Posts Tagged LinkedIn

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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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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Sage Selling ACT & SalesLogix to Swiftpage

Well.. many of us saw this coming when Sage first announced ACT & SalesLogix NOT being part of it’s “core business”.

Here are some links to the official announcement:
globalcomms.sage.com
www.investors.sage

Plus another from Sharecast – Thanks “Nato”!:
www.sharecast.com

.. and of course, Swiftpage.. GREAT People!

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SalesLogix Synchronization – Running as a Service

It’s amazing how many times I run across a situation where the Main Sync (and/or Secondary Sync Servers) are running under the (Windows)Task Scheduler. At first, this does not seem to be an issue. However, on closer examination there’s a high degree of probability the (WTS) job is not passing in the “correct” sequence of “switches” (options).

The way this usually rears its ugly head is:
A – the job runs too long and another one tries to start up
B – the job fails to start for some unknown reason
C – the job “hangs” for some unknown reason(s)

The Saleslogix team solved this problem a LONG time ago with the introduction of “Sync As A Service”. Basically it is all “built-in” and the admin interface is thru the (WG)Admin application (click on “System” in the NavBar and then on the Sync Automation Services tab) and all you need to know to get started is in the HELP file (under Synchronization -> Running Synchronization from a Service).

All this is fine for the MAIN DB.. BUT what about the Remote Office you ask.. Well, as of the (current) latest release (7.5.4.xxxx) there is no automation for Sync on the RO…. BUT you can “fake it” via Windows Task Scheduler. Here’s info on how to do this from my KB – NOTE – DISCLAIMER – The following procedure may not be fit for any useful purpose – use at YOUR OWN RISK! It is an EXAMPLE of one I use at customer sites:

Using the Windows Scheduler you can schedule a Remote Office (or even a Remote User) to have synchronization run automatically.
  Here is how:
    TASK tab
      run:
         "C:\Program Files\SalesLogix\SyncClient.exe" /B "SLXRemote" /E /Q /L /G /Y /R /C /A /S /TD /TU
      Start in:
         "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\SalesLogix"
      Run as:
        domain\administrator (NOTE: This is how I do it.. you may want to use another user)

    SCHEDULE tab
      Schedule: Daily
      start time: 05:15
      Repeat Task every 15 minutes
      Until 24 hours
      Schedule Task Daily Every 1 days

    SETTINGS tab
      Stop task if it runs for 2 hours 0 minutes
      Don't start task if the computer is running on batteries
      Stop the task if battery mode begins.

    SECURITY tab
      Group/Users
      Administrators Full control

NOTE: Running Synch as a Service using the OOTB (Out Of The Box) approach also has additional benefits:
A – You can use the Synch Monitor Tool to see what it is doing. If it is NOT on your (LAN connected) PC than simply copy it (SLXMonitorConsole.exe w/the help file SLXMonitor.chm) to your system – to the SalesLogix App Directory, make a desktop shortcut and then configure (see Help FIle).
B – When it runs as a service it will insert a record in the SYNCJOBHISTORY table.

There is a LOT more to say about synch.. but let us leave it for another day – Happy Synching!

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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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#Outsourcing and #Offshoring – What is the REAL Truth Here?

Unless you live with your head stuck in a very dark place .. 😉 … You have heard a “bit of” public discussion and comments about how “Outsourcing” is a bad thing.

Well – I am here to say ” reductio ad absurdum” –

Business is all about outsourcing and it starts at the lowest level. To start with a fairly absurd (and obvious situation), we do not “build our own mobile phones” – we pay someone else to do it – we “outsource”. On a higher plane – (most) businesses do not write their own accounting/erp package or their crm system – they “outsource”.  There are TONS of examples we all can come up with and not have to “strain the brain” as one may say. The vast majority of SMB (Small/Medium Businesses) on the planet outsource and provide outsource services to those who do.

The fallibility of the “Outsourcing is bad” statement lays in the confusion between the words:
Outsourcing and Offshoring

The REAL “bad one” is Offshoring and those (in the public sector) who are saying “Outsourcing is bad” need to extract their brain from that deep dark place, look it (Outsourcing and Offshoring) up in the dictionary (or wikipedia), and stop being intellectually dishonest to all of us.

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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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Sage SalesLogix Mobile Web 1.2 – and why you want it NOW!

As many of you already know, I have decided to focus on three things:
1 – Mobility
2 – Mobility
3 – Mobility

Got the idea 😉

We are definitely in the “Age Of Connected Mobility” with smart-phones and pads/tablets popping up everywhere. I would certainly like to see the stats on just how many new mobility devices will show up in Christmas stockings, etc….

So with “mobility” in mind, it’s now official, the Sage SalesLogix Mobile Web Application version 1.2 is now available! It builds on the 1.0/1.1 releases to bring us some new features:
• Improved usability features including: single-press pick lists and lookups, “Clear” button on text fields, custom keyboard for URLs, e-mail, and phone data entry, and combine hash tags with search text.
For example, Opportunity: “#closed ab” searches for closed opportunities where the name starts with “ab”.

• Calendar contains new week view and month view shows activity count and selected day
details.

• Support for French, German, Italian, Russian and English languages through a single
portal.

NOTE: In order to take advantage of “localization”, you need to make sure you are pointing at the .aspx page not the .html. Otherwise, you will ONLY see English 😉

.. and to add – it installs in just a few (5) minutes.. and existing 1.1 customization(s) (if done using the “module” approach) should NOT break!

What I really like are the Calendar enhancements. week/month view w/activity info and counts!

 

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Amazon’s Kindle Fire – Is the Silk Browser a Major Security Risk?

Amazon has finally release its long awaited “iPad Killer” – Kindle Fire. BUT is the center piece of this new mobile device – the Silk Browser – a major security risk? Here is how it is architectured and why the most significant part of this may be something you want to not touch.

Traditional browsers typically get their data directly from the publishing web site(s). Yes, there is some caching at the web site level and in the browser. However, you really get it “directly”. This takes time and in a lot of cases a LOT of time.

Enter Amazon… What they have done is to re-structure the browser such that it takes advantage of their EC2 (Elastic Cloud Computing) computing powerhouse. Amazon is ON the Internet backbone.. it’s (almost) a part of it. BY using their “back-end” computing power and net bandwidth they can really speedup delivery of web pages significantly. So much that it leaves everything else in the dust and delivers a really great user experience (on a $200 device ;-). Over time “it” (the “back-end”) “learns” the user’s browsing habits and even pre-fetches pages/sites before you actually navigate there.

What does this all smack of?… you are being “tracked”.. and all the pages/sites you fetch are being “held” in the big EC2 could (in the sky). In security terms, we call this the “man in the middle”. There is a massive computing resource that sees each and every byte of data you look at.

Is this bad? – depends… depends on just what Amazon does with this info/data and just how you feel about it – or better said, if you are doing company business and running a corporate web based application – say a CRM system – then is confidential information being exposed?

Answer – we really do not know since the Kindle Fire is only available for pre-order and really has not been taken to the test – yet. Only time will tell if Amazon has built a better mouse-trap or a very bad security risk setup.

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Are We Standing on the Edge of Something New – or Have We Come to a Brick Wall?

The subject line of this blog was running thru my mind as I viewed (live) the LAST landing of a Space Shuttle – Atlantis –  came to a “wheels stop” at 5:57:54 AM EDT today (July 21, 2011).

To answer the question, we have to look back 30+ years in “Space History”. The USA had already landed men on the moon (several times) and returned them to the Earth successfully. In fact, Apollo 11 (Neil Armstrong, “Buzz” Aldrin, Michael Collins) had reached the moon for the first landing attempt. Neil and Buzz actually landed on July 20, 1969 (20:17:40 UTC).  Looking back further the other significant point in time was the day Alan B. Shepard took a ride on a rocket in a “can” (May 5, 1961). Step forward a bit and we see John Glen. A man who not only “rode a rocket” but later went back to space on a shuttle!

Just think of what has happened since Alan’s initial ride (oh yes, Alan did finally go to the moon and made a golf shot on it). A whole new industry (and related sub-industries) exploded on the scene. Unprecedented advances in the medical field, math, sciences, and fantastic opportunities. Not to mention what it did for the economy! Now we have new leaders emerging. People like Elon Musk – founder of SpaceX – who has already shown that the commercial world can successfully launch a capsule to orbit and bring it back down successfully just where they want to. Pioneers like Burt Rutan and his SpaceShipOne are driving full steam ahead.

It’s time to take a hard look and realize that we can do anything we want to as long as we put our minds (and sweat) to it. “Something” new is right there within our grasp and we need to be students of history to fully understand it.

Congratulations to the “final four” (Chris Ferguson – commander, Doug Hurley – pilot, Rex Walhiem and Sandy Magnus – mission specialsts) Astronauts All for a great show! The Last Crew to fly a Shuttle – Atlantis.

In the shadow of all this we face a critical crossroad in not only the USA economy but also in the global sense.  We need leaders to stand up and “do the right thing(s) ” on ALL fronts.. and to do it NOW! We are “on the edge”!

 

New add: Just ran across this and had to post it –

“You see things and you say ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were; and I say Why not?” – George Bernard Shaw

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