Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rick Sheds light on the Advisor Summit

Thank you Rick for listening to my call (and others) and being the first blogger up talking about the FoxPro conference.

Wow! only about 120 developers there - too bad, it sounds like the content is A1.

Must have something to do with the cost ($2,000) - there's always Southwest ($595) or FoxForward ($500)!

Shedding Some Light: Advisor DevCon - Day 1



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Friday, August 18, 2006

iPhoto vs. Movie Maker?

I read this post on PresentationZen and was left wondering after viewing the output (very nice slideshow by the way), what does this have that Movie Maker doesn't?

I have been doing identical types of movies with Windows Movie Maker for the past two years. But now the real differences start coming out. It should be easy but Anil hits it on the head. Microsoft seems to enjoy making things difficult. I had to install SQL Express for a client. Was that an experience. Thankfully, Rick noted that you have to turn ON Remote connections and even then, it was a mess of too many clicks. At least I didn't have to restart it.

But also the name makes all the difference. Microsoft's naming conventions kill me. I can never find Internet Explorer 7 Beta in my Add Programs control panel. Why not? Is it called Microsoft Internet Explorer 7? How about just Internet Explorer 7 - no it's called Windows Internet Explorer 7. Which is weird - because when I run it - it says Internet Explorer.

I could go on and on.

So what tool would you rather use? One called iPhoto or one called Windows Movie Maker. I use Windows - I get the fact that a program I'm using is going to work under Windows - why put it into the title?

I guess it fits with the "Live" option as well. Everything from Microsoft used to say Microsoft, then Windows, then MSN and now Live.

Apple on the other hand just puts an "i" in front of everything. Maybe MS should just put a "w" instead - although trying to explain how to pronounce wMovie might be tricky!

Go figure.

Buzz on a Plane - very funny

Ok - if you haven't checked out CNET TV yet, check it out today because the Buzz Out Loud crew went to an AMC theatre late last night to check out the opening of SOAP . And to make it even better, they even finished off their Video cast with the same fun stuff they do at the end of their podcast. Although nothing was funnier than the take-off of "How the Gromey stole Spectaclefest"

CNET TV

Thursday, August 17, 2006

PowerPoint vs White Papers

Rick noted that he had to get his materials ready (right after announcing the winner of the Southwest Fox Scholarship winner - congratulations Dan Taylor!) and it reminded me of this post on Presentation Zen.

Now I will be the first to say that I often use PowerPoint too much and I have tried incredibly hard in the past few years to only use it as an enhancement for presentations, rather than the main focus - (thanks to Beyond Bullets).

However, if you are one of the great speakers getting ready for your sessions at any of the upcoming conferences, read this post. In the tech world, we tend to take for granted that Powerpoint can be useful way of getting across a point and then throw up some code to show "how to get it done" - but would you want your military doing the same?

This is a great read - I almost hate to quote an entire paragraph but it gives you an idea of what's in the post.

Bad presentations are one thing. They are certainly a waste of time (that's perhaps the least harm they do). But even in the worst of presentations, if we really need to know the answer to something we could interrupt or ask the question during the Q&A. With documents and handouts, of course, we have no such luxury. If a document is poorly designed and poorly written, where do we go to get a clarification? And if the document is crucial — even a matter of life and death — is it not paramount that the document be easily searchable with the appropriate depth of data and information? At no time should the reader be saying to themselves: "WTF!— what does this %#@*! mean?!!!"


Presentation Zen: PowerPoint printouts used for communicating battle plans?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bernard Bout : VFP is very very cool

Although I HATE the fact that his site is using only partial text feeds (which almost makes me want to unsubscribe), Bernard does it again with his "Smoke and Mirrors" post in which he shows how to achieve a very cool transparent user interface all done within FoxPro.

Bernard Bout : VFP is very very cool

Another reason to go to FoxForward?

Kevin just announced that Darrell Gardner will be presenting at FoxForward, discussing project management for developers.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

EULA trumps fair use

This doesn't bode well for Circuit City's new initiative.

Apparently, backing up software isn't allowed if the EULA prevents it. At least in Califoria. Well - that explains that. Nothing is allowed in California.

Can a EULA trump fair use?

Gia tells everyone to take a walk!

Sunshine is one of my favorite blogs. It was started for a new sci-fi movie coming out called Sunshine and as a result, is all about the sun and the solar system.

From asking people about what "sun" songs they liked, to interesting trivia, it's never short on great posts but this one *almost* made me get out of the office.

To quote: Doing a Solar System walk is a seriously, seriously cool thing to do, especially with kids… but whenever I’ve done it with adults they’ve all been completely blown away by it, even more than the kids. Unless you do something like this you have no concept of just how huge the solar system really is.

PC Guy tells Mac Developers "Take the year off"

Ted pointed to the WWDC Keynote but he didn't mention this absolutely hilarious "intro" by "PC".

What's particularly nice about this little clip is how good it looks when you have a video clip of a speaker in a pure white room. No - it's not an "on the street" type video - but it's a good way to keep the focus on the main message. Check it out:

WWDC Intro Video

Fight, Never Surrender or Fight Never, Surrender

Years ago, a teacher told our class how Caesar could have lost a battle because of the placement of a comma. (of course, they neglected to tell us it would have been in Latin which means the point would have been lost but that's up to teachers and badly educating people) - but the point was never lost on me.

I'm a stickler for good punctuation (errors in blog posts aside, of course ) but I saw this story on RocketBoom and wanted to follow it up. Burt Rosen would likely find the humour in this, since I was beating him up on some comma issues in some user docs recently.

The statement?
The agreement “shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party.”

I read this - and I agree with the CRTC - I can cancel this agreement with written notice by one year. But Rogers wanted to ensure they couldn't cancel in the first five years.

Poor Rogers - this little gaffe will cost them over 2 million dollars. A few years ago, that would only be 1.5 million US - nowadays, it's getting pretty close to the same amount in US as it is in Canada.

globeandmail.com : Comma quirk irks Rogers

Rick Rants on Vista and MSDE

And the hits on MS just keep on coming...

Yesterday, I got a call from a client who wanted to distribute their FoxPro app using SQL Express and wanted direction on how to redistribute it.

There's a lot of confusion out there on it - some say SQL Express can't be distributed commercially (so the user has to download it themselves but your app can be - yes, I'm sure all users know how to successfully install a database server)- others say no problem. Is there one place where it's clearly defined?

But now to say that Vista won't support MSDE - hmmm, the way to ensure everyone uses your new tools? Force them to upgrade.

That's a sure fire way of ensuring people look at other tools.

Shedding Some Light: MSDE not supported on Vista???

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

So you want to trademark your app?

Guy Kawasaki has a must-read post for anyone who ever thought their product/company name should be trademarked.

Excellent post!

"Trademark Tips for Your Web App"

Grass isn't always greener...

The JobSyntax blog is a source of some really interesting comments - especially for those in larger companies who are thinking should I go somewhere else?

What I found neat was how it dealt a lot with the same type of thinking that Bill went through recently as well.

I can empathize with the post - I had to buy my first new suit in 5 years for a wedding recently (but yes, I DO have some older suits ) - wow - am I glad I work from home. Of course, when I first started working from home, I used to go down to my office every morning with a dress shirt and sometimes a tie (for conference calls, vid calls, etc) - I've now gone a little more biz casual which makes it much easier in the morning - I finally have a use for all those great conference shirts!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Leaving Microsoft: Problems at Live?

I hope this isn't a larger symptom of what's going on.

I'm somewhat excited about what is happening with Microsoft Live but I also fear that it may be a case of too little too late - something that I'm sure Ken knows all about.

All the good signs are there - Ray Ozzie is certainly taking his role as architect seriously but perhaps this is the most telling comment:
"It's easier to get funding outside Microsoft than inside at the moment, so I am stepping out and doing my own thing."

Good luck, Niall - I'm excited to see what's next for you!
Leaving Microsoft

Bill Says: Plan? We don't need no stinking plan!

A great post by Bill Coupe - whose blog is a great read all the way around.

He earlier had posted about issues that come up with contracting. Now he completes the circle.

I'm sure this is a place where many other FoxPro developers (as well as other legacy coders) have found themselves - being asked to shore up what may be a mess or may be something brilliant - but no one knows for sure.

What's valuable here, though, is Bill's insight into the process he goes through.

What process do you go through when deciding to take a job?

Code, Code World: Plan?… We don’t need no stinkin plan!…

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Need a wiki? Watch WetPaint!

One of the challenges in doing blogs and wikis is getting the right tools up and running. Steve Black's FoxPro-based Wiki totally rocks but the setup requires your own server (or you can get it hosted as well). Into this area comes Wetpaint - a site designed to show regular users how easy wikis can be.

Very cool use of tags as well and they can give them really cool names as well!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

300 reasons to go to Southwest

Now there's another reason to look forward to Arizona in October. The first, of course, is Southwest Fox, the second outing for Bob Kocher in the FoxPro conference circuit. The first one was loved by all of its attendees.

Now Rick Schummer is offering a Southwest "Scholarship" fund. He has the details how you qualify right
here.

Even more to the point, he'll help you get there:
Your boss is giving you a hard time? Let me know. I am willing to talk or email each and every one of them to help you get the okay to head to any FoxPro conference. I am totally serious. I have fought numerous times with my old bosses to get myself to a conference as well as teammates. I have a way of getting them to see the light!

I'd love to be there - unfortunately family obligations keep me locked away in Ottawa - but if you are going, drop me a line - the FoxShow did it with first-time attendee Kevin Ragsdale last year and I'd love to get another first-time (or second) attendee's thoughts on the show after you're back.

You definitely want to check this one out!