Vacation Time!

Dear friends, colleagues, and loyal followers.

I want to thank you for visiting The World According to Mitch.  It is because of you that I have been able to achieve the incredible successes I have over the past year.

Since returning from vacation last January I have posted over 250 articles in this space.  Granted, some of them (maybe a dozen) were older articles that I had pulled from my archives, but the vast majority of them were new, which means that I wrote (conservatively) two hundred and forty articles in 2012.  If writing was all that I did I expect I would still deserve a vacation!

Freedom ResizedBut of course, that is not all I do.  I have spent most of 2012 on contract to Microsoft, which has had me traveling some 190 days… Air Canada and Marriott thank me profusely for that.

On Friday January 4th Mrs. Garvis and I are flying to Miami where we are meeting up with some friends.  On Saturday the four of us are boarding a cruise ship that will take us out of cell phone range, out of Internet range.  We will spend a blessed week cruising the eastern Caribbean with tropical ports of call, fine food, fine drinks, fine cigars, good friends, and hopefully great weather.  We will relax, we will tell jokes, and I will not use my computer for anything work related.

That does not mean that I will not be bringing my laptop along with me; unfortunately my primary laptop crashed and burned last week in my car accident, but fortunately I have a few spares, and I will take one of them with me.  During the week I will write about whatever suits me – probably a travelogue or two – along the way.  It may be about ship-board activity, or I may ponder the meaning of life.  If we are to be entirely honest, I would bet on the former over the latter, and it will likely be with a tinge of leftover intoxication.

Do not fear, I have not left you empty handed. I would not want to go dark for a week and see my hits drop like a stone.  So in preparation for my absence I have prepared five articles that are scheduled to publish while I am gone.  Three will be published first to my other blog, and two are unique to this one.  I hope you enjoy them, and have comments and questions waiting for me upon my return!

Mitch & Theresa

Yes, this is what I look like in a bathing suit! And yes, she married me anyways!

Friday January 4: Installing NetFx3 on Windows Server 2012

Friday January 4: Microsoft’s 2012 Products: Why can’t they all just work together?

Monday January 7: Shared Nothing Live Migration: Goodbye Shared Storage?

Thursday January 10: iSCSI Storage in Windows Server 2012

Monday January 14: Failover Clustering: Let’s spread the Hyper-V love across hosts!

As you can see I have spent a great deal of focus on storage; In November my colleague Pierre and I sat down to plan out our blog topics, and realized that many of you are playing with Hyper-V, but are stuck in a single host because you don’t have a SAN device in your practice lab.  We agreed that I would write this series taking you from zero to Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2012.  The first article in the series was published in December, and the last three are here.  I look forward to hearing everyone’s comments upon my return.

With that I bid you all farewell, not for long, but just long enough.  Again, I want to thank you again for making my blog one of the most popular IT blogs on the Internet.

Yours Always,

Mitch

Another Humbling Accolade

People may find it weird, but every time one person reads my blog I am thrilled.  It is why (when I have the time) I follow the hit counts on both The World According to Mitch and the Canadian IT Pro Connection religiously.  It isn’t about ego (although I do suppose it is a bit of a boost to that!), rather it is about knowing that I am able to influence, educate, enlighten, and touch people, mostly within the IT Pro community.

While I started blogging in 2002 (it was called something else back then) I only launched The World According to Mitch in July, 2007 – and re-launched it in November, 2010, which is when my current counters were reset and I essentially started with a blank page (replete with a lot of content).  In that first month back up I had 1,567 hits, which for several months would remain the high point (bottoming out in February, 2011 with 746 hits).

I don’t know if I got a lot more serious about blogging at that point, or if I just got better at it, or if frankly I just got better at self-promotion.  However the hits started coming, gradually at first, and the more hits I got the more I was encouraged to post.  I remember teaching a Windows 2008 boot camp in Virginia Beach last July, and while the students did their labs I dug up old posts that I had written and had somehow not made the move to the new site.  For the first time ever I started scheduling posts rather than simply hitting ‘Publish’.  Because I had so many such articles I put them out for 8:00am and 1:00pm daily, a trend that I have more or less followed – I found traffic much better when articles are published at 8:00am, and if I do need to post twice in a day then it is first thing in the morning and first thing after lunch.

Although I got plenty of comments from friends and students, the first official recognition I got for the blog was in September, 2011 when my blog was recognized as one of the 50 Must-Read IT Blogs by BizTech Magazine.  I had read their articles before but did not realize that they read mine as well.  I was thrilled to find out in September that I was recognized on this list for the second year in a row (see article).

This week I was humbled yet again to find out I was included on Evolven’s Power35 Insightful IT Bloggers.  According to the article, this is a handpicked list of insightful bloggers focused on IT.  It means a lot to me because I know there are a lot of really smart people in this industry and I work hard just to keep up with them.  I started blogging because I wanted to share my insight with my peers, and being recognized for that is absolutely heartwarming.

For the month that ends today (October, 2012) the hits on my blog will exceed 14,000 – close to (if not more that) it had in the first 10 months combined (14,099 from November 2010 through August 2011).  I hope that this is an affirmation of the fact that I continue to listen to your needs and wants, and continue to pay attention to the industry.  That is my goal – to remain current, to remain a resource to all of my readers (old and new).  I hope that my students see the blog as an extension of my classes, and that you all see it as a resource to use, reference, and share.

Thanks,

Mitch

A humbling accolade

A year ago I was in Phoenix, Arizona when I found out that my blog, The World According To Mitch, was selected by BizTech Magazine as one of their 50 IT blogs you must read. It was quite an honor to be recognized by my peers.  I was in Montréal, Quebec this year when I was informed I had been selected again for 2012, one of a select few to repeat. Again, I would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen. It truly is humbling, and knowing that this year readers were invited to vote made it all the more special.

The world has changed tremendously since I started blogging. In 2001 my blog was actually targeted email articles, to be replaced in 2003 by my first website, www.e-mitch.com. IT was only in 2005 that my writings would be codified into an actual formal blog, although a few peers and mentors had to twist my arm. They twisted harder when I left Montréal and told me that if I wanted to succeed I had to build my brand.

The process of building my brand began then and has continued to this day.  It continues on my blog, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and at every event that I speak at.  It is the advice that I pass along to every fledgling IT Pro just starting out – build your brand, it will eventually pay huge dividends.

I want to thank the editors and readers of BizTech Magazine for once again seeing fit to honour me this way.  I hope that between The World According to Mitch and the Canadian IT Pros Connection I will continue to deserve your readership!

A Banner Day!

In 2007 I was asked to write a guest blog post for the Canadian IT Pro Connection.  Over the course of the next few years I wrote several articles for them, many of which were cross-posted to or from this site.  However it was last month when I joined the team I went on a blogging frenzy… until I realized that parts of the job were also a bit of a frenzy Winking smile  I’ll be getting back to that this afternoon though.

For now I am thrilled to see that the site banner has changed.  Both Pierre Roman and I are now officially resident bloggers for the Canadian IT Pro Connection.  As of this morning the banner reflects that.

image

As a longtime follower of this blog, remembering back to the days when Rick, Rodney, and others were resident bloggers, we know that we have some big shoes to fill (and hats!) and we will do our best to maintain the quality and relevance of the content.

As always we are interested in your feedback.  If you have a comment a specific post you can put it in the Comments section; if it is on the blog in general (or the team) then you can e-mail any of us directly – my e-mail address is b-mitchg@microsoft.com.

Oh, and for those of you who are sure to comment that they are disappointed that I am not wearing my hat in the banner picture, I’ll try to post one here later on Smile

Thank you!

Over the past few months I have been astounded to see the growth in this site’s readership.  One of my goals over the past year has been to make this site as relevant as possible to as many IT Pros as possible, and I can tell that it has worked.  The site has received a number of awards, and I have to admit that it is really cool when someone comes up to me in a foreign country to discuss an article that I wrote.

In November, 2010 I reset this site and started from scratch; I did not wipe the content, of course… I ported over as many articles from the original site as I thought were relevant.  Thanks to Cory Fowler The World According to Mitch had a new home on WordPress.com, and all of a sudden all of my comments and statistics were reset to zero.

Building my brand has been an uphill battle, and a rewarding challenge.  It is amazing to look back at February of 2011 and see that the site had 746 hits.  Eleven months later, in January of this year, it had (at the time) a record 4,720 hits.  I was thrilled by that number!  I was however surprised to see as I wrote more and more that the number kept going up, month over month.

This morning I woke up and checked the counter; I was watching it all evening last night because there was a very special milestone that would break either Friday or Saturday.  When I went to sleep last night there were 9,950 hits for the month of September, so when I checked the counter this morning and it said 117 hits I knew we had done it… our first ever month with 10,000 hits!  It is certainly a milestone worth celebrating.

Speaking of milestones, there are a few that I have hit this year, and a few more that I expect to.  For example, sometime in the next week the site will welcome its 60,000th visitor of the year (2011 had 26,487 hits).  That is really exciting for me.  Also, since the reset, the site has had (as of Saturday morning) 88,000 hits, which means that at the current pace sometime in early November we will be celebrating 100,000 hits.  Not bad for a kid from Montreal, huh?

I want to thank all of you for your support; I have enjoyed blogging, and will continue to do so.  However I want to make sure that I am staying relevant, so please feel free to ping me and let me know what topics interest you!  I don’t make any promises, but I am writing this blog for you, and so I want to continue to read it!!

Thanks again… here’s to making the next 88,000 as interesting as the last 88,000!

Where’s Mitch?

As I mentioned last week I am now spending a lot of my time as a Virtual Technical Evangelist for Microsoft Canada.  Part of my duties in that role include blogging, which is what brought you here.  However for the time being I am going to post most of my articles on the Canadian IT Pro Connection at http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/.  Most of those articles will be republished here, but there will be a delay of a day or two.  If you simply cannot wait, I urge you to head over to http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/ and read what I (and Ruth & Chris) have to say!

In the meantime I will be coming to a city near you soon… if you are around I hope to see you at one of my events!  Here’s the calendar for the next five weeks:

  • September 12: Windows Server 2012 Launch Event (Vancouver, BC)
  • September 13: Introduction to Windows 8 (Halton IT Pros, Halton Hills, ON)
  • September 19-21: Miami, Fl (training)
  • September 27: Windows Server 2012 Launch Event (Ottawa, ON)
  • October 3: Windows Server 2012 Launch Event (Montreal, QC)
  • October 9: Introduction to Windows 8 (Silicon Halton – Burlington, ON)
  • October 12-14: SMB Nation (Las Vegas, NV)

I hope to see you at one of my events while I am on the road!

ISP Control Issues

It is amazing what we as IT Professionals come across sometimes.  My colleague Sharon Bennett recently posted an article about what (to me) seems like a combination of laziness on behalf of a technician and secrecy (for secrecy’s sake) on behalf of the Internet Service Provider.

http://bennettbusinessconnections.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/does-your-isp-have-control-issues/

I want to be clear, I do not think that most Bell technicians would do what this one did, although it is clear to me that this particular one dropped the ball either because they did not know any better (poorly trained) or didn’t care (poorly motivated).  I confess it has been a lot of years since I last crimped my own RJ-45 cable, but from the pictures that Sharon provides it is easily apparent that this technician tried (and failed) to do just that.  Had he done it right, nobody would have cared.

The fact is in this day of quotas trumping customer service it is a shame that technicians will look you in the eye and say ‘Yeah, your Internet is working properly.’  Well can I connect to the Internet? ‘I don’t know… I haven’t checked.  But I assume so!’

Lesson? Whether you are a consumer or a top IT professional, never let the technician leave before he is able to show you that your connection is working.  Sharon and I might know to look for loose (or disconnected!) cables, but most people wouldn’t.

As for the cable? It just goes to show you that shoddy work is usually indicative of a job shoddily done.

A Report from the MVP Global Summit

The week before the MVP Summit I got an e-mail asking me if I would be interested in blogging about the Summit for Microsoft Press.  As I was planning on blogging anyways I agreed… and rather than posting several smaller articles here, I sent one giant article to Microsoft; it was published today at blogs.msdn.com, and can be read here.  So you know, I am going to be sending them pictures to add to the article… but they wanted it up sooner rather than later!

An Interview with BizTech Magazine

biztech_badge_300In September I was honoured to discover that BizTech Magazine had recognized The World According To Mitch on their list of 50 Must-Read IT Blogs from BizTech (Sept. 7, 2011).  Several weeks ago I was contacted by Ricky Ribeiro, BizTech’s Online Content Manager asking if I would be willing to do an interview about blogging and the IT industry.  I was delighted to do so.  On Sunday the interview was published.

Must-Read IT Blogger Q&A: Mitch Garvis

Sometimes it amazes me that I have come so far… I remember when I first started blogging, and who was responsible for it (there are two people).  I saw one of them in the cafeteria this past week, and I had drinks with the other in December.  When they told me to start (and then told me to publish at my own site rather than the MITPro site) I could not see the value… but I trusted and respected both of them, so I started.  I see the value now, and every time an up-and-coming IT Professional asks me for advice on how to get noticed, I have the same advice for them that Rick and John had for me… Build your Brand.

As hard as it may be to fathom, I remember starting out wondering who would care about what I had to say.  I also remember thinking that a few little articles would not earn me a lot of credibility.  I was probably right… but I have now been blogging for seven years, and The World According to Mitch (the third incarnation of a blog that was born in 2005) will celebrate its 300th article this week (if my Editor approves the complete rewrite she assigned me on Thursday).  We have had over 100,000 visitors, and a plethora of comments and conversations (many of which, unfortunately, were lost in the numerous moves over the years).  I am amazed every time someone refers to my articles as authoritative, and appreciate every single visitor.

Last week was the first time I ever referred to myself as a professional blogger, but I suppose I am.  I do not get paid to blog, but do get paid to do what I do in part because I blog.  I love doing it, and was not surprised by the envious cries of ‘How do *I* get a job like that?’ The answer is simple… build your brand, build up your library of articles, and most of all make sure that you absolutely love writing (It helps if you are good at it)!  I do… I always have, and thank my high school English teachers for that daily,

If I am the luckiest man in the world it is because I have an amazing family, I get to work with amazing technologies, and have an amazing job that affords me the opportunity to speak to and interact with some amazing people.  If someone were to ask me what are the qualities that make my blog successful I suppose it is the combination of my vast life experience and travels, combined with a love of life, a passion for technology, and an understanding that talking about high-level subjects does not mean you have to talk over peoples’ heads.

You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.

If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t know enough about it.

Albert Einstein

I often hear from people who stumble across my blog who say “Wow… I have no idea what you are talking about, but it sounds really interesting.”  I do not dumb my articles down, but I do try to explain high-level concepts in clear, concise terms.  I have been asked to explain concepts such as Server Virtualization to non-technical audiences before, and I do… however you also have to know who your intended audience is, and speak to their level.  My technical articles would be useless if I wrote them for non-technical people.

The truth is that most of my articles will be easy to understand by anyone, but without the prerequisite knowledge of the subject matter they would not be able to do anything with them.  Occasionally I hear from someone that ‘Wow, I read your article, and I was actually able to understand what you were talking about!” That is because I make things as complicated as they have to be… and no more so.

I will continue to write as I have, and will aspire to do better.  I will try to continue to write about topics that I find interesting and relevant… that goal seems to have served me well over the past seven years.  Thank you for reading. -Mitch

A Humbling Recognition

mustreaditblog_160x200Last week a tweet came across my Twitter feed from Amy Babinchak congratulating me on being one of the fifty must-read IT blogs.  I had to turn to Bing for the details.  It turns out that BizTech Magazine published an article titled 50 Must-Read IT Blogs from BizTech.  The honour comes complete with a badge that you can add to articles and e-mails (and I suppose business cards and letterhead and maybe even storefront signs).  It looks strikingly similar to the one attached here!

I have been blogging since before it was fashionable, and since before it was called blogging. If you were on my mailing list in the late 1990s and early 2000s then chances are you would receive my writings periodically in a mass e-mail. I assume that these helped me find my way onto numerous spam lists, and I only wished there had been an easier way for me to share my opinions with so many people.

I feel like Sally Field in 1985 (You like me… you really like me!)… I was surprised and humbled to be mentioned in the same article as some of the companies and people whose blogs made up the list.  My friend Sean Daniel definitely deserves to be there (sbs.seandaniel.com) and the Tenable Network Security people who make Nessus is a no brainer, along with people like the CTO for EMC (Scott Lowe) and Hitachi Data Systems (Hu Yoshida).  A number of VMware employees made the list (Steve Jin and Duncan Epping) which is great to see, as did several Microsoft, Cisco, Citrix, and cloud bloggers (which certainly demonstrates a trend in the industry).

The World According to Mitch is all over the map; it is because I am truly an IT generalist with a great many interests.  It is easy to say ‘Mitch must be working with System Center Essentials this year because he posted three articles on it…’ but they may be intermingled with posts about virtualization, clustering, laptops, and travel.

As I wrote in a recent article (that will actually be published next week) The World According to Mitch was named temporarily (four years ago) because I had to change the name (I was no longer the president of MITPro, so The President’s Blog didn’t work), and because the movie The World According to Garp was on TV at the moment when I was prompted to enter a name.  Some (my mother, actually) thought it was an egotistical name, but it really fits because I write about a myriad of topics about everything from my point of view.  Who knows?  I might keep it.

Thanks again to the folks at BizTech Magazine for the recognition… I hope I can continue to blog and deserve the title!

MCITP: Server Boot Camp, Virginia Beach

It was REALLY last minute… on Friday I got a mass e-mail from a training provider scrambling to replace a trainer who had cancelled at the last minute.  By some miracle of scheduling I was available; after a few hours of back and forth e-mails I booked my flight for Sunday to be at the training facility Monday morning.

All boot camps are hectic.  The pace is often ridiculous… it is frantic to rush through 15 days of classes in 10 days, but with a group of students as good as these, who have met the prerequisites and have the drive and the discipline, then it can be done.  We completed the first course (6421: Configuring and Troubleshooting a Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure) in four days instead of five, and the students all wrote the exam Thursday evening and Friday morning.  All passed (one needed to use his Second Shot Free, but that’s what it’s there for!) the first exam (70-642) and earned their first certification (MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuration) and were psyched and energized to tackle two more courses over a six day period.

IMG_0647

It cannot be easy for them.  The pace that the curriculum dictates I maintain is frenetic.  They are all drinking from the fire hose, and many have been learning concepts that they will never have the opportunity to implement or work with in their day to day jobs.  However the morning of Day One they all answered the questions I ask of every class, starting with ‘Why are you here?’ They all have their reasons, and since their employers all sent them most of them revolve around ‘I need the certifications and/or training to keep my job.’  I respect that.

During the two week class two of the seven students have celebrated birthdays.  These were marked by the class going to lunch together, happy birthday wishes, and (very small) token presents.  Neither birthday boy/girl missed class because they were out partying or celebrating too late.  Several times over the fortnight smartphones have vibrated with messages of the world coming to an end back at the office… yet nobody took time off of class because they understand the importance of learning.  When labs break they work out how to fix them, or ask for help (first of their fellow students, then of me).  When concepts are unclear the fellow students help clarify.  It is wonderful to watch.

None of them have complained about the pace, none has shied away from homework and I have not once heard a complaint about the extended work days and early morning.  As Master Lee (see my previous post about Master Lee’s Joonbi Taekwondo) taught his new student last night, our ability to succeed hinges on our willingness to work hard to achieve our goals.  As Grand Master Kim makes us recite before and after class, Everything is up to my mind, Sir!

These students know all of that, and have the work ethic, and now the certification, to prove it!

Way to go class!

An Real Honour from a True Geek Leader

Earlier in the week I received a Direct Message on Twitter from Jeff Wouters.  He is one of the IT Pro bloggers that I make a point of referencing whenever I can.  He is out of the Netherlands, and one of three IT Pros out of that country that I know and REALLY respect.

So when Jeff pinged me and asked if I would mind if he put The World According to Mitch on his Blog Roll, I was truly honoured.  Although I didn’t actually have a blog roll until then, Jeff’s honouring me prompted me to add one, and his blog (Jeff Wouters’s Blog) holds the current top spot.

Thanks Jeff!

Defective Microsoft Access? I don’t think so! Ask the Community!

Earlier today a LinkedIn contact asked me a question about Microsoft Office Access.  I don’t know a while lot about Access, but here is why I am such a huge proponent of the IT Pro Community.

The contact is someone who I met at a community event – an event I did on Windows Vista at the Association of Independent Consultants in Mississauga, Ontario.  We haven’t seen each other since, but we exchanged cards, and I remembered who she was.  She remembered me as the Microsoft MVP, a group of awardees that Microsoft bills as ‘Independent Experts, Real World Answers.’ 

Now, I honestly don’t know a lot about Microsoft Office Access.  Once upon a time I learned how to program simple databases, but that was about it… and in 2001.  However what I do know is how to reach out to the community, so I shot out a quick call to my community peeps on Twitter that I had a question about Access.  A bunch of people replied that they could help, including a member of the Krewe… a group of crazy nuts who know how to party at TechEd, but also do a LOT of great stuff… and they know their technology!

Brian Bell currently serves on the Syndication and Outreach workgroups with the Real Estate Standards Organization, The Microsoft International Consumer Advisory Board, The Krewe of Tech-Ed, and is VERY active as a leader and volunteer with The Boy Scouts of America (along with his son, Dillon).  Outside of that, Brian enjoys boating, fishing, whitewater, the beach, Cape Fear River, anything outdoors related, and most importantly, Brian enjoys spending time with his family and friends.  You can check out his entire blog at http://ageekblog.com

So Brian and I took the conversation off-line.  I sent him the question, and he asked me to give him a few hours to get me the answer.  Sure enough, a few hours later he came back with a whopping answer!  It could never have happened without community.

The question was:

There is a conflict I’m dealing with trying to resolve. It relates to the use of an Access database to facilitate furniture and equipment asset information. There are claims that the database is “defective” and I know that this term may have different meanings in the software industry. I also wondered if I could discuss the scenario with you to see if you think it is something they can legally claim is defective or if the issues they encountered were “human error” which I think it is or could queries from the database just disappear or become corrupted while the file was being transferred from a USB storage device to their private mainframe. The tables are intact.

The answer from Brian Bell is:

USB Drives have been proven problematic in the JET database world…. And it is so that Microsoft Access uses Microsoft JET…..

The proper sequence AFTER writing the DB to a USB drive is to COMPLETELY close Access after the save with the USB drive still plugged in and wait about 20-30 seconds AFTER you THINK Access is closed (or go to taskman (I use the task monitor from Microsoft Sysinternals ) and make sure it has completely closed. Once completely closed, The USB drive must be “ejected” from the USB control panel and NOT unplugged until after the “it is safe to remove your device” has appeared..

Not following those guidelines specifically can cause issues and even IF that is followed correctly, problems can still occur. (Think back to our glory days when access databases almost always corrupted themselves when writing to a floppy)

If it is a multi-user environment where multiple users are trying to access the data off of the flash drive, that will also cause issues… This is because access uses Microsoft JET. SQl is required for multi-user accessing of data in a database so it is safe to assume these issues can also occur in a virtualized environment as well. This also includes if other users are attached (not using, just even attached in some way) to the database you are trying to save it will or can corrupt. You can use the UserRoster JeT tool to verify thie user count or attachment see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/285822

Opening and / or saving the dabatase in another program other than the same version of access (including the use of 3rd party apps) can cause corruption.

So,the basics which you already know.. Access is simply a tool. It’s essentially a database management system… Nuts & Bolts, it’s a container of objects that simply contains a table or multiple tables of data.

As long as the database you are using was created within Access and not another program imported into Access, there cannot be a defect as the relational objects were created by their own parent within its own container of table or tables.

While Access is not defective, there are parts that work WITH access that can be problematic.

These can include a poorly designed database table, corrupt connectors, odbc emulators or drivers /etc. Defective software.

Common problems with Access are issues surrounding its attributes.

With an Access 2007 or 2010 database the database cannot exceed 2gb minus the system object space.

The database has a max number of just over 32000 objects. It cannot have more than 1000 modules when HASmodule = true is set.

An object name can’t have more than 64 characters, no more than 14 characters in a password, no more than 255 users concurrently using the database, no more than 20 characters in a user or group name, (See bottom of email for the complete attribute table)

Exceeding any of the capability attributes can cause problematic issues with the database.

Now from your email, it looks like the database “appears” to be ok but when the data is moved (I am assuming saved as database) to a usb drive, it then appears to be corrupt?

Things to look for when things aren’t saving correctly are the obvious.. Is BitLocker running? Does the USB drive contain any encryption or other software? (Have you tried a different brand/style/size USB drive that has been newly formatted) Are the versions the same on the read PC as they are from the PC writing the file to the database?

I would also look at UAC, Group Policy and NAP settings if on a network. If on a network I would look on both the master GP server and the client PC to make sure something isn’t replicating the GP rules in the LAN or WAN.

I have seen corruption on DBs also if pulling over VNC, RDP and/or VPN.

If pulling by using a query or call, has it been triple checked? If so, try the call and remove the full call and just pull a small portion off of the same database to see if a “smaller” query returns good data…

Doyou have logging and debug on so you can see when the failure occurs exactly what is failing or can you send me the details of the error?

The bottom line is, Access is not defective however there are hundreds of things around access that can cause issues and be problematic…

If any of the attributes in the table below are exceeded, (assuming you are running access 07 or 10 , if not and you are running 03 0r 00 or 97, then the attributes are much lower the earlier in versioning you go…)

If you copy (save) the DB to the drive are you opening FROM the drive and not copying from the drive back to the computer? Depending on read/write rates for i/o that could perhaps cause an issue..

General

Attribute

Maximum

Total size for an Access 2010 database (.accdb), including all database objects and data

2 gigabytes, minus the space needed for system objects.

Note You can work around this size limitation by linking to tables in other Access databases. You can link to tables in multiple database files, each of which can be as large as 2GB.

Tip For more information on reducing the size of your database, see Help prevent and correct database file problems by using Compact and Repair.

Total number of objects in a database

32,768

Number of modules (including forms and reports that have the HasModule property set to True)

1,000

Number of characters in an object name

64

Number of characters in a password

14

Number of characters in a user name or group name

20

Number of concurrent users

255

Table

Attribute

Maximum

Number of characters in a table name

64

Number of characters in a field name

64

Number of fields in a table

255

Number of open tables

2,048 including linked tables and the tables opened internally by Access

Table size

2 gigabyte minus the space needed for the system objects

Number of characters in a Text field

255

Number of characters in a Memo field

65,535 when entering data through the user interface;
1 gigabyte of character storage when entering data programmatically

Size of an OLE Object field

1 gigabyte

Number of indexes in a table

32 including indexes created internally to maintain table relationships, single-field and composite indexes.

Number of fields in an index or primary key

10

Number of characters in a validation message

255

Number of characters in a validation rule including punctuations and operators

2,048

Number of characters in a field or table description

255

Number of characters in a record (excluding Memo and OLE Object fields) when the UnicodeCompression property of the fields is set to Yes

4,000

Number of characters in a field property setting

255

Query

Attribute

Maximum

Number of enforced relationships

32 per table, minus the number of indexes that are on the table for fields or combinations of fields that are not involved in relationships*

Number of tables in a query

32*

Number of joins in a query

16*

Number of fields in a recordset

255

Recordset size

1 gigabyte

Sort limit

255 characters in one or more fields

Number of levels of nested queries

50*

Number of characters in a cell in the query design grid

1,024

Number of characters for a parameter in a parameter query

255

Number of AND operators in a WHERE or HAVING clause

99*

Number of characters in an SQL statement

Approximately 64,000*

*Maximum values might be lower if the query includes multivalued lookup fields.

Form and Report

Attribute

Maximum

Number of characters in a label

2,048

Number of characters in a text box

65,535

Form or report width

22,75 in. (57.79 cm)

Section height

22.75 in. (57.79 cm)

Height of all sections plus section headers (in Design view)

200 in. (508 cm)

Number of levels of nested forms or reports

7

Number of fields or expressions that you can sort or group on in a report

10

Number of headers and footers in a report

1 report header/footer;
1 page header/footer;
10 group headers/footers

Number of printed pages in a report

65,536

Number of controls and sections that you can add over the lifetime of the form or report

754

Number of characters in an SQL statement that serves as the Recordsource or Rowsource property of a form, report, or control (both .accdb and .adp)

32,750

Macro

Attribute

Maximum

Number of actions in a macro

999

Number of characters in a condition

255

Number of characters in a comment

255

Number of characters in an action argument

255

Project specifications

The following list of tables applies to Access 2010 and Access 2007 projects:

General

Attribute

Maximum

Number of objects in an Access project (.adp)

32,768

Number of modules (including forms and reports that have the HasModule property set to True)

1,000

Number of characters in an object name

64

Number of columns in a table

250 (Microsoft SQL Server 6.5)

1024 (Microsoft SQL Server 7.0, 2000 and 2005)

Form and Report

Attribute

Maximum

Number of characters in a label

2,048

Number of characters in a text box

65,535

Form or report width

22 in. (55.87 cm)

Section height

22 in. (55.87 cm)

Height of all sections plus section headers (in Design view)

200 in. (508 cm)

Number of levels of nested forms or reports

7

Number of fields or expressions that you can sort or group on in a report

10

Number of headers and footers in a report

1 report header/footer;
1 page header/footer;
10 group headers/footers

Number of printed pages in a report

65,536

Number of controls and sections you can add over the lifetime of the form or report

754

Number of characters in an SQL statement that serves as the Recordsource or Rowsource property of a form, report, or control (both .accdb and .adp)

32,750

Macro

Attribute

Maximum

Number of actions in a macro

999

Number of characters in a condition

255

Number of characters in a comment

255

Number of characters in an action argument

255

The Genesis of my Career as an IT Consultant and Trainer

I can’t believe it has been eight years… I wrote this article for TechRepublic while I was still working for IGS Security in Montreal.  These articles are the genesis of my career as a computer consultant and IT Trainer and Presenter. 

The first article tells of how and why I began to transition from a day job working as an in-house IT Professional for someone else’s company.  It follows some of my thought process and the steps I took to ensure I would not get fired before it was really time for me to move on.  Of course, when I wrote it I had no intention of moving on, it was simply the natural course of actions that took place.

Article on Balancing Consulting with a Day Job

The second article is about how I got my start as an IT Trainer… even before I was certified!  I started volunteering to teach computers a few hours every week at the YM-YWHA Computer Drop-In Centre in Montreal.  My old friend Gabriel Mekies put his heart and soul into that place, and I hope that my contributions helped!

Volunteering your IT experience pays off professionally and personally

It is weird to go back and find articles I wrote so many years ago… I was in a very different place in my life, both professionally and personally.  It is good to see though that I was on the right track, and that I have stuck with it!

Keep Your Word, Be a Hero.

Last night I forgot to go out and buy soy milk for the baby.  We had half a container left and it wasn’t a NOW NOW NOW emergency, but I still told Theresa I would, and I forgot.  So this morning without being bidden I got out of bed a few minutes early, and while Theresa was in the shower I popped out to the store.  When I came back she and I were joking around and I pointed out that I was happier correcting my own mistake without being reminded than I would have been if she had pointed out my mistake.  She replied (rightly) that I was trying to get credit for doing my job… so no dice.

She was right of course… I am not a babysitter, I am a father taking care of my son.  If I told my wife that I would buy milk yesterday, I should not expect credit for remembering to buy it today.  That is the way I am, and the way most people should be.

More on that later…

When an e-mail blast came across my smartphone this morning from a training company that I have never worked with but respect, I was surprised to see that it was for a course that started on Monday.  Normally these last-minute frantic requests are tagged with ‘I have a trainer who is deathly sick’’ or ‘My trainer’s mother died.’  This one was ‘MY TRAINER BAILED ON ME.’  I felt bad, and since the class is one that I am qualified to teach, and because the work I have planned for the next two weeks is writing work that could as easily be done from a hotel room as from my office, I replied.  When the deal was all but signed, she told me that I was a hero and should have a cape and theme music.

While I think having my own theme music would be cool, I don’t think I would be much for capes.  I am glad that I can pull her fat out of the fire, but it got me thinking about what a hero is.

Having served in a forward unit of the military I fully understand the most common usage of the word, but there are a lot of heroes out there that don’t get recognized.  A mother who raises her children is a hero to them; at work the people you rely on every day in order to get your job done may not seem like a hero… but ask the person I am dealing with whether she thinks the trainer who ditched her could have been a hero.

The old adage says that oxygen isn’t important until you aren’t getting any.  People who do the day to day jobs that allow us to do our day to day jobs may not seem like heroes, but where would we be without them?  His irresponsible actions – essentially breaching his contract – would have caused my contact to through no fault of her own be in breach of contract with her client, which might have resulted in legal actions and penalties but would certainly have resulted in severe damage to her reputation.

Am I a hero for taking this gig?  Of course not; I am a contractor who is glad to take the gig.  My contact is paying the difference between what the other guy was willing to charge and what I insist on charging, but that is surely less than what it would have cost her to not fill the trainer spot.  I hope the trainer who reneged on his contract did so for very compelling financial reasons (he told her that they just weren’t paying him enough) because I am reasonably sure that he will never work for this company again.

When I say that all you have to do to be a hero is to keep your word, I mean it… if you don’t feel that you are appreciated for what you do, see how much worse it is when you don’t do it.

Have a great week-end everyone!