Software Africa Newsletter - October 2016


Occasionally banks make me wonder.  I wanted to access the Standard Bank website and do Internet banking.  The new banking application promptly locked me out.  Next I spent an hour in the bank sorting everything out.  Today, I want to pay a claim on one of the accounts - Standard Bank's website is not accessible.

QuickBooks - 2016

QuickBooks 2016 comes in three flavours - Pro, Premier and Premier Accountant.  QuickBooks have rationalised their pricing and now only support the 2015 versions as well as 2016.  We advise people to upgrade to 2016, not only because it works better than 2015, but because the cost is the same.

If you run QuickBooks on a server, as we do, please make sure that the server is running the Database Manager.  Otherwise, you will have problems accessing multi-user mode.

If you are upgrading to Windows 10, please note that earlier versions of QuickBooks do not work on it.  You will have to upgrade to 2016.

QuickBooks 2017

This is going to be released very soon. Anyone who upgrades to 2016 will automatically be upgraded to 2017 for free

Green Tip

So it seems that Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane thinks Italian engineers can solve our water problems, whilst we have hundreds of qualified South African engineers sitting at home.

Autodesk updates

Please note that from 1st February 2016, all maintenance subscriptions must be renewed promptly!

The Subscription Options

From the 1st February, only subscription offerings are available.  These are as follows:

AutoCAD LT subscriptions only come with Advanced Support!

The range of Suites is being totally replaced on 1 August by the Autodesk Industry Collections, an exciting brand new, value-driven

Autodesk now offers a convenient path to switch plans which will enable Suites subscribers to easily move to an Industry Collection if they so choose.

If you have bought perpetual Suites on a maintenance plan - thatís good too! You can continue to renew the maintenance plan for your Suite as long as
you want.

You can pause your subscription if you do not want to renew at the end of the period. The downside is that you actually have to purchase a brand new subscription. This requires downloading the new software again.

Big Drop in AutoCAD pricing

This is great news - the price of AutoCAD subscriptions has been slashed.  The Annual one by over R3 000!  So now is the time to go for it and be one jump ahead!

Excel Tip #148 -  The Excel 2016 Interface

Microsoft does not adhere to the dictum, "If it aint bust, don't fix it". On the contrary, theirs seems to be, "If it aint bust, 'fix' it. If it is bust, leave it alone and call it a feature."

The new Microsoft Office 2016 certainly demonstrates this.  Instead of "Help" on the File menu and "?" on the Title bar area, the former has disappeared, and the latter has been replaced by "Tell me what you want to do".  Admittedly, the latter seems to work fairly well, and often gives relevant results.  F1 works for Help, if you still remember it, since the menu on which it used to appear is a thing of the distant past.

The former "Color scheme" (under File > Options > General) has now become "Office Theme" and only the "White" one is usable: The other two ("Colorful" and "Dark Gray") make your Quick Access Toolbar monochrome, losing all the benefits of colour icons.

One has to ask why Microsoft, having designed the Windows format and specified things like the Title Bar, System Button, Minimize, Maximize/Restore, and Exit Buttons, decides to break all its own rules and make things look different. The "Windows look" is there somewhere while the program loads, but is quickly overlaid with the new ugly one: The Title Bar is not obvious, making it difficult to distinguish the top of a program window and helping one to click in the wrong place.  The System Button no longer appears, but if you click in the now-blank space at the top left of the program, the System Menu still appears (or if you press Alt+spacebar).  The Minimize, Maximize/Restore, and Exit Buttons are no longer obvious as buttons, and more widely spaced for no known reason.

Below, we compare the Home ribbon in Excel 2010 (top) with that in Excel 2016 (below):

The new format takes up more space, uses cruder button pictures, and is generally uglier than the older one. To slightly make up for this, you are now allowed to put a "background" behind the top right corner of your Office 2016 programs, to "add a little interest", as the idiots put it!  In fact, this distraction is there by default!  This is progress?

At least Microsoft seems to have given up on the ugly idea, used in Office 2013, of having ribbon tab names in ALL CAPS.

Possibly the worst feature is that, following the misguided lead of Word, Excel now also opens each spreadsheet in a new copy of Excel, instead of in a multiple-document interface inside one window. If you want to close your last spreadsheet but still keep Excel running, you have to be careful to use File > Close rather than the tempting "X" Close button at top right!

Next time we will look at whether Excel 2016 has any advantages over earlier versions.

Computius Say:

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

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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