Friday, December 22, 2006

Hi all:

Since I still need to run XP for my guitar software, I found that I really missed having the Vista sidebar. So I went looking, using, not that other search engine, and found a great post detailing how to run the sidebar on XP!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

So I fired up my MSCRM demo virtual image the other day to see the image shown to the right. Track this issue, and hopefully its resolution, here: Suspect DB

Monday, December 04, 2006

The other day as I left for work my daughter, Alex, gave me a little Hello Kitty statue to put on my desk and "remind me of home" as she said. So I promised her I would, and that I would take a picture and send it to her, which she got a big kick out of! Kids are so great. :)
Hi all:

Ok I've noticed some strange behavior with Vista Ultimate RTM when I start the TV window, I also get this behavior when I get a security alert from Vista. See the video here:


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More good stuff from The new Live mail is great!

I have been searching for a WM 5 app to display Canadian weather, and so far the only one I found costs $40 and then also has a yearly subscription fee. So how happy was I to find this:

I guess as equally DISMAYED I was to discover it only works in the US right now. OH Canada... :(

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hi all:

I saw some recent newsgroup posts about performance problems in MSCRM, and I have seen improvements by applying the steps in this document. Note that these steps may or may not fix your particular problem, but the steps have worked for me on several servers.

I just read a great Business Week article on J Allard and his Entertainment and Devices Unit:

Man that must be a fun division to work in. I think going into Corporate software rather than new product development was a HUGE mistake for me. I was bored about 3 weeks after I got out of school and started my first project. All corporate projects are the same, get some old data, do something with it, create some new forms, and then put the old data back. That’s why I keep trying new things like the Vista gadgets and new ways for MSCRM to work with Office 2007, I need to think or my brain will atrophy! Anyway the new Zune sounds like a cool device, I hope it is both available and affordable up here in the frozen North.
Further Blue Screen Notes

I find it funny that some people have made some jokes about that fact that I got a BSOD in Vista, which after a bit of research I traced back to Messenger. There is a fix and upgrade to Messenger 8.1 here:

Anyway, back to the folks who are delighting in making jokes about a Vista crash. Vista, even though it shows similarities to XP, is a completely revamped OS, and so we have to EXPECT incompatibilities with existing applications. You might as well try to run an application from Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and then be surprised when it doesn’t work on Vista! Some applications will work, some will not, that’s what happens when a new OS is released!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

More Security Notes

A newly published whitepaper details SQL Server beats Oracle for security!!

Troy, any rebuts? :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Office 2007
So now that Vista and Office 2007 are upon us, a co-worker and I were discussing whether customers will want to upgrade and he felt they would not. This might be true, however I believe it is my job (perhaps now even more than when I was at Microsoft since now I am actually selling to customers!) to show customers the value of the new products and how they can benefit from them. Microsoft’s people-ready messaging is excellent and true, people ARE the most important part of any business and the hardest to replace. The Microsoft Office System’s goal is to enable people to collaborate and be more productive, and every business can benefit from this. So it is up to us to show customers ways in which these new products can help boost productivity and that’s where they will see the value!
As a simple example of this, look at my Vista gadget to display accounts and contacts. At first the gadget’s usefulness might not be readily apparent beyond the “cool toy” aspect, but think of the benefit to an information worker who needs to find a contact name. Instead of opening MSCRM finding the name, and clicking to open it, they can now find the name and open it with 1 click! The gadget saves them 3-4 clicks and a couple minutes which multiplied over an entire workday and entire workforces, can add up to a lot of saved time, especially in today’s hectic world where seconds matter!
Look for more tips and tricks as I ramp up on Vista and Office 2007.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

First Vista Blue Screen!!

Well I've been running Vista for a couple of months now, and I noted intermittent problems with MSN Messenger. From time to time Messenger will stop working and have to be re-started, but today it actually Blue Screened Vista! L I was chatting with a buddy in the UK and he asked if we could share desktops via Messenger. I had no idea so I clicked “Call Computer” in Messenger and BOOM! Up it went with a BSOD…

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hi all: I have expanded the MSCRM Vista Gadget to include Contacts as well as Accounts.

More screens here:

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hi all:

In the recent issue of Popular Science, one of my favorite magazines, I read with dismay a letter written by Troy Davis touting the bullet-proof security of Linux and Mac OS X vs. Windows. I am not sure what bothered me more, that someone so obviously ignorant of computer security trends could so authoritatively make false statements, or that PopSci printed the letter! I have a dual degree in computer science and engineering, spent the first part of my career in the Linux/Java world, and the last 5 years of my career in the Microsoft world, and I have some actual facts for Troy.

While Tory states that Windows is the most insecure computing platform available, I challenge Troy to show me the data to back up his claims. The fact is that Windows actually has better security than these other products; however it is the media that has lead to the false public perception of Windows security lagging far behind other OSes. This is because there are hundreds of millions of users of Windows so that when there is a security breach it affects far more people, and writing about these breaches with sensational headlines sells papers/magazines/online subscriptions etc. NO computer system that is plugged into the internet is secure, but the simple truth is that hackers don’t get much glory for attacking Linux or the 115 people in the world who use Macs. Unfortunately people not only believe everything they read, but they seem inclined to repeat it without the proof to back up their statements.

Troy’s suggestion that people switch OSes to have better security is ludicrous. According to Troy the solution is for everyone to stop using Windows and re-learn new OSes and applications from the ground up, costing businesses and home users untold dollars and lost productivity. Further, products such as Linux are far more difficult to properly administer than Windows is, so the end result of a mass migration to Linux would be a far less secure infrastructure than is in place today. Further, if this migration did happen, hackers attention would soon turn from Windows to whatever the new OS of choice ended up being, and soon we would see just as many new attacks highlighted in the press as there are today with Windows. Also note the attacks DO happen today, but they are simply not sensationalized as are the attacks on Windows.

If Troy, or anyone else would like to seem some actual data, please feel free to head over to my other site, where I have posted this article as well as some graphs showing actual data from 2004 on OS vulnerabilities. I realize 2004 is a while ago now, but does anyone think the numbers have gotten any better for Linux as more users adopt the system?! If you don’t believe my data, feel free to do a little digging on the Internet, this information is readily available!

The fact is that no OS is secure; security is an ongoing strategy that must be practiced and continually improved upon by organizations. Today’s’ secure system is tomorrows’ wide open door for hackers.
John Straumann.

PS: A SHORT list of Linux Viruses
Linux.Jac.8759Linux.Pavid (NAV)Linux.Ramen Linux.Scapler.Worm (NAV)Linux/AlfaLinux.Lion.Worm (NAV)Linux.Peelf.2132 (NAV)Linux.Ramen.Worm (NAV)Linux/Adore.worm Linux/Amdcrash Linux/DDoS-Kaiten Linux/Ehcapa.worm Linux/Exploit-Lsub Linux/Exploit-SuLinux/ForkLinux/Kaiten Linux/Lindose Linux/MightyLinux/Ramen.worm Linux/Rootkit Linux/Seclpd Linux/Slapper.worm.b Linux/Slapper.worm.d Linux/Devnull Linux/Etap Linux/Exploit-Statdx Linux/Exploit-Woot Linux/Gulzan Linux/Kokain Linux/Lion.worm Linux/Osf Linux/RedLinux/Rpcmountd Linux/Slapper.worm.a Linux/Slapper.worm.c Linux/Snoopy.b

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

MSCRM Workflow
I am working on a demo and wanted to create a couple workflow processes to assign a new opportunity, and then fire a new sales process. So the first rule was a rule on the opportunity firing OnCreate and its tasks were:

When a new opportunity is created, assign it to Gail, our sales rep
Send Gail an email to alert her to her new opportunity

I also created a Sales Process to fire from the OnCreate event for the opportunity to carry out a number of steps. However due to the asynchronous nature of the MSCRM workflow engine, this refused to work. The first task in the sales process would not create, and when I checked the workflow monitor I noticed it paused, and if I clicked “retry” it would complete. This makes sense, I think the issue is that the sales process was firing and trying to create new tasks for the owner of the opportunity, but the opportunity had not been assigned by the previous rule yet.

So to solve this I changed the Sales Process to a manual rule, and then in the rule that fires OnCreate I put in a 1 minute wait timer, and then called the sales process as a sub process. Bingo, problem solved.

Monday, October 16, 2006

As we speed toward the release of Vista and Office 2007, I have been running the Betas of both products for a month or so, and naturally this gets me thinking about new and exciting users for these new technologies with MSCRM! So on Saturday night, another ROCKING night in the burbs, I decided to get into the world of Vista sidebar gadgets.

Below are a couple screen shots of MSCRM Gadget 1...please note this is a WIP which must now be put on hold whilst I build a demo for this Wednesday, but there will be more on this topic coming soon!

Screen 1: The Sidebar Gadget

Screen 2: Clicking in the gadget to load an account record
MSCRM v3 Article coming soon...

Ask several different people what Customer Relationship Management (hereafter referred to as “CRM”) software is, and you’ll likely get answers as varied as the physical characteristics of the people you ask. However out of such a poll, someone will probably give an answer such as “Sales Force Automation” or “a way to increases sales” or “a software tool to organize accounts and contacts”. While these views are not necessarily incorrect, let me illustrate what CRM truly is with an example.

I’ve just landed at La Guardia Airport in NY, and in the taxi on my way in, my favorite hotel, which recently put in a system to track flight arrivals of its preferred customers, sends me an email on my Windows Mobile device “Mr. Straumann, we see your flight has arrived and you are most probably in the taxi on the way to the hotel. You are checked into Room 1625 on our preferred floor, a single, non-smoking room with a king-sized bed, and we also assumed you would like the Tempur-pedic pillow you requested on your last visit here, so we took the liberty of putting one in your room. Please enter key code 1066 on the keypad near the door handle to enter the room, that code corresponds to your month and year of birth and should be easy for you to remember. We also note that the last time you visited us, you ordered a late dinner of a club sandwich. Would you like one sent to your room after you arrive? If so, please reply to this note and when you enter the code in the room lock we will be notified of your arrival and have your meal brought up right away. Thank you for visiting us again.”
THAT is an example of what CRM software is supposed to accomplish!

Read the full article soon....