: Offices In Vancouver & Calgary

Dec 31st, 1969, 07:00 PM

Apr 22nd, 2004, 01:41 AM
I would really like some advice on what our company should do. Please keep in mind that we're basically a two person operation, I'm not loaded with money and I'm not an expert in Macs/computers. I really need some creative, inexpensive options. Here's the setup.

Vancouver: One G4 400 tower with 10.3.3, ms office, filemaker 6 (single,) and the usual apps. High speed cable internet through shaw (dynamic IPs.)

Calgary: Has the same as Vancouver, only it's a TiPowerbook. There's also one HP PIII used for shipping with Purolator, but this is really not in the picture.

I'm looking to solve several issues.

1) Filemaker database. We have developed our own db and use it to manage our contacts (2500+). These contacts are constantly changing and it's hard to have both the Van & Cal db's up to date. Currently, we stuffit the db and email it over (Calgary is the master copy.) It would be very nice to both access the db and modify it as we go along. Any advice?

2) Share folder. I can't explain how important this would be. I'd like the ability for both offices to easily/quickly access a shared folder. For example, we have 400+ logos of companies we use on a fairly regular basis. Vancouver has a copy of all 400 on their computer - Calgary has a copy of all 400 on their computer - not efficient. I'm thinking approximately 900MB would work best, but any size would work better than now.

Thanks in advance.

Bertrand (Fr)
Apr 22nd, 2004, 04:12 AM

I suggest you this.
1) Set one computer, the one at Calgary with a static IP address and why not a domain name.
2) Use a ftp client as Transmit or Pure ftp to copy files from Calgary to the rainy city. smile.gif
3) Using a network Filemaker license on the other end you can fix the database inside Calgary system.

Apr 22nd, 2004, 04:18 AM
I also manage a two man band.

Easiest by far has been to share data on iDisk, using the same .mac ID for both machines (we've increased storage to 300Mb)

Apr 22nd, 2004, 10:40 AM
Bertrand - Thanks. Thought about the static IP and network FM, but too much $$$$. Would also involve switching ISPs and who hosts our site. Complicated solution - but it would work.

Moscool. Couple of questions for you re .mac.

1) Are you both able to access the iDisk at the same time?
2) If I were to put a copy of the FileMaker database on the iDisk, would this allow us both to access it at the same time?

Thanks for you help. Keep the ideas coming!!

Apr 22nd, 2004, 11:35 AM

Here is how we are organised:

- We have one .mac account; we both use the same signup information on our machines. We basically treat the iDisk as a shared drive

- We keep a local copy of iDisk on each machine and sync manually or automatically. If we had filemaker or another contact manager on our system we would probably set it up as remote/laptop delayed synchronisation. This would avoid conflicts. I presume that you would need 2 FM pro licenses for this to work properly

- Other things that we do: use iSync for Address Book. This means that we only have one address book for both of us but of course you can create as many groups as you want. We also publish/subscribe our calendars and sync them through iSync (the calendars to not get synched to .mac: no need for that, but they are synched to our respective PDAs and telephones using iSync.)

Finally, don't forget to back up the iDisk every now and then, even if you have already have a copy on each machine, just in case you get a corruption and all copies lose data at the same time...

Apr 22nd, 2004, 03:28 PM
Thanks Moscool. Question about your address book. Let's say you iSync at 9am. On your address book at 10am you add new information on PAM. At 10:04am, your partner adds new information on DAVE. How are things synced so that both address books will have info on PAM and DAVE? Is there a master Address book?

Apr 22nd, 2004, 05:24 PM
The .Mac account is probably the best option for a small operation with limited resources. Try it for now.

However, for business-critical use, sooner or later you're going to have an issue with uptime, which isn't 100% on .Mac. Down for an hour or two every once in a while is no biggie for an individual, but it becomes an issue if you need your 99.9% uptime for business use.

To see if .Mac is OK for you, try accessing your iDisk on a Sunday afternoon around 4PM or so; it seems that everyone in America is uploading photos that day every week, and it shows; things are sluggish.

If funds permit, now or later, then a copy of Filemaker Server on a static IP (behind a firewall, etc) would allow live access and updating for both offices (or more, actually).

In this scenario, the Server app has all the data and each of you can update whatever in real time and that updated info would be available to both of you instantly.

For that to work, you each have to have a copy of Filemaker Pro locally. And somewhere (could be one of your offices) have an older computer host the Filemaker Server app behind a static IP/firewall. You could use a Mac or a used Windows machine (FM is available for both platforms and doesn't have problems with Macs accessing a Windows version); the host computer wouldn't have to be a speed demon; used ones probably would be fine.

Fixed IPs are available from SaskTel DSL for $10~15 more than DHCP, so I would expect similar pricing from Telus. All in all, that's probably the cheapest solution, because that office could use the same DSL connection (which you probably already need or use).

Not sure if there is such a thing, but there are a lot of consultants who specialize in Filemaker solutions, so I wouldn't be surprised if a little poking around led you to a company who would agree to do the server hosting and would have the expertise to keep it up and running smoothly.

If you can't (or don't want to) use one of those guys, I don't see how it would be difficult to get pretty much any ISP who offers hosting to agree to host your Server App and provide disk space and a static IP/firewall/etc.

The ISP hosting would probably offer such nice things as regular backups, which you would have to insure is done if you host it yourself.

[ April 22, 2004, 05:44 PM: Message edited by: gordguide ]

Apr 22nd, 2004, 07:35 PM
- I usually have no probs during work hours, although I would concur that weekends can be slow. Also, be aware that your first iDisk sync on each machine will take hours (like 10!) no idea why.

- There is no master file for address book. So you can have have info. slightly out of date

- Address Book is not really robust, just very easy to use. If you need something more pro, why don't you look at DayLite 1.6 (just out on versiontracker). The license comes automatically for 5 clients. I guess that the setup would be one machine operating as both a client and a server, with the other as a remote client. Download a free trial version and talk to the tech support guys in Toronto: they are very friendly

Apr 23rd, 2004, 11:40 AM
Hi interact. The previous posts regarding getting a static IP is pretty much a MUST in your case. Sharing your db rather than transfering data solves both your data changes and also the storage of your logo's as these could be stored within your db. (Although I'd recommend a second db as part of your solution just for them.) ***It is important to note that your regular copy of FileMaker allows you to share out your db to a small number of users (10 I believe). You DON'T have to purchase the server version. Your costs would be for the static IP ($??) and a hardware router such as a Linksys router w/switch which only costs under $200, pretty cheap really. If getting a static IP is not available then the option of getting a company to "serve" out your db solution is the second best alternative. Cost would prob. be a bit more than than the first alternative. Lastly, and I do mean lastly for various reasons, FM6 does have the capability to script email actions. An all in one script existing on both computers would have an export for all records updated and one for all new records. It could then send an email containing these two text files to the other station where the user would manually import each. This export/email could be performed on a set time once or twice a day on each computer. This of course would not take care of your logo "issue".

Apr 23rd, 2004, 12:32 PM

Tony Wong
Apr 24th, 2004, 05:32 PM
Use the dyndns.org service, with a program that will monitor your IP updates. That way you can fake a static domain over a dynamic IP. It's free. You can make this a one way (cal to van) or both ways if you like, just create two hosts.

Share your filemaker database. It is included with any version of filemaker pro. That way you will not experience any sync issues. If you've designed the database properly you will have minimal sharing/lock issues. Point the client to your dynamic dns service.

Share your files using file sharing, and point the client to your dynamic dns service too.

Make sure you're aware of password management and security and open up the ports of your firewall/NAT for either service and you're done.

Total cost = $0

Bertrand (Fr)
Apr 26th, 2004, 03:54 PM

You have now a lot of issue to do what you want.

The other guys of this channel have add a lot of precisions.

Filemaker is free for sharing in little structures, dyndns.org can solve your static IP and provide a domain for you and OS X is strong enough for security protection.