OVER 2 YOU, 141 (05/08/03)
We own a small car rental firm - about a dozen cars -- and we are
looking for software that will tell us what cars is available and when. All of
the systems we've looked at are far too sophisticated for our
purposes. Can anyone suggest a simple
program that will tell us who has our cars and on what dates?
Keith Chapman, via email
Why not try MS Outlook; each booking or letting can be represented in
Calendar as an appointment over as many days as necessary. There are ten
colours, which can colour appointments automatically, e.g. for provisional,
confirmed and 'on hire' status, or for individual vehicle registration numbers.
(In Calendar, right click on the grid, and select 'automatic formatting', and
then add a rule).
Pat Perridge, via email
If Keith Chapman wants a quick, readily available solution he could do
worse than Microsoft Project. If he sets each of his vehicles up as a resource,
he can then allocate them to people (put the names in the tasks column). One
booking, one task with one vehicle assigned. He can then choose to view the
resource calendars, which will show him the usage of each vehicle and who it is
assigned to on any given date (and, incidentally, also where he may have
inadvertently double booked). If he gets a lot of bookings, he could put the
vehicles into a resource pool, and have different Project files for each
quarter, say, or year but this is a little more advanced.
I devised something similar for my A-Level Computing course work and
would be more than willing to create a database for Keith Chapman. If he is
interested I can be contacted by email.
There is a very easy to use program on the DBtoGO website (www.dbtogo.co.uk) that controls any type of
loan item. You can quickly define loan periods and it all operates from a
single screen. It can be downloaded and tested for free, for full use there is
a small charge.
We also looked at various car rental systems and found them far too
involved so over the past 15 years we have developed our own and have recently
been approached with a view to marketing it.
It is designed to handle more than 12 cars but could easily be adapted.
If Keith Chapman would like a demonstration he can contact us by email at the
We have a bespoke booking system in MS Access for linking objects to be
booked with bookers and providing a history. If Keith Chapman sends a
specification, we can quote for it. It will be very simple, probably about
£2000 plus VAT and could be linked to Sage Line 50 for invoicing if required.
David Newman, Managing Director, Arden Knowledge Management Ltd.
We are a small church charity with a website. I want to know: (a) the
hit-rates on our pages; and (b): hit-rates on the individual audio selections
on a particular page.
I know I could put counters on each page, for all the world to see, but
I just want a sheet of management info for our internal use. Big companies must
be able to buy the software but we don't want to get into that. Is there any
way of doing it free/very cheaply? As an added bonus - would it be possible for
me to specify users I don't want to be included in the counts?
Dick Gammage, via email
There are two approaches, and both depend on services provided by your
web space provider (not usually supported by the free ones, sadly). A programmer could build a website based
around a database and use that to track page hits, even breaking them down by
registered visitor if need be. However,
for the less technical, it's worth identifying a web space provider who can
keep the statistics for you. One
inexpensive and helpful provider is www.ukhosts.com - see
www.ukhosts.com/controlpanel for an introduction to their "LiveStats"
PSION OF THE TIMES
Can anyone help with scanning items from a supermarket checkout slip
into a Psion pocket computer? My wife enters each item from the till receipt by
hand recording the items into the appropriate sections. Does anyone know of a
scanner that can read the bill then transfer the information into the Psion?
Stephen Payne, Menston, Ilkley
I'm not aware of any scanner that works with Psion pocket computers;
they simply don't have the power, speed or memory capacity to process complex images,
let alone carry out the OCR (optical character recognition) functions needed to
convert the information on the bill into a useable form. You can get barcode
scanner modules for Windows CE pocket PCs, (see http://www.expansys.com/
psionaccessory.asp?code=MDA-PSI-9033). In theory this could
be used to scan items bought in a supermarket but you would need specialist
database software to convert barcode data into product information and prices,
and it would need to be constantly updated. Even if such a thing existed for
the Windows CE platform it's highly unlikely that it would be available to the
general public. It's back to the manual/wife method I'm afraid.
Dave Kennedy, Loughton, Essex
I read recently that new television detector vans are being deployed to
track down licence fee dodgers. I can see how they might detect emissions from
larger TVs with picture tubes but does anyone know if they can detect newer
display devices like LCD screens, video projectors and plasma panels etc. and
if so, how?
Nigel Sutton (a fully paid up licence payer by the way)
Although David Proctor is correct (Over 2 You July 22nd), TV reception
is not necessarily dependent on a UHF tuner. If a satellite receiver is being
used together with a monitor the signals that are transmitted are considerably
weaker and more difficult to detect. However a BBC licence is still required
for TV reception via satellite. In future all television will be broadcast by
satellite and UHF tuners will not be required. Present high energy, high
radiation transmitters will be removed together with a blot on the landscape.
It is also highly likely the BBC licence will also be scrapped. By the way,
having one or even two television licences does not prevent TV licence inspectors
knocking on your door...
CAN YOU HELP?
In Excel you can put borders around squares and they can be changed by
going to 'format', 'cells', then 'borders', however this is very long winded
when not every cell is bordered. There must be a way (surely) to set as default
the line style you require?
Cathy Turner, via email
Can anyone recommend a database type program that will enable me to
record all the types of pots that were made at a local pottery in the 19th and
20th centuries? I need to include photos and for pots that have a continuously
varying decoration, a brief video of the piece being rotated. Variations in
size, capacity, prices, marks and names, together with their appropriate dates
will also need to be recorded. I would like to be able to display this
information on a page, with a commentary.
John Giblin, via email
I have two Brother laser printers (HL-1440 and HL-760). No organisation
or charity seems interested in recycling toner cartridges or printer drums. Is
there anyone out there whom I can give them to?
Julian Treluggan, via email