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PCI Heads to K1 Speed for 2013 Holiday Party

January 10th, 2014

Productive Computing, Inc. held its 2013 Company Holiday Party at K1 Speed in Carlsbad, CA. K1 Speed is a popular electric go-kart racing venue featuring an indoor asphalt track. A large entertainment atmosphere is offered at K1 Speed including racing memorabilia, a pit café, pool tables and various games. Professional racecar drivers and celebrities are known to have visited the facility including Boris Said, Tony Hawk, Travis Pastrana, Bam Margera and Ryan Dunn.

Racing events at K1 Speed are designed to promote friendly competition while driving around the tight track at speeds up to 45 miles per hour. The electric go-karts include motors producing 20 HP with maximum torque available immediately. Karts are environmentally friendly, producing zero emissions.

Productive Computing staff had the opportunity to participate in their own exclusive Grand Prix race. PCI’s Grand Prix consisted of 3 races:

  • 12 Lap Practice
  • 14 Lap Qualifying
  • 16 Lap Final Race

Competition was running high between the staff throughout all three of the runs. Everyone surely enjoyed the adrenaline rush of competing for the top spot. While this experience was familiar for those who had previously participated in K1 kart racing, others were entirely new to the escapade. After each round every driver received a score sheet including specific performance details and placement.

An awards ceremony was held for all the winners after the final race. The top 3 racers received winning trophies and a podium finish.

  • 1st Place = Keith Larochelle, CFO
  • 2nd Place = Richard Padaon, Product Development Specialist
  • 3rd Place = Marc Larochelle, CEO

In addition, the top 3 performing PCI staff members (excluding CEO and CFO) were awarded with grand prizes of their own.

The occasion was surely a fun and memorable experience. Staff camaraderie and morale were boosted during the thrill of friendly competition.

Winners at K1 Speed

PCI Staff at K1 Speed

 

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GoPro® footage captured by Richard Padaon.

 

For more information please visit:  http://www.K1Speed.com

 

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Productive Computing Sponsors Alvaka Networks’ Annual Speed and Feed

November 20th, 2013

Productive Computing Inc. co-sponsors the 3rd Annual Alvaka Networks’ “Speed and Feed” technology trade show and performance driving event on November 8th, 2013. This unique expo took place at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA, and brought together various companies within the Information Technology industry.

Vendors and attendees were invited to ride along with experienced racing drivers or take their own cars out on the race track to drive hot laps. The event wasn’t an actual race, but rather a special “track day” for enthusiasts looking to have fun while networking. Out of the more than 200 attendees, about 100 participants, including PCI’s very own amateur racing drivers Marc and Keith Larochelle, took their own cars out to drive the track. Instructional coaches were paired up with each driver, providing tips while they took laps and drivers were grouped according to their skill level and experience. Alvaka ensured that the event was highly structured and safe for newcomers who have never experienced performance driving. Top speeds in the various groups ranged from between 110mph and 155mph on the fastest parts of the track.

Professional photographers were on hand to capture every vehicle’s drive along the speedway. All attendants were able network with various business executives and racing enthusiasts while enjoying outdoors barbeque, raffles and prizes. This one of a kind event surely exemplified the true meaning of “Speed and Feed.”

“This was my 1st time on a big track and pushing 125mph coming out of a long straight and into turns 1 and 2 which are 2 tight left banking turns, was arguably the most fun I’ve had at a technology expo!” —Keith Larochelle, CFO, Productive Computing Inc.

 

Auto Club Speedway Map

 

Marc Larochelle, Josh Mazur, Keith Larochelle

 

Josh Mazur

 

Railz

 

Flash

 

Railz

 

Flash

 

Flash & Railz

 

Flash & Railz

 

Flash Crossing the Finish Line

 

Railz Crossing the Finish Line

 

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Dash cam video of CFO Keith Larochelle in his 2008 Lotus Exige S240

 

For more information, please visit:  http://www.alvaka.net

 

Traveling with Technology

November 7th, 2013

With the travel season quickly approaching, many people wonder what to bring with them to stay connected. After a recent trip to Bali, I am amazed with the ability to access the rest of the world from an underdeveloped country. WiFi is in nearly all hotels and most public locations. The biggest questions are figuring out which gadgets to bring.

Portability and ease of use are the two most important factors. Laptops, tablets, smart phones and e-readers are the most common devices travelers are taking with them. Most travelers bring a couple devices so here is a quick guide for travel:

Laptops – Choose something small, under 13”, and it must be durable so aluminum or a high density plastic is a great option. You might not need lots of storage but a minimum 128 GB will store any media needed while you’re on the road. Solid state hard drives are the best because there are less moving parts which could break, but can be more expensive. SD memory slot is a nice feature which prevents you bringing an extra cord to transfer pictures from a camera. Don’t spend more than $1,000.

Tablets – For those not getting as much work done a tablet is an ideal option – slim, light, and long battery life. They are great for web browsing, watching movies, listening to music, and emailing. There are pretty slick solar Bluetooth keyboard devices that improve functionality and help to protect the device while getting bumped around in your bag. iPads are most popular these days but if you have a limited budget there are plenty of Android devices which offer similar functionality. Be sure to go into a store and actually get your hands on one prior to buying it, half of the user experience is in the ergonomics.

Smart Phones – Most travelers these days already have a smart phone, so use it. International rates can be high so if you don’t have an unlocked version and swap out your sim card be sure to notify your provider and change the phone settings to avoid using cellular data outside the network. You’ll find WiFi everywhere and using apps like Skype, Viber, Google Translate you can use your phone just like you’re at home – call whenever, snap a photo, reply to an email, etc.

E-reader – If you don’t have one yet, an E-reader is a great way to minimize your load and maximize your options. Battery life lasts weeks, you can store dozens of books, connect nearly anywhere, and if you purchase one with a web browser you’ll have access to emails and the internet.

iPad

Security should be considered also. Fortunately many hospitality locations depend on providing a safe facility to keep people coming back; a single theft or bad review on Tripadvisor.com could drive patrons away. The days of the maid stealing a computer are nearly past. However, physical theft is always a concern so be sure you are smart and pick a location that has good online reviews and an environment you feel secure in. Don’t flash your gadgets in public places like bus stops with high levels of traffic.

With public WiFi be sure to limit entering passwords and usernames, and keep your private browsing of banks, credit cards, administrative tasks to a minimum. Paypal security key is helpful for online transactions. Backups make you feel safe about not losing pictures or data from your trip so look into an online service like Crashplan, Google Drive, or Carbonite. Try to coordinate all your devices and if you have similar cords and adapters, condense or buy a universal adapter to keep things simple. Don’t forget some sites like Facebook, Pandora, and Twitter are not able to be accessed from outside the country so be aware it’s not the hotel internet causing the problem.

Traveling today is easier than it’s ever been. You can book hotels and day excursions after reading all about it from the group who posted a review the day before. Technology does make it better. Be resourceful and plan out your trip but remember things are a bit different. The internet might be slow or the person at the front desk might not know why you are not able to connect. It’s all about the experience, safe travels!

Why the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is Renowned and Productive

October 16th, 2013

The historic Del Mar Racetrack, located in the Northern San Diego coastal suburb of Del Mar, CA, has a prominent reputation of being one of North America’s major horse racing venues. The venue coined the slogan “Where the Turf Meets the Surf,” and was built by founding members Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien, Oliver Hardy, Joe E. Brown and other Hollywood insiders. On July 3, 1937, Del Mar first opened its doors with Bing Crosby personally greeting the very first fans. Over the following decades, Del Mar would inevitably become one of the finest thoroughbred racing scenes offered on the West Coast. To this day thousands of attendees migrate to Del Mar each race season to place bets on the stunning thoroughbred ponies.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) books a myriad of racegoers each year with many being booked by group reservations. In 1998 Marc Larochelle, President of Productive Computing Inc., was working on the computers at Del Mar when he noticed the company was using very dated methods for making their group reservations. Employees of the DMTC were walking around and manually recording group reservations with twelve paper notebooks. Only one reservation could be taken at a time per notebook. When Marc witnessed this he knew something had to be done in order to boost their efficiency. He soon approached the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and offered to automate the ticketing system for their Group Sales department.

Marc finished development of a custom FileMaker Pro system for DMTC in about four months. As a result, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club could simultaneously book reservations in every area with any staff member. Reservations could conveniently be booked with customized pricing based on seating area and date. In addition, the system incorporated confirmation letters with custom merge tags to be sent to clients for each group reservation. Thus, the DMTC gained the ability to keep track of all reservation correspondence history quickly and easily. With the success of the automated group reservation system, PCI was soon brought on again to generate an accounting report. This report, known as the Sales Summary Report, was developed by Paul Dacanay and provided a “bird’s eye” comparison of ticket sales for all areas across current and previous years. With Paul as the main developer, the custom-built FileMaker Pro system Productive Computing designed would predominantly increase DMTC’s operational accuracy and control.

The following year in 1999, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club asked PCI to create a nametag system for the Group Sales department’s entrance and seating. They initially requested development for printing tags to a thermal ticket printer; however, this wasn’t possible in FileMaker without incorporating some sort of plug-in. Richard Arakelian subsequently created the Change Printer plug-in for this purpose. Change Printer effectively enabled communication with their thermal ticket printers, and at the same time, added the ability to send a print job to multiple printers with just one script. The plug-in facilitated group nametag printing with attendee details on each perforated sticker including Group Reservation Name, Area, Seat Number, and Race Event. This powerful print automation allowed the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club to print both nametags and confirmation letters with a single button.

Productive Computing would continue to keep the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s FileMaker Pro database system up to date in the years following. New features and updates are consistently applied in conjunction with FileMaker’s latest version releases.

“Building a solid FileMaker Pro solution in 1998 that is still in use today is a testament to both FileMaker and the creative minds of the Productive Computing staff. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s database showcases FileMaker’s continuous capabilities in flexibility and scalability. We are proud to enhance the efficiency of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s historic establishment, and will surely be committed to supporting and improving the system for years to come.” —Marc Larochelle, CEO, Productive Computing Inc.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has gone down in history as one of Productive Computing’s oldest clients. The FileMaker Pro system developed for them was one of PCI’s first projects and continues to successfully be in use to this day.

Productive Computing Inc. – DMTC Developers:

– Creator: Marc Larochelle

– Change Printer Developer: Richard Arakelian

– Main/Current Developer: Paul Dacanay

Productive Computing Inc. held its latest staff appreciation event at the Del Mar Racetrack on August 30, 2013. PCI booked a group reservation with tables at the Clubhouse Terrace Restaurant, an appealing trackside dining eatery. Staff members and their respective guests wore perforated nametag stickers all labeled with “Productive Computing Inc.” reservation details. With the significance of DMTC as a client in mind, the staff was thrilled to take advantage of the Group Sales database and experience first-hand what PCI had developed. Whether it was the charming luxury of the Spanish-themed architecture, the anxiety of betting on races or enjoying the live concert series, the place “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” certainly lived up to its prestige and celebrated history.

 

About Del Mar Thoroughbred Club:

Since founder Bing Crosby opened the doors in 1937, this historic institution has served as a seaside attraction for high-stakes fun. With the rhythmic clacking of competing thoroughbred horse races, the track has lured fans of all ages and backgrounds, providing a battle zone for bettors and, oftentimes, a playground for the stars.

For more information, please visit:  http://www.DMTC.com

 

Productive Computing, Inc. Demonstrates FileMaker Pro to Cal State San Marcos Computer Science Students

October 8th, 2013

Last week Marc Larochelle from Productive Computing, Inc. gave a presentation entitled “Rapid Application Development Using FileMaker” to a selected group of Cal State San Marcos Computer Science Majors. Fifty or more students attended to learn the benefits of rapid application development using FileMaker with Productive Computing customers highlighted as an example.

During the session Marc created a basic FileMaker database from a simple Excel spreadsheet import then immediately deployed that database application on a Mac, a Windows computer, two web browsers and an iPad in a matter of minutes. Productive Computing is a regular presenter at Cal State San Marcos and uses these talks to inspire and educate today’s generation on the benefits of using FileMaker in the workplace and the potential career opportunities upon graduation.

 

 

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