Tag Archive | "Database"

Creating an Access 2013 Database from Scratch

Many people choose to create their first database using one of the many free Access 2013 database templates. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option, as you sometimes need to create a database with business requirements that aren’t met by one of the available templates. In this article, we walk you through the process of designing your own Access database without the use of a template.

Read more: Creating an Access 2013 Database from Scratch

Source: About.com


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Sorting Database Reports

In a recent forum message, a user wrote:

“I’m sure this is a simple fix, but i can’t figure it out. I created a simple report from a query and asked it to sort/group it by category. The report works but it lists the category ID instead of the category name. I didn’t use the ID in my query so I don’t understand why it keeps picking it out. The odd part is when I rebuild the report by location instead I get the same problem, however the category is listed properly and vice versa. I’m lost, please help!! ”

Can you help? Interested in answers to the same question? Visit the About Databases Forum and join the discussion!

Source: About.com


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Public Safety Networks Report

E911 Location Failures – What’s up?

This Avaya CONNECTED Blog
is also available as an MP3 Audio File


The popular belief is:

[When you dial 911, your call ends up in a massive modern control room like environment that could be easily mistaken for NASA with all the latest bells and whistles that tells the 911 call taker exactly who you are, what you're calling about, and your precise location]

Right?

Well, that might be the way it works on TV and in the movies, but the fact of the matter is the majority of 911 centers or PSAPs in the United States (about 80% of them in fact according to NENA) are only 2 to 4 answering positions. While the large “mega-centers” do exist in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, they are certainly the smallest percentage.

Likewise there’s a mass misperception by the general public on the technology that a 911 call taker has at their fingertips. To those of my readers that are in the industry, it’s no great secret that the only “information” that is received on a 911 call is a telephone number, and the local equipment uses that phone number to query the telephone company database for the subscriber information resulting in the address. While that’s technology that is useful for residential fixed endpoints such as land lines where a telephone number equals a physical street address, that method of location discovery is completely useless for a device that is mobile by nature such as a cellular telephone.

Since cellular phones can be used anywhere in the country, when they make a 911 emergency call the number that is displayed initially at the 911 center, is a special number that is actually representative of the tower that is handling the call. This is known as “Phase I” location reporting. This number is called a pANI (pseudo Automatic Number Identification). While this provides the 911 call taker with a very general area that the call is coming from, it is initially used for determining what 911 center needs to get the call. All cellular calls, that’s right ALL OF THEM, initially arrive at the 911 center with Phase I location information.

While the call taker is working the call, about 8 to 15 seconds later, the 911 equipment makes a second query on the pANI number received, and by this time the cellular network should have been able to determine a more precise location of the caller, and returns that information along with subscriber data in what is called Phase II location information. Depending on the technology used to locate the device, the information is also assigned a reliability or accuracy score.

When the planets are all in alignment, and the 911 gods are shining down upon the network, this can produce fairly accurate location information, and in fact the FCC mandates that carriers provide this level of location accuracy on a certain percentage of calls. Now that you have the background information, here’s the earth shattering news that was published earlier this week in a letter to Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn by CalNENA president Danita L. Crombach, ENP.

The letter cites several alarming factors that came to light after a study of real-time data over a two-year period by public safety analytics company Public Safety Network. The data focused on the amount of cellular phone calls that had received Phase II data by the completion of the call.

The report focused on four areas within the state, San Francisco, San Jose, Bakersfield and Ventura County and noted that statewide, 45% of wireless 911 calls lacked Phase II data, with some areas such as Ventura County lacking that critical location information on more than 50% of the calls. Was it a particular carrier worse than the others? Not really, although some were better and some were worse the problem was consistent across all five major carriers (AT&T, Metro PCS, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon) and the report shows that even under the best scenario accuracy never surpassed 64% in December 2012.

Public Safety Networks Report

There’s quite a bit of speculation why these numbers indicate the problem is getting worse. While no specific hard analytical data was collected to define the root cause of the problem, it’s generally accepted among experts in the industry that to specific phenomena contribute to the problem. The first is the fact that cellular device saturation in the United States is estimated to be at 103%, meaning a device for every person in the country, plus a little. That first factoid directly leads to the second, where people are using their devices more and more inside of buildings and what the report calls “urban canyons”.

iStock_000002375961Small.jpgThe urban canyon actually has two negative effects on cellular location discovery. The first is the fact that GPS signals typically need to be what’s called “line of sight” and therefore do not penetrate steel and concrete rendering them ineffective indoors. The second problem affects the backup location discovery mechanism typically used known as TDOA (Time Delay on Arrival). In layman’s terms, this is the time it took for the signal to travel between the transmitter (the cell phone) and the receiver (the cell tower). Given that radio waves travel at the speed of light, the distance between the two becomes a simple mathematical calculation. Using this information from two or more cellular towers, and old-fashioned radio triangulation can be used to pinpoint a transmitter’s location with surprising accuracy. Unfortunately cellular radio waves “bounce” off of buildings and do not travel in a direct line. These signal reflections, if severe enough, can actually increase the distance traveled skewing the calculation.

Bottom line, more people are carrying cell phones, therefore more people are making 911 calls from their cell phones, and people are within buildings during the work day. Add all of that together, and you come up with a decrease in accuracy statistic. Not because the problem got worse, but because more people are using the problematic method.

Now while this specific report covers California, one would imagine that this same phenomenon exists in every major metropolitan city across the US. So while communication habits have drastically changed with the multitude of smart devices now available at our fingertips, if we’re going to continue to enjoy an accurate level of public safety communications, the Federal Communications Commission is going to need to step in, and as the report states, “issue all necessary orders” to correct this problem.

So just bring this into full circle, if you have an enterprise PBX, and you feel that your cellular phone is a suitable replacement to addressing E911 within the enterprise, based on the information in this report you may want to think that over again.


Want more Technology, News and Information from Avaya? Be sure to check out the Avaya Podcast Network landing page at http://avaya.com/APN . There you will find additional Podcasts from Industry Events such as Avaya Evolutions and INTEROP, as well as other informative series by the APN Staff.

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Template Creation

Creating an Access 2013 Database from a Template

Template Creation

Looking for an easy way to get started with Microsoft Access 2013? Using a pre-designed database template can save you some heavy lifting. In this tutorial, we walk you through the process of finding and implementing a database template that meets your needs.

Read more: Creating an Access 2013 Database from a Template

Source: About.com


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Web Databases in Microsoft Access 2013

Looking to put your database on the web? Microsoft Office 365 Access Services provides a clean, easy way to get a database-backed web application up and running in a matter of minutes. In this tutorial, we walk you through the process of establishing an account and publishing your Access database to the web.

Read more: Publishing Web Databases in Microsoft Access 2013

Source: About.com


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iStock_000002919063Small.jpg

Hey Avaya! – WTF!

This Avaya CONNECTED Blog
is also available as an MP3 Audio File


A few weeks back, my colleague Guy Clinch, mentioned in his Avaya Connected Blog that there were some folks out there, that were spreading rumors that Avaya was exiting the Public Safety Business. While this is in no way true whatsoever, the rumor has persisted, and there are still a few jilted lovers out there that are trying to capitalize on it.

iStock_000002919063Small.jpgFortunately, Avaya operates in a true open ecosystem, and we have nothing to hide in our solutions and integration. On the other hand there are plenty of “wanna be” folks out there, that are banking on cops being cops, and not IT folks. But treating the Public Safety IT professional like a unknowing teenager going to the mechanic for the first time, is a dangerous game to play. “Sounds like you got a Sperry shaft going bad there, I’d get that replaced before it effects the springer valves and forces you to replace the whole hydraulic Gleason valve! Good thing I can do that for you for about $1500 . . . .cash”

Lipstick on the Pig
There has always been a fair level of mystique around Emergency Networks, but their operation is actually quite simplistic. Generation X has grown up around the internet, and understands technology much better than the Baby Boomers. This is why RFAI never really took off for NG9-1-1. All it did was deliver yesterday’s outdated ANI/ALI over an IP interface. Not much value there, just like you haven’t seen many Rotary Dial IP Phones.

Over the years that Avaya has been involved in public safety, both on the Nortel and the Avaya side of the house, one of the main FUD points (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) that was used by the competition was that “you don’t want a commercial call center answering critical life safety communications. That stuff is great if you’re selling insurance policies online, but were talking about people’s lives here!”

That is absolutely true; at least the part that says “we’re talking about people’s lives here”. You see, Avaya has been at the heart of the contact center business for decades, since it’s inception really, and in fact has been the primary developers of many of the current Work Force Optimization enhancements being deployed today. We took “Call Centers” and made them “Contact Centers” adding in database integration, we took those and made them “Collaboration Centers” bringing in multi-media and realtime communications. We have taken the worlds largest, most critical networks, hardened them, flattened them, and delivered resilient and reliable communications well beyond the 5 9′s demanded by many. Adding in multi-media communications like video, text and speech analytics that have taken these high volume collaboration environments to the next level. So while the legacy Public Safety vendors try to figure out, for the first time ever, how to get this done, Avaya has been quietly tweaking it’s existing capabilities to improve the workflow of Public Safety critical communications.

I’ll be the first to agree that typical call center telephone calls are about account balance inquiries and package delivery expectations or frequent flyer bonus mile programs are nowhere near as critical as someone having a heart attack or reporting their home is on fire. But at the same time, Avaya solutions understand how to deal with these ‘mass call events’ that often cripple the existing 9-1-1 network because of it’s poor point to point design. Utilizing advanced analytics of the additional data and contextual information delivered with a caller, intelligent routing choices can now be made utilizing the resources available in the network. Precious seconds previously wasted making routing and resource decisions manually will become a ting of the past, and the exact reason why a hardened communications infrastructure is absolutely critical at the core of any life safety communications network.

In the communications world, we measure a systems functionality, or horsepower, iStock_000019923878XSmall.jpgwith a rating called BHCC, or Busy Hour Call Completion. This is a measurement of how many calls a system can handle, assuming unlimited trunking, from a processor horsepower perspective. During the years of the “PBX Wars”, a systems BHCC was touted like a professional wrestler shows off his championship belt prior to a match.

As systems grew in size, Avaya and Nortel, used to slug it out each and every year trying to bump that number as high as it would go. The last I checked, the BHCC rating was an amazing 400,000.

Why is this important to public safety? That’s a simple question to answer, and a statistic you wont find published by the others. You see the latest trend, in what I categorize as “boutique PSAP providers”, is to include in their solution an IP-based PBX handling the call processing. Primarily, this is done for two reasons: cost and physical footprint.

From a cost perspective anybody can download the Asterisk IP PBX or one of it’s derivatives. It’s available for free on the Internet, and it actually performs quite a few advanced telephony functions. But that is not what worries me. My concern is that, since it is open source code, hackers on the planet can also have this same software on their laptop, and in their labs, and on the top of their list of sites that they want to try to penetrate. Also, if you can even find it, the BHCC rating is measured at about 100, compared to a resilient and reliable call processing platform measured at 400,000 BHCC. That’s a huge difference

With that, I’ll turn the question right around to those in the industry slinging FUD. “Would you want open sourced software that has been around for more than a decade in the hacker community running the middle core network of your emergency communications system?” Would you want that system to drop to it’s knees with as little as 100 simultaneous calls pumped into it?

Given the recent headlines where 9-1-1 systems have been failing and off line recently, I would think that most legislators and their voters would have a slight problem with that. To compound that problem, vendors are not able to hide behind a veil of secrecy. Tomorrow’s next generation emergency communications systems will have to be connected intelligently to the public network in order to retrieve all of this multi media rich information that will be coming down the pipe.

Consolidation is nothing to be feared
Emergency communications topologies are going to radically change with the deployment of NG9-1-1 networks. One major change that will happen, that is terrifying to many network administrators, is the dreaded “consolidation” of networks. Typically that gets people running for the hills, collecting ammunition for their shotguns, digging trenches and hunkering down for a long dragged out fight.

However in public safety, consolidation can actually be a very good thing. When a disaster hits, it will typically always be larger than what you can handle. And whether you have to bring in additional personnel from home, call them in off of patrol on the streets, or utilize the services of other agencies that are close by, you have a problem with communication over disparate systems, accountability, and a network nightmare to try to manage.

Since the early 1980s, the Internet has existed, and has been open for nearly everyone to connect with everyone else. While we all started off with just a few emails per day, we quickly became immersed in our communications, and added in new modalities such as instant messaging, videoconferencing, and any other peer to peer communication session you can think of. From a networking perspective, the core companies of Avaya and Nortel pretty much built the Internet backbone. It’s a technology that is directly in our wheelhouse, and we lead the industry in thought leadership around new technologies like Shortest Path Bridging. In fact during the world’s largest temporary networking event, INTEROP Las Vegas, the INTEROP Net core was running all on Avaya gear.

More than just the back room
While INTEROP was certainly cool, and the Avaya network operated flawlessly in a real time communications environment, the 9-1-1 center of the future, it’s going to require much more diligent call handling, or what we call skills -based routing to effectively deal with traffic into the system.

Most centers don’t have this problem today as the typical emergency call center is only 2 to 4 positions. In the small environments you don’t have the large mass of call takers with specific capabilities, in a small center it’s just you and a couple of other people. “Hey Susan, grab the stolen bicycle report on line 2. I’ve got a medical dispatch I’ve got to give to Barbara, and I’ve got an active shooter call.

NG9-1-1 is much more than texting to 9-1-1 and getting that message to the dispatcher. It’s about upgrading and advancing the public safety network so that “virtual consolidations” can happen at a moments notice, based on dynamic events and needs. It’s about taking the intelligence available in the network, as well as from the origination and points, and using that big data to make intelligent call handling decisions.

One of the best examples that I can give, and one that was acknowledged by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai during the FCC super storm Sandy hearings in New Jersey and New York City, is that while calls to 9-1-1 were failing, as the system quickly became overloaded, you could pick up the very same telephone, and reach the airlines to check on the status of your flight as well as available options.

It’s a lot more than answering your call in the exact order it was received.
It’s about providing situational awareness at multiple levels.
It’s about using that situational awareness to make either automated, or manually assisted decisions when there is too much data to process manually and mentally.

It’s why we designed computers to begin with. Not to replace us, but to help us by enhancing our decision-making capabilities. That’s what next-generation 9-1-1 is REALLY about.


Want more Technology, News and Information from Avaya? Be sure to check out the Avaya Podcast Network landing page at http://avaya.com/APN . There you will find additional Podcasts from Industry Events such as Avaya Evolutions and INTEROP, as well as other informative series by the APN Staff.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading the Avaya CONNECTED Blog on E9-1-1, I value your opinions, so please feel free to comment below or if you prefer, you can email me privately.

Public comments, suggestions, corrections and loose change is all graciously accepted ;-)
Until next week. . . dial carefully.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Fletch911

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Next Generation 9-1-1 is quickly becoming more and more of a reality in the Public Safety world each and every day, and many of the industry technology partners are asking Avaya “WTF?” you know . . . “What are The Facts?”



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Building a Database

In a recent forum message, a user wrote:

“I am building my first database and am doing it with training hand and hand with lynda.com. This database will have data added on to the file on a regular basis with a periodic data dumps. I was going to use the PIDM or ID as the unique identifier, but as the same people will be dumped (as in a cohort) I am not sure if I can use those. Can I use those even though they may appear multiple times in the database?”

Can you help? Interested in answers to the same question? Visit the About Databases Forum and join the discussion!

Source: About.com


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Access 365

Microsoft Access in the Cloud

Access 365
Looking for an easy way to move your Microsoft Access database to the cloud? Microsoft’s Office 365 service provides a central location where you can store and manipulate your Microsoft Access databases. This service has multiple benefits including leveraging Microsoft’s highly available environment to protect your data and enabling multiuser access to your database in a scalable fashion. In this article, we look at the process of moving your Microsoft Access database to Office 365.

Read more: Moving to Access Services in Office 365

Source: About.com


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Working with SQL Server Agent

SQL Server Agent allows you to automate a variety of administrative tasks. In this tutorial, we walk through the process of using SQL Server Agent to create and schedule a job that automates database administration.

Read the full article: Automating SQL Server Administration with SQL Server Agent

Source: About.com


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Blog Post: How MTA Exams Keep Up with Technology Changes

Hi Born To Learn community! I’m the Product Manager for the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification. I look forward to connecting with you through this blog to share noteworthy information regarding MTA. In this first post, I’d like to tell you about how we keep MTA exams relevant in a world where technology constantly changes.

As the MTA Product Manager, I’m often asked if MTA exams validate current technology concepts even if the exams reference older versions of the technology. The answer is “Yes!”

MTA exams are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are relevant in today’s environment, regardless of the technology version that’s new in the market. All Microsoft certification exams are reviewed regularly for relevance, technical accuracy, and psychometric soundness. MTA exams are no different.

Remember–MTA exams test users on fundamental technology concepts that span multiple technology versions. Even if the Windows Server and Database exams reference 2008 versions in the questions, the concepts being tested are still relevant in newer versions (e.g., 2012). We will update the versions referenced in the exams over time as we conduct our ongoing reviews.

Sometimes we find references that are outdated or no longer relevant. In those cases, we may remove the question, remove the reference to the outdated technology in the question, or rewrite the question. For example, the MTA Gaming Development exam currently references XNA technology. With the gaming industry moving away from XNA, the MTA gaming exam is being revised to reflect more current technology.

Whether you are the person taking the exam or whether you’re an instructor, you can be confident that we’re watching MTA exams carefully to ensure they are relevant and current.

Related resources:



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