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Windows 7 support ends today

POS SOFTWARE

Microsoft has ended support for Windows 7 today. It is our strong recommendation and just about everyone in the I.T. industry that you now plan to move to Windows 10. In particular, we strongly advise that you do not use a Windows 7 computer for internet banking, email, surfing the net and processing EFTPOS transactions. 

If you must use a Windows 7 computer, please be aware that you need a new antivirus package as on Windows 7, your Windows Security Essentials is almost dead.  What Microsoft will do is support and rollout malware signature updates for the next three years, but that is only like a third of what it used to do,

Most computers can be updated to Windows 10 at no or little cost but please contact us before attempting to do this as some computers and some of your devices may have problems.

 

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Digital signage advertising and Old computers

POS SOFTWARE

With Windows 7 going, the question many are asking now is what they can do with their old computers?  

What do you do with them and no-one wants them!

What we used to use them a lot was as backup data storage units. Now almost all these and have been replaced by cloud backups which work better and cheaper — my costing of what in a point-of-sale environment, computer costs see here.

Well here is a use that they can be used for is advertising. 

Have you noticed that printed signs and posters are now rapidly being replaced by computer screens? 

The software for creating a digital signage system used to require expensive specialist software, now there are many software slideshow software available that can do it or if you wish many photographers will make you a professional one at very reasonable prices.

I think it is better to learn to make it yourself and they are now not hard to make, besides being a lot of fun it is advantageous to create one. It is one of those things that is not hard, but you need to spend a few hours to do it as there is much to learn.

What a slideshow software does it take many still photos, which any smart camera now can take and entertainingly displays them one after another one after another in a video.

You will need to be about 5 to 20 minutes, and I would recommend about 5 minutes as each still photo is displayed in retail for about 5 to 6 seconds. Each picture has a gap of about 1 to 2 seconds. This is all very approximate as I find that often each photo demands a different amount of display time. If you are trying to present an intricate image, you may need much more, if you are trying to say, "We have tons of greeting cards," then you may want less time for each image. So as such, you need about 45 photos. Many you can get from the supplier, but I doubt its worth the hassle. Walkthrough the shop after it has a clean. Carry around a black sheet of paper to put products on it and go with your modern smartphone taking high-quality photos, the higher the quality, the better. As you will probably be rejecting about 75% of the images, you take, you need about 160, which should take you about 30 minutes of your photoshoot — trying to take each photo in some reasonable order. It makes it easier later. Otherwise, you will need to sort to get them into some logical order. Now put these images on your computer, and go through and delete the ones you do not want. Be ruthless as you can always go back and get some more. This is one significant advantage an amateur photographer has over a professional photographer; the amateur can go back and get more photos if required.

I do not recommend adding sound in point of sale environments, as it will drive you crazy hearing it repeatedly the same tune although I do admit that it does work and attract people. 

Take your video, mount it on the old computer which is somewhere in the shop, and let it play on the old monitor or better still an old digital TV and run your slider show which will advertise your products and services. 

You will not be sorry with the results.

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Bushfires and cloud backup

POS SOFTWARE

 

When I talked to one of my clients who was close to the fires, what did help a little was that their data was in the cloud. Years ago, we often saw in such emergencies merchant would stay in the shop and do a backup before running.  Nowadays although doing the onsite backup is a good idea, the urgency was not there. 

With us, unlike many other Point of Sale providers, cloud backup is free!  

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Cloud_storage

Data has always been essential to business, in the olden days' Australian bushrangers used to threaten to burn shop keepers books, unless they got paid. It was not a small threat as most shops depended on farmers on lived on credit.  

Data is still essential, and although few want to discuss ‘disaster’ in today’s world as these bushfires show your data is under constant threat. Imagine how your business would run without essential banking, customer and inventory data? Computers can be replaced, data cannot be replaced.

There are many advantages for you to do a cloud backup.

1. Access: You get access to your data wherever you have internet access. For example, you can access your company's data from home, overseas on holidays, etc.

2. Reliability: If anything is wrong with your regular backups, you have an emergency set online.

3. Easier to use: Because it is automated, there is less to remember or do, often it can be set up, so it is entirely automatic.

Two significant disadvantages to consider are:

1. The Internet: It will chew up a fair amount of Internet usage. Often people report that it slows down their system. If so, we may need to see what we can do.

2. Size limitations: If your data file grows too big, you may find your backup suddenly stops.

3. Check: You need to check regularly that it is working.

We have put together here a document that can show you how to set up a free cloud backup. Please click here.

Bernard,
What cloud storage do you suggest for backups close to 10GB? My backup file is 9.2GB so I assume it will not be too long before i have potential issues with uploading a file this size. What impact will the compression process have on this file size?
Cheers

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Next week Wiindows 7 support ends

POS SOFTWARE

Windows 7 end of life popup

Next week, on 14/January/20 Windows 7 users will start getting pop up reminders from Microsoft like the above that this version of Windows is no longer supported and that its life is up. 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-7-end-of-life-support-information

 

If you decide to keep going with Windows 7, we want you to be ready, so we’re reaching out in advance to give you time to prepare.

As Microsoft will no longer provide you with security and software updates, we would recommend that you change your antivirus software.  Two I recommend you look at are Avast

https://www.avast.com/en-au/index#pc

and 

360 Total Security 

https://www.360totalsecurity.com/en/

Both are very good and have a good track record for keeping older Windows versions supported.  

However, without the monthly Microsoft security updates, you will no longer be protected against Hardware and Operating System attacks and you will be wide open to any new 0-Day attacks which is why we recommend and just about everyone else in the computer industry that if you are still running Windows 7, that you update to Windows 10.

Please note that many computers now that can run Windows 7 can also run Windows 10.

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Touch screens today

POS SOFTWARE

In shops today these sort of screens are now very popular with our clients partly because prices have dropped.

They also as they are raised, they use little space on the counter and have a screen for the customer. They also look very nice, an vital consideration in retail. As they are made for retail, they tend to work better in retail environments. They are designed with dirty, more prolonged use (retailer commonly use a screen 12 hours a day, seven days a week some more), have higher temperature ranges than the regular screens that are designed for airconditioned offices and as they are closed off and raised the occasional coffee spill affects them little.

Once you get used to touch, the higher speed and ease of use, means you use little else in the cash register. 

The operator often needs to watch that they have dry hands. Sweat is an excellent electric conductor, and touch screens do not like sweaty hands or wet fingers. Which in many retail environments can be a problem. Although we were promised that the newer monitors were supposed to be coming out that would be waterproof with wet finger tracking, I have not seen them. Although I have seen some mobiles that have this function.

Still, it is not a big problem, a tissue box nearby fixs it, as does a wipe on a shirt, worst case you find a dry finger. I find my little finger is the least likely to be sweaty or oily. Maybe that is why no-one has done much about the problem of wet finger tracking in retail.

If you are looking to get or upgrade a monitor, I suggest you look into these.

 

 

 

 

 

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Windows 7 Going - End of Life

POS SOFTWARE

Microsoft committed to providing ten years of product support for Windows 7. Windows 7 was released on October 22, 2009. So unless you are willing to pay for an extended Microsoft support, will be dropping you on January 14, 2020

The cost of this extended Microsoft support depends on what you have. Still, our clients will range from about $35 to $70 depending what you have on the computer in the first year, the second year it will be between $70 to $140, year three a range of $140 to $280, after that I am not sure, but I suspect it is going to double again to $280 to $560 after that. As this is a per computer cost, people with many computers running Windows 7 will soon find this a costly option.

It’s cheaper and easier to say goodbye to Windows 7 and instead to upgrade to Windows 10.

If not, then this will leave you using an outdated operating system and a system very vulnerable to malware and cyber-attacks. If hackers follow the same pattern after Windows XP, they will wait to the end of life and then hit. It is relatively easy as many of the problems in Windows 10 are advertised. Since Windows 7 is not supported, they can often duplicate many of these to get into a Windows 7 computer. The rewards to them can be high.

As such we strongly recommend that you move to Windows 10. 

This is what is happening now. Today about 77% of Australians are running Windows 10. Few are running Windows 7.

If you want to keep running Windows 7, I recommend that you plan not to connect that computer to the internet, replace the internet computer with a Windows 10 computer. Also, you will need a non-Microsoft browser and antivirus software solution for that computer but we will need to figure that out after it becomes clear what is happening probably late January or early February. 

Also if you have Windows 7 in your shop, we have a couple of packages to get you from Windows 7 to Windows 10 that I recommend you consider.

1) A register package.

2) A server/Office package

3) A Windows 7 upgrade package to Windows 10, we can often upgrade them to Windows 10.

A Stronger technology in your shop will make a Stronger business. 

 

 

 

 

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A Point of sale system or Point of Failure system

POS SOFTWARE

What are you going to have this year "A Point of sale system" or a "Point of Failure system". 

 

Remember something like this.

 

It would have cost a lot in goodwill as well as money.

Now, it is essential to check that all the equipment you propose to use over the Christmas period is working? This is particularly true of some of the old POS machines that people bring out of the cupboard at present. Please check them to make sure it all works? Furthermore, check the cables. Equally important that your Internet connections are where you need it? I suggest you try it all out now.

Have you tested all your system, now before Christmas day hits? 

How much does someone want to bet with me that several of our clients, on the busiest days of the years, when computer engineers, if you can get them even on double and triple time, will be called out to fix problems that should have been checked and fixed now!

You want anything working over the coming season. 

 

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Added to our Black Friday specials

POS SOFTWARE

Well, it is Black Friday, and many of our suppliers are looking at today is the last chance they have to move the retail point of sale equipment this year before the Christmas freeze comes, so they are coming up with good offers. 

Here is today's offer we have got today a good price reduction on handheld scanners, this discount we are passing on to our clients. If you are interested in a handheld scanner Symbol LS2208, let us know now.

 

This is an excellent scanner for back-office work, its strong and durable. They often last for years. They will save you a lot of work. 

 

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Touch screens - Good prices

POS SOFTWARE

In point of sale touch screens are faster to use than conventual screens. Windows 10 is made for touch.

I find it more natural to use. Rather than look at the screen, I look for the appropriate button on the keyboard then I touch the spot on the screen.

I want to do a particular function like "School booklist", I look for that on the screen, once I see it, I press it.

 

Well, right now one of our suppliers has reported to us that they have quite a lot of touch screens that they could not sell to the shops. These are commercial grade, so if you are interested in getting a touch screen, why not get one. Have a Black Friday special for your shop!

 

 

 

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Customer displays

POS SOFTWARE

Today, a customer display is something that anyone with a Point-of-Sale should consider. 

Here are some advantages and some points to consider if you are thinking of getting one.

The advantages are:

- That your customers like to see what you are charging them and appreciate you being transparent as they can see that they are being charged fairly as they can see what is happening now. This inspires confidence among your customer and in practice, can boost customer loyalty. 

- It also gives them something to do, so making them feel less than they are waiting. Instead, your customer feeling like a spectator, they think they are a participant.  

- It reduces the problems of queries after the transaction is done. Time is saved as most queries can be done when they happen. 

- Finally, a customer display in our system can be used to convey important messages to customers to consider as they are waiting their turn, like here. If you are interested in *Discount Vouchers*, this is a better way to go then receipts which very few customers get in real-time in modern retail.

 

 

If you are looking at such a unit!

Here are some points to consider.

-Workout what the screen size should be for you, maybe look at a few that other shops have before deciding. The screen size, once selected, can not be changed. As a general rule, a bit bigger is better.

-You need something hardy. Retail is a harsh environment for computer equipment. It will be knocked, if it is flimsy, it will smash. It will be in the open, so it gets dirty, and dust will get into it. Make sure it can handle this.

-Over the lifetime of this screen, it will be moved and adjusted, so make sure that the screen can be lifted up and down, and the angle of the screen can be changed. Ideally, you should be able to change it from vertical to horizontal and anywhere angle in between.

 

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