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June 2011The monthly newsletter by Felgall Pty Ltd

My Word

Multi-Function Centres

Early computers had each component part as a separate device that needed to be connected together to make a usable computer. Over time many of what started out as separate components were combined together. Components that were originally separate plug in cards were incorporated into the motherboard (such as audio) and some components that were initially separate boxes (such as hard drives) were moved inside the main box.

In a similar way many of the devices that were originally completely seperate peripheral devices have been incorporated together to make all-in-one multi-function centres that can be either plugged into a single computer or plugged directly into a network.

The actual number of "separate" devices incorporated into the one multi-function device varies depending on just which one you get with anything from three to nine or more functions being incorporated together into the one device. Having all of the functionality in the one device saves a significant amount of space as the device generally takes up only as much space as any one of the devices it incorporates would take up. The downside is that if the device malfunctions then you not only lose the one functio but may lose all the functions provided by the device.

All of these devices incorporate at least the following basic functions: Printer, Scanner, Copier. These devices primarily serve as replacements for a separate printer. They plug into your computer or network in the same way that a printer would and install a printer driver on your computer allowing them to be used in the same way as any stand-alone printer can be used. The scanner function operates the same way that a stand-alone scanner would and the appropriate software for scanning of documents, pictures or both usually gets installed as a part of the setup process. Often a basic OCR program may also be provided. As the device can both scan and print, the addition of one or two extra buttons on the unit itself allows it to be used in place of a stand-alone copier. Where two copy buttons are provided you get the option of making either greyscale or colour copies.

All multi-function centres provide those three basic functions. Depending on just which one you get there may be a number of additional functions available for you to use. When selecting a multi-function centre you need to decide which of the optional functions you are likely to want to use at some point so that you can acquire a multi-function centre that provides those functions.

Providing a built in fax function used to be almost standard as the fourth and fifth functions that you'd expect to find in any multi-function centre (counting a built in ability of the unit to send and receive paper faxes as one function and its ability to provide the same fax functionality from your computer as a fax/modem would as a separate function). As more people are using email instead of fax these functions are less commonly provided but it is still possible to get a multi-function centre that caters for fax if you require it.

Media card readers are becoming a more commonly provided function. These allow you to either plug in your camera or the media card out of your camera and copy all of the photos and video from that card onto your computer.
 

On Site

This last month went in a totally different direction to what I had intended. It all started when I received an email advising me that I have a domain due for renewal soon and offering the opportunity to transfer it to them where I can renew it for the special price of five times what I am currently paying. Then when I went to renew the domain with the current provider I discovered a Paypal bug where tests are performed in the wrong order when the seller blocks echeck payments. I eventually succeeded in getting Paypal to pass the bug report on to their support team for fixing but my current domain provider refused to provide a workaround - see the Paypal Payment methods article below for more information about this. Anyway, since my hosting is also close to needing to be renewed I ended up not only moving domains but have also moved all my sites to new hosting. By moving the sites a few weeks before the old hosting expires I am able to keep the sites available throughout the move. The only thing I did disable on the old hosting when I moved it is the Member's Area of the AMRA web site that I look after since I need to ensure that there is only one place where updates to membership details are made and did not want to risk losing any changes during the move. The changes to the domain setups was made more interesting by the fact that the domain registrar I decided to move to (where I already have some domains) had a mobile phone validation step and I don't own a mobile phone and so had to ask support to bypass it for me. Also that registrar is a reseller for DistributeIT and the domains I already had with them were registered there. As DistributeIT was down for many days due to a security breach this delayed my being able to update nameservers on one of the domains. Of course I did manage to make all these changes without (hopefully) anyone noticing that anything on the sites had changed.
 

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