THOUGHTS . hackers

Filed Under (Random.scribbles) by WildFire on 23-03-2004

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

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

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

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

A developer in the future where the 'net is much safer and 'holier' place to cruise in... that is what he will be. As for my little girl, I'm hoping she grows up just like his lovely mother who at 20something-something probably wants to give up law-related dreams and become a Visual FoxPro programmer.

NF . dreamweaver ie and javascripts

Filed Under (GFX) by WildFire on 22-03-2004

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

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

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

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

article . why software still stinks

Filed Under (Random.links, SoftDev (non-VFP)) by WildFire on 21-03-2004

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

  • "I looked at the programmer as an individual on a quest to create something new that would change the world." (Susan Lammers)
  • "Software inefficiency can always outpace Moore's Law. Moore's Law isn't a match for our bad coding." (Jaron Lanier - pioneer of virtual reality)
  • "Software as we know it is the bottleneck on the digital horn of plenty." (Charles Simonyi, from Xerox PARC and Microsoft code guru behind Microsoft's Office suite)
  • "Most successful programmers are at heart can-do engineers who are optimistic that every problem has a solution."
  • "There are two meanings to software design. One is, designing the artifact we're trying to implement. The other is the sheer software engineering to make that artifact come into being. I believe these are two separate roles -- the subject matter expert and the software engineer." (Charles Simonyi)
  • "A lot of stuff in the Mac and Windows world was supposed to be temporary and got wedged into place," he said. "Making programming fundamentally better might be the single most important challenge we face -- and the most difficult one." Today's software world is simply too "brittle" -- one tiny error and everything grinds to a halt: "We're constantly teetering on the edge of catastrophe." Nature and biological systems are much more flexible, adaptable and forgiving, and we should look to them for new answers. "The path forward is being biomimetic."

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

  • "There's this wonderful outpouring of creativity in the open-source world. So what do they make -- another version of Unix?" (Jaron Lanier)
  • "And what do they put on top of it? Another Windows!" (Jef Raskin)

And one more from young Bill Gates:

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

That article pointed out a lot of good links too. To name a few: The Father of Macintosh, The computer is an amplifier for your brain and Are microchips too fast for mere mortals?

book . QUE Special Edition Using VFP6

Filed Under (Visual FoxPro) by WildFire on 21-03-2004

This was one of the book I have on my hands when I was still starting to use Visual Foxpro: QUE's Special Edition Using Visual FoxPro 6.

NF . linux and open source

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 21-03-2004

Hmmm... is OPEN SOURCE really a danger to the software economy? What differentiates Linux from Windows?

workBLOGS . L

Filed Under (Visual FoxPro, work.BLOG) by WildFire on 20-03-2004

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

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

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

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

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

workBLOGS . winAPI lock

Filed Under (Visual FoxPro, work.BLOG) by WildFire on 20-03-2004

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

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

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

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

I did promised myself to have an early sleep (I deserve one!) after this visit... 01:30AM is indeed early.

workBLOGS . THURSDAY

Filed Under (work.BLOG) by WildFire on 19-03-2004

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

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

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

Filler . 001

Filed Under (Random.scribbles) by WildFire on 19-03-2004

Grumble.

NF = Emc4 monitor

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 18-03-2004

E=mc4.

NF . Imagination at work

Filed Under (GFX, Random.links) by WildFire on 18-03-2004

Avatar posted this cool flash work in the forum, Imagination at Work! More like 'wasting time at work'... but a cool way indeed to waste time. I'm still in the process of convincing him to create a techblog of his own.

workBLOGS . encryption

Filed Under (work.BLOG) by WildFire on 17-03-2004

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

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

The Pattern/Sample Data:

2414739118 - VNQRWRUOQQ
0955501563 - RNWRXNTKRI
0372592769 - QIPOPIPMWO
0312355527 - XMSLURYKRR
5561830050 - QNPJVRTJQL
1203615355 - SKTRWOQMUQ
7095810211 - QRQNXOXPUO
0292351958 - WQYLUIRQVO
4352908758 - QJWNRQULVM
0042801895 - QJUNVNQJVN

Now given the data pattern above, can you give the character equivalent of these number patterns.

0115874255
5793006998
0114609609

Feel free to post your answers. If you can 'assemble' the algorithm too that would make things even better. Happy decrypting!

interviews . kevin mcneash

Filed Under (SoftDev (non-VFP), Visual FoxPro) by WildFire on 17-03-2004

Kevin McNeash, chief architect and developer of that Mere Mortals Framework, was interviewed on .NET Rocks!

block outs

Filed Under (Visual FoxPro, work.BLOG) by WildFire on 17-03-2004

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

FoxMasters and their CodeInspector.

NF . VFP and NCAA

Filed Under (Random.links, Visual FoxPro) by WildFire on 16-03-2004

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

Now who wants to talk about the new 'planet' discovered beyond Pluto? Or Kevin Mitnick's call for hackers to submit their 'sexiest hack'..? Hmmm... Project Mono perhaps?

Book . 1001 Things You Always…

Filed Under (Visual FoxPro) by WildFire on 16-03-2004

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

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

workBLOGS . GLRSoftware

Filed Under (Visual FoxPro) by WildFire on 15-03-2004

A handful of Foxpro-related downloads at GLR Software.

THOUGHTS . development tools

Filed Under (Random.links, Random.scribbles) by WildFire on 15-03-2004

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

Please don't get me wrong... I do have great respect for women. The Peerless leader is included in that respect list of mine... and a hundred more. Women even live longer.

NF . microsoft research

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 15-03-2004

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