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Some useful smatterings of information, and some more substantial ones too, to make your working life easier.


Pose for Red Nose

New Contact Management Article

Top tip

Personal Profile - Keith

Robin's 10th Year


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The Software-Matters Pose for Red Nose

Pose for Red Nose

Free Contact Management Database and How to Make it Yourself

Contact Management Database Design

Our website now offers a free download of a simple Contact Management database, alongside a new article explaining how to build and customise such a system for yourself. A contact management or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database stores information on any contacts your business needs and the interactions you have had with them. This information allows for the construction of larger systems that can integrate this information into the administration of the whole business.

Needless to say, almost any business or organisation can reap the benefits of such a system. If you want to get started with your own database, follow the link below to read the article and download our free starter database.

Creating an MS Access Contact Management Database



suicideware: <jargon> A program which entirely stops functioning after a predefined date. Used to ensure that beta versions don't remain in circulation indefinitely or in demo versions to ensure that they can only be used to try out the program. (Note: we at Software-Matters don't do this!)

Free Online Dictionary of Computing



The battery memory effect is not true with lithium batteries and fully discharging a battery before charging can actually cause damage. However manufacturers do recommend a full discharge once a month to calibrate things like the time left feature you find on laptops


Personal Profile - Keith (2013)

As mentioned in the last issue Katherine left to have a baby and Keith has now replaced her. Keith joined in November of last year and today we are going to find out a bit more about him.
NAME: Keith Tedbury
OK, so we know your name but have you ever had any nicknames?
Yes my brother (and so everyone he has introduced me to) calls me 'Spatch' and my sister calls me 'Spud', I have no idea why and they don't seem to remember either.

The man himself

Keith (Not James)


Where are you from?
Born in Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, but moved to Somerset at a young age. Moved around a bit for Uni and work but now back in Somerset.
How did you end up doing what you do?
I regularly used different software packages during my university course and did a module on I found it interesting and that I enjoyed working with computers. I saw an advert in the paper for a job at Software-Matters and here I am!
Which university did you attend and what did you study?
I studied for an HND in Civil Engineering at Southampton Solent University and then went to Kingston to study for a degree.
What hobbies do you have and how did you get into them?
Kayaking takes up a large part of my life but I do also going climbing when I can. I started both when I was at Kingston University and spent time working as an instructor in France.
What are you passionate about?
Kayaking and the environment. Seeing litter laying around really winds me up especially when it's next to a bin.
Are there any other organisations you're involved with?
I coach voluntarily at Sutton Bingham Canoe Club.
Tea or coffee?
I drink both, but rarely; more likely to have a hot chocolate in the winter.
How tall are you?
Taller than James! (Those who have spoken to us on the phone will understand the relevance of this....).

Robin clocks in her 10th year!

Recently we celebrated Robin's 10th year of working at Software-Matters and 10 years is a long time for a software developer! The last 10 years have seen the journey from faithful Windows XP up to flashy Windows 8, 4 new releases of Microsoft Office, and the average number of transistors on a microprocessor soar from ten million to ten billion. As the Information Age continues on in full swing, the demand for experienced programmers has never been higher. How lucky we are then to have Robin marking this 10-year milestone.

After clocking in thousands of hours of work for nearly 80 different clients, we asked Robin a few questions about her time at Software-Matters.

How has your role evolved?

Initially I learnt Access and worked on Access projects. I still do some project work, but nowadays I mainly do testing, trying to use the databases as an end user, to check that the systems work and are easy to use. I try to think of all the things a user might do wrong, so that if an end user then makes the same mistake, the system should cope. I am also responsible for credit control, so if you have ever forgotten to pay an invoice on time you may have spoken to me.

Do any projects you have worked on stand out in your memory and why?

We worked on a very interesting project to schedule production of pot plants. Each plant went through several stages, and as any gardener will know, not all cuttings take, and of those that do take, not all will thrive. So you need to take extra cuttings to allow for some to fail. The program calculated how many cuttings to start with, and when, to produce a given number of larger plants on a particular date.

Having to translate the accounting spreadsheets that we had created for the Electoral Commission into Welsh was also an interesting challenge!

What did you do before you started at Software-Matters?

Before working at Software-Matters I had worked in software for many years, using different programming languages. I worked in the defence industry for some time using a combination of Maths and software. I also had a spell working for a Management Consultancy. A typical project there involved using software to produce reports on people based on their responses to personality questionnaires.





Looking after the money




The Electoral Commission

Back In 2003...

You might remember:

  • The publication of 'The Da Vinci Code'
  • The beginning of the Iraq War
  • The introduction of London's congestion charge scheme

You might not remember:

  • The completion of the Human Genome Project
  • The Spirit Rover launch for Mars
  • The creation of Google AdSense


There is always time to save!

Welcome back to Time-savers, our handy little hints and tips to save you time and frustration whenever you use your computer!

If you have recently acquired a new P.C. you may have found yourself in front of Windows 8 for the first time. This was designed with touch screens in mind, and so you may find yourself with some frustrations when sitting at a normal P.C. (Windows 8.1. will apparently help matters, so we shall see.) Meanwhile, here are some tips for Windows 8.

Windows 8 Jargon

Apps: Small programs that run from the 'Start' screen, and are designed for mobile use. Not to be confused with 'programs' or 'applications' which are the traditional pieces of software that are run in 'desktop mode'.

Windows 8 Quick Keys

Windows Key + D: Activates desktop mode. This is an ordinary Windows desktop from which regular programs are run e.g. Microsoft Office.

Windows Key + E: Opens File Explorer in desktop mode to the “My Computer” view which shows all of your drives.

Windows Key + C: Displays Charms menu. This menu (see picture right) allows quick access to commonly used Windows 8 features, mainly intended for use with apps, but also useful on the desktop for accessing settings menus.

Windows Key + I: Displays the Settings menu for the current app. If you are on the desktop or Start menu it shows general Windows 8 settings.

Windows Key + Q: Brings up the apps search menu that allows you to search your list of apps, as well as regular programs.

Windows Key + R: Opens Run Command window in desktop mode where you can launch programs by typing in their executable file names.

Windows Key + X: Brings up a menu of advanced system options, including Control Panel, Command Prompt, Task Manager and File Explorer.

Windows Key + Tab: Brings up the Task Switcher and toggles between apps. This is similar to Alt + Tab, which toggles between both apps and desktop programs.

Windows Key + H: Brings up Share menu for the current app. For example, pressing this in Bing Maps, lets you email or share map information on social networks.

Windows Key + M: Opens desktop mode and minimizes all windows.

Windows Key + F: Opens universal search menu and sets it to search files.

Windows Key + W: Opens universal search menu and sets it to search settings.

Windows Key + Z: Brings up app menu, which shows contextual options for the active app.

Windows Key + period key (full stop): Docks the current program or app to the right side of the screen if pressed once and to the left if pressed a second time.

The Windows 8 Charms Bar

PS: Don't forget our Gamble-Free Guarantee. We guarantee to save you money overall – if we don't then we'll refund the difference. We won't take something on unless it's worth your while, which means you really can't lose!

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