Newsletter - November 2013

Editorial

Congratulations to our team after acing our Autodesk target for Q3!  Using some really good sales methodologies, we actually exceeded it by nearly 25%.  A big thank you as well to all our customers who assisted us, as we would not have got there without you.  We have just upgraded our Creative Cloud for Teams qualifications.  With all the exams we're doing, it's a bit like matric at Software Africa!

Judith is a member of Transformer Toastmasters and has just done her CC10 speech, which makes her a Competent Communicator.  Toastmasters is a powerful way to improve your presentation skills in a supportive and vibrant environment.  Transformers Toastmasters meet on the second and fourth Monday of every month (end December and beginning of January excepted) at Morningside Country Club in de Lay Rey Road, Rivonia.  Meetings take place in the Tennis Pavilion and start at 18:45 for 19:00.  If anyone wants more information about Toastmasters, the clubs and the in-house programmes for companies, please e-mail Judith judith@softwareafrica.co.za.

Adobe Creative Cloud

The philosophy behind Creative Cloud for Teams is ease of management and deployment 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.

Centralised deployment from a server in-house means the elements are downloaded once.  Updates can be scheduled for release and deployment by you IT manager.  Licences can be removed from team members who leave and redeployed to new staff.  There is one anniversary, which means that additional licences purchased since inception are prorated for renewal.  This makes budgeting simple to control.

An additional advantage is that your team can work anywhere and at any time.  Clients can be invited on to the portal to discuss drawings and designs in real time.  This saves travel time.

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 or Thembekile thembekile@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 Specials for Q4 2014

The great one is that the AutoCAD LT special is back until 22 January 2014.  This means that you can purchase LT and the subscription (which is optional) for R12 812.46 inc VAT and delivery.  The great thing is AutoCAD LT for Mac 2014 is now out and that is part of the special!  Please note does not apply to Inventor LT.

The second promotion is upgrading your legacy products (2007-R14 qualify for this one, however all LT products are excluded).  For every single seat of the qualifying products, you receive a second seat FREE if you can supply the serial numbers of two of your legacy products.  This offer ends on 22 January 2014.

The third covers Product Design Suite purchases: buy Product Design Suite Standard and receive a free Inventor.  Buy Product Design Suite Premium or Ultimate and receive a free Inventor Pro.  This offer ends on 22 January 2014.

The fourth one applies to subscription renewals where late renewal fees have been waived for all late renewals < than 360 days.  This offer ends on 21 January 2014.

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

The rains have been late but they are here.  However the weather is still very hot.  Now is the time to go water wise in your garden.  To do this, use mulches (which can be grass cuttings) to keep the roots of your plants cool.  Move to more indigenous solutions.  Consider collecting rain water to fill your pool if you have one!

If you are an engineer or designer considering using the product below!

Autodesk Ecotect Analysis

We were asked about this product last month.  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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