Recently (February 2012) Mainpine released new firmware for the IQ Express fax boards (all revisions). Because Mainpine felt that the problems addressed in the firmware update were significant, Mainpine sent out an announcement via e-mail to as many customers as it could and made telephone contact for many more in order to ensure as wide of a distribution of the firmware as possible. The response was tremendous and was exactly what was wanted out of the announcement. Mainpine has been very busy ever since in performing and providing firmware updates for its customers.
Not every firmware update is announced in this fashion. Most firmware updates are casually released by Mainpine through its support department to select customers in an effort to resolve a specific problem experienced by that customer. And after enough time passes that firmware will be announced on the website in conjunction with its deployment into the production and manufacturing processes.
Late in 2011 Mainpine released updated IQ Express (Rev 3 only) Windows drivers on our website and also on the CDs shipped with new product. This update was done primarily to address minor compatibility issues on Windows 6.1 (Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7), but the drivers were refreshed for most Windows versions. This followed a driver update release for IQ Express (Rev 3 only) through Microsoft's Windows Update service earlier in 2011.
Mainpine's IQ Express Fax Service Provider (IQFSP) for Microsoft Windows Fax Service (MS Fax) has had several publicly-released updated versions over the last two years. The last IQFSP update (184.108.40.2068) release occurred in April of 2012. This update addresses two specific fixes for unique (i.e. rare) remote-end behaviour over the previous version (220.127.116.110).
So Mainpine is regularly deploying new versions of firmware, drivers, and application software. We're trying to be very deliberate and open about the updates as well as outlining specifically what those updates do. Unfortunately, this awareness of Mainpine's updates has at least one downside: users tend to look at the application of updates as a fix-all when, in truth, these updates almost always target very specific and very unlikely problem scenarios. Consequently, the actual problem resolution tends to be delayed in the wait-and-see (if it happens again) following the updates, and that in-turn aggravates and escalates the severity of the problem.
I do not mean to imply that updates are worthless, no. Indeed, among the first things that Mainpine support technicians will do when working on a fax server are updates. However, Mainpine support technicians view updates as a type of maintenance procedure... something that is simply good to do - just in-case it prevents a problem from occurring later - and in the very rare likelihood that it resolves the current issue. BUT, Mainpine technicians do not generally expect the latter to be the case, and always perform rigorous testing and analysis of logs in order to determine what, exactly, has been causing the problem being experienced. This is done to ensure that the eventual solution provided is truly a solution and not merely a wait-and-see hope that the problem doesn't happen again.
For this reason Mainpine requests users to complete (at least once) a "downloads request form" before downloading drivers, utilities, or other software from our website. The downloads are available immediately following the form submission. In this way we can attempt to monitor for when customers are looking for updates to solve some kind of problem which will not likely be solved by the updates.
Very often telephone companies, third-party fax application support personnel, and other technical support entities will suggest to a common customer that they do updates and then wait-and-see and hope the problem does not resurface. They do this because they, themselves, aren't sure of what is causing the problem or consequently how to fix it. These are the types of situations in which Mainpine wants to get involved quickly because Mainpine can often determine the exact cause of the problem in a very short period of time and subsequently implement or propose a solution to the problem that will be enduring.
At Mainpine we believe in extremely reliable and robust fax operations. We believe that fax should be a dependable part of everyday business. Regular updates are a part of that process, and so is our knowledgeable hands-on approach to customer support.