FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions



Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about AS Club can be found in the list below. If you are unable to find the answer there, please feel free to email your question to:



(Questions may be edited before inclusion in the list below)


   AS Club 2.2
 
Most Recent Questions


  •   Q:  Can I run AS Club on my Windows 10 machine?
  •   A:   Without problems (see 1.6)

 

1. Installing AS Club
1.1 What are the hardware requirements of an AS Club installation?
1.2 How do I install AS Club?
1.3 Our computer runs on Windows Vista / Windows XP, 7 / 8/10 - is that ok?
1.4 Can AS Club run in network mode?
1.5 Error launching AS Club: "Cannot find engine configuration file"
1.6 Can I run AS Club on my Windows 10 machine?
1.7 How do multi-user setups work?
 
2. Operating AS Club
2.1 Fees can be preset to zero, what for?
2.2 Display: small print hard to read
2.3 Visitor accounts, how do they work?
2.4 Club Account, Sub-Account, Member-Account...?
2.5 Why can't I post debits to Membership/Facility sub-accounts? 
2.6 How do I switch to a sub account?
 
3. AS Club database
3.1 How do I set up my own database?
3.2 How do I delete member accounts?
 
4. AS Club and Internet / Email / SMS
4.1 I want to use the AS Club email dispatcher. What do I need?
4.2 How long will it take to send out a batch of monthly statements through email?
 
5. AS Club licensing and support
5.1 What kind of support can I expect as licensed user? 
5.2 What are the AS Club charges and how are they calculated?
 

1.1 What are the hardware requirements of an AS Club installation?

AS Club can be installed on any computer running a version of the Microsoft Windows™ operating system beginning with Windows XP/2000, provided its display allows a minimal screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. This is also the recommended resolution at which the AS Club-window fills the screen completely. 
The initial installation requires ~ 40MB of storage space.
Performance:
There are no performance issues with installations consisting of up to 3,000 member accounts.
AS Club has been tested and will easily cope with well in excess of 10,000 accounts on any modern personal computer. As long as month end processing and extensive print runs finish within a reasonable length of time, you won't perceive a problem. This is because the interactive work which typically deals with only one account at a time is hardly influenced by the total number of member accounts.  
For very large databases, increasingly powerful hardware should be chosen. In this context it is not so much the speed or size of your hard disk that matters, but rather the amount of memory (RAM) and processor speed. The latter has the most significant impact on print rendering (processing data before sending it to the printer) and to a somewhat lesser extent on month-end processing. Increasing the number of processor cores on the other hand (multi-core CPU's) will have little impact.  
     
Optional features of AS Club may require the installation of additional hardware, such as:

  • Printer for report and statement printing
  • Internet connection
  • Backup device
  • Web or digital camera
  • Image scanner
     

1.2 How do I install AS Club?

It depends on how you receive the Setup file asclub_setup.exe
The fastest way is to download it from the AS Club download page. Simply click Download, your web browser will then ask you where to store the setup file; point it to your desktop. 
 
   When downloading has finished, the AS Club setup-icon will appear on your desktop. 
   Double-click it to start the installation.

Installing from a CD/DVD is even easier, as inserting the disk will in most cases start the installer automatically. If the necessary Autostart-feature is however turned off on your computer, proceed by locating file asclub_setup.exe on the disk and launch it via double-click.

 

1.3 Our computer runs on Windows Vista / Windows XP / 7 / 8/10 - is that ok?

Sure it is, AS Club has been tested on all Windows systems beginning with XP and should run without problems.
Note however that up to AS Club 2.2.3.0 on Windows 7 and greater the Windows UAC was triggered after launch (UAC = User Account Control). This was only a minor inconvenience and was caused by the name of the launcher: "updater.exe". (It seems that MS Windows interpretes any executable code in whose name the word 'update' appears as being a danger to the system... one has to hope that the bad guys won't find out ;-)
AS Club does not require an administrator account to run, any User or Guest account will suffice.
AS Club is a native Windows 32-bit application, but it runs perfectly well on 64-bit Windows versions.
 
 

1.4 Can AS Club run in network mode?

AS Club can be installed on multiple computers of various descriptions that run one of Microsoft Windows operating systems. These AS Club clones access local copies of the club's database with all the member and accounting information. Keeping the local copies of the database up to date is achieved by synchronizing them with the online master copy (stored on the Austrosoft web server). This mode of operation is nowadays used almost universally, especially by mobile apps, as direct, co-operative database access over the Internet is still not feasible due to bandwidth and latency issues.  
  
 
 

1.5 Error launching AS Club: "Cannot find engine configuration file"

As is often the case with software problems, there can be more than one reason why they occur.
The message indicates only that the database configuration file (named IDAPI32.CFG) cannot be accessed at launch time. The reason for this can vary, but after installing AS Club successfully (no error messages there), the most likely explanation is that Windows denies non-privileged users access to a particular folder where IDAPI32.CFG is stored. One known case followed the installation of Windows XP SP3. It can be solved by making one particular folder shareable and you may want to try doing this first if you are running Windows XP SP3 (or a later version of Windows):
1. close AS Club if it is still running
2. launch 'My Computer' and navigate to the following folder:
    C:\Program Files\Common Files  - or -  C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files
3. right-click this folder, left-click 'Sharing and Security...' on the pop-up menu
4. on the 'Sharing' tab, under 'Network sharing and security', enable both check boxes:
     'Share this folder on the network' and 'Allow network users to change my files'
5. click 'OK', then restart AS Club
Note that later versions of AS Club store IDAPI32.CFG within the root folder structure which should make this particular error impossible.
 

 

1.6 Can I run AS Club on my Windows 10 machine?

AS Club is fully compatible with Windows 10, a 'clean' (virgin) installation of AS Club under Windows 10 follows the common routine.
However, if you are upgrading an operating system with an existing AS Club installation, for example from Windows 7 to Windows 10, we recommend that you perform a full installation of AS Club thereafter (after backing up your database, either locally, online or both). Relying on the automated AS Club updates may not suffice in this situation as file access errors have been reported, caused by stricter Windows 10 access privileges.
 
 
 

1.7 How do multi-user setups work?

 
Multi-user mode allows several computers to operate on distinct local copies of the member-database; a single 'master'-copy is stored online. From time to time users 'synchronize' local and online copies.
A number of popular, Internet-enabled applications have adopted this operating principle in recent years; e.g. those familiar with the Firefox web browser may have come across its "Synchronize" feature.
AS Club multi-user mode is set up by simply running the AS Club installation on the computer to be added. After entering the long and short club name on the "Club Identity" page click Retrieve & Sync on page Administration to start synchronization with the online database and photo archive.
 
For practical reasons, i.e. to avoid conflicting updates of the database, we recommend a distinction between content creators and content consumers. Content creators are allowed to change the database, whereas content consumers are only authorized to view the database (they may however manage the archive of member photographs as adding or editing pictures does not affect the critical accounting data).     
 
Synchronizing the local database with the online 'master' is straight-forward:
1. as content creator who has made changes to the database that other users need to 'see' connect to the Internet and click Upload & Sync
2. as content consumer go online and click Retrieve & Sync. On your local computer you will create an exact copy of the database stored online, including the latest archive of member photographs. Note however that as content consumer you will lose any changes you have made to the database. Member photos you have changed or added will however be merged with the online archive.

 
 

2.1 Fees can be preset to zero, what for?

This question relates to the scheduled posting of debits, controlled by settings on the MAINTENANCE • Memberships & Facilities pages. An example:

Tab 'Facilities' 

If set up this way, a subscriber will pay nothing when subscribed to a monthly "Newsletter".  "Parking" will only allow quarterly and monthly subscriptions - the facility will cost 20/month, longer term (quarterly) it will be free. 
The main purpose of no-charge entries is to maintain a record of subscribers in order for them to show up on reports. For instance, printing a member report (page PROCESSING • Reports • Members), with the filter option set to "Newsletter" will produce a listing of monthly newsletter recipients, even if newsletters may be received free of charge.
Note that only fields with a tick-mark will be selectable on the Members • Edit  page.     
 
 
    

2.2 Display: small print hard to read

The smallest font size utilized on the AS Club screen display is 7 point, depicted on the screenshots below. If small text on your monitor resembles that on the left picture and you own an LCD flat panel monitor, you may want to check whether the Windows ClearType™ option has been enabled on your system. The screenshots below show the noticeable difference ClearType makes: 

ClearType Off   On 

In Windows XP, turn on ClearType by right-clicking free space (the background) on your desktop, left-click Properties on the pop-up menu, then the Appearance tab and the Effects... button. 
Mark Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts, then select ClearType from the combo box beneath. 
Later Microsoft operating systems activate ClearType automatically; on Windows XP, beginning with version 2.0.0.1, AS Club attempts to turn on ClearType permanently and system-wide.


2.3 Visitor accounts, how do they work?

Visitors is a new build-in membership category particularly suited to be applied to temporary club members and visitors. Two new AS Club features support Visitor Accounts:

1. Suspending/Reopening of accounts. Upon departure of a visitor his/her account can be suspended, and may stay so indefinitely, consuming hardly any system resources. On return of a visitor, one mouse-click can reactivate the account. Note that suspended accounts are exempt from AS Club maintenance charges. 

2. A Statement of Account, may either reflect the most recent month end figures or optionally include up-to-the-minute transactions. The latter can be issued at any time (e.g. before a visitor leaves). A new single-account Print button has been added for this purpose on the PROCESSING • Output • Statements page; it is duplicated on the MEMBERS • View page. 
Clicking Print 000003 would produce a to-date statement of account 000003, whereas clicking Generate Statements would create month-end statements. 

Single print button 

3. All other AS Club features can also be utilized, e.g. visitor accounts can be scheduled for automatic debiting like any other account, etc.
4. The new statement type works with all membership categories.  
Note that suspended accounts are taken into consideration when the tally of sub-accounts is calculated.


2.4 Club Account, Sub-Account, Member-Account... ?

It's quite simple:
Members make contributions to a club's finances. The payments members make are accounted for in the global club-account, the moneys themselves would most likely end up in a bank account. 
Members are however not paying directly into the big pot, the funds are rather collected via club sub-accounts to make accounting transparent. Each membership type, for instance, will have its own sub-account, that way it's easy to see how much members of each category are contributing. Likewise, any other chargeable service the club offers (AS Club knows them as facilities) has a club sub-account attached to it which collects money on behalf of the global club-account. 
On the other hand, members need to know where they stand. To bring order into the system, AS Club maintains member-accounts, one for each member. The way AS Club sees it, each member account is connected to one or more of the club sub-accounts, and each connection quantifies: how much is to be charged, how often, starting when, ending when? Once this has been established, AS Club applies the necessary charges automatically.


2.5 Why can't I post debits to Membership/Facility sub-accounts?

You can, and there is a description of it on the Help-page Maintenance • Database • Memberships (and also on the neighbouring Facilities page). The feature is called One-Off charges. To activate it, do the following:

1. go to the sub-account in question, e.g. "Ordinary Boating Member",

 

the cursor points to the field you need to activate

2. click to create a tick-mark and preset the field to any amount you like.
Click Commit to make the change permanent   

3. Switch to the Members • Edit page: under Membership categories a new square yellow button has been created (hovering the mouse cursor over it shows the preset amount). 


 
4. Clicking this button assembles a debit transaction which can then be posted from the ACCOUNTING • Debiting and Crediting page. Before committing it, you may change amount and/or reference.  


Steps 1 and 2 of this procedure applied to the Maintenance • Database • Facilities page create the same buttons for Facility sub-accounts, which can be used in the same way.
 

2.6 How do I switch to a sub account?

You create a sub-account by opening it on one of 3 pages (see also question 3.1 below):
MAINTENANCE • Database • Memberships 
MAINTENANCE • Database • Facilities 
MAINTENANCE • Database • Transactions
Which page you choose depends on the type of sub-account you require. The "Tutorial" has more on the differences between sub-accounts.
Once sub-accounts have been opened, they appear automatically on the relevant pages. In that sense, you cannot or need not  'switch' to them. For instance, on the MEMBERS • Edit page you'll find the Membership and Facility sub-accounts you have opened so far. Here you switch sub-accounts by clicking on the sub-account you want to use. Example: sub-account Junior Boating Member
 

Membership and Facility sub-accounts enable automated debiting. You select a Start Date and a payment interval, and AS Club will debit the member account with the chosen amount, at the chosen intervals, beginning on Start Date.
Transaction sub-accounts appear on the  ACCOUNTING • Debiting and Crediting page.
 
The answer is therefore that you rather switch member accounts (by selecting account numbers from the navigation panel on the left). For each member account you then have access to all sub-accounts (on the pages mentioned).
Please drop us a line if you wish to be more specific about your question.


  

3.1 How do I set up my own database?

This is not hard but it may be somewhat time consuming, depending on how many member accounts you need to open (please contact us if your member records are already in some computer-readable format, we may be able to help with the conversion). 
Generally, begin by deleting the currently active database from the Administration page (click MAINTENANCE • Database • Administration)
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the red 'Restart' button. The entire database will be cleared of all user data. 
Then switch to the MAINTENANCE • Database  • Club Identity page and enter your club's particulars. 
Next declare the sub-accounts your club will be utilizing: 
Proceed to the Memberships page and define the membership types your club provides (remember to hit the F1-key if in need of help).
Items on the Facilities page result in sub-accounts just as Memberships. The difference? While only one membership can be (must be) active at a time, no such restriction applies to facilities. 
Important to note is that both sub-account types support automated, scheduled debiting at 1/3/6/12 months intervals (disregarding the One-Off feature at the moment).   
For sub-accounts requiring manual posting of debits/credits at random intervals use the Transactions page.
Create, edit or delete personal titles on the Titles page.
Having set up the club sub-accounts, proceed to the Members • Edit page and begin to open member accounts, clicking the "New" button once per account. An account comes into existence the moment you click "Commit", provided no error is reported. 
To correct errors, make the necessary changes, then click "Commit" again. You can change anything, except the account number.


  

3.2 How do I delete member accounts?

Deleting member accounts is straight forward provided they show only the opening balance and no other account movements - in other words, they have not been activated yet.
  
A) If this is the case, take the following steps:
  
  1. Switch to page PROCESSING > Statistics > Overview
  2. Click button Process
  3. A table opens up showing all member accounts that may potentially be deleted;
      click the red Delete button for each account to be removed
 
B) The first movement on a member account activates it and it can then no longer be deleted. However, provided an account is fully settled and shows a naught-balance, it can be 'archived', i.e. removed from the active portion of the database. To archive an account, take the following steps:

  1. Switch to page ACCOUNTING > Accounts Archive   
  2. You will see two nav panels, select the desired account from the left one
  3. Click Suspend
  4. The account will be moved from the left to the right nav panel

Should you need to re-activate the account later on, you can do so by clicking the Reopen button after selecting the account from the right nav panel.  


  

4.1 I want to use the AS Club email dispatcher. What do I need?

By default, AS Club is set up to dispatch email (and SMS) through the Austrosoft SMTP server. You may wish to utilize another email server for email dispatches though, preferably the one your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has allocated to your email account. If your club has a website, it will often be best to route email through the SMTP server assigned to your website, as ISP's frequently impose strict limits on the number of emails they will handle at any one time.
 
To assign an SMTP server click the 'Setup Email Service' button on the Email page (click PROCESSING • Email). You can either enter your own email settings or use one of the alternative "factory presets".
Please note that many email providers will only let you use their SMTP server (for outbound mail) if your sender address (the "From"-address) is registered with them. For instance, you can only use the Yahoo SMTP server (e.g. plus.smtp.mail.yahoo.com) if you have entered a Yahoo email address on page MAINTENANCE > Club Identity.


4.2 How long will it take to send out a batch of monthly statements through email?

The time taken to send out one statement depends mainly on two factors: the data volume per statement and your Internet connection, i.e. its speed and quality. As statements of account are not identical and have to be sent out individually, their number is a multiplier. 
The file size per AS Club-produced statement rendered to email (HTML) could be around 15 KB on average. Speed and quality of your Internet connection combine in the 'throughput'-figure, measured in bits (or bytes) per second. In most cases the throughput when sending from your computer ('uploading') will be significantly lower than when receiving ('downloading'), often by a factor of 3 to 5, sometimes even higher. 
The new multi-threaded AS Club email dispatcher should be able to keep your transmission running at full line speed. If your upload speed is 100 KByte/sec, ~ 7 statements/sec will be sent out.   

The second option sends identical copies of a document as 'blind carbon copies' (BCC), resulting in only one message being dispatched to the email server which passes it on to all recipients. This mode is triggered when you select 'Bulk Email (+ opt. Attachments)' from the combo box on the PROCESSING • Output • Email page. In this case, the optional "zipping" of attachments is recommended as it can help to overcome the multitude of spam filters that are nowadays scanning emails.


5.1 What kind of support can I expect as licensed user? 

AS Club is being offered internationally, which makes personal support on site all but impossible, especially given the affordable price point of the product.
Given the nature of problems computer users can face, it is sometimes more effective for issues to be resolved via email rather than over the phone, but users are free to choose their means of communication. There is no restriction on the number of enquiries a user may make. 
  
The on-line support system serves to deliver new program versions and updated files automatically. This happens in the background, AS Club remains fully functional during downloads and no user action is required.
 
A special feature of AS Club is a single-click database submission system. This is a big boon should Austrosoft ever require the actual user database for diagnostic purposes: data compression is applied to the database to reduce its volume (it will generally be brought down to around 10% of its original size), the data contained is encrypted to make it indecipherable to third parties und the resulting password-protected "zip-archive" is automatically transmitted as an email attachment to Austrosoft, where proper testing and diagnosis can take place. 
In case of such an emergency, you only need to:
 
1. connect to the Internet, 
2. select PROCESSING • Output • Email, 
3. select   AS Club Database => Austrosoft  from the combo box,
4. enter a brief description of the problem 
5. execute by clicking 'Send'

We will get back to you after receiving your message.


5.2 What are the AS Club charges and how are they calculated?
For licensing details, please visit the appropriate country page:
  · Australia
  · Canada
  · Eurozone
  · India
  · New Zealand
  · South Africa
  · United Kingdom
  · United States