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Where are the issues?

I wrote a bit yesterday on this topic, but where is the discussion on issues that are important to the American people?

With all the mud-slinging and accusations of wrongdoing, complicity, and bias, we don’t have a clue where the candidates stand.  I will not vote for Clinton because of her constant lies and then makes no effort to apologize for wrongdoings, or even to explain her reasoning for doing things her way.  Instead, she treats us like a queen to her subjects (why am I reminded of Marie Antoinette frequently?) – we DARE ask why?  Off with their heads! (oh yes, that’s a different queen).

And Trump – I’d like to like him, but someone needs to hijack his Twitter account, or at least lighten up on the conspiracy theories.  Yes, there are conspiracies, but he’s hurting himself by stooping to their level.  Better to know they’re there and confront them.

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Election 2016

Unbelievable.  Just.  Unbelievable.  I thought the presidential election was to select the person most capable of leading the country, NOT who was the most perfect.

With the Democrats (and some Republicans) saying Trump’s character is flawed because he behaved like a typical male in a supposedly private conversation along with some unsubstantiated accusations, no one is talking about the things that will matter to the American public over the next four years.  Things like:

Terrorism

Open Borders

Federal Debt Reduction and Management

Governmental Corruption

 

Hillary is a proven documented serial liar who will do anything if it gets her more money and/or more power and/or adoration from the same sheep that elected Obama – twice.  She has proven repeatedly that she cannot be trusted with the nation’s secrets.

Neither candidate is anywhere near perfect, and my choice will be the least evil choice between two flawed candidates.  Can we please discuss the issues, not sling mud?  Please?  The American public has a right to know.

Just sayin’

What appears to be a clear question on the surface quickly clouds in the face of reality.  Your data is not only important, it’s vital to the life of your business.  There are several reasons that I will cover below.

Database upgrades complete with no errors.

This is the first reason clients think of when testing upgrades, and this is the one we are concerned least about.  If this were a data migration from one system to another, then yes, the figures must be checked closely.  Barring damaged data, database upgrades simply add columns and procedures to accommodate new processes and features in Dynamics GP.  Your data actually remains relatively untouched during this process.  While you may think initially that all you need to be concerned about is your ‘bottom line’, that’s actually the one thing you don’t need to worry about.  Check, yes.  Concern, no.  What is more likely to have changed is the way to access that data and how it gets reported.  Bottom line on your bottom line, I cannot recall one upgrade in thousands where the figures did not tie out.

Vital business processes are not hampered.

This brings us to the second and most crucial step, yet one passed over by most clients – testing processes.  Data doesn’t do us much good if we can’t act or report on it.  Each new version of Dynamics GP brings new features, and those ‘features’ occasionally change location of an action button or drop-down from the bottom of a window to the top, or even to another window.  You need to know where changes have been made so you aren’t trying to learn while the UPS driver is waiting for a check.

Speaking of checks, the formatting, along with that of many other reports (yes, a check is a ‘report’ to the software) is also modified during upgrade processes to accommodate the changes to the tables noted above.  Some of the more frequently customer-modified reports include GL Trial Balances, SOP Invoices, Check layouts, and Purchase Orders.  With the upgrading of the formats, sometimes sort orders are changed, or other changes which may affect the looks of your invoices, checks, etc.

It is imperative that you devote time during a test upgrade to run through:

  • Daily Processes in Finance, Payables, Receivables, Payroll, Inventory
  • Weekly Procedures
  • Monthly Procedures
  • Quarterly and Year-end Procedures

That includes printing checks – to blank paper, then hold up the printed check to blank computer check stock to verify alignment.  Don’t forget to shred the printed check forms, particularly if GP is printing the signature.

Third-party and integration tasks should be checked as well.  Stand-alone programs and web interfaces should be checked for proper operation, functionality, and security.

Little or no testing can jeopardize your upgrade and result in not only lost productivity for you, but additional costs for an emergency situation that would have been uncovered and corrected in test.  Will we do an upgrade without a test?  Certainly, if you can afford the down time and loss of productivity.  The no-test scenario is usually reserved for 1-2 user systems running Payables and GL only.

Frequently an upgrade also means a new server.  This gives you a perfect chance to test the capacity and capability of the new server by loading the server as you would on a daily basis to make sure the application is as responsive as you need it to be before you’re in production and it’s too late to fix a problem without lost production time.  So don’t just have one person test the system – plan a time when everyone can test together.  If there are problems, we can diagnose and correct them before it becomes a critical issue.

CAL’s ‘What’s New’ training can be beneficial if done during in the test upgrade phase.  This will eliminate many of the navigation questions that may arise when first encountering the upgraded interface.  This training can be reinforced with additional assistance when the live upgrade is performed.

There are several reasons for backing up your Dynamics GP SQL Data and shared files, among them:

  • Business Continuity
  • Human or Computer Error Recovery
  • Historical Preservation
  • Data Health and Maintenance

 

Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery is the most comprehensive and usually requires the most planning.  You must consider how much data loss is acceptable and how long your accounting system can afford to be down.

Let’s first consider the types of SQL Recovery Modes available.  It is important to understand these simply because of the types and granularity of restores depend on them.  For our purposes we will focus on the 2 most common recovery models, Simple and Full.

Simple Recovery Model is just that – simple; the backup job creates the backup file and clears committed transactions from the log file, then truncates the log.  It cannot be restored to a point in time other than when it was created.  These can be done as often as needed, but remember, you’re backing up the entire database, so keep a close eye on drive space.

Full Recovery Model (the one we recommend) has many more options, but comes with a bit more overhead.  In full recovery mode, the full database is backed up, including data and log file.  It does not, however, truncate the log file.  There is a secondary, and more frequent, backup called the Transaction Log Backup (never could have guessed that one, right?) that does the actual truncation of the log file.  In a restore situation, you restore the full backup and any log files to get you to the point of error.  This type of backup is your best bet in the event that someone accidentally clears data or other human error situation.

For Business Continuity purposes, you ideally should have a balance of on-disk and external media on- and off-site.  Two or three days should be sufficient for on-disk backups, as you would rarely want to take your accounting system back that many days.  External media retention is up to you, but a week’s worth of backups with at least one day offsite works well for most.

Many companies want or require a year-end backup archived.  Back up the database to external media, and archive as desired.  You may want to burn these to disk as shelf life is longer and would not be affected by EMP, media deterioration or accidental erasure.  Include a copy of the current DYNAMICS database for ease of data access.  Your company may have moved on, but this data if locked in time.

Don’t let your IT tell you that they are snapshotting the server and you don’t need SQL backups.  With full recovery model, you must have both Full and Transaction Log backups to keep the database healthy and keep size and performance in check.

One additional word on Server Snapshots, particularly virtual server snapshots.  If you are running them for Disaster Recovery, DO NOT run them during the work day.  SQL interprets the snapshot scan of the live databases as a disk freeze and any transaction which may be taking place during the few seconds of snapshot scans will likely be corrupted and could require extensive repair of the database if not caught quickly.

One other common error is to have the database set to Full Recovery Model, then let other backup software do the database backups.  This is fine AS LONG AS it also is capable of running Transaction Log backups.  If you only back up the database and not the log, it never truncates and will both cause serious performance issues and finally fill up the disk at which point the database (and GP) shut down.  Know your recovery model, backup type, and frequency.  We can work with you IT staff to develop a plan that works for you.

Test your backups!  Even the best of us can fall into that trap.  The backup looks good, but if you can’t restore it, you might as well not have one.  That’s why my comment on on-disk backups above.  If you need to restore to a point-in-time, have your transaction logs backed up to disk, but your full backup is on some tape somewhere, you’ll be down for as long as it takes to recover the backup media and get it mounted.  Keep several recent backups and relevant log backups on disk for speedy recovery.

There are some non-SQL files that should be backed up regularly as well.  That includes modified reports and forms dictionaries, FRx SysData folder (if you’re still using FRx, and if you are, why?  …but that’s another topic), Integration Manager database, signature files, Mekorma Stub Library, etc..  CAL usually has these under a server ‘GPShare’ folder, so include that in your backups.

Several final notes and frequently misunderstood items:

  1. Backing up your DYNAMICS database does not back up your data. The DYNAMICS database is the GP system database, but only contains system-level information – users, registration, security, etc.  The actual transactions are in your company database.
  2. When you add a company to Dynamics GP, make sure the company database is included in the backup. I usually set the backups for ‘all user databases’ – that way, if a new company is added, it’s automatically included in the backup.  If you use ‘all user databases’, you’re also covered for Management Reporter and SQL Server Report Server backups.
  3. Check your SQL System backups – Master, Model, and MSDB. With those you can recover your GP SQL users in the event of a rare, but possible, SQL application crash.  Without them, you will have to create new users in SQL to tie back to the GP users.

I am an American

I was, until recently, one of the most politically apathetic individuals in this country.  My one trip to the polls in 1968 found me pulling the lever for a straight Republican ticket (my parent’s leaning, which I followed without understanding what a Republican or Democrat was), helping to elect Richard Nixon to the office of the President Of The United States.  My life at the time, a college student during the Viet Nam ‘conflict’ and my love of Folk Music turned me not into an activist, but apolitical and apathetic.  (“What difference does it make?” – remember that phrase.)

Presidents came and went with the passing of years (and without my vote of yea or nay) until 2008, when Obama (interesting note – my spell-checker didn’t recognize ‘Obama’) was elected.
In 2012, I began to hear about ‘politically correct’ behavior, same-sex ‘marriage’ acceptance, references to God being removed from everything imaginable in this country, welfare and illegal immigrant ‘entitlements’ and the disdain the President has for the Constitution and its Amendments.
I started absorbing political news and atrocities like the proverbial sponge.
I came out of my apathy and registered to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election – my candidate lost.  OK, I don’t like it, but I’ll give him a chance to redeem himself during his second term.
A return to apathy?  No way.
Benghazi, Libya – what is the administration hiding?  I believe it’s arms deliveries to our sworn enemies (sorry, I probably need to take a refresher course in radical Islam tolerance).  Remember, this man is a politician and a master of deception.  The oversight hearings surrounding Benghazi were quickly overshadowed by revelations of IRS malfeasance and illegal collection of AP correspondence for some yet-to-be-revealed investigation.  Smokescreens, sleight-of-hand, call it what you will, it’s a diversion for something far more sinister, from a man who can and will not prove his citizenship or provide college records, and who APOLOGIZES for the United States to foreign governments at every opportunity.  This is NOT the America I grew up in, and will no longer tolerate.
My days of apathy are over.  I’m letting my voice be heard, and encourage everyone who reads this to do the same.  I may not always agree with you, but I respect your right to say it.
I am an American, with traceable ancestry to pre-Revolutionary days (by the way, my ancestor Simon Girty was a translator to the Indians during the French and Indian War, not what he is fictionalized as being).
I am an American, and proud to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
I am an American, and stand for one man, one woman marriage.
I am an American, and believe in working for what you earn.
I am an American, and proud of it.  I will not apologize for freedom and liberty.
I am an American.

On adulthood and responsibility

I put this on Facebook several months ago – it bears repeating…
OK, so I’m a senior citizen, but that only means that I maybe have a bit more insight than the younger folks.
When I was growing up, violence in schools was rare. On TV, acts of cruelty (accidental or otherwise) were dealt with by explanation, contrition, and learning a lesson from it so that it didn’t happen again. For example, Opie Taylor and the Robin’s nest on The Andy Griffith Show.
Today, movies with graphic violence and gore are the choice of many. Online games tout ‘Kill noobs! Score headshots!’
I’ll tell you what’s wrong with America – we’ve lost our focus on human kindness and decency. We are no longer ‘…one nation, under God, indivisible’. We are a divided nation with no sense of what’s right or decent.
I just heard that someone recommended that teachers be allowed to carry weapons!? That’s not the final answer, people. Teach your children to value human life, correct them when they’re wrong. Teach them common decency and manners. Make them responsible for their actions.
I don’t care who or what you are – it applies to everyone on this planet – we’re in this together. Let’s solve it together.
Put guns in the hands of those that value those principles. Get rid of the movies and games that glorify senseless violence. No, I don’t want a country full of pansies, but strong men and women don’t need weapons other than their own actions to lead us.
I’m off my soapbox for now. If you’ve read this far, your views and comments are appreciated. Am I wrong? Prove it, and I’ll change my thinking – that’s how we learn and grow.

 [Comment]
Well said Chuck. And may I add to it? Back in the day kids were also taught to take responsibility for what they did. Now you can’t look at a child without a wild helicopter parent ready to scream at you. Kids run wild and talk to adults in ways I would’ve gotten the snot smacked out of me for! My mother would’ve never tolerated it. Every kid wins a trophy no matter who wins the game, and then they wonder why the same kid can’t compete in the real world. Doesn’t u:nderstand why he doesn’t get a raise when he doesn’t bother working harder. Just gets mad and hurts people around him. People need to be looking inside the family unit if you want to get to the source of what’s wrong these days. When parents use tv and video games for a babysitter instead of supervised entertainment. When parents will teach their kid they are victims instead of teaching them coping skills. And worst of all when parents put them on such a pedestal that no one elses feelings matter but their own you’ve got a nation of selfish spoiled entitled adults who will do anything to anyone and not care because they have been raised to never be wrong and the center of the universe
[Reply]
 Thanks for the comments, everyone! I had finally had enough. The above rational rant has been in the making since we went to Olive Garden for supper. There were 2 women and 5 kids at a table just a few away from ours, and the kids were running around the restaurant screaming, standing on chairs and tables, and their parents totally ignored them and did nothing to stop or correct them. The restaurant management didn’t (and wouldn’t) say anything to them, and when I mentioned it to our server, she just shrugged and said she understood but there was nothing she could do. If I had behaved like that in a restaurant I would have been taken to the car and made to sit until my parents returned to head home. No stops at some other restaurant because the little prince was hungry, I was taken home, sent to my room, and waited – hungry – until the next meal. I learned. Was I abused in any way? NO. Was my psyche damaged for life? NO. I was taught a lesson. You know what? I’m still learning!  Just sayin’…

What has happened to this country?  Yeah, too much written in too many places, but I don’t get it.  Any religious text, whether it be Christian, Jewish, or other, all state that the only approved and sanctioned sexual mating is between male and female.  That tells me that the Gay/Lesbian thing is from the god of this world, not THE God.  Yes, the god of this world is the biggest liar of all time (no, not Obama), and is known to focus on that which will separate God (the Creator) from Man (his creation).

So we take God out of schools and public functions, the government sanctions Gay/Lesbian unions, people who speak truth handed down over millennia are shouted down as hate-mongers.  Now the Boy Scouts are going to let homosexuals in?  Don’t ask me to share a tent!  I wonder what new badges they’ll come up with.  Instead of knot tying it will be fellatio?  These folks need counselling, not approval.

…one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.  That’s what it’s supposed to be – and under God, it’s a male-female pairing only.  What part of any of that don’t we get?

Just sayin’…

All right, what am I missing here?  Jesus Christ very clearly stated that we as soon-Christians-to-be should not be buried in rituals and spout empty words.  He gave us an example of how to pray, recorded in both Matthew and Luke.  His starts off “Our Father in heaven, hallowed is your name…” as opposed to “give me what I want because I deserve it…” or “God, rain hell-fire on my next-door neighbor…”.  It was a guideline.  So what do we do?  For many Christian sects, every time they go to church they recite “Our Father, which art in heaven…”  You might as well zen out and say “Om” a few hundred times.  Same benefit.

OK, Communion time.  Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he has been preaching about brotherhood, family, a commune (no, we’ll skip the hippie group-everything mentality here as well) where things are shared and help is given among like-minded believers.  At the last supper, he takes wine and bread (and we won’t go into further symbolism or mystical garbage), the two staples of every meal, and says “every time you drink this wine or eat this bread (paraphrased), remember me”.  So what I believe he’s saying is that we should focus on him daily.  Make sense?  He could have said “with every breath you take” and it would have had the same connotation.  So what do even the supposedly biblical-centered ministries do?  They make a special ritual out of it, only to be held at specific times and places.

So I ask again, what am I missing?  It seems to me the paragraphs above boil down to “Pray thankfully and think of God always”.

…or do I need to light candles and incense and make a grand show of piety?  I think we as followers of Christ need to re-examine the early church writings  – before they were warped and twisted by those driven by greed, avarice, and a general desire to bilk the faithful of their hard-earned money.

Just sayin’…

A client on GP 2010 had just installed Professional Service Tools with the primary intent of running the Copy Company function to transition from test to production.  The utility was failing with the error:

Unhandled script exception:
[Microsoft][SQL Server Native Client 10.0][SQL Server]Could not find stored procedure ‘XYZ.dbo.eeCompanyCopy’.

The cause was that the end user had set up their own ODBC DSN and did not clear the check boxes for ‘Use ANSI Quoted Identifiers’.  Clearing the ANSI flags on the connector allowed the utility to run without error.

 

It should have been an easy upgrade…  Dynamics GP 9.0 to GP 11.0, but I needed to get 9.0 to latest Service Pack to run the GP 11 (2010) upgrade.  It would not install, so I turned off DEP, turned off UAC, it still failed.  I even pulled out my bag of tricks, copied the server-side folder to a workstation replacing the existing GP (after zipping the original folder).  It updated the application, but there was nothing in Utilities to allow me to update the databases.

Since Microsoft no longer supports GP 9.0, KB searches came up empty, but in researching, I came across a Blog entry referring to updating .NET 1.1 Framework to SP1 and also referenced a non-existent KB.  I downloaded and updated .NET to SP1, accepting the warning that it had compatibility issues with Server 2008, and it completed the framework install successfully.  I re-launched the GP 9 MSP, and IT RAN!

Hopefully this helps others in this situation.