Software Africa Newsletter - June 2021

Online Business Tip ~ CAD Tip ~ Excel Tip ~ POPI Alert

Rick's Editorial

Welcome.  The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act goes live on 1 July.  That's under one month away.  Will your company be ready?  Read on...

There's an Excel for Engineers Webinar next month, facilitated by Rick.

We also have a business tip.  How Secure is Your Password?  See below...

If you are finding Autodesk products unaffordable, we have an alternative.  Another Excel Macros tip in our series?  Of course.

Finally, words of wisdom or otherwise from Computius.

From The Small Business POPI Compliance Course:

This week with Small Business expert Peter Carruthers, we are doing basic POPI Compliance in five lunch-time webinars.

It's intense, but productive. The aim is to get us to POPIA compliance in five days. It sounds crazy, but it's possible.

Everyone else is trying to teach people every facet of the act. Small business doesn't need it. You need to get fast compliance, with the least amount of hassle.

The first day's lecture translates the arcane legal-speak in the Act into plain English. The Act demands certain outcomes in how we protect the privacy of people about whom we hold information. It does not specify how we should achieve that.

We translate what the Act says into practical steps to ensure we small businesses comply.

We got started by registering our Information Officer (even though the Information Regulator's online form was "down").

We looked at a simple process to assess the data we hold, and where it flows. (Both demanded by the Act.)

On Day 2 we looked at Password Management, Device Encryption and why it is Important, Disk Encryption for Windows and Mac, Encryption for Android and iOS, Antivirus, and Protecting Email: is email insecure?

On the third day we slowed down and looked at stuff which needed attention but did not fall into any single genre.  Today and tomorrow, we deal with the rest.

The five-day crash course is on-line as part of the larger Small Business POPI Compliance Course.  For an introduction, Click here to join the Free POPI Compliance Webinar by 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.

Excel for Engineers Webinar, July 2101

Microsoft Office Excel is (pardon the pun) an excellent engineering tool.  Not only does it have all basic mathematical functions, it has advanced statistical functions, matrix manipulation, charts, and much else.  Are you, as an engineer and scientist, using it to the full?  Are you aware of how much it can do?  Many of us are self-taught and have gaps in our knowledge.  Fill those gaps on the online Excel for Engineers training next month: two full days of personal attention in a small class, a week apart to allow you to practice.

Next Course Dates: Friday 16 and Friday 23 July 2021 (two days).
Venue: Live Online via Zoom.
Price until end June: Only R4,499 plus VAT per trainee.  Thereafter R4,999 plus VAT each.
Course Creator and Facilitator: Rick Raubenheimer.

Run by Software Africa. More information on this web page.  For more information and to book, click here and send the resulting email.

On-Line Business Tip #50 How Secure is Your Password?

Using "password" or "qwerty" as your password?  You're in good company, with almost a quarter (24 percent) of Americans who use some variation of those and similar weak passwords.

According to this site, a 12-character password takes 62 trillion times longer to crack than a six-character password, Every character you add makes it much more difficult to crack. For example, assuming all lowercase characters and a 26 character alphabet, there are around 3 x108 possibilities for a six-character password. On the other hand, there are around 19 x 1021 possibilities for a 12-character password with lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols (say 10 options).

To put it in perspective, if a given computer could crack the six-character password in one second, it would take more than two million years to crack the 12-character password.

Click here to see how secure your password is:

But do bear in mind that a hacker will try common passwords like password, qwerty, 123456, 12345678, and 123456789.  Then they will try your name, birthday, and other discoverable information about you.  Also remember Moore's Law: Computers are getting faster at an exponential rate.  What looks out of reach today, may be accessible in a few years' time.

CAD Area: progeCAD

There is no question that AutoCAD is a market leader.  Unfortunately with market dominance in many large corporations, can come arrogance and overpricing.  Many of our customers are finding that Autodesk products, great as they are, are no longer affordable.  Covid-19 cuts, and the long-term decline in the Rand, certainly aren't helping.

How about progeCAD instead?  It is an AutoCAD compatible 2D/3D CAD application that works with AutoCAD DWG files from v. 2.5 to v. 2021 and imports Autodesk Revit, IFC and SolidWorks files! The best solution for AEC, MCAD and all generic CAD usages. progeCAD sells with perpetual licensing and offers more CAD functions than AutoCAD LT at a fraction of the cost of AutoCAD, ArchiCAD or Microstation.

progeCAD Professional has:

For a free no-obligation trial version, Ask Catherine here.

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.  This is the sort of thing we do in detail:

Excel Tip #199 – Basic Coding 12: Building the Code (I)

We are busy with our macro to process a list of telephone numbers into a uniform format.  In the last issue, we learned about the ElseIf statement.  Now we are ready to code.

As we said, our next steps are
3. Remove all parentheses, dashes and spaces to get a uniform number.
4. If it starts with 27 (or your country code), replace that with a 0.
5. Insert spaces after the third and sixth digits.

To start with, we would need the Replace statement:

  ' Remove all parentheses, dashes and spaces to get a uniform number:
  Tel$ = Replace(Tel$, " ", "")         ' Remove spaces
  Tel$ = Replace(Tel$, "-", "")         ' Remove dashes
  Tel$ = Replace$(Replace$(Tel$, ")", ""), "(", "")   ' remove Parentheses ()

Then a single-line If statement:

  If Left$(Tel$, 2) = "27" Then Tel$ = "0" & Mid(Tel$, 3)

However, there may be several mutually exclusive possibilities.  Hence, a multi-line If may work better. How would you do that?  Think a bit about it.  We will look at more of the macro in our next instalment.

PS: How to Reach POPI Compliance in Two Weeks...

From Peter Carruthers:

POPI goes live in under three weeks.

Join me at a free one-hour live POPI Compliance session on Wednesday night at 8 PM SA Time.
You will see how easy it can be to be compliant fast:

To attend (and get the video and notes) please click here to register.
I am working on a special gift for those who attend.
Even if you get load-shed or cannot join, you will get the video and notes afterwards. As long as you've registered.
Please share this email with anyone you know is interested in POPIA.
Warm regards

If you miss it, here's anther possibility: 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:

PAIA?  POPIA?  PEPUDA?  How come government's most dangerous laws have names that sound like sweets?.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

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

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