I can make up words about most stuff we carry at POSGuys, primarily because the products are pretty similar to each other. Once you’re familiar with the different styles of barcode scanners it’s pretty straightforward to get a bead on where a new one fits. The MagTek Centurion secure card reader authenticator, and other new MagTek MagneSafe products, are a bit outside of my element, so they’ve taken me a lot longer to build up cheeky prose on their capabilities.

These card readers were made in response to the growing importance of PCI compliance and ensuring customer credit card data integrity is maintained. PCI compliance is a standard created by the Payment Card Industry (ooh, PCI) to help businesses identify potential weak points in their data security, and give some best use techniques to avoid data theft. After what happened with TJ Maxx and Heartland Payment, it became even more important to prevent this information from getting into the wrong hands.

For most card readers, the data is sent as plain text to the credit card processing software, which is then encrypted and fired across the internet to the credit card processing company. Unfortunately, the credit card processing software can be on computers used for myriad purposes, including trawling MySpace for new friends. This creates a vector for malware and other assorted nefarious apps to capture this information. The MagneSafe system is a hardware encryption scheme so that, if someone were to steal the data, they get gibberish instead of sweet, sweet credit card numbers.

What’s really great about these units specifically is that you can buy them unencrypted now, and if/when your credit card processor does support encrypted transmission, they can remotely reprogram the reader to match their encryption methods. So you don’t have the downtime of shipping it off to be programmed, and if something happens where you change processors, you’re still in luck.

Honeywell Dolphin 9700

January 27, 2010

So a few weeks ago Honeywell let us know about a pretty solid new mobile computer they have coming out. I got so excited I listed it right away, then found out it wasn’t available for sale until March probably. But I can’t deny you guys the fun times and info about this for that long.

The Dolphin 9700 is a handheld mobile computer designed for delivery services, route management, or pretty much any other data capture scenario. There is a model with health care plastics for the body, so you could drop one of those into a hospital and not worry about etching the case with cleaning agents.

For durability, all of them meet IP64 standards for sealing. This means no dirt can get in to harm the components, and it should be fine against sprays of water. I’m pretty sure it’s in the sneezeproof category at that point. It also withstands 5-foot drops to concrete and over 2,000 1.6-foot tumbles. I like to think of the example being you have it on the back of your truck, drive off, and it falls off the truck during a high speed chase, yet it’ll keep working.

Honeywell’s crammed their Adaptus Imagers into the Dolphin 9700. Currently, they have specs for the standard range 2D imager on regular models, and the Smart Focus 2D imager on the healthcare models. They also seated the imager at an angle from the top of the unit, so you can scan things in front of you while still looking at the screen. I like to see what I scan while I’m scanning it, so that seems pretty fancy to me. Optional models also can get a 2 megapixel color camera, in case you want to take pictures of the weird rash on your patient that looks like Eric Estrada, or maybe you want to document the boot prints on your shipment.

All models come with 802.11a/b/g and BlueTooth standard, and there are options to add GPS and GSM/HSDPA cell radios. Once you cram the GPS and the GSM in there, you have a pretty solid field service and route management solution right there.

To really rub it in to the competition that Honeywell’s in it to win it, they’ve bumped up their built-in flash offering to 1 GB, and have a microSD slot on the side of the Dolphin 9700 capable of reading 32 GB cards. I’m pretty sure with that size card, and the GPS, you could have a route management system for the solar system. And that’d be pretty bodacious.

Opticon OPR 3101

November 3, 2009

I do enjoy finding odd or unique design decisions in the POS industry, and the Opticon OPR 3101 barcode scanner is a good fit for unique design. The only barcode scanners I know of with a trigger guard, the OPR 3001 and OPR 3101 are designed for light industrial or rough retail environments. The OPR 3101, though, is a cordless barcode scanner, so you can do your best Briscoe County/Wyatt Earp impression while doing inventory. I do want to get my hands on a couple of these and set up some sort of incredibly expensive laser tag style shootouts.

This is a rugged laser scanner, and it actually has the capability of scanning PDF and MicroPDF barcodes, so you could use it in shipping applications at a lower cost than cordless 2D scanners.

The scanner has a Bluetooth 2 radio in it, so you can’t get quite as far from the base station/bluetooth-enabled device as the XI3200, for instance, but it does automatically switch into batch mode when out of range and dumps the data when communication is regained.

Otherwise, it’s pretty similar to the cabled model. IP54 seal to keep out dirt and water, 9″ optimal scan range for 10 mil barcodes. And it has a trigger guard!

POS-X updated their XI3000 to become the XI3200, and so they did the same with their bluetooth barcode scanner. The XI3200BT is a pretty solid contender for any retail location needing a bit of mobility. It doesn’t have a batch memory mode, which is alright since it also has a 328-foot line of site radio range. That is a long distance to cover and can easily take care of most businesses.

And check this out, more video!

The fellas over at POS-X did a rev bump on their mid-range barcode scanners, jumping from the XI3000 to the XI3200. I’m pretty sure that this scanner is 200 more than the predecessor, too. POS-X chose the XI3200 as the time to shift offering only a USB model. A lot of manufacturers, and even some end users, are still clinging to PS/2 and even RS-232 for their barcode scanners, but 9 times out of 10 we’re selling a USB model.

We have a video here to show off, just a quick look at some of the new features on this scanner. Once we have a couple in house we’ll try to chuck one off the roof.

Starter POS System

March 10, 2009

I bet you can sense the start of a trend with the low-cost security system and this new low-cost retail pos system. Times are tight, and so a $5,000 point of sale system just doesn’t have the same shiny allure as it used to. And so here begins the Starter POS System, at a more affordable $1,599.

Don’t let the low cost fool you, though. While other companies list an inexpensive system, only to forget parts like the PC, we make sure you get everything you need. Just scaled back a bit. So you get the PC, you get the barcode scanner, you get the receipt printer, you get the cash drawer, you get it all. I really wanted to sound like Vince from the shamwow ads there. I hope I did. That thing sells itself.

We’re able to trim down the price by shipping the systems with Ubuntu Linux and an in-house variation on pos software. But after a few months really mashing around on the system and trying to break it, we were left with a system that is a great first step into computer-based sales tracking.

The barcode scanner in the system is the POS-X Xi1000, a solid choice for low volume scanning. Learning the scanning sweet spot is a little rougher than most scanners, but once you get it, scanning UPC barcodes should be no sweat. There is an upgrade to a laser scanner only available from us, which should get blog love later today or tomorrow or whenever I’m feeling wordy.

For receipt printers, we went with an impact printer lacking auto-cutter, the POS-X Xr210. It’s a little loud, but it’ll print receipts just fine and you can’t heat the letters off the receipts. Again, upgrades can get you the POS-X Xr510 instead, which is a faster, quieter, thermal receipt printer.

The cash drawer is the POS-X XC16HD, which we’ve already shown to be pretty tough. Upgrading that guy seems unnecessary when you can stand on it. More products should have a “can I stand on it” rating.

As with all the other systems we sell, you get pretty solid support, including a year of coverage for faulty hardware, training, and having our tech support guys at your beck and call, so long as it’s between 7 am and 4 pm pacific.

No rest for the awesome

September 9, 2008

I mentioned in a previous post that we did some work under the hood on the site to make it a little snappier. Well now that we’re pretty much done with it, we’re on to adjusting the outward appearance to be a more aesthetically pleasing. Mostly we’re trying to point out the stuff we do that customers may dig, but don’t see that we do it unless they dig around the site. Some would say it’s lace on a bowling ball, I would, well, I guess agree.

One of the big things you’ll notice is the right side bar has a bunch of fun stuff talking about our rockin free shipping, super nerdy phone support, and more. It does kind of trap the content in the middle of the page, which I guess is pretty cool.

In other news, my boss has been on vacation a couple times in the past couple weeks, so I’ve been trying to do some of the work he normally handles. Like web dev stuff. All I can say is I’m super rusty, but picking it back up pretty quickly. Once we push the thing I worked on, I’ll share some of the fun of relearning this stuff.

I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to cover my dealings in other arenas – lab management, phone support, general gibberish. And so this blog will be the third or maybe tenth iteration of my attempt to share with you, the internet viewing public, my trials and tribulations regarding work life and the weird stuff I encounter and may even be proud of.

To give some better insight, I’m the Product Manager for posguys.com, an online point of sale retailer. If you’re really in the know, you could call me a Product Manager for a value-added reseller, or VAR. The value I add to the company is a tremendous amount of cheeky one-liners and incredibly obtuse references, both in conversation and in product listing. I also end up learning about every new product in development for major manufacturers, and how they can make your business run super efficiently. If you have questions about what scanner will work best in a tire factory or what cash drawer goes best with a white wine, I’m your guy.

One of the most recent developments, and really most entertaining, at POSGuys is that I’ve been given greater artistic license when writing up product reviews and product spotlights. This means you end up seeing goofy stuff like our product development team using homing pigeons to determine what to list on the site. I had been using a similar writing tone when announcing products to the sales staff and was getting a positive reaction on all fronts.

Generally, technical specifications and ideal usage environments are kind of dry topics to cover, resulting in many people responding to my announcements with “too long; didn’t read.” By mixing it up when writing announcements, using a horrible mangling of the English language and vague pop culture references, I found people started responding to the side references as well comprehending the full specs I put into the announcements.

With that, hopefully this is the first of many posts covering the odd situations I encounter during my day-to-day, and maybe an outlet for some of that pent-up goofiness that courses through my veins.

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