Upgrade Toolkit for Dynamics NAV 5.0 Not Released Yet

As of tonight, the upgrade toolkit (required for migration of existing clients to 5.0) has not yet been released. We’re still looking. Actually, according to the statement released by Microsoft, it should be out within the week. They initially said “within 30 days” of the release data which was 3/31/07. That would be about 4/29/07, or Sunday of this week.

Please Check Your Backups

We’re trying to recover the second set of data lost by businesses within a week. In one case, there was a hardware related failure, then human error that erased the data. There was a backup but it hadn’t been checked and–as fate would have it–it was blank.
In the second case, human error erased the data. They picked us out of the phone book when they realized the data was gone. They told us they didn’t have a backup.
Please take the time to check your backups. You need to check to make sure:

  • You are backing up all the information you need to back up.
  • Your backup is running.
  • You can restore data from the backup.

A backup is like a fire extinguisher. You never know you need it until you need to use it. And then if it doesn’t work, it’s too late.

Dynamics NAV 5.0 Payroll Product

A little history is in order here. When Navision (now Microsoft Dynamics NAV) came to the US around 1990, it was primarily an European product, developed in Denmark. The international features of the product are rumored to be what Microsoft was interested in. But no matter…this post is about payroll…
Anyway, if anything differs from country to country, it is payroll. Different taxes, tax calculations, union requirements (or not), federal health insurance (or not), etc. So Navision made the decision (and a good one, thinks I), not to build a payroll program in the US, but to outsource it. They chose a company named VisionPay. The NAV payroll product was written by VisionPay, but included in the Microsoft distribution of the NAV product (at least the basic payroll and HR product was included in the Microsoft Dynamics NAV distribution.
VisionPay then merged with Serenic software, makers of another major add-in for NAV, and both took the name Sereinc Software…sounds nice and peaceful…
I’ve never been entirely sure what the contract between Microsoft and Serenic, but we always ordered the PR software from Microsoft and any additional (advanced) software from Serenic. Certification on the product was through Serenic, support was through Serenic, but the product came from Microsoft.
All that has changed now. The Serenic product will still be integrated into the NAV product, it will just be ordered from another source (direct from Serenic). This makes PR like any other product.
Confusing, I know. The rationale behind this seems to be to allow Serenic to better control the product. And from what we’ve seen of 5.0, this release will have some nice features. For example, an “add a new employee” wizard, and support for additional types of accruals and deductions as well as some really nice user interface work.
But…it won’t be out until June 2007, at least that’s the target date. Clients using payroll will have to wait until then.

NAV 5.0 Irritations Removed

I’ve been reading the list of the NAV 5.0 improvements. There are a few things that I’d noticed, but didn’t know exactly why they were this way. Actually, I thought I might just be seeing things (or a bit touched in the head as some around the South used to say). Here is the list of interesting things for today:S_R_Setup.jpg

  • Zip code lookup now populates City AND State. Used to be that you entered the Zip code, and the city was populated…only the city. Couldn’t figure that one out. Why? Guess what? It wasn’t me. Now it populates both
  • New check layouts. In previous versions, check below stubs was it for check format. Forget the 7 inch dot matrix forms. Now there are reports for the two stub checks (stub, stub, check AND stub, check, stub) as well as a long stub followed by a check. Brilliant!
  • Logos on sales documents. This one was really a puzzler. Right there on the sales and receivables setup screen (see image) was an item asking where you wanted to put the logo that you could import into the Company Master. But it didn’t appear where you said you wanted it. Guess what? Wasn’t on the reports. Now is. Good thinking!

Most of the other stuff deserves its own post.

Animated Cursors (ANI) Have Serious Security Defect

Microsoft released the patch that’s being called the ANI patch (ANI stands for animated cursor). Animated cursors are like the cute little hourglass that spins when you’re waiting for something to download.
Apparently, it affected all of the Microsoft operating systems, and at a deep level. Take a look at Mike Reavy’s post regarding the investigation that resulted in the patch released on Tuesday.
You should realize that this issue isn’t just related to Internet Explorer. It affects other things running on the Microsoft operating system. FireFox, for example is evidently still vulnerable according to an article in eWeek.
And–apparently–there’s still potential fallout of the issue. Bottom line: this is serious enough and widespread enough that you need to do the Windows Update. If you need help, post a comment and I’ll post a link to instructions.
Microsoft Watch – Security – ANI Patch: The Day After

Vista License Change Allows Thin Clients

I keep wating for clients to begin using thin client technology in droves. You know, eliminate the expensive (relatively) desktop computer with processor, hard drive, etc., for all but a few power users who need the extra “oomph..”
Microsoft’s adjustment in licensing allows Vista to run centralized in a “virtual” enviroment and hardware OEMs to ship diskless PCs with just enough power to connect to a session and run the graphics locally. Great concept.
It’s the office joke here that we had to give one of our salespeople a thin client because she broke two previous PCs. Actually, she collected so much nastyware (spyware, malware, etc.) that we gave her a thin client. There are a few issues occasionally, but for the most part it’s been a good thing. We’ve not had to reformat a hard drive in her computer since then…there’s not one. The machien she’s running on is four or five years old, but it runs the software she needs as well as any computer in the office (and as fast).
Take a look at “virtual” computers (thin clients, to be precise) the next time you need to expand your office. You might also consider this type of arrangement if your computers are getting old. Speed them up by adding a single power server rather than 10 or 12 new PCs.
This technique also gives you more control over the configuration of the computers and the ability to do upgrades centrally and once.
Microsoft Changes Vista Licensing to Cover New Deployment Models

New Nastyware…ANI Zero Day Exploit

I know it’s not possible to get all the bugs out of software. When you can make money infecting other folks computers with nastyware, there’s bound to be a big market for it. You can hear more about crimeware and the market for exploited PCs at CEO TechCast, our podcast. The specific show is Number 3.
Be sure to patch your PC this week.
Security Watch – Exploits and Attacks – ANI Zero Day Takes New Turns to the Uber-Nasty

Dynamics Nav 5.0 Ships…well, sort of

Microsoft released Dynamics NAV 5.0 right on schedule on 3/31/07. It’s now available for Partner Download, but most installations won’t be upgrading anytime soon.
The current timetable shows the release version available for download now, the final CD shipping on 4/13, and the upgrade toolkit (required for upgrading any existing installations) within a month. I took a look on the upgrade toolkit site, and 2.00 for 4.0 SP3 is the last version showing on the list of downloadable toolkits at this point.
Some nice new features. We will convert our own database first, then begin scheduling client upgrades. My guess is that it will be the first of May to mid-May before the first upgrades to 5.0 are feasible. New installations will get 5.0 immediately.