web

Upgrade to Small Business Server 2008?

"What concerns should i have when moving from sbs 2003 to sbs 2008 thanks."
{mosimage}Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 is not officially due for release until November 12th, so we cannot comment directly on it at this time.  However, there are a few things to bear in mind when considering an upgrade from SBS2003.

Alternatives to Direct Debit

The ability to trade electronically can prove to be a powerful tool in any charity's arsenal

"We offer a direct debit option on our membership form, but don't expect there to be a high turnover.

Donations and payments online

"I want to add a Donate Online facility on our website.

MS Money on Vista

"I use Microsoft money software to do my accounts for work – a system I inherited rather than chose.  Anyway have been using it since 2003 so all my finance files are stored as .mny files.  I upgraded to MM 2005 two years ago and all data automatically transferred onto the new version.    I then changed my laptop just last month and had to transfer everything over from the old one.    Couldn’t however transfer the money files over for some reason – even had the support engineer try without success.  Transferred the actual software fine but all my information would not transfer with it. "

Troubleshooting Flash on Firefox

{mosimage}"I was having trouble with internet explorer so I started using mozilla firefox. It seems good except that it won't allow adobe flash player to load. I am unable to view anything that requires this plugin. If I revert to internet explorer on the same computer flash player works ok. Do you have any explanation?"

{mosimage}Firefox is an excellent browser, but like any software, things do occasionally go askew.  The problem may be recitifed by simply downloading the latest version of Flash player and installing it.  

http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash

If that doesn't work, there is a good article on using and troubleshooting Flash with Firefox in the Firefox support knowledgebase.

http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Using+the+Flash+plugin+with+Firefox#Troubleshooting

This details what to do if Flash is misbehaving.

 

Word is broken! Help!

"In recent days I can only open Word in safe mode. MSG: Microsoft has encountered a problem and needs to close. Option is to start in Safe Mode. I am using Office Professional 2003 Windows XP. I have tried reinstalling and also repairing. All other office products are working. I have sent the query to Microsoft but have not received a reply!"
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It is not uncommon for something to upset Word.  The fact that all the other applications in Office work, however, suggests that it is a specifically Word related issue, rather than a Windows issue.   To troubleshoot this type of problem, one must approach it in a systematic manner, employing a process of elimination.

Changing Case in Excel

"Any idea how to change a list on an excel spreadsheet that's all in capitals to small letters, so it's not shouting at me?  I'm sure there's a way, but can't figure it out. "
{mosimage}Excel is your friend: there is usually a way!  This works for Office versions circa 2003/XP.

In this case, there are two ways...

Software for non profit websites

"I’m involved in setting up a small not for profit which has zilch funds. We’re thinking about setting up the web site on word press.

Well be a membership(with different types of members) and interested user organisation issuing ezines, press releases, and mail shots. We also want to have a moderated discussion board, ideally with user registration linked to the membership database. So we want an integrated back end for membership details and front end for communicating. Our key aim is to increase information and awareness on the issue of dual diagnosis- When people have an addiction and a mental health issue. Currently these people can’t get services.

We want to capture user and member details via the website but also allowing manual entry and snail mail as some of the people we will be dealing with are not too IT literate. I’m pretty IT literate from a business perspective and fairly logical, but not techy or website development/hosting orientated so it needs to be easy to use and not too time consuming. I’m told Aweber is pretty good, but it does cost circa €300, doing all the above, including maintaining membership details and being easy to use for the membership side of things. I’m also told moodle which is free is good for discussion boards, even if the design leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve also been told that Joomla does all of the above and is free with many Irish businesses using PHPnuke. I’m just wondering are there any other product specifically aimed at not for profits that would be better and which of the above products would be best to go for in our circumstances."

 The features and functionality described are typical of a forward thinking non profit organisation's wish list when considering a presence on the internet.  It is important to make your organisation visible on the web, and to make it as simple as possible to update the information on the organisation's website.  However, the web provides much more opportunities than simply a passive presentation of information.

MS Office and OpenOffice in Harmony

On May 21st, Microsoft announced that it would be adding in support for the Open Document Format in it's next update for Office 2007 (service pack 2).  

So what does this mean for a community and voluntary organisation?  

 

I want to get media software to do advertising

"I am the manager of two community centres and I want to get media software for my organization to do advertising i.e. flyers etc. I want to know what is the best one to get as I don't have training in this medium and need something which is easy to use."

 You have several choices when considering graphical and/or layout tools for the creation of print media.  The industry standard tools for layout include the venerable Quark Express , which has been the king of desktop publishing for decades, and a relative newcomer to the scene, Adobe's InDesign .  Both of these products are designed for laying out content on a page for print.

The undisputed king of media creation is Adobe's Photoshop, a remarkable tool for the creation of graphics, the manipulation of photographs, and art.  Adobe also do an application called Illustrator, which allows one create graphics which one can resize without loss of quality, unlike photograph-type images.

All of these products are undoubtably the choice for professionals - Adobe have even helpfully bundled all of their products together in their Creative Suite.  However, there are some drawbacks to the power and functionality available through these tools.  For example, Creative Suite retails for approximately $1800, whilst Quark comes in at about 1000 euro.  As you might expect with such powerful professional tools, the learning curve can be quite steep.  There are any number of books available, e.g. the Sams Teach Yourself series (which, of course, you can get from Amazon ) which can help, but learning to use these tools can be daunting.
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