Software Africa Newsletter - April 2021

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

Rick's Editorial

Welcome.  The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act goes live on 1 July.  That's under two-and-a-half months away.  Will your company be ready?  Read on...

We also have a business tip for laptop users: Does your laptop keeps hanging?  See below...

If you use any Autodesk product, you need to know about the changes in the pipeline for May.  Another Excel Macros tip in our series?  Of course.  Finally, Computius is in a thought-provoking mood.

The Three Keys to Small Business POPI Compliance:

The POPI Act is 146 pages of indecipherable legal-speak. Lawyers composed it for other lawyers to fall asleep to.

It's also unreadable by the ordinary person. It's only readable by people with at least one university degree.

It is straightforward to comply when you grasp the three key challenges we face:

  1. Avoid the Information Regulator at all costs.
  2. Don't expose your data. (You must then report yourself to the Information Regulator.)
  3. Don't upset the people whose information you hold. (They can then report you to the Information Regulator.)

(The Information Regulator imposes fines and jail sentences if you don't comply.) .

Click here to join the Free POPI Compliance Webinar by Small Business POPI expert Peter Carruthers.  It's online this Wednesday, at 8 pm SA Time. You will understand what you need to do to comply - within 60 minutes. It's simpler than it seems.

On-Line Business Tip #48 – Does Your Lenovo Laptop keep Hanging?  Mine Did!

My Lenovo V510-15IKB laptop, bought in December 2017, has always had a problem.  At unpredictable times, it would lock up solid.  The power light would be on.  The mouse pointer would be stuck on the screen with the rest of the display, and would not respond to mouse movements. The keyboard lights (like Num Lock) would be on, but the machine would not respond to the keyboard.  I could leave it as long as I liked (even overnight) and it would not recover.

All I could do was to do a hard reset and restart –amid much cursing, since anything not backed up would be lost.

We got hold of PartServe, the Lenovo agents.  Their support person, Henson, did his best via phone and internet, with upgrades and settings.  At one point he reset the machine so severely that they had to take it in to PartServe for several days to get it running again.  Nothing helped, and Henson stopped returning my calls.

I resigned myself to having to live with it until I could replace the machine.  In the meanwhile I warned everyone I could, never to buy a Lenovo.

I did some research on the internet.  It was an unusual problem.  Someone, however, had found something similar, caused by the Lenovo monitoring software.  I ran the Lenovo Vantage program.  From the drop-down menu at top right, I chose Preference Settings, and set all settings OFF.  It seems that Lenovo's own monitoring and reporting software slows down the machine and can tie it up solid.

Since then, the machine only hangs occasionally. Usually it's when I haven't restarted it for four days or more.  Or when I have 3 minutes to get onto a big Zoom meeting with a client and suppliers, as was the case on Thursday (sorry, Joel!).

Now I just need to find and disable the "panic sensor".

Autodesk Announcements

Expected Price Increases 7 May 2021

As previously announced, as part of the Move to Subscription and Multi-User Trade-In Offers, the price for subscriptions obtained through these offers will increase by approximately 5% in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027.  The increase will occur on 7 May 2021 and will have the following impact:

Autodesk announced it in 2017 and if you do this now, then you will only get another increase in 2023.

"Autodesk is constantly working to deliver customers the most powerful, industry-leading software at fair prices. In order to maintain this level of value, Autodesk occasionally adjusts suggested Retail pricing."

After 7 May, ALL Maintenance Plans will no longer be renewed.

Customers Renewing Now could get 10% Savings

Last year we instituted special renewal pricing 5% savings to reward the loyalty of long-time customers and encourage renewals. While renewal prices will remain the same, the recent 5% increase for most subscriptions means that customers who renew will now pay 10% less than those who purchase a new subscription.

What happens when I don’t renew before the expiry date?

You have 15 days after the expiry date to download your files and your drawings. Your storage of 25GB will be reduced to 5GB after the expiry date. If you do not renew before expiry or the “Download files” period, you will lose your files and drawings. They will not be restored.

As a renewal customer – you have options

Get special pricing when you renew and learn about your options including the ability to switch to an industry collection at a great value.

Still on Maintenance? Ask Catherine here.

Have to Save Even More?

Get a 10% saving when you renew or switch with a 3-year term subscription. By doing so, you can enjoy 3 years of uninterrupted access to your software. Improved operational efficiencies and predictable software budgeting.

Get more value with an Industry Collection

For significant savings on our most powerful software for your industry one simple package, renew or switch to an industry collection.

Have a multi-user subscription?

Subscriptions with multi-user access will be fully retired on 7 August 2022.

Don’t miss out on a 2-for-1 limited–time-offer to trade in one multi-user subscription for two named user subscriptions at a cost consistent with what you pay today.

Align your subscriptions to one renewal date

Make your life easier. Save time, improve budget management, and lower operational costs by aligning the renewal dates of your subscriptions.

Ask Catherine how – email us now!

Excel Tip #197 – Basic Coding 10: Conditional Statements

We are busy with our macro to process a list of telephone numbers into a uniform format.  In the last issue, we learned about useful built-in functions we need for our macro.  Before we use them, we want one more facet: Conditional Statements.

Sometimes we need a program to make a decision. For this we use the If statement.

This comes in two forms, single-line and the multi-line version. The former is:

If (condition) Then (do something) [Else (do something else)]

The multi-line version of the simple one-line If ... Then statement looks like this:

If (condition) Then
  (do something)
[Else
  (do something else)]
End If

Note: The “Else” block is optional, and is thus shown in [square] brackets in the syntax convention. The brackets (square and round) are placeholders, not used in the actual code.

While we are at it, notice the indention. Conditional blocks –lines between If and Else, and between Else and End If– have extra spaces before them (two, in our convention) so that they are obvious as blocks.

Indention can be done easily by selecting the lines and pressing Tab. A reduction in indention –“outdention”– is done by selecting the lines and pressing Shift+Tab.

Enough for this episode!  There's an extension to the multi-line IF that we will discover in our next instalment!

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!

PS: How to save 99.3 % on POPI Compliance...

From Peter Carruthers:

In May 2005, I hosted a small-business community online. A new law was pending, deadline end-August. Lawyers were charging outrageous fees to help people comply. This was the infamous PAIA - the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

My crowd asked me if there was a simpler solution that we small-business owners could use.

There was. It cost R200 instead of R5000.

As the deadline drew near the R200 price stayed constant. Lawyers hourly prices rocketed as demand for their time increased.

The same thing is happening as we near the POPIA deadline of June 30. (That's the Protection of Personal Information Act.)

Yesterday, I saw a service selling small-business compliance for R17,000. Per month! That's R204,000 per year.

Hell, my small-business POPI compliance project needs an investment of 0.7% of that price. Yep, you read that right. You could save 99.3%.

Click here to join my Gratis POPI Compliance Webinar, online, at 8 PM SA Time. You will understand what you need to do to comply - within 60 minutes. It's a lot simpler than it seems. And you'll see why the price can be so low. I'll also explain the 99.3% you will save.

As June 30 looms, the noise will get louder, and the prices will rocket. Don't let the distraction alarm you into doing something expensive.

Click here: Complimentary Online POPI Act Training for Small Business Owners. This one you can do at any time.

If you're not the owner of the small business you're in, send this to the Owner.  They will thank you later.

Computius Say:

From home you are working?  Or at office you are living?

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

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

Communication in Action cc trading as Software Africa

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