastel Debtors and keeps their details updated.

In version 6.0A (downloadable from our web site) the billing features have been dramatically expanded to include on-demand billing: You fill in a Maximizer field of your choice with a code of your choice, then Pastelizer automatically creates a Quote, Pro-Forma Invoice, or Invoice etc. in Pastel. It optionally puts Invoices in a batch or posts them to the General Ledger. Details and pricing are taken from the Pastel Inventory. The Invoice number and date can be fed back into Maximizer. This feature supplements the existing "Recurring Billing" feature that issues monthly or annual invoices.  

Insurance Information eXchange Update

We are now offering trial periods of 60 days connecting to our Internet server, so that you can make sure the software does what we say it does! User support is charged for on-site during this period but not the installation.

Requirements are Windows 95 with Service Pack 1 and Internet Explorer 5.5; or Windows 98 Second Edition with Internet Explorer 6.0; or Windows NT Workstation with SP6 and Internet Explorer 6.0; or Windows 2000 Pro with SP2 and all current updates.

We will install the front-end on the designated PCs and make sure that you connect successfully.

In addition, we realise that many smaller companies do not want the hassle of maintaining their own systems and databases. Because of the high speed connection on the Internet, we are also going to be offering an Applications Service from our servers at a monthly rental. Please enquire about what this will cost and we can give you a comparison with the in-house costs.

The new Microsoft Project 2002

Microsoft Project 2002 extends into the enterprise arena

Today’s business executives face tight economic times and they want a better grasp of what’s driving costs throughout an organisation. Project 2002, due for release later this year, raises the bar on collaboration and extends Microsoft project management technology into the enterprise arena.   

This software gives businesses insight into how resources are being used and provides the modelling tools needed for ‘what-if’ analysis so they can understand the best way to deploy resources across various projects.

“We’re introducing a family of products with Project 2002 including a powerful new server product called Microsoft Project Server 2002,” explains Tracy McKinon, product marketing manager at Microsoft South Africa.

“By introducing a server product we’re enabling customers to manage a single, central pool of resources across all the projects in their enterprise. Now that Microsoft’s core platform products such as Windows Servers and Microsoft SQL server have evolved into enterprise platforms we wanted to capitalise on those platforms to build the next generation of project management solutions that customers demand for the enterprise.” 

The new portfolio modelling tools of Microsoft Project Server make it easier for executives or key stakeholders to look across all their projects and check status, track costs and model how they can rebalance resources to more effectively deliver on their top priorities.

“Microsoft developed a family of products to provide customers with the flexibility to pick the right set of functionality for their specific needs and because Project 2002 is to be a key part of complex enterprise solutions we needed to provide more than a one-size-fits-all approach,” says McKinon.  

Project 2002 will enable companies to make project management a critical business application across their enterprise as the product’s enterprise capabilities combined with a value-based pricing model will make enterprise project management more affordable.  

Irritating Viruses

Yes, there are more on the loose. Please update your antivirus definitions regularly – we find Norton and McAfee the two best solutions. If you are on Diginet connections, a firewall is essential – ask Judith for more information on these.  

Tips from the Help Line:

Question: We all have “blond” moments and one gave rise to this query – why do two templates not line up on their left margins?

Answer: The paper sizes were different. One was A4 as expected and the other Letter paper (not expected). Changing the second one sorted the alignment out immediately. As we have A4 as our standard the change to Letter remains unexplained!

Q: Network connections were being lost on two Windows 2000 Pro PCs regularly, with loss of work and database corruption. A similar site did not have this problem, what was the cause and why?  

A:  The Windows 2000 Pro PCs on site 1 were not being regularly updated from the Internet. Microsoft Mail, which was being run on both sites, can and does cause a loss of connection as it drops the SMTP connection. Updating the PCs with SP2 and all the latest patches appears to have sorted it out. We are now watching to make sure that we regularly update all users with the relevant patches!  

Q:  What is the Apple equivalent of Outlook?  

A: Don’t trust your Apple supplier to know this! It is part of the Apple version of Office and is called Entourage! Incidentally, Apples and PCs can talk using AppleTalk but on a peer-to-peer network you will require additional software from the Apple supplier to make this happen.  

Courses and Projects

The next Maximizer user course will be in May 2002.   

As long-term QuickBooks users, we can train your staff one-on-one on this most user-friendly accounting package.

We will train members of the Community Police Forums administrative staff and staff of similar organisations at half price – please ask your local CPF if they need help.

Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.

Excel for Engineers and Scientists and Programming Excel –  two powerful courses that are run on demand. We also run Visual Basic 6 courses (Beginners' and Intermediate).

We are possibly the only company that still trains and offers support on Lotus 123 and Lotus Approach. If, however, you are moving away from these packages, we can convert your Lotus data and macros to the equivalent Microsoft product

That’s all for now from the team! Bye!

Judith

Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

The entire contents of this newsletter Copyright© 2002 Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd. Please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or post it on your site as long as it is left intact with all links unchanged and includes this notice. To unsubscribe, please e-mail info@softwareafrica.co.za and put " Unsubscribe" in the subject line. Back to top


Communication in Action – April 2002 Newsletter

Moving into Winter

Already the days are starting later and the urge to stay warmly under the blankets is growing. However, business is speeding up and more and more work is coming on-line. It is a good experience to see this happening and being further supported by the strengthening Rand against the Dollar and the Pound. Perhaps this is the moment to capitalise on all the hard work to date and close those sales to give a firm feel to the first half of the year.

Insurance Information eXchange Update

Recent customer evaluations have brought exciting feedback, amongst it that IIX is ahead of the rest in terms of stability, flexibility and implementation. Its integration with both Office 2000 and Office XP means that it is state of the art.

But that doesn’t make it the solution for you – far rather look at the value your business will obtain from clear audit trails, integrated accounting, multi-user access to solve client problems and lower telephone accounts because of fewer call backs.

If any of the above says “Yes” to you, call now to have your demo unit installed.

Microsoft announces the Software Development Kit for Visio 2002

If you want to develop for Visio 2002, the SDK is a must! Contact us for pricing.

Irritating Viruses

Please keep your antivirus updates current – there are some very nasty viruses going the rounds at the moment. One customer lost her operating system as a result of one attack and the fix did not work. So reformat and reload after searching and moving her data files.

Courses and Projects

The next Maximizer user course will be in May 2002.  Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.

Excel for Engineers and Scientists and Programming Excel –  two powerful courses that are run on demand. We also run Visual Basic 6 courses (Beginners' and Intermediate).

That’s all for now from the team! Bye!

Judith

Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

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Communication in Action – June 2002 Newsletter

Winter is Here

The days are starting later and the urge to stay warmly under the blankets has arrived!

It is time to put new building blocks in place and plan for the second half to be even better. Take a moment to look at how you have achieved your results. Evaluate what works best and plan to use these effective methods more often. Review who on your staff is really making a difference and acknowledge them so that they are able to build on their recognised strengths as well.

Free Quote Sheet updated to Version 1.02

We have updated our free Quotation sheet to fix some minor bugs. The spreadsheet is for Excel 2000 (or XP) and is suitable for issuing quotes from a small business. You build your own price list into it. We will customize it on request and recently did so for a paving company in Pretoria. You can download the latest version from our web site.

Interesting Projects - SARS Directives

Do you want to apply for directives electronically to the SA Revenue "Service" (sic)? We recently completed a set of Excel spreadsheets from which one can export text files in the format demanded by SARS (Income Tax System – Request Directives Interface Requirements Specification IBIR-006 3.400). This format is of course unique to them. Excel is pretty much a standard among businesses, or if a more general format is required there is comma-delimited (CSV), which can also be produced by Excel. Could SARS have used this as a standard? Of course not! Why should they want to save South African businesses time or money? What a silly idea! –We are there to make the money for them, they are there to waste it and to harass us.

Pastelizer 5.2A

The improved features of Pastelizer 6.0A have now been moved back a Pastel version to work with Pastel Accounting 5.2. These features include on-demand billing, better error reporting, more flexibility in addresses, and checking for the current billing period. We can also confirm that Pastelizer works with the latest Maximizer, version 7, and (if installed correctly) with Pervasive SQL.

Office XP – Not user friendly?

A user who rolled out this product recently is less than happy with it. Merging is a mystery and their templates, which worked perfectly in Office 97, have been reformatted twice and still are unintelligible. Microsoft's support has been dilatory and no solution has been obtained so far.

Irritating Viruses

Please keep your antivirus updates current – there are some very nasty viruses going the rounds at the moment. One customer lost her operating system as a result of a Klez attack and the fix did not work. She had to reformat and reload after searching and moving her data files. We get several Klez attacks a day!

An interesting e-mail solution

We are currently testing a demo version of MailMarshall. This product interacts directly with McAfee Antivirus and has a number of purposes. If you feel that Lotus Notes or Exchange Server are not for your company, MailMarshall becomes your POP and SMTP mail server as well as your e-mail firewall keeping viruses out of your network! If you have or wish to use Notes or Exchange, then MailMarshall integrates directly with them.

MailMarshall can then be set up to prevent spamming, junk mail access, non-work files coming through like chain letters and jpeg files of world events. It sends messages to the administrator, the sender and the recipient when rules are violated. Best of all, you have a robust firewall between your business and the outside world.

You do however require your own e-mail domain e.g. mycompany.co.za for the solution to work. This is an advantage, since then your costs go down and you can keep the same e-mail address irrespective of which Internet Solution Provider you are using. Users can access their mail via dial-in if required either just with their normal network ID and password or with dial-back prior to log in. To fully tie your firewall to the Internet, its companion product WebMarshall can be installed as well. This monitors which web pages are being accessed and also prevents certain iffy web pages being accessed. Users can be grouped to allow or disallow web access. Grouping of users applies on both products and rules can be applied to a specific group.

Tips from the Help Line:

Question: Most of my Maximizer version 7.0 contacts have disappeared. How can I get them back?

Answer: Maximizer 7.0 automatically starts up with the search results as it was when you shut down. To see all contacts, click the Address Book, then choose View > All Companies and Individuals. If you still do not see them, somebody may have opened another Maximizer Address Book, or deleted your contacts. Check File > Open Address Book Folder. If your contacts have been deleted, recover the Maximizer files from your latest backup.

Q: What is a Backup?

A: You mean we haven't bored you out of your skull by insisting that you do backups? Sorry, but its true. We continually harp on the need to keep backups, yet we recently had a customer who had a virus delete her Maximizer contacts, and she had made no backups. "I didn't think I'd need a backup", she said. 

Q:  How dangerous are viruses?

A:  Very! Please keep your Norton, McAfee, whatever, updated weekly. Your contacts will not appreciate being spammed with virus-generated e-mails and you don't want your valuable client databases deleted or damaged.

Q:  I want to use Maximizer Enterprise's Marketing Campaign Manager but I need an SMTP server, how can I get one?

A: We can supply a mail daemon for free (installation charged only) which will serve the purpose and give everyone in your company access to e-mail. Let us know if you want to have it and we will arrange installation. It works with Outlook 2000 proper (as does Maximizer) and not with Express.

Courses and Projects

The next Maximizer user course will be on 7 June 2002, thereafter on demand.

As long-term QuickBooks users, we can train your staff one-on-one on this most user-friendly accounting package.

Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.

Excel for Engineers and Scientists and Programming Excel - two powerful courses that are run on demand. We also run Visual Basic 6 courses (Beginners' and Intermediate).

That’s all for now from the team!

Bye!

Judith

Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

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Communication in Action – July 2002 Newsletter

What is to be done?

It is generally acknowledged that growth is well below the 3% target and that even this is not enough to provide employment for the estimated 40% of people who have no jobs. The International Labour Organisation has issued a report saying that 100 million jobs are needed in Africa over the next ten years to bring prosperity to the continent. Faced with heavy protectionist policies in the US and Europe which safeguard and subsidise their agriculture at the expense of the rest of the world, farming is not a viable proposition except for personal needs

We have therefore to move away from farming crops which are not viable or healthy (tobacco is not a substitute for food), possibly bring in subsidies again for key foodstuffs, so that we do not import inflation from abroad and look to other areas in which we can shine and create jobs.

South Africa needs employers who can employ 25-50 people effectively, who form a strong lobby for simplification of the load of returns that have to be done to SARS and other institutions monthly and which deplete the company’s effectiveness, who lobby for ease of entry for small entrepreneurs, equity under the law and simple training benefits. It is admitted that the SETTAs are not working – why not? Because they are bureaucratic and assume that companies can keep staff to work for them for “free” to meet their needs. SMEs cannot employ people who do not bring in a return for the company itself, despite what the government, which is big business orientated, thinks.

What are our strengths?

In South Africa, we have many strengths – not the least of which is amazing weather all year round and a beautiful countryside. This is why we have become such a preferred tourist destination. Indeed in this area, we are growing vigorously.

We have a commitment to learning in many communities and a realisation of the value of the skills that it delivers. We have many sound people who work in IT and other service industries. We have many people who are committed to South Africa and its growth.  

What are our weaknesses?  

High crime is one plus an inability to accept the value of our police to our communities. We do not support them enough. We are also dirty – throwing our litter out onto the street from where it finally pollutes our rivers and streams thus to the sea. We are not law abiding, refusing to wear seatbelts, placing our babies on our laps instead of in baby seats in our cars, buying stolen goods, jumping traffic lights, speaking on cell phones – the list is endless and I am sure that you can add your own special violations.

A culture of entitlement instead of responsibility also weakens the fabric of our society. We love blaming others, turning a blind eye to public and family violence, not assisting victims of crime and not reporting stolen goods that may come into our businesses for repair.  

Checklist for Success   

Take a good look at the weaknesses above and make a concerted effort to eliminate from yourself, your family and your company.  

Look at the strengths that you have, your family has and your company has and build on them.  

Have a brainstorm to find out how much more you, your family and your company can contribute to South Africa. Can you/family/company take soup to pensioners as some people are doing? Can you/family/company take toys and clothes to orphanages, give time to the children, donate books to schools or computers or software? How many other ideas come up?  

Should we form an SME umbrella body to promote our interests and lobby government on particular topics? Should we also be represented at Nedlac?

Should we ask the DTI to promote SA software developers abroad? Get guidelines from them to do this?  

How about a mobile educational centre for the rural areas with Internet access?  

Send me your ideas and I will publish them here – let’s get moving!  

SMS from Maximizer  

There is a free plug-in currently in beta testing for sending SMSs from Maximizer, you just need a subscription with your ISP in order to send them. Pleas contact Judith for more information – works with versions 6.0 and 7.0.

Insurance Information eXchange Update  

It growing stronger by the day and the customer base is as well – don’t miss the boat!  

Office XP – Stress Testing Soon  

We’ve been behind the times for a while but are rectifying this as I write. Full real time user report next month!

MailMarshall Report

We have found a good robust solution to e-mail servers! This product has proved its worth and its strong support from McAfee means that viruses are stopped in their tracks as well. No more listbot.com spamming either! It acts as both as a POP3 and an etrn solution and interacts with Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.

You do require a domain eg user@mycompany.co.za for it to work, which is an advantage in itself as it makes you independent of your ISP. After that, set-up is straightforward and peace of mind secured. Contact us for more information on this.

Tips from the Help Line:

Question: Creating a View in Maximizer

Answer: Views in Maximizer are a powerful way of finding out at a glance what you need to know about a customer. To create a new view, you click on View – Column Setup – Add. Give your view a name, which describes what it is to show you about your database and then select what must appear in each column by clicking on the column and then on the fields displayed on the left hand side bottom box that you want. Click on Add to add them to that column one by one. Once you have the View you want, click OK and then Use Now. If it isn’t as you want, go back and edit it.  

Q: What is a Backup?  

A: It is a compressed form of your data and can be obtained in a number of ways. Windows 2000 Server and Professional come with a Microsoft backup solution that works and backs up to diskette, CD or tape. It does not work as well on 200 Pro, so a proprietary solution such as Veritas Backup Exec is a good idea.  

Winzip will zip your data across diskettes and the Iomega zip drive will use its own software to do the same but onto its larger drive.  

Regularly writing your data to CD also gives you a backup. Maximizer has its own backup utility and this can be used to back up your vital CRM information at least once a week.  

Q:  My ISDN line keeps dialling out - Why?  

A: This happens on Windows 2000 server using MS Proxy Server whenever someone accesses an HTML document. There is no fix! We will be testing ISA server soon to see if this fixes it. Our current solution is to take the user name out of Proxy and put it back when we actually need other network users to have access! Incidentally, this does not happen if you are using Midpoint Lite Internet Access software, so that may well be a better solution than Proxy – please ask us about this if you are interested.  

Q:  I want to use Maximizer Enterprise's Marketing Campaign Manager but I need an SMTP server, how can I get one? – Take Two  

A: We can supply MailMarshall, which does cost but has many more advantages – see above. It works with Outlook 2000 proper (as does Maximizer) and not with Express.  

Courses and Projects

ABSA/Colgate R1Million Home Loan Competition Report: This was a severe disappointment, as out of over 600 boxes, we did not obtain a match. The pattern was that very few matching sides had been produced at all. We are trying to contact the auditors to complain about the impossibility of winning!  

The next Maximizer user course will be on 26 July 2002, thereafter on demand. As long-term QuickBooks users, we can train your staff one-on-one on this most user-friendly accounting package.  

Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.  

Excel for Engineers and Scientists and Programming Excel - two powerful courses that are run on demand. We also run Visual Basic 6 courses (Beginners' and Intermediate).  

That’s all for now from the team!

Bye!

Judith

Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

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Communication in Action – August 2002 Newsletter

Snow, wind and into the first signs of Spring

Following the devastating snow falls in the Eastern Cape and the floods, everywhere seems to be experiencing the coldest winter for years. Gauteng is certainly far from being warm at the moment and winds howling around the house at night remind us that it is really unpleasant out there!  

Inside has been more exciting with Office XP now loaded and challenging us from day one! One problem has been that our e-mail then didn’t work. Exchange Server 2000 is loaded and everything works better than before!

Two PCs died in July so the hardware bill was heavy! It does mean that development is going faster as no-one sits around waiting like they used to do.  

Office XP  

It refuses to talk directly to Mail Marshall from Outlook XP. This feature meant that reloading Outlook 2000 also did not solve the problem! Word spontaneously reformatted our template for this newsletter – really useful for learning how to redo all the styles!

Access is better behaved as it does not spontaneously upgrade your databases to XP but respects the fact that you may wish to keep them available to Access 2000.

Our templates for Word seem to have upgraded without a hitch – possibly because they are not protected. No – just tested a protected one and it is fine as well.

The layout of XP with the Information Bar (if this is what it is called) on the right hand side means that you can see what the options are at any one time. If you don’t want it, it can be turned off. The Option “Automatically Create Drawing Canvas” is probably one to turn off in Word if you want to operate with drawing objects easily.  

Installing Exchange 2000  

If you happen to install this without having Exchange 5.5 anywhere in your organisation, make it a native server. We had problems trying to replace our 5.5 server and, as it wasn’t critical, we removed it completely. It is better to install Exchange 2000 on a brand new box and then migrate your 5.5 data across to it. Remove the old server and then make it a native 2000 server environment. It works beautifully with Active Directory and is more powerful than 5.5.  

Other Developments  

Please note that you must have legal licences for your Microsoft products per each PC loaded. If you change to Open Source Office having illegally used Microsoft Office, you are still liable to pay damages for the illegal use in the past. Microsoft will be lenient if you legalise as soon as you realise that you have unlicensed product.  

Finding Success   

A good place to start is through the following link: www.CrashProof.co.za where you can learn about some very important seminars for small business owners or would-be small business owners. A second link www.PetesWeekly.co.za takes you to many of Peter Carruthers’ previous articles for small business owners.  

SMS from Maximizer  

There is a free plug-in currently in final testing for sending SMSs from Maximizer, you just need a subscription with your ISP in order to send them. Please contact Judith for more information – works with versions 6.0 and 7.0.  

MailMarshall Report  

Now tested with Exchange 2000 and working well! This is a really powerful tool for monitoring your e-mail traffic in your company. With McAfee Antivirus giving additional protection to your network, can you really be without it?  

Tips from the Help Line:  

Question: Creating Hotlist Task in Maximizer  

Answer: Hotlist Tasks in Maximizer form the basis of your day, once you have created your initial list, you will find that you use the hot list to run your life! Using drag and drop, take the contact you wish to work with up to the Hotlist icon and then create the task you want to do. I keep my hot list tasks for letters, e-mails, phone calls and research. Generally I do not set a specific time for hot list tasks only for meeting \s that I schedule in the calendar.  

As I do each task, I create the one to follow it and also make notes about what I have done in completing it, so that I automatically create a history of my actions around that contact and their company.  

Q: What is a wildcard and why is it useful?  

A: It is the character * on the keyboard and we use it particularly in searches when the search must return all known examples that we are looking for – eg *.bat will give you all the PC’s batch files; *.co.za will return all the .co.za domain names or e-mail addresses that you might have on your database.  

Q:  My ISDN line keeps dialling out - Why?  

A: This happens on Windows 2000 server using MS Proxy Server whenever someone accesses an HTML document. There is no fix! We will be testing ISA server soon to see if this fixes it. Our current solution is to take the user name out of Proxy and put it back when we actually need other network users to have access! Incidentally, this does not happen if you are using Midpoint Lite Internet Access software, so that may well be a better solution than Proxy – please ask us about this if you are interested.  

Q:  I want to use Maximizer Enterprise's Marketing Campaign Manager but I need an SMTP server, how can I get one? – Second Solution A: We can supply MailMarshall, which does cost but has many more advantages – see above. It works with Outlook 2000 proper (as does Maximizer) and not with Express.  

Courses and Projects  

The next Maximizer user course will be run on demand.  

As long-term QuickBooks users, we can train your staff one-on-one on this most user-friendly accounting package.  

Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.  

Excel for Engineers and Scientists and Programming Excel - two powerful courses that are run on demand. We also run Visual Basic 6 courses (Beginners' and Intermediate).  

That’s all for now from the team!  

Bye!

Judith

Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd
New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576.
New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

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Communication in Action – September 2002 Newsletter

The Summit is over

And we had all the dignitaries here with less chaos than expected. The Ubuntu Village proved to be full of ideas for saving on coal and oil and replacing them with sun and wind power instead. Particularly interesting was the prospect at last of non-petrol driven cars and other vehicles. Sustainable agriculture was also addressed comprehensively. The South African stands were in plenty and notable for a number of spelling mistakes. Durban’s tourist map has three p’s in Shopping! However, the enthusiasm and commitment by many of the people on the stands and especially the LoveLife people who had participated in Mission Antarctica was amazing. If some of this commitment is sustained, South Africans at least will make a noticeable difference.  

Windows XP

Please note that Service Pack 1 is now out and can be downloaded from the Web – www.microsoft.com or ordered for delivery after 9 September. Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000 is also available and is best ordered from Microsoft for delivery as it is a huge file to download.  

Licensing News

Watch this space for a very exciting new offering from Microsoft – MultiYear Licensing, which will solve many small and medium businesses’ problems with both being legal and staying current.  

Other Developments  

Asked to find out the price of Quick Books 2002, I rang Brilliant and found out. This originally well-priced product is now nearly R3500 including VAT for a single user. The good news is that two users are only a R1000 more!

It seems like the exchange rate has got out of hand completely.  

SMS from Maximizer

There is a free plug-in now fully operational for sending SMSs from Maximizer, you just need a subscription with the ISP who developed it in order to send them. Please contact Judith for more information – works with versions 6.0 and 7.0.  

Tips from the Help Line:

Question: Why has my default printer changed after installing WinFax Pro?  

Answer: – This caught me out completely as I had forgotten that it made itself the default printer. Be warned and check that you have not lost your printer!  

Q: I downloaded the Redfern Label templates from your web site but they don’t work – as one goes down the sheet, they print progressively higher and higher relative to the actual labels, and the bottom row of labels is 20 – 25 mm too high!  

A: Your printer is set to print to (US) Letter paper, which is 25 mm shorter than A4. The problem usually arises when Windows has been left with the default United States settings by a lazy (or ignorant) installer. Fix this as follows:

Ø             Click Start > Settings > Control Panel.

Ø         Double-click Regional Options.

Ø         Select the language as “English (South Africa)” {not ”English (United States)” (the default)}.

Ø         Do not reboot the PC yet.

Ø         On the "Time" Tab, check that the format is the way you want it (use HH:mm for a 24-hour clock – Note the Capital "HH").

Ø         On the "Date" Tab, check that the formats are suitable (we suggest dd/mm/yyyy and d mmmm yyyy).

Ø         Click OK and restart the PC.

Ø         The default paper size will then automatically go to A4.

Ø         This change will also do useful things like causing the default dictionary to be English rather than American!

Q:  OK, but shouldn’t the label templates warn one of this?  

A: The Help file that comes up at the end of installation, and when you click the Help hyperlink on any label, now does this. This version is now on our web site.  

Q:  I see that the Redfern Mail Merge Labels only work in Word 2000. When will you do them for Word XP?  

A: Your wish is our command: Look on our web site. We’ve included Word 97 too, for those who like to be “traditional”.  

Q:  What is the latest version of Pastelizer, your wonderful program to keep our customer details in Pastel Accounting up to date from Maximizer?  

A: 5.2A.9 and 6.0A.9 (for Pastel 5.2 and 6.0 respectively) and yes, they are now on our web site. Check your title bar to find out your current version. It’s a free upgrade if you have registered, and runs with some limitations until you do.  

Courses and Projects  

The next Maximizer user course will be run on demand.  

As long-term QuickBooks users, we can train your staff one-on-one on this most user-friendly accounting package.  

Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.  

Excel for Engineers and Scientists and Programming Excel - two powerful courses that are run on demand. We also run Visual Basic 6 courses (Beginners' and Intermediate).  

That’s all for now from the team!

Bye!

Judith and Rick

Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

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Communication in Action – October 2002 Newsletter

Spring has sprung

And we all have hay fever! Except for Judith who has just returned from Cape Town and a breath of sea air. The economy could do with a really good southeaster to blow its cobwebs away as well and stimulate some growth. We seem to have been in stop-go-hesitate for so long although the R9 billion revenue from the Summit seems to have had a good effect. Can we build on it?  

Office XP  

Please note that Service Pack 1 is now out and can be downloaded from the Web – www.microsoft.com or ordered for delivery, as can SP1 for Windows XP. Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000 is also available and is best ordered from Microsoft for delivery as it is a huge file to download.  

Licensing News  

MultiYear Licensing has been released. It will solve many small and medium businesses’ problems with both being legal and staying current, as licensing costs can be spread over three years and include Software Assurance. Thereafter, Software Assurance can be bought at a much lower cost in three year tranches so that the company remains current forever. Only new PCs need extra licences and these can be added as required.  

Other Developments  

Productivity Manager – the software that makes tracking employees’ and managers’ time completely transparent is now available on a rental basis. It includes full reporting on what is happening in your business from the drivers to the MD! No more doing employee assessments without the facts at your finger tips – they fill in the details daily and you have a clear report on what they have been doing on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis!

Remove a lot of the trauma of proving that work has or has not been done and motivate your staff by means of their own results! This package is low cost to run and comes with full updating as enhancements go live. Please call Judith on 011 802-2685 to find out more.  

Internet Connectivity – we have some exciting new offerings here which take the pain out of your monthly connections and website hosting. We will expand on this in November  

Maximizer Developments pending  

Watch this space for some exciting developments in the Enterprise and Personal Editions, plus: many new add-ons are coming on line.  

Tips from the Help Line:  

Question: Where are my toolbars and why can’t I open my address book in Maximizer?  

Answer: – Somebody has hidden the icon and toolbars! It may have been you if you were playing with your mouse whilst on the phone. Click on View | Toolbars and look at the resulting dialog box. It will show you what is not visible. By double clicking on the toolbar, you can change it to Visible then click on OK. Repeat for each one and finally click on OK to go back to Maximizer and see them all again!  

If only one or two are missing, you can right click on the toolbar area and click on the missing ones to restore them.  

Q: I cannot load a new program on my PC, why not?  

A: There are two possible reasons:

1.      You are running Windows 2000 Pro or XP Pro and do not have administrator rights.  In this case, ask your IT support person to log on as administrator and load the program for you.

2.      You are running Norton Utilities and this program sees a new program being loaded as a virus attack.  We suggest removing Norton Utilities (but not the AntiVirus program) completely and then rebooting and loading the program.  With Windows 2000 and XP Pro, you do not need Norton Utilities and the program causes a lot of problems on these platforms. Q:  Norton AntiVirus will not load and I am getting strange messages about OVHA.exe trying to write to gjdamag.dll, what is the problem?  

A: .You have the bugbear virus. Contact us or your support person for the fix or download it from the Symantec site. PLEASE update your antivirus EVERY WEEK to prevent this happening.  

Q:  Microsoft Outlook refuses to let me see attachments to incoming e-mails, with the message “Outlook blocked access to the following potentially unsafe attachments…”, even though they come from someone I trust. What can I do?  

A:  Outlook 2000 SR-1 (Service Release 1) and later include what Microsoft calls “a new security feature that blocks attachments considered potentially unsafe”. This includes EXE (executable files), MDB (Access Databases) and many others. There is no way of removing or modifying this bug and Microsoft currently don’t intend providing one. They say this “provides an additional level of protection against malicious messages”. First, we suggest sending a flame to feedback@microsoft.com about Microsoft crippling their products because they always know better than the users do about what is good for them and are too bone-idle to address the problem in a constructive way, like warning the user if something malicious actually tries to run. Secondly, get the sender to change the file extension to something Outlook does not block yet, like FBG (BG for “Bill Gates”, you can guess what the “F” is for) and re-send the mail (telling you what the extension should be). Note that self-extracting Zip files, having an EXE extension, will also be blocked.  

Courses and Projects

The next Maximizer user course will be run on demand.  

As long-term QuickBooks users, we can train your staff one-on-one on this most user-friendly accounting package.  

Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.  

Excel for Engineers and Scientists and Programming Excel - two powerful courses that are run on demand. We also run Visual Basic 6 courses (Beginners' and Intermediate).  

That’s all for now from the team!  

Bye!

Judith and Rick

Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

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Communication in Action – November 2002 Newsletter  

Speaking of growth  

Where is the economy going? It is now widely reported that South Africa’s growth path is far more solid than that being experienced in the “developed” world. That is good news and Gauteng’s growth is over 5% to date for the year, so we really sit in the economic hub of the country. Of more concern is the fact that more than 48% of the population lives in poverty.  

Another plus which has been happening this month – the Rand has been strengthening markedly and our credit rating has been revised upward. This seems to indicate that South Africa is at last receiving the acknowledgement that has been wanted since 1994.  

Perhaps 2003 will bring the economic recovery that will set us onto a strong growth path.  

Development News  

Productivity Manager – the software that makes tracking employees’ and managers’ time completely transparent is now available on a rental basis. It includes full reporting on what is happening in your business from the drivers to the MD! No more doing employee assessments without the facts at your finger tips – they fill in the details daily and you have clear reports and colourful graphs on what they have been doing on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis!  

Remove a lot of the trauma of proving that work has or has not been done and motivate your staff by means of their own results! This package is low cost to run and the monthly cost includes full updating as enhancements go live. Please call Judith on 011 802-2685 to find out more.  

Internet Connectivity – How much trouble can having your own domain save you? For a start, you are then independent of your ISP (Internet Service Provider) as you can move it elsewhere if the service does not meet your needs. Secondly, your company has an identity and new e-mail addresses are easily added as required. A new mailbox costs about R25 plus VAT per month. If staff leave, the mailbox name can be changed to accommodate the new staff member’s details. You then require one dial-up account to download and upload all your mail if you use a freeware mail server solution.  

Having a domain also means that you can have a web page. This can be done in-house or via various companies who specialise in web development. The overall cost depends on you. Eventually, you may want a mail server – these start from freeware through to the Microsoft and Novell solutions, which are the Rolls Royces cost wise.  

Internet access is included in the above solution and nominated users can have access through a program such as MidPoint Lite or Wingate. Neither is very expensive and we have had no problems with the first solution.  

Insurance Information eXchange - This product is now fully fledged and widely used in South African insurance companies. Its strong points are ease of use, stability, its reporting and its parameter driven set up. It is the only product with a strong workflow as its backbone. Reduced administration costs are a given.  

We are now looking at installation orders for June 2003 from companies with 25 users or more who want to drive their businesses forward into the next decade and are implementing their vision NOW.  

Maximizer Developments  

Maximizer 7.5 is due for release in the Northern Hemisphere in late November and will be with us by January 2003. It will include a customer service module in the Enterprise version. Maximizer SMS is working well as is the marketing campaign module in Enterprise – that’s how this is now being sent!  

The ease of installation of the latest releases is really underlining MultiActive’s expertise in producing solid and reliable products. Sounding biased? Well it’s been the backbone of our business since 1991 and has never let us down, so we are coming from experience here.  

Obligatory Fields  

It is now possible to make Mandatory User Defined Field/s in Maximizer. This is useful for ensuring that key employee information as well as client information is entered. It is retrospective – this means if it is not there in an old record, you will be asked for it when you edit that record.  

Tips from the Help Line:  

Question: Why can I not use spaces in Maximizer address book names any more?  

Answer: – We don’t know why this decision was taken and we have asked for a reason. Please watch this space!  

Q: Spaces not allowed instead of a Last Name for a Maximizer contact?  

A: Maximizer is looking for recognised characters in the last name. It reminds me to ask people for their last name – after all there may be more than one Mary in the company.  

Q:  My modem won’t dial out since we had a new switchboard installed?  

A: .My question in fact, but a useful thing to remember. Analog modems will not work on digital lines, so make sure that you have an analog line for the modem unless you have already moved to ISDN, which only works on ISDN lines and not digital. ISDN is definitely worth the expense as downloads are markedly faster.  

Q:  Why does Lotus 1-2-3 version 5.0 / other software that’s more than 7 years old not load on Windows 2000/XP?  

A:  It does not have the necessary compatible files to do so or the original disks are damaged. Software of this age is not replaceable; unfortunately you will have to invest in the latest version.  

Courses and Projects

We are a recognised training centre for Productivity Manager.  User training courses will be run per company as required.  

We produce a wide variety of Templates on Excel, Word, etc. ranging from corporate faxes and letterheads to spreadsheets that produce files for SARS in their unique electronic format.  Or if you would like to create your own, we run courses and consult from beginners’ level to programming Macros.

The next Maximizer user course will be run on demand.  

Using Windows 2000 Pro – we are able to give courses at user level on this powerful operating system. Please phone us for details.  

Looking for a free quotation spreadsheet that you can use with your price list? There is one on our web site!  

That’s all for now from the team!  

Bye!

Judith and Rick

Director, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd New PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. New Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

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Communication in Action

December 2002 Newsletter

Holiday Time again

And we are not going to be serious now!

Wait for January for new ideas and serious input!

Have you seen the wonderful things that are being sold on the streets?  Recently I saw the most beautiful wire tree with glass diamonds on it as well as many, many other amazing wire creations – we really have some true artists around working with wire to create an income for themselves.

Go on buy a tree or an insect to brighten up your day and someone else’s life!

To all the mothers of new babies – an especial wish for the future.

So many of our customers have taken the plunge into parenthood this year –may it be a joy to you all.

To everyone

Thank you for being such wonderful people to work with and for your support during the year.

May you all have wonderful holidays and come back refreshed to a year of promise and richness.

We wish everyone peace, prosperity, love and joy in the year to come

Safety in all your travels

South Africa is a wonderful country

We and it all have so much to offer and to give

Let’s Make 2003 the best year yet!.

Seasons Greetings

That’s all for now from the team!

Bye!

Judith and Rick

Directors, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa. Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685. Fax: 802-4576. Cell: 082 389-3481. E-mail: judith@softwareafrica.co.za

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