Archive for April, 2011

New Prices for Microsoft Certifications Exams

April 30th, 2011

After greatly increasing the number of certifications required by partners It is no suprise to ifnd thta these ahvd suddenly increased in price by a very signifcant % way above any sort of justifiied inflation in the middle of a recession – but that is part of the strategy – invest  a lot or don’t be a partner is the message

Effective July 1, 2011 the retail price of Microsoft Certifications will increase worldwide.* This change reflects the significant value that our certifications provide to our customers and our continual investment in new and enhanced Microsoft Certifications and other program improvements.

*Price change will be effective in India on August 1, 2011.

Ssome of the prices for Microsoft Certification exams for students and academic institutions will increase, but  the discount will remain significant.

Exam prices can vary by country or region. 

Note Microsoft Learning does not anticipate that this price increase will impact Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA), Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), and Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification exams.

http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-pricing-FAQ.aspx

MindManager – Power markers – special offer

April 28th, 2011

MindManager is often used to create dashboard and project plan maps that contain many levels of detail specifying action items, resources, and due dates. Especially when used to manage team activities, these maps can become complex.

 Power Markers is an add-on for MindManager 8 and 9 for Windows that generates real time lists to help you quickly assess priorities, identify upcoming deadlines, and navigate large maps.Power Markers generates a complementary list view of MindManager maps organized by your tags, markers and topic colors to help you quickly find essential information and navigate larger maps with ease.

View relevant topics in the Hot List task pane. Power Markers automatically groups your map topics into categories based on their markers

  • Use pre-defined automatic markers that are applied or removed based on a specific condition, such as due date
  • Define markers directly on the map using “active legends” map parts and save your own custom marker sets for use on other maps
  • Easily create a SWOT analysis list in the hot list pane by using markers to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, regardless of their location in the map
  • Get started easily using pre-built templates and map parts
  • Mindjet Power Markers is available in English and is compatible with MindManager Versions 8 and 9 for Windows.

    Take advantage of our introductory offer reduced from $79 per user to $59  (but be quick)

    SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 CTP

    April 24th, 2011

    The Microsoft SQL Server Sustained Engineering team  recently announced the availability of SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 CTP. Both the Service Pack and Feature Pack updates are available for download on the Microsoft Download Center. Service Pack 1 for SQL Server 2008 R2 includes product improvements based on requests from the SQL Server community, and hotfix solutions provided in SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM Cumulative Update 1 to 6.

    Key improvements in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 are:

    • Dynamic Management Views For Increased Supportability
      sys.dm_exec_query_stats DMV is extended with additional columns to improve supportabilities over troubleshooting long-running queries. New DMVs and XEvents on select performance counters are introduced to monitor OS configurations and resource conditions related to the SQL Server instance.
    •  ForceSeek For Improved Querying Performance
      Syntax for FORCESEEK index hint has been modified to take optional parameters allowing it to control the access method on the index even further. Using old style syntax for FORCESEEK remains unmodified and works as before. In addition to that, a new query hint, FORCESCAN has been added. It complements the FORCESEEK hint allowing specifying ‘scan’ as the access method to the index. No changes to applications are necessary if you do not plan to use this new functionality.

      Data-tier Application Component Framework (DAC Fx) For Improved Database Upgrade
      The new Data-tier Application (DAC) Framework v1.1 and DAC upgrade wizard enable the new in-place upgrade service for database schema management. The new in-place upgrade service will upgrade the schema for an existing database in SQL Azure and the versions of SQL Server supported by DAC. A DAC is an entity that contains all of the database objects and instance objects used by an application. A DAC provides a single unit for authoring, deploying, and managing the data-tier objects. For more information, see Designing and Implementing Data-tier Applications.

    •  Disk SpaceControl For PowerPivot
      This update introduces two new configuration settings that let you determine how long cached data stays in the system. In the new Disk Cache section on the Power Pivot configuration page, you can specify how long an inactive database remains in memory before it is unloaded. You can also limit how long a cached file is kept on disk before it is deleted.

    Happy St George’s Day

    April 23rd, 2011

    Happy St George’s Day and Happy Easter

    Saint George (ca. 275/281 – 23 April 303), the Patron Saint of England,  was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr.

     Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic ), Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and also the Oriental Orthodox churches.

     He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and a aiitng by Raphakl and he was one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers a group of saints venerated together in Roman Catholicism because their intercession is believed to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases.

    The episode of St George and the Dragon was a legend brought back with the Crusaders . The earliest known depiction of the legend is from early eleventh-century Cappadocia, (in the iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church, George had been depicted as a soldier since at least the seventh century); the earliest known surviving narrative text is an eleventh-century Georgian text.

     His memorial is celebrated on 23 April, and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.

    Dynamics Ax 2012 – target release date

    April 23rd, 2011

    The news from  Convergence 2011 in Atlanta (US) about the next major release MS Dynamics Ax 2012 is  that general availability  will be available in August 2011.

    (Features and date come with a MS disclaimer, so all tentative right now.)

    Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool x64

    April 21st, 2011

    This tool checks your computer for infection by specific, prevalent malicious software (including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom) and helps to remove the infection if it is found. Microsoft will release an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month.

    Microsoft Dynamics Ax 2009 sp1 update for India for TCS and TDS

    April 21st, 2011

    A white paper describes a country-specific update that was released for India for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 SP1.

    In accordance with Indian legislation, you must calculate and post Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and Tax Collected at Source (TCS) amounts on transactions. You can create a transaction journal that includes multiple lines to calculate and post TDS and TCS amounts in a voucher for the following transactions:
    Purchase invoices

    • Advance payments made to vendors through cash and bank transactions
    • Bank charges
    • Sales invoices
    • Advance payments received from customers

    For more information about the hotfix download, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 2521264. For more information about other features that apply to India, refer to the Applications and Business Processes Help. Information that is specific to India includes (IND) in the title.

    Microsoft Dynamics Ax 2012 new features

    April 21st, 2011

    Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 introduces many new features and technologies that were not available in previous releases. Additionally, changes introduced in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 update a number of existing features and technologies.

    Many of  the technical changes have already been discussed in this blog and there equally impressive enhancements in the fucnitoanl areas. .

    To learn more about the many  new and changed features for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 that will give yoru business a competitive edge and improved controls and process automation, please contact us to find out more  because the release is imminent.

    Synergy Software Systems has participated in the TAP beta testing programme for Microsoft Dynamics Ax 2012  and is also a member of the Microsoft Partner Advisory Board for finance. As an example of the enhancemeents here is some information released by Microsoft on the changes to financial dimensions:

    April 14th, 2011

    Microsoft’s Cloud ERP Plans

    Microsoft’s
    announcement this week that it would begin offering its Dynamics ERP
    (enterprise resource planning) software via the Azure cloud platform drew
    significant interest from attendees of the Convergence conference in Atlanta, but
    users and partners both have questions for Microsoft to answer about its plans.

    With Azure,
    Microsoft said it can deliver ERP at scale for lower cost, through means such
    as multi-tenancy, an architecture that differs from traditional hosting by
    allowing many companies to share the same instance of an application, while
    keeping their data private. This approach enables vendors to apply upgrades
    frequently and more easily to customers, and is more economical.

    Microsoft anticipates
    many hybrid deployments.

    Microsoft may
    have some success convincing customers with smaller IT shops to move to Azure, A
    single IT staffer may be a database administrator, network technician and
    Exchange server supporter,. If the ERP system was moved to Azure, that could
    free up time for projects that create new benefits, instead of keeping the
    lights on..

    How will  a cloud deployment  integrate and co-exist with other systems ? Microsoft
    will tackle cloud integration with technologies like Azure Service Bus,

    Subscription
    pricing, helps customers avoid large up-front costs, but in the long run may
    end up costing more.

    Meanwhile,
    Dynamics ERP has historically been sold and delivered strictly through
    Microsoft’s vast partner channel, whether in on-premises or hosted form.
    Partners have therefore been the primary “face” for Dynamics
    customers, not Microsoft itself. They also depend on ongoing revenue from
    services engagements.  Microsoft hasn’t
    given partners much information so far

    Microsoft is
    certainly trying to hammer that message home. “It is hugely important for
    us to take the entire ERP ecosystem into the cloud.”

    . The first
    Dynamics application to hit Azure will be NAV 7, scheduled to be released next
    year. That means it could be several years before the entire Dynamics lineup is
    ported to Azure.

    Despite that
    timeline, Microsoft does not consider itself late to the cloud ERP game
    compared to competitors like NetSuite or SAP, and its approach is deliberately
    designed to ensure customer success, “Nobody’s doing it in the cloud at
    scale today. Everyone who’s doing it today has massive issues. They’re largely
    figuring it out,”. Those challenges include privacy, partner models and
    ISV ecosystems,

    Be Safe in the Desert

    April 12th, 2011

     4-Wheel driving and camping in the desert is  a fun and enjoyable family pastime. However, the desert is a dangerous place when you get stuck, or lost.

     Take elementary  safety precautions whether travelling on your own with friends or with a guided tour:

    •  Always travel with at least two vehicles with you
    •  Tell family and friends of your plans and have some prearranged check in times
    • Take plenty of water and some for the car just in case it overheats
    • Have some basic desert driving kit with you, such as a shovel, sand mats and tow ropes
    • We also recommend you take a GPS with you, so should you get stuck you can know your position when calling for help
    • Take a first aid kit
    • Take spare fuel
    • Ideally take a 1 day 4 wheel driving course to learn the basics of how to set your tyre pressures, how to park on a slope etc
    • A map and a charged mobile phone – Binoculars are useful – many 4 wheel cars have a compass- in a sandstorm it maybe the only  ay to find your way back to a main road.
    • Remember it gets dark quickly in this part of the world – the desert also gets cold at night
    • Though the desert may seem lifeless you may still encounter scorpions and snakes and stout footwear rather than sandals should be considered if you leave the vehicle . Camels , goats, or other vehicles may appear unexpectedly when you cross the ridge of a dune.
    • A brightly coloured flag can help people locate you.
    • Take care that you are not exposed to sunburn through a side window when you are driving in one direction for a long period – a tinted screen or long sleeves may be needed – sunscreen cream makes sense
    • Check your spare tyre . Tyres vary considerably, and desert driving for example needs different tyres and tyre pressure than wet driving. Most UAE cars should be fitted with tyres to withstand heat, but some imported cars may not have appropriate tyres.
    • A parasol or sun hats if you want to get out
    • Don’t expect to find loos, or shops, or fuel stations close by
    • Be aware – it’s easy to get your car scratched and bumped – and yourself – Check your insurance both for yourself and your car- to see what is excluded.
    • Enjoy yourself and come back safely! Remember:
      •  you will need to reset your tyre pressures at the first opportunity
      • the rules of the road apply when you leave the desert.
      • donlt forget to make your pre-arranged check in call so your emergency contact knows you are at a fast food restaurant and not stuck in he desert

    Scada Visualisation – Status Vision Designer®

    April 4th, 2011

    The newest version 4.0 of the Status Vision Designer® released today.  This new version includes many features requested by the end user.

    Security. Status Vision Designer® supports Microsoft Active Directory using the LDAP protocol to control who has access to different parts of the window project. Security is also available for web projects.

    Design modifications to increase functionality. This includes the ability to create complex shapes by joining 2 or more shapes together, or by subtracting one shape out of another.  Another design modification feature is added to help design time when aligning and spacing groups of objects that are selected on the design surface.

    Data interoperability, allows the creation of projects that can have multiple data sources.  These data sources include all forms of OPC, including OPC UA, SQL, and  ODBC. Status can also be extended to use any form of data.

    A living product, Status Vision Designer was built with the .NET Framework. What this meansfor the end user is that the software will always Grow with the .NET Framework. The new version of Status utilizes the .NET 4.0 Framework and Silverlight 4.

    Client Side Calculations, allow for the creation of bindable tags that are generated from the custom calculations that are created, or the calculations that are provided.

    3D Controls have been added to the toolbox to help create a more realistic screen.

    Status Vision Designer® is offered as a powerful Windows and Web solution for the visualization of any business data and at a fraction of the cost when compared to other vendors. With no Tag limits, and New technology, this is, and will be, a very scalable solution for years to come.

    Budget and consolidation white papers -Prophix

    April 4th, 2011

    Call Pankaj for any of these white papers. 009714 3365589

    • Financial Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting in the New Economy: An Aberdeen Report
    • New Tools for New Times: A CFO Research Services  PROPHIX and Corporate Performance Management
    • PROPHIX and Business Intelligence
    • Financial Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting: Will the Economy Emerge?: An Aberdeen Report -
    •  Navigating the IFRS Conversion Process -
    • Performance Management in the Midmarket: An Aberdeen Report -
    • Best Practices for Planning & Budgeting -
    • Financial Planning and Budgeting: Lessons Learned from the Big Guys -
    •  Budgeting and Planning at Midsize Companies -
    •  Reporting Best Practices 
    •  Improving Operational Efficiency -
    •  Are You Data Rich But Starving for Information?

    Enormous and indiscriminate SQL injection attack

    April 3rd, 2011

    This is an important security reblog from http://arstechnica.com/security/news/2011/03/massive-sql-injection-attack-making-the-rounds694k-urls-so-far.ars

    Hundreds of thousands of URLs have been compromised—at the time of writing, 694,000—in an enormous and indiscriminate SQL injection attack. The attack has modified text stored in databases, with the result that pages served up by the attacked systems include within each page one or more references to a particular JavaScript file.

    The attack appears to be indiscriminate in its targets, with compromised machines running ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, JSP, and PHP, and no doubt others. SQL injection attacks, which exploit badly-written Web applications to directly perform actions against databases, are largely independent of the technology used to develop the applications themselves: the programming errors that allow SQL injection can be made in virtually any language. The underlying cause is a programmer trusting input that comes from a Web page—either a value from a form, or a parameter in a URL—and passing this input directly into the database. If the input is malformed in a particular way, the result is that the database will run code of the attacker’s choosing.

    In this case, the injected SQL is simply updating text fields within the database, to make them include an extra fragment of HTML. This HTML in turn loads a JavaScript from a remote server, typically “http://lizamoon.com/ur.php” or more recently, “http://alisa-carter.com/ur.php.” Both domain names resolve to the same IP address, and presently that server is not functional, leaving browsers unable to load the malicious script when they visit infected pages. Previously, it contained a simple script to redirect users to a fake anti-virus site.

    The massive scale of these attacks (and the rapidly growing number of affected URLs) was first noticed by Websense Security Labs. On Tuesday, around 28,000 URLs were compromised; now more than 20 times more URLs are infected, and the numbers are still growing.

    The injected code is also found on a number of product pages on Apple’s iTunes Store. Apple fetches RSS feeds from podcasters that broadcast using iTunes, and in a number of cases these broadcasters have been compromised by the SQL injection attack. As a result, the malicious code has made its way into Apple’s system. However, due to the way Apple processes the RSS feeds, there appears to be no exploitation vector; the injected HTML is safely nullified.

    SQL injections following this pattern appear to have been happening off and on for six or more months now. The domain name hosting the JavaScript changes each time, but the file name—ur.php—and the style of injection remain consistent. The actions of the scripts have been similar too; pop-up windows and malware downloads. Previous efforts were on a much smaller scale, however: hundreds of compromised URLs instead of hundreds of thousands. In these earlier cases, the attacks originated from IP addresses in eastern Europe and Russia.

    It’s been a busy week for SQL injection; at the weekend, MySQL.com, the website of Oracle-owned open source database MySQL, was hacked, again using SQL injection. A little embarrassing for a database vendor to be unable to use its own database securely

    Google +1 button

    April 3rd, 2011

    +1 Button Lets Users Approve Google Search Links – Search results you like can be marked so that Google will highlight these to your friends. With a new +1 button experiment, Google is further personalizing results and ads. But with the Federal Trade Commission rebuke this week, Google is taking pains to let users protect their privacy

    The Federal Trade Commission  ordered 20 years of independent privacy audits for Google following its Google Buzz fiasco in 2010. The FTC said Google violated the FTC Act as well as its own privacy policy in exposing Gmail users’ contacts. The tough Google action is meant to ensure that companies honor privacy pledges,

    Meanwhile Microsoft filed its first ever official antitrust complaint on March 31. Not too surprisingly, it’s against Google. More surprisingly, Microsoft’s chosen the European Union antitrust courts — which have proven more foe than friend to Redmond — as the venue for the action. The Microsoft complaint is focused largely around the search market and access to content and data in the mobile-phone space

    Ax 2012 – technical enhancements

    April 3rd, 2011

    Development client

    The AX 2012 client can be launched in development mode. This exposes all the development tools without having to jump through multiple contextual menus. The window is stripped of its Main Menu, Content Pane and Navigation bar. The X++ editor  uses the same engine that powers the Visual Studio editor, with long-awaited features like: line numbering, block editing, change highlighting, etc.

    Models

    Models complement the  code layering system  in AX to goup  objects . Models can be imported/exported from the system and withnaming, versioning and signing possibilities .The layer-based application object files (AOD-files) are replaced by a dedicated SQL Server database, which is also the model store. All application elements are located in this database, which  is created by the setup program of Dynamics AX 2012 Models will be the new way ISV solutions are distributed rather than the current system of distributing AOD files).

    The new storage model with AX 2012 will remove the only single point of failure  in the AX architecture.  With AX 2009, the application is stored in a shared folder which is only accessible by the AOS. The high availability solution for Microsoft file servers is the Distributed File System (DFS) technology. However, Microsoft does not recommend creating multiple copies of .aod files, therefore the folder which contains the application files cannot be configured with DFS.

    Visual Studio integration

    For an AX developer, it will become a requirement to have a Visual Studio 2010 installation. With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, the integration between the two is to the point where managed code can now be called in business logic processes using event handlers attached to AX class methods. Through the use of the Application Explorer (AOT in Visual Studio), objects like tables or classes can now be used, with full IntelliSense, in managed code thanks to automatically generated proxies.

    Role-based Security

    In previous versions of AX, assigning security keys was  the main task rl for a developer about . With AX 2012’s role-based security, developers play a much bigger role when creating new elements. Permissions are now assigned on the AOT elements and are grouped together in Privileges. These Privileges are then gathered in Duties which define a role.

    The new security framework is based on:

    • Roles: a group of duties specific to a function (accountant, mechanic, clerk, manager, …)
    •  Duties: a group of related privileges needed for a specific task (sales order entry, approve expenses, order  picking etc,
    •  Privileges: a group of entry points (mostly menu items) needed for a specific action (create sales order lines, set up HRM parameters, start a picking route, …)
    • Permissions: a group of base objects  each with the required level of access (update salesTable, update HRMParameters, …)

     Developers are responsible to provide the appropriate privileges and permissions

    An administrator can define roles and duties based on the privileges and permissions -and link users to roles

    Standard, out-of-the box roles, duties, privileges and permissions are available to secure all functionallity in Ax2012!Previous versions had … no out-of-the-box security configured roles.

    Some other facts:

    • SecurityKeys are no longer used
    • Companies are replaced by legal entities
    • Domains are replaced by organisations
    •  Users groups no longer used in a security context
      External users (without an Active Directory -account!) can log on to the Enterprise Portal  (using a numberof  ways of user authentication  in SharePoint 2010)

    XDS (eXtended Data Security)
     In previous versions there was RLS (record level security), where you could estrict the selected data by adding a where clause to tables Ax2012 takes RLS to the next level: it’s called the XDS framework

    •    the combination of an application context (form, menu item, …) and a role context (user, role, …)
    •  is applied to a policy (based on queries, so more flexible compared to RLS, also the meta data is used to apply data security on linked tables)
    •   this policy filters the data as configured

    an example:

    • define a query on the salesTable,
    • a policy defines that you can only see customers from a specific group (‘x’),
    • you only see the salesTable records for customers of group ‘x’ …

    Even if your select looked like ‘select from salesTable’,then  it would become something like ‘select from salesTable where exists (select from custTable where custTable.PK = salesTable.FK and custTable.group = ‘x’)’.

    • Applying multiple policies, would add extra ‘exists’ clauses to the query.
    • Ax2012 comes predefined with 11 policies (3 enabled by default)
    • This sounds like a performance killer but there’s a solution (as with most potential performance issues in ax2012).
    •  Policies that result in complex queries including multiple joins can be cached in temp tables that are populated the first time the complex policy-query is executed. The next time this complex query is executed … it is not … the results from the temp table are used in the query rather than executing the complex query over and over again. This is called a ‘myConstruct‘ and the refreshrate is customizable (on each execution, per session, …). Ax2012 comes with 7 myConstruct tables out-of-the-box.

     - A new feature for developers is the possibility to get the actual SQL statements (policies applied) from within X++.

    The goal of this new security framework is
    Faster implementation
    - Role-tailored user experience
    - Comprehensive data security

    Disaster recovery

    In Microsoft AX 2012, the application folder is stored in a database, so it is possible to integrate it into high-availability solution for SQL databases. That’s will improve data integrity; simplify backup procedure and offer high-availability for Microsoft Dynamics Ax architecture.

    And more

    The list of smaller changes is huge –  temporary tables in the database, table inheritance, data contracts, new user controls, AIF changes, just to name a few… Expect Ax 2012 announcements at Atlanta at end AprilThere is much to get used to with Dynamics AX 2012 and this release is a major step forward There is even more good news to come on the functional side which I will cover in a future blog when the wrappers come off.