Archive for September, 2012

Infor SunSystems Mobile 1.1.0,

September 18th, 2012

Infor SunSystems Mobile Application

Infor recently announced the availability of Infor SunSystems Mobile 1.1.0, available for download in the Apple App Store

This release introduces the following enhancements and updates:

  • Language support for all core SunSystems languages and one additional language:
    • English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese-Brazilian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese; and one additional SunSystems language—Russian
  • High-resolution artwork for iPad® 3 devices
  • A number of application fixes.

 (© 2012 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo & iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries).

RFID Garment tags from Synergy Software Systems

September 18th, 2012

Care labels appears on almost every piece of clothing we own, telling us care and brand information.

With our new Garment Tag, this information can now be stored securely in an RFID chip. Made from tough material suitable for repeated washing, our Garment Tag comes in different sizes with suitable printing options. With  application extending from basic care information to laundry systems and brand authentication, the Garment Tag provides a new dimension of information to the clothing/fashion industry.

 Please contact us for more information.

Microsoft launches Windows Server 2012 in Middle East

September 16th, 2012

 Samer Abu Ltaif, General Manager Microsoft Gulf, announced the launch of Windows Server 2012 in a  keynote speech, that  described how Windows Server 2012 is a cornerstone of the Cloud OS that provides customers with a modern platform for the world’s applications.

New web-based Report Viewer for Management Reporter 2012

September 16th, 2012

A web-based Management Reporter, Report Viewer, debuted this week – many of the features in the desktop viewer today, but with nothing to install. So this great tool, which is free for licensed users of Dynamics products is even better.

The new Management Reporter Report Viewer is  fresh, modern user interface. Users can focus on the data in the reports which are both personalized and secured.

A new Chart Gallery gives you instant access to key graphical data that has been saved with the report. You can easily browse to review all charts that are available in a full screen mode.

And, here’s what just a couple Partners who saw the demo had to say:

  • What? A Management Reporter Web Viewer? Awesome!” — Mariano Gomez of IntellPartners
  • Being able to collaborate using comments on web-based reports takes the usefulness of financial reports to a new level.” – Janice Phelps of Blue Moon Industries

SynergySoftware Systems provides Advanced Training on Microsoft Management Reporter 2012 – call us to dusucss your requirements.

RFID – Synergy Software Systems, Dubai- many succesful projects

September 11th, 2012

This blog tends to focus on erp, technology etc

So, for many readers it may be a surprise to learn that Synergy has been implementing mobility and RFID solutions since the early 1990′s. This includes Access control,  and T@A systems as well as large scale Asset tracking solutions, loyalty cards, etc. For exampe we have implemented solutiions for s shopping mall, an IT department, Hotel groups, a University etc.

RFID technology is making major advances, year on year, and delivering bottom line results in many new ways.

 JC Penney’s CEO announced the company’s plans to RFID-tag 100% of merchandise by February 2013,

 American Apparel reported sales growth in the second quarter and cited their use of RFID as a significant tactic  to improve profitability

We have been seeing more companies benefiting from embedding RFID into their products. We are excited about the new capabilities that are emerging and innovative applications that are enabled when Monza and Indy chips are embedded. The next version of the UHF Gen2 protocol  includes loss identification/prevention, item anti-counterfeiting, security and machine-to-machine interfacing.

 A recent annoucment is the availability of the world’s first RFID reader network application for the Apple iPhone.

One of our partners has just announced an advanced fuel distribution RFID system, in addition to their established solutions like Jewellery tagging etc.

Synergy also provdes asset tags, and tagging services and mobile data collection services e.g for annual count. Our solutions  work with integrated modules for Fixed Financial management and Planned maintenance, Capital project accounting etc.

Expect to see more innovative applications as the technology advances and mass production of tags reduces costs.

Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V

September 8th, 2012

With the release of Windows Server 2012 yesterday, Microsoft significantly updated its Hyper-V virtualization platform. Available both as part of Server 2012 and as a free standalone installation, the third generation of Hyper-V brings with it a collection of features for which we used to have to pay topay extra . Plus new features  you couldn’t do at all with other hypervisors (like live migration of a server from one server to another with no shared storage between the two).

Hyper-V supports a host of high-availability and “resiliency” features, such as off-site replication of servers. It does many of those things as well or better than offerings from VMware and Citrix—regardless of whether you’re virtualizing Windows servers, Windows desktops, or Linux. While the licenses for Windows Server itself are tied to a specific set of hardware, other operating systems can be hosted on the standalone Hyper-V server and managed as part of the same environment.

Part of the reason for the boost in capability comes from Server 2012’s (and Hyper-V’s) support for Non-Uniform Memory Architecture spanning. NUMA-based systems assign blocks of memory as “local” to specific processors to boost performance, but that limits the amount of memory that can be assigned to a virtual machine. Hyper-V’s NUMA spanning feature allows virtual machines to reserve memory across multiple nodes, allowing much larger memory assignments to a single VM. But this also results in an overall performance hit for the VMs running within the hypervisor. So if you’re not running VMs that need extra-large helpings of dedicated memory, you can turn NUMA spanning off.

Microsoft has tied up  all of this  a relatively simple and inexpensive package. This could potentially save organizations a significant amount of money. The free version of the Hyper-V hypervisor is just as capable as the version that ships as part of Windows Server 2012—there’s no cap on the supported memory or number of processors. Hyper-V Server 2012 is a full-feature version of the hypervisor, with all of the same manageability features of the Server 2012 component. If you’re not planning on running a Server 2012 license in a hypervisor, but want to run other operating systems as virtual machines (such as Windows 7 or 8 for a virtual desktop infrastructure, older versions of Windows Server, or Linux) using Microsoft management tools, Hyper-V Server 2012 is all you need.

Hyper-V Manager includes wizards for doing just about every common virtual machine management task such as creating a new VM or virtual disk, importing and exporting VMs, setting up replication, or moving a VM or its storage from one physical location to another.

Security security security

September 8th, 2012

Hackers got their hands on a database of 12 million Apple Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) apparently by hacking an FBI laptop.

 Why does an FBI agent have user identification information about 12 million iPhone users on his laptop? How did the FBI get their hands on this data in the first place?

FBI said, “The FBI is aware of published reports alleging that an FBI laptop was compromised and private data regarding Apple UDIDs was exposed. At this time there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.”

Apple also denies giving the database to the FBI.

So form where did the database come from? And are there really 12 million, or only one million.  Lots of honeypot and conspirator speculations on the blogs about this.

another recent repoet is that Fingerprint-reading software preinstalled on laptops sold by Dell, Sony, and at least 14 other PC makers contains a serious weakness that makes it trivial for hackers with physical control of the machine to quickly recover account passwords, security researchers said.

The UPEK Protector Suite, which was acquired by Melbourne, Florida-based Authentec two years ago, is marketed as a secure means for logging into Windows computers using an owner’s unique fingerprint, rather than a user-memorized password. In reality, using the software seesm to make users less secure than they otherwise would be. When activated, the software writes Windows account passwords to the registry and encrypts those with a key that is easy for hackers to retrieve. Once the key is acquired, it takes seconds to decrypt the password.

Windows account passwords are stored in Windows registry almost in plain text, barely scrambled but not encrypted,  said an advisory issued by Elcomsoft, a Russia-based developer of password-cracking software. When Protector Suite isn’t activated, Windows doesn’t store account passwords in the registry unless users have specifically configured an account to automatically log in. Security experts have long counseled people not to use automatic login.

. The most obvious disadvantage is for those computers that have a Windows feature known as Encrypting File System enabled to prevent third parties from accessing sensitive files or folders. The key that unlocks that encrypted data is controlled by a Windows account password. Once the password is retrieved, the EFS-encrypted data stored on the computer can quickly be decrypted.

The account password could unlock other data that might otherwise be harder to obtain. The Windows Data Protection application programming interface, for example, is also closely tied to account passwords and controls access to credentials used by Outlook, Internet Explorer, and possibly other applications.

any time a PC is physically controlled by a hacker, its passwords are vulnerable to cracking attacks but without the use of the UPEK Protector Suite, hackers have access only to one-way password hashes, which, depending on the complexity of the underlying passcode, can take years or centuries to recover using brute-force methods. Use of the fingerprint software almsot guarantees the success of the cracking operation, and it can also significantly reduce the time it takes.

The easily cracked passwords are stored in the Windows registry even after the Protector Suite software has been deactivated, and it is only removed when a user manually deletes it. The precise registry location of the encrypted password is not yet known. .

Authentec no longer actively markets Protector Suite, but according to archived data from the UPEK website, the app ships—or used to ship—on laptops manufactured by 16 different companies. In addition to Dell and Acer, other PC makers include Amoi, Asus, Clevo, Compal, Dell, Gateway, IBM/Lenovo, Itronix, MPC, MSI, NEC, Sager, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba.

Biometric readers are only as secure as the software that implements with those readers. That is why we sell hand punch readers with 13 bit encyrption.

Thought of the day

September 8th, 2012

A quote that goes back to my university days.

Documentation is the castor oil of programming. The managers know it must be good because programmers hate it so much” (p.262)”

From ‘The Psychology of Computer Programming’, Gerald M. Weinberg 1971

Dynamics CRM 2011 – Analyst view Aug 2012

September 5th, 2012

Source Gartner cites Microsoft expanded platform support for mobile devices and non IE browsers as “significant advances”. They also site integration with the Microsoft technology stack. “Integration with the Microsoft technology stack assets, such as Microsoft SharePoint for collaboration and content management, Microsoft Lync for Presence and Instant Messaging and Microsoft Visual Studio for extended customization, enables customers to leverage their Microsoft investments.”

Another strength of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is the “broad delivery network” that provides a “breadth of application add-ons, industry vertical expertise and implementation capabilities.”

Let us show you why major global companies operating in Dubai have implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 with Synergy Software Systems.

Office 15 Customer Preview

September 5th, 2012
Microsoft Office 15 Customer Preview isavailable for trial. Exrience the revolutionary features of Office 15 applications.It will provide a diverse range of services including Office ProPlus, Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office 365 Enterprise for diverse business requirements

UAE to be hit by heavy rain and thunder

September 5th, 2012

The UAE weather centre has warned of heavy rain and thunderstorms over the next few days, leading to hazardous driving conditions,. Most of the extreme conditions are expected to be in the south of the country, following a sharp drop in temperatures over Liwa, in Abu Dhabi, from 42C to 24C, the report added.

 There are also reports of high winds, leading to lower visibility and motorists in the other Emirates  have been warned to expect mist and fog.

We will all welcome some cooler weather and maybe now some of my plants will survive.  However, there have been several recent tragic accidents – so please take care when driving and remember local tyres are not designed for wet conditions and that stopping distances increase significantly in the wet. Thereare  few drains and most are blocked by sand and there maybe pools of water lying on the road, that are difficult to see with reduced visibility.

.

Mindjet – very special prices for September 2012

September 3rd, 2012

Mindjet Products

At the end of September 2012, Mindjet MindManager will be changing to a new all inclusive, lower cost, subscription model that will give you access to Mindjet products and services across a range of popular platforms.
 
Benefit from change, but be quick!
 
There are a range of options open right now that enable some great savings, but the window is closing.

Quick summary for existing users:

  • You are being not forced to upgrade,
  • No loss of functionality or support will occur after the change to software you already own,
  • If you want to upgrade from an older version or buy new, now is the best time to do that because the prices are lower and you will get 12 months of extra services free.
  • All new licenses or upgrades are guaranteed a fixed perpetual license after the change, as well as the new services free for 12 months to try.All existing licenses are also fixed and perpetual, they will not expire,
  • Moving forward Mindjet products will be subscription based, with a low monthly cost as opposed to higher fixed costs and recurring upgrade fees. Again, if you already own desktop versions these will remain intact and there is no requirement to upgrade or change your service if you do not wish to. Any new purchases after the change will be via the subscription model.
 
Why the change?
 
Mindjet subscription has several key advantages:

  • It lowers the entry cost for new users,
  • Rather than one fixed device per license – users have the freedom to access Mindjet across a broad range of platforms at a single price (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android),
  • It provides a stable price expectation for existing users rather than higher fixed purchase costs and then $200-300 upgrade costs at random intervals,
  • It ensures business and individuals can make stable cost forecasts while knowing they will always have the latest version,
  • It provides flexibility for users only needing the service for a limited period,
  • It ensures the long term sustainable development of the software.
 

Hackers hit the GCC

September 2nd, 2012

RasGas, the second largest producer of Qatari LNG after Qatar Petroleum, was hit with an “unknown virus” which has taken the company offline.

A RasGas spokesperson confirmed that “an unknown virus has affected its office systems” since Monday 27th August. RasGas confirmed the situation by fax yesterday. “RasGas is presently experiencing technical issues with its office computer systems,” said the RasGas fax seen by Oil & Gas Middle East, dated 28th August. “We will inform you when our system is back up and running.”

 Emails to verified addresses at RasGas bounced back with a permanent delivery failure error message. and the RasGas website (www.rasgas.com) is down.

The news follows a malware attack against Saudi Aramco on 15th August which forced the world’s largest oil company to take down its company-wide office systems for 12 days with 30,000 afeected users.

Meanwhile a hacking group has released one million records and accounts from banks, government agencies and other sources. The group, calling itself Team GhostShell posted compromised databases from a Chinese mainframe, a US stock exchange mainframe and access points to three or four Department of Homeland Security servers among other sources.  Security analysts have confirmed that the data released includes at least 30,000 records, with data including credit histories from banks, administrator login information, usernames and passwords and files from content management systems.

Windows 2012 – end of Windows server enterprise edition

September 2nd, 2012

 Windows server Enterprise edition is  discontinued starting this month.

The Windows Server 2012 product line-up

   Datacenter edition for highly-virtualized private cloud environments.
   Standard edition for non-virtualized or lightly virtualized environments.
   Essentials edition for small businesses with up to 25 users running on servers with up to two
processors.
   Foundation edition for small businesses with up to 15 users running on single processor servers.

A processor-based licensing model that covers up to two physical processors on a server

Client Access Licenses (CALs) are required for every user or device accessing a server.

However, n:  Foundation comes with 15 user accounts and Essentials comes with 25 user accounts. 

Some additional or advanced functionality will continue to require the purchase of an additive CAL.
These are CALs that you need in addition to the Windows Server CAL to access functionality, such as
Remote Desktop Services or Active Directory Rights Management Services.

If you have Software Assurance coverage on your current Windows Server licenses at the time of the
Windows Server 2012 General Availability, you will receive the following transitional license grants to
Windows Server 2012.

For many companies the new licensing will prove to be much higher cost and we advsie you to review your future requiremnts and to budget accordingly.

There is a Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit o accurately archive a time/date-stamped inventory of hardware tied to Windows Server installations.  This documentation will serve as proof of license for any incremental license grants beyond the normal upgrade transition grant.

Ax 2012 – 1 year on

September 1st, 2012

From a technical point of view, AX 2012 is a giant step forard in the right direction. The installation and configuration process is streamlined and optimized compared to earlier versions (no more Kerberos double hop challenges, no more install RTM, SP1, RUx etc. for all components , PreReq Validation Utility etc). 64 bit server, Windows 2007 clients,  support for SQL 2012, Managed code, SSRS reports, Data management, New workflow engine, AIF document service, significant changes in data loading  are some of the other many tehcncoal changes to note.

The change and the oportuties challenges are even greater  from the functional point of view int he move to an enterprisesystme with increasing support for multi company operation…

  • No more DataAreaId
  • No more Duplicate Company (a blessing  from the SQL Server technical point of view )
  •  Organization modeling instead of just Company Info
  • New accounting structure
  • Free number of dimensions
  • Role based security
  • Pre defined templates for security roles
  • Product master
  • More roles
  • EP in the core and more sitese.g. – Proejct collboration
  • More cubes
  • More modules and all in the server licence  e.g, HR mdouels, advanced Project, advanced Producttion, Questionnaire, Retail process etc
  • Mobile apps
  • Literally a  100o functional enhancements e.g. PDC, letter of credit , consolidated PO across companies, PO Budget control etc
  • SSRS reports
  • Management Reporter
  • Enhanced office integration

The most fundamental change is done at the application architecture and not in the technical architecture.

The move to store the application logic (*.AOD) in the file system to store the same elements in the OLTP database ( it is part of the OLTP database) and to introduce “Models”, is almost as revolutionary.

Meanwhile a new licensing model a drive to the cloud, and to overhaul the partner network areall  clear signs of Microsoft’s aim for more profitable and deeper penetration of the enterprise space.  This release was a major step forward, but it may have been a step too far too quickly for many implementation partners and customers.

Upgrades across an enterprise with multiple localisations requires data mapping, report conversion to SSRS  Management reporter, new workflows, new UI navigation, more modules to learn etc and a conversion of licences from concurrent to named user, consideration of whether EP user  licences  should be acquired, whether a user is functional or Enterprise etc. 

Ultimately the biggest challenge to Microsoft’s aim will also depend on its partner network capability and capacity for sale delivery and increasingly for quality local support across an enterprise,  and how it positions product licence cost, and whether key partners find the grass greener elsewhere..  These are areas where I expect to see a lot more ‘fine tuning’  so that the product advances are realised in customer adoption.