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Software wanted - need advice

By Cactus Pete ·
My network isn't perfect and neither is my team. We have had too many major outages, some human error - some hardware error, lately. For various reasons, we need a speedier method to communicate to the userbase that we have some sort of issue.

A broadcast email isn't the answer - particularly when email is the system that is offline. Voicemail isn't the answer - the vmail message is stored in exchange... (thanks, cisco)

Walking the floors of the office is slow, and we could have it fixed before that's done... And it's less than technically elegant.

Intercom is bad - we likely have clients around.

So here's what I'm thinking: I want an XP service based app on every desktop that will listen for a broadcast, either from a server or from another client that has author proviledges. There would be an icon in the systray, with green/yellow/red/gray colors to indicate status. Perhaps a communications bubble pops up when there is a status change. Clicking on the message or the icon gives you a dialogue explaining what is going on, possible workarounds, etc.

Some admins would have the ability to change the status, and edit the message. There should be canned templates to select from on the admin app, but fully editable.

I'll take suggestions for other types of solutions, too. There will be a version of this posted in the discussions... The main point is fast and easy communications with the users. Thanks.

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by Cactus Pete In reply to Software wanted - need ad ...

Point value changed by question poster. (why can't I add another 0 to start with?)

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by Cactus Pete In reply to Software wanted - need ad ...

The link to the discussion post is http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=91&threadID=172701&start=0

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by softcorp.us In reply to Software wanted - need ad ...

Hello dp...

Simple suggestion:

- Create a simple internal website that has this information.

- If you choose, you could put this website on a separate server so it is not impacted by outages on another server.

- To ensure users always have access to the website, hard-code an IP address into a browser shortcut instead of having them rely on a DNS server that might be down.

- The home page of this website could have Javascript that refreshes the information every "n" minutes. The interval is set by the web server. The interval is shorter when there's trouble and longer when there isn't.

- This approach requires the network to be operating just like the app you mentioned.

- The features you mention would be programmed into the website via server-side scripting.

- Open source software is very mature for this kind of application. You could choose Linux and PHP.

- The only features missing in this approach is the integration into the desktop tray and the pop-up windows.

-----Steve Jackson

CEO/CSA
Software Corporation (Softcorp)
http://www.softcorp.us/probono
Advanced pro bono tools and utilities free for personal use

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by softcorp.us In reply to

Hello dp...

Something more...

I don't know your situation and needs. But, I'm thinking why proactively notify the entire office in real time whenever there is something that needs fixing? Most/all users will just have to wait for the fix anyway. Without such notification, many users will not even know there is a problem because it will be fixed before they are affected by it.

I'm thinking it would be best to provide very easy access to such information and advertise how they can get to it. Anyone affected can then query the special web server by clicking on a prepared shortcut.

Good luck with your project.

-----Steve

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by Cactus Pete In reply to

Notification has more to do with what DOES work, so they can continue to be productive [No "the network is down, let's grab a bagel" commercials] or to let them know how long we expect the outtage to last. Even add workarounds or links to the intranet where there is more information already posted [reminders, etc, about alternat means to get things done].

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by jbaker In reply to Software wanted - need ad ...

What about using the Windows Messenger Service? I realize that many antispyware apps hit it, but you could use it to issue a message to all workstations that there is an issue.

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by Cactus Pete In reply to

Yeah, we don't have that turned on.

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by maxwell edison In reply to Software wanted - need ad ...

Ovisoft Messenger:

10-User Package.....$19.90 per seat.....$199.00

50-User Package.....$17.90 per seat.....$895.00

http://www.ovisoft.com/solutionemergency.htm

http://www.ovisoft.com/pricing.htm

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by maxwell edison In reply to

Emergency Communications and Disaster Preparedness:

There are cases that require administrators and managers to contact 100s or 1000s of employees without delay. This could present great challenges in today's busy office environment. However, phones, intercoms and e-mail are not necessarily the best media for such needs since won't be able to reach your employees quickly if:

Your message is of high priority and requires instant attention:

The person is currently on the phone

You don't have time to contact each employee and person and need to send the message only once expecting it to reach each employee

Your message should reach all employees including those who are at home or working in remote locations

Only enterprise-class instant messaging system such as Ovisoft Messenger can help you solve such a complicated challenge. Combining your existing communication system with Ovisoft Messenger is the only way to quickly patch the holes in your emergency preparedness plan. In addition, Ovisoft Messenger can help you broadcast important messages company-wide or limit your announcements to certain locations and departments only.
Knowing where your employees are during an emergency situation is crucial. Ovisoft Messenger makes that task easier thanks to its presence feature. The intuitive user directory allows you to see the current status of a certain user in real time using colored icons.

(Comments cut and pasted text from Ovisoft's Web site.)

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by Cactus Pete In reply to

Nice start, helped our discussion.

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