Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ken Goes Live!

On his blog, Ken Levy has announced that he's going to become a product planner over on Windows Live.

While it's sad to see him leave the Visual FoxPro community, it's good to know that the community is going to be seeing some new stuff real soon on the Sedna side. Ken was a big proponent of moving the xBase stuff into a more flexible license for developers to work with.

As for Ken, let's see, we've got former VFPer's working on Windows Live, Development
Architecture, Visual Studio Data access, Borland, and
FileMaker...hmmm...maybe we will take over the world soon.

Good luck Ken and keep in touch! Maybe we'll get to see a LiveX someday!

Todd Cochrane and the IE 7 Beta Interview

If you haven't listened to Geek News Central Revealing Technical News before, now's the time to do it.

Todd interviews Margaret Cobb from Microsoft's Internet Explorer team (with the IE 7 beta being released today) - now that's a coup!

Of interest: "Which sort of tells me that the IE7 team and the Windows Media Player team may not be talking to one another as I don't think from numerous conversations that the IE7 has any plans what so ever to support enclosures."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Conference Costs

Robert does a great job explaining why Conferences cost what they do - and what people can do about it.

Great post and very valuable for those considering offering conferences vs. code camps.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Emoticon Patent ?

I agree with Rick - This is just plain scary or is it crazy?

It's only crazy if untrue so I would say scary.

By the way, Tom and Molly from BuzzOutloud were about to patent the word "the" but someone told them it was already done. Darn - let the lawsuits fly.

Someone needs to clean up the patent office.

Shedding Some Light: Emoticons Patent? :(

So How Do I get involved with SednaX?

The SednaX project has been filled so far with lots of talk and ideas but not a lot of direct output (this led Craig Berntsonto keep it off his 2005 highlights) but that's about to change.

I interviewed Craig, Rick and Doug on what the plan is and how the 400+ developers who have signed up can start getting involved with this open Visual FoxPro community project.

As noted in the interview, it's important to note that SednaX doesn't have to rely on Dotnet components (although there may be some benefits there) and that each project will have its own timeline. It's not a "packaged" solution - but more of a organization of several related projects.

We touch on the commercial vs. open aspect of the project as well - so commercial developers (such as Doug and Rick) can know what to expect from such a project.

What also struck me was Craig's comment about "tricks up their sleeves" from the Fox team themselves - as things like source control are still being worked out, one can only imagine (at least my thought would be) what a great coup this would be if MS allowed the entire project to be driven from the Visual Studio Team system approach. It might give MS more credibility and visibility and it would benefit the Fox community as extra add-ons would be built to help integrate the two environments as Scott and Craig have talked about before.

As Craig has noted, we live in exciting times...

The Fox Show podcast: News, reviews and training on Visual FoxPro

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Visual FoxPro : Using Win32 (WinAPI) Functions

Darn it - Craig you're right! This IS a steal. - no need to look up 50,000 constants, having code samples and more right at my fingertips and all for VFP.

Visual FoxPro : Using Win32 (WinAPI) Functions

Hello Tom!

Tom Meeks - blogging with his
Beginning Visual FoxPro Tips

Definitely a great resource - can't wait to see more.

As Craig points out, do you feel the Surge?

Sound Proofing for the Computer Case - FrostyTech.com

Found this really good article while looking for ways to sound proof my servers so I can actually podcast from my desk using my good microphone instead of having to get a uni-directional one.

Melamine Foam Sound Proofing for the Computer Case - FrostyTech.com

Kevin's got a conference this year

Thanks to David Stevenson pointing to this, now I have a new Fox blog to add to the list as well as the proposed FoxForward conference. Awesome!

Hmm and he's got products there too like FoxBench for benchmarking applications.

Stonefield Query 3.0 Ships!

Shipping is a feature - congrats to Doug and the Stonefield crew on shipping Query 3.0, using all of the cool reporting features found in VFP 9 (and some in xFRX too I believe). Congrats!

Now I'm back to debugging on my death march...

Fixing the Dragnet Timeout

I use SourceGear's Dragnet product for tracking issues and the one thing that's always bothered me is the timeout. So I would modify the timeout in the Web.Config file as well as the IIS but it still never seemed to take it.

Much like Rick Schummer's post about reading magazines for the right tips, subscribing to the SourceGear forums is also a helpful place.

I've linked to the topic but for those who don't want to click, the answer is in the IIS setting "shutdown worker processes after being idle..."

As per users gmagana and kbonnin, In the IIS 6 Admin: Application Pools -> Properties -> Performance -> Shutdown worker processes after being idle for (time in minutes).

So I created a new pool just for the Dragnet app and set it to 720 minutes which should be sufficient so it won't time out.

What's sad is that the original report on this was made in April 2005 and then updated again in September and I've been living with it for months now. Hopefully this post will make it easier for others to find it.

support.sourcegear.com :: View topic - The assault of the Error 500's

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hosting a .NET ActiveX Control in Visual FoxPro

Craig points out how you can build an ActiveX control in Visual Studio that runs in VFP.

No - it's not supported and of course, the runtime would require DotNet but hey! it seems like that's a given these days.

The SPS Weblog - Hosting a .NET ActiveX Control in Visual FoxPro

Friday, January 13, 2006

Now this is coffee....Flava Pods

For Christmas, I received a great B&D Home Café system and so we were just aching to try some "other" coffees - not just the ones that came with it. Enter Flava Pods.

mmm....when you hear flavours like Mocha Cinnamon swirl or Cinnamon Bun, you've got to wonder if it will be anything like it. Wow! I think we are fairly early in their customer list (our invoice # was 927) and the package was hand-written, loved the personal touch!

The coffee? Excellent. Really enjoyable and it arrived with individual pod pockets (so each one is sealed separately). If you do have one of the various pod-based single-cup coffee makers, check out FlavaPods. Excellent stuff!

Flava Pods Rating
Cinnamon Sticky Bun: Heavier than most but you can detect the trace of sweet cinnamon. I have to try it again.

Mocha Cinnamon Swirl: Much more like cinnamon (to me, at least) - very yummy on cold days.

Breakfast Blend: Excellent morning and day coffee. I almost want to switch from my regular pot of coffee instantly. After a while though, a little weak.

Caramel Nut Crunch: I thought this would be better for the evenings but had it one afternoon. Wow! Full bodied but with that tint of caramel - definitely an A+.

Midnight Blend:

Vanilla Hazelnut:

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Toni's Looking for automated testing

(Argh! after writing a nice little opus, Blogger crapped out on me and I lost it)

At any rate, it looks like Toni is looking for automated testing tools.

Yes, I wrote an article about the VFP Test Harness and FoxRunner but both of these tools (as Toni and I have discussed ) have a steep learning curve (kind of like having to learn a scripting language to install an application).

Now I've tried Vermont Creative's High Test Plus which worked well EXCEPT that it didn't handle testing different directories or screen resolutions very well. Heck - I even used Microsoft Test, a tool so unknown that you can't even find a good Google page for it except for all the people who used to have to use it.

While I was looking in the archives, whatever happened to AutoManual? Roger Woodsmall's tool was more for documentation but hey! it did test every little piece of your application and took a screen shot of it to boot.

While yes, I suppose one could argue that if you did proper unit testing, you wouldn't have much need for automated testing but that's a bit far fetched because the problems never occur when you do things one at a time, it's when everything is put together!

And even then, everyone finds another way of doing it. Can you right-click or left click or what happens when you do something and the moon is full?

I almost wish TechSmith would do something like Morae for automated testing - because they get the screen capture aspect of it down so well with Morae.

One thing I really liked about FoxRunner was the number of features (it did do scripting with a VFP-like language and it did do some good work with test data ) but the UI was really tough to get used to.

Hey - is there a new version for this tool yet with an improved UI? That might be the answer. Otherwise you'll have to do as I suggested in my FoxAdvisor article, and write your timer code that just goes around hitting every button on every form, and the like.

Any ideas - be sure to let Toni know and let everyone else in on the secret.

F1 Technologies Blog: Automated Testing?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Opening the doors to VFP XSource

As Ken noted on Visual FoxPro: January 2006 - Letter from the Editor, the XSOURCE.Zip file for VFP 9 has its own license agreement, which includes the right to modify and redistribute.

This is great news - why? Because now you don't have to try and reinvent the wheel, you can simply enhance it without worrying about breaking it.

For those who like to play with the EULA - this is a Microsoft Permissive License that says "Microsoft grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under licensed patents to make, have made, use, practice, sell, and offer for sale, and/or otherwise dispose of the software or derivative works of the software." as well as "Microsoft grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free copyright license to reproduce the software, prepare derivative works of the software and distribute the software or any derivative works that you create."

Great news!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Art of Intrapreneurship

Okay , I'm just a schill for Kawasaki - what can I say?
The Art of Intrapreneurship is an excellent post of how to create change within an organization.

CSI in a box

Cool article about how software from HumanCore, a Canadian company, is going to make a process that used to take anywhere between 3 days to 3 months down to just a few hours...� CSI in a box | Emerging Technology Trends | ZDNet.com

Who is Frank and why is he against VFP?

Not sure --- but Craig's fighting back with his latest promo, which when it started reminded me of the Matrix.

I also like the first one.

The issue now though is - what to do with them?

A few ideas here:
1 - Related animated GIF versions that sit on web sites (ya, kind of 90's but they do remind people of the product)

2 - Have a VFP day a la Dean Gray where every VFP site shows a clip

3 - Burn CDs/DVDs that start with one of those clips and then contain :
a) the Learning VFP library
b) the latest VFP runtimes
c) samples of popular applications written in VFP
d) sample versions of developer tools (anything that's available in shareware)
e) industry related posts about VFP.

and send these CDs/DVDs to companies that you know used to work in VFP and have since stopped.

d) - what do you think should be done? Let's discuss on the SednaX Site.

Who knows ... maybe Microsoft would help in getting a list of those companies but that may be unlikely since VFP registrations are now bundled with MSDN registrations.

UPDATE: MS can't help with getting the list because of privacy policy which is a GOOD thing. Besides typically it's the developers who register a product (if they even do that anymore) so it's really a matter of better targeting.

Another UPDATE: OK - so now that Craig has to modify his music and logo (I should have warned him about the music but since I didn't have speakers I couldn't hear it) - we need a community FoxPro logo.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Someone needs Morae....

I love usability testing, especially as depicted in this cartoon from Bug Bash.

I had an opportunity to discuss user interface design with someone who worked for Nortel among others and it was amazing to realize how important user interface design was between engineers as well as from developers to end users.

That's why I was very excited about Morae, a usability recorder that tracks both user experience and actions and allows users to manage it. For one, it just reduced the need for someone to install a see through glass.

Want to see how it worked? Check out the case study for Project Aardvark.

Anyone else try it out?

Bug Bash � Archive � Behind the Window

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Guy Starts Blog

One of my favorite authors, Guy Kawasaki, has just started blogging. About what? "...about entrepreneurship, venture capital, innovation, public speaking, Macintosh, and hockey..." - subscribed.

“Let the Good Times Roll” by Guy Kawasaki