Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Get fit with Garry using Fitbit


If you are a member of my newsletter group, you will have received an invitation to join Garry on Fitbit.  So please refer to the email to see what to do.  Otherwise, why not join my free newsletter, it has been going for 20 years almost.  And keep walking or running or swimming or peddling.

Keith and Maggie - two great walkers and their Japanese walking club

Monday, January 25, 2016

Navigating and exploring on your phone or ipad

To see how you would find an article on, I have put together some screen captures. The topic I am looking for is "Remote Queries".  Red border highlights what has to be clicked


Index Word Search

Standard Search

Search Results

The article you want 

So bookmark on your phone and have a read of our 500 articles every now and again.

Stop Press: goes mobile

After Googles announcement last year that they were going to focus mobile search results towards mobile ready websites, I thought it was the end for  Ok not really, I thought who would ever search for Microsoft Access material on a phone.  Well thanks to the website builder I use and a lot of editing/cleaning up by my 12 year old son, we now have a mobile ready website.

So grab your smart phone (not your old Nokia) and type in and enjoy the 4th complete rebuild of this huge website.

Note: My son now has a cracking gaming pc for his troubles, everyone is happy.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Microsoft Power Apps

I have noticed a bit of chatter about this new tool from Microsoft. I don't know much about it but you may be interested as it works with corporate data and produces multi-platform apps.

Friday, January 01, 2016

The definition of insanity

In November 2004, Peter Vogel wrote this really good editorial on User Manuals.  Have a successful 2016 everyone.

So, I have a cat. At night, when I get in bed, the cat, desperate for love/attention/pets, throws his whole body against me. But that’s not enough—he then slides up along my body and mushes his face into my face while purring like a washing machine with a bad set of cogs.
It’s not nearly as attractive as you might think.

If I don’t respond because I’m too tired and want to go to sleep, the cat performs this act again. And again. And again. Eventually I punt the cat. A definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting to get a different result.” This is also, apparently, the definition of having a brain the size of an apricot.

So, I have a client. My client desperately wants to reduce help desk calls. I was in, supposedly, to “tweak” the user interface. But it was too late for the UI: Any significant change to the UI was going to require a major rewrite (definition of fine-tuning: “The belief that small, insignificant changes will result in something other than small, insignificant improvements”).

However, there’s an alternative way of helping bewildered users: user manuals (“Doctors bury their mistakes; architects cover them with ivy; user interface designers write user manuals”). “No,” my client said, “that’s not the problem—we have great user manuals.” He then pulled this whacking big book off a shelf and handed it to me (and I do mean whacking; you could whack anything into submission with this tome). Hefting this brick (roughly the size of both volumes of the Access Developer’s Guide), I asked if this manual covered all of their applications. But, no, it turned out that this was just the manual for the application that I was supposed to review. The problem, I was told, was that the inconsiderate users wouldn’t read the manual. Most of the questions that the help desk was getting could be answered by reading the appropriate section of the manual over the phone to the caller.

To this day, I don’t think he understands why no one wants to read this book or take it with them on the road. Many airlines would classify this book as a separate piece of luggage. In a moral world this book would have had wheels and a handle to pull it.

“My,” I said, “what a big book you have. That must take a long time to produce.”
“Yes,” he said, “it covers everything that the system does. But we’ve found ways to reduce the labor. The whole section on how to start your computer, work with files, insert floppy disks, and all of those basic tasks is set up so that we can automatically insert it into all of our manuals. Some of the other sections that are used in all of the manuals are set up so that we can tailor them to the individual application.”

Okay, let’s stop and think about this: My client knew that no one was using their manuals yet they still kept churning them out. Furthermore, they concentrated on finding more efficient ways to produce these manuals that no one used. This is insane: “Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting to get a different result.”

They also had a similar process in place for project documentation. Every project produced an enormous pile of paper describing every part of the system. I can’t imagine under what circumstances anyone would use any of this information. For one thing, how would you know if the information in that documentation was both complete and completely accurate (even if it was, how would you know that)? If a programmer implemented something based on the documentation and it didn’t work, would anyone accept as an explanation “Well, the documentation said that it would work”? You always have to look at the actual code, not just review the description.

Fortunately for us, with Access and the wonderful tools from FMS and other vendors, the documentation problem doesn’t exist. We can generate as much or as little system description as we need, and that material is guaranteed to accurately describe the current version of the system. This leaves us free to document what’s actually useful to developers: Why the system is written the way it is.

I couldn’t do anything about my client’s documentation process (they weren’t using Access), but I’ve seen the user manual problem far too often. And I’ve seen users abandoned to their own devices far too often.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Microsoft Surfaces In the real world

The other day I went to my sons secondary school to discuss his progress in year 10 and get his marks. 50 teachers moved around and sat at temporary tables. When asked marks they casually whipped out Microsoft Surface 3's and reviewed a variety of current and past papers and trends amongst his pears. The Surfaces seemed like a very suitable tool for the on the move world of teaching. The school is just a normal Sydney boys high school.

BTW. My son earned his bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich and chocolate milkshake, his marks were up. Now for study and the final big year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

3 Surprising Reasons Microsoft Access is a Good Fit for Your Project

 writes a little piece that might help you sell your next Access project. It goes like this.
For IT developers, the truth still remains: Microsoft Access is an excellent option for businesses who need database solutions in a short time frame compared with other technologies, or a solution that can connect to multiple data sources with ease. Access is actually awesome for several types of business projects: Custom Invoice or Quoting Systems, Document Handling Systems or Oil and Gas solutions, the range is truly endless.
Once you have made the transition to Access, you can use the data along with Microsoft's wonderful PowerBI tools to create dashboards and drill down analysis. In addition to avoiding Excel overkill, Access offers a variety of database solutions for businesses with diverse needs. With Access, you can develop personal applications, small business applications, departmental applications, corporation-wide applications, web applications and more.
Head to Linked In for more using this link

Thursday, December 03, 2015

From the Microsoft Team - Connecting with our customers on Access UserVoice

Straight from the Access team is this message

Product teams across Microsoft are striving to follow the spirit of being customer focused, and the Access team is no exception. The Access product team has been conducting onsite customer visits and talking to customers from all over the world to learn more about who our customers are and how they use Access in their business and personal lives.

Our goal is to maintain a continuous dialog with the Access community to discover user scenarios, pain points while working with the product, ideas and suggestions for improvements. To achieve this goal, we’ve set up a new dedicated Access UserVoice site. This is a great platform for customers from all over the world to suggest ideas for Access and then vote on them. This platform provides an opportunity for the entire community to voice their opinions and to directly influence the Access roadmap. The Access product team is closely monitoring this site and is responding to suggestions.

Please check out our dedicated site at Access UserVoice and let your voice be heard!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Big PDF Conversion Part One

One of the problems I had converting the smart access articles when I bought the magazine was that a huge number many of the articles were wrapped up in the published format of the magazine.  I converted many of the articles into html which took FOREVER and many into pdf because that took Less than Forever. Unfortunately the pdf articles were hard to find on my website because the search engine didn't index them. Now I have substantial introductions to the articles in html and that means those articles will be easier to find. Here are links to some of the article that are in pdf from 2003 through to 2006.  I hope you enjoy them because that is all I have time for in this newsletter.

Before you read this list, do you have a work colleague or friend that loves Microsoft Access and may like to read this magazine?  If so send them to the AWeber page where their details will be professionally handled by a large professional company that specialises in email distribution and security. And hopefully they will enjoy the newsletter like you do :)

Navigating through recursion

Dates, Data Access and Presentation

Using Invisible Forms to Track Users

Combining Tables

Using Triggers

Using Invisible Forms to Track Users

Managing Cursors, Quotes, Subforms,and Missing Data

Choosing Options (with Option boxes and other controls)

Deleting Records,Reports, Data Design

Calculating the Median

Replace Your File API’s With The FileDialog Object  

Ordering Controls, Speed Up Remote Databases

Outputting Flexible Report Data

Simplifying Complex SQL

Flexible Normalization and Denormalization

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Official 2016 Upgrade Page

Here is a link to a page that Microsoft posted about upgrading to Office 2016.  After inquiring, it turns out that my email host has Exchange 2010 but so I have a way out eventually.  Time to get back on the horse.

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Whoa There Nelly" - Office 2016 Install Is A Horse Without Stirrups

The other day I was reading this article on the Office blog and this comment caught my eye.

7. Can I install a subset of the Office 2016 applications?  No, the ability to selectively install individual applications is not available with Office 2016. 

Bonanza (from Wikipedia)
 So being a good little Office Access MVP, I thought maybe there is a story in that , I can get the pictures of what the install process looks like but not actually install the software. As a veteran of installing every version of Office since Bonanza appeared on TV, I knew I could have a look at the install screens and then cancel at the end.  So I downloaded the combined 64 bit/32 bit Office 2016 ISO install package from MSDN.

I clicked Setup.exe and the words "We will be done in a minute" appeared instantly on my screen. I fell off my horse. I climbed back on and checked to see if Access 2013 was still there, the icon was blanked out. "Whoa there" I cried but alas things seemed to be progressing across the screen. I waited about 10 few moments and then Figure 2 appeared on my screen. I walked my horse back to the saddle yard thinking its 2016, its going to be exciting so I will learn to live with it.

Alas my horse had one last trick up its sleeve. I opened Outlook 2016 and there was the message  "Microsoft Exchange 2007 is not supported". Figure 3.

Alas I have now found out that my service provider for emails is running Exchange 2007 which I have always found to be a really good product. I doubt my service provider will change anytime soon so I guess I will have to unistall 2016. My horse bucked up high and ran out to the far end of the paddock. I now have to go and get it back.

Figure 1 - Instant Setup

Figure 2 - Install Finished

Figure 3 - Exchange Server 2007 Error

Summary:  If Office 2016 on your agenda, prepare well, your old versions of Office are going to be wiped off your computer, your Office VBA references will be made into 2016 references and no doubt there will be other inconsistencies and 2007 Exchange Server will definitely stop you in your tracks.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Setting Up A Survey Database - In Pictures

Hunting thru my old articles and I found one that I never got around to publishing on Survey databases. In the article I give all the basic steps so that you can enter data using Option Boxes (as in Figure 1 below).

Figure 1 - Survey database where users choose from option boxes for each question

Other articles on Surveys at include  Flexible Normalization and Denormalization and an article written by Helen Feddema also on Questionaires

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

New Sydney Microsoft Store - Who Says Australia is Backward

The other day I was invited to a preview of the first Microsoft Store outside America. This store is smack bang in the centre of Sydney's main shopping center and will look great when they open it tomorrow, job well done.  The store is packed with lots of Surfaces, Surface Books, a few phones, xboxes, giant touch screens, mice and keyboards. What I liked is Dell and other vendors also got good floor space. An article on the store here but the picture is from another store in USA. More pictures here