Thursday, July 25, 2013

Change AX for Retail POS background color and create custom POS skins

When in the AX 2012 for Retail R2 POS, you may notice the background color is dark, light, green, etc. Depends on what is already configured (See Figure 1 below for dark theme).  You may want to change this theme.

Note: In order for the theme to be changed, you need to actually close out of the POS.exe instance and open a new one.

You can make changes to the theme via the visual profile in Figure 2. Alternately, for adhoc changes that will be overridden the next time the registers N (or A) job is run, you can make the changes in the RetailVisualProfile table to the POSSkinName field. This is a string so you can only put the following values out of the box (using default data):
  1. 'blue'(Figure 4)
  2. 'dark' (Figure 1)
  3. 'gray' (Figure 5)
  4. 'green' (Figure 6)
  5. 'light' (Figure 7)
  6. 'pink'. (Figure 8)
These options above are user configured so you can add your own if you have a DevExpress license. Remember that the POS uses a third party setup for POS layouts. In order to make a new skin, you need to use the SkinEditor located at '<root>\Program Files (x86)\DevExpress <version of the product>\Components\Tools\Windows Forms' For more info, see

Figure 1- The POS 'dark' theme

Figure 2 - AX Visual Profile for setting the POS theme color

Figure 3 - Changing the visual layout in SQL

Figure 4 - Blue theme

Figure 5 - Grey theme

Figure 6 - Green Theme

Figure 7 - Light theme

Figure 8 - Pink theme

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

AX for Retail 2012 R2 Signature Capture Device: Equinox L5300

NOTE 2/26/2016 - There are number of new tested devices that exist for the new Dynamics AX for the Modern POS and Cloud POS.

NOTE 11/10/2016 - Here is a list of the tested POS Hardware Peripherals. It includes an Equinox L3500 which appears to be a different device than the L5300 discussed below 

In AX for Retail 2012 R2, there is support for signature capture devices. This was a big gap in the previous versions of the POS solution.

While there is support for OPOS and Hydra devices, as of 7/16/2013, there is currently only one Microsoft tested and support device for signature capture: Equinox L5300. Thankfully, the device has a lot of fantastic features.
Some features of this device:
  • PCI PTS 3.x compliant
  • optional: NFC/contactless reader (eWallets) (ISO14443/ISO18092)
  • Magnetic Strip
  • 5.7" glass, color screen (640x480)
  • Audio speakers/jack
  • Side lit PIN keypad with privacy shield
  • MicroSD port for additional memory 
  • Attached stylus bracket (for signature capture)
Being PCI PTS 3.x compliant means that the payment terminal has been vetted against the most recent important improvements in 1) security against most recent threats, 2) power consumption, 3) ease of integration, and 4) BOM Costs. The L5300 device should be compliant through April 30, 2017 (Approval# 4-60108) at which point Equinox will need to get it re-evaluated for compliance. See compliance verification here:

The large color screen on this device is perfect for displaying promotions, advertising, news, etc.

The NFC (Near field Communication) is great for eWallet convenience. I'd use it more if I wasn't afraid of getting stuck without a credit card when I need them most. Check out Google Wallet as this device can support it.

Some more information:

Here is a neat article about the L5000 series devices:
"The L5000 series, Equinox’s next generation of high performance multimedia payment terminals, breaks the confines of the traditional checkout lane and can be used throughout the entire retail store. In-aisle product location, barcode price checking, gift card loading, wedding registry processing at kiosks, and health insurance card processing in the pharmacy are just a few of the options offered by this extremely flexible line of terminals."

Here is some information about the pricing and availability from a few places. NOTE: If you are buying these in bulk for an implementation, you should call Equinox and negotiate a bulk price. It's usually a good idea to get more devices than needed for replacements or backups. Its better to have one and not need them than not have one and need one. Making that extra with a spare may pay for itself in as little as a day especially with express shipping or the risk of a discontinued product.

The item new from Amazon is supplied by PC Supply ($546.00+12.00S&H) and YvonBrice ($620.00+6.49S&H).

New from Newegg is 540.99 + $3.99S&H

I tried to look the item up on CDW and it appears to be discontinued.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tips and Tricks: Booking a hotel during a busy convention week when no hotels are available

Occasionally there are times when you need to book a hotel in a city that happens to have a very busy convention going on. It can be next to impossible to find reservations for those weeks without staying 50 miles from the center of the action.

To get address this, I'd suggest looking at boutique hotels. Most people will look to the Hilton, Marriott, Starwood (SPG), Hyatt, etc directly from their corporate websites. They may also use websites like Travelocity, Priceline, Kayak, Hotline, etc to find availability in bulk at good prices.

The thing with these strategies is that they can miss the small, boutique hotels that don't have large advertising budgets or the ability to list themselves on these major deals websites. The prices may be a little higher in some cases (and you probably won't get your preferred loyalty points) but you'll find some hidden gems and be in a location you want to be in.

To find these hotels, you can do the following:
  1. Go to Bing/Google and type in 'Hotel [CITY]' (ex/ 'Hotel Miami')
  2. Call a local travel agency 
  3. Call a membership service like Visa Signature or AAA
  4. Check out one of these sites below: 
This has saved my ass a few times so hopefully it will help someone else.