Tuesday | March 30.2004

Forget your 'HTML-coding kung fu'... move your arse to Flash err... Flex.

Nah, not until I can get hold of that E-Paper. Remember Minority Report? The changing front page newspapers..? Yup... that's the E-Paper I'm talking about.

Fascinating how movies influence technology. And vice versa. Here's another article about Star Trek 'powered' gadgets being used in daily life. Give credits to the conceptual artists too... like Ryan Church. In a way their minds are behind these innovations.
WildFire on 09:10 PM CST [ link ]

So true.

It's already 3AM... I'm up re-writing two forms/modules after realizing that a certain function, which will remain nameless for now, won't work anymore after it was compiled into an .exe file. I overlooked that part BIG TIME and discovered the flaw just when I was about to start 'burning' files into a CD-R and selecting which type of dream channel I'd be visiting tonight.

Anyway... the freon's back eventhough I have to stop coding every 320.198725 seconds just to do this little chant so that the fuse would remain intact.

Well... just another day in the life of a Foxpro programmer.
WildFire on 02:55 AM CST [ link ]

Monday | March 29.2004

Just as I was wrapping up the client/server features of Project Sopheiai, I found this VFP Port Listener wiki thread. Ah well... I guess I'll stick with my database approach for now since I am 'passing' large amount of data and from what I've heard, ports are being used by binary-loving-K-Paxians and other two bit alien lifeforms as a means of teleportation these days.

I'm still finishing up the iOpenLogic section of that project but to give you an overview, the server part clicks on a certain client list inside a grid which will return the programs running on a 'client computer' and the sites being browsed as well. In other words SERVER is monitoring if clients are browsing porn related materials or just chatting.

On a different note, Amazon and RSS _is_ a sexy combination.
WildFire on 06:17 PM CST [ link ]

Sunday | March 28.2004

I was googlin' around looking for other Foxpro bloggers when I found that Scoble did post something about Foxpro almost four months ago. There are a lot of good things one can say about the man behind Scobleizer and the practice/idea of seeing the minds behind the development of a product talk/blog about what they are really doing... but I think that would be a subject of another blog for now.

For now let's just boost a Foxpro programmer's ego with Scoble's words:
Heh, the FoxPro community is debating on whether the next version of FoxPro will be the "last." Dang, this argument has been going on ever since Microsoft bought Fox. That happened shortly after I started at Fawcette, what, a decade ago?

Today FoxPro retains one of the strongest user communities of any Microsoft product. It still has some of the best database technology known to mankind. It was just a decade ahead of the rest, that's all.

Will FoxPro be rewritten for Longhorn? As a Longhorn evangelist, I will work to try to convince FoxPro's execs that the business opportunities opened up by the Longhorn wave will give them enough new sales of FoxPro to make it worth the investment. Will the Longhorn team win that argument? We can't win them all. But clearly we're at one of those inflection points in the industry's history where product teams need to decide whether they will support the new platform or not. In every platform shift, there've been teams who've decided not to make the shift.

Just reading those words is enough to fire me up for today's late-night-to-the-wee-hours-of-the-morning-Foxpro-related work. And the echo will still resonate even longer.
WildFire on 09:25 PM CST [ link ]

Saturday | March 27.2004

Ever heard of RptEngin? One of its nifty feature is creating FRXs out of Grids. Here's an additional MSKB article: INFO: Where to Find the Wizard Applications' Source Files.

XSource.zip is located inside \Tools\XSource of your Visual Foxpro directory.
WildFire on 10:12 PM CST [ link ]

VFP Design Pattern Catalog holds list of documented Visual Foxpro design patterns.
WildFire on 02:08 PM CST [ link ]

We humans have sent rovers to Mars, invented hypersonic planes, wikis and made jokes out of war.

We have placed a GIANT matter on space to look for hidden worlds and take snapshots of the universe.

We defied gravity, discovered blueberries and water on Mars and claimed responsibility that life on Mars came from Earth.

We invented WinAmp and carved it on our desktop, saw a company that started in a garage become a kingdom and spiced up mobile phones (which I still strongly believe stifled our mental telepathic skills).

We brought to life fantasies that were once confined/but not limited to books, made best use of our idle hands and invented robots that rescue humans (though they have to get this "rescue robot driver’s license" first).

BUT still... we use primitive means to fight fire. In the world of touch screens, fast cars and T1 connections it still takes hours to stop this gift from Prometheus.


Uhrm. Enough of this mumbo-jumbos. There was a fire, a huge one that occured a firewall-away from my 'regular-job' office. It took 27 firetrucks, countless firefighters and four hours to completely eradicate it. I haven't visited that office for two weeks already (I'm on a leave remember?), but I did visit it last night during the fire incident. Good thing the wind and luck favored us. The school was intact but homeless individuals there will be surrounding that place. Sympathies.

Shanara, Compaq and GODofLIGHT were safe though... and the other computers that dwell in that place.
WildFire on 03:20 AM CST [ link ]

Friday | March 26.2004

UHM... so now a bunch of scientists are trying to disprove that meteor theory on dinosaur's extinction. So who will we blame now... Osama? Greedy dinosaurs fighting over a FlipStart?
WildFire on 02:11 AM CST [ link ]

WinAPI in FoxPro is sometimes frustrating... if not always. I know that it did helped me last week while I'm solving some things. I know that it is challenging (Really it is!). I know that it handles memory more efficiently. What I don't like is the idea that I can't seem to do a thing without a reference or without 'Googling'. Worse I'm slowly being transformed into a copy-and-paste declare-lovin' pink-eyed monster with three fangs.

Is it even possible to be able to know (and memorize) all those parameters without a book?

Converting things from downloadable VB/C/Delphi snippets is not that easy too. Probably it is easier for VB/C/Delphi programmers but we're talking about Foxpro here... we're talking about getting used to a PL with clear, eloquent and straightforward syntax and semantics. I even have to lookup each WinAPI code used inside another WinAPI code, do that lame trial and error approach isolating each variable while calling on the guardians of the seas and skies just to add a shadow on a certain box. So frustrating that I'm beginning to hear Photoshop voices mocking me using the last seven letters of the alphabet.

But I'll get back to charm you, Miss WinAPI. One of these days. It's quite hard tackling you after sleeping at 4AM for almost 12 consecutive days.

On the lighter side of things, Foxpro.catalyst is now available in RSS Feeds with the help of GMM-RS, an add-on for the Greymatter scripts this site is using. Installation is straightforward but if you'll hit a roadblock, just download this RSS.pm file, upload in a directory named XML inside your cgi-bin folder and type the words 'Format C: /u /s' on your DOS window.
WildFire on 12:54 AM CST [ link ]

Thursday | March 25.2004

These numbers are scary. The approach towards prevention is disappointing. These are just some of the reasons why software quality matters. It is about time programmers and developers exercise their code of honor and allegiance to 'the man'.
WildFire on 03:19 PM CST [ link ]

Foxite's Dale Dedoroy, a fellow Filipino FoxPro programmer pointed to me yesterday that in VF8, one does not need the VB6 DLL anymore (I have discussed FoxTray.ocx ealier last week). And I did overlooked the fact that I haven't copied/'Regsvr32-ed' that VB6 dll when I visited a client last Friday. Goodie... now I can re-activate this FlameVB mode.

Do check Dale's articles at Foxite: An alternative to Kodak image edit scrollbars · Thumbnails, anyone? (and Part 2) · Tame the string and Teach the Fox hunt pictures better.

Have you considered opening your own fox/work-related blogs too, Dale?

More Foxite articles for you, fox-lovin'-insomniac.
WildFire on 01:04 AM CST [ link ]

Foxpro-warp: Visual Foxpro User Group. While the lay-out of the site is... uhm... 'not that good', it contains a LOT of good (and i mean GOOD) and 'phat' foxpro-related materials inside. So let's concentrate on the content since content is indeed KING. The heck with the lay-out... [",].

Semi-randomness spurt:

WildFire on 12:00 AM CST [ link ]

Wednesday | March 24.2004

Foxpro download for the day: STRUCT.zip | If there's an error in the link, just go to foxite.com, log-in (create an account if you need to... it's worth it if you're serious about learning Visual Foxpro), go to the download section and use the filter feature with any of these settings: DownloadID: 3 or Keyword: Struct.

This class library file written by Christof Lange and Mark Wilden, comes with an informative source code, a good documentation on WinAPI and ActiveX related stuff and sugar pies. The screen resolution changer module included in that download, is what I was studying last night.
WildFire on 11:23 PM CST [ link ]

I have always been fascinated with random numbers. There's this mysterious and sensual, if i might add, beauty that lies deep inside 'them'. The EncryptionSL() algorithm that I made last week uses a simple random number generation technique.
WildFire on 10:58 PM CST [ link ]

I know this is supposed to be scribbled in the Pixelcatalyst.Lair news, but I just can't help it: CG Channel interviews George Hull, Senior Visual Effects Art Director of The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. George Hull also was involved with BIG movies such as Jurassic Park: The Lost World, Mission Impossible, special editions of the Star Wars Trilogy, Star Trek Generations, Twister and Forest Gump. Currently, he is the Art Department Creative Director at ESC Entertainment.
WildFire on 10:22 AM CST [ link ]

I’m not quite satisfied with my output this day. I did finished some things, I even refrained from going online the whole day to focus on what I’m doing… but still I can’t call this day a productive one. Not in my terms. Adding to this problem, I’m even having this ‘too-many-things-to-do-so-little-time’ syndrome.

So at 12 midnight I’m opening up the trace window of this day to debug where things have gone wrong. In spite of this feeling of being unproductive I have done a couple of things that are good enough to consider that this was not a waste in terms of development production. Probably the real problem is why am I having this annoying feeling of un-productiveness.

The day started out fine… before I took my lunch I was able to finish the IUMS client part and was able to jump into a different project that involves the upgrade of the SASM module to version 2. I was even playing this newly discovered butterfly-effect-blanket game with my little girl for almost an hour in between coding.

Simon and Garfunkel were even kind enough to play in the background while I was into programming. Soulful songs this time that includes Scarborough Fair, Bridge over Tro-oh-oubled Water and Bright Eyes and not the usual Paul Oakenfold SwordFish trance music, ColdPlay chants, angst-inducing-grinds of Nine Inch Nails nor Enigma's slide-into-the-soul type of sound. But I don’t believe the change of music caused this feeling of un-productivity, neither the lack of internet connection. Nor did it help soothe that feeling of discomfort summer heat brings.

Then I think I’m left with nothing else to blame but the heat. Yes it is summer already in this part of the world and the heat is really depressing. It’s more like:
if lHeat > lTolerableLimit
  nWork = (nForce * nDistance) / (nTemperature * 10000000)
  lSatisfaction = .F.
  nWork = (nForce * nDistance)

I think it is indeed the heat.

If only the fuse connected to the air conditioning unit in this room did not had this feeling that he is somehow involve in that Mission Impossible sequel and do that self-destruct move five months ago, I would not be suffering from this plight. And since there is a 'happy tradition' in this home to wait for a year before things are being attempted to be fixed, it means I would be waiting for seven more months before I can taste freon once again. That is if even the attempt is successful.

Three fans... simultaneously running already (make that five if you’d include the two fans inside the CPU)... still there’s this feeling of unquenchable thirst from inside. And it doesn’t even involve blood.

ARGH. I’m not making any sense anymore.
WildFire on 01:28 AM CST [ link ]

Tuesday | March 23.2004

Give Your Forms a Base by Deborah Kurata. Thought it needs a premium account for you to access the next two pages, the title alone gives you a good idea on how to make your programming approach more effective.
WildFire on 08:27 PM CST [ link ]

Box and Fox on .NET Rocks! I've been hooked on this internet audio talk show lately.
WildFire on 07:55 PM CST [ link ]

CodeProject.com | Not necessarily foxpro-intensive, but it has lots of programming tips, articles and resources.
WildFire on 07:46 PM CST [ link ]

Almost two in the morning and I find myself undecided if I'll visit the bathroom. You see I don't want to leave this computer for some 'hacker' might do some funny things in here. Going online is getting scarier and scarier-er these days. The 'net had become a dumping ground of worms, spam, spy wares, hackable activex components in security-related programs and George Bush pictures.

Just the thought of someone browsing this PC frightens the bejeezus out of me.

Just think what he can do with that porn I have amassed for years. Worse if he returns for more and decides that ‘there can only be one’ storage and deletes everything. Of course I do back-up things in a CD-R, which these days are a favorite toy of my two year old girl. My other little boy has discovered the keyboard and iconstory.swf already but for some strange luck, he still can’t get over the light switch and raising his fingers upwards and shouting the word ‘light!’

There he’s crying already… he sleeps late these days, wakes around 2AM or 4AM and do his regular howls. As if a solution to a certain bug was found while he was in a subconscious state and he needs a keyboard or something to pound that spark but can’t find one. This boy has the making of a ‘developer’.

A developer in the future where the ‘net is much safer and ‘holier’ place to cruise in… that is what he will be. As for my little girl, I’m hoping she grows up just like his lovely mother who at 20something-something probably wants to give up law-related dreams and become a Visual FoxPro programmer.
WildFire on 02:10 AM CST [ link ]

Monday | March 22.2004

I fired up Dreamweaver (with EditPad and IE6) and decided to give myself something to tinker with while I'm in a relaxing-away-from-Foxpro-and-its-cruel-codes mood. But I end up in angst instead. It seems Dreamweaver conspires with IE6 and Windows to generate those out of nowhere errors. It doesn't even refresh things for heaven's sake. I spent quite a large amount of time tinkering with some javascripts, cursing and isolating each part I think was the cause of the problem only to find out that having this on top:

[!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"]
[!-- saved from url=(0039)http://www.richardbase.com/foxpro/news/ --]

(Replace '[]' with '<>')

... prevents the execution of TARGET="_blank" and ruins almost everything which in the first place is illogical. Now it is 04:03AM... I'm pissed and worse I'm hungry. Good thing there's Mozilla for comfort. But I can't eat Mozilla. This IE6 I have on this PC needs castration... really.
WildFire on 03:53 AM CST [ link ]

Sunday | March 21.2004

This article, Why software still stinks, written by Scott Rosenberg points out a number of interesting things. Here are some insights from that article uttered by some of the pioneers of the software industry.

  • "I looked at the programmer as an individual on a quest to create something new that would change the world." (Susan Lammers)

  • "Software inefficiency can always outpace Moore's Law. Moore's Law isn't a match for our bad coding." (Jaron Lanier - pioneer of virtual reality)

  • "Software as we know it is the bottleneck on the digital horn of plenty." (Charles Simonyi, from Xerox PARC and Microsoft code guru behind Microsoft's Office suite)

  • "Most successful programmers are at heart can-do engineers who are optimistic that every problem has a solution."

  • "There are two meanings to software design. One is, designing the artifact we're trying to implement. The other is the sheer software engineering to make that artifact come into being. I believe these are two separate roles -- the subject matter expert and the software engineer." (Charles Simonyi)

  • "A lot of stuff in the Mac and Windows world was supposed to be temporary and got wedged into place," he said. "Making programming fundamentally better might be the single most important challenge we face -- and the most difficult one." Today's software world is simply too "brittle" -- one tiny error and everything grinds to a halt: "We're constantly teetering on the edge of catastrophe." Nature and biological systems are much more flexible, adaptable and forgiving, and we should look to them for new answers. "The path forward is being biomimetic."

And I wasn't able to stop myself from laughing when i read these two lines:

  • "There's this wonderful outpouring of creativity in the open-source world. So what do they make -- another version of Unix?" (Jaron Lanier)

  • "And what do they put on top of it? Another Windows!" (Jef Raskin)

And one more from young Bill Gates:

  • "The best way to prepare is to write programs, and to study great programs that other people have written. In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating systems." (Bill Gates)

That article pointed out a lot of good links too. To name a few: The Father of Macintosh, The computer is an amplifier for your brain and Are microchips too fast for mere mortals?
WildFire on 03:00 PM CST [ link ]

This was one of the book I have on my hands when I was still starting to use Visual Foxpro: QUE's Special Edition Using Visual FoxPro 6.
WildFire on 10:12 AM CST [ link ]

Saturday | March 20.2004

The final punch to that quest is delivered this afternoon. The disabling of task switching and locking of other tasks is finally compatible with Windows 2000/XP. Converting an API-related algorithm using Delphi's source code as the basis is not too easy considering that you have to declare which DLL exactly are you using and the paremeters needed. Unlike Delphi, you also have to declare each WinAPI procedures used inside a DLL. I'm using WinLock.dll by the way to accomplish things which also calls LoadLibrary, GetProcAddress, EnableWindow and FindWindow. The first two procedures are inside KERNEL32.dll while the latter two... inside USER.dll. The locking part was accomplished after a number of compiles and reboots while it took me quite some time to figure out how to unload and deactive that lock. Luckily, Avatar came to the rescue and pointed out that procedures in DLLs are often case sensitive.

declare UnLockKeys in WINLOCK.dll integer FHook, ;
string cUnLockKeys

Generates this error:
Cannot find entry points UnLockKeys in the DLL

It should be UnlockKeys. However...
=UnLockKeys(GetProcAddress( FHook, 'UnlockKeys'), 0)

... does not generate the mentioned error. Quite weird if you ask me (Probably related to why some programmers/developers are labeled as weird sometimes). I'm creating a separate HTML for this and the whole locking/disabling process.
WildFire on 08:24 PM CST [ link ]

Yesterday when faced with the task to find a process to lock the computer when a certain time limit expires, my approach was to insert a reboot WinAPI code in a modal form that literally reboots the computer when the password expires. Research time was quick and limited... thus the 'semi-lame' approach in solving the problem.

A day after, with Avatar's key help (he really _is_ existing and not just a figment of my imagination) and of course support.microsoft.com, DelphiFAQ (Yup Delphi rocks!), Google, Foxite, Tek-Tips, a new LogiTech mouse and two cans of coke... I can now [a] disable the ALT+F4 key by macro substituting with the ON KEY LABEL, [b] hide the task bar, [c] disable the task window (in Windows ME/9x), [d] disable alt+ctrl+del (still in Windows ME/9x not that bulletproof in Windows 2000 i think), [e] hide the Windows Start button and [f] shutdown Internet Explorer. How's that for a cruel start?

Remind me to post the snippets later... and someone should really help me convince Avatar to start his own techno/work-blog.

The client visit was a little tiring since every time I visit that place I have to check the programs installed in 10 different computers located in 6 different offices/sections. But it was fruitful nonetheless. More on that one later and the thoughts that was buffered in my mind while I was sitting on that slow moving bus.

I did promised myself to have an early sleep (I deserve one!) after this visit... 01:30AM is indeed early.
WildFire on 01:47 AM CST [ link ]

Friday | March 19.2004

Technically it is Friday already since the clock shows that 02:53 digit. But since my day ends when i drift into the circuit of dreams, it is still Thursday for me. That would be four days of me dwelling in this room (make that six if you'll include Saturday and Sunday) without going out aside from semi-regular snacks and a two hour visit to a client last Tuesday morning. In this room... virtually alone with this computer, a bunch of papers and cans of sugar inducing coca cola drinks... i am (I'm beginning to sound like master yoda already). Of course there's that regular child howls and 'smell-the-roses-interruptions'. Like everytime when my lovely two year old girl would ask for a pen and a paper, chant the words 'work work work' and grab a seat beside my work table.

Tomorrow I'll be out once again in this room as I will be visiting another client. This week is an initial phase of a test I'm doing to assess if I could give up my regular job and concentrate on free lance related projects. If you have two babies who consume P1,250 worth of milk every five days, things are quite different. You don't addobject(decisions, life) on the fly and hope that you could CTRL+Z things afterwards.

I'm also considering the notion of opening a sort of iOL section (I'll discuss that later) in this site which will discuss system development related matters. Sophieai, the code name I gave to this project i'm working on for the past few days... will be the first example. Probably by discussing some things with fellow programmers, IT enthusiasts and even students I might find an alternative to that reboot-PC-if-user-times-out approach of mine. I'm suppose to lock the computer and render the alt-tab and alt-ctrl-del useless but my WinAPI knowledgebase is quite limited. But i'm working on it. Even in dreams.
WildFire on 02:11 AM CST [ link ]

WildFire on 02:08 AM CST [ link ]

Thursday | March 18.2004

WildFire on 02:54 PM CST [ link ]

Avatar posted this cool flash work in the forum, Imagination at Work! More like 'wasting time at work'... but a cool way indeed to waste time. I'm still in the process of convincing him to create a techblog of his own.
WildFire on 02:21 PM CST [ link ]

Wednesday | March 17.2004

I was creating a very simple encryption algorithm this afternoon. Too simple that it even didn't reach 20 lines of code. I was hoping someone out there in cyberspace could test things and find out or assess how lame things are. Hehe. [",]

Just please include how many minutes, hours or light years it took you to solve this problem. Thanks.

The Pattern/Sample Data:
2414739118 - VNQRWRUOQQ
0955501563 - RNWRXNTKRI
0372592769 - QIPOPIPMWO
0312355527 - XMSLURYKRR
5561830050 - QNPJVRTJQL
1203615355 - SKTRWOQMUQ
7095810211 - QRQNXOXPUO
0292351958 - WQYLUIRQVO
4352908758 - QJWNRQULVM
0042801895 - QJUNVNQJVN
Now given the data pattern above, can you give the character equivalent of these number patterns.
Feel free to post your answers. If you can 'assemble' the algorithm too that would make things even better. Happy decrypting!
WildFire on 11:18 PM CST [ link ]

Kevin McNeash, chief architect and developer of that Mere Mortals Framework, was interviewed on .NET Rocks!
WildFire on 03:43 PM CST [ link ]

Sometimes I wish i can download a snippet somewhere, or perhaps create an algorithm that could prevent power interruption or block outs on the computer that uses my database programs. Just imagine all other equipments knocked out already and there's one computer 'alive' because NTSLAntipowerinterruption.exe version 1.071225 is running in the background. In that way i can also prevent database corruption in some of my clients that don't have any UPS installed yet. Besides whoever gave you that notion that UPS are 'uninterruptable' knows nothing. Try smashing a 7000 pound metorite on it.

FoxMasters and their CodeInspector.
WildFire on 03:26 PM CST [ link ]

Tuesday | March 16.2004

Craig Berntson compares VFP with Utah State and the NCAA Basketball Tournament while John Koziol talks about VFP and some Windows XP SP2 related issues.

Now who wants to talk about the new 'planet' discovered beyond Pluto? Or Kevin Mitnick's call for hackers to submit their 'sexiest hack'..? Hmmm... Project Mono perhaps?
WildFire on 01:56 PM CST [ link ]

I printed these sample chapters from that 1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About Visual FoxPro book last night. And judging from the skimming i've done, this book is a good one.

The zip file contains two chapters, chapters 5 (32 pages) and 13 (36 pages). Chapter 5 deals on combos and lists. To name a few items, it contains basic information about combos and lists, its binding process, adding items and filtering. Chapter 13 on the other hand, includes topics on the Visual Foxpro debugger, datasessions, event sequence, setfocus, modal forms, properties, a little about arrays and a lot more.
WildFire on 09:59 AM CST [ link ]

Monday | March 15.2004

Like certain xx-chromosome-filled human I know, development tools do show an ILLogical behavior sometimes. There are even times when you find yourself deeply thinking if you're logic circuit boards are getting rusty already.

Please don't get me wrong... I do have great respect for women. The Peerless leader is included in that respect list of mine... and a hundred more. Women even live longer.
WildFire on 07:23 PM CST [ link ]

I'll compensate that 'quite-too-techie' post below with these links... now pick what is more interesting to you: a 3 headed frog or Life inside Microsoft Research. I know you'd pick that frog thing... :]
WildFire on 02:43 AM CST [ link ]

Finally I found some time to experiment on FoxTray. To give you a brief overview, this .ocx (or ActiveX control if you like it being called that way) allows you to place the icon of your lovely FoxPro application on the system tray along with a five popup item menu you can tinker with. This .ocx is created using Visual Basic (UGH... turns off the VB-lambastin'-mode) so it requires that MSVBVM60.dll file which is a VB support file. I have VB6 installed already on this computer so I don't have problems regarding that part. The problem lies on that cryptic readme.txt that comes along with the FoxTray.zip file.

Instincts (and previous encounters with these OCX aliens) taught me to REGSVR32 FoxTray.ocx (which by the way won't work if FoxTray.ocx is not located on drive C: - you can opt to transfer REGSVR32.exe which is located on C:\Windows\System to where your FoxTray.ocx is located) before anything else. (Of course after unzipping the .zip file)

Now after adding that FoxTrayCtl.cFoxTray ActiveX control inside the Tools.Options.Control tab, clicking the FormControlsToolBar.ViewClasses and dragging the OLE to the form, i arrived at the farthest point where instincts can cuddle me.

Good thing that cryptic readme.txt files have five links. Ironically, I ignored the first link in that list which contains the most relevant information about this control. I chose to open these links instead:

... which are informative but are not helpful to what i was planning to do, that is to use the application i'm testing on with this ocx file. That was when Google.com comes in... pointing me to a link related to the first URL on that readme text file.

It is a link from that News2News.com/VFP website which holds tons of Win32 API related reference materials (Yup i've blogged that before).

After transferring the code found in that page to a different TestFoxTray.prg and slicing them afterwards to include them into the dragged-and-dropped OLE control, the cute thing is now running and is ready for further customization, usage and abuse in connection with that IUMS project of mine.
WildFire on 02:20 AM CST [ link ]

Sunday | March 14.2004

Two more interesting and informative articles from Joel Spolsky:

The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code
Things You Should Never Do, Part I

More informative software development-related articles can be found inside the Complete Archive Section of his site.
WildFire on 05:40 PM CST [ link ]

Having that 'i-can't-code/i'm-not-in-the-mood-to-do-programs' syndrome lately..? Joel Spolsky talks about this in his Fire and Motion article he wrote a couple of years ago. Good and well written words, no matter how old, just don't vanish... much more in this digital age.

Here's a newer one that might help the graduating class of this year: Getting Your Résumé Read. In our country, March is the time when [0001] graduates are shifting those tassles from left to right, [0010] students are slowly facing the 'real world', [0011] students began to cringe at the thought of losing their allowances and [0100] they are whole-heartedly 'welcomed to the ranks of the unemployed'.
WildFire on 04:05 PM CST [ link ]

Saturday | March 13.2004

A compilation of new .NET Design Guidelines.

Well... aside from ThinkGEEK, there's Engadget too for your gadget-related cravings. Don't you just love those XML/RSS feeds?
WildFire on 08:25 PM CST [ link ]

We're now in a box. Inside the box... i'm referring to the new template this site holds. This gives you a slight preview of the main site's look (RichardBase.com 2004) which will be updated in the days to come. So tell me what you think.

This afternoon, QS and i were discussing tech/philo-related matters. Something about humans using their minds to create technologies that would make lesser use of their minds. Ironic... eh? More thoughts on that one later.
WildFire on 06:33 PM CST [ link ]

Friday | March 12.2004

I have seen a lot of cool 'mod'-ed cases before, but this BORG PC by far is the coolest. A little less cooler than Visual FoxPro though.
WildFire on 11:30 PM CST [ link ]

It is quite ironic that after spending hours fortifying one of my alternative webmail account against spam, i discovered that it attaches in the bottom part of the e-mail being sent the number one word i am trying to block.

Microsoft releases this whitepaper: Creating Tablet PC Applications with Microsoft Visual FoxPro.
WildFire on 09:58 PM CST [ link ]

Thursday | March 11.2004

So what if there's water in Mars..? Will it make life on Earth easier..?

Hmm... it goes back to that old point that even we have landed on the moon, seen the farthest galaxies and conceptualized a space elevator, we humans are still unable to do the journey inwards, to know ourselves more... and explore the core essence of this planet.

Rest... and late night programming after this.
WildFire on 10:10 PM CST [ link ]

There are issues being raised with regards to using Visual Foxpro under Windows XP Service Pack 2. Check the link for more information regarding this matter. Ark... it's around 4AM already. I need to dream.
WildFire on 04:18 AM CST [ link ]

I'm pushing my Internet Usage Monitoring System (IUMS) project into another level. I'm even giving it a codename. What used to be a simple stand-alone logger that tracks the usage and payments of students who use the internet cafe/laboratory in a certain school, will be upgraded to something that 'partially' follows the client/server principle. There will be a server application that tracks all the laboratory computers connected to the 'net. This is where users are added, logged out, monitored, chopped and castrated. This is more or less 90% complete already but i still have to re-research the GRID part so that it would show different attributes (.forecolor/.backcolor/.fontstyle/.fontbold) for different user status (blue for active, red for timed-out, black for logged-out... something like that) at a given time. I've read somewhere that you can do it on individual columns but i still have to recheck if it can be done with individual rows.

Logic will find a way.

The client part is the tricky part. Sometimes i wish this was the old DOS days where you can invoke TSRs and don't mind much if the user hits Alt-Ctrl-Delete, presses Alt-Tab or calls on the gods of destruction, just to show the tasks running in the memory. We'll just hope that Miss BSOD would prefer to be at home in her couch watching smurf reruns.

Probably i'll be using that FoxTray tool, which i still have to tinker further and modify if needed.

A modal message form that asks for random generated ACCESS NUMBER and PASSWORD will suppose to halt the user in case his one hour limit expires. The ACCESS NUMBER and the Encrypted(PASSWORD) will be stored on a database, automatically generated after an hour of usage... along with a STATUS field (Password Used/Active/Etc). I'm still thinking if the student's ID NUMBER will be needed. Of course a time warning would probably be included just ten minutes before that one hour limit expires.

In my newsprint, which serves as a plotting device for various program conceptualization and planning, I have already formulated the RANDOM GENERATOR and ENCRYPTION algorithms... along with a TASK-TO-DO list for the month of March, which judging from that long list... would be quite a busy month for me.
WildFire on 03:46 AM CST [ link ]

You can find treasures in old movies sold in widescreen DVD formats.

I'm lucky to be dwelling/working in a place not far where humans allow you to 'borrow' DVDs for around P65 - P80 (that would be a little over a dollar) and won't care if you'll return them or not. You'll only be asked to return if the disc is damaged. If you don't like the movie, as long as there are no scratches in the disc and you have enough guts to be abusive... you can even ask for a replacement (I told you i was lucky). No questions asked. (Of course you're three-digit IQ already knows what i'm referring here...)

Anyway... one of yesterday's loot was K-PAX. And... it was good. Good enough that i did scribbled on my EditPad some of the dialogue in that movie.


Doctor: K-Paxians have babies, right?
Prot: Oh, yes, much like on Earth, but unlike you humans, the reproductive process is quite unpleasant for us. It's more like having your nuts in a vise except we feel it all over. And to make matters worse, the sensation is associated with something like your nausea, accompanied by a very bad smell. The moment of climax is like being kicked in the stomach, and then falling into a pool of mod droppings.
Doctor: Mod droppings?
Prot:A mod is a being much like your skunk, only far more potent.
Doctor: Uh, if it's such a terrible experience, uh how do you reproduce?
Prot: As carefully as possible.


Doctor: What about societal structure? Government..?
Prot: No, there's no need for one.
Doctor:You have no laws?
Prot: No laws. No lawyers. (Microsoft won't exists on their planet)
Doctor:How do you know right from wrong?
Prot:Every being in the universe knows right from wrong, Mark.
Doctor:But what if someone did do something wrong-- how would you punish them?
Prot:Let me tell you something Mark. You humans, most of you, subscribe to this policy of 'an eye for an eye, a life for a life,' which is known throughout the universe... for its stupidity. Even your Buddha and your Christ had quite a different vision, but nobody's paid much attention to them, not even Buddhists or the Christians.
Prot:You humans, sometimes it's hard to imagine how you've made it this far.

Do watch if you have some time. You can even watch it even if you're coding and you're DVD is playing in the background.
WildFire on 03:11 AM CST [ link ]

Wednesday | March 10.2004

Tuesday | March 09.2004

Guess what... Ken Levy's blogging too. A short bio is included in that section.
WildFire on 09:27 PM CST [ link ]

If there's one thing i miss these days that i usually do before... that would be teaching. The joys of teaching, its fulfillment and all, is something a soul can crave. Include the sudden rush of cruelty-enhanced neurons that calculates the possible permutations allowed for one to 'torture' and push computer science students not only to their limits but beyond their limits. It's not about crossing the line this time... but moving the line (and the bars) that in a way limits learning. True learning.

Quite sad that one of my college buddy who happens to be the computer science dean of that school where i left, doesn't share the same principles with me. I'm not saying though that my 'style' is correct... and it should be followed. It would be just fine i think, that in a pool of kind and lovin'/nurturing/spoon-feeding college teachers and professors, there is one or two that poses more challenge than what smiles and kindness can offer sans the commercialism that infests the educationaly system in our country today.
WildFire on 10:54 AM CST [ link ]

Monday | March 08.2004

Good articles worth your time.

Why Good Ideas Fail
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
WildFire on 09:07 PM CST [ link ]

Foxpro-warp: Craig Bernston and his FoxBlog.
WildFire on 07:12 PM CST [ link ]

It's 2:43AM already and i'm still working on the new version of that richardbase.com website. I have done 90% of the template last friday and i was able to chop things, add tables and rollover images already tonight (post.replace['tonight', 'morning']). I'll be using iFrame this time to minimize an extensive vertical scrolling for the main section. It has been months since i have last touched Dreamweaver, PaintShop Pro and Adobe Photoshop... so i'm having quite a hard time familiarizing things once again. I can't even find the SNAP TO GRID item earlier.

I tend to give importance to the details when i'm working on GFX-related matters. I would even scrap a two hour work and start from scratch if i'm not satisfied with it. I've done that earlier this evening when i am faced with the dilemma of optimizing the image size using JPEGs compressed by 15 or 30 percent over a GIF format which reduces the overall quality of the image.

I end up using a rollover image with both a not-so-compressed JPEG as the main image and a GIF file for the 'roller'. I don't want to sacrifice quality this time... and since i'm using an iFrame, the loading of most images will only occur once. All other loading of files and images will be inside that iFrame which is not that 'heavy'.

Once the main portfolio site is done... expect the foxpro.catalyst website to emulate that interface too. Hmm... do you really think this site will hold this text only type of look that long?
WildFire on 02:41 AM CST [ link ]

Sunday | March 07.2004

Searching Microsoft's Knowledge Base is a good start to find solutions to certain problems. But if you're just looking for random VFP topics, you can view some KnowledgeBase articles by Garrett Fitzgerald and Mike Stewart.
WildFire on 07:51 PM CST [ link ]

There's a good bunch of database-related white papers (and links) at PCMAG.com WhitePapers section.
WildFire on 02:15 PM CST [ link ]

The Ten Rules of Performance.

"... you’re tempted to believe that you understand how your application works. Well, you don’t. You understand how it’s supposed to work. Unfortunately, performance work deals with how things actually work, which in many cases is completely different."

It's a very interesting read for programmers, system developers and humans who value work and output as well.
WildFire on 11:38 AM CST [ link ]

You've read Microsoft's plan on SPAM earlier... now hear a more 'radical approach' as Michael J. Miller interviews the CEO of Symantec.
WildFire on 01:00 AM CST [ link ]

Technology Takes on Tradition in Animation. Wesner Moise has also an interesing insight about that topic in his 3D versus 2D Animation blog.
WildFire on 12:44 AM CST [ link ]

Saturday | March 06.2004

Hmm... interested in downloading a 512MB Network Game source code? Releasing the source code comes from the company you least expect to do such move... Microsoft. ALLEGIANCE... is the name of the game. I'm still figuring out how i can use GetRight with this download.
WildFire on 11:41 PM CST [ link ]

I have an alternate e-mail account on one of the free servers one can find in the 'net. For the past three months it was rendered useless by SPAM, which just celebrated it's 10th year birthday a couple of days ago. It was only yesterday when out of nowhere the cyber-Gods started whispering in my ears pointing me to the SPAM filtering option that i am able to breath life into that sufferrin' account once more. SPAM, or unsolicited commercial emails, are getting worse these past few months (if not years). Even Microsoft is mapping out their plans to tackle this problem. Some theories would even tell that the proliferation of worms have something to do with a deeper SPAM-related creeping attacks, that e-mail addresses gathered are being sold for a big amount of money, and SPAM is being used by aliens who have plans of colonizing our solar system. A number of mentally-spammed entities can even make SPAM unstoppable.

Which is bad... we all know there are a lot of valid e-mails that are trashed because of this... not to mention the time, resources and bandwidth that are wasted. Hopefully in the near future, the combination of technological software advancements, laws and 'maturity of humanity' can help solved this problem. Or better yet... use SPAM as a tool along with fireflies in finding alien lifeforms.
WildFire on 08:16 PM CST [ link ]

You might be interested in downloading this FoxTalk Sample Issue which contains the following articles: Get more productive with VFP, Part 4 (Richard Schummer) · Ahoy! Anchoring Made Easy (Doug Hennig) · Playing with GUI in Visual Foxpro 8: The Expander Control (Predrag Bosnic) · Using Delegation to Change Your Application's Architecture (Mike Helland) · The Kit Box: VFP 8.0 Intelli-non-Sense! (Andy Kramek and Marcia Akins)

And another interesting read: Building a Tool to Secure Messages by Alex Feldstein. More information about FoxTalk can be found at Pinnacle: Solutions for Developers.
WildFire on 05:06 PM CST [ link ]

Non-foxpro related but still interesting articles to read:

Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years
Garbage Collection Myth is Real
Design Guidelines for Class Library Developers
.NET Framework Resource Management

What is a Color?
Colors Undocumented
Never knew that handling colors programmatically is this fun... in a 'geeky' sense of way.
WildFire on 08:52 AM CST [ link ]

Friday | March 05.2004

Visited a client today whose computers are infested with viruses and worms. There was even this one PC that has both NAV and McAfee VirusScan installed plus a DOS based version of PCCillin, but was still badly infected. Funny it was that simple MSCONFIG solution that eradicated the problem. Also it is good to note that sometimes if you're running computers on win95/98/98SE/ME and you don't have much resources (CPU and memory), it would be better if you install the older version of NAV which doesn't hog that much memory and just update the drivers, modules and virus definitions afterwards using LiveUpdate. More on this process and that client visit later.

Foxpro-warps: March 2004 Letter from the Editor from Microsoft Visual Foxpro Developer Center. Now the VS DATA Team blogs as well.
WildFire on 11:46 PM CST [ link ]

Before i dive into the 'work.blogs', let me give you Tamar E. Granor's website. Tamar wrote that Hacker's Guide to Visual Foxpro book which i have mentioned more than once in my past blogs. If you have read this book already, or even parts of this book... you'll know why it is a 'must have'. Ted Roche and Doug Hennig are also credited for that book.

More or less i have prepared already for tomorrow's visit/installation. It's 2AM and here i am just waiting for m.sleep(dreams) to catch up with me and thinking once again about that flushed-out-from-cyberspace thing (See blogs below, dude). Had that occured five years ago when i was still maintaining my first site, i would have fret, roared and called on bolemic celestial beings of cyberspace to drag my site back online. But that's before... and now's different. Totally different.

You don't need visitors to have a good site. You need a good site to have visitors. Content that is directed to your target-ed viewers, is important. Even if it means blob-blob-blobs like this targeted to bored and/or stressed programmers who want some air or just happened to stumble upon this site.

Though i must admit i still have to concretely formulate the direction of this site. The menu in the right part is not even completed (Note to self: complete that this weekend) and i still have to renovate the 'main site', which will hold these blogs. For now let me just end this semi-senseless blobberin' and point you to this link: Mike Lewis Consultants.
WildFire on 02:03 AM CST [ link ]

Thursday | March 04.2004

Foxpro.catalyst... is now back online. We were flushed out from cyberspace for almost 24 hours after a glitch occured when we renewed the domain. Thanks for the help, weightlessGFX. More foxpro-related links later. I'm still finishing up some things for tomorrow's client visit/installation.
WildFire on 10:48 PM CST [ link ]

Wednesday | March 03.2004

Have you ever heard of the A. M. Turing Award? Just stumbled upon it once again after reading an article about Bill Gates. It's an interesing one... here Bill Gates tells us about his move to attract computer science students in colleges, why computer science courses are dwindling, his views on offshore-outsourcing and a lot more.
WildFire on 09:49 PM CST [ link ]

I downloaded OPENOffice.org 1.1.1 last night. Make that a couple of nights ago since it is already two in the morning. Installed it fifteen hours ago in the computer in the office i call as the 'Battle PC'. Experimented on it for awhile, click a few buttons here and there and opened some previously created files. I don't have any java runtime environment installed on my computers so i have to choose to run it sans the Java. All things are working fine so far but i'll do a research on that Java part. Even the setup window i must admit is quite refreshing... and i do like that eplastic effect on graphics which i first saw at PHONG.com years ago and is often used in current interfaces these days. It's good to see artistic interfaces being used but not abused. This one falls in the 'well used' category.

Back to Open Office... like Microsoft Office it has applications for text and documents, spreadsheets, presentations and even for HTML creation and editing. A quick tinkering and dropping down of menus showed that they are almost similar feature-wise. Which is scary... but at the same time, a big help especially in this part of the world were piracy is rampant, licensed softwares are too expensive as compared with the basic needs and currency is plummeting down so fast. A BIG help it would really be. (Of course you can view it differently)

Feature-wise, OpenOffice.org 1.1.1 even has an export to PDF feature which i can't find on my MS Office XP, but i must admit i haven't explored MS Word that much. With respect to MicroSoft, i believe that Office is one of their best products to date. Word and even Excel, along with their easter eggs, have done a lot since those old WordStar 4 and Lotus for DOS days. Yup i've used that before but i'm not that old yet. Oh no... i'm not... not yet.

What i can't fully understand, is why one creates a good package such as this and call it with a name which is not far from an existing 'dominant' product already? I can understand some similarities in lay-out and item placing and such, probably to make things easier for the user to adapt and familiarize, but why not name it to a different word. Why 'office'? The word 'open' is not much help even it means a lot. I guess this is just the 'trend' in the 'IT world', eh?. There's WordStar... then WordPerfect then MSWord and countless others having this affinity for the word 'word'. Partly i know and understand the reason... but still, part of me was hoping that the open source community would give more importance of having a sort of unique identity for their products. Yes, I do have a great respect for the open source principles and the minds behind such force, but that my friend, is another story for now.

Well i guess i'll just settle with figuring out how to make Visual Foxpro 'automate' with these new found treasures. Or should i also expect an Open Foxpro in the days to come? Uh... something to look forward to.
WildFire on 03:51 AM CST [ link ]

Tuesday | March 02.2004

And behold! After four years... the new offline version of fox wiki has finally arrived. Available in both HTML (16MB) and CHM (13MB) formats, this my friend, is a vast source of information.
WildFire on 10:29 AM CST [ link ]

Monday | March 01.2004

FoxPro website of the day: Neil's FoxPro Resources.

Don't you just love it when websites have PDF versions of their articles? I'm such a sucker for PDF these days. We'll just hope that Ars Technica will give out FREE PDF articles too. If you still prefer the HTML version, since the PDF is a 3++ MB file download, just move your mouse-pointer-butts here: Does Microsoft .Net measure up?

One more thing, though I know this is ancient news already, Adobe Acrobat Reader 6 is now available. I have just upgraded mine from version 5 to version 6 last night.
WildFire on 09:03 PM CST [ link ]

I'll be starting this work week by trying out this freeware from Richard Hamm: Project Build Toolbar.

Speaking of tools, you might want to give HTTrack Website Copier a test run... read, read, experiment and learn. I'll give the explanations afterwards - that's the way we were taught in college. We were not even using the 'net then for researches. These days, college students have vast resources, cheaper internet connection, well-written documentations/books, and whirlwinds of distraction that overrides the first three things mentioned.

I will explain later HTTrack's connection with learning VisualFoxpro. But i guess you have figured that out already.
WildFire on 08:31 AM CST [ link ]

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