Archive for August, 2005


I am sitting here in my camper in College Park, Maryland, back from an exciting day witnessing my tax dollars being wasted n Washington DC. I am loving the wireless Internet connectivity here in the campground (something I looked for when booking this trip last week). Finally caught up on a couple of things I promised for customers and conference organizers so I decided to sit back and review the blogosphere for a few minutes (ok, more like an hour or two).

One of my subscriptions in FeedDemon is Rocketboom. This is a humorous video blog from Amanda Congdon. One of the things she does is hit a keyboard when she wants to run a video clip. Quite a while ago I thought to myself the computer looks like an old TI-99/4a. Sure enough in yesterday’s episode (#200) Amanda did a behind-the-scenes/review show and low and behold, there it was, a video of a monitor with the TI boot screen, and more video of Amanda taking out a cartridge from computer.

Ah the memories of good days. You see, the first computer I owned was a TI-99/4a. It was terrific computer, fast, and inexpensive. I still have it boxed up in the basement. I wonder if it would boot and still run my “Extended Basic” programs?


Wheels stopped is important NASA lingo to say the orbiter is firmly stopped on the runway. It is good news to everyone involved with and interested in the shuttle Discovery’s very successful return to Earth. I watched coverage on CSPAN-2, CNN, and NBC. CSPAN-2 had the longest coverage picking up Discovery long before it entered the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean. CNN’s coverage was the most accurate coverage from a technical perspective and had good insight from three former astronauts including one of my personal heroes, John Glenn. NBC’s coverage was horrible so I only watched it very briefly.

I want to learn more about the improvements made in the communications technology. On every previous return from space there was a communications “blackout” period caused by the interference during re-entry. The return of Discovery did not have a blackout period and Mission Control was able to keep in constant communication with the orbiter and the crew with only static during the transmissions. Excellent and innovative engineering triggered by the loss of Columbia.

The biggest annoyance on the coverage was the banners that blocked the full video feed of the orbiter. Wheels touching the runway is what everyone observing wants to see and both NBC and CNN had to have their banners announcing “breaking news – shuttle landing” blocking the most important part.

One other little fact I found interesting is Edwards Air Force base has one billion candle power lighting the desert runway. It sounds like a lot, but the video was still dark. My daughter asked me what that meant so in true dad form I told her a billion people were holding one candle each to guide Discovery home. She bought it hook line and sinker, which proves teenagers are not designed to be awake early on any summer morning.


Those of you who have attended my Debugging Essentials presentation at a conference, user group, or via the Foxcast video know I generally prefer using the FoxPro Frame debugger instead of the Debug Frame. One of the disadvantages of using the FoxPro Frame is the need to close all the individual debugger windows to deactivate the debugger and remove the debugger toolbar. This can be a big time waster if you are jumping in and out of the debugger (something I do frequently).

If you use the Debug Frame all you have to do is close the Debugger Window. One click on the close button or one Alt+F4 keystroke and you are set. It obviously is not so fast with the FoxPro Frame. So after years of repetitively “slow closing” the debugger windows it hits me to write a program I can hotkey to open and close the windows. You can save the following code to a program (mine is called DebugWindows.prg)

PROCEDURE ShowDebugWindows

ACTIVATE WINDOW “call stack”
ACTIVATE WINDOW “debug output”


PROCEDURE HideDebugWindows

LOCAL lcOldOnError, llWindowNotActive

* Can replace with structured error handling
* if using VFP 8 or higher. You get an error
* if the window is not open
lcOldOnError = ON(“Error”)
ON ERROR llWindowNotActive = .T.

HIDE WINDOW “locals”
HIDE WINDOW “debug output”
HIDE WINDOW “call stack”

ON ERROR &lcOldOnError;


In my start up program I have these two lines:

ON KEY LABEL F7 DO ShowDebugWindows ;
IN “J:\WLCProject\Tools\DebugWindows”
ON KEY LABEL Ctrl+F7 DO HideDebugWindows ;
IN “J:\WLCProject\Tools\DebugWindows”

The code also works in the Debug Frame, although I am not sure what advantage this could be for a developer.

This is just one more simple example of how you can extend the Visual FoxPro IDE to make yourself productive. If you have not seen Craig Boyd’s post called Visual FoxPro Community Action, go check it out. One of Craig’s call to action is for VFP developers to extend the VFP IDE and to share ideas and code to do so. Just trying to do my little part.


Just when you thought Arizona was a very hot place to be in October, Bob Kocher (the Southwest Fox 2005 conference organizer) works with Microsoft to turn up the heat! Based on the news in Ken Levy’s Monthly Newsletter to the Fox Community, it looks like Microsoft is sending some heavy weights to do keynote sessions at the conference. Calvin Hsia never disappoints with his demos!

More surprises to come:

“More announcements about Southwest Fox 2005 including the disclosure of various free VFP related items for all attendees sponsored by Microsoft. We may also have additional members of the VFP team hangout out at Southwest Fox 2005, so be sure attend this event in October.”

I guess I better get back to prepare for my two sessions. I am really excited by this news. Nice work Bob and thanks to the Fox Team for supporting the conference.


Make sure you are not confused by Fox Broadcasting’s Foxcasting. I’d hate to see developers expecting fantastic information about Visual FoxPro get a shocking surprise with a conservative twist on the news. More possible confusion, Fox Broadcasting has a The Late Night Fox Show and Andrew MacNeill has The FoxShow.

The right place (pun intended) to get your Visual FoxPro Foxcasts is and the correct place to get Andrew’s The FoxShow is (both are terrific resources). Glad I had a chance to clear up this possible confusion for the Fox Community (tongue firmly planted in cheek).