Monday, December 29, 2003
Monday, December 22, 2003
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Monday, December 15, 2003
Let's hope that doesn't happen.
News: Users cling to old Microsoft operating systems
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Apple Computer only has the license to the name because they promised NEVER to get into the music business (to compete with Apple Records by the Beatles)! There's a lawsuit pending and we'll only get this resolved ages from now.
I use MusicNow (YES! - it's on Subscription) and have to say I really like it - although in a few days, I will be receiving an AudioTron unit from www.turtlebeach.com and if it can't play Apple iTunes songs or MusicNow songs, I will never download from those sites.
Artists deserve the rights to be paid for their music. Those who want to download it for free - you know, enjoy it but if you really enjoy it, BUY IT!!! This is like kids who taped records for their friends - if you really wanted it, you would go out and buy it.
I buy music all the time - I don't download it now because I subscribe and I love the idea. This is why people like NetFlix - you subscribe and you get it when you want it.
In this day and age, we subscribe for everything - cable, internet, heat, hydro, gas , water, taxes - why not music and movies?
The thing is that I pay for it and I feel good about paying for it. I don't want to get things from someone who worked at it for free - I want to pay people for what they do. Those that get into the OpenSource idea - yes, it's great to give stuff out for free (I've done it - I'm not being a hypocrite) - but you do it because you like what you get in return. It's not about flooding a marketplace, it's not about screwing companies that try to make money - it's about creation. The same principal as those who make music.
The BOOST is that people want to hear it so much that they want to PAY for it. They want to enjoy it. They want to get the inside scoop - and those who want to enjoy it without giving credit where credit is due (in other words, money or even at least promoting the benefits of paying for it) are not just "getting away" with music but really doing everyone who does something creative a huge disservice.
(and yes, that includes people I know who copy things illegally and gloat about it)
You Use It - Pay For It!
Sunday, November 30, 2003
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
If you choose your development environment based on it being the "very latest", then your applications must be on some very shaky ground.
To this extent, I agree with Whil Henzten - Fox apps will be around for quite a few more years.
FoxFinalVersion - FoxProWiki
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Friday, November 21, 2003
For those who don't remember him, Chris was involved fairly heavily with FoxPro/Mac. Then jumped over to Access.
Microsoft Office Marketing Chief Resigns
Friday, November 14, 2003
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
For only $199 for the Business Edition (non Tablet-PC but comes with a version for Pocket PC), I'm almost sold!
Gonna keep on trying it for the 21 day demo but check it out!
The Scobleizer Weblog
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Monday, November 10, 2003
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Matrix has 'world record opening'
Granted the article is about how to use Virtual PC but maybe it's a sign they will open up...
Microsoft Clarifies Its Virtual PC Positioning
Instead of just imagining the pulses of light that go through with every message, we can see the pulses of light.
Electronic Messages Become a Beacon in the Darkness
Saturday, November 08, 2003
SELECT TOP 5 * from customers ORDER BY 1
SELECT TOP 5 * from customers, orders WHERE customers.customerid=orders.customerid ORDER BY 2
What's interesting about Wallop is the comments I read after they presented it at PDC. Someone referred to it as a "bliki", a cross between a Blog and a Wiki.
A Blog really is just like a personal Wiki, although arranged by date (or recent topics). The Wiki obviously brings much more to it.
When comparing them to learning management systems and the like, a Wiki is almost always the better choice, because of the automatic links.Instead of having to "blog-roll" Ted, I could simply type TedRoche and it would automatically link me.
Once again, I think Microsoft will be attempting to leap-frog the technology. You can read more about what that entire Social Computing group is doing here: http://research.microsoft.com/scg/
Some of the stuff has already been done but others look very cool!
Ted's Radio Weblog
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Advisor has announced the next VFP DevCon to be held Sept. 29 - Oct 2 in Las Vegas. No announcement of the hotel. I think Vegas is a great location. I can drive there in about six hours. The hotels are cheap, food is cheap, rooms are cheap, airfare for others is cheap. Kudos to Advisor!
On a related note, Ken Levy has publically hinted that DevCon will be the official launch for VFP9. Let's look at the calendar and see how accurate this could be for release dates. VFP 8 was released in February. Typically, VFP has been on an 18 month schedule. That would put release at sometime around July. Ken also recently stated on the Universal Thread that the Fox team added three months to the schedule to allow for additional testing and QA. Now we're looking at October. The dates look about right to me for release about the same time as DevCon.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
The Microsoft guys in Redmond are _really_ listening and are determined in bringing the best product for their users. I had several chats with Microsoft people and everyone was having the same attitude: "please provide feedback, please tell us what you think". No one had the attitude of "we do it right, you're wrong if you don't agree", which is very nice. They were all helpful.
Tom's corner - Lessons learned @ PDC 2003
Friday, October 31, 2003
Column posts some great problems with this issue:
Is this going to be compiled at run time into the application or via a compiler via VS.net and C#? I don't know. Based on the demos I've seen, it would seem that XAML is loaded and compiled via some sort of software processing system because there was a noticeable pause between the window being created and the UI coming up.
Great - more application delay! Now how do you explain this to your customers?
Don't get me wrong - I LOVE The idea. Maybe FoxPro should support the first incarnation of it. After all, it's a LOT faster than any of the .Net stuff for parsing strings, etc.
BetaNews | Commentary: Avalon and XAML Great for Developers, But...
ooohhh...ummm - don't I already have that? (hopefully it's an intelligent RSS feed that combines from multiple sources) Quite frankly I don't WANT my news streaming onto my desktop - I have too much news right now when simply clicking on newsfeeds in Outlook (thanks to Gator)
Granted I was not present but if this is the best the news media had to offer about it...I'm worried.
There is something to be said about "cluttered" windows (which is why Apple trotted out their new Panther software with a better Alt+Tab view). People today suffer from information overload.
The System Tray was supposed to only hold a few icons but now every company loads onto it so much it looks like an old TSR list in DOS.
The problem with running streams exclusively from an RSS feed is you still need to filter out the junk and it needs to be intuitive. For example, my feed may be on Blogs but you know there are so many stories or posts every day on various Blogs news sites that what I really need is for "something" to say "This is important because it was really a worthy news story instead of just a regular post."
I thought of this when I re-watched the Knowledge Navigator video. Apart from a "talking head", we have a lot of this today. Yes, it could certainly be better and it needs to be. Maybe it's more like an intelligent MSNBC newsfeed, that tells me the news when it happens ("Roy Horn attacked by tiger") but no more on a single story unless I actually ask about it. ("did something happen about Roy Horn lately?" or "find Roy Horn")
These features are already available in the best news aggregators and it also needs to start being available in regular email.
My biggest fear in reading about the graphical look of Longhorn is that it really is simply taking all of the great stuff that is ALREADY available and putting it into the O/S. Sorry - but that won't fly in an age when free and public source add-ons do the same.
(consider FoxPro - GENSCRNX was public domain and became a virtual "built-in" add-on for every developer).
What the industry needs is some serious innovation and not just in "better file-systems" or "transparent windows", something that actually increases productivity.
Right now, there are too many distractions on the desktop that prevent users from doing things. I want to work on a project, I have to shut down my email, and my IM, etc just so I can get work done. Why can't the OS do that for me?
It wouldn't be that hard - an O/S that intelligently hides things that aren't being used (so they don't even show up in the Alt+tab or task bar) but then re-appears them when the task is complete. Of course, it would also need to be able to interrupt a task if it really was important.
As I write this, I've got 6 windows open but also about 6 other things on my System tray. One of my windows is Outlook because I pulled up this news story because of it. But it is 7am and no one is actively looking for me. What needs to happen is that while I'm actively working, the O/S senses that I am hard at work and thus, automatically puts everything on "hold" until I finish.
Now that isn't something that can be easily shown in a 15 minute demo but it does introduce a REAL PRODUCTIVITY increase for those users who currently are feeling information overload with too many things on the screen (like a newsfeed), and are being distracted from doing what their jobs really need to be.
Gates trots out Longhorn | CNET News.com
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Now - the big question: does it work in Canada?
All of these great GPS navigation systems are completely useless unless you are in a major US city. Hate to break it to the designers but there are other places in the world.
Wherever You Say, Yvonne, I Will Go
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Great new things from Hentzenwerke!
1. FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software released
2. Painless Legacy FoxPro Applications on Modern Networks ebook released
3. Big, big, big sale - it's Halloween!
1. FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software released
FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software chronicles the rise and sale
of Fox Software by one of the early developers, Kerry Nietz. Kerry joined Fox Software fresh out of college in the late 80's, and was responsible
for the Report Writer, the Screen Painter, the Foundation Read, and other parts of Fox that you still use every day.
While doing so, he found the time to keep a detailed diary of events
in Perrysburg through the day that the development team packed up their
offices and moved to Microosft. This is his story.
We've been shipping this book to Seattle and Toledo by the crate; get
your copy before they're all gone! No special pricing available - other
than the standard preferred customer and multiple book quantity discounts
that are always around - it's only $9.95, for Pete's sake!
Sample chapters and table of contents available at
2. Painless Legacy FoxPro Applications on Modern Networks ebook released
Com'on, admit it. You're still maintaining a decade-old Fox application,
and will be for a while, since the powers that be haven't found a bucket
of money for new software development any time recently.
This ebook describes how FoxPro/DOS and FoxPro/Windows applications run
on current versions of Windows, to describe the best approaches for
configuring the environment in which a multi-user legacy FoxPro
application runs, and to suggest ways of handling problems.
The book is written for professional developers who have older apps that are still in use. It is also aimed at technical personnel who are
not necessarily FoxPro developers but are charged with installing and
supporting legacy applications on current networks. As a result, this
book isn't concerned with development per se but will be more of a
general guide to relevant operating system and network issues.
Electronic format (PDF) only.
Sample chapters and detailed table of contents available at
3. Big, big, big sale - it's Halloween!
Why should kids get all the fun? Cuz they get all the cavities, that's why.
If you're looking for a little treat for yourself, wander on over to our
online store by midnight, Thursday, October 30th (CST) and grab a handful
of books. All printed books (except FoxTales) ordered through our online
store are 35% off between now and then. As always, preferred customers
get an additional discount, and multiple book discounts also apply. And Hacker's Guide to VFP 6.0 is 50% off!
And if you're ordering, why not throw a copy of FoxTales on the order? The
cost to ship it in addition to the rest of your order is nearly nil and
you need something to do while you're waiting for the trick or treaters
to wander by your door, right?
- Online order form already reflects the discount.
- Discounts available only for printed book orders placed online.
Saturday, October 25, 2003
Friday, October 24, 2003
I subscribe to MusicNow (www.musicnow.com) which doesn't always have ALL of the latest songs but is pretty good about keeping up, offers $.99 cent purchases, excellent radio stations and unlimited access to a HUGE variety of music, all for $9.95 a month.
It's integrated directly into WMA (which I like because I can switch between the two seamlessly). Still, I will take a quick look at iTunes - if nothing else, I still bleed six colors.
Solid features boost iTunes for PCs
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
1. Always keep an idea as to how much time it would take to do it yourself and make sure the time and effort it takes to write it down and discuss it is worth it.
Example: I outsourced a project because it shouldn't have taken that much time but I didn't have that time. When our O/S company told me they hadn't done it yet (see next point), I had to put the time in. As it turns out, it only took me an hour to fulfill the functionality. Now I have testing to do but it really only took a little bit of time. I easily wasted that hour with emails asking about its status. (Note: the hour to spec it was worthwhile because it ensures the functionality is documented)2. Only give away ONE task at a time. They might complain that there is a lag between the work but it's the only way to ensure prompt delivery of stuff.
Example: Our O/S company had a project spec for over 2 weeks yet when I asked where they were, they said "it's coming". Then I find out they hadn't even touched it yet. As a result, the client started screaming for it and I had to put in the time to do it myself.3. Be 100% specific. Be ready for the company to come back and say "it wasn't in the spec" as a way of getting out of completing stuff. Many companies are willing to make minor changes but changes that are more "creative" can sometimes lead to problems.4. Tell them how you plan on testing it. This gives a much better scope for their final work because it has to actually DO it when you test it.5. Put down a timeline. See #2 for reasoning but if you give them a timeline, you can actually hold back funds if they don't provide the work for you.
Friday, October 17, 2003
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Whil's comment: "People ask me what to do...for years, it hasn't been clear, but now it is."
Whil is heading into Linux full steam ahead but that doesn't mean that Fox is dead.
A quick survey of the audience showed (gasp!) about 40% of attendees were STILL maintaining FoxBase and FoxPro/DOS code. (WOW!!!!)
That's 10 years old code - that would mean that in 10 years, we may still be able to work maintaining VFP 8 or later code.
That may be a bit of a stretch but the numbers would certainly make sense.
From Whil's thoughts: ten years ago, the Fox market was 2 million, it's now about 200,000 developers... user group attendance is down from 200 to about 9 to 20 - Dot Net is not where it's at because it means, for other reasons, competing with 10 million other developers currently moving to Dot Net from VB, C+, etc. Linux on the other hand represents a much more open opportunity. A Chance to get in at the bottom instead of the end...
Whil will CONTINUE to promote Fox running on Linux until he's fired (his words)
You know --- listening to him, it makes a lot of good sense. Many people got to install Linux at Great Lakes (including Drew Speedy) so who knows...
That doesn't mean Fox is dead - Henztenwerke is still publishing books on it and will as long as it makes money - but realistically the Open source books have outsold the Fox books for quite some time...
Dates to note:
Essential Fox: June 4-7 Kansas City
Great Lakes Next Year Oct 29-30-31 - wonder if he'll be dressed as Gene Simmons again
Great show Whil - look forward to it next year...
Interesting...I like some of the features but the actual posting is done as an Outlook post (instead of an email) so it doesn't look as nice.
Still...it looks very cool for $29....
Picked up Kerry Neitz's FoxTales book (heavily promoted by Toni Feltman of F1) about war stories from Fox Software (available from Hentzenwerke http://www.hentzenwerke.com).
Rich Simpson's ReportEngine control still continues to amaze...during the show, he developed a way to do real cut and paste while running a report (huh? Imagine copying a Visio or Project diagram and pasting it directly into a VFP report while it's running - very cool).
Drew Speedie put me on the spot on Monday night ('hey Andrew! how's that TB?') right during his MaxFrame presentation. Maybe I'll sic "Muffy" on him...
Nice to see some familiar faces...and put faces to names (Laura, Dan Greenberg, etc)
The next big show? Russ Swall's Essential Fox next June. What will happen? Well bets were being laid as to who would provide the best "deathmatch" - Whil vs. Ken, Steve vs. JP, Muffy vs. Drew....make your bets now...
Got some great feedback on the new FF! 8.0 - it's coming soon so be sure to check out the beta at http://www.foxfirereporting.com/livedesign/ffblog.htm!
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Monday, October 06, 2003
I see .... and yet Ted Roche and Whil Hentzen are NOT on this list... I guess being the sole publisher of VFP books, conference speaker (and organizer), User Group "constant speaker", initial Fox Blog publisher and general FoxPro promotion is not considered "actively helping to promote FoxPro"
Whil's recent promotion was called "Fox is everywhere..." - I guess someone at MS missed this.
MvpVfp2004 - FoxProWiki
Hope to see you there...
EssentialFox Conference - Visual FoxPro Conference
Huh?!?! - Until such time as Desktop apps are killed off completely (don't see that happening anytime soon), I actually prefer to recommend Citrix or Terminal Server based solutions than purely Web-based.
Maybe David's problem was actually using the term "Citrix" instead of the more "MS-friendly" Terminal Server. VFP continually gets updated in service releases to better support Terminal Server applications(recall the NOBITMAP setting in SP3 for VFP 6). In fact, in one newsgroup, one of the fastest suggested ways to build a "mobile" app for the PocketPC was NOT to use SQL Server for PocketPC, etc but rather to build a Terminal Server (read: CITRIX-like) application and connect to it using the PocketPC's Terminal Server client. The only caution was "keep your screens really small".
It's the "MS response" that really hurts the community. Promoting VFP with ASP.Net is great for all those bleeding edge developers (and yes, I know it hurts to say it but for most people ASP.Net is still a little too bleeding edge for many companies - note that not even MS bCentral allows SOAP access on their .Net services - wonder why not?).
The fact is that EVERY developer needs to be told of workable solutions. Citrix and Terminal Servers represent GREAT Solutions for companies who have remote needs and WORKING desktop applications. VFP is not only ideally suited in these environments - it kicks serious butt when it comes to performance! Why? Because the application actually runs LOCALLY instead of being on a network.
Other reasons to consider Citrix/Terminal Server solutions:
1. It's easier to support - you can shadow other users, and easily disconnect users when connected.
2. Single point of access - easier to track errors, provide updates and more.
3. Single type of workstation - easier to manage. Hell, even better than trying to deal with multiple browsers
4. You can FIND many companies willing to HOST TS servers for you - yes, they may charge for it but will provide 24/7/365 uptime with various guarantees (check out http://www.meganetserve.com)
If you have never considered using Terminal Server as a remote solution for your apps, I strongly recommend it. AND it's getting easier and better. Don't be fooled by Microsoft's response - VFP does work well under Citrix and is always being improved to work better because of it. (just don't mention Citrix in the same breath <bg>)
Monday, September 29, 2003
Monday, September 22, 2003
Subject: VFP Awareness
I just read your comments about perceptions of VFP as a development environment. It's something that concerns a lot of people who've spent (years) using it and developing skills.
Saturday, September 20, 2003
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Friday, September 12, 2003
Thursday, September 11, 2003
I guess that was better than saying "any monkey could do it". Maybe that's why certain devs I used to work with stopped working...
Lamebrain things managers shouldn't say to employees
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Friday, September 05, 2003
(which I would love to do but am loathe to let anyone work in my office when I can have them be a number of miles away)...
Hmmm...anyone try it via a shared terminal server connection?
Wired 11.09: The New X-Men
I must have been in a fog the last few days to have missed this....actually, no, we had company in and my time has been terribly eaten up (see musings) - it's incredible how much you miss those 20 hour work days when you can only work 10 of them...
Hentzenwerke's Developers Studio Apartment
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
From: The Ayn Rand Institute [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 1:27 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor: University of Michigan Hides Its Racist Policies
Welcome to the brave new world of college admissions. The Supreme Court ruled in the Michigan case that raced-based policies are constitutional as long as universities are not too obvious about it. The University of Michigan has announced that it has changed its procedures accordingly and these will no doubt be used as a model by other universities. Now instead of using race explicitly by assigning a certain number of bonus points for applicants of the right race, Michigan will use race implicitly--which means they can do whatever they feel like doing provided they do not say they are doing it! Instead of being above board and in the open, racism will now be hidden under the table.
Consider the irony of this. For decades leftists and so-called anti-racists have supported affirmative programs (quotas) on the grounds that in theory treating people as individuals may be ideal but that hidden or subconscious prejudices would undermine any such attempt. Now, with the left's strong approval, the Supreme Court has told universities that subconscious prejudice is both legal and desirable--if the result is to favor minority groups. But racism is still racism regardless of whether it is done consciously or subconsciously and regardless of which group benefits. The real solution is not to hide racism but to abolish and replace it with the principle of color-blind, race-blind individualism--the principle on which America was founded.
Edwin A. Locke
Ayn Rand Institute
Monday, August 25, 2003
Friday, August 22, 2003
I'm a big believer in email newsletters and in sharing my email address with people who are interested in contacting me, but as these viruses and continuous SPAM are proving, it's getting to a point where many computer users may simply stop using this stuff and go back to other means.
If you bought a computer today, thinking it would bring you into the new world and give you all kinds of great new features and ability to search online, and communicate with friends, imagine the surprise when 95% of your emails are all either viruses or SPAM. Is a computer on the Internet still that much more productive?
Based on this idea, it really seems that the best strategy for notifying customers of new updates and articles of interest will be through RSS or hybrid type tools (like the VFP Task Pane's support for FoxCentral.net). Email newsletters are going to easily be confused with SPAM so what's the point in sending them out?
One of the companies I am involved with routinely sends out notices to customers, telling them of new features and seminars. We hit about 45% of our customers because many of them have SPAM filters that prevent them from going out.
Is 45% better than nothing? Yes - but it's not better than picking up the phone and telling them to their faces.
However, until MS and other companies start providing built-in RSS Aggregators in the operating system, there will be no way of getting real valuable information to users.
I am directing this primarily for end-users. Developers and power users will always find ways of doing this but new users won't.
At the risk of making a political statement, viruses and spam are akin to cyber-terrorism that threaten the rest of the world's ability to work successfully on a computer. My uncle made a comment the other day - "it seems the only people who are truly free are the terrorists" - but in the cyber world, I would doubt that even the spammers and virus creators are free from their own handiwork.
Clearly this needs a solution and none of the major vendors appear to be stepping up to the plate with a heavy bat.
Web Technology / Sobig.f proves why focusing on commercial spam is a mistake - Tech Update - ZDNet
Monday, August 18, 2003
Friday, August 15, 2003
I know everyone thinks that XML is the NBH (Next Big Hype) and I will admit to being in that group. I love XML as a way for dealing with so many different data streams and more. But, realistically, I think it's important for an editor to exist that makes it easy to:
a) build useful XSL stylesheets quickly
b) understand the structure of the file
c) modify and update the DTD schema
I think that a lot of developers who have been working with XML tools in a theoretical or "tool" based environment miss the point that many developers, who are focused around getting products out, don't have the same time to learn how all of these new functions work, even though they can understand the benefits. They want the tools that allow them to take advantage of XML without having to understand the syntax of XPATH, XSL and other areas. I really hope this is where the new XML editor comes into play. I may be hoping for too much --- but I hope not. Otherwise we (as the entire developer community) will find ourselves in a similar situation as when OOP started becoming more popular and a great many developers who didn't get it immediately became frustrated and as a result, churned out a lot of pretty ugly stuff.
I've seen lots of TERRIBLE XML implementations and pure misunderstandings of what XML looks like. Tools like XML/Spy have great goals but I think the end result misses the boat. I hope the MS XML Editor helps fill the void...
Ted's Radio Weblog
With a few minor updates and looking over this article, I was able to show them that it was , in fact, possible to do exactly what they said wasn't (without a bunch of work).
Visual FoxPro and .NET Interoperability
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Monday, August 11, 2003
Sunday, August 10, 2003
RIM loses patent-infringement ruling | CNET News.com
Speaking of patent infringements, wonder what's happening with that Business Objects lawsuit?
Friday, August 08, 2003
CNN.com - When good software goes bad - Aug. 8, 2003
Best TRUE story I've ever heard was from a local vendor- get this one.
Compaq iPaq - 1 only - H3650 model - a funny story: a customer bought it, took it home, and brought it back claiming it did not work. We gave him his money back, no problem. At our expense we sent the product back to HP and they called us laughing, saying that their diagnostic tool had discovered an amazing fact: that the ON button had not been pressed. So we have an opened but retail boxed iPaq here - it can be yours for just $299 (it's $100 below our cost) - and like I said just one available
Creating an Online RSS News Aggregator with ASP.NET
"I have met the enemy and he is us."
When Pogo mouthed these words so many years ago, he must have been thinking of software designers, or interaction engineers, or human interface folks, or whatever we who create the interaction model for our products are calling ourselves this week.
We've been complaining bitterly, these last 25 years, that we get no respect, that we are thought of as nothing more than decorators, if we are thought of at all. Guess what? We have no one to blame but ourselves. We have sat on the sidelines, perpetually powerless, whining, instead of changing up the game so we can win.