Mountain AuditStreams - User Documentation (edited July 2011)This is the current documentation for Version 6.0
As of later 2010-2011, all minor cosmetic/bugfix versions will remain at 6.0, with a notation on the live entry page. DC5 machines are now supported with no software changes, you may assume "DC5 also" with all mentions of "2.5" below. If purchasing DC5 machines, be sure you get machines with "Financial Audit" installed, as I cannot include that software. A typical version is V1.12h/CE, and if you have one machine with it, you "should" be able to clone to others, though I cannot offer help with that aspect.
Versions 5.5 & later include an updated server system:
Apache 2.2.14 --- MySQL 5.1.41 -- PHP 5.3.1
Support for Windows versions prior to XP SP2 is discontinued. If using XP, you must have the SP2 or higher upgrade.
Please refer, *first and foremost* to the upgrade specifics if you are an exisiting user. Not all necessary steps will be covered here. This document is mainly for new users.
The PHPMyAdmin system for expert users to directly make database changes has also been included in the past few versions. The password for this is masuser3141. You may also use the command-line MySQL system by invoking the command mysql from the command prompt. (use Start--> Run --> cmd). Type in: mysql -u root -p (Linux users: the user is MAS rather than root)
Then it will prompt for the password (masuser3141).
NOTE: With versions 4+ and above, both Apache and MySQL will start at boot time, no need to double-click on any icons, you need only start the browser to the correct URL.
Starting with version 5.0, the URL for the system, in the browser window, is http://localhost/MAS/ rather than http://localhost, for security from outside access, and MySQL needs to have its root password set to "masuser3141", which is set during the MySQL installation.
Note: For all users, when using this system, make sure your browser does not come up in the "work offline" mode, as it cannot work correctly if set this way. You will only see cached versions of the pages (and not necessarily the correct database), and submit clicks will do nothing. If the top frame on the "manual entry" page does not load at first (this usually only affects Linux users), please right-click and reload/refresh, while mousing over that frame.
New for the November, 2008 & later versions. A department cost report has been added, a "delete" database button, as well as a button to export all databases to one backup file for porting to another computer (and its companion "import" function). Floppy support is now discontinued, and only one audit trail (type: audit from the run box) which is the most useful, is now included.
In version 6.0+, a category cost report (separate system) has also been added.
New for 2009: A store evaluation system has been added, a calculator to convert gross margin to markup (for the cost systems), and several interface enhancements. The department, category and evaluation entry pages open in "mouse bypass" mode, with the first field already selected, so you can type in figures immediately. Tab between fields (or shift-tab to go back) and then just hit enter to post your changes. This should save a lot of time entering sales, book figures, etc. If a field is changed, it turns green after tabbing away from it. The department page also has a radio button selection for clearing all adjustments (sales, purchases, book figures, etc.) in case you wish to start over from scratch. A second button de-selects this in case you change your mind, as if enter or submit is pressed with the first button highlighted, the data cannot be retrieved.
New for version 6.0: Dollar amounts and quantities per detail line can now go into the millions. This was never an issue, but may come into play in a large warehouse situation or a store such as a hardware store or pharmacy where huge piece counts or dollar amounts may be incurred. To accomplish this, a new "transmit" script has been implemented, as well as enhanced variables for all data fields, and several new data fields. Be sure to check your upgrade documentation letter, if upgrading from an earlier version, in order to run the upgrade scripts correctly. Note that in the Datacomputer directory, the TEXTCONV.EXE program is a new version which supports these large dollars/pieces, in addition to many variables being enlarged in the MAS system, where needed. The new TEXTCONV.EXE must be in place there. If you have any problems, there is an OLDCONV.EXE in Datacomputer which is the older version. Simply delete the new TEXTCONV.EXE and rename OLDCONV.EXE to TEXTCONV.EXE - this is being mentioned only while 6.0 is in testing. The old vesion will work as before, but not take in the higher counts.
Also new for version 6.0+, a second (optional) version of the summary report which shows average prices (mostly for your cigarette counts), a new "Brief Summary Report", which shows comparisons by side but omits the category breakdowns, a category & price comparison report which shows both quantities and average prices for all categories. A new "category history" report has been implemented, showing the whole dollar amounts for all categories counted in a 7 month span, similar to the history analysis report, and also, as mentioned, a category-based cost report. If upgrading, older months of reports displaying a 7-month span will not be populated until "running the time course" with your "set current to prior" application. All of the longer reports now have an "ink saver" mode. These reports provide the same data but have less-cosmetic table borders, and definitely save ink. You choose which to use depending on your clients' preferences.
Note for Linux users only: This documentation does not include any additional information for installing the Linux version. This is on a separate sheet which will be provided. Most notably, the Linux version requires you to have set up Apache/MySQL/PHP already, and to have installed "dosemu". You need to edit the configuration file for "dosemu" to point to the serial device you are using to transmit, which will be explained. The entire procedure is very simple and automatic (takes about 10 minutes or less with a fast internet connection). If you do not have a fast internet connection, I can also provide these packages on a CD, once knowing exactly what you are running. The scripts are basically the same, except for the paths, and the data backups to pen drive are compatible with the Windows versions as well. In Linux, the pen drive must be mounted via the "mount" button on the Backups page, with the correct letter set. The letter can be determined by looking at "syslog" just after you insert your pen drive (there's an automatic "view" link for "syslog" on the Backups page). For Linux, it will be a small letter (b,c,d, etc.). If you plug in your pen drive before booting, "syslog" will not show this info, but if you have the exact same hardware plugged in at boot each time, it should be the same letter each time. Just go ahead and mount it and see if your files appear when clicking "view files on pen drive". Remember that if your system automounts the pen drive, you must right-click on its desktop icon and unmount it BEFORE mounting it via the button on the Backups page, or it will be unwriteable. Unmount it if you need to remove it before shutting down, also via a button provided on the Backups page. There is a good explanation there you will see each day which should make it all self-explanatory. Note that if you plan to use a USB-serial converter under Linux for transmitting, in the vast majority of cases these are automatically configured instantly and need no special driver, the same goes for most modern printers (please avoid Lexmark).
Please print this documentation as your first step (about 20+ pages). As of the current writing (February, 2010) this software is stable, well tested in the field on Windows XP SP2, Vista, and Linux. It has also successfully been installed and used on Windows 7, install it there the same way as you would for Vista, contact me if you have any problems. It should work well, provided you stay within the recommended parameters mentioned in this documentation, and have set up your handhelds per this documentation. It has been in regular use since October, 2004. Using this software, you agree to hold the writer free from any harm due to lack of fitness for purpose, lost data, or any incidental damages. Custom setups (such as supported categories, departments, section and side descriptions) which differ from the default settings shipped with the CD (on the "template" database) can be provided at reasonable cost, based on time required to implement the changes. This software provides a user interface for modifying the departments, categories, sections and sides, so that you may set up your configuration from scratch if you desire. These modifications should be done on a prototype clone made from the "template" database (avoid changing "template"), and then when you are satisfied with the setup you will begin cloning your actual store databases from your "final" prototype database. The "template" database (provided) is the default setup. Once you "fine tune" template in to a prototype, your handhelds need to be correctly programmed (in "Edit Master Files") at that time, using "verify" for all fields (section, side and category), and the setup be fairly consistent for all stores regarding the categories, for any technical support (if needed) to be efficient. Periodic software updates may be offered to fix any bugs, cosmetic glitches, or to add new features. All core custom scripts, logos, program name, etc., have been copyrighted with the U.S. copyright office/Library of Congress. This program and components are released under a liberal public license, meaning that the source code for all these custom items are included on the CD, and the tech-savvy user may perform some modifications to suit his purpose and extend the features. However, please do not redistribute or re-sell the application suite nor any components thereof without permission, nor re-brand it, nor allow any third party to use a copy of the application without written consent from the writer. Also, any unapproved modifications (made outside the normal user interface) will void any contract for technical support between the writer and user, as well as the availability to that person/concern of any future upgrades/fixes.
Mountain AuditStreams runs in the web browser (Internet Explorer) or another browser you may have installed (such as Firefox, Opera or Google Chrome). It runs on top of three behind-the-scenes applications primarily written for open-source UNIX/Linux platforms, but which also have Windows versions. You can be proud to use these freely, without cost or license restrictions, as this is the philosophy of the "open-source" movement. In return, all custom source code is included on this CD, which I am legally obligated to provide, to be able to offer these underlying "server" applications to you for free. Comparable proprietary background applications would cost both myself and any "downline" user many hundreds of dollars more to obtain special licenses for every computer involved if obtaining these (and their respective licenses) from "commercial" purveyors (i.e., Microsoft, etc.). This collection of software/server applications is the latest "state of the art", and should be current for quite some time to come. The first is Apache, which is a web-page server, and in this case it is set to serve the web pages we are using for the application to the local machine (localhost). The second is MySQL, an advanced database server which runs behind the scenes and continually updates the data with every command submitted to it by our application. The third is called PHP, which is a "hypertext parser". This module interprets the embedded "script commands" in the web pages we use for our application as active "program" commands, very similar to compiled languages like "C", but in this case all the commands and variables are coded into the text of the webpages, and are executed on-the-fly as we bring up each .php webpage on the local server, and submit information via the forms on these pages. Most of these pages have user-submission areas, and when the data is submitted, the information in the corresponding MySQL database is immediately updated on the hard drive. Other pages, such as the report pages, execute a script with no user interaction, but automatically display the results they were programmed to perform.
Installing Mountain AuditStreams (Windows users)
The actual scripts used to perform the actions in our application (as well as the databases created, even if you eventually accumulate hundreds of store accounts) are fairly small in relation to the capacity of modern hard drives, and backup pen drives can store a huge amount of information as well. Future versions of certain scripts, new functions and bug fixes (if needed) may be provided on a CD or pen drive, by notifying me of your preferred media. The environment and configuration files for Apache/MySQL/PHP, however (for Windows users), would a bit tricky for the average person to obtain, install, and configure if he were to try to install this background system on his own. The total size of these components is now about 140 Megabytes, so that a CD or pen drive is needed for the initial installation of the background system. In our case, we usually provide one or more CD's to you for an easy and fairly automatic installation and configuration of the complete system, as well as creating all the directories and files needed in their correct locations on your hard drive, so that you can be up and running almost immediately. The system should work on Windows XP SP2, Vista and Windows 7, older Windows systems are no longer supported. Be sure your computer's serial port is in good working order. If a similar application which relies on the serial port is working fine, this one will also work fine. Be sure you connect your cable to serial port 1 on the computer, if you have more than one port. You MUST have the correct cable, a "null modem" cable with a 25-pin male connector for the machine, and a 9-pin female connector for the computer on the other end. Note that all pins are needed. The type which has only 3 active pins (for example) will NOT work. Many (but not all) serial-to-USB converters for the newest laptops without a "real" serial port will generally work fine once you have the driver installed (I had luck with the Manhattan, Radio Shack and IOGEAR brands, but not with a Belkin). In some cases, though, even if you can use your laptop in day-to-day use for transmitting the data using one of these converters, you may find that you will need to use your home desktop computer with a "real" serial port if you need to ever re-install the machine software onto one of your DC's. If you use one of these converters, after you install the driver, you will need to go into the control panel (under "ports, com & lpt") and set the interface to "COM1" (under port settings-->advanced), and generally use the same physical USB port each time. The first time, you will probably need to reboot to get it to be recognized correctly. Once you find a "quality" brand that works, get a spare, and also carry the driver disks with you (the driver disk for your printer as well), in case these drivers become corrupt and need to be re-installed while on the road. You may also use a PCMCIA (Cardbus) to serial converter. Others have reported that these work fine as well.
Windows XP SP2, Vista, Windows 7 and Linux are the recommended platforms, on which this system has been proven in the field. If you have a very old laptop, the system may slowly. I would recommend at least a 600 Mhz processor, 20 Gig hard drive, and 256 Megs of RAM. Since Windows XP or later may not work well on this type of system, you would probably be better off with a light version of Linux.
To install the system, run each of these three commands (assuming D: is your CD-ROM drive):
Start-->Run-->D:\apache_install.msi (note that the current version is an .msi rather than .exe)
[Note the "underline" character]
Start-->Run-->D:\mysql_install.msi (note that the current version is an .msi rather than .exe)
Start-->Run-->D:\setup.bat (Vista / Windows7 users MUST run this as administrator via a command window opened by right-clicking a cmd desktop icon & choosing "run as administrator").
See below for specific instructions on how to answer the questions posed during the processing of these commands.
If you have a (previously) working installation, and only need to update or restore the "web interface" scripts, you may run D:\update.bat [or use the drive letter other than D: your system is currently recognizing as the CD drive].
To further clarify, "Start" means to click on the "Start" button at the lower left of your computer desktop (unless you have placed this button elsewhere). Then there will be an option called "Run" in the list which pops up. Click on this line and then another box will pop up with a place to enter a command. If you have used a particular command before, it will appear in a list activated by the "down arrow" button at the right of the line, and the last command used will always be set as the default. This is the place you will enter your installation commands (above), such as D:\setup, and also your transmit command and xctrail. These are DOS-based. Once you have entered your new command correctly, hit the OK button to run it. For Windows XP/Vista, you may want to choose "use classic interface" to get to this prompt more easily. Also, if your computer has a key with a windows logo, this should bring up this area automatically, without having to use the "Start" button. Windows 7 users will not see a "run" button by default. You must right-click on the start button and go to the configuration to enable the run button - very important. Contact me if you need help.
Special instructions to install on Windows Vista/ Windows7 (only):
Due to enhanced security, the above will probably not install the system correctly, as there are measures built in which prevent installation of files to C:\windows, and also .ini files anywhere. Even if you are the Administrator (and/or the only user), you are probably not the "hidden" super-administrator and will still lack some privileges. The easiest way to work around this is to run the installation via command line with the special administrator privileges. To do this, first create a desktop icon for the command prompt. Right-click on an empty spot on the desktop and choose New-->Shortcut. In the location box, type in the three letters cmd (short for "command" or DOS prompt). Then click "Next" and it should show cmd.exe in the box on that screen. Then just click "Finish". You should now have a cmd.exe icon on the desktop. Open the "explorer" window by holding down the left windows key and pressing the small letter "e". Verify that the installation CD is inserted, and check the drive letter. On most laptops, the CD drive will be "E:", as "D:" is now used for a portion of the hard drive used for recovery. Also note, that due to this, your pen drive will most likely be "F:" on Vista, when you use that later for backups, and be sure to set the drive letter accordingly to interface it (explained below) on the "Backups" page in the system, once installed. Now to install the system, minimize the explorer window (we will use it later), then right-click on your newly created "cmd.exe" desktop icon and be sure to choose "Run as administrator", and give it permission to continue. When the command prompt comes up, it should show the word "Administrator" at the top left. Type in your CD drive letter and a colon (for example E: ) at the prompt, and when the drive letter shows at the next prompt, type in the directory command ( dir ) to show the files to be sure the disk is mounted correctly and that you are using the correct drive letter. Next, run the four installation commands, and follow the procedure below as to how to answer any questions as they come up. These four commands are "apache_install", "mysql_install", "php_install" and "setup.bat" (each typed in without the quotes). Answer any security questions issued by the computer in order to allow the programs to run liberally. Then bring up the explorer window again for your CD drive, and create the MAS desktop icon (see below for details).
Walkthrough of the four installation commands (all Windows versions):
First of all, if you are upgrading from an earlier version, go to the Windows area "add/remove programs" and uninstall any older versions of Apache, MySQL and PHP if they show up in the installed programs area. Next, delete the directories C:\phpWeb, C:\php4win, C:\mybackups, C:\Datacomputer, and C:\mysqlback. From C:\Windows\system32 delete the file libmysql.dll.
Next, look for any directories such as C:\mysql or C:\apache, and also if there are either of these in C:\Program Files (Apache Software Foundation or MySQL). Lastly, look in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data and delete the MySQL directory if it appears there.
For Windows 7, this will be in C:\Users\All Users\Application Data, and you will probably need to right-click on this, go to "Properties"-->"Security" and edit the permissions (for everyone and the administrator) to be able to even view the files there. This may require 2-3 attempts to get it to open up. Close the file browser and try again until you can get in to delete this directory.
The first three applications (installation of Apache, Mysql, and PHP) must be run before running setup.bat or your installation will fail. When installing Apache, follow the prompts with this input:
Accept the agreement (this is free software), when you get to the screen where you have to input some data, enter this:
Net domain: localhost
Server name: localhost
(just the lowercase word localhost in these two places)
and in the third box (email) anything with an @, such as aa@bb.
Select the radio button "for all users, on port 80", then continue.
On the next screen, choose "typical" as the type of installation.
For Windows XP/Vista, once Apache starts running, the system may ask a few security questions, I would be liberal at first, to make sure you get the system to work. If it comes up with a "protected mode not set" bar, set it to protected mode (for both internet & intranet) and restart the browser to avoid this annoyance each time. Same for MySQL, try unblocking as much as possible when asked, and watch for the information bars.
When this completes, you need to start mysql_install and proceed as follows:
1) Choose "typical" for the installation type, then accept the default directory destinations.
2) When you get to the next screen, leave "configure" checked, but uncheck "register".
3) At the configuration type, select "standard", and then be sure all three of these boxes are checked: "install as windows service", "launch automatically", and "include bin directory in windows path".
4) At the "modify security settings" screen you will see 2 password boxes. Enter masuser3141 in the two boxes. Be sure your caps lock is off when you do this. Leave the lower two checkboxes unchecked. Then continue to "execute" and "finish".
You must use the password: masuser3141, or the system will not work. Be sure to write the password down in a safe place so it's not forgotten (though you will not normally need it if you are only using the web interface). You will need it to log into PHPMyAdmin included in the 5.0+ versions. If the "apply security settings" fails, open a command (cmd) window, and type in:
mysqladmin -u root password masuser3141 and hit enter. This will set the password.
For upgrading from MAS installations prior to 2008, there will be old databases in C:\mysql\data. These cannot any longer be copied and moved -- reading them will FAIL. You must *ONLY* use the saved backups which are on your pen drive. When the new system in installed, create (by cloning) the new database names, and load each on up from the pen drive. If you have a newer version with the "dump all/load all" features, you may use this method to port your stores to a new computer. See below for more information. For reference, the new MySQL 5.1+ version places the databases in a new area. As a general procedure, this is recommended: Open Windows Explorer and go to "Tools->Folder Options". Under "View", check "Show hidden files/folders" and uncheck "hide extensions for known file types", then click Apply and OK. Then navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\data and you will see the folders mysql and test plus a few log files. If you use Vista/Windows 7, you may need to alter permissions just to be able to view the files there. Write me if you need help doing this. Never remove the "mysql" or "test" folder, nor any the log files. If you need to delete any old, unused stores (databases), use the function for this on the "Backups" page.
Next, run php_install.msi. Choose the radio button "Apache 2.2" as the server type, and install it to its default directory, but when it asks for the location of the Apache config file, browse to C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\conf so that this shows correctly in the address below. In the next step, when you get to the "choose items to install" screen, expand "extensions" with the plus sign to show the list, be sure to choose MySQL (be careful that it's exactly "MySQL"), and then choose "entire feature will be installed to hard drive".
Lastly you need to run D:\setup.bat [be sure of correct CD drive letter in this and other examples, I'm just using D: here for sake of example]. When you insert the installation CD and browse to its contents, you may simply double-click on the filename if using Windows XP, but if using Vista or Windows 7 you must run it as administrator from a cmd icon as mentioned elsewhere.
setup.bat is the custom script for Mountain AuditStreams which will configure and set everything else up, including creating all the remaining directories, their contents, the DC machine interface software, starter database files, source code files (and the files used in initially setting up the database tables [for reference]), as well as the custom configuration files. Setup.bat will open a new dos window and you need to press a key to continue once reading the first few lines, the rest is automatic. Close the window when it finishes (if using XP or Vista, it will close automatically). Then, *YOU MUST REBOOT*.
See below for installing the desktop icon, the URL path has changed (from http://localhost/ to http://localhost/MAS/). Delete your old desktop "tree" icon if you are upgrading from an older version.
If you are doing a re-installation due to problems (this should be rare), it will not affect any databases you already have on your hard drive. Apache will re-install with the "repair" option, as will MySQL. You will then need to also re-run setup.bat after re-installing either of these, because the custom configuration files will get overwritten and need to be restored.
setup.bat can be run at any time, without the others, in case you feel you have a problem. It will not overwrite or delete pre-existing store databases (except for restoring the "template" database to the version on the CD, which you should not have changed anyway). If you are provided with a CD which has a newer version of Mountain AuditStreams (without server updates), you need only run setup.bat to update the system, unless you receive advice to the contrary, or additional steps in writing that need to be performed. If you have a (previously) working installation, and only need to update or restore the "web interface" scripts, you may run update.bat. The difference between "setup" and "update" is that "setup" reinstalls the DC software, as well as the interface scripts and "template", and "update" only reinstalls the interface scripts (or updates these and certain other selected components).
If a new CD is released and sent to you, an attached note will indicate which option to run.
On XP/Vista/Windows7, when re-installing or updating with the setup.bat command, you may get multiple prompts asking if you wish to overwrite older files, such as "Yes"/"No"/"All". Use the "All" option, and let the system overwrite everything, in that case. Some prompts without "All" will require a "Yes". As mentioned, it will NOT erase the store databases you have created after the initial installation. If you are upgrading to a newer version, you MUST run certain procedures to add new tables and functionality. The specifics will be provided in a mailing along with your new CD's. Backups to hard drive (after running each update procedure) are generally done automatically, but you must also never (after that point) try to restore an older backup from your pen drives. Once you are sure the new system is working to your satisfaction, you should erase all the files on all your pen drives. Then you may copy all the new files (using windows explorer) from C:\mybackups onto your pen drives to ensure compatibility. The exact procedure to follow will be sent to you when given the upgrade, if different from the above. With the newer MySQL versions, you can no longer *ever* move any "live" databases from one location to another and expect them to work. They can only be loaded from the .sql files created by "backup to hard drive" or "backup to pen drive" using the Backup/Clone page. Old versions of MySQL had the "live" databases in C:\mysql\data, the newer versions have them in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\MySQL\ , in a data below that. Do not try to change anything in these folders manually unless directed.
Note for XP/Vista/Windows7 users: Installing on these systems will not automatically create the desktop icon. You must open your "My Computer" file browser (you can open it by holding down the left windows key and hitting the small letter "e"), go to the CD-ROM drive, right-click on the "link/shortcut" file named Mountain AuditStreams and choose the "Send to desktop (create shortcut)" command.
Once you have completed the installation, you will need to REBOOT to have the Mountain AuditStreams "tree" icon (or other browser set to the URL http://localhost/MAS/) to be able to find the entry page. If you wish to stop and/or restart the Apache or Mysql services at any point, type the command: services.msc from the "run" area or a cmd window and do it from the Windows interface. The MAS desktop icon for versions below 5 point to http://localhost/. If you are upgrading to version 5 and later from an older version, you must edit the icon to point to http://localhost/MAS/ or else delete it and use the new icon from the new CD. Otherwise, again, you will just se the "It Works" page. Likewise if you use Firefox, Opera or another browser, set the URL to http://localhost/MAS/ (this is for security reasons, someone from the outside [if you are online] will now most likely NOT be able to find the MAS interface).
During installation, several important directories will be created, and these must not be tampered with, deleted or renamed if the system integrity is to be maintained.
MySQL, Apache, and PHP will install themselves under Program Files, and those directories should never be tampered with. The active database area for MySQL (MAS version 5+) will be in "Documents and Settings" as mentioned above. The applicable area will contain all of the active databases (each as a directory with subtables), originally with "currdb" "mysql" "template" and "test", and later with another database for each store you create by cloning. Do not delete these four original databases at any time, nor your "custom" database if it has been included. Do not create a new store database name using any of the above (including "test"), as it may make the system unusable (also: "test" "currdb" and "mysql" will never appear on your database selection page). If you feel that a particular store will never be needed again on your system, you may now delete it using the button on the "backups" page (MAS versions 4 and higher). Then you should also take the time to delete the backups for it in C:\mybackups and on your pen drives using windows explorer. To rename a database, clone to a new database from the current name (using the backups page), delete the current database (and backup files, as above), then go to the database selection page and choose the new one to work with. It will be an exact copy.
C:\mysqlback will have all the original files used to create the "template" and "custom" (if requested) starter databases, and some configuration files originally used to set up the database system, for reference. Never modify or delete anything in that directory, some of these items are actively used scripts and upgrade procedures. Others contain your "source code", describing how the various database tables were originally set up, for reference.
C:\mybackups will contain your .sql backup files made when you choose to do a "backup to hard drive", and the resultant "storename.sql" data files will be stored here, separately from the "live" store databases. Any .sql file (including your backups to pen drive) can be viewed as a text file with Notepad or Wordpad, if you wish to look at their contents. Take care not to change anything. You may also copy any or all of these files to one or more pen drives using windows explorer, to be sure your pen drives have your latest store backups.
To further explain, the "live" databases under mysql data are only readable by the MySQL system in action, and this is the only place where it actually works with the data when you capture or use any of the "web interface" pages for doing data entry or creating reports. When you make a backup (to "hard drive", "pen drive", etc.), MySQL dumps the data in the form of a text file which you can read. When you "restore" a backup .sql file to the "live" area using one of these backups, you are actually giving MySQL an automated set of text commands on how to re-create the live database, as if you were typing in all these commands by hand at a terminal. The syntax must be 100% correct for it to work, so be careful and double-check some of the info and reports to see if the data is what you would expect. The live databases will rarely go corrupt unless there is a power failure, hard drive problem, or improper shutdown of the computer.
When backing up, cloning or deleting, sometimes Windows Explorer (if you use it) will not show the changes or new files even when refreshing. I've rarely had this problem. Close Windows Explorer and restart it to see the changes. Also, always be sure that your browser is not in "work offline" mode when using the system.
Note that you may view (with WordPad or Notepad) or print out any of the text files (.txt) or sql files (.sql) in C:\mysqlback or for reference, or to study how the system was initially put together (mostly for the tech-savvy), but do not modify these. Any modifications here will not change any of the settings for the databases. There is also a way to get into the live databases directly from the command prompt to view and make modifications to the "live" databases from the command line, but this is advanced and will only be disclosed if requested. Use the PHPMyAdmin interface (via the link at the end of the reports page) to *carefully* change a data field (such as the prior inventory date). Windows XP/Vista/7 have no "MS-DOS" prompt, but you can access its equivalent by running: Start-->Run--> and typing "cmd" in the box (without the quotes, and then "OK") in the same way you would run the "transmit" command, if you have not created a cmd desktop icon as mentioned above.
C:\php4win was the directory which contained the PHP system in older versions, but with version 5.5 and above this should be deleted, as the files now reside in the "Program Files" directory under PHP.
C:\phpWeb contains the "webpages" which are the actual program scripts and pages you will see when running the application, and no files should never be edited or removed without specific instructions or knowledge. It also contains some graphics, buttons, and other files needed to run the web interface. This is the heart of the Mountain AuditStreams system. On version 5+, these files will be under C:\phpWeb\MAS
C:\Datacomputer contains the software needed to load your DC 2.5 with the counting program you will need if you do not already have it (or if you can't reconfigure your version to be compatible with this app), the scripts to be able to transmit the machine, the temporary data files when a transmit is executed, and a text conversion program to make the data "capturable" by our application. It also contains the audit trail application, and the libraries needed for this and the text conversion program to run. Also, the output files created during transmit are stored here. Do not modify any items in this directory, and try to avoid saving anything new to this directory manually. Of course, if you need to configure a new machine, you can always also do a direct clone from one to another.
Other than that, the "transmit.bat" and "audit.bat" scripts will be installed into C:\WINDOWS. You may open the setup.bat or update.bat files on your installation CD with a text editor to see how these batch commands operate, and what is installed to each location. Note that with version 5.5 & later, the only audit trail available is called "audit", and no longer "xctrail".
For Linux users, the directories Datacomputer, mybackups and mysqlback will be in the /opt directory, and the program scripts (which are in phpWeb on Windows) generally in /var/www.
Using the National Datacomputer 2.5 (All platforms Windows/Linux)
Currently, only the DC 2.5 is supported using this system, however newer machines may work. The DC 2.0 is not supported, but may work if you already have the same "financial audit" application (in the version written for the 2.0) loaded into your machines, which I cannot provide, AND if the fields it transmits are compatible with this system. The 2.0 version of the machine software exists, but it has not been available to me for testing as of this writing. I can (most likely) provide support for DC 2.0's once I locate a copy of this software. The same is true for newer (and the newest) handhelds. If I can "borrow" a machine and a copy of the software, I will provide a re-tooled custom version of Mountain AuditStreams at no additional charge.
If you do not already have the DC 2.5 "mini file manager v1.11/financial audit" program loaded into your machine, open Windows Explorer to C:\Datacomputer, and press the blue button inside the machine (you may instead press the "T" "B" and "Z" keys simultaneously). With the baud rate set to 19200, connect the full "null-modem" 25-to-9 pin serial cable to both the DC and the PC and double-click on the file "Load_fa.bat" and follow the prompts in the DOS window on your PC. There will be special instructions there on which options/sequences to choose on the DC.
Once loaded, hit the function key on the 2.5 until you see the prompt: "FINANCIAL AUDIT (Press any key to begin)", then hit Shift-0 (zero) , then the "N" key until you get to "Edit Master Files". Be sure your machine is cleared of any store data, and first skip over the section, side and category prompts and go in the "Inventory Options" and be sure your "sections" are set to a length of 3, "sides" to a length of 2, "sub-sections" disabled, and "categories" set to a length of 3, with "validate" turned on for all of these (except sub-sections). If this is not set up correctly, your captured data may be shifted and the application may not load the section/side numbers or dollar/quantity amounts correctly. If you are cloning to other machines be sure to do this check on them as well, as cloning may not change the field lengths automatically. We will come back to this below, so just set this correctly for now if need be, go out of "Edit Master Files", then back into it and continue as follows:
The first question is "change section #", hit "Y" and add all the sections according to the list in our "Mountain AuditStreams" program (see below for the list), selecting "N" for the "MINMAX" question. When done, do the same for all the "sides", saying "N" whenever it asks if you want to print a report. You will need to have "sides" enabled in your DC for the "capture" function to work correctly, and have the length of the "sides" field set to 2. If you are not currently using sides, you will still need them enabled in your machine. When counting, use (for example) 0 or 9 as a side number to bypass this field on the area report (program 00 or 09 as "Blank" into your machine, delete any others, and make it verify on that one number you choose, 0 or 9 only, and use the same number all the time). Be sure the "sub-section" field is disabled.
Note: This handheld application can print directly to an old-fashioned serial dot-matrix printer directly, but we will not be using these functions here. Use the same procedure to add the categories (which you will be using) to the machine. Do this after you create your first clone (from which you will be cloning all your future new stores), with your new standard customized category list printed out for reference, if you choose to create your own category list differently than the list provided with "template" or "custom". If you use the default category list provided with "template" or "custom", you will not need to add all of the categories supported by Mountain AuditStreams to the machine, just the ones you feel you will be using, but you should not have any unsupported categories (or sections or sides) in the machine which are not in the category list for all of your stores and future clones. See the categories page in this application (once you have it up and running) for the list of the categories supported by default in "template" or "custom". These can be changed, using the instructions below in the "Categories" section, if you do not wish to use the ones in the "template" or "custom" starter database(s). Be sure to set your handheld to "validate" the sections, sides and categories (see below), that way you will not be able to key any unsupported values into your machine.
You can review all three of these fields, scrolling through the complete lists of them using the "plus" key. You can delete any of them using the "clear" key followed by "Shift-Y" (capital "Y").
See the list below for the sections and sides which are set by default for the system in the "template" database.
When you get to inventory options, follow this flow (note that since you are not using the direct printing method, you will not have to enter the store info, etc., into your machine, just use the following info for all stores):
Customer Code: 1 Customer Name: 1 Customer Addr 1: 1 Customer Addr 2: 1 Customer Addr 3: 1 Store #: 1 Job: 1 Audit Company Name: 1 (Of course you can put the real info in here, as this app from the DC 2.5 will allow you to print directly to a serial printer, but using our app we will use the same settings for all stores, and we will only capture the summary financial data.). So it is never neccessary to change this, unless you have a store for which you will be using the old printing method as well. Note also, that to the best of my knowledge, the DC will not transmit any "margin" or "cost" information, it only transmits retail information. You may, however, use "cost" categories/departments of your own devising within the system and adjust the figures to print them within this framework, however they must be entered as if they were retail (perhaps adjusted by percentage manually). Any "margin" information pre-programmed into your machine will be ignored, as far as this app is concerned.
The next settings are important: Validate section: YES Change the prompt: NO Validate side: YES Change the prompt: NO Validate sub-section: NO Change the prompt: NO Validate category (shows one of your pre-programmed category numbers): YES Change the prompt: YES (if need be, and use the word "CATEGORY" here for the prompt name). Log Category subtotals: YES Validate Employee Numbers: NO Collect Item Count: YES Dollar Amount for warning: (you decide, I set it to 99.99) Minimum total allowed: 0.01 Maximum total allowed: 499.99 Disable cash rec: YES Disable open credits: YES Disable Gas Reporting: YES Disable Sales During Audit: YES Disable Receipts During Audit: YES
That should be it, be sure you have added all the needed sections, sides, and categories before continuing, and hit the function key to get back to the top menu.
The main thing to remember is that you need to do a Shift-0 (zero) from the proper screen: "FINANCIAL AUDIT (Press any key to begin)" to be able to get to "Edit Master Files" and to get to the "Upload to PC" prompt (under COMMUNICATIONS). If your entry is over 499.99 (if you set it that way above), you will need to do a Shift-Y to override the limit. When in counting mode, the up arrow key will scroll through all entries of your particular section, side, and category, and you will also see the entries from the previous time you keyed in data for that section, side & category, if any. If it doesn't scroll this way, add a penny or whatever, and that should fix the problem with up-scrolling. The down arrow reverses this process. The "divide sign" key will first show the section totals, then the grand total, and finally the section total for just the category you are currently keying (this is your section/side/category "running total"). Then, if you repeatedly hit the "minus sign" key, it will scroll through all the subtotals in the machine by section, side and category. This is useful if you need to re-key a machine which will not transmit for some reason. When finished viewing these, simply hit the function key to go back to counting mode. I strongly prefer to always use the "right arrow" key to view what I've counted for a section/side/category, that way it won't put the machine in lock/scroll mode where you have to hit the function key to exit to continue counting. It will also show the piece count this way. Then if you hit the "clear" key next, it will allow to delete just the information for the current section/side/category (using the SHIFT-Y key to confirm), if you feel you've made an error with it and need to do a recount. You can also use "chaining" on your DC with this application (2.59x12x24x2) without any problems, the audit trail ("xctrail") will print out what you have done as well. Be very careful when chaining, as it can lead to huge errors with a simple oversight.
Remember that if you have both transmitted and captured, you must clear the DC, or else the data from the first transmission will be duplicated into the totals. When resuming the count, say "N" to additional data, and keep hitting the "N" key until you get the option to clear the machine, then do a "Shift-Y". When going into counting mode on a cleared machine, the only data you need to enter during the "header" prompts is an auditor number. Use any number you choose, but you should use a different number for each auditor. The actual headers that appear on the reports are stored in the live databases, so no need for them in the machine. You may transmit, capture, and clear your machine as many times as you want, you do not have to count the entire store with one transmission. Just be sure the data has been captured correctly in the system (by looking at one of the reports to see that the total has been increased), before clearing your machine for the next round. Then perform a backup to hard drive (and/or pen drive) to protect the data in case there's a power/battery failure and the live database gets corrupted. Also, any number of auditors can count the same sections/sides/categories simultaneously and the data will be combined when they transmit & capture.
From the "supervisor mode" (Shift-0 at the "FINANCIAL AUDIT (Press any key to begin)" prompt), you can send the master files to other machines which have the same "core" program loaded, in effect cloning the hard work you have done above in just a few seconds. You will need a double-ended 25-pin crossover cable with males on each end (add a "gender-changer" connector at one end if both ends are not males). I can provide information on obtaining any cables you may need at the best prices on the market. Follow the prompts under "communications" on each machine if you wish to clone the master files from one to another.
Transmitting the machine after counting
When you are ready to transmit, you will need to go again to the "press any key to begin" prompt, hit Shift-0, then "N" (5 times) until you get to communications, and then make sure the baud rate is set to 19200, and choose "Upload to PC". Don't press a key yet (after this) on the handheld. Connect the cable (from the handheld to the PC) and on the PC, at the lower left, choose "Start-->Run--> and type in "transmit" (without the quotes) and OK (Linux users will have a desktop icon to start the transmit procedure). Your PC will remember this as a default in future sessions, to help save time. (For Windows XP/Vista/7, you will need to go back to the desktop, click the windows "start" icon and find the "run" button there, or you may switch to "classic view" to make it look the same as Windows 98 did). Hitting the left windows key should also bring up the menu with the "run" option, more easily. Once starting the "transmit" command, a DOS window should pop up, then hit enter and you should see the "waiting for TCB" prompt. At this point, press a key on the DC to continue, and then the DOS box should show the transfer of 3 files. You will *NEED* to hit the enter key (or any key) a second time (very important) in the DOS window after the data is uploaded in order for the "translation" program to run, which will make the data capturable by our application, be sure not to forget this, or else the "capture" function in Mountain AuditStreams will not have the correct "translated" file to pull in to the active database. It will pull in the previous transmission instead, perhaps from another day. You may use the "Preview Transmission" link on the "transmit" page to see if you do have the correct one queued up if you have any doubts, the "preview" will just display what's in the queue without taking any action. The "transmit" window will close automatically when finished. Note that you may not have more than one DOS window open at a time which is trying to access the serial port, if you have a failed instance of a "transmit" window, be sure you close it before opening another.
Remember you must capture the data to Mountain AuditStreams (more on that below) before another transmission is made, as the "capturable" data is always deleted and replaced when a newer transmission is executed. Consider the transmit function as sending the data to a "holding area" or "queue" location. The data will stay there permanently, even when captured, until another "transmit" overwrites it. In the same manner, the audit trail is only available for the transmission currently in that holding area. The web interface need not be running to transmit or open an audit trail, as all of this is part of a lower-level DOS-type system.
Starting Mountain AuditStreams
On the newer versions, the "background" system starts automatically at boot, both in Windows & Linux. On Windows, there will be a small Apache tray icon (bulls-eye with feather) that allows you to control whether Apache is on or off. This will probably not be there in Windows 7, to do this you must run the command: services.msc from the cmd window, and there you can stop/start Apache or MySQL. The first time you run Mountain AuditStreams in XP/Vista/7, you will need to either reboot, or stop and restart Apache using the controls in this icon (to get the system to start up properly and get to the MAS entry screen). This was mentioned previously.
You will see error messages (or a blank screen) on the "pages" if the background system is NOT running as needed (such as "the page cannot be found" if Apache is not running correctly, or "not a valid resource" if mysqld is not running correctly). The second error, "not a valid resource" can also occur if a live database is corrupt. If the computer was shut down incorrectly you can also get this error on the database selection page when it "forgets" which database you used last. Just re-select the last database you used, and click "submit", to fix this. You may also want to check a few of the reports from that particular database to see if it wasn't damaged as well (requiring a "restore"), in the case of a power failure, etc.
Once the system is running, double-click on the "Mountain AuditStreams" desktop "tree" icon to start the program in Internet Explorer. If you prefer another browser, such as Firefox (any good browser will work, as you are in effect running an internal "intranet" now), open your browser of choice (instead of using the "tree" icon) and type in "localhost/MAS/" or "http://localhost/MAS/"(without the quotes) for the URL, and bookmark it for easy future use. It has been tested in Mozilla Firefox and runs fine there (Linux users will be using Firefox, and the URL is also "http://localhost/MAS/"). You should be brought to the start page. On the start page, there will be a link at the lower left which will bring you to this "User Documentation" page, and open it in a new window. You may minimize this new window if you wish to view these instructions later for reference while you are still new in the use of the application. There is also a "Quick Reference Guide" link which will also open in a new window, and you can minimize this window the same way, for reference. If your browser mentions anything relating to being "offline", or shows it to be so in any of the settings, be sure you choose the "online" mode. If you work offline, you will only be seeing "cached" pages and will not be able to navigate or perform any actions correctly. Use your browser's "print preview" function to see how pages will print. Go to "page setup" to shrink your margins to save paper. I set my margins to the absolute minimum it allows, to get the system to print the most data per page. This application is primarily designed for inkjet printers printing in color (parallel or USB). You may also use a laser printer (such as a Brother available reasonably, and which still has a parallel port in addition to a USB port). If your printer does not support color, that will be fine, or if you wish to disable color, you may set that under your printer settings, choosing "print in grayscale", or "use black ink only". Most newer browser versions have a well-performing "shrink to fit" option for printing, however if you have any problems with data missing, especially for the History Analysis Report, you may choose to print it using "landscape" mode, then go back to portrait for the other reports.
Click on the main "Enter" link to start the program. You may (at any time) close the browser, restart it and re-enter Mountain AuditStreams without affecting the data. The system will remember the last database (store) you were connected to, even if you reboot. If you have a power failure and your laptop battery goes dead as well, sometimes when you reboot you may see an error message on the very first page where it is supposed to show the currently active database. Just pick the one you used last from the list and click on it. Try going to the "store info" page and also to the "reports" page and try viewing a few of the reports. In certain instances if you have had a power failure or subsequent computer problem, you may see error messages. Most of the time, just "re-choosing" your last database will be sufficient, but if you see any errors on the other pages/reports as well, you may need to restore the database from the hard drive or backup pen drive, as the "live" database may have become corrupt and can no longer be used, nor can you make a good backup from it. These other backup locations, however, are rarely affected. Just remember at which point in time you made the backup to these other areas, as the data there will only be current as of that particular time of backup.
Remember that you should not be "online" (on the actual internet) when you boot up a computer with MAS installed, without switching Apache off, as an outside person may (rarely, especially when on the road as opposed to at home) be able to get into the system and alter the data. [As of version 5.0 this is much less of a risk, as the URL has had "MAS" added to it, and most outsiders will not possibly guess where to go, and will just be able to get to the "It Works" page, so you may fairly safely ignore the following comments]. If you plan to go online without rebooting, Windows users may right-click on the Apache tray icon, choose "Open Apache Monitor", then "stop" and "ok" (NOT exit). Then turn it on again later to resume MAS if you don't reboot (if you clicked exit by mistake, there's an item in the Start-->Programs>Apache menu to start the "Monitor Apache Servers" program again). I don't see this as a significant issue, but there's always a first time, especially with Windows systems. Linux users can open a terminal and type:
sudo /etc/init.d/mysql stop
sudo /etc/init.d/mysql start (or apache2 stop/start, either will be fine)
to turn off & on one of the servers (if you are not using a Debian/Ubuntu based system, the commands may be different).
If you see any error messages (like "not a valid resource") on any pages while running the system, this means that either your background system is not running correctly, or the database has gone corrupt. First make sure mysql is running. Then reload from a backup if necessary (see below). On an new installation, you may need to load "template" or "custom" with its radio button the first time you run the application. Close the browser, make sure the background system is running, re-open the browser with the "Mountain AuditStreams" icon, re-select the correct database name, click "submit" and try navigating through some of the pages again to see if the problem has been resolved.
A sample store database called "template" (or sometimes also "custom", if requested) is provided for you. You will be using this as the basis for creating your first prototype clone, from which you will then clone your actual stores. A clone is an exact copy of the database you cloned it from, including the current, prior, customer info, history, etc., except that you now have a new database (store) with a new database name, which you can then load by going the the database selection page and choosing it to be the active database There can be only one active database at a time, and most of the interface pages will indicate which one is active near the top of the page. All actions done in the interface will only affect this store's database while it is active, and never touch any of the others' data. You will need to enter all the pertinent data for the "new store" (customer info, etc., clear out the prior (twice), set the "prior" date to zero, clear the history, etc., -- (see below for more details), as well as make any custom changes needed for this client in the department descriptions, etc. Generally there may be slight differences in your setup from chain to chain, so once you have one store in the chain set up correctly, you will clone new stores in this chain from the first one, rather than from "template", etc., to save time.
All of the supported sections, sides, and categories have been incorporated into "template", as well as a common category-->department configuration. The first time you run Mountain AuditStreams, you should not make any changes to "template", but rather when you get to the first data entry page where it says "Enter a database name..." look to see that it shows "template" as the active database, and then click on the "Backup/Clone" link at the top of the page to get to the "Backups/Clone" page. Click the "radio button" for "Clone to New Database Name" and enter a name code of your choosing (such as "prototype") in the box for the first store you want to create for your initial testing and fine-tuning of the setup (max 10 characters, be careful not to exceed this) then click on the "submit" button. You can also (now or later) create another "teststore" or something similar (don't use the word "test", as it's a reserved word). At first, having a few of these prototypes to play with is a good idea, and not changing your "template" or "custom" database(s). With your actual stores, you may of course combine numbers with the letters in a database name (jiffy123, toms37) for ease of customer grouping, and it's not case sensitive. Next, customize and refine the setup of the departments and categories (especially the department descriptions/category department associations, etc.) on it, for use as a basis for the actual stores you will be counting and making clones from subsequently. Template uses a quite a few "departments" (as a client like Exxon corporate using Oasis would require), but generally you will want to use a lot fewer of these. You may want to choose to have just "Cigarettes", "Beer", and "Grocery" come up on your Summary Report, or instead choose to have quite a few more (Tobacco, Fountain, HBA, General Merchandise, Auto, Deli, Lottery, Phone Cards, Non-Tax, etc.). So even with counting the categories the same way for all stores of all chains in your machine, you can in this way have a custom department list for each client by means of tweaking the "associations". Remember, too, not to exceed the number of characters allowed when typing data into any field, or the data will not "take". If you try to force an extra character into a field, the previous value will not be changed when you click "submit". Also, do not use the single quote character ' in any field, like Joe's. If you need to use a possessive, type a backslash before the single quote and it should take, for example Joe\'s. This is called an "escape character".
Where it says "Click HERE to change the active database" click on the word "HERE" and you will be brought back to the database selection page, where you can choose the new store code as the one you want to work with. Then customize the setup (NOT while still active in the starter database). In some instances (I noticed this with XP), you may need to refresh this page to see the new database listed. If you notice this happening often, you may want to adjust your browser's cache settings to always load web pages from the site rather than displaying the cached page. [On Internet Explorer you can do this with tools-->internet options-->temporary internet files-->settings-->check for newer versions of stored pages.. and set it to "automatic" or "every visit"]. This above procedure will preserve the "template" sample store from any changes. You can now customize the new database and clone further ones from that as needed. Any clone created subsequently from your new clone after it has been modified will have all your custom changes.
A brief note on cloning a new store
Aside the explanations just above, I would like to delineate the normal cloning procedure here, in summary. Suppose you have "jiffy123" and you are making a new clone from that. You have chosen "jiffy123" to clone from because it is the most similar to the new store in the way you have the tables set up. You will make the clone from the "Backups" page using the "Clone to New Database Name" function. When you do this, "jiffy123" must be the active database. Suppose you enter "toms37" as the new name (without the quotes) into the box. Make sure the radio button at the left of the clone line has a black dot in it by clicking on it, before clicking "submit". Once clicking submit, and after the page reloads, you will need to go back to the database selection page and select "toms37" to be the active database. To get back to the database selection page, use the "Click HERE" link near the top of the "Backups Page". The new store will now show up in the list of databases to choose. Make it active. Once active, you must perform the following:
1) Set current to prior twice (from the database selection page [either option]). Reason: You want to get rid of the other store's figures in both the current and prior columns. It takes two of these actions to shift these both off. For dates, category history and history analysis data, continue to the other steps below.
2) Go to the "Reports" page and "Set Current Inventory Date to Today's Date. Reason: You are either counting this store today, or just putting in a fresh date. You should always repeat this on the actual inventory day, if it's not today.
3) On the "Reports" page, "Set Prior Inventory Date to Zero". Reason: There will be no prior for this store, so we do not want an arbitrary date to remain in this field, inherited from the other store.
4) Click on the link "Feature Maintenance" on the "Reports" page. Go about 3/4 of the way down on that page which opens in a new window. Carefully type in the new store database code: toms37 into the box next to "clear/reset history data for THIS database", then click the "radio" button at the left of the line so that a black dot appears in the circle, then click any one of the "submit" buttons on the page. Close the maintenance window when the action is complete. Reason: This will clear all the information inherited from the table of other store's "History Analysis Report" and "Category History Report", so that this information does not appear on the new store's reports. Also, when cloning a new store, to save space on your hard drives and backups, you should always clone from the smallest store with the least amount of categories per side (or your prototype store), the reason being is that that when you transmit, every new section/side/category line that is counted creates a new data line in your detail which you may not need for your new store, and this will make for less used space on you hard drive and pen drives in the long run.
5) Go to the "Store Info" page and change/update all pertinent information.
6) Return to the "Backups" page and make backups. There is already a "backup to hard drive" for your new code, but this backup contains the old store's setup, not your new changes.
There will not be a pen drive backup until you create one now.
7) Work on any custom category or dept setups for this store that may differ from the other store, if need be, and backup again.
8) Count the store as usual, either today or another day. If it's another day all you will need to do is set the current inventory date to today's date before you start.
Choosing a Database (Store)
The first page you will encounter when entering the system is the database selection page (after the intro page with the legal info and help links). A line near the top will indicate which database is active at the time. The system will remember the last one you used, even after rebooting (this is stored in the "currdb" database in mysql data and is continually checked by the system, so that when you change pages within the system (it's like going around in "circles" to perform your various tasks), you will always be reading from or posting to the *same* active database ONLY, until the time comes when you physically change the active database from this first page). If you do not wish to use the store indicated as active (that is, you wish to "change stores"), you must choose one from the list at the bottom of the page, click on the "radio button" next to the corresponding database and then on the "submit" button at the bottom of the page (or hit "enter"). The page will reload and the newly chosen store database will now be shown as active. All of the main system pages, as you go from one to another, will show the name of the "currently active database" somewhere near the top of each page. If you have created new stores via the "backup/clone" procedure (see above), they will automatically become listed here on the "database selection page". From here on out in the current session, it is assumed you will work with the same store database. As a protection, you can only get back to this page through the "backups/clone" page, by clicking on the "Click HERE to change the active database" link, or from the "store info" page (via the "Click HERE" link at the top) unless you close the browser and restart Mountain AuditStreams.
It is a very good habit to click on the "Store Info" link when you load a store file at the start of an inventory, to be sure the store info is correct (and that you have loaded the correct store), and edit or clear the special text at the bottom of this page (if need be). Then from the "Store Info" page, click the "Click HERE" link at the top of the page to return to the "Database Selection Page" and remember to "set CURRENT to PRIOR" on this page (very important). You should normally use the first button "Set CURRENT to PRIOR and clear transmission history", however there may be certain circumstances where you may want to use the second option. This includes having forgotten to set "CURRENT to PRIOR" and then captured a new transmission which was then added to the prior inventory by mistake. In this case, go to the "transmit" page, open the "transmission utilities" link, delete all lines for the current database, come back to this page and "Set CURRENT to PRIOR without clearing transmission history", then go back to the "transmission utilities" page and REPOST all lines for the current database to the current inventory. If you do not regularly clear the transmission history, the table in "transmission utilities" can eventually grow excessively long and waste space on the hard drive. The newest transmissions will appear at the very bottom of the table.
Whenever you choose a new database (or re-select the same one twice in a row), the next transmission number will be set to "1", such that you may see multiple instances of transmission "1", etc.
After setting "CURRENT to PRIOR", you should go to the "Reports" page and verify that the inventory total is zero on the summary report. If you have a "prior", you can also check the category report to see if the "prior" values show, but the "current" column should be all zeros. You may choose at this point to make a backup of the database (see below). Each time you transmit/capture you should also view one of the reports to see if the totals and entries make sense, until your feel for the system becomes second-nature. The Area Report will show all dollar values captured, but perhaps with a few "unknown" lines if you do not have all the categories you have keyed into your machine listed on the Categories page for that store. The other reports will be "short" until you have added those categories to the list. Troubleshoot this by going to the Manual Entry page and scrolling down to the section & side (by numerical code) to find the dollar amount you have keyed in which shows as "unknown" and see what category you have keyed in. If it's correct, you need to add it to the categories page, if incorrect you can correct it with the interface.
Choosing a "Page" to work with
Each "page" you enter (except for the "pop-up" reports, drive content display, etc.), is designed to be a user interface for the various functions of the system. There are several buttons at the top of each page which are used to navigate through the system during your session. Feel free to go to any one of these at any time, as the system always remembers your currently active database, and any actions you may have performed have already been saved.
Any page without the navigation buttons is a "pop-up" page, and can be safely closed when you are finished using it, and you will be returned to the main "working window" area behind it. Your database is immediately updated after every "submit" click or "capture", so if the browser crashes or the PC needs to be restarted, no data will be lost. Make every attempt, however, to shut down and reboot your PC normally whenever possible, as occasional database corruption can happen during a cold shutdown (unplugging the PC/Laptop with a no battery or a dead battery, during thunderstorms/power failures, etc. Outside of these cases, database corruption is very rare. When clicking a "submit" button on any page, you will need to wait until the page fully reloads and updates the data, don't be "quick on the trigger" and close actively processing windows, or some data may not be processed correctly. It is a good idea, however, to backup the data often (via the "Backups/Clone" page) in case a glitch on the hard drive causes it to be unreadable at some future time, or if you make the mistake of capturing the wrong transmission (from an older date) or the same data twice, etc. See the information below on "Transmission Utilities" to remedy these last two cases. Do not "refresh" or "reload" any of the pages (except reports), all pages which update any data are set to automatically refresh and reflect any new information entered immediately. A manual "refresh" will most likely duplicate the the data which you have just submitted, causing the submitted data to be doubled or repeated. If you have a report page opened or minimized in a separate window or tab, you may refresh it to show any changes made by using an interface elsewhere. The recommended alternative is to close a report and re-open it after any changes, to be sure you are viewing the latest display of it.
A note on using the forms
When you are entering data into the forms on each page, there are a few useful tricks to know. As soon as you hold the mouse over a field or radio button and click the left mouse button, the browser will put you into "data entry mode". You will see a vertical bar allowing you to enter data in the field, or if you click on a radio button, it will get a black dot inside the button. Remember that if you are using a line that has a radio button, a black dot must be made to appear inside the button for it to be able to perform its function when you click "submit". Any other buttons that have a dot will lose them (become de-selected), so that only one function is performed at a time. A few pages have radio buttons already "pre-selected" (have a black dot at the outset), these being the most common options, so all you need to do is click "submit" to perform this action.
In MAS versions starting in December, 2009, the "Departments" and "Categories" pages (as well as the entry page for the evaluation report) are already set to be in "Mouse Bypass" mode, meaning that the first field is selected and highlighted in yellow at page loading. No mouse is needed, simply start typing, then tab to the next field (or shift-tab to go back) and lastly hit enter to post. This will save a lot of time to enter adjustments for the stores that are heavy on purchases, credits, use book figures, and have quite a few departments. The new "Store Evaluation" area incorporates this too, on the grading portion of the page.
There are many ways to not enter enough data (or invalid data), not choose something correctly, or not to have filled in enough fields for an action, etc. This system anticipates virtually all of these oversights, and when you click "submit" in these cases, usually no action will be taken which can create problems or change anything. Clicking "submit" on any page without filling in any boxes, too, is usually harmless, but DO check for any radio boxes that are selected by default.
Once you are in data entry mode, if you then hit the "enter" key, the "submit" button will automatically be activated for you, no need to click on it. (The exception to this is the "text area" at the bottom of the STORE INFO page, where you can add text to print on the cover page. When using this field, you will have to click on the "submit" button manually when finished, as the "enter" key there will allow you to make new lines in the text, and in effect will just function as a "line feed" key). Some of the pages have more than one "submit" button, located nearby where you are working, for convenience. There is NO difference between them, any one will accomplish the same "submit" function for any field or radio button on the page. So if you are not sure which "submit" button to click, be assured that any one will do the job. When using the radio buttons, be sure you have the correct button of your choosing selected (having a black dot) before clicking "submit", as in most cases, there is no second chance on these selections. Once the "submit" button is activated, any data entered or action chosen will automatically be entered/performed, and the page will reload. Long scripts may take several seconds or more before the page is reloaded, you can watch the progress bar at the bottom of the browser page, ALWAYS wait for the "re-load" to be complete, judging by the browser's progress line. Otherwise the data may not be quite "ready" from/to the device you are saving to/loading from, or any reports you may run prematurely may not reflect the update. While in data entry mode, you may use the tab key to advance to the next field, or shift-tab to go back one field. Using this method will save quite a bit of time over positioning the mouse over each field before entry. Be careful to review your entries and choices before pressing enter to submit. Also, on any page, you may use the "home", "end", "page up" and "page down" keys to scroll vertically up or down. The arrow keys (up/down) work nicely as well, for scrolling on a page (if it is not in entry mode already). This will save time over using the mouse/scrollbar method, especially on a laptop. On the "manual entry" page, you will first need to click your mouse on the upper frame once, to be able to use the up/down arrows for navigation.
Store Info Page
This page is fairly self-explanatory. Simply enter text for any fields you would like to change, for either the store or the inventory company, and click on "submit". If you operate with more than one business name, you may use different names (companies) for different stores or chains. Likewise, if a different auditor counts a store the next time, he may enter his name in the "Inventory Rep" box, and you may change it back to your name the following time. Only the fields in which you enter new information will be changed. To clear a field, click on it and enter a "space" character. At the bottom of this page is a "text area" for entering comments about the store. You can enter over 65,000 characters here (if need be) using the scrollbar when the box is full, or just a short comment. It should be set to "N/A" or blank originally. This text will appear only on the "cover page" report, if you choose to print one of these. The text will remain here permanently for this store unless you change it at the next inventory. Enter N/A and "submit" to set it back to the original. You can also "edit" the text from your previous session, by left-clicking your mouse over the old text to highlight it, then right-clicking on the highlighted text and using "cut" "copy" "paste" or "delete". You will have to use the "submit" button manually for this text box, but you can use "enter" to make new lines here, as mentioned above.
If you have used this page to verify you have selected the correct store, and have checked and/or corrected the above info for this store, you may use the "click HERE" link at the top of the page to return to the database selection page and SET CURRENT TO PRIOR before starting a new inventory. No need to re-select this store if it is shown as active.
Manual Entries Page
Even if you do not have a compatible DC 2.5 with the correct program, you can conduct your entire inventory via manual entry, though it will be more time-consuming.
If you do use a transmittable machine, you can make quick dollar adjustments using this interface (without keying them into your machine), to save time (for the current inventory only, as the prior is "locked").
This page is split into an upper and lower area. The top table shows the information currently in the store database (section/side/category/current/prior, etc.) and the bottom area is the control panel to make changes. If the top panel does not load at first, please reload/refresh the page.
Initially in "template" there are a minimal set of "lines" to work with. Cloning from another store, you "inherit" all the lines which that store previously had. If you are using the manual method (that is, not using a "transmittable" counting machine), most likely you will need to add quite a few new lines here to suit your needs (you will generally not need this if you transmit the machine directly, as all new lines needed are created automatically when capturing, yet never duplicating any line which already exists with the same section/side/category combination). To create "new lines" manually, use the "Add new line" function at the bottom, typing capital "N" into the special box for this and then "submit". Then edit the new line to the values you need, using the last full line in the control area and changing the three fields (after typing in the new line's line number into the first field). After creating a new line, it will initially appear at the very end of the list on the upper frame of the page, once the page reloads, showing "99 99 150" for its initial values, and after editing it, it will be be moved to its proper place in the sorted list automatically. If you are using the "transmit" method, be very sure you never later manually create a new line with the same section, side and category combination as may already exist. If you do so, the next time you transmit to the database, your count will be captured to both lines, doubling the value of that information into the inventory. On the area report, however, if this ever happens, you will see two lines (one under the other) with the exact same information, so this should be easy to spot. Simply go to the manual entry page and delete one of the lines, in such a case, preferably the one which may have $0 for a prior.
The table in the upper window will always be sorted by section, side and category. You may use the "page down", "page up", "home" and "end" keys (as mentioned above), on this or any other page for ease of navigation. You may have to left-click once in the upper window to be able to use these keys.
Sections & Sides
The complete list of supported "default" sections and sides follows here, this is the list which is included with the "starter database" named "template". If you have requested a "custom" database file, they may be completely different, and set up tentatively for your needs, subject to your further review and modification. The method of accessing and modifying these lists will be explained under the "reports" section, as the modules for maintaining these lists are included via a link on the "reports" page. You may use any combination of sections/sides/categories in your data. If you choose to NOT use sides, pick an unassigned number such as 0 or 9 and use that one number consistently for the "side" when counting. A "blank" side field will then appear on the area report, and the data totals will remain consistent. Since a side is always needed when keying, I generally use "front" for the cooler doors, and "main location"/"second location"/"extra location" for the checkstands, stockroom, and deli area, and include the "beer cave" as a part of the "walls". If you have more than 25 cooler doors, you can use "main location" "second location" and restart from 1 again for a different wall. Use your imagination for any unique circumstances, but stick to your scheme for all stores. You may also modify your sections & sides from the outset using the interface explained below. Since version 5.5, we have been using Area 50 for all cooler doors (along with sides 21-45 for doors 1 -25), and have discontinued using areas 11-35, though you may use either method if you wish. Using areas 11-35, there will be a separate area total line on the Area Report for each cooler door, making for a longer report. With area 50, all doors are combined into one area total.
1 Gondola 1
2 Gondola 2
3 Gondola 3
4 Gondola 4
5 Gondola 5
6 Gondola 6
7 Gondola 7
8 Gondola 8
9 Gondola 9
10 Gondola 10
11 Cooler Door 1
12 Cooler Door 2
13 Cooler Door 3
14 Cooler Door 4
15 Cooler Door 5
16 Cooler Door 6
17 Cooler Door 7
18 Cooler Door 8
19 Cooler Door 9
20 Cooler Door 10
21 Cooler Door 11
22 Cooler Door 12
23 Cooler Door 13
24 Cooler Door 14
25 Cooler Door 15
26 Cooler Door 16
27 Cooler Door 17
28 Cooler Door 18
29 Cooler Door 19
30 Cooler Door 20
31 Cooler Door 21
32 Cooler Door 22
33 Cooler Door 23
34 Cooler Door 24
35 Cooler Door 25
50 Cooler Doors (by side)
53 Deli Area
59 Floor Displays
60 Other Location
10 Main Location
11 Second Location
12 Cooler Backstock
13 Beer Cave
14 Extra Location
21-45 Cooler Doors (by side using area 50, 21= Door 1 up to 45= Door25)
Be sure to program your DC using these (or the definitions you have chosen and set up from within the interface) before creating your first store database. The "text" names entered into in the DC need not be exact, for example you can just use abbreviations such as G1 for gondola one, as long as the allowed sections, sides & categories are the same as the ones which have been set up in your configuration of the application (or the default). The actual text descriptions used on the reports for sections, sides, and categories are pulled from the "live" databases in the system, either the default descriptions or those you have modified. MAS does not care what descriptions you may have in your machine, it only takes in the numbers, and it ignores any store headers or info as well.
The supported departments and categories are viewable under the "Depts/Sales" and "Category" links at the top of each page, and can be modified to a great degree. These lists include any custom modifications you may have made, or which are provided in your "custom" database (if provided). You may go to these pages to view or print out a list of these. You may print out ANY page displayed by the system, even if it's not a report, as all pages are displayed as web pages. Just print any one out as you would normally print a web page. In the case of categories, if you use more than 3 cigarette categories, or multiple cup categories, you may want to change the description in the machine as well for ease of reference, but try to make your system standard for all clients.
You will only need to add the categories you will be using to the DC, NOT any of the departments, as the departments are basically used only by Mountain AuditStreams internally to condense several categories into summary lines on the summary and book inventory reports.
Manual Entry Control Panel
A separate line is used in the "manual entries" list for each time the section, side or category differs. There should be no duplicate lines, just a separate line for the same section and side if the category differs. If you are using the automatic transmit-->capture method with a live DC 2.5, a new line will be created automatically in the data table if that particular section/side/category combination did not already exist in the table. Doing the inventory is as simple as "transmit" "capture" and "print", you should never have to create a "new line" manually unless you are using the "manual" method with a machine that cannot transmit, such as an ICAL. Entering sales, purchases, etc., will be discussed below.
Other features of the manual entry control panel:
Manual adjustments: To add or subtract a dollar amount for the current inventory on a particular line, enter the line number (extreme left) and the +/- figure in the box and click submit. You may delete a line as well the same way, if unused, but take care that the current & prior are both zero. Any lines which have both current & prior with a zero dollar amount will not appear on the reports (except the new Category History Report), so check that report too, if you use it. The Department History Report archives its data in a separate table, so no modifications here (except for the current dolloar amount) will affect that report. Deleting lines is discouraged, unless you use the system fully manually.
Note: the quantities will not be adjusted by modifying a line, so if any of the reports you use show a quantity for that category, be sure to adjust the quantity manually, on the categories page. If you move current dollar amounts from one line to another to correct a category, you should also move the affected qunatities from one to another via the categories page (if any of your reports will show quantities for that category). Likewise, if you use the Category Quantity & Price Comparison Report and wish it to be accurate consistently, please be careful when making corrections in your machine (moving large dollar amounts from one category to another with a quantity of 1). Make quantity corrections where needed using either the interface or the machine. In the case of the machine, for example, you can see the old quantity before deleting it. If it's 500000 ($5000) with 300 pieces, you can enter 499701 x 1 then 1 cent x 299 to preserve the quantity to the destination category. Remember that in the interface, numeric entries are decimal-based, you need to use a "dot" and two figures for the cents. If you enter a figure without a decimal, it is assumed to be a "whole dollar" amount. Be careful not to key in a comma rather than a decimal point. If you key in a comma or other non-numeric character by mistake, the digits after that character will be ignored. On the "Manual Entry" page, all lines are sorted by section, side and category. The "line numbers" (far left) represent the actual line numbers in the data table, for example if you had 300 lines and you just captured a transmission with a new category on a section/side which was not there before, there will now be a line 301. Be careful if you add a line manually, there should never be a duplicate line with the same section, side and category. If you are running the system on a completely manual method, this may not affect you, but if you transmit with a machine and there are two data lines with the same section/side/category, the dollar amount from the machine will be posted to both lines, doubling the final figure.
Edit line number: This will change a line by any or all of the three fields specified. Use this with great care also, if a line which you need already exists, just do a + dollar adjustment into the target line, and a - dollar amount from the line you do not wish to use. There should never be any two lines with the same section, side and category. For Internet Explorer users (the default browser), there is now a link on the bottom line of the manual entry page called "scroll upper frame to former position: click HERE". Once you click "submit" on the manual entry page, the top half of the screen will refresh. To make the upper frame go back to the position you had scrolled to before clicking on "submit" button, simply click on this link, on the word "HERE". This will allow you to easily double-check the changes you made to any particular line. If you are using Firefox, the system should automatically reload the top frame of the screen to its former position, hence this feature is disabled for Firefox.
First you will need to "transmit" to the PC using the instructions at the end of the "Using the National Datacomputer 2.5" section (Start-->Run-->Transmit), make sure it loads the 3 files and then hit enter again to run the translation program. For Linux, there will be a desktop icon to run the transmit program. When this is executed, a converted file named "TRANS.DAT" is created in C:\Datacomputer which is "capturable" by the Mountain AuditStreams system. One of the files transmitted by your machine, "SUBTOTAL.DAT", contains the raw strings of numbers used to create this. In the Datacomputer directory there is a program called "TEXTCONV.EXE" which translates these raw strings and creates "TRANS.DAT" as part of the transmit procedure. This program requires the files BRUN20.EXE and BRUN20.LIB to work (which must remain in place). Note that in Linux, your directories "Datacomputer","mybackups" and "mysqlback" will be under "/opt", and the scripts in /var/www (most likely, depending on which Linux you use), as mentioned above. The TRANS.DAT file is a text file with tab separated values of the summary data you saw when doing preview or capture. This can possibly also be used to import to a spreadsheet, though I have never tried this. The first value of each line is the word NULL, followed by a tab, then the section, side, category, dollars and pieces, followed by a line feed (with each field separated by a tab character). Next, be sure to bring up the "Transmit" page in Mountain AuditStreams as well. First, click on the "PREVIEW TRANSMISSION" link, which will open a new window and show the values which are queued for capture. If the total is equal to what you have keyed into your machine, close this window and click on the "CAPTURE" link given on this page. Another new window will open showing the same data, but this time it will have been posted to your store. You may print this out for backup purposes, if you are new using the system or if you have experienced any problems, as you can simply re-key that part of the inventory using this information. Once you close this window you will not be able to see it again (without double-posting), but you can bring up the "PREVIEW TRANSMISSION" page again before another machine is uploaded. Do not execute the "CAPTURE" function again until another machine is uploaded, or you will duplicate the transmission into the store totals. Do not "refresh" or "reload" the pop-up window, or the data will also be duplicated. Close the information window when finished reviewing/printing. Care should be taken to avoid the following instances: If the DOS-level "transmit" function mentioned in the DC 2.5 section above fails, you may be capturing an old transmission from another day & store, watch the results in the "transmit" DOS box for success. Before a second person uses the "transmit" (DOS box) function the data must be captured with "CAPTURE" on the web page as just mentioned, or else only the second person's transmission will be captured. If you use the same machine to transmit more than once, any "sent" data on the machine must be cleared before continuing the count. Be sure to pay attention that the grand total in your machine matches the amount shown when the "capture summary" comes up. On rare occasions, even with the correct procedure, the system may not save the correct information when you "transmit". Re-transmit the machine if this is ever the case. Use the "PREVIEW TRANSMISSION" function each time before you do the actual "CAPTURE", until you are fairly sure it works perfectly every time. If you are new to MAS and the data appears wrong or shifted, be sure you have the field widths set correctly in your machine. This can only be done on a cleared machine. At the bottom of the "Transmit" page is a link for "TRANSMISSION UTILITIES". Click on this to bring up the "TRANSMISSION UTILITIES" page in a new window. At the bottom of this page will be a table showing all the "lines" transmitted to the current inventory (and others as well if you did not clear the transmission history on the database selection page). You may delete or re-post any range of line numbers from the current inventory (and same DBNAME as the active database) using the instructions on this page. Close the page when finished, then view a report (on the reports page) to see the results of these actions. It will NOT let you post a transmission or set of lines to a different database name than the one for which it was originally created. Also, if you are working on any lines here for a particular database, that database must be the currently active database or no action will be taken.
Reports: Part 1 (be sure to read all "Reports sections")
There are links to each report on the Reports page, and each one will open in a new window or tab when the link is clicked. Review and/or print the report and close the new window when done. The reports will always show the current date on the computer as "Today's date" at the top of the report. There are also two other "date" lines on each report, one showing the "current inventory date" and one showing the "prior inventory date". On the reports page, there will be three "radio button" options to manage the dates printed on the reports. Before printing any reports for an inventory taken "today", you need to click on the first option (then "submit"). This will set the "current inventory date" on the reports to "today's date" as set on your computer, and save it to the database. The date/time in your computer needs to be set correctly. If you come back on another day to print more reports to fax to the customer, do not change any dates. When you are finished printing all the reports, before exiting the program, you will need to select the second option and click on "submit". This will set the "prior inventory date" to today's date, so at the next inventory you will have the correct "prior inventory date" on the reports. If you have just cloned or created a new store, you must select the third radio button for "Set prior inventory date to zero" and click "submit" to avoid the date from the other store's "prior" from appearing as the prior inventory date for the new store. Then (for the new store) you will still need to run the second option after all the reports are finished (at the end of the inventory) to set the date correctly for the next time you count this store. If your store is a new clone, be sure to also clear the history, as mentioned above.
There are particular issues you need to be aware of when running the reports. If you allow your DC to transmit a category which is not in the list on your "categories" page for that store, the dollar amount will be shown in the area report as "***UNKNOWN***" for the category, but this dollar amount will not appear on the other reports. Similarly, if you key in sections or sides not in your sections or sides list (go to Feature Maintenance on the Reports page to view/edit them if need be), they will show up as "......." "......." on the Area Report, but the dollar amounts in this case WILL appear on the other reports. You may go to "Manual Entries", find the offending line (it's easiest to look for it in conjunction with the dollar amount), subtract the amount from the newly created "bogus" line and add the amount to a "supported" line for it to appear on the other reports. That way the other reports will also show the full total. If it's for a category you actually DO wish to use, simply add the category via the Categories page for that store (with the correct department association), re-run the Area Report and the "unknown" should be gone and now show the new category. You may also make corrections using your machine (negative and positive), and then transmit/capture again to fix a problem.
In MAS versions (approximately 2006 & later), the area report should show any detail lines where the comparison amount is a negative in the color red for the last field (difference), and brown for the same field for the area total lines and the grand total line. The same for the category report, red in the detail lines, and brown the the grand total line. The summary report will show the cigarette category quantities (only) as brown in the "selected category" table but not any others (selected with "P"), and just the CIG QUANTITY TOTAL in brown. The "Book Inventory Report" will also highlight negative differences in color, but not the "Summary Report".
Finally, if you need to create an archive of reports, such as a copy of any current report (as a snapshot in time), or to have a method of e-mailing any report to a client later, you will need to save a copy of any of these reports to your hard drive. While the report of choice is being displayed on your browser, go to the top left corner and choose "File"-->"Save As" and save the report to the special folder (directory) of your own choice which you have created. It would be wise to create a special folder for this, for all clients or per-client. You must change the name from the report name to something indicating the store name and including the date (use underlines for the date, such as store_123_summ_10_25_07), and save it as "HTML only". "HTML complete" will work also, but it adds the nasty feature of saving the background image in a subdirectory, which is a waste of space. These can then be printed later at any time by opening them in your web browser, or sent to clients as an attachment to an e-mail. Much more simply, if you have the MAS system installed to your home computer, you may load up the store once arriving home (from the pen drive backup created on your laptop while at the store), view a report while running MAS, and while online to the internet, and simply click your browser's function "send page by email" (for each report you wish to send), without having to save or back them up in any way.
Reports: Part 2 (standard & new reports added 2004-2009 - see Part 3 for 2010)
Already mentioned above are the Area Report and Category Report. The Area Report gives a several-page detail of all that has been counted, by section, side and category for the entire store, including the current and prior dollar amounts. The Category Report summarizes the totals by category for the current and prior inventories. The Summary Report "boils up" multiple categories into just the "departments" you have chosen to associate your categories with, resulting in a generally one page report if you use just a few departments. This report will also show adjustments to the inventory, such as sales, purchases and credits, which you have entered directly into the system via the "departments" page, not using your machine. It also includes a cigarette count table by category, and you may also add non-cigarette categories to that table if you wish to do so (see the instructions for the "categories" page). The Book Inventory Report starts with your adjusted totals from the Summary Report. If you add book figures (which the store will supply) for each department you use into the form on the departments page, this report will serve as a "short/over" report for the entire store. The Cover Page can be a good PR enhancement if sent to the home office. The text is standard, but allows "special notes", which are entered via the "store info" page. These are the core reports we have been using since 2004. Several of the reports now have an "ink saver" mode, as mentioned near the top. These provide the same data, but less elaborate table borders.
The History Analysis Report was added in mid-2007 with the first version 3, and is now incorporated into all later versions. This report will show the current inventory by department, as well as the history by department and full-store for the current inventory as well as the previous 6 audits, as the history accrues and populates the new tables. It has quite a few features, such as variances by dollars and percentage per department, and averages. You can also later post a revised total book figure for any previous month. Due to the width of this report, you may choose to print it in landscape mode. It is important to remember to "set prior inventory date to today's date" at the end of each inventory, as these dates will also become archived for the 6 month "running period" and cannot be easily changed later, except by the command-line method (call tech support for instructions), or the new PHPMyAdmin system that comes with Version 5+.
Full description: This report will show (by dept and for the full store) the dollar variances from the previous inventory, the percent variances from the previous inventory, short/over figures by dept and full store for all the periods involved, as well as percentages, and have a summary table including this information both for "only" the depts having a book figure entered, and for all depts. This way each can be compared separately if a book figure is lacking for a department (on one hand), or show the combined result (for example of the client was only able to provide one book figure for all depts). There is also an average for many lines on the report, which take into account only the non-zero columns, effectively preventing the averages from being skewed by months which have no data or where no data was available. At the bottom of the report is an area which indicates if there has been any "revised booking", which means a revised "total store" book figure given to you at a subsequent inventory. By default, these lines will be the same as the two "incl all depts" lines, unless you enter a non-zero revised over/short figure into one of the "priors". To do this, click on the link for "Feature Maintenance" on the "Reports" page and read the section on "post revised over/short figures". This should be fairly self explanatory, and you can play with this by entering data for one of the six prior fields, and loading and/or reloading the history report to see how it is affected. Entering a zero dollar amount into any of these fields disables a revised figure for that month. Here's one peculiarity which you may notice on this report: If you begin counting a new department (or just start using the new report for the first time), and the figure for it on the history report goes from zero to any dollar amount, it will show an increase of 100%. The percent variance is only an effective tool when the levels are fairly consistent. When an amount decreases on another month, the decrease will show the accurate percent decrease, and likewise for an increase, but (for example), if a decrease occurs bringing the dollar amount for a department to a very low level and then on the succeeding month to a very high level (for example from $300 to $10,000), it WILL show an increase percent variance of well over 1000% for that month (100% would be if the value doubled). So basically, the maximum "down" variance percent can only be 100%, while the "up" variance can be any value, in the case of a very high swing from non-zero. In some cases it may seem to be skewing the average variance percent in these cases, but it's actually doing its job correctly.
The history report is much wider than others, and you will need a browser that can scale the page or "shrink to fit" to avoid it dropping a few of the last columns, or else you can try landscape mode as long as you remember to switch back afterwards for other reports. The newest Internet Explorers do have this capability, once you set the printing options. Firefox can generally handle this as well, except on older laptops with low screen resolution, then you may need to tweak it or use landscape mode.
On the "Feature Maintenance" page is an option to clear/reset the history for one store (by code) or all your stores. The "one store" option is needed to clear the history if you have cloned a new store and do not wish to have the "cloned from" store's data included in the new store's data. Do this after you have cloned the new store, already set it as the active database, and have set current to prior twice and have set the prior inventory date to zero. You may also clear the history for any particular store or all your stores using this page. You will probably never need to use the "clear/reset" history data feature for "all stores" unless you (for example) wish to clear the history data for all stores at the beginning of a new year. This will (as of version 6.0+ in 2010), clear all the current data as well as the 6 priors for all reports. The "set current to prior" twice is needed (before running this) to clear the current & first prior dates, as well as the inventory adjustments from the old store.
DEPARTMENT COST REPORT - As of November, 2008 a department cost report has been added. Often, especially at buy-sells, the customer would like to have a cost amount for certain (if not all) departments. On the "Depts/Sales" page is a new box to add a markup percentage (up to 3 digits plus decimal, such as 33.33, but which can be up to 999%). For any departments you expect to print on your summary report, you may add a percentage here. Simply type in the department number, a percentage, and click "submit". The new report will take the adjusted total by department, and calculate the cost prior to markup. It will also display the markup amount based on the cost, as well as the calculated gross margin. For example if you have $10,000 in grocery and you use 40% markup, it will show $10,000 as the adjusted inventory, $2,857.14 as the markup, and $7,143.86 in the cost column, with a gross margin of 28.57%. A zero percentage (default) will show the cost the same as retail. As of MAS version 5.0 (July, 2009), the "departments" page also has a link to a "GM to Markup calculator". If you wish your cost report to be based on Gross Margins by department, simply use the calculator to find the markup % to use for a particular gross margin using this tool, then plug in the decimal figure given to you on the "alert" pop-up into the "cost markup %" field for that particular department. You may go back and forth between the calculator and departments page by using your browser's tabs, but close the calculator when finished.
Reports: Part 3 (New reports included in versions 6.0+, February, 2010)
In the latest versions, 5 new reports have now been added (as of February, 2010)
First off, there is an additional version of the Summary Report, called "Summary Report + Average Prices". This is the same as the standard Summary Report except that it includes an average price column in the selected categories table lower down. This can help troubleshoot cigarette counts, to be sure the prices you have entered per pack are reasonable. You can view this as a personal tool and not neccessarily as the version you wish to print for your clients.
Second, the Brief Area Report. This is the same as the Area Report but does not list any categories. Instead, it just displays sections, sides, and area totals. Each side contains the combined dollar amount for all categories counted on that side. It will be quite a bit shorter than the standard Area Report and can be used to save ink and paper if your client does not need all that level of detail, since you will still have the category totals on the Categories Report.
Third, the Category Quantity & Price Comparison. This report displays your counted categories along with the pieces and average price per piece for both the current & prior inventories. This is a great side-by-side comparison tool to help troubleshoot counting errors.
Fourth, the Category Cost Report. If you do not wish to use the Department Cost Report, this provides a greater level of detail. You will need to enter a markup for every category you use except cost categories (rather than for the departments). This is accomplished by a couple of new fields on the categories page. You can use the flag "C" and have a separate table of cost categories appear at the bottom of the report. It uses the same GM-to-markup calculator as for the Department Cost Report, and the procedure is the same as mentioned above for that report. This report uses a separate system from the Department Cost Report, and the factors are stored in a separate location. This is similar to the gross margin report that comes with your DC's, only that the margins do not get entered into the machine, just the MAS interface.
Fifth and last, a new Category History Report. This is similar to the History Analysis Report in that it shows 7 months of data (as it accrues in your tables), but does not have detailed analyses, and it's based solely on the raw category counts. You can view 7 months of your category counts side-by-side to help your client track the ups-and-downs of the category levels. Only rounded whole-dollar amounts are shown, to keep the report to a reasonable width an for ease of reviewing.
Reports: Part 4 (sub-features of the reports page)
The "Reports" page features some new additions as of October, 2007.
Under "Feature Maintenance" you will now find these options, in addition to the history data options (clear/reset options and post revised over/short option mentioned elsewhere):
Section Maintenance: This will display the currently enabled sections for the current database, in a table at the bottom of the window. You may completely revamp the entire list here if you choose. Each "submit" click will accept the new data (if any valid data was entered), and re-load the list with the changes. This should be self-explanatory. Be sure to use this early on in your initial setup process before you start cloning stores for daily use. Particularly, if you need a custom setup for a certain chain, do all your work here for their very first store so that all their "clones" will "inherit" the custom setup.
Side Maintenance: This will display the currently enabled sides for the current database, in a table at the bottom of the window. You may completely revamp the entire list here if you choose. Each "submit" click will accept the new data (if any valid data was entered), and re-load the list with the changes. This should be self-explanatory. As above, be sure to use this early on in your initial setup process before you start cloning stores for daily use.
For both of these functions, if you decide much later that you want to add new sections or sides to all or some of your pre-existing stores, you will have to load each one up as the active database in succession, and make these changes the same way for each store manually.
Add spare categories: If you feel you need a few new categories, and either do not wish to re-number any existing categories or have simply run out of them, add one or more here. Try to use one that is not in the list at the bottom of the page, or it will be overwritten. This is fairly self-explanatory. There is no "delete" function". Once, added, go to the "categories" page to work on it, as far as the description & details go. Be sure the "categories" page is not open in another window at the same time, or else you will need to leave it and come back to see the new category.
Added in 2009 (later 4.+ versions and version 5.+). Store Evaluation feature.
The store evaluation feature adds the capability to "rate" or "evaluate" the condition of a store, which is particularly useful when sent to headquarters management of a multi-store chain. This reports the managers' and employees' performance on various levels, as well as tracks the progress of up to 30 questions over a 7 month span, including individual question averages and overall grade averages of all questions. All text is customizable, though a default set of 15 questions is provided. You may reset all scores to zero (due to a new score clone or new manager) using a simple reset button and then clicking "submit".
For the audit trail, run "audit". This was previously "xctrail" in older versions. To do this under Windows XP/Vista/7, go to "Start-->Run-->audit" (without any quotes) as you would for the "transmit" function. It will open Wordpad with the text. Note that as of version 5.5, the name is audit and no longer xctrail. Print this out if you wish. Under Linux, there will be a desktop icon for this, and it will open with "gedit", you may choose "run" or "run in terminal" (after double clicking the icon) if it asks, then wait until the editor comes up. The data file for this will be overwritten the next time you transmit, so if you feel you will need this, print it out right away after uploading your data (and staple it to the printout of the transmission "capture" summary, as mentioned above). If your customer requires frequent audit trails, you may want to transmit after each area or gondola and print an audit trail out each time. In most other cases, I usually only transmit twice, once after cigarettes (and often the entire checkout area in the first transmission after conferring with store personnel on my cigarette count) and at the end of the inventory, as the machine program is very stable and is unlikely to drop except in the case of serious machine failure or physical accident. Most users of the DC handheld app have gone for years at a time without dropping the handheld program. When Wordpad opens, you may need to select the "wrap to window" option under "View-->Options". Close the window when finished, or use "file"-->"exit/quit". Repeat the command if your system is a bit buggy. After running one this app, there will be a ctrail.dat file in your Datacomputer hard drive directory. If you think you may need to save these audit trails for possible printing/reviewing at a later time beyond the next transmission, you can "save as" from the text editor to a different name of your choosing at any time, to make these trails available later. Do NOT (if you can remember this) save copies of the audit trails to the default path (Datacomputer), but rather save them to "My Documents" or another folder of your choice. This will avoid cluttering Datacomputer with anything that is not useful. If you ignore this advice and then at some point go into Datacomputer to try to prune out un-needed items, if you happen to delete the wrong file(s), you will render the system unusable. Besides using the audit trail per customer request, it's very useful to check for keying errors. Remember the location where you have saved these. As it is, there is no "edit detail" function in Mountain AuditStreams. If you have made a mistake in a section/side/category for some entries, simply clear your machine after transmitting, and re-key the "plus" amounts again (using the audit trail as reference) with the proper information. Then either use your machine to adjust the errors (using negative entries so that the machine total is zero) and re-transmit, or else use the manual entry function within the program to adjust it. You can also transmit the + corrections, transmit them and view the "transmission capture summary" for these, and then key and transmit the negative entries and then transmit these, to make it easier.
As mentioned above, this is the only place, once in the system (other than the similar link at the top of the "store info" page) where you can link back to the "Database Selection Page" to change the active database (see above) unless you close the browser and restart Mountain AuditStreams.
This page contains "radio buttons", be sure the correct one is selected before clicking on "submit", as there are no "second chances" here if you make the wrong choice. Also, you will not get any error messages if an action fails (for example if you try to backup to pen drive with no drive present). By default, "backup to hard drive" is selected each time this page loads/reloads, and it will be run if you click "submit" and choose no other radio button. This is usually always harmless, and repeating it doesn't hurt. The correct radio button for a particular function must be selected by clicking on it, then this one action will be carried out with the next submit click. It is always a good idea to make both a hard drive and pen drive backup each time you transmit & capture, and before clearing your machine, once verifying that the totals have been properly incremented by looking at one of the reports. "Backup to Hard Drive" creates a separate database image on the hard drive as of the time you execute the command, and the (current) live database being used is not affected. This is useful if the live database you are working with (for some reason) goes corrupt, or you subsequently enter or transmit some data that you wish you hadn't. If you capture the same data twice (or forget to clear your machine), you can always restore the earlier backup from your hard drive. Use the options on the "TRANSMISSION UTILITIES" page under the "Transmit" link to correct most of these duplication problems. Also be sure to make a backup before you need to reboot the computer for any reason (power problems, printer error, browser error). It's a good idea to have a backup in case your computer locks up, as this is the primary cause of a corrupt database. "Restore from Hard Drive" will overwrite your current "live" database with the info as of the last backup, if one exists, use this if you have any errors with your current database. When you perform a backup to pen drive, you can also port a store to a different PC, as the database image, with data, will be created on the pen drive. In this case, on the new PC, you must first create a database of the same name as the backup from the other PC (without the .sql suffix), using "template" or any other file as the basis for the clone. Then switch to the "new" database name via the "click here" link on this page (which takes you back to the database selection page), choose the new database name to be active, go back to the "backups/clone" page and then do the pen drive restore, which will bring in all the data from the backup, overwriting the temporary "clone". On the restores, the system will always look for a backup with the same name as the "database currently in use", hence the above procedure. Backup files will be created with an ".sql" suffix. To check the contents of the Hard Drive backup area, or a pen drive, choose one of the links below the main area. These are in brown, and a new window will open showing the contents of each of these locations. Be sure the pen drive is inserted (and mounted correctly if using Linux), and that the pen drive letter is set correctly. The full filenames (at the far right of each line) are the ones you will want to refer to for the actual filenames. The date and time of each backup will be shown here as well. If the drive is not mounted correctly, you may still see two lines of text, but not any "real" files. Close these window(s) when finished viewing. The "Clone to a New Database" function requires an entry in the corresponding box of up to 10 characters. It will automatically clone your current database into both a backup of the new database name, as well as make it available to be used as a new "live" database when you click on the "Click HERE to change the active database" link. Though it may not lock up the system (on Windows), the pen drive functions (after a call to them which produces an error) will most likely not work again (on a retry) unless you reboot the computer. If you encounter a situation where pages refuse to complete loading (on Windows) after using a failed pen drive option, it is best to close all windows and reboot the computer. Remember that all backups and restores will automatically be performed once clicking on "submit", without a confirmation dialog, and the old files will be overwritten. Likewise, if you clone to a "new database" name which already exists as a "live" database, its contents will be overwritten by the database you are cloning from. You should never have to do a "restore" to the "live" database unless you have corruption problems, or have made errors in your procedures.
Pen Drive / JumpDrive functions
A Pen Drive or JumpDrive is a removable media which acts similarly to a hard drive, and plugs into a USB port. These are highly recommended for backing up stores and are very inexpensive. On Windows XP/Vista/7, these drives are usually automatically detected (except for some off-brands or older models), but sometimes you may have to wait a bit for it to configure a driver. When you first use MAS, at the top of the "Backup/Clone" page, the drive letter is initially set to a cetain letter value, such as E or F, which came with the CD installation. You must reset it for your computer. This is not automatic. First, plug in your drive, and have it be recognized by the system. Open your file manager (Windows only), if need be, and verify that it is mounted before continuing. Usually Windows will pop up a window showing the files and the drive letter. Next, enter the drive letter (if different from what is shown at the top of the page) on the "Enter new drive letter here" line, in the box (no colon), and click "submit". The page will reload (wait for that), and show the new letter at the top of the page. Then you may use the "Backup to Pen Drive", "Restore from Pen Drive" and "Display files on Pen Drive" options. Linux users: see the information at the beginning of this document. The system will only read/write from the main area of a pen drive, not to/from and subdirectories, so be sure your drive is set up that way. An alternative way of backing up all your store files periodically to a pen drive would be to copy the contents of your "mybackups" directory drive using your file manager. If you are porting store files from another computer via a pen drive, be sure to have temporary clones (or pre-existing databases) of the same name created (on the destination computer) before you restore these files via the utilities on the "Backup/Clone" page. You may also copy those files into mybackups (from pen drive), once you already have temporary "live" databases of the same names installed on the system, then use the "restore from hard drive" function to pull them into the live databases in succession. NOTE: If you make a clone later, these backups will be overwritten, so be sure to do this in the correct order. Check the "store info" page and one or more reports for reasonability, when you load a backup file into the "live" database. Be sure to keep a second backup in case of corruption problems. I usually keep the hard drive backup "safe" as a last resort when performing any potentially corrupt restore from another medium.
As of November 2008, there is also a "delete" database funtion. This will delete the database currently in use from the "live" database area, as well as any backup on the hard drive, but it will not remove any pen drive backup. You will need to prune these by hand if you really do need to completely remove the store from the pen drive as well.
As of November 2008, there is also a "dump all databases" and "restore all" function. This will create one .sql backup file on your pen drive which will contain all the databases. This is useful for porting all stores to a new computer. It will create a big file called xxdbxx.sql. Then, using that pen drive on the new computer, you can do a "restore all" and it will load up all the stores there into the "live" database as well as create a hard drive backup for each one, as of the date/time the backup was created. You do not even need to have those stores already in the list on the database selection page, it will automatically populate the list. You can sychronize all the stores for all teams on all computers this way, but first (on each computer), the carrier of the older inventory for any particular database must delete the database from his computer. This will avoid anyone getting older, obsolete data. No need to worry about any older pen drive backups, in this case, as it's a separate dump/restore system. You can port all databases between Linux and Windows computers this way, provided they are both running the newest background system versions. If you upgrade to a newer background system, it can still work with older backups, but once the new system "recycles" them one-by-one, you can't load them back to a computer running an older version. So basically, you need to bring your systems all up to the "same page". Contact me, and I will work with you if you have any such issues. Also note that on the target computer, when you load a dump, the pen drive letter and working database name will be changed to what is was on the originating computer.
This page will allow you to enter all the current inventory (additional) info, such as the starting and ending readings (ending will be added by 1/2 the difference), purchases, credits, and book figures (if your store provides any of the above). See the reports section above for information on the cost markup field (new feature). Again, remember that numeric entries are decimal-based, you need to use a "dot" and two figures for the cents. If you enter a figure without a decimal, it is assumed to be a "whole dollar" amount. As mentioned above, even though amounts in the thousands are displayed with a comma for the thousands, never use any commas when making a numeric entry into a data entry field. If you enter any "starting sales" amounts, you must enter a figure for "ending sales" of an equal or greater amount, or else the resultant sales amount on the summary report will be less than the "starting sales" amount. This function adds the first column plus half the difference between the first and second columns to arrive at the sales figure on the summary report. So if you enter the starting sales and leave the ending sales blank, the result will be half of the starting sales. Purchases should be added as a positive amount, these figures will become negative automatically on the reports, to adjust the inventory back to the start of the day. Credits should also be entered as positive, they will be added back into the inventory as positive to adjust the inventory the same way. Book figures provided by the customer, when entered, will appear only on the "Book Inventory Report", comparing the adjusted total (which includes purchases, sales and credits) against the customer's figures for each department. These five fields are automatically cleared out from the previous inventory when you execute one of the "set CURRENT to PRIOR" functions on the "Database Selection page" for this database. The number of departments are fixed at 40, however you can change any description if need be, or use different numbers for any department names from one chain to another, for example if you want to match the numbers they use on their Ruby registers. If you change the descriptions this way for the departments you will be using, you will be able to have them print in the customer's "preferred" order. Be sure to go over your category list afterwards and make sure the associations are correct. If you enter any sales, purchases, credits or book figures for a department line, and you did not count any dollar amount which posts to this department, that information will be ignored and not create a line on the summary or book inventory report. There must be a "counted" dollar amount in your machine which posts to a specific department, to make a line for that department appear on these reports.
You may use up to all 40 departments (and reset/modify the descriptions if you wish, but be sure all your categories point to a only a valid department you will be using (see below). Any fields left blank will not be changed when the "submit" button is clicked.
The list provided with "template" is the list we use, but is only a suggestion. You will need to program your DC to only accept the categories you will use, unless you remember not to use un-listed categories while keying. I have all the supported categories in my DC, even though I may not use them all, but I make sure that each one will post to a valid department I will be using on the reports, in the event I do choose to use one or more of the lesser-used categories at some point. I do not have any categories in my DC which are not in the category list for all of my stores, as a safeguard. IMPORTANT: Do NOT key in any dollar amounts into a category your machine might be set to accept, if that category number is not on the list (on the "categories" page) of the store you are counting. If you add a new category to your machine for use in some stores, try to add them into the "categories" page list for all your stores. By default (as a safeguard), EVERYTHING you count for ANY store (even with a bad category) will appear on the area report (and in the "manual entry" area). Bad categories will show up as "***UNKNOWN***" category on the area report. To remedy this, (1) Add this category to the list for that store on the "categories" page, or (2) make a correction on your cleared machine for this and re-transmit/capture it, or (3)Go to the "manual entry" page, find the offending line there, and move the dollar amount(s) to a valid line (the manual entry page WILL show anything captured to it, even unsupported categories for that store). These amounts (for "Unknown" categories) will NOT, however, show up on the category, summary, or book inventory reports. Thus the totals may be inconsistent and you can "short" the inventory by not taking this into consideration. When setting up your categories initially, you may re-number any category number to a different number using the last line and "submit", or you can use these default numbers and change the descriptions using the top section, entering only the fields you need to change and leaving the others blank. In this manner, you can completely re-customize the category list (category numbers and descriptions) to your liking, but remember to do the same in "Edit Master Files" on your DC. If you run out of category numbers, there is a function to add new "spares" via the "Feature Maintenance/Installation" link on the "reports" page. Once you understand this system (and the method), you can have a consistent category list for all your stores, both on all your clones and in your DC. Advanced feature: To customize this category list, you may re-number any or all lines, as well as the descriptions. Your DC's will need to be programmed to match the changes. If you plan to use an entirely different scheme than the default, be sure to do these actions at the time of your very first clone, and then be consistent for all your stores. All categories must be set to a valid "department association". All new clones made subsequently from your first completely "customized" database will reflect your new category list this way. Print out this page as well as the departments page. Look at the category association column. This signifies which department the category will post to. If you are only using cigarettes, grocery and beer, for example, you should have no categories (which you may possibly think of keying in for that customer) that are associated with numbers other than 1, 4, and 8, and you would change the department description for 8 to "Grocery" rather than "Grocery-Edible" on the departments page. This is very flexible, but you need to be thorough and consistent as much as possible. You need not change the category description in the DC if you are entering a special description here (for just a few stores), as the description in Mountain AuditStreams is the one which will appear on the reports, just make yourself a mental or written note if you need to use a category differently for a special client. In the "selected category feature" box, if you set the value to a single asterisk (it is already set in "template" for the default cigarette categories), the quantities will be printed for that category on the summary report in a special table (as well as the dollar amounts) if not zero. The quantities for these "selected categories" will also appear at the bottom of this special table in the "CIG QUANTITY TOTAL". If you wish to "feature" other categories on this special table (such as phone cards, etc.) which are not cigarettes, enter a capital "P" (instead of *) in that box. For example, we have a client who wants beer and beverages in the cooler backstock separated and totalled on the front page "Summary Report" rather than have to hunt for them on the Area Report. We created categories "902" and "920" and used "P" to accomplish this. Then these will also appear in the "selected category" table but the quantities will not be added to the "CIG QUANTITY TOTAL". In the newest version, all cigarette quantities should print in brown, as well as the "CIG QUANTITY TOTAL", leaving any other quantities in this table to print in the default color (black or another color you have set in your system properties). You should use "n" (without the quotes) to de-select printing of categories into this special table (in the sample store "template" only the cigarette categories are selected by default with *), but any character other than * or P will disallow "special table" printing. All of the non-cigarette categories defined in "template" are already set to "n" by default. When you capture a transmission, the quantities are automatically added here (whether or not they are selected for printing) and can also be adjusted +/- with this form. The quantities are cleared when the next "set current to prior" is executed. IMPORTANT: If you have a certain category which has been selected for printing in the special table mentioned above, and move any dollar amounts into it via the "manual entry" page, without actually having transmitted/captured any dollar amounts for that category via your machine, the quantity for that category will still show as "zero" on the "categories" page and thus will not show up when printing the special table on the summary report. To remedy this, you must go to the "categories" page and set the quantity for that category at least to 1. In addition, you should try to keep the quantities as accurate as possible using the quantity adjustment on this page, especially if you are using the new Category Quantity & Price Comparison Report. Also on the categories page are two new fields used for the Category Cost Report. You may ignore these if you do not use that report, otherwise refer to the information above regarding this, for that report. For that report, markup percentages must be entered (only for retail categories), and for the cost categories the cost flag must be set to a capital C.
Any printer which is capable of printing web pages from your browser will work, parallel or USB. There is no printer configuration in this application, it's all done in the browser. Any page within Mountain AuditStreams may be printed from this browser-based system, not just the reports. Test your printer by using the "file"-->"print" option in your browser if you have any doubts. This is how you will be printing all the reports when running Mountain AuditStreams. A dialog box will pop up, then choose your printer. Generally, since this is a newer "graphics-oriented" application, dot-matrix printers are not compatible. If you wish to use a dot-matrix printer in an emergency, you can go to "edit"-->"select all"-->"edit"-->"copy" on the reports pages, and then paste this into notepad and print from there (if you use wordpad or other editor be sure to save as text-only and re-open it [NOT rich text]). You will then need to edit the text with tabs, spaces, etc. to improve the appearance. This will usually only work if you have the generic/text driver installed, so plan ahead and go to your "add printer" settings, create a new printer and choose "generic" then "text only" from the choices, as there's always a chance it may ask for your windows CD or require you to be online. Then, if your printer fails when on the road there's always a chance your store may have a dot matrix which you can use, though this whole situation is almost moot nowadays, as usually a parallel port is required, which most newer laptops no longer have (though there may be some aftermarket special cables for USB). Another method would be to save the reports as html files to your pen drive, load them up to the store's computer, and print them with their setup, if they allow you.
For normal printouts using a newer inkjet or laser printer, you should adjust the margins (make them smaller, and even try "zero" ) in your browser's "page setup". There are usually settings in your printer driver's configuration where you can to set the print mode to be "draft" by default, this will make everything print a bit lighter and save a lot of ink. Also, you should be a able to set it to use black ink only (or grayscale), if you wish. If you don't set these as defaults, you can still change them each time you print a report, by hand, under the "properties" setting of the printer driver, when you bring the "print" dialog box up in your browser. Note that in some cases, you may have to print the History Report in landscape mode to get all the columns, but be sure it's changed back before printing any other reports.
In recent versions, starting in late 2009, there is a link for PHPMyAdmin at the bottom of the reports page. With this you can go in and change any data value for any field of any store, outside the MAS interface. This is mostly for the tech-savvy, and I would not allow any "employees" to use this unless they have proven themselves. A "bad" change could ruin your live database, and you will have to reload from a backup. The user for Windows is root (for Linux it's MAS), and the password in both cases is masuser3141. The most common reason to use this is to correct the prior inventory date, if you have forgotten to do this at your last inventory.
Never change the password, as the inventory interface is also programmed to look for masuser3141.
To change the prior date, for example, single-click on one of the store database names on the left of the screen. Then click on the table called “storeinfo”, also now on the left of the screen.
In the center of the screen, click on the pencil for the second data line (seq #2). Then on the
very last line called “ldate”, at the very right, you will see a little calendar icon. Click that,
choose the date you want from the pop-up calendar, then hit the “GO” button just to the right
on the next line. The change will be made and you can then close the entire web page window. For the history reports, the prior & five previous month's dates will be in the "pdates" table (d1-d6). Adjust these the same way, carefully, if need be. Be careful not to change anything else unless you know exactly what you are doing.
The last link on the reports page, "PHP INFO", will bring up some harmless information about your system in a new window, but will not generally be of much use for most users.
Summary of competitive features
- Uses a native handheld program that almost never drops, adding dependablity
- Uses the function key to navigate, not the "x" key, to avoid accidental upscrolling
- Only uses 3 fields, section, side & category (besides prices/quantities)
- Handheld does not need to be updated for each store, uses the same configuration for all
- Easy cloning of stores and an attractive browser-based graphical interface
- Works with any inkjet or laser printer for which you have a driver installed
- Works with a dot-matrix printer without a driver (for emergencies) with Notepad pasting
- Audit trail: will show chained entries 3 deep, and full detailed information
- Breaks out quantities/dollars for all cigarette categories, and any other categories selected
- Includes department & category histories for 7 months, and average price comparisons
- Two available cost reports, one by summary department, one by category, using markup or GM
- Shows detailed "prior inventory" figures, customer information, dates, and extra text
- Provides an easy hard drive/pen drive backup system to manage your store databases
- Has support for sales, purchases, credits, book figures and features 12+ unique reports
- Reports can be e-mailed to the client with just a few clicks if online
- Any number of stores can be backed up to pen drive and ported to other computers
- Can be used without a handheld if you have the time to do manual "summary" entries
We hope this introduction to Mountain AuditStreams gets you up and running quickly and informatively, best wishes putting it to use, and any suggestions are appreciated.