A couple of useful Outlook tools – #Xobni and #LinkedIN

I hope my regular readers won’t mind if I digress from my usual ACT! related posts and add this article on a couple of free tools I find really useful for Outlook - Xobni and LinkedIN Outlook Toolbar

Both of these tools are useful in finding contacts as well as developing and maintaining your relationships, and so are useful for the types of work that ACT! users like to do. I fact, I believe both of these would be great functions to add to ACT! itself.

Xobni

Xobni is an add-in that indexes your Outlook data and then provides a number of useful functions:

  • Very fast searching across your email file. It’s pretty much instantaneous on my Outlook file, which is over 6GB!
  • Ability to link multiple email addresses to a contact if the contact has more than one address or if their address changes over time
  • Additional information on your contacts from sources like LinkedIN, FaceBook, Twitter and Hoovers.
  • Reports on the times you usually correspond with the contact via email
  • Find other contacts that might be connected from emails between you and the main contact where others have been included in emails To: CC:
  • Sort all emails between you and the contact into threaded conversations – even if the various emails are in different Outlook folders
  • File all attached files sent between you and the contact
  • Auto suggest addresses from your contacts when creating a new email

After you install Xobni, your system may run slowly for a day while it creates it’s index. Do not be concerned by this. Once it has completed the index it will speed up your day.

Note: If you’d like to see Xobni create a link to ACT! by Sage, please add a vote on this post on the Xobni Community Site

 Xobni
LinkedIN Outlook Toolbar

LinkedIN is a business oriented social network. Their Outlook add-in is a powerful resource for building and maintaining your network from inside your email system. Functions include:

  • Build your network selecting from people you email often
  • Create Outlook contacts by highlighting their info in an email and selecting Grab
  • See suggestions of who to invite based on email frequency
  • Invite with one click to build your network faster – using custom templates
  • Update your Outlook contacts with LinkedIn profile information
  • Receive notifications when your contacts change their LinkedIn profiles
  • See LinkedIn mini-profiles for everyone that emails you
  • Use the LinkedIn dashboard to stay up to date with your network with suggestion of emails you might need to reply to or follow-up
  • Access LinkedIn with one quick and easy click

ACT! users should also join the LinkedIN ACT! Fanatics Group

LinkedIN Outlook Toolbar

Both of these outlook add-ins are free and Outlook users should give them a try

How to Download and Apply the ACT! by Sage 2010 Hot Fix 4


NOTE: This document has now been superseded by - ACT! 2010 Service Pack 1 is available!

This documentation describes Hot Fix 4 for ACT! 2010 for the following versions:

  • ACT! by Sage 2010
  • ACT! by Sage Premium 2010
  • ACT! by Sage Premium for Web 2010
Do not apply this hot fix to any other versions or products.
Note: To determine the version of the product you are using, see the version number in the Help > About box. After the hot fix has been installed, the version number will read "12.0.409.0, Hotfix 4" depending on the version you originally had installed.
This hot fix applies to all international English locales.
Note: This hotfix (including any software and related documentation) is provided "AS IS." Sage Software disclaims all express or implied warranties of any kind with respect to the utility, including but not limited to, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose
Who Should Install This Hot Fix?

Note: Apply this hot fix to all machines that are involved in database synchronization to avoid issues surrounding renaming layouts, queries, and reports. This includes all machines that contain the Main Synchronization Database, Main Remote Database, and machines that have the ACT! Network or ACT! Internet Sync Services applied.

ACT! hot fixes are cumulative, so hot fix 4 also resolves issues fixed in hot fixes 1, 2 and 3. If you have already installed hot fix 1, 2 or 3, you can safely install hot fix 4.

Hot Fix 4 for ACT! version 2010 may resolve your issues if:

  • You are an ACT! Premium for Web user and are unable to print from the address book.
  • You cannot replace the contents of the Record Manager using Edit > Replace.
  • You are using a Microsoft® Outlook® rule to automatically attach incoming e-mail to ACT! contacts and see Microsoft Outlook stop responding when you received e-mail.
  • Your installation has advanced queries or dynamic group/company membership that is based on contact access (contact is private) and have problems after upgrading your database from ACT! by Sage 2008 (10.0) or ACT! by Sage 2009 (11.0) to ACT! 2010.
  • You see slow performance when switching views or looking up records.
  • You are an ACT! Premium customer whose installation includes customized databases, have upgraded from ACT! by Sage Premium 2008 (10.0) or ACT! by Sage Premium 2009 (11.0), and are now seeing generic application crash errors when viewing Group, Company, or Opportunity views in ACT! by Sage 2010
  • You are an ACT! Premium customer whose installation contains fields set to “No Access” that reside in the Contact Spillover Table (spillover tables are created with customized databases). Since upgrading your database to ACT! Premium 2010, the schema update fails and corrupts the upgraded database.
  • You are an ACT! Premium customer whose installation contains fields set to “No Access” that reside in the Contact Spillover Table (spillover tables are created with customized databases). Since upgrading your database to ACT! Premium 2010, you are unable to build a remote database.
  • You are using a certified add-on application with faxing capabilities and have problems when doing a Mail Merge direct to Fax when your word processor is Microsoft Word.

The following tables list the area affected by the hot fix, the description, and the effect of the hot fix for each known issue.

 New in Hot Fix 4

Area Description What the Fix Does
Address Books ACT! Premium for Web users are unable to print from an address book. Enables the user to print from the address book.


Fixed in Hot Fix 3

ACT! hot fixes are cumulative, so hot fix 4 also contains the following fixes distributed in hot fix 3.
Area Description What the Fix Does
Contacts Record Manager is unavailable as an option in the Edit > Replace field function. Enables the Edit >Replace field function for Record Manager.
Outlook Integration Users see slow response time when opening a database or performing a lookup on a database that contains a large number of fields. Repairs memory issue so performance does not suffer during this operation.
Database Upgrade Customers who have sync sets built on Opportunity and who upgrade to ACT! 2010 see ProductException error messages. Updates the SQL statement to correct the syntax which can cause the update not complete successfully.
Database Upgrade Upgrade users who have queries or dynamic membership based on contact access receive error message when attempting to access Contacts, Groups, or Companies. Modifies the schema to find and correct any syncset, group, or company queries where Contact Access is part of the criteria.

New in Hot Fix 2
Area Description What the Fix Does
Performance Users see slow response time when opening a database or performing a lookup on a database that contains a large number of fields. Enables layouts to refresh more quickly.
Fixed in Hot Fix 1

ACT! hot fixes are cumulative, so hot fix 2 also contains the following fixes distributed in hot fix 1.

Area Description What the Fix Does
Groups/Company/Opportunities This issue impacts ACT! Premium 2008 or ACT! Premium 2009 installations where fields residing in the Contact Spillover Table (spillover tables are created with customized databases) are set to “No Access”. Upon upgrading the database to ACT! Premium 2010, the schema update fails and corrupts the upgraded database. The user experiences generic application crash errors when viewing Group, Company, Opportunity views in ACT! Premium 2010.

ACT! Premium 2010 users who have spillover tables and set fields to “No Access” will not be able to create and restore remote databases.
Enables metadata to be created for the upgrade scripts.
Faxing Users will not be able to mail merge directly to fax. Enables the SDK method call to trigger a response from ACT!
Applying Hot Fix 2 for ACT! 2010
This hot fix is for version 2010. Do not apply this hot fix to any other version of ACT! To determine the version of the product you are using, see the version number in the Help About box. After the hot fix has been installed, the version number will read "12.0.409.0, Hotfix 2".
Apply this hot fix to all machines that are involved in database synchronization to avoid issues surrounding renaming layouts, queries, and reports. This includes all machines that contain the Main Synchronization Database, Main Remote Database, and machines that have the ACT! Network or ACT! Internet Sync Services applied.
Applying the Hot Fix
  1. Log onto to your computer as an Administrator.
  2. Stop the Network Sync Service.
  3. Please click on the link below to download Hot Fix 2, depending on the version of ACT! 2010 you have installed and your locale.
    ACT! by Sage 2010 Standard Tier (All Locales)
    ACT! by Sage Premium 2010 Tier (Locale Specific)
  4. Close ACT!.
  5. When the download dialog box comes up, choose Save and save to your Desktop.
  6. After the download completes, close ACT!, Internet Explorer® and all Microsoft Office applications.
  7. Locate the ACT12HotFix.exe that you downloaded to your desktop and double-click it to begin the installation.
  8. The Unpacking ACT! progress indicator briefly appears followed by the Disclaimer dialog box.
    Image
  9. Review the disclaimer, and then click Apply.
  10. The installer verifies your Windows® rights and ensures that no open programs will conflict with the hot fix installation. If any of these conditions exist, the appropriate message will appear. Please follow the on screen instructions.
  11. The ACT! - Applying Updates window appears while the hot fix is being installed.
  12. When finished the ACT! dialog box appears.
    Image
  13. Click Ok to complete the installation.
  14. For all Windows Vista® users with UAC enabled, you will see a Program Compatibility Assistant dialog box. Click This program installed correctly to complete the installation.
  15. Restart the Network Sync Service.
  16. If you are using the Internet Sync Service, you must reset IIS:
    1. Click Start.
    2. In the Run box, type IISReset.
    3. Click OK.
  17. Start ACT!
  18. From the Help menu, select About. The version number will "12.0.409.0, Hotfix 2".
    Image
Changes To Your Installation
Installing the hot fix applies the following files:
  • ActFramework.MailMerge.dll
  • Act.UI.Wordprocessor.dll
  • Act.DataCreation.dll
Technorati Tags: ,,

Automating backups for ACT! by Sage

One of the problems we notice is that users are not sure of the different options available to create and maintain proper backups of their ACT! data, so I thought it would provide value to list them here.

As ACT! by Sage database uses a SQL engine, it can't be backed up by simply copying the files or by using a normal backup product. The SQL service keeps a lock on the database as soon as Windows starts, even if no-one is logged into ACT!

Manual Backup

The standard function to backup a database from ACT! is: File | Backup. See:
http://kb.sagesoftwareonline.com/cgi-bin/sagesoftwareonline.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=19211

ACT! Scheduler Backup

Users should automate these to make sure data isn’t lost if it becomes damaged through a PC failure, virus or other problem.

In ACT! 2005 (7.0) to ACT! 2007 (9.0), only the Premium version can automate this with the ACT! Scheduler
In ACT! 2008 and later, automated maintenance and backups are also available with non-Premium builds
Also note: ZIP has a limit of 4GB... with ACT! 2008 and later, you can do the attached files separately if you're hitting this limit

If running Premium 2005-2007 or ACT! 2008 or later, have a look at this article to automate backups:
http://kb.sagesoftwareonline.com/cgi-bin/sagesoftwareonline.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=19218

If backing up with the Scheduler on another PC from the database or backing up to another PC, see:
http://kb.sagesoftwareonline.com/cgi-bin/sagesoftwareonline.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=17427

It's always good to do regular test restores to ensure the backup is working.
You can do this with use File | Restore
Then select Restore_As to restore the backup to a different name, location or onto a different machine

It's also useful to occasionally check that the "Backup" folder under the database supplemental files folder is empty. This is where ACT! places temp files during the backup process. If the backup fails, they remain there and will be included in any subsequent backups. You can delete any files in this folder unless a backup is currently in operation.

Batch File Backup

If not running Premium and not upgrading, you can do it this way.
Create an ACTBackup.bat file with Notepad as follows:

REM - Change these SET Parameters as appropriate for your system 
SET ACTSourceFolder="C:\Act\Database" 
SET ACTDestinationFolder="D:\Backups\Act\Database" 
SET XcopyOptions=/M /E /C /H /O /Y /I 
REM 
REM - Stop ACT SQL Service 
NET STOP SQLAGENT$ACT7 
NET STOP MSSQL$ACT7 
REM 
REM - Perform copy 
XCOPY %ACTSourceFolder% %ACTDestinationFolder% %XcopyOptions% 
REM 
REM - Restart ACT SQL Service 
NET START MSSQL$ACT7 
NET START SQLAGENT$ACT7 
END

With the SQL engine stopped, you can use anything to copy/backup the database and supplemental files. You could replace the XCOPY with a command line ZIP or other back-up utility.
Then run the BAT file from the Windows scheduler

While you can't restore to a different name to test it with this method, you can restore to another machine, delete the PAD file and open the ADF so it resets the machine name.

ACT! Email Backup

If using the ACT! Email client, you should also back up it's database as per:
http://kb.sagesoftwareonline.com/cgi-bin/sagesoftwareonline.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=19212

Corporate and third-party Backup

Finally, if wanting to use a proper corporate backup product that understands SQL and you have a Premium version of ACT!, you can get the SA Pass utility. This is free in Europe, but does cost in other regions - contact your local Sage office for the pricing and process.

There is a third-party product with more advanced backup and maintenance options: AutoAdmin 2008/2009

Which MS SQL versions should you use with ACT! 2010 (#ACT2010)

There have been some changes to the supported SQL versions with ACT! 2010 and some users may need to look at which version to use in order to maximise the performance or scalability of ACT!

The standard ACT! by Sage 2010 only supports SQL 2005 Express as per: ACT! 2010 System Requirements

The Premium and Corporate versions support SQL 2005 Standard and now even MS SQL 2008. For a full list of supported versions, see:

While ACT! is only shipped with MS SQL 2005 Express, you can set the Premium version up with SQL 2008 Express (x32 or x64)’ and the Corporate versions with those and also SQL 2005/2008 Standard (x32 or x64)

Note: You must purchase SQL CALs for Standard separately from Microsoft

But, should you change the version of SQL and, if you chose to, how do you do it? To make this decision, you should have a look at these:

From these, you will note that the advantages of Standard over Express are:

  • Express is limited to a 4GB database size – There are very few users that will reach this limit. It’s only the ACT! ADF that’s limited, it doesn’t include attachments
  • Express is limited to 1 CPU and 1GB RAM – If your server machine doesn’t have multiple processors and 3GB (or more) RAM, you will not see a benefit to ACT! in using the Standard version. But, on a machine suitably configured, there will be a performance advantage in using Standard.
  • Changing to Standard on a suitable server should definitely be considered for 25 or more users.

Here are some useful ACT! Knowledge Base articles on installing ACT! with different editions of SQL:

There are a couple of additional points to note:

  • While having Standard (2005 or 2008) on the server and Express on the workstations is ok. If you upgrade to SQL 2008, you must also upgrade all systems sharing the database via Sync to 2008
  • You can upgrade the SQL 2005 instance of ACT7 to SQL 2008, you can’t upgrade to the x64 versions. You would need to uninstall the ACT7 instance and manually create one using the x64 edition of SQL.
  • While I have not tested these personally, I have been told by Sage that there is no noticeable advantage to ACT! in using SQL 2008 or the x64 versions. So the only reason to implement these would be to comply with a current infrastructure where these are already implemented.
  • While the Enterprise editions are not officially QA tested or supported, I have heard from a number of users that these work with the Premium and Corporate versions of ACT! as per the SQL Standard editions with the additional performance levels they provide. The same applies to using SQL 2008 Express with the standard version of ACT! by Sage – not supported, but should work if required.

Upgrading ACT!, especially when you are using add-ons

It is important to note that many add-on products will require updated versions in order to work with different versions of ACT!. If you are using any specific add-on(s), you should check with the add-on vendors to see if they support the new version and the procedures to get an updated build, if required.

For ACT! 2010 some add-ons (like Handheld Contact) just require a new download while others may charge an upgrade fee for the new version.

When upgrading ACT!, it is usually a good idea to uninstall any add-ons first. Then perform the ACT! upgrade and then install the latest versions of the add-ons after checking they support the new version.

This also applies if you want to upgrade your MS-Office version or your operating system – you should confirm that your version of ACT! supports this or if you need an upgrade.

Checking these things first reduces potential disappointment if you later find out you need other upgrades that might not yet be available or that you hadn’t budgeted for.

Technorati Tags: ,,,