All our software is multi-user right out of the box and 75% of our customers are using our software on a network within a year. Networks pay for themselves. If twice as many people are selling tickets, you make twice as much money.
We recommend a peer-to-peer network for up to about four users. Peer-to-peer networking is built into all Windows operating systems. All you need to do is connect the network cables to a router and configure the computers.
With more than five users in a peer-to-peer, you usually notice a peer-to-peer network slowing down. Then, you have to do what everyone else does: get a dedicated file server. This usually means either a Windows server or Linux (Samba, actually). In our office, we use both Win2K and Linux.
We have been pleasantly surprised by Linux with Samba.
It has been simpler, faster, and more reliable than Win2K. This is not a recommendation that you use Linux. Setting up a network is a serious matter. Whether it works or not depends on the people behind it. Linux has no tolerance for incompetence.
Note: If you need to hire a consultant, hire one that works in both Windows and Linux. Our experience has been that they are far better than the consultants who say they are, “Windows only.”
If you are planning to buy a new computer, get a name brand. And, get the OS version built for business (not home) use.
Yes, you will spend (a little) more. Don’t be concerned. You want to make money with a computer, not save money. We say this because the low priced computers you see advertised are very often not built for hard work. Any money you save will be paid back in the various forms of agony that flaky equipment can give you. One other thing: make sure the purchase price includes a year of on-site service in case any problems occur.
If you are purchasing a new computer, you will probably also have Windows XP or Windows 7. Make sure you get the office edition. The home edition has built-in limitations. It seems to have problems printing to other workstations on the network. It is also limited to five network connections.
Most of the Vista compatibility problems with printers have been fixed. You can download updated drivers from seagullscientific.com.