Alchester SOLUTIONS

Welcome to Alchester’s SOLUTIONS page.  Feel free to drop a line commenting on any of the articles we’ve shared with you,  our customers and interested readers.

e:  gaz@alchester.com.au

Some very useful information on some of the key product/service areas that Alchester focuses on:

Reckon Accounts / Reckon ONE (5 useful articles)
– Reckon Accounts installation made easy
– Reckon Accounts freedom of choices
– Reckon installation specifications overview
– Reckon Systems Terminology
– Reckon Support

Alchester: working with fellow RECKON APs
– Reckon Accredited Partners Enhance Business Solutions

CASE Study:
– How Alchester Project Management, IT  and Costing skills help

Virtualisation –  on Linux/KVM equipped laptops
– an insight to enjoying multiple operating systems in a virtualised and portable environment

Internet connections, Speed (vendor options)

– Helping to clarify the myriad of internet services of ADSL, fibre, satellite, NBN and wireless technologies

Reckon Accredited Partners enhance business solutions

guarding_doorWhilst Reckon Product Managers control the development of new product releases behind carefully guarded doors, the business demands being asked of Accredited Partners calls for a range of services. 

In the business world, the development groups are:

  • Reckon ONE
  • Reckon Accounts HOSTED
  • Reckon Accounts Desktop   /   Point of Sale
  • API  and MOBILE

 

 

AP services fill the gap!

Customers deploy these products alongside a variety of other business solutions that integrate to the Reckon range of products.    This calls for a number of complimentary services.  Those that relate specifically to the discrete Reckon products,  are catered for by the front line support teams.  Integrated product Partners provide similar support for their software,  but this leaves an important area in the middle.   We call this the IT ENVIRONMENT, and specialist APs have skills to support the needs of this.

  • After hours support for IT integration, support and troubleshooting/diagnosis  (API support)
  • Systems, LAN/WAN, communications and networking support  (ie: hardware, communications and operating systems support)
  • Training on a one-to-one basis on the practical 'use' of the products concerned.  
  • Assisting the Community in how best to obtain answers to common questions.  (Ideas on how best to avail of support resources).

Meantime. non-IT focus by APs can provide an exceptional range of consulting services on matters like:

  • Bankfeeds
  • SMSF management and auditing
  • BAS processing
  • Cost Accounting and project planning services
  •    ......    simply refer to the detailed information on the websites of the many APs involved with Reckon.

alleged_devt_team
Development teams can deliver a great deal, especially when coupled with the depth of ancillary skills provided by experienced business professionals in the fields of Accounting, Bookkeeping, IT integration and environment support.

 

Over 400 Software Partners offering integrated solutions

Accredited Partners can assist with the selection of a huge range of complimentary software partner products.
See the MARKETPLACE:  
http://go.reckon.com/add-on-marketplace/

sdk_partners_mentioned_national_conference_Sept_2015

over 300+ Accredited Partners throughout Australia and New Zealand

business can be assured of gaining access to professionals in:

  • Accounting
  • Bookkeeping
  • Business analysis and consulting engagements
  • IT analysis  and deployment consulting services
  • Training
  • Compliance, tax agent, and Corporate services
    from suitably QUALIFIED APs with P.I. Insurance

ACCREDITED PARTNERS
in Australia

http://home.reckon.com.au/support/Home/ReckonSupport/FindAReckonAccreditedPartner.aspx
in New Zealand
http://www.reckonpartners.co.nz/consultants/

Accredited_Partners_in_AUST_and_NZ

See how Alchester has been putting API to the test  at:  demo.buildMGR.com.au/api
IT and integration support - another consulting service from the many RECKON APs.

ABS_API_SUPPORT_Internal_VPS_architecture

battery power

When recently confronted with a potential need to run a LAPTOP at a conference for 8-10 hours,  then an exercise was undertaken to explore external batteries on the market allegedly providing considerable extra power…..  but not so.  Read the fine print on the calculations!   Some of these ‘boost’ batteries are in fact capable of jump starting a diesel 4WD – and that’s really the short-burst power capability of these small devices.  They are NOT for extended consumption by a powerful laptop.  But the exercise certainly gave rise to a better understanding of what power usage is all about..

 

FYI: It’s the old story. If you want 1TB running RAID, plus another 1TB of storage, 8 processors and max memory running a 1080, with 5 operating systems running in virtualisation mode – you have to give up battery life as a compromise – welcome to my life. see: http://www.alchester.com.au/powerful-laptop-with-virtualisation/

 
Battery Myths

Whilst the label says:  16,800mAh  – but what can it do?   What voltage is it rated at?
Just what can you you do with this alleged 16800mAh of capacity?

Proposition:
the number more likely represents  3.7v  *  16800mA  being  62.16Wh  (but only as a PEAK!)


Stated Purpose
Let’s consider these small external JUMP-START batteries offering 250-300CCA (500-600 peak CCA) for starting a car’s flat battery.
Their design is based on short (3 second peak, and no more that 30 seconds)  connection for a short COLD START of a medium sized engine.

They do NOT offer holding power for sustained output.

Don’t fall for the 16800mAh versus  your internal battery of  4025mAh and dream that it will run for 4 times the normal use of your laptop.

The discharging process bears no relationship to such poor mathematical expectations

10 observations

1.   It is a Lithium Battery – but is it ION or Polymer
Of concern, was that the INPUT CHARGER was a light-weight humble  240v – 12v adapter only providing 1A output!
That’s an mere 12W charger trying fill up an alleged 16800mAh device!!   That will take 17 hours assuming no loss of current!

2.   Batteries cannot transfer power to another battery at a consistent energy RATE.
If they contain a 3.7 Polymer battery,
and if they have transformers that permit 5v   12v   16v   19v  output,  it is likely to be a a different Amperage output rate.
ie:  the test unit states:   OUTPUT of:   19v at 3.5A

3.   But manufacturers of course,  never state for HOW LONG that output can be sustained.   The reality is,  it is NEVER sustained.
The UNWRITTEN REALITY is that it is a maximum capability statement,  for initial output only

4.   External Battery Output  is 19v at 3.5A  suggests output of  (w = v * a)   of    66.5W (watts)     – a statement of maximum output capability….

5.   The laptop appliance will PULL (draw) the power that it requires (as a demand system),  based on the laptop VOLTAGE and Amperage needed

6.   EXAMPLE:   Gary’s Venom 13″ laptop with Debian Jessie – i7 CPU, 16GB ram 2x mSATA 512GB running raid-1 PLUS another 1TB SSD drive
1080 Hi-Res screen, backlit keyboard,  Intel GPU (and an Nvidia GPU, disabled)
has an INTERNAL  19.v   5600mAh battery.    This is 2 years old, and degraded to 72%  at 4054mAh  according to #upower -d     and
root@absvenom:/home/gaz# acpi -bV
battery 0: design capacity 5600 mAh, last full capacity 4054 mAh = 72%
So, that power consumed for a realistic 83% usage of that degraded available energy is say:
83% of 4050mA   in 70 mins  =      2881mA per hour  but only for  70 mins  until DEAD.

7.  So, the LAPTOP is drawing power for USAGE, during that one hour of operation is  2.881A at 19.5v  =    56.18W  constant demand

8.  When connecting the external battery to the LAPTOP (fully charged to start with),  what transpires is:
a)   The Laptop declares it is being CHARGED from AC (but really from the external battery source)
b)   The internal battery level indicator declares it is 100% full until the external battery becomes depleted and stops
c)   The external battery lasted ONLY  35 minutes
d)   Then the internal battery starts to discharge,   and in the test case,   reduced to 62% (down 38%)  in a mere 20 minutes!
           (of interest to notes, was a 12% loss in a 70 second interval!)…. 
Previous tests have show a  1.18% loss of power every minute,   which is the typical expected.
e)   It was decided to abandon the testing,m and recharge the internal battery from 240v / 19.5v 6.15A (120W) external ADAPTER.
This took from 15:21PM (at 62%)  to    16:50PM (100%)     ie:  a little more than an  90 minutes to top up 38%….   (using a 120W supply!)

9.  Meantime the external unit is now awaiting a long  night to recover from its 35 minutes of enjoyment!

10.  Do they work?   For a quick boost for 35 minutes – yes,   but for sustained usage:   **NO**

 

The good news

The conference where power for laptops was needed, saw it prudent to supply 4-way power boards under each table throughout the venue.  Nothing like 240v to run a laptop all day!

 

If you want a jump start for your car,  here’s an example of what was tested

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/16800mAh-Car-Jump-Starter-Emergency-Charger-Booster-Power-Bank-Battery-SOS-Light/262184551886?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140106155344%26meid%3D20a49226c27f472d80bc629cd86b9f53%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D252080316373

 

Fastline benefits from Alchester Technical and Project Costs Management

During 2013 thIMAG2123ru 2015, Fastline Logistics, again,  expanded its 35 year  logistics warehousing distribution business, this time,  to deploy a fully automated KNAPP Multi-channel OSR “picking” system in a purpose built warehouse facility.

The decision to undertake this as an internally controlled and managed solution  was  promoted and overseen by Alchester in the capacity of external consultant/mentor and collaborative strategic technical adviser in respect to aspects of disaster recovery, multi-site support and systems engineering considerations.

Another aspect of the exercise involved  budgeting and cost tracking of the many suppliers and services required.  During the initial design,  prototyping and evaluation phases of the project,  it became evident that a distributed processing methodology to safeguard and reduce downtime risks, was the direction to take.

IMAG2408That ‘distributed approach’ direction was the brainchild of the long standing IT manager, David Buchanan of Fastline, and Alchester assisted  by providing encouragement,  and that all important “devil’s advocate”  styled technical brainstorming.  This ensured that ancillary systems engineering, communications, networking and database integrity aspects were managed and understood by fellow members of the Team, improving their familiarity with similar technologies, as the project unfolded.    Liaisons with, and the forming of solid supplier relationships for the more complex aspects of the system, were vital parts of the undertaking.  Meantime, the critical, application specific aspects of the design, were defined and addressed by the internal IT Team.

The Enterprise level , high availability database requirements in this environment in conjunction with failsafe, offsite and offline backup,  and disaster plan considerations,  exploited utilisation of well established Open Source technologies, ideal for these requirements, an area of specific interest and expertise of Alchester.   The project entailed the selection of appropriate Enterprise level Open Source Solutions to address the realtime needs of the many applications involved, including EDI,  WMS and the related interfacing to client data traffic handling.

With a good, dynamic team of multi-skilled personnel on staff, coupled with their many years of logistics and warehousing know-how,  the agile development of the overall project met extraordinary  project deadlines and performance expectations, which is a testimony to the Fastline IT Team’s abilities.  Naturally, as a result of this cohesive group’s abilities to work together, at times, under significant deadline challenges, but meeting those challenges head on, and coming up with ‘the goods’,  Alchester stands proud to have been associated with their superb outcome.

Gary Pope. B.Bus (ACC), Director: Alchester Business Systems, Professional Partner for Reckon Accounts, and authors of buildMGR CRM + Workflow“Encouraging a team approach, and being both open and mindful of any limitations, requiring drawing upon external consultants if needed, is in part, the key to a successful project outcome” recalls, Gary Pope, of Alchester.  “It’s more than just the Technology constraints and challenges in these situations – it’s also about the people working together.”

Alchester’s role shifted from mentoring the strategic analysis aspects, to providing system administration support services, developing the automated EOD processing aspects and backup/recovery scripts for the Open Source components. In addition, Alchester assisted the highly skilled and professional IT team of the firm, taking on the challenge of selecting, benchmarking, trialling and installing the diverse range of vendor products required, amidst the building of a purpose built warehouse at the same time.

As an adjunct to the technical requirementScreenshot - 180615 - 10:04:51s, was the project costing that was needed,  which involved the timely and concise reporting to the Owners and their external Accountants, for funding and budgeting considerations of this multi-million dollar project.

After the initial 12 months of solid, faultless production operation, followed additional stages of successful application improvements to cater for the ever shifting business needs of the many clients.

The result:  Fastline’s  solution demonstrates efficiencies, and leading edge logistics capabilities, that will continue to carry the business forward as a leader in its field.

Congratulations go to the IT team of Fastline who continue to manage the growth of this system.

KNAPP_large_1051993

Seeing the full system in operation in this short overview below,  showcasing the extent of Fastline’s service, best illustrates the magnitude of what this project entailed.     Refer to the 1M:50S mark in Fastline’s promotional video, for a closeup of the automated logistics technology implemented.

For information about Alchester’s Project Management and Business / IT Consulting services,

Abslogo3p:  03 97626293
e:  tech@alchester.com.au
w: www.alchester.com.au

Reckon Accounts installation made easy

Reckon Accounts Installation / Reckon ONE accounting software – freedom to install on any platform

Alchester explains the full set of products and system architectures you can run with Reckon Accounts Desktop range, the HOSTED version, and the latest Reckon ONE Cloud based product.

“Alchester is to BusinessAccredited-Partner-Accounts-One, as Hayman Reese towbars are to the car/caravan industry”   ….  providing that all important technical link.  Alchester, being former FCPA Accountants themselves,  understand the compliance and Accounting structures desired by internal/external Accountants and Bookkeepers, and can speak their language.  Alchester’s main focus is on systems and business analysis.

An apology for loving analogies right up front.  But there is one major error people make, and that is, picking the wrong product in the first place.  Consider the chap who wants to take his family of 5 children on a picnic and has $2000 in the bank.  Reaching the car yard, a little Mini is spotted for $1999!  Terrific,  nice car, but only four seats.  No picnic!  What was the objective?  To get 7 people to the picnic.  It would be better to have rented a 7-seater wagon for $300 for the weekend:  mission accomplished.  Instead, this chap has a mini of no use,  no money (except his last dollar!), and the children never had a picnic.

With Alchester, the right business choices are made!  These articles show how.

Reckon Accounts freedom of choices

Alchester is here to help, with the freedom of choice of devices and servers

Gary Pope. B.Bus (ACC), Director: Alchester Business Systems, Professional Partner for Reckon Accounts, and authors of buildMGR CRM + Workflow

Taking a pro-active role in helping business owners flush out the “Elephant in the Room”  issues with their profit margins, COGS and overhead concerns,  Alchester offers an independent consulting service to couple other technologies, help refine procedures and business practices and pin point issues needing improvement,  to generate a healthier bottom line for the business.

 

As a service back into the Reckon Accredited Partner Community,  here is a simple overview that helps demonstrate the freedom of choices available to users who seek Accounting software for a variety of reasons.   So, first, why the different platforms?  Let’s explain what is going on behind the scenes for you.

Cloud or In house ?   –  Freedom to choose, depending on your specific needs

Reckon installation specifications overview

HOW Alchester takes care of the TECHNOLOGY aspects for you too.

Accredited-Partner-Accounts-OneAlchester can help you with all your IT related setup of communication, equipment, internet connections and if needed, access to Cloud related services, PLUS all your portable tablet/smartphone devices that you’d like to use as well.  And that’s just the installation services that can be provided!  After that, and in conjunction with your Bookkeeper/Accountant,  Alchester can assist with business analysis services, particularly WORKFLOW and KPI analysis,  to ensure your business profits from the best reporting tools available.
Alchester has provided an overview of the choices available for installing each of the Reckon suite accounting of solutions.

Reckon Systems Terminology

Gary Pope. B.Bus (ACC), Director: Alchester Business Systems, Professional Partner for Reckon Accounts, and authors of buildMGR CRM + WorkflowAlchester has prepared this short terminology list of the integrated set of  technologies that are depended upon by the various choices of Reckon Accounts or Reckon ONE software.  Reference is made to these, as part of the previous post:   Reckon installation specifications overview at http://www.alchester.com.au/reckon-installation-specifications-overview

Alchester has a business focus on supporting these technologies as well as providing support for Reckon Accounts and Reckon ONE as a Reckon  Accredited Partner.

 

AWS

The Data Centre used for either RA Hosted or the Cloud Based “Reckon ONE”. This is housed at Amazon’s Australian based facilities. This provides clients with the comfort of knowing their business data is held in Australia, and is held under the terms of Australian Privacy and access laws and legislation