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October 2010

DentaLab NewsOctober 2010
from Mainstreet Systems & Software

FAQ  DentaLab News


October Training

Most will agree...if you can travel to Pennsylvania, group training is the best way to learn. The next group training session for DentaLab for QuickBooks is scheduled for Monday, October 25.   The fee per person is $150 if you have a service agreement, $220 if you do not.   If you would like to secure a spot, please call as soon as possible. 

We will be using the new Home Page design of release 1.24 for this training and showing you our very helpful new supplement Automatic Backup and Job Scheduling.   We hope to also have QuickBooks 2011 on our training system too.

The Baby Watch

A number of you were on watch right along with us as we awaited the birth of Nathan's son this month.  He finally arrived a week late on Friday evening, October 15.  His name is Cole Patchen and he weighed in at a sturdy 9 lbs. 12 oz. and is 19.5 inches--a big boy, just like his dad! 

Also in October: Quarter 4 Release

The fourth quarter release numbered 1.24 has been posted on our website along with an outline of the October updates.  Because this included major changes to the Home Page, we had asked several labs to download in advance and give us their reviews.   We are pleased to report that every one was positive.  Jessica from Phoenician Labs told us she found it much easier to navigate and took notice of options that she did not realize she had when using the older design. 

Another major advance is the introduction of custom user-defined fields and a Customer Center.   We hope you will let us how you are using these features and if you have found ways to enhance your communication with your customers through these.  

Release 1.24 has been tested with QuickBooks 2011 and Windows 7.  If you have an up-to-date support agreement, please call when ready to download to obtain the current authorization codes.  Once you have downloaded, we would like to hear your reaction to the new Home Page.

If you do not have a support agreement but want to update your system to the latest level, we will be ready toward the end of November to let you do this for a fee, which will depend on your level of licensing and how many quarterly updates you have missed.   The open period to update this way will be available from November 22 to December 22.  In the meantime, we recommend you review the release documents in the Support/Quarterly Release section of our website to determine which of the advances will be useful to you. 

Looking Ahead to November

In mid-November, Elaine will travel to Mountain View, California, for Intuit's Cloud Jam, where she will explore with QuickBooks personnel ways that use of cloud-computing might be useful to our customers.   Some have already been developed. One is DentalRx developed here at Mainstreet for submittal of prescriptions and communications from the dental office accompanied by their ability to lookup the status of their own cases via the internet.   Another is QuickBooks Connect, developed by Intuit, in which you can access certain information from your smartphone. 

For America's Thanksgiving holiday, our support offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 25 and 26.   We will, however, check email for those in other countries.  


  Easy, versatile software for the modern dental laboratory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  We love the new convenience of printing case invoices in DQB--could you add features for batch printing and an invoice register in DQB too?

A:  Yes, these development projects are already in the works for the next release.  The invoice register will include a few features not available in the QuickBooks version such as a column for remake amounts and totalling on more levels:  by invoice, by job, by customer, by date.  For dental groups where you want to see figures for the individual doctors in the group and then a group total, we recommend setting up the group as the customer, each individual dentist as a job.

Q:  Why doesn't QuickBooks add the sales tax amounts from invoices in their sales reports?

A:  This is because sales tax is not a true sale.  It is considered a pass-through, an amount you collect on behalf of the government and turn over to the government.

Q:  We have a lot of price levels that are similar but not exactly the same.  Can we start a new price level by first copying an existing one?

A:  This capability in not currently in DQB, but we determined this could be a significant time-saver for a number of labs and will be adding this feature in the next release.

   With the same look and feel of QuickBooks.

Goofy Notions!

Some of you who have been using the DentaLab systems for a number of years may remember that in one of our newsletters a few years ago, we included this topic.   It turned out to be very popular and we received a number of responses.  Some of the goofy notions are worth repeating and we have encountered some new ones along the way.   So here are some of these:

My system is running smoothly, so there's no reason to do backups.

One of the cardinal rules of working with computers is that you backup your datafiles on a regular basis and you know how to restore if needed.   There are many reasons--from hardware malfunctions to technology changes to operational mistakes to viruses to theft to damage.  While hardware is much more reliable than it was years ago, it can still fail and many times, there is no warning, no sputtering, it just stops.   Within in our user group, we have been told about roof leaks, break-ins and theft along with the standards such as simply getting old and worn out.  

Software can fix broken hardware.

No, but sometimes it may seem that it can.  Software can examine a disk and create bypasses around bad spots.  Software can help to defragment disk files.  Software can help to get rid of malware such as viruses, spyware, trojans.  Software can detect and create workarounds to problem areas.   But no,  it does not really repair broken hardware. 

There's no need to bother checking the specifications.

Said another way, this notion is that everything goes with everything.  We wish this were true.  While there have been strides toward greater compability among various components of a computer system, there are still a lot of incompatibilies and basic requirements that must be met for software to function properly.  So yes, it is necessary to tune in to the specifications.

I like the way my software runs, I am comfortable with it--so why should I bother with new technology.

Modern computer systems include technology from many vendors and this technology keeps advancing.   It is important to keep an eye on technology and make sure the components of your system remain compatible.  This is particularly true for keeping your application software in tune with the operating systems, browsers and device drivers that are still supported by their manufacturers.  When technology becomes obsolete and no longer supported, after a time there is typically no one or very few with the know-how to support it.  You should also keep in tune with government compliance requirements and industry standards as these continue to change.

All dental lab software is pretty much the same, so I should just go with the cheapest.

Nothing could be further from the truth.   While there is a core with some commonality, software within this industry varies quite a bit.  It is important to check the history of the software development and the commitment to keep it up to date with technology and compliance, to do a trial run with the software to be sure it will meet your current and future needs and to create a dialogue with the developers who will support you.

There have been 36 dental lab software systems that have come and gone.  Some were developed for one lab with no commitment to include other methods or viewpoints, no commitment to keep up with technology and compliance, some are sold only as is, take it or leave it, some have had no programmers on staff and no willingness to address special needs, to support adequately, to fund future improvements and some have been audacious enough to offer software based on stolen code in violation of the copyright laws (beware! there is one of these currently out there).   Affordability along with high quality and commitment is a good thing--cheapest mostly not.

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

Shane Purnell
Phoenix Business Systems

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