Jun 27

Total Access Emailer Update for Microsoft Access 2016

Total Access Emailer is the most popular email automation system for Microsoft Access. A new update was released for the Microsoft Access 2016 version.

Enhancements

  • Preview lets you test your email blasts by sending the emails to your own email address.
  • Sample database updated with TLS option and larger fonts.
  • When setting an email blast, the FROM email address is validated for an acceptable email format.
  • When the name of an attachment file includes invalid characters (e.g. :*?”<>|), a message indicates that problem rather than saying the file can’t be found.
  • Procedure TotalAccessEmailer_SendOne had two parameters (strMessageHTML and strHTMLFile) that are optional but were previously required.
  • Cosmetic changes to increase font size, widen combo boxes, font consistency, and support for higher resolution monitors.
  • Manual and help file updated.

For more information, visit:

Existing Total Access Emailer 2016 owners were notified to download the update.

May 19

Total Access Detective Update for Microsoft Access 2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007

Total Access Detective finds differences between Microsoft Access databases and objects. Updates for Total Access Detective are available for Microsoft Access 2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007.

Enhancements:

  • Improved SQL string comparisons for saved queries and properties like RecordSource and RowSource.
  • Trailing blank spaces and extra blank lines are removed before comparing them, this avoids flagging SQL string differences that do not affect functionality.
  • Query comparison. Under Data Options, if the query option is set to First Field Unique, it was always treating them sequentially and stopped on the first difference. This is fixed and works correctly.
  • Table macro comparison supports table names with apostrophe (‘) in the them.
  • Text comparison. If the VBA option is not selected, the results do not show the the Procedure tabs.
  • Database comparison results: The database name goes across the entire top of the form rather than being truncated.
  • All other reported issues.

For more information, visit:

Existing Total Access Statistics owners were notified to download the update.

Total Access Detective Updates

May 18

Converting Microsoft Azure SQL Server Databases to SQL Elastic Pools to Share Server Resources

Microsoft SQL Server Databases on the Azure Cloud

Microsoft Azure lets you economically and quickly host enterprise quality SQL Server databases in the cloud. The cost of each database is relatively modest.

Managing Resources and Costs for Individual Databases

However, as you add more databases, larger databases, and/or databases that require more resources, costs increase. Providing more resources to a database is helpful when it demands it, but when users aren’t on it or during non-business hours, it may be wasted capacity. Even during business hours, one can have some databases being utilized more than others at unpredictable levels.

Pooled Resources Across Multiple Databases

Fortunately, Azure offers an Elastic Pool option to share resources across multiple databases. If the demand on your databases is inconsistent (spiky), you can provide a high level of capacity that’s available to the most demanding database while allowing other databases to share those abundant resources when needed.

  • You no longer need to set the limits of each database,
  • You are not charged a per database monthly fee which is great for supporting lightly used databases.

Migrating Existing SQL Server Databases to Elastic Pool

Microsoft provides information on SQL Elastic Pools but does not explain how to convert existing databases to an Elastic Pool.

FMS President Luke Chung wrote a new paper with step-by-step instructions on how to convert existing SQL Server databases on Azure to an Elastic Pool without the need to change the database connection strings:

Converting Microsoft Azure SQL Server Databases to SQL Elastic Pools to Share Server Resources

Here’s more information on Designing and Deploying Microsoft Azure Solutions

Apr 23

Microsoft Azure SQL Server Usage and DTU Limit Resource Graphs are Confusing

microsoft-azure-h60 SQLServerText

Microsoft Azure lets you easily create and deploy enterprise quality SQL Server on the cloud and scale it to suit your application’s needs. From the SQL Server database’s Azure dashboard, you can see the Database Transaction Unit (DTU) usage against the specified DTU limit for the database.

One Hour Usage Graph

This is what we saw for usage over one hour. The cyan line across the top is the DTU limit. The dark blue line is the DTU used. The limit is what you pay, so it’s important to scale it to what the application needs.

monitor-hour

One Hour Azure SQL Server DTU use versus limit

While everything seemed fine at the weekly level, looking at the hourly graph gave us a shock. It looks like the database is maxed out for most of the hour. It seems conclusive that we need to increase our DTU level.

65 Minute Graph

But when we set the range to 65 minutes and saw this:

monitor-65-minute

65-minute Azure SQL Server DTU use versus limit

These are completely different displays of the same period of time. The 65 minute graph never hits the maximum DTU. What’s going on?

Visit our page Monitoring SQL Server Usage on Microsoft Azure and Setting DTU Limits for an explanation.

Apr 12

What Happened When We Created a Facebook App for Social Network Analysis

facebook-medFacebook and Mark Zuckerberg are getting blamed for a large number of issues from promoting fake news, election fraud, mishandling user data, and profiting from selling user data.

While some of that may be true, the Facebook security breach is actually a violation of Facebook API licensing rules by the people who used it. Facebook provided the data and encouraged developers like us to create innovative solutions for the Facebook ecosystem. They weren’t selling the data.They weren’t even charging us to use it.

Our Facebook App with Social Network Analysis and Maps

In 2010, we created a Facebook application using our Sentinel Visualizer technology to perform Social Network Analysis (SNA) based on a user’s friends’ friends. It would automatically cluster friends so you could quickly see their groups (high school, college, work, family, in-laws, clubs, etc.).

Facebook Social Network Analysis App of Clustered Friends

Each box (picture) was one of your friends, and you could move them around the network, hover over them to get their info, or click on them to go to their page.

We also plotted friends on a Microsoft Bing Map making it easy to see who were near you or where you were visiting.

Plotting Your Friends' Locations on a Map

 

We launched our free Sentinel Visualizer Facebook App to a limited number of users and it started to gain followers. People were amazed to see which of their friends knew each other. The application started to go viral. We were having trouble supporting the traffic.

Not Allowed to Save Facebook Data

One of the things developers couldn’t do was to save Facebook’s data. All we collected were the user names and email addresses people provided when they registered our program. Unfortunately, other developers didn’t abide by Facebook’s terms and the data improperly got to Cambridge Analytica and others.

Facebook Stopped Making the Data Available

Our app ceased to work when Facebook limited their APIs and prevented our ability to get to the list of your friends’ friends among your network.

It’s not entirely Facebook’s fault for trying to spur innovation by sharing their data for free. Some developers violated the trust Facebook gave them.

The Full Story

Here’s our new web page describing our experience in detail: