Since 1 April 2014 we've been double-checking every software change and customer problem solved. These checks are part of a new process to further reduce the number of bugs and annoyances that reach our customers. We know how grim it is when we make a mistake and issue you with software that doesn't work as you want it to.
You might have spotted the "QN" numbers we have been referring to in our emails. These are our Quality Numbers and each check has been logged in our control system.
In only 6 months we've reached our 1000th "QN" and the wonderful Cathy at IOM was the customer responsible for the change. So... congratulations Cathy, a bottle of something cheap special is on its way up to you to mark the occasion!
Alpha Tracker Document Maker produces quotations, project documents, asbestos surveys and asbestos re-inspections for asbestos consultancies and asbestos surveyors using the Alpha Tracker software system.
The latest release, v1.4.336 SVN56, has improved the document production process for project-based documents such as method statements and plans of work.
1 We have a new mobile-friendly "job summary sheet" available for display on a surveyor's phone or tablet. This shows the key information from the job without needing to print out any paperwork!
2 You can now import survey data (from another consultancy, for example) straight from Excel import sheets
3 We have changed the way that we control who can Approve or Sign off a report. Only users in the "Quality" or "Superuser" security groups will now be allowed to do this
4 The emails which are automatically sent when a new project is created can now be customised by you - there is a template facility to allow you to include any information (in any format) from the project screen
5 The milestones feature is now quicker to use - double-click on the date and the system will enter your name and today's date automatically.
There are many more new features in this release and 8 important bug fixes. See the release notes at the bottom of the Alpha Tracker product page for more information.
The update is ready to download and install through the Setup|System|Software Updates button. If you need help to run the update, please do contact the support desk.
The latest version of Alpha Tracker's document generator module is now available for download.
Alpha Tracker Document Maker generates quotations, project documents and asbestos survey reports for Alpha Tracker users and the latest version (v1.4.328 SVN53) has cosmetic improvements when inserting multiple lab certificates into an asbestos report.
Today the directors, management and surveying team received their Alpha Tracker and Tracker Mobile training so that they can go live with automated asbestos surveying from on-site tablet through to report PDF and their client portal!
One of FML's professional surveying team in action with Tracker Mobile on a Samsung tablet
Fibre Management's busy admin office
If we can help you to streamline your asbestos consultancy business, please do get in touch.
Alpha Validator checks the data sent in by asbestos surveyors both at the point of upload and just before the report is produced and is an integral part of the Alpha Tracker asbestos software system.
Example AlphaValidator data check report
The latest version, v1.0.36 SVN15, has a new standard data check which confirms that all items marked as samples ("S"), cross-references ("X") or previously sampled ("PS") items are all correctly numbered.
I attended a seminar today hosted by the University of Wolverhampton to see some new technologies which might be of use to our asbestos surveying consultancy customers using Alpha Tracker and Tracker Mobile.
Suzi Perry was one of the speakers (and - in truth - one of the reasons I went!):
Wolverhampton's very own Suzi Perry in action
Google Glass is a technology we've been exploring for a while now to see whether it can be used by asbestos surveyors as part of the data capture process. Today I got my hands on one and it does seem like a "version 1" product - not bad but dreadful battery life:
I've just returned from a 5-week working holiday meeting new and prospective asbestos customers and partners in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
It is the longest time I've worked abroad and I learnt a lot - here are some tips which may be useful for you too:
before I went, I bought a 3 PAYG SIM and put £15 of credit on it. With the new 3 "Feel at Home" deal (see http://www.three.co.uk/) that got me unlimited data and virtually unlimited calls and texts to the UK while I was away. Unbelievable deal, saved me a fortune
make the most of the time differences - it is a pain being out of sync with the UK but you can also use it your advantage by doing preparatory work out of hours so UK staff are constantly busy
there is free WiFi almost everywhere now, even in the remotely places it seems. The 3 deal, above, sorted my smartphone but I still needed to find WiFi for my laptop but almost everywhere I travelled I could find free WiFi in hotels, bars and airports
my mobile auto-switched time-zones but I decided to keep my laptop in UK time so that I always knew at-a-glance what time it was in our main office and so that customers receiving emails from me would see UK times on them
not all airlines and aeroplanes are the same! We usually fly Emirates when we go out to our Adelaide office but this time flew Cathay Pacific and the experience wasn't nearly as good
I bought a £17 pair of noise cancelling headphones from Amazon (see this link) before flying out and they made the long flights so much more bearable. Obviously they weren't as good as a Bose pair for £300 but they did the job just nicely
make the most of the cloud for backing up photos and important documents. Most of our key company documents are now in Google Drive for example and I could read and edit these from my laptop or my phone knowing that the updates were safe and constantly saved and backed up.
Hope those tips help if you are travelling and working abroad soon.