Software Africa Newsletter - February 2021

Autodesk Tip ~ Online Business Tip ~ Job Hunting Tip ~ Excel Tip

Rick's Editorial

My parents were both former school teachers.  At home, my Mum taught me to read and write before I went to school.  When I did go to school I skipped Grade 1.

I was a nerd before "nerd" was a word.  I was bookish, shy, introverted and awkward.  Mind you, I was not so shy that I didn't sometimes correct my teachers.  That probably did not endear me to them!

I remember one exam question I failed at primary school: "Why does a ship float?"

Good question.

Why, in fact, does a ship float?

I replied, "Because it contains air (and air is lighter than water)".

Teacher marked that as wrong.  Her official answer was "Because it is made out of wood."

That, of course, neglects the fact that one gets ships of steel, and even of concrete.  It doesn't even explain why wood, itself, floats.

How about your company? Is it still floating?  Still "liquid", as the accountants say?  Could something as simple as a misaligned spreadsheet copy-and-paste error sink it?  That's entirely possible.

We have a short free report listing seven of the commonest mistakes you can make when using Excel.  Not being aware of them could cost plenty, even destroy your company.  Get the free report here.

When Your Autodesk Subscription Ends, There is NO Grace Period

Yes, we know it's annoying.  Catherine sends out reminders a month in advance that your Autodesk Annual Subscription is up for renewal.  If you're like me, or most South Africans, possibly, you aren't going to do anything about it until it actually expires.

So, please be aware that Autodesk gives no grace period.  Once your subscription has expired, we have to ask for special permission to renew it.  That takes time.  During which you won't be able to access your drawings.

Renewing early carries no penalty: The renewal date does not move earlier.  Renewing early is a win-win: You are assured of your licence in good time, and we have one less customer to chase.

Hence, when you get that renewal reminder, don't wait! Say yes, so that we can invoice you, you can pay, and we can order and pay our distributors.  Then only can we renew your subscription with Autodesk.

We're not sure if it was always this way or they have got stickier recently, but please be alert to this.  Sorry: Grace no longer lives with AutoCAD.

CAD Experts Evaluate ZWCAD

"I have never seriously considered changing my application to an alternative, but with the impressive compatibility and development API, and its product quality, I will most certainly be considering ZWCAD when I want to upgrade next." —William Forty, AutoCAD and Civil 3D.  programmer, blogger at

"Should a reduction in the processing time of drawings be important, then the new tools in ZWCAD like SmartVoice, dynamic blocks, and CUI will be a great contribution." —Daniel Dobrzynski, AutoCAD expert with over 27 years' experience, and certificated Autodesk trainer.

Would you like to give ZWCAD a try, with no obligation?  email us for a PDF on ZWCAD and a free download link.

Don't delay!  Current pricing is strictly time-limited, but will disappear even earlier if the Rand depreciates.

On-Line Business Tip #47 – POPIA is Coming.  Does it Apply to Your Business?  You Bet!

Did you know that 80% of small businesses fined under UK privacy laws close down —fast?
That same fate awaits SA small-business owners when the Protection of Personal Information Act takes effect on 1 July 2021.

If you own a small business you should know the cost of screwing up:

You have until then to set up "reasonable" safeguards to protect the information you hold from being lost, stolen, or hacked.  This new law applies to each person or entity that stores any information about anyone or any entity.

For you, our reader, we have sourced a Free Online POPIA Training for Small Business Owners.  It's by Peter Carruthers, the Small Business Training guru.

This course covers everything you can expect from a regular offline orientation seminar costing up to R3000 for a few hours.
Except, you can unwrap this info at any time...
And ask questions as you progress...
And you don't need to travel further than your PC...
And anyone in your firm can enrol for the same price - gratis.

Click here: Free Online POPI Act Training for Small Business Owners.

The Bad News: Is Your Job at Risk?

According to the World Economic Forum, the following percentages of workers are at risk of unemployment by 2025:

Above are some findings from the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Survey.  It suggests that employers will speed up their job automation and augmentation agenda.  This raises the possibility of a jobless recovery.  It comes on top of the labour market displacement caused by the Covid-19 health shock.

Over 80% of business leaders surveyed report that they are speeding up remote work and automating processes.  A significant 50% also say that they will hasten the automation of jobs in their companies.  More than a quarter of employers expect to temporarily reduce their workforce.  One in five expects to do so permanently.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) projected that, by the second quarter of 2020, 195 million workers would have been displaced as jobs transform at greater speed.  Source:

The good news?  Next month we will look at the best jobs to be in.  Meanwhile...

Need Help Finding a Job?

Will your Curriculum Vitae ever be read by a human?

Our friend Jacques Kleynhans is a Professional Executive Recruiter Extraordinaire.  He has made it his mission to assist those that have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. 

He has now launched an online course that is true value for money in these cash-strapped times.  It not only teaches you how to write an effective CV, it also gives you insider Tips and Tricks.  For example, how to avoid your CV going into the bin because a robot decided that it was not a match for the job.  This is a new technology, known as an Applicant Tracking System or ATS.

Included in the course are valuable resources on how to build your "Brand" on LinkedIn.  This ensures that you get noticed by recruiters.

This self-paced course is excellent value at the introductory price of US$37 (about R545).  It has bonus extras for early adopters.  Click here and sign up today!

Excel Tip #195 – Basic Coding 8: Adding a Watch

We are busy with our macro to process a list of telephone numbers into a uniform format.  In the last issue, we learned  how to compile code and two ways to view the values of variables.  Now we will look at a third way.

The third way is create a Watch.  Right-click on the Tel$ variable.  From the pop-up menu, select Add Watch...  On the Add Watch dialog, click OK.

The Watches Window appears.  Unless someone has moved it, it will be next to the Immediate Window.  In it, the current values of the selected variables are shown.

These watches are very useful, but not for telling the time!

At this stage, we know that the macro has correctly picked up the value of the current cell.  We do not want to step the macro further, so we stop it using g Run > Reset (or the Reset button on the Standard or Debug toolbar).

In our next instalment, we will find out about some built-in functions we need in order for our macro to work.

Finish Covid-19 Lockdown with a New Skill!

You can use this time to learn simple Excel macros.  Do repetitive work in a flash, instead of repeating the same boring stuff manually.  Save hours not working late, and spend more time with your family...  The Software Africa Quick 'n Easy Turbo-Start Excel Macros course is now online.  To help you during lockdown, for a limited time you can get it at a 75%+discount!

Computius Say:

Very arrogant, Earthlings be.  Successor to Greenwich Mean Time, UTC, stand for "Universal Coordinated Time".  Not "Earth Time", or "Solar System", or even "Galactic", but  "Universal".  One wonder with which other planets, star systems, and galaxies they coordinate it?

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

All the Best from the team!
Judith, Catherine, and Rick

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