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Showing posts from June, 2004

Thirty years ago, computers were quite different

Looks like Calvin has too much time on his hands, again - he blogs about an old school paper in which he predicts "Any computer programmer could just ask the computer to divulge everything that he wants to know. "

What a great post...

Hmmm...when he had time off right after VFP 6 was released, he wrote Intellisense. Right after the VFP 9 beta was released, he came out with this.

Calvin, when's your next holiday?

Thirty years ago, computers were quite different

Tell MS about your pain

In what I'm sure is going to become a fairly popular site, Microsoft has just published the MSDN Product Feedback site.

Have an issue with a dev product? Tell them about it. I will be interested to see how those stats keep up - Right now, bugs closed is higher than open bugs. That's a good sign!

I actually run a similar statistic for some of my own projects - we send it out every morning with an overview of what issues each person has assigned to them.

Transparency is great - as long as the egos don't get involved.

MSDN Product Feedback Home

VFP 9 SQL and Industry Standards (by John Koziol)

John Koziol is calling on the FoxPro community to bang on the new SQL features in the Visual FoxPro 9 beta.

I posted a few of those changes yesterday and there are more to come.

If you've got a lot of tables, try it out.

John - one thing that was commented by Frank Camp was that with the removal of all these limitations, the amount of code that can be on a single line is going to be an issue. The max length is still 8192 characters and if you have to specify the individual fields, it's going to be an issue. I don't usually post ERs on the blog but the one thing I would hate to see in code is:

lc = "SELECT " + lcFlds + " from " +lcFrom + "....."
&lc

He also singled out Aleksey Tsingauz and David Anderson for their efforts on this.

It's great to learn more about who's making up the "handful of earnest" guys - instead of just the usual suspects we always hear about. Keep it up John!

VFP 9 SQL and Industry Standards (by …

50% Discount at Hentzenwerke

Great news for those who like the hard feel of paper!

Hentzenwerke now ships to other countries other than just the US.

I know it may seem a long time, but it's a great opportunity!
To encourage readers to take advantage of this new capability, they're offering a 50% discount on all purchases made through our online order form through midnight, July 5 (Milwaukee time).

Don't forget to enter the SEAS626 Promotion Code - if you do, you're out of luck on getting the discount!


Hentzenwerke Now Ships to Non-US countries

VFP 9: Major SQL SELECT Enhancements

Visual FoxPro 9 includes several SQL improvements especially on the SELECT side of things. It's got neat features that already were available in SQL Server like CAST and VarChar data types but some of the fun are on the limitations that have been removed. In VFP 8 and earlier, you could only do 9 joins in a SELECT statement and only with a maximum of 30 tables. With VFP 9, you're unlimited. You can reference more than 30 tables or aliases in a single SELECT statement and join them as much as you want. Smaller applications may not need this but as you come across more and more normalized databases, removing this limitation is huge. But what's more is the other limitations that have been removed from the SQL - SELECT statement. - unlimited UNION statements - you can specify more than 24 items in an IN statement. SELECT * FROM customers where state in ("NC","AL",etc, etc). In previous versions, you had a maximum of 24. Even though this approach …

The new golden age of documentaries - NOT

(Note: this is NOT about development)

Comment from MSNBC:
"We’re living in a golden age of documentary filmmaking.
Again, if you love or hate Moore, put it aside for a moment and realize that while he may be the loudest and most opportunistic of his ilk, a wave of quality documentaries have hit theaters in his wake."

Ok - I will readily admit that documentaries are always going to be subjective because of who comes up with them. BUT the fact that someone is able to make a movie that, withstanding the valid facts in the movie, is essentially a "diatribe" (from the Ebert Review) against another person or company does not deserve the word "Quality".

The writer makes note of "SuperSize Me" , a documentary where a guy basically ate himself sick when other people did exactly what he did but actually lived a normal life and did not get sick. That's quality? No - that's biased reporting, the same kind of junk that got Dateline in serious trouble…

Better Flight Tracking than the Airlines themselves

If you've ever wanted to track a plane, check out www.flightview.com I had to track a flight yesterday from Albany to Ottawa - Continental Flight 8812 was supposed to leave at 5:10 and arrive at 6:15. According to Continental's web site, everything was on schedule for a take-off at 5:10 pm (this was at 5:39!) At 5:45 they finally updated their system to say "ok - it's taken off but it will still get into Ottawa at 6:15." (ya, right!) That's when I checked out FlightView. This web site tracks the aircraft from the moment it lifts off the ground via GPS or Satellite. It can tell you how high the plane is, when it actually took off and it even shows you a picture of where the plane is (just like on International flights). What's best is it also tells you when IT independently estimates the flight will arrive - which is far more accurate than the airline themselves who base it on what they are told. For this flight, it originally said Arrival at 6…

Visual FoxPro, SQL, Linux and Windows - What the first LinuxOnly store reminds me of...

(ok - so I couldn't get a good title for this post)

Interesting article from Linspire about Linux trying to break into the big-box chain support for Microsoft and Windows.

It sounded really good until you see the picture of the place. I'm sure it's a nice place but it would have been better to get a bit nicer picture. I was expecting to see the comparison between a Microsoft aisle and a Linux aisle. Anyways...

The store is here: Sub300 and I'm sure it will do very well.

I also read an interesting post in the Wiki about comparing Visual FoxPro and the other MS databases. Of course, Microsoft doesn't make money on Visual FoxPro applications like it does on SQL Server (that's what happens with a royalty free runtime) but I draw the comparison (and it's a very big stretch of a comparison) to Linux/Windows and their costs. The Visual FoxPro community has always been extremely vocal (so much to the point that it's great to see that members of that community…

Why click n drag IT may elude us

David Berlind talks about the promised land of web-services but his actual article is kind of stuck with VBA and finding databases, etc.

It may be a while for true drag/drop web-services become available but he does a real disservice to try and drum up his point this way and then not really talk about it.

The fact is that web-services and XML still have some way to go - but that's just as much a problem with the web-service supplier as it is the understanding of the IT department.

I would be interested in hearing user's experiences with BizTalk - which was supposed to be the holy grail and how it has turned out in practice.


Why click n drag IT may elude us - TechUpdate - ZDNet

Live and learn: Ron Zambonini

If you've never heard of this guy, maybe you've heard of his company - Cognos. Great article!

Anyways, this Live and Learn article piece was really quite fun. Among it, the best quote for major businesses:

[Somebody once asked me, "What happens if you get people to make the decision and it's wrong and you lose several million dollars in a month?" Well, the first thing I do is say "shhhhhhit." But it's important to let people make mistakes.]

Canadian Business Magazine: Live and learn: Ron Zambonini

The Virus Wars - BlueOwl Speaks

"I do it for the pleasure of creating something, seeing that it works, and making something that could really survive, spread, and hold its own in the wild. A virus is something that lives. In real life you can't make a kind of animal. You can in the computer. It's like playing God."

Kind of a frightening comment from a 16-year-old who builds viruses for fun!

sounds like some company should be trying to hire this kid...

The Virus Wars

Only 3% of Office Users Using Office 2003?

Ted wanted to know where Jeff Riefman got his facts from on his complaints about Office, etc.

Here's the quote right from Ballmer's mouth, in response to a question about long vs. small steps (back on April 7, 2004).

No. 2, it is not like Office releases, in any sense, have slowed down. We did Office 2000; we did Office 2003; we are working away on the next release. Most of our customers do not use Office 2003 yet. It has been in the market, what, four or five months--something like that--and maybe 1, 2, 3 percent of the installed base use Office 2003 so far. I think we have got plenty of headroom before we need another product to bring huge benefit to a lot of people. "

Read the entire article:
here

By the way, Jeff's original comments were in the Seattle Weekly

Private rocket ship breaks space barrier

Now is when the space race will get interesting - there's no denying that the military initiative to get us initially into space is a big reason for a lot of the technology we have today. But now that we have private businesses pushing the boundaries, I think the entire space exploration business may get a lot bigger in less time.

MSNBC - Private rocket ship breaks space barrier

Company claims patent for download apps - sheesh is right

This is just nuts. If they actually had the patents, then maybe they should have done something about it, say, 25 years ago when people first started doing this.

I built a tool way back called EFDS (Electronic File Distribution System) that sent application updates via a phone line - am I now infringing a company that I had never even heard of before?

Once again, first, "we kill all the lawyers..."

Company claims patent for download apps - News - ZDNet

Microsoft Is a Great/Terrible Enemy

Well - the basic point is true "Microsoft is a juggernaut, a terrible enemy to have.", quoted by Mozilla's Scott Collins.

But not for the reasons noted in the article, I prefer to think about how Guy Kawasaki looked at Microsoft (paraphrased):

Microsoft has the ability to turn on a dime. They missed the first Internet revolution - Gates changed the entire company to be internet-focused in less time than it took to release a new product.

Yes, Microsoft is an elephant - but it's an elephant that can turn faster than most mice and that is Microsoft's competitive advantage.

In truth, people would likely prefer IBM or some larger monolith as an enemy - a company that basically takes time to print out blank pages (intentionally left blank) instead of one who basically says "our goal is to beat the market out of whoever we compete with".

Now that's the "theory" of MS competitiveness - the reality of course gets you dealing with lawyers, licens…

:: CoDe Magazine :: The VS 2005 Team System

In the new edition of Code, Markus talks about the new Visual Studio 2005 Team system. THis sounds really cool, especially with the features for management and Q/A.

It sounds really ambitious so in all likelihood, the final output may be underwhelming and may need new features - but hey, as Markus points out, it will allow for third-party add-ons. Now where's that tech preview download? You can also find out more from the actual MSDN web site where they talk about the details on the features and how they apply to each person (http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/teamsystem/)

:: CoDe Magazine ::
Here's another view of 2 docked windows - in this case, I docked the second window on the top of the first one and the tabs automatically appear at the bottom of the screen.

VFP 9 Cool Feature: Dockable Windows

As shown in the image below, the new dockable windows feature in Visual FoxPro can be a lot of fun. Forms now have a Dockable Property with the following values: 0 - Docking not permitted 1 - Supports Docking and Is Dockable 2 - Supports Docking but is NOT dockable Huh? What does value 2 mean? It means that while the form will look like a dockable window, it cannot be docked. Users can make it dockable by right-mouse clicking on the title bar and choosing Dockable. They can also do this by selecting Dockable from the Window menu. What does a dockable window look like? Essentially, it uses the half-height title bar property in VFP. Having a dockable window also means your resize event better be smart. When a form is docked with another form, the resize method for BOTH forms is called. As well, if you dock two dockable forms at the top of the screen, the form that contains both docked forms now becomes a tabbed dialog with the tabs at the BOTTOM of the screen (i'll post a…
Visual FoxPro 9 now lets you create dockable windows. This is a great feature but it can get you into some interesting situations like this one -> I "docked" my property window inside my toolbox! Yowsers!!!

Calvin Hsia's WebLog

Calvin's got a blog now!

This should be fun - Calvin is one of the dev leads for the Visual FoxPro team (according to Ken, he wrote VFP's Intellisense while on vacation one year). When you want to know how things work, Calvin's the one to talk to. He's got a great take on both the internals and externals of VFP. Looking forward to reading more...

The burning question is: where's the picture of Wendy?

Calvin_Hsia's WebLog

VFP 9 Cool Feature #1: Custom Property Editors

We've always been able to create our own properties in Visual FoxPro but now with VFP 9, there are two really cool features that greatly enhance developer's productivity. 1. You can now specify default values when you create a new property. I know this sounds small, but this is a HUGE benefit when building new classes. 2. You can now specify your own method for editing properties. This is done with the new MemberData Editor found under the Form or Class menu. With the MemberData Editor, highlight a property (including base properties such as Caption, Name) and check the option "Has Member Data". The Script box will now become enabled. Write VFP code in here that will be used whenever the user double-clicks the function. For example, if you wanted to use an INPUT BOX simply put RETURN INPUTBOX("Enter your property value here") Now, whenever you double-click that property in the Property sheet, up pops the InputBox running from your script. This ha…

This Week's Top 10 Spammers

Now this is useful ! Why aren't we going after these companies?

Having their name listed here should be enough to have other ISPs, IT departments and other techies blacklist their names for good.

I'm glad this is now being published. But do your part - report all Spam back to your ISP - once they get tired of hearing from you - they should do something about it!

This Week's Top 10 Spammers

Blackout hits major Web sites - News - ZDNet

Ouch! That can't be good. What good is the Internet when you can't get to the most needed sites?

Akamai is the source of the problem apparently - which manages the domain name translation (from www.microsoft.com into 64.xxx.xxx.xxx).

The report says it's been resolved but for how long? Is this all it will take to bring down the rest of the Net? Methinks we need a bit better backup.


Blackout hits major Web sites - News - ZDNet

Visual FoxPro 9: An Assortment of Goodies

Since the Visual FoxPro 9 Beta is available to anyone who wants to download it, I thought it would be useful to post some useful features of the new version that might go otherwise un-noticed. There are TONS of new features so this series of posts may have a tendency to get very long but hey - that's why RSS exists - so you can easily find them. Enjoy.

Model CEOs- Who do you trust?

Interesting article on the worst CEOs around.

I was surprised by the list but then when you consider the current stock prices, I guess not.

Ellison is no big surprise. The one thing that people who go up against Microsoft really need to consider is that the ones who do it successfully don't make broad claims or try to "beat them legally". They do it with product.

Oracle has a great enterprise database but the tools are terrible (why they can't build a good GUI IDE is beyond me). But what makes it worse is that Ellison makes Scott McNealy (of Sun) look like a boy scout. He's arrogant to the point of being rude whenever he talks about his competition and with what he is trying with PeopleSoft, he's obviously lost his original belief in true capitalistic values.

Let the MARKET decide. Microsoft isn't without fault in a lot of its licensing agreements. Do I trust Microsoft? Maybe the question should be Do I trust Microsoft's lawyers in writing an agreem…

Small Company Syndrome: Program Manager or Product Manager?

I just had an interesting conversation with someone who was recently promoted in a smaller company to being "Product Manager". A lot of these titles get huge publicity because of how familiar terms have become in the software industry. While it might be more useful not to get hung up on a title and just concentrate on doing what you need to do - it does help to identify what your role should be if you aren't sure. Of course, in really small companies, those roles are all combined with the role of chief cook, bottle washer, janitor, tester and admin assistants but it would be interesting to note if these definitions are still valid for most software companies. According to some training literature (gleaned from MS Secrets) , the areas of responsibility for a product manager are - Oversee a business - Recognize and pursue marketing opportunities - Represent the customer in product development - Take responsibility for trade-offs between functionality and ship …

Improve visual foxpro or else...

For those who thought Ms was not listening to the foxpro community, John koziol
really makes the case.

Not everything will get in but all of the actual input from the
community is seen- not just by the fox team but also those who are
seeing how popular foxpro really is. Great post, john!

Image Capture with SnagIt in VFP - Rick Strahl's WebLog

Rick posts a useful code snippet for capturing images with SnagIt - I don't know why I'm still using HTML Workshop Image Capture. I'm almost thinking "site license for snag-it" and distribute it with an application.

Think how useful it would be for trapping errors and the like.

Thanks Rick!
Image Capture with SnagIt in VFP - Rick Strahl's WebLog

Ayn Rand Institute Student Essay Contests and Materials

I don't know how many teachers actually go looking for valuable lesson plans but I find the fact that very few schools even suggest Ayn Rand anymore is a terrible loss for the development of students.

Perhaps it's simply the disregard for an older generation of ideas (I recall someone telling me ten years ago "I can't believe people still read Ayn Rand") but in today's society, the lessons young people can learn from Anthem, the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are far too valuable to be lost.


Ayn Rand Institute Student Essay Contests

Using Visual FoxPro to manipulate Outlook Inbox messages

One of the Outlook Blogs made a note of a tool called QuickMailSort,
something that was supposed to organize all your emails by the Company for
each contact.

I downloaded and tried it out. Well - it didn't quite do what it said it
would do so I tossed it but said "maybe I should do it myself"

The following piece of code will run through your inbox folder and create
sub-folders for every company name in the contact file and then move the
messages in there. I use company name so that all messages from different
people at a single company can go in there. My first pass took about 15
seconds and sorted through about 1000 messages. I'm happy.

Here's the code.

** Create a link to Outlook and folders

** Note - I'm going directly against Folder names here because I have about
10 different PSTs in my Outlook configuration

lo = CREATEOBJECT("outlook.application")
loSpace = lo.GetNameSpace("MAPI")
loContacts = loSpace.Folders("Mailbox").Folders("Conta…

Outlook 2003 - Unread Mail folder reduxe

Ok - I bit the bullet and marked all 32,000 unread messages in my Outlook as read just so I could see if using the Unread Mail folder would help me keep on top of my blogs. Guess what? It did! Outlook still takes too long figuring stuff out but I like having my Auto-search for Unread mail right there.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Interesting idea posted by Eric. I especially like the concept of Duplicate products, since this is similar to things that are happening in my industry (what if you have two products that are virtually identical - who will win the marketing war?)

Will it be the first company to market with new ideas?
Or the company who tries to understand what their customers want and builds on it?

In short, will it be an "Apple" approach (who tries to come out a great product from day 1) or an MS approach (where "quality is job 1.1")?

That wasn't meant to be a mean snip at MS. It came from Guy Kawasaki in one of his great books - the point he made at that time was that Microsoft is amazingly great at churning, taking a concept and really making it better and better with each subsequent version. As opposed to others who try to put all their eggs into one basket with their initial version.

Looking forward to the posts, Eric.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Blogger vs. Blogger Pro

I was just told by Garret (countering my post about Scoble saying that Blogger didn't support RSS) "Technically, BloggerPro is not currently available -- the features were grandfathered in. You can't get RSS unless you were a BloggerPro subscriber before they removed the option. " This is silly. Blogger should immediately upgrade everyone to BloggerPro and support both RSS and Atom. I could appreciate it if Blogger never had RSS support but not supporting it when it's right there is just playing politics and we've got enough silly people doing that.

I want it now

great post noted
by scoble.. Yesterday i ordered stuff from bbccanada. When i didn't get
notification within 60 seconds in my email,i got worried- Ended up
taking ten minutes.

Reminds me of another gripe-outlook 2003 takes way too long organizing
large mailboxes. With newsgator do i really need to Know I have 77,652
unread posts, organized by site?

Outlooks really needs to become blog aware is its automatic view
creation.

FoxBlog - VFP Revolutions

Craig - excellent post and I agree with many of your statements noted here. Your comparison between MS and GM is bang on!

Part of the reality is that what they are asking is really tough to do, these days. 10 years ago, databases were new and I recall a User Group meeting where Borland, MS, Fox (just bought by MS), Alpha 5 all came out to show how powerful their database solutions where - the turnout : over 250 at a LOCAL user group meeting.

Nowadays, it's tough even getting 200 people to attend a great conference.

As I noted in my earlier email, they want Visual FoxPro to be more web aware, etc but they don't include the specifics. While I'm sure there are a lot of little ERs here and there, VFP is a pretty good web tool. The other reality is that many companies don't need web-based ERs, they want DESKTOP-based ERs.

Once again, Crag - excellent post - just wish I had caught it on the 1st when it first came out.

FoxBlog

FoxBlog: DevEssentials Comments

Whoops craig - just noticed
Comments and your archive don't appear to be working on your site...hate to post it here but I thought you might read it here...

FYI - Blogger has a problem posting comments and archiving via FTP - I think the new version may clean it up but you need to check your settings on it.

FoxBlog

FoxBlog : DevEssentials

Thanks Craig for blogging from DevEssentials. Wish I could have been there.

Yes, there are a TON of features in VFP 9 and I think it will take quite some time for everyone to get a good handle on it. I remember having a conversation with a member of the FoxTeam about the new reporting stuff. It's a lot like VFP 3.0 when all of a sudden there's this new way of doing things and everyone was just learning the ropes.

I'm REALLY excited about it - almost as much as some of the other hidden stuff (like MemberEditors)


FoxBlog

SharePoint Needs RSS

Scoble makes a brief point on pushing Kunal to support SharePoint.

Hey - SharePoint is going to go the way of the Dodo unless it STARTS to support RSS. Case in point: at MTI, we're using sharepoint to share valuable information about the company to all employees - the downside? I HATE having to log in to read this stuff. It was so much easier when I was simply blogging it.

Yes, I know I can write my own RSS feed (and I am writing one up) - but MS needs to recognize this is a major stumbling block on its SharePoint services in light of the popularity of RSS.

Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

Ted's Article on Publishing news via xml

I tried to find a direct link to the article but instead had to settle for the past issues index. (Note to Pinnacle: your search isn't working)

Ted writes a great article on how to publish RSS/XML with VFP in the May issue of FoxTalk.(plus he mentions this Blog so yeah Ted!)

Visual FoxPro is a great tool for this because of its exception handling of text and data. What other types of application information could you post via RSS? The possibilities are out there...

Consider an application suite that publishes update notices via RSS and an application reader that reads in the RSS and lets the user choose what they are using.

This isn't a new concept but using RSS, application providers could finally have a single standard from which to work with.

Great article and very useful.

View Past Issues

How I Make Money On Free Software by Ted Roche

I figured Ted's comment may have been a little directed at me , from my post a while back about supporting shareware and commercial authors.

He's makes a good point: "I'm in the business of consulting, not value-added resale. " But it doesn't answer the question for those who are in the "get rich or die trying" scheme (you know who you are).

The subscription model is the one I always think about when pondering "free software". We do it at MTI (http://www.mtihorizon.com) with our e-services - give away the tool but charge per transaction. It seems to work but it takes a long time for the "bricks+mortar" type businesses to move to that approach. They are used to selling a product, as opposed to a service.

As far as I'm concerned, it's the one that makes good sense for businesses to consider. All the big box stores (costco) offer "clubs" which are in effect annual subscription services, in exchange for some benefi…

Scoble and Blogger - a match made in confusion

Scoble once again states that Blogger doesn't do RSS.

Robert - sorry, wrong. Blogger does have RSS (granted it says it's a BloggerPro feature but since BloggerPro is available for free, I don't know why that's a big issue)

So in fact, Blogger supports both Atom and RSS. Yeah, it promotes Atom - heck, it's all XML to me...

Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

Messenger vs. MessengerPlus

I recently installed Messenger Plus (http://www.msgplus.net/)  to enhance my MSN Messenger experience, thinking I would simply remove it after I found it annoying. Guess not. Forget out about all the other "gimmicky" features - logging is what's critical. Found out that MSN Messenger's logging only appears to work when you have an interactive conversation with someone. I had a friend (Chick Bornheim) message me something while I was away from my laptop. When I came back, I hit Escape and lost what he had written. Tried to pull it back with MSN Messenger's History - not there. So instead I went to Messenger Plus's activity logs - there it was waiting for me to find it. Goes to show how communication content has changed for so many people. My wife now regularly looks for emails from friends in England who used to write letters - I look for either new blog posts or instant messages for critical new news - going through my inbox has become so difficu…

Useful tidbit on supporting right-clicks

On many keyboards today, they all have a shortcut key for the right-click menu. This doesn't automatically fire the Right-click menu option (although most people think it should) The keycode is 93. So if you want to support it, just put the following into the KeyDown or Keypress method: IF keycode = 93     THIS.RightClick() ENDIF Be warned though - you can't use the traditional MROW() and MCOL() because the mouse cursor may not be where the focus really is. You may want to try passing a secondary parameter to identify the true starting row and column. Method RightClick LPARAMETERS tlKey IF NOT tlKey     DEFINE POPUP SHORTCUT SHORTCUT FROM MROW(), MCOL() ELSE ** Figure out where you are newx = ROW() newy = COL()     DEFINE POPUP SHORTCUT SHORTCUT FROM newx,newy ENDIF

Outlook 2003 Gripes

Why do companies insist on changing hotkeys? For years, I've been using F5 to tell Outlook to send and retrieve email - why ? You hit F5 to refresh and refreshing my inbox would be like sending and receiving mail. But not in Outlook 2003 - now you use F9. I wouldn't mind it so much except F5 doesn't do anything anymore. Why not keep it there for backward compatibility. Argh!!!