Saturday | July 31.2004


Patchin' time.
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS04-025
Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (867801)
Read full details here.
Oh please don't give me that 'shift-to-another-browser' solution. I prefer the fix-first-then-shift-after approach... but wait, probably it is the _best_ solution. So here's a hack to remove Internet Explorer from your system (This includes some registry works).

Now of course we can expect Microsoft to 'un-hack' it.

Now here... to satisfy your MP3 cravings: ONE MILLION free and legal music tracks.

From 1975 to well 2005 next year, looks like not much has change... movie piracy-wise.

Speaking of piracy... if ever you consider this piracy-related: Apple vs Real Networks - Round 01 - Round 02 - Round 03. Isn't technology about improving lives not improving the lawyer's standard of living?

It's not about piracy really... but 'hacking' is not the appropriate word either. Can we just restore the old glory days of the word 'hack'?
WildFire on 03:56 PM CST [ link ]



Today's article: Un-Dynamics of Software Development, or, Don't Bite the Flip Bozo. A little 'warp' but interesting and true. Here's a snip:
The Perfect Software CompanyThere is a perfect software company. It is where I work. The coffee is excellent. The chairs are comfortable, the computers are wicked fast, and we take a lot of video game breaks. The humidor is well-stocked with Cohibas, there is a killer library, and naps are encouraged. The furnishings are handsome, and the décor is pleasant. There are no cubes. The Managers sign checks and buy whatever software, computers, books, gadgets, and video games are desired. Schedules are not set until requirements are defined, software release dates are only announced after the features are done and rock solid. There are no suits. No ties. No cubes, and no timesheets. The work hours are very flexible but long, but I show up because I have more fun there than anywhere else.
Hmm... imagine when hard disks were this huge? Here's an overview of that picture.

As expected Microsoft expands it's quest for innovation. Yes... we do have different thoughts what 'innovation' really is. Now it's crawling into searching, anti-virus (once there was MSAV right), mobile phones, XBox consoles, Tablet PCs and more.

Nice... but how come this move? Is this part of that promise a couple of months ago to fight and stop spam in the future?

Technology Review has something about Holograms, tweezers and teleportation. Now that's news... beam me up, cowboy.

On the pixel-side of things, MIGHTY DEPTHCORE released the Infinity Pack. I don't have any submission in that pack though since I've been busy battling out with Miss TCP/IP this week. But with or without me... the pack rocks.
WildFire on 01:31 AM CST [ link ]



Thursday | July 29.2004


Two more interesting reads: Dan Bricklin's Software That Lasts 200 Years and Paul Graham's Great Hackers.
WildFire on 10:50 AM CST [ link ]


Early-bird feeds:

Not much programming-related workblogs these days from me. I've been busy with hardware related stuff, installing LAN cables and other network-related tasks inside this regular job of mine.

After this, I'll install the Registrar and Accounting deparment-related programs I have created for the past year.
WildFire on 09:08 AM CST [ link ]



Wednesday | July 28.2004




The July 2004 VFUG Newsletter is out.
WildFire on 07:23 PM CST [ link ]


And finally I caved into this technocarnalust of mine.

This involves the 'monitor dilemma' I mentioned earlier on my blog.

You see, yesterday (make that the other day since it is 2 in the morning already) after returning a refurbished 15" Samsung monitor that behaves as if it was dissected by three trigger happy aliens, I happen to bump into the shop's delivery truck that delivered 'fresh goods'.

The golden loot of that afternoon was a crystal crisp 21" Sun flat screen monitor displayed at the center of the shop, which the vendors are eagerly 'marketing'.

But who can blame them... it was so lovely... even lovelier than the ViewSonic E70F flat screen monitor I have on my previous workplace in Davao... and ViewSonic has been on top of my list along with the different models of HP.

It's a refurbished monitor but aside from the one returned, we have purchased around 9 refurbished monitors on that shop already (Samsung, NEC, Toshiba and Sony) and after 7++ months, these monitors are still A-OK. 15" monitor costs around P1,800 (1 dollar is approximately 55 pesos) and 21" sells at around P4,000.

This SUN monitor was being sold at a higher price... 4,500.

And there was I faced between a LackofImmediateNeed and, as Avatar puts it, the ThisOppurtunitySeldomComes data collection battling inside my head.

I was able to convince the head of that shop though to reserve the monitor to me up to 10:30AM the next day (the shop opens around 10AM), until I can decide if I should acquire it.

Back home I did a little research on these Sun monitors.

The 'net showed that these monitors are really manufactured by Sony for Sun. Some even are bundled for Sun's 20,000 dollar computer packages. The new model line of Sun 21" monitors even sells for around P52,000 (850+ euros and 952+ dollars if my memory serves me right).

Other reviews were good and convincing too.

There are also refurbished and second hand monitors being sold online but there's a big difference when it is just around approximately 10 blocks away from your place and you have personally seen it.

The other factors that hinders me to buy the monitor are things I can override and justify but it's the LackofImmediateNeed reason that for a spend-only-when-needed type of guy like me, makes things a little harder to decide.

So I let sleep and dreams process subliminally the data, the 'values' and other factors gathered.

The next day (that was yesterday morning) I found myself in front of the shop 15 minutes before it even opened, fast forward... and I was carrying a heavy load upstairs to our room and I get to enjoy too, the 1600x1200 wallpapers I created the way they should be displayed sans the resizing.

Now here at 2AM in front of this huge thing, that if I think is not suffering from a major jet lag, would probably be happily devouring me especially that there no one else's is looking.

Ah yes... same reason why the room lights are still on.
WildFire on 02:17 AM CST [ link ]



Tuesday | July 27.2004


From Visual-Foxpro-to-.NET-programming-related blogs. (via Aleksoft)

And here's the link to the RSS feed of the blog above. I presume that most Blogger.com/Blogspot accounts has this default atom.xml feed attached to their 'home url'.

I am not a hundred percent sure though. But I tried it a couple of times already... and it's working fine.

WildFire on 08:36 PM CST [ link ]


On this day, July 27... one my favorite cartoon character, Bugs Bunny, mades his official appearance in the animated cartoon A Wild Hare, the discovery of insulin was announced and Atlantic Cable was completed which allowed the first transatlantic telegraph communication...

... and here I am at 3:33AM still undecided how to resolve this monitor dilemma of mine (More on this one later).
WildFire on 03:41 AM CST [ link ]



Monday | July 26.2004


Last Saturday, qs and I bought some PC peripherals and stuff. You see... in my regular job, I'm not only in charge with the development of database applications and systems-related functions, I also do hardware related tasks, canvassing and purchasing of computers, haggling with vendors, installation of lan cables, crimping, crawling and networking, hardware inventory and auditing, maintenance and sometimes preparing and arranging some defective computer parts for the weekly roof top practice target shooting.

Most of the time during these purchases, I am just given a budget and I will be the one in-charge to 'configure' the specs and joggle the needs to fit those tight budgets.

With a budget this time of 27K in our pockets (1 US dollar is approximately 55 Pesos), we were able to purchase 1 CPU with an AMD Athlon 2000+ processor and a decent MSI motherboard, a good looking transparent case with an extra fan in the side, an 80GB 7200 rpms barracuda hard disk, another 40GB 7200 rpms hard disk for another department which needs this upgrade after their 2GB hard disk crashed from too much porn, 1 256 DDRAM and another 128 DDRAM, three floppy disk drives, two 52X LG CD-ROM drives, (because of the tight budget in last last week's purchase I refrain from buying those disk and CD-ROM drives), an Epson scanner (CHED is now requiring photos in TORs), an 8 port CNET switch, two Logitech keyboards (one for me), an AVR and a Logitech mouse.

All in all it was a good loot for 26.5K, I got a discount of P375.00, which is quite less compared to the average 1K discount I got from the previous two purchases.

So while waiting for the CPU to be assembled, we roam around the mall. QS found an MP3 CD-ROM which contains the soundtracks of Shrek 2, Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights and 13 Going on 30, which she has been pining for... for quite some weeks now.

I, on the other hand, found a copy of Red Hat 9 Linux installation CDs. I was looking for a copy Fedora which after reading from a number of FilTech blogs online, have stirred my curiosity, but couldn't find one.

I tried downloading Fedora online but since Wednesday last week, I still can't get a connection that doesn't say 'Busy'. From the looks of it looks like Fedora 3 will be released before I can download Fedora 2.

When we arrived home, the first thing I did was to make that spare 40GB hard disk the primary disk, reconfigured the boot up sequence and booted from the Red Hat 9 installation CD. It was five years ago since I was beside our system administrator when she (yup it's a she) configured and installed Red Hat in three out of our four office servers. Quite a long time already and a lot has changed since then.

I installed using the default settings 'probed' by the Red Hat installer. The Red Hat 'look' is even cool that my three year old daughter pulled one chair and sat beside me during the installation. She was quite intrigued too with the blue light the CPU case emits.

Every thing was smooth until my daughter who got intrigued by the little silvery power button located on the edge of the case, pushed it.

I 'Graaa-ed', my daughter giggled knowing she did something wrong, then kissed me on the cheeks. I guess Linux-users just develop this kind of charm when they start using this penguin-powered OS, eh?

Anyway... the installation run smoothly afterwards. There are just some little things that could have made the installation smoother and a number more things, in my opinion that needs to be removed or remedied to make Red Hat Linux appeal more to the non-geeks in this world.

You see, if Linux or any bundle of its variation wants to be widely used by 'ordinary humans', it should lower down a little to a more 'duh-i'm-a-noob' level. Of course, without sacrificing its strength... security-related features included.

I'll delve more on that one on another post but let me give you one example which probably hard-core Linux users overlooked. During start-up, the geeks'-love-for-details is being reflected in a Linux boot up. Those Initializing processes with OK or Failed brackets coupled with some three letter acronyms... you see, 'normal users' don't give a rat's arse about those things.

Of course to a geek administrator it means a lot but to Mr. O' Charlie who only wants to run a word processor those things are gibberish. Microsoft during 'normal' boot ups would only display their Windows XP logo which I'm sure has a thousand of subliminal hypnotizing subtle messages floating somewhere around it.

There's more but I'll delve into that in another blog.

I don't have much time to explore deeper last Saturday so I made my last quest of changing the display to a much higher resolution. I'm a sucker for higher resolution displays... and since I used the default VESA drivers, the Linux I installed only can go far as the 800x600 dimension limit.

Just for the heck of it I tried misconfiguring the drivers, rebooted (required)... then I got this cyan over blue screen which displays a Yes and a No option with no message.

How in Olympus' name could I figure that out?

I tried clicking Yes then No but both tries were futile.

After a couple of reboots it was able to restore the old settings though. Again... this was just a rush test installation, I'll explore more one of these days.

UPDATE:
I installed another Red Hat 9 Linux on an aging and always cranky AMD500 MHz computer of mine in the office today. I paid more attention to details this time and it was able to 'probe' my GeForce2 video card and the LG Studioworks monitor which made the resolution better compared to that installation I have done last Saturday.

I tried the Terminal and the other applications and had fun browsing the screensavers. Anyway it will stay there for quite a long time since that old PC crashes often in Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP installations... yup I've tried installing them all in the span of three months.

Red Hat 9 is sailing smooth so far.
WildFire on 10:28 PM CST [ link ]



Sunday | July 25.2004


Here... splice up your life with some Bioengineered household stuff.
WildFire on 08:46 PM CST [ link ]


My wife, qs, is a PolSci major... I on the other hand, well... studied ComSci. Just a two letter difference but what a big difference it makes in the 'real world'. 'Real world' here would mean beyond the boundaries of an academic classroom.

Two letter difference which I often used on jokes against her. Jokes such as if programmers are running this country of ours in its current state, things would be better. That programmers are problem solvers while some politicians I see often sees problems as a way to bring spotlights into them. They convert problems to votes... while programmers find solutions.

Programmers are often focused on solving the problem at hand while politicians have to consider a lot of factors, linkages, resources, influence before dealing on a certain problem.

While of course I'm well aware that not all PolSci majors are involved with the government and politics, but still having the word 'Political' (or Politics-related), the responsibility of government of a country rests on them. They're supposed to be the future.

In a way or another the studies derived from her course, should've been used to improve certain situations... or at least minimized the things that's pulling us down, such as corruption and other magic-related processes existing in the government/politics.

Compared to computer science, political science has been there since... what? Aristotle's time..? Herod's time..? I'm thinking it's way back there even if the term 'political science' was first coined in 1880 by Herbert Baxter Adams, a Johns Hopkins University professor.

Anyway I remember these stuff when I read Jeff Davis' A programmer's society replaces a lawyer's society post from Rick Klau's What if lawyers became programmers? blog.

And here's another take from Corante: Hackers, Lawyers, Society and the INDUCE Act (IICA).

Looks like I'm not the only one having those type of thinking.
WildFire on 06:10 PM CST [ link ]



Saturday | July 24.2004


Making the USB Gundam. Savvy, eh?
WildFire on 10:43 AM CST [ link ]


Robert Cringely: Maybe the Best Use for Web Logging Is to Teach Us More About Ourselves.

There are several other interesting insights by Robert Cringely that can be found in the archive section of his site. And when I say 'interesting', I mean _interesting.
WildFire on 01:06 AM CST [ link ]



Friday | July 23.2004


VFP and .NET: The Best of Both Worlds

There's a 'Will There Be a VFP .NET?' part of that article that is worth delving into.
WildFire on 11:42 PM CST [ link ]


ODBC DNS Less Connection Strings. Hey... that serves as a good tongue twister too.
WildFire on 01:05 AM CST [ link ]


I know that RTFM has a number of variants... but I never thought it was this much. One's UTSL... 'Use the Source, Luke'. Found this while reading Robert Tappan Morris Jr-related information inside the wikipedia.

You can also find interesting PDFs at Robert Tappan Morris Jr.'s MIT site.

July 22 is the Pi Approximation Day and Mary Magdalene's feast day. I don't know but Mary Magdalene reminds me also of the other Phi.

Read my mind.

Wikipedia, the source of the links above, is cool...

...and PHP5 rocks.
WildFire on 12:33 AM CST [ link ]



Thursday | July 22.2004


A blog overview on how Microsoft conducts its interviews.

GUI now too complex.
Good design succeeds on three levels, he says: the reflective - the impression of the product on the intellect; the behavioural - the way you use it; and the visceral - its appeal to the emotions.
Averatec C3500 Tablet PC... anyone?
WildFire on 11:39 PM CST [ link ]


Here are some Foxpro-powered blogs: Paul McNett, Alex Feldstein and Chan Kot Kiet. I'm still finalizing the blog roll I'll be placing on the right side of the screen.
WildFire on 01:50 PM CST [ link ]



Tuesday | July 20.2004


Non-FoxPro tuesday linkwarps:

Yes jobs are being outsource... then Star wars... now comes outsourced fries. From gizmo to 'life changing cultural icon', the iPod Nation.

And here's something new, black holes do not destroy everything it devour. What makes it more interesting is it comes from the same person that gave the opposite argument 30 years ago... Stephen Hawking. A hidden recycle bin was discovered perhaps.

LeaderLOG: Longhorn and Linux. Before you raise your arms and start yelling 'Foul!', read the whole article first. Here are some reactions from inside the LonghornBlogs.com site.

A new face of cybercrime.

Ah... I still have to finish some stuff first.
WildFire on 09:58 PM CST [ link ]



Monday | July 19.2004


Against heavy afternoon rains after the morning heat and recovering from last week's fever and wicked.cough-problems, I visited a client at Hagonoy Bulacan this day. Armed with a printed copy of a _databasestructures-updates.txt I have created which holds the program and database changes by date, I updated the ILS module in that environment.

This file serves as one of my log reference that helps keep my sanity intact. It is a little difficult monitoring database and program updates when you're maintaining a program with seven core modules in four different clients each with their own requested features, formats, 'moods' and countless outside factors.

Things were lighter this time as compared to the rough visit last May 2004 when a new administration was not able to recognize me. In freelance-related quests, facing a new administration is one of the toughest tasks. I've been to this experience twice already. Patience have always been a key... and of course, charm.

Yes Earthling... charm is one factor a freelance programmer/developer/system analyst needs. You can partially acquire this by growing your hair long. Nose hair and armpit hair included.

I get to meet too, for the first time the FoxPro programmer who's working on the Registrar and Cashier applications. They hold the core system of almost every school I 'freelance' and the ILS application imports their databases. This was the first time after almost three years of me following their trail of DBCs and DBFs and sometimes leftover PRGs. The programmer was friendly and helpful and even stopped his programming task in that place to create a Novell account for me so that I can access his database. I guess Foxpro programmers just have this inherent respect for each other.

Same holds true probably for VB programmers meeting another like-minded VB dude, Java developers sharing coffee with another Java developer, Delphi-powered minds bumping into one another and so on.

Even assembly programmers probably talking in a cafe with no one else in a five mile radius understanding the things they're discussing.

I saw him using the VF6 IDE there. Something I seldom do. I can't seem to work on a computer that is not fully customized, tweaked and morphed according to my preference. But of course sometimes the need forces me to fire up VisualFoxpro and code in a computer which feels alien to me. In one case, I was even faced with a desktop displaying Taiwanese male celebrities. Quite scary if you'd ask me.

I could've run my database conversion module on site but it seems that some fields in the database in this school are different from the other schools I have followed. Just one letter differences in seven or more fields, but in this world of binary, one bit of a byte makes a big difference.
WildFire on 10:45 PM CST [ link ]



Sunday | July 18.2004


James Sullivan: Mike, that's not Boo's door.
Mike Wazowski: Boo? Who's Boo?
James Sullivan: That's what I decided to call him.
James Sullivan: Any problem with that?
Mike Wazowski: You're not supposed to name it. Once you name it, you start getting attach to it.

Scrap the crap.
Boo: A wrist friendly language for the CLI

Boo is a new object oriented statically typed programming language for the Common Language Infrastructure with a python inspired syntax and a special focus on language and compiler extensibility.

http://boo.codehaus.org

23-19!
WildFire on 09:00 PM CST [ link ]


How To Start a Blog (via Unpluggable.com)
WildFire on 11:03 AM CST [ link ]


Ken Levy fires up a new Visual Foxpro newsletter for the month of July. It includes Visual Foxpro 9 Beta Samples.
WildFire on 10:49 AM CST [ link ]



Saturday | July 17.2004


Lithesome Ice is transferred here inside NSTL119... in time for my lovely wifey's birthday. At first I thought it was a misconfiguration of some CGI-related files during the server upgrade at Plastiqueweb Networks. After re-chmod-in' almost every file, I still get errors every now and then. What makes things worse is it sometimes takes around five minutes or more to execute then nothing happens and no error messages were displayed.

It was only when I used the FTP that I get this Disk Quota related error messages. Hmmm... the CheckDiskSpace() probably is one of the overlooked error trapping algorithm I guess.

But returning back to my qs... we celebrated the day by stuffing sea foods into our stomachs... shrimps, prawns, baby lobsters, crabs, clams, oyster and eggs, fish... ah... you name it.

I was even beginning to suspect Sebastian and Jacques were part of our meal this day.
WildFire on 10:05 PM CST [ link ]


WinUpdateList v1.10 is a nifty utility that displays the Windows updates, service packs and patches installed on your computer and the patches you should be downloading. Double click on the summary grid and it shows the the properties. The files related to the patch are listed on the lower grid. Pressing CTRL+W would fire up the browser opening the page at Microsoft's Support Center that contains information about the patch and a link to where you can download it. Very helpful if you'd ask me. Especially these days where some humans tend to have grown this fondness for hole-hunting.

Yeah I know there's WindowsUpdate that comes with Windows... but there are times you prefer having those patches saved on your hard drive so that you won't be downloading things again if you decide to nuke/reformat your hard disk or install a cleaner OS.

Same holds true when you try to update multiple computers. Unless you're the type of person who likes to waste bandwidth here and there downloading files again and again.

Probably it would take some time too executing each patch compared to leaving WindowsUpdate to do its thing, but you can remedy this with a small application that saves the patch filename and runs each patch after the other at a given interval. You can even save the file in a database, which you can update later, and ShellExecute each file based on the filenames saved on that database.

Batch scripts can be good alternatives as well.
WildFire on 03:55 PM CST [ link ]



Friday | July 16.2004


Ted Roche posted online two Foxpro+RSS/XML-related articles previously written for FoxTalk April 2004 and May 2004 issues.

In case you have missed that reproduced VFP Automates OpenOffice.org article from Ted Roche I'm posting the link too. More articles, speaker's note and whitepapers can be viewed and downloaded here.
WildFire on 08:12 PM CST [ link ]


When Microsoft released that MSDN Product Feedback Center (aka LadyBug) weeks ago, I was there in that site figuring out if there is something wrong with the combo box since I can't seem to find Visual Foxpro in it. I even tried using FireFox thinking something is wrong with the browser. After fifteen minutes I gave up and was in that 'here-we-go-again-microsoft' mindset once again.

Even my pet tiger that's beginning to develop this affection for VisualFoxpro started scratching my Logitech mouse. I was beginning to fear that the peace talk agreement between this tiger and the mouse was starting to expire.

So I decided to type 'Foxpro' instead in that textbox and found this post from a certain JimN. One of the lines I like most in that post is this:
Users of Visual FoxPro essentially PIONEERED this current feedback mechanism by virtue of its online widely available and WIDELY USED "Wish List" hosted on the Universal Thread web site. Releases 8 and 9 of Visual FoxPro demonstrated in spades the value of a feedback mechanism for both the product users AND the product's development team.

I heard my pet tiger hooting in the background.

Today John Koziol posted the reasons why VisualFoxpro was not included.

Now I'm sure I swear I saw my pet tiger licking the Logitech mouse moments ago. He haven't done that since he first saw that Feedback Center.

I'd probably buy some pizza later tonight. No not for me... but for this renewed peace.
WildFire on 08:01 PM CST [ link ]


This serves as a test post. I'm fixing CGI-related problems on a different server and I'm wondering if it's IE or some misconfiguration that is causing the problem. This serves as a part of the problem isolation routine.

Here to compensate this off topic thread: Atomic9.NET
WildFire on 10:52 AM CST [ link ]



Thursday | July 15.2004


Suffering from a slight fever and cough, I visited a client in Baliuag, Bulacan today to update the ILS Program and install the client modules of Project Sophieai. I'll share some stuff tomorrow... right now I'm pumping this system with vitamins C and E hoping these could drive away the dark forces from this operating system of mine.

Linkwarps: .NETRocks! features Tim Huckaby and John Koziol points one of the new behavior which even in its improved existence pays respect to the 'legacy'... SET VARCHARMAPPING ON | OFF.
WildFire on 10:56 PM CST [ link ]



Wednesday | July 14.2004


I have a pencil holder that somehow looks like this. Of course Lian Li PC-V1000 is cooler by nineteen folds. Here's another review at DansData. Does it come with a cute little red-eye drooling white mice too?
WildFire on 08:58 PM CST [ link ]


A little something something.

It's already 2:40AM, I'm done with a couple of Reports and I'm still online trying to annoy a VB6-lovin'-former classmate of mine.

To give you an overview of this late-night-to-early-morning little quest of mine, I'll start with the target task. The objective is to add those TimeTotal and FeeTotal amounts in the reports that deals on the usage of the internet/computer.

So it's something like this:

 NAME
TIME IN
TIME OUT
TIME TOTAL
TOTAL FEE
         
 Richelle
09:19:03
11:05:45
01:46:42
44.17
 Marv
17:32:25
18:57:49
01:25:24
35.42
 Teresa
20:27:22
21:15:05
00:47:43
19.58
         
     
cTotalTime
nTotalFee


This is just part of the data and at 2AM I'm not sure if they're the right numbers so tone down that meticulous geek in you, I just want to present an overview.

Generating nTotalFee is easy using VisualFoxpro's Report Tool/Designer. You simply create a variable, let's say oTotalFee, store the value of the database field (USAGE.FeeTotal), set the initial value to 0 and click the SUM part on the Calculate frame. You can set the variable to reset at the end of the page or at the end of the report. Just that and hardworkin' VFP will do the things automatically for you in the background while your report is being generated.

The trickier part is the cTotalTime since it is a character (well I made it that way months ago probably to make things harder for me in the future). '01:00:00' + '00:00:25' is equal to '01:00:0000:00:25' and not '01:00:25'. I tried another couple of barfed-out-rushed patch solutions which in the end didn't work.

That was when I remembered that there's a CTOT() function. But CTOT() needs additional characters such as CTOT("2000-10-24T13:30:00") and the other time/date-related functions I found were of no use, well at least in this situation. Besides I was secretly praying that none of these reserved functions would work so that I can have an excuse to do things the 'old school' way.

But before that I was even considering the lame approach of simply dividing nTotalFee with the RatePerHour and a little TimeConversion() algorithm to derive cTotalTime... a sort of a short circuit cheat. But that my friend, is not the way things are done especially when I'm in the mood to punish myself.

So choosing the 'right' path, I entered the following manipulation inside the variable part:
(val(substr(usage.timetotal, 1, 2))*3600) +
(val(substr(usage.timetotal, 4, 2))*60) +
(val(substr(usage.timetotal, 7, 2)))

In the report, a field control is added to store this code:
NUMTOSTR(alltrim(str(int(oTotalTime/3600))), 2) + ':' +
NUMTOSTR(alltrim(str(int((oTotalTime%3600)/60))), 2) + ':' +
NUMTOSTR(alltrim(str((oTotalTime%3600)%60)), 2)

NumToStr is a function I use to convert a number to a character field with additional 'pads'. Something like NumToStr(97, 5) would yield '00097'. It is quite useful too in IDNumber/Code formatting and other related functions.

So with that... the quest was completed.

Perhaps there are better solutions for this but for now this will do, donkey. It gives you a little taste of how things are done the 'good-old-school' way. Ah well at least a step above the older assembly/machine code approach.
WildFire on 03:27 AM CST [ link ]



Tuesday | July 13.2004


For the record I don't believe OpenSource can kill jobs. Just look at Steve, he's still pretty much alive.

Seriously... I believe in a world where OpenSource and commercial software can co-exist peacefully without one trying to outmanuever/outlast the other.

Neither do I believe in monopoly. It is something that needs to be castrated... not by an idea that is only free... but better.

That is the real battlefield for competition.
WildFire on 04:19 PM CST [ link ]


Gates: OpenSource Kills Jobs and the crowd at SlashDot goes wild.

At first glance I thought he was referring to Steve Jobs, who just gave away a 17-inch Powerbook, a 40GB iPod, and a 10,000 song gift certificate to Kevin Britten after downloading the 100 millionth song from the iTunes music store.
WildFire on 12:36 AM CST [ link ]


FoxTalk 2.0 July 2004 released.
WildFire on 12:25 AM CST [ link ]


Almost every VisualFoxpro developer who has a 'net connection visits FoxproAdvisor.com, but if you're one of those I-dwell-in-my-own-world type of coder, it's about time to... well, at least uncloak yourself for a moment move your arse and absorb some materials on that site. Some articles may be weeks or even more-than-three-months-old already but they're very much applicable still. That's what FoxPro is all about... time certified.

Here are direct links to some articles inside FoxproAdvisor:
There are also non-Foxpro but 'programming attitude' related articles as well:
There are even .NET-related articles too such as:
There's even more but some of the articles are subscription-based which I don't have as of the moment.

Dear FoxproAdvisor Staff:
I know the articles defy time and all, but how about adding a date under the author's name just to indicate when those articles were written or published? Or was I just too sleepy last night to find where those dates are being placed?

WildFire on 12:05 AM CST [ link ]



Sunday | July 11.2004


When I started going online years ago, one of my favorite site was HackerNews.com which after some years became SNN1.com which was also a part of AtStake.com Inc., a security-related company.

I remembered this when Leo Laporte included a link in his blogs pointing to the Fifth HOPE Conference which is sponsored by 2600.com. HOPE, which stands for Hackers of Planet Earth, has an interesting line up of speakers this year... Emmanuel Goldstein (the man behind 2600.com), Kevin Mitnick (well if you don't know this man you have to be living underground for the past decade), Weld Pond (the man who replaced the first writer behind HackerNews.com), Phar, StankDawg, Binary, Count Zero and even John Draper and Steve Wozniak (Yes that Apple dude... no, that's not the other Steve).

The topics are very interesting too: Automative Networks, Social Engineering, Building Hacker Spaces, Building the Anti-Brother, Bypassing Corporate Restrictions from the Inside, Cheshire's Rant Session (it maybe a rant but it moves arses), The CryptoPhone sessions to name a few. There's even a session about Bloggers at the DNC.

Sometimes I do wonder where Space Rogue, the publisher behind the 'original' Hackernews.com and a member of L0pht Heavy Industries, is these days. Here's a little background info I found while looking for the archive I had in an old hard disk.
Everyone in the hacking and computer security world knows Space Rogue. In 1998, while a member of the L0pht Heavy Industries, a hacker think tank based in Boston, he testified before the U.S. Senate on the state of government computer security. He is the publisher of Hacker News Network, a resource as dear to the cyber-cognescenti as Merriam-Webster's is to writers. Recently, Space Rogue, along with the rest of L0pht, joined @Stake, a newly formed Internet security company funded by the hot venture capital firm Battery Ventures. --Adam L. Penenberg

So why in heaven's name am I talking about hacking-related stuff on a blog site that is supposed to be devoted on Foxpro and programming?

Hacking, in the right essence of the word and the virtues behind it, when applied on the softwares you develop, would make the software world a better, more secure and more reliable place to dwell in.

If you still have doubts on the above statement, then you don't really know what 'hacking' means.

You need enlightenment.

[UPDATE]
I did a little googlin' and I found Space Rogue.
WildFire on 10:54 AM CST [ link ]



Saturday | July 10.2004




If I have some extra money to burn I would probably like to acquire something like this ASP Aquarium. (via Gizmodo.com)

I've been wanting to include an image here on this site for quite some time now but this would be the first time i actually placed one.


Hopefully 13K is not much of a bother especially to those who are reading this inside their RSS Readers.

UPDATE: Edited some table dimensions from percent to pixels to make things look better inside some RSS Readers.
WildFire on 04:15 PM CST [ link ]


Marketeers Can't Count.
WildFire on 12:11 PM CST [ link ]


Fox.wikis.com listed a good amount of VisualFoxpro related whitepapers. Fox.wikis.com updated their RSS feed too in case you haven't noticed it yet. That's the XML... here's the Wiki RSS Documentation for more 'flavors'.
WildFire on 11:46 AM CST [ link ]


Arising from an early-evening-to-the-midnight nap after visiting my fourth project client this day. A client which is slowly becoming a favorite of mine lately.

So what makes a client a good client? Or probably we should we use 'favorite' since 'good' is such an elusive term.

In my part, food is one factor. Make that the first factor. Ah the influence of the previous boss still has this effect on me. Yes food. If one could make a version of the mongo beans in such a way that makes it so yummy, bitter and sweet at the same time... that's something. Include adobo in the table (Yes you're reading things right adobo not Adobe and what the heck would Adobe be doing in the dinner table in the first place... and in case you have ingested too much silicon-based stuff lately, adobo is not ADODB), some crunchy, crispy, juicy and a little chili-tasting home made fried chicken, some fried fish plus two cans of coke and of course rice and that's enough to add a few pounds on you while you're updating the system you have created on site. If you're living somewhere in this world and haven't tried Filipino food yet, I suggest you try some and I'm sure you'll be asking for more.

Another factor too would be that willingness to innovate. It doesn't matter if you're in a company with 270+ computers or in a company who has only one Pentium II in the midst. As long as the willingness and the mind for innovation is there, other things will follow. There is a quite phi-raised-to-the-power-of-e (in other words 'huge') difference too if you're in a finance-rich first world country and when you're in a rich-in-other-things archipelago whose economy has been struggling for the past couple of decades. I, without regrets, belong to the latter.

Third factor would be that certain invisible push that a certain client gives to make you strive to become a better programmer... a better developer... a better system analyst... a better person. That same invisible force that drives passion to your work and possibly squash the lady bugs that have been infesting in your system lately. That I think is one of the strongest factor in determining a favorite client on my part. Well next to food of course.

There are more factors I know. Probably you can discuss those here.

On a different frequency, I get to test in the open too the Support Forum I created and was reconfiguring the previous few days. If you're into IT-related projects, you know by now that no matter how you test things inside your room or your cubicle, there will always be a number of differences in things when you're out there with your clients. Plus there's surely a BIG difference when you're the one testing your works as compared to when your clients are the ones actually using it. When you're the one holding the keyboard, pounding things away with ease and when you're behind your client watching her having a hard time figuring out how to use the scrollbars in the drop down combo box.

Something I'd like to discuss in a different post... in a different time.
WildFire on 12:25 AM CST [ link ]



Friday | July 09.2004


I've been bitten by a Lazy Bug that has infected my system for almost three weeks already. So what's a Lazy Bug you ask me? I'll tell you more later.
WildFire on 11:07 PM CST [ link ]



Thursday | July 08.2004


Ted Roche updates the Conference Materials section of his site which contains articles, speaker's notes and white papers.
WildFire on 09:01 AM CST [ link ]



Wednesday | July 07.2004



I'm at home working on the Support Forum I am creating for my freelance projects. The re-configuring started last night and I'm still finalizing and analyzing some parts.

I've decided to use the Invision Power Board, over YaBB which I've been using for almost five years already in a different forum. I get to evaluate PHPBB too. Each has their own strengths but in the end I have chosen Invision since currently it has more features compared to YaBB and PHPBB. Plus Invision is just one click installation in my current webhost and I find the Pre-register feature quite helpful on my part. (Of course after that there will be countless clicks when you're re-configuring/customizing things.)

Maintenance-wise, especially if you're doing the behind the scene manual hacks on the threads, things are easier done with YaBB. I've proven this countless times in the past when I'm moving threads saved on a hard disk to another server and combining each of them with the newly created ones. Of course the process still is cumbersome.

The directory structure of Invision is quite scary to look at compared to the way YaBB organizes its files. Although, YaBB has this tendency to save all threads on one directory, which if you're in a slow internet connection like me, would take quite a while before the listing of files are displayed inside the FTP client application. Multiply that delay of the loading time with the N processes you're doing on that directory.

Now after five hours and a half, I am faced with certain issues and concerns. One... would I allow CATEGORY_001.Forum_001 for Client_001 to be accessible for Client_002 who has CATEGORY_001.Forum_002? Consider too that there are issues that are affecting both clients. I made a sort of General Client Forum for some matters to somehow 'patch' this issue but I'm still looking for other alternatives.

Second issue would involve if I allow the guests or the other non-client members to view the Clients Section. Probably it would be good for potential clients but will it be beneficial to the existing clients. Nonetheless the client forums are protected by passwords.

Which will probably an issue too since some non-techie clients in my experience would prefer lesser clicks and lesser hindrances to what they want to do, something Microsoft gave weight before which probably lead to some security-related problems in some of their previous OSes.

Probably it would be good too if I organized the forums by product but since I would like to implement transparency on the program progress and would like to post progress reports on certain clients it would make things complicated in the long run.

Ah... probably I'll rest and empty my mind first so that I'll get a clearer view on how to tackle these issues.

This is one of the advantage of working at home... you're near your bed in times your mind needs defragging and recalibrating.
WildFire on 01:25 PM CST [ link ]



Monday | July 05.2004


VFPConversion.com | I'm hoping though that the said site won't make you move away from VisualFoxpro but rather enhance your projects and/or make them operate with .NET and other development applications.

But really... almost everything depends on the nature of the project. Each development tool has its strengths and weaknesses. Once you get an overview of the project, you'll know what tool to use.

Ah well of course... it depends sometimes on the clients too.
WildFire on 12:58 AM CST [ link ]



Saturday | July 03.2004




Somehow... a copy of Van Helsing: The London Assignment landed on my hands yesterday. I haven't seen Van Helsing (the movie yet) and I'm still waiting for its DVD release. These days I prefer seeing things on DVD rather than watching it on a bigger screen. When I'm inside a movie house I get this feeling that that big screen would morph into a huge fang-filled drooling mouth and devour the viewers in one quick bite faster than one can reach the third syllable of the word 'No!' (Yes the word has three syllables although you probably are hearing a single syllable only which proves how fast it is by default).

Although it is just a 30-minute animated film, it is filled with good animation and '3D-like visual effect' which 'power-ups' the animation these days. I first saw that style when I was watching Blood (a Japanese vampire-slaying anime) last year... or was it last last year.

Months ago, TechTV even featured a graphics software that makes 3D objects appear as if they're 2D in steroids.

What caught my attention more are two of the Special Features that is included in that DVD: Van Helsing: Behind the Screams (a look of the things that goes behind the scenes, a 'the-making-of-the-movie' sort of) and a preview of the Van Helsing Game.

It also includes an Animatic to Animation feature which places both the storyboard illustrations and the actual animation itself. Cool feature if you ask me.

No... we'll not discuss here how the movie fared and its numbers. We don't care about those things unless if the gross income when divided with its budget results to the derivation of the golden number (But that would be good for another blog post for now).

... nor the movie reviews.

Honestly I don't give a damn about reviews. Besides you know a good movie when you see one not when you read about it. And personally I would refrain from giving out bad feedbacks to something if I cannot make a better version of that thing. If great minds like that of Spielberg or Lucas gives out 'bad' reviews about a certain movie, probably I would listen to them. But have you heard them doing that? No. That is because they know the effort done when creating one... even if it fails to please a lesser part of the population whose IQ is below the three digit mark but still rants and rants about the pitfalls of a certain movie.

OK... the reviews are disturbing. Really... but who cares.

But this is not what this post is all about.

Let's just say even the movie didn't received that much good reviews, the Behind the Scenes which includes the process of how the whole movie was created was fun to watch.

In a way that's what TechBlogs are for. We want to see and share (on the techblogger's part) the things that go on behind a certain project. How things are conceptualized... how things are tackled. You'd be surprise how healthy this activity is for the digitized soul.

If you jump around the 'net these days, you'll find out that there are a lot of tech-related companies out there that's doing good with this process of sharing. Redmond is one. And there are more out there.

We humans that deal with these bits of things that emerged out of the marriage of mathematics and machines are interested with what the other humans who's into a related quest are doing. The process and problems and that human as well.

So move your arse and start those tech blogs of yours. It doesn't need to be software/database development related. It can be about Photoshop or HTML-related tricks you've uncovered, the details on how you slaughtered a thirteenth century version of that Michelangelo virus, teleportation, brain transplants or anything. Safe sex with the CPU perhaps?

Even Leonardo da Vinci was blogging things during his time. Although of course the medium was different. And 500 years later, Bill Gates purchased one of those journals for a whoopin' 30 million dollars.

Who knows what the future holds for your blogs.

Oh... for heaven's sake don't blog things for the money, sport. Do it to share things.

What's that again, Yoda?

Yoda: A good motivation... money is not.
WildFire on 11:41 AM CST [ link ]


Avatar posted a bunch of 'Must Have Tools' for GMail.
WildFire on 12:12 AM CST [ link ]



Friday | July 02.2004


What is a C0000005 crash?

Calvin Hsia gives an overview of that crash which you see and read once in awhile in some of the VisualFoxpro-related forums in the 'net. (Probably next to the Read/Clear Events... I-can't-view-the-Exe-it-pops-and-disappears question)
WildFire on 11:52 PM CST [ link ]


Sometimes it is nice to know the brains, the faces and the persons behind the development of a great product. Although currently you can view only one person in the Visual Foxpro section, we can expect more entries in the weeks to come. Here's the link to Microsoft's Employee Biographies.

You can find more brains behind the history of VisualFoxpro, Foxpro and DBase at FoxproHistory.org though.

Also... the first set of Channel9 videos which features Ken Levy and YAG can now be downloaded here.
WildFire on 11:39 PM CST [ link ]



Thursday | July 01.2004


Plastiqueweb Networks is back online... and the Pixelcatalyst.Lair as well.

Now that restores the balance in this chi of mine.
WildFire on 12:45 PM CST [ link ]


Quite a 'brave' move by Apple. (It depends really on what 'brave' means to you)

A wait... looks like someone's calling Apple the copycat. So who's copying who really?
WildFire on 12:42 PM CST [ link ]



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