Working with Act! again


It has been a few months since I last posted on the status of where I am with Swiftpage and the direction of the product. In that time, I have received numerous requests for an update.

After a call back in March from John Oechsle, Swiftpage's CEO, and Rowan Koons, SVP and GM, followed by four months of detail discussions on how to continually improve the product and user experience, we have reached an agreement for how I can best continue to serve Act! and the broader Act! Community.

Swiftpage has recognised my expertise and passion, and as part of this working together, Swiftpage has endorsed me as an “Act! Certified Expert, sanctioned by Swiftpage” as at 1 August 2017.

I have also been fortunate, during these conversations, to have had a look at the future direction of roadmap for Act!. This has made me more excited to be working with them to try and bring these to market for you.

My Current Focus

It does have elements of the position of "P.O.P.E" as originally suggested as a comment in this LinkedIn thread from four years ago - by Paul Marentette, of Uptime Solutions in Canada, and seconded by many others including Bob Ogdon, Chairman and Founder of Swiftpage.

We have highlighted the following ways to work together:

1. Initially examining areas of the current build (19.2 Update 3), with a focus on MS-Office integration and other areas that users might suggest.

2. Become active again in the Act! Community Site and my Linkedin Act! Fanatics Group. Not just in supporting users, as I have done for many years, but also creating an analysis of the posts to identify the areas that users have the most issues with (usability or flaws).

3. Assist Swiftpage in updating and enhancing Act! Knowledgebase articles.

4. Alpha and Beta testing v20 as soon as it is available.

After this, I hope to assist Swiftpage in improving Act! eMarketing, WebAPI, Mobile Companion, and other areas. I also intend to help them enhance their relationships with the Act! Certified Consultants and other resellers channel.

Help Me To Help You

I have some requests for you, the Act! Fanatic community (users and the resale channel alike):

1. I would like to examine any systems where Act! v19 is having issues with Outlook integration. At this time, I would be happy to take on about three sites per week.
NOTE: This is a NO CHARGE offer - No charge to the user or reseller.

2. Could you please post, as a comment to this blog article, or in the LinkedIn Group, or via private communication to me, any bugs or areas where you think I should allocate additional time. If I do not understand your point, I may contact you to see it remotely on your system.

3. Please also comment in the forums above with any subjects that I could generate a blog article that you think could improve your use of Act!. I do have some ideas that I have not seen done before, but I' would still value your opinions.

The Future

This agreement is a great opportunity for me, for the product and for the community of users who have been behind the product for up to 30 years.

Those of you who know me know that I will throw everything I have into testing every function I can - as a user. I will work with other users in the forums, via email or phone, to find the issues that matter most in keeping you productive. Then I will work to try and replicate the issues so that I can report them accurately to QA and Development so they can work on fixing them.

Once this is underway, I hope to also have a small say in helping them prioritise their resources so that they can deliver the best possible solution for us all and make Act! as great a product as we all know it can be.

About four years ago, a user asked me what I would do if the vendor put in charge of the product. At that time, I described a roadmap over two-three years that I thought would be necessary without the funds of an Apple or Google. I still believe that, over a similar time-frame, we can have a leading solution again.

Please feel free to post any questions or comments you have on this.


Mike Lazarus
Act! Evangelist

The Act! CRM 19.2 update is now available


Swiftpage has, today, released version 19.2 of Act!.

You can get the downloads from:
Note: International people use the links under the US section because, at least under the Australian section, there is nothing about version 19 at all.

Here are some of the improvements according to documents I’ve seen. I’ll be doing some testing over the next week or two and will post my findings.


Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Certification

Provides compatibility with the latest Windows Server operating system.

  • Windows Server 2016 has passed our internal certification for use with Act! v19.2.
  • This release resolves fundamental defects to ensure compatibility and includes an update to InstallShield for a more stable installation on later operating systems.
Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Certification

Adds compatibility with SQL Server 2016 for customers who like to stay updated with the latest SQL database technology.

  • SQL Server 2016 has passed our internal certification for use with Act! v19.2.
  • The Act! installation process now detects an ‘ACT7’ instance created using SQL Server 2016 Express or Standard editions.
  • Important: Act! v19.2 will continue to ship with and install SQL Server 2014 by default. Customers wishing to use SQL Server 2016 must either manually create an ACT7 instance before installing Act!, or upgrade the default SQL Server 2014 instance following their Act! installation.
  • Customers wishing to use SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition must own the applicable licenses required to conform to Microsoft’s licensing requirements.
Update to InstallShield 2016

Provides a more stable installation platform with later operating systems.

  • The Act! installer package has been updated to the current InstallShield version, giving improved native support for the latest Windows operating systems.
  • This upgrade also helps us to make future installer-related improvements, and more easily add support for new and updated operating systems in later Act! releases.
Improved Google Chrome user experience

Provides improvements for web customers using the Google Chrome browser to access their database.

  • Important: While this release provides an improved experience for users of Chrome for Mac, full certification of this browser is not included in Act! v19.2. This certification will be completed in a later Act! release.
  • Act! v19.2 resolves 30+ specific issues affecting the Chrome browser
  • This includes 15 areas where unnecessary full-screen refreshes were affecting performance and customer experience.
  • Further details of the specific issues resolved are included below.

Web Client Improvements

New web client rich text (RTF) controls

Provides web users with improved formatting controls when entering free text.

  • New rich text (RTF) controls added to the Details sections on Notes, Histories, Activities and Relationships dialogues.
  • Includes additional web-friendly fonts and an improved selection of font sizes.
  • New options for strikethrough formatting, text background colours, and bullet points.
  • Addresses some in-market issues affecting the previous rich text controls.

Act! eMarketing Improvements

Improved Act! eMarketing Call List

Improves the performance and usability of the Act! eMarketing Call List feature for both desktop and web client users.

  • New date range filter for campaigns, so users can focus on just the results they need, and quickly follow up.
  • Downloaded campaign lists are cached, giving an improved performance as users navigate to and from the Act! eMarketing view.

Commercial Improvements

New Welcome Page views based on product tier and subscription

Allows more targeted messaging to better support and nurture different customer segments.

  • Includes new Welcome Page views for customers using:
    • Act! Pro
    • Act! Premium with no subscription
    • Act! Premium Cloud paid accounts

Integrations and Web API

New Act! Companion features

New mobile functionality gives users even more power to manage their activities on the move.
Schedule activities from within Act! Companion

  • Clear (Complete) activities
  • Update activities
  • Schedule follow-ups
  • Cache server URL and database name (Remember me feature)
On-going improvements to the Act! Web API

Swiftpage continues to improve the performance, stability and functionality of the Web API, enhancing the power of both Swiftpage and partner driven integrations.

  • An updated Web API version is available alongside Act! v19.2.

Outright Purchases of #ActCRM v19.0 Punished by @Swiftpage

Dollar fireSwiftpage seems desperate for cash.

Having gone through all the capital they raised from selling SalesLogix, much of it wasted by the Ogdon’s on the shockingly poor “Essentials” project, I hear (from two sources) that Swiftpage has been making losses for the past few months.

Maybe this is the reason that Bob Ogdon’s sons, Mike and Dan, are no longer collecting their pay and have left the company this month?

The lack of understanding of the Act! product and its user base combined with their cash shortage has led them to inflict a bizarre punishment on those who choose to buy outright rather than succumb to their subscription model where they can keep getting revenue without delivering anything useful – As they have just done with v19.1

Beginning with Act! v19.1, this punishment takes the form of the entitlement for Act! Premium being enforced at the .x version level (e.g. 19.0, 19.1, 19.2, etc.).

You can see the message with the new 19.1 updates here:!-premium-v19-downloads

19.1 Downloads licenses

It carries this warning: Note: This update requires an active Act! Premium subscription or Business Care plan. Business Care customers will require a new serial number.

So, only those covered by a current subscription will get the update and those only on Business Care will have the additional effort of having to replace all their serial numbers.

That is, if your support for an outright purchase ends with 19.0, you won’t get the in-line updates from 19.1. This is especially silly as the there is nothing new in 19.1 except 70-odd bug fixes, and most of those are just fixes to the dialogue boxes truncating text as can be seen here:

I’d also point out that the 19.1 Updates are only listed in the US/CA area and not in the international sections. But then, quite a few updates fail to get posted to the international sections.

Rumour has it that they’ll also be doing this tortuous killing of the reputation of Act! for Pro users from v20, onwards and charging extra for in-line bug fixes.

One hopes they might change their mind on this, but if previous incomprehensible decisions are to go by, they will have completely driven the product into the ground by then. I do pity their users as well as their, soon to be poorer, investors.

Act! Premium for Web and IIS Security – Special Offer!

My next article will cover some serious security vulnerabilities in IIS that nearly all Act! Premium for Web sites I’ve looked at in the past week are open to, including Swiftpage’s Premium Cloud on servers like

Should anyone who is hosting APFW systems for themselves or others want me to test your system for these vulnerabilities and, if found, fix this security flaw on their systems before I post them publicly, I can do this remotely at $150 per server. Drop me an email via 

No charge if the systems are not exposed to these issues

So you’ve nothing to lose!

Is @Swiftpage the worst vendor for support of #ActCRM? (updated 21Mar17)

Lorcan Malone and Rachel Collie pulled my certification for not removing a tweet within 5 minutes, as I said in the post: Don’t trust @Swiftpage contracts including subscriptions. Other than the breach of their own contract, not once has anyone at Swiftpage asked what led me to the conclusion of that tweet that Swiftpage provided the worst support for Act! of any vendor in my 30 years of supporting the product.

However, I thought it worth identifying some of the issues that lead undeniably to that conclusion. Most of these are related to Australian and New Zealand issues, so your results may vary.

One of the early moves by Bob Ogden was to close the Australian support office, leaving the local users without any direct support. This was replaced by a call centre out of Malaysia.

After many complaints about the quality of support from the off-shore call centre in Malaysia, we were promised by Ogden, Malone and Collie that a new Australian support office would be created. These lies became evident as such when the call centre in India was created.

But the Indian call centre doesn’t, even now, provide support for AEM or SPEM. Meaning that Australian or New Zealand businesses have to resort to calling the US whenever support is required on those Swiftpage products.

Ogden, Malone and Collie have also made a great number of promises to have local “micro-sites” built because the US site no longer has support details for Australian and New Zealand users.

This not only creates challenges for local users but the lack of communication with Swiftpage has led to many little issues within the product itself.

While these are relatively minor issues, they do serve well to illustrate the lack of interest that Swiftpage has in the product or, at least, in this region. I had passed all of these onto Swiftpage during the v18 beta and to Michael Bryant of Act Today during the v19 beta as Michael told me he would pass them on.

I will be doing a future blog article containing more serious bugs and issues.

Act! Premium for Web Unsupported Browsers:

If you attempt to open Act! Premium for Web with an unsupported browser, you’ll get this dialogue:


Clicking on the “Tell Me More” link, will take you to the Act! Supported Browsers page.

You’ll note that this page gives the supported browsers for Act! v17, and isn’t even correct for that version.

It does this on act! versions from v17 to v19.1


Australia and New Zealand Welcome Page


After logging into Act! Premium for Web Australian version, you get to this page.

This is a 404 error looking for this URL:

The product group and the web design group at Swiftpage, under Lorcan Malone, have no idea what each other is doing.

Edit: It appears that Swiftpage has partially fixed this one issue by redirecting the AU page to the US one … which, while at least looks better than the 404 Welcome Screen, gives US numbers for support and US resource links.

This shows that, while my asking internally over two years had no effect, making these issues public is the only way Swiftpage will act on them.

Some Other Incorrect Links

  • Help | About | Tech Support - Goes to US site
  • Help | Service and Support | Contact Info - Goes to US site
  • Welcome Screen - Have questions? - Both links go to US site
  • Welcome - Live Demo - US time frame
  • Windows version - All Programs > Act! Connect Link > Act! Connect Link on the Web - Goes to US site with no info on Act! Connect Link

The reality is that the entire process of development, all the way through QA, has such little control and care built in that they can’t even get these simple things right.

Even the recently released v19.1 is basically a set of fixes for display issues that were in v19.

This lack of attention to detail can be shown throughout the product. Many of the other bugs I’ll be posting show that the poor quality control has more serious consequences than the display issues they targeted in v19.1

Don’t trust @Swiftpage contracts including subscriptions.

If you’re thinking of signing any contract with Swiftpage, especially of their atrociously slow joke of a cloud platform, don’t.

Swiftpage do not believe that written contracts need to be kept. Let me give a couple of examples of this.

The first is the Act! Certified Consultants Contract. That they cancelled after 30 years of passionate support for the product.

This is the one I signed:

Note specifically this section that they pulled my certification under - Section 5.0.2:

Section 5.02 Termination for, and Examples of, Material Breach. Either Party may terminate this Agreement, or Consultant’s authorization for a particular Product, at any time during the Term for material breach by the other Party upon thirty (30) days’ written notice specifying the breach, which termination shall be effective at the end of the thirty (30) day period unless the breach has earlier been cured. Notwithstanding the foregoing, for any material breach of the proprietary rights of a Party, that Party may immediately terminate this Agreement without notice. Without limiting the generality of the term “material breach,” as used herein it shall include, in addition to the breaches specified in Section 2.05, 2.06, and 3.03 above, a Party’s failure to pay any amount due to the other Party, any threat made by one Party to an employee of the other, any threat made to a Customer, and unlawful or unethical business practices.

Here is their termination letter:

Lorcan Malone, via Rachel Collie (who had been trying to get me dumped from the ACC program for a year and had directly cost me multiple contracts) actually gave me 5 minutes as opposed to the 30 days required under the terms of the contract.

I pointed this out to them in my reply:

Even after pointing their flaw out to them, their conclusion was that I lacked the funds to take it to court and fight them, so they simply didn’t care about their breech.

To show how little that Swiftpage staff even care about internal contracts (such as non-disclosure), one of them forwarded me emails between Swiftpage and Michael Bryant of Act Today, where Mr Bryant informed Swiftpage that I “never added any value”. I assume he didn’t see the nearly 15,000 support posts on the Act! Community site (which Swiftpage have now banned me from) or the dozens of other forums where I have been supporting act! for free over the decades.

Together with these comments by Bryant, can you possibly trust organisations like Swiftpage or Act Today to keep your data secure when they care so little about their own data security?

To Cloud your #CRM or Not to Cloud. For that is the question

Cloud Computing

How to make users feel that using cloud can like trekking through a Brazilian jungle.

I’m guessing that many you might be aware of the issue with Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service which led to massive outages across the internet.

So far, Amazon has not given an indication as to the cause.


The only news on their site at this time is that the problems have been resolved:

But why did it take down so much of the internet?

Yes, many applications were down for some hours. Buffer, Slack, Trello, and a great many more were unusable (or barely usable) during the time that Amazon had their outage.

According to the Synergy Research Group’s 2017 report, Amazon Web Services owns more than a whopping 40 percent share of the global public cloud services market.Other providers, such as Google, Microsoft and IBM are small players by comparison.

So maybe you can understand that when Amazon coughs, we all get colds.

What does this have to do with CRM?

Remember: There is no cloud, it’s just someone else’s computer

More and more, the major (and not so major) CRM providers have been pushing users to move their data to the vendors’ cloud systems. Even Swiftpage has been doing this with Act!.

Of course, there is a big advantage to the vendor to push for these subscriptions – They don’t have to add any real value to the product in order to keep getting your money. A case in point for this is the lack of any new serious functionality in Act! v19. Something I blogged about, here: What’s coming in Act! v19 – Good, bad or very ugly?

Although, more recently, the vendors have even put their on-premises products on the subscription model (Microsoft’s Office 365 and Swiftpage’s Act! are examples of this strategy to get users paying every year. They’ve both overly inflated the pricing of the “outright purchase” or “perpetual” licenses. They’ve also come down hard on the users who would consider buying outright, by making some features only available on subscription and (as Swiftpage says they’ll be doing for Act!) refusing to provide bug-fix updates within the version you purchased.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to you?


Advantages of cloud implementations:

  • No need for server hardware CAPEX
  • The IT costs can be reduced
  • Maintenance, upgrades and support are handled by the vendor
    • This can be an issue when they update their version and break things that you use
  • Can be easier to access from anywhere – This requires extra work for on-premises
  • You, or your IT, are responsible for security if you make it available externally.
  • There used to be a reduced upfront cost for the cloud, when compared to on-premises. But, with more vendors moving their on-premises versions to subscription, this is nolonger an advantage


Advantages of on-premises implementations:

  • Retain 100% ownership of your data
    • How well do you trust the vendor to stay in business?
    • What happens to your data if they close?
  • Retain 100% of the integrity of your data
  • Retain 100% of the security of your data
  • Less susceptible to external connectivity
    • Not all areas have great internet access
    • Because Handheld Contact for Act! stores the data on the device, I regard it as the best solution for Act! users with iPhones, iPads, Androids or Blackberrys
  • Less susceptible to an issue like the recent Amazon one
  • Sometimes greater functionality is available in the desktop version
  • Often a wider range of integration possibilities
  • Ability to customise your CRM solution with add-ons or custom written code that might not be possible in a cloud version

How about a hybrid solution?

One of the areas that Act! does best at, is the hybrid solution of using both delivery systems.

This can be a useful compromise:

  • You still need your own IT – In-house or out-sourced
  • You might still be susceptible to the security issues above … at both sides.
  • You can pull your data out in any way you choose
  • You are not constrained by internet access and can use the data via an app on your phone or laptop even when out of range.
  • Access to both sets of integration and customisation options.
  • You’d barely notice an outage from Amazon or the software vendor

After all this, what’s best for you?

And that’s really the question to ask. Each person will have a quite different view on this.

  • You need to properly document your needs. This article might help: What’s the best CRM?
  • You should try to find a VAR or Consultant who’s unbiased in this area so they can look at YOUR needs, rather than selling you something when there were better options. For some assistance in this area, read: How to pick the right CRM consultant for you

Please add a comment to this post with any thoughts you might have on the subject.


March 2017 Releases of @HandheldContact for #ActCRM


As I’ve recently mentioned, Handheld Contact has been working on some great enhancements. The first of these came out last December. See announcement with videos, here:
New versions of Handheld Contact for #ActCRM

Since then, they’ve been working hard on some more great features that I’ve mentioned in these posts:

They are expected to be available early next month!
Along with some extra features, as well

See the Deep Dive Presentation, here (feature lists, below):

Edit: The delivery date for these updates has been pushed back by a week. See the comments for more details

February 28th - Handheld Contact for Android 3.0.3

  • Caller ID: Automatically see the name of Act! Contacts when they call you on your iPhone. Handheld Contact no longer requires contact export to enjoy caller ID.
  • HHC Secure+: A misplaced device or unauthorised user is a serious risk to your organisation. HHC Secure+ utilises HIPAA-compliant security features to protect your organisation’s Act! data falling into the wrong hands. Available with new subscriptions or as an upgrade for your existing subscription.
  • Monthly Task List Filter: You can now filter your Handheld Contact Task List to only show activities from the current month. Selective Contact Export
  • Default launch screen: Choose your favourite landing page in Handheld Contact, and this new build will load with it by default whenever you launch the app
  • One-press E-mail invitations: Schedule an Activity in Handheld Contact and with a single press—just like Act!—create an e-mail invitation to associated contacts. Recipients will seamlessly see events in their calendar if they accept.
  • Double the detail in Notes, History, and Activities: ​ The Regarding field in Activities and Notes as well as the Details field in Histories now support double the content — up to 2000 characters.
  • Business card scanning integration: ​Seamlessly scan business cards and add contacts to Handheld Contact with CamCard or other similar card scanning apps (The card scanning app must have the ability to interact with accounts added to your device).
  • New Activity Defaults: ​Configure defaults for Activity Type, Priority, Alarm, Duration, and Timeless fields and Handheld Contact will pre-set these for you when scheduling a new Activity.
Other Improvements
  • Fixed issue that may have prevented a user from scrolling through text in the Home address field.


March 3rd - Handheld Contact for iOS 7.1

  • Background syncing that boosts performance and usability (Requires iOS 9 or higher): The Handheld Contact for iOS app now loads faster and delivers a smoother end user experience thanks to background syncing. You no longer need to keep the app open for Handheld Contact to sync up-to-date Act! data.
  • Caller ID: Automatically see the name of Act! Contacts when they call you on your iPhone. Handheld Contact no longer requires contact export to enjoy caller ID.
  • HHC Secure+: A misplaced device or unauthorised user is a serious risk to your organisation. HHC Secure+ utilises HIPAA-compliant security features to protect your organisation’s Act! data falling into the wrong hands. Available with new subscriptions or as an upgrade for your existing subscription.
  • HHC+: Increase your contact sync limit to  45,000 with HHC+ Premium or to 30,000 with HHC+ Basic. Available with new subscriptions or as an upgrade for your existing subscription.
  • Monthly Task List Filter: You can now filter your Handheld Contact Task List to only show activities from the current month. Selective Contact Export
  • Selective Contact Export: Only export the contacts that matter. If you don’t need all your Act! contacts in your native contacts app you can now customise the export experience and only include those in Favourites or any Saved Searches.
  • Default launch screen: Choose your favourite landing page in Handheld Contact, and this new build will load with it by default whenever you launch the app
  • Double the detail in Notes, History, and Activities: ​ The Regarding field in Activities and Notes as well as the Details field in Histories now support double the content — up to 2000 characters.
  • One-press E-mail invitations: Schedule an Activity in Handheld Contact and with a single press—just like Act!—create an e-mail invitation to associated contacts. Recipients will seamlessly see events in their calendar if they accept.
  • Business card scanning integration: same as described for Android release above.
Other Improvements
  • More robust handling of large databases for HHC+
  • Fixed issue that may have created duplicates on Contact Update
  • Improved interface and handling of "Scheduled With" behaviour in Activity scheduling.
  • Timeless toggle for Activity Defaults.
  • Improved reliability.


March 8th - Handheld Contact Computer Application

** Compatible with Act! 2013 (v15) to v19 – Pro or Premium

  • Support for 2000 characters in Activity and Note Regarding fields and History Details field.
  • Improvements to HHC+ support.
  • Improvements to permission controls to control end user's Handheld Contact mobile app behaviour.

Please note, Handheld Contact may pull a feature listed above based on feedback from Beta testers or end-users.


HHC Secure+


Handheld Contact is excited to announce the upcoming release of our newest mobile platform called “HHC Secure+”, which is aimed at delivering the mobile power of Handheld Contact with additional security features for maximum data protection.




HHC Secure+ for Complete Data Protection

The standard Handheld Contact service focuses on providing an unrivalled mobile Act! experience at a great price with strong but basic security features that make it ideal for most businesses.  For businesses that require advanced security features, HHC Secure+ provides more control over how Handheld Contact behaves on mobile devices—such as forcing user sign-in and disable after too many failed sign-in attempts—as well as an additional layer of encryption.


Here is a list of some of the security enhancements of HHC Secure+:

  • User Authentication: Some users protect their mobile device with a password while others may not. HHC Secure+ forces end-users to sign-in to Handheld Contact on their smartphone or tablet to use the mobile app so access is limited to authenticated Act! users.
  • App Lock: With HHC Secure+ “App Lock”, the Handheld Contact mobile app on a user's smartphone or tablet can be configured to automatically lock—such as when the device goes into standby or after a specified time—requiring user authentication to unlock.
  • App Disable: HHC Secure+ “App Disable” can be configured to disable the Handheld Contact mobile app after too many failed sign-in attempts, eliminating the risk of an unauthorized user guessing credentials and gaining access. Once App Lock has activated, access to Handheld Contact on the mobile device can only be restored by accessing the Handheld Contact computer application.
  • Automatic Data Wipe: For absolute data protection, HHC Secure+ “Automatic Data Wipe” will destroy all local Act! data stored on the user's mobile device if an unauthorized user is unable to successfully sign-in to the Handheld Contact mobile app after too many failed attempts.
  • Mobile Device Encryption: HHC Secure+ encrypts all local data stored on the user's smartphone or tablet preventing unauthorized access to locally stored Act! data if the device falls into the wrong hands.  All data transferred through wireless syncing is also encrypted to keep Act! data safe on insecure Internet connections, such as a public Wi-Fi.
  • Per-User Customization with HHC Secure+: Every user is unique, which is why HHC Secure+ features can be customized differently (or the same) for each user. All features are convenient to manage from the Handheld Contact computer application.
  • Central Management: Securely manage all Handheld Contact users from the Handheld Contact computer application that is installed safely within your business network environment. All Handheld Contact and HHC Secure+ settings are customizable in one, central location.
  • Safe Approach to Server Access: Installing the Handheld Contact computer application is required to enable mobile access and it securely handles all outside communication, minimizing risk. Other mobile services require specific technical skills and rely on complicated server configurations that open up access and may leave your network vulnerable.

Despite the significant improvement in security features, Handheld Contact will only be selling this upgrade service at US$129.95 per year/per device (AU/NZ pricing expected soon). A perfect economical solution for those that require enhanced security.

Stay tuned for more updates!


And another update drops for #ActCRM v19 – Update 4

Number 4

Update 4 is being rolled out now via the Act! notifications and slipstreamed into new installs.

You just keep hoping that they’ll eventually get some stability and not need to keep continually patching a product that had it’s release delayed and still manages to look like it was released too early.

They still haven’t touched on many of the bugs I’ll be posting as soon as I’ve got through documenting them

Maybe if someone at Swiftpage actually knew how to use the product, these errors wouldn’t keep slipping through the cracks? I guess that’s too much to ask.

To install it on a current system (it will slipstream into any new install):

  1. Open act! by right-clicking on the Act! icon and selecting “Run as Administrator
  2. When Act! opens, pull down the Help menu and select “Act! Notifications
  3. You’ll get a pop-up toaster in the bottom-right of your screen. Click on that.
  4. Follow the prompts to backup your database, Download the update and install.
  5. If using act! for Web, you’ll need to restart IIS

Fixes include:

  • Global Toolbar hard line is too long.
  • Truncation in Schedule Activity Availability Tab
  • Truncation - Activity Series Templates
  • Truncation in Preferences Email & outlook Sync tab
  • Missing Translation and Truncation in Email System Setup Outlook Address Books page
  • Truncation display on “Manage Contact Sync Sets” dialog.
  • Truncation - Copy Move Contact Data Dialog
  • Truncation occurs on Filter dialog
  • Text truncation on set password dialog
  • Truncation - Setup Assistant
  • Unlocalized when select database in Outlook Synchronization Preferences Dialog
  • Truncated and hidden text on "Record not found" query dialog
  • Truncated text in Relate Contact dialog
  • Truncated text on Save Copy As
  • Truncated text in Outlook Sync preferences
  • Truncated text in Activity Reminder
  • Truncation on Preferences > Admin
  • Truncated text on Browse button when adding Address Book to Email Setup Wizard
  • The user list is not saved after adding user in Manage Sender Profiles dialog
  • TS - Error: "Object reference not set to an instance of an object" when attempting to create/edit/write (other template) using the Act! Word Processor
  • TS - 64-bit Outlook crashes when trying to send an email (Office 365)
  • TS - APFW - Word addin cannot generate history if act.Web.OutlookWebServiceAddress is defined
  • TS - APFW/APC - Create new contact with Relationships tab selected causes logout
  • APFW - Timeout closing connections after timeout period even if active
  • Outlook addins - buttons in toolbar do not sync contacts or calendar in 64-bit Office

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A warning about uninstallers – this time the MS Office one

Warning-DangerA little warning ...

Due to an issue with an Office Runtime installation on a Windows 2012 R2 Server, I decided to use this official Microsoft tool to remove all traces of MS Office:

However, it not only removed all traces of the Office Runtime, it wiped many of the exe and dll files across many folders in the Program Files and Program Files(x86) folders as well as some in the Windows System folder.

I have no idea why and haven’t had the time to delve into it ... but it reminded me of when I found that the Act! Uninstaller for v9 would wipe files in other programs' folders and in the Windows folder itself if it didn’t see Act! in the default install folder.

I just thought I'd post this to remind people to backup systems before running uninstallers. In my case, I can rebuild the VM pretty quickly, but would be less happy if this happened on a client system where not everything was as easy to restore.


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Sync up to 45K contacts from #ActCRM to your mobile device with @HandheldContact


Introducing HHC+

Sync up to 45 000 contacts from your Act! database to Handheld Contact on your mobile device!

For those Handheld Contact customers that need more than 15,000 contacts on their mobile devices, we finally have a solution for you. Over the last two years HHC listened and increased the normal sync limit from 7000 contacts to the 15,000 limit where it is today, and that has proven sufficient for most of our subscribers.

However, we know some customers still require more, and for those people we're offering "HHC+" starting later in January for both IOS and Android device users. HHC+ will include an upgrade to an additional 15,000 contacts for only US$20 more per year, or an increase of 30,0000 contacts (for a total of 45,000) for only US$35 more. Australian and New Zealand pricing to be available soon.

One of the key changes we had to make to the mobile client was the ability to filter the export of the HHC contacts to the native address book, which you will soon be able to do through our new "Searches" feature. In other words, create a saved Search, do the lookup, and export those contacts (or updates) to your device's address book.

We caution some users with older devices (eg. iPhone 3 and 4) that increasing their sync contacts from 15,0000 to a total of 45,000 can cause some performance issues. Newer devices that we've tested have not demonstrated any degradation in performance.

We’ve recently upgraded Handheld Contact with some new features, if you haven’t checked out the: New versions of Handheld Contact for Act! CRM

Please contact your Act! consultant or GL Computing if you have any questions on obtaining the new versions or on anything else regarding Act! or Handheld Contact 


Third update since last week's #ActCRM v19 release.

Flame 3 digit phone wallpaperUpdate 3 is being rolled out now via the Act! notifications and slipstreamed into new installs. It’s quite the mess. So far, I can’t see a published Knowledgebase article on what it fixes and it's not on the downloads page yet.

  • It notifies the user that there is a new update.
  • When the user clicks on the toaster message they just get told they need to be an administrator
  • So, you open Act! as an administrator, but there’s no obvious method to "Check for Updates"
  • You need to select "Act! Notifications" from under the Help Menu
  • It informs you that it updates the database when opened with this update, but the database version in Actdiag doesn't change. So you can't easily tell which databases might have been updated. Edit: It doesn’t seem to actually update the database with this update

According to Swiftpage’s President and COO, Lorcan Malone, they supposedly held held off on releasing v19 till January to ensure stability and avoid exactly this type of mess. Makes you wonder if the Product Manager in charge of version 19 has stayed on holiday – Or should have stayed there.

Makes you also wonder how many more updates it will take before they start addressing some of the serious issues with this release that adds nothing new and is essentially just bug fixes


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What’s coming in Act! v19 – Good, bad or very ugly? #ActCRM

Act! Logo


As Swiftpage is expected to release Version 19 of Act! this week, I thought I’d post a summary of what to expect with this release.

Update 13th January 2016 with first look opinion on the Act! Companion.

64-bit MS-Office Compatibility

Microsoft OfficeAct! will now work with 64-bit versions of some Microsoft Office applications: 
Outlook, Word and Excel. While their marketing is making claims about Act! being “64-bit compatible”, it’s just the MS-Office integration that has changed.

It has taken a long time for Swiftpage to do this. However, I have found several disappointing bugs with the new version, with both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Office 2016.

These include incorrect handling of international data and some functions just crash and kick you out of Act!

Swiftpage have decided they don’t want to hear about bugs I uncover, so I’m not aware if they even know about these, yet. I will provide more details in a future post.

At this time, I would avoid upgrading to version 19 if Office integration is important to you.

Act! Companion mobile app*

Act! Companion mobile app

I haven’t had access to this product to test, so I don’t know how reliable it is.
Certainly the functionality of it doesn’t come close to Handheld Contact.

Here’s a screen shot and summary from their marketing guff:

Act! Companion mobile app - screen shotStay connected to key Act! Premium details when on the move with Act! Companion — a native mobile app designed for your iPhone® or Android™

  • Contact, activities and history are available. Users get alerted when new contacts, activities or history items are created.
  • Capture notes during meetings
  • Email or call your Act! Premium contacts from the app
  • Do work in a social way with @mentions and simple text updates
  • Intelligent notifications sent directly to the home screen of your phone keep you on task and on time

They say it will support iOS versions 9.x and up, and Android Lollipop, KitKat, and Marshmallow

Their marketing acknowledges that this doesn’t have the functionality to replace their Act! Premium Mobile product.

Update after some testing:

  • When the Login fails, it gives no indication of why
  • The fields are not named the same as they are in Act!, causing confusion.
  • The buttons are very small and not easy to select
  • Search doesn’t seem to work
  • Most of my activities aren’t showing
  • Notifications don’t show enough detail to let you know what the activity actually is
  • The adding of History, add a To-Do with a Blank Regarding

I honestly can’t believe that anyone who uses Act! actually tested this in beta. It’s not release quality.

Additionally, It requires the v19 WebAPI, which has some serious security implications that I’ll be blogging on in the future. I don’t recommend installing or using the WebAPI at this time.

Note: This feature will only be available to Premium subscribers. Users of Pro won’t have it.

Act! Premium Contact Link*

I’m not sure why Swiftpage list this as a new feature.
This is NOT something new for v19 as it has already been available in v18 Premium

Act! Premium Contact in Outlook Act! Premium Contact in Outlook

The functions included are:

  • Create new Act! Premium contacts or edit existing ones. But it doesn’t correctly handle international data and only lets you add/edit a very small range of fields
  • You can schedule new activities with the contacts – But only if you are scheduling To-dos.
  • You can view some of the history of the contacts
  • Attach the text of an Outlook email to contacts – With less functionality than the normal Outlook integration.

While it does look pretty, it is at best a proof concept idea and not ready for prime time
It’s slow, clumsy and lacks functionality available in the standard Outlook integration for Act!.
I’d guess that no-one that really uses Act! had a hand in it’s design.
Which sadly seems common for functions that Swiftpage have been adding.

It requires the v18 or v19 WebAPI, which has some serious security implications that I’ll be blogging on in the future. I don’t recommend installing or using the WebAPI at this time.

Note: This feature is only be available to Premium subscribers. Users of Pro won’t have it.

Act! emarketing improvements

Swiftpage have made the following improvements to their Act! emarketing

  • Send Act! emarketing campaigns up to 5 times faster
  • Campaign management improvements:
    • Get instant feedback on your current Act! emarketing service level before sending email campaigns
    • Quickly and easily see email campaign history for a given contact
    • Don’t worry about accidental sends! A send confirmation dialog will now check to make sure you’re ready to send an email campaign
  • Enhanced send email campaign dialog - See live details about your contact limit, usage this month, and new recipients
  • Campaign history overwrite creates and updates one history entry

The Act! emarketing product still has a very long way to go in order to match competitive products like MailChimp (which can be integrated with Act!), or even their own (seemingly forgotten) Swiftpage emarketing for Act!.

The only reason to not consider a better emarketing system is if you’re only using Act! Premium Web.
The Act! emarketing product is the only one that currently works with the web version.

Customer-­driven feature enhancements

Swiftpage’s marketing lists a section called “Customer-­driven feature enhancements”. It’s a shame that they don’t listen to customers with their other features.

  • Refreshed standard reports with some minor improvements. There is hope that they’ll be adding integration with Microsoft’s Power BI sometime in the future to add the type of reporting functionality that users really need.
  • Added more functions to the Web and Cloud versions, that were previously only in the Windows desktop product:
    • Scan for duplicates
    • Formatting toolbar in the Layout Designer
  • Defects fixed. You can see an extensive list of fixes listed in this Act! Knowledgebase Article: What's new in Act! v19

Final Comment

All in all, it’s a pretty poor effort of an upgrade. More like an 18.5 than a v19. While there is an extensive list of bug-fixes, it seems the new functions have added plenty of bugs of their own.

I’d strongly advise holding off any upgrades unless you require integration with 64-bit Office. Sadly, those using Swiftpage’s Cloud product won’t have an option as their Cloud is likely to be updated on the first weekend after release.

Also, as I stated above, I’d avoid installing WebAPI, at least until Swiftpage chooses to address the security issues in it. They also really need to improve it’s functionality to be close to what’s been available for a long time with the Act! SDK such as UI modifications and the creation/using of custom tables.

I find it very saddening to see, after 30 years I have supported the product, that what is essentially a set of bug fixes is masquerading as a “new” version.