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Showing posts from August, 2003

Splitting the Palm

What's interesting about Palm splitting into two different companies: software and hardware is that this is PRECISELY the approach that everyone said Apple should have done years ago to preserve the Macintosh software. Now of course, while the Mac is still a niche computer, it is easily the most recognizable niche computer and considered a "best of breed". I will be very interested to see if in 10 years, we still even recognize what a PalmPilot is anymore... http://news.com.com/2100-1047-5064858.html

And so email will eventually become unusable - and so we only subscribe to RSS...

While I hate to say it, I'm starting to agree with this article.

I'm a big believer in email newsletters and in sharing my email address with people who are interested in contacting me, but as these viruses and continuous SPAM are proving, it's getting to a point where many computer users may simply stop using this stuff and go back to other means.

If you bought a computer today, thinking it would bring you into the new world and give you all kinds of great new features and ability to search online, and communicate with friends, imagine the surprise when 95% of your emails are all either viruses or SPAM. Is a computer on the Internet still that much more productive?

Based on this idea, it really seems that the best strategy for notifying customers of new updates and articles of interest will be through RSS or hybrid type tools (like the VFP Task Pane's support for FoxCentral.net). Email newsletters are going to easily be confused with SPAM so what's the point in se…

WebMenu Genie: VFP Meets the Web

If you're a FoxPro developer who is also working with web site design, you owe it to yourself to check out WebMenu Genie (http://www.webportdata.com/webmenu/) This shareware VFP application lets you generate complex Javascript menus for web sites in mere minutes. Tprice is very reasonable (under $100 for commercial web sites, $35 for personal use, shareware is limited to 4 menu items) and the features are phenomenal. From picture and transparent menu support to different special effects that you can add to individual menus, WebMenu Genie makes it easy for developers of any background to incorporate menus into your web site. Definitely something to check out...

Why I Missed My Blackberry until I start using MSN Mobile

During the power outage last week, the first thing I tried to do was use my cell phone. No luck! It seems that on the network I was on, only incoming calls were accessible - I couldn't call out. (not quite sure why - maybe it was that guy on the cell phone who kept on calling all the radio stations). We actually had to find a non-cordless phone (cordless phones require electricity) and plug it in to call out and of course, now I can't find any of the phone numbers I usually call - why not? they are all on the computer. To be sure, some of them were still on my phone so I could find some of them. Trish pulled out her old Zaurus ZR-5000 PDA and had some numbers in there, thankfully (after changing the batteries). It was then that I really started to miss my old Blackberry. Now, I'm really not impressed with RIM's support (they wanted to basically charge me for a new unit to fix my old one) which is why I stopped using it. But when I had my Black…

New XML Editor in VS.Net

Thanks Ted for letting us hear at least a little bit of the new XML editor. Of course, the big thing here is that it MIGHT be available as a standalone download so we don't have to wait until Whidbey (CORRECTION from Previous posts: I thought it read standalone editor - just my wishful thinking)

I know everyone thinks that XML is the NBH (Next Big Hype) and I will admit to being in that group. I love XML as a way for dealing with so many different data streams and more. But, realistically, I think it's important for an editor to exist that makes it easy to:

a) build useful XSL stylesheets quickly
b) understand the structure of the file
c) modify and update the DTD schema

I think that a lot of developers who have been working with XML tools in a theoretical or "tool" based environment miss the point that many developers, who are focused around getting products out, don't have the same time to learn how all of these new functions work, even though they can understa…

Old but Useful: Visual FoxPro and .NET Interoperability

This is a very valuable article, as I recently discovered. I have a COM component which works great with VB, VB.Net and ASP but when we had some consultants working with C# and they tried to access it, they started complaining about problems accessing the dynamic components.

With a few minor updates and looking over this article, I was able to show them that it was , in fact, possible to do exactly what they said wasn't (without a bunch of work).

Visual FoxPro and .NET Interoperability

Power Outage: Gotta get a generator

How about that? Right in the middle of a presentation, at 4:15 yesterday, bang! all the power goes out. At first, I thought it was just our area but then I realized it was a little more. Thank goodness I purchased that 10 minute UPS on my server and I ran everything off as a Terminal Server. People that were watching the presentation had about 15 minutes to save everything and the meeting was still a success! Still, you have to wonder how it could be that one outage could affect an area of 9000 miles. If that isn't a cause for a major alert, I don't know what is. (for those of you not in on the goings on, pretty much all of north-east North America had a power outage for a period of (at this stage, at least 18 hours), affecting Ottawa, Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, New York City and their respective states/provinces. Power is now coming on in spurts but we have all been warned to be ready for rolling blackouts.

For Those Who Like To Hack VCX files: Figuring out OlePublic vs. Not

From time to time, I need to go traipsing through the VFP VCX file to find changes or look at deleted records. Recently, I had to change a bunch of classes to OlePublic so they would be exposed in C# code (for some reason, C# can't see property objects the same way VB.Net can - still looking into that one) For a few years, I've wondered why is there a COMMENT record underneath every class definition in the VCX file. Now I know, this is where OlePublic is stored (in the Reserved2 field). So if you ever have to make a bunch of classes OlePublic and don't want to take half a day and go through all your classes to do so, just open the VCX file and replace Reserved2 with OLEPublic (case sensitive). REPLACE ALL Reserved2 WITH "OLEPublic" for EMPTY(reserved2) AND Platform='COMMENT' Then Compile the VCX file. COMPILE FORM XXX.VCX Just an interesting tidbit as you work....

Tip: Controls on Forms

If you have ever tried to design heavily graphical layout forms that use a lot of containers or controls, you may have run into a problem where VFP appears to hang. This problem likely occurs if you are designing forms that have a lot of graphics or controls on them. For example, I was building a form that would allow users to drag and drop a graphical depiction of a trailer into a loading dock. There were to be 150 trailers on the screen. I created a control class that only contained labels and images. This is where I ran into the problem. When VFP runs a form, it wants to find a place to rest focus. If it can't find one but the form contains a number of containers, it appears to go into an endless loop in its attempt to find one. The solution is to put a control onto the form that looks for focus (like a textbox or a command button) and make it visible. This way, VFP will see the control and stop searching for a place to put the focus. You can get aroun…

More Bad News for RIM: RIM loses patent-infringement ruling

It's really too bad that a company that made a GREAT product (although their tech support policies were terrible) are essentially going to lose out due to just really stupid things. Whatever happened to "let the market decide." RIM had to shape up anyways because they had too much competition in the PDA market but this really sours me on the company even more.

RIM loses patent-infringement ruling | CNET News.com

Speaking of patent infringements, wonder what's happening with that Business Objects lawsuit?

CNN.com - When good software goes bad

Survey finds widespread dissatisfaction with tech support. I guess, no one likes being told that the coffee cup holder on their new computer is really a CD.

CNN.com - When good software goes bad - Aug. 8, 2003

Best TRUE story I've ever heard was from a local vendor- get this one.
Compaq iPaq - 1 only - H3650 model - a funny story: a customer bought it, took it home, and brought it back claiming it did not work. We gave him his money back, no problem. At our expense we sent the product back to HP and they called us laughing, saying that their diagnostic tool had discovered an amazing fact: that the ON button had not been pressed. So we have an opened but retail boxed iPaq here - it can be yours for just $299 (it's $100 below our cost) - and like I said just one available

VFP 8 OLE DB Provider Available

The Visual FoxPro OLE DB Provider (VfpOleDB.dll) exposes OLE DB interfaces that you can use to access Visual FoxPro databases and tables from other programming languages and applications. The Visual FoxPro OLE DB Provider is supported by OLE DB System Components as provided by MDAC 2.6 or later. The requirements to run the Visual FoxPro OLE DB Provider are the same as for Visual FoxPro 8.0. This free download version of the Visual FoxPro OLE DB Provider is a updated version from the one included in Visual FoxPro 8.0. http://microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=0F43EB58-7A94-4AE1-A59E-965869CB3BC9&displaylang=en

Getting Respect: A Plea from ToG - Interface Guru

"I have met the enemy and he is us."When Pogo mouthed these words so many years ago, he must have been thinking of software designers, or interaction engineers, or human interface folks, or whatever we who create the interaction model for our products are calling ourselves this week.We've been complaining bitterly, these last 25 years, that we get no respect, that we are thought of as nothing more than decorators, if we are thought of at all. Guess what? We have no one to blame but ourselves. We have sat on the sidelines, perpetually powerless, whining, instead of changing up the game so we can win. http://www.asktog.com/columns/057ItsTimeWeGotRespect.html

Boston User Group Gets Ken Levy

Boston VFP User Group on Tuesday, August 12, 6:30pm at the Microsoft offices, 6th floor, 201 Jones Rd., Waltham MA, presents: Ken Levy, Microsoft VS Data Product Manager, will be presenting the latest news for Visual FoxPro. Ken will also discuss and demo Visual FoxPro 8.0 along with VFP 8.0 working with VS .NET 2003. Ken will also show demos and discuss Europa (next version of VFP) and Whidbey (next version of Visual Studio .NET). In addition, Ken will show some exciting demos of the new XML/XSLT editor/debugger for VS .NET. For more information on the latest news that will be discussed, refer to http://msdn.microsoft.com/vfoxpro/letters/ http://www.bostonusergroups.com/vfpboston

Using Windows APIs with VFP Desktop Apps

Want to integrate external Internet and local content into your Visual FoxPro desktop applications? Then look into the Shell APIs that allow using Windows components easily in your own applications. This article digs into using the ShellExecute API, the InternetExplorer.Application COM object and the Microsoft Web Browser ActiveX control for displaying Web and Windows content dynamically in your own applications. Article includes lots of short immediately useful samples and a detailed reference of how to use the HTML DOM object model from VFP. http://www.west-wind.com/articles.asp

Using Blogger and want to do RSS?

If you are using www.blogger.com and want to know how to let everyone know how to use this great feature called RSS, it's really easy! Just upgrade to BloggerPro! The upgrade is free, right now and it works great! RSS is essentially an XML file that contains all of your latest updates. When you use a tool like FeedReader or RadioLand, people who subscribe to your RSS file, will be notified instantly when you change it. This is the reality of Publish and Subscribe that was touted so many years ago. When you have an RSS feed being created, then put a link to it right on your main Blog page or in the template. For example, the RSS for my page is: http://akselsoft.blogspot.com/rss/akselsoft.xml Ted Roche's is: http://radio.weblogs.com/0117767/rss.xml I know Ted uses RadioLand for pulling all the news from various sources - I use FeedReader (www.feedreader.com) - it works great and it's free! Another great tip for using Blogger Pro : you can set it up so y…

FoxPro's Hidden Communities

If all you ever do is work with FoxPro out of the box, the closest you may feel to other developers is what you see in the VFP 8 Communities Task Pane but there is a lot more! After a few emails from Boudewijn Lutgerink, I found http://www.foxite.com - kind of like a European version of the UT with lots of cool stuff on board. Great place to visit and free signups!

Typo in FPA XML Article

I've been getting lots of great feedback on the Intro to XML/XSL article in FoxPro Advisor. But there was a TYPO! (argh!!) There is no method called LoadXSL in the XML DOM. Instead it should have read LoadXML. Sorry all! A correction will be in the next issue. Thanks for so many readers for letting me know.