Windows 2000 as POS

Windows 2000 as POS

Post by Russ Lyttl » Mon, 07 Jan 2002 01:37:05



A friend of mine got a new POS up and running this week. He is partner
in a 2-man business with about 6 employees, but a large customer base to
track. When he decided to install a new POS to replace his old Mac based
system, I recommended Linux. However, he bought the FUD from a local MS
vendor and went with Windows 2000.
His new system has a 1.5ghz processor, 20gig hard drive, 20gig tape
backup, 128meg Ram, nice touchscreens, and otherwise good hardware. His
comment when showing me his new system?

"Look at that hourglass just sitting there! Why is this so much slower
that my old Mac? All anyone does is sit around looking at that
hourglass!"

Frankly, I could give him only two pieces of advice. First, try
upgrading the memory to 256Meg or more. Second, don't connect to the
internet. He had already decided to not connect to the internet with
that system due to known security problems. He can't just dump the new
POS and buy another, so now I'm trying to find ways to help him
integrate Linux into his business while getting the maximum return on
his current investment.

 
 
 

Windows 2000 as POS

Post by Eric Wilhel » Mon, 07 Jan 2002 14:13:17



Quote:> A friend of mine got a new POS up and running this week. He is partner
> in a 2-man business with about 6 employees, but a large customer base to
> track. When he decided to install a new POS to replace his old Mac based
> system, I recommended Linux. However, he bought the FUD from a local MS
> vendor and went with Windows 2000.
> His new system has a 1.5ghz processor, 20gig hard drive, 20gig tape
> backup, 128meg Ram, nice touchscreens, and otherwise good hardware. His
> comment when showing me his new system?

> "Look at that hourglass just sitting there! Why is this so much slower
> that my old Mac? All anyone does is sit around looking at that
> hourglass!"

> Frankly, I could give him only two pieces of advice. First, try
> upgrading the memory to 256Meg or more. Second, don't connect to the
> internet. He had already decided to not connect to the internet with
> that system due to known security problems. He can't just dump the new
> POS and buy another, so now I'm trying to find ways to help him
> integrate Linux into his business while getting the maximum return on
> his current investment.

I am not supporting Windows, but COME ON!  What is this guy doing that he
has an hourglass on his screen?  Ram would be a problem, but why did he buy
a 1.5GHz system with 128MB of ram?  That is a ridiculous combination if I
ever saw one, but typical of a pre-assembled system.  Also typical
(especially from gateway, among others) is the cheapest hardware where you
aren't looking for it.  The hard drive might be 5200 rpm if he didn't
request a faster one, and they didn't advertise it.

I run Windows 2000 with 3D-Engineering and graphics-editing software, and I
never, _never_ see an hourglass except at boot-time (waiting for the
registry to load I guess).  This time is significantly reduced by having an
off-board IDE controller (1.5 minutes down from 3, everyone should have one
of these).  The only applications I have seen that even use the hourglass
are those from M$, so what is he doing to make that word-processor work-over
the system so much!?

What kind of machine is this, and who did he get it from?  I say he should
take it back and tell them it sucks.

Windows2000 has its problems (like crashing on the Solstice (no, I'm not
suspicious about that!)), but it is not nearly as bad as you say here unless
there is a hardware problem, or a very poorly designed system.

Linux is great, Windows sucks.  But, let's keep the playing field level (at
least on our end), lest we sink to the level of M$ by trying to FUD and LUD
on the other OSen.

My system:
PIII 800EB
SOYO SY-6VBA133 motherboard
1GB PC133 SDRAM
Matrox G400Max AGP card driving 2 17" Viewsonic monitors
2 40GB Maxtor 7200RPM ATA100 hard drives on a Promise ATA controller PCI
card
Creative 52X CDROM
Plextor 12/10/32 burner
Worthless Winmodem:  A-Open FM56-PM  (for sale cheap)

--Eric

 
 
 

Windows 2000 as POS

Post by grom » Mon, 07 Jan 2002 20:33:32


<snip>

Quote:> Linux is great, Windows sucks.  But, let's keep the playing field level
> (at least on our end), lest we sink to the level of M$ by trying to FUD
> and LUD on the other OSen.

It would be better if he run linux though. He is using it for as POS
system.
 
 
 

Windows 2000 as POS

Post by Russ Lyttl » Tue, 08 Jan 2002 01:20:15





> > A friend of mine got a new POS up and running this week. He is partner
> > in a 2-man business with about 6 employees, but a large customer base to
> > track. When he decided to install a new POS to replace his old Mac based
> > system, I recommended Linux. However, he bought the FUD from a local MS
> > vendor and went with Windows 2000.
> > His new system has a 1.5ghz processor, 20gig hard drive, 20gig tape
> > backup, 128meg Ram, nice touchscreens, and otherwise good hardware. His
> > comment when showing me his new system?

> > "Look at that hourglass just sitting there! Why is this so much slower
> > that my old Mac? All anyone does is sit around looking at that
> > hourglass!"

> > Frankly, I could give him only two pieces of advice. First, try
> > upgrading the memory to 256Meg or more. Second, don't connect to the
> > internet. He had already decided to not connect to the internet with
> > that system due to known security problems. He can't just dump the new
> > POS and buy another, so now I'm trying to find ways to help him
> > integrate Linux into his business while getting the maximum return on
> > his current investment.

> I am not supporting Windows, but COME ON!  What is this guy doing that he
> has an hourglass on his screen?  Ram would be a problem, but why did he buy
> a 1.5GHz system with 128MB of ram?  That is a ridiculous combination if I
> ever saw one, but typical of a pre-assembled system.  Also typical
> (especially from gateway, among others) is the cheapest hardware where you
> aren't looking for it.  The hard drive might be 5200 rpm if he didn't
> request a faster one, and they didn't advertise it.

My friend bought the system because the guy selling the system
(including hardware and software) had lots of certificates from MS
saying he was certified and knew what he was doing. My friend bought a
*system*, not a PC that he tried to turn into a POS.

Quote:> I run Windows 2000 with 3D-Engineering and graphics-editing software, and I
> never, _never_ see an hourglass except at boot-time (waiting for the
> registry to load I guess).  This time is significantly reduced by having an
> off-board IDE controller (1.5 minutes down from 3, everyone should have one
> of these).  

1.5 minutes is a long time to wait for that. But that is only once a
day.

Quote:>The only applications I have seen that even use the hourglass
> are those from M$, so what is he doing to make that word-processor work-over
> the system so much!?

Running a POS which seems to have MS software (Office) as an underlying
layer. It handles inventory, sales, customer data, billing, etc. The
hour glass appears for about 10-15 seconds every time a customer data
entry is updated. Printing billing takes forever. This is noticable to
customers. It also means that at the end of the day, perhaps an extra
1/2 to 3/4 hour is required to close out. The extra time delay is
noticable to customers as the queue has gotten slightly longer

Quote:

> What kind of machine is this, and who did he get it from?  I say he should
> take it back and tell them it sucks.

As I said, he bought a *system*. It isn't a matter of taking a machine
back and getting a refund. Its taking back weeks of inputing inventory
and data into a propriatry system that cannot be easily transfered to
another system. If the one bit of hardware were the only problem, I
could fix that in a few minutes.

Quote:

> Windows2000 has its problems (like crashing on the Solstice (no, I'm not
> suspicious about that!)), but it is not nearly as bad as you say here unless
> there is a hardware problem, or a very poorly designed system.

The "spending all their time watching the hourglass" is a subjective
argument. In fact his system is much more responsive than, say, running
VC++ on my work NT. But it is still much slower than the old Mac system
he used for POS. His expectation was that the new system would give him
much more capability with the same responsiveness. Not only is it less
responsive than the Linux based systems, it is slower than a 5 year old
Mac based system.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

> Linux is great, Windows sucks.  But, let's keep the playing field level (at
> least on our end), lest we sink to the level of M$ by trying to FUD and LUD
> on the other OSen.

> My system:
> PIII 800EB
> SOYO SY-6VBA133 motherboard
> 1GB PC133 SDRAM
> Matrox G400Max AGP card driving 2 17" Viewsonic monitors
> 2 40GB Maxtor 7200RPM ATA100 hard drives on a Promise ATA controller PCI
> card
> Creative 52X CDROM
> Plextor 12/10/32 burner
> Worthless Winmodem:  A-Open FM56-PM  (for sale cheap)

> --Eric

 
 
 

Windows 2000 as POS

Post by Eric Wilhel » Tue, 08 Jan 2002 03:34:56






> > > A friend of mine got a new POS up and running this week. He is partner
> > > in a 2-man business with about 6 employees, but a large customer base
to
> > > track. When he decided to install a new POS to replace his old Mac
based
> > > system, I recommended Linux. However, he bought the FUD from a local
MS
> > > vendor and went with Windows 2000.
> > > His new system has a 1.5ghz processor, 20gig hard drive, 20gig tape
> > > backup, 128meg Ram, nice touchscreens, and otherwise good hardware.
His
> > > comment when showing me his new system?

> > > "Look at that hourglass just sitting there! Why is this so much slower
> > > that my old Mac? All anyone does is sit around looking at that
> > > hourglass!"

> > > Frankly, I could give him only two pieces of advice. First, try
> > > upgrading the memory to 256Meg or more. Second, don't connect to the
> > > internet. He had already decided to not connect to the internet with
> > > that system due to known security problems. He can't just dump the new
> > > POS and buy another, so now I'm trying to find ways to help him
> > > integrate Linux into his business while getting the maximum return on
> > > his current investment.

> > I am not supporting Windows, but COME ON!  What is this guy doing that
he
> > has an hourglass on his screen?  Ram would be a problem, but why did he
buy
> > a 1.5GHz system with 128MB of ram?  That is a ridiculous combination if
I
> > ever saw one, but typical of a pre-assembled system.  Also typical
> > (especially from gateway, among others) is the cheapest hardware where
you
> > aren't looking for it.  The hard drive might be 5200 rpm if he didn't
> > request a faster one, and they didn't advertise it.

> My friend bought the system because the guy selling the system
> (including hardware and software) had lots of certificates from MS
> saying he was certified and knew what he was doing. My friend bought a
> *system*, not a PC that he tried to turn into a POS.

This clears up a few things.  I thought you were saying that he decided to
get a new Piece Of Sh-- :)
And, it appears that <french accent from castle guard in Holy Grail>he's got
one.</french accent from castle guard in Holy Grail>

So, how is the hardware in this machine different from a PC?  It still has a
hard-drive right?  If so, an IDE controller that is not on the motherboard,
or at least has its own chip (not using the main processor and bus) will
significantly speed-up all read-write operations like looking up records.
More ram would also help.

<snip>

Quote:>>[boot] time is significantly reduced by having an
> > off-board IDE controller (1.5 minutes down from 3, everyone should have
one
> > of these).
> 1.5 minutes is a long time to wait for that. But that is only once a
> day.

More like once a week for me.

Quote:> >The only applications I have seen that even use the hourglass
> > are those from M$, so what is he doing to make that word-processor
work-over
> > the system so much!?

> Running a POS which seems to have MS software (Office) as an underlying
> layer. It handles inventory, sales, customer data, billing, etc. The
> hour glass appears for about 10-15 seconds every time a customer data
> entry is updated. Printing billing takes forever.

So, this is a system managing a <assumption>large</assumption> database
using proprietary, inefficient algorithms written by M$.  I agree that there
is probably something wrong with the software, but that should be
compensated for by hardware if it is sold as a system.  EG: get a ton of ram
(2-3GB) and store all of the records in ram, writing to disk when the system
load is lower, or get faster disks.
What kind of printer does it use?  If it is on a parallel port, it is going
to be slow.  I would think that a system which is required to be responsive
would use USB or some other faster protocol for the printer.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:>This is noticable to
> customers. It also means that at the end of the day, perhaps an extra
> 1/2 to 3/4 hour is required to close out. The extra time delay is
> noticable to customers as the queue has gotten slightly longer

> > What kind of machine is this, and who did he get it from?  I say he
should
> > take it back and tell them it sucks.

> As I said, he bought a *system*. It isn't a matter of taking a machine
> back and getting a refund. Its taking back weeks of inputing inventory
> and data into a propriatry system that cannot be easily transfered to
> another system. If the one bit of hardware were the only problem, I
> could fix that in a few minutes.

This is quite the problem.  He has invested in proprietary software with not
only his money, but also his time.  It seems, from reading your reply, that
he has also invested in proprietary hardware, which would cause many more
problems.

Quote:

> > Windows2000 has its problems (like crashing on the Solstice (no, I'm not
> > suspicious about that!)), but it is not nearly as bad as you say here
unless
> > there is a hardware problem, or a very poorly designed system.
> The "spending all their time watching the hourglass" is a subjective
> argument. In fact his system is much more responsive than, say, running
> VC++ on my work NT. But it is still much slower than the old Mac system
> he used for POS. His expectation was that the new system would give him
> much more capability with the same responsiveness. Not only is it less
> responsive than the Linux based systems, it is slower than a 5 year old
> Mac based system.

Is the much-more-capability there?  The responsiveness is always going to be
a function of matching software to hardware.  From the sound of it, the
software is too bloated for the hardware which was apparently put together
by an amateur with a certification from microsoft.  If he bought it as a
system, was there a contract which stated what performance would be?  If so,
he has a law suit available to him, and should take it, as much trouble as
that may be.  If a system is sold for a purpose, unless it has a clause
which says there is no warranty for that purpose (which would be a clause I
would disagree to for such a system), then he should be able to (and should
do so) take legal action against the vendor for damages in man-hours wasted
getting the system ready for use with customer and inventory data.

Microsoft never gives any warranty on their software, so the thing he should
go after is that the vendor was supposed to know the performance needs of
the software, and should have assembled a system which would compensate for
that and deliver the expected performance.  The old Mac system probably had
SCSI disks (most that I have seen did), which would make its read-write
performance similar to a current IDE drive.  If the bloat of the new
software is not compensated by increased hardware performance, it won't do
as well.  But, if the old software (I know, not possible) were put on the
new machine, it would fly.

Please post the hardware specs (as much as you can find out) of this system
so we can see why it performs so poorly.
My bet is that a system with a 1.5GHz processor and 128MB of ram was sold on
the merits of the processor, and the rest of it is junk.

<snip>

 
 
 

Windows 2000 as POS

Post by Russ Lyttl » Wed, 09 Jan 2002 09:26:56


Eric Wilhelm wrote:

> "Russ Lyttle" <lytt...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
> news:3C3889D4.7AD21294@earthlink.net...
> > Eric Wilhelm wrote:

> > > "Russ Lyttle" <lytt...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
> > > news:3C373C48.3C4F1E86@earthlink.net...
> > > > A friend of mine got a new POS up and running this week. He is partner
> > > > in a 2-man business with about 6 employees, but a large customer base
> to
> > > > track. When he decided to install a new POS to replace his old Mac
> based
> > > > system, I recommended Linux. However, he bought the FUD from a local
> MS
> > > > vendor and went with Windows 2000.
> > > > His new system has a 1.5ghz processor, 20gig hard drive, 20gig tape
> > > > backup, 128meg Ram, nice touchscreens, and otherwise good hardware.
> His
> > > > comment when showing me his new system?

> > > > "Look at that hourglass just sitting there! Why is this so much slower
> > > > that my old Mac? All anyone does is sit around looking at that
> > > > hourglass!"

> > > > Frankly, I could give him only two pieces of advice. First, try
> > > > upgrading the memory to 256Meg or more. Second, don't connect to the
> > > > internet. He had already decided to not connect to the internet with
> > > > that system due to known security problems. He can't just dump the new
> > > > POS and buy another, so now I'm trying to find ways to help him
> > > > integrate Linux into his business while getting the maximum return on
> > > > his current investment.

> > > I am not supporting Windows, but COME ON!  What is this guy doing that
> he
> > > has an hourglass on his screen?  Ram would be a problem, but why did he
> buy
> > > a 1.5GHz system with 128MB of ram?  That is a ridiculous combination if
> I
> > > ever saw one, but typical of a pre-assembled system.  Also typical
> > > (especially from gateway, among others) is the cheapest hardware where
> you
> > > aren't looking for it.  The hard drive might be 5200 rpm if he didn't
> > > request a faster one, and they didn't advertise it.

> > My friend bought the system because the guy selling the system
> > (including hardware and software) had lots of certificates from MS
> > saying he was certified and knew what he was doing. My friend bought a
> > *system*, not a PC that he tried to turn into a POS.

> This clears up a few things.  I thought you were saying that he decided to
> get a new Piece Of Sh-- :)
> And, it appears that <french accent from castle guard in Holy Grail>he's got
> one.</french accent from castle guard in Holy Grail>

> So, how is the hardware in this machine different from a PC?  It still has a
> hard-drive right?  If so, an IDE controller that is not on the motherboard,
> or at least has its own chip (not using the main processor and bus) will
> significantly speed-up all read-write operations like looking up records.
> More ram would also help.

The computing hardware doesn't differ from a PC except in packaging. It
does, after all, run Windows2000, which isn't exactly cross platform.
The total system includes two remote terminals with touch-screen and
cashdrawer each.

> <snip>
> >>[boot] time is significantly reduced by having an
> > > off-board IDE controller (1.5 minutes down from 3, everyone should have
> one
> > > of these).
> > 1.5 minutes is a long time to wait for that. But that is only once a
> > day.

> More like once a week for me.

I wish I were that lucky.

> > >The only applications I have seen that even use the hourglass
> > > are those from M$, so what is he doing to make that word-processor
> work-over
> > > the system so much!?

> > Running a POS which seems to have MS software (Office) as an underlying
> > layer. It handles inventory, sales, customer data, billing, etc. The
> > hour glass appears for about 10-15 seconds every time a customer data
> > entry is updated. Printing billing takes forever.

> So, this is a system managing a <assumption>large</assumption> database
> using proprietary, inefficient algorithms written by M$.  

Not that large. Under 1000 inventory items, less than 10000 customers in
the data base (more walkin)>
>I agree that there
> is probably something wrong with the software, but that should be
> compensated for by hardware if it is sold as a system.  EG: get a ton of ram
> (2-3GB) and store all of the records in ram, writing to disk when the system
> load is lower, or get faster disks.
> What kind of printer does it use?  If it is on a parallel port, it is going
> to be slow.  I would think that a system which is required to be responsive
> would use USB or some other faster protocol for the printer.

What's wrong with this picture :
MS writes bad software, so we should compensate by buying more expensive
hardware.

Thats been the rule for a long while. However, now it seems MS has
bloated its programs faster than the industry can create new hardware.
The true cost of a new MS OS isn't just the OS cost, but includes the
cost of the new hardware to run it on.

- Show quoted text -

> >This is noticable to
> > customers. It also means that at the end of the day, perhaps an extra
> > 1/2 to 3/4 hour is required to close out. The extra time delay is
> > noticable to customers as the queue has gotten slightly longer

> > > What kind of machine is this, and who did he get it from?  I say he
> should
> > > take it back and tell them it sucks.

> > As I said, he bought a *system*. It isn't a matter of taking a machine
> > back and getting a refund. Its taking back weeks of inputing inventory
> > and data into a propriatry system that cannot be easily transfered to
> > another system. If the one bit of hardware were the only problem, I
> > could fix that in a few minutes.

> This is quite the problem.  He has invested in proprietary software with not
> only his money, but also his time.  It seems, from reading your reply, that
> he has also invested in proprietary hardware, which would cause many more
> problems.

The hardware (except for the Windows only computer) is pretty standard
POS stuff. With a bit of luck, all of his hardware cost could be
recovered when switching to Linux. Most of the software required under
Linux is free or low cost. What he stands to loose is his time and
energy investment.

- Show quoted text -

> > > Windows2000 has its problems (like crashing on the Solstice (no, I'm not
> > > suspicious about that!)), but it is not nearly as bad as you say here
> unless
> > > there is a hardware problem, or a very poorly designed system.
> > The "spending all their time watching the hourglass" is a subjective
> > argument. In fact his system is much more responsive than, say, running
> > VC++ on my work NT. But it is still much slower than the old Mac system
> > he used for POS. His expectation was that the new system would give him
> > much more capability with the same responsiveness. Not only is it less
> > responsive than the Linux based systems, it is slower than a 5 year old
> > Mac based system.

> Is the much-more-capability there?  The responsiveness is always going to be
> a function of matching software to hardware.  From the sound of it, the
> software is too bloated for the hardware which was apparently put together
> by an amateur with a certification from microsoft.  
>If he bought it as a
> system, was there a contract which stated what performance would be?  If so,
> he has a law suit available to him, and should take it, as much trouble as
> that may be.  If a system is sold for a purpose, unless it has a clause
> which says there is no warranty for that purpose (which would be a clause I
> would disagree to for such a system), then he should be able to (and should
> do so) take legal action against the vendor for damages in man-hours wasted
> getting the system ready for use with customer and inventory data.

He might have a lawsuit available, but I doubt it. When running a small
business, you can't take time off for lawsuits unless you are going to
recover big time. There is little chance of recovering more than the
cost of the equipment/software licenses. That just isn't worth the
effort. To be honest, the vendor would probably return that money if my
friend returned the equipment.

> Microsoft never gives any warranty on their software, so the thing he should
> go after is that the vendor was supposed to know the performance needs of
> the software, and should have assembled a system which would compensate for
> that and deliver the expected performance.  The old Mac system probably had
> SCSI disks (most that I have seen did), which would make its read-write
> performance similar to a current IDE drive.  If the bloat of the new
> software is not compensated by increased hardware performance, it won't do
> as well.  But, if the old software (I know, not possible) were put on the
> new machine, it would fly.

> Please post the hardware specs (as much as you can find out) of this system
> so we can see why it performs so poorly.
> My bet is that a system with a 1.5GHz processor and 128MB of ram was sold on
> the merits of the processor, and the rest of it is junk.

Less junk than the average Gateway computer. But you are correct about
the sales point. Processor speed plus typical anti-Linux FUD.

- Show quoted text -

> <snip>