The DentaLab System... serving dental laboratories since 1979
 
 
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December 2009

DentaLab NewsDecember 2009
from Mainstreet Systems & Software

FAQ  DentaLab News

 

Wrapping Up Another Year

2009 will likely be remembered as a turning-point year as we all slowly recover from a global recession.   In the dental lab world, it may also come to be the year in which concerns for patient safety reached an all-time high, introducing greater measures for disclosure and regulation. 

These changes called upon the dynamic nature of software to respond to the needs of the industry.   So that everyone could afford to be in compliance to track standard procedures, quality control, materials disclosure and technician assignments, our Starter version was offered. In Texas, invoices must now include a memo to indicate if the work was performed in whole within the state, in whole or in part in another domestic laboratory or in an offshore laboratory.  The ability to easily choose an appropriate memo has now been accomplished by extending our lab notes feature to invoice memos. The word is that other jurisdictions plan to follow this trend by introducing new regulations.

As it always has, December is proving to be a very busy month for us with new installations, updates, conversions and custom work.   We will, however, take a break to celebrate the holidays on these days:   December 25, and January 1.   We will check email and voicemail, but hope that you will be taking a break too.  

The predictions are for a snowy, icey winter here in Pennsylvania, which could result in a few days when the roads are so unsafe that we will not be allowed to travel to the office.   If this happens, we continue to work from our home computers and telephones.   If you send an email or leave a voicemail, be sure to leave your full name, lab name, your telephone number and a detailed message.

 

 

    Easy, versatile software for the modern dental laboratory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you convert the information from our prior system?

A:  In most instances, we can if the file formats used one of the commericially available systems.   The most frequently requested sets of information include customers, items (products/services/prices), doctor preferences, and accounts receivable balances.   If you have a good data backup that can be sent via CD, the internet, or a removable disk drive, we can examine its contents to tell you what is possible.   

Q: What are some of the custom projects you do for dental laboratories?

A:  When we receive special requests from labs, we first review as to whether the change would be needed by many other labs or whether it is truly a custom change for one lab.   If needed by many, we discuss whether to make it part of our standard release.  The most frequent special request is for a custom work ticket. Second in frequency are custom reports with different formats, sorts, exclusions.  We have also created custom versions to accommodate special scheduling needs such as work shifts shorter than a day and multiple shifts within a day.   We have performed custom setups for price level editing, special conversions and marketing needs.

Everyone on our staff is an experienced programmer and software designer.   While most others offering dental lab software no longer have programmers on staff, we feel it is essential to keep up with technological changes and new dental laboratory requirements and to provide customization whenever needed.

Q: We have let our system fall behind....how do we catch up?

A:  Those who have elected to have a service agreement should be at DQB release 1.20.   You can go to the top task bar, select Help and About to see which version you have installed.   Updating can be easily accomplished by going to our website www.mainstreet-systems.com, the Support and Releases.   First review the release documents to see what has changed.  Next review the download guide.  Then when ready, call for the authorization codes.

 

Those who are not covered by a service agreement can get updated.  You will need to pay an update fee, which will depend on how many modules you have licensed and how many release versions you have missed.  This offer will be open from now through January 15, 2010.   If you have changed your mind and now wish to be covered by a service agreement, you can do this at any time.  Call your DentaLab Support Team at 215-256-4535 to discuss what will be needed to catch up.

 

      With the same look and feel of QuickBooks.

Device Drivers

For every hardware device involved in your computer system--such as printers, video cards, scanners, disk drives, CD/DVD drives--there is a software module that serves as a go-between the device and the operating system as well as any software applications that call upon the device.  Each version of a device requires its own specific driver with specialized commands so that a standard software command such as print or scan can be translated into controls that the device needs to perform.  

We find in our support that new devices along with new operating systems can generate errors.   Many times, users do not understand who is at fault when this happens and how it can be corrected.   Some have the mistaken notion that companies such as ours or Microsoft need to test their software with every single device on the market.  This is not true.   What happens is that the companies that develop and market operating systems, such as Microsoft does for Windows, publish technical specifications for their framework.  The hardware vendors have the job of making sure their device drivers comply with this framework. 

Just this past year, our users reported three major snafus.  Two came from HP with their multi-function devices that combine printing, scanning and faxing.  Another was with Dell and its video cards.   What happens if these are not caught before the hardware and drivers reach users is that errors are reported, sometimes directly to the hardware manufacturers, sometimes through companies such as ours and Microsoft.   Typically, these are fixed and either patches or new drivers are released and become available through internet sites or,  when authorized, through automatic downloads.  

 

Other Vendors

The article above brings us to another topic...and that is other vendors.  When the DentaLab systems were first developed, there was only one other vendor involved and that was IBM Corporation.   In this era, we encountered virtually no conflicts between our software, the hardware devices and the operating system.

As personal computers became prevalent, more and more vendors became involved in everyone's computer system.   This has resulted in more and more conflicts that need resolution.   When it comes to our choosing other vendors that will be involved in our software offerings, we look for stability, reliability, affordability and a high level of responsiveness so that our users will have very few problems.  Most of the time, our choices have been good ones.   In a few instances, however, the vendors we chose changed directions.  Sometimes this has been to cater to only very large businesses with more money to spend.  Sometimes a change in their products has resulted in far less reliability than their earlier versions.   If we detect that there is little interest or responsiveness to resolve issues, then we have to bite the bullet and change vendors.  

While we cannot guarantee the products and services provided by other vendors, we do all we can to help resolve any issues that may arise.  Sometimes, we do the technical research and reporting to provide these to the other vendor.   In some instances, we can create a temporary work-around to keep everything running while the other vendor develops their fix.  


Spreading the News

This newsletter was created and distributed with our newest software called Spreading the News.  Included are customer/contact lists, assignment to one or multiple email lists, article templates, easy creation of newsletters and other promotional pieces, sending by selected list, selected individual or specific email address, activity reports with counts.  For those who would like to give it a try, there is a free beta version available from our website: www.mainstreet-systems.com.  Give us a call or send an email if you would like some guidance

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Customization is available for all products.

Contact us at 1-800-257-4535 or www.mainstreet-systems.com.

"Elaine wrote the book on Dental Lab Software and her company Mainstreet Systems and Software continually raises the bar."

Shane Purnell
Phoenix Business Systems
MO


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