31 May 2011

PF HelpDesk V11.2 Released - SQL Azure New Database Choice

Public Folder HelpDesk V11.2 has been released! Public Folder HelpDesk is an issue tracking application for Outlook, and in spite of the name it can be installed in any Outlook folder, public, shared or private. We thank our Lead Developer Jayant Rimza, who was responsible for the development of version 11.2 and has done a great job with a difficult and time consuming task.

The most important new feature of the Outlook helpdesk is a third database alternative, SQL Azure. Microsoft's cloud database is a good alternative to Access, because it gives better storage capacity and security. SQL Azure is not free like Access, but you only pay for what you use. You don't have to bother with managing your own SQL Server - with SQL Azure Microsoft handles all maintenance. For a distributed team SQL Azure has another advantage: you can reach it from any system. All you need is an internet connection!

If you prefer you own SQL Server database, we have good news for you also: changes in the code will give your PF HelpDesk better performance after upgrading to V11.2. Several other enhancements have also been added and bugs were fixed, so if you are already using PF HelpDesk I suggest you take a look at the Revisions page .

All Community Members are welcome to upgrade! We will not mess with your database, so if you want to try the SQL Azure alternative you must make a new installation of PF HelpDesk.If you prefer to continue using your current Access or SQL Server database, you can just make an ordinary upgrade.

Do you need a tool for organizing and sharing incident reports and want the team to work with them inside Outlook? Have you not tried PF HelpDesk yet? Please download the application! I am sure you will like it, and our support group is here for you if you have questions.

26 May 2011

Estonia - New Market For

Today I have the pleasure to introduce to you our new translator, Siret Toots from Estonia. Siret will localize all products for Estonian. Calendar Browser and HelpDesk OSP are already finished, and the translated phrases will be added to the next updates of those products.

Siret will also be responsible for the marketing of PamFax in Estonia and for the translation of this tool for easy and secure faxing into Estonian. Later Siret will complete the Finnish phrase lists, which need an update as some phrases are missing and shown in English instead.

It is not easy to translate our phrase lists, because you need to understand the product and not only know the language well. For example, if you find the word "book" in the phrase list for our resource booking tool Calendar Browser, you need to understand that it means "reserve" and is not referring to a book you can read. Siret is both dedicated and cooperative, so I feel confident that she will give us good translations and eventually new Members of Community.

18 May 2011

iCalendarTimeCard Design Nearly Finished

 In an earlier blog I told you that and RampUp are developing an iPhone app for TimeCard users. TimeCard makes it possible to tag appointments in the Microsoft Outlook calendar with time reporting data. That way reporting of both time and expenses can be done from inside the calendar, and no double entries are needed. With TimeCard in the iPhone also, time tracking will be even more quick and simple.

The new app is called iCalendarTimeCard and the development work goes well forward. Today I can show you how the calendar day view with appointments will look in iPhone. It will be easy to open and edit the appointments only using a finger, and you can add new appointments in the same smooth way. Dates and times are taken from the iOS gear wheel, and we generally use Apple recommended controls. It will be interesting to test the finished product!

16 May 2011

HelpDesk OSP Already Supports Office 365, Microsoft's New Small Business Platform

As the products are built on Microsoft's we continuously have to update them to adapt to and take advantage of new technology. Not this time, though. When Microsoft now announces changes in their online SharePoint platform for small businesses, we are happy to say that our application already works with the new product.

The incident management tool, HelpDesk OSP, supports both SharePoint and Office Live Small Business, even if nearly all Community Members prefer to use it for publishing from Outlook to SharePoint. Now Microsoft has announced that they will close down Office Live Small Business, probably from November 2011. Instead they offer the cloud-based Office 365, now available in a Beta version. As HelpDesk OSP works with all SharePoint sites, no matter if they are hosted online or in-house, it already supports Office 365.

The reason why Microsoft will remove Office Live Small Business is that they wish to give small companies a more comprehensive, professional-grade set of productivity tools. In Office 365 Microsoft brings together online versions of several communications and collaboration tools, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and Office Web Apps. Just like Business Solutions, Microsoft has chosen to use a subscription model for their new product.

Community Members can use HelpDesk OSP with Office 365 even today, and very few use Office Live anyway, so we have now removed all references to Office Live from the website. From the next version of HelpDesk OSP it will not be possible to connect to Office Live anymore. We will rewrite the manual before the next version of HelpDesk OSP is released, but for now we have chosen to keep the Office Live parts there and just explain that it will be taken out.

We are happy with Microsoft's decision, even if it means some extra work for us to remove the Office Live alternative from our tool. Now Members will get a better alternative than Office Live, and it will be easier to configure HelpDesk OSP when no choice between two platforms has to be made. The continued development and testing of the application will be quicker when we don't have to take Office Live into consideration, and the documentation will also be simpler. Everything points to a great future for both SharePoint and HelpDesk OSP!

13 May 2011

ShareTask Published At App Store - Cooperate on SharePoint Tasks While Mobile

ShareTask icon The team gets new reasons to celebrate every day! This time we are happy that ShareTask has been approved and is up for sale at App Store. This app lets you manage your SharePoint tasks directly in your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and I think it will be very popular. Community Members who use our incident management tool HelpDesk OSP will of course make use of ShareTask, but we think many others will also find it convenient. ShareTask is an app for all who want to be able to continue working with SharePoint task items while on the run.

ShareTask is not just an app that connects to a SharePoint site, but it actually puts the list in the iOS device. It is designed to be easy to handle with a finger, but a keyboard may of course also be used. ShareTask uses many standard iOS features, that every iPhone or iPad owner is familiar with, and on top of them we have added the extras that make this app so special. Business Solutions has developed ShareTask in cooperation with CEO Peter had the idea ‒ of course! ‒ and figured out how make it reality. Then softage developer Alexander Songolov together with QA engineer Alena Prokudina and graphic designer Jitendra Joshi from did most of the work. Try ShareTask, and I think you will agree with me that they have done an excellent job!

10 May 2011

Microsoft + Skype = Great Opportunities For

Skype icon After months of speculations about who would buy or partner with Skype, we today have heard the outcome: Microsoft will acquire Skype for 8,5 billion dollars. The affair will bring many benefits to both consumers and enterprises, and it will give exciting new opportunities. Our CEO, Peter, has developed add-ons for Microsoft products for twenty years and earned 15 Microsoft certifications. He also has deep knowledge about Skype, as it was only six months ago that he left a position as Product Manager for Skype Toolbars.

When Peter begun working for Skype in 2005 it was still owned by the two creators, and they had recently bought Peter's add-on Outlook Skype. Under Peter's more than five years in the company it grew to be one of the really big, and the Skype product was much improved. That phone numbers on web pages turn into clickable buttons is just what you expect today, but it was only a few years back that Peter initiated the development of this Skype feature.

It seems that Skype will be a separate business division inside Microsoft, called Microsoft Skype. Two giants have joined forces, and it will be very interesting to see what the deal will bring in the future. I am sure I will have reason to come back to it several times ‒ always with the angle, of course! Partners With PamFax

PamFax bannerI am happy to announce that has gone into partnership with PamConsult GmbH, the company behind the successful faxing software PamFax. Normally we don’t market other products than our own, but when CEO Peter worked as Product Manager for Skype he helped designing the first version of PamFax. Therefore this partnership feels natural to him.

PamFax allows users to send fax messages worldwide at a low cost per page, either via a fax application or online. I have used PamFax ever since it was released in 2006. Then Peter suggested that we throw out our bad functioning fax machines and go for using PamFax online instead, and that is something we have never regretted. PamFax is secure, cheap and easy to use, and it has many good features ‒ as support for Dropbox, and Google Documents and a possibility to send to multiple fax recipients in one fax. I also like that we can see our fax history online at our PamFax Portal.

My first task in the new partnership will be to translate PamFax into Swedish and start marketing it here in my home country. We will also make an Estonian version and introduce the software there. PamFax has been increasingly popular during its five years on the market, and today the tool is used by both individuals and big companies all over the world. It will be great to cooperate with the creators of PamFax in making faxing easier for still more people.

06 May 2011

New App Under Development: iCalendarTimeCard

Today I have great news for users of TimeCard, the application that lets you report time from inside the Outlook calendar. We have made an agreement with Ramp Up, who also helped us with TimeCard Mobile, to create a TimeCard app for iPhone. It will be called iCalendarTimeCard.

TimeCard Mobile has served well for several years, but now it feels a bit outdated. It is time to give TimeCard users a better alternative for their smart phones, and we will start with the iPhone app. Next step is to make iCalendarTimeCard work for iPad and iPod touch also, and then we will turn to Windows Phone7.

With iCalendarTimeCard it will be possible to filter, edit and create new events with assigned TimeCard categories in iPhone. Since neither iPhone, Windows Mobile nor Android supports the categories field, we will also support an addition to the body field for the TimeCard properties.

The iCalendarTimeCard Add Event screen will be similar to the default iPhone calendar – but with additional dropdowns for the TimeCard properties and with the design and colors. In this first step reporting will have to be made from TimeCard, but later we wish to create a TimeCard for smart phones that can be used stand alone. We have that in mind during the development, but we will take one step at a time.

I am sure iCalendarTimeCard will be an excellent tool for the many TimeCard users who don't spend all their working time in front of a computer. And of course it will be free of cost to Community Members and TimeCard Singel Support customers!

02 May 2011

New Headquarters On Legendary Island

Kalmstrom Enterprises AB, the company behind the brand Business Solutions, has moved its headquarters to an island in the Baltic sea. Öland is situated near the south eastern coast of Sweden.

Even if it is an island it is no tax paradise ‒ quite the contrary, since the local tax is rather high ‒ but it is a paradise when it comes to nature. The southern part is a UNESCO World Heritage, and many other areas are also protected in various ways.

Öland is also famous for the many historical monuments, and on the image above you can see the biggest one, the castle ruin of Borgholm. It is named after the small town you can see behind it. The royal family of Sweden has its summer residence, Solliden, by the sea not far from the ruin ‒ and Sigge and I live in the upper right corner of the image :-)

Borgholm is a good town for a business, because the authorities are eager to attract new companies to the area. A significant part of the population works in the tourist industry, but the internet has given new possibilities to live and work on the island.

The leaders of Borgholm want to take advantage of that and persuade more people to move to the island. Sigge and I did just that, and now we look forward to continue our work in an environment that is both stimulating and healthy.