Monday, September 29, 2003

Font Hints: Do Not Use Arial

I don't know why I keep using Arial as a font but I do. Here's a warning: if you use Arial as a font and put the letter "W" into a button on a toolbar, the top left part of the "W" will go missing. It's terrible - it's awful. Chalk it up to simply bad font design.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Comments on VFP Awareness Editorial

Here's a note from David Dee on my recent editorial in FPA about increasing VFP Awareness. Please add comments
 From: David W. Dee []
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.
The direction that Catalyst Consulting has been taking is that VFP doesn't offer many advantages   when it comes to WWW development.  However, in a enterprise environment using Citrix and something   like HP's new blade-servers, VFP is absolutely perfect.  Citrix provides connectivity at a distance, while
the new blade-servers (and their competitors) essentially offer a WAN\LAN computing environment where   VFP excels.
Besides it's overall excellence as an object-oriented development environment, the VFP database engine   can run on each client node - potentially decreasing the load on central server resources by doing more of the database work at each node.
For these reasons we think that a mix of VFP on the client-nodes as well as a hefty central SQL Server database may be the best (certainly the most underrated) enterprise development environment out there.   "Client footprint" really depends on what resource you're trying to optimize - if the real bottleneck is throughput to SQL Server, then VFP has the capability to minimize that footprint.
I really think that the VFP community would do well to try and make contact with Citrix and maybe HP and   other hardware vendors out there who are starting to offer alternatives to the HTTP:\WWW low-bandwidth world   that we've been stuck in for so long.
I'd be glad to hear any reply or thoughts you might have along these lines.
Best Regards,

David Dee
Catalyst Consulting

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Help Design A New Version of Foxfire!

We're nearing the end of development of the new version of Foxfire! 8.0 and you might want to check it out by visiting our blog on
From there, you can download the latest beta, post comments on our recent posts and see why the new Live Design Surface area is really going to make reporting fun again!

Thursday, September 11, 2003


My thoughts go out to all those who lost loved ones on that day - I know we all lost something inside.
It is hard to imagine that it was just 2 years ago that I was preparing my session at DevCon 2001 in San Diego when I first heard about the attacks. I woke up Trish with the words "the world has gone crazy". Those moments and the days that followed are etched in my memory forever.
I hope all have found some kind of peace inside.

Lamebrain things managers shouldn't say to employees

Yes - and I actually used to say "no brainer" all the time.

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

7 things to tell workers every day

I guess "get my coffee" isn't one of them...

7 things to tell workers every day

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Interesting Discussion on the use of Cancel in Dialog boxes


Kids Playing...

What a great night yesterday...Trish and I actually saw children PLAYING by themselves, climbing trees, engaging in regular kid's play....This was the first time in the 5 years we've been here that kids have not been "organized" by adults. We get regular soccer matches and the kids are always under regular supervision. Last night, this group of about 8 kids climbed a tree right to the top, worrying about falling...(ok, some had bike helmets on...)  it was really nice to see kids be kids again, in this age where everyone is worried about everything...

Friday, September 05, 2003

I Want An Interface That Works...

Enough about Longhorn (looks like Inductive User Interface taken to the next level - note: I do LIKE IUI)
Enough about a standard Linux GUI (one to make it look like Windows) - in fact, the more of these discussions I hear, the more I am apt to forego Linux entirely - it sounds too much like the Unix debacle...who wants an interface run by white coats, even when the white coats are really geeks spread out all over the world...
Where is the real next generation interface?
A few years ago, the guys and gals at PARC (the ones who originated the GUI) were experimenting with an interface idea called "Doors" (seriously!). Now what I saw of it wasn't that awe-inspiring but it still brings me to the main point...
Skins and themes are all very nice but they are all simply different variations of the same Windows "theme".
Some basic ideas that are still waiting around for something to click...
Pen-based computing -> ok  so the tablet is here but I've been using pen-based interfaces and you know? I still hate my own handwriting...there has to be a better way...
Virtual Reality - it's been years since the movie Disclosure (remember that interface?) and VR is still in the labs. The big worry of course is that VR will simply become a basic playground and no one will get any work done...
Voice recognition (another VR) - I'm still waiting for this to become usable but like pen computing, it's always just on the edge. As long as computers crash regularly because of poorly integrated components (usually audio/video), this will never fly.
The Web - hey , HTML is great but enough with the wife said last night, pop-ups and spam are just like commercials on TV and radio. True but then my email is like watching 30 minutes of commercials to view a 5 minute show.
I think of this every time I see someone getting confused by the Windows interface. I come over, do a click-click here, a drag there and it's fixed but shouldn't it be getting easier?
Maybe we need to find a child who can lead us the right way....the adults and supposed experts certainly aren't helping...but then how do you deal with business issues?
I suppose this is more a rant than anything else but it's still frustrating.

Wired 11.09: The New X-Men

Great little item on Xtreme Programming...

(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

WhilBlog - Hey Whil!

And more join the blogging world...

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

University of Michigan Hides Its Racist Policies

Go figure...gotta love "individual rights" policies...

From: The Ayn Rand Institute []
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