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!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"The Library is the Head of the Community"

I've come across two online items this week that really sum up the value of public libraries in the modern world. The first, a quote from Susan Sarandon, comes by way of our friends at New York Public Library. This may be one of the best advertisements for public libraries ever uttered:

That certainly rings true for me. I have worked for EnvisionWare for six and a half years. I'm in contact with public libraries every day of the work week. And yet on most Sundays my wife and I still make time to visit our local public library in Tempe, Arizona. We browse the latest books, read magazines, check out DVDs, and drink cold beverages in the cafe. It's a magical place, and a true community hub.

The second item is is an editorial that ran in the Vancouver Sun on September 6 titled Libraries Improve Literacy of the Public.

The piece states that, "compared to people with high literacy, people with low levels of literacy are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed, more likely to earn minimal wages, more likely to require public assistance and more likely to have trouble with the law." As the author of the article points out, literacy now has a broader definition than it did in previous generations. In addition to the ability to read words on the printed page, literacy in the modern age may entail at least a rudimentary understanding of how the internet works. The article concludes with this forceful point:

"It's clear, then, that if you want to give your child — or yourself, for that matter — a leg up, then you ought to ensure they spend some time in their local library. And while getting your children to where you want is easier said than done, the National Literacy Trust's survey found that the most common reason kids don't use the library is that their families don't go."

I don't expect everyone to share my passion for libraries, but I believe that there are still plenty of people out there who don't realize what a wonderful resource the modern library can be. If they could bring themselves to darken the doors of their local branch, they might be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, July 2, 2012

ALA 2012 Roundup

Just had a wonderful few days meeting and greeting EnvisionWare friends and customers at our elegantly turned-out booth at the ALA (American Library Association) 2012 conference. This was my first trade show, and being both an EnvisionWare Implementation Consultant and a writer, I was intoxicated by all aspects of the event: all the gadgetry, all the creative genius on display from EnvisionWare and its colleagues and competitors, as well as all the fantastic media and books that will ultimately be delivered to library customers via said gadgetry. It was the whole deal. Even Stephen King was there, playing one last gig with his band The Rock Bottom Remainders (They are supposedly hanging up the guitars for good but I don't believe it; they're bound to get sick of their day jobs and come slinking back).

The main conversation piece at our booth was, not surprisingly, the 24-Hour Library--what I like to refer to as our "branch in a box." This was my first opportunity to really play with our glorious new machine, and let me tell you: it is a thing of wonder. You can check out items, return items, pay fines, even apply for a library card. You can go online, reserve an item from any branch, and pick it up at the 24-Hour Library. I think I speak for everyone present in saying that we experienced an almost child-like delight in watching the checked-out books magically slide out of the slot like cash from an ATM machine. I simply cannot wait to see these things sprout up all over the landscape like flowers.

Of course, the 24-Hour Library was not all that we had on display. Attendees also got a chance to view, and interact with, our self-service kiosks, RFID gates, Staff Transaction Station (STS)™, LibraryPDA®, EnvisionWare Modular Sorter™, and PC Reservation® and LPT:One™ Clients. For my part, I got to finally meet in person some of the people I have worked with over the phone for the past six years. ALA was, all in all, a wonderful experience, the excitement mitigating the aches and fatigue in my feet from four days of continuous standing.

To all those who stopped by: THANK YOU for making my trade show debut so much fun. I'm looking forward to the next one.

The Man in The Purple Shirt

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

EnvisionWare Unveils 24-Hour "Grand Central" Library at PLA

Greetings friends!

I have very exciting news. This afternoon at PLA, EnvisionWare will be unveiling an exciting array of new products, including LPT:One 4.8 and Staff Transaction Station (STS) 5.0 (information on which can be found here). But the crowning event will be the ribbon-cutting on the 24-Hour "Grand Central Library."
Our new library offers:
  • 24-Hour check out
  • 24-Hour check in
  • 24-Hour holds pick up
  • 24-Hour OPAC browsing
  • 24-Hour program information
  • 24-Hour patron registration
  • 24-Hour sorting
  • And did we mention that it’s open 24 hours?

Do you need a new location such as a city park, train station or mall?  How about a new branch near a school or senior center?   Would your patrons appreciate 24-hour hold pick up in your parking lot?  In today’s service-oriented society with 24-hour drive through at banks, fast food restaurants and markets, wouldn’t it be great to keep pace with library services?

On March 14th, EnvisionWare will offer a complete line of 24-Hour Libraries each designed to deliver a broad range of library services throughout the day and night.   Imagine adding a new location for commuters that provides a selection of more than 800 items, or a mid-sized system with 400 items.  Smaller locations or holds pickup facilities offer just over 200 items.

Imagine placing an order for a turnkey system with a proven track record of performance and reliability (hundreds of systems installed and running, many for more than five years.)  Think about a company that guarantees uptime and response to any problem the same day, one of the world’s leading self service companies - that same company that designed,  installed, and maintains a turnkey 98% self service solution, the largest RFID and AMH system in North America, and hundreds more circulation-based solutions around the world as well as more than 10,000 self service solutions operating in libraries around the globe.

Who better to incorporate check out, check in, AMH, OPAC, program information, remote monitoring, validated patron self-registration, and an online reserve station connected to your ILS via SIP2 -OR- NCIP, but the NISO maintenance agency for NCIP?

Imagine a robust, remarkably reliable, ready to install choice of three system designs at prices lower than the cost of a mid-sized sorter (which by the way includes the sorter for free.)

Three-year construction project or a grand opening of a new 24-Hour Library in just 60 days.  Or what about leasing one or more temporary locations during a construction project?

Welcome to the EnvisionWare 24-Hour Library.   Visit the grand opening on March 14th in Philadelphia or contact an EnvisionWare sales consultant for more information.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

EnvisionWare Headquarters: The Next Generation!

Dear Friends of EnvisionWare,

Happy New Year! We sincerely hope your 2012 has gotten off to a positive start. This is both a challenging and exciting time for public libraries, and EnvisionWare remains committed to providing self-service and efficiency solutions for the industry as we all navigate these uncharted waters together.

Your humble servant The Man in the Purple Shirt is back on the beat after a lengthy and refreshing vacation. I would use the term “tanned, rested, and ready,” but being of Irish descent the “tanned” part is difficult to achieve.

Before I headed off to spend the holidays with my family, I visited—for the first time—EnvisionWare’s expanded new Headquarters in Duluth, Georgia. Here are some snapshots:
Okay…I concede to pulling your leg a little. But it was very exciting to see the new facility, which, in its own way, was just as impressive to me as the images above. Of particular interest was the large auditorium in which our Winter Summit was held,
as well as the nascent Library of the Future, which will eventually be a fully functioning library in the heart of EnvisionWare Headquarters: a place to test and showcase all the EnvisionWare products in a real-world environment. I am very excited to see this project taking shape, and will be reporting more on it (and posting photos) as it develops. 

The new facility includes a warehouse with multiple loading docks—another step up from our, ah, “cozy” facilities of the past.

As always, the EnvisionWare trolls were on display, and as befitting the larger office, they have expanded their presence as well.

Needless to say, we are very excited about our new Headquarters. We anticipate being there for many years, and we invite you to stop in and say hello if you're ever in the area!

Friday, January 20, 2012

EnvisionWare Welcomes Craig Gorbet to Implementation Team

The Man in the Purple Shirt is thrilled to welcome his new colleague Craig to the Professional Services Department! Please see official press release below:

EnvisionWare, a leading provider of self‐service and library efficiency solutions, announces the appointment of Craig Gorbet as Implementation Consultant. In this role, Craig will be responsible for customer implementations for EnvisionWare hardware and software products primarily in the Western region of the United States. Craig will also work closely with other members of the implementation team to support and train customers companywide.

“Craig brings to us almost twenty years of experience in library implementations, customer training, support, and service,” said Cheryl Morgan, EnvisionWare’s Director of Professional Services. “His technical background and in‐depth knowledge of libraries and the library market will be a huge asset to our customers and implementation team.”

Prior to joining EnvisionWare, Craig served as National Technical Support Specialist for DecisionOne, a service provider for a library technology vendor. There he oversaw library installations for inventory control, self‐checkout, and RFID solutions, and trained customers and technicians on how to leverage, service, and troubleshoot equipment. Before that, Craig spent seventeen years with Checkpoint Systems, managing library
installations and operations of Checkpoint’s EM, RF, RFID, and Patron Services platforms. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology from DeVry Institute of Technology in California.

“EnvisionWare is a growing company with a great reputation for customer service and satisfaction,” said Gorbet. “I’m excited to join the implementation team.”

Kathryn Spier‐Miller