|This screen recording shows me typing "password" into the password box - really!|
- Alpha Legal (192)
- Alpha Site (3)
- AlphaDraw (7)
- AlphaTracker (895)
- AlphaTrackerMobile (8)
- AlphaValidator (20)
- InvoiceTracker (7)
- LabTracker (20)
- MDS (21)
- ProjectTracker (4)
- ResourceTracker (11)
- ResourceTrackerSync (8)
- services (66)
- software (1123)
- support (494)
- toy tracker (62)
- Tracker (391)
- Tracker264 (7)
- TrackerDashboard (28)
- TrackerDocumentMakerService (50)
- TrackerExporter (2)
- TrackerFiler (8)
- TrackerLoStart (6)
- TrackerMobile (211)
- TrackerUploadManager (24)
- TWS (27)
- West Mercia Police Authority (1)
Friday, 24 December 2021
Really, Microsoft?!! Are you *still* allowing "password" to be used as a password at the end of 2021...?! Don't underestimate the importance of complex passwords
Wednesday, 22 December 2021
Monday, 20 December 2021
|We've had some cracking feedback for our latest update|
The comment came from the Quality Manager at one of our Australian clients who is using our equipment management/calibration feature:
"Just a huge thanks for the latest update, wherein ‘days to calibration’ are now displayed.
This will be a huge help in tracking our items!"
We love it when a plan comes together!
Friday, 17 December 2021
Do keep an eye out for it - they are carrying an advert of ours, too.
We entered our software partner CTT Group's Christmas gingerbread house competition and this is our entry. We had such fun decorating it - wish us luck!
Kim & Catherine were most involved (though Zac had to lie on the floor to rotate the stool for the video!
Bake Off next year perhaps?!? ;-)
|Kim, Zac (on the floor!) & Catherine|
|Congrats Mavis - you even beat Prof Chris Whitty to the title!|
SHP's citation says:
"Mavis has been described as a ‘tour de force, and an absolute dynamo for Asbestos Awareness’. She lives with Mesothelioma every day of her life, having been diagnosed with Mesothelioma in 2009.
It was during her treatment, that she decided early on that something needed to be done. Today, she spends her life campaigning for asbestos awareness and removal and her work is internationally recognised. Supported by many influential people, she is in demand for presentations to spread the word."
Here at Start Software, we are working with the Mavis Nye Foundation to find ways that we can support their work. Our asbestos software, Alpha Tracker, has been used to survey more than 5.5 million buildings (we believe this is the biggest asbestos database in the world). We want to use our experience to support the work that Mavis and her team does in the fight against asbestos-related disease.
For more information, go to SHP Online: https://www.shponline.co.uk/shp-most-influential/dr-mavis-nye-named-shps-most-influential-person-in-health-safety-for-2021/
Thursday, 16 December 2021
|You can read the releases notes on our website|
Wednesday, 15 December 2021
|5* feedback for our HSG248 updates|
Here's the feedback we received on Alpha Tracker Release 37:
"...Tracker Air was the logical choice for Allium due to the use of Alpha Tracker in other areas of the business.The functionality of the program enabled us to concentrate on other aspects of the accreditation process, with our early beta testing proving very successful. Further updates have enabled the transition to version 2 of HSG 248 to be much simpler than it could have been, with all of the bases covered.Lastly, it cannot be stressed how much positive feedback we get from our client base, with regards to the layout and aesthetics to the final reports. Thanks to all involved for the continued support."
The news has been full of a new cyber-security threat that has been causing havoc since the start of the month.
Log4j, as it is known, is one of the worst server vulnerabilities to ever have been discovered. In fact, some experts say it is the worst. There's a really good summary of the threat here, on Wired.com: https://www.wired.com/story/log4j-log4shell/
The Log4j vulnerability gives hackers the opportunity to do virtually anything on a compromised server - from running bitcoin mining software (causing your server to run at full speed, essentially disabling all of your server running on it) to exposing user names and passwords, or even installing dreaded ransomware.
The UK has been particularly hit with attacks, as this graphic shows:
|The UK and North America are amongst the areas seeing most hacking attempts|
At Start Software, we take security really seriously and we have already checked the servers which run asbestos software Alpha Tracker, legal software Alpha Legal and all of our other systems. We are urging clients who operate their own servers to check their systems and to make sure that all security patches are applied.
For more information, contact Robin in the Telford (UK) office.
Tuesday, 14 December 2021
Hello World! See how creative the Start Software developers are when using the Alpha Anywhere development tool
We just spotted this lovely Alpha Legal feedback on LinkedIn:
We've just been reviewing the Alpha Tracker asbestos software stats.
|We believe Alpha Tracker is the biggest asbestos database in the world|
As of December 2021, Alpha Tracker has helped our asbestos consultancy clients to:
- survey more than 5 million buildings
- take more than 11 million samples
- complete more than 3 million jobs, and
- inspect 70 million+ items.
Monday, 13 December 2021
|Our trainer Kim on the Zoom call with Acorn|
Emails cause another cyber-security nightmare - the Irish Health Service was "crippled" by ransomware introduced by email
|A screenshot of the conversation where the hackers demanded nearly $20m ransom|
It's been a challenge to get the HSG248 changes into our Tracker Air (asbestos fibre/air monitoring) module in time for the end-of-November deadline. Other asbestos software providers are still working on their updates and we've heard of angry consultancies disappointed that their updates were not completed in time - we're really pleased to say that all Alpha Tracker customers were notified before the end of November.
|Customer feedback for our HSG248 changes has been really good|
Not every update has gone smoothly, but most have gone without a hitch and some of the early feedback we've had has been excellent. This comment from the Technical Manager at one of our bigger clients is typical:
"I will say that I’m loving the new additions to Tracker air – it looks really aesthetically tidy, and is nice and easy to read for laymen and qualified employees"
If you have similar comments, or would like to see changes or improvements, please do get in touch.
Thursday, 9 December 2021
|This is what 1,000 people looks like! Another week at Alpha Legal|
We all know that emails are not secure. If you are sending and receiving sensitive information by email, it's time to find a better way. Alpha Legal solves the problem for you and offers subscription plans from only £10/month. Register risk-free now!
|Microsoft InTune is part of Microsoft's corporate security software, EndPoint Manager|
Tuesday, 7 December 2021
|Try the meeting planner built-in to Alpha Legal|
|Call Dan, Jack or any of the team - tell us what you think|
Wednesday, 1 December 2021
|Busy month on the Support Desk!|
Overall, we maintained our good performance from the month before with 19 out of 20 queries being resolved within the timescales set by our clients.
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
|Visit Marshall Wills & Trusts at https://www.marshallwillsandtrusts.co.uk/|
|RPP is working with Tracker Air - Alpha Tracker|
Our latest Alpha Tracker update, Release 37, is fully compliant with the updated HSG248 regulations. If you're struggling to make your asbestos system compliant, do get in touch - we are here to help.
Thursday, 25 November 2021
Welcome Savy Enviro - the latest New Zealand asbestos consultancy to go live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker
|Savy Enviro, based in Auckland, New Zealand|
Alpha Tracker Release 37 is now available - it's an important one if you have an asbestos lab or you undertake air monitoring services for your clients
- non-asbestos samples now count as 2 points in the lab, by default
- we have implemented the new "< 40 points" blind checking process
- the time that an analyst has started and finished with microscopes can now be recorded
- the Tracker Air air monitoring process has been revamped and updated to reflect the new requirements.
- the new map scheduling tool with automatic text confirmations to tenants is available - a massive help for any consultancy working with domestic surveying for councils and housing associations
- all of our geocoding programming code has been rewritten for faster mapping of clients, projects & sites
- we have improved and renamed some calendar screens. "Select Resource" is now "Staff Calendar", and "Calendar" is now "Company Calendar"
- the login screen has been improved, including the incorporation of your own company logo
- our QR code feature has been improved for better formatting of QR codes for site registers, projects and QR codes for individual items of asbestos.
- finally, there is a new project pipeline feature on the client portal - great for your clients to track progress of jobs.
Wednesday, 24 November 2021
|Download and use your Alpha Legal Secure badge|
- Sign into Alpha Legal
- Click "My Profile" in the menu
- Click "Download Badge".
Monday, 22 November 2021
|Thomas Consultants in Auckland, NZ|
|Judy training the asbestos staff at Thomas Consultants|
|JS Law's website is reporting some progress|
Chair of Mesothelioma UK's CEO Liz Darlison appears at the Work and Pensions asbestos Select Committee
Last week, the Work and Pensions Committee of the House of Commons took evidence from expert witnesses relating to the Health and Safety Executive's approach to asbestos management.
Several of the witnesses were "old friends" to Start Software. Watching the recording back this morning, I was struck by how many faces of those giving evidence I recognised and how many have used our asbestos software systems (Tracker & Alpha Tracker) over the last 20 years.
In particular, the evidence in the second half of the session was particularly compelling, especially the comments relating to schools and hospitals. My fellow panellist on the Ethex asbestos webinar last Thursday, Mesothelioma UK CEO Liz Darlison, was one of the key speakers:
|Liz Darlison at the asbestos Select Committee|
You can watch all of Liz's evidence by clicking this link: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/b93a9a0e-333d-43a2-a2c3-bdb5a3a19c14?in=10:25:59
Here at Start Software, we support Mesothelioma UK and encourage you to do the same. Click here to make an online donation: https://www.mesothelioma.uk.com/donate-now/
Friday, 19 November 2021
Thursday, 18 November 2021
We've just received another order for asbestos software Alpha Tracker - this time from Scotland's largest utility company.
We'll blog again as the order progresses - watch this space!
|ABP are now live with Alpha Tracker's air monitoring module|
Can we help your asbestos consultancy to automate and improve your air monitoring processes? Do get in touch!
Friday, 12 November 2021
The new certificates have arrived confirming our ISO27001:2013 and ISO9001:2015 accreditations.
|Elaine in front of our Telford offices|
We managed to persuade director Elaine to have her photo taken with the certificates (as she did all of the hard work to achieve the certifications!). Lovely photo, Elaine!
Yet another cyber security incident causes chaos in the UK legal sector - protect your business with Alpha Legal
|1,000s of house buyers have been affected by the cyber security breach|
"The ongoing threat of Asbestos in the UK" - do join Robin and leading asbestos speakers on the Ethex webinar
Alongside Robin are some of the leading asbestos authorities in the UK.
|Dr Mavis Nye|
Dr Mavis Nye is the CEO and founder of the Mavis Nye Foundation. Hers is an incredible story of diagnosis with mesothelioma, a shocking prognosis then chemotherapy and then participation in clinical drugs trials. Throughout all of this, Mavis has been one of the most prominent campaigners and speakers on asbestos illness in the UK and her contribution to the cause is now internationally recognised.
|Liz Darlison MBE|
Liz Darlison is the CEO of fundraising and campaigning charity Mesothelioma UK. Liz's career in nursing and as a clinical cancer specialist gives her a lifetime of knowledge and experience in caring for and treating patients with mesothelioma. Her contribution to the cause was recognised in 2019 when she was awarded an MBE for services to cancer research and patient care.
Alongside Robin, Mavis & Liz will be Andrew Paten, co-founder of the UK National Asbestos Register (UKNAR), a social enterprise with a mission to make asbestos registers more available to the people that need to access them. Technology is key, here, and Andrew & Robin will be highlighting plans to use technology in innovative ways to protect people from unnecessary and potentially deadly exposure to asbestos fibres.
Thursday, 11 November 2021
|ISO9001 & ISO27001 - our certificates|
Wednesday, 10 November 2021
|Choosing where to host a server can be tricky!|
Tuesday, 9 November 2021
We've been bombarded with interest and questions about our new support for 360-degree photos and virtual rooms in Alpha Tracker, Tracker Mobile and the Client Portal.
Here are some of the questions we've been asked - hope this helps!
Q: How much will this add-on be in Alpha Tracker?
A: Easy - nothing! We are building this new feature into Alpha Tracker as part of Release 37 (or possibly Release 38, if we don't quite finish it). All Alpha Tracker clients will have access to the feature without needing to pay for an extra module.
Q: How much are the cameras?
A: On Amazon, the cameras are £350+vat as a minimum. We think the Insta360 X2 PRO Kit is probably the best value "bundle" giving a surveyor what they need. At the time of writing, this was £390+vat at Amazon (link here).
Q: Does the camera replace the tablet/smartphone/iPad that the surveyor already has? Will that equipment need to be replaced/upgraded?
A: No, the 360 camera is an extra, not a replacement. The surveyor's existing equipment stays exactly the same.
Q: Does the camera "spin" when it takes a shot?
A: No, the camera takes a full 360 image in a few seconds (literally 2 or 3 seconds) without physically moving.
Q: Is the camera taking a video or is it a special photo?
A: It is a special 360 photo, not a video. Saying that, it looks a bit like a video when you view it in the Alpha Tracker Client Portal because you can spin it around 360 degrees in every direction (up/down/left/right).
Q: How big are the 360 photos? Do they take up a lot of space on a memory card?
A: They are surprisingly small. In our testing, they are 7MB, about twice the size of a typical "normal" photo.
Q: How long does it take to mark up a photo with the places where samples were taken?
A: Per sample, it takes a few seconds, so a room with only one or two samples would take very little extra time for the surveyor or admin person back at the office.
Q: Who marks up 360 photos to show where the samples were taken?
A: We are working on this aspect now. It is probably going to be a "back office" function but we are also working to see if we can integrate this into Alpha Draw or Alpha Tracker Mobile.
Q: Does this process integrate with the normal Tracker Mobile process?
A: Absolutely! It is just another part of the normal Tracker Mobile data capture form.
Q: If we start to use 360-degree photos, will we have to do it on every job?
A: No - your choice. The option will be there in Tracker Mobile to take the photos if you want to, but you can choose on a job-by-job basis. You will probably want to charge your clients more if you provide them with this sort of technology via the Client Portal.
Monday, 8 November 2021
We're just out of October (where did that go?!), the month officially classified as Cyber Security Awareness Month each year.
Here at Alpha Legal we were involved, all month, in raising awareness of the issues of cyber security for all sizes of businesses, and what the consequences of a security breach could be. Take a look at this one, for example, a real horror story for everyone involved: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-59069662
One of the best UK resources for "plain English" cyber security news and advice is the National Cyber Security Centre here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/
|Visit the NCSC website for good common-sense cyber security advice|
Alpha Legal is built to protect you and your clients. If you are a will writer, solicitor, accountant or estate agent and you are still using emails to collect ID or bank details from your clients, it's time to stop! Emails are not secure. You can register for Alpha Legal here and with no risk whatsoever. Give us a try!
Friday, 5 November 2021
Don't miss out on today's special offer! Great webinar with CTT Group highlighting the new Alpha Legal features
|This was the webinar from the presenters' point-of-view... 200+ attendees, lots of fun|
Take a look at https://www.todayswillsandprobate.co.uk/partner-news/alpha-legal-has-been-updated-its-a-big-one/ for more info about our new meeting planner, Zapier integration and link with IFA tool Intellifo.
|Our latest Alpha Legal update is featured on Today's Wills & Probate|
If you want to be the first to know about new features in Alpha Legal, drop Dan a note and ask to be a beta tester - he'd love to hear from you.
Tuesday, 2 November 2021
Are you pictured on these photos?! Claim your special offer available to all British Wills & Probate Award attendees
|Are you pictured here? Get in touch for your special offer|
|Alpha Legal's Elaine Porter & Dan Darkin|
|Mr Hall's house was sold after fraudsters created ID documents in his name|
Monday, 1 November 2021
We've just had the Support Desk results in for October 2021.
It was a good month. We answered 554 calls in total, and 97% of the most urgent were resolved within 2 hours. Overall, 86% of all questions were answered within the timescales set by the caller.
|Support Desk - October 2021|
You can see from the chart that this is the third month in a row that the urgent call performance has improved - well done to our Support Team.
Friday, 29 October 2021
360-degree cameras are seriously cool. We're using them to give all of our Alpha Tracker asbestos surveying users access to cost-effective virtual room technology.
Try it for yourself! Click to view the interactive 360-degree room view of one of our meeting spaces in our Telford office. We took this photo, and annotated it, with Tracker Mobile.
You can see it in action in the video, below. By the way, when you spin the room in Alpha Tracker it is buttery smooth... the blog makes it look jerky, but that's just an after-effect of the blog video processor.
Asbestos surveyors will be able to capture 360-degree views of rooms while surveying and send the photos in via Tracker Mobile. Surveyors or back-office staff will be able to "hotspot" the photos so that client portal users will be able to walk through the rooms and see virtual asbestos sample labels before clicking to see more details. Very cool indeed.
We're keeping costs down by using off-the-shelf cameras such as the Insta360 One X.
|One of the excellent Insta360 cameras|
Want to know more or would you like to be a beta-tester? Get in touch with Robin.
|Alpha Legal meeting planner, Zapier, Intellifo|
- a new Meeting Planner to help you to find a suitable time to meet your clients - ideal for Trustee meetings, for example, where there are many attendees, all with busy diaries!
- Zapier integration so that you can automatically send forms to clients and trigger Zaps when clients return information to you. Not sure what Zapier is? Take a look at this blog post or go to https://zapier.com/
- integration with the IFA tool Intelliflo so that you can share and sign documents via Alpha Legal direct from your Intelliflo portal
- a new way to send personalised ID requests to clients, to help those for whom the standard set of ID documents just isn't appropriate (for example, non-UK residents).