Friday, March 31, 2006

Stupid C5

C5 errors are caused by memory leaks in VFP applications. Memory leaks can happen all the time. As noted on the Wiki, doing your own memory variable garbage collection is a great way of reducing them but C5s also occur for all kinds of reasons.

I'd love to make a list of them here but first I want to rant:

SET("MESSAGE")
I just had an older app that has run for years just fine on Windows XP machines all over the place C5 at a customer location. C5 in all versions (VFP 6 through 8).

Tracing the code led me to one line that said myVar = SET("MESSAGE")

Surely it couldn't be the culprit- could it? It was. I even tested it by running a single 5 line application that did a SET("MESSAGE").

Changing the line to myVar = "" and the application worked just fine.

Now why didn't this error out on every machine for the past few years? It was a brand new machine (Dell). Not quite sure what to think but definitely not the way to end the weekend.

Any ideas? Anyone got one to trump that one?

Welcome Doug

Craig noted this here and I'm so glad that Doug Hennig is now blogging.

His "The User is Always Right" axiom is a good read and those three items should be imprinted in stone. "Users aren't good at communicating" isn't just for developers - it's for everyone!

Welcome Doug!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Is this really patentable?

I seem to recall that if I pull out my phone or wireless device and bring up a web browser, it immediately takes me to the local hotspot anyways. So what is the patent here? That you won't charge me for it if I agree to see your ads?

That isn't a patent - that's a business offering. Can I patent the fact that countries don't have to put their flag on a planet when they arrive if they choose to put GoldenCasino.com? Or better yet - how about I patent the idea that people who streak should only be allowed to do so when wearing an online casino ad?

I hope the USPTO smartens up and says you can't patent advertising - if so, then any ad that uses silhouettes can be sued by Apple, which might make up for their upcoming loss of logo in iTunes.

Google employees' wireless patents published | Tech News on ZDNet

Update: here's a link to the original post but I do want to state for the record that I'm NOT against the concept - I'm simply against its patentability. I personally look forward to having ads and content that are specific to me, provided they are done in an unobtrusive manner. They have the information already - I would rather they say "Did you like our last recommendation?" rather than "try product x" - when I've already got it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

3-D was never so easy

A bit late but I saw this post: Official Google Blog: A new home for @Last Software
and wanted to see just how easy they could make 3D drawing

WOW!

Sketch-up makes 3D drawing SO easy. I'm going to use this for doing up some plans in our backyard this summer.

If you have ever wanted to draw in 3-D but weren't sure about the right tool, check this one out for sure!

Romanian VFP DEVCON

Another FoxPro conference - that's awesome news.

Despite the concerns many have about the proliferation of conferences taking away from the success of others, I have come to look at many of these conferences as being the equivalent of the old "user groups" with the exception that they are getting more attendees from all over and showcase a wealth of talent.

This is great news! Good for Romania!
David Stevenson's Talking Fox: Grigore Dolghin planning for Romanian VFP DEVCON

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Real world maps

One thing I've always hated about Google Maps and Live Earth is that its geography is almost ALWAYS tilted towards the US and even North America. Sure, you can see the flying car in Australia but when you're trying to find streets in cities, it's good to know that there are other alternatives. Here I was looking for a street in Paide, a town of about 10,000 people in Estonia - and voila!
Paide Linna Atlas

And it has full map and satellite photo to go along with it. Not quite as cool as the UI in Google but at least I could find it. (how? From here and clicking on Atlas - hard to decipher a foreign language but it still works)

So it's here - why isn't it on Google Maps or Virtual Earth?

We're so close yet still so far....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

MS Vista : Damned if you do and if you don't

While I thought it was nice that Scoble didn't try to explain it away, he is the one who kept on coming back and promoting why Vista was so much better than XP.

I'm excited by all the cool features but you know? Others are doing cool stuff today without Vista. Can MS hold onto the desktop for another year? Would it have been better to ship the product and then patches for 3-6 months afterwards? Only time will tell.

in the meantime, Mini has a great take on it -
Mini-Microsoft: Vista 2007. Fire the leadership now! - I can only imagine how all those PC vendors feel.

Maybe MS will come up with a bunch more GoLive licenses for Vista apps but in the meantime, it isn't just the PC vendors who will feel it - it's all those Application developers who are busy trying to make VERY cool products that will work with Vista and now, their applications will have to either a) only work with an OS out in another year OR b) backpedal functionality to support XP.

That's too bad but in the end, it may not matter - especially if everyone starts living "Live" on the web or using a true web-based office solution.

Ted on past paths of Microsoft

This was an older post (from the 15th) but for some reason it shows up as an updated note in Newsgator but I'm glad it did. Great reading and reminder for those who continue to put all of their eggs in one basket.

As I noted in Ted's comments, this is why it's important to build your solution architecture so that you can switch technology where needed. Microsoft isn't the only one who does this - but certainly Visual Studio's CLR makes it much easier to switch between different languages.

But it's still challenging to do so many things that are easier in other tools (er, um, Visual FoxPro ) - this is why the work that the Fox team and others are doing to make it easier for VFP developers to harness the "Good" stuff from DotNet is so important.


Ted Roche: The Old Microsoft Internet Head Fake?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

No gmaill mobile for me?

This is weird - when googgle announced gmail mobile I was ecstatic but our power just went off and when I tried to access it via my mobile, it says page cannot be found

Hmph- but its not power related because I get the same message trying to access it when the power is on

Other sites like the awesome newsgator mobile work as does google mobile search -- just not gmail mobile

Could it be my carrier (rogers) has disabled that server on my phone? I can't see it but who knows...it would make sense as i'm sending this via pop3 to blogger

Anyone else having this problem with gmail mobile?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Andy improves VFP code again!

Wow - interesting results from Andy's performance tests.

I say interesting because I've always used SCAN as an example of better performance above the old DO WHILE NOT EOF() approach but Andy finds some even better solutions!

Andy Kramek : Writing Better Code (Part 2)

Is FoxPro On Your Radar?

Craig's post: Visual FoxPro Visibility gives some good links to places where FoxPro is increasing its awareness.

So what can we do to improve it?

Well as Craig notes, just because you want to embrace DotNet doesn't mean you have to embrace Visual Studio completely - ".NET is just a big beautiful framework of classes and it can be leveraged from a whole host of languages... Visual FoxPro included." - and Craig is leading the way.

he's speaking tonight in Chicago - wish I was there.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Better Code in Visual FoxPro

I love the kind of posts that say something so obvious, that very few people will disagree with like "Warn your users but don't treat them like idiots" but then give an example of exactly how to do that.

This is precisely what Andy Kramek has done in his latest post on "Writing Better code" . Yes, it's for Visual FoxPro but the logic can be applied everywhere.

And then he finishes off with "How do I know the average time? From testing!

When I am developing the code, I test it. "

Brilliant. Great read. Can't wait for Part 2
Andy Kramek : Writing better code (Part 1)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why PCs Do Not Make Good Gadget Makers

I think this CNET story hits it on the head: "reality still trails Microsoft's ambitions"

I will say - I was very excited about the potential of Origami, a light-weight device that was as functional as a regular laptop but designed for hand-held use. An intelligent user interface, much like the one that appears to be happening with the Origami Program Launcher would be welcome for many businesses and end-users. But PC people who keep on thinking that users (even though this one is very positive about it) will shell out big bucks for these devices are just out of their heads.

It killed me this year to have to shell out over $600 for a mobile phone PDA when my original Blackberry only costs $189. Yea, I know Microsoft wanted to make the device under $500 - but just like Apple's Newton (which was similarly overpriced), $800-$1100 (for Samsung's Q1) is just way to ridiculous. Even if they had managed to offer ONE that was under $500 (as they did with the xBox), they could have saved some face.

But it did tell me one thing: I have no reason whatsoever to look at a Tablet PC. So with one swoop, MS managed to kill two products at once. The Tablet PC is still overpriced and now, they come out with this device which makes laptops even more attractive. Maybe even three if you consider that the Portable Media PCs may be a little cheaper but far less functional. And it's not even Microsoft's own.

Now don't get me wrong - I would love an Origami device but at that price, Microsoft has just opened the door for a company who does understand gadget pricing ( and one that reminds me I need to eat some fruit today ) and now runs on the Intel platform to really shake up the world of portable devices. Or maybe someone else.

Too bad.

Reality check for the much-hyped Origami PC | CNET News.com

Why PCs Do Not Make Good Gadget Makers

I think this CNET story hits it on the head: "reality still trails Microsoft's ambitions"

I will say - I was very excited about the potential of Origami, a light-weight device that was as functional as a regular laptop but designed for hand-held use. An intelligent user interface, much like the one that appears to be happening with the Origami Program Launcher would be welcome for many businesses and end-users. But PC people who keep on thinking that users (even though this one is very positive about it) will shell out big bucks for these devices are just out of their heads.

It killed me this year to have to shell out over $600 for a mobile phone PDA when my original Blackberry only costs $189. Yea, I know Microsoft wanted to make the device under $500 - but just like Apple's Newton (which was similarly overpriced), $800-$1100 (for Samsung's Q1) is just way to ridiculous. Even if they had managed to offer ONE that was under $500 (as they did with the xBox), they could have saved some face.

But it did tell me one thing: I have no reason whatsoever to look at a Tablet PC. So with one swoop, MS managed to kill two products at once. The Tablet PC is still overpriced and now, they come out with this device which makes laptops even more attractive. Maybe even three if you consider that the Portable Media PCs may be a little cheaper but far less functional. And it's not even Microsoft's own.

Now don't get me wrong - I would love an Origami device but at that price, Microsoft has just opened the door for a company who does understand gadget pricing ( and one that reminds me I need to eat some fruit today ) and now runs on the Intel platform to really shake up the world of portable devices. Or maybe someone else.

Too bad.

Reality check for the much-hyped Origami PC | CNET News.com

Monday, March 06, 2006

DBI includes ActiveX controls for VFP

Not sure how I missed this post of Rick's but what a great contribution from DBi to Sedna.

So it looks like "in the box" for Sedna will be some great ActiveX controls as well - just like we've been hoping for.


Great company - I've been reviewing their stuff for years.
DBI's Visual FoxPro Community Site

Friday, March 03, 2006

So Blackberry survives but at what cost?

Just heard (on the radio, wow!) that Rim has ended its court battle with NTP by settling. (hey - it hasn't even made it onto their web site yet)

But is this a case of too little too late?

I got my first taste of Blackberry years ago - I loved their original (non-cell phone) device and lived on it for a good 2 years. This was before you could get Blackberry devices from your phone company and the like. Their stock was $10. Then it went to $180. Then they introduced phone devices. Then the competition started paying attention. BlackBerry still ruled back then but after the dotCom bubble broke. Down to $20 and now back to $81.

I stopped using my Blackberry because of poor customer service (I wasn't about to pay the equivalent price of a new device when I was simply "renting" mine for a repair). I only NOW have gotten to the point where I get the same results from my PDA (I use an ipaq but really rely on Google). Are my costs that much cheaper? Likely not. But there are so many more alternatives and hey, if I can do all of my computing on one device, then that would be ideal.

But I'm glad they are saved. I like RIM - great product but now they just look like another one in the great PDA community. Where's the innovation? I want them to make me go nuts just like they did with the original Blackberry.

Now THAT device Rocked!

Tod Maffin: This is the death of radio. (I Love Radio .org)

Great post. Interesting insight.

» Mark this down. This is the death of radio. (I Love Radio .org)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

FoxPro Hits into eWeek

Mary Jo is certainly doing her part keeping FoxPro in the news with her new post:
FoxPro Developers Prep for Microsoft 'Sedna'

Interesting quote: "While Microsoft doesn't state it quite so bluntly, Visual FoxPro's foremost competitors are Visual Studio, Microsoft Access and SQL Server. That explains in large part why the Redmond software vendor isn't jumping through hoops for Visual FoxPro."

Who needs Microsoft to jump through hoops? FoxPro developers are the ones who make DATA jump through hoops.

I'm involved in a number of data conversion processes where applications are moving over to DotNet and I'm STILL going back to Visual FoxPro for building the tools that Visual Studio simply doesn't include - sorry - not doesn't include but rather hides amongst all of its other features.

Case in point: I needed to build an XSL sheet based on a table's XML result set. Nothing comes close to VFP's text-handling functions - it just rocks!