Archive for June 12th, 2010

The directions we go in.

June 12, 2010

Yesterday (Friday) was business meeting with our business mentor. It involved a lot of soul searching about how we could be more efficient… about finding customers (especially for Kathy’s programming skills) and of course involved some looking at numbers. Meh, we are still here.. and others are not. We are optimistic, steadily growing. Not all good but mostly good.

Had a client I set a new machine up for during the week. I missed that he had an old HP printer that he loved and wanted to keep. A decision which I agree with by the way.. Those old HP 4L 4P, 5 series, 6 series, and 1200,s are as tough as, so why throw them away unless you need the capabilities of a newer printer? And to be fair very very few people actually do need those capabilities. These printers, many of the lexmarks and a few others built around the same time seem to have missed the planned death just after the warranty runs out, that the sales people of the world want ingrained into any product. But it does leave a problem

This HP had a old printer cable connection. The new machine didn’t . Its a capability starting to finally vanish from motherboards along with serial, and on the board itself a floppy drive connector. Old technologies that have survived in the interest of backwards compatibility for a long while.. but are doomed. You see the problem?

3 obvious ways to sort this issue.
1) Add in PCI card, sitting on the motherboard providing a printer (what we call a LPT) port.
Pluses, likely to work without issue. Especially if its a new PCI card coming with its own drivers.
Minuses, has to be installed. Uses up a PCI slot, On a business machine.. built to a price, with a board with only a couple of spare slots this is a concern.
2) Converter cable.. turning the printer cable into a USB cable. Modern machines have lots of USB connections.
Pluses, USB cable is better in terms of clutter on the desk. Really easy to fit
Minuses, I have had very little luck with these. Don,t seem to work that well
3) Print Server of one sort or another. Some of these are about the size of a paperback. Some have USB.
Pluses, guaranteed to work. Will be pretty fast too.
Minuses, needs a power-point. costly, messy, and overkill for the problem

Parts supplier said he had a converter cable that was guaranteed to work. Meh. It didn’t. Stuff like this is not contributing to our efficiency. So now I will go install a card. This is the sort of thing I find irritating. I hasten to add.. no way is it the customers fault. Just annoying

Had a net-book to fix during the week. Their are such a range of devices to browse the net with these days. Normal mobile phones.. iphones, net-books, with 10 ish inch screens, lappys, big screened lappys, 17 inch desktops.. 21 inch desktops, big screened desktops.. the huge wall mounted monitor And the obvious one I missed. These netbooks are cute. The original versions were supposed to save you the Windows cost by being sold with an install of Linux on them.. Whatever happened to that idea? Bet you Microsoft marketing quashed it. “If you want a break on OEM Windows prices you will stop selling that OTHER operating system” Bet it was just like that. Probably illegal Certainly sux. Anyone know?

We have one client trying to get a small business happening who has no off site backup whatsoever. I have bought this up a couple of times. Anyway I bought a Hard Drive and a enclosure for it… am going to take a backup of everything and make him take it home and put it somewhere safe. I hope this goes down alright. Seriously needs to be done. Then we need to figure out some way of doing daily back-ups that they can live with.

I have said this before and I will say this again. The precautions you take with your data depend on how much losing the data will cost you. But except for the very small number of people to who it hardly matters, the minimum you need is a reasonable site backup of essential business documents that is not too out of date. Off site is much much better. What if work was robbed and your backup was amongst the things nicked.

The saddest story of backups going wrong relate to the Twin Towers in New York. A lot of businesses had their offices in one tower and an arrangement with an other firm in the other tower to hold their backups. A really really good idea. Hard to see something awful happening to both towers after all. Except that it did.

What else happened this half of the week? Well I went to the dentist. Thats why this post was late… it knocked me around a bit. The dentist, a close friend who I will not identify further here, turned up at the door next morning with muffins. Is a pretty good way of keeping customers I thought.

Oh and our online shopping portal works. I put a object on our test server for 5 cents and sold it. Perfect. Now I just have to deliver a PerfectNotes logo to the person who bought it. (Snicker)

Mark is going to do a lot more work for us in the future.. and Marks serious hobby is bonsai. So we are going to build a plone shopping portal and flog some bonsai. Just because we can. 😀