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Productive Computing,Inc. Releases the Newly Redesigned Outlook Manipulator v4 Plug-in for FileMaker Pro®

August 12th, 2009
San Diego, CA Ð August 11, 2009 – Productive Computing, Inc. a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, announces the release of the new Outlook Manipulator v4 for FileMaker Pro¨. This new version combines the power of our popular Outlook Manipulator v3 and the Exchange Client Manipulator plug-ins.
“Outlook Manipulator has created notable efficiency for our clients who are dependent on integrating Outlook with their FileMaker solutions. Built from the ground up and two years in the making, this latest version provides a host of new features and improvements to allow our customers unsurpassed integration opportunities.” – CEO, Marc Larochelle

New Features:

1. 65% faster when pulling e-mail from Outlook to FileMaker Pro

2. 34% faster when pulling contact data from Outlook to FileMaker Pro

3. Ability to update and create appointment and message requests. You can now invite attendees to an appointment directly from FileMaker.

4. Ability to create a distribution list or add an e-mail to a distribution list.

5. View e-mails in Outlook directly from your FileMaker interface. For example push a button in FileMaker called “View in Outlook” and the corresponding e-mail/Contact/Appointment/Task in Outlook will come to the forefront.

6. Ability to send e-mail “On Behalf Of” another user.

7. Improved method for error trapping during integration.

8. Works in cached mode AND non-cached mode.

9. Ability to save Outlook messages as .msg files.

10. Redemption is no longer required. No more redemption = no third party software to install.

With the release of this new product there will be some extensive changes to our Microsoft Outlook family of plug-ins.

1. The Exchange Manipulator has also been modified to include all of the new features above as well the ability to send e-mail “From” another user in an Exchange environment.

2. Customers that need additional Outlook Manipulator v3 plug-in licenses, will have until September 9th to purchase. After September 9th the Outlook Manipulator v3 will be discontinued.

3. Should technical support be needed for the previous versions of these plug-ins after the discontinuation date, customers will be able to receive it through our paid support services.

Customers using the older plug-in with the Core2 CRM version 1.1.0.3 or earlier, please go to our Support Forum at http://www.productivecomputing.com/forum for compatibility information.

The single user price for the Outlook Manipulator v4 plug-in is $99.95. If you are upgrading from an earlier version of either the Outlook Manipulator or Exchange Client Manipulator you will receive a 35% discount.

To purchase licenses of the Outlook Manipulator v4, watch a video tutorial or download a demo, please visit http://www.outlookmanipulator.com.

Visit our online Video Library for a complete list of our plug-in videos at http://www.productivecomputing.com/video.

 

About Productive Computing, Inc.:

Since 1996, Productive Computing, Inc. has been helping companies become more efficient and profitable by providing a solid foundation of indispensable software and support services. From custom FileMaker Pro database development, consulting and products, to IT support, web site design and hosting services, Productive Computing, Inc. is your strategic partner for all your companyÕs technology needs.

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

Productive Computing, Inc.

950 Boardwalk, Suite 205

San Marcos, CA 92078

http://www.productivecomputing.com

pr@productivecomputing.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ProdComp

(760) 510-1200

Press Contacts:

Productive Computing, Inc.

Keith Larochelle

(760) 510-1200

###

 

 

Author: Categories: Outlook Manipulator Tags:

Band-Aids are for Cuts, Not for Your IT Infrastructure

July 30th, 2009

There is a strange phenomenon that I have been witness to for as many years as we have done computer sales, repair and consulting work for our customers – and that is, when it comes to IT service, either you are heralded as the hero or run out of town as the villain.  Naturally a customer is thrilled with you when you play the role of the “fireman” and bring their network or computers back from the brink, but when you give them an estimate for replacing that aging server or workstation or 10 year old backup system (if they have one at all) they drag their feet and look at it as an extra or perhaps unnecessary expense.  Don’t fix what ain’t broke – right?

Wrong!  Replacing equipment as it breaks or only when you experience a critical failure on your network is like using a Band-Aid to close a gunshot wound.  If you use a big enough Band-Aid, you’ll get the bleeding to stop but a better approach is to be fully prepared for the bullet before it arrives.  All computers are machines and all machines break or become outdated.  If you know this, why aren’t you planning and budgeting for these events today?  Your IT infrastructure is the backbone and nervous system of your organization.  Every operation, task and sale relies upon your computers and hundreds of thousands of dollars pour through their circuitry every year.  Having a critical failure costs money in downtime, sales opportunities lost, client inconvenience, inefficiencies when workers don’t have the tools to get their job done, rush charges for replacement equipment or service or overnight shipping, not to mention the physical toll in unnecessary anxiety it causes for you, your employees and your service provider.

So what is the solution?  Have a plan and schedule the automatic replacement of equipment as it ages and budget a percentage of your net revenue towards keeping this infrastructure current.

Here are some simple suggestions to help you make your plan:

1. Inventory any piece of equipment that would be hard to replace within 15 minutes of a failure or costs more than $100.  You’ll want to track this inventory in a database or on a spreadsheet.  If you need a database you can purchase one from our website by clicking on the link embedded in this post.  (IT Asset Inventory Database)  As part of this inventory you’ll want to assign a unique asset ID, the make, model, specs, date purchased and cost of the equipment.  (computers, monitors, laptops, printers, switches, firewalls, backup systems and network storage devices)

2. Using your inventory, you’ll want to plan the lifespan and replacement schedule of your equipment.  Workstations for most users, 4 years.  Workstations for power users, 3 years.  Servers, 4-5 years.  Monitors, 5-6 years.  Printers less than $300, 2-3 years.  Printers more than $300, 3-5 years.  Backup systems, firewalls, switches, network storage devices, 5-6 years.

3. Put an asset tag/label on each piece of equipment that includes the assigned asset ID, date of purchase and most important spec info (CPU MHZ, HDD capacity, RAM).  This will allow you to easily match the piece of equipment to your inventory.

4. Don’t buy the latest and greatest computer for the employee with the most seniority and roll their computer down to the employees with the least seniority.  A piece of equipment is not a perk or reward from the company.  It should be delivered to fill a specific need of a specific job.  Rolling computers down to the least senior employee imposes a restriction on getting the right piece of equipment to the right person and you’ll waste a lot of time and money repurposing computers that were perfectly fine where they were.  You essentially turn 1 system configuration and installation into a chain of systems that need installation and configurations.

5. Keep a spare older workstation or two on hand, configured, and ready to give to an employee if and when a system breaks down.  This provides your business with the continuity of still being able to conduct business even while a critical failure is being worked on.

6. Try to purchase like equipment from the same vendor so that when a system breaks down or requires service you are familiar with that vendor’s warrantee and service policies and procedures.  i.e. purchase all your workstations and servers from Dell or Apple, all your printers from HP, etc.  Get recommendations from your service provide on who’s equipment he recommends and works with regularly.

7. Stay away from no-name, white box, chop shop computer systems – stick with name brands you can trust and rely upon for service and warrantees.

8. Purchase 4hr turn around support warrantees on critical systems like servers and next business day service on workstations that are less critical.

9. Don’t waste your time shopping around for the lowest priced “deal” from the local warehouse store or on-line.  These deals are usually either bare bones garbage systems that are already outdated and priced so low as to grab your attention or they are pre-configured home systems.  Either way, they are not built with your specific needs in mind and you’ll end up with a hodge-podge of systems and software and operating systems on your network.  I know this may sound self serving but you should really pay your IT provider who knows your environment to configure your systems to order from one selected vendor with a configuration that uses a business class operating system.

10. Make sure your IT infrastructure includes a backup system, a recovery plan and you have tested recovering at least one critical file within the last six months.  I’ll be talking a little bit more about this in a future post but suffice to say, if your company’s data is valuable to you and you haven’t test restored at least one critical file in the last six months, you need to call us/your current service provider right now!

Overall keep this one point in mind.  Hardware is the cheapest component in your infrastructure.  It is the labor of installing and maintaining and using the hardware that costs, so you want to provide the best equipment and the right tools for the right job for your employees and stack the cards in your vendor’s favor so he isn’t struggling to keep old and mismatched systems running. 

Don’t skimp and be prepared with a plan.

If you would like more information about how Productive Computing can help you with putting together a plan for your IT infrastructure, please contact us using the information listed here or you can visit us on the web at http://www.productivecomputing.com

Author: Categories: Information Technology Tags:

PCI Offers New Technology Protection Services

June 15th, 2009

San Diego, CA – June 15, 2009 – Productive Computing, Inc., a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, is proud to announce the availability of three important technology protection services – Spam Filtering, Virus Protection and Backup Monitoring.

 

Spam Filtering

One of the most costly annoyances that an employee has to deal with is the regular ritual of deleting unsolicited advertisement messages. More than an annoyance, it takes time and in business, time costs money.

 

Many FileMaker Pro solutions use 3rd party plug-ins to directly received e-mail messages into their database for archival or correspondence histories. Our Spam Filtering service filters out Spam and Viruses at the mail server level which allows unwanted e-mail messages to be intercepted before reaching the customer’s mail hosting provider Ð and long before they can get archived into a database.

 

Virus Protection

Protecting your computers from virus infiltration is another critical preventative measure we can help you with. Many companies implement virus protection on their computers individually but the most efficient and cost effective way to deploy and monitor virus protection is from a networked server where monitoring and maintenance is centrally managed.

 

Backup Monitoring

A backup system that isn’t monitored, isn’t a backup system. A backup system is no different than any other computer system in that it will report errors and fail. If you aren’t monitoring your backup system at least weekly or preferably daily, then you will never know whether or not your backup system is even running.

 

FileMaker Server 10 does an excellent job telling you when a backup runs or fails but our inexpensive backup monitoring service technicians will professionally monitor these notifications and take the appropriate actions to fix problems as they occur. This service provides that extra peace of mind for business owners who want to know that their FileMaker Pro data backups are not only being closely watched for failures but are being professionally configured and coordinated under an overall disaster recovery strategy.

 

Could You Do With A Little Protection?

If you are interested in any of the services listed above please click here http://www.productivecomputing.com/itservices to complete our IT Service Request form to receive a 30 Day FREE trial.

 

About Productive Computing, Inc.

Since 1996, Productive computing, Inc. has created efficiency through automation by helping its clients increase their productivity via custom database development, plug-ins and packaged solutions as well as providing IT support and web development. Its staff of certified FileMaker developers can assist its customers with creating or customizing a complete technology solution to fit their specific business needs.

 

For More Information:

Productive Computing, Inc.

950 Boardwalk, Suite 205

San Marcos, CA 92078

(760) 510-1200

info@productivecomputing.com

 

Author: Categories: Information Technology Tags:

Productive Computing, Inc. Introduces New Tools for Customers to Stay Connected.

May 13th, 2009

San Diego, CA – May 13, 2009 – Productive Computing, Inc., a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, is proud to announce the availability of a public blog, a technical support forum, a corporate FaceBook account and several Twitter accounts to help customers and the business community stay connected.

 

The blog will cover business editorials as well as technical articles and will serve as a launching point for community discussions on both.  Users can review the new blog site at:

 

http://www.productivecomputing.com/blog

 

The support forum will provide a public area where customers can research and post their support questions and where Productive Computing, Inc. staff members can post resolutions that the entire community can benefit from reading.  Users can review the new technical support forum at:

 

http://www.productivecomputing.com/forum

 

The FaceBook account will provide a “fan” page that will allow users who are comfortable using FaceBook to follow corporate updates and product releases.  Members of FaceBook can become a fan of Productive Computing, Inc. by searching for “Productive Computing, Inc.” once they are logged in.

 

Three Twitter accounts have been established to allow customers and fans to follow the CEO, CFO and the official corporate news outlet.

 

Users can follow the company’s CEO and founder, Marc Larochelle at:

http://twitter.com/MarcLarochelle

 

Users can follow the company’s CFO and cofounder, Keith Larochelle at:

http://twitter.com/KeithLarochelle

 

Users can follow the company’s news broadcasts at:

http://twitter.com/ProdComp

 

“We are very excited to be able to provide and explore these new communication channels for our customers, the FileMaker Pro community and the business community at large.  Our ability to share our experiences and expertise in business and technology is magnified tremendously by using these social media tools and we are looking forward to connecting with and opening dialogs with all our customers.” – CFO, Keith Larochelle

 

About Productive Computing, Inc.

Since 1996, Productive computing, Inc. has created efficiency through automation by helping its clients increase their productivity via custom database development, plug-ins and packaged solutions as well as providing IT support and web development. Its staff of certified FileMaker developers can assist its customers with creating or customizing a complete technology solution to fit their specific business needs.

 

For more information:

Productive Computing, Inc.

950 Boardwalk, Suite 205

San Marcos, CA  92078

(760) 510-1200

info@productivecomputing.com

 

 

Author: Categories: Marketing Tags:

Gather Your Acorns and Prepare for a Brighter Economy

April 29th, 2009

I have noticed in the last six or so weeks that the mood in the country is changing. Despite the fact that unemployment is high and predicted to move higher there has been some good news reported.

Wells Fargo predicts a $3 billion profit was the headline on April 9th. A bank that is making money, how can this be?

Goldman Sachs sells shares of its stock to pay back half of its TARP funds bailout and refers to paying the funds back as “its duty” to do so. What? A company paying back government loans – and so soon? The last time I heard this happened was when Chrysler paid back its government bailout in the 80’s. According to Lee Iacocca in his book “Where Have All The Leaders Gone” it took the government a month to figure out where Chrysler should send the check since no one had ever paid a government loan back before.

Since the stock market hit bottom on March 9th and closed at 6547, it has had almost a 25% rally closing at 8125 on April 16th. (Yahoo Finance) Doesn’t this give you the feeling that the panic is fading? Certainly the talking heads have toned down their gloom and doom predictions of another “depression like the 20’s and 30’s”. I have already doubled down on some of the stocks I own and have already begun to reduce the losses from last qtr’s investment massacre.

Whether you agree with the politics of the solutions or not, it’s tough to believe that dumping almost a trillion dollars of stimulus into the economic blender and pouring almost another trillion into the financial sector to loosen the credit markets will not have some positive effects.

Based on what I am seeing and reading it looks like we could be out of this funk by the end of the year. To many of you who are keeping up on current events this probably isn’t news but I for one am starting to believe it to be true.

So what does that mean to me as a small business owner? Well, if you had done what your mother had told you and saved your pennies for a rainy day when the sun was shining, you should have a nice little nest egg of reserve capital which should not only be big enough to weather the storm, but should be available for reinvestment back into your company to prepare for the next wave.

Our business, like many of yours, has felt the economic slowdown, but we aren’t wringing our hands over it. We have been using the breather the economy has given us to take a hard look at our business systems and processes to find ways to make them more efficient, streamlined and produce a more consistent and better quality product for the customer. I’m not talking about cutting the workforce to save money. I’m talking about actually hiring in the face of the economy and dumping some of the rainy day reserves into branding, marketing, R&D and infrastructure. One of the benefits of a down economy is that much of these capital investments can be negotiated at lower costs. When the sun comes out again, you will have positioned your company for growth and that is the important lesson for today. Even a down economy presents opportunities for those who have planned ahead.

In the next several articles we’ll talk about some of the ways you can use technology to improve your processes and position your company for growth into this economic recovery.

Author: Categories: Chief Financial Officer Tags: