Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from EnvisionWare

The Man in the Turkey Shirt!

Dear friends,

On the eve of this holiday weekend, we at EnvisionWare would like to stop for a moment and reflect on all of the things for which we are thankful. On a professional level we are grateful for the warm reception you have given our new products this year; I'm thinking in particular of the Library Document Station (LDS) and the 24-Hour Library. To see customers' faces light up when we demonstrate or install these products really gives those of us "in the trenches" a big boost. It's a great feeling to know that we're making a contribution to the betterment of libraries.

On a personal level, we at EnvisionWare are thankful for some additions to our growing family. By my count, five babies have been born to EnvisionWare employees this year, all daughters (that includes The Baby in the Purple Shirt, born Sep. 16). Four of these employees are first-time parents and will no doubt be going into this holiday season with even greater feelings of joy, wonder, and hope than usual.

Finally, we are grateful for our ongoing relationships with you--our customers. We exist because of you, and we work for you.

Thank you all!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

24 Hour Library: Making History

As most readers of this blog are probably aware, we have had a momentous couple of months here at EnvisionWare, Inc. On October 29, the first self-service 24 Hour Library in the United States was unveiled at the Pioneer Library System in Norman, Oklahoma. For all of us at the company, this event represented the culmination of years of intensive work and preparation, and the capstone of our "Solution Revolution" year. I can still recall my first glimpse of the 24 Hour Library prototype in the EnvisionWare warehouse a couple of years ago. Although it sat inert and without power, it practically hummed with possibility. It clearly had the potential to be a game-changing innovation.

Not too long afterward, I got to know the inner workings of the Library while supporting the EnvisionWare booth at the American Library Association conferences. I got to see firsthand all the moving parts--the hardware and software components coalescing in elegant symbiosis.
The Man in the Purple Shirt (who is not actually wearing a purple shirt in this photo) inside a 24 Hour Library.

We continued refining the product, and it was thrilling to watch each new iteration take shape. Now, in our collaboration with Pioneer, all that hard work has come to fruition. Construction of a second Pioneer 24 Hour Library is now underway, and deployment at a number of other US libraries is soon to follow.

This is what I love about working for EnvisionWare: I get to see dreams--which sometimes seem at first to be pure flights of fancy--manifest themselves in physical form. And I get to see the pleasure and satisfaction these realized dreams bring to our customers. Viva la revoluciĆ³n.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Return of the Man in the Purple Shirt

Greetings, friends! It has been a long time since I addressed you from these pages. You are probably aware that the EnvisionWare Solution Revolution continues to sweep the land. Perhaps you have seen the fruits of our labor firsthand at ALA or at one of the many other library conferences where we've showcased recently. Perhaps you've even implemented one of our new products at your library. In any case, there are plenty of exciting new developments in the land of EnvisionWare, and I intend to explore those in greater detail over the next few months.

Meanwhile, the Man in the Purple Shirt and his wife are expecting their first child. While this is obviously THE most exciting development to emerge from EnvisionWare this year, I must report that we will not be offering the Baby in the Purple Shirt in the 2013 product line. Sorry about that. But don't be surprised if you see the latest addition to the EnvisionWare family peeking out from a photo or two in this blog come September.
(Full disclosure: there are actually several babies due at EnvisionWare this year, all equally wonderful. I just happen to have a blog so of course I had to brag on mine :) )

In other news: a couple months ago I finally realized a lifelong dream by traveling to Italy, Turkey, Croatia, and Greece. One particular site I visited--The Library of Celsus in the ancient city of Ephesus (located in modern Turkey)--may be of interest to readers of this blog. This formidable structure, erected in 120 AD in honor of the Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, once boasted over 12,000 scrolls in its collection. Unfortunately, the contents of the building were destroyed by a fire in 262 AD, but the facade was lovingly restored in the 1960s and 70s. This library appears to have been the cultural center of the city, as you can see from the photo below. The Romans had their priorities in order!

All roads in Ephesus lead to the library
I can only wonder if these ancient Romans also had their own version of EnvisionWare. What sort of Scroll Management® hardware did they utilize in the Library of Celsus? Were those Ionic columns actually proto-RFID technology? Sadly, these mysteries remain buried in the sands of time.

What does not remain buried is the cat family that currently occupies the library. Since there was no quaint bookstore nearby, these fluffy pals have taken up residence in the next best thing!

Monday, February 18, 2013

What I Saw at the Solution Revolution

Greetings, friends!

After a long hiatus the Man in the Purple Shirt is back. I've been very busy as of late, serving as a foot soldier in the Solution Revolution, and now bring you visual documentation of my adventures.

The item above--a new product called the Library Document Station--is the first do-it-all document solution for libraries. Utilizing this device, customers can scan books and documents and send the resulting files to email, iPhone, Tablet, Android, Google Drive, Fax and Print. In a nutshell, the Library Document Station (LDS) effectively renders traditional photocopiers obsolete.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this product made quite the splash when unveiled at the recent ALA Midwinter conference in Seattle. In fact, Carson City Library purchased one on opening night. Quoth the library's forward-looking director Sara Jones, "I want to be the first."

Sara Jones of Carson City Library: proud new owner of a Library Document Station.

Also on display at ALA was our impressive new visualization suite. In the words of CEO Mike Monk, this reporting solution is "so powerful it bests every BI tool on the market yet so simple that anyone can learn to use it in a matter of minutes. See RFID activities and ROI, evaluate your true cost management of printing, copying, scanning, faxing and other related services.  Your entire EnvisionWare enterprise will suddenly be presented in an exciting new way that allows you to map the patron experience, your service levels, cost/benefit of each service and much more."

Flat screen on right offers sneak peek of new visualization suite.

As always, the formidable 24-Hour Library, also pictured above, continued to draw the attention of many passers-by due to both its striking appearance and its extraordinary versatility. The Man in the Purple Shirt even got the opportunity to climb inside to help with the set-up.

Now, folks, we do not throw around phrases like "Solution Revolution" lightly. Alongside the brand new products detailed above, we showcased major new versions of our LPT:One, Staff Transaction Station, and eCommerce software. Keep watching this space for further details concerning these upcoming releases.

Finally, the Man in the Purple Shirt got to spend some quality time in Seattle--a home away from home for this peripatetic spirit. In an impulsive moment two colleagues and I came dangerously close to attending a Kenny G concert at a club called Jazz Alley, but we ultimately balked at the price. Remember that movie Sliding Doors? Who knows what direction our lives would have taken if we'd actually gotten in? Would this blog have traded in its characteristic grit and edginess for a smooth, sultry flow? We can only imagine.

Friday, November 2, 2012

EnvisionWare Halloween Roundup

Something really spooky went down at EnvisionWare Headquarters this week. Now, to paraphrase Othello, we bring you the "ocular proof."

Are these EnvisionWare employees or purple-partial zombies? No one knows for sure, and that guy with the machete ain't telling. 

The Soul Troll was the proud winner of the annual "Pumpkin Pimping/Gourd Gussying" contest.

Meanwhile, Reginald Gourdsworth III, Esq. demanded a recount.

Creepy, yes, but not nearly so terrifying as...
...national treasure Honey Boo Boo Child

Finally, our costume contest winner: Rosie the Riveter!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Halloween Serving of Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (Photo: AP)
Halloween is nearly upon us. The folks at the EnvisionWare office are gearing up for the annual costume contest, and everyone is wondering what CEO Mike Monk will be this year. A couple years ago he was--wait for it--a monk. I personally am hoping he will finally pay homage to his doppelganger Hugh Hefner and don the velvet bathrobe. Among the employees, there is certain to be at least one wicked witch with broomstick accessory. And...dare I hope for a Justin Bieber?

Since I work out of the Arizona office, I will be emailing in a photo of an aquatic-themed ensemble that will hopefully slay the competition.

But under the surface this Halloween I will be thinking a lot about Ray Bradbury. The giant of science fiction, horror, and fantasy who so inspired me as a young boy passed away just a few months ago. Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Dandelion Wine are but three of his many classic books. Any other writer would have been happy to have written just one of those, but Bradbury, during his most fertile period (approx. 1942-1970), proved capable of spinning just about every random idea that occurred to him into literary gold.

He was a great friend of libraries too. In lieu of a college degree he boasted of having “graduated from the Los Angeles Public Library.” During an EnvisionWare trip to California a few years ago I learned that I had missed my hero by just a few days; the library staff had managed to coax him out of semi-retirement by sending him a fax (Ray didn't use a computer) stating that any reading/book signing he did would be a very effective fundraiser for the library. Apparently that's all he needed to hear: he promptly showed up to host an event.

In honor of this great man, and in the spirit of the time of year he liked best, here is a suitably unnerving Bradbury short story recently reprinted by Esquire. Enjoy!

Ray Bradbury: Last Night of the World

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New eCommerce and PC Reservation Versions Now Available

It has been an exiting few weeks for us here at EnvisionWare. We have recently rolled out two major releases: PC Reservation® 4.2/3.5.11 and EnvisionWare eCommerce Services™ 3.1.

For a full account of all of the new enhancements, I would recommend viewing the release notes for both products in the EnvisionWare Customer Center. Some highlights, however, are as follows:

  • PC Reservation has been tested and verified for Windows 7 and Server 2008, both 64 and 32 bit.
  • The PC Reservation configuration settings are now stored in editable files in the Program Files folder rather than in the registry.
  • eCommerce has been enhanced to support the PAYware Connect Web-based hosted payment server for credit card transactions paid via the eCommerce Web Module. The benefit of this feature includes the provision of increased options to our users when performing web-based payment transactions.
In my work with Professional Services, I have already upgraded earlier versions of these products to these new versions, and can report that the upgrade process is quick and seamless. In the case of PC Reservation, the installer automatically pulls the older registry settings and uses these to populate the new files. The original registry settings are left in place as a backup but are no longer used by the Management Console.

I strongly believe that our customers will be quite pleased with the expanded functionality and robust performance of these new versions!