Big businesses experience issues from XP upgrades

August 19, 2014

UK retailer John Lewis stated that upgrading IT was “tricky business”.xplogo

BBC News reported on UK retailer John Lewis’ upgrades from Windows XP to newer software, and the issues that it faced with the upgrade. The operating system (OS) no longer features support from Microsoft as of April, so there are “no more bug fixes or security patches” for 40 percent of businesses still using XP as The Recycler previously reported.

The retailer, which has its own department stores, and the Waitrose chain of supermarkets, had 26,000 desktop and laptop computers to be upgraded to Windows 7 across stores and its head office, with planning for the multi-million pound operation beginning in 2011, before the upgrades began last year.

The retailer stated that “in the early days there was talk of putting it off completely and just paying Microsoft to keep offering bespoke support”, and whilst other big XP users have done so, the option is “not cheap”, with the UK government paying £5.5 million (€6.8 million) for one year’s support – and Microsoft has said that “support prices will increase”.

Paul Miles, Project Manager for John Lewis’s IT department, stated that “no-one thought that would be good value for money”, as it “put off the problem rather than solved it”, and so the first step was finding the 800 applications used on the XP machines and cataloguing them, seeing “which ones will work, and which ones will not work and will never work and need to be upgraded”.

Additionally, Nik Simpson, Research Vice President at Gartner, commented that whilst “updating an operating system is relatively painless”, updating “all the applications that run on top of it is something else entirely”, because changes made by Microsoft in Windows Vista “affect what a programme can do” through User Account Control (UAC), which “limits what your account on a machine can do to that device”, and XP did not have this feature.

Another issue was the older apps “hooked into” features of the OS that when removed caused “problems that an XP upgrade has to deal with”, and modern upgrades are easier because IT “no longer revolves around Microsoft Windows”. John Lewis’ applications had a 90 percent working rate on Windows 7, though that still meant 80 programmes needed upgrading or completely rewriting.

Miles stated that “in the end, some applications we had to keep on XP because there is no alternative. We have had to implement additional security to make sure they stay safe”, and the “scale of the task began to tell”, with “hardware audits” and software developments adding together to make it an “enormous exercise”.

However, after replacing 60 percent of the computers, training staff on new machines and “making all the printers work”, the retailer hit its deadline of upgrading before the April cut-off, with Miles stating that “it’s been difficult but we have got some good things out of it. There are all sorts of knock-on effects to this that are not apparent when we kicked this off”.

You can read about how XP’s demise has affected and will continue to affect the remanufacturing industry in issue 262 of The Recycler, which mails at the end of this month.

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Memjet releases new compact print engine

August 19, 2014

The new engine is “flexible” and aimed at “custom” OEM designs.

A Memjet printhead

A Memjet printhead

The new engine was announced by Memjet as being a “compact print engine” for “flexible, custom OEM designs” that will enable “easy integration into custom application configurations”. The Sirius-12G sub-system, the company added, was developed for OEMs who need to create a “compact, cost-effective printer” that would integrate into media handling systems.

The engine “facilitates” printhead maintenance without any need to “break the plane of the media”, which in turn enables a “wide range” of applications, including label printing, package printing, mail processing and print-and-apply labels for product manufacturing. Memjet added that the engine “empowers” OEMs to design solutions with “greater control and flexibility”, with one example being “more efficient printhead cleaning” from its “above the web” configuration.

In turn, the Sirius-powered printers are able to “move the print zone up and down to accommodate varying material thickness”, which offers a “greater range of media handling options for unique applications”. The colour print engine is available with the print mechanism assembled or separated into core components, and if the components are ordered, OEMs can “leverage” the printhead as a “development kit of components to be integrated based on specific needs”.

Additionally, the ink delivery system is said to be “highly flexible” and compatible with a “wide range” of ink supply cartridges, including any customer’s specific solutions.

Gus Piccin, Senior Vice President of Global Business Development at Memjet, commented: “Commercial print shops must balance the varying needs of individual, custom print jobs. Sirius makes this possible by enabling OEMs to develop printers that align with customers’ unique printing needs, whether it be longer runs or diverse print materials, at an attractive price point.”

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Sharp launches new A4 MFP in USA

August 15, 2014

The MX-C301W offers “outstanding colour output”.

Sharp's MX-C301W

Sharp’s MX-C301W

The machine, a desktop colour MFP, was launched by Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America (SIICA), and features “flexible” workflow capabilities alongside a “compact footprint” designed to fit on a small desk, with wireless connectivity, a seven-inch touchscreen panel and print speeds of 30ppm.

The printer also supports Sharp’s OSA platform, which “simplifies integration with partner network applications, as well as the OEM’s Cloud Portal Office service, which offers document storage and sharing online. Its Sharpdesk Mobile free application also works with the printer, enabling “simplified” scans and prints from phones and tablets.

Security features include SSL encryption, confidential printing, secure faxing, and the ability to erase the hard drive’s temporary memory by “overwriting encrypted data up to seven times”, with the additional option to “overwrite all data” after a leasing period. The device is now available for both purchase and leasing in the US market.

Mike Marusic, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Operations at SIICA, stated: “More and more small businesses and workgroups are asking for high quality document capabilities that have the flexibility to connect with the latest technologies. The MX-C301W helps address this need with a desktop solution that not only provides business quality output, but is loaded with standard features, such as wireless connectivity, a touch-screen control panel and robust security protocols.”

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PrintFleet announces alliance with print management company

August 14, 2014

The MPS provider has partnered with Preton to help improve “ease of use” for users.printfleet logo2

Preton, which PrintFleet describes as a “leader in toner optimisation and user metric solutions”, and PrintFleet formed their “strategic alliance” to focus on improving “ease of use” in MPS programmes for users, and this will be achieved by “facilitating device and user information displayed in a single user interface” as an initial focus, before moving onto “subsequent stages” of collaboration.

These future ideas include a “common installer, enhanced reporting” and “in-depth toner optimisation”, which would together lead to “greater profits and more proactive consumable management” for MPS customers.

Chris McFarlane, CEO of PrintFleet, stated: “We are extremely pleased about working with Preton to offer our customers a joint solution enabling them to not only manage their devices but to also enjoy a view of their clients’ user environment. This alliance is consistent with our commitment of continual improvement of our solutions while staying true to enabling our customers and partners to choose other great businesses with whom to work.”

Ori Eizenberg, CEO of Preton, added: “By [the]combining of capabilities of Preton and PrintFleet we will be able to provide Dealers with new cost management capabilities that bring value to customers, offer differentiated services and maintain margins in the increasingly competitive managed printmarket.”

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Brother introduces mobile printing development

August 14, 2014

RuggedJet 4OEM’s RuggedJet 4 receipt and label printers now compatible with Apple AirPrint.

The development, announced by Brother, will mean that iOS users will be able to print directly to a RuggedJet 4 Wi-Fi handheld receipt and label printer while “on the go” using their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices.

Instant printing by Apple users will mean that they will not need to download or install drivers or interfaces, with older RuggedJet 4 printers also able to be “easily integrated” through a firmware update, which is available from Brother free of charge.

As a result of the new AirPrint support technology, Brother stated, organisations’ application developers will have more free time as it will eradicate the need for them to program printers or deal with installation and set-up. In addition, businesses and government agencies can benefit from the “flexibility offered by the device and the agility it allows them in future-proofing their technology investments”.

Features of the mobile printers include “high-speed” printing in high resolutions, with documents, labels and receipts of between two and four inches able to be printed via drop-in rolls. They also boast six-foot drop protection and IP54 certification to withstand dust and moisture, which Brother stated makes them “particularly suitable for field operations”. The OEM also offers a two-year “bumper-to-bumper” warranty with the devices.

Commenting on the development, Raul G. Palacios, Senior Product Manager at Brother Mobile Solutions, said: “This is a significant advancement for the mobile printing market, where so many mobile workers are equipped with iPhone[s] and iPad[s] today. Now they can print receipts and labels quickly, right out-of-the-box, from their Apple iOS device and directly to the mobile printer.”

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WordPress used by 52 percent of UK businesses

August 13, 2014

The content management system is trusted by over half of UK businesses surveyed.wordpress-logo-stacked-rgb

Whilst WordPress suffers from a “widespread perception of it being merely a blogging platform”, but The Recycler and a host of other companies utilise the service’s other features to build websites and content management systems (CMS), with the result of a recent survey finding that 52 percent of UK businesses trust WordPress as a CMS.

The survey, by domain name registrar 34SP.com, found that 52 percent of small UK businesses use WordPress “for their business website”, which the company notes “blow[s] away the theory that WordPress is a platform only suitable for blogging”. 94 percent of those using WordPress have between one and 50 staff, spanning a range of industries including web design, marketing, advertising, technology, IT and healthcare.

Daniel Foster, Technical Director at 34SP.com, commented: “Despite its origins as a blogging tool, WordPress has now evolved into a trusted CMS for businesses. The very fact it was designed as a blogging tool means that’s its simple to upload content and add pages plus it can be managed from any computer.

“The huge range of plugins available now means that business functions such as contact forms and PayPal integration mean that WordPress is really appealing for businesses and in particular smaller business owners who may have limited technical experience. At 34SP.com we have actually seen an increase in the number of businesses wanting to host their WordPress site with us and our research further proves that it is continuing to gain popularity with business users.”

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Atrix introduces filter safety feature

August 7, 2014

filterManufacturer of particulate vacuum products introduces feature to indicate when a filter has reached full capacity.

The feature from Atrix International, for its high capacity series fine filtration vacuum line, has been developed in response to the importance of changing out filters when cleaning minute or dangerous particles so that they don’t become too full, and involves the addition of a red LED indicator light on a motor head that will illuminate once the filter is reaching full capacity, with the user then able to change the filter to avoid any overflow.

The company explained that as the Atrix Series filter continues to fill, the LED light will begin to blink, eventually showing continuous red to let the user know that it is time to replace the filter. It added that the feature meets the British standard number 8520 required on all Fine Filtered HEPA and ULPA vacuums used to remove asbestos, lead paint dust “or other similar dangerous materials”.

The benefits of changing filters on a timely basis, according to Atrix, include “increased filter efficiency of your system”; the minimising of filter changes and reduction in filter costs; as well as improvement of the vacuum cleaner’s lifespan.

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Kyocera integrates MFPs with Microsoft programmes

August 7, 2014

Sharepoint-ProcessThe SharePoint Connector is said to “maximise productivity”.

The software integrates Kyocera’s MFPs with Microsoft’s SharePoint programme, which is a “web application framework and platform” that Kyocera says is used by “78 percent of Fortune 500 companies”, and the Connector “acts as a bridge between” the MFP and SharePoint server. Documents are scanned and sent to the Connector, which sends on the scans to the online library.

In turn, the Connector can access the scanned documents from the server and send them back to the MFP to print, and supports a range of versions of the SharePoint programme, including: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0; Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007; Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010; SharePoint Server 2010 Standard Edition; SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise Edition; and SharePoint Online (Microsoft Office 365). The Connector will cost users around £200 ($336/€251) per licence per device.

Sarah White, Product Manager at Kyocera Document Solutions UK, stated: “Our SharePoint Connector supports the capture and routing of documents into Microsoft SharePoint as well as printing from Microsoft SharePoint. It saves time, cuts down on unnecessary workflow and makes Microsoft SharePoint easier to use.

“We believe that the ability to scan and print directly from the Kyocera MFP control panel will be immensely beneficial to Microsoft SharePoint users. Our SharePoint Connector is secure, easy to deploy and implement and supports multiple Microsoft SharePoint servers, so users can access documents within their organisation quickly and efficiently.”

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Metrofuser launches new management software

August 6, 2014

A screenshot of the Event Horizon software

A screenshot of the Event Horizon software

The Event Horizon system is said to “push the reliability” of the company’s products “to greater levels”.

The software service from the printer remanufacturer and parts supplier is said by Metrofuser “to push the reliability” of its remanufactured fusers and printers “to greater levels”, and is similar to “what is used in the banking and financial industry”, allowing “unparalleled visibility” for users, with a “dynamic” interface allowing users to see how machines are performing.

The Event Horizon technology “records change events and graphically overlays the event on the warranty rates of the fusers and printers”, which allows Metrofuser to “track corrective actions and spot trends faster”, with data collected across “all departments” so that changes to “packaging, production processes and components” can be “better communicated and quantified”.

William DeMuth, COO of Metrofuser, commented: “Critical introspection is a cornerstone to Metrofuser remanufacturing, and this technology will allow greater insight. Thousands of hours in research and development have gone into the implementation of the Event Horizon system and the last obstacles to its full capabilities were cleared this summer.”

The company recently reported that it had released a range of remanufactured printers aimed at MPS programmes.

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Samsung releases new NFC machines

August 5, 2014

The printers are designed for SMBs in Europe and North America.samsung-printer

Easier.com reported on the launch of new near-field communication (NFC) enabled laser printers from Samsung, comprising of one A4 colour laser printer and one MFP, designed “specifically” for European and North American SMBs (small and medium businesses).

The ProXpress C2620DW and C2670FW machines (A4 and MFP respectively) feature the NFC technology as well as colour and monochrome print speeds of 26ppm, polymerised toner, mobile printing compatibility and “visual troubleshooting”, whereby smartphones can be tapped on the printer to send an “operational status” from the machine to the phone, telling the user “where the exact problem is occurring” and how to fix it.

The C2620DW features duplexing as standard, whilst the C2670FW offers printing, scanning, copying and faxing, and Samsung states that both machines “can print on any type of paper, regardless of surface texture, thickness [or] size”. The previously mentioned polymerised toner uses Samsung’s ReCP technology, which “ensures vibrant and sharp images” through “automatic quality refinement technology”, and “has the effect of reducing 35 percent of CO2 emission” through its shape.

Extra, energy-saving features of the two models include Samsung’s Easy Eco Driver, which automatically changes font types, sizes and images “without affecting the original document” and thus reducing output costs by “up to 20 percent”. One final feature is the OEM’s Instant Fusing System technology, which can lower the machines’ Typical Electricity Consumptions (TEC).

Mark Ash, Samsung UK and Ireland’s General Manager of Print, commented: “Building on the success of Samsung’s first NFC printer in 2013, we are excited to bring NFC technology to our business customers via the ProXpress range. This technology allows more flexibility in the workplace with the ability to print documents quickly and easily using NFC. We remain committed to developing and innovating products that meet our business customers’ changing needs.”

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