Home | Programs | Support | Training | Templates | Development | Downloads | Free Tools | Newsletter | About Us

Newsletters – April to June 2008

Click on a link to any of our recent newsletters, or just scroll down.  Every month there are valuable tips and hints on Microsoft Excel, Maximizer 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.

Below: 2008: AprilMayJune – Back: < 2008: January – March – Next: July – September 2008 >>

Back: < 2007 Oct – December< 2007 July – Sept< 2007 April – June< 2007 January – March

Back Issues: < 2006: January – March< April – June  –  < July – Sept  – < October – December

Sept 2000 - April 2001 – May - Dec 2001 – All 2002 – All 2003 – All 2004 – All 2005

To subscribe to this newsletter, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail now!  We don't disclose your e-mail address to anyone else.  Promise!


Newsletter – April 2008

Editorial

Enter the brave new world!

Well, it's here - petrol at R8 a litre and rising.  I filled my car's tank yesterday at a cost of R401.16 and that is for a week.  What are your sales people and technicians paying in petrol now?  How well are they planning their routes to ensure economy as well as effectiveness?

Is there anything your company or they can do to keep travel costs down?  Remember, we could be looking at R10 a litre by year end.

Is the petrol price affecting your delivery vehicles or your courier charges?

How is Eskom affecting your productivity?  Would home based employees be a better option, with them coming in on non-outage days to report back or when they have no power?

This is a time of opportunity and creativity.  How can we break the mould and set up new ways of doing business which provide answers to the above challenges?  One answer lies in making people fully mobile, so that they are working wherever they are.

Others are greater flexibility in how they report and perform their duties.  Let's put on our thinking caps and exploit the possibilities!  Have a great second quarter!

Green Tips

Cooking

Invest in a gas hob - they start under R1 000 and take about three hours to install, depending on the thickness of your walls!

When washing up

Always fill your dishwasher - it will mean more dishes need to be bought.  However, we are assured that this is the most cost effective way to wash up.  (We still do it by hand).  Stop the dishwasher when it starts the "dry" cycle and let the dishes dry naturally.

In the office

Turn off all equipment over night, including lights.  The battery powered ones that come on during a power failure can be left on to provide minimal lighting.

Check that your alarm system's battery is working properly and do this at home as well.

Turn off and unplug all equipment not protected by UPS during an outage, as the surge when power is restored can damage it badly.  You can fit your electric board with surge protection as well.  Your insurance company will approve of the latter, as you are then protected in storms.

Windows Vista is One Year Old: Service Pack 1 Released

From MSDN Flash - 29 February 2008:  Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) was released to manufacturing February 4, 2008.  In addition to improving reliability, SP1 addresses toning down the "Windows Genuine Advantage" anti-piracy tool and Google's concerns about Desktop Search.

Some comments from the release blog (http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8432340):

  • "If you aren't in marketing or development your company PC isn't going to handle Vista, SP1 or not." ("number.61").
  • "I've been using pc's since my first IBM XT-386, and for the first time I'm serious about buying a MAC! ... I can't and won't recommend Vista to anyone! As far as I'm concerned it's in the same basket as Windows ME." (JB in VA)
  • "The features are well worth the extra resources they consume. Most of our 3 and 4 year old desktops were ready to go and the ones that weren't, we just plugged an extra 1GB RAM stick in and they were ready." (unregistered user)

Excel Tips #52 – Using Excel Formulas to Produce Data for Other Programs (III)

While you are unlikely to use this exact example, we hope this tip will help to stimulate your thinking about ways of using Excel to do your other work more efficiently by avoiding unnecessary re-typing.

Last time we used an example with a simple formula to give us two columns, one with dates and one with our walking direction (upstream and downstream).  Now we will expand on this by using formulas.

To recap: We have column headings "Hike Dates" in A1 and "Direction" in B1.  In cell A2 we entered the date of a known Sunday.  Using Ctrl+1 (Format > Cells) on the Number tab under Custom, we used the format dddd, d mmmm yyyy to format the cell.  In cell A3, we added 7 days using the formula: =A2+7, and copied it down as far as needed.  We then alternated the words "upstream" and "downstream" in column B.

Now put a new column heading "Date and Hike Direction" in cell C1.  In cell C2, enter the formula =A2&B2 to combine the values from the two cells.
Not very satisfactory, is it?  The problem is that Excel uses the numeric value of the date, not the formatted string we see in the cell.

Replace the formula in cell C2 with this one: =TEXT(A2,"dddd, d mmmm yyyy")&B2
The TEXT function formats the date value to look like a date.

One further thing is needed: A space between the two values.  Replace the formula in cell C2 with this one: =TEXT(A2,"dddd, d mmmm yyyy")&" "&B2
We use the ampersand ("&") to concatenate (join) strings, and put a string consisting of a space (surrounded by double quotes to show that it is a string) in between the two parts of the formula.  Our results look like this, with the third column ready to be copied into an e-mail or Word (dates adjusted for the new month):

Hike Dates  Direction Date and Hike Direction 
Sunday, 13 April 2008 downstream  Sunday, 13 April 2008 downstream 
Sunday, 20 April 2008 upstream Sunday, 20 April 2008 upstream
Sunday, 27 April 2008 downstream  Sunday, 27 April 2008 downstream 
Sunday, 4 May 2008 upstream Sunday, 4 May 2008 upstream
Sunday, 11 May 2008 downstream  Sunday, 11 May 2008 downstream 

Maximizer 10 gaining market share

Maximizer 10 offers mobility for the sales force, strong customer tracking and marketing facilities.  Now moved completely onto Microsoft SQL, all the Pervasive issues with the popular Pastel Accounting solution have become a thing of the past.  Please phone Judith to obtain more details or e-mail her on judith@softwareafrica.co.za

Rick's Parthian Shot: Things to do while waiting for your electricity to come back on:

Phone, or write letters to, members of the Board of Directors of Eskom and ask them why they haven't resigned, as well as whether they believe that they, and their senior staff, deserve their bonuses!  They are: Mr M V Moosa (Non-Executive Chairman), Mr P J (Jacob) Maroga (Chief Executive), Mr Allen J Morgan, Mr Mpho Makwana, Mr Sintu A Mpambani, Ms Versha M Rowjee, Dr Brian M Count, Mr Lars G Josefsson, Ms Wendy E Lucas-Bull, Mr Bongani Nqwababa (Financial Director), Mr M Bello (Nigerian), Ms Z Cele, Ms Uhuru Nene, and Mr Errol Marshall.  You can find their photographs at http://www.eskom.co.za under About Eskom > Leadership (sic) > Board of Directors, in case you want to confront them when you see them at the supermarket.

Remember:  We can Help you with:―

  • Automating your processes with a custom program or database.

  • Solving your Maximizer, Access, Excel, Word, Visual Basic, and even Lotus 123 problems.

  • Training your company on Maximizer, Excel, Word, Access and Windows (all levels from beginners to Programming).

  • Software: We re-sell and support various CRM, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.

  • Your corporate image with a set of templates on Word or Excel, linked to your address list.

All the Best from the team!

Judith and Rick

Directors, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd t/a Software Africa
PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa.
Tel: 011 802-2685.  Fax: 011 802-4576.  Cell: 082 389-3481/2.
E-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2008 Communication in Action (Pty) LtdPlease share it 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 Subscribe to the newsletter, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail. Your data will not be provided to a third party without your permission.

Back to top


Newsletter May 2008

Editorial

Are you a house owner in Greater Johannesburg?  Would you like to save some money every month for years to come?

You have until 27 May to object to the valuation of your property, which will determine your municipal rates for the next five years.  Here's what you have to do:  Get one or two estate agents in your area to give you a valuation (preferably with sale prices for similar properties in the area).  Compare this with the municipal valuation, which you should have received together with your last rates account, but can check on the Joburg eServices web site.

To get the objection form, click on this link: Joburg eServices Valuation Objection.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and download whichever of the three forms applies to your property.  While you are there, make a note of where you can submit your objection –it can not be done on-line or by fax!

Estate agents value our property at R420,000 less than the municipality does, which should save us R1140 a year.

Don't wait to do this, though: Estate Agents are going to be under pressure, and the form you have to fill in comprises four pages and has to be hand-delivered!

(Readers of the late Douglas Adams' "Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" may be reminded of the by-pass development plans that were "on public display" in a basement room behind a locked door marked "beware of the leopard".)

Green Tips

Look at how you can utilise your waste water from the bath, sinks and washing/dish washing machines in your garden.  Even if you can't collect into a cistern for pumping out, running this water straight out into the garden will provide watering at no extra cost.

If you're building your own house - organise the cistern and water from there instead of using fresh water!

Labbie Phase 3 Released – Quality Control, Billing, e-mailing, Faxing and e-mail-2-fax

We've released Phase 3 of Labbie, our Civil Engineering Laboratory program.  The certification process for concrete cubes is working well, and results can be posted and/or e-mailed and/or faxed to the client.  A new tweak is that we have added e-mail-to-fax capabilities using DMNet so that the user doesn't have to have a fax modem or a network fax (it costs 77c a minute to any of the major metropolitan areas). Our Microsoft Access-based "Labbie A" ("Labbie Lite") is also proceeding.  Please e-mail, or call Rick at 011 802-2685, for a demonstration.

Excel Tips #53 – Using Excel String Formulas to Help Other Programs

As you know, we write computer programs.  We often need to produce repetitive code, with small changes from line to line.  Excel formulas are very useful for this.  For example, I need to produce ten lines like this:  We$ = We$ & Range$("fieldname", Me.fieldname) where fieldname is the name of ten different fields, one on each line.

With Excel this can be done:  List the field names in (say) column B starting at cell B2.  In C2, put the formula =" We$ = We$ & Range$(""" & B2 & """, Me." & B2 & ")" and then copy it down as far as required.  It's a formula, so it starts with =.  This is followed by a double-quote (") because the formula uses strings (text) instead of numbers.  Wherever I want the variable (fieldname) to appear, I replace it with " & B2 & " – the first double quote ends the string, the last double-quote starts a new one, the B2 refers to that cell, and the ampersands (&) concatenate (join) the strings.  Finally the formula ends with a double-quote to end the final string.

Select the formulas, copy, and paste into our program.

Notice that in our result we want the first fieldname in double quotes (" "), but we are already using double-quotes enclose stings.  To show that we actually want the double-quote character, and we are not starting or ending a string, we double up the double-quotes ("").

Maximizer 10 gaining market share

Maximizer 10 offers mobility for the sales force, strong customer tracking and marketing facilities.  Now moved completely onto Microsoft SQL, all the Pervasive issues with the popular Pastel Accounting solution have become a thing of the past.  Please phone Judith to obtain more details or e-mail her on judith@softwareafrica.co.za

Rick's Parthian Shot: Zimbabwe Bleeds

Business and politics don't mix well, but there are times when anyone with a conscience has to speak up.  I'm personally deeply, deeply ashamed of the way our dear President has conducted himself on Zimbabwe, including hiding a report from two respected judges who said that the previous election was not free and fair.  In the aftermath of delayed and probably rigged results, hundreds of people are being most brutally tortured and either killed or left to die of their injuries.  Thousands are being driven out of their homes and businesses by a military determined to keep power at all costs.  Meanwhile President Mbeki, leader of a country that has democracy as its cornerstone, is seen in public holding hands with ex-President Mugabe and proclaiming that "there is no crisis in Zimbabwe".  If you agree that SADC must send in peacekeepers now, please take a few seconds to e-mail President Thabo Mbeki telling him so, and perhaps for once he will listen.

Remember:  We can Help you with:―

  • Automating your processes with a custom program or database.

  • Solving your Maximizer, Access, Excel, Word, Visual Basic, and even Lotus 123 problems.

  • Training your company on Maximizer, Excel, Word, Access and Windows (all levels from beginners to Programming).

  • Software: We re-sell and support various CRM, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.

  • Your corporate image with a set of templates on Word or Excel, linked to your address list.

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Directors, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd t/a Software Africa
PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa.
Tel: 011 802-2685.  Fax: 011 802-4576.  Cell: 082 389-3481/2. E-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2008 Communication in Action (Pty) LtdPlease share it 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 Subscribe to the newsletter, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail. Your data will not be provided to a third party without your permission.  To unsubscribe, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail from the address to which this newsletter was sent.

Back to top


Newsletter – June 2008

Editorial

First a personnel update - Funiwe has gone on three months' maternity leave and Khanya has joined us in her place.  Khanya is also trying out as a telesales person.  She has a great energy and truly brings the light of her name into our offices!

We wish Funiwe an easy birth and a healthy baby.

With the petrol price soaring and a hard line on interest rates, it looks like we are in for a very cold winter.  The xenophobia does not help either.  In fact the outcome of recent incidents has been to focus on those persecuted and remove the focus totally from the poorest members of our population, probably to their continued detriment.  However, this has not taken the caring of our general population away.  The response has been amazing.

Now is the time to look at how we run our businesses.  Can we use the Internet more pro-actively, with Internet phones and video conferencing PC-to-PC to close deals, do presentations etc?  If so, we can save petrol in travelling out to do a sales call.  Perhaps the sales team doesn't come into the office at all, but operates using laptops or PDAs.  They can then send in their reports remotely, keeping travel costs down.

If you are worried about your quotations being secure, then download CutePDF and print to it.  Then important pricing cannot be changed and your intellectual property is secure.  Many accounting programs already allow you to print invoices for e-mailing in this format as well.

Green Tips

Now we have every incentive to go green!  Rising food prices make that patch of garden more viable as a veggie patch.  Go to places like Fruit and Veg City where packaging is minimal and specials are constant.

Cook for the week and divide and freeze the dishes.

Join a lift club so that more than one person is using the vehicle.

Another Plus for the Civil Engineering Soils Laboratory

In 2007 we wrote a suite of five Excel Spreadsheets to process and present the most popular Road Indicator and Foundation Indicator test results for Soils Laboratories:

  • Atterberg Limits,
  • Grading Curve (sieve, mechanical analysis and hydrometer),
  • Moisture-Density curve (with Maximum Dry Density and Optimum Moisture Content), and
  • California Bearing Ratio,
  • hence the AASHTO, Unified, and TRH14 Classifications.

We have permission from our client to license the suite to other Soils Laboratories on a monthly or annual basis.  The spreadsheets are secured so that changes can not be made off site or on unlicensed PCs.

Results for up to five samples appear on one sheet ready to be printed, faxed, or e-mailed.  We can personalise output with your company details and logo for professional presentation to clients.  Would this help your Lab to get a running start with a proven layout and well-verified calculations?  If so, please e-mail, or call Rick at 011 802-2685, for the templates and a trial license.  More details on the Web.

Excel Tips #54 – Helpline Tip: How to Protect Data in Excel

Kingsley writes: Please tell me how to protect a column on Excel.

Answer: You can't protect a column as such. What you do is to (1) Unlock cells in which you want to allow input, and then (2) Protect the worksheet, which then allows changes to the unlocked cells only. To do this, you:

  1. Select cells for which you want to allow data input. Click Format > Cells > Protection tab: CLEAR the checkbox "locked". Click OK. Repeat for all input cells.

  2. Click Tools > Protection > Protect Sheet. Type a password (optional) if you want extra security. Click OK.

  3. If you do not want to allow people to add or remove sheets from the workbook, also use Tools > Protection > Protect Workbook.

 

Maximizer CRM 10 recognised with award

Maximizer Software has announced that Maximizer CRM 10 was selected by ISM Inc, CRM and Contact Centre strategic advisors, as a Top 15 CRM Small & Medium Business Software Award winner for 2008. This is the sixth time that Maximizer Software has received this recognition.

"The award reinforces our commitment to providing a product line that helps small and medium-sized businesses grow their business with easily accessible and deployable options," said John Caputo, president, Maximizer Software. "Maximizer CRM enables clients to close more deals and retain existing customers through innovative features, including business intelligence and reporting, mobile CRM for BlackBerry devices, and on-demand sales coaching."

Maximizer Software was chosen after intensive testing by the ISM Software Lab where each vendor package was rated according to 217 selection criteria, including 103 business functions, 52 technical features, 36 implementation capabilities, nine real time criteria and 17 user-support features. "The winners of the 2008 Top 15 continue to raise the bar for the CRM community with significant advancements in both functionality and connectibility. Mobile access as well as Web 2.0 are of increased importance to sales and marketing professionals and their always-on, always-connected Digital Clients," said Barton Goldenberg, president, ISM. "Maximizer Software is to be praised for obtaining the Top 15 honour and it continues to be a leader in the CRM community."

The Top 15 selections are featured in ISM's 16th edition of The Guide to CRM Automation and in a Top 15 CD available at  www.ismguide.com

Maximizer 10 offers mobility for the sales force, strong customer tracking and marketing facilities.  Please phone Judith to obtain more details or e-mail her on judith@softwareafrica.co.za

Maximizer Tip
Personalise Campaign bulk e-mails

Bulk e-mails sent out in a Maximizer Campaign can be personalised so that each recipient's name appears in either the subject line or text body of the e-mail message that they receive. Other Maximizer fields specific to a particular client can also automatically be inserted in the subject or text of the e-mails.

Parthian Shot: Now South Africa Bleeds

Question: President Mbeki says the wave of xenophobic violence caught the government completely by surprise.  So how come "Intelligence" Minister Ronnie Kasrils still has a job?

Answer: Since when has competence been a criterion for a South African Cabinet post?

Remember:  We can Help you with:―

  • Automating your processes with a custom program or database.

  • Solving your Maximizer, Access, Excel, Word, Visual Basic, and even Lotus 123 problems.

  • Training your company on Maximizer, Excel, Word, Access and Windows (all levels from beginners to Programming).

  • Software: We re-sell and support various CRM, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.

  • Your corporate image with a set of templates on Word or Excel, linked to your address list.

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Directors, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd t/a Software Africa
PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa.
Tel: 011 802-2685.  Fax: 011 802-4576.  Cell: 082 389-3481/2. E-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2008 Communication in Action (Pty) LtdPlease share it 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 Subscribe to the newsletter, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail. Your data will not be provided to a third party without your permission.  To unsubscribe, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail from the address to which this newsletter was sent.

| Back to top | Back: < 2008: January – March – Next:  July – September 2008 >

©-2012 Communication in Action CC t/a Software Africa. All rights reserved.  Updated 11 June 2012 e-mail Webmaster.