Showing posts from October, 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 speaking at the Microsoft Access User Group, Reading Microsoft Campus

The UK Microsoft Access User Group has just announced the agenda for the November national event: Here’s a summary of the agenda but you can go to for the full thing. MS-Access User Group Annual Conference - with special guest speaker: Kevin Bell, Access Dev Team, Microsoft Seattle We are extremely pleased to announce that Kevin Bell of the Microsoft Access Development Team will be coming all the way from Seattle to join us at: The Access User Group National Seminar Tue 27 Nov 2012 at the offices of Microsoft, Reading RG6 1WG (known as TVP – Thames Valley Park) AGENDA: Access 2013 by Kevin Bell, Microsoft The new version of Access takes a dramatic new approach to creating database application and Kevin will explore its architecture and features. He will also discuss how your existing Access skills can be leveraged with Access 2013 and he will be joined by MS-Access MVP & Author, Andy Couch, to look at building applications in the new version of Access. Productisation of Access Applications – What You Need To Know The afternoon session will feature 4 speakers presenting Access applications that they have built - and then marketed as a product in particular vertical sector. Following each presentation there will be a chaired discussion considering alternative approaches by members of the audience. Customer Updates: Techniques For Streamlining presented by Alex Bloom, Jeux de Couleur Limited JDC provides a system for over 100 publishers all over the world; Alex will look at how you can issue updates to these systems in a controlled fashion – and still have time to go to the pub! Clinical Information System for Hospitals presented by Frank Douglass, Delian Systems Frank will look at combine individual functionality with common functionality shared by one or more other areas. System Being Used Across 50+ Sites With 700+ Users presented by Dave Talbot, D J Talbot & Associates Limited How do you manage a system used across a huge user population and keep the database structure consistent across all instances? Toy Tracker, A Management System Used by Nearly 100 Toy Libraries presented by Robin Bennett, Start Software Robin will discuss how Start Software has approached issues such as versioning, deployment, upgrades and support.

Start Software exhibit at UKITA AGM

Last night Elaine & I attended the UK IT Association (UKITA) Annual General Meeting.

Very conveniently, it was held at the University of Wolverhampton's Telford campus, just across the car park from our office at the e-Innovation Centre.

Here are some of the photos from the event:

Tracker Web Server v1.5.312 SVN23 released

This new release of Tracker Web Server has a couple of nice new features.

First, site names when seen in the "view by project" list are now colour-coded according to whether they contain asbestos or not.  These site names are also hyperlinks to "view by site".

Second, building names work in the same way and are also hyperlinks to "view by building".

Please contact the office if you would like this update.

Tracker Web Server v1.5.308 SVN21

We have a new version of Tracker Web Server ready and available to all customers on a support plan.

This release has a new option to show a link to project documents underneath the thumbnail photos on the asbestos register pages.

A new setting is available to control this new feature:

{Client ID} show document link on register (default True)

Please contact the office if you would like this update.

Mobile Data Studio "Data Deleter"

Mobile Data Studio has an internal Data Window (looks like a spreadsheet) where data can be stored temporarily.

We use this window for data passing through Mobile Data Studio within our Tracker Mobile product, for example, and it is very important that the Data Window is kept tidy.

In fact, if the number of records in the Data Window grows large (say, > 1000 items) the system may slow down or become unreliable.  There are also some "hard limits" within Mobile Data Studio, one of which being that the Data Window file (the .ppd) cannot ever grow beyond 4GB in size.

To assist customers with large numbers of old records within their Data Windows, we have developed a utility which can delete records based on date at the click of a button.  This utility is called MDS Deleter.

The utility is being made available for free if you contact the support team on

Have you got a problem with our software? Help us to help you

I saw this blog post yesterday and can't believe I haven't come across the facility before!

Users often call us with problems but struggle to explain how they got the issue in the first place and - more importantly from our point of view - how we can reproduce the problem and so fix it for them.

There is a Microsoft tool built into Windows 7 and Windows 8 which is designed to make this really easy.  It is called the Problem Steps Recorder.

To fire it up:

1 Press the Start button then Run

2 Type "psr"

3 Press Start Record and then do whatever you need to do to show us the problem...

and when you've finished, you can email us the file and we'll be able to see exactly what you were doing and so we'll be able to fix it for you!

New cloud-based Mobile Data Studio service launched

Do you wish that there was a way of running your Mobile Data Studio projects "in the cloud"?  Do you have an unreliable server running Tracker Mobile, for example, and wish that someone else was monitoring and running the system on your behalf on ultra-reliable cloud servers?

A new service launched by might be the solution you are looking for.

These Mobile Data Studio experts (based in Australia) have installed a system running within Amazon's cloud server farm which can run Tracker Mobile and other Mobile Data Studio projects.

Take a look at their website for more information and to price up your setup.

We can organise the migration for you (at no charge from us to you) as part of your support contract - but do let know that you are a Start Software customer.

New Mobile Data Studio for Android in beta

We've had a brand new version of Mobile Data Studio through from our developer partners to test.

Mobile Data Studio is an excellent product for capturing and transmitting data from site using handheld devices.  It is compatible with Android phones & tablets, iOS devices (Apple iPhones and iPads) and the older Windows Mobile systems.

We use Mobile Data Studio for Tracker Mobile and other handheld data capture systems for water (legionella) testing, air quality, expense records, work records, auditing work, health and safety inspections and many more besides!

The latest release of Mobile Data Studio for Android devices has a direct printing capability and a much-improved camera interface.

We'll continue our testing and will blog again when the final release version is ready.  If you would like more information in the meantime, please do get in touch.

Tracker Web Server v1.5.300 SVN18 available

There is a new Tracker Web Server executable available with the following changes:

1 New setting “{client ID} use last report date from Register” – if “Yes” (the default), it uses data from Asbestos Tracker whereas if “No” then it looks at all projects booked into Tracker

2 New setting “Automatically try to push download” – if “Yes” then report documents will auto-download if the user’s browser allows it

3 New setting “{client ID} list projects by project number (Yes) or date (No)?” – if “No”, lists them by report produced date rather than in project number order

4 Various minor bugs fixed when adding new actions

5 Improvement to the audit trail

Please contact the office as usual if you would like this update.

Prices held for 2012/13

We're really pleased to announce that we will be holding our prices across the board for 2012/13.  We will not be increasing any of our prices this coming year.

Our focus on overheads and costs means that we are able to offer clients some of the best software prices and labour rates in the industry and this directly benefits all of our clients.

Please note: In order to keep our prices low, we have strict cash chasing procedures and customers needs to keep to our 30 day terms in order to avoid late payment charges and interest.

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