Maxident Software Dental Practice Management Program Fri, 02 Oct 2015 20:25:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Windows 10 is Here! Thu, 20 Aug 2015 21:36:08 +0000 With much fanfare, Windows 10, Microsoft’s latest and final operating system, was introduced to the world on July 29. If first impressions mean anything, Windows 10 looks to be a vast improvement over the colossal misstep of Windows 8, and a solid foundation for Microsoft to build its new perpetual operating system plan on. With all the hoopla over Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer, the calls have already started pouring in from our customers asking whether they should make the move.  And so far our answer has been an unreserved, “No.”

Here are five reasons for not hurrying to upgrade:

  1. The free upgrade offer is good for a whole year so there is no rush to cash in on it right away.
  2. One of the main selling points of Windows 10 is that it abandons the almost universally despised Windows 8 interface – losing the “Charms” bar and restoring the Start button – making the user experience more like Windows 7.  So if you’re still using Windows 7, from a usage point of view, there isn’t any reason to rush to switch.
  3. Microsoft will not be discontinuing security updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8 anytime soon. Support for Windows 7 will run until January 2020 and for Windows 8 until January 2023.
  4. Old printers, scanners or other attached legacy devices may not work. Microsoft has never guaranteed that drivers for legacy hardware will work with new operating systems – and all too often they don’t. If you have devices attached to your computer, you need to be sure that they are Windows 10 compatible drivers available for them.
  5. You don’t want to be a guinea pig. Even the most rigorous pre-release testing of a major software release won’t find all the bugs. There will always be hardware and software compatibility issues that only come to light once the operating system goes into general release and members of the public start to scream. It is better to wait for the dust to settle and the fixes to be released than to be one of the ones feeling the pain.

Upgrading too quickly to a brand new and largely untried operating system is never a good idea. There are always issues discovered once an operating system goes into general release. Sometimes these inevitable problems are relatively minor and can be corrected with a few Windows patches or driver updates. Sometimes it takes a while to achieve a degree of relative perfection – Windows XP SP2 – and sometimes the OS is such an irredeemable failure – anyone remember Windows ME? – there is no salvation and it has to be junked.

Which of these will Windows 10 be?  If I had to guess, I’d say Windows 10 is going to be a keeper – and Microsoft is betting the farm on it.  But still, before rushing out to install, consider this: in the first three weeks of its release, Microsoft reported that Windows 10 had been installed on over 14 million machines.  In that same period, there also pushed out three cumulative update bundles to fix bugs and patch security holes in their new OS. That’s a lot of people, discovering a lot of problems.

Generally speaking, unless you’re feeling adventurous, it’s a good idea to wait at least six months after a new operating system has been released before considering switching to it. Many large corporations wait years after an operating system has been released before they are satisfied it is worth the time and trouble to make the move. So sit back and wait for the kinks to get worked out of the (operating) system. Windows 10 is going to be around for a long time yet, so why not bide your time and play it safe?


]]> 0
Conversions: A Scary Undertaking or Golden Opportunity? Thu, 25 Jun 2015 20:05:14 +0000 You’re not happy with your current software, but the thought of switching is daunting. Your concerns run the gamut from “will I lose all my data” to “will my staff be resistant”. These are valid concerns. While no software company can guarantee 100% of your data will be converted, you want to ensure that critical data is successfully transferred.

The key to ensuring a smooth transition is through a sample conversion prior to pulling the trigger. A sample conversion is where a “test conversion” is run and the resulting data is reviewed with you thoroughly. This also includes a written report of what is converted. The Deployment Coordinator, Lucia, will ensure the maximum amount of data can be converted. However, nobody knows your data better than you and your staff. For this reason, we also show you the results and go over the written report to confirm you know what you’re getting.

This process can take some time. The review period helps to identify items to save time when you make the switch to digital. Keep in mind, however, that not everything will come with the converted data because of how each software stores the information. The time involved in a great conversion is time well spent!

This is a golden opportunity to identify bad practices and habits your staff may have developed over time and to change those practices for newer, better ways that will improve a myriad of things from workflow to accessing income hidden in your charts.

“Okay, but now how do I sell it to my staff?” Simply put, you tell them, well in advance, that the decision has been made to switch software and that you expect their support and cooperation.  While I’m not suggesting that you disregard their feelings, you must make it clear that this is a business decision and it’s your business to run as you see fit. You cannot avoid the staff being nervous about change, but change is often for the better. When the staff are very resistant to the change, they generally do not learn the new system as well as those who accept it. They may try to undermine the efforts for change because they are comfortable in their current set-up. Let’s face it, they will no longer be able to do their work while on auto-pilot… and that’s a good thing!

A conversion from Maxident software will set you free! Contact us to find out how!
call 1-800-663-7199 or  or visit our Data Conversions page.

]]> 0
Cloud Computing in Dentistry. Is it Safe Yet? Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:46:52 +0000 I have said time and time again that the future of computers is in the cloud. This is especially true for businesses. However, let’s really take a look at cloud computing in a profession like dentistry.

Today, increasingly, large companies are on the cloud. More medium sized businesses are getting on the cloud and soon, small and home-based businesses will be there too.

The type of data businesses carry – public information (like name, address, phone number, email etc). Maybe a credit card number, an order for products, a shipping address. Other businesses have inventory, accounting records in the cloud. If you are in trucking, you might have logistical maps.  If you are in manufacturing, you might have supplier information (i.e. other business listings).

All of the above details are either public information, or insurance, like credit card and banking information. In summary – all this information (data) is “transaction- based”.

In dentistry, your data is not transaction-based. It is medical-based and there is no insurance policy that exists to cover breaches in personal medical information.

Until you can buy insurance to cover a breach, why would anyone take the risk? People’s lives are ruined because of pictures on the internet– never mind private medical information that is now public. Imagine the harm!

In conclusion use your judgment and decide what is best for your practice and the risks!

]]> 0
The Cloud, Your Data and Security Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:31:19 +0000 Millions of people around the world enjoy the convenience of using “the cloud”. The idea of being able to store your information somewhere, out there, and being able to access it from anywhere, is very appealing. However the question that far too few people ask is, “Where exactly is ‘out there’ and how secure is my data?”

The answer is usually far from reassuring and should give many people pause.

Every cloud provider out there will tell you that they take every possible precaution to protect your data. But systems often fall horribly short. The massive Target retail breech last Christmas isn’t specifically an example of a cloud service failure, it does paint a very scary picture of the data security of a large corporation, housing millions of pieces of sensitive customer information.

This is an event that should never have happened. The security company monitoring Target’s computers spotted suspicious activity before the breech occurred and alerted Target’s corporate security team of the threat. Target reacted by doing nothing. Nothing, that is, until after some 70 million credit card numbers, customer names, address and other personal details were sucked out of their corporate computer network. Then they started damage control.

Most recently there has been an item in the news concerning an Apple iCloud security breach that resulted in a number of celebrities having embarrassing personal materials stolen and released onto the internet. Apple says that it is “outraged” by the theft, denies that it was in any way at fault and advises its customers to “always use a strong password”. On exactly how the breech occurred, Apple has no comment.

It is only because of the very public nature of this breach that we are aware of it happening so quickly. Nude pictures of popular celebrities popping up on the internet tend to draw attention. But in most cases when large scale data breaches are discovered, they not revealed to the public, or even the affected parties, until weeks or months after the fact. You’ve been robbed and don’t even know it.

Here are a few very scary truths about putting your data out on the web.

Passwords can be hacked. Most common passwords are vulnerable to simpler dictionary based attacks, but even more complex passwords can be cracked by “brute force” attacks.

Data can be captured in transit. Unless your data is encrypted while it is being uploaded or downloaded, it can be stolen while it is still in route between your computer and the server off in cyberspace.

People are inherently unsecure. Never share your passwords or security information with anyone. If you get an unsolicited phone call from “Microsoft Support” asking you questions, hang up the phone.

Hackers will target the juiciest targets. That means that the bigger the cloud storage provider the more likely a target they are. If you’re going to rob a house, why chose the gardener’s shack, if you have the millionaire’s mansion next door? How big are these targets? In addition to Target, Sony, Evernote,, the US Federal Reserve, Adobe, Heartland Payment Systems, Dun & Bradstreet, Living Social, TJX, and Facebook have all been recently hacked.

Thieves aren’t the only ones who can get at your data. The US government has made it clear that they believe they have the right to look at the data stored on the servers of any American company no matter where in the world the servers holding that data are physically located. Data owned by foreign nations, or their nationals, they don’t even blink before helping themselves to. Even companies like Google make no secret of the fact they are scanning your emails to more efficiently target you for their advertising.

Before blithely sending your information off into the cloud like a note in a bottle, ask yourself, the following questions:

  • Where is my data going?
  • How is it getting there?
  • Who will have access to it?
  • How do I know it will be safe?
  • What would be the consequence if it were stolen?

If you feel comfortable with the answers to these questions, then welcome to the cloud. If you don’t, then thinking twice, or even three times, is probably a good idea.

]]> 0
Reasons to Upgrade Your Hardware Sat, 25 Apr 2015 19:28:56 +0000 Few things in this world advance as radically, yet integrate themselves as completely into our daily lives, as technology. The internet is nearly ten times larger now than it was in the year 2000. Fifteen years ago Google did not exist and only five years ago no one had ever heard of an iPad. While the changes made in the area of the old standard personal computer (PC) in the same period have been far less dramatic, they have been no less significant. While many people may hold with the adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” the truth is there are some very good reasons for replacing older computers with current technology.


One of the most frequent complaints of computer users is how their computers seem to get slower over time. The most common cause for this is that the computer user is demanding the computer do more with the same limited resources.

Software applications are always designed to take advantage of the capabilities of current hardware specifications. Users running older, outdated computer systems are at an immediate performance disadvantage. The old Pentium 4 chip, once considered ‘rocket speed’ has now fallen to the level of the horse and buggy. A standard i5 workstation processor provides over eight times better performance than the old P4. That means a computer is able to efficiently run more applications concurrently while still providing faster response time.

When processor speed and performance are joined with advances that allow for more and faster RAM (the memory to run programs) to be installed in modern PCs and increased access speeds for hard disks (storage space) older computer systems simply cannot hold up under the demands of software designed for the current generation of computers. In addition, new computers are designed to run 64 bit operating systems which provide an additional performance boost.

No one likes to sit, staring at the computer monitor, waiting for something to happen, but that is the inevitable result of running outdated computer hardware.


Microsoft has announced that Windows XP, the operating system standard for over a decade, will reach end of life in April of 2014. After that time no further updates or security patches will be released for it. Security analysts are already concerned that, given the large number of outdated but active computers that will still likely be running XP at that point, hackers are frothing at the mouth in anticipation of the huge opportunity that this will present them.

Updates aside, newer operating systems, such as Windows 8 and the much more popular Windows 7, are inherently more secure than Windows XP ever was. The quantum leap advancement of defensive technologies built right into current operating systems leaves Windows XP’s Data Execution Prevention (DEP) in the dust.


Your computer will not last forever. Like everything else computers age and wear. Ambient conditions and just general use and abuse will cause the computer to eventually fail. The most vulnerable component is arguably also the most valuable – the hard drive that holds your data. The nature of the design of the standard, spinning hard drive means that it will eventually slow down with age, inevitably become unreliable as it begins to fail and finally die. Proactively replacing aging computer equipment before it fails is far less traumatic and disruptive than dealing with an unwelcome and unexpected hardware failure that will inevitably occur at the least convenient moment possible.

While updating computer equipment to meet current standards is wholly desirable, there is such a thing as being ahead of the curve. ‘Bleeding edge’ technology refers to releases that are so new that they have yet to be properly vetted leaving users subject to unexpected and unwanted bugs, glitches and headaches. The most prevalent current example of this is the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8.1. The rollout of this much anticipated update to the still fledgling Windows 8 operating system has been plagued with issues. Because of this we caution all our customers to avoid updating to Windows 8.1 until Microsoft has had sufficient time to address the myriad issues reported.

Maxident will be happy to direct our customers in replacing outdated computer equipment, including putting them in touch with hardware vendors offering computer systems fully in compliance with the specifications for running all Maxident software applications.

]]> 0