NF . Longhorn clippings

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 11-04-2004

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.

NF . lithesomeice

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 11-04-2004

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

Happy Easter, everyone!

NF . CISCO backdoors

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 10-04-2004

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)

THOUGHTS . OpenSource

Filed Under (Random.links, Random.scribbles) by WildFire on 09-04-2004

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.

NF . secret source of Google power

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 08-04-2004

Two more interesting articles: The secret source of GOOGLE Power and Linus Torvalds: SCO Is 'Just Too Wrong'.

NF . GMail and SPYMac

Filed Under (Random.links, Random.scribbles) by WildFire on 08-04-2004

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.

NF . Heavy Metal

Filed Under (GFX, Random.links) by WildFire on 07-04-2004

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

ActiveX . Audio CD rippin’ tool

Filed Under (SoftDev (non-VFP)) by WildFire on 07-04-2004

Our 'give-it-a-spin' file for the day... an AudioCD Ripping ActiveX Control.

NF . Channel9

Filed Under (Random.links, Visual FoxPro) by WildFire on 07-04-2004

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.

NF . Scoble: WinForms is dead misconceptions are misplaced

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 05-04-2004

More on Avalon as Scoble explains the usual misconceptions about the plight of WinForms.

THOUGHTS . Garden of Delight

Filed Under (Random.scribbles) by WildFire on 05-04-2004

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?

THOUGHTS . VS2005 and orcas

Filed Under (Random.scribbles, Visual FoxPro, work.BLOG) by WildFire on 04-04-2004

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.

article . The Blinking Lights Division

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 03-04-2004

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.

book . XML Handbook

Filed Under (Random.scribbles) by WildFire on 03-04-2004

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.

downloads . GlobFX

Filed Under (Random.links) by WildFire on 03-04-2004

How about giving this a spin?

Active Foxpro Pages

Filed Under (Visual FoxPro) by WildFire on 01-04-2004

Active Foxpro Pages. Step aside ASP and JSP.

THOUGHTS . what makes you… you?

Filed Under (Random.scribbles, work.BLOG) by WildFire on 01-04-2004

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?