Monday | April 19.2004


One of the joys of freelancing is meeting new clients. Especially if those clients are recommended by one of your clients.

JOY++ if your new client is cheerful, nice to talk to and is open to ideas of innovation. Add more happy smiles if she treats you to a great lunch (and a free coke in can).

I've been concentrating on freelance projects for almost a couple of years since I decided to transfer places and leave my old work. So far... I'm happy with the outcome. Last month, I was even ready to leave the regular job I'm in to focus more on freelance projects, but I do have a lot of things to accomplish on that job. One cannot just left responsibilities behind.

Besides I'm beginning to have this affinity for that WindowsXP infused Shanara on that office of mine.

If there's a tip I could give about freelancing (which I know other 'good' and honest freelancers know already and is a common sense to start with) is to take good care of your clients. Taking good care would mean that not only you will deliver reliable services (in my case database programs), but suggest ways for them to improve the 'other systems' existing in their place.

Give cheaper alternatives to them... like suggesting OpenOffice. Just imagine the amount of money they could save especially if these are institutions that have 100++ computers running in their community.

Introduce them to utilities one can find abundantly in the 'net that delivers and improves the performance of computers.

There are a lot more you can do which are often a derivative of sharing what you know already to begin with. Don't hesitate sharing those things.

Though online dictionary.com defines 'freelancing' as this:

free·lance
n. also free lance (frlns)

A person who sells services to employers without a long-term commitment to any of them.
An uncommitted independent, as in politics or social life.
A medieval mercenary.

... I don't agree with it. In fact you should be the opposite.

Well... being a 'medieval mercenary' sounds cool though. It reminds me of a rugged version of TheGreenLantern in improvised armor plates armed with home-made weapons with a vision to change the world and is actually doing it.
WildFire on 01:25 AM CST [ link ]


Before proceeding to the 'main thoughts' of this post, I'll give a link to this time traveller that probably needs your help. Note that it is a link to Museum of Hoaxes but who knows if it is indeed true.
WildFire on 12:47 AM CST [ link ]


Code Tuning Techniques: How to make FoxPro applications faster. It's interesting seeing that an unswitched loop is faster than a switched loop. In any given day before reading this comparison, you can find me using the switched loop for reasons that I refrain from repeating lines of code as possible. Hmm... I'll do some testing if I encounter this and decide if it's about time to break some 'old programming habbits'.
WildFire on 12:29 AM CST [ link ]



Sunday | April 18.2004


Sunday once again... marathon bloggin' day. As you can see one of the little problems that I have with this site is I often have ideas which I'm a having a hard time following up.

Sometimes I end up giving hints of what I'll post next but they're left there... just hints. And I do have a lot of things I want to post but until now they're still buffered in the chambers of my mind well protected from porn-related neurons.

For example last week... make that two week ago (see I'm that lagging that far behind), I was reading Rory Blyth's post about wanting to hire U2's The Edge to 'code'. Ah yes I've posted something about giving up being a programmer to become a 'rocker' a couple of months ago but that is not the point here. It is stressing the importance of having 'simple appearances of code' with elegant and efficient approaches over complexity-infused ones which are oftentimes slower. One of the many reasons why I'm using VisualFoxpro over Visual Basic when it comes to database-related development is it's simplicity and the clarity of its syntax and semantics.

Anyway Rory Blythe is one of the funniest bloggers you'll see on the 'net. I've been reading his blogs since that Goodbye Keiko post. He also co-hosts DotNetRocks! together with Carl Franklin.

And of course there's Dave Barry too (and his affinitity towards pińata)... on and off the 'net in periodicals and other types of syndication. But if you'd ask me where I first read things from Dave, I would point you to a doddering old Linux-powered machine we had in our former office which has this feature that generates random Dave Barry and Murphy's Law related snips.

The previous three paragraphs alone shows how I easily get lost. One cool thing leads to another. And just as I have organized my thoughts on what I have to blog, an info-flood of related and un-related stuff comes along. This is probably one of the reasons why Scoble separated his blogs related to his personal experiences with another set of posts from the things he receives from his feeds daily. There are tons of cool stuff that can be found in the 'net if one takes more time to read instead of Ragnarokin' and gearing into porn-overdrive.

And those influx of 'cool' articles often leads your reading-to-blogging process astray. You find self reading about guns being prevented from firing if it's not the owner who's handling it but requires embedding chips in the owner' hand... and Signal Discovery... and studies about brains and beauty... and infotech related articles but as you're about to blog about it, you find an article about an ex-porn star and her house, or rather, palace and then you again find yourself thinking... 'probably I am really in the wrong business.' If i'd be blogging about libido-inducing links I'd probably be cruising on a slick HAMBURGER-GHini instead of buying burgers which come with free Mike Wachowski cars in it.

And then you find out about an instruction on how to create a USB turd and view a PC case for hamsters and then you realized once again... oh wait I think am in the right field... forget porn.

And when you talk about porn, you can't help yourself but remember how the 'old internet' looks like, which for heavenly reasons is slowly being brought back these days. Yes... through RSS. No porns... no pop-ups, no worms, ad-less and spyware-less (28 spywares for each computer is the average these days).

And then I'm reminded to post that collection of information about RSS. I kept on 'evangelizing' them to my friends and former classmates but then I'm often faced with that 'What the fuck is RSS?' question. (Yes some of them are that rude [",]) And then you find yourself explaining things for the Nth time and wishing that you have finished that blog about RSS and can just link to that blog and make things easier for yourself.

Ah yes I should finish that 'What the fsck is RSS' section and I should end this very blog as well.
WildFire on 02:47 PM CST [ link ]



Saturday | April 17.2004


I'll post this link: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist... and I'll post some thoughts later.
WildFire on 11:53 PM CST [ link ]



Friday | April 16.2004


Move your arse here: Windows Security Updates for April 2004.

As I've posted earlier, Microsoft is indeed serious with security these days. It's their 'new religion'.
WildFire on 11:10 PM CST [ link ]


Before I'll scribble some things for today, allow me to place this entry first. Instead of including this in one blog entry, I decided to separate this part and just refer (or 'call' if you prefer) to this part on the next scribble... and other scribbles/blogs that will follow in the days to come. You can view this as a sort of procedure that is being called. Or you can call it whatever terms OOP has invented.

Ah yes I forgot, there are some readers that are not much into programming. OOP stands for Object Oriented Programming... if you'd ask me, it is one of the best 'discoveries' since pancakes, binary numbers and lawsuits on jokes.

OK... enough of the introduction... let's tackle the 'real' thing.

You know... Heaven decided to upgrade things these days. It now calls itself Heaven version 2.000.0007 Build 10005 after being called with its codename, 'PROJECT VOLTAGE' for three months. Hell had been constantly upgrading/revising for decades already due to lawsuits and the influx of disgruntled and dis-unified lawyers who have been flooding their place but this is the first time heaven decided to upgrade. Some rumors even claim that the horn which the next WindowsOS bundles has been stolen from Heaven by one of the sentinels from Hell. I, with my limited resources, cannot confirm it though.

No please don't get me wrong... I'm not referring to Microsoft nor I am saying that they are evil. They're not even the sentinel who stole the horn in the first place. Besides the heist rumor still has to be verified and it is not the main purpose of this scribble.

And yes I don't believe that crap that totals the ASCII values of BillG's name. BillG gives donations to children... that's something most OSS-lovin'-anti-MS humans often overlook. And let's not talk about that Microsoft GIF logo with 666 bytes I found while HTTracking their site last week.

No. Let's not go into that. Let's talk about heavenly things. Let's talk about Heaven 2.000 and its new features.

First... it renamed the Pearly Gates into something they now call as the 'aPORTAL'. It should've been iPortal but Heaven doesn't want to face lawsuits from Apple. Besides up to this day Heaven believes that 'i' is the center of 'pride' which it considers one of the deadliest sin. 'ePortal' was also a candidate before Hell started claiming patents for the letter 'e' which it considers a derivative of the word 'evil'.

St. Peter still guards the aPORTAL... along with this holy hen that lays silvery-barcoded Easter eggs once a year. St. Peter is now considered the Senior Vice President of Security. In between accepting new souls who they call 'clients', St. Peter is reviewing codes that heaven-based developers create. He constantly and patiently looks for loopholes, possible exploits and bugs that might compromise security in the future. Like Microsoft, Security is also the 'new religion' in Heaven. When Security-related tools are released up there, it is St. Peter who tests things first using a number of hacking tools stored in his arsenal.

Once every part is considered good, he then posts the compiled .EXEs in a place called as Havanah where bored and torched Hell 'devilopers' can view and start testing, bombarding and exploiting it. They have to do this while AGHRARVEMNORN constantly whips them, slices them and torches them in loops every time an attempt to hack that newly released software fails. Up to this point the seven major released applications remain 'unhackable' and sliced 'devil-oper hackers' are constantly being transferred to a different job... cleaning toilets.

Hell now is planning to outsource the hacking-related tasks to Earth.

Either that... or they're conspiring with the NSA or some big-time software companies to create scenarios that will produce more starving-angst-filled-fire-breathing crackers disguised as security experts.

Ah wait... I'm going quite far from what the main purpose of this scribble is. You see Heaven is getting so interesting and big these days that discussing every feature in one scribble is not enough. So I'll concentrate on the feature that this blog is supposed to tackle... Miss P. Filter.

Yup... Miss P. Filter. I'm not sure what 'P' stands for but when i'll find out you have my assurance that I'll post it. Miss P. Filter is in-charge of the part/section before a 'client' reaches St. Peter and the Pearly Gates aka aPORTAL. She is also different from that Angel entity that filters out suicide bombers that plan to get near the aPORTAL. That's the job of Angel GARATCRAZHER which we will tackle in the next few days.

Miss P. Filter is located in between St. Peter and Angel GARATCRAZHER. She sits there comfortably in a swivel chair near an Intel-based hyperthreaded computer which is just a meter away from a small glittering pond decorated with white orchards and violet plums. It is a pond where mollusks, clown fishes and piranhas peacefully dwell. You can even let Darla swim in there and still the bliss and peace remains. Ah well Darla's braces are now made of aluminum and 'mod'-ed by one of the regular tweakers that resides at overclockers.com.au.

If you think Miss P. Filter is biased towards Intel-based machines, iThink again... on her right is a green jelly-lime iBook whose main purpose is to transfer music files into her iPod. I find it ironic though that the words 'Adam's Apple' are beautifully and electronically etched on the cover of that iBook.

Now what Miss P. Filter does is to let you press your left thumb in a scanner and do a breath check. With that, the Intel-based computer displays the number of times you have pirated something on this Earth. This includes pirated copies of Windows and Office, bootleg CD music recording, Kazaa and MP3s, cracks you have downloaded, key-generation tools you have on your hard drive, ideas you claim as your own, articles and assignments you have downloaded from the 'net and submitted, programs you copied from your classmates and other countless things that is related to piracy. Even the usage of mushy quotes when wooing your girl or apologizing to someone is included in that list.

It even holds the inventory of your visits to your local pirated DVD dealers. ARGH.

You see... piracy has becoming an issue too in Heaven and in Hell. With that Heaven is taking necessary steps to prevent it. If you think you can 'get away' with some hobbies you do here on Earth... in Heaven you cannot. And Miss P. Filter is known for two things, her husky voice and her 'zero tolerance' principle.

So if she sees one entry on that database regarding piracy and the fields lPiracyREGRET, lPiracyFORGIVEN and lPiracyCompensated values are still set to .F., then you are in big trouble, poor human.

But she gives chances too. If she sees one field in those lPiracy-related fields set to .T., then she runs an algorithm that computes your lHeavenAccessStatus considering different factors such as oSituation, cReason, nReasonValidity, lSpreadAttitude, nIncome, nBeerIntake and other countless factors she refrains from disclosing as of the moment.

If you still fail, you are then politely requested to be transported back to an undisclosed location through that pond for 45 seconds while the piranha reverts back to its old self in a span of 30 seconds. There's a certain scent about 'pirates' that triggers piranhas to change moods. Miss P. Filter did promise to tell me more about this part of the process and the location by next month.

For now take a moment to reflect on what the piranha can do to you for 30 seconds and we'll discuss the other Heavenly features later.
WildFire on 08:31 PM CST [ link ]



Thursday | April 15.2004


Foxpro-related links and news for the day: Cathy Pountney's Hidden Secrets of the VFP IDE Part 02 | West Wind Web Connection 4.5 released.

Looks like Eric Rudder's blog site is 'moving' these days. Eric Rudder is currently the Senior Vice President of Developer Tools at Microsoft. If my memory serves me right, he was also one of the main pillars behind Microsoft Visual Foxpro III.
WildFire on 09:14 PM CST [ link ]



Wednesday | April 14.2004


Ah yes... I remember why it took me three years before I installed a copy of WindowsXP on one of my machines. Well aside from what Steve Gibson of GRC.com wrote three years ago (which was also connected to that strange tale of the denial of service on his site), I cannot make Norton Commander for Windows run on WindowsXP Professional. And I can't live without NC since my college days. I was even using it to cloak certain batch files that annoyingly send and bounce messages in the network.

Norton Commander is the ultimate organizer, file manager and everything else combined. I can even fry eggs on it. Windows Explorer no matter how it is skinned will still be far behind what Norton Commander's ease can give. NC even hums a sweet lullaby if you fall asleep while it's transferring your files.

If only the CDR that holds the NC101 for Windows 95 installer was not damaged, I probably have installed WindowsXP years ago. That serves a lesson to me and a reminder to you too not to use cheap CDRs if you're serious about archiving your installers and porn collection.

Manually REGSVR32-ing the MFCO30.dll hasn't solved the problem. Nor the tribal rain dance that I usually do. I'll probably look for a copy of that DLL that works well with WindowsXP and NC101.

Anyway I was able to find some alternatives. Among the list of commanders, WinNC looks promising even if their website does not work well with FireFox.

Cool... I even stumbled up this Ten Commandments of the OFM Religion. OFM stands for Orthodox File Managers or another way of calling Norton Commander derivatives. I never knew that 'commanders' are this phenomenal.
WildFire on 11:26 PM CST [ link ]


Ah... one of the reasons why lLoveVisualFoxpro = .T. (Note: It's l not I. l for 'logical'. Though it doesn't make any difference at all)
WildFire on 12:28 AM CST [ link ]



Tuesday | April 13.2004


Because of a certain demand of a certain client-related situation, I decided to install Microsoft Windows XP Professional in one of my office computers that is running WindowsME for almost a year now.

Bad decision.

Good thing I was still able to back things up even if the installation went south which caused the destruction of the LBA and some portions of the FAT probably on my second partition. I chose the scheme that installs the second Windows operating system on my second partition hoping everything will be fine and safe. Despite the failure of the installation after three tries, the primary partition was still pretty much alive until I decided to clean the shrapnels of that failed WindowsXP installation and deleted a file named BOOT.INI. That was the Doom's Day part of today's installation process. I never knew that BOOT.INI was like the Michael Jordan of Windows... when removed, everything else went down with him. Add irreplaceable too.

I tried minor hacks hoping that I could manually patch things up but I guess I'll use the excuse of 'you-must-nuke-your-hard-disk-every-six-months' this time. I should've studied BOOT.INI too since it is 'only a textfile'... but at this point I was looking at the bright side already... that the worst mistake was already behind.

So here i am blogging this while I'm re-installing WindowsME the Nth time around after backing up files, copying and doing other countless things. I need to decide too if I'll trudge that dual boot process once again or if i'll choose the upgrade path this time.

There are really a number of things Microsoft has to do but I guess most of these problems are being addressed already. For example their 60 minute installation (or even more, Microsoft operating systems have a different sense of time I guess) is quite HUGE... so totally HUGE, dude (Imitating FindingNemo's Crash character). Although I've read that Longhorn will do the installation process in 15 minutes, I am hoping they're not saying this because along with Longhorn comes higher specs and demands for hardware that is bundled with your new computer.

One thing that an OS should also have I think is what I'll call as the COREESSENCEofCYBERNETICLIBIDO. In English, if one stupid user accidentally left his brain in the cafeteria (just like I did) decides to delete one file, just one file, the OS should still run and not halt, crash and do other countless things I would refrain from mentioning here. COREESSENCEofCYBERNETICLIBIDO insures that the most important files are stored in a CORE somewhere that in case it detects that it was deleted or if it even senses that an idiot user is near the computer, it prepares those files for automatic installation/re-configuration making the occurence of the problem virtually unnoticeable. One file amiss should not cause the WHOLE system to whimp, whine and cry.

I know it is not easy to create an operating system and products such as Windows, UNIX, Linux and other OSes are a product of years of endeavor considering a lot of things, hardware, barb wires, lawsuits and politics... but i believe that COREESSENCEofCYBERNETICLIBIDO is possible to implement. And while they're at it they should also find a better name. Besides, the name I am calling it already has patents backed up by seven starving lawyers ready to devour anything that comes their way.

UPDATE:

At around 6:30PM, I was able to successfully install WindowsXP and the networking-related matters that I need most. It automatically detected the video and the sound but wasn't able to auto-install the drivers for my AVICOM LAN card. Tomorrow I'll install the server packs and Visual Foxpro. I don't have plans of installing other applications for now.
WildFire on 11:52 PM CST [ link ]



Monday | April 12.2004


I usually start the week by scribbling down on a piece of folded newsprint the things I am suppose to finish for the week. This includes pseudocodes and program flows, database structures and such. Things were going smoothly until I discovered the joys of cleaning one's elbows... inside your office.

I cleaned and cleaned and got obsessed with cleaning my elbows. I was even beginning to look at other employees' elbows, comparing which ones are darker or lighter than mine. This went on for three hours until I decided to rearrange the office room by making a tower of hanoi using the CPUs, monitors, keyboards+mouse and the voltage regulators of the three computers in that room.

Now it is already 9:41 in the evening, I'm at home and still looking at my elbows every now and then.
WildFire on 09:37 PM CST [ link ]



Sunday | April 11.2004


You can't expect one to work on a Sunday. Much more on an Easter Sunday. Nor can you expect work-related blogs from him. With that said here are some IT-related news, articles and interesting stuff:

The Once and Future King Now The Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide by Robert X. Cringely talks about the SUN and MicroSoft 'peace agreement' on a different perspective and other legal matters that revolves around Microsoft.

Businessweek.com: How Microsoft Is Clipping Longhorn is also an interesting read. And here are some thoughts from Microsoft's Scoble about this matter. LONGHORNBLOGS.com also points out interesting factors on the risk of scaling back LONGHORN. A discussion on Channel9 about this matter is going on too.

What else? Ah yes... Mr. MainFrame celebrates it's 40th birthday. Happy birthday, dude.
WildFire on 12:03 PM CST [ link ]


The wittiest and most intelligent woman I've known discovers blogging.

Happy Easter, everyone!
WildFire on 09:31 AM CST [ link ]



Saturday | April 10.2004


Just as I was pondering if I should include a backdoor on SOPHEIAI to prevent lockdowns, I found out that CISCO products have backdoors too. Ah well.

You'll learn a lot by visiting a site such as SourceForge.net, PDFCreator is one useful tool I found there... best it's free. (via DeviantArt)
WildFire on 12:49 PM CST [ link ]



Friday | April 09.2004


I'm spending the past two days catching up with my sleeping quota that I've been missing for the past three weeks. I'm even having weird dreams as of late. One of those include a GIANT jigsaw puzzle that forms like dark clouds in the sky. Uber-surreal if you'd ask me.

This day I woke up at around 1:30PM already and the first thing I did was to log online and check my RSS Reader.

The first feed I check was from migs, a fellow Filipino who's into Java and OpenSource. I'm also looking for more Filipino techbloggers with RSS feeds... and so far I only have two on my list. The other one is not updating that much these days and I'm still in this quest of convincing other Filipinos who are into IT to post some tech-related blogs online. (And that includes Avatar!)

Anyway, back to migs' post, he posted a link to an April 04 article at INQ7.net about Mr. NameDeleted()'s views that Open source has 'no future' in our country. It was quite opposite to what my former student, Beakman pointed to me yesterday which was an article about IBM backing Filipino software startup against Microsoft. Ironic that they are even posted on the same news site apart by just approximately 27 hours. (I'm too lazy this day to run my CalcTime algorithm)

I don't have any ideas on what side of the bed Mr. NameDeleted() woke up that day but labeling something as having 'no future' is something I would least expect from a 'software expert'... especially if one is referring to a thing fueled with worldwide visions, collaboration and passion. One's future is never equated with financial matters. Yes, we can see innovative companies closing and evaporating... but the works, inspiration and the legacy they bring will always continue.

OpenSource _HAS_ a future in this country. In fact its potential is even greater. OpenSource advocates and evangelists just have to start/re-start somewhere.

One good place to start is with the students... the computer science/IT-related students hold the future. Introduce OpenSource to them, introduce the passion for OpenSource, the advantages of OpenSource, the cooperation and participation it needs without including that inherent hate for MS products that most humans that are into OpenSource possess.

Philippines is a fertile ground for OpenSource and the principles underlying it. The problem lies though on some of the attitude Filipinos have. Attitudes such as disunity, mistrust and that famous 'aho-aho/ija-ija' attitude... include lack of passion... lack of drive and laziness. I'm not generalizing here... but I see this kind of attitude everyday. Of course there are persons with passion... with drive that they become BIG and successful. But then they start calling others as having 'no future', discouraging them instead of inspiring them.

Then there's this crab mentality too.

But these things I believe can never hinder OpenSource. Not in this country. Not in this time.
WildFire on 01:42 AM CST [ link ]



Thursday | April 08.2004


Two more interesting articles: The secret source of GOOGLE Power and Linus Torvalds: SCO Is 'Just Too Wrong'.
WildFire on 02:00 AM CST [ link ]


Just as I have fully absorbed that GMail's 1000MB e-mail quota was not really an April fool's day joke, here comes SPYMac. SPYMac which was released a couple of days ago is now available while GMail which was announced last April 1, is still in its beta phase. (Although someone posted screenshots of GMail already)

While a number of individuals, especially those whose e-mail accounts were rendered useless by SPAM, leaped in joy... there are also individuals that are concerned with privacy related issues. Google did express their respect for privacy and I believed them. Besides, their continuous quest against evil is much respected. Needless to say, SPAM is indeed evil.

But there's a subtle problem I see in this. The very same problem that bugs computer users with large capacity hard disks... the more resources they have the more inefficient they become in terms of file management. There was a time when 100MB storage was expensive, users were more organized and file management was file management. These days I see a lot of users storing and piling up useless crap in their systems and don't even bother to uninstall applications that did not survive the seven day software rule.

Same holds true with software applications. Some programmers and developers don't care to optimize their codes and rely much on the excess of higher end hardware that is getting cheaper. Bill Gates was even bold enough to predict that in the future hardware will be free.

So what we have are bloated software applications that do not manage memory well. Garbage collection has become a thing of the past. So what if my program will run slow on a lower end machine, it's the user's responsibility to upgrade. That has been one of the bad practices I see these days.

Let's just hope that online services such as GMail and SPYMac, will not be devoured with what humans usually do best... abuse and misuse things in this world.
WildFire on 01:46 AM CST [ link ]



Wednesday | April 07.2004


Our 'give-it-a-spin' file for the day... an AudioCD Ripping ActiveX Control.
WildFire on 02:08 AM CST [ link ]


Random news:
Channel9... is now online. Microsoft Releases Source Code on SourceForge. That's the news, the real deal is here.

Calvin Hsia posted the optimized code for that programming challenge initiated by The1 last week. If you haven't read it yet, it is interesting to see The1's own solution to this problem. Note that the comments about the Foxpro algorithm on this part refers to the first un-optimized approach.

For the record I was rooting for the FoxPro solution since day one. Give the code to a twelve year old who knows algebra and a little programming, I'll bet he'll understand the clarity of FoxPro's syntax better. Run them altogether, two bucks FoxPro will come up with the complete output first.
WildFire on 01:47 AM CST [ link ]


I purchased a copy of Heavy Metal's December 2003 issue yesterday. Bought it for a third of its original price (Is this starting to be a trend already?). The cover artwork is done by Boris Vallejo but inside a find out that Luis Royo, the fantasy artist that inspires me the most, released Conceptions II already. So I fired up Google to look for a gallery online.

I arrived a minute later at the front door of Fantaysia.com Forums.

I also stumbled upon an online gallery of Prohibited Books III in that site (though I later found out that it was uploaded already a couple of months ago at Therionweb.de, the site where I usually download fantasy-related artworks).

Needless to say, I spent the whole night until almost sunrise viewing, pondering, right-clicking and saving these images to my bloating hard drive. I have been collecting JPEG versions of the Luis Royo's artworks since the day I found his Malefic series in the 'net (Funny I was really looking for Anime that day).

It would need 19 pages or more if I have to describe the works a genius like Luis Royo creates. His artworks inspired the first website I published- collections.com and for those of you who first found this site before pixelcatalyst.lair, I also create digital artworks in my free time to release the tensions and pressures that database programming bring. One of my artworks, The Bar of Persuasion was inspired by Luis Royo's Cross of Pleasure. Be warned though that most of his artworks contain materials and elements that might be 'offensive' especially to the conservative ones.

So what does this have to do with Visual FoxPro and database programming? Nothing really... though two of Luis Royo's artworks, Light of Panic and Wings of Reflection, are always posted on the wall of the room or cubicle where I work since eight years ago.

One of those things you can find on my desk/cube that keeps the creative juices flowing and fires up the neurons.

·········

More Luis Royo-related links:
LuisRoyo.com [Official website]
http://members.xoom.it/volker1 [Luis Royo Galleries]
TherionWeb.de [More amazing fantasy artworks]
Luis Royo artbooks at Amazon.com
WildFire on 12:29 AM CST [ link ]



Monday | April 05.2004


More on Avalon as Scoble explains the usual misconceptions about the plight of WinForms.
WildFire on 12:20 AM CST [ link ]


One of the best things in this world would be lying on someone-who-you-hold-dear-to-your-heart's lap. Seventy-seven times better than solving any three day old bug using a WinAPI+ActiveX approach.

Next would be lying on your back on a smooth wooden bench in a garden of Bermuda grass surrounded by twelve trees on a softly windy afternoon listening to the rattling of tree leaves and the music of chirping birds and breeze. You look above and all you see are leaves and twigs with the occasional peeping of the blue sky and the glistening the sun rays in the right part of your eye. Such pure bliss… that I realized I have been dealing with this abstract thing called 'software' for years now that I often forget this feeling of being 'one with nature' these days.

Now I'm adding in my to-get list a garden of delight where I can install a computer or two in the middle of that place.

There's also this wooden gym besides that garden in the place we visited earlier this day. The gym is packed with body building stuff, a billiard table, a ping pong table, a jaguar car (don't ask me why it's there) and this videoke set. But none of them grabbed my attention except for that big brown punching bag in the middle of the room. I think keyboards soften the fingers for it took only less than five minutes of random punching with boxing gloves before my fingers began to ache. Right now as I am typing this, my left little finger is still in pain.

You know I should have that one too in the future… a punching bag where I can sort of transfer the printed form of the code that is bugging me for a certain day and lash my anger towards it by punching it until my knuckles ache.

Hmm… which prompts me to ask this question... what do you do when you're pissed with your codes/computer project by the way? How about sharing your in-front-of-the-PC angst rituals?
WildFire on 12:12 AM CST [ link ]



Sunday | April 04.2004


There are some things in here that I do not like. But it doesn't mean that I don't respect it.

I seldom give comments on things I haven't tried, but I must say that I don't like the notion of creating database-related programming language solutions that tends to mold 'lazy database programmers' in the guise of 'personal productivity' which claims 'to help developers overcome their most pressing challenges in minimal time'.

For you to overcome 'pressing challenges' in minimal time, you must have experience. And experience you will gain in the hard and longer way of writing 'codes'.

Before I'll continue allow me to state that I do have great respect behind the minds and developers of this so-called 'approach of the future'. In this era where time is considered 'gold-ier' than before, it is indeed a great achievement to be able to trim down the development period of whatever project. I am also referring to database related things here which I believe is different when you're developing a different type of application say a word processor, a spreadsheet or a software that calculates(nDistance, DetermineNearest(human(HealthCondition(X, Y, Z)), lReferencePoint=You)) has to be if You(lDecision = !visit(bathroom), nDays) for that said Human not to kiss the floor.

The baby-sitting type of approach to program development I believe is needed but in some ways I feel that it is the responsibility of the database programmer and not the PL itself. I want to extend the outmost limits of the control I have on the code I create. It is my code; get your hands off it… now! Yes... you, MissPL-with-the-white-shirt.

I also cringe at the idea of that 'fill-in-the-blanks' type of programming. Decades ago parameters were invented and even in these days, this is one of the greatest things a programmer can include in his arsenal. That would be next to OOP and one level behind neuron-pumping-trance/technotronic beats WinAmp plays while you're coding/'developing'.

If one has to trudge that path of fill-in-the-blanks-because-I'm-too-lazy, let the programmer himself create his own user define function that fills in the blank.

This is probably one of the many reasons I left VisualBasic for VisualFoxpro five years ago. I want to have more control of the flow, the code, the logic, and to see more clearly what each line does instead of allowing a line or two of reserved words produce things for me. Call me 'old school, call me 'traditional'… call me whatever you want… but for now this is where I stand.

But do continue in this innovation of yours, great minds. Who knows in the future I might be convinced to jump on this jelly-looking bandwagon of yours. Besides, humans always have choices.

But for now I'll dwell in this thrill and the art of pounding the keys, whispering longer eloquent words that only a digital loving silicon can fully understand.
WildFire on 02:03 AM CST [ link ]



Saturday | April 03.2004


Chris Anderson's The Blinking Lights Division.
When we began the "Avalon" project (code name for the presentation platform for the next version of Microsoft Windows, code-named "Longhorn"), there was the clear desire to modernize the entire graphics stack inside of Windows. We have this amazingly powerful video card that is sitting idle the entire time you are running Windows (unless you happen to be playing Quake in windowed mode) and even with the idleness of the video card, we still manage to blue screen the machine in the much maligned video drivers.

The details behind Avalon is one of the interesting things about Longhorn.
WildFire on 11:47 PM CST [ link ]


This afternoon, I purchased a copy of Charles GoldFarb and Paul Prescod’s XML Hand Book, Third Edition (You can find a newer fifth edition at Amazon.com). This is the first computer book I purchased since college days for I was relying on downloaded e-books, various online reference materials and Google for more than five years already. But the book for its price is something I find so hard to resist. Located in between another XML book worth P2335.00 and an HTML related book for P1240, the said book is only P175.

I have to blink my eyes a couple more times to check if there’s damage, a typo or a blot in the price tag. I was calling out Evoschuke’s name while I was in the counter hoping that the price will remain that way even after the swipe. Evoschuke is the goddess of barcodes, price tags and red lasers by the way.

Two CDs, which include 170+ XML tools and stuff, are even included in the book.

Europa, the next version of Visual Foxpro, promises a better support for XML. The demand for XML support even exceeded expectations for a better and improved Report Designer. This, and other countless things, makes XML a good thing to tinker, exploit and abuse.
WildFire on 02:33 AM CST [ link ]


How about giving this a spin?
WildFire on 01:02 AM CST [ link ]



Thursday | April 01.2004


On our way home after a client visit this day, I was too tired from two weeks of almost virtually having no sleep creating Project Sopheia, that I was able to sleep in the bus. In the middle of the travel, I have this realistic dream that I was passing this part of the road where we usually pass on our way home. We’ve been passing that part for almost a year now and I was not quite surprised that the image projected in my dreams was so realistic and not the usual fuzzy, distorted and dragon-filled weird type of dream.

I woke up just minutes before reaching that part and ironically, the bus driver decided to use a different route… for reasons unknown to me… for the first time. I wasn’t even aware this alternate route exists until that moment.

It didn’t bother me that much, we’re at home now and as usual I’m still in front of the computer at two in the morning. I was even about to sleep when I realized what if I was not dreaming? What if there’s this certain portal that took a part of me (or worse the whole part of me) and it was a parallel world journey that was manifested in that dream.

What if dreams are a sort of ‘bug’ in that system of body snatching, swapping and bouncing beyond parallel dimensions. What if it is this very bug that causes dreams? What makes me sure that this is really me? That I am really what I am. Besides, what makes you so sure that you are really you?

What if some species in time are able to grab memory already, compress, decompress and store it on a different body. How will that body recognize? What if all this soul searching, journeying inwards is caused by this swapping of entities or whatever you call the human body and soul? You tend to look for the ‘original’ you... beyond time, beyond space. That’s the whole quest of out lives… forever looking for that part of us, that very self that was snatched while we are abducted from one dimension to another.

How will I know? How will you know?
WildFire on 01:59 AM CST [ link ]


Active Foxpro Pages. Step aside ASP and JSP.
WildFire on 12:28 AM CST [ link ]



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