Showing posts from April, 2014

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.

Two lovely customer comments for Adam

It's great when customers take the time and effort to say thanks.  We've had two this week, both for Adam:

"Just like to say thank you so, so much for your persistence and patience with the issue!
You’re an asset to your company, and have definitely put my faith back in software support!"


"I just want to say a massive Thank You for getting to this so promptly, it is greatly appreciated"

Nice one Adam!

Alpha Tracker update SVN399 publicly available

More updates have been released for our Alpha Tracker software for asbestos surveyors and consultancies. This update, SVN399, has the following improvements:

  • there are new built-in reports showing, for example, surveys waiting to be quality checked or final report issued and surveys waiting for samples to be sent to the lab [2 & 30]
  • more data is shown on the asbestos lab "bulk sample setup" screens [12]
  • projects and sites can now be deleted by Superusers [14 & 17]
  • you can now include an extra line of information on the footer of your invoices [16]
  • there is a more obvious prompt to perform a second analysis of non-asbestos samples [15]
  • if you allow deposits to be received on a job before invoicing, the invoice will now deduct the deposits [21]
  • there is a new list of projects "in progress" where data has been received from surveyors [19]
  • there is better control of closed projects stopped accidental data modification [53]
  • you can now produce Word and Excel documents from quotes, projects etc [36]
  • there is a new folder and upload/download facility for general company documentation [31]
  • the first diary date is now shown on the main project list [18]
  • there are now short-cut menus for Won Quotes and Lost Quotes, grouped various ways [26]
  • the master projects for a client are now shown as a tab on the client screen [23]
  • the number of complete, due and overdue milestones is now shown on the project screen with green/amber/red colour coding [13]
  • the client name now shows alongside the client ID on "All Open Projects" [6]
  • when closing a project, the logged-in user is automatically assigned as "Project Closed By" [3]
  • there is a new optional facility to auto-generate client IDs (as serial numbers) to avoid the need to generate IDs manually [1]
(NB: the numbers in [] brackets above are the change request IDs for these amendments).

This update is now ready to download within Alpha Tracker itself.  Please note that it requires the latest database update too - contact the office to discuss if you are not sure how to apply the updates.

Alpha Tracker and the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug

Heartbleed is a security vulnerability in some widely-used Internet programming code (known as "OpenSSL") which means that data previously thought to be encrypted could, in fact, be read by hackers. You can read more information about the problem here

The software we use to write Alpha Tracker is theoretically affected by the bug however our clients do not use "SSL" connections to access their Alpha Tracker systems and so the bug is not relevant to us.

Alpha Software have patched their software framework now anyway so future releases of our software will be fully patched and protected anyway.

New version of Tracker Document Maker Server (Document Requests) v1.0.123 SVN28

The latest version of our Tracker Document Maker Service product is now through testing and available for use.  This latest release is version 1.0.123 SVN28.

This latest release improves the emailing functionality, especially for quotes and other project documents.

Please contact the office if you would like this update.

Asbestos consultancy "ID Asbestos" switch to Alpha Tracker

UK asbestos consultancy ID Asbestos have switched to Alpha Tracker to enable their surveyors to produce asbestos reports automatically after capturing data on site with Tracker Mobile.

ID Asbestos
The asbestos surveyors at ID Asbestos will be using Samsung tablets to capture asbestos data and photos on site then transmitting the data electronically over the mobile phone network so that reports are ready to produce in Alpha Tracker as soon as the samples have been analysed.

With 5 more orders in the pipeline, we have now reached the stage where there are more Alpha Tracker customers than Tracker ones! We are delighted with the successful of Alpha Tracker and the feedback we have received from our customers.

If we can help you and your asbestos consultancy to become more productive, do get in touch.

Back to where it all started...

Dan & I were up with our friends at asbestos consultancy Franks Portlock this week working to help them switch over to Alpha Tracker.

Part of the growing Franks Portlock fleet

The Franks Portlock offices were once (many years ago!) occupied by Ensecon Laboratories and that is where the Tracker asbestos software started.  Building on experience we had gained from working with asbestos industry expert Steve Shutler, we worked with Johnny Armstrong and colleagues to create an automated business management system aimed specifically at asbestos consultancies and the result was Tracker!

It was good to be back - same building, different faces - and to spend time in Roker running along one my of favourite beaches.

It was even better to see John again at the Chaise Guest House - without question the best place to stay in this part of the world!

Alpha Tracker major update (SVN387) now available

We have just released Alpha Tracker update SVN387 as the April "major release" rolling up all previous minor updates into one package.  This update goes hand in hand with SQL database update SVN95 which should be applied at the same time.

The update includes:

  • an improved Survey Quick Start menu for easy access to client & project set-up, lab data entry and report production
  • new document folders for quotations and clients
  • an improved document folder window with file icons and more upload options
  • multi-select options for quotations and projects for use when duplicating them
  • improved lab data entry screens and faster lab processing
  • a new "contracts" section allowing long-term client contracts to be logged and tracked
  • improved cosmetics throughout including new icons replacing buttons for document generation, for example
  • automatic adding of buildings and sites during project entry for faster project set-up
  • a new Quality Control section on the survey screen for logging quality actions
  • plus lots more!
Survey "Quick Start" menu

Improved document folder

Improved cosmetics, new icons

New Contracts menu

Quality Control section on Surveys form

This update will benefit all asbestos consultancies and asbestos surveyors using Alpha Tracker - contact the office if you would like help to download and apply the update.

Document Requests v1.0.106 SVN25 released

The latest release of the Tracker Document Maker Service (also known as Document Requests or simply The Queue!) has been released and has the following new features:

maxattachmentsizeinMB=... you can now specify the attachment file size limit to be sure your reports are emailed correctly;

clientname=... you can now put your client name into the emails sent when a report is produced.

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

Celtic Asbestos switches to Alpha Tracker

Celtic Asbestos Consultancy Ltd, based in Dublin, Ireland, offers competitive asbestos surveys, asbestos management advice and laboratory analysis nationwide.

Celtic Asbestos Consultanct Ltd home page
After reviewing the asbestos software market, Celtic decided to switch to Alpha Tracker from Start Software and have gone live with Tracker Mobile electronic, automated surveying after receiving their on-line training session.

Updated Tracker Upload Manager module now available

The latest version of Tracker Upload Manager is now available for use.

Tracker Upload Manager v1.0.131 SVN23 has the option of using encrypted "STARTTLS" connections when accessing mail servers enabling it to be used with Microsoft Office365 accounts, for example.

Please contact the office if you would like this update.

New version of Document Service module now available

We have an updated version of the Tracker/Alpha Tracker Document Service available for immediate use.

Document Requests v1.0.94 SVN22 has a new option to allow "STARTTLS" encrypted email server connections allowing it to be used with Office365 accounts, for example.

Please contact the office if you would like this update.

Result of ISO9001:2008 audit

On Monday we had our regular ISO9001:2008 audit and Kim did her usual brilliant job of supplying the information needed by the Lloyds' assessor.  The result?

Top work Kim! By the way, as far as we know we are the only asbestos software provider with the ISO9001:2008 and AccredIT quality accreditations and we work incredibly hard to maintain them.

Crucial Environmental go live with Alpha Tracker

Crucial Environmental, based in Lancing, are a specialist asbestos consultancy looking to expand and streamline their asbestos surveying division.  After reviewing the market for asbestos surveying solutions, they decided to switch to Alpha Tracker.

Crucial Environmental's web site
It was a pleasure to meet the surveyors today at their training session - here are a few of the snapshots from the day:

Waiting (with excitement!) for the Tracker Mobile training to begin

Paul surveying the stairwell

A full training guide is available together with 24x7 support

Start Software's training suite with interactive whiteboard

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