BLOGS AND ARTICLES FROM THE POS SOLUTIONS TEAM

Point of Sale Software

Now you can have more information on one larger label.

POS SOFTWARE

Consumers look at many factors when buying food, including where a product produced and what is inside of it. If you need to put on your label, CoOL (Country of Origin Label) , Ingredients and Nutrition Table

 

Check out this label, which I have marked with blue and green arrows to highlight this information.

 

Here is a guide for what might need to be included.

This label itself is 58(W) x 110(H).

It comes in a box of 30 rolls with 250 labels per roll. 

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Sometime for you to think about?

POS SOFTWARE

I'm afraid I have to disagree with this video.

This shock of COVID-19 is leading to structural changes in the economy, but his arguments are well expressed. So although it is off-topic, this is something for you to think.

We all know people that are doing it tough. Government handouts are no substitute for a job. In Australia, 37,000 deaths in the US would be about 2,800 people.

Anyway look at the video and make your mind up and please let me know what you think.

Why 40,000 People Die for Every 1% Increase in Unemployment - The Big Short

 

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Why do Click and Collect if you have not done it yet

POS SOFTWARE

I have spoken about click and collect a few times here over the past years. 

If you have not already done so, this is why you should look at Click and Collect!

Near me is a small strip shopping centre. I walked down the shopping centre what I discovered that every single shop in my centre had a sign in their window advertising their click and collect service. Looking at the cars coming and going, I could see it was in use. Some of the shops, its the only business they can have. 

Now, this is not a notable centre. Although new it is ordinary with a range of shops having small to large retailers. Clients are not computer savage or sophisticated. 

Let me start by saying that our POS system makes it very easy for you to set up and do click and collect, more about that later. 

Here are some reasons why you should consider doing this if you have not already done so.

-Many people now do not want to come to your shop because of COVID-19. To service these people as a retailer, you now have to look at alternatives or lose these people.

- Here is a costing from the USA costing out the alternatives by options. If you go through the list, you can see significant operational costs savings compared to delivery by click and collect. 

 

-For many small retailers, delivery in Australia is not worth it. You need as a rule orders of about $100, to make it worthwhile delivering. 

-Click and collect is much faster. Your customers can have their goods often in minutes. 

-In the click and collect model, the customers come to the shop to collect their purchases. Many, studies state that between 49% to 61%, make new unplanned purchases. These are often impulsive or forgotten items. You are not going to get much of this business from a delivery model.

-People are comfortable buying on click and collect, as they know you. They know if anything goes wrong with their purchase, they can go to your shop immediately. 

My advice is to try click and collect and see what happens. You can make adjustments as you go on, if it does not work, you can stop it.

If so, you want to do it. 

You need to make a clear strategy for your program! Go out of your shop, see what others are doing, check out the opposition and make a plan. 

- Do you want to introduce a fee? Can you?

-What packaging are you going to use?

-Where is going to be your collection point?

- How will the customer warn you that they are here?

 etc. 

Now once you are on your trial. 

Advertise it boldly in your window! There is a question often raised did "A tree did not fall if no-one heard it!", if you do not advertise "Click and Collect" you do not have it.

This is how I recommend doing it in our software. I would suggest using business invoicing with an A4 receipt in the cash register. It is easy to do. 

Look for the item, to click and collected. 
Click on the "Receipts" button. 
Find the receipt you would like to print.
Then select the "A4 Print" button as here.
 

Out will come an A4 receipt:

As always, please let me know your thoughts and how it goes. 

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From now on is the future in Virtual Trade Shows?

POS SOFTWARE

We are all used to scenes like this, at the trade shows!

dog lovers show Melbourne

 

Years ago, people meet at trade shows as they went from stand to stand. They introduced themselves and exchanged information about current products. They saw new trends, learnt about coming innovations. They were fun for both the public and the trade people to go too. 

The most critical aspects for a show was the location and the timing. The problem was that it often costs a ton on money to go. I had a client that wanted to go to the Chinese Gift show. He was adding up the costs of airfares, food, transport and lodging. His biggest problem was the timing of the show, which was not convenient for him. For the exhibitor, there was all this plus a lot more costs. 

Well even before this pandemic hit, many of these shows were going. This was even before COVID-19 hit. I blame much of this on the internet. If I want to research an industry, I go to google. Why do I have to go to a trade show? Now in business, if it does not pay, people stop coming. This is what has been happening for years now. Attendance in most trade shows has been dropping. 

So trade show organisers started experimenting with virtual shows. Results were very dubious. Part of the reason has been the organisers, have been asking for too much money from the exhibitors. Plus most exhibitors felt that Virtual Trade Shows were no substitute for the real thing. 

Now there is another problem, COVID-19. This is why we recently got notified of another trade show cancellation, the Reed Gift Fair in Melbourne. It is hardly the only one; exhibitions all over Australia are cancelled. 

So now people have to assess whether to make a virtual show or have no show. 

It has a lot of benefits. 

1. Reduced costs as a virtual show is much cheaper to hold. 

2. Much more accessible for people to attend. 

3, They can last longer, a suitable venue can only be booked for a short time, virtual shows can last as long as you want. 

I saw a recent report, that stated "by 2025 more than 65% of traditional trade shows would be virtual and by 2030 this number will have jumped to 85%. " 

So where are we going with this? Well, things are not going to back to normal. Face it, why would you want it to go back? I attended a virtual show recently on a new computer range with AI sensing. These computers promise to be much faster than current computers. I would never have attended as it was *held* in India, but with an internet connection, I could go. I asked questions and saw these computers in operations. I was sold and we intend to be selling them soon. 

This is the future of trade shows, virtual! 

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In these troubled times, when everyone is getting lost what to do.

POS SOFTWARE

In these troubled times, when everyone is getting lost on what to do. We are seeing the entire country is coming come under quarantine orders. Consumers are shunning human contact. Retailers are scrambling to adapt. What is reassuring is the work done by the various retail associations to me notably VANA, Pet Industry Association, VECCI and the Pharmacy Guild

I am in communication with them often. I know that they are in contact consistently with major decision-makers. I would say the advice and help that they are giving me and their members have been first class.

Who knows what to do now?

To find out I am reading all the information they are sending. Sometimes this helps me to know what to do. If I do not know, I am grateful that I can ring them up to get an explanation so explain to me the situation. What I do appreciate is if they do not know, I am getting the truth that they do not know. I also appreciate that they are explaining to me fully the situation.

I confess without these peoples help now. I would be lost.

I am happy, and almost all my clients would agree with me that when they need their local community, is working for them.

Yet there is a lot more work as it is clear that this situation will last months. The Spanish flu lasted from February 1918 to April 1920.

Where I disagree with many people, is I doubt after we are going back to what was. This virus will change the reality for us all. There is no going back. People are getting used to a new type of shopping. Shops are reporting to me that they are seeing customers that they have never seen before. Many of the people that you used to deal with are not coming back. Their customer base and so their needs have changed.

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Melbourne lockdown curfew hours what people are doing

POS SOFTWARE

I got asked what time should people be closing the shop, as I was not too sure, I decided to see what others are doing last night. 

After looking at a few shops, I decided that this sign looked fair and reasonable. Also, they are a big company, so I am sure they have checked it out. 

So this would be our recommendation.

  


The shop starts its closing down procedures at 7:30 PM, so the public has a 15-minute window to finish off their purchases as the tills get shut down at 7:45 PM. 

And remember, at 8:00 PM curfew starts.

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Our Melbourne Office now closing for six (6) weeks

POS SOFTWARE

Our Melbourne office will close tonight 
Our Interstate offices will remain open

Under Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ Restrictions, workplaces in our area we are required to close our Melbourne Office so from 11.59pm on Wednesday 5 August 2020 for six (6) weeks. Actually this is something we expected, so we were already prepared. Almost all our work now has already been moved to remote, plus with our offices interstate open we do not see this restriction as having an impact on our operations in supporting you.

- Today we have the technology infrastructure in place that we need to run our business remotely.

- Our people are as accessible as if they are in the office.  

- We are available to meet you at any time via videoconferencing technology.

So we will continue to be working with you to navigate your business through this crisis and continue to support you in this everchanging world.

We are all in this together.

 

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How to find 5 km radius from your shop with these interactive sites

POS SOFTWARE

Well, there are many changes to everyone, there are many restrictions on us because of COVID-19.

In Victoria, the big one is that people can only shop 5 km from home. What can they do, nothing but stay strong? There are plenty with worse problems now then this restriction.

 

 

If you want to know your feeder area for the shop now in Victoria, there are many sites out there that can help you.

I went through them, and these interactive maps can show a five-kilometre radius around your shop. I picked them as they appear to be the easiest and best ones to use. Have a shot and see which one works best for you.

https://www.okimap.com/1kmfromhome/

https://2kmfromhome.com/5km

The Age newspaper

Put in your address into the search bar, click 5 km, and a circle will appear showing your radius. The people in this area can visit your shop for shopping once a day.

If you find some better ones, let me know.

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Tips on how to deal with customers with disabilities

POS SOFTWARE

Here are some tips on how to deal with customers with disabilities

There are a lot of people with disabilities. For example, mental health condition, mobility impairment, they are very short, have dementia, etc. 

If you think of it, we are talking a sizable percentage of the community.

It can be hard to deal with such people in retail. 


I know. I remember while working in a shop having to deal with a few deaf people that came in. I did not have a clue on how to handle the situation. When they asked questions, they were hard to understand. When I tried to give them answers, it was very hard. I did my very best, but they were not pleased, I could see with my handling of the situation. 

I thought of this when I came across this pamphlet by the British Association of Convenience Stores. It gave me some good ideas. Just the wording how to describe such people was interesting. 

You may find it useful too, you will find it here let me know what you think?

 

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Is it worth it to overclocking your computers?

POS SOFTWARE

 

Overclocking is about increasing the speed of your computer. 

What most overclocking get on a modern computer, get I would say at best 5% to 10% better. Often I have seen figures of 1% making it not worth doing. But anyway this is how it works. Computer manufacturer designs a computer with a specification. They then collect the components from many people and puts them together to make a computer. 

Today what happens is that components vary, the manufacturer specifications are the minimum. So, for example, I have parts in storage that can do 100, you want 90, well if I do not have 90, so I may give you some 100s. Some many of these components are better then what was asked by the manufacturer. This happens all the time. We live in a world where we see components vary in the computers in the same production run. 

Also, reputable manufacturer tends to underestimate many of their specifications, to cover themselves. Plus engineers tend to build to the lowest specifications. 

Another point is that a computer designed as an all-rounder, to do a whole lot of tasks. Yet your computer only does a few jobs so may get your computer to run faster by turning off some functions.

So what overclocking does is try to run the computer faster then the processor is designed to do.

Now there was a time when you needed a lot of specialised knowledge to do this but any more. Overclocking software exists that does most of the tasks now. Check your system board and your supplier will have a piece of software that can do it for you. 

But there is always at least one but....

Even if overclocking doesn't do any harm, it could still void your warranty. If you are thinking of overclocking a computer under warranty, you better check with your supplier first.

If you are doing a lot of data processing, most of the speed lost is in the hard drive and its severe bottleneck. So speeding up the processor often does little. 

What you are doing is running your computer faster. This will reduce the life expectancy of your computer. This will also increase your computer's power consumption, which means more heat. So I do suggest if you overclock that you buy a better cooling unit for your computer. 

Why do it, well overclocking your processor speeds up your computer. That's a pretty good reason.

You may as such keep a computer going for another year or so, and if you do it, you will find that its a lot of fun. 

Make sure you do not kill your computer, so start with a "light" overclock. Say about 5%, try it out and see if it works for you. Then when you get the hang of it, go a bit higher but stop at 10% unless you know your stuff.

I overclocked my laptop. It works fine now, but I cannot run chrome on it for long. So I run another browser opera because otherwise, the laptop gets too hot with extended use. As I said, there is often a price to pay.

 

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Checkout these photos of the new hard drives

POS SOFTWARE

In shops, you often need to put computers into small places. If you think about it, a computer often in a shop is sitting on the most valuable space. Its the prime selling area. So it is great that we can get them smaller. I am sure many of you will be shocked how small we can build computers. Yes, we build computers, as most point of sale systems do need unique computer configurations.

Check out these hard drives.

 

This one is a 256GB SSD.

This is changing as we are getting more orders for a terabyte hard drive as the difference in price is so small now that most people prefer the larger size.

The advantages

-They are faster, much faster. When I switch a computer on with these hard drives, I am stunned how fast they startup now. Now our computer processor and our software speeds have increased, so it is the hard drive that is slowing down your system! That is wasting your time, your customers and your staffs time. These drives can help.

-They use less electricity. The hard drive does consume a large amount of the power a computer uses. Less electricity saves money.

-As such, they make for a quieter computer. The electricity used in a computer becomes heat and as its less electricity.

- As it uses less heat,  the computer fan does not need to run as much. What often bugs me if I am on a computer for a long time is the sound of its fan. Besides being annoying, I am sure it is having a long term effect on my ears.

- They do not have any moving parts. There are lots of small, moving parts inside your hard drive e.g. magnetic heads, spindles, and spinning platters. The failure of any one of these parts is the leading cause of hard drive failures and so computer failures. This will save on maintenance.

As such for our users, we recommend them switching over to these drives when they do upgrades.

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As Face Mask Sales Skyrocket, what are you doing?

POS SOFTWARE

I got quite a few enquiries about my post on marketing face masks, so after talking to a few people here are my thoughts.

The spread of coronavirus is driving the demand for face masks. 

"The global face mask market size was valued at $1,523.0 million in 2019, and is estimated to reach $ 2,455.4 million by 2027 with a compound annual growth rate of 4.4% from 2021 to 2027."

The industry is looking at an annual growth rate for disposable face masks of 53% for the next few years. 

This is in a high growth rate industry with high margins! So as well as traditional brands like 3M, who are going flat out, many others are entering this space. If them, why not you too?

It sells in many shops.

 

Interested, then you should, of course, do some research first. 

Check out what is for sale in your local area, talk with your staff, customers, etc. Try to figure out your niche. Actually, why not try a few niche markets and see how they work out for you. the cost of entry is minimal. $30 can buy you 100 disposable masks, worst case your family can use them. 

Of course, common sense here is required when entering the market of where to buy and how to handle it. Worst case though if you get some stock that you cannot return, and have doubts. All you need to do is use a texture to cross out the claim, e.g. as above N95 and sell it as a face mask. If you are paying about a $1 for a disposable each and selling at $2.50, you have room to discount. 

Note although there is no legal rule for sales of face masks to the public now yet, you cannot make false claims. For example, you should not sell an N50 mask as an N95. I would advise you NOT to make any medical or health claims about your product even if you believe they are correct. However, if your face mask is washable, adjustable, or reversible, then YES talk about this.

As far as I know, there is only one Australia supplier of P2 (P2 is the Australian standard which is like N95 US standard) face masks here. It is a good place to start your search. 

If you concerned about whether you are dealing in fake face masks, here are some information on how to check spotting a fake face mask and Counterfeit face masks

As far as monitoring how sales are going in your shop, it is easy, make a new family, then every so often

Go to Register reports

Register reports POINT OF SALE

Select the "Top N Stock Sales for a Given Period"

Top Stock Items Point of sale

Put in the approriate options for this family and you get a report with the sales in order of what is selling. The rule is now, to concentrate on the top sellers.

 

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How to reduce giving accidental sale discounts!

POS SOFTWARE

Sometimes we see stock sales, still going on long after they are over. This, of course, costs the shop money.  Administrative errors are one of the major causes of stock loss.

If you see this as a problem in your shop, here is a quick way to check.

Go to register reports> stock

There you will find a report "Stock on Sale Between a Given Period"

Now we will keep it quick and straightforward here.

Now what I selected here this month and ticked "Show all within period"

As you can see, some of the sales dates that are active are quite old. Now you go over and check it.

This is a very useful report. So it will be worth going through some of the more detailed options.

 

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You can see retailers are selling many face masks

POS SOFTWARE

In Victoria, face mask sales were high already, but now they have exploded. I have a client that sold out in hours his whole stock on the day it was annouced. Talking to a few of my clients interstate, they are selling well there too. 

So it is not surprising that a salesman contacts me, as wants me to use my users for marketing his company range of face masks. When I asked at a price, it became clear that the cost of his masks was higher than an online retailer. So I told him, no and to come back with a real price.

But I did some research. Here is some information that may be of interest to you if you are thinking of marketing face masks in your shops. 

There are two markets. The first is for people who want one urgently and those that want it in bulk. I am sure there would be good money in buying a packet say of 50 surgical masks, which on a quick look, I saw for under $30 on eBay with delivery and selling them individually at $2.50. Of course, do some research to see what the prices are in your area first if this interests you.

If you are looking to buy them to resell them here are some points. 

The gold standard is N95, in Australia but the problem is that it is somehow this standard is legally tied down by 3M. From what I can see, most Chinese and Australian companies use KN95, which is very similar.

N95 is the American accreditation 

KN95 is the open accreditation 

P2 is the Australian accreditation 

KMOEL is the Korean accreditation 

FFP2 is the European accreditation 

DS is the Japanese accreditation 

From what I can see, all accreditations are only slightly different, check them out here.

Of course, many people do not want an N95. Besides price and availability, many find it hard to breathe through an N95.  

And we do have a range of standards. In practice, according to studies, I saw even the lower grade are almost as good for the public. The problem here is that the Australian community looks at N95, so I would not rush to stock even a slightly inferior standard like the KN90.

Note some just use a scarf, in Victoria which is useful as you can avoid getting a $200 fine here. 

If you are interested in some history of the modern face mask, is considered to being a Chinese invention invented during the Manchurian plague of 1910. 

They were in many places mandatory during the Spanish flu too

and were as controversial then as now. 

I hope this helps and if you have any comments let me know.

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Its now July and you need a June 30 report?

POS SOFTWARE

Our software will do it for you. You do *NOT* need to go to another computer and load a select backup to get the report or figures you need.

- You do not need a unique backup for a date.

You can find the figure you need for any date with your current information.

Go to the report you want. Now in the options on the top, you will see an *AS AT DATE* (green arrow below). Enter the required date. Now our software will calculate the information you need for that date.

 

I often in the middle of the month find it useful to select the date yesterday. Once I get the figure, put in a date exactly a month earlier and see how it changed over the past month. This gives me instantly a figure.

 

 

 

 

 

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How to quickly check the GST rates you have!

POS SOFTWARE

Today with all these automatic imports and transfers, it is likely that errors are in your GST rates in your stock. Sometimes these are due to rounding errors which can cause some weird figures. Often they are attributable to mistakes made by you or your suppliers. Sometimes it is due to some GST ruling which may or may not apply to you. In any case, you need to examine these rates. 

Here is a quick way of doing it, that will take you seconds to do.

It requires either excel or you having OpenOffice, which is free and available here

If you have one of these installed, go to:- Cash register> Register reports > Stock > Details Listing (Excel) Although it is faster to check if you do all departments at once many prefer to do it by one department at a time. Now you will get this report. 


Now where the red arrow is, click on "Sort & Filter". Now click where the blue arrow is for the "Tax rate" and click all the rates that are not 0% or 10%. Now review these products. For many of you, it pays to do it again only for 0% tax items and check them too. Omit, I find this particularly useful is in tracking down GST errors.

Try and let me know if you have problems. 


 

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Integrated weight scales will save you time and money. 

POS SOFTWARE

Integrated weight scales do save many businesses time and money! 

As the scale and our POS software communicate, it is much faster. You also avoid many mistakes caused by the double-entry of figures. 

We do have a terrific range of such scales.

There are two basic types we market.

The first is the older label scales. What you do is package items in a pack., Then weight them on these scales and the scale prints a label, that can be processed at any checkout in your shop. The big plus is one scale can do the whole shop. Another is that you have control over your selling units.

The other type which I now recommend because of the dramatic price drop is the regular scale. Unlike some scales that our competitors sell, ours can read barcodes, so there is no double keying. After scanning, you weigh the item that the customer specifies. It then transfers the weight to the point of sale software which does the maths. It will then display to the customer in a large and clear type to them so they can read it too. 

With the integration of our retail weighing solution, we give you a faster checkout. 

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You need to rebooted your computers once a week

POS SOFTWARE

 

Turning off your computers at night has one immediate benefit, it saves electricity. Generally many never switch off their main computer as it is used after hours. 

The problem here is that happens is that sometimes a windows computer needs a reboot. If this reboot does not happen, weird things can happen.

As such, we recommended that all your computers get reboots regularly, at least once a week. 

- Furthermore, a reboot will flush your memory (RAM). This clears the stuff sitting uselessly in your computer memory, so making it run faster so saving you time. 

- Many software program updates occur when the computer starts up. If you never start the computer up, then they do not happen, and your computer runs old software. 

- Now with the issues on the internet, not doing a reboot will see you missing out on the security patches. 

 

If you want you can set your computer to automatically reboot at a time convenient to your business check out this video.

 

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What is the new normal in the shop?

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A psychologist will say that it takes 2 - 8 months to create a new pattern, behaviour or routine.

It looks like this.

 

COVID-19 first started in a significant way in Australia since late February. We are now moving into the fifth month.  This is long enough to make the current buying trends entrenched in consumers’ everyday behaviours.

What I noticed was long before the government lockdown; the majority of people were in lockdown. So I am sure that even if the government lockdown stops, the majority of people will continue the lockdown.

As such retailers and marketers are concerned. They are wondering what will now be the new normal. I have attended heaps of webinars on this subject.

Here are some questions for you to consider.

Where are you heading?

Consider how will this new normal affect your retail marketing strategies?

What changes are now coming into place?

What marketing tools do you now need?

One disconcerting point which is unnerving to many that like figures and facts are that generally in Australia they see the effect overseas first. They have a warning and try to adapt. Now the whole world is in this together. We are all learning together.

If there is enough interest, we are happy to do a webinar on the new normal and how to use your point of sale to help you see what it looks like. 

 

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Is monitoring your harddrives for failure worth it?

POS SOFTWARE

A hard drive is a mechanical device, and it can fail at any time. It does not have to be internal, e.g. overvoltage, high temperature, vibration etc. can do it. 

Today many people are upgrading their main computers to SSD drives for speed. Still, they tend to forget that all hard drives degrade with use.

Yet, it is true that you can see many problems long before they can cause failure. This is true of the SSDs and the older hard drives.

The problem is that Windows if it detects a problem with hard drives fixes it. So a hard drive appears healthy to the user until it dies. Then we heard about it when a client rings us and tells us that something has happened. Then the client discovers that what was valuable was NOT the hard drive but the data stored on it.

It would be best if you had backups - something I have discussed many times. 

If you feel that you need to do is a hard disk test. Many programs can do it for you. Many hard drives come with such programs inbuilt. If not here is one free program that can do it for you. Click here Crystal Disk Info and select the Standard Edition, and run it. It will give you a lot of detail about your harddrive and as well a status report. Here you can see that the hard drive I tested is in a "Caution" status. This means this disk should be changed soon.

If you do replace it, I would recommend an SSDs (Solid-State Drives) both for speed and reliability. 

Note I have never seen a need to run this software continuously or very often, but once in a while is a good idea. 

 

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