Newsletter - September 2014

Editorial

Is it winter or is it summer?  Who can tell with temperatures bouncing around all over the place?  However, we have some indication that tenders are finally being awarded, so there is a better prospect for economic growth.  So much has been revised down, it would be good to see the growth forecasts revised upwards again.  At least we have not seen an increase in the interest rate and petrol looks set to come down again next month.

Stay well and enjoy the sunshine!

Autodesk Price Increase

Sadly the rapidly weakening Rand against the US Dollar has led to a price increase. At the moment there is global currency instability, which is affecting transport costs as well.  The local distributors held off on increasing until Tuesday 23 September.  Unfortunately all products invoiced but not paid for have also been hit by this.

We spent Thursday morning updating all our customers with the new pricing.

QuickBooks update

ACCTivate is now back in our fold - this offers multi-warehousing plus CRM.  It is an add-on to QuickBooks and enables your sales staff to do quotes without having to access your accounting information.  They can also invoice out from it.  The product synchronises with your QuickBooks package ensuring that everything is kept up to date correctly.

We are currently awaiting the release of QuickBooks 2015 range of products. This should take place in early October.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe is the first major software supplier to go fully cloud-based with a wide range of products.  It's farewell to Creative Suite in the box and hello to software licence management and access from the Cloud.  For an annual licence fee, companies have full access to all the creative products they require to run their business!  Updates are rolled out remotely; users who leave can be signed off the access list and replaced by new employees.  Best of all, the collateral cannot be lost or stolen.

Please ask Judith or Willy for quotes.

Adobe Training Links

Use the Adobe webpage to access training like this one below:

Learn CSS Basics w/ Dreamweaver
Make your webpages stylin'. Learn the basics of CSS in this Dreamweaver tutorial: http://adb.im/C6E4FD

Adobe training online is a useful tool to make your web pages and presentations really stand out!

PC Tip: See the "To" Field in Outlook

In the pane where Outlook lists your emails, particularly for a new folder, the column headings typically include "From" (sender), "Subject", "Received" (date), "Size", and "Category".  If you store replies in the same sub-folder as received emails, which  makes sense, then it also makes sense to have a "To" (addressee) column.  Here's how you add it:

  1. Right-click on one of the column headings (Subject, Received, Size, etc.)
  2. On the pop-up menu, choose "Field Chooser".
  3. A small pop-up window, headed "Field Chooser", should open somewhere on screen.
  4. In the "Field Chooser" window, drag the right-hand scroll bar down until you can see the button with "To" on it.
  5. Grab the "To" button, drag it to the column headings area, and drop it between suitable columns: Between "From" and "Subject" is a good place (a red arrow indicates where the new column will go).
  6. Close the "Field Chooser" window by clicking the "X" at top right, or just click on another folder.

Autodesk Specials for Q3 2015 ending 20th October 2014

There are two specials running in this period:

The first is a lovely surprise for owners of pre-2009 products - you can upgrade during this period with a 30% discount!  Please grab the opportunity now!

The second is for owners of product 2009 and later - the discount here is 10% - lower than last quarter's but still a good opportunity for getting current.

Please contact Judith or Willy for quotes.

Autodesk Subscription Changes

From 1 February 2015, upgrades of Autodesk products will no longer be available and all products will have to be bought new.

So keeping your subscriptions up to date now gives 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

Why does keeping a subscription current pay out for you?

Well, in fact Autodesk is not the first to go this route.  The various CRM providers and also major ERP providers have done this for years.  In order to keep their software at a level which meets your changing needs, the renewing of subscriptions gives them the base for ongoing development.  Companies can address your wish lists and the requirements of changing standards (government and professional associations).  In addition, your keeping your subscriptions current means that you do not have to pay a huge amount of money to become current two years down the line.

Think of it as the fee you pay to your security company or the premium you pay to your insurance company.

Green Tip

A longer one than usual in the face of most of Johannesburg not having water!  Thanks to Samantha Derham of Sustainability Stuff:

Living in an urban environment, which most people reading this do, we have had the luxury of not really thinking of where water comes from further than we turn on the tap and it’s there. Most people have heard that South Africa is a water stressed country, but have you experienced that? Driving through the streets of Johannesburg it is not uncommon to see thousands of litres of water being used casually to ‘sweep’ a dirty drive-way.
Go a few hours without water and we very quickly start to realise how much we rely on water for so many things. After a few days or weeks without access to water from the turn of a tap, if this convenience is all you have known, and the feelings of anger and despair at how useless our government is quickly dominate.

But did you know that about half of the people living in South Africa still do not have access to tap water? Did you know that the total amount of water in our rivers and dams is barely enough to meet our growing demand for water, and we are on the brink of that equation being in the negative? It’s not spoken of nearly enough in the media, from our government, from wherever it is needed to be spoken about, but South Africa is well and truly on the brink of a water crisis.

How much water did you use to wash the dishes last night? And brush your teeth this morning? How would you know? Did you measure it? Did you think about trying to use as little as possible? Most people don’t. First of all measuring it is not exactly easy, but water is actually still very cheap – compared to the amount that we are using, compared to the price of electricity, the amount on our bills at the end of the month is probably not enough for justify making the effort to reduce our water use.

But maybe, just maybe, the water supply issues that Johannesburg experienced over the past few weeks is enough to make us start thinking again about our water use. Here are some tips to reduce our water use around the home:

Less than 1% of the world’s water is fresh water.  Life is impossible without it, and we are still a long way from an economically viable way of turning salt water into drinking water. With a rapidly expanding population, and with it the demand on water, it is more important than ever to be aware of our water usage, not just for the future generations, but for your very own lifetime.

Excel Tip #126 - The Review tab (I): Proofing and Language groups

We now start looking at the "Review" tab on Excel 2010's Ribbon. The first group, "Proofing", contains three buttons: Spelling, Research, and Thesaurus. The second group, "Language" has only one button, Translate.

Spelling: The trick here is that, if you want to check the spelling of specific cells, you should select them first!  If just one cell is selected, Excel will check all cells (on that sheet only!), helpfully asking if you want to continue at the beginning if you did not start at the top left.  The pitfall is that you may accidentally have more than one cell selected, and accidentally fail to check the other cells.  The shortcut is F7, as in many other programs.

If the Spelling Check finds a misspelling, it gives you a series of suggestions.  Click the right one.  If none of the suggestions is correct, but the word is wrong, correct it in the top box.  Click the Change button to change it once, or Change All to change all occurrences for this run of the Spelling Checker.  If the spelling is correct but unknown to Excel, you can Ignore Once, Ignore All (for this run of the Spelling Checker) or Add to Dictionary (make it a word that Excel knows).  If the word is not English, you can choose another dictionary language, just for this word. Your dictionary language should be English (South Africa), which is set in the Windows Regional Settings.

A final option in the Spelling dialog box is AutoCorrect.  This will add the misspelling and your choice of Suggestion to the AutoCorrect list so that, in future, Excel will correct it as you type it.

The Research button brings up a window pane, on the right of the Excel window, that lets you search various (or all) reference books or research sites for the word in the selected cell.

The Thesaurus button works the same as the Research button, except that it searches the (rather limited) Thesaurus only.

The Translate button also brings up a window pane on the right of the Excel window.  In this case you can translate the word in the active cell to a limited number of other languages, not including Afrikaans.  Google Translate has more languages (such as Afrikaans and Zulu (not that accurate), but no Xhosa, Venda, Sotho, etc. yet).

Next time we will continue with the "Review" tab, the "Comments" group.

Computius Say:

Guide to Computer Terms:
"Hard Disk Crash" - A typical computer response to any critical deadline.

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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