Software Africa Newsletter - November 2017

Editorial

Truly strange weather, rain dropping the temperatures. At least the rain is here in Gauteng! If only the Western Cape could get some too! Nevertheless, we are busy. We are taking a short break from 18 to 21 November to avoid the seasonal rush. We'll be in the bush, chilling out.

Autodesk

Price Increase

Please note that Autodesk prices have increased but mostly on 3 and 2 year Annual subscriptions and Inventor. AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT have stayed the same.

Moving to Annual Subscription from Maintenance

We have clarification on the move from Maintenance subscriptions to Annual subscriptions. If you move on the promotions to Annual subscription, that subscription will stay at the same price for at least three years.  Whereas, the maintenance subscriptions will increase by 20% next February. Promotions and other special offers will continue for this year. I suspect they will continue through Financial 2019 as well.

In addition, do not think that buying Inventor Pro and AutoCAD, for example, will cost you less than buying a Design Collection. The wealth of software in the Design Collection  at around R36 000 inc VAT (at the current exchange rate) way undercuts buying any two standalone packages.

3DS Max - an Awesome Product

3ds Max 3D modelling and rendering software helps you create massive worlds in games, stunning scenes for design visualization, and engaging virtual reality (VR) experiences. Use this link to see the video.

Online Business (?) Tip #13 - Hidden Google Chrome Dinosaur Game

The Google Chrome browser contains all sorts of hidden gems.  Here's one we found.  If you lose your internet connection, Chrome displays the message "There is no Internet connection" and a graphic of what looks like a dinosaur.  Fine so far.  The interesting part occurs if you press the "Up arrow" key.  The dinosaur figure starts frantically running to the right as the landscape scrolls to the left, with cactuses appearing singly or in groups.  Using the "Up arrow" key, make the dinosaur figure jump over the cacti. The game ends when it collides with one:
Running Dinosaur Game Over
On a more serious note, the option below that, "Try Running Windows Network Diagnostics" may well work to restore the Internet connection.

QuickBooks 2017 Update

Annual subscriptions are the new norm. I know that this makes us all angry, because, to quote a customer, "I want to own, not rent, the software". Why has subscription become the new norm? Well, let's go there:

Piracy and out-of-date software upgrade costs

Since Lotus (remember them?) and Microsoft first sold us their solutions, piracy has been a huge problem. It has caused legal costs, lack of funding to meet customer requirements and lack of funding for real support. So, about 5 years ago, Adobe changed to an annual subscription model and marketed the benefits:

When Microsoft saw the results, it offered the Office 360 solutions. This enabled it to make users fully mobile as well as giving them Cloud Storage. Their experience mirrored Adobe's. We can still access long term desktop subscriptions. There is a drawback to this. When you upgrade to a new operating system, you have to buy new. That's expensive.

So the other advantage to the annual subscription model is that you stay current at a lower cost.

Customer uptake on this was good. Piracy dropped across the board, so Autodesk launched its solutions in Financial Year 2017. The Maintenance subscriptions continue but new software is on Annual or Quarterly subscription. There are regular promotions for existing users to change to the annual subscription.

Autodesk's experience has enabled it to offer high level support to all Quarterly and Annual subscribers. These subscribers now have full access to user group discussion and video tutorials as well.

So now, QuickBooks has gone the same route with the same commitment to raising the level of support and training. Development is also vital to you as their customer. In implementing this new model, development, to meet your needs, will happen far faster as well. For instance, EasyBIZ CONNECT for iPads and iPhones will be out by end October. This is part of the QuickPerks solutions. You will be able to access online chat to make suggestions and give feedback.

Your software will be always up to date and give you seamless access when you change your operating system to the latest.

Other new QuickBooks Developments

Because your customer experience has to be of the highest standard, resellers are to be certified. We met the standards set in the exams - one of us for QuickBooks and one for Payroll. I ran out of the ability to write during Payroll!  This promises you, as our customer, a reliable and nurturing relationship.

Currently you can buy QuickBooks and Quick Payroll for a whopping 30% discount.

Black Friday Special

QuickBooks Pro is on special for Black Friday end next week for new and upgrades at R2 000 plus VAT. Additional users will cost R1 300 plus VAT

Quick Payroll

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

Green Tip

Please encourage your local restaurant to discontinue using plastic straws. They are one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution worldwide.

The World is Changing Rapidly

All Autodesk products have similar links to training and resources. Here's the one for the Product and Factory Design Collection https://www.autodesk.com/collections/product-design-manufacturing/overview. Take a really in-depth look at what this solution gives you.

Excel Tip #159 -- What's New in Excel 2016 for Windows? New Statistical Histogram Charts

We are looking at what is new in Excel 2016 for Windows Desktop, compared with Excel 2010.  As we saw in Excel Tip #158 last month, on the Insert ribbon, in the Charts group, the new button for the new Statistical charts produces Histogram charts and Box and Whisker type charts.

histogram chart shows the frequencies within a distribution.  There are two sub-types of histogram charts, Plain Histogram and Pareto chart: We will look at the first one.  This will create a bar graph. Each bar shows a count of the number of values that fall within a range, called a "bin".

The data must be a single column of figures. They do not need to be sorted. Click somewhere in the data.  On the Insert ribbon, in the Charts group, click the button shown. On the list of Statistical charts, choose the first Histogram chart.

Excel will automatically choose the "bins", i.e. decide what range of data fits into each column.  This will probably not be what you want.  To change the bin ranges, right-click on the X-axis (the row of numbers underneath the coloured bars) and, from the pop-up menu, choose "Format Axis". The window pane shown on the right of the illustration, will open.  Select "Bin width" and fill in a suitable value, such as "10" as shown above.  This will cause each range to be 10 wide.  To cause the bars to start on a sensible value, tick "Underflow bin" and fill in a suitable value, such as "40" above.  Values less than or equal to 40 will then be counted into the first bar, above 40 up to 50 in the second bar, and so on.

One idiosyncrasy: if the value of 39 in the example, which is the single value counted in the first bar, is changed to 40, the <=40 bar disappears and that number is counted into the 40-50 bar, even though 40 is <=40!  This does not happen at any other breakpoint; for example, the value of 90 is counted in the 80-90 bar rather than the 90-100 bar.

Next month we will look at the Pareto chart in more detail.

Computius Say:

Life would be much easier to hack if we had the source code.

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
"Empowering African Business with standard and custom PC programs, databases, and templates using Microsoft technologies"

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