Thursday, January 11, 2007

Shedding Some Light: Tag? I'm tagged? How did this happen?

So Rick got me! Hmm....5 things you don't know about me...ok, well, most everyone already knows about Muffy, the killer poodle...so here goes...

1. I could have been working for Fox Software. Back in 1992, right before the merger, Fox Software was in the midst of an expansion into Canada and their sales manager, a Mike Burrows (who used to work for Ashton-Tate) had offered me a job as a sales engineer. We were all set to sign paperwork when he returned from Perrysburg with the "other" news. Didn't stop me though - I left the government job I had and moved onto FoxPro development instead.

2. I'm a trivia collector. Yeah, I know most people think Trivial Pursuit but when I find out something new, I then want to find out everything about it, regardless of how small. A new TV show? Who are all the actors and what were they on before. A New product? Who's behind it and where did they come from. The kind of stuff that doesn't make for good conversation (except among other trivia collectors) and just plain bugs others. How do you turn it off?

3. Despite the irregularity of the FoxShow (no - it hasn't stopped - it's just been on a Soprano-style hiatus), I was planning on getting into audio, video and film work for the longest time. My older brother is a producer for CBC North but I grew up in a family where 8mm video cameras (the original kinds) were on hand since the 50s. I just burned a family Christmas gift highlighting almost 30 years (late 50s-mid 80s) of old family videos.

4. I used to collect DC comics. Never much of a Marvel fan, always DC. I had quite the collection including several #1s from the late 70s and early 80s (this could explain my interest in all things Kryptonian, I suppose). This morphed into the all-too-typical Star Trek fan and general life philosophy that pretty much anything is possible and we can, in fact, all get along, somehow.

5. Despite working on Windows, I bleed six-color blood. I still have my first Mac, a Mac Plus (with the signatures inside). Ironically, my family was going to start with an Apple II back in the 80's but I convinced my dad to get a TRS-80 instead because of a Superman-Radio Shack tie-in issue. (yup! a model 1 with a tape input). After the model III, Apple came out with the first Mac in 1984 and I was hooked. Of course, that doesn't explain why I don't have one now, nor why I don't walk around with an iPod - but it's the mentality and vision of the original Mac team, the design philosophy and the crazy antics of Guy Kawasaki (who is one of my favorite authors) that ensure that no matter how much time I spend looking through Windows, I will Think Different.

Now then...who to tag....

1. Ted Roche (haven't heard from him lately)
2. Craig Bailey
3. Eric Den Doop
4. Kok Kiet (John Jones)
5. Richard Base (FoxPro: Catalyst)

Shedding Some Light: Tag? I'm tagged? How did this happen?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Stupid Developer Mistakes: Where does that product name came from?

While I have used a variety of installers in the past, and am eagerly looking forward to switching all my installs over to Wix , I have one older application that used Setup Generator Pro. It was handy and it worked for the time. Unfortunately, I kept on using it to do upgrades and every now and then when the application would crash, it would display the older version # of the application (Your Application 2.04 has crashed - even though I was now up to version 3.5!)

At first I thought - it must be something to do with the Windows installer - it must have 2.04 somewhere in its database and I've got to change it. After all, how else would Windows know what version the application was? (don't answer yet!)

So I looked. and looked. and looked. Couldn't find it anywhere.

And so, the other day I was at my wit's end, trying to figure it out and I started to post it on one of the MSDN forums.

And then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. Like someone coming over my head and whacking me saying "why didn't you look there first?"

In the FoxPro Project Manager, under Build , under the Version, I took a peek at what I had written for product name. Sure enough, it was "My Application 2.04".

Rule #5206: Never, EVER, put a version # into the product name box. It says Product Name - not Name and Version. You have a VERSION field for that. (and you can easily pull it all out). If only I had been smart and used AGETFILEVERSION( ) to look for it - I would have seen it right away. If you've never used AGETFILEVERSION( ), it's useful not just for FoxPro executables but other applications and DLLs as well. The array is easily populated with:
AGETFILEVERSION(la, "MyAPP.EXE")
And then, it's:
1 - Comments
2 - Company Name
3 - File Description
4 - File Version (this is the one place where you should have your version information)
5 - Internal Name
6 - Legal Copyright
7 - Legal Trademarks
8 - Original Filename
9 - Private Build
10 - Product Name
11 - Product Version (same as 4)
12 - Special Build (empty)
13 - OLE Self Registration
14 - Language
15 - Translation Code

What's interesting here is that with the Version dialog, you can only fill in values 1,2,3,4,6,7,10.

Also, a quick tip: even if you build APPs, build your APP as an EXE and then rename it. The version information will still be there.

Thankfully, I work in a home office where my embarassment can only be shared with those I choose to blog to. Oh yeah, that's everyone. But I chose to blog it because when you're at your wit's end, looking for a solution - start at the beginning or the project.

Argh!

Monday, January 08, 2007

XP: Stopped responding Vista: Stopped Working

Adam Barr is seeing some of the same things I am with Vista. Although he is seeing it with Outlook, I am seeing it primarily with the ImageMaker software from my new Sony HD Camcorder. Vista stops working but Vista never really says the crash word, it just says "Stopped working". Even when Explorer "stops working"

Love the post.

Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters: Vista-licious