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Showing posts from 2018

Seeking Truth

James Altucher's recent podcast episode with Norm Dworman hits on a variety of topics but the essence of the episode is really in the last fifteen minutes where they discuss the tone of the world, censorship and what the next steps are.

Just the other day, I was asked about choosing sides and it was a very difficult decision. Not because it's a right/left scenario but rather that there are no true right vs left sides anymore. It's all personal attacks and very little ideas. Politics is no longer a debate or discussion on ideas but more personal conflicts. Social media simply amplifies this and the more the amplification is reported on, the worse it gets. We live in a world where media businesses care about eyeballs and since most people want to watch a train wreck, so that's what they put on the air. They mix fact and fiction ("based on a true story, mostly) and people believe it as fact. I have a rough time thinking of past leaders (Churchill, Thatcher, even Reag…

Not the way to improve Journalism (political)

Maybe CNN should stop allowing their news reporters from starting their broadcast with an indictment of Trump BEFORE reporting the news.

Watching Anderson Cooper start his Thursday night broadcast with five minutes of why Trump is un-presidential before reporting any news is simply instigating Trump's ire and strengthens his case about fake media. If someone's attention span is 5 minutes long (15 minutes in Britain?), then he just lost his audience and has right-leaning supporters switching the channel. Maybe there is validation to the reports that CNN just wants to be a left-leaning network, rather than fair and impartial. At least there's PBS and NPR.

I expect this from non-news broadcasts, more opinion shows, like Don Lemon, MSNBC Morning Joe and even Fox & Friends, but when you're talking about major newscasts, you're missing the point.

Imagine if Walter Kronkite came on before reporting the Kennedy assassination and said "well, you know, Kennedy is a …

SW Fox 2018 - Lots of Twitter - where are the posts?

I think I'm getting old....and it's a sign of the times that being old means you're looking for blog posts about conferences rather than looking for tweets or Facebook videos.

The main reason I mention it is that a full week after the conference and searching for "Southwest Fox VFP" turns up four links to swfox.org , two posts to Wikipedia and then a post by Craig Bailey on wishing he could be there. Even Doug's recap post wasn't easily found.

I'm slightly offended that Google didn't even find my own posts about it (or the FoxShow) but that is more of a sign that I need to either post-more or post somewhere else to increase visibility.
(perhaps that speaks more that blogspot seems to be excluded by Google search results- funny considering it's a Google company - or maybe it's just lack of tweets)

So, for those who attended, how WAS the conference?

iPhone Upgrade Problems? Reinstall

In years gone by, whenever an application had a problem, you could always count on certain steps from tech support (the three Rs)
1. Reindex (if a database application) 2. Reboot 3. Reinstall
But I've been spoiled in recent years by the iPhone where this seemed to be a thing of the past. This might be because most of the data is on the cloud and so it was only ever syncing. The phone was just a "vehicle" while all the data was online. Sadly, when I upgraded to the new iPhone XS this fall, I found a few apps that didn't work right. 
Since a number of application developers haven't kept up with the latest iOS phones, I attributed much of it to apps not being up to snuff but some were newer apps and they didn't work at all. Security applications wouldn't register a login, apps would just quit for no reason but worse, my favourite Health tracking app, Pillow, seemed to have lost all of my older data. 
It was still in Apple Health but Pillow, which tracks a lo…

Useful SQL Query Snippets: Table Sizes

I can't count the number of times I've used this query at various sites. It started when I needed to use

As with many things these days, I found it on StackOverflow but I want to document it here in case it ever goes missing.

While it makes use of the sys. tables (which numerous articles say may change in the future ) as opposed to INFORMATION_SCHEMA, the end result compares the size of tables while using the partitions and tables for calculating sizes.

We use this often for identifying which tables need to be cleared out or reduced when creating QA or test environments that are limited in environments due to size. Our production system is well over 200GB and if I need to do quick development, copying a DB that size is just dumb. This query lets me see where I need to "trim the fat".

SELECT t.NAME AS TableName, s.Name AS SchemaName, p.rows AS RowCounts, SUM(a.total_pages) * 8 AS TotalSpaceKB, CAST(ROUND(((SUM(a.total_pages) * 8) / 1024.00), 2) A…

FoxShow #83 - Southwest Fox 2018

There's a new FoxShow available - episode 83 features a discussion with Doug, Tamar and Rick about Southwest Fox 2018.

This year, we got into some broader topics such as open source vs "closed" source and what they've learned over the years of putting on the conference. It's a fun listen so check it out!

It's hard to believe but the FoxShow has been published since 2005, although in recent years, it's primary focus has been on Southwest Fox.

Let me know if you're still enjoying and if you have some topics you want to hear about!

Enjoy!

Southwest Fox Deadline fast approaching

A new FoxShow is about to be released related to Southwest Fox 2018 (later today) but I wanted to note that the Super Saver deadline for Southwest Fox is coming up on June 30th (the episode will be out before then) and that deadline is the conference's "go / no go" point.

It sounds like there's a lot of cool topics to be shown at the conference but it's also a great opportunity to get involved in existing VFPX projects and see how other developers are continuing to use FoxPro today.

Go to Southwest Fox to register!

Southwest Fox 2018 - VFP in the 21st century

Southwest Fox is gearing up for a new year in October and once again, it looks like a great set of sessions.

For those naysayers that say VFP can't compete in the current world of application development, existing applications are still holding their own and can continue to do so for years to come.

One of the challenges desktop developers always face is how to make their application look more modern. I was going to say how I'm not quite sure drag/drop would count as 21st century technology but then that would be 2000 so I'll go with "early 21st century" --- which sounds weird even as I write it - but offering slicker interfaces and more advanced error handling is always welcome.

When you've got an application that has been working for years but faces challenges with newer versions of Windows, troubleshooting can be a real challenge.

Another hot topic should be the running of FoxPro apps as services. As modern development techniques turn to web responsive desi…

Well, that explains CodePlex...

In a move that will be sure to anger open source (or rather anti-paid software, anti-Microsoft open source)  zealots, Microsoft is planning to buy GitHub.

A year ago, I mused about why Microsoft would shut down CodePlex and how the world needs competing source code repositories to be strong. I'm not the only one per this Slashdot article :
"...people have warned about GitHub becoming as large as it did as problematic because it concentrates too much of the power to make or break the open source world in a single entity, moreso because there were valid questions about GitHubs financial viability...." - Jacques Mattheij

I will be interested in seeing this play out - whether developers jump ship or not. Have all the efforts Microsoft has made in pushing towards open source be seen as genuine or will all the zealots jump ship or maybe even attack?

Microsoft's comment about why they shut down CodePlex referred to how spammers were using CodePlex. Well, GitHub has its own …

The World of Updates Today

I just received an update for Office 365. It certainly includes some cool features - including starting in one environment and picking it up in another environment. In recent years, I've certainly enjoined the use of Continuity on a Mac and in fact, I feel spoiled being able to start a message in one environment (even Google) and then finish it off on another.  This has become some pervasive when we were reviewing our most recent backlog at a client site, a similar feature was added to the current workload.

But with web applications, the trend is to reduce the amount of software on a client machine. I used to have automatic backup for all of my machines (thanks Carbonite!) but these days, many of my machines don't need anything beyond the core OS and some basic applications. Certainly that's the feeling with Chromebooks and even the lightweight aspect of many iOS apps. The functionality is mostly in the cloud.

When you upgrade your system, you expect it to a big update. So…

Ten ways to prevent/end the US government shutdown

I'm sure some of these have been spoken (or maybe just thought of) but as an outside observer, it seems fantastical that a country like the United States hasn't figured out how to deal with useless politicians (not that Canada is any better). So here goes -- a few fun ways (and a few slightly disturbing possibilities) to get congress to end the shutdown.

Don't pay them. Forget about stopping actual government services. Stop paying congress, the senate AND the white house until they can actually deliver a bill that they can all agree on. Until they can actually prove they are essential services, they shouldn't be able to shut down anything.
Stop travel allowances. Don’t pay for government-related travel, period. Olympics? Sorry, Mr. Pence, no can do. Maralago? Sorry, Mr. President. No White House travel. Need to see your family? Sorry everyone. no nothing. You keep core expenses, secret Service etc but no direct travel for any member of the legislative or executive branc…

Awesome Tools for Small Business: Customers First with FreshDesk

Small businesses often suffer with customer service, whether they realize it or not. Clients quickly learn that the best way to get a response is by identifying one person who always help them individually or, worse for everyone else, having the president's direct number on speed dial.

There are lots of tools out there that help resolve this. They handle customers in a variety of ways - it might be a CRM app or explicit help desk software. I remember fifteen years ago, a lot of companies had sprung up offering these services but they all cost money and when you're a small shop, it was often better to build it yourself.

I switched recently to FreshDesk. 10 Reasons why:

1. Growth path - their pricing models allows unlimited agents in their "sprout" plan. Many systems offer trial periods or limited number of users. Freshdesk offers strong functionality and then added features as you pay. In short, their cheapest plan is "free" with GREAT functionality.

2. Know…

Working the Iteration - the Daily Stand-Up

The Theory

A stand-up is a 15 minute meeting, based on three questions:

1. What did you do?
2. What are you working on?
3. What's preventing you from getting it done?

You have someone who keeps the meeting focused (the scrum master) and you don't let non-team members involved. This is the concept of chickens and pigs. Who are the pigs? Anyone who is directly working on the project - they have some skin in the game.

Tasks involved are  chosen from the backlog. A key part of this process is that there is no dictation of tasks. Everyone magically chooses what they want to work on. Everyone sits (or stands), looking at some kind of white board (where electronic or physical) and they all jump up choosing what they want to work on.

So now you can easily say "What did you do?" Tell us what you did the day before. Tell us what you're currently working on. Any problems? If there were any, you then discussed them outside of the meeting.


The Reality

Our scrum/stand-up meetin…

FoxInCloud Stats

FoxInCloud sent this link a while back about their statistics regarding visits to their site:

http://foxincloud.com/blog/2017/12/27/VFP-community-lessons-from-foxincloud-site.html



What's interesting here is the breakdown of people. Yes, I think it's understandable that the Fox community is getting older.

Another factor is the growth of the mobile and web environments taking over development. These environments really do push people towards the newer non-SQL or free SQL/hosted environments but more towards hosted storage options like Amazon and Google. A tool like FoxInCloud that helps MOVE existing applications to the cloud inherently competes with those environments.

But FoxInCloud also allows developers to extend their application further by giving them a starting point using Javascript and the basic CSS (such as Bootstrap). If you're not rebuilding your application from scratch, it's certainly a great step forward.