Archive for September, 2004

I met Rick Strahl

Posted on September 30, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve just returned from the Devcon opening keynote, and what a great keynote it was. 2.5 hours jam packed with demos, features and anecdotes.

Afterwards I met Lisa Slater Nicholls and Colin Nicholls, then David Stevenson, Ken Levy, Doug Hennig and to finish the night, The Man himself: Rick Strahl. Oh man, so many VFP heroes in one place. How will I sleep?

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I met Rick Strahl

Posted on September 30, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve just returned from the Devcon opening keynote, and what a great keynote it was. 2.5 hours jam packed with demos, features and anecdotes.

Afterwards I met Lisa Slater Nicholls and Colin Nicholls, then David Stevenson, Ken Levy, Doug Hennig and to finish the night, The Man himself: Rick Strahl. Oh man, so many VFP heroes in one place. How will I sleep?

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Sydney VFP User Group webcast

Posted on September 29, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

A big thank you to Andrew Coates for coordinating the user group webcast and to Paul, Craig and Castro for presenting. Details of how the event went are here: http://svfpug.blogspot.com/2004/09/web-cast-debrief.html

See also the UG site at www.svfpug.com.au for next month’s details.

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Sydney VFP User Group webcast

Posted on September 29, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

A big thank you to Andrew Coates for coordinating the user group webcast and to Paul, Craig and Castro for presenting. Details of how the event went are here: http://svfpug.blogspot.com/2004/09/web-cast-debrief.html

See also the UG site at www.svfpug.com.au for next month’s details.

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Sauce Reader

Posted on September 25, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve just stated playing with Sauce Reader –  a very nice blog reader, and free for personal use.

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Sauce Reader

Posted on September 24, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve just stated playing with Sauce Reader –  a very nice blog reader, and free for personal use.

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Off to Devcon

Posted on September 24, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m off to Devcon on Monday. Unreal, I get to meet my VFP heroes in person.

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VFP9 CoDe Focus magazine

Posted on September 24, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

CoDe Focus magazine is devoted to VFP9 this issue – download the PDF here
CoDe magazine is here

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Sydney VFP User Group reminder

Posted on September 24, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Sydney VFP User Group is on next Wednesday – a big combined meeting with the Melbourne VFP User Group – details are here

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Off to Devcon

Posted on September 24, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m off to Devcon on Monday. Unreal, I get to meet my VFP heroes in person.

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VFP9 CoDe Focus magazine

Posted on September 24, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

CoDe Focus magazine is devoted to VFP9 this issue – download the PDF here

CoDe magazine is here

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Sydney VFP User Group reminder

Posted on September 24, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Sydney VFP User Group is on next Wednesday – a big combined meeting with the Melbourne VFP User Group – details are here

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Checking your Managed Funds performance with VFP

Posted on September 8, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Checking your Managed Funds performance with VFP

If you like to keep track of how your managed funds are performing you’ve probably used one of the many web sites such as ninemsn to get the latest prices and performance. There’s a stack of them out there, but I find the ninemsn site pretty easy to use. Invariably they all make a call to either Morningstar, Assirt or Van Eyk and you can work out which one you prefer.

eg go to ninemsn and select a few funds to investigate:
http://investor.ninemsn.com.au/investor/funds_mstar/finder.asp

Enter a fund manager eg Colonial Fist State and select the 4 star funds. You’ll get a list with Balanced funds, Developing companies fund etc

Click on the Developing Companies link and you’ll be taken to something like:
http://investor.ninemsn.com.au/investor/Funds_MStar/Profiles/profile.asp?Symbol=4437
which displays the latest prices, performance and a graph

A bit of source viewing will show you that ninemsn calls a web service on the Morningstar site eg
http://www.morningstar.com.au/FundData/Templates/quicktake.xml?Symbol=4437&CountryId=AUS&PrintFlag=true
And yes, it returns it as XML. Too easy. The key really is knowing what the fund number is (ie 4437 in the case of Developing Companies).

But, that can be tedious to go through each time, so what you really want to do is write a quick app to download all your funds for you.
With VFP this is very simple. The following code will give you the idea.

LOCAL nFund, cURL, oXMLHTTP, cString
nFund = 4437
cURL = ‘http://www.morningstar.com.au/FundData/Templates/quicktake.xml?Symbol=’ + TRANSFORM(nFund) + ‘&CountryId=AUS&PrintFlag=true’

oXMLHTTP = CREATEOBJECT(“Microsoft.XMLHTTP”)
cString = ”
oXMLHTTP.open( “GET”, cURL, .F.)

* Retrieve document
oXMLHTTP.send()

* Check HTTP status code returned by the request
IF oXMLHTTP.status # 200
* Call error handler…
ENDIF
cString = oXMLHTTP.responseBody

cString is your XML string of the fund data, which you can load and walk down the nodes to use.
You can play with this and mold it to your liking.
And if you want the nice little graph then the link is very similar:

cGIFURL = ‘http://www.morningstar.com.au/tools/general/tools/AUS_qt_images/’ + TRANSFORM(nFund) + ‘.gif’
…do your download stuff with oXMLHTTP again…
cGIF = oXMLHTTP.responseBody
= STRTOFILE(cGIF, TRANSFORM(nFund) + ‘.gif’)

You can wrap this in your own function and call for each of the funds you are interested in. You just need to work out the fund numbers you need, and this is easy from the ninemsm page.

From here it is not too hard to write an app that automatically retrieves your funds data each day (eg it takes approx 3-4 seconds to download and process 30 or so funds). Before you know it you’ve got a month or two of historical information and the basis for performing some analysis on your funds. A few reports aren’t hard to write either. Take it on your notebook next time you visit your financial planner and see how it compares to his/her suit of expensive analysis tools. Next perhaps you want to develop it into something that allows you to analyse which funds are worth buying…
By the way, you know Morningstar is international right? Next stop, tap into the US funds, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Disclaimer: stick to personal use for this – although the information is freely available (anything unsecured on the web is fair game in my opinion) you wouldn’t want to be using this for anything commercial whereby you sold the data – I’m no lawyer but I reckon there’s a chance you’d be stepping on some copyright toes…

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Axis of Deceit by Andrew Wilkie

Posted on September 8, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I don’t normally mention books I’ve read (the last time I did was The Rule of Four I think) but this one is worth noting. Its called Axis of Deceit by Andrew Wilkie, a senior intelligence analyst, and it covers what was really known in the lead up to the Iraq war. I’ll reserve stating my current position, as I’ve only read one side of the story, but with an election only weeks away I think this is an important read.

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Checking your Managed Funds performance with VFP

Posted on September 8, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Checking your Managed Funds performance with VFP



If you like to keep track of how your managed funds are performing you’ve probably used one of the many web sites such as ninemsn to get the latest prices and performance. There’s a stack of them out there, but I find the ninemsn site pretty easy to use. Invariably they all make a call to either Morningstar, Assirt or Van Eyk and you can work out which one you prefer.

eg go to ninemsn and select a few funds to investigate:

http://investor.ninemsn.com.au/investor/funds_mstar/finder.asp



Enter a fund manager eg Colonial Fist State and select the 4 star funds. You’ll get a list with Balanced funds, Developing companies fund etc



Click on the Developing Companies link and you’ll be taken to something like:

http://investor.ninemsn.com.au/investor/Funds_MStar/Profiles/profile.asp?Symbol=4437

which displays the latest prices, performance and a graph



A bit of source viewing will show you that ninemsn calls a web service on the Morningstar site eg

http://www.morningstar.com.au/FundData/Templates/quicktake.xml?Symbol=4437&CountryId=AUS&PrintFlag=true

And yes, it returns it as XML. Too easy. The key really is knowing what the fund number is (ie 4437 in the case of Developing Companies).



But, that can be tedious to go through each time, so what you really want to do is write a quick app to download all your funds for you.

With VFP this is very simple. The following code will give you the idea.

LOCAL nFund, cURL, oXMLHTTP, cString

nFund = 4437


cURL = ‘http://www.morningstar.com.au/FundData/Templates/quicktake.xml?Symbol=’ + TRANSFORM(nFund) + ‘&CountryId=AUS&PrintFlag=true’



oXMLHTTP = CREATEOBJECT(“Microsoft.XMLHTTP”)

cString = ”

oXMLHTTP.open( “GET”, cURL, .F.)



* Retrieve document

oXMLHTTP.send()



* Check HTTP status code returned by the request

IF oXMLHTTP.status # 200

* Call error handler…

ENDIF

cString = oXMLHTTP.responseBody



cString is your XML string of the fund data, which you can load and walk down the nodes to use.

You can play with this and mold it to your liking.

And if you want the nice little graph then the link is very similar:

cGIFURL = ‘http://www.morningstar.com.au/tools/general/tools/AUS_qt_images/’ + TRANSFORM(nFund) + ‘.gif’

…do your download stuff with oXMLHTTP again…

cGIF = oXMLHTTP.responseBody

= STRTOFILE(cGIF, TRANSFORM(nFund) + ‘.gif’)



You can wrap this in your own function and call for each of the funds you are interested in. You just need to work out the fund numbers you need, and this is easy from the ninemsm page.

From here it is not too hard to write an app that automatically retrieves your funds data each day (eg it takes approx 3-4 seconds to download and process 30 or so funds). Before you know it you’ve got a month or two of historical information and the basis for performing some analysis on your funds. A few reports aren’t hard to write either. Take it on your notebook next time you visit your financial planner and see how it compares to his/her suit of expensive analysis tools. Next perhaps you want to develop it into something that allows you to analyse which funds are worth buying…

By the way, you know Morningstar is international right? Next stop, tap into the US funds, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Disclaimer: stick to personal use for this – although the information is freely available (anything unsecured on the web is fair game in my opinion) you wouldn’t want to be using this for anything commercial whereby you sold the data – I’m no lawyer but I reckon there’s a chance you’d be stepping on some copyright toes…




Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Axis of Deceit by Andrew Wilkie

Posted on September 8, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I don’t normally mention books I’ve read (the last time I did was The Rule of Four I think) but this one is worth noting. Its called Axis of Deceit by Andrew Wilkie, a senior intelligence analyst, and it covers what was really known in the lead up to the Iraq war. I’ll reserve stating my current position, as I’ve only read one side of the story, but with an election only weeks away I think this is an important read.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

34 today

Posted on September 3, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

So I’m 34 today.

Am I feeling older? Wiser? More confident and mature? Who cares? Just tell us what presents you got!
Well, my wife has excelled herself this year.

First up she gives me the new Alter Bridge album (think Creed with a new singer). Now, after checking the web these guys are huge in the US. But down here… never heard of ’em. Usual story – it takes 3 month for the news to break down in this neck o’ the woods. But, make no mistake, this is a killer album. These guys are good. I know its a big call, but I’m calling this the Hard Rock Album of the Year for me. Take a listen to ‘Open their eyes’ – why isn’t that on the charts here? Why am I not hearing it on the radio continuously?

Second, I get a new Pentax Optio 4Si digital camera. How cute is this camera? I love it. Expect to see an annoying number of posts in the next week with lame pictures I’ve taken.

Now, how am I going to match this for her birthday later this month?

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34 today

Posted on September 2, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

So I’m 34 today.



Am I feeling older? Wiser? More confident and mature? Who cares? Just tell us what presents you got!

Well, my wife has excelled herself this year.



First up she gives me the new Alter Bridge album (think Creed with a new singer). Now, after checking the web these guys are huge in the US. But down here… never heard of ’em. Usual story – it takes 3 month for the news to break down in this neck o’ the woods. But, make no mistake, this is a killer album. These guys are good. I know its a big call, but I’m calling this the Hard Rock Album of the Year for me. Take a listen to ‘Open their eyes’ – why isn’t that on the charts here? Why am I not hearing it on the radio continuously?



Second, I get a new Pentax Optio 4Si digital camera. How cute is this camera? I love it. Expect to see an annoying number of posts in the next week with lame pictures I’ve taken.



Now, how am I going to match this for her birthday later this month?

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VFP9 Reporting articles

Posted on September 1, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

VFP 9 Reporting articles announced by Ken Levy here that are available:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnfoxgen9/html/VFP9Reports1.asp and

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnfoxgen9/html/VFP9Reports2.asp

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VFP9 Reporting articles

Posted on September 1, 2004. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

VFP 9 Reporting articles announced by Ken Levy here that are available:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnfoxgen9/html/VFP9Reports1.asp and



http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnfoxgen9/html/VFP9Reports2.asp

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