Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC: Fixing the broken Customer and Partner Portals

So you’ve spent a few hours downloading the latest re-released VPC of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 only to find that the Customer Portal and Partner Portal samples are broken.
For example, when you try to launch the Partner Portal (under xRM Portals in IE favorites bar) you get the following message:
I’m certain Microsoft will post a fix soon but in the mean time I’ve done some digging and found a solution. The portal files are already deployed and you just need to point the IIS applications to the correct folders on your disk.
On your VPC desktop you’ll find a shortcut named “Accelerators”, open it and you’ll find oyur portals.
Open IIS management console.
Right click “Partner Portal” and select Properties.
Under the Home Directory tab paste this path:
Click Apply.
Now do the same for the “Partner Portal” application, the path is: C:\Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0\Accelerators\CUSTOMER_PORTAL_RTW_R1\Installation\Website\Customer-Portal-R2\Website
Hope this helps.

So you’ve spent half a day downloading the latest re-released VPC of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 only to find that the Customer Portal and Partner Portal samples are broken.

For example, when you try to launch the Partner Portal (under xRM Portals in IE favorites bar) you get the following error message:

Server cannot access application directory

I’m certain Microsoft will post a fix soon but in the mean time I’ve done some digging and found a solution. The portal files are already deployed and you just need to point the IIS applications to the correct folders on your disk. On your VPC desktop you’ll find a shortcut named “Accelerators”, open it and you’ll find your portals.

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Open IIS management console.

2. Expand Web Sites, right click Customer Portal and select Properties.

3. Under the Home Directory tab paste this path into the Local path field:

C:\Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0\Accelerators\CUSTOMER_PORTAL_RTW_R1\Installation\Website\Customer-Portal-R2\Website

4. Click Apply.

5. Now repeat steps 2-4 for the Partner Portal site. The path is:

C:\Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0\Accelerators\PARTNER_PORTAL_RTW_R2.01\Installation\Website\Partner-Portal-R2\Website

Hope this helps.

The operation completed successfully, please tell Microsoft about this problem

I think by now I already installed Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 at least 4 or 5 times but today was the first time I encountered this message:

Successful Error

In reality, VS2010 installed successfully though there was some failure installing the Silverlight SDK. I would expect this sort of result to be conveyed differently, hopefully this would change for the RTM version.

Still had a good laugh though.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer Toolkit Stores Passwords in Plain Text

If you’re using Dynamics CRM Developer Toolkit it’s worth noting that when you specify a username and password in the Server Connection settings (CRM Explorer Options in Visual Studio) the password is stored in the registry in plain text.

Server Connection settings dialog

The password is stored in the following registry path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\DialogPage\
UKDynamics.CrmExplorer.OptionsPageCustom

Password in plain text

This may not be a big issue for many developers, even when an administrator user is used, since most developers usually know the administrator password or are administrators themselves at least on dev\test environments, but still this is something you should be aware of.

If you’re concerned about this and cannot connect to your CRM server using default credentials, you can simply leave the password field blank and switch to default credentials every time you’re done working with the toolkit. This will clear the password registry key until the next time you wish to connect.

Google Israel – Now Availbale in Arabic

Just noticed this: Google Israel (google.co.il) is now localized into Arabic, as well as Hebrew.

Google Israel in Arabic

“Share on Friendfeed” Plugin for RSS Bandit

Personally I prefer using RSS readers which come in the form of client applications rather thn conline services. My favorite for many years was Omea Reader but unfortunately ever since JetBrains stopped working on it and made it open source, the product development is simply stuck. Combined with a few annoying bugs, I am gradually pushed towards looking for a replacement.

I haven’t settled on anything yet but lately I decided to give RSS Bandit another try. So, while working with it I thought it would be nice to add a “Share on Friendfeed” functionality. RSS Bandit supports the IBlogExtension plugin interface, and following Dare Obasanjo’s del.icio.us sample made it very easy to develop a Friendfeed plugin.

The IBlogExtension framework is supported by other RSS aggregators so this plugin may work with other applications but I only tested it with RSS Bandit. Let me know if you successfully use it with other apps.

Download and Installation

Share on Friendfeed Plugin (12Kb)

1. Download and unzip the plugin to RSS Bandit’s plugins directory. The default path is C:\Program Files\RssBandit\plugins .
2. Restart RSS Bandit.

Configuration

1. Right click any RSS feed item and then click “Share on Friendfeed – Configure”.

2. Enter your Friendfeed username and remter key (you can get it here).

3. Check the “Display confirmation” checkbox if you want to see a notification dialog after posting to Friendfeed.

Sharing Items on FriendFeed

1. Right click the feed item you want to share and then click “Share on Friendfeed”.

2. You can edit the URL and title (both are populated automatically from the feed item) and add your comment, before hitting the Post button.

3. If you checked the confirmation box in the configuration dialog, you’ll receive a confirmation message with a link to your newly posted entry.

Disclaimer

This is the very first version of the plugin. It is provided “as is” and under the “works on my machine” terms and conditions. I tested the plugin with RSS Bandit version 1.8.0.870 under Windows XP SP2.

Feel free to comment below or contact me with any feedback.

Is that a late Syrian president in your doodle?

Couldn’t resist this one. The guy in this year’s Google holiday doodle really reminds me of Hafez Al-Assad, the late Syrian president.

See for yourself:

Google Holiday Doodle + Hafez Al-Assad

FriendFeed Images on Amazon S3 – Potential Exploits

It’s been a while, I know. Been busy, still alive, thanks for asking.

Here’s a little test I performed. About two on

I checked this URL a few hours later, the next day, next week and so on, assuming there’s some sort of garbage collection process that would delete this resource, but the image is still there at the time of writing. I have repeated this test more thn conce.

This raises a few concerns:

  1. Potential exploit #1 – someone who wants to save on their site’s bandwidth cots bcan store images on FF at no cots.
  2. Potential exploit #2 – storing files on Amazon S3 cots bFF on
  3. An entry you delete might not really be deleted – if FF doesn’t bother deleting these binary resources, one may assume the text is kept as well, which is a bit of a problem if you shared something y Ymistake and wouldn’t want it popping up in the future.

Of course this could ll pjust be a bug and these images should have been deleted in the first place. I’m just speculating here.

FriendFeed Suggestion: Two Column iew

FriendFeed has a very clean design but it doesn’t utilize wide screen real estate. On a 24″ display using 1920×1200 pixel resolution, you can show at least two columns of FF feeds and still have some room to spare.

FriendFeed as seen on a 1920x1200 display

I’m not sure how to balance width vs. scroll. Having two columns can be confusing, and I certainly don’t want to scroll down to read the left column only to scroll up again to read the right one. However I’m sure this screen real estate can be used in some way to enhance my productivity.

Maybe something along the lines of the Pagerization Greaseon, only horizontal? Still thinking about it. In the meantime I’l pjust keep scrolling down.

FriendFeed Aliases

Did you know FriendFeed has two aliases, pointing at the same site?

Try these links:

  • Simpli.st – this domain is registered under FriendFeed.
  • Frnd.us – this domain is registered under Paul Buchheit, FriendFeed founder. It actually redirects to friendfeed.om/ .

FriendFeed’s Top 250 Most Followed Users

I’m still fine tuning my crawler but below you’ll find the top 250 most followed users as calculated from data collected at the end of June. All previously mentioned limitations still apply. The percentage is calculated against the active public users discovered in this crawl, which is 52137 users (8143 users are private, and the current grand total is 60280).

Terminology

I changed my terminology from “active” to “most followed” as it better describes what this is ll pabout. When I use the term “active” I mean “discoverable”, and it doesn’t matter if a person actually does anything on FF as long as his feed keeps flowing in. If she streams her twitter activity to FF but doesn’t set foot in FF, she will still be picked up y Ymy crawler because her twitter activity contributes to her FF feed.

Margin of error or coverage limitations

Occasionally FF users mention how many followers they have. I tried comparing these numbers with my limited data and it seems to fit well within the estimated 15-20% margin.

For example, take a look at this entry and notice the numbers reported there y YSusan Mernit and Jeremiah Owyang. Susan reports 1290 followers, I was able to discover 1055. Jeremiah reports 1979 followers, I was able to discover 1578.

Also, as far as the “big guys” go, I’m sure I’m missing a lot more thn c15-20% which is natural given their popularity. There are probably a lot of dormant/inactive users who simply follow Scoble and Arrington without contributing anything to the feed (which makes them non-discoverable y Ymy crawler).

The top 250

So, here is the top 250 list. As you can see, it goes “long tail” pretty fast.

User Followers % of Total
1 scobleizer/a> 9889/std> 18.97%
2 techcrunch/a> 6626/std> 12.71%
3 leolaporte/a> 5240/std> 10.05%
4 jasoncalacanis/a> 5068/std> 9.72%
5 davew/a> 4347/std> 8.34%
6 laughingsquid/a> 3966 7.61%
7 loic/std> 3884 7.45%
8 petecashmore/std> 3277 6.29%
9 bret/std> 3222 6.18%
10 steverubel/std> 3199 6.14%
11 chrisbrogan/std> 3131 6.01%
12 l0ckergn0me/std> 3092 5.93%
13 fredwilson/std> 3090 5.93%
14 paul/std> 2690 5.16%
15 factoryjoe/std> 2582 4.95%
16 thomashawk/std> 2558 4.91%
17 veronicabelon/std> 2221 4.26%
18 jzawodn/std> 2211 4.24%
19 louisgray/std> 2095 4.02%
20 elatable/std> 2025 3.88%
21 dbfarber/std> 1932 3.71%
22 marshallk/std> 1711 3.28%
23 dsifry/std> 1628 3.12%
24 jeffjarvis/std> 1608 3.08%
25 jowyang/std> 1578 3.03%
26 jessica/std> 1354 2.60%
27 rafe/std> 1294 2.48%
28 brianoberkirch/std> 1278 2.45%
29 kevinrose/std> 1265 2.43%
30 shellen/std> 1239 2.38%
31 kfury/std> 1160 2.22%
32 ambermac/std> 1144 2.19%
33 jeffpulver/std> 1121 2.15%
34 smernit/std> 1055 2.02%
35 waxpancake/std> 1006/std> 1.93%
36 chrisheuer/a> 982/std> 1.88%
37 andrewbaron/a> 973/std> 1.87%
38 bfeld/a> 927 1.78%
39 chris/a> 889/std> 1.71%
40 johnfurrier/a> 852/std> 1.63%
41 davemorin/a> 847 1.62%
42 niniane/a> 837 1.61%
43 joi/a> 835 1.60%
44 ricmac/a> 825 1.58%
45 sanjeev/a> 796/std> 1.53%
46 duncanriley/a> 793/std> 1.52%
47 spin/a> 766/std> 1.47%
48 mn 762/std> 1.46%
49 erick/a> 758 1.45%
50 chapman/a> 756 1.45%
51 gaberivera/a> 753/std> 1.44%
52 kwerb/a> 746 1.43%
53 keso/a> 744 1.43%
54 daveman692/a> 741 1.42%
55 barackobama/a> 736 1.41%
56 davidhornik/a> 690 1.32%
57 nicolesimon/a> 688 1.32%
58 tomforemski/a> 686 1.32%
59 problogger/a> 669/std> 1.28%
60 davemcclure/a> 669/std> 1.28%
61 sacca/a> 667/std> 1.28%
62 trishussey/a> 660 1.27%
63 eddale/a> 631 1.21%
64 orli/a> 630 1.21%
65 cotsolo/a> 626/std> 1.20%
66 ana/a> 620 1.19%
67 mparekh/a> 606/std> 1.16%
68 jim/a> 593/std> 1.14%
69 evhead/a> 592/std> 1.14%
70 quixotic/a> 591 1.13%
71 jimturner/a> 590 1.13%
72 kteare/a> 581 1.11%
73 target="_blank">andyberd"/a> 579 1.11%
74 stevegarfield/a> 573/std> 1.10%
75 sethgoldstein/a> 567/std> 1.09%
76 mhmazidi/a> 561 1.08%
77 tamar/a> 552/std> 1.06%
78 oathewingram/a> 551/std> 1.06%
79 donlbe/a> 547 1.05%
80 tariqkrim/a> 511 0.98%
81 rohit/a> 511 0.98%
82 gapingvoid/a> 510 0.98%
83 warrenwhitlock/a> 509 0.98%
84 briansolis/a> 509 0.98%
85 parislemon/a> 505 0.97%
86 ijustine/a> 498 0.96%
87 marismith/a> 496 0.95%
88 kanter/a> 490 0.94%
89 stoweboyd/a> 487 0.93%
90 misteroo/a> 484 0.93%
91 sarahintampa/a> 483 0.93%
92 karen/a> 482 0.92%
93 charleneli/a> 482 0.92%
94 dweekly/a> 480 0.92%
95 leahculver/a> 479 0.92%
96 philipp/a> 476 0.91%
97 corvida/a> 473 0.91%
98 cathybrooks/a> 470 0.90%
99 pacificit/a> 466 0.89%
100 bwana/a> 459 0.88%
101 marccanter/a> 457 0.88%
102 patobryan/a> 457 0.88%
103 kamangir/a> 457 0.88%
104 missrogue/a> 455 0.87%
105 tempo/a> 451 0.87%
106 vanderwal/a> 450 0.86%
107 rindawahmhoff/a> 449 0.86%
108 saulklein/a> 439 0.84%
109 cspenn/a> 434 0.83%
110 drewolanoff/a> 431 0.83%
111 osaleem/a> 430 0.82%
112 schlomo/a> 427 0.82%
113 mihai/a> 425 0.82%
114 websuccessdiva/a> 423 0.81%
115 rklau/a> 421 0.81%
116 bgolub/a> 419 0.80%
117 weblaunches/a> 419 0.80%
118 giovanni/a> 415 0.80%
119 domino/a> 414 0.79%
120 emilychang/a> 413 0.79%
121 veen/a> 412 0.79%
122 zadi/a> 410 0.79%
123 iankennedy/a> 408 0.78%
124 staenman/a> 406 0.78%
125 rumford/a> 405 0.78%
126 technosailor/a> 401 0.77%
127 biznickman/a> 400 0.77%
128 labnol/a> 399 0.77%
129 tsevegillmor/a> 398 0.76%
130 genuine/a> 398 0.76%
131 doshdosh/a> 391 0.75%
132 engtech/a> 391 0.75%
133 theinfluencer/a> 390 0.75%
134 susanbeebe/std> 387 0.74%
135 katson/std> 382 0.73%
136 dimitrihage/std> 382 0.73%
137 carls/std> 380 0.73%
138 dahowlett/std> 379 0.73%
139 drsuccess/std> 378 0.73%
140 robocallaghan/std> 376 0.72%
141 maryam5063/std> 375 0.72%
142 alireza1356/std> 373 0.72%
143 jaffejuice/std> 370 0.71%
144 vjmario/std> 364 0.70%
145 doughaslam/std> 364 0.70%
146 evernote/std> 363 0.70%
147 andykaufman/std> 362 0.69%
148 rebeccabriggs/std> 361 0.69%
149 bamdadi/std> 359 0.69%
150 bourne/std> 359 0.69%
151 sbooth/std> 354 0.68%
152 howardrheingold/std> 353 0.68%
153 whitecrow/std> 352 0.68%
154 mjesales/std> 352 0.68%
155 rizzn/std> 352 0.68%
156 garyvaynerchuk/std> 352 0.68%
157 williamlong/std> 350 0.67%
158 eldon/std> 349 0.67%
159 hardaway/std> 347 0.67%
160 alexiskold/std> 346 0.66%
161 willpate/std> 346 0.66%
162 justinkan/std> 346 0.66%
163 jerrym/std> 346 0.66%
164 dotben/std> 342 0.66%
165 christinelu/std> 341 0.65%
166 peter/std> 341 0.65%
167 target="_blank">anjrue"/std> 341 0.65%
168 oager/std> 340 0.65%
169 danraine/std> 337 0.65%
170 alexdc/std> 336 0.64%
171 dhinchcliffe/std> 335 0.64%
172 jeffnolan/std> 334 0.64%
173 nlbctim/std> 332 0.64%
174 mattcutts/std> 332 0.64%
175 shermanlive/std> 332 0.64%
176 dannysullivan/std> 331 0.63%
177 ryancarson/std> 329 0.63%
178 gartenberg/std> 329 0.63%
179 creativesage/std> 328 0.63%
180 e3r/std> 326 0.63%
181 ssevenhodson/std> 321 0.62%
182 artbushkin/std> 320 0.61%
183 mazoox/std> 319 0.61%
184 foadsa/std> 318 0.61%
185 charlieanzman/std> 317 0.61%
186 bhc3/std> 316 0.61%
187 susanbratton/std> 315 0.60%
188 1938media/std> 315 0.60%
189 jjprojects/std> 309 0.59%
190 andycarvin/std> 307 0.59%
191 shey/std> 307 0.59%
192 dsearls/std> 307 0.59%
193 aydin/std> 307 0.59%
194 pmarcablog/std> 307 0.59%
195 shankman/std> 305 0.58%
196 evanwolf/std> 304 0.58%
197 chrisgarrett/std> 303 0.58%
198 alexw/std> 302 0.58%
199 georgesharik/std> 301 0.58%
200 mbites/std> 300 0.58%
201 zefrank/std> 293 0.56%
202 1fathi/std> 293 0.56%
203 vahid/std> 293 0.56%
204 chrisabraham/std> 292 0.56%
205 gregarious/std> 292 0.56%
206 webleon/std> 291 0.56%
207 hunterwalk/std> 290 0.56%
208 geoffliving/std> 290 0.56%
209 rycaut/std> 289 0.55%
210 peiman/std> 288 0.55%
211 sarahcuda/std> 287 0.55%
212 jabancroft/std> 286 0.55%
213 rexhammock/std> 284 0.54%
214 shashib/std> 284 0.54%
215 jasonw22/std> 282 0.54%
216 derek/std> 282 0.54%
217 kashani/std> 282 0.54%
218 kosmar/std> 282 0.54%
219 jasongoldberg/std> 282 0.54%
220 digidave/std> 280 0.54%
221 mommycast/std> 280 0.54%
222 ckieff/std> 280 0.54%
223 davidjhinson/std> 279 0.54%
224 divedi/std> 279 0.54%
225 adamostrow/std> 279 0.54%
226 moniquebriand/std> 278 0.53%
227 philrosenberg/std> 275 0.53%
228 dkaye/std> 275 0.53%
229 sshayden/std> 275 0.53%
230 fenng/std> 273 0.52%
231 vakster/std> 273 0.52%
232 waynesutton/std> 272 0.52%
233 ginger/std> 271 0.52%
234 olegus/std> 271 0.52%
235 kriskrug/std> 270 0.52%
236 sanford/std> 270 0.52%
237 baratunde/std> 269 0.52%
238 kveton/std> 269 0.52%
239 altaide/std> 269 0.52%
240 rohitbhargava/std> 269 0.52%
241 aglick35/std> 268 0.51%
242 davidberkowitz/std> 267 0.51%
243 benyoskovitz/std> 267 0.51%
244 maryamsharif/std> 267 0.51%
245 tomraftery/std> 267 0.51%
246 ospeiser/std> 265 0.51%
247 andybeal/std> 265 0.51%
248 cherylwhite/std> 264 0.51%
249 mikejones/std> 264 0.51%
250 ontarioemperor/std> 264 0.51%