e-Newsletter, October 23, 2008

Roundtable Software Newsletter #57, October 23, 2008

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In this issue...

Patch 36 Released

This patch takes care of some minor bugs and adds new features:

New Way To Address COM Ports: It has been determined that printing to serial/COM ports has becoming troublesome on Windows Vista and newer revisions of Windows XP. We determined that COM port settings that are set in DOS or in the control panel were being ignored once a DOS application program started -- Windows is (for unknown reasons) reverting the settings back to COM port default settings. In order to overcome this Windows problem we have added the ability to have RTS-Advantage reset the COM port settings to user preferences based on environment variables. Two environment variables are recognized: ADVCOM1 and ADVCOM2. The settings for each of these variables is arrived at by adding up bitflags associated with the settings you want.

Here are the options:

Port Option
Baud Rate
Data Bits
Stop Bits

Set the environment variable to the sum of the bitflags for the options desired. For instance, if you need your COM1 port set to 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit and even parity set environment variable ADVCOM1 to 251 (224 + 3 + 0 + 24).

This Earth change will take effect for all modules downloaded in this patch.

A number of fixes and improvements were made to System Administrator program 11 (Modify Reports) as we were developing the Windows version of this program. The changes made include:

  • Would write bad records into the PL file if an image record was deleted.
  • Copying a format did not properly write a new end-of-file record
    (no effect in the DOS product but caused problems for Windows)
  • Better handling of custom settings for decimal fields
  • Changed the default on printing negative signs from no sign to negative sign

Compatibility Changes:

  • Additions to many System Administrator programs were made for compatibility with our forthcoming Windows Point of Sale module. (This required a screen change; click to see how to update your SCFM after loading the patch.)

  • When developing the Windows version of System Administrator program 7 (Update Files) several small problems were found and corrected in the DOS version.

New Feature: Payroll can now calculate and properly apply the EIC amount for each pay period. Previously, EIC amounts would have been manually calculated or simply entered as a standard flat amount for each pay period. Because EIC is a credit, we’ve added a new question--Negate Table Result--to the end of the tax tables. Program 58, Transfer Tax Tables, now includes 3 new EIC tables: Single, Married with 1 Certificate or Married with 2 Certificates. (This required a screen change; click to see how to update your SCFM after loading the patch.)

To implement EIC with the new tables, transfer the tables in program 58, then create Deduction Types in program 3 that use the tables. Add these deductions to the appropriate employees as you would any other table-driven deduction, being sure to enter the appropriate frequency code.

Payroll program 15 (Calculate Taxes/Deductions) was trying to take into account pre-tax deductions when 'calculating' flat rate deductions, with the result that flat rate deductions were being pro-rated when they should simply be a flat rate as defined.

A new key file has been defined for the Payroll Employee Master on Social Security Number. New sort options were added to some printing programs in Payroll that can take advantage of the new key. In addition Payroll program 6 (Employee Master) will now show a warning if a Social Security Number is entered that matches that of another employee. In order to use the new key in employee lookup windows it will be necessary to delete any custom lookup files in the data directory named ADPRccLU.DAT (cc is the company number) and then recreate them by entering Payroll program 55 (Custom Sort Order).

A large group of employee information fields have been added to the reports for Payroll program 25 (Tax Returns) including address, phone number, hire and termination dates, etc. These fields have all been placed outside of the printable portion of the format in sections 12 through 15. If you would like to add them to the report use System Administrator program 11 to edit the formats.

Payroll tax tables for Maryland have been changed (yet again) for new rates. EIC tables have been added.

New Feature: You can now specify custom text descriptions for your payment types. Custom descriptions are set up in Accounts Receivable program 50, and are displayed in AR program 18 (Post Payments), Point of Sale 4 and 5 (Full/Quick Invoicing), Billing program 4 and 9 (Invoices/View Invoices) and Order Entry programs 1 and 6 (Orders/View Orders). This new feature allows you to indicate, for instance, that Credit Card 2 is to be used for Mastercard credit cards. (This required a screen change in AR, BL & OE; click to see how to update your SCFM files after loading the patch.)

The screen form for Billing program 4 has been streamlined to free up memory which was getting tight in the program. No change in functionality.

New Feature: Point of Sale program 4 (Full Invoicing) has a new option to move a line on an invoice. To use go to the S (Select) field and choose 'O'. You will be asked for the line number you wish to move, and the line number you want into which it should be inserted (the current contents of that line will be moved down). The program will not allow you to move a line into, out of, or within a kit. (This required a screen change; click to see how to update your SCFM after loading the patch.)

Main salesperson's name added to the print layouts for Point of Sale programs 4 and 5 (Full and Quick Invoicing).

Order Entry program 54 (Order From Estimate) now properly handles line and additional discounts when copying or transferring estimates to orders.

Updated print layout files have been provided for all modules. As we were developing the new Windows Modify Reports program we came to find that all the PLs had lots of minor problems in them (overlapping fields, inaccurate record counts, etc). The DOS product was seldom bothered by these minor problems but our Windows product is more choosy about its formats, so we have cleaned up all the print layout files so that they are happy and healthy. Click here to see how to clean up your company PLs.

NOTE: At the same time as this patch was released, updated tax tables for the following became available:

Federal EIC

The EIC tables required a change to the way tables are entered and calculated, so they will not work unless you are current as of this patch. The updated ADPRTXTB.DAT file is included with the files downloaded for this patch or click here here to download the most current tax table file.

Click here to go to the page for this patch where you can review the versions changed in this patch and download the patch file.

If you prefer, you can order a replacement CD from your dealer to get all the latest patches and ensure you are up to date.

Web Commerce Patch Released

A new patch is available for the Web Commerce module (dated 10/23/08). This patch has the following changes:

Can Now Import The "Full SKU Number": A new option has been added to Setup Order Import which allows you the option to import the PDG "Full SKU Number" field as the Item Group Number on order details. Originally this field was ignored by the import.

Imports More Info From "X" Records: You now have the ability to import order ship dates, customer PO numbers, terms information, and COD status if customized "X" records are included in the order export file.

All these fields are pulled from the "X" source records, which include item pairs where the first part of the pair defines the type of field, and the second contains the desired setting of the field. We have defined three new recognized field types:

SHIPDATE Import the date following, which must be in mm/dd/yy format, as the estimated ship date of the order.
PO Import up to 25 characters of text in the following field as the Customer PO Number for the order.
TERMS Import up to 10 characters of text in the following field as the Terms field on the order. If the text is "COD" then the order will also be flagged as COD.

For instance, the following X record is now recognized to conform to these special options:

X,<Order Number>,SHIPDATE,01/01/09,PO,"My PO Number",TERMS,"PREPAID"

Support For Current "P" Record Layout: We learned that the P (payment) records in PDG's exported order files can have as few as four fields or as many as thirteen (in direct variance to their documentation) so we have considerably loosened the verification routines on these records so as to take into account their many possible number of fields.

New Versions:

Setup Order Import: 5.03
Import Orders: 5.03

Windows Inventory Patch Released

A new patch for the Windows Inventory module has been released (dated 10/23/08). This patch has the following changes:

The Quantity Produced program incorrectly displayed the explosion level of the parent in the Quantity On Hand view field.

New version: 5.01

Windows Bank Reconciliation Patch Released

A new patch for the Windows Bank Reconciliation module has been released (dated 10/23/08). This patch has the following changes:

Gather Transactions was updated for compatibility with the new Payroll employee key added in patch 36.

The Process Transactions program occasionally had focusing problems when using the Quick Clear buttons.

The Process Transactions program would die if you tried to clear a transaction with a date of 00/00/00. Not that you should ever encounter this problem, but we fixed it anyway.

New Versions:

Gather Transactions: 5.04
Process Transactions: 5.04

New System Manager Released

A new version of the Windows System Manager has been released (dated 10/23/08) with the following major enhancements:

New Feature: Now includes the Windows version of System Administrator program 7, Update Files. The Windows version is much improved over the DOS version with much more information displayed about the files that are being updated.

New Feature: Now includes the Windows version of System Administrator program 11, Modify Reports. This new version has so many great new features, and is so much more convenient to use than the DOS version that there's practically no comparison. And did we mention that it's absolutely free?

One item that we do need to explain about this version is that when you load a format for editing the program will do a very thorough 'sanity check' on its internal structure and fix any problems it finds. When editing your company PL for the first time you will likely have to click through a long list of messages about things that the program is fixing. Don't worry, though. First off, it won't mess up your format, and second, you only have to go through it once.

Improved Handling of "Screen Display" Bitmaps: The ability to print bitmap images on reports was not compatible with 'screen display' type bitmaps that are missing resolution information in the bitmap file. Such bitmaps are apparently commonly created by graphics packages that assume the bitmaps are for screen display usage only. We changed our bitmap printing code to assume 72 dpi (default screen resolution) when bitmaps do not supply this information. Keep in mind that bitmap graphics that are at this low resolution will not look very good on your reports -- they will appear pixelated. Bitmaps should really be a minimum of 300 dpi to look sharp on a printed report. This change affects all downloaded Windows printing programs.

New online help for the new features added to System Manager and Web Commerce packages.

2008/09 eFile Prep Released

The new edition of eFile Prep is now available for use in submitting eFile returns for tax year 2008 1099-MISC and W-2 forms and for tax year 2009 quarterlies.

Because the changes to the submission specifications for this tax year were minor, we are making a special offer for users who purchased the 2007/08 edition. If you have a registered copy of last year's edition you may purchase this year's edition for just $75. For those who did not purchase the eFile module for 2007/08 the price is $695.

No Formatting Changes for Paper W2 and 1099-MISC Forms

There is no update needed to print 2008 W-2 and 1099-MISC forms from our General Ledger, Payroll, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable modules as the layout has remained identical to last year's forms. However, the OASDI limit in Payroll program 26 would need to be changed from the 2007 default of $97,500 to the 2008 amount of $102,000.

Unverified Publisher Errors On XP/Vista Networks

Windows XP-SP2 and Vista both now have a really annoying message that appears on your screen when running a server-based application from a workstation. The message says:

"The publisher could not be verified. Are you sure you want to run this software?"

And you then have to click the Run button to get into RTS-Advantage or whatever application you're trying to run.

The intent of this message is to warn you before running programs that originate on the internet. Unfortunately the security does not distinguish between internet-based applications and those on your own server.

In order to stop this message for all applications that reside on your server follow this procedure on each workstation:

  1. Start Control Panel.

  2. Double-click on the Internet Options item.

  3. Switch to the Security tab.

  4. Click on the Local Intranet icon and then on the Sites button that appears when the display changes.

  5. Click on the Advanced button.

  6. In the edit box directly under "Add This Website To The Zone" clear any default text and type in the name of your server preceded by two backslashes (for instance, \\MyServer). Click on the Add Button, then the Close button.

  7. Click OK on the dialogs you opened and then exit from Control Panel.

You should no longer get that annoying message regarding any applications residing on your local server. Please note that this does nothing to disable internet security whatsoever -- its only effect is on your own installed applications.

Common Questions About Our Windows Products

Q: In the new lookups I seem to only be able to lookup on the main key. For instance, in the Item lookup I can only search on the Item Number. How do I search on Group and Description like in the DOS version?

A: To switch the search key just click on the title of the key you want to search at the top of the item display list. Click on Group, for instance, and the table will change to being sorted on Group Number and the Search field at the bottom will now say "Group" above it and any typing you do there will search on that key.

Q: I thought in the Windows version I'd be able to email reports but all I see are print and preview options. Did we not get that feature?

A: At the bottom right corner of the print button is a little arrowy sort of thing. Click on that part of the Print button and you will see a whole menu of additional print options, including both Email as Body and Email as Attachment.

Q: My reports don't print nearly as fast in the Windows product as the same report does in the DOS product. Is this Windows overhead or is there something I can do to speed things up?

A: Yes, it is Windows overhead but you probably can speed things up. If you were printing directly to an LPT or COM port in the DOS product that is a lot faster because it bypasses a lot of that Windows overhead. When you select the Print button in the Windows product we send the report through the whole Windows rigamarole, all of which is necessary for our new high-end capabilities like printing images and barcodes.

However, if you just want a basic report and your printer supports direct printing you can bypass all that functionality by clicking on the little arrow at the bottom right of the Print button. Then select Print to LPT Port or Print to Com Port and choose the port to which your printer is attached. This bypasses most of the Windows stuff and produces a faster printing report. No graphics or barcodes will print though.

Note that fewer and fewer printers these days are programmed to take direct print jobs. If you try to print a report directly to the port on these printers you will- at most- just get blank pages. If you want to continue printing direct to a port look for printers that say "DOS Compatible" or "Unix Compatible". Printers that state that they are "Windows Only" will definitely not include this feature. Or better yet, think green and purchase a used printer from a refurbisher or surplus dealer.

Q: I can't get into some of the new programs you've added for the Windows product. It tells me that my login doesn't have permission to access it. I have permissions to get into everything in DOS, so what gives?

A: Until your system administrator specifically gives you access rights to new programs you won't be able to get into them. The system administrator might be having trouble finding the right options, and they can be a bit tough to find since the new programs added for Windows are not obviously numbered like those in DOS, and some even have several program numbers, like Inventory Expert. It has so many options that it takes up three programs worth of security options (programs, 40, 41 and 42).

The security for some of the menu items in the Windows product are also a bit hard to find. You will find many of them listed under System Administrator program 30 in the Security program.

NPC Direct Deposit: New Web-Based Interface

National Payment Corporation now has a web-based interface for submitting payroll direct deposit information. We have been assured that the old DOS/modem-based interface will continue to be supported for the time being, but it will eventually be phased out.

Luckily our Payroll module works with either interface. If you would like to switch over to the web-based interface (which, by the way, we are told NPC charges less for) you will continue to use the Create Deposit option in Payroll program 17, but no longer use the Transmit option.

After using Create Deposit to create the batch file, you will find the ADDIRDEP.xxx file in your AUSER directory (xxx is the batch number you enter in Payroll program 17). View the contents with a text editor (Notepad works fine), select and copy the entire contents of the file. Then go to NPC's website with your browser and follow their instructions for pasting the contents of the file into their interface.

Printing Bitmaps On Labels

Our bitmap image feature works on both regular reports and label reports. However, with laser labels if you want your image to print on each label on the sheet you will need to supply a bitmap file that has the logos or pictures placed so that each label on the sheet will get one. In other words, if you have a page of labels that has two-wide labels and 8 deep on the page, then your bitmap should be essentially the size of the whole page, and the logo or picture should be duplicated on it 16 times, each one placed so that it prints in the desired area of each label.

If you aren't up to speed on creating and editing computer graphics, you'll find many companies and individuals who can do the work for you locally (check the Yellow Pages, Craigslist or eLance.com) and lots of design services with web presences. If you don't want to go to the trouble of dealing with people that don't necessarily understand what you're looking for, Roundtable Software can scan your logos or other images, create BMP files and format them to print properly on your chosen report/label stock. Feel free to give us a call at (352) 253-9779 to discuss these services.

New All-Inclusive Trial Version Released

We now have available a complete trial version of our product which, with a single setup command, will install the demo versions of the complete DOS product, plus Windows System Manager, Inventory, Web Commerce, and Bank Reconciliation. The setup program also has the capability to automate the setup of workstations on networks. If you have business associates who would like to try the program please let them know that this very convenient test drive version is now available.

Click Here To Download The Trial Version

Click Here To Download The Installation Instructions

Or, if you do not want to download this rather large file, Click Here To Request The Trial Version On CD

Note that users currently on the software should NOT install this demo version on a machine currently running the live software - live and demo software should not be intermixed on any computer.

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