Thursday, June 30, 2005

IT Conversations: Lawrence Lessig - Re: Mix Me

While subscribed to it, I have stayed out of the Creative Commons discussions, choosing to focus on the "joy" of development - knowing I would have to get into it at some point later on.

However, I saw that Eric was giving a talk on how to make marketing for geeks more understandable and then just yesterday, I was driving home from a Montreal client visit and listened to this podcast from Lawrence Lessig given at the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies conference in March.

This talk blew me away. It puts every DRM debate into a very basic context - and the possible repercussions of recent actions by the US Supreme court are frightening. The Q&A is especially useful when someone essentially says "I need a license that says don't copy my work, but if you mess with it, that's ok with me". And the discussion that ensues.

In short - our entire society is based on remixing. We remix letters to create words, remix words to create paragraphs, remix ideas into inventions, and so on. So while no, we shouldn't be allowing the pure copying of ideas, we should certainly allow for the mixing of them.

A little similar to Donald Norman's comments as well.

IT Conversations: Lawrence Lessig - Re: Mix Me

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ajax and Atlas

I tried to link to this via Dare (where I originally found it) but his site was down.

MS has a project called Atlas which is designed to make it easier for anyone to build an AjAX-style web application. Of course, it will require ASP.Net 2.0 but that's awesome.

As Scott notes:
All of the pieces of AJAX – DHTML, JScript, and XMLHTTP – have been available in Internet Explorer for some time, and Outlook Web Access has used these techniques to deliver a great browser experience since 1998. In ASP.NET 2.0, we have also made it easier to write AJAX-style applications for any browser using asynchronous callbacks, and we use them in several of our built-in controls.

Can't wait - everything old is new again.
Atlas Project

MIT Weblog Survey

Take the MIT Weblog Survey. The goal is to help understand the way that weblogs are affecting the way we communicate with each other.

Takes 15 minutes.

MAKE: Blog: Audible does Podcasts - the complete guide (and HOW TO)

Phillip goes through Audible's podcasting support in great detail noting a great many of the issues with it.

I think I may have the same problem with the formats, especially if iTunes does this as well. Right now, I'm preparing for a day visit to Montreal and am loading my Pocket PC with podcasts. If I had downloaded an ACC file, I would be out of luck.

Podcasts as a distribution method need to be free (unless they ARE DRM'd - not the other way around). All of the companies offering this need to figure that out a bit better, if Phillip's take is any indication.

MAKE: Blog: Audible does Podcasts - the complete guide (and HOW TO)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Updated: A Microsoft evangelist talks to Paradox developers (in 2004) and rips FoxPro

Who is this Frank Fischer, MS .NET evangelist of Microsoft Germany, anyway?

I found this by doing a technorati search for FoxPro - this was on the first page - obviously they are pinging the right blogs if something from 2004 was listed on the first page.

The Fox Team should do something about MS "evangelists" spreading their words. While Ken and everyone else is stepping away from declaring Sedna a "release", this guy actually says:

* Q: What about Foxpro ?
* R: We are forced by customers to maintain it. We have an eight-year commitment to maintenance. But don't move to it: it's a dead-end. Use VS instead.

(of course, he's a DotNet evangelist but he could have worded it a bit better).

Interesting comment though: Until Longhorn, .NET is built on top of COM. Starting with Longhorn, the building direction is reversed: COM has been rebuilt on top of .NET


Tag: FoxPro

Microsoft talks to Paradox developers - Riff Blog

FoxPro (VFP) Jobs, Average Salary & Contractor Rates for FoxPro (VFP) Skills

Interesting web site that shows job agency requests in the UK for FoxPro based work.

Anyone know of anything similar to this for North America?

Tag: FoxPro
FoxPro (VFP) Jobs, Average Salary & Contractor Rates for FoxPro (VFP) Skills

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Story of Sedna: What Parallels with FoxPro?

According to John Koziol, "and then I read the legend of Sedna, the Artic goddess and about fell off my chair laughing at the loose parallels to VFP.""

After reading the linked story of Sedna, I'm a bit worried.

Of course, this one might be a bit better : "her severed fingers develop into sea mammals" could relate to how FoxPro's features are finding their way into other MS products.

Maybe John can elaborate...

The Story of Sedna

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Thoughts from the FoxPro Prague DevCon from Bob Lee

Bob Lee posts some thoughts and lots of pictures from the Prague FoxPro Devcon. A beautiful city for sure. Great post, Bob.

And good job trapping Ken for more clarification (I'll bet Ken will get tired of answering this at every event). According to the blog,

"Ken did say that nothing was firm as far as a number like VFP 10.. But that we as developers should not be so concerned about the name of the product, but more of what the product will enable us to do in the future."

A lot can happen in 2 years and Sedna release has been mentioned to be first part of 2007.

No Carrier's Comments

NewsGator Introduces Podcasting Support

For those of you who use NewsGator for both Outlook and web access, you'll be happy to know Newsgator now supports podcasting.

This is precisely what I've been waiting for.
Awesome news.

Now - why doesn't it support Newsgator Outlook?
Update: Outlook support is coming soon.




NewsGator Daily: NewsGator Introduces Podcasting Support

Saturday, June 25, 2005

CastBlaster v0.17 beta Now Available - no USB Support

Hey all!
Cast Blaster Public Beta is NOW AVAILABLE (but does NOT support USB soundcards - argh)

Direct link here

According to the forum:
You can order a license at http://www.shareit.com/product.html?productid=300031272 and use it both for this beta and for the final release version 1.0.


CastBlaster :: View topic - CastBlaster v0.17 beta

Update: I can't believe it doesn't support USB soundcards. All these podcasters talk about needing great microphones, etc - so you go out and buy something like the M-Audio and you find you can't use it. Very frustrating. Not sure - why this is such a tricky thing to support.

Pictures of VFP DevCon 2005

Ask and ye shall receive...
Thanks Alex for the direct link.


smugmug - Alex Feldstein : VFP DevCon 2005

MS at Gnomedex: I Don't Want to Wait for Longhorn to see you "get" something

It's interesting to read all the feeds from Gnomedex - I'm excited by a lot of what was announced so far but I'm looking forward to see what Audible really announces and here's why:

1. RSS in Longhorn. Yeah, that's really great except one thing: MS has a bad track record of getting all the upgrades to happen (realistically, it really happens when people replace their machines). So while I'm excited by what's coming with IE 7 , I don't like waiting for stuff.

2. Podcasting. I know Curry is doing some announcements about Podcasting and the like but I was REALLY surprised that Microsoft hasn't done something about it in a BIG way yet. (maybe they will announce later today so I'll update if need be)

Windows Media Player isn't as big as iTunes but it likely is on just as many desktops and it has built in support for online music providers such as Napster, MSN Music, MusicNow and Audible, among others. These are , for the most part, web-based providers. Why hasn't the MSN team said "hmm --- why not simply start offering MSN Podcasts by pulling in the iPodder OPML and offering it right from within WMP?"

There's a lot to be said about taking the time to get it done right. WMP could do with a better synchronizing with the Pocket PC (why Sync and Go only supports WMA files is beyond me) and of course, there is that entire "WMA vs. MP3" philosophical discussion but if the goal is 100,000,000 listeners (as Adam mentioned on his Gnomedex show), why NOT take the existing directory, revise it with a Style Sheet and make it instantly available via MSN Music or a new MSN Podcasts option?

It's OPML -> it can be done - so while I'm excited by all this "did you ever think we would get this far so fast?" discussion, I'm not bowled over with enthusiasm with the "hurry up and wait" approach of Longhorn when they have the power to change the way people listen to shows and they can do it without the 60-90 days it takes to build new software.

Robert Scoble, you're a fan of podcasting - hasn't this bug been planted yet with the other teams at MS? I don't want to have to wait.

Hmmm....maybe Audible will have something but then again, I just went to their site and it says "Audible is experiencing a temporary outage". Maybe Gnomedex really is eating everyone's bandwidth.

I'll be patient - the show ends today and I'm sure there are more announcements. If not, maybe I'll switch to iTunes.

The Audible comment from Paul is interesting.

We will see.

PubSub: Gnomedex,

Friday, June 24, 2005

Gangdex on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Wow - you know with RSS and the number of bloggers that are at Gnomedex, and the Livefeed, it's almost like being there.

I think every conference needs to be doing this. Alex, where are your great pictures from the FoxPro DevCon?


Gangdex on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Gnomedex 5.0 Rocks

(revised note)
Hey Chris - awesome tunes on the live feed?

Adam Curry must be in the house - thought I just heard an awesome mashup.

Gnomedex 5.0

Microsoft IE 7 at Gnomedex: RSS Everywhere

Hmmm...interesting comment from Dean and the IE team at Gnomedex - RSS Everywhere...

I love it.

Especially the part about making it easier for developers.

Gnomedex has a live feed

This is too funny...Gnomedex has a live feed (noted from Scoble) (audio only it seems) and he was just talking about how none of the attendees could blog due to some internet problems (but the live feed was working - it isn't anymore)

Darn - and I really wanted to hear the news on IE 7.0 and how it will deal with feeds and lists.
Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ken Levy - Showing off his gadgets (6 videos and counting)

And Ken continues his streak on Channel 9 - he's going to end up being the most "video-taped" person on there. This time showing off his new toys.
Ken Levy - Showing off his gadgets

Ken Levy and Sedna on Channel 9

Eric points to Ken's videos of Visual FoxPro 9 and Sedna on channel 9.

In Prague, Ken referred to Sedna as the "next release of VFP" and a release of 2007 however if you watch the video, you'll hear Ken talk about regular public updates so that all of that great extensibility Ken shows in the report designer is going to be available before then.

The way Ken describes Sedna in the video is , in my opinion, a much cleaner way of describing what Sedna is, beyond the roadmap. The roadmap goes out of its way to say this is "not a new release of VFP" but the video shows "vintage Ken" (I believe Scoble referred to him being prepared with the "swiss army knife of demos") - going through these great features that the team is in the middle of adding (he added one feature the same day the video was done).

And the feeling that I got out of it was more of Sedna being a way for everyone to partake in the great things the FoxPro team is working on, beyond a new release.

The power of rebuilding Avalon apps in VFP is very cool.

Hey Fox Team - this video should be linked on the Sedna team blog!

Ken Levy and Sedna on Channel 9

Friday, June 17, 2005

Another analysis of the Roadmap

Rick makes a note that Vision Pace is now blogging and Drew Speedie has posted another analysis of the Visual FoxPro Roadmap.
Shedding Some Light: 06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005

vSkype.com - visual messaging

Looks like Skype is getting on the video bandwagon. The sample image looks like they've resolved the conference calling issue. You can actually have multiple video cams in one meeting.

vSkype.com

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Microsoft to Serve Up SQL Server 2005 Preview

If you read far enough below,

"In fact, Anders Hejlsberg, a top Microsoft software architect, is working on Visual C# 3.0 and has produced compiler technology that accelerates data integration. The Visual Basic team is working to deliver similar functionality, based on Microsoft's FoxPro technology base, sources said."


Microsoft to Serve Up SQL Server 2005 Preview

The Mindjet Blog

My favorite Mind Mapper tool , Mind Manager has a blog that's been out for a while. I saw that one of their main guys (Hopie) is talking at Gnomedex and he linked to the blog.

Now, my real question: WHY Can't I get an OPML export out of MindManager?

I'm running the older version but I really want to start using MindManager for my FoxShow - I figure I should be able to do something with the scripting api but alas, all of the links to the older MindManager 2002 files have been removed from the site. Guess it's time to upgrade.



The Mindjet Blog: Think Together. Work Together. Map Together.


The Mindjet Blog

IT Conversations: Scott Cook - Larry's World

I popped this onto my PocketPC last week and listened to it recently. I use a rotating playlist which always keeps my choices fresh.

If you don't know much about Intuit or ever wondered if CEOs still want to change the world, this show is definitely worth a listen.

It almost makes me want to switch from MS Money.
He talks about how Quicken came about, their approach to design, the challenge they faced when getting rid of the QIF file format and more importantly, how software can change the world.

A GREAT show to listen to.

IT Conversations: Scott Cook - Larry's World

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

IronPython Pre-Alpha Released

Hmmm - this is exciting, especially for all those Fox developers who have started looking at Python as an alternative.

IronPython Pre-Alpha Released

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

CBC's shop offering staff discount to podcasters and bloggers

This should be of great interest to other Podcasters and bloggers.

As Tod notes:

# Radio Skills handbook: CBC Radio Skills is an essential first step towards understanding what makes good radio. Whether it's hard news or entertainment, there are many crucial things to learn about being a good storyteller. This book features helpful chapters on Story Development, Writing, Vetting, Interviewing, Performance, Action Plans and Further References.

# Storytelling With The Camcorder: CBCs Learning and Development department has created a comprehensive guide for journalists working in news and current affairs. It focuses on combining the technical and creative aspects of shooting with journalistic tools.

CBC's shop offering staff discount to podcasters and bloggers (I Love Radio .org)

Review of RealOne Subscription and Refund

Ah RealOne is really Rhapsody - that's why I hadn't made the connection. Hey, Tod - use MusicNow - it's much better although you DO have to have a US billing address.

I hadn't heard of the RealOne subscription and I'm certainly glad I didn't use it after listening to your note.
Review of RealOne Subscription and Refund

Using the CommandBars library

Some users asked me a while ago about how tough it was to use the CommandBars library from Arg.

It's not hard but I've prepared a sample screen cast on it:
Using the CommandBars library

When will people switch from Microsoft?

( I posted this on the ProFox mailing list but I liked the ending enough to want to state it here. Granted I've been wrong before - but people don't change unless they see the real benefit)

Until someone comes out with a truly revolutionary O/S, I can't see it happening. Corporations move slowly - sometimes even slower than governments.

Linux needs a killer application. The Mac had graphics. They got the niche market - everyone who is involved in graphical design prefers a mac. Just because the bitheads prefer Linux isn't going to be enough. Especially, when Linux/desktop tries so hard to look just like Windows just to get it into the corporate door.

I remember back in 90 and 91, I was playing with Windows 2.x and a colleage pulled me aside and showed me this thing called OS/2. I simply shrugged. Minor revisions on an interface aren't going to cut it. This is why so many people still run Windows 98, only upgrading to Windows XP when they get a new machine.

If Linux wants to make a difference, then they need to change something in a big way. Not just the dollars and cents but the landscape. Don't think it can be done? The Internet did it in a big way - they changed the entire concept of single clicking for an entire generation but also in a positive way. If HTML and web browsers were only available on a single type of O/S, would it have been as revolutionary? Well - I could argue that that O/S would have become the one embedded onto small tablet style devices and the like but HTTP was simply a transport and HTML simply a text version and every O/S jumped on board.

Everything I hear from every camp is more variations of the same. XAML vs XUL - cripes it's a TEXT file that creates an interface (ANY o/s should be able to support it).

And right now, all these vendors want all the applications to work together so you can switch between each environment without noticing a problem. So what's the real reason to switch?

You want to work with other operating systems? No problem. I want to work as many as possible.

You want me to CHANGE operating systems? Change my world or at least make my world THAT MUCH BETTER. Then I'll consider it.

What Defines a Release?

It's been a week over 10 days since the VFP Roadmap was first published and the opening keynote at the FoxPro DevCon has helped (or not for some) clear the muddy waters.

According to the notes taken from Alex and David, the VFP Team expects Sedna to look like:

* Limited core product updates
* New and improved XBase components
* .NET wrapper classes for use with VFP
* Additional product DLLs for extensibility

(this is similar to the notes published by John Koziol in the Universal thread). From Alex, "The most important theme I got from the meeting was Microsoft's VFP Group keen interest in hearing from us, the community on what direction this should take."

Malcolm Greene made a comment on the Talking Fox about the Fox Team's track record and how he would take a service pack over a full release any day.

I agree with that statement and it got me thinking about what actually defines a release. If you look at the way many products tend to get released, you often see a release that introduces major changes, followed by a release that "adjusts". These "adjustments" are more recently called "service packs" primarily because the focus of the update is very targeted. However, some would argue that the Windows XP SP2 was just as critical as a major update because it changed a lot of the standard behavior.

The difference between a service pack and a new release is also a great deal in the marketing. When a new product gets released, an awful lot goes into packaging and marketing of the product (no snipes about MS marketing VFP, please). VFP 9's mantra was no limits and it touched upon almost every area of the product. Although the Report Writer enhancements are certainly one of the most visible changes, there were changes in the SQL engine, designers, etc. The hooks that were put in created a framework for changes that could be made without requiring major changes in the engine.

The focus on Sedna is interoperability with DotNet. While VFP purists may consider it a shift, the statistics noted at DevCon show that the majority of FoxPro developers are integrating it with other environments, be it the web, DotNet or Office. So now, it makes sense to focus on better working with other systems, in the same way that VFP 6 made COM easier to manage.

But back to my point of what defines a release. Gone are the days when a product was made up of a single EXE and some minor files - I installed Cropper yesterday which uses DotNet and while the EXE was only 60 K, there were over 10 additional DLLs that added to the file size. VFP is no different and if the Fox Team can achieve their goal of VFP working better with DotNet and Longhorn (it looked like the Avalon demo was particularly cool), without having to update anything in the core product, that says a lot for the environment. Call it VFP 9 (SR) (Sedna Release) or whatever.

Is a release defined by how developers use the product or by the applications that they develop with it?

Recall that Rick Strahl took what was considered a desktop application and made it into a powerful web server, a local database tool now serves data from the larger database servers, a tool that was originally written as a scripting language has grown into the tool we use today. For every commercial FoxPro tool out there, there are a number of other public domain or open solutions.

What we have been seeing in the past few years is how Microsoft is taking that same approach of "what can we build without having to change the core" and letting their team and the entire community build from it. As I think more about it, Sedna is really the next step in that. If they succeed in building Sedna without touching the core engine (post Service Pack 1), it will be a testament to the original design from which Visual FoxPro (and FoxPro itself) was first built, one that very much feels like an open-source community for a commercial product.

Whether you call it a release, or a service pack or whatever, shipping an update is just like shipping a release, but typically without the fanfare and the Fox Team has produced some absolutely amazing functionality in the past and the demos discussed hint at great things to come with Sedna.

What we do with it is what is of most importance.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Alex covers the devcon keynote

Alex Feldstein covers the keynote. Hey, an RSS Task pane? Ted, didn't you and I talk about this at one point?

Apple chief to grads: Glad I dropped out

Well I suppose that's one way to get the grads to think about things.

But there were lots of inspirational messages in there:
"Your time is limited so don't let it be wasted living someone else's life," Jobs said to a packed stadium of graduates, alumni and family.

Apple chief to grads: Glad I dropped out - Tech News & Reviews - MSNBC.com

Update - here's the link to the actual speech.

Bizwerk: Donald Norman Defends Cheating

Grabbed from Scoble's link blog.

Bizwerk: Donald Norman Defends Cheating

David Stevenson: DEVCON keynote shows early Sedna ideas

David,

Thanks for the post about the opening keynote.

I'm intrigued by what Calvin discusses here as well, I hope they make that available publicly and it will be interesting to see if the Sedna Blog keeps up or if it was primarily for devcon.

But I'm very happy to see that Richard is working with both the Avalon and Fox teams on the interoperability issues. XAML is just text so FoxPro's native text processing functions are just a natural for doing quick updates on the Avalon work, as Ken discussed.

I do feel bad for Craig, though. After he thought he getting away from My, it seems like it's coming back.

FYI - David, looks like you were the first with a good review of the keynote. Alex's still isn't up yet. Thanks - it's greatly appreciated for all of those who are NOT attending this year.

David Stevenson's Talking Fox: DEVCON keynote shows early Sedna ideas

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Fox, reincarnated

Interesting thought on Craig's FoxBlog.

This backs what Rick Schummer's original comment: that getting the VFP team to help with the other teams is only going to be great news for the overall way VS deals with data.

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

Great post (and COMMENTS) on the Tom Peters blog about how to make meetings efficient.

I deal with a lot of online meetings and the most effective ones are structured - not completely structured but still structured.

The most important rule that comes out of a good meeting techniques is to have an objective. If you don't have an objective for the meeting, then don't have it. A status report is NOT an objective - sharing critical issues with others is. But if no one has anything to share, then it's simply not worth meeting.

That said, there is a certain value of the "face-to-face" which no one can deny (and Ted knows I've tried - no way to get back to the original post). They really need to get video conferencing working better - has anyone tried the new video conferencing in MSN Messenger?. Maybe that will make it easier for "virtual" users to work together.

Skype goes a long way but it can still go further.

tompeters! management consulting leadership training development project management

Give Your Application An Identity - PLEASE

Yes, Rick, I've had the same situation as described in your post. (and I can certainly sympathize with your FoxPro Expert scenario)

I think it's because FoxPro 2.x and earlier was such a "power-user's" tool that many people who had dabbled with Lotus macros or dBase were able to create applications that did what was needed back when it was first built. But then that person left and no one knew how to update the "application", which, left without a name, was simply referred to as FoxPro.

I know of a few cases where applications run under the Development version of FoxPro, so they can make changes "on the fly".

Sadly, this impacts the "FoxPro" name in a fairly negative way. Every application has an identity , be it a sports pool or a mission critical application and when programmers don't give it that identity a name, simply referring to it as the tool used, then the repercussions can be greatly felt.

I know of several Excel or Word based templates that do all kinds of things but to the end users, it's simply "I create my template in Excel", without knowing that it's running 5 different macros and managing their entire operation.

With Office tools, the solution may be a bit easier to explain than with a developer tool like VFP. Maybe it's because the VFP splash screen always appears (I remember so many FoxPro 2.x windows apps where FoxPro was the first word people recognized).

And it's hard to explain to users that while, yes, FoxPro was the tool used to build the application, the original developer was so much out of his tree that he actually thought about packing the tables every time a form was exited (and Yes! I have seen that logic in older apps).

And now that VFP is an older application, and still known not just as Visual FoxPro but by the simpler "FoxPro" term, it may be too late to undo the damage caused by otherwise well-intentioned programmers.

But give your application a name - you had to name the APP file (hopefully you didn't call it just by MAIN.PRG) - give it an acronym , give it anything.

Even if it's just the "Customer Maintenance" - or an acronym - I once built a system known as the WIS (pronounced Wiz) - Warranty Information System - as well as worked on something named CATS. While many users may recognize that they are working with a FoxPro application, they learn to treat the application as an identity. (how many VB apps have you heard of referred to simply as "VB"? - Access on the other hand, has the same issue - Q: what's your application called? A: oh, it's Access)

Imagine what would happen if all cars were just known as "car". Well , I guess it happens in some cases, where people generalize by saying "All Fords are _____" or "all Toyotas are _____". But with computer applications, even giving something a code name gives it an identity. FoxPro has a long tradition of great names but developers would do well to put their own individual stamp on each application they build, be it a minor revision or a major triumph.

The idea of a code name isn't always documented but it is important. (note that it is not the ONLY essential thing - I've seen developers jump on the MSF bandwagon, give their project a codename and then expect everything else to follow suit - BAD IDEA).

As FoxPro developers, we will have to face the likely painful legacy caused by those who did not give their application an identity,and in doing so, created the scenario that Rick so well describes in his post.


Shedding Some Light: 06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Serendipitous Intention Dating an Apple Developer

Adam Curry posted this and it is certainly a good read.

Fact is - it could likely go with any spouse of a developer.

A Serendipitous Intention � Blog Archive � Dating an Apple Developer

Longhorn Outruns XP, Threatens Tiger - Really???

Michael points to an article in eWeek about how Microsoft may be ready to take on Apple after all but the entire article is based purely on speculation and even admits "But if Longhorn slips into 2007, Apple could have the next big cat version released or at least waiting to spring out."

This is the kind of journalism that belongs in weblogs moreso than a paper but then this is why eweek and other online journals are really having a rough time with bloggers and keeping readership up.

1. When Longhorn ships or even produces a real beta, then we can start a real comparison. Even with all of Scoble's comments about how "sexy" Longhorn will be (actually I think that was Vic's comment), the rhetoric is all about "wait and see - you'll love it".

2. Apple typically keeps everything under wraps until they're ready. So even guessing what's coming out from them is a matter of conjecture. Apple was rumoured to be switching to Intel for years but it only hit this week.

Both companies have things up their sleeves that no one knows about. Listening to the Gilmour Gang on podcasting, I really noticed it. Adam Curry commented that MS didn't really have a clue (my word, not his) about how to deal with podcasting and yet he was there a month ago (where they sent him a gift) and I'm sure they had some discussions back then. Sure, there are some at MS who would look at Podcasting, or RSS or whatever as a passing fad. But I would still be very surprised if they aren't able to do something.

Yet everyone loves Apple for that reason - they love to surprise. Very few people knew about podcasts on iTunes until it was announced. Microsoft went through a lot of speculation on Longhorn and now they're being quieter about it.

So if you want to compare operating systems, compare Tiger and XP. If you want to compare on upcoming systems, compare public betas. If you want to talk about what may or may not happen, go to Slashdot.

www.kogeler.com - michael's blog: Longhorn Outruns XP, Threatens Tiger

Boing Boing: Ecommerce sites use personal info to charge you more

This is disturbing not because companies are engaging in unscrupulous activities - but more because I do want the personalized service but not in this way.

Seth Godin has already explained how a good marketing story can make people feel like paying more for essentially the same product (at least it was described that way in this Church of the Customer podcast) - but at least that's honest marketing (oxymoron? hmmm)

I suppose it was simply a matter of time. It's just frustrating that there's so much potential for GOOD to come out of providing some of this information and yet some companies decide to make

If you read the full article, you'll see that we have to wait for a research study and CNN takes the word of a 23-year old who may be more than a little paranoid about it. (many of his comments sound like "preset" statements but then you never know with interviews these days.)

The premise behind personalized sales should be very straight forward: here is the regular price. Because of who you are (previous buyer, reviewer, whatever), we are prepared to offer you this discount but not only that, here's what else we think you would like.

I fully expect that different buyers get different prices (as they do in various countries where haggling is a way of life) - but to actually reverse the logic - seems like a surefire way to lose customers, not gain them.

Boing Boing: Ecommerce sites use personal info to charge you more

Web Sites Driven by Visual FoxPro

I recently did two articles for FoxPro Advisor looking at Active FoxPro Pages and West Wind. At the time, I was looking for other web frameworks for FoxPro. Now it seems - I can't stop finding new ones.

FoxWeb and ActiveVFP.

If you know of others, please drop me a line as I am continuing the series of reviews on these web-frameworks iin the magazine.

Perhaps just as interesting, there seems to be a call for the Fox team to pick one and integrate it directly into Sedna - since the Universal Thread doesn't let you do direct links to individual topics, I'll just point you to the main site. It's under VFP - Sedna.

And John Koziol made a clarification on the UT regarding what Sedna (the next thing in the works by the Fox Team after VFP 9 SP1) will or will not be.

"As to how Sedna is created regarding the runtimes, the core binaries, and other components of VFP9, it's too early to make a definitive statement either way. Our goal is to leverage upcoming MS technologies for VFP developers to as fully exploit them as possible.

Ideally, we can do this with external modules, seemlessly, with the minimal changes to VFP core components. Why? For one reason, it's because it allows us to do things without introducing risk and allows us to increasingly make the core more and more robust."

Thanks John for clearing up some confusion. It's funny - I caught myself using the "t" word (transparency) recently as well with a client - while it's great that Microsoft is really trying to be as open and transparent as possible - the word is DEFINITELY getting overused. I wonder if these guys have gotten more business out of it yet.

Diversions - Uncyclopedia

Tired to regular encyclopedias? Check out the
Uncyclopedia

Interesting news: Canada and California have announced plans to merge. The new country will be called Caca.

From Uncyclopedia's biggest morons:

* ... Susan B Anthony was Maxim's 4th hottest women of the 20th Century?
* ... most Uncyclopedia contributers dont check ther speelling and punchuation?

June 8: Mallaig Day (Scotland).

* 1789: Storming of Mallaig Railway Station.
* 1798: North Dakota moves to its present location from the River Thames.
* 1963: Doctor What changes his name to Doctor Who.


A good place to visit when in need of a little laugh.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

David Stevenson's Talking Fox: Don't miss the free PDF article by Lisa Slater Nicholls

Thanks David for putting it into FoxTalk, and Lisa for writing it up - and FoxTalk for making it available.

PDF Power to the People.

David Stevenson's Talking Fox: Don't miss the free PDF article by Lisa Slater Nicholls

Plus I love it when users have Windows XP looking like Mac's in screen shots.

A baggage handler ate my apple

Sorry Eric! Hey - why isn't Apple shipping you one? Scoble loses his AudioVox and Dave's Ipaq ships him a new one.

You lose an Mac Mini and you have to buy one? Isn't there some kind of cost justification somewhere for someone promoting a Mac at a Microsoft Tech Ed?

Notes from TechEd Day 1

How do you name your product?

Agreed Craig - Clipper Summer 87 was a riot - although it was kind of funny how long it lasted and by the time they came out with a new version (was that 5.0? - I can't remember), everyone had already moved off of it.

Still - I have to say , naming it 2005 is a lot better than naming it DotNet as MS did before they realized they would have to then have additional Dots to identify the version. Visual Studio.Net.1.2(Build 2321)June 5-2006-0400ZULU would not have made for a useful version #.

It gets worse when you consider FoxPro related products. Remember how VFP skipped over VFP 4 because they wanted to introduce a standard version for all MS Dev products and bring it in line with VB 5.0 at that time. We all have to remember that because it makes the argument of MS versioning not supporting a 10.0 product moot. (sorry Rick couldn't resist that one)

And then we have the community tools - does Visual FoxPro Express 3.0 work with VFP 7, will Foxfire! 8.0 work with older versions and the confusion continues....

At least they didn't try to come up with an acronym like XP - because we would eventually get to Windows ZZ - (in other words, Windows Snooze) to be followed by Windows AAA (Windows Attacking Apple's Area )

FoxBlog

Monday, June 06, 2005

Apple OS X runs on Intel hardware, has for five years...

Ted's Radio Weblog posted it among others all confirming Dave Winer's note this weekend.

I'm excited and intrigued by this. What will this mean for Windows and the Windows platform? Hmm....does this mean that Apple will now have the crappy audio features that PC users have gotten used to while Mac users have simply enjoyed forever?

Will six-color blood be dyed forever?

I anticipate that visual designers will stick with the Macs because they trust the single hardware/software solution offered for years by Apple. The corporate world, however, is a different story. Did Steve Jobs mention performance benchmarks? Now THAT would tell the true tale moreso than feature for feature comparisons..

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Office 12 defaulting to .XML file format

Hmmm - this may actually answer one of the existing VFP Version 10 wishes - the ability to support more recent versions of Excel.

Has anyone written an export program that writes to the Excel XML format?


� Office 12 defaulting to .XML file format | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Shedding Some Light on the VFP Roadmap

"the best thing to happen to Visual Studio .NET is the help from the Fox Team. "

Rick Schummer's take on the roadmap is bang on, except of course for the reason they couldn't come out with a VFP 10.




Shedding Some Light: 06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005

What is Sedna?

The code name for the last version/add-on for VFP?

No - most distant body known that orbits Microsoft, oops, I meant, the sun.

Sedna

Craig's take on the roadmap

Certainly a more negative but definitely realistic view.

I agree with Craig though - selling off VFP is a terrible idea - nothing loses credibility faster than a product that keeps on getting sold off (just ask SBT).

Craig - does that mean no more Project Explorer? That's too bad - that would certainly be a tool worth having.

FoxBlog

Microsoft's Visual FoxPro Roadmap

Well, the road map is up and it says ......

"The primary goal of Sedna is to expand on the ability of Visual FoxPro-based solutions to better integrate with other Microsoft products and technologies."

Hmmm....what that mean? Well it certainly states what it does NOT mean:

"Microsoft does not plan to merge Visual FoxPro into Visual Studio .NET, nor are there plans to create a new Visual FoxPro .NET programming language."

The one I wish they would do is bring back the ability to debug FoxPro in Visual Studio but I think debugging COM components is something that every developer wants an easier way to do, and because of the very nature of COM, it's very difficult to do.

But the real focus is noted in Ken's June letter, where he effectively says they are working less on specific language or engine features and more to ensure FoxPro apps will run well in 5+ years. In short, maintenance mode.

Which is GREAT news for developers who are tired of constantly having to upgrade to the latest version, but NOT SO GREAT for those of us who are looking for more features to be put into the core engine. Developers should be fairly happy that while development has not STOPPED on newer tools for use within FoxPro, they should be able to work with a single version for a period of longer than two years. New features and tools will be made available - and they will WORK with the current version, not requiring endless upgrades.

However, if you look at many of the features to be found on the Wiki's Version 10 Wish List, you can be sure that some of these requests will find their way into the xBase apps or C libraries that will make up much of Sedna.

I'm sure some will take this "map" to mean all kinds of horrid things but the fact is that Visual FoxPro is a very functional language and database tool. I just finished a discussion with a client where we were talking about roadmaps. As a statement of what the Fox team is doing or will be doing for the next x months, the roadmap is good. As a true roadmap, one that shows where FoxPro is heading, this one is sorely lacking and open to many different interpretations. Granted, Microsoft has to be careful of not setting off too many on the everything is dead trail as they did with the VB 6 community - but something a little more would have been appreciated.

As it stands now, FoxPro developers should take great comfort knowing that VFP is supported in its current form by Microsoft until 2014, a full nine years away. By that time, DotNet could be replaced by yet another acronym (how quickly did it take MS to move from ActiveX -> COM -> DNA -> DotNet). Maybe in 9 years time, it will translate itself into another one of Microsoft's OpenSource projects.

On a slightly different note - if you're working with VFP and DotNet, Kevin McNeish's book DotNet for VFP Developers is available for download. That's good news for many people who need to switch back and forth.

Visual FoxPro: Microsoft Visual FoxPro Roadmap

The secret life of an MS Author

I had previously subscribed to Peter Wright's userland account but iadn't realized he had switched to blogspot.

Some great posts from both the old and new posts, including where to find a great Monaco font for Windows and a note on how Design Patterns changed life for many. His note [Design patterns, in all their guises need a government health warning: "Warning: Use of these patterns without a clear and pragmatic view of the problem will seriously damage your project, and credibility"]

The secret life of an MS Author

Eric on Proper Airport Ettiquette

Some priceless tidbits:
"Note that you don't have to do all three. The minimal standard here is easy -- just pick one. If you choose any of these three options, those of us who are "addicted to hurry" will probably be able to avoid you."

"It is a foregone conclusion that children don't know how to behave in an airport...

No, the real issue here is all of those otherwise rational adults who believe that patience is some sort of a virtue. "

Have a good show, Eric.

Just ignore me when I get crabby like this.