Category Archives: General

Running Microsoft Money Perfectly on Mac OS X

I’ve been a user of Microsoft Money since 1995, so I was always a little bit sad when Microsoft sunset support for the application in 2011. I’ve always found Money better than many other alternatives I’ve tried — including the ever-popular Quicken. I just found its workflow works better for me. Of course, having almost two decades worth of data recorded in Money made it very sticky for me, too. 🙂

Fortunately, Microsoft released a free version of Microsoft Money Plus that continues to work in all modern versions of Windows. (There actually has been one patch released, but I encourage you to read Raymond Chen’s version of the patch, because it scores some serious cool geek points.)

Then about three years ago I switched to a Mac, and found myself struggling to keep using Microsoft Money as the only Windows program I couldn’t easily replace with an OS X equivalent. I tried to get it working with Wine and Crossover, but there were too many graphical and stability issues. Finally, I ended up using VMWare and Windows on a Bootcamp partition. Much more heavy weight then I really wanted to, but at least I was able to keep using my favorite financial record keeping program.

Now, fast forward to 2014, and I found myself again trying to improve how I use Microsoft Money within OS X. This time, I’m on OS X Yosemite and wanted to try using Wineskin: a relatively new project that lets you easily package Windows applications with Wine libraries and make it look like any other application on your Mac.

And it is perfect. Stunningly, absolutely perfect. No graphical issues. Reports look great. Printing reports works on my OS X default printer. Even the startup splash screen music and sound effects worked!

Microsoft Money running seamlessly on the Mac. It makes me so happy.

So, for the record, here are the steps and settings I used.

  1. Download Wineskin. Download Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe.

  2. Run Wineskin Winery. Install a Wine Engine — I used WS9Wine1.7.30 — and click “Create New Blank Wrapper”.

  3. Name the application “Microsoft Money” and click OK.

  4. Now run your “Microsoft Money” application to launch the Wineskin settings dialog.

  5. Click “Install Software”, and point to the Microsoft Money installer. This will install the software into your Wineskin app. When prompted for the Windows executable, point to “/Program Files/Microsoft Money Plus/MNYCoreFiles/msmoney.exe”

  6. Click “Set Screen Options”, and turn OFF “Decorate Windows”.

  7. Click on “Advanced Options”, then Tools > Winetricks. Within Winetricks, you’ll need to install the following two components into your Wineskin: msxml3 (MS XML Core Services 3.0) and ie6 (good old Internet Explorer 6). The UI for this is a bit confusing, so follow along here:

  • Enter “msxml3″ into the “Search for packages” edit box.
  • Expand the “dlls” control, so you see the actual package names.
  • Click on the checkbox labeled “MS XML Core Services 3.0″
  • Click the “Run” button on the right-middle of the dialog.
  • If you are instructed to download the msxml file, then you’ll also be told tomove it to the “/Users/Account/.cache/winetricks/msxml3” folder. To get there, from Finder, select Go > Go to Folder, and enter “~/.cache”. Create a folder called “winetricks” if it does not exist; if it does, enter it. Create a folder called “msxml3” if it does not exist; if it does, enter. Copy what you just downloaded to this folder.

Now follow similar steps with IE6. Note that you may need to download IE6 from http://download.oldapps.com/Internet_Explorer/ie60.exe instead of the specified location, and rename the exe file to msie60.exe before you move to wine tricks\ie6 folder. Thanks to Harry for this workaround!

  1. Click on “Test Run” and watch the magic happen! Verify that Microsoft Money appears in all its glory. If there is something wrong, the log files may help.

  2. For completeness, I like to change the icon from the Wineskin icon to an appropriate Microsoft Money icon. Now it’ll appear in the Dock and other places correctly.

Updates 2015-04-28

Wow, I had no idea how popular this post would be! There are a lot of troubleshooting tips in the Comments, but here are some highlights.

If you need to create a new Money file, then there is a bug in Wine that will force you to sign up for a Passport account, which will then fail. Instead, simply download a blank Money file which I have created here, and then open that in Money. Download this file, rename it whatever you’d like, and open it from Money. Once opened, you should be able to add new accounts, set a password if desired, etc.

Make sure you install IE6 using winetricks, instead of any later version of IE.

If you need to debug startup failures, the following:

  1. Navigate to ~/Applications/Wineskin
  2. Right click on your Microsoft Money application, and select “Show Package Contents”.
  3. Double-click on the Wineskin application icon.
  4. Click on “Advanced”
  5. Click on “Test Run”.

I have not yet been able to get Portfolio Manager to work. As far as I can tell, this is a bug in Wine and the way it interacts with the HTML rendering engine, so we’ll have to keep trying new Engines until this is resolved.

Updates 2015-04-28

Step 7 was tricky for some folks because of how confusing the UI is, so I’ve added some more details here.

Updates 2015-09-04

Added an alternative location for the IE6 download. Thanks to Harry for finding it!

My life as airport codes

So, I’ve been very busy lately!

Back in January (has it really been that long?) I formally accepted a role as the Chief Technology Officer of a really cool startup, FileTrek. I got the opportunity to do real-time, big data analytics, in a very exciting field: behavioral analytics as applied to the enterprise security space. I’m working with some great people, and inventing some great things. Check us out!

As part of getting our story heard, I ended up spending a lot of the past six months travelling. Here is, as best as I can reconstruct from my calendar, my life since January as defined by airport codes:

January: YYZ-YOW-YYZ, YYZ-YOW-YYZ, YYZ-YOW-YYZ
February: YYZ-YOW-YYZ, YYZ-MSP-SAN-JFK-SFO-DTW-YYZ
March: YYZ-BOS-JFK-LGA-YYZ-BOS-YYZ, YYZ-YOW-YYZ, YYZ-CLT-SFO-PHL-YYZ-YOW-YYZ
April: YYZ-YOW-YYZ
May: YYZ-YOW-YYZ, YYZ-LGA-CLT-IAH-ORD-YYZ, YYZ-ORD-SAN-ORD-CVG-IAD-YYZ
June: YYZ-YOW-PHL-DCA-CMH-DCA-YYZ, YYZ-MIA-IAH-MIA-YYZ

To be clear, this sort of travel schedule is nothing compared to my friends in Field and Sales, but for a technology guy like me, this was something else!

Another Book!

I’m incredibly proud to have contributed to another book! This time it’s a collection of research articles of importance to future directions in Business Intelligence, directly from some amazing university researchers. The book covers a broad range of research topics, from BI modelling, to information extraction, to information visualization.

Perspectives on BI (2013) Cover Small

Perspectives on Business Intelligence. Raymond T. Ng, Patricia C. Arocena, Denilson Barbosa, Giuseppe Carenini, Luiz Gomes Jr., Stephan Jou, Rock Anthony Leung, Evangelos Milios, Renee J. Miller, John Mylopoulos, Rachel A. Pottinger, Frank Tompa and Eric Yu. Morgan and Claypool Publishers, 2013

The book resulted from my amazing five years involved with the NSERC Business Intelligence Network, and I’m humbled to be on the cover and even be mentioned with these outstanding Canadian researchers. They are all world-class folks.

Online lecture series from IBM on analytics

One of the things that kept me very busy while at IBM was education. Everyone knew that analytics was important, but surprisingly few people knew exactly what analytics was. (My boss and CTO of IBM Business Analytics, the wonderful Brenda Dietrich, had a great line: Do you remember when “analytics” was just called “math”?) There was a lack of understanding around the basics and foundation of analytics, and yet that knowledge was critical for (say) development teams to understand what was possible and how to truly incorporate analytics into their software.

As a result, my colleague and friend Jean-Francois Puget and I set out to create a series of recorded lectures on the many areas of analytics, from basic descriptive statistics, to predictive models, to optimization, to machine learning, to parallel computation to image and video analytics. We did not want lectures on products or solutions: we wanted people to learn about the science of analytics. At the same time, we did not want things to get too deeply technical or mathematical: our audience, while technical, were developers who really just needed a high level understanding and could then follow up from there.

Internally, our lecture series broke all kinds of attendance records, becoming one of the most well-attended talks ever within IBM. Clearly there was a need for this information assembled together in one place!

I am thrilled that we are now able to make this video lecture series available, at no charge, to anyone who wants it. I’m biased, of course, but I think the content is awesome.

You can read more about the lecture series on Jean-Francois’s blog and on AnalyticsZone. Kudos to the people back at IBM who are continuing to drive this effort while I am on sabbatical — you know who you are. 🙂

Rebooting

It’s good to reboot every once in a while.

It turns out that’s good advice for humans, too. I’m now on a sabbatical from IBM, taking a much needed break from the exciting but exhausting things I’ve been doing.

Instead, I’m going to spend more time with my family, and in addition, step back and take time to explore and discover the technology that got me started in my career. I’ll try and do a reasonable job of documenting my experiences here in my poor, underused blog. As you can see, I’ve already started doing some changes.

Ready? Here goes.

] PR#6

(Let’s see how many people recognize the reference.)

 

A simple batch file to automate remote CrashPlan management

I wrote a quick batch file for Windows that will let me temporarily redirect the CrashPlan Desktop client to point to my Synology DS411j NAS, a Linux-based server running CrashPlan in headless mode. The basic idea was that normally when I run the CrashPlan Desktop UI on my Windows notebook, I am managing the backup for the local notebook. However, when I run the batch file, I point the CrashPlan Desktop UI to the NAS and I am managing the backup for the Linux server.

I’m essentially posting this for my own records, but maybe it’ll be useful to others.

Prerequisite steps:

  1. Install the CrashPlan client on the Windows notebook. Install CrashPlan in headless mode on the Synology NAS. (The batch file should work for any Linux server, though.)
  2. Install putty and plink on the Windows notebook. In my case, I put them in C:\bin.
  3. Make two copies of C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\conf\ui.properties – one that corresponds to your desktop (called ui.properties-local) and a second that corresponds to your server (called ui.properties-remote). In the case of ui.properties-remote, just add the following line as instructed by CrashPlan:
    serviceHost=192.168.1.1 (or wherever your NAS is)
    servicePort=4243
  4. Create the following file somewhere and use a shortcut it to to launch CrashPlan but pointing to your remote server, to manage it’s backup. Use the regular CrashPlan shortcut when you want to manage the local backup. Customize IP addresses and passwords as required for your configuration.

@echo off

rem Start SSH tunnel
echo Starting SSH tunnel…
start c:\bin\plink -L 4200:localhost:4243 root@192.168.215.10 -pw YOUR_PASSWORD_HERE -N

rem Open the UI
echo Starting UI…
pushd
c:
cd \Program Files\CrashPlan\
copy /y conf\ui.properties-remote conf\ui.properties
CrashPlanDesktop.exe
copy /y conf\ui.properties-local conf\ui.properties

rem Close the SSH tunnel
taskkill /im plink.exe
popd

My Book is on Amazon

So, my MC Press book on cloud computing is now available on Amazon!  I haven’t talked about the book much on the blog, since it was something I did for work, but it was a lot of fun to write something that ended up being published. What was interesting to me were the major emotional milestones that I hit in the process.

Completing the First Draft

No question about it, getting the first complete draft done with me and my fellow co-authors was a huge rush. Seeing all that text come together and reach the triple digit page numbers somehow made it go from any other writing assignment to something that clearly deserved the word “book”.

Seeing the Cover Design

This was huge.  There was something about viewing a giant jpeg of the cover design, with your name on the front, and an ISBN and bar code on the back, that made it suddenly seem like a real book now.  Even seeing the full PDF or the actual physical book itself somehow didn’t affect me as much as seeing the candidate cover!

Holding the Book

Yup. Holding the book was great.  Feeling that paper in your hands.  Except, for some reason, it seemed smaller and thinner than I had imagined it!  Perhaps a hundred pages isn’t that big after all!  🙂

Being listed on Amazon.com

And, last but not least, It’s amazing how real the whole thing suddenly becomes once it is listed on Amazon. I guess we truly do live in the age of digital.

Posting from my Phone

Here I am, posting from my phone. Because I can. Okay, I am actually posting from my iPod Touch, but that is close enough to the iPhone in this case, and for some reason the title just works better with “phone” instead of “iPod Touch”. Or “PDA”, if that is still a valid term.

I spent a couple of hours today working on the site infrastructure, upgrading the WordPress software and also finally creating a proper child theme instead of hacking the parent theme itself.

What a great way to spend my Christmas! I think I’ve reached the point where I miss coding so much that even WordPress and CSS hacking is a thrill.

Oh well — at least I still get to type on the phone! Autocorrects and all.

Happy Holidays everyone.