Aimless Ramblings from a Blithering Lunatic . . .

Just another Microsoft MVPs site

Category: 315 (page 1 of 4)

It’s about time

Supporting my customers, I get to deal with a wide variety of peripherals and multi-function devices.  From a pure administration & functionality standpoint, I prefer (and recommend) Ricoh’s Aficio series of multi-function devices (compared to Canon, Sharp or even Konica/Minolta Bizhubs).  Regardless, those are all quality devices for a decent sized client.  What has been a constant struggle for me has been finding a decent, cost-effective multi-function with self-contained walk-up functionality for the small client / remote office.  We’ve been consistently disappointed with HP devices over the last few years (I can’t begin to count how many warranty claims we’ve had on M2727nf or M1522 devices.  And even when they don’t flat-out break, it seems the ADF and paper tray are just wearing out way too quick.

My other gripe with the HP multi-functions, are the same as most of the other devices on the market – for scanning functionality, they require you run software on the PC.  So scan to email is a matter of walking the document over to the device, going back to your desk, opening the HP software, jumping through the wizard and selecting the scan destination, then completing the email message and manually sending it.  While in theory this isn’t that difficult – I have some users who don’t keep Outlook open – and they can just never remember that even though the HP scan app will open a new message & attach the scan – when they click send the message isn’t actually sent if Outlook isn’t open – it sits in the outbox until they open Outlook.  And don’t get me started on scan-to-folder, especially when you are working with users hot desking with kiosks . . .  

So we’ve looked at HP devices, as well as low to mid level Canon, Lexmark & Samsung devices.  We even have a customer with a Xerox Phaser MFC – and we’ve been consistently disappointed in the way network scanning seems to be an after-thought at best.

I must say though, that I think I have finally found a winner.  I just replaced my MFC in my office – which quite honestly is used for scanning more than anything else.  I purchased a Brother MFC-8890dw, and wow am I impressed.  Now obviously, it’s not going to have the nice touch-screen display and polished web interface that we get with the 5-figure Ricoh / Bizhub type devices.  But for the small office, it does network scanning extremely well.  The best in this area – the ability to scan-to-email or scan-to-file (SMB or FTP) by walking up to the device – no PC needed!  Configure multiple scan-to-file profiles (each profile can be either SMB or FTP, with separate authentication for each profile).  Configure the device once with your outbound SMTP server info, then you can either use preset scan-to-email destinations, or manually key in the destination email address as needed.  It even has a front USB port allowing you to scan directly to a USB thumb drive.  As for file formats, it supports scanning to TIFF, PDF and Secure PDF with multiple options for color scale and resolution. 

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is about the only device with this level of network scanning functionality in this price range (MSRP $499).  And the feature list keeps going:  not only do we have true network scan-to-email and scan-to-file from the device, we also have a network twain driver for the scanner – so you can scan from your favorite desktop app (Adobe Acrobat, etc.) if you want to.  The B&W laser printer is rated at 35ppm, and has full duplex (the ‘d’ in the 8890dw).  There’s an optional 2nd 250 sheet paper tray available as well.  But the duplex functionality doesn’t stop with printing – oh no.  The 50-sheet ADF has it’s own full-duplex functionality, allowing for automatic two-sided copying & scanning.  The 40 available speed-dials can be programmed as either fax speed-dials, or one-touch scan-to-email destinations.  Finally, in addition to USB and 10/100 ethernet, this device also includes standard 802.11g wireless connectivity (the ‘w’ in 8890dw), giving us the flexibility to place the device where it’s convenient for users – not necessarily where we have a network drop.  And the replacement supplies are very reasonable, with the standard 3k page toner running about US $75 and a high-yield 8k toner running about US $115.

I’ve only had the device a few days – but so far I am definitely impressed with this device, and especially the functionality it provides for the price point it is at.  The few negatives I’ve encountered so far are extremely minor:  the ADF is louder than I would like, and the web-based administration interface can be a bit slow at times, but I’m more than happy to live with those trade-offs for the extensive functionality.  This is definitely the device we’re going to be recommending to customers who need a device in this class.  So there you have it – a completely unsolicited / uncompensated review and recommendation of the Brother MFC-8890dw

Which RMM?

Ah, the great debate in the SMB Managed Services realm:  what is the better Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM) solution?  I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked this question by SMB providers, so I decided it would be beneficial for a no-holds-barred comparison of the products I know.  Obviously, it will not be a comprehensive comparison of every available solution, since I am only going to compare the products I know and have worked with first hand:  IT Control Suite, Level Platforms’ Managed Workplace, and Kaseya.

This will be a multi-part series, with each entry focusing on one aspect of RMM functionality (monitoring, patching, scripting, remote access, etc.) and providing a comparison of how each of the three solutions approaches the functionality and how well they deliver, noting gotchas to be aware of.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with me, I have been involved with providing managed services in the SMB space since mid-2003.  In mid-2004 we were one of Level Platforms’ earliest customers.  In early 2006 we added Kaseya and started running it side-by-side with Managed Workplace.  Finally, in mid 2008 we began working with IT Control Suite as well.  I spent two years as CTO of MSPSN, and during that time MSPSN offered vendor-agnostic NOC services, allowing SMB MSPs to use whatever RMM product they wanted.  Part of my duties included administering multiple RMM installations to keep them in sync with MSPSN’s standardized monitoring and ticketing configuration, but also training NOC staff on these products as well.  As a result, I have in-depth first-hand experience with these products.  I know each one’s killer features, what they do well, what they could do better, and in some cases what they flat-out don’t do.

Before we dive in with the series, it is important to note that if you are providing Managed Services, and do not have any RMM solution in place, any one of these is a viable choice that will enhance your offering(s) and help streamline your service delivery.  There is no wrong answer – just a potentially better answer depending on your needs and priorities in an RMM solution.  Just be aware that no RMM is truly “set it and forget it” – they all require on-going administrative effort to keep doing their job well, although some do require less admin overhead than others.

You do know about GroupBoard?

Just like they did with SharePoint Services 2.0, Microsoft has released application templates for SharePoint Services 3.0, which can be found here.  And while you’re there, take a minute to read through the list of Server Admin Templates that are coming soon . . .  there’s several things in there that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

So far, the most exciting of the offerings is the GroupBoard template:

This single template has standard many of the most popular functionality requests that I’ve had from clients and end users over the last couple years, including:

*   In/Out Board

*   “While You Were Out” messaging

*   Resource Grouping / Organization Chart

*   Timesheets

Definitely worth taking a look at.

Moving to QuickBooks 2007

Anyone who has spent any time with me is familiar with my complete and utter loathing of everything Intuit.  But instead of ranting about how it’s an inferior, bloated, poorly-coded application that ignores both IT and accounting best practices, I’m going to provide some hopefully useful information on how to get QB 2007 to work in a network environment when you’re moving up from QB 2006. 


Like most of us in the SMB space, we have a lot of customers running QuickBooks.  We were eventually able to get virtually all of our SBS customers who purchased QB2006 running with the data living on their server.  Of course, this required installing the complete QB2006 app on the server – which I wasn’t exactly thrilled about.  As you may know, with QuickBooks 2007 Intuit has actually started making some progress towards a network friendly app.  Now, I don’t know if someone at Intuit started thinking – or if maybe Susan’s 2×4 finally hit home.  Regardless – with QuickBooks 2007 it now has a server install option (we no longer need to install the full app on the server), and it also supports running as a non-admin.  Who’da thunk?  [:)]


So, I’ve now moved three different clients from QuickBooks Pro 2006 to QuickBooks Pro 2007.  Since I didn’t like having the full QB app on the server, and I now no longer have to – I decided to completely uninstall QB2006 from the server, then run the server install of QB2007.  However, when I installed QB2007 on the clients, they couldn’t open the company files on the server.  After digging around for a little bit – I found the culprit:  Intuit.  Believe it or not, the QuickBooks 2006 uninstall routine did not remove the QuickBooksDB service.  Of course, QB2007 installs its own new data service (QuickBooksDB17) – so I was left with two QB data services running and not playing nice with each other.  Since I’ve seen this with every upgrade I’ve done so far, I figured there is a chance someone else might run in to it [:)]


The simple solution is to stop both services, remove the old QuickBooksDB service, then start the new QuickBooksDB17 service and you’re good to go.


If you need a refresher on removing Windows services – download the Windows 2003 Resource Kit Tools here.  Once you’ve installed the reskit tools on your server, click on Start | Programs | Windows Resource Kit Tools | Command Shell  then enter the following command:


INSTSRV QuickBooksDB REMOVE


Start the new QuickBooksDB17 service and voila!

The Winds of Change . . .

Can you believe that this Wednesday, October 25th – marks the 5 year anniversary of the launch of Windows XP?  5 years!  Wow, no wonder things have been pretty comfortable and cozy on the help desk front – work with an OS for that long and you’re bound to know it inside and out.

But alas, progress marches on and we’re in for a whole new learning curve on the desktop (or more accurately, our users are in for a whole new learning curve, and we’re in for a completely revamped traning ciriculum)  

First, IE7 RTM’d last week – and there’s a bit of a learning curve there as well (honestly, how many of you cussed like a sailor the first time you tried to install a self-signed cert?)  I’ve been running the beta for several months now, and have become addicted – especially with the full-screen functionality when using web apps.  And I will admit that yes, IE is not only my primary browser, it’s the only browser I currently have installed.  Sure, I’ve read Vlad’s rants – but what can I say, I actually like IE  (yeah, I know – I’m sick & twisted). 

With IE7, Microsoft has been pushing out tons of add-ins, and free little applications, all using the Windows Live branding.  One of which being the Windows Live Writer, that I am actually using for the first time to compose this post.  So far, I have to admit that I’m impressed with this.  If you want to take a look, you can get it here – or read Vlad’s thoughts on it here  (after all, we all know that Vlad has a clear-cut opinion on EVERYTHING    )

And then we have Office 2007.  Of course, with what I do on a daily basis, Office for me is pretty much defined by Outlook, with Access and FrontPage (oops, SharePoint Designer) being a distant second & third . . .   I’ve also been running the Office beta for several months – and was totally sold until a few hiccups with the Beta 2 Technical Refresh (B2TR) – which resulted in Outlook crashing when I tried closing it, and getting a corrupt OST every time I opened Outlook . . .  this has been resolved – but more on that later.  So far the built-in RSS capability in Outlook, combined with the new kick-ass shared calendars view, the To-Do bar, and ease of adding Exchange accounts (users only have ONE choice to make – then it automatically detects the username, email address, and finds the Exchange server on the LAN – no more having to walk users through typing in the internal FQDN of their Exchange, blah, blah blah . . .  (at least, it worked that slick on a domain PC on the LAN)  Of course, there’s much more to Office 2007 – but those are the tidbits that affect me on a daily basis

Finally, our biggest change right around the corner is Vista.  Again, I’ve been running beta builds for quite some time – but admittedly on my home PC that I rarely ever use for anything besides the occasional web browsing.  Well, I was a few builds behind, and decided to take a serious plunge into the Vista experience – so I reinstalled my primary machine (Acer TravelMate C314XMi tablet) with the Vista RC2 bits yesterday . . .    I did download & run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor before starting the process – which was great for identifying what hardware and software I might have issues with.  So far, I have to admit that based on my previous experience with various Vista beta builds, I am very impressed.  The installation was painless – with all of the required information being entered up front, and the rest of the process being completely automated – reboots and all. 

After having lived through the migration experience from Win98 to 2000 Pro, and then from 2k to XP – I’m still scarred from application incompatibility, and driver issues (most notably a glaring lack of drivers) . . .   But, that doesn’t appear to be the case with Vista.  So far, I’m only having a couple hardware issues – most are pretty insignificant, but one – while not necessarily a show-stopper, is close.  My integrated Intel 2200BG wireless adapter is not cooperating.  Vista includes drivers for this wireless adapter, and it is installed, and when enabled it detects available wireless networks.  However – it refuses to connect to any secured network (WEP or WPA-PSK) – and while it will connect to an unsecured network – the connection only holds for ~5 minutes until it’s dropped and the adapter reports that there is no signal for that network any more.   Tad bit annoying . . .  especially since I only ever work wirelessly at home.  But on the flip side – my Verizon Wireless aircard works flawlessly.  As for the minor hardware issues – my function buttons to enable / disable things like WLAN & Bluetooth, or shortcuts to email, web, etc. are not working – neither is the On-Screen Display for these buttons, or my generic function keys (so I need to figure out how to disable NumLock when I’m in a remote assistance session  )  And finally, while my sound worked – Vista kept complaining that the audio drivers were not compatible with Vista – so I downloaded the Vista beta drivers for AC’97 audio from Realtek’s website – and I’m good to go.  (Of course, dealing with Realtek’s slow download site was a bit annoying in itself – almost 2hrs to download 26MB)

What really surprised me was that there were drivers for our printers here at the office.  Granted, they aren’t anything overly special or bleeding-edge – but again, I remember the issues obtaining print drivers in the past.  Adding our HP LaserJet 4200tn was a snap – I entered its IP, and Vista did the rest – queried the printer, determined the make/model and selected the appropriate driver and voila!  Now, it wasn’t quite that simple installing our Okidata C5150n color laser – Vista tried querying the printer – but wasn’t able to get the info it needed – so I had to select the driver the old-school way.   Now, the driver list didn’t include a driver for the Oki C5150n – but it was available via Windows Update – so all is well.

On the application front – so far just about everything is behaving itself.  Naturally, Office 2007 B2TR is playing very nicely with Vista – but the latest versions of other necessities like Adobe Reader, Java engine, Flash player, etc. all installed and ran without a hitch.  Notably, some of the little things that I use and depend on daily are working without issue.  The AutoTask for Outlook add-in installed and is running perfectly (which is a huge relief since that would have been a show-stopper for me if it didn’t) – and the AstTapi driver (that let’s me dial out from Outlook using our Trixbox phone system) is working nicely as well.

A few applications required a workaround to cooperate – most notably the Firewall Client for ISA 2004, and the connectcomputer wizard for SBS 2003.  You can get the details on getting these to work over at Sean’s blog – here and here . . .

The only application that is throwing me a bit of a fit is QuoteWerks – which is throwing an error when it tries to log in to its back-end SQL database – so I can’t really do anything . . .   but if I absolutely need to access a quote, QuoteWerks is installed on our Terminal Server – so I can get to it there. 

Finally, performance-wise – I have to say that this machine boots up and shuts down WAY faster than it did with XP Pro – and overall performance seems to be right on par, if not better than XP Pro. 

So, here’s to change ! 

The Mobilize SMB Tour . . .

Here at Mobitech, we started engaging in Managed Services a few years ago, and have learned a lot of valuable lessons while migrating our business to this new model.  Last year, we started the SMB Managed Services Yahoo! Group to provide a resource for SMB VARs who are looking at moving their businesses into a Managed Services model.  In 2006, we’re expanding on that effort with our Mobilize SMB© Tour:


Mobilize SMB©: Taking the SMB Community to the Next Level


Coming to a city near you!  This half day workshop will provide the information and support you need as an SMB IT solution provider to help you build a solid SMB Managed Services Business Model.

What are the pitfalls to avoid?
How do I pay my technicians under this model?
How do I know how many technicians I need in this new model?
What are the stages in moving into a Managed Service Model?
How will this affect my vendor relationships?
How do I measure, and why does it matter what my technician utilization rates are?
How do I sell managed services?
How do I construct my service level agreements?
Who wants these services?
What or who is my competition and how are they doing managed services?
Are there any vendors out there that understand my business?
What tools are available?
What skills do I need?


June 5 Chicago, IL  To register click here



June 7 Detroit, MI  To register click here 


June 9 Cincinnati, OH  To register click here



June 12 Louisville, KY  To register click here 


June 14 Atlanta, GA  To register click here



June 20 Tampa, FL  To register click here


This first leg is targeting the eastern US – but have no fear, we are planning on hitting the west coast in August and September.  Those dates are still being finalized, but we’ll let you know as soon as those are available . . .

Making sense of Best Buy’s push into the SMB space . . .

Ok, for those of you who are either outside North America or simply have been living under a rock lately, Best Buy is making a move into the SMB solution space.  Specifically, they’re rolling out a Best Buy for Business program, and naturally using their Geek Squad as their troops on the ground.  Since it seems like just about everyone has an opinion on this topic, I figured I might as well dive in myself  ;^)


Now I know that most of us SMB partners have the same initial reaction when someone mentions the Geek Squad – and it usually consists of a bit of a smirk, a shake of the head and a little laugh to ourselves.  But before you shrug this off and discount this whole thing as a non-event, you need to sit back and take this seriously . . .


It is too early to be forecasting doom and gloom, as well as the utter demise of the traditional SMB var.  However, you’d be very naive to think that Best Buy can’t grab a piece of the market solely on their marketing might.  And they are making a solid effort, with their techs going through an intensive 2 week training course on SBS.  Of course, the providers this will affect at first are the part-time one man shops – the ones who have a couple clients that they work with at night and on the weekends.  Not to generalize, but it has been my experience that the majority of these guys have skills on par with your average Geek Squad member.  Basically, Best Buy will be able to capture the price-sensitive portion of the market without much effort.  Will they implement ideal solutions that follow best practices right away?  Probably not.  But depending on how Best Buy manages this will depend on how much of a threat they become.  If they implement their own internal knowledge base, have knowledgeable senior-level techs that support issues can be escalated to, and do simple things like training their techs how to plug into this amazing SBS community we have out here, they could easily move up the stack and start getting more business from the section of the market that isn’t necessarily price sensitive, but isn’t aware of their other options.


I don’t doubt that the Geek Squad will never be as reliable as the SMB var, and will never enjoy the level of trust that we have with our customers.  But just because they can’t be as good as us, doesn’t mean they can’t take business from us.


So, what do you need to do now to ensure you successfully weather whatever storm this might generate?  In all honestly – nothing that you shouldn’t be doing already.  You should be constantly working on your sales effort.  The point here is to not only drum up new business, but to constantly increase your name recognition.  Sure, most of the people you call today probably won’t be interested in your services today . . .  but the more they see your name around town, the more likely they’re going to call when they are interested in your services.  Next, review your SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats).  What are your strenghts as a technician?  as a business?  What sets you apart from your competition?  For example, with Best Buy we’re different because first and foremost, we’re service providers.  We’re not looking to sell a PC or a router, or a printer, or whatever.  Also – we’re often hardware agnostic – where the likes of Best Buy will be pushing what they have in stock.  Our biggest strength is that we’re small business owners ourselves – and can relate with our customers.  Regardless – find what sets you apart and determine how you can exploit that.  Then communicate that to your leads – maybe put together a sell sheet on what makes you different than the rest.  You may also look at focusing on a few vertical markets, where you can provide experience & expertise on their needs as well as various LOB apps their industry uses.


So – take a look at your organization and what you need to do to grow your customer base and increase your name recognition, and try to stay one step ahead, and offering services that Geek Squad either doesn’t or can’t offer.  One way you can stay ahead is by making the move to managed services.  The bottom line is the last thing you want to do is sit idly by with your head in the sand thinking that Best Buy isn’t a threat.  Granted, they may not be a big threat to you today – but who knows what the landscape is going to look like in a couple years?  Maybe SBS Longhorn will be super-simple to install & setup.  And what if Best Buy hires more & more truly capable technicians? And what if they make the move in to the managed services realm – maybe even purchasing an MSP software company like Kaseya, Level Platforms or N-Able?  Next thing you know there is a strategic alliance between Best Buy & Dell, where the Geek Squad provides Dell’s onsite installation & warranty services.  Best Buy also becomes a Dell partner – they get better-than-web pricing based on their volume, but they don’t have to stock anything.  They configure and sell Dell stuff on demand, and Dell keeps their direct model by only building machines when they’re ordered . . .   


And we all know that when it comes to SBS sales, Microsoft is focused on one thing, and one thing only – new sales.  There is only a very small percentage of small businesses that currently have a server – and Microsoft is drooling when it looks at the tens of millions of small businesses without a server – a market waiting for them to conquer.  It only makes sense that Microsoft would do a huge co-branding advertising campaign / blitz to drive small businesses to Best Buy, because next to the OEMs, Best Buy is going to be in the best position to push SBS.


So now in our hypothetical scenario, we’re a couple years down the road with Joe the small business owner seeing newspaper, billboard & TV ads about Best Buy for Business.  He also sees Microsoft ads pushing him to either Best Buy or a number of big-box retailers that have put in their own Geek Squad like service offerings.  He can have a Best Buy Business Technology Consultant (BTC) come out to his business, assess his needs and provide a written proposal.  If he wants Dell hardware, the proposal includes a link to a saved cart that the BTC has already configured.  He signs the proposal to accept, pulls up the Dell cart online and plugs in his credit card number.  The Geek Squad finishes the 15 minute OEM installation on the SBS, brings it out and installs it complete with their monitoring software.  Their managed services agreement is automatically billed to Joe’s Best Buy card every month, and they have a handful of data centers across the US where a team of engineers are watching the multitudes of monitored systems.  When something comes up, they either take care of it remotely, or if it requires a visit contact the customer and either have the customer bring the system in (hey, it’s still Best Buy ;^) – or for a higher fee, schedule a Geek Squad member to go out onsite.


You have to admit – it would be a little harder to sell against that offering . . .    and it isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination to see most of that hypothetical situation come to pass. 


So . . .   now about that sales effort of yours . . .      :^)


For some interesting reading on the topic, check out these posts of Vlad’s:


Best Buy for Business to End SMB IT Consultants?
http://www.vladville.com/2006/02/best-buy-for-business-to-end-smb-it.html


Best Buy vs. SMB IT Consulting: Part 2
http://www.vladville.com/2006/03/best-buy-vs-smb-it-consulting-part-2.html


Best Buy now Gold Certified Partner
http://www.vladville.com/2006/03/best-buy-now-gold-certified-partner.html

The compromise of SBS . . .

I’m sure that most people here are aware that there are circles in the IT community where SBS is a punchline.  One of the most common assertations is that ISA on SBS is a security compromise.  So I figured it was time to address this head on.


Is ISA on SBS a security compromise?  Completely – because the mere notion of a firewall on Windows is a security compromise at best . . . we should all be running a SonicWall or Cisco Pix if we really want security.     Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little jab  :^)


Seriously – is ISA on SBS a compromise?  Absolutely – because SBS itself is a compromise.  Which is why it fits so well in the small business space, because each and every small business is a living, breathing example of compromise on a daily basis.  You can’t truly appreciate or understand Small Business Server if you don’t understand small business.  And you can’t understand small business if you haven’t experienced it. 


I can’t help but wonder if the people who look down on SBS with disdain have truly experienced small business.  Have they laid awake at night worrying about making payroll – knowing that their employees have families to feed and mortgages to pay?  Do they realize that for many small businesses, money could be spent in several different places – so that server upgrade often relates to not being able offer the raises or bonuses we’d like, or offering additional benefits.  We have to take care of our employees and our customers, but we also have to invest in our businesses to insure our long-term ability to take care of our employees and our customers.  We can’t afford an imblanace either way – literally.  So each day is a compromise.


Would I love to be able to follow ‘best practices’?  Absolutely.  But look at the average small business with 25 users or less . . .  how would I be helping them by deploying a DC, a secondary DC, an ISA server, a front-end Exchange box, a back-end Exchange box, a file & print server, a Sharepoint box and a LOB server?  Not only would there be extensive cost at deploying that sort of solution, but extensive cost to maintain and administer that set up.


Let’s face it – SBS customers aren’t shopping for ISA server any more than they’re shopping for Exchange.  What they’re looking for is a solution that let’s the work smarter.  Does the small business owner care about running ISA on their DC?  Nope – not in the least.  The fact is that it isn’t realistic to sell that client a separate ISA server – simply put, the costs outweigh the benefits.  


Is ISA on SBS a compromise?  Sure – it’s a compromise between the benefits of the full product and great pricing of an integrated bundle.  I will be the first one to admit that in a perfect world ISA would always run on its own dedicated box.  In the small business arena, that just isn’t going to happen in an overwhelming number of cases.  So the question facing most small businesses isn’t whether or not they should run a dedicated ISA box in addition to their SBS, but whether they should run ISA on SBS or stick with their $39 Linksys router.


So what’s the bigger security compromise and risk for the small business – running ISA on their SBS or sticking with a low-end nat-ing router?  Because down here in the trenches – that’s the reality.

Goodbye HP . . .

I think I might be at a point where I will never sell another HP laser printer again.


Ever.


Recently (since early this year), we’ve been selling Okidata color laser printers.  We have a couple customers with C7350n units, and a few more with C5150n units (we’re using the 5150 ourselves) and everyone has been thoroughly pleased.  Well, we just ordered our first B&W Okidata laser printer for a client – a B6300n.  I installed this thing and was immediately impressed.  Power-on to Ready to Print in under 5 seconds.  And it prints so fast – not only PPM speed, but just as important a very low time to first print (official number is under 9 seconds – but so far I’ve seen it around 3 seconds).


We currently have an HP 4250tn in our office – and I have to admit that the Oki B6300n is every bit as much the printer as the HP 4250tn.  The 4250tn does have a higher sheet capacity than the Oki – (1,000 vs 700), and is has a higher PPM rating (45ppm vs 35ppm).  But for the average small business environment, the difference isn’t even noticeable.  What is noticeable is the price difference:  $1,499 for the 4250tn  versus  $839 for the B6300n


So going forward – I’m recommending the Oki printers for our customers when they ask . . .

SMBTN

So, it appears that everyone has survived the first SMBTN Summer Conference.  I’ve got to take my hat off to Roger, Jim and everyone else who put in tons of effort to pull this off.


I thoroughly enjoyed the entire event – and the best part is being able to just sit down and visit with everyone else about what we’re all doing, what we’d like to do better, and what sort of solutions we’ve done for our customers.


Several people asked me about Sharepoint resources – so here’s the two sites I enjoy the most:


www.wssdemo.com
www.wssfaq.com


Also – if you’ve got a specific quesiton, don’t forget Google & Google Groups!

Older posts