Redirection of MSN’s former online services?


Just throwing this out there for the programmers / Money “experts” out there…

I happened to stumble on the possible source of links in Money Plus to the MSN servers that might be used to redirect to alternative solutions for those functions that used to be provided by the MSN servers.

In MNYCoreFIles/WebCache is a file rooturl.xml that reveals the following:

[?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?]
[rootlinks]
[link id=”moneycentral”]
[int]http://moneycentral.msn-int.com[/int]
[live]http://moneycentral.msn.com[/live]
[ppe]http://moneycentral.msn-ppe.com[/ppe]
[dev]http://mcdevwbasn.redmond.corp.microsoft.com[/dev]
[/link]
[link id=”moneycentralintl”]
[int]http://money.msn.co.uk[/int]
[live]http://money.msn.co.uk[/live]
[ppe]http://money.msn.co.uk[/ppe]
[dev]http://money.msn.co.uk[/dev]
[/link]
[link id=”data”]
[int]http://data.moneycentral.msn-int.com[/int]
[live]http://data.moneycentral.msn.com[/live]
[ppe]http://data.moneycentral.msn-ppe.com[/ppe]
[dev]http://data.mcdevwbasn.redmond.corp.microsoft.com[/dev]
[/link]
[link id=”securemoneycentral”]
[int]https://moneycentral.msn-int.com[/int]
[live]https://moneycentral.msn.com[/live]
[ppe]https://moneycentral.msn-ppe.com[/ppe]
[dev]https://mcdevwbasn.redmond.corp.microsoft.com[/dev]
[/link]
[/rootlinks]

It couldn’t be so simple as to plug in new urls, could it?

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20 Comments »

  1. hleofxquotes@gmail.com said

    I looked into this “path” sometime in the past. The request to the server is fairly straight-forward BUT the response (actually content coming back) is a binary of a particular non-standard contentType. The replacement server needs to know enough to send back similar response.

    • The interface is indeed non-standard, and somewhat complex as well.

      PalOMoney.com developed a replacement compatible server to test the undocumented Money interface in the “MoneyPal” quote updating utility. This was initially going to be offered on an experimental basis for testing, but was withdrawn when potential testers confused the PalOMoney product with the service. Also, this would only work with activated copies of Money 2008 and earlier, but the activation servers went down a couple of years ago, so it wouldn’t do too many any good unless the activation server could be reinstated. However, doing so would require massive reverse engineering, which is very difficult to do, in violation of the MS EULA, and might trigger a negative response from Microsoft. Finally, PalOMoney.com had no rights to redistribute financial data from other sources, and acquiring appropriate redistribution rights is expensive, requiring lots of paying customers to be a viable option, and who wants to pay for what is otherwise free from other sources? So we are sticking with free sources for the time being.

      This topic is being expanded upon on our wiki, see https://www.palomoney.com/wiki/index.php?title=Replacement_Money_Quote_Source

  2. ameridan said

    Thanks for your reply! I kind of had you in mind 🙂 as I was typing Money “experts” as you have definitely dug deep into the structure of the .mny file. Have you had any new breakthroughs with Sunriise? Feel free to plug your Java project on my blog…

  3. I don’t know why but stock prices have recently started to update once again in Microsoft Money!

    • Cindy said

      Which version of MS Money are you seeing stock prices updating?

  4. hgagne said

    Just recently switched over to Money Sunset Deluxe (MSD) from MS Money 2004.

    I’m posting this comment here as I couldn’t find a way to contact Ameridan (owner of blog?) with these details … they aren’t specific to this URL inquiry and likely deserve a thread of its own.

    I noticed that launching MSD offline (network adapter not connected) provides access to the full BANKING, INVESTING, PLANNING, TAXES sub-menus. When launching MSD online (network adapter connected), the menus attempt to display web content which prevents the sub-menus from appearing.

    One workaround to obtaining the sub-menus is to create shortcuts to “Online Services”, “Portfolio”, “Life Planner”, and “Tax Estimator”.

    With a bit of digging however, I discovered that commenting out the contents of the URLMAP.XML (.\webcache folder) permits access to the full sub-menus eliminating the need for the shortcuts toolbar.

    I also discovered that keyboard shortcuts are kept in the TXTOOLBAR.XML file.

    Lastly, menu weblinks are stored in the SURF.MAR and SURF32.MAR files. From what I’ve gathered, calls to internal functions of MSD are prefixed with “money://” and external weblinks will contain “mclink” as part of the entry. One can actually copy a menu reference from the file and paste it in the GOTO Page toolbar.

    I was also able to pull out the menu redirectors:

    MSN Money News: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4643

    Mortages & Loans: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4642
    Bank Services : http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-0007

    Markets: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-0256
    Stocks: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4652
    Funds: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4620
    ETFs: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4692
    Commentary: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-0283
    Brokers: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-0008

    Retirement: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4648
    Savings: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4649
    Insurance: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4630
    Family & College: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4619

    Prepare Online: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4655
    Planning: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4654
    Products & Services: http://g.msn.com/1MCUSEN2008DRMLREDIRECTORS/gmny-4656

    If you are interest in more details for a blog entry, feel free to send me a note at hilaire.gagne [at] gmail.com

    Cheers,

    • Kirsty said

      I can only find short-cuts to surf.mar and surf32.mar; the files don’t appear to exist and neither to they open in Microsoft Access although they do appear to open in notepad! Obviously, I am doing something wrong!

      You don’t even have to bother commenting out URLMAP.XML; you can just delete it or change it to URLMAP.XML_ 🙂

      It would be good to find a way to change all the dead links on Money.

    • hgagne said

      The “shortcuts” you see are not actually shortcuts … it’s a by-product of Windows file association. If you select Properties > Details, you will see the full filename.

      For example, the SURF.MAR is located in the folder noted below and looks like an Access Report shortcut.

      C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Money Plus\MNYCoreFiles

      I recommend copying the SURF*.MAR files to a separate folder if you intend on viewing their contents – I use a UTF-8 Text Editor. The file will contain a significant amount of control characters, which means saving edits is not possible, but perusing the file will reveal Human Readable text.

      Cheers,

    • Kirsty said

      Thanks for the explanation, hgagne. I was kind of confused as to what this mysterious file actually was; was hunting around on my hard-drive half-expecting to find a Microsoft Access database with easy to edit url links lol 🙂

  5. Gaier Software is beta testing a program that can update quotes in Money. See http://gaiersoftware.com/Money

  6. ameridan said

    Dan Gaier,
    I started a new blog entry for your MoneyQuotes program that hopefully you’ll follow should there be any questions/comments posted there.
    -Dan

  7. Can the surf.mar or surf32.mar files be edited or removed to stop MM Sunset Deluxe from trying to obtain online updates. It used to take 20-30 seconds for this to resolve before I could run pocketsense. Recently this went to 65 seconds. While searching for a solution I saw another poster on money social said his recently started taking upwards of 2 minutes.

  8. ameridan said

    Michael,

    IMPORTANT NOTES: Before installing the Sunset edition:
    •Users should disable online access for all of their accounts in the existing Money data file and then SAVE and backup their data files [Account List->Manage Online Services. Click the account. Click Stop Using Online Services]. Data imports may not work as expected with accounts that are still configured for Online statements within Money and you may experience some weird Alert messages as well as ”Last Updated” column dates that will not update properly.
    •Users with LiveID (Passport) passwords should turn that off [File->Password Manager and remove (don’t attempt to change password here though) your Live ID]. If this does not go smoothly, disconnect from the internet, and log in offline and try again. Don’t forget to then SAVE and backup your data files. Users report that the Sunset edition does not allow online connections to be deleted, as the code to communicate with MSN servers has been purged.
    •Users should also disable online quote updates in the existing Money data file and then SAVE and backup their data files [turn off: Tools->Settings->Receive Account Updates From MSN Money MyAccounts], although this one is less critical since the Sunset version code has already disabled this service – but some users have noted some strange behaviors that disappear when accessing the sample.mny file.

    Sunset Deluxe shouldn’t be trying to obtain online updates, but one of your settings from your former Money Plus installation may be still be in your data file. Things to try within Money:

    Tools > Settings > Online Service Settings and uncheck Online Registration.

    Tools > Settings > Online Update Settings > Read Summary Messages > Update Now should reveal an empty list

    Tools > Settings > Alerts Center > Unsubscribe from MSN Alerts

  9. Unfortunately I read the important note about two years after starting to use the Sunset edition. I am using the settings shown. I tried to open my current file withe Money 2007 on a different machine to make sure I disabled all online services. It wouldn’t open. Said the file version was from a successor product, which it was. Is their a way to save my current file as a Money 2007 file?

    My call summary is “your last call encountered an error: 6/28/2011
    An error occurred while money was retrieving quotes, news, exchange rates”.

    When I choose “update now” I get a box that says “Choose what to update” with an empty box. No choices. So I’m not sure what it’s to connect to or for what reason when I start the program.

  10. I found a workaround for my problem.
    1. Created a new dummy file in Money 2007. (May work with MMSD)
    2. Converted dummy file to Money SD.
    3. Disabled auto backup on close for dummy file.
    4. Open dummy file.
    5. Open my original file from the File drop down menu.
    File no longer tries to update when opened from within another open file.

  11. ameridan said

    Well Michael… No you can’t go backwards. I never paid attention to the Online Update button before (next to the Help button) but when I start Money, mine “spins” for over a minute too, even though I know I followed the instructions and stopped Online Services in my Money data file prior to switching to the Sunset version. I have very similar messages to yours too, so I doubt that it would do you any good to attempt to “fix” the file.

    Perhaps you might want to create a desktop shortcut to Pocketsense and run independent of Money, if you don’t want to wait.

    hgagne’s comment implies that commenting out the contents of the URLMAP.XML (.\webcache folder) permits access to the full sub-menus eliminating the need for the shortcuts toolbar and might improve the Online Updating timeout. I haven’t tried anything that he mentions though…

  12. I run Getdata.py independent of Money. My normal process would be open money, minimize money, run getdata. In the past by the time pocketsense was done downloading, money would be done with its update process. Now the money update process is getting longer and when pocketsense tries to download to money, I get an error, due to money running its update process.

  13. ameridan said

    Michael,
    I tried the steps as you described and got the same error message so I have to agree with your observation.

    I think I have a “solution” for you. Click on your Getdata.py shortcut without starting Money. The script will then prompt you to start Money and my experience is that the Online updating activity will wait for the OFX activity to complete. That is why I don’t normally get the error you mention.

  14. ameridan said

    Michael,
    The workaround that you described – is that a permanent solution or just for that session?

    I’ve stumbled on a little trick for when Pocketsense errors out without processing your combined******.ofx file because of the “online updating” delay.

    Type in the full path name of your xfr folder in Money’s address bar, and hit Enter (or click on the GoTo button).
    Select Favorites, Add to Favorites, and type in a name for your Favorite page (like View Current OFX files), then click OK.

    Now you can easily access any of your OFX files from within Money – click on Favorites, Favorite Web Sites, and then View Current OFX files and double-click the desired OFX to rerun.

    • Both. For each session I only do steps 4 and 5.
      Open dummy.mny (the online icon is not turning)
      Click File dropdown, click (recently used file) 2. MyMoney.mny

      By opening the dummy money file that doesn’t have online services running then opening the file I want to use from there, it seems to skip some of the startup routines for the file. It doesn’t start the online update
      that starts if I open my real money file directly and it doesnt open to the start page that I have set in the options, but with a few clicks and a matter of seconds my file is open and ready for my pocketsense routine to start.

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