Archive for December, 2005

VFP: Using Win32 functions in VFP – offline viewer coming

Posted on December 23, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m sure you all know how fantastic the Win32 site is:
 
Here’s yet another reason…

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VFP: Using Win32 functions in VFP – offline viewer coming

Posted on December 23, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’m sure you all know how fantastic the Win32 site is:
 
Here’s yet another reason…
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COMPUTERS: Praise, Gripes and why Rick Strahl should move to Australia

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Rick writes about his frustration with Dell courtesy of his new notebook. Well, I’m glad to say I have had the exact opposite experience. My new Dell turned up a few weeks back (on the exact day they said they would deliver it no less) and all worked fine. The only issue was a slightly noisy fan sound. It didn’t really bother me until Castro at work took delivery of his and I noticed how silent his was. I ummed and ahhhed about whether to bother going through the Dell support rigmaroll.
 
But I did. And man, was it a pleasant experience. The Support dude was very polite and intelligent (and understandable) and patiently walked me through a series of steps to isolate the issue. Video fan he thinks. But to be sure he is going to get the video fan and the motherboard fan replaced. He confirms my location particulars and informs me a technician will call me in the next day or two. Yeah right, I think. But, sure enough, I get a call later that day to tee up a time for the technician to arrive on site the next day. And then a technician does turn up the next day. He is professional, polite and efficient. He replaces the fans in a matter of minutes, goes through all the checks and then waits until I have logged in and am happy. And the machine is silent.
I ask him if it is busy this time of year. Yeah, flat out he responds. I’m amazed.
 
I’ve been using Dell for years and this experience has now locked me in as a loyal customer for many more years to come.
 
So, Rick, you need to move to Sydney. The waves are great here, the weather is especially beautiful from September through to April, and with our Prime Minister in the process of turning Australia into another American state (I’ll save that gripe for another post) you’ll feel right at ‘home’. But best of all you get unreal Dell service. Oh, and did I mention the waves…
 
But for every high point it seems there has to be a counter-balancing low point. And in this instance the loser of the year is McAfee with their SecurityCentre product (anti-virus, firewall, etc). It is a very easy to use and nice looking product, but it is always trying to re-Verify its subscription status. OK, so this might be a little annoying, I can deal with that. But it has the bonus feature of disabling itself whilst it waits to re-Verify.
You can imagine how scary it is to come down in the morning and find that my notebook has disabled it’s firewall and anti-virus whilst it waits to re-Verify.
 
OK, dumb problem, there must be a knowledge base issue or work-around. Nothing on their web site, so I email their support centre. The advice I get is lame -> reboot in safe mode, completely uninstall McAfee and then re-install (hello! this is a brand new machine) or insulting -> a link to a web page telling me how to re-enable the firewall.
 
So, McAfee, time is running out for you. As soon as I find a good replacement you’ll be gone. I’ve had many problems with Norton in the past so I won’t be using that. I’m thinking of trying ZoneAlarm for a bit, but  I’m open to suggestions.
 

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PERSONAL: Time to wind down

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Boy am I looking forward to a break next week (I plan to take a few days off in addition to the regular public holidays).
 
The last 2-3 months have been incredibly hectic. I’ve worked most weekends and a lot of nights finishing projects (or atleast trying to!), working on proposals and even making some wins. Last week Talman welcomed a very experienced Senior VFP Developer to the team. The aim is for him (I’d like to name him but will check with him first) to take over most of the project management and team leading stuff from me, so I can work on more strategic parts of the business. This is a very welcome and much needed step and I’m delighted it is finally in place.
 
The year is ending well, and I am absolutely stoked about where we go next year. From the surge that VFP is enjoying at the moment, to the awesome potential of Microsoft’s Team System, next year is going to be a great ride.
 
But before that I need to take a rest. Looks like I’ve come down with a cold (which is usually my body’s way of telling me to slow down) and when I had a massage on Saturday my massage therapist (they don’t call them masseuses any more) was concerned about how knotted up my shoulders were. (As an aside, if you find yourself having trouble sleeping at night then consider getting a shoulder massage. I couldn’t believe how much better I slept that night.)
 
So, next week Michele and I will be kicking back and playing computer games together for the whole week. Bring it on.

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VFP: Sydney VFP User Group session links

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

A few of the sessions from last week’s meeting are on the UG site:
Eka’s presentation on new SQL stuff is here (and Eka when are you going to start blogging?)
Scott‘s quick tips are here
My quick tips are here
 
Thanks to everyone for their support this year – it has been a great year with some excellent sessions. I’d like to especially thank Andrew Coates, Eka Tjhauw, Paul Hemans, David Gibson, John Burrows, Craig Franklin, Dave Bower, Scott Scovell, Paul Tikotin, Feng Zeng, Michael Brazel, Doug Henry and David Wilson for all contributing this year. Many thanks guys! See you all next year (Feb 22)

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VFP: Great Lakes Great Database Workshop 2006

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

The thing I like about Whil’s conference description is how he is focussing on best practice. A little while back Scott and I discussed the need for better design in the VFP development space. Our basic point was that VFP’s ease of use had often lead to an abandonement of proper analysis and design in many projects (not least our own!).
 
To this end Scott will be presenting a session on Good design in VFP at every meeting of the Sydney VFP User Group next year (we announced this last Wednesday here). Interestingly a lot of the ideas he will be presenting are coming from .Net arena, where people are definitely spending the time to get it right.
 
So, back to Whil’s conference. This is definately a great focus for a conference. The session topics look spot on to me. As Whil says, the product (VFP) is mature and not likely to change greatly. So, let’s learn how to use it properly to its utmost.
 
(Will I be at Whil’s conference? Sadly no, I am already committed to Code Camp Oz.)

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PERSONAL: The BBQ stage

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

There comes a stage in young man’s life… (well kinda young)
 
Well, I thought it would never happen, but I have now officially entered that stage of life where the BBQ is a prominent feature. Got this little beauty on Saturday and it has been BBQ central at our place ever since.
 
I love this time of year. December is probably my favourite month. The weather is warm, but not too humid, the days are long, and the busy year is coming to a close.
 
Time to spend the evenings out cooking on the Barbie.
 
Barbie
 

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COMPUTERS: Praise, Gripes and why Rick Strahl should move to Australia

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Rick writes about his frustration with Dell courtesy of his new notebook. Well, I’m glad to say I have had the exact opposite experience. My new Dell turned up a few weeks back (on the exact day they said they would deliver it no less) and all worked fine. The only issue was a slightly noisy fan sound. It didn’t really bother me until Castro at work took delivery of his and I noticed how silent his was. I ummed and ahhhed about whether to bother going through the Dell support rigmaroll.
 
But I did. And man, was it a pleasant experience. The Support dude was very polite and intelligent (and understandable) and patiently walked me through a series of steps to isolate the issue. Video fan he thinks. But to be sure he is going to get the video fan and the motherboard fan replaced. He confirms my location particulars and informs me a technician will call me in the next day or two. Yeah right, I think. But, sure enough, I get a call later that day to tee up a time for the technician to arrive on site the next day. And then a technician does turn up the next day. He is professional, polite and efficient. He replaces the fans in a matter of minutes, goes through all the checks and then waits until I have logged in and am happy. And the machine is silent.
I ask him if it is busy this time of year. Yeah, flat out he responds. I’m amazed.
 
I’ve been using Dell for years and this experience has now locked me in as a loyal customer for many more years to come.
 
So, Rick, you need to move to Sydney. The waves are great here, the weather is especially beautiful from September through to April, and with our Prime Minister in the process of turning Australia into another American state (I’ll save that gripe for another post) you’ll feel right at ‘home’. But best of all you get unreal Dell service. Oh, and did I mention the waves…
 
But for every high point it seems there has to be a counter-balancing low point. And in this instance the loser of the year is McAfee with their SecurityCentre product (anti-virus, firewall, etc). It is a very easy to use and nice looking product, but it is always trying to re-Verify its subscription status. OK, so this might be a little annoying, I can deal with that. But it has the bonus feature of disabling itself whilst it waits to re-Verify.
You can imagine how scary it is to come down in the morning and find that my notebook has disabled it’s firewall and anti-virus whilst it waits to re-Verify.
 
OK, dumb problem, there must be a knowledge base issue or work-around. Nothing on their web site, so I email their support centre. The advice I get is lame -> reboot in safe mode, completely uninstall McAfee and then re-install (hello! this is a brand new machine) or insulting -> a link to a web page telling me how to re-enable the firewall.
 
So, McAfee, time is running out for you. As soon as I find a good replacement you’ll be gone. I’ve had many problems with Norton in the past so I won’t be using that. I’m thinking of trying ZoneAlarm for a bit, but  I’m open to suggestions.
 
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )

PERSONAL: Time to wind down

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Boy am I looking forward to a break next week (I plan to take a few days off in addition to the regular public holidays).
 
The last 2-3 months have been incredibly hectic. I’ve worked most weekends and a lot of nights finishing projects (or atleast trying to!), working on proposals and even making some wins. Last week Talman welcomed a very experienced Senior VFP Developer to the team. The aim is for him (I’d like to name him but will check with him first) to take over most of the project management and team leading stuff from me, so I can work on more strategic parts of the business. This is a very welcome and much needed step and I’m delighted it is finally in place.
 
The year is ending well, and I am absolutely stoked about where we go next year. From the surge that VFP is enjoying at the moment, to the awesome potential of Microsoft’s Team System, next year is going to be a great ride.
 
But before that I need to take a rest. Looks like I’ve come down with a cold (which is usually my body’s way of telling me to slow down) and when I had a massage on Saturday my massage therapist (they don’t call them masseuses any more) was concerned about how knotted up my shoulders were. (As an aside, if you find yourself having trouble sleeping at night then consider getting a shoulder massage. I couldn’t believe how much better I slept that night.)
 
So, next week Michele and I will be kicking back and playing computer games together for the whole week. Bring it on.
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

VFP: Sydney VFP User Group session links

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

A few of the sessions from last week’s meeting are on the UG site:
Eka’s presentation on new SQL stuff is here (and Eka when are you going to start blogging?)
Scott‘s quick tips are here
My quick tips are here
 
Thanks to everyone for their support this year – it has been a great year with some excellent sessions. I’d like to especially thank Andrew Coates, Eka Tjhauw, Paul Hemans, David Gibson, John Burrows, Craig Franklin, Dave Bower, Scott Scovell, Paul Tikotin, Feng Zeng, Michael Brazel, Doug Henry and David Wilson for all contributing this year. Many thanks guys! See you all next year (Feb 22)
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

VFP: Great Lakes Great Database Workshop 2006

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

The thing I like about Whil’s conference description is how he is focussing on best practice. A little while back Scott and I discussed the need for better design in the VFP development space. Our basic point was that VFP’s ease of use had often lead to an abandonement of proper analysis and design in many projects (not least our own!).
 
To this end Scott will be presenting a session on Good design in VFP at every meeting of the Sydney VFP User Group next year (we announced this last Wednesday here). Interestingly a lot of the ideas he will be presenting are coming from .Net arena, where people are definitely spending the time to get it right.
 
So, back to Whil’s conference. This is definately a great focus for a conference. The session topics look spot on to me. As Whil says, the product (VFP) is mature and not likely to change greatly. So, let’s learn how to use it properly to its utmost.
 
(Will I be at Whil’s conference? Sadly no, I am already committed to Code Camp Oz.)
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

PERSONAL: The BBQ stage

Posted on December 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

There comes a stage in young man’s life… (well kinda young)
 
Well, I thought it would never happen, but I have now officially entered that stage of life where the BBQ is a prominent feature. Got this little beauty on Saturday and it has been BBQ central at our place ever since.
 
I love this time of year. December is probably my favourite month. The weather is warm, but not too humid, the days are long, and the busy year is coming to a close.
 
Time to spend the evenings out cooking on the Barbie.
 
Barbie
 
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

WTF?: Blogger thinks I am a spam blogger

Posted on December 9, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Posting from Qumana has been difficult lately as I’ve been flagged as a potential spam blogger. To their credit Blogger is very apologetic about it and explained what they are trying to do to stop misuse of blogs. Good on ’em I say.

http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=1260#whatwedo

But it makes we wonder what filters they use for identifying spam blogs. The only thing I could think of is that I use the word ‘VFP’ a lot…

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LINK: Scott Scovell on VFP AMEMBER gotcha

Posted on December 8, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Interesting post from Scott Scovell on using AMEMBERS in a FOR EACH..NEXT loop.
How many times have you spent hours chasing a little gotcha like this?

http://scottscovellonvfp.blogspot.com/

UPDATE: Scott’s atom feed is at http://scottscovellonvfp.blogspot.com/atom.xml

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VFP: FoxPro enDangerfieldment

Posted on December 8, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

A few people have written their thoughts on Mary Jo Foley’s article on VFP
http://redmondmag.com/columns/article.asp?editorialsid=1166

I liked Andrew MacNeill’s discussion, and in particular his closing appeal that we need to make our users excited. Read it all here:
http://akselsoft.blogspot.com/2005/12/redmond-column-foxpro-not-endangered.html

If we are to have any chance of getting users excited about FoxPro then we atleast need to make our products attractive. Sadly, the number of ugly Fox apps far out weigh the good ones in my experience (I’ve mentioned my thoughts on this previously).

So, where to from here? Microsoft is doing its part in supporting VFP (even though we are only a small group nowadays – listen to Ken’s comparison of user base in Fox Show 24 for confirmation of that). Let’s do our part in making sure the apps we build are worthy of it – let’s turn our Roger Dangerfield apps into… Anthony Hopkins apps?

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LINK: Microsoft Certified Architect

Posted on December 8, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

From the looks of it this is a certification that actually carries some weight.
 
 
Although only in pilot the program looks very comprehensive.
 
Microsoft (and other vendor) certification programs come in for a fair bit of criticism (and rightly so) as to the actual competency they indicate, given that brain dumps are all over the place – ie passing the exams might be nothing more than an indication of persistence and memory, rather than skill with a technology.
 
I personally do value the certification process for our developers. To me it shows that they atleast made the effort to learn the product a little and sit the exam… you’d be surprised how many people these days are content to just sit back and make no effort to improve themselves (I call it ‘Striving for Mediocrity’, but I’ll save that discussion for another day)
 
But a program like the Microsoft Certified Architect, with its Industry chosen Review board and mandatory presentations to even get past first base is a step in the right direction. Here is a qualification that requires its candidates to thoroughly understand their skills and prove their abilities.
 
If a resume came across my desk with this certification I’d certainly value it above others.
 
The site indicates the program is expected to be live in the first half of 2006. It will be interesting to see whether it makes its way down to Australia.
 
 

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VFP: Sydney VFP User Group next Wed 14 Dec

Posted on December 8, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

The final Sydney VFP User Group meeting for 2005 is on next Wednesday 14 December.
 
See you at 6:30pm at Microsoft for pizza and drinks.
 
A great bunch of talks and cool prizes make this a great year-end get together.
 
Eka, Paul, John and I will be presenting.
 
Our question time will be looking at strategies for moving your app from VFP to SQL as a backend. 
 
 

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

WTF?: Blogger thinks I am a spam blogger

Posted on December 8, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Posting from Qumana has been difficult lately as I’ve been flagged as a potential spam blogger. To their credit Blogger is very apologetic about it and explained what they are trying to do to stop misuse of blogs. Good on ’em I say.

http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=1260#whatwedo

But it makes we wonder what filters they use for identifying spam blogs. The only thing I could think of is that I use the word ‘VFP’ a lot…

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

LINK: Scott Scovell on VFP AMEMBER gotcha

Posted on December 8, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Interesting post from Scott Scovell on using AMEMBERS in a FOR EACH..NEXT loop.
How many times have you spent hours chasing a little gotcha like this?

http://scottscovellonvfp.blogspot.com/

UPDATE: Scott’s atom feed is at http://scottscovellonvfp.blogspot.com/atom.xml

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )

VFP: FoxPro enDangerfieldment

Posted on December 8, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

A few people have written their thoughts on Mary Jo Foley’s article on VFP
http://redmondmag.com/columns/article.asp?editorialsid=1166

I liked Andrew MacNeill’s discussion, and in particular his closing appeal that we need to make our users excited. Read it all here:
http://akselsoft.blogspot.com/2005/12/redmond-column-foxpro-not-endangered.html

If we are to have any chance of getting users excited about FoxPro then we atleast need to make our products attractive. Sadly, the number of ugly Fox apps far out weigh the good ones in my experience (I’ve mentioned my thoughts on this previously).

So, where to from here? Microsoft is doing its part in supporting VFP (even though we are only a small group nowadays – listen to Ken’s comparison of user base in Fox Show 24 for confirmation of that). Let’s do our part in making sure the apps we build are worthy of it – let’s turn our Roger Dangerfield apps into… Anthony Hopkins apps?

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

LINK: Microsoft Certified Architect

Posted on December 8, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

From the looks of it this is a certification that actually carries some weight.
 
 
Although only in pilot the program looks very comprehensive.
 
Microsoft (and other vendor) certification programs come in for a fair bit of criticism (and rightly so) as to the actual competency they indicate, given that brain dumps are all over the place – ie passing the exams might be nothing more than an indication of persistence and memory, rather than skill with a technology.
 
I personally do value the certification process for our developers. To me it shows that they atleast made the effort to learn the product a little and sit the exam… you’d be surprised how many people these days are content to just sit back and make no effort to improve themselves (I call it ‘Striving for Mediocrity’, but I’ll save that discussion for another day)
 
But a program like the Microsoft Certified Architect, with its Industry chosen Review board and mandatory presentations to even get past first base is a step in the right direction. Here is a qualification that requires its candidates to thoroughly understand their skills and prove their abilities.
 
If a resume came across my desk with this certification I’d certainly value it above others.
 
The site indicates the program is expected to be live in the first half of 2006. It will be interesting to see whether it makes its way down to Australia.
 
 
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VFP: Sydney VFP User Group next Wed 14 Dec

Posted on December 8, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

The final Sydney VFP User Group meeting for 2005 is on next Wednesday 14 December.
 
See you at 6:30pm at Microsoft for pizza and drinks.
 
A great bunch of talks and cool prizes make this a great year-end get together.
 
Eka, Paul, John and I will be presenting.
 
Our question time will be looking at strategies for moving your app from VFP to SQL as a backend. 
 
 
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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