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Showing posts from May, 2008

What's in a name? ....er, everything and nothing

Craig Bailey blogged recently about a new product, Elcom, had introduced with a name of Elcom TrainingManager.Net. In his post, he briefly mentioned they were talking about renaming it and one of the responses was from a company named Igor that talked about the importance of naming.

By now, I think everyone has seen the Microsoft iPod parody where it shows what Microsoft marketing might have done with an iPod and certainly, while it was done as a joke, the reality is Microsoft's product naming conventions can be a bit tedious.

How many different versions of Vista are there? And they all start as Windows Vista. And don't get me started on Microsoft Visual Studio Team System for Database Designers (they did clean this up slightly in 2008) - it's almost as if marketing gets paid by the word when they come up with a product name.

Craig has done a nice job with his CLARITY posts that attempt to explain certain products and his post on Microsoft's online offerings (Live=Consu…

The End of the Web? Not Even Close.

Everyone's got their tin-foil hat on today, it seems.

Scoble posted this morning on twitter - http://twitter.com/Scobleizer/statuses/814823578

That if Microsoft buys Facebook and Yahoo search - the end of the web is coming.

There will be a lot shaking out from that but I wanted to reply specifically to this post on Herd Watching - Special Microsoft / Facebook Edition - The End of the Web?

where the statement is made "first off, Microsoft is just evil".

Really? I started to comment directly there but then figured it would be best as a separate post.

First off, MS buying Facebook/Yahoo search doesn't mean the end of the web. To me, Facebook and other "closed" platforms (as they are referred to) remind me a lot of CompuServer, AOL and even MSN in their infancy. The goal was to keep everyone inside their environment.

As the web grew, that changed. This is NOT about being locked into a platform and if it is, it's not going to be good for those involved.

But moreove…

Craig Kills off an entire generation

Craig posts his thoughts on The Death of Gen Y amid the upcoming poor economic times. It's a good read but be sure to get down to the bottom for his four key points of how to survive.

These aren't sure-fire ways to stay employed but they are good guidelines:

a) Work for a company that focuses on benefits rather than features (and I would suppose that if you were a consultant, YOU would focus on benefits rather than features - but don't consultants do that already?)

b) Work for a company that invests in R&D (or invest in your *own* R&D)

c) Work hard and smart

d) Be a solution provider

So how did he kill off an entire generation?  You'll have to read it to find out...

Say No to Feature Creep

Chris Saad has a great post over on his blog: Leadership includes saying no « Paying Attention

Not sure if he just went through a specific scenario to inspire the posting but it's a great read, especially for technical managers.

One of my clients had a problem: they have a list of over 397 enhancement requests to their product. Now, to be fair, some of those are fairly cosmetic and but at least 200 of them require some kind of review for someone to say "no - we are not doing this"

So why don't they? Because when they get in front of their customers, "no" is the hardest thing to say. And I'm a terrible accomplice but because if they ask "can it be done?" , the answer is "yes, it can". The real question should be "SHOULD it be done?"

When some people think about feature creep, they tend to think of it in relevance to a particular function - but in this post, think about feature creep being about the entire product line.

As a resul…

Dynamic Languages Strike Back

Garrett pointed over to this post Stevey's Blog Rants: Dynamic Languages Strike Back
which is really a transcript of a speech Steve Yegge gave at Stanford.

Very interesting read/video whichever you prefer.

When reading about half way through (I've marked to come back to but it's definitely a good read) , I immediately thought of the TIOBE index and how excited VFP developers (including myself) got when we had broken the top 20 - why?

because of this quote

"So that brings us full circle back to the point of this topic, which is: the languages we have today, sorted by popularity at this instant, are probably going to stay about that popular for the next ten years."

(and yes, technically while VFP is still at 20), there really isn't much change between the top 5 or 10 on the TIOBE index.

Which is simply a fun way of saying "people stick with what they know".

Tweet, tweet, twitter , twitter

Rick Strahl writes up his thoughts on Twitter - Twitter this, Twitter that... - Rick Strahl's Web Log

I've been on Twitter for a while as well (started for keeping up with Newsgator and BuzzOutLoud items) and completely agree with his quote:
"Since I'm a single developer shop and live in sort of a bubble on a far away island (or a small town on the mainland when I'm back there) Twitter is  providing a little more sense of being a part of greater community to me."

(albeit, I'm not on an island but then...we all can't be so lucky)

For those who aren't familiar with Twitter, it's a microblog (limited to 140 character posts) where you follow (and are followed) others.  Just as blogs have their "if I was a tree" posters, they also have some really insightful "twitterers".

People post just about anything on twitter so it can seem weird in some cases. I typically identify with those posts about "checking in lots of code" or t…

Finding movie information with IMDB.DLL

OK - I don't know how long he'll be able to continue calling it IMDB.DLL - but this DLL totally rocks.

Samir has created a very easy to use DLL that retrieves movie information directly from the IMDB database.

As easy as:
REGSVR32 IMDB.DLL
oIMDB = CREATEOBJECT("imdb.imdb")
oIMDB.Login('andrew@aksel.com','Password123')
? oimdb.Search("Smallville")
? oimdb.Search("The Fountainhead")
? oimdb._GetWriters() && Returns a string of values


My Story with IMDB (imdb.dll)


Now - do we have one like this for music?

Techdirt: Ideas Are Everywhere... So Why Do We Limit Them?

Dave Winer pointed to this article over on Twitter and it's a great read on the foibles of patent protection on ideas.

I hadn't heard of what Myhrvold was doing before but when I read it, I cringed at the thought and how those people were just screwed simply for discussing ideas.

Makes me glad that Da Vinci wasn't around to get all of his ideas patented - then where would we be?

Techdirt: Ideas Are Everywhere... So Why Do We Limit Them?


Too bad Gladwell didn't get it.   i

What companies plan their purchases strategically?

Craig Bailey posted this link on Twitter regarding Sun's lacklustre performance last quarter -
Jonathan Schwartz's Blog: Our Q3

Choice quotes:
"Why don't you just stop giving your software away?
Because we prioritize developer adoption. Let me give an example....the MySQL team had scored a design win - ahead of the proprietary competition. What should we have charged them beforehand? No matter what it was, they wouldn't have used the product - startups and developers don't pay for software...We didn't pay them, the MySQL team earned their adoption.""Why does Sun's CEO waste time writing that blog?
Because I believe in providing clarity surrounding our strategy and operations - not just once a year in the Annual Report. I believe clarity behind our direction is useful for our shareholders, customers, partners and employees."

It's a great post, full of honesty (as far as I can tell) about what's going on at Sun and it contrasts with t…

Quick VFP Developer Shortcut: Tables into clipboards

Developers create a lot of little "snippets" that help them in a lot of different scenarios. Some of them evolve into larger tools; others turn into hidden gems that get shared among a small select few.

(hmmm....SET TANGENT ON ....sounds like an interesting idea for a VFPX project - a snippet sharer - damn! don't they have that in VS? - I DIDN'T think of that when I was first writing this - why can't I think of something that VS DOESN'T have? - OK - SET TANGENT OFF - I do think we DO need an IntellisenseX manager that allows others to post useful Intellisense snippets)

However, here's something I had to quickly build today and others likely have other ways of doing this but....

Problem: I wanted to quickly take the content of a small query subset table and dump it into a document (text) for easily review. (no, not everyone deals with XML)

Update: YES -> you COULD do all the silly code I have down below here but Steve Black, guardian of all cool hidden thi…

Southwest Fox 2008 - Make Plans Now

So registration is now open for Southwest Fox 2008. I think it's always hard for a conference web site to do it justice. You can show either pictures of the speakers
, the facilities or the food - repeat the testimonials from previous years - but the question remains:

How best to sell 3-4 days of intense FoxPro developer community interaction?

For as much as I am a "let's blog everything so it's available everywhere" type of person, I definitely get the value of attending the conference - so I'm really happy that I'm able to be there this year (I plan on doing some fun stuff on the road with the FoxShow as well for the show)

I find Bud Wheeler's (of Visionpace) comment particularly fitting for this year: "You can't afford to miss this opportunity to learn what is new and exciting in VFP."

At the most recent Rock the Launch event in Ottawa, many were saying "what's new with a product that Microsoft isn't doing new stuff with?&…