Thursday, September 1, 2011

A1 Frustration of the Day: Pink Screen of Death

Here's something I came up with to ease my frustrations. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Error message comes up requiring A-1 to close.... again.

So here is the "simple" fix...

1. Click Tools, Miscellaneous, Publish Outlook Email forms

2. Recreate your login for the PC and re-applied your desktop background, internet favorites, settings, printers,Outlook autofill, outlook inbox, and sync utility. It's almost like starting
with a new PC. The only change you'll need to make is to put your icons on
your desktop back in order and to reinstall "Click yes".

Rename user profile folder in "Documents and Settings" to "[user].old", logged in as [user] again so it recreated his profile for the PC, and it worked.

In other words.. I had to create a whole new profile in windows just to be able to have this work. I wish there were others case management options out there.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Windows 7 Installation Problems for A1Law

Over the weekend my staff and I installed several new PCs at my office. The A1 program wouldn't load correctly after running the "A1Setup.exe" program (we're using version 6.x of the application).

After paying my two techs for two full days to migrate my server (literally $2000 out of pocket -- a little extra to make this happen over the weekend, of course, not to mention another $2K for a new server rig from Dell), I was pretty frustrated at watching them bang their heads against the wall on this for two hours. I watched as they talked about "security descriptors" and "dependency checks", installed, cleared, restarted, toyed with virus protection settings, etc., for quite some time.

This is the support request we eventually sent to Mike Appell:

OS: Windows 7 Pro. Brand new installation on a new PC. Other software: MS Office 2007, Firefox, Microsoft Security Essentials, all windows update options.
Firm: (xxxxxxxxxx).


After initial setup (again, fresh, no C:\lawlocal folder yet), we run the A1Setup.exe app -- it says it's v 6.00.
1. Register controls process hangs at "Registering C:\lawlocal\Controls\vfp9r.dll"
2. After about 20 seconds, Windows reports that "Microsoft Register Server has stopped working". The error out put is below.


+ Enabling all User Account Control limitations (prompt on install, etc)
+ Disabling all virus protection (ms security essentials)

Please help. This is urgent as we have just upgraded several workstations over the weekend and we need them operational for Monday morning.

This is the error text from Windows itself:

Files that help describe the problem:
C:\Users\File Room\AppData\Local\Temp\
C:\Users\File Room\AppData\Local\Temp\WERCEE4.tmp.appcompat.txt
C:\Users\File Room\AppData\Local\Temp\WERCF14.tmp.mdmp

Read our privacy statement online:

If the online privacy statement is not available, please read our privacy statement offline:

This is the content in WERInternalMetadata.xml:
xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16" ?>
- <WERReportMetadata>
- <OSVersionInformation>
<Product>(0x30): Windows 7 ProfessionalProduct>
<Flavor>Multiprocessor FreeFlavor>
- <ParentProcessInformation>
<ParentProcessCmdLine>C:\LAWLOCAL\law.exe 1 VLSParentProcessCmdLine>
- <ProblemSignatures>
- <DynamicSignatures>
- <SystemInformation>
<SystemManufacturer>Dell Inc.SystemManufacturer>
<SystemProductName>Vostro 230SystemProductName>

This is the content in 'appcompat.txt':

16385" BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385" PRODUCT_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385" FILE_DESCRIPTION="Windows NT BASE API Client DLL" COMPANY_NAME="Microsoft Corporation" PRODUCT_NAME="Microsoft® Windows® Operating System" FILE_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385 (win7_rtm.090713-1255)" ORIGINAL_FILENAME="kernel32" INTERNAL_NAME="kernel32" LEGAL_COPYRIGHT="© Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved." VERDATEHI="0x0" VERDATELO="0x0" VERFILEOS="0x40004" VERFILETYPE="0x2" MODULE_TYPE="WIN32" PE_CHECKSUM="0xD5597" LINKER_VERSION="0x60001" UPTO_BIN_FILE_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385" UPTO_BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385" LINK_DATE="07/14/2009 01:09:01" UPTO_LINK_DATE="07/14/2009 01:09:01" EXPORT_NAME="KERNEL32.dll" VER_LANGUAGE="English (United States) [0x409]" EXE_WRAPPER="0x0" />
16385" BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385" PRODUCT_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385" FILE_DESCRIPTION="NT Layer DLL" COMPANY_NAME="Microsoft Corporation" PRODUCT_NAME="Microsoft® Windows® Operating System" FILE_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385 (win7_rtm.090713-1255)" ORIGINAL_FILENAME="ntdll.dll.mui" INTERNAL_NAME="ntdll.dll" LEGAL_COPYRIGHT="© Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved." VERDATEHI="0x0" VERDATELO="0x0" VERFILEOS="0x40004" VERFILETYPE="0x2" MODULE_TYPE="WIN32" PE_CHECKSUM="0x14033F" LINKER_VERSION="0x60001" UPTO_BIN_FILE_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385" UPTO_BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION="6.1.7600.16385" LINK_DATE="07/14/2009 01:09:47" UPTO_LINK_DATE="07/14/2009 01:09:47" EXPORT_NAME="ntdll.dll" VER_LANGUAGE="English (United States) [0x409]" EXE_WRAPPER="0x0" />

7423" PRODUCT_VERSION="" FILE_DESCRIPTION="Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0 SP2 Runtime Library" COMPANY_NAME="Microsoft Corporation" PRODUCT_NAME="Microsoft Visual FoxPro" FILE_VERSION="" ORIGINAL_FILENAME="VFP9R" INTERNAL_NAME="VFP9R" LEGAL_COPYRIGHT="Copyright© Microsoft Corporation 1988-2005. All rights reserved." VERDATEHI="0x0" VERDATELO="0x0" VERFILEOS="0x4" VERFILETYPE="0x2" MODULE_TYPE="WIN32" PE_CHECKSUM="0x4896BC" LINKER_VERSION="0x0" UPTO_BIN_FILE_VERSION="" UPTO_BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION="" LINK_DATE="02/23/2009 21:59:14" UPTO_LINK_DATE="02/23/2009 21:59:14" EXPORT_NAME="VFP9R.dll" VER_LANGUAGE="English (United States) [0x409]" EXE_WRAPPER="0x0" />

This is the reply we got back, which, to Mr. Appell's credit, did reach us later that same Sunday evening:

Click Start, Accessories and then RIGHT CLICK on command and click Run as administrator.

Next type cd\lawlocal\controls

Then type REGALL1

Click OK as it should say SUCCESS each time you click OK.

Once it is done click EXIT. Next open Computer or My Computer then RIGHT CLICK on LAWLOCAL and click SECURITY and be sure to click ALLOW where it displays FULL CONTROL. Do this for each group in the list.


There are some minor corrections my techs were able to make to these instructions -- the Windows 7 interface is different from what is described -- but this did indeed allow operations to resume Monday morning.

The "register controls" widget within A1 itself still doesn't work right, but we can get around this by running through these command line instructions every time we do an upgrade.

Hope this helps someone else out there.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A1 Tip of the Day: Leap Year Trivia

A leap year is every 4 years except every 100 years unless the 100th year is divisible by 400. For example, the year 1900 was not a leap year. The year 2000 is a leap year but 2100 is not a leap year.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ow, my head.

The instructions below are from A1’s own setup articles, explaining how to use the A1Comm program to improve speed on a large network. I’m reposting them here to give you an idea of the kind of headache can be involved in setting up and maintaining a system like this.

1. First, make sure you have the latest version of A1Law (click Help, check for web updates).
2. Have everyone exit A1Law and it's a good idea to consider reindexing by clicking Start, Programs, A1Law, Reindex. You may select the Fast Reindex option.
3. Copy the A1Comm.exe program from the a1law\extras folder into the A1Law folder.
4. You will need to run the A1Comm program 24 hours a day. It MUST be running on one computer only (preferably the file server). All computers must have TCP/IP enabled (which is a default these days). When workstations connect to the A1Comm program, you may need to allow access (to the trusted zone on your local area network) if your firewall (ie: ZoneAlarm, Norton, etc) displays a message.
5. Create a shortcut on the desktop to the A1Comm program. Run the program and click the Options button and check the box Enable A1Law for use with A1Comm. Click Save.
6. Click the Listen button. A1Comm should now be ready to accept connections.
7. Have everyone sign out of A1Law. Go into A1Law and click Tools, System, Configure System Defaults, A1Comm Settings and check the box Use the A1Comm Server. All the other defaults should be fine.
8. Sign out of A1Law and back in to test it. Send yourself or someone else an instant message. It should appear immediately with A1Comm running (rather than the slight delay without it).
9. Once you have verified it is working properly, consider changing the Target in the A1Comm shortcut on the desktop as follows: path\A1Comm.exe START MINIMIZE

The Start parameter forces A1Comm to start automatically and MINIMIZE will minimize the program. This will allow you to put A1Comm in the Startup folder so that when the server is restarted, A1Comm will run automatically. Otherwise, if A1Comm is not running, users will get errors when trying to run A1Law.
10. Any workstation can always test to be sure it's connected to A1Comm by sending itself an instant message.

If you can even decipher what’s going on in that article, the amount of work involved is staggering. So much of that process could, and should, be automated. Kicking everyone off the system twice for one setup (or perhaps they only needed to be kicked off once, and the instructions are just poorly written?)—ugh. And there’s so much more where that came from—if you want to, you can read the articles for Backup Critical Files, Envelope Tray Override, External Calendars, Group Policies, Form letters - Changing Margins in A1-Law, Mass Mailing Labels For letters To Clients, Mass Mailing - Form Letters To All Clients...etc. Most are just as convoluted.

Really, technology has come pretty far in the last twenty years. It doesn't have to be this hard.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why A1-Law Sucks: Reason #2

A1-Law runs on a server. It requires an attorney to manage technology, hire consultants, worry about backing up data, secondary power supplies, maintenance, databases, networks, routers, IP addresses, Windows Updates, Virus protection, malware patches, spyware protection, and a whole bunch of other jargon that has absolutely noting to do with the practice of law.

Complexity for no reason. Hosted services do all of this at a fraction of the cost. It's the way of the future. Google Apps for mail, calendar, and documents is FREE. Microsoft Office Live, which does the same thing, is almost free. Hosted Exchange, Hosted Case Management, and Hosted Voice Services can all be had for less money than it takes to have an expensive consultant to hang out in your office a couple of hours a month and drink your coffee.

Still think you need a server? If you can make it through this, this, and this without your eyes glazing over, go for it!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why A1-Law Sucks: Reason #1

It's based on FoxPro. FoxPro is so old, so out of date, and so crappy that Microsoft, who makes money by selling the language, has officially declared FoxPro dead.

In A1's defense, every WC Law package on the market seems to be based on FoxPro, including Abacus, Amicus, and Tritek. But two piles of poo doesn't make the world stink any less.

The one lone standout is MerusCase, which runs on the web.