Newsletter - August 2014


One moment it seems like Spring and then winds curl us back into our winter woollies!  August is an unpredictable month!  Looking forward to all the blossoms coming out and we've noticed the Masked Weavers working away at this season's nests.  Business has been good to us too -- trust it has been for you as well.

What many people are waiting for is the issue of the tenders for infrastructure upgrades and new projects.  Let's hope they start coming out soon and are placed rapidly to stir the economy into action.

Autodesk University Extension

For a truly professional take on Autodesk: 5 reasons why you should attend Autodesk University Extension Johannesburg (AUx) 2014

  1. Gain CPD Credits on selected Track Sessions.
    • Inventor tips in 60minutes,
    • Plant design working using the Autodesk Plant design suites,
    • Introduction to Autodesk Infraworks,
    • Hydraulics and Hydrology,
  2. Jon Pittman,  Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Autodesk will highlight the future of how things are made.
  3. NEW Track Session: Visualization and Animation in 3DMax.
  4. Seven International Autodesk Speakers.
  5. Industry-specific classes by Autodesk South Africa & International representatives, including Q&A sessions.

Date:  Thursday 4 September 2014
Time:  07:30- 18:30, with post-event cocktail function
Venue: The Forum, The Campus Bryanston, Sloane St, Sandton, JHB
To register for only R550, Click Here.

Plus, there are seven international speakers to provide information on where Autodesk is going.

QuickBooks update

Are you aware that QuickBooks Accountant enables your accountant to correct your books and then update your data file with the corrections?

QuickBooks Enterprise does multi-warehouses and many other useful additions, including running branches within the same company.  Both packages can support 30 users.

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.

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.

Rekenaarwenk: Vir Ons Afrikaanse Lesers

Nuwer weergawes van Word en Outlook het 'n Afrikaanse woordeboek. U kan daarvan gebruik maak as volg: In die epos of Word dokument, kies die plek waar die Afrikaanse woorde sal gaan, of woorde wat alreeds getik is. Kliek Review > Language > Set proofing Language . In die dialoogvenster, kies Language = Afrikaans.

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 and

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

Look out for the Avaaz Climate Change initiative to gather as many signatures on a petition calling for actions not more words!  These petitions will be presented to the leaders of participating countries, including South Africa, on the 18th September.  There will be a concert in Joburg on the 19th and a Green Heart event on the 20th September.

Excel Tip #125 - The Data tab (XXI): Analysis Group - Solver Example

We are looking at the "Data" tab on Excel 2010's Ribbon. We now take a last look at the last group, "Analysis", where we will be looking at Solver.  Last time, we had an overview of what Solver can do.  Let us now do a worked example.

Say that we have a company that produces three products: Dingamaleries, Thingys, and Wotsits.  The constraints placed on the company are:

Expressed as a spreadsheet, this is:































The formula in B5 is:  =SUM(B2:B4)
The formula in D2 is: =C2*B2 , copied to D3 and D4
The formula in D5 is: =SUM(D2:D4)

We name the cells B2:B5 with their respective product names by selecting A2:B5 and then clicking Formulas > (Define Names) Create from Selection > OK.

Go to the Data ribbon and, in the Analysis group, select Solver to display the Solver Parameters dialog box. 

Solver will produce a solution: Accept it, and produce the reports: Answer, Sensitivity, and Limits (remember to click and highlight them in the dialog box).

On the original sheet, and also on the Answer Report sheet, we see that the solution is:

This makes perfect sense: Wotsits make the most profit, so we want to produce as many as possible of them, but we are limited to 40 Units, so that is what we produce.  Dingamaleries are the least profitable, so we want to produce as few as possible of them, preferably zero but (oh dear!) we have to produce at least 50, so we'd better do that!  We have now produced 90 units and can produce a total of 300, so that leaves us 210 Thingys.  All logical!  We hardly needed Solver for it, except that it was faster than doing it by hand.

On the Answer Report we see that Dingamaleries, Wotsits, and the Total are "binding", meaning "right up against their constraint", whereas Thingys have "slack" (production beyond the constraint) of 170 units.  If the constraints affecting Dingamaleries, Wotsits, or the Total were to change, that would immediately affect the outcome.  The constraint on Thingys can be changed considerably, or even removed, without affecting the outcome.

That concludes our look at the "Data" tab on Excel's Ribbon.  Next time we will go on to the "Review" tab.

Computius Say:

Guide to Computer Terms:
"Portable Computer" - A device invented to force businessmen to work at home, on holiday, and on business trips.

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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