RJ Ledger

RJ is the founder and owner of rjlSystems. He's a former CIO, Product marketing manager, process control engineer, chief network monitoring and control architect and multi-processor cpu (hardware) designer. His background includes networking/network design and well as satellite, radar and sophisticated intercept systems. You can view RJ's profile on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rjledger

Homepage: http://rjledger.wordpress.com

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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IE 10 installs automatically on Windows Updates

If you have Automatic Update turned on:
” Users of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), and 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 will receive Internet Explorer 10 as an important update if they have Automatic Updates enabled, or if they perform a manual scan for updates on Windows Update.”

NOTE: installations which use “WSUS” – Windows Server Update Services” and control the updates to their installations can easily block this. For individual PC’s NOT being managed by WSUS (most of us ;-) there is a “blocker kit“.

Here is the direct download: IE10-BLOCKER

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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 Mobile Web Application 2.0 – A Video

A while back there was a video made/posted by the SalesLogix Training group on the Mobile Web Application (version 1.x). Along with the recent release of SalesLogix Version 8.0 was the release of Mobile 2.0.

2.0 builds on the the original functionality of the 1.x release (specifically 1.2) and gives us a much nicer (mobile) user experience. One of the things I especially like are what are called “List Actions” (I call them “Immediate Actions”). “IA’s” are available on all of the “List Views”. You get to them by simply clicking on the Icon (rather than the text) and they appear  in a new line just below the list item.

For a look at “IA’s” and other things, jump over to uTube and take a look:

 

Oh yes, you do NOT have to upgrade your 7.5.4 SalesLogix to 8.0 to run Mobile 2.0 – BUT there are some features which ONLY work with 8.0 (SData).  I’ll be posting just what these things are in a future blog.

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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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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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