Feb 21

Microsoft Access Version Comparison Matrix

microsoftboxes2013Microsoft Access debuted in 1992 and recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary! Over the decades, Microsoft Access evolved with a large number of enhancements, database formats, features both new and old. and discontinued features.

It’s hard to remember all the changes. Fortunately, we created a comparison matrix that shows the different Microsoft Access versions and changes. See when versions were released, their latest service packs, database formats, linked tables, field types, security features, Windows Operating Systems, and many other features both new and old.

Visit our page: Microsoft Access Version Features and Differences Comparison Matrix

feature-matrix

 

Feb 21

Total Access Statistics Updates for Access 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and 2003

New versions of Total Access Statistics are available for Microsoft Access 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and 2003.

Enhancements:statistics

  • 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and 2003 Versions:
  • Adjusted treatment of null values as missing values rather than zero
  • Updated digital signature for Runtime MDE (for MDB databases)
  • Enlarged the field selection forms

For more information, visit:

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

Feb 07

Missing FBI Text Messages: Sean Hannity Radio Show

Introductionsean-hannity-radio

FMS President Luke Chung was invited on the Sean Hannity Show to discuss the technology behind text messages: how they work and how they are archived.

Below is the transcript from the interview followed by some comments on the story and how to avoid problems with data backup and disaster recovery.

Backgroundfbilogosmall

The FBI claimed to lose backups of text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.

Radio Show

On January 22, 2018, Luke Chung was on the radio show with Sean Hannity and Andrew Ziem. The three of them discussed the technology behind the ability to retrieve text messages that were deleted. Luke commented specifically on:

  • How text messages are stored on a sender’s/receiver’s device, unlike emails which are stored on a central server.
  • The ability to retrieve an email that has been deleted is more likely than trying to retrieve a text.

Here’s the audio from the show:

Luke’s segment starts at the 3:28 mark to about 5:18. The discussion wraps up around the 7:12 mark.

Sean Hannity [0:01 – 2:34]: The bigger story today… how do we retrieve five months’ worth of text? Andrew Ziem’s the founder and lead developer of BleachBit. Luke Chung is the president of FMS inc and both are well-versed in the retrieval in the forensics of getting information back that is quote “been deleted”. Thank you both for being with us. Andrew Ziem it sounds like maybe a little bit of BleachBit was used here. Is that possible to use on an electronic device?

Andrew Ziem: BleachBit itself isn’t compatible with a mobile device but there are tools that are similar to that. And even regardless of using that tool, just the fact that so many months have gone by, I know it’s been it’s been well over half a year since May 2017. Even just using the device on a daily basis is going to slowly erase text messages by overriding the data.

Sean Hannity: Well I want to, Luke Chung we’ve talked to you many many times before. Why is it this very critical five-month period they’re missing all those texts? Considering you know this is the crucial period of time. Does that sound like an accident to you? It doesn’t to me.

Luke Chung [3:28]: Well thank you very much for having me back on-again Sean. The technology here is different from emails. Emails are stored in a central server and are much more permanent. Text messages are on the sender’s device. They go to a Telecom company, which then forwards to the recipient’s [Telecom company and] device. Usually, the Telecom throws it away soon after they make that connection. So, there’s no permanent centralized storage with text messages.

Sean Hannity: So, if they subpoena the Telecom company it will probably be a waste of time.

Luke Chung [3:55]: Right, because they have no reason to store billions of text messages. Once you get it on your phone, why would they ever need to hold it for you? It’s not like an email.

Sean Hannity: So, how, what are they usually saved for? Three days in rotation?

Luke Chung [4:05]:
It is usually saved to the extent that they send a message through. So, for instance, if the recipient’s phone is off, the text message isn’t lost. You know, Verizon or AT&T or whoever is holding on to that message waiting until it can send it through. And once you connect, it gives you the message. Some services may provide a way to deal with text messages on their website so you don’t even need a phone. So that would depend on what those people are doing.

Sean Hannity: But the likelihood that the Telecom company has all those are negligible, you’re saying.

Luke Chung [4:33]: I would presume so, because there’s no reason why they would want to keep it. Once they send it through, why would they? mean it’s just a waste of space for them.

Sean Hannity: What about forensically the phone itself or the device itself?

Luke Chung [04:45]: Correct, so the phones, the sender’s phone and the recipient’s phone would have those messages to the extent that they don’t delete them.

Sean Hannity: Okay, if they delete them?

Luke Chung [4:52]: If they delete them, then they would/could be on the little hard disk, for as mentioned before, they would probably overwritten over time.

Sean Hannity: And over time means that probably long gone considering the time period that were talking about is 12/14/16 to May 2017.

Luke Chung [5:07]: Right. I mean they probably have different phones.

Sean Hannity: What about we keep hearing from Bill Binney and others that every text every email that we send is metadata stored in places like Salt Lake City. Is that possible?

Luke Chung [5:18]: Well you can ask the NSA what they store, I would not know what they store.

Sean Hannity: Alright, Andrew what if they erased it on their phone but they have the phone. Would it be retrievable?

Andrew Ziem: Yes, step one would be trying to get access to both of those phones. Making sure we’ve got the password or whatever to unlock the phone. While it is still not super likely that every single message is there. It’s possible and likely if they didn’t intentionally wipe them clean with something like BleachBit, it’s possible that some of the messages are there. So, I think it’s definitely worth a shot to do forensic analysis on the phones.

Sean Hannity: Well, they had to get all the other text messages and then they… As soon as the special counsel was appointed on May 17th. Boom. They find the text again. It literally was gone in this crucial… it sounds like Watergate and what was it, the missing 18 minutes of erase tape.

Andrew Ziem: It’s super fishy.

Sean Hannity: It’s super fishy. What about emails? Is it the same, Luke? With email servers like you use Gmail, or MSN, or AOL, whatever. I mean do those emails get saved by those providers?

Luke Chung [6:12]: Emails get saved by those providers because they are running a server type solution. You can get your email from multiple devices, so it’s not [just] stored on the individual device. It is stored centrally.

Sean Hannity: And how long do they keep them for?

Luke Chung [6:23]: Well, they can keep them, I mean if you don’t delete an email message, they’ll keep them forever. Often times, even if you delete a message like Gmail, they would still store it and have it available in the [trash folder]…

Sean Hannity: They store it in perpetuity?

Luke Chung [6:36]: That’s the agreement that you make with Google. What they do with it is kind of their business.

Sean Hannity: So, the answer is we don’t know if they’d be able to retrieve an email.

Luke Chung [6:44]: Right. An email would be much more likely to be retrievable, because you can go to the server and get it. There’s no such thing as a text message server.

Sean Hannity: But considering it’s the five critical months in question here. That these that the text messages are missing and then they just mysteriously reappeared the day after the special counsel’s appointed. Do any of you, does that pass the smell test for any of you ’cause it doesn’t for me.

Andrew Ziem: It’s hard to explain another way Sean.

Sean Hannity: In other words, it was an 18-minute Gap in the Watergate tapes. It doesn’t meet the smell test that they weren’t erased on purpose, does it?

Luke [7:12]: I mean I would need, you know, I don’t have the data to be able to look at that. I guess they’re two parts of this. One would be to see who owns those phones. Are those FBI phones and were similar things happening to other FBI phones at the time or was it specific to these two people’s phones, right?

Sean Hannity: Yeah, it’s unbelievable. Alright, I want to thank you both. Andrew, thank you. Luke, thank you. Good to talk to you again.


Follow Up Notes

The FBI disclosed that the text backups they were making depended on software installed on each smartphone which encountered problems as the app and smartphone operating systems were updated. The backups were lost for a large number of FBI devices, and not just these two individuals.

Later, the FBI were able to recover the messages.

Lessons Learned

Data backup is critical to most organizations and may be required by law. Unfortunately, people don’t realize system administration tasks like data backup and disaster recovery aren’t working until they need it. Backups may seem like they are successfully running for weeks, months and years without someone verifying everything is working.

Failures could be intentional, but it’s usually a process breakdown or human error. Sometimes, it’s a budget driven issue since old backups (tapes, hard disks, etc.) get reused and older backups get overwritten.

We recommend:

  • Defining an acceptable data retention policy
  • Designing the processes to implement it
  • Budgeting the resources to support it
  • Testing the scenarios to validate the processes are working

Keep in mind there’s a difference between data backup/recovery versus business continuity and disaster recovery. See or paper on Creating a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for Microsoft Access Database Applications for some ideas.

Additional Resources

Nov 28

Microsoft Access is 25 Years Old!

birthday25Microsoft Access is celebrating its 25th year this month. It’s an amazing accomplishment for a software product to be so successful for so many years. We at FMS were there since the beginning.

Read our first hand, historical account of watching Microsoft Access take over the Windows desktop database market, and how we became the world’s leading 3rd party developer of Microsoft Access products.

Discover how we watched MS Access rise from nothing to the leading Windows desktop database application. This directly caused the implosion of Borland International which previously dominated the desktop database industry. Witnessing this in person was an amazing experience of how quickly technology can change established, large software businesses.

This article was originally published by Microsoft on their website for the 10 Year Anniversary Celebration of Access (October 2002).

The video is from the November 1992 COMDEX conference where a very young Bill Gates personally announced the debut of Microsoft Access. He remains a big fan of Access and was actively involved in its design and development.
bill-gates

Nov 07

Microsoft Access DevCon 2017 in Vienna, Austria

FMS Inc. founder and president, Luke Chung, was invited to speak at the Access developer’s convention in Vienna, Austria April 1-2. Luke provided his insight on:

  • The Access Challenges that developers like himself face
  • How Access has changed and evolved over the years,
  • Demonstrations of many of FMS Inc.’s products and their features.

Luke Chung

Along with Luke’s presentations, DevCon saw Microsoft Access Team members Michal Bar and Mike Sullivan, who gave overviews of Access 2016 and what is coming in the future. Thomas Pfoch, from picoware, showed new features relating to treeview customization. Peter Bryant, from Corylus Business Systems, provided insight in communicating with JSON Services. Microsoft Access MVP, Juan Soto, spoke about Optimizing Access with SQL Server. Danish Microsoft Access MVP Andres Ebro provided techniques and tricks to help with image handling, classes, and using reports inside a form. Paul Rohorzka of TechTalk presented automated testing of Access applications. Kevin Bell of COMC shared his thoughts on tools to extend Access development.

The conference was a great, informative success! The event, organized by Microsoft Access MVP Karl Donaubauer, was sold out! FMS Inc. was grateful for the opportunity to meet and present for all of those in attendance.

Additionally, due to the enormous success of the event this year, 2018 will host the 2nd Access DevCon Vienna on April 7-8. To stay updated on the event for next year, make sure to check out Karl’s page about the event! Access DevCon 2018

Apr 28

Microsoft Access Video on VBA Programming with Luke Chung at Access DevCon 2017

FMS President Luke Chung was a presenter at the Microsoft Access DevCon 2017 in Vienna, Austria in early April.

Before giving two conference presentations, he was sat down and spoke with Philipp Stiefel of codekabinett.com of Germany. Philipp is creating a series of videos discussing VBA development.

Luke shares the history of how FMS Inc. began working with MS Access and how we now offer 12 products for the Access community, including Total Access Analyzer, Total Access Emailer, Total Visual CodeTools, and Total Visual SourceBook.

They talked about:

  • VBA Best Practices
  • How end-users migrate from Excel to Access, then learn how to code
  • Why people are hesitant to purchase third party products and how FMS overcomes that by showcasing the value we offer
  • Using tools like Total Access Analyzer to catch errors before shipping and learning best practices
  • Using the module code in Total Visual SourceBook to address problems we’ve already solved so you can focus on the unique issues in your applications
  • The value of creating consistent, quality code
  • How to improve code for developers of all backgrounds
  • Being in constant “growth” mode to look for ways to become a better developer

FMS Inc. is proud of the quality of products we have produced for the past 30 years. We are honored to continuously be regarded as a leading expert in the Access community. Thank you for supporting us and we hope you enjoy the 20 minute interview!

 

Mar 14

Create Surveys with Excel Online hosted in Office365

excel-icon-lgYou can quickly create surveys with Excel and make them available online with all results saved in the spreadsheet hosted in Office365. Just create an Excel spreadsheet in Office365 and choose the Survey item on the ribbon to design it.

A link is provided to share with people to respond. They don’t need to have Excel or Office365. Just a web browser. Try our sample by clicking the image below:

survey

Shorten the URL

Excel provides a very long URL to share your survey. By using a site like bit.ly, you can create a shorter one to email to your contacts. This is important to avoid problems when URLs get word wrapped in emails. For instance, this survey is shortened to https://bit.ly/2qmSweG.

Results in Your Spreadsheet

The results go directly into your spreadsheet with each submission as a separate row:

response

Having the ability to create a survey and see the results in a spreadsheet in minutes, is a terrific tool to help your projects!

Mar 07

Total Access Statistics 2003 11.9 and 2007 12.9 Released

Total Access StatisticsWe are pleased to introduce new versions of Total Access Statistics for Microsoft Access 2007 and 2003; versions 12.9 and 11.9 respectively. They include the many features we introduced with the latest Access 2016 version.

Total Access Statistics is an add-in that is the most powerful data analysis program for Microsoft Access. It extends the power of Access queries to analyze the data in your local or linked tables. It generates results in tables you can view or include in other queries, forms, and reports. It offers a wide range of statistical functions such as:

  • Field Descriptives
  • Financial Cash Flow Calculations
  • Percentiles
  • Running Totals and Moving Averages
  • Field Comparison
  • Frequency Distributions
  • Regressions
  • Advanced Cross-Tabulations
  • Group Analysis (t-Tests and ANOVA)
  • Record Analysis and Rankings
  • Non-Parametric Analysis
  • Probability Calculator

New Features

  • Additional percentile types can be assigned to a field in your table
  • Enhanced data formatting
  • Improved financial calculations for IRR and XIRR
  • Updated user manual
  • Support for Windows 8 and 10

New Add-in and Runtime Library Files

Version 12.9 and 11.9 include new files for the Access add-in. It also has new runtime library files.

  • A digitally signed MDE library for MDB databases that support users of Access 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and 2003.
  • The Access 2007 version includes an ACCDE runtime library for ACCDB databases for Access 2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007 users
  • The Access 2003 version includes a runtime library for Access 2000 and 2002 users

For more information, visit New Version X.9 Features.

Try out the new enhancements with our
download-trial-blue

Feb 15

Total Access Admin 2016 Released

real-time-monitortotal-access-adminadmin-icondownload-trial-blue

We are excited to announce our release of Total Access Admin 2016! Total Access Admin is our administrator tool to help you monitor the users going in and out of your Microsoft Access databases (ACCDB and MDB formats) in real-time:

  • adminSee who is currently connected to your Microsoft Access database (you can manage multiple databases from one screen)
  • Monitor up to 150 databases at one time
  • Keep a log of users entering and exiting each database
  • Identify workstations or users disconnecting in a suspect manner which may be the source of database corruption
  • Compact your database when all users exit it
  • Prevent new users from logging into your database
  • Log off idle users
  • Communicate with your users in real-time

New Features

Total Access Admin 2016 is an update from the 2013 version and includes these enhancements:

  • Monitors ACCDB and MDB format databases created by Microsoft Access 2016 (32 or 64-bit version) and earlier versions of Access
  • Works in environments where Access 32 or 64-bit versions is installed, including installations from Microsoft Office365
  • Does not require Microsoft Access to be installed on the machine
  • Up to 150 databases can be monitored at one time (up from 100)
  • Setup program supports Windows 8 and 10, Server 2012 and later, with an option to launch the program after its installed

database-monitor

Download the free trial version today!

Existing customers can upgrade at a discounted price.

Jan 05

Sean Hannity Radio Show Interview on Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, Russian Hacking, and Cyber Warfare

sean-hannity-radioBackground

The day after an amazing personal interview of Julian Assange by Sean Hannity aired on his TV show, FMS President Luke Chung was invited to discuss the related technology on his radio show.

Hannity traveled to London to interview Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy where he’s seeking asylum. They discussed an overview of Assange’s role as founder of WikiLeaks, and their obtaining and publishing the emails from the Democratic National Committee the weeks before the US Presidential election. Some people attribute Hillary Clinton’s loss to the revelations in those emails especially from John Podesta, the former White House Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Clinton campaign. They are also accusing the Russians for hacking (stealing) and providing the data to Assange so Donald Trump could win the election.

Radio Show

On January 4, 2017, I was on the radio show with Sean Hannity and Brigadier General Eli Ben Meir, former Israeli Military Intelligence chief. The three of us discussed the WikiLeaks disclosures. I commented specifically on:

  • Cyber attacks and the security breach at OPM disclosed non-classified government employees and by omission who were covert at American Embassies globally.
  • Noting Julian Assange’s careful word choices to exclude Russia as source without excluding them as the ultimate source of his sources.
  • The need for WikiLeaks’ to keep their sources confidential and how they amplified the data from Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.
  • Different approaches to preventing cyber attacks depending on the cause.
    “It’s one thing when someone steals your car because they broke into it. It’s another thing when someone steals your car because you left your keys in the ignition.”

Here’s the audio of the show:

My segment starts at the 6:50 mark. Sean and General Meir speak first, then I start around 9:25. Final comments at 14:15 and it wraps up by 14:50.

Additional Issues

Only a limited amount of information can be discussed in such a short interview. Some additional issues to consider are:

Data Security

Securing data over the internet and inside organizations is very challenging. Threats may come from:

  • External hacks that need to be monitored and defeated
  • Internal people who unintentionally leave the front door unlocked
  • Internal people who intentionally leak information

Different solutions are required for each type of threat. Some are at the software vendor, design, and developer level, while others involve end-user training, background checks, and monitoring.

Applications can be built so that simply disclosing a user name and password doesn’t compromise the whole system by require two-factor authentication and registering devices that can use those credentials.

Unfortunately, many systems were built well before today’s cyber threats existed. The cost of making those systems more secure without breaking their existing functionality will be daunting and expensive. In many cases, the original source code, development environment and/or vendor are long gone, so the only option is to replace them which is also very expensive and time consuming.

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are Not Heroes

We need to keep in mind that the WikiLeaks exposed top secret US information by publishing the disclosures from Manning and Snowden. Lives were put at risk and lives may have been lost because of those publications. The Arab Spring was inflamed in part by the disclosure of diplomatic communications and one could argue the human tragedy in Syria is tied to this as well. While Republicans are celebrating and defending Assange and WikiLeaks now for the DNC emails, the tables may turn very quickly.

Data That’s Not Exposed May be More Dangerous

While many are focused on the DNC emails, it’s not unreasonable to assume the people who hacked that also got the RNC emails. Data can be power, and in the wrong hands, data can be used for nefarious purposes such as blackmail.

If the RNC data were compromised, we should be extremely worried if the hackers discovered it was more valuable to keep private than public. Whether they use it directly or sell it to another party or country, the information can make victims puppets by threatening the exposure of their personal data. It’s not uncommon during E-discovery of an email server to discover all sorts of inappropriate language, behavior and activity conducted by individuals in an organization. Disclosures of affairs, homosexual activity, underage sex, bribery, unethical business dealings, breeches of confidentiality, collusion, and actual crimes are often found in email threads and can be used for blackmail.

Additional Resources