Before the days you could “Google it”, the only way you could only find help with database and software problems was by attending a course or buying a book.

Today the problem is finding the right help in a sea of Google search results.

Over the new few week I’ll be revealing some good places to find some good help.

And the Beatles album at Amazon is pretty good as well.


UK Access User Group Seminar 16th May


I’m looking forward to being there this time. Subjects covered will be:

  • Integration Of Access Desktop Application With A Website that uses MySQL
  • Access Add-ins: Embedded Outlook Style Calendars/Gannt Chart Type Displays
  • SQL-proofing Your Access Application
  • Making Life Simpler For Access Developers
  • Linking Visio To Access

You can find out more details here:

MS Access – Knickers In Twist


Once a year I see a problem with MS Access that I haven’t seen before.

This year it’s a problem with a query using tables linked to SQL Server. The query had been working for years but in my final testing before putting a change live it came up with an ODBC error not recognising a field in the SQL Server table.

Not finding any obvious problem I resorted to “Compact & Repair” as I suspected Access’s internal view of the query had been compromised in some way. I still got the error.

I managed to resolve it by opening the query in MS Access in the SQL View of the Query Design View. I then selected all the text, cut it and pasted it back in and saved the query. That seemed to force an update within Access and now the query works fine.

One for the scrapbook…

UK Access User Group National Seminar May 2015


The UK Access User Group National Seminar took place on Tuesday 12th May 2015 in the impressive surroundings of Whittlebury Hall Hotel in Northamptonshire.

The day is made up of presentations and discussions from people who have been using the product for nearly 20 years.

For me, the benefit attending was to see how people use the product and being able to discuss it in the breaks between the sessions.

Highlights were the discussion on security and seeing how Excel query can grab data.

Copies of the presentation slides can be found at

UK Access User Group National Seminar

This is a great event to attend with helpful talks. I’ll post details of the sessions.


We are pleased to announce that the next Access User Group National Seminar will be held on Tuesday 12th May 2015.

To book a place simply email

Whittlebury Hall Hotel, Whittlebury, Near Towcester, Northamptonshire, NN12 8QH

We have a great line-up for the day as follows:

Power To The Pivot – Fast Data Analysis and Millions of Rows in Excel (yes, Excel)presented by Derek Goodridge
You’ve tested and delivered your Access database application and of course included the reports that you were asked for. Then you find that actually your users want to get to the data and do their own reporting or perhaps create dashboards, or joining your data to a table from another business system. Enter Power Pivot and Power Query: this presentation will show you how best to use these tools.

Access – Bringing A Paper Based Billing System Into The 21st Century
A Case Study presented by Jim Parsons, Soft Touch Solutions Limited

Managing Users In Your Access Application Using Active Directory presented by Peter Bryant, Corylus Business Systems
Active Directory is a part of Microsoft Windows that manages users and security on a network and Access can tap into this directory in order to manage the users for your application. Peter will show the principles of Active Directory in action.

User Level Security Using Access VBApresented by Tony Bayliss, Senator System Consultants Limited
Tony will describe the menu system he uses for controlling user access through VBA.

Harnessing The Power Of Access Reports For SQL Server presented by Rob Ward, Business Measurement
In this presentation, Rob will show one approach to creating Access reports using a secure SQL Server back-end that minimises compromising SQL Server Security.

Data Protection: De-risking Data in Database Development & Managementpresented by Gareth Wellbeloved, DataIQ.
Gareth will provide a quick overview of the Data Protection Act and will aim to demystify it.

Access Web Apps On The App Store – An Update, presented by Julian Kirkness, Kirkness Associates.
Julian will give an update on his experience developing and marketing his Access Web Apps through the app store following on from his session in November.

For further information about the agenda and speaker profiles see

To book a place, please email:

SEMINAR FEES: £100.00 + VAT (£120.00 inc. VAT)

PLEASE NOTE: We have a small amount of rooms available at the Whittlebury Hall Hotel for the night of Monday 11th May 2015 at a special discounted price of £100.00 (inc. VAT) to include dinner, bed and breakfast. If you would like to book a room please email:  as Margaret will also be handling these bookings.

Moving servers

Lots of fun this week following my client migrating their computers and servers to a new domain and data centre.

Picked up a problem between SQL Server 2005 and 2012 where a trigger was set up which worked as a constraint. Sorted by deleting the triggers and setting up the fields to not allow nulls.

A bit of running around sorting out Trust Centres.

Citrix was a bit of a pain as the installed version of 64 Access 2010 was slightly different from the ones installed on the desktop so we’ve had to go back to using accdb rather than accde.

Outlook 2013 has been installed on some machines which is also causing a problem.

Busy week.

Why the Apple Watch will sell

Today sees the full details of the release of a new Apple product, the Apple Watch.
It’s not clear what the demand will be but I think there is one simple word to explain why the Apple Watch will sell.

It’s called Immediacy.

I used to own a smartphone that wasn’t an iPhone. I loved it and it did things like cut and paste and had a keyboard which the then iPhone didn’t.

There was just one problem with it – I had to hunt through the menu system to get to anything. And then I bought my iPhone and discovered swipe and press. Yes it can’t be customised like other smartphones, but simplicity and ease of use beats lots of difficult to get to functionality.

While many people would disagree, the sales (despite the price) suggest otherwise.

The Apple Watch brings a new level of immediacy. It will be one small step less to pay for items or check messages or record your health metrics, but this one small step will feel like a giant leap to many.

And that’s what will make it sell.

Will I buy one? I’m very tempted but I’ll be putting my money towards an updated iPhone.

OneDrive but many steps…


I’m always on the lookout for more storage space in the cloud where I can share files between my devices.

I recently took up Microsoft’s offer on OneDrive while gave you a free 100Gb for a year for existing DropBox users. I was wondering about an alternative to GoogleDrive. I sometimes has problems connecting so if you’ll looking at a file on another device you’re not 100% sure if it’s the latest one.

As the regular pricing is similar to GoogleDrive I thought I’d try it.

Installed fine on iPhone, MacBook Pro, Windows 7 PC…

However nothing installed when run on the Windows 8.1 PC. I discovered that I had to use the preinstalled Windows app rather than the Client version. Which was fine but it wanted me to login using my Microsoft account – which wasn’t the one I’d used on the other installs.

I now have two OneDrive accounts. While it’s always useful to have the cloud space, I’ll stick with GoogleDrive as I’m not confident about where Microsoft will take OneDrive in the future.

Cloud storage


I’m often working on different devices (PC, mac, iPhone) so I’ve it helpful to have access to the same files on each device. I love the simplicity of Dropbox and have been using it for years but not so keen on the pricing and opening files on the iPhone can be a bit clunky.
GoogleDrive had been great for pricing ($2 a month for 100Gb). I can keep all my files there and they open up nicely on my iPhone. However some of my computers seem to have a problem connecting to GoogleDrive and so I’m sometimes uncertain if I’m looking at the most recent copy.

So now I’m taking up an offer from Microsoft OneDrive. They too offer $2 a month for 100GB but at the moment are doing a special offer for Dropbox users to wave the fee for the first 12 months.

I’ll report back how it goes.