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Adios 2004!

While it's been an exciting year for VFP, it hasn't been the greatest year overall and judging by the mayhem all over the world from the beginning of this year (Bam, Iran) to now (tsunami) and everything in between (snow in mexico, hurriances galore) and family issues, I'm sure looking forward to 2005 being a banner year. Thanks to all the readers and colleagues who have pushed me into better blogging, more accountable writing and overall just letting me hear what you have to say! Happy New Year to all! See you in 2005!

Reinstalling DotNet/ASPNet on a Windows 2003 Server

So much for getting rid of DLL hell...I've just been through hell and back trying to re-install the DotNet framework to run properly with SourceGear's Dragnet product.

We were experiencing some problems that only popped us running IE (FireFox was fine) and the suggestion was to reinstall DotNet. Oh sure. no problem -just go to Windows Installer right?

Wrong - apparently the service packs don't show up under Add/Remove programs with a good name. Redownloaded DotNetFX again , thinking I should be able to install over it. Sorry - "This has already been installed on your OS." (Win 2003).

Why is that? Because Windows 2003 comes WITH the DotNet framework built in. This means that you can't simply "remove it" and then "reinstall it". But there is a solution. Read on.

Based on some other useful sites, I turned on Windows Installer Logging so I could see that the message was when I tried to install it - maybe I could find out where the culprit wa…

Reading MP3/WMA Information in FoxPro

A recent post on a newsgroup was looking for a tool that would let them read MP3 tag information (artist, genre, etc). After doing some looking in the new VFP 9 "Fox Media Player" solution sample, it's simply a matter of working with the Windows Media Player COM component.

oPlayer = createobject("WMPlayer.OCX.7")
loItems = oPlayer.MediaCollection
loSong= loItems.add("c:\what time is it.mp3")
? loSong.duration
? loSong.getItemInfo("Artist")
? loSong.getItemInfo("Title")
? loSong.getItemInfo("Album")

Best of all, you can also set the information back again:

loSong.SetItemInfo("Artist","Kane Gang")

I used to rely on a variety of media tools to help catalog my music but using the WMPlayer OCX, I have placed them all into one big Fox table and from there, I update the tags, refresh my files all in a database format that I'm comfortable with.

The other benefit is that I know I'm changing the actual …

Dan Gillmor - Airline Meltdowns

Absolutely right on. And Now US Airways is asking employees to work for free on New Year's Day. You know something? The company is struggling and union action is NOT the way about it. If you want to keep your job, then support the company. Last time I checked, US Airways wasn't splurging millions on useless stuff (like Canadian did) - they're trying to make the company survive.

What's better? A job you enjoy doing and get paid (albeit less than before) for or no job at all in an industry where there are very few jobs.
Silicon Valley - Dan Gillmor's eJournal - Airline Meltdowns

Jim Grisanzio: Successful CEOs don't multi-task

Of course not - that's what they want their computer to do for them.

Case in point: I don't want to have to visit 500 web sites to get my news ; Newsgator - do it for me.

I don't want to worry about downloading this 100MB file; BitTorrent do it for me.

I read my weblogs in the morning and in the evening, when I'm not doing much else and want to catch up on things. During the day, I try to stay focused on one thing at a time (in fact, that's a pretty good new year resolution - and for those who know me , it'll be tough) - staying focused on one thing is hard when you've got IM, support calls, emails amid 10 other projects that need to be worked on.

A few years back, one piece of advice ( I think it was actually in Dynamics of Software Development by Jim McCarthy) was to only check email once every x hours. The big problem now is that there's so much more email than ever before (and that's not including spam)- that it's easy to miss something.�…

Portable Sound: Belkin - TuneCast II Mobile FM Transmitter

I've been looking at one of these (
Welcome to Belkin - TuneCast II Mobile FM Transmitter) for a while with some trepidation: most say that the quality of the FM broadcast isn't that great. But now I have one and I can say: That's not what I found. I now have a 1GB SD card with various podCasts downloaded and plug my TuneCast II into my iPaq 1940 and can now listen to what I want to when driving to and from clients. I go to client office's only sporadically (most I can connect to remotely) and work from home but having this on my PDA, which is my main source of information, makes it an awesome tool.

Great frequency (88.1 to 107.9) and powers on and off automatically and runs on 2 AAA betteries. (I'll find out how long these really work)

Maybe now I'll start PodCasting my own stuff.

Mainstream Coverage of the Asia disaster

I don't know where Scoble found the "mainstream" media but I was completely amazed at the lack of coverage given to this story by television news outlets CNN and MSNBC. (yes, I know the blog coverage was likely far better) - We switched over at BBC World News first thing where they brought nothing but quality coverage the whole day. (first rss feed update came in at 11pm EST on the 25th). Thousands of people are dead and the only thing CNN and MSNBC chose to broadcast (at least on the "north american wide feed") was "Headliners and Legends" and debates on Iraq.

Our daughter has a friend who was vacationing in Thailand and we're still waiting for some kind of "yes, I'm ok" type of conversation.

Thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the region...

Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

Merry Christmas 2004

Just a quick note to say Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all my friends, colleagues and blog readers. May this season (and the various celebrations you may enjoy) find you all safe, happy and surrounded by those you love.

Onfolio - RSS in the Browser

Onfolio has a great product here. I'm running the beta but it seems really quite solid.

In particular, because going through my 156 feeds in Outlook seems way too time-consuming in Outlook 2003 (where the Favorite Folders feature seems to have outgrown my entire space available).

If you want to see what RSS Browsing is like, check out OnFolio - very cool.

Taking Heat for a Great Idea

Johnnie Moore's take on Scoble is definitely a bit fresher than the others comments .

Corporate deals with the "what is a blog supposed to be" ramifications.

Some immediate points on Scoble's letter and the comments afterwards:

1. Robert is a microsoftie in the same vein as the Excel 3.0 team : that is, we can create the best ________ possible. You know something? They can. The Fox team does it regularly (despite some comments posted on Channel nine's video). It's not arrogance - it's a challenge. I want my software to run on everyone's computer - I want everyone cool to be using my music player.... the fact that he works for the biggest software company doesn't mean it's going to work. It just means he's laying the challenge: build a "cool" media player. (and some people are responding)

2. Points should be given for anyone who is willing to write an open letter to his boss for everyone to see and also put the steps out there.…

Cool Newsgator Feature: Headlines

Scoble got me started looking at some of the other cool features in NewsGator. I'm a little hesitant to put my blogroll on my site (it's just way too big) but I immediately thought that headlines would be cool. While the NewsGator default is 100, I've limited mine to the top 10 since I link to about 200 different other blogs. I have to clean that up...

What an awesome feature though.

NewsGator really is one of the premier news aggregator tools and the fact that it keeps on adding new features is just awesome! Way to go, Greg!
Screen shot of AddInfoX. The numbers beside each method tells you how many lines of code are in each method.

Art of the Start: Causation

I recently started reading Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Guy was probably one of the first "recognized" technology evangelists and has written lots of books on the topic. Each of his books always seem to be slightly different variations on the same theme - on how to create something that completely changes lives (loosely: Selling the Dream was on how to sell it, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy was on how to compete with it, Rules for Revolutionaries was on creating it) - so I wasn't too sure how his new Art of the Start would read, especially since his new focus is on helping startups get venture capital. But once again, he's really done a good job. The first chapter, Causation identifies what you really need to work on: Meaning, Mantra and MAT (Milestones, Assumptions and Timetables). Instead of all those books that say study this and plan for that, come up with a mission statement and the like, Guy promotes the easier to remember style of a Mantr…

Inspirational Ideas from Guy Kawasaki on Starting New Things

I've been reading Guy's new book, Art of the Start for a while now (it's been hard between other projects but I was able to read it on my flight down to NC).

It's a great book for start-ups, filled with Guy's humour and thoughts. If you've read his other stuff, you may find it a little repetitive (he always includes a chapter on how to be a better person - or in this case a Mensch) but I dog-eared a few things that just make it worthwhile. Rather than simply say a page # and tell you to go look it up in the bookstore (yes, Robert, Page 173 talks all about how much every company needs evangelists - not a new concept for Guy), I thought I'd pass on a few quips here.

Pg 73: The worst thing to do is write a "deliberate" plan and then stick to it simply because it is "the plan". Guy notes the difference between a deliberate (which is based on road maps and analysis) and an emergent plan (which is based on reacting to opportunities as they ap…

Yet Another Airport To Avoid

I try to give every airport I travel through a chance. But if I spot a trend, be it by location, or service or "do I really want to be stuck here for x hours", then it usually ends up on my list of Airports to Avoid. I was supposed to get back home Friday morning at 10am, flying through Washington Dulles. Got off from Greensboro ok but when we arrived in Washington airspace, the fog was too thick. (note: never pick an airport near a coastline where fog or bad weather is a possibility). I finally got home at 10pm, having been rerouted to Harrisburg (for fuel), back to Dulles where our original flight had been canceled and the only other flight was at 4:50, delayed until 5:20 and then stuck on the ground until about 6:30/7. To their credit, United Airlines staff on the ground were amazing. Just never going through there again....

What VFP 9's Removal of Array Limits Really Means

Interesting post by John K. about how the limits in VFP 9 have been substantially removed and yet may still rear their ugly head because of machine constraints.

But it explains very well how and why you may want to rethink how your applications may be built.

A great example is the removal of the limitations of an array.

Let's say you have 1,000,000 records in a table named X.

I created this table by listing all of the files in a folder showing two columns: one for the file name and another for the size.
CFIELD1 C(30)
NSIZE N(10)

=ADIR(la,"C:\windows\system32\*.*")
CREATE TABLE x (cField1 C(30), nsize N(10))
lnRow = 1
FOR lni = 1 TO 1000000
IF lnRow+lni>ALEN(la,1)
lnRow = 1
ELSE
lnRow = lnRow+lni
ENDIF
INSERT INTO X VALUES (la(lnRow,1),la(lnRow,2))
ENDFOR

This ensured I had at least some variety of data in my results.

In VFP 7, you couldn't do

SELECT * FROM x INTO ARRAY la

You would run out of memory.

However you CAN do it in VFP 9 which means that ev…

Joel / Tamir on problems with MSF

Joel comments from Tamir about MSF :
"The trouble with MSF is that it starts with a group of successful developers, who are successful because they are resourceful, intelligent, experienced, well-meaning,...."

Actually, what I've found is the biggest problem with MSF is lack of buy-in from all partners. A good project is only as good as its weakest link because if there is one person who isn't motivated to follow the best practices concept, then the whole project will eventually fall apart, despite the best intentions of everyone.

It isn't so much about unskilled developers as much as it is about someone who's attitude becomes "why bother?" or a manager who decides "this little R&D effort isn't as important as my critical issue" so "everyone do what I say instead". The end result is the impression is that MSF didn't work when in fact, it's more the implementation that failed. Classic problem with any project and a…

Kok Kiet's Blog: New FoxPro WebRAD Tool : FoxFusion

Yes the actual site is in French but hey! here's a great example of FoxPro running with COM, IIS and more. The sample apps are quite interesting (I can't get the Timer working but the FoxChat is fun to look at - note IE Only - no firefox support there)

Brought to you apparently by Ikoonet

Thanks to Kok Kiet for pointing this one out.
Kok Kiet's Blog: New FoxPro WebRAD Tool : FoxFusion

Working with Edit Boxes in Visual FoxPro

I had a circumstance where I wanted to show a potentially large piece of text in a read-only edit box in VFP. I was changing the height of the box to only show the actual content therefore if I only had one line, I wanted the edit box to only take up one line in height. Sounds simple, right? Not quite. My other requirement was that the user should be able to change the alignment of the text in the box. Left Align worked beautifully but whenever I switched the Alignment to Center or Right, the text disappeared. What was going on? When using alignments other than Left, Edit boxes have to be at least a certain height to display properly. What is the magic number? As it turns out, it's 34. Try it yourself: x = CREATEOBJECT("Form")
x.AddObject("editbox","editbox")
x.editbox.Visible =.t.
x.editbox.FontSize = 8
x.editbox.Value = "Here is my text"
x.Show
x.editbox.width = x.Width
x.editbox.ScrollBars = 0
x.editbox.BorderStyle = 0
x.editbox.Alignmen…

The Red Couch: Announcing a corporate blogging book: the Red Couch project

This will be an interesting project to see how it takes flight... I can't honestly see publishers lining up for the rights to a new book that technically will have already been "published" but there are certainly enough ways of adding value that will make it worthwhile.

And as Scoble puts in, people who don't read the blogs will buy it to better understand it. The only issue? Timing. It needs to be out soon. Good luck Robert!
The Red Couch: Announcing a corporate blogging book: the Red Couch project

MSN Messenger Beta - Can't Send Feedback yet

FYI - if you're trying to send the MSN team feedback, you may need to wait a bit....Choosing Send Feedback from the Help menu gives you a "This Service is Currently Not Available" page.

It's nice to know that even larger companies go through what every other developer else tries to avoid as well.

So here's what I want:
- support for multiple logins (yes, login with two passports)
- custom status messages (MSN Messenger Plus has had it for a while now)

And why is there a menu option called Billing Information sending me to Blue Mountain? Seems like it should be called Add-Ons ($) or something else. Billing Information makes me feel like I'm going to start getting charged for Messenger.



MSN Messenger Beta: "Send Feedback: Tell us what you think. Send the MSN Messenger team feedback right from the MSN Messenger Help menu."

MSN Blogging service: still a beta service

It's up and running but " Part of the fun in using a beta service as a platform for communication"

So the MSN Blog is simply a beta (like the MSN Search?).

You would think from the other posts that it was ready for primetime.

Granted - it's on the web and we'll likely start seeing it improve but I wish the press (and other bloggers) would be a little clearer about its status. At least Mike was and of course there is that big "Beta" sign right above every note.

And on the MSN Messenger 7 beta - when are we finally going to be able to log in with multiple accounts?

I know it's tricky - I know it's tough - but it certainly would make my life easier (and isn't that what should be priority? :))
Mike's Space: Hiccups

VFP 9.0 Release Date

(from foxblog but I can't ref its archives so...)

December 15!!!!! That appears to be the official release date for Visual
FoxPro 9.0, barring any unforseen showstoppers. Andew Coates, a former VFP
developer and now Microsoft employee, blogs
that Ken Levy
announced the date at OzFox . MSDN subscribers
should be able to download the bits a few days after release (RTM in
Microsoft speak). If you absolutely must have it in the CD case, it
generally takes 6-8 weeks after RTM.


http://www.craigberntson.com/archives/2004_11_29_archive.asp#110179147431547
587

Good RSS Readers for SmartPhones/PocketPCs

I was actually lamenting this before

I've tried Egress and Pocket RSS but I still come back to NewsGator (Outlook edition) but here's what I'm missing: a way to take a post from my Inbox and send it to my Blog without losing the formatting.

Right now, I use Blogger's email feature but whenever it gets to the site, it has a bunch of %20 in it and other stuff that prevent the links from working right.

I was hoping Pocket RSS and/or Egress would let me do what I do in FireFox or IE - find an interesting post, right-click (or "hold-click" on a PocketPC) and then blog it.

Right now, it makes my News of Interest blog very hard to read without having to correct my individual posts.

I know Robert's big on the Kunal approach but I'm not always in Outlook - (except on my Pocket PC).

Any ideas anyone?

Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

Why Unit Test? Channel9 Wiki explains...

OK - sure it's on the xBox but it's still a great example of why the best developers unit test.

And no, I'm not preaching --- it's a neat article. I try to unit test all of my VFP stuff but it's hard when things need to get out the door and someone's breathing down your neck. It's even HARDER when you're going through someone else's code as I've been doing recently.

Channel9 Wiki: TheBestDeveloper

Visual FoxPro 9.0: Still Here, Still Relevant

Op-Ed piece by David T. Anderson. (originally from here)

"Even though FoxPro has long been overshadowed by more glamorous products, it's still one of the best tools on the market for getting things done. With new enhancements coming in version 9.0, it's not likely to go the way of the dodo anytime soon. "

Good reading for everyone who uses FoxPro. The critical stuff is on the second page: Where Does FoxPro Fit Today

Visual FoxPro 9.0: Still Here, Still Relevant

Lost Remote: Comcast deploys Microsoft TV software

Robert posted to this and this site actually shows screen shots.

I'm comparing it to what we have in Canada - Roger's PVR. We picked one up a while ago and I love it. The UI isn't as intuitive which is too bad - because Rogers has used a lot of MS technology before, using an older version of WebTV. So now that I've got a PVR, my biggest problem is I need to send the signal to all the TVs in my house (I hate lugging it around - oh sure I could buy another one but why tape in two locations?).

I guess the answer COULD be a Windows Media Center Extender. Anyone have any good experiences with these?


Lost Remote: Comcast deploys Microsoft TV software

Ted Takes on Patents and MS Practices

Even though Scoble also posts about it here, I always find Ted's links a little more illuminating and insightful. It's not a "pro-MS" view point but the more points of view, the more informed we all can be. As Ted notes, "The irony is that Microsoft is likely to violate just as many patents, if not orders of magnitude more, but that's a lot tougher to determine with closed-source software."

Actually, I thought Ted's best post on patents was the one on Poland' in which he says
"Software patents are an abomination: licensing an idea, instead of the implementation of an idea (the latter is what copyrights are). Patents will chill the software development marketplace and reserve software development for the big companies that can afford patent lawyers. Stealing another programmers copywritten code is theft; building on another programmers code is progress."



Ted's Radio Weblog

Avalon Tech Preview Now Available

Chris makes a note of the Avalon Tech Preview being available for MSDN subscribers (note to subscribers: it's not called Avalon in MSDN but simply WinFX SDK under Platform Tools,SDKs)

There's a document here that talks about what's in and what's not in the Preview.

Now that Avalon is going to be fully supported on WinXP and 2003 servers - it will be interesting to see if Mike's right about Winforms.

One of his arguments was that WinForms run on Win98 boxes, etc. My big concern would be how fast? I've always experienced "lags" on DotNet apps even on my XP or 2003 boxes - I'm expecting much of the same from Avalon - so if they both are slow in loading, then would you really recommend such a solution for lower-end boxes such as 2000 and Win98?

My experience may not be typical and there are probably some crack applications that likely run circles in DotNet but many posts I've read leave me with that "sluggish" impression.

The future for…

How to write Firefox extensions

Nothing like something that says: "You need to have a vague understanding of XUL and Javascript, but you certainly don't need to be a master of either. "

XUL is one of the best things about FireFox and it is an indicator of the way things are moving towards in UI development. Look at XAML and other initiatives.

This page helps you get started with a basic "Hello World" example...

How to write Firefox extensions

RSS Readers for Pocket PCs

Does anyone know of a good RSS reader for Pocket PCs?
While I use NewsGator and then have my best feeds sent to my iPAQ, it's still a little kludgy if I want to link a post back to my own blog.

So while Scoble notes that "A few people said they couldn't conceive of reading a site on a small screen"

There's a list here RSS Readers for Pocket PCs and here.

EGress and PocketRSS look like the ones that are on both of the lists. Anyone tried them out? I'll let you know my reaction after I've got them installed.

Running Dynamic Code with ExecScript

The Wiki has an interesting post on how to run dynamic code. While much of the post deals with using BINDEVENT, I just want to make a note on ExecScript.

This is one of the best additions to Visual FoxPro. In one application, we used to offer the ability for users to write their own validation rules (provided they knew how to write FoxPro expressions). Now, we take it even further: they can write their own full scripts.

Not only that - but we offer popular rule "templates" that users can build their existing rules from and use TEXTMERGE to fill in the appropriate values.

How so?

A rule table with a field for
Rule Description (cdesc)
Rule Script (mrule)
Rule Parameter (cparm)

The code that executes the rule does a

EXECSCRIPT(TEXTMERGE(mrule,"*PARM*",cParm))

The user only needs to fill in the Rule Description and the parameter - everything else is hidden from them.

Our templates start with easy to use templates like : This field must be filled in or here is a valid …

Movies of Software

Jon Udell discusses using Windows Media Encoder for easily capturing footage of what's going on in an application to make mini-movies.

I've used Windows Media Encoder and while it's not bad, I know many others like to rely on tools like Camtasia or others. I use a variety of web conferencing tools, like Webex and iLinc and each of these tools also let you record your sessions for easy viewing. It's something I try to encourage our support people to do as well - so they can SHOW me when something doesn't work right.

The point Jon makes is a good one: "In the same way that blogging has radically democratized basic web publishing, I expect that Windows Media Encoder--along with counterparts that I hope become broadly accessible on other platforms--will democratize the use of screen videos. The medium needn't be available to professionals only. Lots of folks need to describe, demonstrate, or document the behavior of software, and this is a powerful way to do …

Business Model Generator (BMG)

All your strapping entrepreneurs should check this out....(found it from http://www.exploriem.org)

All from Carleton University's School of Business...good for them.

It goes through and asks 5 sets of questions, all designed to help identify how long it will take your business to be productive and profitable. It takes about 20 minutes and does ask some useful questions. What's great is that you can pause it and come back at any time and it gives you a graphical depiction of your business model. After each page, it also provides a summary of how you "scored" on that page.

It takes you through a number of steps including: testing your ECQ (Entrepreneurialist Culture Quotient) Score (are you ready to be an entrepreneur) - (this is kind of similar to Guy Kawasaki's Entrepreneur test), helping you understand how you can use guerrilla marketing and bootstrap capital in designing your business model, learning and discovering what the 'pixie dust' is in your bus…

Novell sues Microsoft for sinking WordPerfect (revised)

Oh come on now.... we all know who sank WordPerfect and it certainly wasn't Microsoft.

(Craig set me right in his comments too - Noorda did a similar thing , overpaying for a product that was long in the tooth and then just calling in the lawyers. How much did Borland end up buying dBase for? They at least waited until the product was pretty much history in so far as being a market leader. There's something to be said about picking the right battles...)

It was Corel (among others) biting off more than they could chew with an owner (a certain Mr. Michael Cowpland) who made grandiose statements that couldn't be kept. Cowpland is a great visionary but he couldn't manage Corel at that size and he made a TERRIBLE mistaking buying a product like WordPerfect that simply hadn't kept up with the times.

Yes - there are secrets in Windows that maybe MS should be more open about - but to say they SANK WorkPerfect? WordPerfect was beginning to become a terrible product in the v…

Always Us vs. Them?

Robert treads into that dangerous water of talking about the competition...

He also talks about some feel MS is still running "roughshod"

Although I believe that Scoble doesn't need to get any more links, (he's already achieved #1 status via Google), he lays out some valid discussion points here.

Ted got me for my "media promoting Firefox" post, forcing me to remake (or try and remake) my point (the issue isn't about how great FireFox is but rather how the media discusses it. Case in point: EWeek Loves it - as do I. - I only use IE for sites that aren't supported by Firefox, like Webex)

Between going back and forth between other blogs, you really can get the feeling of Us vs. them (teams of lawyers don't really help that for MS's case either).

There will always be those who want to portray things as "us vs. them" - but when I look at that, I always think of Ted's "mission" on his blog: "Competition breeds Innovat…

More on FireFox 1.0....

I just heard a big push by CNN Radio (CFRA, actually) on all the people who should go to Firefox. It's interesting the way radio goes through the same "media play" that some accuse others of.

Don't get me wrong - Firefox is an amazing browser - but it's only one of numerous others...there's still Opera which offers many of the similar features that FireFox does (and more...including built-in RSS)...

Just did a google (is that a noun AND a verb??!?!?!) and guess what? Firefox is the number one, Opera is number two.... and number three is Netscape, followed by Safari...and so on,....

The more things change...the more they stay the same...

OzFox 2004

If you feel like escaping for what looks to be a fun-filled conference, head on down to OzFox!

Why will this be fun? Forego the regular '"after-conference" event and head to the X-Box room - unwind after a VFP packed day with a round of Halo 2!

Jeez - I wish I was going....

OzFox 2004

The ReportListener Repository

From Craig's FoxBlog:

One of the great features of VFP 9.0 is the enhanced report designer. It's easy to create more complex reports than before, but changing things at runtime is a real pain. You need to use report listeners to do things...and these all have to be coded.

Ed Leafe has setup a new web site, Report Listener HQ , that is a Report Listener repository. The hope is that as people create report listeners, they will make them available on this site.

Ed runs a number of other sites, including Task Pane Central and Open Tech . He also runs the ProFox mailing list.

Markus Talks to Steve Ballmer

Ok, while he didn't mention FoxPro(!), long-time Fox and Visual Studio speaker and publisher, Markus Egger, interviews Steve Ballmer and asks that all important question:

"What's your favorite X-Box Game?"

Actually, the interview covers a number of topics including offshore development and importing of programmers (hmm --- Markus is from Austria but now lives in Houston), the Tablet PC (Markus' favorite toy for the past few years it seems and now with the election networks showing the Tablet PC in a number of key areas), open source, and Visual Studio Team System.

Sure, it's Ballmer - so you should expect some marketing propaganda (I still don't think he gets what's the "next big thing" - seems he should have asked Scoble to talk about it - as he did here - yes, it's important to have things that "just work" but that's a goal, not a technology.)


:: CoDe Magazine ::

Microsoft EULAs and Benchmarks

Ted roche points to an interesting post about the DotNet EULA and
benchmarks.

it wasn't so long ago when Fox software used to dare companies to benchmark
themselves against Foxpro and rushmore...

Protecting yourself against benchmarks in the licence agreement -- do any
other companies do it? I wouldn't be surprised. If you Know for sure,leave
me a comment


Get the Facts on Microsoft Benchmarks
. "Now that Steve
Ballmer and company have given you all the facts you need to compare Windows
and Linux, allow me to add just one little tidbit." Posted at Ed Foster's
Gripelog

Related...
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http://radio.weblogs.com/0117767/2004/10/30.html#a1284 | Comments
tp%3A%2F%2Fradio.weblogs.com%2F0117767%2F2004%2F10%2F30.html%23a1284>

Why MS Doesn't Do All Their Products in Dot Net

Yag does a great job of explaining to those who don't get it why not all MS products are using DotNet as a native framework.

If you read all the comments, you'll see that part of the issue has to deal with the components that have not yet been put into DotNet (Uniscribe, and features for multi-lingual text etc).

Yag's basic premise though is that no one should expect every single MS app to flip over to DotNet overnight - there's a lot of work involved in moving it over and as the DotNet framework matures, more features get added in.

How this will apply to the entire Avalon scenario is up for grabs. It reminds me a little of how DNA has matured into DotNet and also how FoxPro has matured into Europa. The basic MS approach of development frameworks and almost any new technology (at least in my view) is:

Phase 1: Tell Everyone How they Should Be Doing It (VFP example: VFP 3 / Win Example: COM and Windows DNA)
Result: Some people get it, some people don't.

Phase 2: …

Creating, parsing, graphing web hit logfiles or other temporal data

Calvin provides a great example of how to read IIS logs and then graph the results in VFP.

The one comment on the bottom suggests that there is a built-in utility with the IIS 6 Resource Toolkit to parse the log automatically but where's the fun in that?

More seriously, this post, like my previous post about Lisa's Coverage Profiler add-ins, show that while it's very tempting to say "give me a tool and I will use whatever it gives me"; with Visual FoxPro, it's so easy to build your own , quickly and easily.

I do this regularly with Outlook. I see some of the tools that are available on Slipstick and when they don't meet my immediate needs, just write my own in VFP. Fast, easy and it meets my needs.

Calvin's post is also interesting in that it's not using the MS Graph control but rather VFP's Line method to draw the graph.

Creating, parsing, graphing web hit logfiles or other temporal data

Something Amiss at Dell?

First let me say, that I have three Dell machines: a PowerEdge Server, a Dimension and an Inspiron and I have had very little if any problems with them at all. They are great machines and I used to highly recommend them but recently.... I recommended that my daughter purchase a Dell instead of going out and buying one of the nearby clone machines. Sure it will be a little more expensive but it's a good name and you'll get it in about a week. Total time to arrive? Over a month. Dell ordered, canceled and re-ordered, recanceled and then finally re-ordered the machine.  The machine finally came in and everything was good - or was it? On my Dimension (received late last year/early this year), we received PowerDVD and were able to watch home copied DVD's that we had copied onto the local hard drive. One such DVD was of a dance recital that our daughter really enjoyed. Burned it onto a DVD and gave it to her so she could watch it. HER Dimension came with PowerDVD o…

Email Posts Not Going Through

Argh! I just put a few posts into the blog via email only to find that they don't seem to be coming up... I will be posting them manually. I wish Blogger would put this on their status window when problems like this happen.

Visual FoxPro Coverage Profiler AddIns and Subclasses

I was running the VFP Profiler on a project, trying to identify some areas where performance was getting bogged down and decided to do a search to see if anyone had written any add-ins that let me see where each piece of code was being called.

The Profiler is great for seeing what gets called, and how long it takes but it doesn't give you a good view of the ORDER in which things get called.

So I googled it and found this older (1999) article by Lisa Slater Nicholls about building add-ins to the coverage profiler. One of the add-ins gives you a graphical depiction of how the code is running. Hey - these work in all versions of VFP since 6 - that's awesome!

Yet another example of how there are some truly amazing tools and add-ins available for commonly used tools in VFP that everyone should be made aware of.

Visual FoxPro Coverage Profiler AddIns and Subclasses

Something Amiss at Dell?

First let me say, that I have three Dell machines: a PowerEdge Server, a Dimension and an Inspiron and I have had very little if any problems with them at all. They are great machines and I used to highly recommend them but recently....

I recommended that my daughter purchase a Dell instead of going out and buying one of the nearby clone machines. Sure it will be a little more expensive but it's a good name and you'll get it in about a week. Total time to arrive? Over a month. Dell ordered, canceled and re-ordered, recanceled and then finally re-ordered the machine. The machine finally came in and everything was good - or was it?

On my Dimension (received late last year/early this year), we received PowerDVD and were able to watch home copied DVD's that we had copied onto the local hard drive. One such DVD was of a dance recital that our daughter really enjoyed. Burned it onto a DVD and gave it to her so she could watch it. HER Dimension came with PowerDVD only it's …

Having "Heart" in What You Do

My wife, Trish, and I had a great conversation the other night about work and it can be summed up in one word: "heart". If your heart's not in it, then don't expect anyone around you to feel the same or to want something to work. It's not necessarily about loving your job (although that helps) but putting your heart into it. Those who work around you can see it in the way you approach things and will want to contribute. Lose heart and you've got nothing : an empty shell that can essentially be replaced by anything or anyone. As developers, we're lucky to work in an area where inspiration can be seen in so many different products and concepts but in larger companies, it's easy to tell when people have lost heart in what they do. I see it in some developers though - they do their jobs fixing bugs, writing code, etc but fail to get excited about it or contribute a sense of anything except "oh well". The most successful projects are o…

Josh Ledgard: The Issue is What Shouldn't We Share With Customers

Josh makes a note about why the MS Dev Team is sharing information and the concept behind it is a great one. One of the nice things about open source projects is the overall transparency of how the project is going - well, it's possible to have that same transparency in non-open source projects which is precisely what they're doing here.

It's also a concept that I'm reading about in Guy Kawasaki's Art of the Start. When you're a start-up and coming out with a new idea, you need to keep it hush-hush until you're ready to come out with it (in fact, RIM did this with their Blackberry device) - but when you're a larger company and you need people to support you, you need to open it up and share it with as many people as possible to get them behind you.

I wish a few companies I work for would do the same with their dev teams. There's nothing worse than having to speak to customers about what the Development team is doing when getting information from th…

Wired News: When War Games Meet Video Games

The UT originally posted this on their opening page as an "ad" for Linux so it caught my attention.

But really - doesn't this sound like a potential add-on for the SIMS? (I seem to recall that SimWorld was all about running a planet with the possibility of war as well). It cost JFCom $195,000 - I wonder if they contacted Maxis for their expertise on this. That would be the logical thing to do as they have HUGE experience in doing this on the computer.

Wired News: When War Games Meet Video Games

LookOut vs. Google Desktop

For the past few months, I've been using LookOut for Outlook to tame my ever-enlarging Inboxes. It does a phenomenal job and it's free (http://www.lookoutsoft.com). I don't think I could live without it as I have instant access to all my archives. But now, I just installed Google's Desktop Search tool http://desktop.google.com/, a tool that essentially "googlizes" your entire computer: files, emails, everything - is now accessible from a Google Search. They both have effectively done the same job: LookOut has an option to look into My Documents, if you configure it and Google has an option to look at your email. The thing I really like about Google's search is that it automatically groups my emails. So if I do a search for Customer Contract, and there are 5 different email threads spanning 100 emails - they appear as 5 "found" items but note how many emails are on each one. LookOut , in contrast, lists each email which can make it har…
Now here's the same window but with the Trace window selected. Rule to remember: the Options Dialog UI has some "hidden" items to remember.
Here's the default Options Debug window. Note that the Call Stack window is currently selected and options in the right corner below it.

Showing Line Numbers in The Trace Window

Colin Nichols (http://www.spacefold.com/colin/index.html) recently reminded me of a feature that is "hidden" in the Visual FoxPro Options dialog. By default, it's not turned on and it's tricky to get to, obviously designed by an engineer who didn't run it through a few UI options. Go to the Options dialog in Visual FoxPro and click on the Debug window. Everything looks pretty standard there, except did you know that if you click on one of the options in the Specify Window box, the options below it change? (check out the next set of images loaded) In fact, not all the options change: each window has its own font control but the following windows have their own options: Call Stack - Show call stack order. - Show current line indicator (defaults to on) - Show call stack indicator Output - Log debug output. Great to automatically set a file where your debug output goes. Trace - Show Line Numbers - Trace Between Breakpoints Now, many of you (who READ the docum…

Another VFP 9 Cool Feature: MAKETRANSACTABLE()

If you're like me, you may have older Visual FoxPro applications that were upgraded from earlier versions and still use free tables. And why not? Databases certainly offer some benefits but they can be "clunky" to move around. One of the reasons many developers switched to using databases and the DBC files were to support transactions : - that is the ability to start a transaction, update a bunch of files and then if one thing didn't work right, roll it all back to the original source. Well now,  in Visual FoxPro 9 (Europa) , FREE Tables can be made transactable as well with the new MAKETRANSACTABLE() function. Consider the following: USE CUSTOMERS MAKETRANSACTABLE( "CUSTOMERS") BEGIN TRANSACTION DELETE ALL IF MESSAGEBOX("Did you really want to delete all your customers",4) <> 6     ROLLBACK ENDIF END TRANSACTION Note: that each table must be called MAKETRANSACTABLE in order to work. This means a few extra calls when your table is op…

I take it back, Ken --- - Lava flows to surface of Mount St. Helens

Ok, Ken, I take it back - you may have been talking about real earth-shaking explosion for the release of VFP 9. In that case, we're READY!!! The world needs a REAL shake-up in terms of how to deal with desktop and web apps - and that's what Visual FoxPro 9 provides for developers - a great and easy way to work with both Web and Desktop!!!


MSNBC - Lava flows to surface of Mount St. Helens

Scoble Gets Bashed for Asking a valuable Question

Once again proving that the biggest barn in the yard gets the most crap thrown at it, Scoble asks a very basic question "What's your product's philosophy?" and the comments thrown back at him are almost like flame wars on old bulletin boards.

Hey - Scoble's job is as evangelist and he carries it off well. But his blog is his own opinion.

I'm sure asking the philosophy question stumps a lot of product groups. If it's happening at MS, that's frightening because it shows how few of them are still practicing MSF (where's Jim McCarthy when you need him?)

The founding premise of MSF is that when you start a project, you identify a VISION for it. Guess what? That Vision should form the philosophy behind it. It drives everything about the product and makes it very easy to separate what's critical for the product and what's not.

While I'm sure many people will find humour in some "versions" of MS Product philosophies - IE's phi…