Showing posts from June, 2012

About Start Software

Start Software is an award-winning developer and leading publisher of asbestos software, systems for the legal services industry and more.

Want to know more about asbestos software Alpha Tracker? Alpha Tracker is the most used asbestos software in the UK, Australia & New Zealand with more than 60m items of asbestos data stored.

Our legal services software Alpha Legal helps will writers, accountants, solicitors, IFAs and estate agents to communicate securely with clients. Read about developments here on the blog.

Or need help with Alpha Anywhere or Alpha Transform projects or software development? You'll find useful info here.

Robin cycling from Paris to Much Wenlock next week

I'm off on an Olympic-themed cycle next week and so won't be at work.

Robin's route from Paris to Much Wenlock

Paris and Much Wenlock (my home town) share an Olympic connection because they are the birthplaces of the founding fathers of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin and William Penny Brookes.  I'm raising money for Cancer Research, so if you'd like to support me and this great cause please visit 

Thanks in advance,


The team outside William Penny Brookes' house (I'm on the left)

2,000th Start Software Project!

Elaine logged the 2,000th Start Software project this week in our Tracker system. 

Each piece of work we do for a customer is logged into our management system - Tracker - so that we can schedule the work into the diary (using Resource Tracker) and track it through each stage of the job to invoicing.

Since forming Start Software, we've logged 2,000 such jobs for our customers - here's to the next 2,000...

PS The next milestone will be the 10,000th customer query logged (we're at 9,706 currently).

Tracker Web Server on BBC TV (Midlands Today)!

I spluttered on my tea last night when I caught a glimpse of our Tracker Web Server product on BBC TV!

Tracker Web Server in action at Kier (Environmental Essentials)
The story was all about the difficulties that ex servicemen and women have in finding work when they leave the forces, and Midlands Today were focussing on the story of one particular individual who has now found work as an Operations Manager for Kier in Stoke on Trent.

At his desk, he was using Tracker Web Server from Environmental Essentials, one of our largest and most successful Tracker users.

To watch the story yourself, go to and fast forward to 06:40.

Start Software - Alpha Software Certified Partners

We're delighted to have been appointed Alpha Software Certified Partner status recognising our investment and training in the Alpha Five software tool.

For our customers, this means even shorter development times, more software features and access to the latest web-based database systems for PC, Mac, Android and iPad/iPhone.

Resource Tracker v1.0.571 SVN17 available

Resource Tracker v1.0.571 SVN17 is now available.

This release has a new feature which will help users with a large number of staff and other resources to schedule.

By default, Resource Tracker searches the project list as the user types into the search box.  This can be slow if there are a very large number of open projects.

v1.0.571 has a new option in the General section of the settings file, Schedule.ini:


If this setting is used, the search will only happen when Enter is pressed, speeding up the search process.

Please contact the office if you would like this update which is free of charge to all users with an active support and maintenance contract.

Alpha Software interview me over Skype

Regular blog readers will know that we're making full use of Alpha Five now when building web-based database applications.

Alpha Five has enabled us to extend our database systems to run entirely with a web browser (either Internet or Intranet) opening up a new range of possibilities for our customers.  Where previously our systems would have been built using Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server, we are now extending our offerings to including Alpha Five against SQL Server databases too.

Here is a short interview that Alpha recorded with me over Skype about the difference Alpha Five has made to our business:

Tracker SQL Database Space Auto-check

Tracker works best with Microsoft's SQL Server database product.

SQL Server provides a secure, reliable and fast database facility and comes in a number of versions.  The most commonly used with Tracker is SQL Server Express Edition which has a strict limitation in terms of the amount of space that can be used in a single database.  SQL Server Express 2008 R2, for example, is limited to a database size of 10GB.

If you have an IT administrator they can keep an eye on the database size and perform database housekeeping if it is getting close to the limit.  But if you don't have IT staff on site, how would you know if you are getting close to being "full"?

We can now offer an automatic SQL database size check in the form of a new Tracker add-on.  This will warn you if the space remaining in your database is dangerously low and tell you what you do about it.

If you'd like this Tracker add-on, please contact the office.  The add-on takes a couple of hours to install and costs £200+vat.

Phew! Four new systems near completion

I don't think the long weekend could have come at a better time!

We have four major systems all reaching the "pointy end" - all are ready to go live which means that we're working around the clock to finalise documentation, find and kill any remaining bugs, and train users.

We're off until Wednesday to recuperate - hope you have a great Jubilee celebration too.

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