Archive for March, 2007


Marketing, marketing, marketing.

The organizers of Southwest Fox are gradually cranking up the marketing machine and are asking for your help to spread the word. We are looking for past attendee testimonials to post on the Southwest Fox site, and for those with a Fox related Web site to link to our site. Help spread the word!

Check out our banner developed for us by fellow Fox’er Dave Aring…

Southwest Fox 2007, Mesa, AZ, October 18 - 21, 2007

More details on how you can help, along with directions to create a link using our new banner graphic are available on the Southwest Conference Promote Conference page.

Speaker submissions look great and registration starts May 1st.

Thanks in advance for helping us out!

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I stepped out of the office to get the mail this afternoon and realize it is hot outside. In fact it is officially 79F outside and less than 70F in my office. I was sitting in the office wearing a sweat shirt. So I opened up the windows and let in the noise of the birds chirping, the buses braking, the children playing, and the cars racing down the street.

I have declared it is too nice to work. Unfortunately I have a pile of work to get done today and cannot take the afternoon off. The boss here at White Light is a slave driver.

Spring has officially arrived in Michigan, but winter will be back as I am sure we should get one good snow storm before May 1st.



Over the last few weeks a few people have commented to me privately how the North American VFP conferences threaten each other in the September and October time frame. I can tell you this is not the case. Sure, in the big picture we are competitors because we are trying to convince the same customer to attend our conference. But the fact is, the conferences are very different in the type of developer we expect to attract to our venues.

Yesterday I got an email from Kevin Cully asking me a question about how we are approaching credit card processing for Southwest Fox. This is a big deal expense to a conference organizer or any business accepting credit card payments. The costs can easily determine if a conference like ours is profitable or generating a loss. I just got off the phone with the second credit card processing vendor I talked to that afternoon when his email arrived. I called Kevin and talked to him for an hour. We covered a number of common issues FoxForward and Southwest Fox face. It was a great conversation and I learned a lot from the discussion. Thanks Kevin.

When I was first contemplating taking over Southwest Fox I called Kevin and the other VFP conference organizers looking for their wisdom and to understand the battle scars. I wanted to avoid making as many mistakes as possible. Kevin, Whil Hentzen, Rainer Becker, Igor Vit, Mike and Toni Feltman, and Craig Bailey have been very supportive and are very open to my inquiries. Each and every one of them spent time advising me on the dos and don’ts. Even Advisor wants to talk to us. Hopefully it will help Southwest Fox to be a great conference, and maybe I can return the favor at some point in the future.

The key here is Kevin and I want each other’s conference to be very successful this fall. It is in the best interest of the Fox Community. So if you are worried we are out to cut each other’s throats, fear not.

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Back a couple weeks ago I mentioned several Outlook 2007 frustrations on my blog. I am making some progress on a couple of issues I noted.

1) “The last frustration is the themed appearance of the title bar.’

I found buried in the Outlook Options the ability to select Blue, Silver, or Black as my “Outlook Theme.” You can find this under the Tools | Options dialog box, pick the Mail Format page, Editor Options button (near the bottom of this page). On the Editor Options dialog box you will see the Color scheme option on the “Popular” tab.

While I wish they would let me turn this off and just use the regular Windows Theme I have selected, at least the black theme is closer to the theme I have in Windows and is easier for me to see the Windows inside of Outlook. Unfortunately this is the only one I have resolution on and it is the least of the problems I have with Outlook 2007.

2) “The first is the appearance of Outlook locking up during a Send/Receive pass.”

I learned at the MVP Summit that this is a common problem and one that has solutions. Some folks have mentioned the size of PST files over 2GB are an issue. Mine is still floating around 1.5GB and has been at this size for the last couple of years. All the solutions I have been pointed to and read about give solutions that appear to work only on Vista. I can tell you Vista is not in my near future for my primary development machine so I have to find a solution for Windows XP. I have posted this problem on a couple of message boards I have access to and hope the community will jump in and make this easy.

3) I half jokingly mentioned: “I am not sure Outlook and my Treo are ever going to synchronize. {g}”

So far so good. Once I corrected some of the inadvertent time changes all is working on both Outlook and my Treo. No missed appointments so far.

Thanks to those who have offered help and condolences.



Only one week left to save $200 on the $2195 Gold Passport, or $1695 Regular Main Event fees to the Advisor Summit being held in Anaheim, CA May 6-10, 2007.

Deadline is March 30,2007 so head over to the online registration to save a couple of C-Notes before time runs out.

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Just a quick reminder that the deadline for speaker proposals is fast approaching for Southwest Fox 2007. The deadline for proposals is 8:00am Eastern Daylight Time on Monday March 26, 2007. To be considered, send your bio, between three and six session proposals, and a digital photo for publicity purposes to: speakers AT swfox DOT net (correcting all the intentionally spelled out parts for the email address).

All the details, expectations, instructions to make a proposal, and the selection process can be found on the Southwest Fox Speakers page. Just click on the link for “Call for Speakers.”

Proposals from great speakers have already arrived (as good as getting early birthday gifts) and we are anticipating the selection process to be quite difficult, but this is part of the fun in assembling the best Southwest Fox yet!

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Alan Griver (yag) who heads the Visaul FoxPro team at Microsoft announced yesterday that Microsoft is not going to release a VFP 10. Is this news? Not at all. Ken Levy posted the VFP Roadmap almost a couple of years ago with this detail. It has been posted on the Microsoft Visual FoxPro site and discussed at great length on the various forums.

What yag did announce yesterday is the packaging and pricing for Sedna. Sedna is the external components (Data Explorer, Upsizing Wizard, My Namespace, NET2COM, Vista Toolkit, etc.) being released this summer. Before this announcement the Fox Community did not know if this was going to be free or have some cost. We now know it will be free to everyone.

Even better news is Sedna will be released as open source on Codeplex. This means the Fox Community will be able to extend the components. This is exciting, but not really surprising. Microsoft has released the XSource components with similar licensing and the ability for the community to extend and enhance. The source will include VFP and VB.NET code).

VFP 9 SP2 is also scheduled to be released this summer. This release could be the most critical release in the long history of VFP as it will be the last scheduled release of the EXE and DLLs. Alan reassured us Microsoft will support the VFP product through the commitment (currently set to January 2015) and will sell licenses for years to come. How long into the future is still to be determined with the legal eagles because some countries have laws with respect to official support after the initial sale.

The MVPs also talked about the Vista compatibility issues. I have blogged about this a few times, but in case you are a new reader: Vista compatibility is the most important feature included in VFP 9 SP2 and Sedna. VFP MVPs Rick Strahl and Doug Hennig have done a lot of work with Vista and have blogged about their findings. The Fox Team knows about several issues and really want to hear from the community as soon as possible to get these issues resolved before SP2 ships. This is super critical and cannot stress enough that we need to get testing on Vista to ensure VFP plays well on Vista in the future.

I think the biggest concern within the community is long term viability of VFP apps on the currently supported operating systems, and moving forward with newer technology. Alan assured us that there will be support through 2015 and Microsoft has C++ resources available to work on major bugs found in the product moving forward, but the resources for VFP 9 SP2 are defined and now is the time to get it working smoothly.

The take aways from our meeting were this
1) Sedna and VFP 9 SP2 are going to Beta 1 soon with release this summer
2) Sedna will be released as open source
3) VFP 9 will be supported into the future
4) VFP 9 will still be sold to developers (how long still to be determined)
5) VFP 9 will be available in MSDN through the support cycle dates
5) There still will be VFP MVPs in the future

So how does this affect me personally? I am going to load Vista and do some serious testing. I have been too busy and priority was not high enough. I don’t think Vista is being adopted as quick as anyone thought it would and my customers are not using it yet. But the importance of this to our future and to our community is going to make this a high priority for me. I hope you will help out too. It is very important for us to get the kinks worked out.

The rest of my business will continue as is and I am planning on working with VFP well into the future as long as it serves me and my customers as it is today.

On a personal note, I thanked the VFP team for providing me a tool that has helped me grow my business and serve my customers. VFP rocks, plain and simple. The future is still very bright.


Seattle got a “pineapple express” storm Sunday while Igor and I went sightseeing around Washington state. If you are not familiar with this weather term – it refers to a powers low pressure storm that has much of the energy flowing from the tropics near Hawaii.

So we observed lots of clouds around Mt. St. Helen’s and around Mt Rainier. The roads were closed as I expected. We did see part of the crater at Mt. St. Helens from 24 miles away. Nothing impressive, but fun any way. Igor was impressed by the massive forests and the different number of trees. He told me the Czech Republic harvests their trees and replant so they never get very big and the number of varieties is very low.

We headed up to Mt. Rainier to check out more clouds around the dormant volcano. We stopped to get some food for lunch and talked to some locals about the roads. We found out the entire park is closed because it was hit by a storm last November that wiped out an entire campground and the roads near the southwest entrance. Naturally we were bummed. We thought we would head up anyway to see what might be around. Good thing too, because while the park is closed it was open to foot traffic and we could hike in and see the storm washout. It was impressive. I felt bad for the locals because their businesses have been hit really hard because no one is visiting except for a few morbid observers.

So we observed the clouds around Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier and headed back to the Olympia peninsula. It started to rain (what a shock in Seattle). We stopped to take some pictures of a suspension bridge under construction which was cool. We took a ferry back to Seattle which was fun and allowed us to observe more clouds over the city and the sound. Lots of pictures.

A very nice day indeed. Now off to work at the MVP Summit.