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OVER 2 YOU, 150 (07/10/03)

 

VICARWARE

As a clergyman, I wonder if anyone can recommend some software that would help me to plan my parish visits? It would be good to put in different frequencies of visits, follow-up reminders and so on. I have names and addresses in Access and Outlook but haven't yet worked out if these could be used.
Revd. Jeremy Vaughan, Basingstoke, Hants.

 

Our Parish Data software does all this and much more. It is intended to support all the pastoral aspects of parish management - but its visit scheduling and recording functions do everything he asks. He can get more information, including a copy of the program's manual, from our web site (www.parish-data.com).
Peter R. Fletcher

 

The Church Administration software marketed by Data Developments Ltd contains an excellent parish visits module in the RollCall application. Visit their web site at: www.data-developments.co.uk to see a demo or ask them for a full demo disk. We use RollCall in our parish and find it very effective.  Please note that if you keep parish visit (as opposed to a parish address list) records you must register your use with the Data Protection registrar.

Alan Toplis

 

 

I use a program called Reminder on a daily basis. I can set up free text events or select names from an address book. It displays 21 days at a time and the page can be printed. An addition to the start-up folder gives a pop-up if an event is in the range of the advance warning time. It can be downloaded and tested for free at www.dbtogo.co.uk.
David Hodge

 

 

If Jeremy is already using Access to maintain and store names and addresses, this can be developed to provide a planner for visits. I have developed databases for clients of mine, which deals with a number of different tasks and the flexibility is already in the software to adapt it for Jeremy's use.

If Jeremy doesn't want to go down this route then he could use Lotus Organiser, which is developed precisely as a time planner and scheduler. Its appearance on screen is like a diary and it is a very straightforward piece of software to use.
Greg Ward

 

 

 

BORLAND DATABASE

A colleague working on a WWF funded conservation project in coastal Kenya has 45,000 plant records on an old Borland Reflex 2 database on his rather ancient laptop. He has tried to copy program and data onto a modern computer; the program loads, but the display comes out as gibberish. Can it be that there is a font missing? How would he go about getting it, and operating it? He has tried Borland but they no longer support this software. Any solutions would be much appreciated!
Henk Beentje, via email

 

 

As Borland Reflex is a DOS-based program, it may well need the ANSI.SYS driver installed to allow it to correctly display on a modern computer. In Windows 2000/XP, the following line should be added to the bottom of the CONFIG.NT file in c:\windows\system32:

device=%systemroot%\system32\ansi.sys
(Use any text-based editing program to edit this file, such as Notepad)
Rob Preston, via email

 

 


One option would be to transfer the data files out of the Borland database either as CSV, (comma separated value) Text or some other commonly understood file, and load the data into a more up to date database program. Using a CSV interpreter such as Excel, the files can then be manipulated into a layout, which can be understood by another database (say one created with Access etc). Once amended/modified the files can be imported into the new database.
Greg Ward

 

 

Gibberish is more likely to be the result of a bad or incomplete copy of files from the original.  You need to copy ALL the files of the programme and ALL the files of the data, even for a single table, are stored in various files. The other possibility is that you need to limit the memory available to the old DOS application.  In its day (80's), it would not know about memory above 16Mb - as it just did not exist!  On a modern machine with more memory, Reflex could get confused.  There will be a "switch" that can be set in the command line when calling the application.  I do not know exactly what it is for Reflex, but for Paradox (a contemporary database bought by Borland in the 80's and replacing Reflex), you would add "-extk 15000" after the command to limit the memory usage to 15 Mg (be safe)

 

E.g. the command line would be:

C:\Paradox\Paradox.exe -extk 15000

 

I would guess it will be similar for Reflex - the exact switch however may be different - check your manuals if you have them, or the Internet could be useful. If you have any problems, I would be happy to convert your data to Paradox tables (or any other preferred format) for you free of charge.  Just send me the raw data (ALL the files) and I will return converted versions. 

John Midwinter

 

 

 

ONLINE GUITAR TUTORS

Somewhat late in life (Iím in my late fifties) Iíve decided to learn to play the guitar. So far Iíve found the various books and teach-yourself CDs very slow going and Iím reluctant to pay for private lessons. Can anyone recommend any websites or on-line guitar tutors?

Alex Chapman, via email

 

 

I too started learning guitar at a late stage last February at the age of 48.  I have been having lessons from a guitarist who is in the current line up of a famous 70's band.  I have concluded that having the lessons has several benefits.  Being on a one to one basis with someone that can play is in itself an inspiration and motivation.  The trouble with all the other methods is that they cannot point out when you are doing something wrong or that there is a better way of achieving the chord/riff you want to play.  I have an hourly lesson a week at £15 and I thoroughly look forward to the time.  I always come away with something new that encourages me to progress.

However, to compliment this I found a web site www.riffinteractive.com. Yes, its American but I would recommend checking it out. Ultimately the idea is you buy interactive tutorial CD's for you PC.  I have bought 3 and they are excellent. They include movie clips of how to play, jam tracks to play along with and a visual "neck" so you can see the notes as they are played.

Peter Lewis

 

 

 

FLAT SHAREWARE

I am about to become Company Secretary of a company newly formed to acquire the freehold of the block of flats where I live. There will be approximately 40 shareholders. Can anyone recommend an inexpensive software package to help take care of the administrative duties involved?

Ken Dimdore, via email

 

If your correspondent is more concerned about his role as company secretary rather than the collection of rents I would recommend he looks at PC Share Register Plus.  This takes care of all the records, minutes and Companies House forms etc. and at a starting price of £99 is excellent value.  Contact PTP Software at www.ptpgroup.co.uk.

David Barnes

 


I suggest Mr Dimdore have a look at the Company Secretarial software package
'PC Share Register Plus' at www.bhis.co.uk. I have used a number of Company Secretarial software packages, and have found this to be one of the simplest and most straightforward available, and one of the least expensive. A fully functional evaluation copy is available
free of charge, and the annual licence fee is under £100. The user will require a basic knowledge of the completion and maintenance of the statutory registers of a limited company.   
Mark Thomas, London

 

 

CAN YOU HELP?

 

Most nights I am plagued by urban foxes rooting through my dustbins and at various times Ė presumably during the mating season -- making the most horrific screeching noises (at first I thought someone was being murdered!). Iíve seen various noise making gadgets that are supposed to scare off cats and dogs, does anyone know of a similarly humane deterrent for foxes Ė perhaps some sound effects that I can download onto my PC or tape recorder -- or a web resource with suggestions for getting rid of these nocturnal pests?

Dennis Shearer, Enfield

 

 

 

I have recently been sorting out my loft and cataloguing 40 years of accumulated books.

I thought it would be a good idea to use the standard catalogue system found in public libraries. However, to my astonishment, my local libraries were unable to help much. They receive books already catalogued. They did give me a list of number codes (e.g. Technology is 620) but this has to be refined into subcategories using a number of digits after the decimal point (e.g. 621.38392 is a book on recordable CDs). I have searched on the Internet but cannot find this full category listing. Can anyone help?

Michael Guest, via e-mail.

 

 

Can anyone point me in the direction of scientific clipart that I can use in connection with a geology project for my adult education class? Iím also looking for clipart showing English sports such as Cricket, Football and Rugby, and English oriented scenes and vehicles. Most of the packages Iíve seen seem to be American in origin. 

Mick Penn, via email

 

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