September 2001

"Billing Made Easy"

It's official: Billing Made Easy is now a registered trademark of RTG Data Systems.

Better Slide Shows

The May issue discussed the slide shows that we created to demonstrate new features of RTG Bills Version 2.04. With the release of Version 2.05 near, we have some new slide shows, and we've made a few changes to the way they work.

The unique features of our slide shows include:

  • Screen images appear just as they would when you run our software, not as the lower-resolution images you would see in most "slide show" software.
  • No browser plug-ins are required. We use JavaScript, a programming language that all modern browsers can understand.
  • No Java applets are required. Some people disable Java for security reasons.

The earlier slide shows were self-running, but we have now changed them to be self-paced. In other words, rather than just watching the information go by (albeit with some control of the speed), now you press the Enter key or click the on-screen Next button to go from one "slide" to the next. Some people felt that the self-running shows were always either too fast or too slow. We hope this change will solve that problem.

How do you know when it is time to press the Enter key to move on? There are two signals: an audible "beep" and the Next button lights up.

We noted in May that problems with sound caused us to remove that feature completely. With some additional programming, we think we have now fixed it so that you will hear sound if possible, but if not, the slide show will go on without it. In addition to the beep that indicates the end of a slide, we also have sounds for mouse clicks and keystrokes. For now, we are not including voice narration, because the required sound files are too large.

Our old slides shows did not work with the Opera browser. The new ones do but, unfortunately, without sound.

We did encounter one problem that we could not solve. Netscape 6.10 (the current version of Netscape 6) simply cannot handle the optimized graphic images that we use. When a small portion of the screen changes (after a keystroke, for example), it is possible to "overlay" a small image with the necessary change, rather than loading an entirely new image with just a minor difference from the previous one. But Netscape 6.10 puts the small image in the wrong place!

Rather than use larger image files, and penalize everyone with longer download times, we decided we would not support Netscape 6. After all, our software runs under Microsoft Windows, so if you can run our software, you almost certainly have Internet Explorer on your computer.

Please note that our slide shows work fine with Netscape 4.78, which is the latest version of the Netscape Navigator browser that most people know from the days of the "browser wars." Netscape 6 is a totally different program.

You can find our slide shows here:

Sound Test

You can easily test your browser to see if it will play the sounds in our slide shows. Just go to our new Sound Test Page. If the sound effects links on the test page work on your computer, then the slide shows will have sound.

One odd problem we encountered was caused by QuickTime, Apple's software for displaying movies. If you are using Netscape 4 (the latest version being 4.78), installing QuickTime installs a plug-in, a piece of software for handling the display of QuickTime movies. However, it also takes over playing sounds (wav files) like those in our slide shows, which prevents our software from controlling the sound.

The Sound Test Page will detect this situation - the Netscape 4 browser and the QuickTime plug-in - and refer you to a page that tells you how to fix the problem. In brief, you need to tell QuickTime not to handle wav files.

Upgrading RTG Timer for the Palm Computer

RTG Timer HE is the Palm computer version of RTG Timer. If you would like to try it, we offer afree demo.

For those who already have RTG Timer HE, we want you to know that when you upgrade to RTG Bills and RTG Timer Version 2.05, it will be necessary to upgrade to the latest version of RTG Timer HE. You will receive an e-mail message with instructions if we have a valid e-mail address for you. If you've changed addresses, please fill out the contact form so we can bring our records up to date.

RTG Bills Version 2.05 can be set to hide hourly billing rates from RTG Timer users. When you upgrade RTG Timer HE, the billing rates will be hidden from RTG Timer HE users as well. On the Palm computer, a billing rate of zero will appear when the rates are hidden. The correct rate is inserted when the transactions are released from RTG Timer to RTG Bills.

RTG Bills and RTG Timer are trademarks of RTG Data Systems. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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