Newsletter - October 2013

Editorial

With the first rains having finally come to Gauteng, the roads have become a nightmare of failed robots everywhere.  There is an irony here as "robot" is derived from the Slavonic for "worker"!  We now have two people qualified on the Adobe certification, as well as a technical qualification for Autodesk and a second Bronze reseller qualification.  Now the focus is on going for Silver reseller for Autodesk and starting the continuous education process to increase our in-depth knowledge of the products.

An Accolade to Kate Otten Architects

Our customer, Kate Otten Architects, have been short-listed for an award!  Go to this link to see their great design.  It is great that this vibrant and creative team is being recognised.

Adobe Creative Cloud

The philosophy behind Creative Cloud is ease of management of your software licences as well as increased collaboration in your creative teams.  The annual subscription gives you a customer portal where all the licence management can be done.  This has two advantages.  The first is that your licences and software reside in the Cloud, so that, if your hardware is stolen or damaged, your software is not compromised at all.  Secondly, you can also store drawings in the Cloud, removing another vulnerability.

Each user can download the programs they require so that bandwidth is not compromised by accessing the Cloud on a daily basis.   There are also deployment tools available to make deploying the software to your users from a central server simple and straightforward.  All upgrades and additional programs are immediately accessible upon release.

The packaged Creative Suites will no longer be upgraded and Adobe will eventually phase them out.

For enquiries and more information, please contact judith@softwareafrica.co.za to find out about the Team options in Creative Cloud that take professionalism and productivity to new heights.

PC Tip: Show File Extensions

This tip is almost as old as Windows, but bears repeating periodically because Microsoft still seems to believe that users cannot be trusted with file extensions.

What are file extensions?  At the end of every file name is a full stop and a short identifier of the file type, usually three letters long: This is the file extension.  If they are turned on, you see the full file name, for example Accounts.XLS for an old Excel file or CV.docx for a new Word file.  If they are turned off, which is the default, you see only Accounts or CV respectively, and have to work out the file type (and hence the program it belongs to) from the icon (picture) associated with the file (the file extension is still there, you just can't see it).

The procedure to turn File Extensions on, varies with the version of Windows, in keeping with Microsoft's philosophy that users should always be learning.  In all cases, run Windows Explorer (a.k.a. "My Computer or, in Windows 8, File Explorer), for which the shortcut is the "Windows key" ˙ + E.

Then click the View Tab (the second Tab), and turn OFF (un-tick) "Hide Extensions for Known File Types".

Autodesk 360 Benefits and eTolling

Now, how can Autodesk 360 assist in cutting down on tolls?  Autodesk 360 is a major benefit for all Autodesk Suite users.  The Cloud storage of drawings, together with the iPhone and Android apps to access them, mean that your project managers can go on site and check out exactly whether the project is going to plan.  Photographs can be taken of discrepancies.

Stepping back to initial design, the customer and the entire team doing the work can "meet" on the Cloud to discuss the feasibility of what is being proposed.  This means that the construction engineer obtains the drawings he wants rather than what the design engineers thought he wanted.  Cloud meetings mean no travelling, so no tolls to be paid.  The Cloud interface documents changes as they are done and can generate e-mails to team members, informing them of updates.

This means greater efficiency, more productivity and less re-works.

Please contact Judith or Willy for quotes.

Autodesk Subscription Benefits

These give real value to your Autodesk product users.  They include the following:

For more information go to https://360.autodesk.com/landing and http://www.autodesk.com/subscription/overview

Green Tip

Have you thought about establishing a relationship with your local recyclers who come round with their trolleys on bin day?  If not, consider sorting your rubbish as you create it into paper, cardboard, tins etc and leaving a note on the bags indicating the contents.  This will reduce your rubbish to landfill and assist in creating a better run recycling industry.

Autodesk Ecotect Analysis

We were asked about this product earlier this week.  This is what we found out about it:

Sustainable Building Design Software

Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis sustainable design analysis software is a comprehensive concept-to-detail sustainable building design tool. Ecotect Analysis offers a wide range of simulation and building energy analysis functionality that can improve performance of existing buildings and new building designs. Online energy, water, and carbon-emission analysis capabilities integrate with tools that enable you to visualize and simulate a building's performance within the context of its environment.

Access to the Green Building Studio in the Cloud is a major subscription benefit.  For more information and customer feedback go to http://usa.autodesk.com/ecotect-analysis/

Please contact Judith or Willy for quotes.

Excel Tip #117 - The Data tab (VIII): Data Tools - What-If - Goal Seek

We continue looking at the "Data" tab on Excel 2010's Ribbon, in the "Data Tools" group.  The last button in the Group is "What-If Analysis".  This button has a submenu consisting of three items: Scenario Manager, Goal Seek, and Data Table.  We looked at Scenario Manager last issue, and will look at Goal Seek today.

Goal Seek was also known in Lotus 1-2-3 as Backsolver. It lets you tell the program the "answer" and get it to work out the "question"!  Shades of the "Deep Thought" computer in the "Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy"... at least, here, the answer isn't always "42".

Goal Seek is particularly useful for problems that can be solved by iteration, i.e. by repeatedly trying better and better guesses until the answer is close enough to the one required.  You could try the guesses yourself, but Goal Seek will do it faster and more accurately. 

As an example, consider a cannon firing a projectile with a muzzle velocity v = 500 m/s, at an initial angle θ.  According to Wikipedia, the distance that the projectile travels over level ground (neglecting air resistance) is R = (v2 sin 2θ) / g, where g is the gravitational constant.  At what angle must the cannon fire to hit a target 20 km away?  We set up the problem as follows (formulas in column B are documented in column D):

The procedure is:

  1. Set up a spreadsheet containing the necessary formula that you want to get to a particular value, in this case, B5.
  2. There must be one cell containing a value that can be changed in order to get the answer, in this case, B3.
  3. Preferably only one answer should be possible (in this case there are two, depending on whether we start above or below 45°).
  4. Select the cell containing the final formula, in this case, B5
  5. Go to the Data Ribbon (Data Tools group) > What-If Analysis and select Goal Seek.
  6. "Set Cell" is already = B5.
  7. For "To Value", type the desired result, in this case 20000 (m).
  8. Select the changing cell, in this case, B3.  Click OK.
  9. For interest's sake, repeat with a value smaller than 45 in cell B3, to get the other answer.

Save your spreadsheet for the next item in the Data Tools ribbon under What-If Analysis, Data Table, which we will look at in the next issue.

Computius Say:

Old Chinese curse say, "may you live in interesting times".

New version, say, "may you use Windows 8".

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Members, Communication in Action cc trading as Software Africa
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