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Comment: Re:Before anybody complains (Score 1) 75

by m2pc (#45843565) Attached to: Postal Service Starting To Use Mobile Point of Sale Tech
Ive seen several "brick-n-mortar" retailers use similar tech, and the overall experience has been a good one. I remember the days when all that was available was a Symbol-branded monochome "gun" with a huge bulky keypad and display... Having an iPod Touch is actually a lot better all around:
  • a) Cheaper (even with the "sled", it still costs less than a dedicated device)
  • b) It does't run an old proprietary monochrome OS
  • c) It's lighter in weight

I recall the customer experience when Apple itself went from the Symbol scanners to the Linea Pro sled + iPod combo as being pretty much night-and-day. The old devices were clunky and slow, and the new were fast and efficient. Being able to sign with your finger onscreen was also a big plus. Paperless receipts are great!

Comment: Re:Here is your answer... (Score 2) 231

by m2pc (#45333939) Attached to: How Elon Musk Approaches IT At Tesla

I disagree. For our implementation (see my post above), it was two of us and we managed to connect many disparate applications. As long as you understand what you're interfacing with and sufficient API documentation exists, it's not that difficult. We managed to connect to UPS, FedEx and USPS for shipping label generation/package tracking, for payment processing, DBA Manufacturing (the legacy MRP system we were using) for importing the customers, suppliers, and items, and OpenCart for our web store.

It took the two of us about 12 months of solid work to accomplish this. I'm sure Telsa's ERP system involves a lot of supply-chain connections (good ERP systems need this capability), yet they were able to pull it off in 4 months.

Comment: Re:A risky gamble (Score 2, Informative) 231

by m2pc (#45329209) Attached to: How Elon Musk Approaches IT At Tesla

We just went through this exact same exercise at the company I work for. When our antiquated, poorly-designed MRP system started causing too many headaches, we carefully counted the cost of moving to something like or SAP, but ultimately ended up writing out own system from scratch. After running the two systems in parallel for 6 months to ensure the new system had data integrity we were comfortable with, we cut it off. Having just closed our first month "live" on the new system, I must say it's a real breath of fresh air for both the IS staff and the rest of the company. Gone are the days waiting for the slow moving MRP company to update their slow system to add features or fix bugs for us. Our hands were tied with the old system, and now the door is open to all sorts of possibilities. People are constantly saying "wow, we can do xyz now!" or "this wasn't even possible before with the old system". The daily complaints about the old system have been replaced with daily feature requests and positive comments.

The small team that built it remains on staff, and if something doesn't work, we fix it. If someone requests a feature that makes sense to the overall design goal, we sketch it out, schedule it, and implement it. We carefully weigh everyone's feature requests and implement only those that make sense for the overall "greater good" of the system. That way we keep feature creep down while building something that helps people get their job done faster. In the time between bug fixes and feature request, we are constantly polishing the system to make it more efficient. We now have a DEV environment where we can test out new ideas and features and release them to production only when they are ready.

Since we built ours with FOSS technologies, it's been a joy to integrate with our other trading partners (suppliers, our web store shopping cart, etc). The money we are saving on not having to pay for licensing costs (recurring yearly, never ending), we have invested in hardware and infrastructure to run the new system.

Perhaps the biggest benefit is when the system is released, the company will have a team on staff that knows the system inside and out, because they built it.

I would highly recommend any company considering buying an out-of-the-box ERP system to consider having an in-house team build them a custom solution. With the right group of developers, it can be a really rewarding experience for everyone!

Comment: Net Loss (Score 2) 200

by m2pc (#44782921) Attached to: New Jersey Congressman Seeks To Bar NSA Backdoors In Encryption
The fact (if it can ever be concretely proven as such) that the NSA has influenced the encryption algorithms to make them less secure has completely undermined the fundamental trust that was intentionally put in place to allow secure online transactions to occur. Without this trust, much of the value of the Internet is lost. SSL is based on a specific chain of trust from the browser all the way to the Certifying Authority and the entities that allow them to act as such. If this chain is indeed broken as is suspected, then there is a major problem that needs to be fixed.

Comment: Manufacturing (Score 1) 220

Some suggestions:

1) Pick a job where you will be involved with writing software/firmware in the manufacturing business. Chances are you will be on your feet for a good part of the day, walking out to the production floor to debug various things.
2) During your daily breaks (most employers allow 2 or 3 of these throughout the day) go for a walk around where you work.
3) Take a "real" lunch where you physically leave the office instead of eating at your desk, reading slashdot. Walk to the eating place or bring your lunch and walk with it and eat it outside. That way you will get sunshine (Vitamin D) and some physical movement as well.
4) To reduce "chair time" further, actually get up and walk over to whomever you need to speak with vs. just dialing them up on the office phone system. Every little bit helps.

Comment: Re:Common Sense (Score 1) 535

by m2pc (#40091765) Attached to: SAP VP Arrested In False Barcode Scheme
I believe Target (and other retailers) _do_ encode pricing information when marking down items for clearance. That way they can keep marking the price down and not have to create separate products in their database. The barcode often contains the markdown info as well as the SKU. I bet he was sticking red "clearance" stickers on these items and setting his own price, encoded in the label.

Comment: Re:Photographic prints! (Score 1) 350

by m2pc (#39931697) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Option For Printing Digital Photos?
Costco for me too... another bonus is you can (for a fee) get an archival-quality DVD along with your prints. Those two together should make for a decent archival system that lasts a long time. Also, it's nice to be able to share with family members and they can order their own prints to pickup at their local Costco. I used to print my own at home, but it got too expensive and time-consuming, especially with a growing family.

Comment: There's plenty of better alternatives out there... (Score 1) 241

by m2pc (#36968798) Attached to: .NET Gadgeteer — Microsoft's Arduino Killer?
I'd rather have one of these: I've been using these for personal projects and various tasks at work, and they've been a dream to work with, especially coming from the world of closed-source, proprietary PIC microcontrollers and the expensive compilers they require to get a decent high-level language working.

Apple Releases IOS 4.3 Beta To Developers 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-it-for-a-test-drive dept.
m2pc writes "Apple has just released iOS 4.3 beta to developers. New features include: Developer access to AirPlay API, Four and Five-finger gestures, and the return of the hardware orientation lock for iPad, a feature that upset many when Apple suddenly removed this feature with no software option to re-enable it. Also interesting to note is the lack of mention of the Mobile Hotspot feature rumored to be included in 4.3 for all iOS devices by the Verizon announcement yesterday."

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