Tuesday, September 16, 2008

POS Death

While I was giving lectures on how to optimize your point of sale machine in Wisconsin, my own POS machine at home was acting up. It's got this terminal disease where fifteen minutes after rebooting it looses HTTP connectivity, meaning you can't use the Internet for web browsing. It will still process credit cards over the net, but no web based activity will work. That's a critical function of the POS, believe it or not, so the problem is serious.

Usually it has this symptom after a Windows update is installed, and the solution is to use system restore to send it back in time before the update. Yesterday this failed to fix the problem after about 8 hours of messing with it. The solution? A clean Windows installation, according to all the websites discussing the problem. Nobody knows the problem, but consultants around the country have found the only solution to be "bricking it," a full re-instalation.

As you may have heard me talk, this POS machine is correctly named (aka Piece of Shiite). It's four years old and was weak sauce when I bought it, thinking that all we would do is POS stuff. The hardware is now inadequete to our needs and I was planning to upgrade it in January, but alas, the computer gods are capricious. Just like when my laptop was stolen from the office the day after ordering a new Dell, I can't wait any longer and had to buy local.

The machine I bought was an unlikely choice, determined by such things as the size of the case and available USB ports in the back. Budget pushed the selection over the edge, as the machine I bought was half the price of a comparable Dell (and arrived 3-5 days sooner). The winner is: Acer Aspire X1200. It's not the machine I would buy for home and it's not the machine I would even buy as an office PC, but it should make for a quick little POS machine that never gets upgraded, has a need for wireless connectivity or is asked to do anything spectacular.

Acer Aspire X1200-U1520A

Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.5GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850e; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 8200 integrated graphics chip; 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.
Now the work begins with prepping it for the POS installation and having our local POS consultant come over and do his magic for a couple hours. I was hoping to do an upgrade to the new version of the POS software, but I think that will have to wait until I can budget it.


  1. You're an IT guy, located across the parking lot from Fry's, and you can't seem to buy a new computer...

    There's some heavy irony involved in this...