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Archive for July, 2011

The Basics of Cloud Computing

July 22nd, 2011

“Cloud computing is a
model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of
configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications,
and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal
management effort or service provider interaction.”

– The National Institute of Standards and Technology

 

The “cloud” is a general term used to describe the Internet.  “Cloud Computing” can be
defined many ways, but in its simplest form it is the ability to access files and use software applications hosted on and accessed via the Internet.

The cloud has evolved to provide small businesses shared hardware and software resources for low cost. Cloud computing service providers can afford to do this because the capital costs required to provide the services are spread across thousands of customers.

Some examples of cloud computing technologies include:

  • SalesForce.com – Hosted Customer Relationship Manager
  • DropBox – Hosted File Sharing
  • Google Docs – Basic Word Processing, Spreadsheet and Slide Presentation Software
  • Hosted Exchange Accounts – Shared Email/Contacts/Calendars/Tasks for use with Outlook, iPhones, iPads, and Blackberry smart phones.

The most obvious consideration and end user benefit focusing a cloud based service, also known as “Software as a Service” (SaaS), is the low upfront costs.  Cloud based services generally require a monthly subscription and an initial set up fee.  Because cloud services are based on consumption, monthly fees will vary with the amount of data stored and number of users accessing it.  The benefit is that the end user is not required to have anything more than an Internet browser and a basic computer.  No software or server hardware is purchased or installed at the end user’s office.

On the other hand, low cost cloud based services have several drawbacks.  The Internet itself has a cost to access and it isn’t always as fast or responsive as you would like.  End users waiting for their screens to refresh or data to download or upload can be time consuming and make for a less friendly and less efficient user experience.  Most cloud based software applications have fewer features than a competing product that is installed locally on the end user’s computer.  This is mainly because an Internet browser isn’t as sophisticated and has less capabilities than a traditional locally installed application. Web applications such as Google Docs are great for basic office document
functions but are incapable of doing more complicated word processing or spreadsheet
tasks.  Many cloud based services are also a “one size fits all” model.  Very few SaaS vendors allow you to customize their services to meet your specific organization’s needs.

To bridge the gap, some companies are blending the use of hosted hardware infrastructure with traditional software installations and many non cloud based applications now offer cloud capabilities.  For example Core3 CRM (www.core3crm.com) a Customer Relationship Manager built using the popular and versatile FileMaker Pro database engine, offers the option of hosting its data files in the cloud and several methods to provide access to a custom modified version of the application though the internet.  This provides the best of both worlds – a hosted application which can be accessed either locally or through the internet with the capability to customize it for your business.

Utilizing cloud computing has already become a regular tool for many companies.  The key is to identify and understand which tool is the right one for the job.

For more information about FileMaker Pro, Custom Software Development or CRM applications, visit www.productivecomputing.com

Author: Categories: Information Technology Tags:

PCI Releases Change Printer v4 Plug-in for FileMaker Pro

July 21st, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Diego, CA –  July 21, 2011 – Productive Computing, Inc. a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, announces the release of the Change Printer v4 plug-in for FileMaker Pro®.  The Change Printer plug-in provides FileMaker® Pro the power to automatically change printer drivers within your scripts.  It can be used to coordinate large and complex print procedures and switch between various types of printers/drivers such as: inkjet, laser, label, and PDF.

New Features:
– Enhanced error trapping method using the new PCCC_GetLastError( Type ) function. Most plug-in functions now return the !!ERROR!! string in the event of an error or a 0 for a success. Immediately after an error occurs, please call the PCCC_GetLastError function to obtain a textual or numerical description of the error. If upgrading from the previous versions, please note that you will need to change your scripts to accommodate for the new method of error trapping.

– Added optCopies parameter to PCCC_Change Printer function. This parameter determines the number of copies the job will print and is available on both Mac and Windows platforms.

– Added optSource parameter to PCCC_Change Printer function. This parameter determines which source tray the paper will come from on the printer and is available on both Mac and Windows platforms.

– Added optOrientation parameter to PCCC_Change Printer function. This parameter determines the portrait or landscape orientation of the page that prints. This parameter is only available on Windows. On a Mac you can use the FileMaker “Print Setup” script step to select the orientation.

– Enabled the optPause parameter of the PCCC_ChangePrinter function to work on both Windows and Mac. This parameter allows the user to determine how long the print dialog will be displayed before the print job proceeds.

The Change Printer plug-in starts at $74.95 ($48.72 upgrade) for a single user and is compatible with OS X 10.4.11 – 10.6 and Windows XP, Vista and 7.  Visit the product page to download a demo, view the video tutorials and read our documentation.

Plug-in Integration and FileMaker Pro Support:
Want help getting this plug-in professionally installed into your FileMaker solution?  Do you have other database enhancements you would like to have programmed?  We can help!

The process is easy – complete our online Request a Quote (RFQ) form or call us directly at 760-510-1200 and one of our certified developers can work with you on improving your solution today.

About Productive Computing, Inc.:
Since 1996, Productive Computing, Inc. has been helping its customers become more efficient and profitable by providing a solid foundation of indispensable technology consulting and FileMaker Pro development services.  Productive Computing, Inc. also produces several software solutions such as Core3 CRM, Core2 CRM, Core2 Invoices, FM Work Orders, OrgPlanner and IT Asset Manager as well as a suite of FileMaker Pro plug-ins that allow FileMaker Pro to integrate with third party applications including Outlook, QuickBooks, Constant Contact, Entourage, the Apple Address Book, Apple Mail and iCal, PDF forms, digital signatures, credit card processing and biometric fingerprint scanners.

Productive Computing, Inc. is one of only a few companies in the United States to have earned the highly respected Platinum level membership within the FileMaker Business Alliance and recently awarded the exclusive FileMaker Business Alliance Partner of the Year award.

Productive Computing, Inc.
950 Boardwalk, Suite 205
San Marcos, CA  92078
http://www.productivecomputing.com
info@productivecomputing.com
(760) 510-1200

Press Contacts:
Productive Computing, Inc.
Keith Larochelle
(760) 510-1200

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Author: Categories: Change Printer Tags: