SpecialtySoft Reports

Edward Barr

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posted 02-06-2004 03:54 PM
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I have two questions that maybe somone can help me with:

1. We are running SpecialtySoft on Pentium 4 computers with Windows XP. Several of the reports can take an extraordinary time to run. For example, our moulding order reports can take 5 minutes to show up. A "Designer Performance Review" for all of our staff can take 15-20 minutes to be created. Once or twice I have rebooted a computer (thinking it had crashed) only to discover that it was running this report!

Is anyone else having this problem? SpecialtySoft doesn't seem to think of it as problem but I can't believe that in this day and age any report could take this long.

2. We are running a Windows XP network with a Linksys router. Every now and then we get a "non-system disc or network error" message. At this point we lose any data for the customer we are working with at that workstation. Usually it's a long complicated sale with many frames. At that point, we usually say to our customer "Computers...can't live without 'em, can't..." . Very Frustrating!

Has anyone run into these problems? Does anyone have a solution?

Thanks

Ed
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

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Hello Ed,

I am not using a networked version of SSS but I just ran the Designer Performance Review report and here are the results. The computer is an Athlon 1000Mhz running Win98SE w/384 Mb ram.

2 minutes 5 seconds from execution to results.

I then ran the Basic Maint Utility to compact and repair the report database and re-ran the report.

24 seconds from execution to results using the same filters.

Somewhere in the user manual, they suggest running BMU on a regular basis but I don't think many users do this maintenance with any regularity. If you haven't run it since the last upgrade, it will take a while.

BTW, after compaction, my database is just under 26MB.

I'll show my ignorance here and probably won't be much help with the server question other than I thought SSS is designed to work peer to peer without a server box. Could putting a dedicated server into an application designed to function peer to peer be slowing things down or adding to the confusion?
 

Mike Labbe

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Hi Ed

Do you know how much memory is on the machine? Extra memory will almost always help speed up a computer.

Are you running it on the "server" machine(the main computer where the files reside), or a workstation? It should run much faster on the server, because the data won't have to flow through the internal network.

If running it on a workstation, do all the machines have 10/100 cards and could one of them have an older 10 card? (much slower)

Non system disc error usually means a floppy is in the drive when you turn it on, or hard drive this is starting to fail and cannot boot. This could be another cause for poor performance.

What virus scanner do you have? Try disabling it, just for a couple minutes, to see if there is a noticeable difference in speed. If so, it can be configured to ignore certain types of files that your POS uses.

Is the database really large, and has it been getting progressively slower as your company grows? Parts of the product are in MS Access, which has a reputation for being pokey in some cases. I'm not saying that IS why, but it could be a factor to consider. If the data is many years old, does the program have a method to "pack" or trim the database down? I would check into all the other possibilities before even considering this last one.

Just some random ideas to get you started. We use Lifesaver here but the same issues would slow down any POS system.

Mike
 

John Ranes II CPF GCF

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Originally posted by Mike-L@GTP:
...Do you know how much memory is on the machine? Extra memory will almost always help speed up a computer....
Mike is probably right on with this suggestion. We use two network hubs connecting five computers and our F-6100 CMC. The biggest change we made that increased the performance of Specialty Soft was increasing the RAM on each workstation.

John
 

Edward Barr

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Thanks for the insight.

FYI

We are running a Windows XP peer to peer network with 4 workstations.

Server: Pentium 4 -1.6GHZ 512MEG Ram
Stn 1,2 & 3: P4, 1.6GHZ 128MEG

Our SSS manual recommends 64Meg of RAM

Other than Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word, there is nothing running on the Server and Stations 1 & 2. Usually they are not running.

Station 3 has MS Excel as well as a few other odds and ends.

We generally run reports on the Server machine.

I am not sure about exactly how long it takes to run a Designer Performance Review because I can't sit still long enough to find out. 2-1/2 minutes would be great; under 30 secs. would be phenomenal. I am quite certain that it is over 10 minutes but I'm never in the room when it finishes. Heck it takes over 5 min. to produce stickers to label our moulding orders.

I tried to run the Database utility on the Server. it works on the POS database but I get an error message when repairing and compacting the Reports Database. I have a call in to Tech Support to see what they advise.

You guys have been very helpful. Please let me know if any of this twigs something.

Thanks very much.

Ed in Ottawa
 

Mike Labbe

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Hi Ed,

We are running a Windows XP peer to peer network with 4 workstations.

Our SSS manual recommends 64Meg of RAM
I suspect that section of the manual was written for Windows 95, and needs a bit of tweaking for XPs higher requirements. 128 is the absolute minimum for XP, and will be very slow. If you bump those workstations up to 256 or 384, they'll be happier.

If you're running all the reports directly on the main computer with 512, it should be as fast as possible. Whenever you run a report from a remote machine, it has to transfer the files through the (slow) internal network. It's much quicker when the files are physically on the same machine.

It might be a good idea to run AD-AWARE on all the machines, too, just in case you have adware or spyware programs that are running in the background. This will clean out most of the common problems, and it's a great shareware program available at www.download.com

Keep us posted with the final result - and welcome to the Grumble!

Best regards,
Mike
 

Edward Barr

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Many thanks to Rick Bergeron. (Good French name, that. Parlez-vous francais?)

I ran the Basic Maintenance Utility. It wasn't easy since the latest version of SpecialtySoft has a bug in it when running the BMU for reports. Still, Tech support got me through it.

Reports are now running much faster:

Sales: Designer Performance Review (9 designers over 3 months) - ~2 minutes

Ordering:Order by Vendor - 2 minutes

Ordering: MOulding Order Labels (Chop) - 2 minutes to get to the "view" stage and then 2 minutes 20 seconds to actually view them prior to printing.

So thats a lot faster but still not what I would call "lightning fast". Back when we used Fullcalc, our Vendor Reports would pop up in an instant. No time at all!

Would someone mind running the three reports above and letting me Know what their times are? It would be great to have something to compare.

Many thanks (Merci Beaucoup),

Ed
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

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Hi Ed,

Don't speak French myself, though my Dad couldn't speak a word of English when he started school (late-mid 1930s) in East-Central Louisiana.

Glad to hear that compacting the database helped. Many users only have their database compacted when forced by a software upgrade, rather than compacting as a routine event. It's one of those things that can sometimes be more helpful than all the hardware upgrades combined.
 
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