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Tech Alert: Apple Users of cardPresso ID Badge Design & Print Software

The Problem

elcapitanWe have recently become aware of a technical issue that occurs when users of the cardPresso ID Badge Design & Print software upgrade their Apple computers to the latest edition of OS X (10.11 “El Capitan”). In this latest operating system release, Apple has updated and enhanced system security, particularly as it applies to the use of USB-attached peripherals and mass-storage devices.

Users of cardPresso will know that use of and access to that software is secured through the use of a USB “dongle”, which is required to authenticate and authorize use of the product. The new release of OS X prevents cardPresso from “seeing” the USB dongle, and therefore prevents use of the software in anything other than demonstration mode.

The Fix

cardpressoWhile the El Capitan release also affected scores of other software developers, cardPresso’s software engineers worked quickly to develop, test, and release an update that will address this issue for affected users. The updated version is available for free download on the cardPresso website (www.cardpresso.com), and can be directly installed onto your Mac device with no loss of data or functionality.

As always, we encourage our clients to call on our in-house experts at +1 888.485.4696, should they need further information or support with this issue and resolution.

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Thinking about upgrading to Windows 10? SLOW DOWN!

stoplooklistenIn the past few weeks, we have started to receive calls from clients whose ID-card printers do not work after updating their PCs to Windows 10. This is a very scary situation with a very simple explanation: Windows 10 is a new operating system, and Microsoft couldn’t have reasonably crafted it to support every printer, ever sold, by every manufacturer. Likewise, the manufacturers of these printers wouldn’t have had an inkling of Windows 10 while their printers were being designed and sold – often 3 or more years ago. The result is a number of perfectly good, well-functioning printers that have no current drivers to allow for their use under Windows 10.

What does this mean for you?

What it means in the short run is that users need to avoid the siren-call of the new, shiny OS from Microsoft unless and until they’re sure ALL of their critical printers, devices AND software are supported. At the time of writing, exactly NONE of our primary brands make mention of Windows 10 support. In speaking with one of our software vendors by phone last week, they told us their latest (June) release has been tested to work under Windows 10, and will be supported if users upgrade.

History repeats:

Going forward, we can take lessons from the past – not all software, and not all printers and devices will work now, or ever on Windows 10. Technology has a life-cycle. Manufacturers and software authors make money selling new stuff, not making their old stuff work with others’ new stuff. So what we’re likely to see is that old printers and devices – those no longer manufactured – will not get Windows 10 specific drivers or software updates. If current drivers happen to work, then you can squeeze more life out of these devices. If not, then you will either have to put-off upgrading Windows, or start budgeting for new printers. The same goes for your ID-badge software programs. None were initially written with Windows 10 in mind. They’ll minimally need to be tested, if not tweaked, by their developers. But some older products will just be left to die off over time as users ultimately, ploddingly, transition to the new Microsoft OS.

What can I do now?

Obviously, we do not recommend upgrading in this environment unless you are certain that your printer or software is supported under Windows 10. You should also know that there is no easy way to reverse a Windows 10 upgrade, once applied. Instead of jumping into the unknown, please contact one of our experts at +1 704.535.5200, for guidance. We will be happy to help you determine what is supported under Windows 10 currently, or if your items will be supported via a future driver or program release. As we become aware of Windows 10 support announcements, we’ll note them here on our blog – so keep an eye on this space.

Of course, we’d also be delighted to help you shop for a new device or software too!

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HID Global Acquires EasyLobby For Secure Visitor Management Solutions

IRVINE, Calif., – January 3, 2012 – HID Global, a trusted leader in solutions for the delivery of secure identity, today announced the company has acquired EasyLobby, the industry leader in secure visitor management solutions. The acquisition delivers a number of potential synergies with HID Global’s portfolio across its identity and access management business.

EasyLobby is the pioneer and market-leading provider of comprehensive visitor management solutions. The company’s product suite provides enterprise-class visitor registration, tracking, reporting, badge printing, asset and package management, web-based pre-registration, and employee/contractor time and attendance functionality, and is tightly integrated with a wide variety of access control, human resources and other systems. EasyLobby products complement and extend HID Global’s portfolio, and have been deployed across a large and diverse base that is well-aligned with HID Global’s physical access control customer base.

EasyLobby is a strategic acquisition that delivers strong potential synergies across multiple high-value market segments,” said HID Global president and CEO Denis Hébert. “The addition of EasyLobby’s product suite, large installed base and strong customer engagements will enable us to broaden our offering to include trusted solutions for a wide range of visitor management applications. Additionally, this acquisition brings us a talented team with a highly complementary skillset.”

“We are very excited to become part of HID Global, a global company at the very heart of the security industry. This combination adds industry-leading secure visitor management solutions to the world’s most comprehensive offering of physical access control and secure card issuance systems,” said Howard Marson, EasyLobby CEO. “Together, our extended range of products creates a highly differentiated portfolio that will drive new opportunities for our mutual customers and partners, across all geographic regions of the world.”

For more information about Visitor Management give an expert at Safe-Card ID Services a call at 888-485-4696.

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What Software Is Best for ID Card Printing

If you are looking to print ID cards for your organization, you are likely asking yourself: “What software will work best for my specific needs?”

At Safe-Card ID Services, we recognize that requirements can and do vary from client to client. Our experts are trained to assist clients in making the best choice possible, paying special attention to each unique situation. To this end, it is helpful to know a bit about the options prior to talking with us regarding the available choices. Your choice would then be driven by some combination of features and costs.

Some typical product requirements and features to consider include:

  • Do you need to retain data for each card printed, so that it can be recalled and updated and/or reprinted on-demand?
  • Would you need connect directly to an existing data-source, to eliminate the need to maintain data in two places, and reduce the time and potential for keystroke errors if entered manually?
  • Will you need any special encoding on your cards, such as mag-stripes, bar-codes, QR-codes, or the encoding of access-cards or SmartCards?
  • Will you operate on a Windows or OS-X platform?
  • Will multiple users need to access the software and printer, possibly including simultaneous access?

If you are looking for the absolute least-expensive way to make ID cards, and are technically adept in the advanced use of program such as Adobe Photoshop(R) or Acrobat(R), or even Microsoft Word(R), you can design ID cards and templates within them. This is true, whether you are using a Windows-based PC or Apple’s MAC/OS-X line. The drawback, or course, is that these programs are not purpose-built or optimized for the design and production of ID cards. That usually means many additional minutes or hours of work are required when compared with the use of a dedicated ID card software package. This then becomes both an initial cost, and and ongoing expense.

To simplify the ID badge making process, Safe-Card ID recommends using one of the various ID card software programs available in the market. These products are specifically developed to make it easy to design and print standard-sized ID cards. Being purpose-built, these programs include simple tools that users access to add static or variable elements to their ID card designs, including text boxes, photo fields, logos, background images, barcodes, and more. Static items (those items that will be the same for every card printed) are set such that all cards will have a consistent look. The variable fields would represent information that is unique to each card-holder, including things such as names, titles, individualized photos, and .

The software programs carried by Safe-Card ID are compatible with nearly any of the currently available card printers. They are also generally backwards-compatible with printers made within the last 5 years.

Basic Software Options: The entry level software for most ID card software is able to accommodate ID card needs of low volumes. Full color capabilities, photo imports, bar-code set up options, and more are generally found in this software. In some instances, a basic software packaged comes bundled with the purchase of a new ID printer. Basic versions often include some limits or restrictions including, for example: the number of data fields; the number of data-records stored, the number of available fonts, and/or the ability to add encoded items.

Mid-tier Software Options: Upgraded software options include all of the features included in the basic  ID card software, and then add benefits, such as inclusion of an internal database, unlimited record storage, and some basic encoding abilities. Including an internal database allows users to quickly search, find & reprint cards, including printing in batches. It also facilitates the production of business reports. Often the database can be imported and exported for use in other software programs.

Advanced Software Options: Advanced versions of ID card software have capabilities typically needed in larger organizations. These might include the ability to share the database across multiple users, establishing direct links to data-sources, such as .txt, .csv,. .xls, flat-files, SQL and MSAccess databases, or even direct ODBC links. Additionally, more recent releases include the ability to directly encode access cards, SmartCard (on supported printers). These added features make advanced software versions perfect for high-volumes, and high levels of security.

The current ID card software applications that we recommend most often are Asure ID v7 (from HID Global), ID Flow 7 (from Jolly Technologies), and cardPresso v1.x (from cardPresso). Each company has a demo version available at their respective websites. We recommend that you download them and test out the feel of the interface and the options available. You can find links to the downloads below:

Asure ID Trial Software Download
cardPresso (same as production download; operates in demonstration mode until activated)
ID Flow Download (30-day trial period)

If you would like to speak with our ID card experts, they are ready to help you at 888-485-4696.