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Act! Licensing Software Statement – Act! v19 and v20

November 6th, 2018 • By: dpegen ACT CRM, Sage ACT, Swiftpage ACT

This is the official statement regarding the third-party licensing software used in Act! and is addressing current users of versions 19 and 20.

 

We have recently been informed that an embedded third-party software component of Act! that facilitates licensing services is being discontinued by the manufacturer at the end of this year.  Because our records show that you are using a supported version of Act!, a new licensing component will be introduced for your version.  View the Act! Support Obsolescence Policy.

To ensure uninterrupted access to Act!, you will be required to update your instance of Act! version 19.2 or 20.1 by December 31, 2018.  This update will be emailed to you in the coming weeks.

If this update is not installed by December 31, 2018, certain common actions you may take that interact with the current licensing component will cause Act! to fail and you will no longer be able to access your database.  Examples of these common actions include but are not limited to attempting to install Act! on new hardware, modifying existing hardware, and modifying your user count.

Please note, this update will be made available to you at no charge.

 

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Act! Licensing Software Statement – Act! 2005 through Act! v17

November 6th, 2018 • By: dpegen ACT CRM, Sage ACT, Swiftpage ACT

This is the official statement regarding the third-party licensing software used in Act! and is addressing current users of versions Act! 2005 to and including v17.

 

Our records show that you are running an unsupported version of Act!.  In accordance with the Act! Support Obsolescence Policy, you are no longer eligible to receive critical updates and enhancements that ensure your product continues to run optimally.

Important Notice: We have recently been informed that an embedded third-party software component of Act! that facilitates licensing services is being discontinued by the manufacturer at the end of this year.  As of January 1, 2019, certain common actions you may take that interact with the current licensing component will cause Act! to fail and you will no longer be able to access your database.  Examples of these common actions include but are not limited to attempting to install Act! on new hardware, modifying existing hardware, and modifying your user count.

To ensure uninterrupted access to Act! in 2019, you must upgrade to the current version of Act! (v21) by December 31, 2018.

 

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Microsoft’s October 2018 update for Windows 10 – Be cautious

October 8th, 2018 • By: dpegen Uncategorized

Last week Microsoft started deploying its October 2018 update (called version 1809) for its Windows 10 operating system.  Since then there have been reports of people losing some or all their personal files during the upgrade process.  Here is a good summary of the issue from Engadget:

https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/05/windows-10-october-update-1809-delete-data-wipe-user-profile/

That article describes a tool and a setting normally not used or needed except in large corporations or universities.  I don’t recommend messing with it unless you really know what you are doing.

Since the initial publication of the error it appears that Microsoft has stopped further distribution of the update until they can resolve the issue.  Here is a summary from Bleeping Computer about the pulling of the update:

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/microsoft-has-pulled-the-windows-10-october-2018-update/

I had successfully updated several Patricia Egen Consulting computers before the update was pulled.  I will postpone any further updates until Microsoft resolves the issue.  In the meantime here are my current conclusions and recommendations:

  1. If you have already successfully updated to version 1809 I see no good reason to fall back.
  2. If you have not installed the update, sit tight and let Microsoft resolve the issue and publish their corrected update or other workaround.
  3. If you are running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise you can enable a setting to defer the update for some period of time as described in this ZDNet article. https://www.zdnet.com/article/windows-10-spring-creators-update-act-fast-to-delay-this-big-upgrade/  This may save you a surprise when Microsoft chooses to reenable distribution of the update.  Unfortunately there is no corresponding setting for Windows 10 Home.
  4. In any case your best protection is a good backup of all your files that you care about, somewhere off the machine in question.  This could be an external hard drive, a space on a file server, or one of any Cloud backup solutions, as long as it is something you use consistently.

Hope this helps.

 

It’s our 20 Year Anniversary

September 5th, 2018 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Swiftpage, Swiftpage ACT

20 years ago, I went out on a limb, cut the cord with corporate America and started our company. It’s been fun, and at times, pretty much an up hill journey with some years being better than others. But we are still here thanks to a really wonderful staff of people holding us up alive and well.

It’s our customers that have made us successful.  And our vendors and products.  We have written products people love.  We support products people love.  One product in particular is Act!.  Today, the President and CEO of Swiftpage, the owners of Act! gave us a really nice “shout out” in a tweet.  The qualify of the product and the people running the business is why we are still loyal supporters, implementors and users of Act! to this day.  In our own world, we use it every single day and can not run our business without it.

Here’s a big thank you to John Oechsle for remembering us and also for helping to keep a really “awesome” product alive and well in the marketplace.

This is a link to John’s Twitter post.  https://twitter.com/hjoech/status/1037348387073544194

Act Backups and how they really work

August 10th, 2018 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Computer Security, Data management, Sage ACT, Swiftpage ACT, Windows

Patricia Egen Consulting Fast TipsThis week we helped a client recover from a data loss.  However, it was not without some pain.  The data was not being backed up correctly so we had to restore from a really old backup copy.

Responding to another question regarding data restoration, someone asked if deleted records could be recovered. The answer was yes but with a caveat.  There had to be a good working backup that contained the data that was deleted.  If the data had not been backed up then it could not be recovered. Deletes are permanent.

In going through the explanation of why the deletes are permanent, we realized this would be a good blog topic.  We’ll try to keep it “non-techy” but in some cases it will be that.  We promise to help make it user friendly.

First off, let’s address backing up Act data.  Because Act is based on a SQL database backend, SQL usually keeps a link to it, meaning it has it open and active.  Most backup systems will not back up files that are open.  That is why running the Act Scheduler on a nightly basis and backing up the files to a zip file is safer.  All backups can handle zipped files since they are closed and not open.

If you do run the Act scheduler you need to periodically make sure it is running and backing up on the schedule you set.  You can either check the backup folder or open the Scheduler and look at the log file. We’ve seen creative “helpful” people see something running, not know what it is, and shut it down. The only time you find out the backup is not happening is when you need it – which is the absolute worst time to find that out.  Another reason backups might not happen is if a password for the administrator changes.  Newer versions of Act allow emails to be sent nightly confirming the backup.

Now let’s talk about the backup itself. There are two ways to keep track of information changes in a SQL database.  This is where it gets a bit “techy.”  One way is called Full Recovery Mode and one is called Simple Recovery.  Act is based on Simple Recovery and this is for a very good reason.  It is so the casual end user can backup and/or restore an Act database without needing to be an official database administrator.  Because it is simple means it doesn’t keep large log files of changes around forever. And this is why when you delete something, it really goes away. If you need it back, you need to restore the data from a backup.  You may ask then why not use the Full Recovery method – well that would mean you would have to hire someone to manage the backups, restores and care and feeding of all the huge log files.  Trust me, unless you have a team of database admins you don’t want this. 

Moral of this story – make sure you have working backups because deletes happen. They just do. Or servers crash. Or Windows helps you by changing things to corrupt your data. It’s the best insurance you can have – a good backup. 

If you want to know more or want to make sure your backups are running properly let us know.  We can help.  Email us at support@egenconsulting.com. We’re happy to perform an inexpensive “check out everything about my Act database” analysis. 

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