Grumble LiveChat 2/3/05 @ 8pm EST

Mike Labbe

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GRUMBLER'S LIVE CHAT EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

Our very first LiveChat evening will be held this Thursday 2/3/05 at 8PM (EST)

This week's special guests will be the staff of LifeSaver Software, Inc. They'll be available to offer tips and answer questions about their popular Frame Shop pricing product. Thinking about computerizing with a POS? Join us and bring some healthy questions along.

In addition, they will be answering questions about their new visualization software. The new product allows the user to simply snap a digital photo of the customer's art with the corner sample and mats that have been selected. "LifeSaver Picture It First " will take those corners and show the customer the completed frame job on the computer screen.

Demos of both products will be made available for download.

To participate, members can click on this link Thursday evening. I suggest arriving at least 15 minutes early so you’ll be familiar with the format of the system. www.custompictureframing.com/chat/

If you would like to contact the guest beforehand to submit a question which may benefit others, you can do so at THIS FEEDBACK LINK


Future chat events may include an open discussion about foamcore, marketing ideas, creating CMC cad designs, searching for art prints, photo restoration services, FACTS, etc. Result logs can be summarized/posted afterwards on the grumble, so they’ll be available in the search archives. Dates will be announced. If you're a vendor or interested party and would like to host an event, please contact me by email.

Volunteers needed.

Mike

[ 02-03-2005, 07:20 AM: Message edited by: Mike-L@GTP ]
 

Susan May

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
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moved to Clermont, Florida
Mike! You sure have been busy! Keep it up!

I'll try to be at the chat, but I'll be late. I'm normally on the road at 8:00 on Thursdays. But I'll try to join... at least to see how good a turn out you get!
See you ALL on thursday!
 

Mike Labbe

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Hopefully it will be a success so we can make this a regular happening. There are so many possibilities for this.

The highlights can be captured and posted on the Grumble archives, for people who missed it.
 

Mike Labbe

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Probably 1-2 hours, as long as people have questions


You can stop in at any time and don't have to be there right at 8.
 

Mike Labbe

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Hello

The reason your name is changing to "Guest"(and a random number) is because the nickname FORTUNA was already reserved/registered by someone else. If you change it slightly, you'll be OK. try: FORTUNA1, FORTUNA-MX, etc

The chat has a great group of friendly regulars and we hope you'll be able to join us there soon.

Mike
 

John Ranes II CPF GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
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Posts
3,807
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Appleton, Wisconsin, USA
MIke,

Sounds like fun....but being here in Birmingham, UK for the Spring Fair (arrived this morning), I have a strong feeling that I will be sawing logs, as it will be 2am here..... ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dermot, however should still be up, as it will only be 1am in Ireland. ;) Oh, hang on, it's going to be 2am there as well.

John
 

Less

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
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2,707
From
ZZ
I'll bring the Unseal!
 

Mike Labbe

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I'd like to thank our guests and participants (30-40 grumblers) for making this such a success.

As promised, here are some of the questions and answers summarized from the chat. (cleaned up with casual chit chat removed)


Livechat Event 1 Thu Feb 03 2005 Guest: LifeSaver Software Brief summary of Q&A

[20:06] HOST: At this time, I'd like to introduce this evening's guest. LifeSaver Software was founded in 1992 and produces the industrys most popular point of sale suite for frame shops. They're here tonight to unveil a new visualization product called Picture It First, and answer questions from existing and future clients. Downloadable demos of both products are available via www.lifesaversoft.com Tonight we have LifeSaver's president, Paul Thomas; Head of development, Dan Merrefield, and Jim Tyner from the PIF visualization software division. Id like to welcome our guests and turn the floor over to Paul Thomas

[20:08] [LSS-Paul] Hello Everybody. We appreciate the opportunity. Fire away your questions and we'll do our best to answer

[20:09] [Susan_May] Can you give a description of Picture it First?
[20:09] [LSS-Paul] Yes, Jim, if I get any of it wrong, please correct me
[20:10] [LSS-Paul] Picture It First is a stand alone software that will allow the framer to use whatever mouldings, fillets and mats they have on display and show the completed project before you cut anything

[20:10] [rozmataz] Do you need a digital camera to scan in the customer's art?
[20:10] [LSS-Paul] Yes, you do need a digital camera

[20:10] [Deborah] After the info (moulding & size, etc) is entered in the software, this that 'When' you can show the customer how it will look?
[20:10] [rozmataz] Since most scan beds aren't very big
[20:11] [jfeig] still or video
[20:11] [LSS-Paul] Nothing special just a digital camera

[20:11] [Susan_May] How well do Gold frames show up on the screen? I've seen some gold frames look like different colors, depending on the angle.
[20:11] [wcox] but only as good as the digital picture you take right?
[20:11] [LSS-Paul] We were demoing a gold frame at WCAF and it looked great
[20:12] [LSS-Paul] Yes, I would imagine it would have some to do with how good of a picture you took

[20:11] [rozmataz] Can you adjust the mat border widths
[20:12] [LSS-Paul] Yes, You do business no differently than you do it now, but after the design you snap a pic and wahlah you see a completed frame etc on the screen

[20:12] [Deb] What operationg system do you need?
[20:28] [JudyN] Is it just for a PC or will it work on a MAC?
[20:14] [LSS-Paul] PC w/Windows

[20:13] [rozmataz] Is this similar to some of the commercial art sites?
[20:13] [LSS-Paul] No, we don't store any moulding or mat images

[20:13] [AndyPanCPF] is there a model of digital camera that is recommednded for best results, or can more or less any camera be used?
[20:14] [LSS-Paul] The model we were using that works well is the Canon Powershot s1 IS
[20:14] [LSS-Jim] We're recommending the Canon S1 IS. It's inexpensive, has remote shooting and a 10x zoom.

[20:13] [wcox] do you have to take a picture each time you use the same moulding?
[20:14] [LSS-Paul] You are taking a picture of the whole process after you design it. So many times it is difficult for the customer to visualize the finished product from just those
[20:15] [wcox] so, you take one picture of the art with a mat sample and frame sample laying on it?
[20:15] [LSS-Paul] corners so the software draws it around it.
[20:16] [LSS-Paul] Yes, then you can save that image, design another and tile the windows so they can see what their choices are.
[20:16] [LSS-Paul] You can also email the pictures to a client if they wanted to drop off a big project for you

[20:16] [wcox] i would asume you need to worry about the art being nice and square in the picture?
[20:17] [wcox] and the same with the mat and frame corner
[20:17] [LSS-Paul] Yes, for best results you do need to worry about that somewhat.

[20:17] [Susan_May] How large a piece have you tested this with? I seem to get large art.
[20:18] [LSS-Paul] It isn't limited by size, it is limited only by your zoom and if you can get the whole project into the picture
[20:18] [wcox] and you have to do the frame and mat etc at the same picture as the art, right?
[20:18] [LSS-Jim] As long as the camera can capture the entire image, the program will frame it.
[20:18] [LSS-Paul] We were using a copy stand at the WCAF which provided a stable mount for the camera and a good square for the artwork

[20:19] [AndyPanCPF] do you recommend having a dedicated computer/monitor set up for the product, or can the same system be used for both the visualization software as well as LifeSaver?
[20:19] [LSS-Paul] I think it would be a good idea, but it can run on the same computer you use now

[20:20] [JudyN] How good a digital camera to you need?
[20:20] [LSS-Paul] We were using a Canon Powershot S1 IS at the WCAF and that camera is sold at Walmart for about $300

[20:21] [nonapowers] can you add to the image, change the color add a fillet or some other element or does it have to be there?
[20:21] [LSS-Paul] It simply takes a snapshot of what you have with you. You can take multiple shots with different looks so the customer can compare
[20:22] [LSS-Paul] You can change wall colors of the image if they said it was going to hang on a blue wall

[20:25] [buba] question from Less - is this product both pos and visualization tool
[20:25] [LSS-Paul] The beauty is that you don't have to wait for a software company to update their mouldings and mats and scan in all the images for you to use the software confidently. If you have it on your wall you can use it
[20:26] [LSS-Paul] We happen to offer a POS tool for you as well
[20:26] [LSS-Paul] BUT...they don't link....yet....get my drift?

[20:26] [nonapowers] It would be nice to be able to up the sale by showing a V-groove French line or panel or two of the same fillets, or three of the same colored mats. You wouldn't have them on hand, could they electronically added?
[20:27] [LSS-Paul] Not at this time but we will always be upgrading our software

[20:27] [JudyN] Ok so another puter with the new software?
[20:28] [LSS-Paul] If that is what you want to do Judy. Get one of Mike's Dell deals for $349 with a 15" flat panel

[20:27] [wcox] the sample would have to have the v groove showing,
[20:27] [Susan_May] Nona, I think you would have to make a few samples of french lines and such to work
[20:27] ] thats a great idea

[20:28] [jfeig] are and moulding lines pre photographed as a starting point?

[20:28] [JudyN] Is it just for a PC or will it work on a MAC?

[20:31] [Susan_May] This sounds like a great sales advantage. Might just make that hard to see customer actually fork over the money.

[20:35] [JudyN] How far from the art is the camera?
[20:36] [LSS-Paul] On the copy stand it was about 4 feet away

[20:39] [buba] Paul, who are your competitors
[20:40] [LSS-Paul] In Picture It First, there is no one doing it our way.
[20:40] [LSS-Paul] For POS software there are quite a few out there and there is a list available from Mike. He will provide you a list if you like
[20:42] [LSS-Paul] It is a patented process. Everyone else has taken the approach of databasing images. Not only is the program huge but you then have to depend on the software company to scan in new images as vendors come out with new product and also delete discontinueds for you
[20:43] [buba] so no one else allows you to enter your own image?
[20:44] [LSS-Paul] In the other models, I believe you are allowed to scan in your own images
[20:44] [LSS-Paul] In ours no scanning is needed. Just point and click

[20:39] [jvandy57] Dan, the last release of lifesaver had something to do with "Out of Stock" coming up, correct
[20:42] [lss-dan] Jerry, the new bit is that if you use a non-stock moulding and manually enter the price and width, a new window will pop up asking you if you want to save it to the moulding database for future use.
[20:44] [jvandy57] After loading the last upgrade, I no longer get the you need x feet and x is available screen
[20:47] [lss-dan] Jerry, people found that message to be annoying for mouldings they do not normally stock, so by popular demand we made it come up only for mouldings that are in a bin.

[20:44] [JudyN] another question: Can you save the image to email to a client?
[20:45] [wcox] or print it out?
[20:45] [LSS-Paul] Yes Judy, you sure can. You can also make it into a slide presentation giving them different examples and changing wall colors
[20:45] [LSS-Paul] And yes you can print it out

[20:47] [LSS-Paul] If a customer drops off several projects to be finished, you can email them the completed product and get their approval without cutting anything

[20:47] [wcox] ? on lss, i use my own mldg number ie C1234 for a larson mldg # 440CW, can i use my own numbers , and then have the software convert them to the vendor number?
[20:48] [LSS-Paul] Wcox, put it in a bin (assign it a bin #) and it will convert it to the vendor number

[20:48] [jfeig] is it a single image(art) or will it process 2 images in a single mat
[20:48] [JudyN] or more?
[20:49] [LSS-Paul] Is the question can you do multi-window?
[20:50] [Susan_May] yes
[20:50] [jfeig] yes, multi window
[20:50] [LSS-Paul] yes, it will frame anything that you take a picture of

[20:50] [wcox] also on LSS you have to enter the picture size first or can you enter the glass or frame size first?
[20:51] [LSS-Paul] That is called fit to frame wcox and yes you can do that. Let's say that someone brings in a ratty frame that their great-great grandma gave them and want to use it to frame something, You can input the frame size and image size and then click Fit to Frame and it will figure out the mat widths for you

[20:54] [JudyN] What kinda leanring curve?
[20:55] [LSS-Paul] Judy, it is 5 clicks
[20:55] [LSS-Paul] I promise it is simple
[20:55] [LSS-Paul] You would snap the pic, open the file, then do the clicks

[20:55] [JudyN] and a way to hang it from my ceiling
[20:56] [JudyN] do you provide some sort of harware to put the camera into?
[20:56] [LSS-Paul] Tripod, Copy Stand, I even heard one person is going to cut a hold in their drop ceiling
[20:56] [wcox] probably the most difficulty is make the set up and correct lighting
[20:57] [LSS-Paul] We are talking now about providing a turn-key package
[20:59] [LSS-Paul] But truthfully, you don't need us for that. Just get the camera we suggest and mount it on a copy stand or tripod and you will be in business. You will be able to do everything from turn on the camera, to snapping the photo to
zooming in and out all from your keyboard

[20:59] [Supa-Lance] Is there a version of the POS available for outside US? (I.e. no product loaded_
[20:59] [LSS-Paul] Yes, if you speak English, Spanish or Canadian and use inches, not metric
[21:00] [Supa-Lance] why not metric??? Isn't it the world wide standard???

[21:00] [wcox] Did you say youcan control the camera from the key board?
[21:00] [LSS-Paul] Yes, you can control everything from the keyboard

[21:00] [art_on_canvas] Do the 5 clicks adjust the ratio of art size to the width of the chosen frame (8x10 overpowered, VS a 24x36dwarfed image)

[21:01] [wcox] how does the camera hook up to do that?
[21:01] [LSS-Paul] USB
[21:01] [JudyN] So how do you keep camera charged up. YOu must have to have it plugged in?
[21:01] [LSS-Paul] Good ole power adapter
[21:02] [LSS-Jim] The camera hooks up with a USB connection to the computer and an AC power cord to a wall outlet.

[21:01] [wcox] any camera?
[21:01] [wcox] well i mean digtial ofcourse
[21:02] [Susan_May] The better the digital camera, the better you image... right?
[21:02] [LSS-Paul] Any digital camera will work, we are simply suggesting the Canon s1 IS because of the software interface (running it from the keyboard)
[21:03] [LSS-Paul] We were using a very low-res at Atlanta and it looked great on a 50" Plasma and in Vegas we were using a higher res image and it also looked good on a 42" plasma
[21:03] [LSS-Paul] I was using it on my laptop and it looked good on that small of a screen as well. You don't have to spend lots of cash on this

[21:01] [art_on_canvas] Thanks...does a frame sample look big on a small art, and tiny on a large art?
[21:03] ] host: Correct me if im wrong... but the moulding should be proportionally correct to the image, because youre taking them in the same picture. the only thing you're manipulating is the mats.

[21:03] [JudyN] So this would work for OBJECTS? Like a scarab?
[21:05] [LSS-Paul] You can frame anything you want. Even a John Elway jersey

[21:05] [JudyN] so how do you put the background into it?
[21:05] [Susan_May] So, if you are framing an object, will it take the mat color, and put it behind the object in thepicture?
[21:06] [LSS-Paul] There is a menu choice at the top where you choose wall color
[21:06] [LSS-Paul] yes to Susan

[21:10] [manny] Just joined in, this may be a redundant question-but- how much memory would one require to load Lifesaver?
[21:11] [LSS-Paul] Out of the box it is 119 Meg on the hard drive. Miniscule...

[21:14] [SCFramer] Question here from another late comer --- have been hearing alot lately about pricing by sq inch rather than UI, particulary for mats, mounting, etc.....does LS accomodate that kind of methodology?
[21:14] [LSS-Paul] No, but we are actually looking at that right now.
[21:14] [LSS-Paul] We have been hearing this request more and more lately, especially for glass

[21:15] [Supa-Lance] is there plans to make a metric version?
[21:17] [LSS-Paul] Supa Lance, I would need to know more info. I don't think it is a big code issue but we would need to know how things work as far as pricing. How are things sold etc...

[21:19] [manny] How often are pricing lists updated by or with suppliers?
[21:19] [LSS-Paul] twice a week by LifeSaver
[21:20] [wcox] only if the vendor get it to them right
[21:20] [Susan_May] The suppliers are not as often.
[21:20] [SCFramer] but that's dependent on the SUPPLIER sending LifeSaver the data, right Paul?
[21:20] [LSS-Paul] We also have small downloads that only pay attention to the vendors you carry and not massive files
[21:21] [manny] all major suppliers, I presume?
[21:21] [LSS-Paul] correct, but we get anywhere from 10-20 updates from vendors per week

[21:22] [wcox] i have heard that some pos people charge the vendors to use there price lists, do you?
[21:22] [LSS-Paul] Great Question! Absolutely NOT

[21:23] [SCFramer] what do you mean about adding small unusual vendors on the fly?
[21:24] [LSS-Paul] If you put in a moulding number of a vendor that isn't in our list LifeSaver will prompt you if you would like to add that to the database.

[21:26] [JudyN] Is there a way to save favorite deisng in the new Picture it first for future designs?
[21:26] [LSS-Paul] sure you can

[21:28] [manny] Is Lifesaver distributed in Canada, eh?
[21:29] [LSS-Paul] We have a Canadian Version with PST and GST
[21:29] [manny] Good to know , thanks

[21:30] [manny] Is it possible to use a Canon G-6 with the program?
[21:30] [LSS-Paul] With the Picture it First, if that is a digital camera, yes you can use it
[21:31] [LSS-Paul] Once again, thank you for your time and I hope we answered all your questions. My email is pothomas@lifesaversoft.com if you have anything further. Goodnight to all
[21:32] [LSS-Paul] You're welcome. Thank you guys for your business. It is greatly appreciated
[21:32] [LSS-Jim] Good night all!

[ 02-04-2005, 10:15 AM: Message edited by: Mike-L@GTP ]
 
D

Dermot

Guest
Originally posted by John Ranes II, CPF, GCF:

Dermot, however should still be up, as it will only be 1am in Ireland. ;) Oh, hang on, it's going to be 2am there as well.

John
Ha Ha.......I was still awake …..but I was talking to Jean who is in the US at the moment....sorry guys she gets priority ……and can you blame me…..

Perhaps next time I will join…now that I have an ISDN line…….just installed today…..what an improvement on dial up…………don’t ask.......why I did not get broadband………………………OK OK…where I’m located will not have broadband for the foreseeable further unless I opt for satellite which is just to expensive at present…….anyway from what I can see so far today ISDN will be OK for me.

John …what are you doing in the UK so early I thought the spring show was next week!!!!!!……I will be in Birmingham or near there Thursday and Friday next week but not at the show…..I’m on another business venture……more will be announced soon.
 

Susan May

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
May 28, 2000
Posts
5,929
From
moved to Clermont, Florida
Last night was not only informative, but it made you feel very free to ask questions. Thanks again to LifeSaver, and Mike for putting on this live chat! (And Framer for adding the link to the chat room, right here on the Grumble!)
 

johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Posts
3,601
From
Ohio
Their new software sounds a lot like something I purchased from FullCalc back in 1996. It was an Apple computer with a 19" monitor (not cheap back then), a video camera, and the software. Along with FullCalc which I also purchased it came to somewhere between $10k and $12k. It really worked nicely! You could even place the image of the framed artwork over a sofa or fireplace or some different settings. I can attest to the fact that customers loved it. Unfortunately, I was only one of something like 4 people in the country stupid enough to buy in to such technology in it's infancy and they gave up and never updated the program with new mouldings, matboard colors, or anything else, quickly rendering it useless. I still have the computer sitting on a pedistal in my office to remind me not to be the gineua pig on anything in the future. After being ticked off enough with FullCalc to not want to pay them any more $$ for upkeep of their normal software because of this I abandoned the system to go back to paper. 4 or 5 years ago I installed Lifesaver and have been very pleased with it, not only with the program but also with the people behind it. I do believe there is enough interest now to make a go of this product and I already know the impact it will have on my customers - very positive. I feel like I was already the ginuea pig on this technology years ago, and I feel like Lifesaver can now do it right. I am looking forward to implementing it in my galleries.

As for their pricing software I really wanted to ask for a feature. There are drop down boxes to add different pricing options... type of glass, type of mounting, stretching, user defined. These default to blank with no pricing. I would love to be able to set what they default to. When an employee is in a hurry or for whatever reason a field may be left blank during the sale and changed in pen when it's printed out. We don't go back to the customer and say "Actually, you're price is going to be higher" after the fact. If I could default the fields to conservation clear for glass and museum mount for the type of mounting it would add quite a few dollars to my bottom line by the end of the year, I dare say way more than enough to pay for the software's upkeep. In the instances where the fields are then missed during the sale, well it's far easier to tell a customer they were accidently overquoted when they come to pick up and give them a refund.
 

Mike Labbe

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Johnny,

They added this exact feature last year.

From the ticket screen, go to:

FILES -> Define Framing Types

From that screen you can can define up to 6 framing types that each have mounting, glass, and 2 definable pulldowns. You can set any one of these to be the automatic default when a blank ticket is opened. ex: We have ours default to CC UV glass.

Mike
 

johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Posts
3,601
From
Ohio
Thanks Mike!

That settles it. My first boy will be named Johnny Lifesaver...

I'm very happy.
 

danny boy

PFG, Picture Framing God

In Memorium

Rest In Peace



Joined
Dec 18, 2004
Posts
5,393
From
Oregon's Bay Area
This was neat, Great job goes to Mike and our friends at LifeSaver. The interaction was an easy and informative. Education is important if we are to keep the advantage. Thanks again..
thumbsup.gif


Danny
 
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