Archive for February, 2007


I have a tradition about Super Bowl Sunday for the last four or five years, maybe more of watching the commercials, and usually kicking out some code or do something techy as I listen to the game (occasionally watching the replays). This year was no different.

I purchased a new laptop before Christmas. I am typing this blog entry with my old laptop. Goofy for sure!

The fact is I have been too darn busy cranking out VFP code, running conversions, doing sales calls, and preparing for conferences that I have not had time to load 100+ apps and configure everything to make the screaming ThinkPad Z61P anything more useful than a boat anchor running Windows XP Professional. OK, maybe it only takes 50 apps to make it useful, but I think I will have close to 110 apps loaded when I am done later this week.

I started out late in the afternoon recalling where I left off. Last I left the machine I finished installing IIS, and uninstalled all the unnecessary apps like Norton Anti-virus and Google Desktop Search and a few other cycle stealers.

I joined the White Light domain, installed AVG Network Anti-virus, installed the firewall on my server, installed ZoneAlarm Pro, upgraded to IE v7.0, and of course installed FireFox v2.0. I figure any one of these apps could take out the machine so if I have to rebuild, now is the time to destroy {g}.

Next was Office 2007 Enterprise. I have been a little reluctant to load it only because I probably don’t have the time to get adjusted to it at the moment. I was pleasantly surprised how fast it installed and I installed everything (2 GBs of everything). I opened up Word and activated it and started typing the paper log I was creating to a document this process. So far I am really liking the ribbon. Microsoft has made some subtle changes to it since I last saw it demoed and it looks like they were reading my mind on some of the things I disliked from a discoverability perspective. I am hoping the rest is going to be so pleasurable.

The next thing I installed is Visual FoxPro, starting a VFP 5 all the way to VFP 9 SP2 CTP. For some reason the Visual Studio 6 (VFP 6) install barfed and won’t let me install the Visual Studio 6 .0 SP5 disk. Not a big deal since I can just copy the VFP 6 directory from my old machine. I am a bit worried about the InterDev implications, but it should be okay.

I am probably 33% of the way to productively using the machine. A couple more nights this week should do it. It is not installing the apps that is a pain. It is the configuring them and getting data moved over for SQL Server, setting up all the ODBC connections, and getting all the Web sites up in IIS that is time consuming. I cannot take the new machine to production until I can certify my presentations work for OzFox and I can remotely support customers while in Australia in a couple of weeks. I am already bordering on breaking the new app installation rule so I will have to see how things go over the next couple of days.

Speaking of traditions…I was really disappointed in the Super Bowl commercials this year. Very little humor, and very little creativity. Nothing really stands out except the FedEx “outer space”, which I enjoyed the theme of going opposite of the dinosaurs, but still had one of the astronauts getting whacked like they did with the caveman getting whacked last year. The animated Coke commercial was good because of the pay-it-forward theme.


I received an email this evening from Christa at Advisor letting me know I will be speaking at the Advisor Summit from May 6 – 10, 2007 in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel. Looks like my schedule will be a busy one with four different sessions:

  • Professional Developer’s Toolkit
  • Visual FoxPro Debugging Essentials
  • VFPX Tools and Components – Live
  • SQL Server Toolkit for the VFP Developer

I am not sure who else is speaking, but I am sure the line up will include some great sessions.

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Last month at the Detroit Area Fox User Group, my friend Paul Mrozowski demoed a number of tools and tips he uses every day in his VFP and .NET development. It was a great presentation and one where I learned a number of new things. One of these tips is to use the Consolas font from Microsoft.

The Consolas font is a non-proportional font like Courier New, but is better in many respects. The first is it is heavier or thicker than the Courier New font, but it is narrower too. In my opinion it is easier to read and provides more text in the same space. Other big differences are number zero (is it the letter O or the numeric zero?), the possible semi-colon vs. colon confusion, and the comma vs. period. Here is an image with both fonts set at 12 point, bold:

You can download the Consolas Font Pack for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 direct from Microsoft. It works with Visual FoxPro too ;) .

I like to work with smaller fonts and work at a high resolution (1920×1200) on a 15.4 inch wide screen monitor running Clear Type. I believe the eye strain I experience working long hours is reduced.

Thanks Paul for this simple, but fantastic tip!