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Showing posts from October, 2004

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…

Ipod users are thieves?: Ballmer

Ted notes Ballmer's latest tirade. It's this kind of absolutely stupid comment that makes Microsoft a target.

I have to say - since Bill left the CEO role, I don't think Steve has done a great job of "rallying" the troops - crazy CEO antics aren't enough - they need to be backed up by serious empathy and I don't think he gets it. (which is why you've got bloggers like Scoble and others doing it)

1. DRM needs to get better if it's going to be useful. I still haven't listened to Let It Be...Naked since finding out it was protected against burning onto my computer where I can access it from my Audiotron. Saying they've had it for years is just plain silly. A friend had burned his entire music collection onto his computer using the default options, then his computer died but he wasn't able to replay it because the "copy-protect" option was the default. It's about making it EASIER to enjoy, but harder to steal. Solve that prob…

Download the VFP 9 Focus Issue

Although it is sponsored by MS, great credit goes to CoDe magazine for their VFP 9 Focus issue. They weren't allowed to distribute it at DevCon but you can download it from their web site.

CoDe Magazine Focus

There - you'll find lots of in-depth articles on the new features found in VFP 9, from many of the same people who presented these features at DevCon.

On the same site, you'll also find other Focus issues highlighting Whidbey (Visual Studio), Office 2003 and their first one on VFP 8.0.

So even if you missed DevCon 2004, and you don't subscribe to Code, download the Focus issue and try it out!

Conference Interrupted

Last night was the opening "event" with the trade show in full swing. There have been no reports of "VFP vs. Access" fights yet. <g> In fact, I had a great conversation with Greg, the former owner of Cornerstone Training who now runs up the Blast Thru Learning. Seems the training market is soft for everyone compared to the 90's. I heard some complaints that the keynote went on too long - I didn't find it too long but I did find it was similar to the DevDays type of sessions I used to do for MS in Ottawa. Everyone has some sessions to talk about and yet at the keynote, they show a lot of the demos that the other sessions will actually go through. It might be a good idea in the future to plan that out a bit better. Also, I think some of the attendees ( who had seen the demos before) were hoping for a little more enthusiasm (there's weren't as much oohs and ahhs as there has been in the past and it probably have been punched up a bit -…