Some of you may remember the Impact21 program which was cumbersome to use.
It has been replaced with a new spread sheet which is normally updated
manually. They do have way to submit a matching spread sheet template and
reportedly a way to import from a tab delimited file. We have created the
necessary programs to generate the tab delimited file from your Motorola
made sales data kept on your CRI database.
There is NO CHARGE for this enhancement, but you will have to up to date
with your database engine and CRI application. Please contact us if you
are interested in this labor saving enhancement.
Although this article has been published for some time we are adding a true
story to impact your thinking in a VERY STRONG manner. About a month ago
we had a customer calling about his server not booting. This server had
been operating for 12 YEARS and finally experienced a disk crash. It was
equipped with RAID 10 and a HOT spare. Finally after 12 years THREE drives
had failed leaving it with a completely CRASHED file system which could not
be recovered. Their last backup was 1 1/2 months old! On the bright side
we were able to get the 1 1/2 month old data from their tape and install it
on our machine for remote operation. They had to duplicate 1 1/2 months of
work and were able to continue using their software remotely while we
prepared a new server.
DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!
As a reminder to everyone - PLEASE DO YOUR DAILY BACKUPS. One never knows
when mother nature will place a lightning bolt in proxmity of your server!
When we sold you your system we most likely incorporated RAID (Redundant
Array of Disks). You may also have redundant power supplies or NICS. WHEN
DID YOU LAST CHECK YOUR HARDWARE? We have found that folks become
complacent when they are protected with redundant hardware. The danger is
that you CAN experience multiple device failure. RAID for example can
tolerate a SINGLE drive failure without data loss. If you fail to replace
that single failed drive and another disk fails you WILL loose data and
will have to reconstruct from your backups.
We implore you to periodically check that server for device failure. Get
familar with indicator lights on devices and on the server annunciator
panel. It will alert you to trouble which can be easily cured by replacing
the failed redundant device. Most of the equipment we sell has hot swap
devices. Even if not hot swappable it's still a simple matter to shut it
down and cold replace that failed device.
To summarize, there is NO substitute for a backup and please check your
Some of you have experienced problems with service notes and occasionally
notes such as customer or vendor notes. We have finally been able to work
with the database vendor and have received a fix for this problem.
To have this problem required that you added notes to a record over time
creating multiple segments in the storage file. It then required that
notes be deleted releasing the last segment added. At this point notes
were not yet 'broken', but they were armed to break! The next add which
needed another file segment would break the file and either show garbage
characters, lock you up, or cause notes to switch from one record to
another. Whenever this happened we would have to access your machine and
run a program called 'blobfix'. Although 'blobfix' corrected the problem
sometimes the fix would loose valuable notes. If you are not using notes
in this manner then you most likely are not experiencing the problem.
Those of you who have upgraded to version 5.7.00 can simply have us install
version 5.7.00.04 which has the bug fix. Those of you running version 5.6
will have to upgrade to 5.8 as versions 5.6 and 5.7 are no longer supported
by the vendor. To get the upgrade or version fix simple call us and we
will install 5.7.04 or give you a quote for a 5.8.00 upgrade.
This is critical information for ALL CRI customers! About three years ago
our database vendor announced a new version 5.7.00 with a new method to
maintain upgrades. Under the old method product enhancements were
available as long as they kept the major version. Examples of the old
method would be 5.6,03, 5.6.10, and 5.6.11 (last 5.6 version). Under their
new version they would have 5.7.00.01, 5.7.01.01, 5.7.02.01, 5.7.03.01, and
5.7.04.01. The very latest is 5.7.04.04. Using the following number
pattern 5.7.vv.bb vv represents an enhancement while bb represents a bug
We did NOT like the annual update fee required to obtain enhancements (the
vv portion) so we opted to hold on to our 5.6.11 version to see what the
costs would be without the annual update fee (20% of total value). Once 5.
7.04.bb was released we realized that there were features which would
greatly benefit our customers in our on-going development and 5.6 was no
longer supported so we decided to update. We very quickly discovered that
there was a substantial cost penalty for not using their annual update plan.
We researched and found that their new method is rapidly becoming an
industry standard where software is involved including Motorola! We
decided to work out a one-time reduced cost plan which avoids most of the
cost penalty and joined in using the annual update fee method now offered.
This has a considerable impact on our customers because we have always tied
our application version to the database version used for development.
Simply put, customers must switch to the annual fee for the database update
to maintain pace with our application. There are benefits in doing this.
New major releases such as the coming 5.8 will be available no-charge for
those in the annual upgrade program. We will always be able to use the new
tools as they become available. The down side is an additional cost to
maintain a current database engine, but this cost is far less than the cost
penalties incurred for a major revision update such as 5.8 without annual
Now the database vendor has announced release of version 5.8. They have
withdrawn any special 5.7 upgrade deals. Those of you on the maintenance
plan are covered at no extra cost. Those of you not on the maintenance
need to call for a quote and get on the database maintenance program right
We want you to know that we feel 20% is on the high side, but not totally
out of line with other software maintenance fees. We will maintain our
very low 5% fee for our application software. We also suggest that you
view the updates and enhancements on our web site and consider an
application update coincidental with your database engine upgrade. Also
check the age of your hardware and consider a replacement at the same time.
If you no longer wish to maintain hardware please inquire about our hosted
application. We have customers doing this and they are quite pleased with
the hosted approach.
We keep our customer needs as our first priority! We thank you for using
CRI products and look forward an extended relationship. We welcome any new
customers in advance.
NEW ADDITION to our WEB module allows your customers to PAY their accounts
using CREDIT CARDS via authorize.net. We have added integration to this
popular service using their SIM (Server Integration Method). This utilizes
a secure HTTPS connection to their service for the collection of credit
card information and then sends a response back to our WEB where we produce
a receipt page and make the cash entry. Normal cash processing will post
the transaction to their accounts and provide you with the usual G/L
control and audit documents. Those of you with login accounts on our live
WEB can try this without actually charging your credit card since we are
running it in test mode.
This news article was entered into a database record and published
automatically to our WEB site. We believe this will give everyone within
your company with WEB001 authorization to contribute to your news without
the need to involve your webmaster or complex web publishing software.
User access is controlled with our normal security access level scheme for
the WEB module. Users with WEB001 access can add, edit, and delete their
own news articles. To publish the news the operator must have WEB003
If you are not familiar with our WEB module it gives your customers the
ability to view their account, change their password, contact your support,
change their primary email address, view or print invoice detail, and
request a WEB account. This WEB service is by invitation only! You must
grant your customers a web account and login before they can have full
access. The ability to request a WEB account and to read public news is
open to everyone and no WEB account is required.
Our WEB module should be enhanced with our PDF offering. Adding the PDF
software allows you to archive original document images for retrieval via
our WEB module. The PDF add-on also gives you the ability to deliver
emailed PDF images of original documents eliminating printing. We now
REQUIRE that you have the PDF software to implement electronic customer
document delivery. We strongly recommend anyone getting our WEB module
also get our PDF software so that original document images can be presented
to customers using the WEB module.
CRI has this service fully implemented and we urge all of our customers to
obtain a WEB account for access to your information. There is no charge
for this service. If you choose to receive documents from us via email or
fax please advise us of your delivery method and we will implement your
selected delivery method.
We are often asked about mobile access to our database and application. We
will list the various methods available, but we can not guarantee their
operation if we have not tried them or received feedback form customers
FOR WINDOWS LAPTOPS AND SOME TABLETS: FACETWIN
This is the same terminal emulator used by many of you on a daily basis.
There is no cost if you already have it. To use it remotely you will need
to port forward 7013 to your server running the CRI application. This does
not provide for encrypted communications, but it is fairly safe since it
depends upon a daemon operating on your server to grant access.
Another utility for such device is putty (free download). This emulator is
known to work and is in use by us and some of our customers at remote shops.
A companion to putty is filezilla for file transfer. Both use secure
shell (ssh) resulting in encrypted communication on the Internet. To use
them you must port forward the ssh port to your CRI server. In addition we
need to make sure that your sshd is configured to be in 'invitation only
mode'. By that we mean that no passwords are used and your public keys
must first be installed in your home directory.
Our firewall is open to both ports 7013 and ssh so we are very confident in
security using either one.
BROWSERS ON WINDOWS
In order to use this method your CRI server must have our WEB application
installed and the apache web server operational. You will probably need a
URL on your primary web page or port forward the web to your CRI server.
This works by accessing a special page which then uploads a terminal
emulator to your device for access to the software. We have NO EXPERIENCE
with this product and it is licensed to the server. It's available from
Century Software which is a reputable firm. In fact some of you may still
be using Tiny Term on a regular basis.
MOBILE ACCESS FOR APPLE DEVICES
Also a Century Software product. It is supposed to operate on iPHONES and
iPADS. We have no experience with this one, but if someone wants to try it
we will work with Century to make sure it will work before you purchase it.
This one (Better Terminal Emulator Pro) is pretty new and is available from
Google apps for the sum of $3.99! It is listed as one of the better ones
based upon our WEB research. It supports ssh, telnet, and ftp along with
some other desired Android enhancements using vt220 emulation. We should
be able to support the vt220 and ssh will need to be forwarded and set up
for invitation only access. At this time we have NO experience with this
app. WEB research indicates that terminal emulators for Android are
springing up everywhere and I suggest it's a buyer beware situation. Most
of them are sold at very low prices so the price of experimenting is low.
Most of them do NOT support access outside of the Android device.
Most of you are aware that CRI software now supports insertion of your logo
into the print stream for use on plain paper customer documents. This is a
good way to improve appearance of your documents and save the cost of
expensive pre-printed forms. All that is required is a graphic file with
address info and gray scaled. We will convert it to print stream format
and install it on your machine for about 1 hour of your support time. The
maximum print area is about 1.7 inches high by 4.2 inches wide. Keep this
aspect ration in mind as your add your address info to your logo graphic.
Most of your are aware that we have a PDF ADD-ON utility which allows for
simultaneous delivery of customer and file copy documents. This does
require purchase of the PDF ADD-ON as well as our latest software
supporting simultaneous delivery. Just imagine - one customer gets email
another gets a FAX and third gets hard copy all in a single print run!
We have now extended the use of our PDF ADD-ON to include preparation of
FAX documents WITH your logo! Prior FAX documents did not work with high
resolution logo images. By using the PDF conversion ADD-ON we can now FAX
high resolution graphic images as well.
NOTE: We now require the PDF ADD-ON to be installed for FAX or email
delivery of customer documents.