Chrysler Recall on Hacked Auto – Security

If a car can be hacked, almost anything can be. Here’s the latest recall news.

And some of you may have followed (31 million of you in particular) the Ashley Madison hack news.

I keep telling people not to put stuff in cyberspace that you don’t want to be public knowledge. Don’t post pics of you at the bar, you naked, you kissing an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.

More important, don’t attach it to the internet if you need to keep it secret, particularly if it has high value. If you have the secret recipe for Coke, keep it in the vault, not on your local SSD hard drive.

The Ashley Madison hack is looking like an inside job. So you should also watch out who you hack off.


Dude, Your Ride Has Been Hacked!

GENEVA SWITZERLAND - MARCH 4: Jeep Cherokee on display during the Geneva Motor Show Geneva Switzerland March 4 2014.

GENEVA SWITZERLAND – MARCH 4: Jeep Cherokee on display during the Geneva Motor Show Geneva Switzerland March 4 2014.

So you’re driving down the highway in the middle of winter when suddenly the cold air starts blasting out of the vents at you. Then the radio starts blaring the local big band station. Then the wipers turn on. What’s going on? You’ve been hacked! Remotely.

Here’s the full story from Wired.

Is Google+ Slowly Dying?

Google+ never looked like a real competitor to Facebook to me. Google’s attempt to enter the social media space was like…well…like someone trying to enter Google’s search engine space. I once wrote, “The time to be a Yahoo or a Google has gone…” The only chance Google+ had was for Facebook to slip (like Yahoo). Facebook is too engrained–for now–for a knockoff to have much of a chance.

The Memphis Business Journal thinks Google+ days are numbered. What do you think?


Do We Rely Too Much On Technology?

“Last updated at 1:43,” said my iPhone mail app. Swipe down. “Cannot connect to …” Swipe down. Time is 2:25. Turn iPhone off. “Last updated at 1:43.” Time is 2:42.

Connection Down Sign On A BrowserIt’s a habit. Checking email. Keeping in touch with the office. So when Comcast has problems and the internet connection goes down, it’s a problem. More and more businesses use VOIP providers that operate over the Internet. No internet means no phone.

We rely so much on our technology that there are service providers (take a look at InternetSeer) that check websites and keep track of service and down times. It’s common to see no downtime at all on these reports.

Yesterday’s report shows 2:42 of down time. I wonder what that costs in lost website traffic?

ERP But no eCommerce? Why?

If you’ve got an ERP system and don’t have e-commerce to go with it, that’s OK, but should you have e-commerce? Here are a few questions:

  • Do you have products that are commodities or consumables that customers often need and could order more easily than picking them up? These are things like light bulbs, oil filters, and toner cartridges. Convenience can be a factor here.e-commerce concept photo. Woman's torso with finger pressing shopping cart button floating in front.
  • Can you tempt your customer into the store with an online presence? If your product is something like a home decorating product that consumers shop for, having pictures on the internet (even if customers need to call for details) can bring more customers through the door?
  • Do you compete with big box retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, or Home Depot? If you do, you’re probably already carrying product that is higher quality or more unique than these outlets. You can bet that the customer will got to one or more of these websites when shopping for their product. Your website gives you an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the big boys. After all, there are still consumers that respond to the “Confused? Call and we’ll help you out!” message.
  • Is your product unique or hard to find? Current trends in web promotion tell us that consumers look for specific models of product. They pull the belt from that old Chevy and look for a “DQD-0129-18″ belt. If you’ve got one, you have a good chance of showing up high in Google.
  • Can you afford to walk away from the occasional sale you might make on the web? Years ago, most online sites were custom developed and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Today, you can be selling on eBay at almost no cost, and have an e-commerce website of your own for a few thousand dollars. Integration to your accounting software is often off-the-shelf and costs a fraction of what it did years ago.

Don’t misunderstand: if you’re going to be effective and generate big dollars in sales on the web, you will have to put work into product headlines, descriptions, photography, etc. But you can test the waters easily and quickly.

Contact us for more information and an evaluation of your present situation.

Accounting and ERP Vendor Apologizes? Sage Email to Sage 50 Payroll Direct Deposit Customers

A client that uses Sage 50 (formerly Peachtree) sent us an email from Sage. It turns out that Sage switched from one direct deposit product to another and it caused some issues. Here’s the first part of the email:

The Sage Leadership team wants to talk to you.

On June 11, 2015, we implemented Sage ID, a sign-in system with enhanced security that replaced Sage Passport. While many customers have migrated successfully, some customers have experienced issues, making it difficult to process direct deposits. If you had challenges or were not able to process direct deposit, we are extremely sorry and would like the opportunity to apologize to you personally.

I’ve never seen this before, but it made me feel good about Sage; the Sage 50 product still isn’t the bees’ knees, though.

Businesses Still Integrating Legacy Systems – Sage ERP Study

Sage recently conducted a study of top priorities for ERP customers. Sixty-five percent (65%) rated integration of legacy systems into financial systems for a single view of  their data as a top area for new investments.

Data Integration on Metal Gears.This also lines up with many of the projects we are doing today. Businesses that have data in various best-in-class systems increasingly want the data in one place. Salesforce provides their CRM, but they need key customer data like invoices, statements, shipment dates, and warranty claims available  in Salesforce. At the same time, many of these businesses are re-keying order data when they close deals in Salesforce.

Salesforce provides an API that programmers can use to pull data from Salesforce and push data to Salesforce. Programming for this interface makes data flow seamlessly from Salesforce to your other products such as shipping, ERP, and invoicing applications.

But our work isn’t just with Salesforce. Product descriptions, pictures, information from websites, and data collected in Excel, ACCESS, legacy systems, and SQL can also be easily integrated using today’s tools.

Give us a ring for more information on the integration we’ve done lately.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV: Cycle Counting with SKUs

Let’s suppose that you have an implementation of Dynamics NAV and you want to use cycle counting. Cycle counting allows you to organize the periodic counting of inventory so that more important items or more costly items are counted more frequently. It basically maintains a record of when you counted an item last and when you need to count it next.


Since we have a client that’s been implementing cycle counting without warehouse management, I’ve located a few interesting things that aren’t obvious from the documentation. In fact, the easiest way to find what was going on was to look at the code itself.

Here a few notes:

  • In order for an item to show up in the Calculate Counting Period window, it’s Next Counting Period Start and End Date range must include the work date. The item will not show up for counting outside this range. In NAV 2015, you could filter the item list on the Next Counting End Date to find items that you had missed. You can also recalculate the counting period from the item list. This means that once you miss the counting period of an item, the item will not show up again unless you change the work date or recalculate the counting period.
  • If you have SKUs, these are treated as separate items and must have their own physical inventory counting period set in the SKU. Otherwise, these items will not show for selection in the Physical Inventory Journal.
  • In order for an item to show up for counting at all, some type of transaction must have occurred at the location. Suppose that you set up a new location. Unless you have some sort of transaction like transfer in, receipt, shipment, etc. the location will not be selected for physical inventory.

I am sure there is more to mention, but that is all that occurs to me now. Give us a ring if we can help with your issue with Dynamics NAV.

A Few Tips on Tech Things

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve installed a new virtual server. I learned a long time ago that it’s much cheaper to install new hardware while the old hardware is still working fine.

We made a couple of interesting changes since the last time we installed a new server. First, we used Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 . This is a server that is available as a free download (well, sort of free; you can’t really do much with just this installed; you’ll need another license of Windows). Here’s an article that explains more. This version of Windows is only a command line (with a menu of common things that you might need to do like changing Windows update settings, the name of the machine, and the configuration of network cards). Everything else you’ll have to do from a command prompt or from another machine running a management console.

So far, the new machine is screaming fast and very easy to manage remotely.

If you decide to go this route, you might need some instructions on how to format a disk from the command line. Here’s a nice post for that.


We’ve also been playing around with various installations of Linux these days. All in all, I’m reminded of the discussion I have about flour in the supermarket. It seems to me that all flour should be the same; according to my wife that’s not true. All flour is not flour. Unfortunately for me and my understanding of baking things, all sugar is evidently sugar. Anyway, all Linux is not Linux. Even all Debian Linux is not Debian Linux. With all the options, packages, and dependencies, it can take a while to get most anything to work on Linux.