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Big News: ConsignmentTill Switches to MS SQL Server

Great news for consignment store owners!  ConsignmentTill consignment shop software by RJFSoft has officially switched to Microsoft SQL Server.  This upgrade means ConsignmentTill can run on more computers on a network and can handle more data in its database.  Now ConsignmentTill and Liberty4 Consignment are the only two programs utilizing Microsoft SQL Server for their database management system.

This is a HUGE benefit to ConsignmentTill users.  Your database is where your consignor information goes; where each item you painstakingly enter goes; where all of your sales totals go.  So the database is a very important component and it makes or breaks, literally, your consignment program.  A database managed by Microsoft SQL Server is more reliable, less likely to crash (if ever), and is capable of serving data to large amounts of computers on a network.

All databases have limits, but Microsoft SQL Server’s limits are much higher than databases such as Access, dBase, or FoxPro.  Where those databases might run slowly with just a year’s worth of data, a database managed by Microsoft SQL Server might be able to handle 3-4 years worth of data on a “standard” system.

I’m really excited for consignment store owners to have even more options when it comes to finding the consignment program that suits them best.  ConsignmentTill was already a solid program, being the only consignment program that allows you to completely customize your tags.  Moving to Microsoft SQL Server was a great move and this will provide even more stability and scalability for ConsignmentTill users.

Liberty Requires Additional Software In Order To Send Emails

FacepalmLiberty’s new Send Mail “feature” does not work unless you install and/or configure additional software.  This means when you click the new Send Mail button, you will not be able to send email until you configure additional software – e.g. Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird, Window Live Mail, etc.

For years, Liberty has had the ability to send emails on its own, utilizing its own built-in code and libraries.  In fact, many of you will remember the paid upgrade from Liberty 2002 to Liberty4 Consignment, which introduced email functionality.  So why has the email functionality that has been in Liberty for years, been left out of this new “feature”?

In Liberty’s recent 4.0 update, there is a new button that is supposed to let you email a consignor:

Liberty's Send Mail Button
Liberty’s Send Mail Button | Click to Enlarge

The only problem is, it doesn’t work unless you install and/or configure 3rd party software – e.g. Outlook Express…

Liberty & Outlook Express
Liberty & Outlook Express | | Click to Enlarge

When a program such as Liberty goes to send email, it can do so in one of a few ways.  It can take the “easy” way out (which makes it easy for the software, but difficult for the user) and not add any email functionality at all.  This is done by asking Windows to send email through whichever 3rd party software is currently installed and configured as the Default Email Program.  The other option, is to put in a little more work ahead of time so that your users don’t have to run into issues come time to use said feature.  The latter is what Liberty4 Consignment 4.0b utilizes.  They’ve simply given you a shortcut to launch email software, which you may or may not have on your computer.

Why though?  Liberty already has built-in code which allows it to send emails.  Your SMTP Settings are entered under Tools > eCommerce Options > Email Settings:

Ecommerce Settings > Email Settings
Liberty’s Email Settings | Click to Enlarge

These settings tie-in to other portions of Liberty which can send emails – e.g. the Event Manager, the Word Processor (wordmail), etc.

So why isn’t that functionality being used here?  Why does Liberty now require its users to install + configure 3rd party software just to send an email?  This just makes it difficult on you vs. having the software do the work for you.

Do you know what default email client is on your computer?  Do you even have a default email client on your computer?  Liberty requires you to know the answers to those questions.  Many people do NOT have default email clients on their computer, because they check their email in their web browser – e.g. Gmail, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, etc.

We actually recommend not using an email client on your computer, because it creates a dependency and a support issue for you, which translates into a cost.  Programs such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, etc. have to be installed and/or configured.  Ok, which settings go where?  What if you move to a different computer?  Are you going to download and install software on that computer now?  What happens when that system crashes?  Are you telling me you can’t use email until you get your computer setup and then get your email software reinstalled?  What about backups?  Have you been backing-up your email files?  See where this is going?

Liberty already has multiple areas where it can send emails and it’s been able to do so since 2004.  Why in this new paid upgrade, does it not utilize the features it already has?  Why put the workload on the person attempting to use the feature?  That’s exactly what this is doing – it’s making the user do the work, not the software.

In ConsignPro, when you click the Send Email Note button in a consignor’s account…

ConsignPro Email Consignor
ConsignPro Email Consignor | Click to Enlarge

It launches its own email screen, so you can send the email right from within ConsignPro, without having to use 3rd party email software on your computer…

ConsignPro Email Form
ConsignPro Email Form | Click to Enlarge

The reason I point this out is because it creates a support issue for Liberty users.  When Anita Johnson @ Upscale Fashions, Inc. asked me to configure Outlook Express so that Liberty could send emails, I was quite surprised.  The button there now is the “quick way” to get that feature in there, but it puts all the work on you, the user.  What do stores do if they want to use this feature?  Do they have to call their tech?  Why can’t Liberty just send the email on its own?

For the benefit of the end users, I really think Liberty should handle sending emails without relying on the Windows default email client.

Feel free to add your comments below!

 

Kids, This Is Why We Don’t Recommend Norton (Because It Doesn’t Work)

Let’s get right down to it – Symantec’s Norton Internet Security is horrible antivirus software and it flat-out does not work.  Let me repeat that – Norton Internet Security is horrible antivirus software and it flat-out does not work.

Want to see why?

Here’s a system with a current, updated version of Norton Internet Security – all seems well, right?

Norton Does Not Work

Yeah, not so much…

Norton Does Not Work

Oh, it’s probably just 494 “little” infections, right?  Ouch…

Norton Does Not Work

Now, I’m not here to just bash on Norton Internet Security, which is in fact terrible antivirus.  This isn’t a game – this is real life, real money, and real personal information here.  NO antivirus product is 100% guaranteed to prevent every possible virus, but there is absolutely no excuse for not catching nearly 500, current, documented infections.  This system was current on Windows Updates, all 3rd party software was updated (e.g. Java, Acrobat, Flash, etc.) and it’s on the latest Service Pack for XP (SP3):

Norton Does Not Work

There is just no other way to put it.  I can’t say it enough.  Norton Internet Security does not protect your system and it is a complete waste of money.  If you are using Norton Internet Security, we recommend replacing it with ESET Nod32 Antivirus.  We recommend Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware Pro in conjunction with ESET Nod32.

To recap:

[checklist]

  • Don’t use Norton Internet Security – it doesn’t work and it itself, is an infection
  • Use ESET Nod32 Antivirus
  • Use Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware Pro
  • Use common sense when browsing the web – e.g. don’t open attachments unless you are expecting to receive a file from someone, don’t click on random links, read what you’re about to click on before you click on it, etc..

[/checklist]

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