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Newsletters – April / May / June 2010

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.  Below and on our home page you can search this entire web site.  Click here for the list of ALL Newsletters.

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Newsletter – April 2010

Editorial

The chaos of the holiday breaks in April disturbs the flow of business!  In addition, we have had more rain than ever before (last 12 years) and now see parts of the Sandspruit, that were previously bank, filled with water. Wash-away is a big and growing problem.  The granting of the Eskom loan may not be the most ethical thing done by the World Bank and may not serve South Africa in a beneficial way.  Time will tell.

Entrepreneur.co.za - looking at Webinars for communication

The webinars are great and provide relevant information out of normal working hours at your desktop.  Would this benefit you?  Then click on this link and sign up

dotPLOT 6002 released with HotPlot 2.2

The borehole- and core-logging program dotPLOT had an upgrade this month: dot6002 with Version 2.2 of HotPlot, the Windows interface.

The major change is that dotPLOT does not lose its licence when there are fatal errors in the input data.  There are other minor improvements, and the manual and Help have been updated.

We urge all users to upgrade to the latest dotPLOT and HotPlot now.  The new version will cost you nothing to run with your existing licence.  There is an upgrade charge for features you do not currently have licensed, which may include automatic recognition of soil symbols, and HotPlot.  Visit the dotPLOT Setup page to get the latest version.

Green Tip

Constantly highlighting that people can make a difference in their environment is paying off!  I have been approached by many groups who want to look after my favourite river.  If your business has a corporate responsibility programme, you might like to become a member of WET-Jukskei and help set up the cleaning of this river.  Please e-mail judith@softwareafrica.co.za for more details.

Windows 7 and other software

Solved the deep thought problem by disabling a process that was not working properly and which I have not time to fix.  It is not a Windows problem.  Overjoyed to load Lotus Symphony (free download from the Internet), as I am now able to read all sorts of documents like WordPerfect again!

I attended Lotus Sphere and learnt about Lotus Foundations server.  This is an excellent solution for Small Businesses as it is very cost effective and self healing.  If you are interested please contact Stephen Langton at "Above and Beyond Concepts" slangton@abc.za.com and mention where you heard about them!

Excel Tip #76 –  Excel 2007: Excel Options I (Popular)

Last time we mentioned the "Hidden Menu" button (the round object at top left bearing the MS Office logo).  Click this, then click the "Excel Options" button at the bottom right of the menu.  The resulting dialog contains some very useful settings, which explains why Microsoft has now hidden it.  Many of these items were on the Tools menu in previous versions of Excel.  Today we will look at just the first one, "Popular":

Some of these choices are new; others were previously on the Tools > Options > General tab  (Tabbed dialog boxes are presumably not fashionable anymore).

The "Top Options" are:

Show Mini Toolbar on selection: Show the Mini Toolbar when you select text. The Mini Toolbar provides quick access to formatting tools.

Enable Live Preview: Show a preview of how a feature affects the document as you hover over different choices.

Show Developer tab in the Ribbon: The Developer tab includes macro form authoring tools, as well as XML-related features.

"Custom lists" was previously on the Tools > Options > Custom Lists tab.

The settings for creating new workbooks are useful to know: If you normally want one-sheet workbooks, why create 3 sheets?

Do not forget the Language Settings, which you might want to change.

We will look at other options next time.

Maximizer 11 Released

Please use this link Maximizer Software Announces Maximizer CRM 11 with Industry’s First All-Inclusive Licences for SMEs—Desktop, Web and Mobile [link no longer active] to see how Maximizer 11 can give your sales team real power in the market place!

SARS not e@syfiling, and Quick Payroll

Thoroughly realising that expert help is required in this area, I booked support from QuickBooks and the process took two hours to complete.  SARS' onerous requirements are adding to the already-expanding barriers to employment and to SMEs generally.  The need to register all employees for PAYE, provide their banking details, ID numbers and addresses, is compounded by all the information about the company.  This information already exists on CIPRO and on SARS' own database, so it is a further duplication.

As electronic returns sometime fail to arrive, I now am delivering the output by hand to SARS –must be to Randburg as Megawatt Park will not guarantee that the documents will reach the correct department!  The ever-increasing demands of SARS are now becoming a serious burden on any business.

Tail-Gunner

Who says e-mail addresses have to be boring?  Not Atlantic.net: All theirs are of the form: name@lantic.net!  A Star Wars fan chose sith_lord_darth_vader@...  George Oliver Bark is joining an astronomy society so that he can gobark@themoon.  Chris Taylor's company creates all e-mail addresses from the user's first name plus the first letter of their surname –now they expect him to do miracles!

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, accounting, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.
  • Providing world-class programs for the Civil Engineer and Engineering Geologist.
  • Making your Civil Engineering Lab run smoother and more profitably with Labbie, our Data Retriever.
  • 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© 2010 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.

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Newsletter – May 2010

Editorial

The rain continued unabated through April - we had triple the 1961–90 climate average for Johannesburg.  May started in similar mode and we are already over four times!  So what a pleasure today to see the sun and clear blue Winter skies!

It's lemon jam time again and the lemons hang in glorious golden globes glowing on the tree!  Our youngest Labrador is positively full of Guide Dog puppies and is due on 25th May.  Suspect about 8 puppies will arrive.

Entrepreneur.co.za - looking at Webinars for communication

The webinars are great and provide relevant information out of normal working hours at your desktop.  Would this benefit you?  Then click on this link and sign up

How to do a "Print Screen" in Windows

We sometimes ask users to do this, and a Computer Super Secrets e-mail tip from Andy Lanning reminded us that others might like to know too.

Say that you need a picture of what your screen looks like, for example to show the IT Support person an error message.  Follow these steps:

  1. Press the "Prt Scr" button above the Insert and Home keys (if you want a picture of just the active window, not the whole screen, use Alt+Prt Scr instead).
  2. Nothing seems to happen. Actually, a copy of the screen is now on your clipboard waiting to be pasted.
  3. Open Word, WordPad, or a new e-mail.
  4. Paste (Ctrl+V or Edit, Paste or right-click, Paste).

Labbie Asphalt in Beta

Our Soils Laboratory (LIMS) program Labbie goes to Beta testing on the new extension for Asphalt tests this month.  We cover calculations for Maximum Theoretical Relative Density: (Rice’s Method), Bulk Relative Density (BRD), Marshall Stability & Flow, and Indirect Tensile Strength (ITS).  Provision is made to store (but not calculate) the results of any other tests.  If you would like to participate in the testing (it's free), please contact Rick.

Green Tip

The copious late rains (even Simon Gear acknowledges that we've had more than usual) mean lower water consumption and less need to water in general.  So, if you have an automatic watering system, make sure that it is turned off during times when its is raining!  In addition, now it the time to change it over to mid-morning, so that plants do not get damaged when the frost comes at night.  Please e-mail judith@softwareafrica.co.za for more details.

Excel Tip #77 –  Excel 2007: Excel Options II (Formulas)

Last time we mentioned the Office Menu (which I call the "Hidden Menu") button (the round MS Office logo at top left).  Click this, then click the "Excel Options" button at the bottom right of the menu.  The resulting dialog contains some very useful settings, many of which were on the Tools menu in previous versions of Excel.  Today we will look at one more, "Formulas":

Some of these choices are new; others were previously on the Tools > Options pop-up window, on the tabs "Calculation" and "Error Checking".  R1C1 style was under "General".

The good news is that you can leave the default settings unchanged.  If you messed around with them, re-set them to the settings shown in the picture.

Very large workbooks that are slow to calculate, you might want to set to Manual calculation.  To recalculate, you press F9.

Iterative calculation is an advanced feature allowing you to recalculate repeatedly subject to the conditions given: This is used for formulas that can not give an answer directly (using circular references).

You might like to change some of the Error checking rules for specific instances, for example if you wanted some numbers formatted as text, like postal codes.

We will look at more Excel Options next time.

ACCTivate is coming!

The powerful extension to QuickBooks, ACCTivate is now out!  This raises the number of users, that can access essential management features, to everyone in your company.  If you are in manufacturing, then all your processes can be controlled using ACCTivate, from ordering of parts through to the make-up of each item.  For a demonstration of this product, call Khanya on (011) 802-2685.

QuickBooks 2010 nearing SA Release

This is now about six weeks away, so hang on!  SA support is only for users of the SA product and the US one does not do VAT. 

SARS not e@syfiling

Not the end of the story - having hand delivered to SARS, they could not upload the file and wanted me to return.  Instead, I had everything stamped, including my forms, for the to send to Head Office.  To date, nothing has happened.  It seems they have lost the entire submission.  Please can I re-submit at the expense of my time, petrol and general disadvantage?  Again, SARS expects us to work for them and they are uninterested in the inconvenience caused to small businesses.

Tail-Gunner

Jesus and Satan have a contest to see who is the better computer programmer.  Time is nearly up when there is an "act of God", a power cut, and the PCs go off.  Satan curses and swears, while Jesus looks smug.  Power comes back, and Jesus demonstrates his program.  Satan has lost everything.  The reason?  Jesus saves.

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, accounting, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.
  • Providing world-class programs for the Civil Engineer and Engineering Geologist.
  • Making your Civil Engineering Lab run smoother and more profitably with Labbie, our Data Retriever.
  • 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© 2010 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.

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Newsletter – June 2010

Editorial

Nine lively new Labradors arrived three weeks ago to a very surprised Wyvern and continue to thrive at Caroline's, instead of SAGA's puppy block which is being extended.  There are three girls and six boys as well as a mix of black and yellow.  Hoping to visit them soon!

The SWC is in full swing after a wonderful opening and everything is coming up flags.  This gives a really festive air to Johannesburg.  However, I suspect that business may be taking the backseat.  The Deeds Office's decision to close at 14:00 every day during the period has been rescinded, after their notice was exposed on Radio 702.

The SOUL Foundation launched the WET-Africa project on 7-8 June at the Johannesburg Zoo.  The attendance from government was very good and we are now seeing feedback and support growing.  More on this next month, especially around how you can participate in greening and cleaning our environment!

Entrepreneur.co.za - looking at Webinars for communication

The webinars are great and provide relevant information out of normal working hours at your desktop.  Would this benefit you?  Then click on this link and sign up

Labbie Asphalt in Beta Testing

Our Soils Laboratory (LIMS) program Labbie is now in Beta testing on the new extensions for Asphalt tests.  We cover calculations for Grading Curve, Binder Content, Maximum Theoretical Relative Density (Rice’s Method), Bulk Relative Density (BRD), Marshall Stability & Flow, and Indirect Tensile Strength (ITS).  Provision is made to store (but not calculate) the results of any other tests.  If you would like to participate in testing (it's free), contact Rick.

dotPLOT 6003 released with HotPlot 2.3

The borehole- and core-logging program dotPLOT, with its Windows interface HotPlot, had an upgrade late last month.  We now cater for multiple instances of the Licence directory, as might occur on a network, and have revised the error reporting accordingly.  A number of other small improvements have been made to both programs.  Visit the dotPLOT Setup page to get the latest version.

Green Tip

Your local school, community centre, sports club, company or place of worship, now has an opportunity to set up a Recycling Bank and receive payment per ton collected.  You need to be able to generate about 3.5 tons every two days for the project to be viable.  Sounds difficult - everyone of us produces 1kg a day of recyclables minimum!

Excel Tip #78 –  Excel 2007: Excel Options III (Proofing)

We continue looking at the ("Hidden") Office Menu, activated by clicking the round MS Office logo at top left.  On this menu, click the "Excel Options" button at the bottom right.  The resulting dialog contains some very useful settings, many of which were on the Tools menu in previous versions of Excel.  Today we will look at "Proofing":

The "Proofing" window was previously on the Tools > Options pop-up window, on the tab "Spelling".  Not much is new here, and you are largely safe if you leave the default settings unchanged.  The AutoCorrect pop-up window (unchanged from earlier versions) was also previously accessible from the Tools > AutoCorrect menu item. 

AutoCorrect is a very useful feature, not just for correcting misspellings.  You can also create shortcuts for words you type often, for example your company name.  Put an abbreviation in the "Replace" block, and paste the long form into the "With" block.  For example, we use "saf" as a shortcut for "Software Africa".  With care, you can set up enough abbreviations to dazzle your friends with your lightning-fast typing skills!

Oh, right-click does not produce the usual pop-up menu, so how do we paste into the "With" block?  Once you have copied the text you want onto the clipboard, click in the "With" block, hold in the Ctrl key, and press V.  Ctrl+V for Paste works in almost all places in Windows programs.

We will look at more Excel Options next time.

QuickBooks 2010 Released

This is a really good release, with multicurrency back as well up to 30 users for Premier.  Reporting is much stronger.  The database engine has been upgraded and runs faster.  For more information, phone Khanya (011) 802-2685/6440.

In a Pickle - Accounting Help and new Software Africa Associate

90 % of businesses fail because of Cashflow

How to make sure this doesn’t happen to YOU

As a Small Business Owner, you might have a full/part time bookkeeper doing your books, VAT Returns etc. or you might even be doing them yourself – is it good enough to protect your “baby”?

Because of the new Companies Act, your financial responsibilities have changed.  Here are some tips to protect you from bad bookkeeping practices:

With the new Companies Act coming into force on 1/10/2010, you have to be aware and make sure that your Financial Statements are correct.

All CC’s & Companies will now be governed by the new Act.

As a Director/ Member, you now have bigger responsibilities and are held more responsible for the accuracy of your financial practices.

Points to consider:

  • Is your Chart of Accounts set up correctly?
  • Do you have reliable Monthly Management Accounts to assist you in intelligent decision making?
  • Are your VAT & Statutory returns correct? Could these returns land you in hot water with SARS when the Financial Statements are submitted?
  • Do you need to apply for Finance? Are your Financial Statements an “asset” or “liability” to that application?
  • How accurate are your Financial Statements?
  • Is your Bookkeeper putting your business at risk?

80% of people I consult to have serious problems in more than 1 of these areas.

You need to understand the full implications and risks that you and your business could be exposed to.  Your dream of owning a successful business could be shattered by ignoring the insights & wisdom in the article below.

Click here for the full story.

To claim your FREE initial tele- consult, contact DEBBIE @ In a Pickle Bookkeepers on 082 775-9827, Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm.

Tail-Gunner

Avoid being arrested for "ambush marketing" at the 2010™ FIFA™ World Cup™ South Africa™ games!  Do not wear orange, the colour of Bavaria Brau. Do not wear black or white: Colours of Microsoft. Do not wear red: Colour of ABSA and Wimpy. Nor blue (Standard Bank). Definitely not green (Nedbank).  Yellow (Vodacom) is not allowed.  Purple promotes Toys'R'Us and Barney.  Wearing any team's colours will get you into trouble because FIFA owns them.  National flags are out because of associations with national airlines.

And do not go naked because it will be taken as an insulting reference to emperor Sepp Blatter.

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, accounting, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.
  • Providing world-class programs for the Civil Engineer and Engineering Geologist.
  • Making your Civil Engineering Lab run smoother and more profitably with Labbie, our Data Retriever.
  • 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© 2010 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.



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