Blog posts written during January 2010

Customer service

Thursday Thursday, January 21, 2010 by Ian Pettman

Ava always tries to give a human side to support calls and requests. Sometimes this is difficult for genuine reasons.  The reason which is most genuine and also repeated (fortunately not too often) is that the customer's server or network is down and that prevents any software working. Even so we can often help in determining where the faults is or its exact nature. This often means getting the service quickly restored by contacting the customer's IT support with a technical description of the problem.

It is all the more frustrating when we are knocked back by larger company's support. I had arranged broadband for someone with Pipex home broadband. The service no longer became appropriate and the phone line was ceased.  Still broadband bills arrived. So I tried calling Pipex: even on their premium rate sales or support numbers I just got a long announcement and a suggestion to call back in 24 hours. Their web site just crashed every time I tried to submit a contact request (five or six times).  Emails (not using their web site) just got an automated response with a request to state my problem between anti-spam markers - which then got an automatic reply with a request to state my problem between anti-spam markers - etc. I received an email from Talk Talk asking me to follow a link -within 24 hours. I followed it within 24 minutes. I was told it has expired.

The one good thing to come out of this was a google link to which gave me a non premium rate number which was actually answered! This superb site allows you to search for non premium rate numbers for companies and it is in my opinion excellent.

To coninue with the Pipex saga. The call centre was in the Philippines islands and no, they could not help either. It was just good to hear a human voice after two hours of total frustration.  At Ava agency software we do not use premium rate number for support and our customers have my mobile number too.

Migrating or Moving SQL Server

Wednesday Wednesday, January 6, 2010 by Ian Pettman

In the Agency software business in the UK, there is a seasonal pattern. As the Christmas period approaches, NHS nurses do as much overtime as possible to build up their pay packets. As a consequence,  Agency nurses and Agencies (can) get a quiet period.  This usually means that it's that time of year when server moves are scheduled. With Ava often helping out in these moves or migrations, it's a busy time for us. With SQL 2008 being a year old, the more nervous and cautious are migration from SQL 2000, SQL 2005 to SQL 2008.
Here are some links to articles I've found on the web to help this process:
An overview of migrating SQL 2000 to 2008 from dell - in clear English.
And the Microsoft offerings:
How to transfer logins and passwords between instances of SQL Server
How to transfer the logins and the passwords between instances of SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008

How to redirect Ava Pa to connect with the new server:

Happy new year and a dancing experience from last year

Tuesday Tuesday, January 5, 2010 by Ian Pettman

As some of you know after many years soaring the updrafts in various parts of the world, I gave up gliding and to gain a bit more fitness and fill some time, I took up Ceroc dancing.

At the end of last year, just before I was snowed in, I went to the Christmas event at Windsor. I'll be candid; I'm not a great fan of Windsor: it's on the same night as Henley and it's like dancing in an aircraft hanger except that you get a smell of chlorine from the swimming area.  Despite the snow and Ice, I arrived shortly after opening: I wasn't the first, there must have been 30 or so there before me. The music was definitely not dance music: everyone was sitting down. Actually this state of affairs continued for nearly an hour, by which time there were about 80 people who had come to dance, to a person, sitting around a dance floor.  I must admit that it takes some skill as a DJ to play music for an hour that Dancers refuse to get up and dance to. They or he managed it.

For the New year I'll be going to Henley, Reading, Newbury, occasionally further afield but definitely not Windsor.


Ah well, back to the agency software


Happy dancing


AIMS single file export and report

Sunday Sunday, January 3, 2010 by Ian Pettman

The latest version of AVA Recruitment software for temporary staff supports NHS AIMs exports and reports. AIMS as demanded by Buying Solutions is a system which allows the NHS to import and data warehouse purchasing information. It relies either on time consuming line by line data entry for invoices or a single file import format for each Trust and invoice run. The information for the file upload required is quite specific and requires repeated entry of job descriptions, pay rate descriptions and specific codes.  There are place holders within Ava for each of these codes and a single file export mechanism. Setting up these placeholders is described by this support article on the Ava Pa. It may be found quickly by searching for AIMS using the site search.

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