Newsletter - December 2012


Finally, 2012 is saying farewell and the weather is all over the place!  We wish everyone a safe and relaxing Festive Season and all the very best for 2013.  Thank you everyone for your support this year, which we really appreciate.

QuickBooks Update

The Results CRM links to QuickBooks: It can be rented to buy and we are interested in piloting it.  It enables users to draw up estimates and create invoices without them having access the QuickBooks itself.  Please look out for our new options on our websites.

We are able to take on your Excel data into QuickBooks by using our programmers to write macro solutions.  Unfortunately this takes time but does save you manual take-on time.  Please make sure you give us all the fields that you want and are clear on how they are to be treated.  This saves us time and you expense.

For more information, phone the team on 011 802-2685 / 6440.

dotPLOT Version 7010 with HotPlot 3.10.1 Released

If you already have the 32- and 64-bit-compatible dotPLOT, then your latest version is ready for installing. Go to  You can install it directly from the Internet, or download to install on multiple PCs.  This is a free upgrade for existing dot7000-series users.

For dot7010. Winston fixed four obscure bugs:  After the first hole, the symbol for "FILL" was not plotted in the profile if the layer description ended with "FILL$." (but "FILL.$" worked).  DXF file output was not working when called by HotPlot.  The keyword "Samples:" (with colon) did not produce the required symbols.  Finally, the "Compress Borelog onto Profile Page" option got turned off for subsequent profiles if a preceding profile lacked Attributes.

Water table and sample names were defined as "alpha first char and no lowercase chars". This has now been extended to allow "Date Formats" to qualify as a Sample or Water Table name, specifically dd/mm, dd/mm/yy and dd/mm/yyyy. "Rest level" is now acceptable as a water table adjective.

When compressing the borehole log onto the profile page, long Sample Names could intrude onto the depth scale.  The space between attributes and profile now opens up to fit wide sample names.

New in HotPlot 3.10.1, we've tried to make the creation of profiles easier for novices.  We added a new block of menu items on the HotPlot Editor's Insert menu, to insert a whole new (example) profile, or individual blocks (including layers and attributes interactively).  To enter a new profile interactively, open the HotPlot Editor and start a new file. Press Shift+F2 (Header Block: Add job and hole details),  Shift+F3 (input as many Layer Descriptions as needed), Shift+F4 (Notes Block: Edit the example to suit your profile).  If a Borehole Log, press Shift+F5 repeatedly to input each Borehole Log Attribute.  Finally, press Shift+F7 to finish the hole.  Repeat from Shift+F2 until all holes are done, then Shift+F8 to end the file.  More details in on-line Help.

There will be an increase in the price of HotPlot from R2000  + VAT to R2500 + VAT, effective 1 January 2013.  HotPlot has always been under-priced for what you get, and now you get more, so we are reducing the disparity.  Might this be a good time to upgrade?

Green Tip

Increase awareness of pollution remediation by encouraging your colleagues and children to put their litter into the appropriate bins.  Set up an recycling initiative at your offices or at your local place of worship or school.

AutoCAD 2013 and Design Suites

The range of Design Suites is on an upgrade special discount of 15% until the 20th January 2013.  Upgrading can be done from previous versions where you have not renewed your subscriptions as well as from current versions of LT and 1-3 previous versions of AutoCAD.  For more details, please contact Judith, Thuli or Willy. 

From 18th January, renewing of subscriptions will cost more.  Currently 2011-2012 upgrades of AutoCAD  cost 50% of new and older ones from Release 14 cost 70% of new.  After the cut-off date, releases from 2008 to 2012 will cost 70% of new and all other versions must be replaced with new products.

Please contact Judith or 011 802 2685 for more details or to set up an appointment to discuss your drawing office requirements.

How does licensing work?

This is a question that we have been asked a lot recently.  Customers wanting 6 licences expect a far lower price and are surprised when this is not the case.  They feel that if they have already bought a copy of the software, additional users should cost less.

However, we are now able to ask for a special discount on high volume orders of the Autodesk range of products.

In fact, with all software solutions, this is not the case, as they are buying a licence to use the software, not the software itself.  With large orders, we are certainly able to offer some discount and will do so to the best of our ability, although we do not receive a further discount from the distributors.  AutoCAD LT is one exception, as the 5 user pack is discounted at source by Autodesk.

Where a number of people require to use the AutoCAD range, network licences can be purchased.  A one user network licence allows one user on the software at a time.  As you add additional users on the network, then more people can work simultaneously.  We will strive to make sure that you maximise your investment through this mechanism.

With Accounting and CRM solutions, the licences are user bound, so you are obliged to have one licence for every user who must log in.  This is also true of Microsoft Office, but not of the server products, which work more like Autodesk products.

Compliancy and your product licences

Not only Autodesk, but every software supplier, is working with the Business Software Association to ensure compliancy.  In terms of all software products, they may not be sold by the company that bought them to anyone else.  The right of use is for the original purchaser only.  With operating systems, the product lives and dies with the PC or laptop on which it is loaded.  We can help all our customers with ensuring that they are compliant with their product licences.

Excel Tip #107 - The Formulas menu (IV): Calculation

In this issue we finish the Formulas tab on Excel 2010's Ribbon, in which we look at the last group, Calculation. This is a small group, good not to overload the brain at this time of year.

The group has only three buttons, of which the leftmost, Calculation Options, opens up a drop-down list of options that apply to this file only:

The buttons Calculate Now and Calculate Sheet do exactly what they say, and would be used if one of the two latter options above is in effect. CAUTION: If you are using anything other than automatic recalculation, you cannot rely on the answers to formulas in the spreadsheet being correct!  Excel will warn you of this (unobtrusively!):  If you see the word "Calculate" in the status bar at the bottom of the Excel window, click Calculate Now or press F9 to update all results.

*A Circular Reference occurs when a formula in a cell refers, possibly via several other formulas, back to the starting cell, e.g. =2*A2 in cell A1 and =A1 in A2.  Excel will complain if you do this and the calculation option is Automatic, and display "Circular References" in the status bar at the bottom.  If done accidentally, it is almost certainly an error.  It is sometimes used deliberately as a technique for iteration when a formula can not be solved directly.  An example we use on the Excel Advanced course is t = Cos(t).

We will start next year by looking at the "Data" tab, a useful and interesting tab --at least for the technically-minded!

End-of-Year Gifts: Free Spreadsheets

The free spreadsheets you can order from our web site, just by sending an e-mail with the right Subject, are:

To order any of these spreadsheets, visit our free spreadsheets web page.

Computius Say:

If at first you don't succeed --skydiving is probably not for you.

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 custom PC programs, databases, and templates using Microsoft technologies"
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