Sage Drive Service Unavailable [FIX – kind of, just click Disconnect]

Sage have recently ventured into the cloud storage arena with their new Sage Drive feature for Sage 50 Accounts. This constantly updates a copy of your accounts database to Sage Drive servers so that remote workers and mobile devices can access, view and edit things and syncs changes made remotely back to your main locally stored master copy.

However, they’ve had more than their fair share of teething problems with their servers being offline/down for some time. This shouldn’t cause a huge problem because your main accounts database is actually stored locally on your local computer (or server in a multi-user network setup) but it seems like Sage didn’t allow for Sage Drive failures or program a clean failover into Sage Accounts should Sage Drive be unavailable. Inevitably, when Sage Drive goes down, your Sage 50 Accounts program will freeze and become unresponsive, if you are lucky you might be present with a warning saying:

The Sage Drive Service is currently unavailable and may be unavailable for some time.
To check again to see if Sage Drive is available, click Retry.
To stop accessing your data on Sage Drive, click Disconnect.
To discard your changes and close Sage 50 Accounts, click Close.

Sage Drive Service Unavailable

This error message is very misleading, OK so the click to Rety is quite obvious but as long as Sage Drive is down you just end up with the same error message. You probably won’t be brave enough to try the Disconnect option nor the Close button, especially if you have been entering transactions all day into Sage along with several other team members. Instead you’ll probably do the sensible thing and pick up the phone to Sage for support (you all pay for Sage Support right!?), but since Sage Drive has gone down for all users globally, you’ll be on hold for over an hour in most cases.

So for those who have staff members twiddling their thumbs because they can’t get into Sage 50 Accounts to carry on working locally, let me reassure you that clicking Disconnect is the option you want to carry on working on your local copy of your data. This isn’t clear from the error message shown but since I had a backup of my sage from 5 mins prior to the downtime I had nothing to lose so thought I’d take the risk and try the disconnect option. Effectively what happens is you disconnect from Sage Drive and continue working on your local copy of the data (assuming you are the host for your data on your local network) and then when Sage Drive comes back online you will need to reconnnect and it will push a new copy of your entire local database to Sage Drive. It will NOT just push the most recent transactions to Sage Drive since you last connected, you would think this is logically but it doesn’t work like that. As you have disconnected, when you reconnect to Sage Drive it will have to push an entirely fresh copy of your data to Sage Drive. This might not be a problem for some with small databases, but if you have a slow connection and a huge Sage backup file it may take a while.

WARNING: If you are working remotely and accessing your accounts via Sage Drive then do not click disconnect or close, wait and wait and wait clicking retry every now and again. The above suggestions to click disconnect is only useful for those working locally with their Sage 50 accounts on a local or networked computer.

Call from 0102100 – Fake Microsoft Technical Support

If by chance you did a Google Search for 0102100 and you are still on the phone to these muppets, hang up.

We have 30 sequential direct line telephone numbers and over the last few days we’ve been receiving calls from 0102100 to each DDI one by one. My employees said it was “Microsoft Technical Support” on the phone saying they had a virus or vulnerability on their computer and that they needed to install an easy patch/fix immediately. Thankfully all my staff are clever and spot a scam a long way off, some even suggested putting them through to our IT Department (me) which they didn’t like.

I was looking forward to them calling my DDI (I know, sad isn’t it!) so I could play along with their little charade and at the end tell them I’m on a Mac but I missed their call. Fortunately they were stupid enough to think that my voicemail was a real human and left a message which comes through to me as an email so I upload it to SoundCloud:

I was hoping to speak to them to see exactly what it was they tried to get you to install and post more detailed description here to help warn others or aid with malware removal. My guess is they send you to a URL which would be some crappy trying-to-look-like-microsoft-tech-support-domain and ask you to download an .exe which would then give them access to your machine to do as they please, perhaps cryptolocker, perhaps just a key or screen logger or just install an unnecessary PC Protection app for an annual fee.

Long story short. If you get a call from 0102100 it is FAKE, HANG UP!

Chrome Bug: Launching Incognito Window Loads Black Window

Just documenting a strange bug I’ve been unable to fix in Google’s Chrome browser on my Windows 7 Pro (64 bit).

If I’m in a maximised Chrome window and use the keyboard short-cut CTRL+SHIFT+N to open a new incognito (private browsing) window Chrome loads a completely black windows across both of my DELL U2414H monitors with no toolbar or address bar. The window it loads is unusable, the only thing you can do is resize it and it looks like this:

chrome bug black screen private browsing

The blank black window that loads. No toolbar, no address bar.

If you hover over the Chrome icon in the taskbar

chrome-bug-black-screen-private-browsing-2

It just shows as a new tab in the taskbar

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Sleep Wake Failure experienced a problem

Sleep Wake Failure experienced a problem

My retina Macbook Pro had an issue recently with the screen going blank and kernel panics so I left it with an Apple store for 2 weeks and they fitted a new logic board and screen. The screen was not related to the main issue, I just pointed out some bright pixel clusters and they agreed to swap it.

I’ve now had my machine back two weeks and only just copied all my data back over from backups, I didn’t want to just restore an entire TimeMachine backup in case there were any errors in the backup from the multiple crashes. I finally get all my software, preferences and files as I need them, which takes longer than you think, and now it’s faulty, again.

I first noticed the right side USB port wasn’t working at all with any device, then it did the same as last time and with kernel panics every 3 mins before finally giving me a new error, Sleep Wake Failure experienced a problem, steps 52.

Date/Time: 2014-06-25 01:21:53 +0100
OS Version: 10.9.3 (Build 13D65)
Architecture: x86_64
Report Version: 18

Event: Sleep Wake Failure
Steps: 52

Hardware model: MacBookPro10,1
Active cpus: 8
Powerstats for: kernel_task
Start time: 1970-01-01 01:00:00 +0000
End time: 1970-01-01 01:00:00 +0000
Microstackshots: 35 samples
Primary state: 35 samples Non-Frontmost App, Non-Background Priority, User mode
User Activity: 0 samples Idle, 0 samples Active, 35 samples Unknown
Power Source: 0 samples on Battery, 0 samples on AC, 35 samples Unknown

… (removed, see attached full log)

*0xffffff8000200000 – 0xffffff80007a815a mach_kernel (2422.100.13) <ADD73AE6-88B0-32FB-A8BB-4F7C8BE4092E> /mach_kernel

================================================================
UUID: 27AF3961-5943-4305-8C14-211464CC92C9
cps: 3
Code: 00000000 13006c00
Stackshot reason: Watchdog
Model: MacBookPro10,1, BootROM MBP101.00EE.B03, 4 processors, Intel Core i7, 2.7 GHz, 16 GB, SMC 2.3f35
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Built-In
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, PCIe, 1024 MB
Memory Module: BANK 0/DIMM0, 8 GB, DDR3, 1600 MHz, 0x80AD, 0x484D5434314753364D465238432D50422020
Memory Module: BANK 1/DIMM0, 8 GB, DDR3, 1600 MHz, 0x80AD, 0x484D5434314753364D465238432D50422020
AirPort: spairport_wireless_card_type_airport_extreme (0x14E4, 0xEF), Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (5.106.98.100.22)
Bluetooth: Version 4.2.4f1 13674, 3 services, 23 devices, 1 incoming serial ports
Network Service: Wi-Fi, AirPort, en0
Serial ATA Device: APPLE SSD SM768E, 751.28 GB
USB Device: Hub
USB Device: FaceTime HD Camera (Built-in)
USB Device: Hub
USB Device: Hub
USB Device: Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad
USB Device: BRCM20702 Hub
USB Device: Bluetooth USB Host Controller
Thunderbolt Bus: MacBook Pro, Apple Inc., 23.4

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Retina Macbook Pro screen going blank/black intermittently/panic

Over the last few days my retina Macbook Pro has been playing up.

It started with a kernel panic (aka Grey Screen of Death GSOD).

retina-macbook-pro-kernel-panic

After which I booted into single user mode and ran fsck -fy to check and repair any permissions, of which there were none. It seemed ok for a day or two, but recently I opened it to wake it from sleep and the screen remained black. They keypad was illuminated but screen completely black, the computer was on though, you could hear volume changes with the volume keys, you could see it on the network and remote screen share into it but the display was kaput and even restarting didn’t kick the screen into life.

There was a quick fix – an SMC reset worked (temporarily):

  • Whilst the computer is off press the left SHIFT+CTRL+OPTION and the Power button together at the same time and then release them. You should notice your charge light on the magsafe adapter briefly change colour.

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