25th November, 2003 Volume 18
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Good morning, and welcome to the official newsletter of Calido.

Calido is a software development house specialising in production management and product costing software for small to medium sized Australian manufacturers. We also provide general IT solutions such as custom application/web development, hardware and software sales.

Of particular interest to you is our premier software solution Comet - a multi user windows based application to manage your product manufacture.

Our newsletters provide a rich source of information on general IT topics (such as security & software updates, application shortcuts, reviews etc), as well as manufacturing and other points of interest.

This information is provided free of charge and on a monthly basis - If you do not want to receive further emails from us, please reply to this email with the word "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the information...

Yours sincerely,
Adam Ransley

Comet - An Introduction

  After many years of development and working with industry leaders, Calido is nearing the release of our premier production management software "Comet".

Comet is our enterprise solution for production management, scheduling and product costing. It has been designed as a scalable, yet affordable solution for small to medium sized Australian manufacturing companies. It is multi user, and can interconnect with your existing web site to provide live product information and pricing.

An exceptionally easy to follow user interface has been designed to cater for users at all experience levels. A touch screen interface is provided for data entry on the shop floor.

Comet integrates with popular accounting software packages (such as MYOB, Lilac and Equity Accounting) or can operate solely as an order entry system.

Most importantly, Comet has been designed using current technology to take advantage of today's technology. This means you can rest assured you are receiving a current software solution able to provide you with one degree of separation.

Benefits - The following list represents a small selection of benefits your company can expect to achieve when implementing Comet:
  • The financial gains in implementing Comet will far outweigh the outlay
    (refer to our money back guarantee)
  • No software depreciation costs - the cost to implement Comet is 100% tax deductible - easy to accommodate in your budget
  • Accurate delivery time predictions for sales orders
  • Better control of your production process
  • Improved inventory management reducing your stored material costs.
  • Knowledge of your true employee productivity
  • Activity Based Costing principles for your product costing - a more accurate method of costing compared to labour based costing
  • Know how the purchase of new equipment/staff will effect your profitability
  • Calculate costing scenarios for different customer groups
If you would like more information on Comet, please visit our website at: www.calido.com.au/products/comet.asp.

Until December 31st, Calido will install and train you on Comet's operation (customers in the Brisbane metro region) for free and without obligation. Contact us today for more information as installations are limited.

Welcome Jasmine for Work Experience @ Calido
Calido welcomes Jasmine for her week of work experience with Calido.

During this time, Jasmine will be working on our web portal hangout.com.au as well as our corporate web site.

Jasmine is studying ITS & Multimedia at Woodcrest College.

Performance of Manufacturing Index
The Performance of Manufacturing Index (as reported by the Australian Industry Group) is a seasonally adjusted index based on production, new orders, deliveries, inventories and employment with varying weights. A rating above 50 points indicates that manufacturing is generally expanding, below 50, declining.

The October PMI shows an increase in performance up 4.5 points from the previous month to 57.5. The best performing sectors are those taking advantage of the strong domestic market including timber, paper and furniture. South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania all doing extremely well. New orders and Employment are both up with both showing a > 50 point level.

How to Schedule a Hard Disk Defrag
When files are stored on your hard disk they are sometimes split into smaller portions to fit in the available spaces on your hard disk. When these files are retrieved, the operating system has to search for each of the pieces before putting them back together and making the entire file available. This process often slows the performance of your machine. The process of organising fragmented files into non fragmented files is called "defragmenting".
(The snapshot above shows a badly fragmented machine- shown in red.)

Defragmenting a hard disk is something you should do on a weekly basis to optimise the performance of hard disk read/writes. Although this tool is part of Microsoft's operating systems, it doesn't allow you to schedule a defragment task very easily. This leaves you two alternatives: purchase a scheduling defragment tool, or use a bit of "techo" sense and do it manually.

If you follow the steps below (based on Windows XP), you will see how easily it is to create an automatic scheduled task to defrag your hard disk on a weekly basis.

Step 1
Remove old files, temporary files, and temp internet files before running the defragmenter. These temp files will slow the process of defragmenting, are only "temporary files" not required by the operating system, and prevent other files from being moved in an optimised manner.

Step 2
Uninstall any old programs that you no longer use.

Step 3
From the start menu, select 'Programs', 'Accessories', 'System Tools', and then select 'Scheduled Tasks'.

Step 4
From within the Scheduled Tasks window, right click and select 'New Scheduled Task'. Name the task 'Defrag C Drive'. (View Screenshot)

Step 5
Double click on the new task to open its properties. The 'run' command should be empty, change this to 'C:\WINDOWS\system32\defrag.exe c: /f' (where c: is the name of the drive you wish to defrag). (View Screenshot)

Step 6
Click on the Schedule tab. Select when you would like the task to run, and how often - I suggest once a week, on Monday at 8 am. (View Screenshot)

Step 7
If you would like to test your scheduled defrag, you can right click on it, and select 'Run'.

Please note, this Scheduled Defrag will run as a DOS window and hence you will not be able to access the Windows GUI whilst this task is running. Turning your machine off during a defragment is not recommended as this can cause file corruption.

GIVE AWAY - DVD Player to be drawn 19/1/2004
Calido is giving away a BENQ 16 x DVD-Rom valued at $89 to one of our valued newsletter subscribers.

Between now and the 19th of January 2004, every person who is on our email list will receive one chance at winning this great little DVD player.

If you haven't done so already, now is a great time to forward our newsletter to all of your colleagues.

Don't forget, the draw will take place on the 19/1/2004 and one lucky subscriber WILL win this DVD player!

Newsletter Archives
Just a quick reminder for our new subscribers that past newsletters have contained excellent articles such as:
  • volume 15 - Production Management Software - What is it worth...
  • Volume 14 - Data backups
  • Volume 14 - Windows XP - Using restore points
  • Volume 13 - SPAM - Unwanted Emails
  • volume 13 - MYOB - Effects from the new federal budget
  • Volume 12 - The Power of Information Technology - Fact or Fallacy
  • Volume 12 - Hidden Benefits of Outsourcing Software Development
  • Volume 10 - Wireless Networking
  • Volume 9 - Email Marketing
To name just a few.

These articles can be found online at: calido.com.au/support/newsletter.asp

Norton Antivirus 2004 Uses Product Activation
Norton Antivirus 2004 now ships with product activation technology similar to Microsoft Windows XP.

Product Activation is a technology designed to protect users from pirated or counterfeit software by limiting use of a product to those users who have acquired a license to the product legitimately.

Users of this product will have to activate the product with Symantec (via phone or internet) within 15 days of installation before the product ceases to work.

Since the product launch on September 22 in Australia, Windows XP users have had substantial problems activating their software. After re-entering their correct activation key several times, the software shuts down telling the user the key has been used too many times.

In a corporate environment where more than 1 installation of NAV is used, their multi user licence packs are the most affordable solution:
  • Norton Antivirus - Single User $79 (RRP $99)
  • Norton Antivirus - 5 Users Pack $249 (RRP $299)
  • Norton Antivirus - 10 USer Pack $468 (RRP $599)
If you currently own a copy of Norton Antivirus 2003, my recommendation is to renew your existing subscription service via the internet for US$19.95.

Internet ActiveX Controls...
This snapshot is a sample of the security dialog requesting permission to install an ActiveX control on a computer.

Whilst surfing the internet, this dialog can show at anytime where an internet site needs added functionality from the browser than comes standard.

In this sample, the Gator Corporation is attempting to install software as part of their "behavioural marketing" software. They often supply little extra's such as filling in forms automatically and remembering passwords for you (supposedly valued at $30).

The Gator Corporation in return for this "free" software supplies advertisements via popup software customised to your web surfing habits.

To some people this is like a friend telling you about a new product or service you may be interested in, and to others it is like a car salesman following them around 24 hours a day 7 days a week trying to sell them a car they don't want.

I implore you to investigate each ActiveX control on a case by case basis. For the Gator corporation you can view their privacy statements here, and even here.

After reading such documents I wonder why anyone would want to install this control.

Check for yourself, but always make sure you know what you are installing on your machine before doing so. Often, removing such controls can prove very difficult. In one case I have seen, the controls were attempting to dial an internet server in the United States - could be extremely costly if left unattended.

If you already have this problem, you can try SpyBot, Ad-Aware, Hijack, and Spyware Blaster to get rid of them. You may also want to check out more information on these sorts of problems by visiting this website.

Hardware Specials *
For week ending 28th November only.

V-Data 256MB DDR-333 Memory (PC-2700) $66
Benq V772 17" Screen Monitor, 3 year onsite warranty $172
Benq FP547 LCD monitor , 15.1" LCD Flat Screen Monitor BEIGE $479
Canon MV600i Digital Video Camera $799
APACER 128MB USB Flash Drive (USB 2.0) $88
CREATIVE SBS370 2.1 Speakers with Sub-Woofer $49
BenQ DC2410 Digital Camera, upto 5 mega-pixel (3.1 mega-pixel CCD), 1.6" Colour LCD preview $269
Kingmax 10/100 PCI Network Card $19

* Prices subject to change/availability.

Article Suggestions
Do you have an idea for a article that you would like to see included in the monthly Calido newsletter? Send me an email with your suggestions.

Feedback - Q & A
If you have any positive or negative feedback you would like to share with us, you can now do so anonymously online at: http://www.calido.com.au/.

We value your custom and appreciate any comments you would like to share on our service, products or even pricing.

The questionnaire will only take a minute and you can rest assured that your opinions will be read and taken on board to further improve our service to you.