The Gebesse Blog

Thoughts from the world of technology and business

Gebesse Newsletter – January 2014

Happy New Year. Let’s get productive.

Training special.

I often get called in to help with Act! and find that I’m doing something that could quite easily be done by a user but they don’t know that they can do it. I usually find that the user has never had any formal training in how to use Act! and what it can do, and has simply had the product installed on their computer with the expectation that they can work it out for themselves or have been given a brief introduction by another user who probably has had the same experience. This is not confined to Act!, and there are many people out there who would be much more productive if they knew a little more about the tools they use to get their jobs done.

The start of a new year is the perfect time to get your staff trained to get the best out of Act! so we have a special offer for training booked and paid for in January or February.

If you order and pay for Act! training before February 28, 2014, for delivery at any time from now onwards you will get the following:

  • A 10% discount of the normal price ($445.50 per session instead of $495, with up to four people per session)
  • Unlimited free Help Desk questions for 30 days after the course for each person who attends.
  • A 30-day licence for GoToAssist for each attendee so that any questions can be answered by demonstration on their own machines during the days following the course. (GoToAssist usually costs $22/year per computer.)
  • You will get the same deal for any subsequent training sessions you order and pay for before June 30, 2014.

You can see more about Act! training here. Training in Windows Basics, Microsoft Word, and Excel will be available shortly.

Handheld Contact

I travel around a lot (you can see a description of my mobile office here) and obviously I like to have my Act! data with me at all times. There are various ways of doing this, but my preferred method is Handheld Contact on my smartphone and tablet. It works on Apple, Android and BlackBerry phones and tablets, all versions of Windows back to Windows 2000 (Except XP Home) and all the versions of Act! that you are likely to own. You can see more about Handheld Contact here.

ACT! 6

I keep saying that I’m going to stop supporting ACT! 6, but people keep on using it. While I always encourage clients to keep using what works, sometimes things really do come to the end of their useful life. I get occasional enquiries about running ACT! 6 with Windows 7 and it can be done, but the problem is that the install program won’t run in Windows 7. To install ACT! 6 in Windows 7 you will probably need to run it and the install in Windows XP Mode, which is a virtual computer running Windows XP (a licence for this is included with Windows 7). The problem then becomes that, like all versions of Windows XP, Microsoft will finally be withdrawing all support on April 8, 2014, and no security or other updates will be available after that date.

Windows XP

As mentioned above, Microsoft will be ceasing all support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. The deadline has been extended several times but all good things, and even some excellent things, must end sometimes. Windows XP was a very good operating system but it hasn’t come on a new computer for a few years and you can’t buy copies of it any more. If you are concerned about operating system security then your concern should increase daily if you continue to use Windows XP after the end-of-life date, because there will be no more updates to patch flaws and vulnerabilities.

ACT! upgrade reminder

In the past you could upgrade any licence of ACT! to the latest version at a significantly discounted price. After March 31 this year the policy will be that the discount only applies to the two prior versions, bringing this in line with the support and update policy. If you have a version of ACT! prior to ACT! 2012, upgrading after that date could cost you up to $200 more per licence. I expect there might be a rush towards the end of March, so I suggest you get in early.

Help desk

We are trialling some new help desk software to make it easier to keep track of the things that people ask us to do. Please feel free to test it out.

So what should you do now?

Contact Gebesse for upgrades, additional licences, installation, customisation and training. All the things we have been doing with and for Act! for many years.

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