Abacus Productions Inc, Publishers of PackMan Tracking Software
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On what computer platform does PackMan run?
PackMan runs on all modern versions of Windows.  It is recommended that PackMan server components be installed on machines running Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or higher.  PackMan now runs on Windows Vista.
Do we need specialized computer hardware to run the PackMan system?
PackMan will run on any standard Pentium-class desktop or notebook computer.  Disk storage requirements are minimal.  Naturally, PackMan server machines that support many users will benefit from increased memory and processing power.
Do we need a dedicated server for each PackMan site?

A dedicated server is not a requirement for running PackMan, though it is desirable in offices with a large number of simultaneous users.  PackMan server software can share a machine that handles other functions such as file/print sharing or email.  Each server license also includes a client license, so it is possible for somebody to use PackMan on a machine that doubles as a server for a small office.

What kind of network setup do we need to support multiple users in our office?
PackMan runs over any local area network which supports the TCP/IP protocol.  This includes most typical Windows NT and Windows 2000 LAN installations.
What sort of network setup is required to connect our geographically separated offices?

Because PackMan runs over TCP/IP networks, you have many connectivity options ranging from dial-up modems to high-speed Internet access.  A virtual private network (VPN) is recommended for security and convenience.  VPN's have become an increasingly common choice for businesses with access to inexpensive Internet offerings such as cable modems and DSL.

How does the replication system work?

One machine in the PackMan system is designated as the "replication server" and is always available to exchange data with people on the road who connect their notebook computers to the network on an as-needed basis.  If PackMan is used in more than one office, the local server in each office connects periodically to the replication server so that all users in every office have access to current data.  Every notebook computer and every server holds a full set of data for total redundancy.

What happens if there's a problem with the replication server?
If the replication server is down for a short time due to, for instance, a power outage, PackMan remains available to every LAN user in each office having a standalone local server.  Notebook computers continue to operate normally and can replicate when the server becomes available again.  In the event the problem persists for an extended period, the server at any other site can take on the "replication server" role.

Why can't we just connect all the machines in our various offices directly to a central server across the VPN?

Technically, you can do this rather than using the replication system.  However, even today's relatively high-speed WAN connections will probably not provide the crisp performance that users on a local area network experience.  Furthermore, if the central server goes down, or the network connection is interrupted, all users will be negatively impacted.  Reliability is affected because you sacrifice the benefits of redundancy which are inherent in the replication approach.
Do we need to purchase a client license for every person who uses PackMan?
No, PackMan is licensed on a per-machine basis.  A single machine running PackMan on a warehouse floor might be used by a dozen people, but that only requires one client license.  By the same token, an executive or designer who travels with a notebook computer will need one client license.

How do we get the data from our old system into PackMan?

Abacus Productions will work with you to ease the transition to PackMan from whatever system you're using now.  We can migrate data from Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, text format, most commercially available database back-ends, and even proprietary data storage formats.  We've worked for years with IT staffs from major U.S. corporations and have handled many data conversion projects.

Who provides training and support for PackMan?

We want PackMan to quickly become an integral part of your business so on-site installation, training and consulting are included in the purchase price (less travel expenses).  A year's worth of follow-up phone support is also included, and support is renewable through an annual maintenance agreement or as needed.

What is your policy on upgrading the PackMan software?

As features and enhancements are added to PackMan, we release new versions in the form of software upgrades.  The PackMan purchase price includes one year of software upgrades, and upgrades are included in the annual maintenance agreement.  We continually strive to improve the PackMan product based on user feedback and new technologies, and want to make it as easy as possible for you to benefit from any improvements.


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