Archive for category Best Practice

Is the “FREE” Windows 10 Really the Beginning of a Major “Rip-Off”?

OK.. OK.. sounds like I am being an alarmist..

It started several weeks ago when Stargazer (my Windows 7 laptop pc) had some (Windows) updates and it asked me if I wanted to get a FREE upgrade to Windows 10 when it is released. Of course I registered for it (can you really refuse??)? Now I have a “NAG” sitting on my system reminding me.. “.. it’s coming ..” (so is winter).

I was aware Microsquish was going to do this because of general info flying around the net for some time. It looked “good” to me.. a FREE upgrade – yea right… There had to be a catch somewhere and now (thanks to Gordon Kelley – contributor to Forbes) we ALL know just what it is.. and it’s really nasty “rat hole”.

Once you upgrade they will have their hooks in solid.. and the “free” will turn into a cash stream for them.. from your pocket to theirs.

Here’s a link to Gordon’s article. Please read and get educated FAST!

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The Sky is Falling ! … The Sky is Falling!- Really???

The sky is NOT falling – all that happened was Swiftpage sold Saleslogix to Infor – one of the LARGEST Private digital products companies in the world ($3billion/year).

 

Short story – (TRUE) – A customer of mine told me they had received a call from a former Saleslogix bp (who does Salesforce) and (in so many words) told him the sky was falling and suggest they should consider switching to SF from Saleslogix. Well.. my customer DID NOT SWALLOW THAT STUPID LINE!

A friendly message/warning to ALL Saleslogix customers – The “Vultures are circling”. This ALWAYS happens when a company is bought/sold. It’s a big “marketing ploy” – DON”T FALL FOR IT! If you have questions, then call your BP asap.. or call the team at Saleslogix in AZ.

A few points:

A – Yes.. Saleslogix’ CRM will become Infor CRMTM

A – Existing Saleslogix BP’s will become Infor (crm) BPs

B – Infor (ERP) BP’s are not going to be selling/servicing Infor CRMTM – NOTE: remember the big mess Sage caused by allowing the ERP/Accounting BP’s to get into the Saleslogix crm business.. total failure!

C – An immediate DOUBLING of the R&D budget to speed up the (Saleslogix) Road Map implementation

D – The Windows/LAN fat client is still part of the product

E – SData is and will remain the integration (access) point for Saleslogix

F – The R&D budget is being DOUBLED asap to speed up the road-map installation

G – The sale will be finalized in a couple of weeks (probably Sept 1st because it starts a new quarter).

H – The Nov Customer & Partner Conference will still happen in Scottsdale. IMHO the “Swifties” will probably not be there and the Infor team will be.

 

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Look It Up in the HELP file – Are You Kidding??!!??

Nope – I am not!

Anywhere from one to a half-dozen times a day I see  on-line communities/forums where individuals are posting a “help me” type of question. The subject matter runs from something very simple (ex: “.. how do I select a filter….”) to something very complex (ex: “…how do I move my SQL db from on-site to cloud…”).

Now there is NOTHING WRONG with posting to a group to tap into the collective “crowd knowledge” (did I really write that?.. sounds like a good subject for a blog one of these days ;-). However, you are probably missing a source of info which is right at your fingertips (or mouse click away). I am talking about the “HELP” facility that most programs have.

Over the years we have moved from having a manual supplied w/the app to having an icon and/or menu item that connects to the built-in manual – the HELP facility. Most of these help setups are context sensitive and/or have a search mechanism . One such application is Saleslogix. It’s got a really great context-sensitive help facility.. and a lot of internal hyper-links. Every time I poke around it I am amazed as to what I find.

SO – don’t stop posting to on-line communities/forums – but do take a peek at the help facilities that are right in front of you.

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“Work Smarter – Not Harder”.. Really??? – How Stupid!

The internet is full of garbage postings about how we should “… work smarter – not harder..”

Here’s the REAL Secret: Smart people are HARD Workers!

Mike Rowe (host of “Dirty Jobs”) has a great blog/post that debunks the “Work Smarter – Not Harder” myth.

The definition of work is:

Work equals Force times distance time the cosine of “theta”  – where theta is the angle between the force and displacement vector(s). SO when theta is zero degrees the Force and displacement are in the same direction and you get the biggest bang for your effort! The more Force (the “harder” you work) you put into it the more you get out of it. Force is the Agent Of Change.

For you “DIY” folks out there.. here’s a great example of why Work Smarter – Not Harder falls apart:
Scenario:
House full of squeaky (door) hinges. How do you fix them?
Plan A: Oil them – Not Hard – but NOT Smart! You end up with mess and a quiet hinge for a very short time.
Plan B: “WD-40” (Remember it stands for “Water Displacement formula number 40 😉 – It’s not “oil” – but it’s messy and does not last long either! Another  Not Hard – but NOT Smart!

Plan C: Use Vaseline – Definitely Smart and Hard! You have to:
1 – remove each hinge pin (one at a time) – can be hard but a small hammer, a pin punch and a flat blade screwdriver really help)
2 – clean the pin (maybe use “409” to really get it clean)
3 – wipe the pin with Vaseline ad put a “dob” on the hole on the top of the hinge where the pin goes
4 – put the pin back and tap it down (hard/flush)
5 – Repeat steps 1 thru 4 for the remaining 2 (or 3) hinges on that door
6 – clean up any mess (paper towels and 409 helps here
7 – repeat steps 1 thru 6 for each door in your home
This will take you some time to do (the “hard”/Force in the Work equation). However, when you are done you have nice quiet door hinges and it lasts for a quite a while. (Good) Work has a satisfaction factor to it that you do not see in the basic (physics) formula. There is something about doing something and doing it right which makes us feel really good (and ready for a nice cool beer – or two 😉

So if we are just trying to be “Smart” and not putting any FORCE into our Work.. we are just going nowhere 😉

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File Transfer Without Wires!

Most of us own a smartphone (w/camera) and/or a tablet (w/camera). So HOW do you transfer all those pictures to your laptop/desktop?

Do you:

A – use a “cloud service” (like dropbox)?

B – Use a memory card?

C – a usb cable

D – ????

I just found a BETTER WAY – WiFi File Transfer by smarterDroid (yep – this is an Android tool 😉 It comes in two “versions”: A FREE one and a paid for one ($1.40 – yes a dollar forty) the free one is limited to 5mb files.

To use it, just download from the play store (look for wifi file) to your droid device(s).. fire it up.. open a browser to the ip address:port specified and have at it.

NOTE: The app is really a web server and you are connectling directly – NOT thru a “cloud service” so your data is protected.

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FireFox 23 will be a Game Changer w/https sites

There’s an option in FF (version 18.0 and up) called:
security.mixed_content.block_active_content

When FF 23 is released (20.0 is the current release) this option will be enabled by default. What this means is ANY “mixed” https page will NOT load non https content.

So if you have constructed a site that has any http links in it and your site is on SSL (https) then users will experience “failures”.

QUES: Is this a good thing?

ANS: YES! Attacks using “bad links” are buried in https sites everywhere. You typically see a popup asking if you want to display the “non-https” content. When you do you take a BIG risk of infecting your system, getting hacked, etc. KUDOS to the FF team for taking this step to block non-https data by default!

I would strongly suggest you test this out NOW to make sure things will work right when FF 23 is released. Using FF 18.0 and up you simply need to:
A – key in about:config in the url/address line
B – search for the key: security.mixed_content.block_active_content
C – change the value to true

 

FYI – Chrome has already made such a change (you get a warning)..

 

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Finally – One Place for all things Web Development?

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Only time will tell.

On Monday, October 8, 2012 there was an announcement by W3C on the alpha release of Web Platform Docs.  The purpose of this is to establish a single point/place where we all can go for “All Things Web Development”.

Her’s a blog posting by Jean Paoli (President – Microsoft Open Technologies) on the announcement:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/interoperability/archive/2012/10/08/w3c-s-web-platform-docs-your-go-to-for-all-things-web-development.aspx

 

Bear in mind this site is only a few days old but it has names like Adobe, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, Opera that are stewards of the project. If they pull this off it will save all of us TONS of time (translate $$$) in development/research as related to web efforts.

Let us wish them the best and contribute to the effort for the common good! So jump over and take a look NOW!

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SQL Azure vrs. Amazon RDS SQL Server – Which Way?

SQL Server Central recently published an article on the (above) subject on July 11,2012. The author (Peter Marriott) makes an interesting statement:
“..It doesn’t take long to realise that Amazon RDS SQL Server is a very different beast from SQL Azure.”

He goes into features, power and size, Backup and Availability, Administration, and finishes up with a good “pro/con” set of statements on both approaches.

My takeaway was (IMHO) if you really want a “scale-able system”, Amazon is the way to go – NOT Azure! However, I do invite you to go and read the (fairly short and concise) article and comment.

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How Do I Run a VBScript OUTSIDE of SalesLogix?

VBScripts CAN be run completely outside of SalesLogix. BUT you do not have access to the SalesLogix Application object.

First you need to be able to make a connection to the (SalesLogix) Provider. The key part here is to pass in a valid (SalesLogix Provider) connection string. I usually create a “.udl” file to do all the heavy lifting here. This is what the contents of a typical “.udl” looks like:

 [oledb]
; Everything after this line is an OLE DB initstring
Provider=SLXOLEDB.1;Password=mypassword;Persist Security Info=True;User ID=admin;Initial Catalog=SALESLOGIXV754DEV;Data Source=GOBIDEV;Extended Properties="PORT=1706;LOG=ON;CASEINSENSITIVEFIND=ON;AUTOINCBATCHSIZE=1;SVRCERT=;"

Now we need to concentrate on the actual script itself. For this example we assume the “.udl” file is called MyConnection.udl and is located at the root of “C” (C:\MyConnection.udl) :

 
Sub Main
  Dim objCon  'SalesLogix Connection Object
  Dim sConnString
  Dim strSQL00
  Dim objMyRS
  Dim blnNewSlxConnection

  'Get a connection to SalesLogix - Cannot use the Application Object in an Agent or outside of SalesLogix
  ' We have to do all of this "outside"
  sConnString= "File Name=C:\MyConnection.udl"

  'Now connect up
  Set objCon = CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
  If Err.Number <> 0 Then
    blnNewSlxConnection= False
    If IsObject(objCon) Then
      Set objCon = Nothing
    End If
    Err.Clear
    Exit Sub
  Else
    blnNewSlxConnection= True
    objCon.ConnectionString = sConnString
    objCon.Open
  End If

  'Do some work - get data from USERINFO table
  strSQL00 = "SELECT * FROM sysdba.USERINFO"
  Set objMyRs = CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
  With objMyRS
    .CursorType = adOpenStatic
    .CursorLocation = adUseClient
    .LockType = adLockBatchOptimistic
    .Open strSQL00, objCon
  End With
  'Now pull in data from USERINFO... and do something with it
  If Not (objMyRS.EOF Or objMyRS.BOF) Then
    'OK
    With objMyRS
      If .RecordCount > 0 Then
        'We have data - now do work...
        While NOT (.EOF or .BOF)
          strUserID = .Fields("USERID").Value
          strLastName = .Fields("LASTNAME").Value
          'Now do some work w/this data
          Call WriteResultsToTraceFile(strUserID,strLastName)
          .MoveNext
        Wend
     Else
       'No data found...
     End If
  End With
  'All done..close shop
  If IsObject(objMyRS) Then
    objMyRS.Close
  End If
  Set objMyRS = Nothing
  If IsObject(objCon) Then
    objCon.Close
  End If
  Set objCon = Nothing

The above is a very simple framework and certainly can be expanded. I have created an include file that contains several of the key functions:

Function NewSlxConnection(ByVal sConnString, objCon)
Function CloseSlxConnection(objCon)
Function GetRecordSetObj(objCon,ByVal strSQL)
Sub CloseRecordSetObj(objRS)
Function ChkError(strInfo)
Function FixQuote(ByVal sSrcLine)
Function ExecuteSQL(objCon, ByVal sSQL00)
Function GetScalarValue(objCon, ByVal sSQL00)
Function GetMultipleScalarValue(objCon,ByVal strSQL, ByVal iRecCount, strValue)
Function GetMultipleValuesFromDB(objCon, ByVal strSQL, strValue)
Function CreateIdFor(objCon, ByVal sTableName)
Function CreateBlockOfIDFor(objCon,ByVal strTableName, ByVal sRecCount, strRecordID)
Function IsEmptyRecordset(ByRef objRS)
Function GetRecordCount(objCon,ByVal TableName, ByVal PKName, ByVal sWhere)

We use this include file in all our external VBScripts and for a small fee we do license it to anyone who is interested (along with some samples/examples).

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Is Low Tech the NEW High Tech?.. The Pencil

For those who do not know – March 30 was(is) National Pencil Day…. and stats indicate sales are UP this past year on WOOD pencils and associated accessories (sharpeners, erasers, etc.).

Remember that Number 2 yellow pencil? You first learned to write with one and probably left a few teeth marks on a few as well. ..and NO you do not have “lead poisoning” because “lead pencils” were NEVER made of lead. They were always (and still are) made of graphite.

In my early engineering days we were encouraged to keep a daily journal/notebook. Always writing down little (and large) items during our day. We did this with a (yellow) number 2 pencil. I still keep a spiral bound notebook to the right of my keyboard and jot things down (in pencil ;-). Every morning the first thing that is typically done is to draw a horizontal line.. make note of the day and date.. and to make a time entry with something like “.. Read Email & NG’s..” When I answer the phone I also make a note. At lunch time there is a blocked out time slot noted for lunch. If you were to take a look at my (office) supply/storage closet you would see a pile of 8.5 x 11 spiral bound notebooks filled with data/notes going back YEARS.

The pencil (and paper) is where I start when designing anything. It could be a program to solve a customer’s problem, a bookshelf that I plan to build, even a remodel of a kitchen. The best part is NO BATTERIES REQUIRED.. NO POWER CORD.. all the power required is ME! PLUS it is Mobile 😉

We tend to rely way too much on technology but I believe our best ideas come from just simply putting a Number 2 Yellow Pencil in our hand.. take a piece of paper.. and dream.

Oh yes, my favorite Yellow Number 2 is made by the largest wood pencil maker in the world – Dixon Ticonderoga – over 1.5 BILLION made every year!

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