Friday, July 30, 2004
beyond bullets: Board Fires CEO Over PowerPoint
Ok, sure there were some other things that may have gone wrong but it certainly re-emphasizes the importance of being about to publicly speak, especially when you're in a role that demands you communicate.
But what role doesn't? The age of "I don't have to communicate with others" is certainly behind us in almost EVERY industry. I get really frustrated when I hear developers or other people of a technical nature say "I don't present" or "I don't like to talk about what I'm doing". If you can't make what you do sound interesting, something needs to change.
Now communication is a two (or more) way street and I'm sure many have stopped reading or listening to certain people because they don't like what they hear or what the person has to say. That's fine.
But to be in any kind of position of responsibility and not be able to communicate effectively strikes me as nuts and while it may not get you fired as this CEO was, it certainly draws into question the qualities that you may have been hired for in the first place.
(this may sound like a rant and I'm sure many can point to examples where I have mis-communicated and had to restate something, but the point is not mis-communication, rather it's simply BAD communication. Then again, maybe I'm frustrated because I've dealt with too many people where I've simply flipped the bozo bit! - because of their inability to communicate. They may have talent but the head in the sand attitude doesn't always fly. Anyways, now I'm off on a tangent so I'll stop here but point to another bozo bit article (here.)
I can appreciate that technology can be tricky for execs but if it's the industry you're in, it really shouldn't be. (I sat in on a online presentation recently where none of the slides worked - and it was a presentation on webinars, ironically - and only the audio was there. The company blamed the provider but then yesterday, I went to a similar presentation with the same providerWebex (but different company) and they had more people attend and it worked. )
That post should certainly be a wake-up call, Cliff - Thanks!
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Here's a link to the actual paper from the authors.
It also mentions another problem called AskIgor noted here which only works with Linux PC files but is a similar type of tool, mentioned on Ask Joel in 2003.
" I should not be required to have my Office installation disks. The SP should install without them"
With the litany of controls that some applications may use, it can get even worse for users who aren't even aware that they had an application installed. I've run a VFP application that halfway through it said "Please insert MS Office CD" because it had to re-register a control that was last installed through MS Office.
There's something certainly wrong with that.
If a service pack requires certain files to be present, I can appreciate needing to look for them on the Internet but don't force people to have to look for their CDs or DVDs (interesting copy protection scheme, I have to say, but it makes securing the applications way too time-consuming).
I install most of my applications from a network drive but Craig's absolutely right when he says:
"Other people will give up entirely because they either can't find the media, or in the case of a corporate environment, don't have access to it"
Monday, July 26, 2004
This is awesome news! I'm a big MapPoint fan, using it for all kinds of things but I have to say, I hate having to constantly upgrade to the latest version to see the latest street changes, etc.
Besides as a web service, you never have to worry about it being installed on the user's workstation. I'll report on how integration within VFP goes in a bit.
MapPoint Web Service Offering for MSDN Subscribers
Sunday, July 25, 2004
Not a lot of new stuff recently (just the Whidbey beta - but who knows)
Tales from the Doghouse - Tuesday, July 20, 2004
What's really nice about the blog is the comments on the value of various exercises, such as books (Beginning C# objects - read it!) and CBT studies like SmartCertify (don't)!
.NET Programmer Thoughts
The list looks complete except it doesn't mention one of the key productivity features that will be instantly used by many applications is the new Auto-Complete feature (Toni Feltman covers this in the July issue of FoxPro Advisor (the article's not online but should be) --- FoxPro Advisor!
Auto-Complete is a single property setting that can be turned on and INSTANTLY makes data entry easy for end-users.
There are a number of other extra settings for it , including the ability to specify the AutoComplete file that gets created. (hint: set the AutoCompTable property)
The AutoCompSource property specifies the value that will be used to lookup the autocomplete value. (if left empty, it uses the name of the object)
The file structure of the lookup table looks like this:
Count Int -
Created - Date/Time
Updated - Date/Time
What's New in Visual FoxPro 9.0 Beta
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
You see, this is how Apple is the number one computer for students and in the education market. They cut the right kind of deals, they know what to give away in the deal and they end up with huge mindshare.
Marketshare? Who cares about marketshare if you have people simply saying "one day I'll get an Apple" - because eventually they will.
(now,now - don't jump on me for saying that. Yes, Apple only has less than 10% of the computer market - but that doesn't stop them from still being a better REGARDED company than most others. and typically speaking, they aren't hurting in the overall sales area.
Yes, it could always be better but not every one has a BMW or a Lexus either - yet when you think of luxury or high-quality cars, those names typically come in on top.)
That said, you can't eat "mindshare" and you can certainly eat with "marketshare". It's a trade-off but this deal shows that Apple still knows how to get to the "core" of the early adopter.
MSNBC - Duke to give iPods to all freshmen
Monday, July 19, 2004
Well, Sergey Berezniker set me straight - that's why there's a function called NORMALIZE.
I had never heard of this function before although it's been in FoxPro for quite a while (even back in FPW 2.6).
From the help file: NORMALIZE( ) returns a character string from the character expression cExpression with the following changes:
The character expression is converted to uppercase. However, embedded strings are not changed. An example of an embedded string is "Hello" in the character expression "LEFT('Hello',1)".
Any abbreviated Visual FoxPro keywords in the character expression are expanded to their full length.
Any -> operators separating aliases from field names are converted to periods.
The syntax of any Visual FoxPro commands or functions within the character expression is checked, although the expression is not evaluated. If the syntax is incorrect, Visual FoxPro generates a syntax error. NORMALIZE( ) does not check for the existence of any fields, tables, memory variables, user-defined functions, or other references in the character expression.
WHat this means is that if you put in something like:
SET FILTER TO (company_name!="Alfred" OR region<>"NC") AND country = "United States"
You can do
a ? NORMALIZE([(company_name!="Alfred" OR region<>"NC") AND country = "United States"])
and it will return
What a life saver! Thanks Sergey for bringing it to my attention.
Andrew MacNeill - AKSEL Solutions: Beware of how the FILTER() works
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Download details: Visual FoxPro 9.0 Beta Samples
Now when you're editing a form, you can choose how you want to change the tab order WITHOUT having to go to Tools Options. Either interactively (for those who like to go mouse crazy) or by list (for easily choosing by Row or Column).
Saturday, July 17, 2004
The RSS feed is also there.
Andrew Ross MacNeill's White Papers, Conference Notes and Articles
Everything looked great in Star Office but posted it on my White papers site and the result?
All the text was centered.
I don't mind a few formatting changes but when they say "Formatting changes may not be retained" - wouldn't that mean LEFT-aligned?
Maybe this is why OpenOffice is the better choice (I'll install that after removing StarOffice) but for the interim, I'm installing MS Office as my primary office tool.
If you haven't downloaded it yet, DO IT NOW! I use it as my primary dev environment and then simply recompile the apps in VFP 8 for release purposes.
Of course, if you've got a new project that won't be released until next year, VFP 9 is CERTAINLY the way to go. The beta doesn't expire until May 2005 so you can start now and be ready for the production version in time for your release.
Sadly, he does note some of the limitations that cannot be extended due to the current 32-bit architecture of the product (the 2 GB file size limitation). Steve Black recently noted on the wiki however that the overall size of VFP hasn't changed despite all of the great feature enhancements (http://fox.wikis.com/wc.dll?Wiki~VfpExeSizes~VFP).
Who knows ... maybe if enough people get on the VFP 9 wagon, a 64-bit version might be in its future...
Naysayers may say that's unrealistic but the fact that VFP is still around today as a viable app dev environment is something that a few vehemently said would never happen just a few years ago.
July 2004 - Letter from the Editor
Friday, July 16, 2004
** Match found
(Note: no - this code isn't optimized!)
But then I also have to check all of these individual conditions:
lcValue=STRTRAN(lcValue,' OR ','.OR.')
lcValue=STRTRAN(lcValue,' $ ','$')
lcValue=STRTRAN(lcValue,' AND ','.AND.')
lcValue = STRTRAN(lcValue,"<>","#")
lcValue = STRTRAN(lcValue,"!=","#")
lcValue = STRTRAN(lcValue,"!",".NOT.")
It's not pretty but it works. Are there any others? Let me know.
My own theory behind this is because everyone who used to be a VB developer likely has DotNet on their desktop - whether or not they are USING it actively or just want to say they are using it to make it look good - remains to be seen.
I have DotNet. I have USED DotNet and if a survey asked me what tools do I develop in, I would certainly check off DotNet. But I don't work 100% in DotNet, which may be the real question that needs to be asked.
52% of application developers use .NET
Outlook will certainly benefit from it.
Microsoft buys Lookout to boost search | CNET News.com
Monday, July 12, 2004
However, it's really a great sign that MS is serious about supporting the blogging community which seems to have um, exploded in size in the past year.
Blogs and RSS come to Microsoft.com
Thursday, July 08, 2004
"There won't be anything announced about what the VFP team works on post version 9.0 until after we launch VFP 9.0"
What's the version of Windows going to be after Longhorn? Jeez, people! VFP 9 is a phenomenal version. You want it to keep going - get people to buy it.
VFP is NOT a cash cow for Microsoft, unlike their other products. SQL Server pays them $$ every time someone installs a SQL Server application. VFP apps do not. SO the ONLY source of proof that MS has, that VFP is alive and well, is by sales of its Developer product.
The fact that VFP 9 is bundled with MSDN probably hurts it more than helps because people don't have to actually buy it anymore.
Bloglines | Clip Blog
"when was the last time you were meandering through the bookstore and you spied learn vascular surgery in 24 hours?"
Where is THAT book? Sounds like an idea for the dummy line:
"Neurosurgery for Complete Dummies" by Dr. V. Frankstein
- Learn how to find the right donors for your subjects
- Circumvent the hydro company with your own power generation
- Learn why corks make the best necklaces around
- How to find the right girl for your new best friend
On a more serious note, caustic has some major issues with things that are 100% valuable. If I buy a book and get at least 5 good ideas from it, it's worth it. I don't care if they are in the form of tips or do's and don't. The fact is that people who buy books want to enjoy reading - just because caustic likes reading dictionaries doesn't mean that everyone else should have to.
Look at Dynamics of Software Development - that was a great read as was Code Complete. Were there sections that were, um, dry? Yes - but the real benefit were the core concepts that people got out of it.
If I want to learn something, I'm going to learn it - but I would at least like to make the experience enjoyable. Just like attending classes or conferences - I want a teacher who engages, not one who makes me read right out of the textbook.
Caustic reminds me of Eddie Murphy or any one of those other comics who feel the obligation to swear to get his point across - it actually diminishes the point he is making. Once is fine - hell even twice is okay - but when every 5 words is crossed with crap, he starts to sound exactly like those blithering idiots he feels are wasting his computer library choices.
causticTech: learn blithering idiocy in 21 days
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
a) the main one is making sure people are good "online" presenters. I've seen great online presentations and I've seen terrible ones. If we follow concepts in Beyond Bullets but also make the entire conference follow a strong theme, it would be very easy to manage. And since everyone could "try out" their sessions online wherever they are, they would almost always be running off their own machines.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Kind of sounds like Windows vs. DOS all over again. Hell, everyone loved DOS and the Unix command line, right?
Can you imagine making a phone call if it actually involved trying to tell the phone what phone switch to go to each time you wanted to do something?
Good design makes things easier to access - but the point on blogs is simple. "Here are my thoughts. If I can make it easier to read quickly, I'll do it - if I can't, tough luck." Eventually better design will win out and everyone will be happy. Until then, read it in your own view.
I say this after having played with various Blogger templates ad finitum only to have to copy and paste other code into it.
The biggest downside to bad or lack of design is that your message may actually get lost, because of a confusing interface.
Disagree? Consider Windows XP's support for digital cameras. We had an old Intel digital camera that when you plugged it in, up popped XP's Camera and Scanner Wizard which worked great. Just got a new Fuji FinePix and the Camera and Scanner Wizard no longer pops up. You can TELL it to pop-up under Properties - but does it? Nope! Now Trish, my wife, curses whenever we have to transfer pictures because it's three steps instead of one. Wouldn't it be so much easier if it all worked properly from day one?
Likewise with reading a blog. If you want better design, read a newspaper or check out FeedDemon's RSS Reader. NewsGator comes close with its summary view but the basis for the RSS feed is the content, the Blog URL is for the design.
Who reads Scoble via his web page anyways? Most I know do it via RSS.
Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger
For more of a really neat discussion as to what went on with one of our favorite database products, check out Kerry Nietz's FoxTales.
It's a great read. When you consider how long it's been since "Soul of A New Machine", very few books have taken readers on that journey in an introspective manner, with the view of someone who was on the team. Philip's Money post reminded me of it somewhat but I have to say that I read Kerry's book on the plane ride back from Milwaukee last year and found myself chuckling at all the stories, including remembering my first Fox DevCon back in 91.
Not necessarily for current technical reading but great retrospectives...
When I was on this project...
Friday, July 02, 2004
I still find I'm constantly searching in the results (on both MSN and Google). I suppose it's a trade-off - on MSDN, I search and never find things that I know are there - on MSN and Google, I search and find things that I would never want to know existed.
Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger