Tuesday | November 30.2004

MSDN Magazine December 2004. Check the archives for more.
WildFire on 11:09 PM CST [ link ]

PageFrames are heaven-sent. It makes a programmer's life easier. It also helps in achieving that 'lesser-clicks-the-better' principle of mine when designing interfaces and forms.

Declaring public variables is not that needed anymore... nor do I have to go through the process of passing parameters from form to form.

It makes things more organized. Easier for the user too... straight forward and smooth flowing.

Remember the user may not always be right... but you should treat her as a queen. Pamper her with a good, well-organized interface. That is why some software companies invest in the interface.

Probably one of the reasons why some less-stable/hole-infested/half-baked systems are more accepted than a more stable/secure one with an interface only a nerd with an IQ above Mt. Helens can understand.

For some... the interface is even considered the application.

The interface _is_ the application.

The users don't care much about the leet-haxored computation process you made behind things. As long as the correct results are there.

Presented well inside a well 'formatted' interface.

It is already 2:07AM in the morning. I think I need to crash. I would like to continue coding but the ref's empty... food supply shortage. I don't like it when my hunger overtakes the sleepy mode.

Speaking of Mt. Helens...

Helen's getting prettier everyday. No not the mountain.

No... not the Helen of Troy... nor the actress that played her.

I'm referring to Helen, the Elastigirl.


I really need some sleep.
WildFire on 02:16 AM CST [ link ]

Sunday | November 28.2004

Robert Scoble:
"Ken Levy gave me a demo of this last week. It's a very impressive tool. Has visual inheritance down to the button level where Visual Studio only has inheritance down to the form level. Among other things."

OK... that would be more than enough to wash out the effects of viewing this.

Do It Now by Steve Pavlina. (via Sacha Chua)
WildFire on 10:17 PM CST [ link ]

Spent a great part of the afternoon reading about the disadvantages of Software Patents.

More thoughts on this one later...
WildFire on 05:50 PM CST [ link ]

Saturday | November 27.2004

Just call me Studboy.com (Dave Barry | Registration required but trust me it's worth it.)
WildFire on 01:45 PM CST [ link ]

I've been wanting to link on this blog for days but kept on forgetting it. Here's one creative way to describe migraines.
WildFire on 12:14 AM CST [ link ]

Can People Really Program 80+ Hours a Week..?

Slashdot already has tons of insightful, funny and drug-infused comments so I won't delve into the logic, statistics, effects and mechanics of working 80+ hours a week.

Hmm... 80 hours a week is 80/7, that would be 11.42857 hours a day if we include the day of rest (Sunday). It would be 13.33333 if it's 80/6 though.

To be exact my TimeCalcAdvanced algorithm shows it's 11:25:43 hours in 7 days and 13:20:00 hours in 6 days.

Let's assume that half of the programmer population has a life and half doesn't, so let's average these two results. With that we'll get an average of 12:22:52 hours.

12:22:52 hours in a day in program mode.

Which makes me think if we should include the time when the programmer is 'programming' himself waiting for the mood to swing in? For the chi to re-align or something..?

Should we also include the times when he/she is pretending to be doing programs?

OK... enough of this already.

When I saw this feed on my RSSBandit last night, I wanted to go into a quest... to try if I could code for 12-13 hours for 7 days. I even started doing it from 12:01AM to 2AM but after three simultaneous calls from clients this afternoon, each separated by 2 hour bus rides, which are scheduled for next week, I don't think I could complete that quest.

Besides as I am writing this part of the blog (I multitask, browse and watch Shrek 2 on DVD) it is 11:49PM already and I've done only 8.5 hours coding for this day.

I have this Excel file where I scribble down the accomplishments of the day... per hour, starting April of this year so I have some 'stats'. Also from the same file I found out that it's either I code straight for the day and am too tired to code at night... or bum around all day and work at night until the wee hours of the morning to make up for it.

The most I've done is 11 hours in five days last June but that was only good for 5 out of 30 days in that month.

I cannot remember too clearly if I have done that much lengthy coding during my previous work.

But then again... like anything in this world, it's the quality that counts... and not the quantity.

Even my pterodactyl pet knows that.

... and breathes that principle.
WildFire on 12:08 AM CST [ link ]

Thursday | November 25.2004

Fox-download: Dave Bower's Losing Focus Presentation. (via Sydney VFP User Group)

Three more days before OzFox!
WildFire on 01:57 AM CST [ link ]

Heavy Metal Fall 2004If, by any chance, artworks depicting the beauty showed by the curves of the female species offend you... I suggest you go to this link for now and come back again later.

Now having said that, allow me to continue.

Heavy Metal Magazine goes 3D in its Fall 2004 issue.

I haven't followed thoroughly Heavy Metal through the years but I do have some issues in my collection especially those with cover art created by Luis Royo.

This is the first time I have seen a story in that mag illustrated entirely in three dimension. Although there's still room for improvement especially in the action sequences (Hint: Do it the Marvel way), overall the artwork quality is great.

Though, followers of this magazine know that 3D or 2D or traditional, the illustrations inside it are awe-inspiring.

(Plus you have to charge up your IQ level when reading some of the weird stories).

This is not the first time though I saw a magazine/book that holds pure 3D inside its comic boxes. The first one was Machine Phase.

... and pretty I'm sure there's more to come.
WildFire on 01:50 AM CST [ link ]

Wednesday | November 24.2004

The lesser clicks... the better.

That's how I see things when designing interfaces/forms.

Right now I think I'm squeezing too much command buttons and processes in one of my KWMS forms. I printed a screenshot already so that I can analyze things away from the monitor.

Sometimes things are more efficient that way.

Especially when I'm beginning to interpret KISS as 'Keep It Sexy, Sweetheart'.
WildFire on 12:17 AM CST [ link ]

Infoworld: The top 20 IT mistakes to avoid.

Michael Ventre: U2 creates perfect soundtrack for life
Sometimes a rock band can worm its way into your cranium and remain there throughout all the significant moments of your adult life. Most people have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, each whispering in one ear, each vying for attention. With me, U2 has always been the group playing in the background while that battle for my soul raged.


There was this one time when I was willing to give up coding inorder to be a rock star.

I'm glad I'm over it.
WildFire on 12:16 AM CST [ link ]

Monday | November 22.2004

Sleeping with the enemy..?

No not really. Things (and competitions) like these are healthy.

It is quite sad though that sometimes technology (in this case software technology) is sometimes clobbered by a situation like this.

But that's the reality existing...
WildFire on 08:50 AM CST [ link ]

Saturday | November 20.2004

Since late high school days when I was starting that 'Journey Inwards' thing, I have 'partially' mastered how to convert anger into something productive.

Anger is not often the enemy. In fact, it can be used as a tool for productivity.

That is of course if you know how to channel things into something productive without letting anger cloud your judgment... without it conquering your vision, without allowing a hint of revenge pairing up side by side with your goals.

This I cannot say the same when depression and frustration barges in. It really brings me down.

Like viruses, trojan-powered processes and lately spy+ad:wares... that brings down to their knees a 2.4GHz powered processors.

Even without the virus... run several applications and your computer slows down. That part I know you know already.

Even my little girl knows that fact... though I'm not sure if she understands it.

(I tend to explain computer-related facts to my three year old (including how to count in binary numbers), hoping that subliminally it will 'come back' later at the right time... when needed.)

More processes... threads... slow down how the CPU can process requests.

But what if... just what if... someone in the future could architect a processor that speeds up its processing speed when you add more threads to process.

Think about it... the more applications you run, the more 'powerful' it becomes using a mechanism that somehow can use the processing usage as a fuel to finish/process more tasks.

I'd like to give examples that involve fire or friction but somehow this mind of mine, as of the moment, is always being detoured to indecent thoughts.

So I'll stop for now before this post turns out into something erotic.
WildFire on 11:35 PM CST [ link ]

Studios sue Pixar, Demand Bad Movie. "Stop making the rest of us look bad"... demand Hollywood executives.

Hmm... 400GB PC hard drive, anyone?
WildFire on 03:05 AM CST [ link ]

More codes from Calvin Hsia... this time this involves screen saver tricks.

Running dynamic code with ExeScript (from Andrew MacNeill).

Chan Kot Kiet posted some Graph-related approaches you can use with Visual Foxpro.
WildFire on 02:54 AM CST [ link ]

Taking a break from the regular midnight coding to post this: Visual FoxPro 9.0: Still Here, Still Relevant.

Every FoxPro blog is linking to that article by David T. Anderson already.

A highly recommended read for the 'renegades'.

I'd like to post parts of that article here and discuss some points but at 2:37AM I still have to wrap up a lot of things.

I'll give an overview though of what I am currently tackling at the moment.

Imagine a project where you thought you have planned everything already... the database structures and flows, made things ready for networking... optimized the filter/querying speed... tweaked a lot of parts, normalized and de-normalized carefully the databases and laid things out so that future upgrades would not be difficult for your system.

Fast forward by 17 months in the future (which is the present time)... you're in a situation where three offices separated by two and a half blocks apart will be using your program. Each office has the power/rights to edit mostly any part of the database...

... which is cool since you're application is 'network ready' already... problem is there are no immediate plans to setup one yet and to interconnect these offices.

The diskette/log-modification was part of the worst case scenario during the planning phase but I wasn't thinking I'd be diving into that.

Until now...
WildFire on 02:38 AM CST [ link ]

Wednesday | November 17.2004

Nullsoft 1997-2004 (via slate.msn.com)

I'm quite late on this but this one's worth reading. Besides, Justin Frankel... one way or another did revolutionize a lot of things.

WinAmp... MP3s... Gnutella... ShoutCast... you name it.
WildFire on 01:06 AM CST [ link ]

Tuesday | November 16.2004

Pixelcatalyst.LairA new splash is covering the Pixelcatalyst.Lair.

The wallpaper version (1600x1200) will follow shortly.

I am also tempted to post a Windows Explorer screenshot that shows two 60MB .psd files behind this artwork.

Probably later...

WildFire on 05:07 AM CST [ link ]

We humans have spent billions discovering the possibilities of life in other planets and even more billions destroying life here on Earth.

I don't even need to include a hyperlink in the second part of that statement.

I have the urge though to link this old semi-related blog.

Do you feel like riding my scramjet, baby?
WildFire on 04:52 AM CST [ link ]

Monday | November 15.2004

Almost two weeks ago, I mentioned about how VisualFoxpro is 'powering up' the back end of some online sites. Today, Chan Kot Kiet points out more FoxPro WebRAD Tools.
WildFire on 12:56 PM CST [ link ]

Sunday | November 14.2004

Craig Berntson uploaded two articles from his Southwest Fox sessions: Introduction to Object Oriented Programming and Using the Windows Event Log from Visual FoxPro (pdf format).

Kevin McNeish enters the blogosphere. The 'Did You Know' section looks informative.
WildFire on 11:24 AM CST [ link ]

Friday | November 12.2004

November is my birth month.

One of these days, one numeric character in my age will change.

Everytime that day arrives it has been my tradition to do or try something that somehow 'ups my level'. Something challenging.

It's also the month I do some reflecting... about life, work, direction and all.

I remember during college days I skipped class twice when that day arrived. During the third year, I created a screensaver/TSR-type program in Clipper 5.2 using some low level routines.

My first encryption algorithm was also created on November when I was still in college. Until now I'm still using it in some of my programs.

And until now I am still unable to decrypt it. The 'exact reverse' of that encryption algorithm would only decrypt 7 out of 8 characters due to a certain method I included... and the only way I am able to compare things in the encrypted data in the database is to re-encrypt the password entered and compare it with the encrypted value.

Function decrypt just won't work.

It was on that birth date too last 1998 when I released my first site online. That site was Coollections... which, holds some of my artworks before I decided to create a separate site for it now known as the Pixelcatalyst.Lair.

The conversion from Pixelworkz (pre-pixelcatalyst) to Pixelcatalyst.Lair was made on November 2000.

It was also November when Pixelcatalyst.Lair version 5.00 was released... that was in 2001. The very same year I transferred that site from our old office Pentium 200MHz Linux powered server to the digital fortress of the Plastiqueweb Networks.

It was then when the number of its visitors increased by a factor of 20.

Shift Dimension was created last 2001 and Quendoline Dreams was created last year.

I have one artwork which I started November of last year too, which up to now, is still a work in progress. The main .psd file for that artwork now reaches 30MB and a sub .psd file is around 19MB.

It was November of 2002 when I had my first 'major' freelance project. I had a number of freelance projects since college but that November 2002 project was different... and it was that client that referred me to eight more clients.

There were some non-database/graphics-related personal 'breakthroughs' too but I won't be sharing them for now.

This year I'm still considering what I'll be doing.

Probably a new artwork or finish up the artwork which was started last year. The SeventhSense 2004... or the reorganization of the Pixelcatalyst.Lair website. I'm also thinking of coding that copyright protection-related mechanism I've been planning for months already.

Or perhaps I'll spend the day just bumming around and thinking and doing nothing... for in this year filled with database projects... just doing nothing (and not thinking of code-related things) can be considered a personal breakthrough.
WildFire on 10:15 PM CST [ link ]

Seventh Sense 2004Seventh Sense 2004... something to watch out for.

I'm also re-compiling the contact information of those artists involved in the 2002 release. The site will be released once the old HTML codes are updated and a batch of new artworks are included.

Stay tuned. I'll be posting the updates and some creation process related information here too. This project is a break from the usual database-related tasks I am doing.

Mondo gratitude goes out to Kevin Stacey (a co-Depthcore member) of Shiver7 for the hosting.
WildFire on 07:48 PM CST [ link ]

Thursday | November 11.2004

Happy birthday, Kim.
WildFire on 09:35 AM CST [ link ]

Wednesday | November 10.2004

For the past two days I've been viewing cinematics and trailers that involves a great deal of hardcore visual effects and render power.

It started when Takz (a Filipino friend of mine in Netherlands), gave me that World of Warcraft cinematic trailer. Released last November 05, 2004... this one's different from the previous World of Warcraft teaser cinematic I saw years ago.

(Awrk... as of 1:43AM WorldofWarcraft.com is currently down.)

Blizzard is consistenly pumping these uber cinematics since the third installment of Warcraft.

Starcraft trailers were good during their era but quite far from the quality of Warcraft III cinematics.

I would love to elaborate and paint this blog with words but my supply of coca cola in cans ran out and when that happens I'm usually not in the mood to do things.

I'll give you one observation though, why their cinematics rock.

It's not just the attention to the most intricate details (and damn the attention to details would wipe out both Pixar's Finding Nemo and the Final Fantasy movie out of this world and beyond).

Aside from the technical aspects, Warcraft cinematics are truly moving.

It moves you.

Before I start getting mushy in here let me give you the other 3D clips that were also given to me... a Double A (or is AA) bond paper commercial. That's the 15 second clip, here's a different 30 second clip of the same theme.

Star Wars III: Revenge of The Sith teaser also popped out sometime last weekend.

And then of course there's The Incredibles trailers and one teaser (if you haven't watched the movie yet), Robots (this time from the makers of Ice Age) and Cars (also from Pixar).

I am not quite impressed with the renders Polar Express is showing so no links for now.


Now that you're done buffering those cinematics in your download queue... I'd like you to meet Jenny.
WildFire on 01:40 AM CST [ link ]

Tuesday | November 09.2004

Citadel of Sector 10:Zeus

Released last month for Depthcore's Habitat pack. I mentioned this here also a month ago but somehow I wasn't able to post the artwork. My first individual artwork since October of 2003. There were collaborations with fellow Depthcore members along the way but it was last year when I released an artwork created individually.

Of course there was that LOS2004 artwork which was released last March but it was a remix of an old LOS2002 piece.

I'd like to give you more information in words but at three in the morning, I have this feeling that my fingers are pounding the keyboards on their own.

I'll give you some numbers and stats related to this work instead:
  • Duration: 05/25/2004 - 10/05/2004
  • GFX applications used: Poser 4 / PaintShop Pro 5.02 / Adobe Photoshop 7.01 / 3DSMax 4 / Bryce 4
  • PSD Files: 2 (6.1MB + 21.8MB)
  • PSD Layers: 72 layers
  • Hi-res dimensions: 1600x656x32bit | JPEG | 625,427 bytes
  • Coca-cola in cans consumed: 32
Watch out for Depthcore's next pack... next month.
WildFire on 03:18 AM CST [ link ]

Saturday | November 06.2004

F1 Technologies, creators of Visual FoxExpress (here's a what's new in VFE8 overview (remember that coder with a fox tail image..?)) supports Active Foxpro Pages.

Here's the press release.

F1 Technologies also sponsored Code Focus Magazine which highlights the new features/enhancements in Visual Foxpro 9. If you haven't downloaded it yet, or you are a non-Foxpro user, this free PDF download is a good read for you to discover a little or so about Visual Foxpro.

Using File Mapping to enumerate files opened by Visual FoxPro from News2news.com/VFP. If you're planning to use Win32 APIs on your application, this is the site to go. (via Alex Feldstein)

More Win32 API on VFP information. (Source: Fox.wikis)

From the creator of TaskPane Central, OpenTech Forums, ProFox Mailing List and the co-creator of DaboDev comes the ReportListener HQ from Ed Leafe.

West Wind Web Connection 4.60 released... and a Web Configuration Utility that comes along with it.

Recursion in VFP, Low Level File Functions, How the SECONDS() function works and more Visual FoxPro Links.
WildFire on 12:41 PM CST [ link ]

Thursday | November 04.2004

A six and a half hour (11PM to 5:30AM) block-out prevented me from doing the regular late hour key-pounding last night. It's a sort of way 'the force' is telling me to get some rest.

And don't give me that 'I-don't-want-to-believe-that-someone-is-in-control-of-my-life' line from Neo.

Somewhere... somehow a greater force is in control of you and you can do nothing about it but rely on another force to battle that force.

Until digital-based/silicon-powered-computers, one of man's greatest achievements, learn how to dwell sans the electrons and protons (which are governed by forces too (attractive and repulsive (and electricity in the first place is one of the four fundamental forces)))... I am sticking on this mindset.

... and until it will get beyond the 'just clocks and lights' impression it has on Detective Spooner.
WildFire on 12:23 PM CST [ link ]

Wednesday | November 03.2004

Beakman was wondering why I was not posting for the past three days before yesterday.

And just recently, I received a related inquiry from someone in India.

Aside from the fact that I refrain from posting those I'll-be-out-in-N-days/weeks-no-blogs-blah-blah(who-cares-who-fsckin'-cares) type of scribbles in here, I am also finishing up modules for two of my projects... HRAEI and SJH.

(HRAEI is an employee-related databanking system (201) for education-type institutions and companies while SJH involves medical history and records.)

HRAEI, in the future will probably be used in some places in this country separated by islands, so making things 'archipelago-ready' is something I am planning in advance. I'll discuss that one later.

For those three days, I've been extending the working hours to 4:45AM instead of the usual 3AM limit... which was really 5:30AM since it was only yesterday that I discovered that the clock in this computer is 45 minutes late.

No wonder I'm beginning to see things.

But I created and posted a one-time blog at TheSpoke.NET. The reasons are there so I won't bother re-posting things in here. If I'll do that, we'll have this spaghetti-type of codes already.

Blogs are like Procedures and Functions you know. Well at least that's how I see it sometimes. Instead of answering queries again and again, I fire up this blog, post some info and link the one questioning to a certain part of this blog that answers his questions.

OK... it is 3:33AM already... I need to crash.

But before that, allow me to leave you one snippet of the dawn:
   do while not eof() 
for i = 1 to nCount
aSTAT(i) = &cSTAT
lStat = iif(aSTAT(i) != '00000', .T., .F.)
replace &cSTAL with lStat

One of those little macro hacks of the night. (Storing the values in the array has some purpose which is not included anymore in the above snippet.)

I'm just showing here how an nCount*N lines of code can be squeezed into a factor of nCount by using macro substitution and by having good naming conventions in your field names, object names and variables.

WildFire here... over and out.
WildFire on 03:57 AM CST [ link ]

Tuesday | November 02.2004

So it was Andrew Tanenbaum behind it all... mighty wicked!
WildFire on 10:14 PM CST [ link ]

Here's a funny Mac video. (Sorry Apple-lovers (via Rod Paddock's Blogs))
WildFire on 09:08 PM CST [ link ]

Calvin Hsia: Creating, Parsing, Graphing Web Hit Log Files or Other Temporal Data.

Yes... VisualFoxpro can do web-related stuff. Foxite.com, UniversalThread.com, West-wind.com and Calvin Hsia's site are a few examples that use VFP as part of their backends.

Also, from the limited test I made, the fox-powered sites are even faster than those sites powered by ASP.NET (Again, stress on the 'limited test').

Plus there's Active Foxpro Pages too.

I must admit though... some PHP-powered sites and forum I've been to, load faster than their .asp and even .cgi/perl counterparts. But then again there are a lot of factors to consider here.
WildFire on 09:07 PM CST [ link ]

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