Software Africa Newsletter - March 2017

Editorial

Starting the second month of Autodesk's 2018 year and moving towards Autumn in South Africa. Our dams are mostly full in the north of the country, Those in the south are nearly empty.

Autodesk Special

There is a special running until the 21 April to upgrade your old Autodesk products to replace them with 3 year subscriptions at a 30% discount. It does not cover AutoCAD LT unfortunately

Announcing ZWCAD!

We have been concerned for some time that, with the ever-widening Dollar-Rand exchange rate and the pricing of Autodesk products based on the Dollar, AutoCAD is becoming too expensive for many companies.  After investigation and negotiations, we can now, as an Authorised Reseller, offer a cheaper alternative, very similar in function: ZWCAD. Watch an introductory video here (3 minutes).

ZWCAD 2017 produces DWG files, the same as AutoCAD, and comes in Standard and Professional versions: The former is for 2D drafting, like AutoCAD LT. ZWCAD Pro has 3D capabilities and can do rendering, similar to full AutoCAD.

ZWCAD is available for outright purchase (as AutoCAD used to be) and also on annual licence (as AutoCAD is now).  On annual licence, ZWCAD Std is 77% of the price of AutoCAD LT; and ZWCAD Pro is 23% of the price of full AutoCAD.

You can download a 30-day Free Trial of ZWCAD 2017 here. The download is the PRO version, but when activated with a STD key it will switch off PRO features. Go to this link for product features and to this link for a product comparison.

Would you like to buy?  Email Rick.

QuickBooks 2017 Features

Here are some of the new features:

Contact Judith for more information!

Online Business Tip #5 - Google Maps

Worth book marking, is Google Maps at https://maps.google.co.za. The first thing to do is to add your business.  To do that, you will need to log on to Google (one logon for all of Google), or create a logon and password if you don't already have one. You can also add a Home location, which will later make it easy to get directions from there to anywhere else.  If you log on to Google with your smartphone as well as your PC, then driving directions you get on your PC can later be found on the Google app on your smartphone.

Quick Payroll

We look forward to having you as a Quick Payroll Key Player user and we will do our utmost to make the transition from the old Quick Payroll, as painless as possible. Please contact renewals@quickbooks.co.za for assistance with this.

Please contact Judith for the new KeyPlayer software and assistance in getting your data file to QuickBooks for conversion.

Green Tip

The mining rights continue unabated rendering entire communities indigent. Please assist by finding ways to oppose them and fracking. We all have to protect our land, air and water.

How Autodesk Products solve problems

Autodesk has been looking at integrated solutions for building complex solutions for sometime. As a result, and with using user input, it has enabled end-to-end solutions. These take developers from concept to realisation. More than this, the solutions provide full documentation for running and maintaining the resulting solution. Mobile applications enable engineers to check that what is being built conforms to plans when they do site visits. Group communications are greatly improved as a result.

To get some idea of what is going on in product design use this link https://lineshapespace.com/connected-toys-fabulous-beasts/ 
 

The World is changing rapidly

Here is a very good link for Autodesk users to see what is new and the benefits: www.autodesk.com/future-of-making-things.

Excel Tip #152 – What's New in Excel 2016 for Windows? Recommended Charts

We are looking at what is new in Excel 2016 for Windows Desktop, compared with Excel 2010. On the Insert ribbon, Charts group, there is a new button, Recommended Charts. Click on some data and then choose this button. The Recommended Charts dialog looks like this:

On the left pane, we can choose a different recommendation (outlined in light green). Click OK to insert the chart on the worksheet.

If no recommendation seems suitable, we can, on the tab All Charts, choose any chart type: This replaces the 2010 button "All Charts" on the "Insert" ribbon. Next month we will look at that.

 

Special Feature - Please give us feedback on this...

Accessing Information in the Workplace without Sight

By Lois Strachan

“The employment of people who are blind or visually impaired is not an HR issue, it’s a technology issue” --Mike Hess, Blind Institute of Technology, Colorado, USA.

Many employers are hesitant to employ a person with a visual impairment because they are uncertain if the visually impaired employee will be able to access electronic or print information. As a totally blind individual who worked as an administrator in an engineering company for 16 years I have first-hand experience of how technology can enable those with visual impairments to accomplish job-related tasks.

Below are just two of the technology solutions that allow visually impaired employees to access information.

1. Screen Readers

A screen reader is a software application that allows us to hear what is displayed on the computer or mobile screen using audio. Screen readers such as JAWS (Job Accessibility with Speech) and NVDA Reader (Non Visual Desktop Accessibility) make it possible to use most Windows products without difficulty. Mac and IOS users can access information using the in-built screen reader Voice Over. Through screen readers a blind and visually impaired employee can access most electronic information they need in the workplace, including documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, slide presentations, e-mails and websites, though the accessibility of websites may be dependent on their design.

2. Object and Character Recognition software/apps

People are interested to know how we access printed material. In the workplace this may relate to how the visually impaired employee will be able to access reports, memos, and other printed material. For years I have been using a standard desktop scanner and OCR (Optical character Recognition) software to convert print material into a form I can read on my computer. Nowadays it is also easy to access mobile apps that allow the blind user to take a photograph of the print material and the app will convert the text into a form that can be accessed by audio. Similar apps can be used to access descriptions of objects. A few of the apps available on the market are KNFB Reader, Braigo, Bespecular and Identifi.

Of course, access to information is not the only factor that may determine whether or not a blind or visually impaired applicant is the right fit for your company, but it certainly removes one of the barriers preventing people who are blind and visually impaired from being included as a productive member of the workplace.

About the Author

Lois Strachan is a professional speaker, workshop facilitator and author in the field of disability. Her most recent book, “A Different Way of Seeing: A Blind Woman’s Journey of Living an ‘Ordinary’ Life in an Extraordinary Way” describes how she accomplishes everyday tasks without sight. For more information on this and other disability issues contact Lois on her website and subscribe to her blog, find her on  twitter at LoisStrachanZA, on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Computius Say:

"Get a life?" --That sound like very useful thing to have!  Where I can download one?

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

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