Blog posts written during 2008

McKesson ESR to AvaPA payroll automation mapping

Monday Monday, December 8, 2008 by Ian Pettman

ESR Assignment mapping

The ESR Ava import assignment module provides a very easy and powerful method of linking the McKesson ESR and AvaPA temp staffing suite together. The process incorporates a high degree of intelligence within the Ava system ensuring that all payroll returns conform fully to the assignment numbers allocated to individual employees and to the exact areas they work. This provides two benefits: timesheet entry errors of inappropriate grades are trapped and corrected before being sent to payroll. Due and diligent process is required to enable employees to receive payment at specified rates preventing both errors and potential fraud. 

In this article we will cover the various mapping options taking you through from an employee with one assignment number who is paid that rate everywhere, to someone who has multiple assignment numbers and can receive two different rates even when working in the same department with the same responsibilities.

ESR to AvaPA automation

NHS ESR payroll

Friday Friday, October 31, 2008 by Ian Pettman

The Ava to McKesson NHS ESR interface provides a comprehensive set of cross checks to ensure that the two systems accurately map employees to each other. This is essential to ensure employees are paid at the correct rates for the right jobs. One of the checks will produce an error "Employee payroll ref not set" when an incorrect mapping has occurred. This article discusses how to check for this and correct the employee mapping.

Fun with windows power shell or How to run window power shell scripts

Sunday Sunday, October 5, 2008 by Ian Pettman

For those of you who have had the pleasure of installing SQL 2008 and noticed that there are several prerequisites (which it would have been really nice if the SQL install program had included rather than it being a manual process).


Prerequites for installing SQL 2008


One of these is Windows Power Shell. You may have thought if power shell was powerful: it would blow a hole in your security. If power shell did not blow a hole in your security it could not be very powerful and therefore not worth learning about. Well it is powerful and it seems it does not blow a hole in your security. However the attitude - I'll install it and see what it does, is not quite as fruitful as one might hope. Power shell is not quite like a batch file. You install it, find a useful script from the internet, down load it to a *.ps1 file on your desk top, double click and get an error message. The shower shell script does not run. The following article takes you through the process of actually running a power shell script. I like the way it's written as well!

Search engine optimisation or SEO for short

Saturday Saturday, September 27, 2008 by Ian Pettman


On Thursday evening there was the most recent meeting of "DevEvening". This is a group of developers who take turns to present on areas of interest and expertise with a pleasant meal thrown in. The most recent presentation was given by Craig Hogan. on Search Engine Optimisation. It was both insightful and amusing. Curiously the links provided in the slides namely:


do NOT come on the first three pages when you Google SEO! Go figure!

However, at the bottom of the google search page are a number of links and is the top link for "SEO guide" so all is not lost.

For any of our customers or readers who would like to improve their search ranking, then reading the above websites probably is the most cost effective step they can take.

Happy optimisation

Set up: new how do I entry

Tuesday Tuesday, September 23, 2008 by Ian Pettman
There is a new "how do I" entry detailing how to set the payroll contractor's name.

Passwords and identity theft

Sunday Sunday, September 21, 2008 by Ian Pettman

Let's face it: passwords are the Bain of modern day life, be the chip and pin, email, back account or other.

In the States this recently became more topical when Sarah Palin's email account was "hacked". This article talks about having secure passwords that are easy to remember and ways to remember them.

Just for fun A bit off topic LHC rap

Wednesday Wednesday, September 17, 2008 by Ian Pettman

Since you are reading this, you currently have access to the Internet through the company fire wall. If you also have sound on the PC and have any interest in things scientific: here is some talented, not to say intelligent? (or should that be the other way around) doing their "thang".Just 3 minutes of your time...


How to capture windows screens to make a video

Tuesday Tuesday, September 16, 2008 by Ian Pettman

I was recently asked how to capture windows screens for making tutorials. There are inexpensive screen capture tools available.   If you just want a screen shot to put in a Word or Excel document then pressing < alt + ptrnsc > and then opening windows paint and selecting edit and then paste from the menu will do the job.

Just as inexpensive, and it allows you to capture a video is Windows Media Encoder. This is a free download from Microsoft if you have not already got it.You can get the latest version for Xp at:  

You can get the latest version for Vista at:

Guidelines on getting the best results are at:

and a getting started guide is it:

If you find the Microsoft way to do this a little complex, how about having a look at the following free application:

The Jing Project

Also, if you would like a more feature rich tool,TechSmith who developed The Jing Project also have a commercial offering calledCamtasia, it looks pretty good.

SQL 2008 Express

Tuesday Tuesday, September 9, 2008 by Ian Pettman

Microsoft have released SQL2008 Express with advanced service, I have done this install quite a few times now. So here are some recommendations:

1. Download and install the prerequisites first

These are:

Net framework version 3.5 SP1

Windows Installer 4.5

Power shell 1.0    (There is a beta for Power shell 2.0 - do not be mislead)

2. Download the install: do not run it. The odds are you will either want to uninstall it or reinstall it.

SQL 2008 Express with Advanced Services

This process may involve a number of reboots: I seem to average about 4.

Good luck!

Free utilities to check your web server

Thursday Thursday, July 17, 2008 by Ian Pettman

As Ava are supplying an increasing number of websites to our customers, the following free links may be helpful in assessing performance or checking if a website is functioning correctly independently of your local ISP.

This site allows you to put in your site URL and it will then check to see if it can contact the site.

you can also add your url and store it in favourites:

The following site provides a similar function with more detailed information giving the return times to you site from servers around the world:

Similarly, you can also add your url and store it in favourites:

The site

provides a similar service. It also tells you how it checks by following a link and there is a link to a paid for monitoring server with a free 30 day trial

Similarly, you can also add your url and store it in favourites:

 Probably the best of all (certainly the most complex) is:

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