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Showing posts from July, 2005

The SPS Weblog - Visual FoxPro Community Action

Found this from Kevin - and definitely agree with Craig's call - while much of it is fairly general (get a blog, participate in the Sedna ER list), the two best points he makes:

- creating Visual FoxPro components for Visual FoxPro has a direct impact on the IDE and increases Visual FoxPro's overall usefulness.

- Remember, the @Say is dead and there's no excuse for creating yet another dated looking switch-board application running on spaghetti code that accesses a horribly denormalized database.

I'm actually getting ready to move a VFP 8 app into VFP 9 and am looking forward to the visual improvements to be made.

The SPS Weblog - Visual FoxPro Community Action

Visionpace: .NET does Data? Not like the Fox!

Drew Speedie puts in his two cents on the Anders Hejlsberg interview.

So it brings me back to the question I asked in this post - and no, I don't think MS will do this because they obviously want to encourage immediate movement to the new platform (VS 2005, not the one after that) - ok - I'll start a Wiki topic and see what happens there
Visionpace: .NET does Data? Not like the Fox!

The Long Tail: Fortune 500 vs Fortune 500,000

One of my readers, Tom Bellmer, pointed me to this recent posting, commenting on how the next set of successful software will deal with the thousands of smaller businesses, likely moreso than the big Fortune 500 where many companies, including Microsoft, spend their focus.

One of my favorite lines: "They need apps that can’t be categorized. They need apps that break the rules that no longer apply."

I'm a bit in between on this - as an independent developer, I'm always looking for the one job that is going to bring in lots of money - but realistically, I'm very happy dealing with the smaller pieces that go around. Even in Fortune 500 and government departments, many of the actual workers (ie. non IT people) need these innovative solutions.

In the July 23rd Techpodcast roundup, at least two of the participants worked for either large companies or Fortune 500, and they were lamenting how the applications they saw (by larger companies) were terrible both in terms of in…

DotNet vs. FoxPro for Features

One of my clients is in an interesting situation where they are looking to move their main development platform to DotNet but in doing so, they are having to look at the key feature set of their current FoxPro application. DotNet advocates are actually pushing back from doing the same kind of things in the new version that are currently in the FoxPro application (not many IT people like the idea of allowing users to write dynamic code that can be compiled on the fly).

I was hoping to find a place on the Wiki where it compared feature for feature between tools like Visual Studio and VFP.

Anyone know of one? Since they are both MS tools, it's likely going to be hard to find one. The VFP Conversion site has a variety of resources but many of the valuable ones are links to Advisor articles. There should be some matrix somewhere.

The link I did find was this one comparing how much code it took to write a Wiki in C# and found Bob Archer's comment to be all to true.
"Many tim…

Ken Levy posts about two new Visual FoxPro 9.0 case studies

Both of these look really cool : a crime system and a resource manager.

Is your FoxPro application ready for a case study?

A lot of times you may feel a little unsure about offering it up. I know our Horizon trucking software, which is still running under VFP 8.0, has a lot of very cool features but how much of it is specific to a version of VFP? Possibly very little (although as soon as they move it to 9.0, I'm looking forward to the Auto-Complete feature being added)

But you can see by reading the case studies here, it's often about what challenge the solution is solving, as opposed to which cool features you're using.

You may think there are relatively few case studies on the MS web site but there are lots of people out there using FoxPro. As noted on Ken's site, the Universal Thread had some great success stories and the Wiki has this page that highlights Who Uses VFP.

Ken Levy's Blog : Two new Visual FoxPro 9.0 case studies on microsoft.com

Microsoft's Earth deletes Apple HQ

Update: Sheesh I was late on this as it was originally noted around much earlier but I only found it when going through my newsgator updates.

Yes - it's likely due to older sat photos but doesn't that mean the date the photo was taken should be shown on both mapping software.

Wonder if anyone has checked out the Sun headquarters? At least that place looks like it's there on both Google and MSN.

Microsoft's Earth deletes Apple HQ | The Register

RSS 2.0 and Visual FoxPro

Saw this on the Wiki from Alex Feldstein -
Craig Boyd posted a VFP routine for converting an RSS feed into a DBF file.

Why might you want to do this?

Maybe you want to build your own news aggregator or offer automatic updates into your application. If you publish your "updates" as an RSS feed, then you can manage it a little easier with a table.

Or maybe you can start posting updates directly on your web site that do all kinds of updates. One of our Horizon applications, for example, allows users to put dynamic code for business rule validation. I've been asking the development team to find a way to have updates to the built-in business rules automatically download from a web site. Using RSS would be the ideal way to accomplish this.

Now some of you might say, why not simply do it as a separate XML web server - the value of the RSS approach is that the content can be updated using a simple BLOG post (something every support person or end user can figure out) and then …

TechPodcasts Roundtable TPRU-2005-07-023

We had an interesting discussion during the RoundTable about what needs to be done to see RSS better integrated and what makes a good web application. While we're waiting for the next big OS that changes the way we all work (maybe Google should be making an OS (?!), it certainly seems to be the case that the major companies (not just MS or Apple, but also PeopleSoft, Oracle, etc) need to start better supporting RSS or at least thinking of how to use it better.

One interesting site we briefly discussed was Structuredblogging.org which talking about blogging when in fact, I think it really should be talking about structured RSS, along the same lines that Microsoft is for Windows Vista.
The site offers a WordPress plug in that supports different views for different types of posts.


www.techpodcasts.com - TechPodcasts Roundtable TPRU-2005-07-023

Micro Persuasion: MSN Virtual Earth and Media Embargoes

Steve Rubel notes MSN Virtual Earth a day before the official release (fresh from Scoble).

A google maps killer?
Ummm---maybe but maybe not.

I know MS is fairly US-centric but the fact that the satellite maps for Canada are only at 20 miles above and can't zoom in further is concerning.

The zoom-ins around the world aren't much better - I could get to 500 m of Northern England in Google maps but only

Running under Internet Explorer (instead of Firefox - should have known better) - is a lot better. I can zero right into Las Vegas (150 yards) but still can't do around the world right. (max 15 miles in Northern England)

That said - The "Locate Me" feature rocks! So my question is: when can I say "I want to blog about this particular location"?

So it's getting there - but is it a Google Map killer? Not yet.

Micro Persuasion: MSN Virtual Earth and Media Embargoes

What I Want From NewsGator

You know - I was going to simply email the support site but if their support email line is anything like mine - it gets overloaded with SPAM and people may not have a chance to read it for days. So I figured I would post it instead - maybe there's a solution already around (Chris Pirillo pointed me to FetchLinks before he switched over to full text RSS)

Anyways, I'm really getting into the Feedstation beta, which automatically downloads items from Newsgator and then syncs them with Windows Media player - which is awesome.

While I still use iPodder for my downloads, I haven't synced them with my Pocket PC for about 3 weeks since I've been using Feedstation. (I'll bet that's making some interesting stats for some one). The place where I'm finding most of the interesting shows is Dave's list.

The problem is that I have about 243 feeds (and a bunch more that I want to add) so I try to organize them into folders via Newsgator Online (and then it syncs it with …

Microsoft dubs new software ‘Windows Vista’

Windows Vista - "a splendid view from a high position" (from a dictionary definition)

Well - since the next beta is due Aug 3rd, I better find a machine that I can see what that view will look like.

Doesn't sound like it's being well received by the blogging community- see here for technorati's results
Microsoft dubs new software ‘Windows Vista’ - Tech News & Reviews - MSNBC.com

Techpodcast Announcement coming soon

In the next day or two, TechPodcasts.com (of which the FoxShow is a member) is going to make the first announcement of its kind in podcasting history.

If you haven't checked out some of the TechPodcasts shows, you might want to - it covers virtually all areas of technology from general news to development to career to gadgets and gaming. They have a live stream here.

www.techpodcasts.com

David Stevenson's Talking Fox: Writing for free vs. writing for publications

David, I didn't think it was so much an advertisement for FoxTalk but I am glad to hear about the new online only subscription.

Myself - I get it three ways -
a) I talk about a product that I'll be covering in FoxPro Advisor on the FoxShow podcast
b) I typically do a screencast about it (or did one recently) as well as blog about it
c) the final article goes into FoxPro Advisor

The difference?

1. The article usually covers a lot more of "how to do" stuff. Much in the same way a book might cover the details, a posting that refers to content in a book only covers the basics.

2. The screen cast is, perhaps, the most ideal way of viewing it because it shows the ease of use.

3. The podcast works because it usually happens that week, the week before the article is sent off.

That said, I also have my own Articles and Writings page. I don't put ALL of my articles on there (as many are fairly time sensitive) but I do recall a Devcon 2001 (?) meeting with Susana, Tamar, P…

Alex - Winzip bought by VC Firm

Alex Feldstein notes that Winzip has been bought by the VC firm Vector Capital.

(FYI : WinZip compresses files using the same compression techniques as the old DOS program PKZIP. WinZip was so successful in saturating the market place, I don't think many people even considered looking at PkZip/Windows when it came out. It integrates amazingly well with the Windows environment.)

While I tend to disagree that this new company (VC) has "turned around" Corel - I do hope that NicoMak makes some good $$ off of this.

And I agree that it would have been nice to see everyone respect the honor system for products like this- I just recently bought the Outlook Add-on because it has made sending emails with attachments so much easier.

I imagine VC will take it out of the shareware model - but who knows - it will be interesting to see what happens.


Alex Feldstein - Powered By Bloglines

The Father of C# on the Past, Present and Future of Programming

Noted from a few on the ProFox link - Anders Hejlsberg actually discusses how FoxPro's approach to data may (or may not) be used in Orcas or future versions.

They obviously are trying to make the next version a lot better for data - they even have the C# team sitting next to the FoxPro team. Wonder if the VB team is on the other side?

The Father of C# on the Past, Present and Future of Programming

Why Aren't You Using RSS?

Steve Rubel comments how " No participant understood the mechanisms associated with RSS/subscribing to a blog" - this isn't new either.

Steve Black noted to me a while back that while Canadians are fairly heavy wiki-contributors, they are on the low end of RSS usage.

Why is that? Are users not aware that the Wiki has great RSS support.

Do you want just a brief listing?
Subscribe to this

Want the full details?
Here you go

This page actually gives you the full details of the implementation because you can control it for individual name spaces as well.

Maybe it's because not every one has a built-in news aggregator on their OS. I know that MS is doing this with Longhorn but the word has to get out more and more.

Using Firefox? It's built right into the browser. When you get to a web site, right-click on the orange link in the bottom right hand corner and you're subscribed.

Using IE? Consider OnFolio.

Want something to go everywhere with you? Use NewsGator or Blog…

Windows Media Player Podcasting Plug-Ins

Chris Lanier has a supposed list of podcasting plugins for WMP - the problem is that none of these are actually PLUG-INS for WMP. Sorry Scoble.

The best one I've seen so far to boot is Feedstation from Newsgator - why? I go to NewsGator online, find a podcast, hit Add to My Podcasts. Feedstation picks these up , downloads them, and then using Windows Media Player 10, automatically creates a Playlist and syncs them with my Creative Labs Muxo player.

It used to be: go to iPodder download folder, copy and paste onto My pocket PC (very time-consuming). Microsoft - improve Sync and Go to support MP3 and then we'll talk.

But with Feedstation, it becomes two steps:
1. Mark a podcast I want. (Feedstation does the rest)
2. Autosync.

Must better than the alternatives.
Windows Media Player Podcasting Plug-Ins

VB as a dynamic language

Beth points to this article
VB as a dynamic language which hints at good things to come post Visual Studio 2005. Strong typing vs. loose typing is always one of those "language war" type of scenarios and for that reason, I do like VB and Java. But the post goes on to talk about how MS will be integrating data into the language more "than ever before".

Which makes me stop and think "so why should a new developer go about learning to do things the HARD way in VS 2005?" Why shouldn't they wait?

It's a difficult decision. Some say "well because then you learn where you're coming from" and there is a certain attractiveness to that. Knowing how to lay bricks would also come in handy if I couldn't find someone to build my own house but part of the value of these development tools is that it's SUPPOSED to make it easier. Just as knowing how to ride a horse might be valuable if you ever had to do it, you typically don't need to …

Dare - Microsoft and Innovation: Always Ahead of It's Time or Bad Marketer?

Dare defends Microsoft's ability to innovate in an excellent post that describes three big recent innovations. I've noted the similarities in the past so I have to say "Verdict? Bad Marketing"

Exhibit A - XML and RSS (MS introduced CDF and ActiveDesktop back in the 90s - I did presentations on these for DevDays)

Exhibit B - AJAX (MS and DHTML and XMLHTTP)

Exhibit C - Web APIs (ok - this is pushing it a little far, I think but certainly MS has done its fair share of promoting Web APIs)

So why do MS' initiatives fail? Maybe because they fail to take hold as "world wide initiatives" and simply feel like "MS ideas". I always thought Hailstorm was a great idea - but the JOD obviously felt otherwise.

So I wonder - will XUL win over XAML? or are the concepts found in these two areas simply bound to come up again in 5 years as the "brainchild" of yet another start-up?

It's an interesting argument.

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - Micro…

(cc) Publish & be Damned!!

Now I wonder why there isn't more of a push for these in the FoxPro world - here, you can design, publish and sell your own books.

I say this not trying to create competition among the FoxPro publishers (of whom there are very few) but rather to the segment of the developer community who believe they can write their own book or compile their own articles into such a book.

Speaking of self-publishing, Whil, where did that "Aliens will never forgive us for disco" book go?

(cc) Publish & be Damned!!

Visual FoxPro 9 for Developers by Michael Cummings (Book) in Books > Computer Science & Technology > Applications & Software > Database Software

Noted from Drew, there's a new VFP 9 book available.

And here I thought the cover just meant the serenity that one would find when using FoxPro - like an OASIS in the desert.

Visual FoxPro 9 for Developers by Michael Cummings (Book) in Books > Computer Science & Technology > Applications & Software > Database Software

Ted Roche - Building SourceSafe Activity Reports using VFP

Ted hasn't updated this yet but his code for generating weekly activity reports from Visual SourceSafe is going to help me out plenty.

We had to make some adjustments for databases that are not stored in the root directory (mine are stored in another folder). As a result, the batch file looks something like this:

SET SSDIR = C:\my documents\sourcesafe
SET vssexedir = "C:\program files\microsoft visual studio\vss\win32\ss"
%VSSEXEDIR% history $/ -R -vd07/08/2005~07/01/2005 -B -O@History.txt

Now I can get to work on converting this to an RSS feed.

By the way, Ted's work is licensed with Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License,

If you use it, great. If you fix it, pass the fixes along using the same license. A great approach for offering code.


Ted's Radio Weblog

Rick Strahl – An era of crooks and thieves

Rick,

I can appreciate how you feel (and I'm in Canada ). So Rick's disclaimer also applies here. ("If personal opinion and political views are not your thing you should probably skip this entry.")

What's interesting, I find, is that the left of center politicos, though, are using this trend to paint these crooks and thieves as being the embodiment of capitalism and NO ONE is fighting back against this.

I recently had a conversation with an avowed "socialist" (take from the rich, feed the poor) who noted very similar positions to you and I said, well, if you think that is capitalism then you're wrong - what they are doing is nothing BUT the exact opposite. The leaders of these companies are doing exactly what the left-of-centers would have them do: make decisions for everyone that only benefit who they think it should benefit - then of course, they add in a bit of narcissism and think it should only benefit themselves.

Fact is: the only system that will…

Michael Responds to Kevin PRICE-QUALUTY

(a side note: a true sign that blogs are taking over instead of using forums as a means of expression and communication)

Kevin Ragsdale posted a few days ago about how he was concerned that FoxPro advisor was showing FoxPro programmers being available for $12/hr and how he thought that quality was going to be cut.

Now, Michael Kopjan jumps in to give the other side of the story: $12/hr IS a very good rate in some areas of the world.

My own thoughts on this are documented in the Fox Show #15 - but Michael, Kevin is right on this count - you DO get what you pay for - and the thing American and European developers have to be aware of is that while their cost of living is high up there and thus what they have to pay for is likely huge compared to what other countries pay for the same goods, with the same quality.

But the quality bar changes drastically with cost. Would you say that all $5 steaks are going to be the same quality as, say , as $10 steaks? In most cases, no, but if you can …

Naked Conversations: Corporate Blog Tip #10 (get out in the real world)

Robert hits on a good point on the Naked Conversations blog (yikes! I was just about to call it the Naked Couch).

Two years ago, when one of the conferences were being set up to talk about blogging, I posted about why I thought blogging was the perfect way to cut down on conferencing. Ted Roche immediately whacked me over the head on that.

And in reading Robert's post, I can certainly agree. I missed out on DevCon this year due to some family issues and home life makes it difficult to travel (try finding a good home-sitter for 2 sick dogs) - for that reason I generally don't get out much.

But I would certainly hope people don't see the blog as a one-dimensional view of me. There's the FoxShow, OttawaPodcasts, my other news blog and more. But I also listened to Julie Leung's talk at Gnomedex and appreciate that too - there must be a separation. I have some public personal , blogs, some business blogs, and I also have some private ones.

But I do like the idea of ph…

Welcome Markus

I've been a fan of his Publisher's point for a while now for Code magazine and now Markus has finally succumbed to blogging.

Welcome Markus. Now you can add to those anti-DotNet rants on the blogosphere. And hey! when are you going to unleash Milos to the public or are you going to keep it private?

I saw that Julie was talking about your travel blogs which look like they'll be fun if you're traveling a ways back.

By the way, Muffy says Hi!

DBF Support for Pocket PC

This showed up on the ProFox mailing list (from William Sanders of the efgroup). Although they explicitly mention CA-Clipper, they mention support for DBF and CDX.

So if you have read Andy's manifesto on DotNet and are thinking "ok - my Visual FoxPro application runs on the desktop, my VFP solution runs on the web using COM or WWC - how do I run it on a pocket PC without having to learn DotNet?" - this may be the solution.

Now the coding constructs may seem a bit old fashioned:

DEFINE WINDOW xxx
SET MESSAGE TO oWind TO "Default Message"

Has anyone worked with this company before?

I'm looking to see if they want a write-up in FPA but if you've tried them before, please let me know.


:: FiveTech Software :: FiveWin for Pocket PC

Interview with Jason Fried of 37Signals

There's a great interview with Jason of 37Signals on the Tom Peter's site. Don't know 37Signals?

They're the ones behind Basecamp, among others but now they've got a book, Defensive Design for the Web..




As I've been listening more and more to audio books through Audible, is there an audio version?

Read the interview - great way of thinking about web design.

Tags: Web Design

tompeters! management consulting leadership training development project management

Anil Dash: Rogers Cadenhead is Trying to Destroy BitTorrent

This was an older post from Anil but I do feel compelled to comment on it because of the coming storm with the P2P after the Grokster stuff.

Ted Roche first introduced me to BitTorrent for downloading IT conversations but with the number of things I'm downloading on a regular basis now - it is the best way for distributing downloads to multiple people.

Now Roger's site does post an update that notes that Cohen thought of this manifest as a parody but the other comments are 100% accurate: if someone is to be penalized for something they "thought" 4 years ago, and without the opportunity to change their mind, then we would be never allowed to learn as our thoughts from years ago would come back and be used as evidence against our learning.
Anil Dash: Rogers Cadenhead is Trying to Destroy BitTorrent

Chris hits the nail on the head

Quote: [The problem with saying "wait for longhorn" is that's exactly what we're doing]

I would disagree with two things - MindManager is VERY easy to use - the problem is that it needs to support more options (like OPML) faster.

And PhotoStory, while it may not be a great UI, is a GREAT tool. We just created a DVD for my sister in law's birthday using PhotoStory for pictures and MovieMaker for the actual movie clips.

Wow! Quick and painless and the results had family members in tears (of joy - not pain) because they were just in awe of what we had done. (yes, it did take several hours but was well worth it)
But I do agree it needs a better UI - now I'm off to try PhotoStory 3.

Seth Godin - All Marketers Are Liars

I've been listening to Seth Godin's new book via Audible - while telling stories is obviously something that bloggers do on a regular basis, Seth's book really does put it directly into a marketing perspective.

Instead of the regular mantra of "everyone is a salesperson", he changes it to "everyone is a marketer" , proposing that good marketing today is about the exchange of ideas (and promotion of ideas, products, thoughts, etc) via stories.

An excellent read for anyone who is struggling to find a way to be heard in today's business world.


beyond bullets: Show Me the Money Slide

Why wait until the end to show the result?

Good advice for any presenter - but how does this apply to developer presentations?

1. Show the finished product first. Show some bells and whistles.
2. Show how you got there from scratch (or somewhere nearby)
3. Show how the bells and whistles got added.

Even if you run out of time somewhere between 2-3, attendees get a take-away because they can see what the final results can be.


beyond bullets: Show Me the Money Slide