Monday, July 31, 2006

Adam Barr on office layout efficiency

Office layouts are changing at Microsoft:
My mother also asks, "Could someone who thinks best in bed have a nice Tempur-Pedic moved in? What about people who have a surge of creativity while standing under the shower?" And you wonder where I get it from.

Do you get your surge of creativity in the same location each time?

Workplace Advantage Discussions

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Outlook in VFP

Emerson Reed shows yet another great interface done entirely in native Visual FoxPro.

This is similar to what some of the new VFPX projects are about: building great looking interface natively in Visual FoxPro without the need to use ActiveX controls. Of course, if you need to, you can always use them.

This brings up one of the requests that I heard mentioned in VFPX (back when it was SednaX): application templates. Developers don't necessarily need a full framework - but they do like shells of programs that accomplish certain tasks. Some things immediately come to mind:

a) regular desktop applications (well, that's why there are FRAMEWORKS)
b) Windows XP Service or Systray type applications
c) Add-ins and builder templates
d) COM middle-tier components
e) Multi-threaded components (oh yeah, that's where VFPY comes in)
f) Web-based (typically done through tools like West-Wind WebConnect, ActiveFoxPro Pages, ActiveVFP or others)

What other "types" of applications are you building that wouldn't be covered by recommendations to build that?

Emerson Santon Reed : Outlook2003Bar control

Who do you look like?

Craig pointed this out and boy, is this a time-waster - especially if you have a lot of pictures to try out. (good thing I have two computers)

Lots of fun - and very cool technology!

Somehow though, Craig doesn't remind me of Elizabeth Taylor

Monday, July 24, 2006

Where are real automatic backups?

Our daughter had her first hard-drive crash last week. (I can hear it now - what? Didn't you teach your daughter about smart computing - yeah, yeah )

She had a Dell computer that had just come off warranty (don't they always) and even though it had a DVD burner, backing up just isn't one of those things that regular people think of. Her biggest concern was her photos that hadn't yet been printed but had been removed from her digital camera.

Trish made a point that is very valid: Dell should offer automated online backups for their customers. For $10/month, the ability to forget about having to backup - because Dell is going to do it for you (and not bother backing up any of those unneeded files) - would make it easier on consumers and other non-geeks who just want a computer for the benefit of it.

Now some services have been offered in the past (xDrive - don't get me started ) and some are talking about doing it now for fresh but these companies may be missing the point. Even Google's offering would require someone to sign-up - something that basic consumers are likely to forget or never get around to. It has to be offered at the Point of sale if they truly want to avoid the hassle that users currently go through. Just like virus-scanning and other useful tools.

Trish was right: it's just GOOD customer service. Dell - you recently got into a deal with Google - maybe you should get gDrive on the table as well and reclaim your desktop throne by offering a service that actually works.

Today: Hard-drive crashes. Call Tech support - do you have a backup? Sorry - we can get you a new hard-drive but you've just lost all your stuff. You should backup. Gee thanks.

Tomorrow: Hard-drive crashes. Call tech support - do you have a new drive handy? If so, we can simply download your most recent changes onto it, or send you a CD for $x - or we can send you out a new hard-drive with all of your files intact on it.

Yes - there are privacy issues - but hey - if you want good solid offsite backup , then you have to trust someone. And it would have to be smart:

1. Only do documents, files, or recommended items. Of course, allow users to choose and update them.
2. Do NOT touch EXEs, DLLs,zips.
3. Only do incrementals. Keep the files handy.

The comments in the Battelle blog are dead-on:
1- Store remotely * ONLY * those files you are confortable with storing.

2- Carry a USB on a keychain for those important files you do NOT want online.

But they miss the point of what consumers do need. They download their pictures to their computer, they store their recipes, they listen to music, they write letters, they may store their finances - they may even do a desktop search every now and then but they certainly don't have do a Defrag or a backup or a RegClean or anything like that - nor do they feel they should have to.

Obviously, this isn't something for the tech geeks or larger corporations - but it seems that if companies really want to offer some help to the things that drive regular users nuts, they should start with their list of things they tell everyone to do (don't open attachments, scan for viruses, backup regularly) and see where they help take the onus off the consumer to do it.

(on the gDrive note, I told Trish - this is what Google will likely be offering with GDrive - her answer? "I don't use Google". Another answer: "Google does more than search?" - While Google may be trusted by the early adapters, people buy their computers from companies like Dell, Apple, Circuit City, Best Buy - THESE are the people who should be offering the service (even through a branded Google gDrive))

Which companies wouldn't you trust to do this? I chose XDrive to do it for me and got burned. While many would say "I don't trust any company" - you obviously trust SOME company - because someone else does your web hosting, you use email, etc. So who do you trust to do this for you?

UPDATE: Maybe one could try Carbonite as mentioned on CNN. Funny how this all happens at the same time.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Microsoft's Yair Alan Griver talks about Visual FoxPro

Nice little interview with Yag on the UT. The UT still has to get it together with RSS feeds but it's a good read, covering topics such as what he's doing as well as what's going to happen with VFP (wow - what an original question)

Microsoft's Yair Alan Griver talks about Visual FoxPro

Monday, July 10, 2006

How many hugs do you have?

I suppose it could be worse. You could have lugs or thugs. Maybe you could trade in your bugs for mugs!

Learning OOP with VFP

Rahul Desai notes that there is a series of articles (but no author was mentioned for the indidividual articles) published on CIOL (well only the first one is out) related to learning object-oriented programming with Visual FoxPro.

Update: My original post incorrectly identified Rahul as the author. This is incorrect. There are some attempts to get CIOL to correctly identify the author of these articles.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bill Coupe on Tiobe

FoxPro Moves to 12th… No, Stays in 13th!

I wanted to ensure that others get a chance to read Bill's take on the Tiobe (even despite the lone comment on this issue where you get the feeling his blog is usually more non-Fox than other Fox blog sites <bg>).

He's right that Microsoft won't give VFP as much press as other tools but that doesn't mean we can't.

My original post about the FBI's own misinformation (insert your own conspiracy theory quip here) and the subsequent comments show that the problem isn't Microsoft's alone - it's an IT problem. Maybe it's a NIH (not invented here) reaction or simple ignorance - but it's the challenge that needs to be overcome.

I just received an email from a FoxPro "user" - he's not a developer but he built a little app in FoxPro 2.x DOS and wanted to know how to get up to speed on VFP without having to spend a lot of money. I've mentioned Learning Visual FoxPro, a site I'm trying to fulfill with as much free content and links to tips , tricks and how-tos in VFP. There's always the Wiki but that's more of an encyclopedic approach.

Where would you send him?

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Viscose Fibre Production or Visual FoxPro

Craig has an interesting post talking about GoogleTrends and where FoxPro really fits in. As it turns out, FoxPro is more popular than VFP but what it also highlights is the danger of using acronyms.

If you look at this link, you'll see that Visual FoxPro isn't the only use of VFP in the world, which immediately skews some of the results (even Google can't figure it out - look at the Adwords listed on that page and I can't find VFP anywhere in it)

Of course, it is nice to know that more people search for FoxPro than xbase and dbase combined.

Bringing FoxPro to the Schools

Wildfire notes that we really need to be showing these videos to students here.

Well, hey! That's what William Sanders group is doing with CollegeCon - his Intern group (CollegeCon is a separate programmer's competition)!

I wish they had a better web site to explain what they're doing but I think this is a great first step!

If schools are still teaching Paradox (see comments for post), then we should get on them to teach FoxPro!

Monday, July 03, 2006

VFP Videos

If you haven't downloaded them yet, take a flip over to Google Video and just go here. In fact, even if you have, do so! They're great videos!

Courtesy of Kevin Ragsdale, it looks like there's a pretty catchy VFP tune there.

Hey Kev - mind if I use it as well for future FoxShows?

I loved the Project DOA one - is that video clip that you used public domain?