Tuesday, December 25, 2007

'Feeling Good' Teenager

Please no corny comments on the title of this post!

This is an interesting personal story that I have been wanting to write about for a while. 'It all started' 3 years back when I read a post by Leon titled - How to be Depressed.

Now generally I would skip past most "self-help, push yourself, you can be bigger and better or the seven habits of highly effective pets" stuff. However, Leon seemed like a normal guy. A good programmer, and great writer with an excellent sense of humor. He also has a life saving software product. So I read the post.

I loved the post.

Then surprisingly I read the book.

And then in the next 3 years I gifted the book to 7-8 different people. I felt strongly that people should at least glance through the book. You would think I am surrounded by real sad people all around me! Well, Maybe!

Most of them loved it.

Then recently the most fantastic things of all happened. One of my friends, Rubal, took the book home, and her teenage brother picked it up. He probably liked the bright yellow cover. He flipped a few pages and said he wanted a copy. My friend was pleasantly surprised, considering her brother was this outdoors kind of guy. She gladly passed on the copy and got a new one for herself.

When I heard about this, I assumed the teen is probably kidding. My second guess was he was trying to project a intellectual and serious outlook to impress a girl.

However, the next time Rubal met her brother he told her- "I am using "Do Nothingness" concept from the book you gave me, and I have been cleaning up my room regularly now! ". He also told her that he was using the double column technique to control his anger!

Hearing that made my day. I was talking to a friend telling him, this should be required reading in High school. Now I know if it does become required reading, it would work!

A world with spot clean rooms of teenagers, controlled kids who don't fight after provocation - might be a dull place, but it would be change.

Monday, December 24, 2007

SmartFill - Google for Great Plains

You know that a product is good, when a customers tells you he really wants it.

We are scheduled to install SmartFill for some new customers next year, but from what we have seen - we love it so much that we are going to try and sell it to our existing customers as well.

I have had "Install and Test SmartFill" on my to do list for a while now. Yesterday after hearing Therese Rudzis of Rockton Software on GP Rocks - I finally got down to installing it.

I will come back and write a detailed review once I have seen it running for multiple users, but for now I loved what I saw. This software provides the usability experience that would make users love Great Plains.

I would recommend checking out their demo - Click Here

Its reasonably priced per user and you could install it for one user to begin with. I am sure others would plead for it soon enough!

Here is a screen shot I took from our test machine after installing smartfill-

After you type “State” and Press TAB – You get a filtered Customer List in the Lookup

Thursday, December 20, 2007

GP 10 on Windows XP/SQL Express (Don't Try this at Home)

We installed GP 10 Server on a Windows XP machine recently. I don't recommend this as Windows XP is not supported as a server. However, a client didn't want to upgrade his server which was on GP 7 , and well ... the client is *always* right!

Everything seems to be working reasonably well till now.

Earlier, during our testing, we faced an interesting issue - we could not add any users.

It was one of those issues where everybody got interested, because this was working perfectly well in our test environment. We got together to troubleshoot it.

When we tried to add a user from within GP we got the helpful message below.

"The Creation of the login failed for an unknown reason. Contact your SQL server Administrator for assistance"

When as an administrator you get a message asking you to contact an administrator, it is not very comforting.

Tina suggested that we make a user in SQL and see if that works. When we tried to add a user in SQL we got the error below -

"The MUST_CHANGE option is not supported by this version of Microsoft Windows".

At this point Rubal put it together and suggested we turn off the Must Change password option. We did that and were able to add users.

We did the same thing from within GP - turned off the option to change password and we were able to add users.

Turns out, Windows XP and SQL Express combination doesn't allow creation of users with the password policy on. Hope that helps someone.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

GP 10 Security : Planning for Security White paper

Excellent Read, especially for the IT guys managing a Great Plains installation. This document ships with GP 10 as well, but I haven't run into anybody who has actually read it !


Because the size of Microsoft Dynamics GP implementations can vary a great deal, it is important to carefully consider the needs of a smaller business and to weigh the effectiveness of security against the costs that may be involved. Use your best judgment to recommend a policy that helps to meet security needs.

This document discusses the following topics:

    * Basic security recommendations
    * Securing the server operating system
    * Network security
    * Virus protection
    * Microsoft Dynamics GP security
    * The Microsoft Dynamics GP database security model
    * Core application security tasks
    * Frequently asked questions about security in Microsoft Dynamics GP

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Finding REAL 'Flow' at work ... And a Tribute to Mark Polino

My coworker and friend - Rubal, is reading the book "FLOW" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  Its one of my favorite books, great content,  and partly because I love asking people to read the name of the author ;-).

Mr. Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chick-sent-me-high-ee) , former chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago, has been the Thinker of the Year 2000.

According to one of the studies in the book - they track how people feel at various times during the day. The studies say that people say - "I wish I was doing something else", most when they are *working*. Our culture and media have somehow lead to this outlook. You would rather be watching TV or relaxing on a beach, than working.

The irony is that people report real happiness and flow the most during *work*. The don't report real happiness while relaxing, or doing nothing. Though, there is a chance that you might report real happiness watching your team win a thrilling match, however their is a greater chance of finding the same happiness at work.

The moments when somebody is in a high-challenge, high skill situation accompanied by feelings of creativity, concentration and satisfaction -were reported more often at *work* than at home. 

Ever since I read the book few years back, I have believed the key ingredient is "HIGH SKILL". If you are skilled, you will be happy at work.

Now consider this - Mark is the CFO of Transit TV, his day job. He uses Dynamics GP at work, and I am sure he excels at his job. He knows GP so well.

However, there's a ton more -

1. He hosts DynamicAccounting.Net - which is the best and biggest unbiased Dynamics GP resource on the web,

2. He has a podcast on GP - GP Rocks

3. He has a video series "Dynamic Sherpa Videos",

4. He regularly posts replies in Dynamics GP Newsgroups,

5. He's been interviewed by Steve Bragg of Accounting Best Practices,

6. He regularly promotes new bloggers and community efforts related to Dynamics GP

and I don't even know Mark personally. That's just the stuff I ran into while working with Dynamics GP. There might be a ton more.

The only way somebody can do all that is - with very high skill. He excels at GP and doesn't mind working hard to make sure his skills always match up with changing technology. 

In his recent post - "A Whack at My Ego" - he writes about how he discovered something new. I can imagine Mark reading about the new views and then going into Flow .... "Do I have these views in my installation?", "When did they come out?", "What can I do with this new information?"

Check out any of his posts and you'll know what I mean.