Their downloader is junk and I’m here telling you so and you’re here BECAUSE you know it!
If you can’t download using their Akamai net session downloader garbage do this. I mucked around with this for over an hour which is why I’m angry – they owe me time on my life!
Download this Akamai installer 64 bit installer or 32 bit installer > install > then go back to the AutoCad website, re-download your trial or application > agree to the terms > then install > AND TIP ME ON THE RIGHT VIA PAYPAL! $2 dollars please!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Stallard, I buy from them and I understand their viewpoint. They come from the philosophy there’s no harm in using a bit of fear to prod customers to pry open their wallets. With Stallard, it’s not usually a large investment, they really are a pretty good bargain, good support, good warranty, etc. I’m not here to give a gleaming review BUT I am here to use them as an example of what many IT companies do.
They use scare tactics to sell units. It’s unwise in my opinion to make decisions based on fear. Several things to point out about the EOL or “End of Life” of a Windows or any other product.
They won’t be releasing patches – so what, they’ve probably ramped down patching that product anyway and have been reallocating resources into newer products.
No support – so what, there’s still plenty of blogs, posts, support and patches available for download or reading that aren’t on Microsoft’s site or the vendors site 9 times out of 10.
Non compliance – Yes, you may be non-compliant with HIPPA…BUT, if you don’t have to comply with HIPPA, the SEC or other government organizations so what, the OS still works and if you’ve taken a few steps to protect yourself like not use your computer as an admin, us FireFox with adblock lite, noscript, have antirus running and don’t use your computer for non-work related surfing…then who cares? You can still use a perfectly good OS UNTIL your actual applications stop working.
Leaving your system vulnerable to attack – come on! You can’t be serious! Isn’t your system ALWAYS vulnerable to attack…technically? Unless you minimize your footprint (exposure to the outside or inside) you’re always at risk. Systems should be designed to be “locked down”, not only physically but digitally including internal access. That means putting it behind a firewall, that means having the server firewall enabled and configured, not using the server as a workstation and browsing the web with it, etc.
Exchange 2003 – the ONLY reason to be in a rush to dump Exchange 2003 is because it might not work well with new devices. Most enterprises that I’m aware of no longer use Exchange 2003, I believe people still using it are the people with Small Business Server 2003 which bundles Exchange 2003 into it. Those folks are out of luck in newer Small Business Server offerings from M$ (Micro$oft) and M$’s unbundled it so they can push you to their cloud offerings. I wouldn’t make any rash moves here, what I’d do is look at open source alternatives to Exchange like Zarafa (completely free, web based all you need is licensing if you want to use Outlook ha ha!), Kerio Connect (not free but cheap), Zimbra (a bit more than Kerio) or if you don’t need Exchange functionality with shared calendaring or the Exchange protocol (so you can use smart phone’s, tablet’s, etc that use the Exchange protocol) just use an open source server like postfix or sendmail. Pretty much ANY web hosting provider already offers you an email server included in your hosting package. I had a client using their hosting providers email server (postfix) that had like 25 users and they just pop’d their mail down. They’ve since moved it to the next level and have almost 70 email users and they’re using Zimbra with a dedicated server but it worked for them for quite some time. For “shared calendaring” they actually used (at the time) a sharepoint calendar which is built into windows server for free ;)
The point of this post is this…
Don’t let someone scare you just because there’s some deadline – your servers WON’T stop working, they WON’T blow up and they’re NOT a ticking time bomb. Slow down, look at your options and in fact…it’s a PERFECT TIME to re-evaluate your strategy when it comes to IT. Perhaps a look at a new open source option like Zentyal is for you? It’s an open source “small business server” that’s a replacement for small business server from Microsoft, has AD like integration, Zarafa email services, DNS, file sharing, etc, etc. It’s great, I have it implemented on a site for a client and they love it.
This is from my comment to a douche named Justin, most agree so yeah, we’re all cyber bully’s now. I left my original post in tact for historical purposes.
The novo button is the far left most button on your poorly engineered laptop, you know…where you usually rest your left palm down (if you have two hands) – under that but on the “front” of the laptop. You’d need to tilt your laptop up to see it I’m sure. It might actually say “Novo”, not sure since I don’t own the unit. You power it on, then click, hit or press that button I guess – not sure what the screen looks like.
Page 12 in the PDF but page 16 if you’re using your PDF reader:
One of the dumbest things I’ve seen of late is a Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 with Windows 8 on it. You know how Windows 8 boots so “fast”? They trick you into thinking the system is “shut down”, even when you click the dumb gear icon > then click “power” > then click “shut down” IT DOESN’T REALLY SHUT DOWN!!!
It kind of goes into a hibernation mode. Guess what this does then on boot up? IT DOESN’T SHOW YOU THE F2 or F12 OPTION to get into the BIOS. What happened to good engineering? What you need to do then…and this is the dumb part…is…drum roll please…
Hold the power button down until the ideapad, laptop, paperweight, whatever actually shuts off. Doing this in my opinion is horribly dumb because it’s like pulling the power plug on your system. At any rate…hold down the power button (yes, Windows will “turn on” or rather…wake up) and continue holding down the power button UNTIL the ideapad shuts power off. THEN power it back on and you will then and ONLY then see the F2 (setup) and F12 (boot options) menu’s. Furthermore…don’t forget to hit the orange “FN” key so your function keys actually work!
Another trend in laptop design that’s going in the wrong direction…getting rid of the function keys! I think I saw some Chromebooks in the store recently that got rid of the function keys altogether. What is the world coming to if we have no function keys!? :-)
So I recently touched base with a guy named Liam who blogs about Chromium OS (misunderstood by me as “Chrom OS”, I thought they were one in the same but apparently they’re not). I emailed him a few things I found after downloading a Virtual Box image he makes available for download.
Some of my observations:
You have to have a GMail account to use the OS although there is some kind of “guest access”, you can’t use that in any real practical way for computing though.
You can’t get to the root file system (I don’t see a way anyway), I did read online somewhere that it needs to be compiled for “file access” or something like that then Liam said you can access it but it’s “read only”, supposedly this is a good feature. (?)
You can’t install anything except from their app store, reminds me of Apple and how you have to hack the OS to let you install a real installable application (by hack I simply mean dumbing down a security setting). It would be nice if Chromium OS also had that feature, it is a Linux Kernel so…
The VBox Liam provides doesn’t seem to have the VBox additions thus I have no mouse, hence, all my other difficulties and inability to explore the Chromium OS without putting it on a Chromium OS compatible device. I’ll have to put Chromium OS on a real netbook or other device to fully explore it I guess. I doubt I will because of all the negatives of the OS.
You have to trust Google with all your data, it’s pushed to their data centers where the Feds can subpoena them for your information or just look at stuff at will if it’s older than 6 months (is that true for docs and other data or just email?). Sure, you’re probably not doing anything illegal but do you really trust Google or the Feds with your information? I don’t!
Because you can’t manage your own system at a file level you assume you haven’t been hacked or your device hasn’t been compromised. When you use the device I guess ignorance is bliss. There are lots of documented cases of Google Android devices being compromised in a myriad of ways, they’re almost on par with Microsoft! :-)
Another thing about bloggers (Liam included) is that I’m finding we’re not fully disclosing conflicts of interest. Liam is an employee of Google (working there now for 3 months at the time of this post – congrats Liam!). I thought his blog was a bit too positive, it sounded to me like he was cheer leading the product a bit too much. He’s been working with the Chromium OS now for 3 years. He confessed the Virtual Box image lacks full functionality but that he got requests for it so he continues making it available for download. In my opinion if the mouse doesn’t work it’s pointless but it’s his bandwidth I guess. I bet those downloading assume the mouse works like I did! Beware, don’t download the Virtual Box image – it doesn’t work :P
The ONLY good thing about the concept and philosophy of the Chromium OS and pushing your data into the cloud is you’re now device agnostic, you can log into another Chrome Book and have your “profile” if you will on any device. The negatives in my opinion far outweigh the one positive.
I have security concerns, where is the cache (your local “offline” copy?). Can another user read it from another profile? Can I boot into another OS on a pen drive (with Linux for example) and access the profile? I did fire up a live distribution and poked around a bit but didn’t have much there since I couldn’t get the mouse working in the Virtual Box image thus I never offline cached any data to the image. I was able to navigate the file system though, interesting layout. I sudo’d to root and could gain access to every folder. Seems like 3 disks, OEM, ROOT-A and something else, typical Linux file system layout really. What happens if the device is hacked like millions of Android phones were and are still today due to malware (yes, malware web apps). Just search online for “android malware web apps”. I can’t do anything about it because I have to “trust” Google to fix it, have no access to the file system and I then expose all my data to whomever now owns my device.
The Chromebook devices are CHEAP! By cheap I mean inexpensive BUT you pay a price. The price of lost privacy, even if there isn’t a “real person” looking at your data. It’s the price of becoming a statistic. They know your age, race, illnesses, where you live, what you look at online thus what you’re intrests are who you be with what numbers to dial (Biggie refferene :P). Wake up people, GMail, GDrive, etc is not “free”, Google uses that data and sells advertising or your stats to various buyers.
Digitally you are your data. I’d rather pay more to Google for the stuff I use if I could be black listed from becoming a statistic. If my data was private and mine but alas, I don’t think that option exists. You have to hand over your data and your computing soul.
I’m personally avoiding Chromium OS and cloud anything at the moment until I can guarantee my data is my data and it’s hands off from becoming a statistic. Unfortunately most people aren’t that technical and don’t have those options so they’ll all get pushed like sheep to the cloud :-(
I’ve got a big beef with technology companies these days and it’s the involvement of more middle men so they can “grow the business”. Back in the late 80’s (when I was a wee pup of a lad) Dell Computer Corporation dealt directly with businesses and consumers. Dell direct! “You’re getting a Dell dude” and guess what, it’s not from a middle man but right from Dell dude! There were no middle men, it was great and what made Dell special among other tech companies doing the same thing like Gateway, HP, and IBM. Dell innovated, was in the right place at the right time with the dawning of the Internet (known by many things now like “the world wide web” or “the InternetS” or perhaps, “the Interweb”). The Internet helped Dell connect directly with their customers without the use of other distribution channels like resellers. Newegg.com for example is the epitome of a middle man. Thousands of products (including Dell computers sadly) by thousands of vendors. Sure it works but it doesn’t work well for me with some specialized IT products like software or integrated hardware. Newegg for me makes sense for parts but has certainly become more and Dell, well…they’ve gone backwards by expanding their distribution model that now includes middle men like Walmart. Yuck!
You know what a middle man does? It pushes the price up on many of the products and services we want to consume and shrinks the margins made by the manufacturer. Manufacturers like Dell though try to make it up on “volume”. Eventually though, as volumes decrease so do profits but I’m not sure they’ve realized this yet. As of late my biggest beef is with VMWare. More specifically, the Zimbra arm of the business know now as “VMWare Zimbra”. VMWare acquired Zimbra a few years ago. VMWare started growing quickly thanks in part to middle men. At one point VMWare products were a good value for money but when the middle men like Dell, HP, IBM, etc started reselling their products the prices went up and so did sales. They started selling more units thanks to their new distribution model, great for the short term. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re selling army quadruples in size, you sell more! I understand, VMWare had shareholders to please. Thanks to middle men and other market variables like share price and profits the prices on VMWare products went up. When prices go up, value for money goes down.
Sadly, VMWare is taking the Zimbra product in that direction. Since I’ve started working with Zimbra, they’ve been sold, prices have gone up and now they push you to distributors, resellers and hosting companies. It took me three weeks, several updated support tickets and patience to finally get a hold of a real honest to goodness, flesh and blood sales person. After emailing their sales staff I explained that I wouldn’t need to speak with them if their online portal was more clear and had better explanations. Apparently though I’m the only one in the world who was confused by their licensing model. Another poke in the eye is, they shared my contact information with a reseller who then pesters you about your upcoming renewal. So much for the privacy of my information :-)
Back to the irritating part of what VMWare is doing, they’re using middle men to distribute their product and grow the business. What happens to you and me as a consumer of their product? We pay more. Sadly, I might have to advise people to go use Kerio Connect rather than Zimbra since you can deal directly with Kerio, they have one product line with all the bells and whistles for half the price of Zimbra once you purchase the product and go on maintenance. Additionally, with Zimbra you have to buy 25 user blocks even if you just want to add one user thus wasting 24 licenses. With Kerio you buy licenses in blocks of 5, I like that granular approach and direct model.
I like Kerio because it does everything Zimbra does and just as well. You can even install it on an open source platform! You can deal with them directly with no middle men, they have just one product that’s all inclusive AND they’re a great value for money! I think I’ll be advising my clients in the future to dump Zimbra and migrate to Kerio hands down.
A small update! A colleague of mine showed me another alternative to Exchange and Zimbra. It looks promising and looks like a good value! It’s called Zarafa. I’ll update as I intend on using it. The small business edition which lets you use a ton of features, mobile sync, Outlook (if you care to use Outlook…I don’t) and much more is only $80 dollars Euro for a 5 pack per year. This looks promising!
Eliminate nonsense mailing to your house: My story & you can do it too!
This has nothing to do with IT but this is well worth posting!!! I was SO HAPPY!!! Last night I contacted one of the many community organizations that send junk to my mailbox via the contact us page on their website. This isn’t your typical junk mail from a major retailer or coupon book either, it’s from a Public Skewl (misspelling on purpose!). They kindly got back to me and said they can’t stop sending it to me because their publication is sent “delivery route“. I guess “delivery route” means they don’t put an actual address on their mail they just give a pack of 500 or so to a particular mail route and the letter carrier just gives them to each mailbox along with the real “junk mail” although this publication is in fact REAL JUNK. As a tax payer I don’t particularly enjoy the fact that our public institutions take the time to print and mail this out to “the community” thinking that everyone in the community actually cares about the contents or what’s going on at the institution. Please note public institutions, if I want to know; I know where to find you! Also, it’s inefficient, wasteful and costly to keep printing on paper and mailing it out to every one of your community members.
I suggested to this organization they simply upload the document on their website and offer it freely to anyone wanting to download it, they can FaceBook it, Tweet it, make an e-book Kindle version…whatever they want just STOP the unsolicited invite to my mail box and please stop wasting time, money and effort. I also suggested that if the few technological stragglers who want the paper copy “demand” they have it in that form they should PAY for it. It’s far more costly to distribute the paper than uploading it to a website. Receiving something like that in the Postal Service Mail is a LUXURY not a right. They can put it right on the cover, “Last paper issue unless you do xyz to continue service”.
So how do you STOP nonsense mail and junk from being delivered to your doorstep? Apparently it’s “law” they give you the option UNFORTUNATELY it’s not law that they tell you about it until you poke around. I wish everyone knew this information which is why I’m posting it here. It’s certainly in the USPS’s interest to keep this a secret :p
USPS can take you off the “common mailing list” just:
Visit the website (www.dmachoice.org), signup, validate your account and select what you want to get or not get from the USPS. A note here, when you do the Credit Card one you get the option of just stopping it for 5 years or FOREVER (<– Great option!!!) but once you do the “forever” stop on the credit card offers you have to actually mail in the signed form to them so definitely print off the form and send it in or in 5 years you’ll start getting them again.
Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512-0643
I’d like to also note that a nice feature of the site is to “report” a magazine or publication that hasn’t stopped coming to you so after 90 days if you’re STILL receiving the junk mail you can report it and hopefully someone deep within the bowels of the government will slap them with some unheard of penalty, fine or super secret mass marketing torture tactic in a dark room far beneath any prying eyes :p
If this helped you like I’m sure it’s going to help me feel free to let me know and tell others how to beat the junk mail in their real mailboxes. Don’t tolerate it any longer! If you don’t take proactive measures to stop the junk it’ll only get worse.
Director for The Center of My Own Opinion
A while ago I posted a beef with a software vendor I’ve had experience with called Sage. They’re the makers of software like Peachtree Accounting, MAS 90, 200 and 500 oh and lets not forget the contact management software called ACT which by the way I actually kind of like. The ACT division has something about it that’s different than the rest of the group, secondly I must say that the Peachtree group is my next favorite and lastly the MAS group which has a TON of ground to make up but from what I understand they’re trying. I’ll give them credit there, they’re trying…I think…
For what it’s worth their MAS family of software is OK, not horrible, not stellar, just mediocre and still definitely 3rd (last place) on my list of the Sage products I’ve had the pleasure of supporting . I suppose if we factor in the price it could even be called good and that it gets the job done (but still 3rd at this point in time). For whatever reason though there is an animosity that resellers of the product have against people on the outside, IT people like me that are not in the Sage MAS Family Partner Network. That basically means I didn’t pay to resell their software, I didn’t get training, I don’t get commissions and well, I’m just not good enough to click a mouse on their executable to install it and I sure can’t configure it because it’s such a complicated software (are you getting my sarcasm?). I happen to charge less than their partners do and my systems don’t hang or need debugging. My number one suggestion if you think about putting in Sage’s heavy application, a real server from Dell (Dual Core or better), 4 gig of RAM minimum, dual gigabit teamed nic’s and at minimum 10k RPM hard drives oh and you also NEED to connect your clients to gigabit Ethernet like your server is so they are all lined up at the same speed. With that, bye bye bugs that are hardware or network related!
I received quite a few responses with my initial post, I laid out several issues and I appreciate all the great responses. I recently came across Wayne Schultz’s post titled “5 assumptions I’ll make when debugging your MAS 200 server“. Wayne actually posted to my initial blog about Sage and I signed up for his newsletter which I get regularly. Because Wayne has so graciously posted a fair use clause on his site I’ve taken the liberty to re-post it here for the greater IT community with as you noticed, a link back to his original post above!
One of the toughest things to diagnose are sporadic Sage MAS 200 errors. Typically these manifest themselves as Error 12 conditions or cryptic lockups that bring the MAS200 server to a grinding halt (usually mid-day or in the midst of a heavy processing day).
The first thing I’ll usually try with a MAS 200 server problem is running the server app as a program instead of a service. This seems to be especially helpful for larger sites (for sake of argument lets label a site with over 10 users as large).
If you’re seeing error messages like “Connection failure to host:[tcp]Servername;####;NODELAY;STREAM” when starting tasks – these can often be resolved with the tweaks from our site.
I’ve diagnosed more than a few of these in my career. While they’re highly annoying – they generally can be resolved with careful and systematic checking of configurations and settings.
My observation is that many sites however fail in diagnosing the error conditions. Below is my list of the top 5 reasons that problems go un-resolved (or in some instances such as failing to have a backup – get worse).
Top 5 Reasons Your MAS 200 Server Keeps Having Errors
The IT person didn’t do what I asked because they typically don’t know how and are too embarrassed to admit to you or the boss. If you’ve asked to have Anti-Virus exclude certain folders – check that it has been done. Similarly watch them make any changes (again). Yes, you’ll have to put up with some heavy breathing and sighs. This is something all IT people learn to do in school.
Even though staff will say “It couldn’t be this” – check it anyway. Insist on it. Watch them do it. That goes for any of the Sage KB suggestions as well as instructions on excluding folders, files, etc on antivirus scans. Probably 40% of the problems go away when users actually try the fixes (as opposed to saying they tried them). (Tip: Always backup first – and be sure to read my #5 below).
The fact that Word and Excel run are totally irrelevant to any diagnosis of why MAS 200 won’t run — but the IT folks will hold that out as Prima Facie evidence that MAS 200 sucks, Sage sucks, Providex is a shitty language, SQL rocks, their MAS 200 consultant sucks, The Boss Sucks and their network is air-tight and better than any other on Planet Earth. You just have to develop a tough skin and keep running down the checklist.
Roughly 40% of IT folks have no idea what administrative rights are. In general I test for this right off by right clicking on the Start button and noticing whether “explore ALL” is an option. When that’s not present I assume the user doesn’t have administrative rights. Quite a few times after I do this and announce the results the IT folks disappear for a half hour or so. I’m pretty sure they’re going in the back to look up “administrative rights” in their “Server Administration for Dummies” book.
The IT staff don’t have a proper backup. Drag the entire \MAS90 folder (and all subfolders) to a separate location locally before starting.
Our site contains information on the different ways that you can correct many MAS 200 errors. The key is to systematically try them all one by one and observe whether small changes to your setup are correcting the issues you exist with MAS200 lockups.
I tried to post this but I’m unsure if at this time Wayne approved the comment (Wayne graciously did approve my comment – THANKS WAYNE! Cancel that, there one minute GONE the next – Wayne you are not cool!). On my site I like to practice free speech and I’ll post practically any comment that’s written with a human hand and that makes sense, even negative comments add to the greater good and knowledge base!
Here’s my comment to Wayne’s post…
Hi Wayne, you posted on my site so I’ll post on yours if you don’t mind publishing my comments. I find your 5 tips condescending to most IT professionals and in line with Sage and their partner network’s elitist views that their word is gospel and that most IT people outside of the sage network don’t know what they’re doing. I see you commented on a client’s IT person deleting a file from a MAS directory. This should indicate to anyone that Sage doesn’t understand “administrative rights” because you’re required to give all users of MAS full rights to the directory that Sage resides in. That action in itself is ludicrous and shows poor design on the part of Sage’s product. By design it gives anyone the right to delete whatever they want, truly a flaw with Sage not IT pro’s. Your attitude and comment are classic examples of why Sage has the problems it does with the IT community at large (people off the Sage payroll).
Here are my thoughts on Wayne’s 5 tips to debugg your MAS 200 server.
Tip 1 and 2 deal with virus scan’s, has Sage not figured out how to deal with AV? I find it quite odd that you have to exclude directories from anti-virus scanning so their product will run properly. I guess it’s not the end of the world since end user file deletion to the Sage program directory is a much bigger problem, better tackle that one first!
Tip 3, this tip seems most unhelpful – what IT pro assumes MAS won’t run if a totally unrelated program won’t run? This tip is perhaps the most insulting tip of the list and is it really a debugging procedure or just a poke at how inept you’re accusing your own client of being? I don’t think I’d be your client any longer if you insulted me like that on a website that anyone in the world can read.
Tip 4, I’m sure that 40% statistic is pulled out of a joke bag for entertainment purposes…or was there a study done by Harvard you could cite? Where did that number come from? Lets bump it up to 80% for giggles and assume they all work in Sage’s MAS 90 Development Center! As I’ve already noted several times the permissions are by (poor) design on the part of Sage not IT pro’s who are told to give those directory permissions.
Tip 5, it’s interesting how a “proper backup” is a drag and drop method. I haven’t seen such a sophisticated method of backing up an application since Windows 3.1. MAS is truly a stellar product!
To conclude I’d like to simply state that we should all be honest here. Sage MAS 90, 200, and 500 are mediocre products, they certainly have flaws. Wayne himself pointed out a glaring flaw in fact and in my opinion it’s a HUGE one because it’s at the core of their product. <– I’ve bolded that for extra emphasis! :) I’d hardly call giving full permissions to your program directory to every user of the system a “bug”, that’s a flat out security hole. That practice which has been around forever (and I think it exists with Peachtree products as well) goes against every security and application development 101 class because it allows anyone to delete your content. Definitely not a “bug”!
I don’t think Sage will be as widely accepted in the IT community until it breaks their current corporate culture of elitism both in their office and in their partner network. It’s so hard to take Sage and their reseller network seriously when they talk about server infrastructure, networking or their own product as I sighted on my initial post because they don’t give you the respect or dignity you deserve as an IT pro. They in fact chase their tail when you ask them technical questions especially about their product’s user capacity (as though 10 simultaneous users was a “large” user…Peach Tree Quantum does 30…maybe more now?). It always seems to be a he said – he said game of finger pointing between IT pro’s and Sage resellers. Unfortunately posts like Wayne’s and this very post propagate the animosity between the IT community and Sage + its reseller partners. I’d have to believe though that since I’m relatively new to dealing with Sage that this is a well rooted tradition which is confirmed by other more experienced IT pro’s who have posted to my initial Sage post. That post can be found here if you’d like to read it –> Link.
If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about buying a Sage product think long and hard about it. A cheap price shouldn’t be the only motivation for purchasing a product. Feel free to ask me what I think about Sage or their competitors and I’ll give you my honest answer! I am not a reselling partner of any product so I have no vested interest in selling you either way.
Take note that when I was doing an initial investigation for these types of products that Micro$oft never even called me back, they had no real phone number for me to call and I couldn’t get past the gate keepers so God only knows how good or bad their product is or how it performs next to Sage’s. Thinking about it for a moment I think they’re quite different in operation actually. The one glaring positive that Microsoft has over Sage is that I don’t think Microsoft will tell you to give your end users full access to their program directory :P
After going online to try and “Personalize” a system I noticed the website intentionally steering me to a model with a higher base price just to get the video card I wanted (it was $100 dollars more). According to the “Tech Specs” all those systems are basically the SAME! The case and the motherboard in all Inspiron 560s systems are the exact same, they then layer various types of processors, memory and hard drives on top of the foundation. Nothing new right?
Here’s the old bait and switch:
What I’ve discovered is Dell tricking the unknowing consumer to pay more than they need to by NOT offering the same options for a “lesser” model thus, to get the add on video card (NVIDIA GeForce® G310 512MB DDR3) you are forced to buy the more expensive model. You DON’T need to buy the more expensive model because the NVIDIA card will in fact go into the less expensive model but who’d know that if you’re just some non-nerd shopping for a computer?
As a side note, Dell has begun saying “This quote is only good for today” and they’re no longer honoring the typical 30 day quote time. This too is a typical high pressure sales tactic used to pressure consumers into pulling the trigger early. It’s subtle but effective!
Dell – your bait and switch practices are shameful! So are your subtle high pressure sales tactics! Are you owned by ABC Warehouse another infamous bait and switching company with high pressure sales tactics (Read more here –> Link)?
I think it’s a real shame that people (especially those in local governments) don’t see Google’s ploy for what it is and that people aren’t speaking out to take a more rational approach to the Google Gigabit Fiber announcement. It’s a marketing campaign, typically people / companies have to pay for a marketing campaign but not Google because of their marketing brilliance! I can’t believe how “excited” people are at the opportunity for “Gigabit fiber” to their houses. Would any other business making promises they may or may not fulfill get in trouble for this type of hype? Can we please look at this Google hype logically and sensibly?
1 – Google’s doing what a Walmart might do at the checkout when they’re looking to place a new store: “Can I have your zip code”. This is an attempt at Google to see where they can get the most bang for the buck, where the MOST customers might be. The old model was to build it and they will come. I suppose Google is smart about this approach, I bet one of their PHD’s came up with the idea!
2 – Customers, Google is not doing a service to the community, make no mistake about it. They’re looking to jump into the Cable TV business, the phone business (in part they already have), and anything else they can serve over Internet Protocol. You know, to take advantage of ANY connectivity you need a device, do poor and under served people have the devices to access digital data Google provides? I would suggest they don’t and they’ll always lag behind so no matter what Google says unless they have Section 8 computers and cell phones it won’t really help that class of population!
3 – Google would love to have their own network, that way they don’t have to be beholden to their competitors beefs, currently Google relies on external networks which are fastly becoming DIRECT COMPETITORS, ATT, NBC, ABC, Verizon, Sprint, Comcast, Charter, etc, etc, etc (some are direct already!). It’s only in Google’s best interest, NOT the community, for Google to get a fast and furious foot hold – to gain and take market share away from entrenched vendors. Is this bad? Probably not, competition is good but I think we need to know the real reasons for Googles Gigabit Hype, it’s mostly good for them not you even though you might see benefit in the end!
4 – Google’s marketing campaign, isn’t it a shame how we act like sheep? All Google has to do is drop an idea and right away millions of us are ready to fill out a survey and submit applications but for what? So you can get fast Internet to your house? So you can get viruses, spyware, filter through junk email and waste even more time updating your Google Buzz status? So you can download Avatar in 5 minutes instead of 55 minutes? How will this actually help anyone? It seems like more hype the more I think about it.
5 – Economic impact, I wonder how much real economic impact this will make on a community? Certainly you should already be seeing shifts in your local community because of companies like NetFlix. I bet there’s a local video store that’s recently closed in your local neighborhood because of slumping sales thanks to NetFlix or Block Buster online! It’s not that Google would be creating jobs, they’d merely be shifting them or they might in fact be importing them because the local community doesn’t have the skill or talent to support Google’s technology. I’m sure there are many communities who’ve experienced that, their talent pool isn’t Google qualified!
6 – Why would you want to be part of an experimental network? I can imagine anything that’s experimental would be buggy, it’s EXPERIMENTAL. They’ll be using you as the guinea pig or a lab rat. I wonder if users who suffer outages or poor performance will see their excitement wane? Maybe users will switch back to the more reliable providers they once vilified?
7 – If I think of anymore I’ll update the post!
What’s utterly shameful in my opinion (and not surprising) how most have give in to the herd mentality, we’re sheep, everyone jumping on the Google Gigabit bandwagon. Can someone with a voice louder than mine start bringing sense into the Google Gigabit conversation, it’s maddening how the public can’t see what’s truly happening! You’re being manipulated at Gigabit speeds!
Director for The Center of My Own Opinion
Over the past 3 years I’ve come into contact with Sage Software products. I’m curious if anyone else has had problems with this company? By the way, I don’t discriminate! Anyone have problems with Microsoft, Intuit, or others? Please feel free to share, I’d LOVE to know. I asked on more than one occasion for a contact to other companies who’ve installed their products and who “LOVED” it. The managers I spoke with said sure, let us contact those companies and we’ll have them give you a call but I’m still waiting, I’ll update this post should that change!
I have several big beefs with Sage that I’ve finally been able to speak with someone about at Sage although who really knows if it has fallen on deaf ears? Maybe they’ll do something about it? Until then I’ll post to my hearts content!!!
Here’s my list:
Pre-Sales technical questions aren’t answered:
I had pre-sales technical questions when evaluating their products against their competitors products but couldn’t find anyone who could answer them. By the way, Microsoft was worse, I was rooting for their product but I couldn’t get through the front door and they NEVER called me back once. You’d think they’d want to sell some software! I just found out the other day why Sage still supports Windows 2000! It took me 3 years to get that answer! Windows 2000 went into “extended support” in 2005 which, from most in the IT community is considered unsupported because outside of security patches you have to pay for support. Apparently Sage supports one year past anything in extended support. I told them to market that as the “Sage +1” plan, who knows, I think it’s kind of silly for them to support all those OS’s, certainly it’ll kill your developers and your support staff. I wonder how many people still use Server 2000 with Sage products anyway?
Most of the documentation makes claims like MAS 90 can only support 10 networked clients before it experiences file locking problems and their documentation encourages you to upgrade to MAS 200. Besides the fact MAS 200 has some build in Terminal Client there is no difference between 90 / 200, their documentation actually said that. If you want MAS 200 pay less for 90 and put it on a Terminal Server, you’ll save 50% of the cost! That kind of shows me their entire model isn’t well thought out among other things.
Their documentation doesn’t have any metric information, per client bandwidth utilization, disk I/O on transactions, no min’s no max’s, etc. They don’t even make estimations. I spoke with some folks at MAS just the other day and they said it was impossible to know. I find that impossible to believe! They said it depends on how you use it. Isn’t that true for any software? I’ve got a client with 20 or more clients all using the MAS 90 fat client on a gigabit network without incident. We’ve only recently had a lock file issue because of a NIC driver problem but I’ll keep tabs on what’s going on. CPU utilization, disk I/O, etc is nill I’M ACTUALLY IMPRESSED by their product from that regard. It lives past their low expectations, it’s almost like MAS 90 is Sage’s red headed step child :).
Their customer support might be good if you can get to the right person but that’s difficult. I’d rather pay more for support if they were able to help faster, redirect your question to the right person, they’re only open till 8 PM, that is, if they’re not in training so if you run 3 shift’s you’re out of luck or you have to pay for extra support. I’m not sure what that costs?
Another point I thought odd was an email reply to a complaint I had. It included the President and COO of the company I do IT support for on the reply. This was uncalled for and I made them know that in my reply which didn’t include the COO’s address on it. Later, another support manager was insisting to not only cc the COO but the CFO in an introduction letter. Of course that angered me further and I emphasized in 3 responses that is not acceptable. The justification was that this “introduction letter” wasn’t of a technical matter so he could essentially go over my head, furthermore since I was a consultant and didn’t work at the company he could do this. He later said he wouldn’t contact the COO and CFO because I verbally requested it (how many times do I need to ask again?). I think it’s a tacky ploy by the management team to include people in communications that aren’t supposed to be included, clearly it was trying to be used as a leveraging tool to tamper down my complaints. It was certainly not appreciated. What software company calls the COO and CFO or emails them? They have much bigger things to handle than a low level quarrel between their IT person and a software company. I can’t stress enough how ridiculous this was, truly laughable!
Sage and it’s partners live on a high horse, they think everyone that’s not a reseller, Sage Certified, Migration Specialists, or whatever hokey title isn’t capable of managing their product. If they just had the documentation available even a cave man could do it! Most of their partners seem to be less than intelligent even about the products they support anyway and I’ve dealt with three of them. There is an attitude at Sage I just don’t like, same goes for the resellers. I spoke with several people over there about the “do it yourselfer”, I used that on purpose and they bit hook line and sinker. They said their product isn’t for the “do it yourselfer”. I wanted to confirm their thinking, that unless you pay them, their “partners”, etc for support then you won’t be able to manage their product because you’re not intelligent enough, skilled enough, technical enough or you don’t know how ERP / MRP software works. That’s frankly not the caseSage because you can if they provided the documentation, but they don’t! They protect their resellers and partners by keeping users IGNORANT. Isn’t that why customers pay 1500 / year for support? To get the documentation to support their product and for that ability to pick up the phone and call? That should apply on all aspects of the software not just the use of it but installation, migration, or general administration of the product. Reseller protectionism hurts their product more than they know – in my opinion. I’m sure I wouldn’t hate it as much if I had the tools to properly support it, instead I have to reboot the server or reverse engineer the thing.
Why I wrote this:
There were a few links prompting me to write this along with recent personal conversations I’ve had with some customer service personnel and I thought I’d ask the Internet Community at large if Sage Sucks or is it the greatest thing since sliced bread?
I am currently in the “Sage Sucks” group even though management has seemingly made efforts to appease my complaints, I do appreciate that. It’ll take more than a few conversation to get me into the neutral or positive category though.
My Gift To Sage:
I just sent a kind gift to the folks at sage, it’s a book called “Why Software Sucks“. I think they earned it, I went all out for the folks on the management team, 13 copies, all gift wrapped with Amazon gift wrapping paper and a nice card that said this:
“Dear Jeff, A gift for you and your wonderful management team.
It’s no joke, I sincerely think your team would do well to read this
wonderfully humorous and oh so true book about your industry.
Please distribute to your team.Best wishes”
It’s 240 characters EXACTLY, all the room they gave me on the note! The gift which I’ll write off on my taxes ha ha cost me $262.61, including tax, shipping and the gift wrapping – well worth it if something gets done around there! :)
Cheers, I hope you guys and gals enjoy the book!
Director for The Center of My Own Opinion
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1. The file IS missing
2. The file is corrupt
Thankfully this client was honest and confessed to “deleting some files” in MAS 90 that perhaps he should not have.
Which leads me to wonder exactly how many computer related problems (not necessarily MAS90 or MAS200 even) are brought upon by end users doing something to cause the error condition?