Eclipse Users Group/UFO NewsletterSeptember 2010 Vol 410
Profit Through Participation
President's Update
 Larry McMullin, UFO President

The Board of Directors will be conducting our annual "face to face" meeting on October 5 - 6 in Activant's corporate offices in Yardley, Pennsylvania.  On the agenda will be discussions about how we can improve service, training and offerings to our members, how we can communicate better with our members and how we can make the Eclipse User's Group an indispensable part of your organization. In other words, we want to improve our organization.  For the first time, the entire Board will be meeting with the executive leadership of Activant's distribution group. This will include Kevin Roach and Frank Heenan as well as other important leaders of the group. We will be discussing issues that are critical to the members of the Eclipse User's Group with the goal of understanding each others visions, goals and needs as we proceed down the Eclipse roadmap. The Board appreciates the opportunity presented by Activant and we plan on making this an annual event between our organizations. I will report to you in a special October newsletter about this meeting.


I hope that business has been a little better for all of you this year and that you look at the future with optimism. However, I recognize that business around the country is still challenging and not as robust as we would like.  As I've mentioned in the past, I believe that in times such as these, it can be a good time to invest in training and technology.  When business is slower than normal, an argument can be made that a time investment for training is available.  You can always look to the UFO to provide effective training opportunities.  I also understand that selecting and utilizing new technology can be very intense with regard to both time and money. Even so, there are some solid opportunities that can have a good ROI and a positive impact on our businesses. A good example of this is the current offering for Linux servers.  When my company examined the ROI and the effect on our day to day operations, it was a "no brainer" to make the switch. In the end, our system is now "smoking fast" compared to our old IBM box and this helps to make us more productive. Our ROI could be measured in weeks.  We are going to continue to examine whether or not different technologies have a positive impact on our company and that includes a review of Solar.  


Please rest assured that I am not making a solicitation for Activant. Rather, I am merely providing an example and suggesting that even in this business climate it is possible to improve our businesses with technology investments and to be in a position where we can take advantage of future opportunities.  After all, I firmly believe that the business climate will continue to improve!

 As you invest in new technology or are thinking about new technology, I encourage you to share your experiences and recommendations on the UFO bulletin boards.  I'll give you an example. Bill Fitzgerald of Hajoca posted a procedure regarding how to correct errors that occurred during their Element conversion. That posting has helped numerous companies through their own Element conversion. That is what the bulletin boards are all about. Your input can be a treasure trove of information that can help a fellow user.


Your concerns, suggestions and recommendations are extremely valuable. Please email them to Mary Barlow at


Thanks for your continued support of the Eclipse User's Group!


-Larry McMullin

How Are Your UFO Dues Invested?

How are your UFO dues invested?


The Board of Directors and Executive Director of the UFO work very hard to maximize the benefits members receive from their annual dues. These dues fund training, product enhancement, monthly board meetings and annual board meetings at Activant headquarters where your suggestions and concerns are communicated to key Activant personnel and executives.


The following chart provides a breakdown of how your dues are used. Please note this chart does not reflect the time spent by board members, committee members and volunteer instructors who donate many hours on our behalf.   


-Tim Walker, UFO Board Treasurer


 2009 UFO Operations

New Members
Capitol Group Inc, Springfield, IL
Nunn Eelctric,
Wichita Falls, TX 
W. VA. Electric Supply Co Huntington, WV
Returning Member
Industrial Packaging Supplies
Fountain Inn, SC
President's Update
UFO Operational Chart
User Tip Source for MS Office Tips
Move to Linux?
New Ideas Enhancement Process Live Date
What's Missing from the Newsletter
User Tips
Source for MS Office Tips

by Cyndi Skweres, Electrical Distributors.

Just wanted to pass on to everyone a useful source that I have found for tips about the Microsoft Office package.  You can go to New Horizons website at and sign up for their weekly eTips for free.  All you have to do is register on their website.  They also periodically have Free Webinar sessions on the different MS Office modules.  This is one of the current tips from this week.

Whenever you can save time with a repetitive task, it's good to take advantage of it, such as adding an automatic signature to your emails. In your signature, you can have your name, company name, phone number, address, Web site address, company slogan, or any other information you'd like to share with your email recipients. That way, when you email someone and write, "Call me with any questions," the recipient has the contact information he needs to reply.

To add an automatic signature in Outlook, choose Tools | Options from the main menu, and then click on the Mail Format tab. Click the Signatures button in the Signature(s) section, and then click the New button in the Create Signature dialog box. Enter a descriptive name for your signature--this is especially important if you have multiple signatures. Then, select the Start With A Blank Signature option button and click Next. In the Signature Text text box, enter the information that you'd like to appear in your signature; you can enter up to six separate lines. Click Finish, and then click OK twice to close the open dialog boxes. Now when you compose a new message, your signature automatically appears at the end of the message. If you'd like to include a signature on replies and forwarded messages as well, select the signature from the Signature For Replies And Forwards dropdown list in the Signature section on the Mail Format tab.
Cyndi Skweres, UFO Board
Move to Linux?
by Randy Collins, Western Extralite Company

Linux Servers - Western Extralite is ready to make the conversion to Linux Servers running Red Hat. After reviewing the cost advantages of switching to Dell servers from our IBM platform the decision was really easy.


First, the cost to purchase new Dell servers was less than half of the cost of a similar IBM machine. We were also able to purchase a second scaled down sever to serve as a disaster recovery solution. We plan to locate it in one of our smaller Service Centers for easy access and disaster situations. The cost of maintenance for the Dell servers is also less than half of the cost of the traditional IBM maintenance.


The UFO Bulletin Board has several entries regarding the conversion process and the performance of the new servers. It looks like Eclipse has got the process refined. If you run Okidata printers your emulation will need to be changed from IBM PPR to EPSON FX to make the printers print tickets correctly. The spooler commands have also changed in Linux and there is an article in the Eclipse Knowledge Base to help you with the new commands.


We are very excited about the conversion, if we learn anything new I will post it to the Bulletin Board.  


-Randy Collins, Western Extralite Company

New Ideas Enhancement Process Live Date
by Terry Kin, Hercules Tire

The UFO board, enhancement committee, and Activant have been diligently working on conversion from the QuickBase enhancement platform to the new Ideas based enhancement platform.  Here is a quick reminder for the conversion to Ideas:

  • Eclipse will have full access to see all enhancements in the same format they currently use (They use Ideas also).
  • All users (instead of just enhancement committee members) will be able to see enhancements, comment on them and rank them.
  • All users will be able to easily see the ranking of the enhancement they have submitted.

On September 27th, we hope to be performing the final cutover/conversion to Ideas.  Prior to that date we will be:

         Porting all contacts from the UFO website into Ideas.

         Porting over existing enhancements requests from QuickBase into Ideas.

         Posting a training video of how to use Ideas on the UFO website.

We are all very excited about the change to Ideas and thank you for your patience in the conversion.  Please take the time to jump into Ideas to comment/rank Ideas and help improve our Eclipse platform for all users.

If you have any questions/concerns/issues please contact Mary Barlow at or (813) 643-1001.


Terry Kin, UFO Board VP, Enhancement Committee Chair

What Is Missing From The Newsletter?

The UFO board publishes a newsletter four times per year to pass along helpful information to the UFO members.  We try to find things that will be of interest to you, but it is sometimes difficult to find something original to include.  We always have a report from the President of the board and the Executive Director.  We also try to have a report from one of the committee heads, in addition to an Eclipse tip.  We want to continue with those but are open for ideas to expand and improve the current format.


That is why I am asking you, the member base to let me know what you think. If you have ideas concerning what you think should be included in the newsletter, please let me know.  Better yet, if you would like to write an article that can benefit other members, please submit it to me.  I would really appreciate any feedback that you can give me.  Please email me at:


Jim Nelson, Newsletter Chairman


The information contained in this newsletter is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by UFO and while we endeavor to keep the information up-to-date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to this newsletter or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained in the newsletter for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data arising out of, or in connection with, the use of the information in this newsletter.