Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks
A number of years ago I chuckled when a friend of mine commented that his son-in-law had re-arranged the icons on the DeskTop of his computer. He said, "That's like going into my home and moving the furniture around in the living room". That comment took on a lot more meaning when I saw the collection of icons on this DeskTop -- it's FULL -- and he uses the smallest image and font available. He says he knows where things are, but I've seen him more that once sit and stare at the screen looking for the right icon. A little organization would reduce the clutter and make things easier to find.
Microsoft, in an effort to make Windows and it's related programs such as Word and Excel "productivity tools", has established some conventions that are fairly easy to live with and difficult to fight. The DeskTop, My Documents, My Downloads, and a couple of others are assumed to be the desired place to store things. That works for me, especially with the ability to add "folders" and "sub-folders" to these areas in which similar or related things can be placed.
When you save a file, eMail attachment, etc. you normally have an option to "Save as …" which allows you to select the location into which you want it placed. The DeskTop and My Documents are easy to find on the list of options and are easy to locate later when you need to reference the file again. The catch is you can accumulate such a collection that it gets unmanageable.The solution is to create folders where you place similar or related entries.
You may want a folder for each Manufacturer into which you place the price lists, catalogs, and correspondence. You may even want folders inside the Manufacturer's folder to separate price lists and catalogs, or maybe the current version resides in the Manufacturer's folder (a sub-folder) and when the new one arrives you move the old one into a folder named "Old Stuff".
You can further simplify things by using the "View" option at the top of the folder display to change the presentation of the folder's content. The "List" option will show only a small icon and the name of the file. The "Details" option adds the size and date of the file. There are also options to allow you to specify the sequence in which entries are shown and the attributes to be included when you use the "Details" format.
Windows Explorer is a handy and powerful tool. The catch is you can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time. One of my objectives is to minimize, if not eliminate, the use of Windows Explorer so the opportunity for error is narrowed.
Now, lets apply this to the things you deal with using WeLoop.SAMS.
Reports created PDF-format
- First, don't be cheap, use the BackUp process regularly and frequently. It only takes a minute or so to make a BackUp and it'll be worth its weight in gold if it is needed.
- If you use file backups to take a copy of your records to another machine, place the BackUp on the DeskTop. From there you can right-click on the file, which opens a drop-down menu, and use the "Sent to" option to copy the file to a CD, or eMail the file, etc., etc., etc. But be careful--one of the options on the drop down list is Delete.
- Create a folder on the DeskTop named "Old BackUps". When a new backup is made you can "drag 'n' drop" the previous version into the "Old BackUps" folder and leave the current version visible.
- Or, you may just want to create a folder named "BackUps" and place the file there as it is created. Using the "View" option "List" to present the files by name. Using the "Details" option will show the date and time the file was created, which is also shown in the BackUp file name, and you can sequence them by date in descending order.
Sales.Orders imported from other sources
- When you print repots specifying "Enable print to PDF file" the report is placed in a "file", rather than printed to paper, which may then be emailed. This adds to the collection of stuff stored on your computer making organization even more important.
- Create a folder on your DeskTop named "Reports" and place the PDF-file there. You can then open the folder from your DeskTop, right-click and use the "Send to … email recipient" option to send it. Again you'll probably want to set the "View" to "List" so they're easy to see, and you can easily delete the old ones when the time comes.
Site Synchronization files when using WeLoop.Replication
- WeLoop.SAMS allows Sales.Orders to be "imported" from various "Order Scanning" programs. Typically you'll receive the orders in a file as an email attachment. Use the "Save as …" option to place the file in another folder on your DeskTop, or maybe in My Documents or My Downloads, what ever makes sense to you.
- After you've imported the Sales.Orders and have them processed, move them into a "sub-folder" named "Processed Orders" so they are available should you need them again.
The key to this organization thing is to have a plan, and to then use that plan. At first you'll find it a bother, but once it becomes a habit (which really doesn't take very long), you'll find it well worth the effort.
- WeLoop.Replication allows you to process information on more than one computer and pass the changes made to the other locations (Replication calls them "Sites") via email. Yup, you guessed it, create another folder for "Processed Sync.Logs".
- Should you have to restore your data from a previous BackUp, you'll need to re-process all Sync.Log files received after the BackUp to get your data aligned properly
These notes are the result of telephone conversations and email exchanges over the years. The purpose here is twofold:
- Share the information resulting from those exchanges with everyone so it may be applied where it makes sense to you.
- Point out capabilities you have with WeLoop.SAMS that you may not be taking full advantage of.