Quote of the Day

Saturday, November 26, 2005

First Class All The Way!

Well, I wish we didn't live in a world with "classes" but... I decided to cash in some frequent flyer miles for first class this trip and boy howdy! It was everything I thought it would be and more! Actually, I have flown first class but it was quite a long time ago (my Dad is a retired airline mechanic). Anyway, it sure beat paying $5 for a "snack" and having to beg for coffee refills. Not to mention, the seats were actually pretty comfy. My "lite" lunch started with complimentary nuts. Not the packaged nuts, but served warm in a little bowl and followed up with a nice hot towel. I chose the shrimp chef salad over the grilled chicken breast. For dessert: a fresh baked, very large, tollhouse cookie. Still warm and chips melty. Definitely not the "airline" food I had come to expect. Now I'm spoiled and dreading the flight back home which will be, as they put it, in "the main cabin". Oh well, only a few thousand more miles until I qualify for my next upgrade.

Friday, November 25, 2005

MS Outlook User Hostile Interface

Yes, I have lost most of my remaining gray hairs over this, too:

MS Outlook hostile interface

In fact, the client I'm on my way to seeing now is always at risk of seeing this dialog if they happen to install the service pack that implements this. I know there are lots of third party "hacks" to get rid of this in Office 2000, but why can't it just be a user preference that persists? And, as Paul points out, my automation logic is not even coming near the address book in Outlook. I just need to have an email sent automatically when the user clicks a button in their VFP app. Sure, we could switch to SMTP or something, but the users like to see it in their Sent folder, etc. Seems like they could have done something a little more creative than this dialog to "fix" the problem.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

SQL @@SERVERNAME can sometimes return NULL

In our SQL Server applications we have the need of connecting to different servers (ie. development, test, production). In order to know which server/database we are connected to I have some code that executes at startup after connecting to append this information to the _vfp.caption.

lnResult = SQLEXEC(lnHandle,"SELECT @@SERVERNAME AS servername","servernamecursor")
IF lnResult > 0
_vfp.Caption = _vfp.Caption + " - "+ALLTRIM(servernamecursor.servername)
USE IN servernamecursor
lnResult = SQLEXEC(lnHandle,"SELECT DB_NAME() AS db_name","dbnamecursor")
IF lnResult > 0
_vfp.Caption = _vfp.Caption + "/"+ ALLTRIM(dbnamecursor.db_name)
USE IN dbnamecursor
This worked great for years until.... Not sure what SP or update caused it but @@Servername started returning NULL!

We've found 2 possible solutions to this:

1. Try using SELECT ServerProperty('servername') instead of SELECT @@SERVERNAME
2. Perform the following in Query Analyzer:
sp_dropserver 'MYSERVER'
sp_addserver 'MYSERVER', 'local'
Note: this requires you to restart SQL Server before @@SERVERNAME is fixed.

Additional info: http://www.sqlnewsgroups.net/group/microsoft.public.sqlserver.server/topic4087.aspx

Monday, November 21, 2005


Do you have a clutter problem at your house? We sure do! If you do too, then you should really check out FlyLady.

My Mom told me about this yesterday and said it has helped her a lot. So both my wife and I joined their mailing list. Fly Lady uses a "baby steps" approach to helping you get clutter free and organized. I'll let you know how it's working after a few months. My Mom said the email can get overwhelming so I've set it to just send me a daily digest of the mails.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ready or not, here comes my Blog!

Well, after several months of "blog envy" (ie. really enjoyable reading) I've decided to launch myself into the blogosphere.

Hopefully it will be much more successful than my wiki launch a couple of years ago. I think I got about 3 hits in the first 20 minutes and that's about it.

So, stay tuned for weekly (I hope) postings. I'm planning to blog about a myriad of topics but will probably try to stay focused on Visual Foxpro and IT related stuff. I have been employed with Orion Group going on 9 years.

I have been developing with Fox versions going back to Foxbase+ when I worked as a "computer operator" for an RV manufacturing company in 1988. I had a brief encounter with Dbase III+ but then soon discovered Foxbase, and the rest is history. About the only other database development tool I've worked with in that time (other than very limited Access work) was Uniface, which kind of gave me my first exposure to client/server databases as we used Oracle on the backend. This was for a mortgage servicing application.

This has been a very busy couple of years for me at Orion Group. Lots of new projects using VFP 9.0 as well as enhancements and maintenance of existing VFP apps.

This week I will be travelling to a client in Ca. to do a system cutover. I have been supporting them since 1993 when I wrote their first line of business app in Foxpro for Windows 2.5 (not long after it was realeased) We just finished up their second re-engineering project (last time was 1999) which will get them up on VFP9, VFE2005 and SQL Server 2000. They have been running on Fox tables all this time and have never had to purge or archive! Their first app was written in FPW2.6 and I used the Codebook 2.0 framework which I enhanced with my own toolbar icons, etc. The last re-write used VFP6 and VFE5.5 (VFE6 was still in early beta at the time or I would have gone with that) Oh yeah, and they also run Foxfire 3.0 and are eagerly awaiting the release of Foxfire 8. This is just one example of the type of projects I am currently involved with at Orion Group.

We are also keeping an eye on .NET and have been getting some people certified on that platform so we are ready when the right opportunity comes our way for that. In the meantime, VFP continues to provide a very rich development environment. I have also done some .NET interop (both ways) as well as published and consumed XML Web Services using VFP and .NET.

Well, enough about "work". In my "spare" time I am an avid Irish football fan. I live close enough to walk to the games. I've had season tickets the past 4 years and was at the ND vs. USC game which many in the media are saying is one of the best football games they've ever seen. My seats are 12 rows back in the end-zone where Matt Leinert was "pushed" in by Reggie Bush. One moment I will never forget as long as I live. My nephew was the lucky one who got to go the game with me for his 17th birthday.

When football season is over, I like to spend time tweaking my "gamer" PC and playing Battlefield 2 (much to the chagrin of my loving and very understanding wife, Pauline). I play with an online "clan" called "Matureasskickers"

Thanks for visiting and please come again.

- Randy Jean

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!