Customizing the Counterpoint Data Filters in the Reports

Customizing the Counterpoint Data Filters in the Reports

One of the nice features of the Counterpoint software is the ability to customize the data filters in the reports. If you run the items report, for example, you will get the option to choose a range of item numbers, the primary vendor, a range of categories, and sub-categories.

If you want you can change the filters further, and select records based on any of the fields in the item table. Profile fields, alternate units, dimensions, descriptions, and many other fields. The fields can be set to have values included, excluded, or even to be empty.

In order to change the filter properties, right-click the mouse button on the white background area of the filters, and select customize. The view will change to a list of the fields selected. At this point, you have the option of adding additional fields or changing the existing ones. To change a field, click on that field, and you will get a list of all of the available fields. Depending on which table or view is being used, the list can be quite long. The same field may be selected more than once.

To change the condition, such as the item number being a range, click on the condition, which in the case of a range will be “between”. You are then presented with a list of options, such as “is (exactly)”, “contains”, “more than”, “less than”, and many others. These are all fairly self-explanatory. Also, the “and” at the end of the line can be changed to an “or”.

So, if you wanted to run the report for two specific items, you would select “Item number” for the field on the first two lines. Then click on the condition, and select “is (exactly)” on both of those lines. Finally, you would click on the “and” on the first line, and change it to “or”. This gives the result of generating the report for both of the two item numbers entered on the first two lines.

To get the screen back to the more friendly view that you originally had, right-click on the white background again, and select “simplify”. You will be back at the selection screen that you are used to, with the ability to lookup item numbers, and such.

Dave.

Windows 10 Build 1903

Windows 10 Build 1903

Microsoft has released Windows 10 Build 1903 in the month of August 2019 and has been gradually rolling out the availability to downloads to end-users. However, the availability of this update is not user-controlled and is being controlled by Microsoft. This is resource-hogging, time-consuming process is similar to what was experienced with the Windows 10 Upgrades from Windows 7 and Windows 8… meaning that no one should expect this finish in a timely manner, so it should only be done during off-hours.

Failing to do this could mean that with some older, slower registers, they could end-up being non-operational for at least half a day or more.

Some finer points:

  • The installation packet is several Gigabytes in size, so the downloads take a really long time. So while this is offering is being provided as part of the standard Windows Update, the entire process this is going to affect bandwidth, especially for users who have only basic Internet service, limited bandwidth and/or use multi-site.
  • The typical download times can be as great as 4 hours, plus another 2 – 4 hours for the actual installation to fully complete.
  • The entire installation process requires multiple automatic restarts of the computer. – It is important that the end-user NOT intervene with this process by physically powering off the PC or register, as doing that is will corrupt the operating system.
  • Of note: The previous Homegroup feature has been completely removed from the operating system.

– John

Summer Time Cleanup

Summer Time Cleanup

As we are approaching the end of summer, now is a good time to clean out your computer case of dust bunnies and dirt. When the dust and dirt start to build up inside your computer case, strange things can start to happen. The most common thing I see is random BSOD (Windows infamous Blue Screen Of Death). The messages associated with these can be very misleading, for example, I recently fielded a call from a customer that their terminal had a BSOD and it referenced memory issues. The customers IT department ran multiple memory test scans that showed there was nothing wrong. When they finally called CCS, I had them make sure the terminal was clean on the inside. I advised they pick up some canned air and blow out all the fans, heatsinks, and vents. After this was complete, no more BSOD’s.

Heat is one of the worst things when it comes to computers and can cause malfunctions that will have you chasing your tail. By simply being a little proactive, the frustration will be eliminated.

If you need help with cleaning up your PC tower or terminal, call the CCS Support Department and schedule a time that would work for you.

-Bryan

Importance of Updates

Importance of Updates

My daughter was flying in to visit me, and I needed directions to the newly-opened airport in my town. I decided to take a test run a few days before her arrival, so I checked out the address on the Internet and got into my car. I reached into the glove box for my road map and then realized that I had destroyed my road maps when I got my first hand-held GPS unit.

My car is older and does not have GPS installed, so I re-entered my home and got my hand-held GPS. It needed to be re-charged. After the re-charging completed, I again got into my car and proceeded to drive to the airport. The only problem was that my GPS had not been updated and the roads had changed! Of course, I got lost and had to recalculate on my own.

Why am I telling you all this? I want to emphasize how important it is to keep up with updates. Think of all of the things in your business that have been altered by our changing technology. Constant updates (and upgrades) are now needed on POS software, printers, registers, scanners, anti-virus programs, mailing machines, delivery company software, postage, credit card machines—the list goes on and on.

Don’t “get lost” as I did! Make sure that you stay current on all technology that keeps your business healthy, running, and competitive in the marketplace. If you need help, we’re here to answer your questions, give expert advice, and dependable service. Just email us at CCS.

Marlene

Training and Monitoring Your Checkout Personnel

Training and Monitoring Your Checkout Personnel

Recently CCS had a customer call about a problem with two purchases and credit/debit payments.

A Short overview:

Customer A finished shopping, made a $50 purchase and left. She did not get a receipt.

Customer B was next at the checkout. He made his $110 purchase and left with a receipt.

Later that day, Customer A called and said she was charged $110 on her debit card when it should have been $50. Our customer reviewed their system and could not find a ticket for Customer A. They did find the ticket for Customer B and on the Secure Pay payment portal saw that Customer B was billed to Customer A’s card.

What had happened? Luckily our customers have surveillance cameras over their registers. They went back and reviewed the transactions for that period.

They were able to see that the clerk had not finished the 1st transaction. So Customer A had not received a receipt. Instead of completing or clearing the complete Customer A transaction, the clerk just deleted the line items. The clerk rang up Customer B on the same ticket, and since the payment was still attached to it, Customer A’s card was charged.

Luckily by having the cameras, they were able to solve the problem. Are cameras something you should consider to ensure proper checkout activities?

Some additional training would be a good idea for the clerks. CCS has a full suite of classroom, onsite, and Webinar training offerings. A firm policy that every customer gets a receipt – either paper or email should be implemented. Therefore, a transaction is always completed for each customer.

Marilyn

Having a good backup saved me and could save you too!

I know I have blogged about this before, but I have to again as having a good backup saved me and could save you too

So, the other day I noticed that I needed to update Windows on my work PC. So as usual, I installed them and waited to reboot as I had some projects going on. Once my projects were complete, I rebooted. That’s where the trouble begins. No matter what I did, I could not boot back into Windows, I tried everything I could, looked online for things I may not have tried, made changes to this, to that, run commands in a recovery mode, nothing would work. So as a last resort, I used my last backup from the day before, to restore my system from bare metal.

I am using a Cloud/local backup product from Solarwinds. It is kind of a “set it and forget it” program, although there is not much to do once it is setup, it is still a good idea to check on the status of your backup. Knowing I had a good backup, I started the restore utility and started downloading my backup from the previous day. It did take some time being it was downloading some 400GB+ of data (If I was using an external drive it would have been faster), but when I came into the office Monday morning, the restore operation was complete. I removed the recovery disk and rebooted. Next thing I know, my PC is backup and running. It was very easy, everything worked as before and with the exception of a couple of emails, all my data was there too.

The nice thing about Solarwinds backup is that it can be both local and cloud-based at the same time. As mentioned before, If I had a local external hard drive, the amount of time it would have taken would probably be a third of what it did take, but with the ease of the whole process, I cannot complain. Besides doing a full restore as I did, there is also an option for just restoring 1 file or a whole folder if necessary. The backup can even backup SQL databases (perfect for CPSQL customers).

So, if you are not currently backing up your system to the cloud or otherwise, please look into getting this setup. CCS can get you setup, have a status email sent you daily and help you any way we can.

-Bryan

Cryptojacking is on the rise again

Cryptojacking is on the rise again

After dropping off last year, the prevalence of cryptojacking is on the rise again. Cryptojacking is where the bad guys hijack your computer to mine cryptocurrency. That is, they use your computer hardware, and electricity, to mine cryptocurrency for their pockets.

While this is not as invasive, or devastating, as more malicious attacks such as ransomware, it still is taking money out of your pocket as well as impacting the use of your computer. By using the time that your CPU would normally be idle, the cryptojackers cause your system to use more power. That is in addition to slowing your system when you are actively using it.

In a simple form, your system could be hijacked by simply browsing a web site with a cryptojacking javascript. In that case, while you are on that website, your computer will be participating in the mining scheme and will stop when you go to another site, or close your browser. However, if the site can successfully infiltrate your system, it may load a persistent mining payload, and your system will then be mining until it is removed.

Of course, other avenues of an attack like phishing emails common, also. So, the usual warnings apply here, too, such as be very suspicious of any emails from people that you don’t know, keep your patches and anti-virus/anti-malware up to date, and so on.

If you are infected with a cryptojacker, the most likely thing that you will see is a general slowness using your computer. That is, until your electric bill arrives, which may be very much higher than you expected. Another indication, especially on a laptop, is that your cooling fan constantly runs at a higher rate than normal, indicating that your system is running hotter.

While cryptojacking software is typically not difficult to remove, it may be that other malicious software has also been loaded. Therefore, a good inspection of your system is in order.

Dave

About Customer Service

About Customer Service

Have you ever said to yourself, “I’ll never shop here again!” as you left the store in which you were shopping? That has happened to me numerous times throughout the years, and it’s often for the same reasons. Here are some of them:

  • The clerk was talking to a fellow employee about his/her work schedule rather than paying attention to my order.
  • Groceries were loaded haphazardly into the bags with bread and eggs on the bottom.
  • Bills, receipts, coupons, and coins were thrust at me with the coins on top. (The coins always get spilled!)
  • The clerk had a sour face and barely acknowledged my presence.
  • The clerk acted annoyed if I had coupons or because I had a question about a product.
  • The clerk wasted a lot of MY time talking about his/her life while checking out my order.
  • The clerk started ringing up the next person’s purchases while I was still loading my purchases into my cart. (Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?)

The list goes on and on. I’m sure you could add a few of your pet peeves to my list. While I know that everybody has a bad day now and then, putting yourself “in the shoes of your customer” can go a long way towards correcting many errors that could turn business away from you.

Good customer service provides something to the customer as they exit your business that causes them to remember their experience and want to return for more of the same. Here are some examples of things that you can do to please, not annoy, your customers:

  • Stay focused on your job. Chat small talk with fellow workers at a better time.
  • Be organized. Load items as if you had to unload them at your home!
  • Hand coins to the customer first, then other receipts.
  • Be pleasant and polite. Smile!
  • Engage your customer by asking questions like:

Did you find everything that you wanted?

Do you want your receipt with you or in the bag?

Can I help you with those bags?

Do you need help getting these to your car?

  • Don’t rush into your next sale until the current customer has left your space.
  • If a customer says “thank you”, the polite answer is “you’re welcome” or “my pleasure”.

“No problem” is not an appropriate answer!

Good customer service is just that–giving good service to those people you want to see again, purchasers who will keep your business alive and well. Isn’t it worth the effort?

Marlene

Washington State Family and Medical Leave Update for July 2019

Washington State Family and Medical Leave Update for July 2019

Paid Family and Medical Leave reporting and payment requirements have now changed for the Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2019.

As of July 1st, 2019, you will now not only be required to submit your quarterly reports, but you will now be required

to make your business payments for both the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2019.

Information on reporting requirements can be found at:

https://www.paidleave.wa.gov/reporting

After gathering all of the reporting data requirements, the Employer needs to log into the Employers Secure Access Washington account in order to make a payment.

https://secureaccess.wa.gov/myAccess/saw/select.do

If you don’t currently have a SAW account, the need to first sign-up in order to be able to make payments. You will be required to have your UBI number.

If you don’t know your UBI number, you can look this up at:

bls.dor.wa.gov/checkstatus.aspx

If you use a 3rd party administrator, CPA, or business manager, make sure that they plan to submit your Q1 and Q2 payments on your behalf.

More information for 3rd party administrators can be found at:

paidleave.wa.gov/employer-agents

Of note… when signing your employer agent up, you will need to request an access pin number. This process may require a 3-5 day wait before the actual pin number is

sent to you.

– John

Securing your Browser.

With the security issues involving your web browser these days, such as drive-by downloads, and other malicious attacks, it is important to do as much as you can to secure your browser. One thing that can be done, to help block a common avenue of attack, is to install a JavaScript blocker.

While it used to be that one could disable JavaScript, so many sites these days rely on it, that disabling it is no longer feasible. By using a blocker, one can selectively enable JavaScript only where needed. The methodology is to install the blocker, which normally disables JavaScript at all sites. Of course, you then start seeing sites that are not functioning properly due to JavaScript blocking. When that happens, you can enable JavaScript only for that site. Or, more to the point, only for the scripts on that site that are required. You will be surprised at the number of JavaScripts that many sites run, which are not directly related to what that site is doing.

A site may be running 10, 15, 20, or more, JavaScripts, of which only one or two may need to be enabled to get the site functioning. The rest are feeding your data to ad sites, and other data trackers, all without informing you.

Adding a JavaScript blocker to your browser varies by the browser you use. You may find it by looking at the available plugins for your specific web browser, or you may need to use a search engine to find one that works for your browser. It is worth it to spend a bit of time searching out, and implementing, a blocker. Once you get used to it, it only takes a few seconds to grant the needed functions on a web site, while leaving non-essential scripting blocked.

Dave.