A1-Law / WCFMS Newsletter April 2002
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Itís in June in Squaw Valley.
In This Issue
A1-Law Version 4.1.9 now available. Form Letters and Case Activity. The New Support Forum.
A1-Law Version 4.1.9 Now Available
Version 4.1.9 is now available right here on the web to all 4.0 users. No one even needs to quit out of A1-Law for you to install this update. This alone is extremely convenient especially if your office has a lot of users (try keeping 50+ people out of a case management system; it's not easy). All you need to do is download the module into the A1-Law\extras folder, quit the program and go back in at your leisure and you will have access to the new features.
See Version 4 for more information and all of the new features. One really nice feature in version 4.1.9 we neglected to mention (which has since been updated on the web) is the ability to blink an icon in the system tray when a user receives new mail, an instant message or a chat page. This may be very useful when users are in other programs outside of A1-Law.
Form Letters and Case Activity
Back in the Version 3.xx days, A1-Law never used to update the date in the case activity when changes were made to a form letter. The idea was this - users could view a letter or they could edit a letter. In general, if one views a letter, they should click the X in the upper right corner of the screen so that the letter is not saved and the date is not updated either (this is not intuitive because users are quick to click the Save button - so this will be improved in the next update).
For now, in Version 4.xx, if you are viewing a form letter, just click the X in the upper right corner to close the window and click NO when A1-Law asks if you want to Save Changes. The real problem comes when users actually edit the letter and make changes weeks later. This happened in our first release and users noticed that the date was not being updated in the case activity.
Then some users came up with a logical suggestion as follows: "look, if we edit a letter, we want to know when the change was made and the latest revisions should be reflected as such in the case activity." Sounded like a great idea - at least to some offices it did. After all, why would you want to make a change to a letter in April, send it out in April and have case activity date is as March or some other historical date of when it first went out?
The answer is simple, some offices wanted to know when the letter first went out and other offices want to know when it last went out. A few weeks ago, one person called from an office and just could not believe the confusion all of this was causing. To him, the answer was very simple. If you are going to resend a letter to someone, you don't edit a letter that has already gone out. That destroys the history of what has actually happened. Rather, they should do it again since it is going out a second time (or maybe even a third time). That makes sense. After all, with any other method, you lose information. For one thing, you lose the contents of the first letter that was sent out (it may not be a lot - but you certainly lose the fact that it was sent on a specific date. But, offices don't want to take the time redo a letter (to make a minor change) and they probably don't want to "cut and paste" either.
To me, if you are viewing a letter (and only viewing the letter) then you will never want to the date in case activity to change. For now, you can just click the X in the upper right corner of the screen, and when it says Save Changes, click NO. This will keep the date intact. However, if you are making changes, it's better to redo the letter. I am going to work on this feature in the very next update to make it easier and more self explanatory to clear up this confusion.
The support forum is still probably the most undervalued service that we have to offer because not too many use it. But, those that do have the potential to learn more about the program and how others are using it than they otherwise could. You may visit the forum anytime and read messages and learn questions that others are asking and view answers to those questions. You are free to post your replies as well to questions or start a new thread and ask your own question or questions.
Once again,, the more people that use the discussion forum, the greater the benefit to everyone. The Support Forum will now automatically send you an Email any time you check the box to send Email for any replies to the thread you post on. I automatically receive an Email for any posts on the forum.
Advantages to using
First, it's a great learning tool and everyone can learn from everyone else. You may learn a lot by just randomly reading interesting posts on the forum.
Second, it's possible that someone else may answer your questions before I even read the post. Also, others may share how they utilize A1-Law in that situation. I don't think people yet realize the true value of the support forum. For more information, see the Support Forum.
Third, you may click the Search hyperlink at the forum and search for a "key word." Since your question may have already been posted and asked by someone else on the forum, you may be able to immediately find the answer to your question rather than have to wait for an answer.
Newsletter Back Issues
Looking for some back issues? You'll find them on our web site at http://www.appellsoftware.com. They have also been included in the help file in Version 4.00 up to November 2001.
Problems with Email Support
If you send me an Email and I have not replied within 48 hours please send a cc to Appell@AppellSoftware.com. Better yet, feel free to post your question on the support forum so that others can offer their input and suggestions and everyone can learn from everyone else. You can access the discussion forum at http://www.appellsoftware.com.
Remote Access Programs / PC Anywhere
Better support can be obtained if you upgrade to PC Anywhere with DSL. Check with your consultant about firewalls and security issues. Some offices are upgrading from DSL to a T1 line which is even faster. Most important of all, there is no substitute for a good backup. Have you done your backup this week?
Questions and answers.
And now for my usual sign-off.......
Until next time, have a great month.