Couldn't log into MLS 3.0.3, had to restore...

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
bcpalmer60
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Couldn't log into MLS 3.0.3, had to restore...

Postby bcpalmer60 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:22 pm

We had an interesting cascade of events yesterday. Some quick thinking saved us. Here's what happened:

1. Sometime between Thursday and Sunday, the clock on our computer was set to 1/1/2010. We're thinking somebody wanted to print out home or visiting teaching reports for the next quarter.

2. Our ward clerk logged into MLS, and didn't notice the date is 1/1/2010 (I wouldn't have either.)

3. MLS told him he had an urgent task, and needed to do a send/receive. He did a send/receive.

4. I asked for an updated Action and Interview List, and noticed that it was for 1/1/2010, and asked him to change the date on the PC, and reprint.

5. After changing the date on the PC, he found that he had to log out and back into MLS. But then we got an error message that said something to the effect that "the last time you logged in, the date was 1/1/2010. You're now trying to log in on 11/1/2009, and you can't do that. Change the date on your PC to something greater than or equal to 1/1/2010 to log in".

We're guessing that MLS thought it really was 1/1/2010, so the urgent task done during the send/receive closed out our books for 2009. (Is there some way to have Send/Receive check the date on the server before closing out a year? perhaps other checks could be done?)

We quickly got a hold of our stake technology clerk, who uninstalled MLS, reinstalled it, then restored from our backup. We lost a few days data, but nothing critical, and most importantly, we were able to do a deposit yesterday!

Was there an easier way to recover from this???
Brian C. Palmer
Arvada, Colorado, USA

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:34 pm

bcpalmer60 wrote:We're guessing that MLS thought it really was 1/1/2010, so the urgent task done during the send/receive closed out our books for 2009. (Is there some way to have Send/Receive check the date on the server before closing out a year? perhaps other checks could be done?)


This issue has nothing to do with closing out a year. You would have had the same problem setting the date to sometime next week.

The MLS help system, the Clerk and Technology Support Site, and various MLS messages have warned MLS users not to set the date into the future. It will always cause problems, because MLS remembers the date of the last backup and will not let you login if the current system date is before that date.

bcpalmer60 wrote:We quickly got a hold of our stake technology clerk, who uninstalled MLS, reinstalled it, then restored from our backup. We lost a few days data, but nothing critical, and most importantly, we were able to do a deposit yesterday!

Was there an easier way to recover from this???


Uninstalling MLS was unnecessary -- restoring the backup was all that was required. But that of course means that you would lose everything done in MLS since the last backup. This is another endorsement of the value of frequent backups. The adage "you only need to backup the data you don't want to lose" certainly applies.

The article on the Clerk and Technology Support site I linked to above contains helpful tips for recovering from this problem.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:50 pm

You may also be interested in this Wiki article to prevent a re-occurrence.

What sometimes happens is that a user will use the Windows "Date Set" routine as a handy reference calendar. Unfortunately, if they click OK instead of Cancel, they reset the computer's date. You may wish to find one of those long narrow calenders (roughly 1" x 12" ) and paste it on the edge of the monitor.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

bcpalmer60
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Using the PC calendar...

Postby bcpalmer60 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:12 pm

Ah, I'll bet that's exactly what happened! Thanks, I'll go buy a 1" x 10" calendar right away!

And thanks to the other replies!
Brian C. Palmer
Arvada, Colorado, USA

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Postby greggo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:32 am

RussellHltn wrote:You may also be interested in this Wiki article to prevent a re-occurrence.

What sometimes happens is that a user will use the Windows "Date Set" routine as a handy reference calendar. Unfortunately, if they click OK instead of Cancel, they reset the computer's date. You may wish to find one of those long narrow calenders (roughly 1" x 12" ) and paste it on the edge of the monitor.


I'm thinking it would be nice, when starting, for MLS to warn when the system clock is significantly later than the last backup (say more than 1 week). This would probably catch most occurrences of this problem.

Or better yet, for those with high-speed internet connections, maybe MLS could be made to check the correct time and warn when the system date/time is different?

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Postby Rick.Winterton » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:53 am

Or better yet, for those with high-speed internet connections, maybe MLS could be made to check the correct time and warn when the system date/time is different?
I'm not so sure you could gain anything to warn when it has been a long time since the last backup, but you can set Windows to check its time with a time server if you have a local Internet connection. That might improve things. Also, since the consequences of changing the time accidentally or otherwise, can be so painful, it would be nice if MLS could check with a central server to make sure the system time was correct.

I've seen the same scenario with clerks in my stake -- using the clock in the system tray as a convenient calendar. Buying a paper calendar won't change that. There are other programs that will sit in the tray and show you the date and time.

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Postby Mikerowaved » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:54 am

Greggo wrote:I'm thinking it would be nice, when starting, for MLS to warn when the system clock is significantly later than the last backup (say more than 1 week). This would probably catch most occurrences of this problem.

I like the idea. MLS already creates Urgent Tasks warning you about having one or more weeks go by with no financial data entered, and/or changes not received from CHQ recently, also no backups made recently, so obviously SOME checking is being done already. Why not include a significant elapsed time since MLS was last run (maybe 8 or 10 days) to the list and instead of making it an Urgent Task, make it a direct pop-up that must be dealt with then and there. So what if a clerk sees it a few times a year after maybe skipping a week for General or Stake Conference. The consequences of having the clock wrong are severe enough that I think it would justify it. Great suggestion.

Greggo wrote:Or better yet, for those with high-speed internet connections, maybe MLS could be made to check the correct time and warn when the system date/time is different?

Yes, checking the time on a broadband connection against an NTP server would be a great way to avoid unnecessary pop-ups, but I think the above solution could be coded and implemented very quickly without getting involved in that.
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russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:18 am

rwinterton wrote:I've seen the same scenario with clerks in my stake -- using the clock in the system tray as a convenient calendar. Buying a paper calendar won't change that.


No, but if you implement the suggestion in the Wiki, it will put a quick stop to that. The convenient calendar is to replace the functionality that's been taken away.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.


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