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Newsletters – April / May / June 2009

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Newsletter – April 2009

Editorial

First a request for feedback - an advisor has told us that our newsletter is too long and we wondered if you would like us to split it into topic-specific issues.  If you would, please e-mail Judith with a Yes as the subject.  If you have any particular suggestions or requirements, please also let us know.

April started with the usual rush of fake announcements on radio and in the press.  As the Easter Show is also now starting, the rain is back.  The trees are now turning into their Autumn colours and the Golden Shower is contrasting very well with the Plumbago.  It's the start of a new quarter and an opportunity to look back on how first quarter 2009 has gone.  I suspect not that well for all of us.  However, the usual resilience of SA entrepreneurs means that business is plodding on despite the foolish moves of international bankers and the distraction of the election.  Once we see the end of this month, we will have a clear track through the rest of the year, knowing we have the government in place that the majority elected and everything is settled down for five more years.

Green Tip

With regard to the trees dropping their leaves, leaves are the very best mulch for the garden.  Collect them and put them on all your beds in order to be water-wise.  They are also ideal cover for seedlings as they discourage birds by hiding the tender shoots.

Outlook Tip: Automatically Check Spelling

You can set Outlook to automatically check your spelling before sending: Just use Tools > Options > Spelling, the second option.

On the subject of spelling, the error I see most often –which Outlook will not pick up– is "its" vs. "it's".  This is how it works:
It's = "It is" or "it has" (the apostrophe is because of the contraction).
Its = belonging to it – no apostrophe!.
Here's how to remember it easily: You don't write Her's or Hi's, do you?

Development Progress

Botswana Ash (Pty) Ltd. at Sua Pan are the ones, in all probability, who produce the soda ash to increase the alkalinity of your swimming pool.  Your table salt might also come form them.  From an elaborate system of boreholes, they pump the salty water out from under the pan and evaporate it for the salts.  Back in the previous century Rick wrote a dBase IV program to monitor the brine levels and production in the wellfield there.  We have now upgraded the Wells database to a Microsoft Access project with a SQL Server back-end: The database is in final testing and seems to be performing "well" (pardon the pun).

QuickBooks

Generous Support

Not only is QuickBooks well priced, but the cost includes a full year's telephonic and e-mail support as well.  To renew your support, costs a mere R1499 per annum including VAT.  Remember, QuickBooks does not require you to take this support or to spend money on annual upgrades, as many other accounting packages do.

To come soon - Bank account download add-on

This is the best news to date!  By the end of this month, you will be able to buy an add-on that automatically downloads your bank account/s directly into your QuickBooks.  Look out for the next newsletter for more information on this.

Meet your needs?  Then please contact Khanya on 011 802-2685 to set up an appointment for you with Judith to discuss the way forward or e-mail khanya@softwareafrica.co.za

Excel Tip #64 – How to insert a Line Break in a Cell

Taking a break from the complicated stuff for a while, we were reminded of this simple but very useful and little-known feature by Microsoft Office 2003 Tips and Tricks - February 2009:

In most other Office applications, to create a new line, you press the Enter key. However, in Excel you end up in the cell below when you press Enter because it enters the data and then moves the cursor. Here's what to do if you want to embed a line break as data in the cell:

While you're typing or editing data, press Alt+Enter to start a new line and remain in the same cell.

Maximizer Freedom 10.5 released

This takes the use of the cellphone interface to greater heights.  Now, managers can have an "at a glance" overview of important information on their cellphones through web access to the dashboards.  SMSs can be saved to the client's record, keeping everything communication with the customer.  Indeed the web access offerings of Maximizer are now extremely powerful for all users.  This means work can be done anywhere either using a cellphone, laptop or desktop.

If you are a Blackberry user, then you can maximize your use of this communication tool as it works best with Maximizer 10.5!  Then, please phone Judith to obtain more details or e-mail her on judith@softwareafrica.co.za.  Khanya can set up an appointment with Judith, so ring her on 011 802-2685 or 011 802-6440/1.

Maximizer Tip

Did you know that you can search documents?  Not just the ones saved under the Documents tab, but also those linked to Maximizer under that tab.  This can prove particularly useful if you want to check for a particular quote sent to a customer; a CV that you have received and any other information.  Just go to Search > Documents and put the key information that you want to search for, plus the dates.

Understanding Engineers – Take Two

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is "over-designed" (twice as big as it needs to be).

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:―

  • Automating your in-house 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).
  • Supplying software: We re-sell and support various CRM, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.
  • Promoting 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

Members, Communication in Action cc t/a Software Africa
"Empowering African Business with custom PC programs, databases and templates using Microsoft technologies"
Reg. 2009/007863/23 ~ VAT No 4500104387
126 Kelvin Drive, Morningside Manor, Sandton, 2191 South Africa.
Tel: 011 802-2685 / 011 802-6440/1 ~ Fax: 011 802-4576 and 086-635-7902/3 ~ Cell: 082 389-3481/2
e-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2009 Communication in Action.  Please 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.

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Newsletter – May 2009

Editorial by Rick

Thank you, those who responded to our request for feedback!  We are pleased to hear that you like the Newsletter as it is.

For the last two weeks Judith has been sick, with pneumonia, it turns out, not swine 'flu, though the pneumonia has been a swine!  The last week she spent in hospital.  If you haven't had the usual rapid response to queries, that is why.

Khanya is on maternity leave, for which we wish her all the best.  Funiwe will be fielding your enquiries in the interim.

We hope you had a good April and enjoyed the election.  Business has been slow with us, but we trust will pick up now.

South Africa now has a President who stands for traditional values and, apparently, had no qualms committing adultery with an HIV-positive family friend.  A man who has vowed to stamp out graft and was said by a judge to have a "generally corrupt" relationship with his financial advisor.  A man who has vowed to fight crime; whose party has destroyed the country's most effective crime-fighting unit.  We live in interesting times.

PS by Judith: On 18 April Rick donated his 100th unit of blood.  Blood donors save lives and the procedure takes about 30 minutes.  With our high accident rates in South Africa, donations are always required.

Green Tip

Do you have to top up your pool frequently, using expensive municipal water?  Why not catch rainwater from your the roof's nearest downpipes, and lead it into the pool?  We've been doing so for several years.  We tied stockings over the ends of the downpipes to filter out the debris and coarser dust.  The system works well and does not upset the pH of the pool.

Outlook Tip: Never forget an Attachment again!

We mentioned this two years ago, and it's worth repeating: From our web site you can get our Outlook "Attachment Nanny".  It will scan your e-mail for words that show an intended attachment ("file", "attach", "doc" –you can customize this) and warn you if there is no attachment (see picture).  Clicking "No" stops the Send.

You can get it free at our Outlook tips page.

Rick's Iconoclast Corner

Some interesting things are on the go by way of challenging oppressive authorities:

  • The South African Revenue "Service" violates the Constitution constantly.  SARS forces business owners to act as unpaid tax collectors for VAT, etc.  This contravenes the Bill of Rights, Section 13 (Slavery, Servitude, and Forced Labour) and the equality provisions of the Constitution.  After failing to get any answer from SARS, in April 2008 Rick submitted this complaint to the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which turned it down without reasons.  On appeal, it has now been referred back for re-consideration.

  • If somebody owes you money and won't pay, you have to take them to court and prove it: Only then will the court grant judgement. SARS simply files a piece of paper with the court and gets a judgement. This violates the Bill of Rights, Section 33 (Right to Just Administrative Action) and Section 34 (Access to Courts).  I put this to the SAHRC, had it rejected, successfully appealed, and they are reconsidering it (cautiously!) since last October.

  • For Rates, Johannesburg Municipality is wildly over-valuing properties that it has not visited, compared to valuations by reputable estate agents. It then makes appeals as difficult as possible, and provides reasons for the valuation only on payment of R250. This violates the right to Just Administrative Action in the Bill of Rights. I have invited those affected (and invite you!) to contact me.  We will either complain to the SAHRC, or set up a class action suit.

  • The City of Johannesburg advertises with the slogan "A World-Class African City". I have asked the Advertising Standards Authority to request the City to provide proof that it is indeed "World-Class".  With my submission I provided ten reasons why it is not.

Upgrade to QuickBooks Premier 2008 Single User for only R1999 incl.

Save R2000 incl on the cost of a full version QuickBooks Premier 2008 Single User

This offer is valid to users of any version of the following products Quicken, QuickBooks Simple Start, QuickBooks Regular, QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Accountant, QuickBooks Premier.

This offer is valid for the month of May 2009 only.

Should you be upgrading and require more than 1 user: Additional user licenses are available at a price of R1999incl each.

This offer is valid for the month of May 2009 only.

Generous Support

Not only is QuickBooks well priced, but the cost includes a full year's telephonic and e-mail support as well.  To renew your support, costs a mere R1499 per annum including VAT.  Remember, QuickBooks does not require you to take this support or to spend money on annual upgrades, as many other accounting packages do.

To come soon - Bank account download add-on

This is the best news to date!  By the end of this month, you will be able to buy an add-on that automatically downloads your bank account/s directly into your QuickBooks.  Look out for the next newsletter for more information on this.

Meet your needs?  Then please contact Funiwe on 011 802-2685 to set up an appointment for you with Judith to discuss the way forward or e-mail khanya@softwareafrica.co.za

Excel Tip #65 – Setting the Print Area in Excel

Have you ever wanted to print only certain cells from a spreadsheet?  Here's how: On the spreadsheet, select the range that you want to print.

In Excel 2007, on the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup section, click Print Area, then click Set Print Area.

Excel 2003, use the File menu > Print Area > Set Print Area.

You then print as usual, for example using the Print icon on the toolbar. Only the marked area is printed.

 

Maximizer Mobile CRM Solutions Awarded Sprint Smartphone Certification for BlackBerry® Smartphones

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 7, 2009) - Maximizer Software Inc. (TSX:MAX), a leading provider of simple, accessible customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, today announced that it is now a member of the Sprint Smartphone Certification Program.

Maximizer Mobile CRM has been certified through the industry-leading Sprint Smartphone Certification Program to work on Sprint networks. The Smartphone Certification Program, a component of Sprint's industry-leading Application Developer Program, allows independent developers to market, as Sprint Compatible, innovative applications that Sprint customers can access through the open Internet to do more with their phones, whenever and wherever they go.

Maximizer Mobile CRM for BlackBerry gives professionals instant access to information in the field including customers' history, leads, sales opportunities, dashboards, customer service cases, documents, and schedules. With Maximizer Mobile CRM, organizations can reduce staff downtime and increase field productivity; increase customer face time by reducing time spent on office administration; build customer intimacy by reviewing up-to-date customer details before a meeting; and improve real-time visibility into sales and staff activities.

To learn more about Maximizer Mobile CRM, visit: www.maximizer.com/mobilecrm.

If you are a Blackberry user, then you can maximize your use of this communication tool as it works best with Maximizer 10.5!  Then, please phone Judith to obtain more details or e-mail her on judith@softwareafrica.co.za.  Funiwe can set up an appointment with Judith, so ring her on 011 802-2685 or 011 802-6440/1.

Mobile CRM Software Solutions

Mobile CRM for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, iPhone and more.

Your customers today have greater expectations than ever for rapid response. People in your organization – field sales and service staff, mobile professionals, and executives – need the right information at all times, to respond to these demands. A proper mobile CRM software solution is the key to this success.

Mobile devices, including BlackBerry®, Windows Mobile®, iPhoneTM, Google G1TM, Nokia®, Palm® and other popular smartphones, have become critical tools to compete effectively. Now, with Maximizer Mobile CRM, including CRM for BlackBerry, CRM for Windows Mobile, CRM for iPhone, CRM for HTC Google G1 and CRM for Nokia (Symbian OS) you can go beyond reading and reacting to email – and be proactive about managing your customers and winning more deals. Your laptop or Internet connection is not always available when you need to look-up the latest status of an account's last service call, review the latest proposal, or check notes for the last phone call with a prospect. Don't let this hinder your mobile staff from succeeding in the field.

Equipping your staff with mobile CRM software gives you the edge over your competitors with access to accounts, sales deals, service cases, and schedules while on the road. No more waiting for a laptop to boot up, or fumbling through account notes before an important sales call. Get your staff using Mobile CRM software today to:

  • Get the edge on your competitors to win more deals
  • Reduce staff downtime and increase field productivity with access to customer information at all times
  • Increase customer face time by reducing time spent on office administration
  • Build customer intimacy by reviewing up-to-date customer details before a meeting
  • Improve sales forecast accuracy through real-time updates from the field
  • Increase CRM data accuracy: an easy-to-use interface on a familiar mobile device increases the likelihood that sales reps will update customer information

Understanding Engineers – Take Three

A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.

The engineer fumed, "What's the matter with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!"

The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!"

The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him."
"Hi George! Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"

The greens keeper replied, "Oh yes, that's a group of blind fire-fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

The group was silent for a moment.

The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."

The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?".

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:―

  • Automating your in-house 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).
  • Supplying software: We re-sell and support various CRM, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.
  • Promoting 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

Members, Communication in Action CC t/a Software Africa
"Empowering African Business with custom PC programs, databases, and templates using Microsoft technologies"
Reg. 2009/007863/23 ~ VAT No 4500104387
126 Kelvin Drive, Morningside Manor, Sandton, 2191 South Africa.
Tel: 011 802-2685 / 011 802-6440/1 ~ Fax: 011 802-4576 and 086-635-7902/3 ~ Cell: 082 389-3481/2
e-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2009 Communication in Action.  Please 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.

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Newsletter – June 2009

Editorial by Judith

June is the month for some really excellent upgrade and new purchase opportunities from both QuickBooks and Maximizer.  See below for details.

I am glad to report that I am finally back at work fulltime following the pneumonia, which changed my sight for a few weeks and I can still see the screen and read better without glasses.  (Sadly, only temporarily, as it will all go back to how it was!).

This is the month we part with our Guide dog puppy, Wyvern, as she will go back to kennels to start her real training.  This blonde bombshell has been part of lives for the last ten months and has excavated most of the garden.  She will be missed, despite this, although the cats might disagree.

The news is full of the green shoots of the revival after the global financial meltdown.  However, it is still early here to see them, as so many businesses have pulled back so much on expenditure that confidence is very low.  Remember that we now have the Confederation Cup starting on 14 June, bringing us tourists and foreign currency inputs.  The IPL was a major success and the Lions' Tour has got off to a good start as well.  President Zuma's State of the Nation speech was full of strong intentions to deliver and to bring greater wealth sharing to all sectors of the population.

Let us look at where opportunities lie and make them work for us.  Recession is a self fulfilling prophecy and we don't have to make it ours.  I know of a number of companies that are doing extremely well, because they have been willing to reassess their strategies so that they work in the changed climate.

If you are an SME, you might want to visit www.entrepreneur.co.za for information about succeeding in these times.  Perhaps you might  join their Success Club and take advantage of free training sessions, networking and newsletters.

QuickBooks

Purchase Premier 08 or Accountant 06 Single User for R3999 incl
and get a Quick Payroll 1-120 employees worth R3999 for Free*!

* Promo valid for full versions of QuickBooks only and not upgrade versions.

This offer is valid for the month of June 2009 only.

This is a real benefit as Quick Payroll means that eFiling takes no time at all to do at Year End.  All your employee records are held safely –UIF, Workman's Compensation and PAYE (including SITE) are worked out for you.

Our eFiling and updating all our year-end records took under an hour this year!

Generous Support

Not only is QuickBooks well priced, but the cost includes a full year's telephonic and e-mail support as well.  To renew your support costs a mere R1499 per annum including VAT.  Remember, QuickBooks does not require you to take this support or to spend money on annual upgrades, as many other accounting packages do.

To come soon - Bank Account download add-on

This is the best news to date!  By the end of this month, you will be able to buy an add-on that automatically downloads your bank account/s directly into your QuickBooks.  Look out for the next newsletter for more information on this.

Meet your needs?  Then please contact Funiwe on 011 802-2685 to set up an appointment for you with Judith to discuss the way forward or e-mail funiwe@softwareafrica.co.za

Maximizer CRM Special for June –order before 26th June!

This Maximizer special enables you to upgrade your old Maximizer Enterprise Workgroup versions to Maximizer Professional.  this means a move onto the Microsoft SQL platform, which removes clashes with other programs that use Pervasive SQL for their database engine (e.g. Pastel Accounting).  In addition, you are offered the following benefits:

Maximizer 5 user bundle as follows:

  • 5 x Maximizer Workgroup (Enterprise) to Maximizer CRM 10.5 Freedom Professional Edition
  • 5 x MaxMobile 10.5 Freedom (the cellphone licences)
  • 5 x Microsoft SQL runtime CAL
  • 1 x Wireless Synchronisation Server
  • 2 years PUA for Maximizer, MaxMobile and Wireless Synchronisation Server

What's the cost of this bundle? R27 000 ex VAT - which means that you upgrade for less than half price and are covered for the Product Upgrades for a further two years - until mid 2011!

What if you have more than 5 users?  Well the offer holds for multiples of five AND there is a special for single users as well!  This is as follows:

  • 1 x Maximizer Workgroup (Enterprise) to Maximizer CRM 10.5 Freedom Professional Edition
  • 1 x MaxMobile 10.5 Freedom (the cellphone licences)
  • 1 x Microsoft SQL runtime CAL
  • 2 years PUA for Maximizer, MaxMobile and Wireless Synchronisation Server

Here the cost is R4 575 ex VAT, again well below the cost of a normal upgrade!

What's the Catch?

We haven't mentioned that the installation and upgrading of your existing database is extra. 

What's the Benefit?

Your company becomes up to date with the latest release of this powerful and effective CRM solution, plus you will now stay up to date through the Product Upgrade Agreement (PUA), ensuring that your sales, marketing and support teams are able to lead the field in your industry!  To ensure that you stay compliant with the PUA, we offer a monthly in advance payment of it for 2012 starting from date of purchase plus one year on.

Ring now for a full quote on this outstanding offer!

Then, please phone Judith to obtain more details or e-mail her on judith@softwareafrica.co.za.  Funiwe can set up an appointment with Judith, so ring her on 011 802-2685 or 011 802-6440/1.


Green Tip

Not strictly a "green" tip, but it should benefit the planet!  We host a fireside meditation once a month, near the full moon when possible.  It's a short opportunity to get away from the rush and stress of daily living, relax, and "chill out" around an open fire under the stars for a late afternoon and early evening.  We do some simple practices to clear blockages in our lives, and raise consciousness.  The next dates are 4 July and 8 August.

Excel Tip #66 – Removing the Print Area in Excel

Last time we demonstrated how to print only certain cells from a spreadsheet, using Set Print Area.  Fine.  What if you now want to get rid of this setting, so that you are again, by default, printing the whole sheet?

In Excel 2003, use the File menu > Print Area > Clear Print Area.

In Excel 2007, on the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup section, click Print Area, then click Clear Print Area.

You might have been reluctant to try this before, because of the obvious inference that you are going to clear (blank) the cells in the Print Area!  It might have been better for Microsoft to describe it as "un-setting" the print area, but that probably was not grammatical.

Understanding Engineers – Take Four

What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?

Mechanical Engineers build weapons and Civil Engineers build targets.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:―

  • Automating your in-house 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).
  • Supplying software: We re-sell and support various CRM, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.
  • Promoting 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

Members, Communication in Action CC t/a Software Africa
"Empowering African Business with custom PC programs, databases, and templates using Microsoft technologies"
Reg. 2009/007863/23 ~ VAT No 4500104387
126 Kelvin Drive, Morningside Manor, Sandton, 2191 South Africa.
Tel: 011 802-2685 / 011 802-6440/1 ~ Fax: 011 802-4576 and 086-635-7902/3 ~ Cell: 082 389-3481/2
e-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2009 Communication in Action.  Please 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.


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