Showing posts from March, 2015

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.

Alpha Tracker February/March 2015 update now available

We've just released a major update to Alpha Tracker, the software system for asbestos surveyors and asbestos consultancies.

200 improvements in the latest Alpha Tracker
This update - SVN1300 - has 200 improvements, new features and bug fixes in it and is one of the biggest updates we've released.

Kim is finalising the release notes now and I'll do doing a video blog as usual once I return from my week's holiday.

In the meantime, contact the office (0845 612 2402) for more information about what is contained in the release.

Enviraz goes live with Alpha Tracker

Leading Scottish asbestos consultancy Enviraz is now fully live with the Alpha Tracker software system having received their admin and surveyor training.

Enviraz Surveys Ltd are a well established and respected company in the asbestos surveying industry, with an enviable reputation for offering a fast and reliable service at competitive rates. They have chosen Alpha Tracker to increased their productivity and to enhance the service they provide to their clients.

Kim & I have really enjoyed meeting the friendly and professional Enviraz staff; here are a few photos from our training session today:

Enviraz HQ

Asbestos surveyor training using Tracker Mobile

Admin training using Alpha Tracker

Surveyors getting to grips with Tracker Mobile

Midlands Asbestos Solutions go live with Alpha Tracker

Leading asbestos removal and surveying company Midlands Asbestos Solutions have today gone live with Alpha Tracker.

Click to view Midlands Asbestos Solutions' web site
Director Darren Skinner and his team have received their training and their Alpha Tracker system is now ready to automatically produce asbestos reports and other documents for their clients.

The Midlands Asbestos Solutions asbestos survey report format is one of most professional that the Start trainers have ever seen - it has a real polish that sets it aside from other templates underlining MAS's commitment to quality and attention to detail.

Take a look at some of the photos taken at the training session below:

Midlands Asbestos Solutions' HQ

The office team at Midlands Asbestos Solutions

a Midlands Asbestos Solutions surveyor getting to grips with Tracker Mobile

Alpha Tracker Document Maker v1.4.453 SVN78

We've just released the latest version of our document maker component for Alpha Tracker.

Alpha Tracker Document Maker generates Word and Excel documents from data held within Alpha Tracker - typically quotes, project documents, lab certificates and asbestos survey reports.

This latest version, available to download now from our website, understands the new "plans with hotspots" feature in Alpha Tracker ensuring that  drawings marked up with hotspots are used in preference to those without.

ATDM now understands plans with hotspots
If you need help to apply the update, please do contact the office.

Looking for secure storage for your asbestos survey reports?

We've been working with Max and his team at Storage Management Company (SMC)( for longer than either of us care to remember (!) and every time I visit their operation I'm struck by their professionalism and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Max and the Storage Management team
Storage Management's document storage services are ideal for busy asbestos consultancies using the Tracker or Alpha Tracker software systems wanting to store asbestos reports or other paperwork off site.  SMC also specialise in physical (tape) and cloud backup services.

They also have great software systems (even though I say so myself!) with bespoke, integrated systems for their document and media services including client portals and automated billing.  Their new Alpha-based client portals are particularly effective and popular with clients.

If you are looking for off-site storage for your asbestos reports I would recommend SMC without hesitation.  Click the image below to go to their website for more information and contact details:

SMC's excellent website

Look who swam past our office this week...

Our Bridgnorth support office overlooks the Severn and this week an otter has been making a splash (literally) by appearing regularly in the daytime.  I'm a keen wildlife photographer and I've travelling the length and breadth of the country looking for otters without success... then one turns up on our doorstep!

Stress-testing Alpha Tracker - how many simultaneous users can it support?

We've been stress-testing one of our demo Alpha Tracker systems this week to see how many users it can support simultaneously.  The server itself is just a standard "950" from our hosting partners FastHosts at a cost of roughly £69/month.

So... the answer to the question is "probably 90 users on one server".  Not bad at all!

Using the stress-testing platform Loaderio we established these results when we tried a test to increase the load from 0 to 250 clients over  1 minute period to see when response became > 10 seconds:

It seems like it was capable of serving approx. 90 simultaneous users running this intensive test before timeouts (> 10 seconds) caused the test to fail.  That’s pretty good I would say especially as this is an intensive screen for the system to serve up and not typical of use (as most people are not asking the server to do something at the same time).

A more likely scenario is to see how 100 users accessing the system over the course of a minute will get on.  These results were also pretty good:

(the average response time was < 2 seconds).

If you are unhappy with your system performance or are thinking of expanding your business and want to be sure that Alpha Tracker will perform at an acceptable speed for you, get in touch and we can run performance tests on your server for you.

Start Software Support Stats - February 2015

We improved our service again compared to last month thanks to the hard work of the support team on 0845 612 2402.  We also received fewer calls than normal, perhaps because we've been directing people to use the excellent manuals for Alpha Tracker and our other software systems for asbestos surveyors and environmental consultancies?

Here is the summary of our performance in Feb:

January 2015's update to Alpha Tracker has been released (SVN1100)

January 2015's monthly update to Alpha Tracker is now publicly available.  This is update SVN1100 with nearly 50 new features and bug fixes.

Sorry the video is a bit late (again!).. we've been busy finalising the February release which is a really big one.

Here is a YouTube video which runs through 10 of the most useful improvements:

The January updates has nearly 50 new features, improvements and bug fixes to the software since the December update.

All new features are fully documented in both the release notes and updated User Guides.

In the video above you can see 10 of the most useful or important changes we have made.  For full details, see the release notes at the bottom of the Alpha Tracker product page.

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.

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