New Swatch

We have some new colour around the place.

We have two new swatches, tha-gees and tha-gees-JP, in house designs from the MD.

Offset for print and embroidery.
Offset for VIP and premium phone support offers

Ghetto DDNS

** I am redoing some background DNS articles as part of a new DNS series I am writing about DNS performance. This one did not make the cut. **

Dynamic DNS can often be a lifesaver when it comes to administering remote systems, particularly if they are connected via 4G or a consumer grade internet connection. “Secure” solutions generally require you to masquerade on a subdomain AND cost money. If you’re running a completely open source stack like us, scouring through logs or relying on a modem might not sound like an appealing option.

We come across this dilemma all the time and have almost deployed a Dynamic DNS solution multiple times but in the end I am stubborn and reluctant to test and maintain another moving part.

In 2011 I had a critical business instrument that lived in a traveling van, connected on the Telstra 3.5G network at all times. The system did some mundane tasks like report it’s location and log things but it also handled a payment gateway and a VPN client for the operator to access a legacy system.

For the project manager, defining a hostname was something he was very much against.

Enter Ghetto DDNS

Our goal was to simply keep a log of the externally accessible IP address for the van and to not advertise a hostname.

So we came up with an idea. What if we generated a log entry on our server from the van?

$     curl

In fact in this cirumstance we had two Telstra Mobile Broadband connections so we could get both IP addresses by running the command with the interface switch

$     curl –interface enp5s0 Machine

Now if we look in our access log for that website on our static IP server we can see the following entry

$     cat /var/log/httpd/access.log | grep MysteryMachine – – [04/Jul/2018:23:49:03 +1000] “GET /MysteryMachine HTTP/1.1” 301 243 “-” “curl/7.59.0”

Our remote machine has “phoned home” and we can see the IP address of the machine. Now we just need to get it to call home more often. We can use our standard operator account to schedule the “calls” via cron.

$     crontab -e
*/10 * * * * curl –interface enp5s0
*/10 * * * * curl –interface enp3s0

Now as long as our firewall allows inbound connections to your services we can always access the van via either of the 4G modems.

If this post was interesting to you, I would be interested in your thoughts about best practice DNS security implementation, please get in touch.

Business Printers: Total Cost of Ownership

While we all long for a paperless society, the fact remains that businesses need paper documents and that comes with a cost.

I am often asked for a printer recommendation only to be instantly rebuffed because of high purchase costs. It is easy to fall into a trap where you buy a cheap printer with great features that has very expensive cartridges.

At the time of writing there are very few printers on the market where the cartridges do not have an included micro-chip embedded into them, increasing the price. The most important consideration when buying a printer is the total cost of ownership and I like to break this down to price per 200,000 pages. Lets run some numbers:

Prices taken from at time of writing.

NameFuji Xerox DocuPrint CM315ZBrother L9550CDWHP477FDW
TypeColour Laser MFP
Dual Duplex
Colour Laser MFP
Dual Duplex
Colour Laser MFP
Dual Duplex
Print Features29ppm
1200*2400 DPI
1200x2400 DPI
1200x2400 DPI
Purchase Cost$785.95 Incl$749.95$614.99
Cartridge CostsBlack $169.95
Colour $245.95
Black $89.95
Colour $169.95
Black $108.99
Colour: $108.99
200,000 Pages Cost
(Genuine & Full Colour)
200,000 Pages Cost
(Genuine & Black)
Price per Page
Notes:Includes drums, toner and waster toner as per manufacturers recommendation.Also includes four belt units per 200,000 pages.This is HP's new PageWide technology, they claim breakthrough total cost of ownership and have no parts on offer other than the cartridges however even HP's website shows it is more expensive even HP's website shows it is more expensive than the Brother.

Researching total cost of ownership for your business

Firstly consider duty cycle. That is, how many pages are you currently printing per month. You should be able to find this on your current printer, most likely the lifetime number of pages the printer has handled. This is important because if you select a printer that is not designed to do as many pages as you ask of it, you will have much higher maintenance and repair costs.

Then consider your current workflow processes and where you would like those processes to progress. Would wireless printing from mobile devices be of benefit to you? Could the ability to digitise all documents instantly into the cloud be useful to you down the road? How much time do you spend putting letter heads into the only tray on the printer? Do this process thoroughly, printers can create or expend time very quickly so make sure you choose the right feature set for you.

Then, start looking at printers with an appropriate duty cycle and the correct feature set. To work out the total cost of ownership start will calculating exactly how many of each different consumable the manufacturer says you will need. As an example the Brother L9550CDW uses the following per 200000 full colour pages:

  • 33.33 Four Packs of Toner (each toner yields ~6000 pages)
  • 8 Drum Units (25000 pages each)
  • 4 Belt Units (50000 pages each)
  • 4 Waster Toner Cartridges (50000 pages each)

Calculate the cost to buy all of these components, account for inflation of price using your duty cycle (we use our own algorithm derived from the CPI) and run the numbers.

Buying the right printer is incredibly important. You lay down considerable capital on something that will cost you a great deal of money over time and be integral in your office environment. The wrong printer can cost you thousands of dollars and hours of your time so spend some time researching the total cost of ownership and get it right the first time.

Looking for a printer recommendation? We’re happy to help!

We can purchase and install printers into your business but our core printer product is document automation. Our documentation application scans, reads and uploads all paper documents into easy to find, indexed and editable content. Imagine the freedom of returning to the office, dumping your paperwork into a tray and never having to deal with those pieces of paper again. Simply access your network drive to view, edit, sign and attach documents using your existing office suite, instantly. Get in touch for a demo of our Documentation Solution – Dox.