Archive for September, 2007


Just in case you have not subscribed to our new RSS feed (recently created for us by Rick Borup), we have a change in the schedule for Saturday. The Arizona Golf Resort and Conference Center notified us of a change in the venue that really helps us and triggered a slew of changes I want to make sure you hear about. Previously we had the pre-conference sessions and keynote in another building, but now all sessions will be in Fairway 1-4. Another conflicting event in the same building Saturday night has been moved too.

What this means is:

  1. The vendor sessions on Saturday will be full 75 minute sessions.
  2. Lunch has been extended to a full hour (previously we had to crunch it to 45 minutes).
  3. A new version of Dave Aring’s Kokopelli scheduling app has been updated this morning (so if you previously downloaded it please get a fresh copy). There are no changes to the regular sessions, but we did include the new Visual MaxFrame and Stonefield Query user group meetings on the printed schedule.
  4. You will have more opportunities to visit the vendors (more to be announced soon on this topic soon).

Behind the scenes things are nuts. Over the last three days I probably have 250 emails on various aspects of Southwest Fox. We are close to 140 registered attendees and more than 160 people including speakers and vendors coming to the conference.

Only three weeks to go until we meet in Mesa.

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So are you looking at getting a book from Hentzenwerke Publishing (our newest Bronze sponsor), but want to chat in person with the publisher or one of the many authors in person before picking it up, or ordering it? No problem, just be in Mesa between October 18th and 21st and stop by the registration desk.

Whil (who is presenting a couple of sessions at the conference) is selling his entire line of Visual FoxPro books between sessions at Southwest Fox. Just in case you did not know, Hentzenwerke is the biggest publisher of VFP books on the planet.

As one of the many Hentzenwerke authors and tech editors I know the books sell best at conferences so this is very exciting news. The conference just keeps getting better.

Only a month to go before we all gather in Mesa.

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Each night the partitions on my computer get backed up to an USB drive (drive O:\). When I connect the USB drive sometimes it remembers it is O: and sometimes it thinks it is F:. Kind of a pain in the neck, but I just hop into XP’s Computer Manager and select the Disk Management, pick the disk and right-click to bring up a shortcut menu. I pick the Change Drive Letter and Path… option. I have done this hundreds of times.

Until last night when I accidentally picked Mark Partition as Active. This tells the hardware to make this drive the bootable drive. It did not even ask me if I was sure I wanted to hose up my hardware, it just switched it as if this is done everyday by users. What the heck?!?

So I poke around on the Web and every message I read usually ends with “dude, you are sooooo hosed.” Ugh.

I called my hardware guy and tell him what I did. He went and did a little research and came back with the “Dude, you are so hosed…”

I HATE hardware.

In a desperate last resort kind of thinking I recall I have a four support incidents with Microsoft from my MSDN Universal Everything Suite System Subscription. So I take a shot. After all, I am already hosed so what could be worse? Thanks for asking. {g}

I want to let you know I had low expectations going in, but I am very happy to report Microsoft Tech Support fixed me up. Actually they inspected my machine and found out I was not hosed, but I did not know this until the very end. I literally could throw away the USB drive and the OS would have booted fine. But Surbhi downloaded a disk sector hex editor and made it so the USB drive was not the active partition. I was literal sweating as she was probing and hacking. Even though she was very reassuring all would be well I was naturally concerned. If I had rebooted with the USB drive it would have come up looking like I had no OS loaded, but she “hacked” sector 1 and made it so it was not active. Sweet.

So my first experience in years with Microsoft Tech Support was a pleasant and rewarding one. I also asked her at the end what happens when XP is no longer on the support list. She said it would be a long, long time before this happens. I kind of laughed when she said Vista was a baby operating system. I know she was referring to the “infancy” definition and not that it was inferior or smaller in some way. Getting premium tech support is a natural concern for businesses moving forward and not adopting the latest OS from any company.

So now you know how I wasted my morning and part of my afternoon. I HATE hardware. Almost drives a man to drink more than water and lemonade. {g}

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Honestly, I never thought this was something I was going to announce when we decided to work on Southwest Fox 2007, but we are setting new registration records almost daily! We still have more than a month to go and we have close to 150 people set to come to Mesa in October. Unbelievable.


Only 37 days to get registered! See everyone in Mesa.

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Yep, we are getting close to the conference, but more companies are getting on board the already crowded Southwest Fox Conference sponsor bus. I want to introduce you to xSQL Software. These guys have some cool SQL Server tools and have become our newest Bronze sponsor.

One tool in particular is a tool I have been looking for for more time than I care to admit. I think their xSQL Builder tool is as close to the Stonefield Database Toolkit Update feature for SQL Server as any product I have looked at. I am hoping to cover this tool during my SQL Server Developer Toolkit session.

xSQL Software is providing several doorprizes to be given away during the conference. Very cool stuff.

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I am glad to see there are some live bloggers at FoxForward so I can hear about sessions and things going on at the conference. I am occasionally getting an instant messages from people at the conference too, which makes me want to be there even more than I did before the conference started.

Sounds like things are going well and some fun is being had by all.

I even had something added to my DAFUG to-do list {g}. Tod, interested in coming to Detroit in the near future?

Looking for the inside story? Check here:
Dave Crozier (all the way from England)
Kevin Cully (how the heck does the organizer guy have time??)
Steve Bodnar (speaking at the conference)
Tod McKenna (speaking at the conference)

There are a couple of other bloggers hanging out and speaking too so I am looking forward to reading their observations and thoughts too.

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Today I get to leak the cat out of the bag for a new “feature” of Southwest Fox: K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I.

What the heck is K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I.??

One Web description is:

“Kokopelli is one of the most intriguing and widespread images surviving from ancient Anasazi Indian mythology, and is a prominent figure in Hopi legends. The figure represents a mischievous trickster or the Minstrel, spirit of music. Kokopelli is considered a symbol of fertility who brought well-being to the people, assuring success in hunting, planting and growing crops, and human conception.”

Another description:

“Magical flute player, humpback or hump-backed flute player”

You see three Kokopelli characters on the Southwest Fox logo. But today I bring a different definition to you…

Knock Out Konference Orientation – Produce Elective Lecture Layout Interactively.


Dave Aring (from Visionpace – owners of the VFP framework MaxFrame Professional) has created a new Visual FoxPro applet that assists you in selecting a schedule customized for you based on the choices and preferences you have for the session slots. The app is quite simple: pick your favorite three sessions in any one slot for the entire conference. The application then uses a magical algorithm to determine the best fit so you get as many of your favorite sessions as possible.

You pick your priorities for the slots, click on the Create Schedule button, and then the Print Schedule button to preview the results. The output can be printed and brought with you to Mesa. The printed schedule when folded on the lines provided should fit nicely in the badge holder we will provide when you register Thursday.

The applet comes complete with text Help, and an interesting approach with truly graphical Help. Dave even included a block out feature so you can schedule session blocks you plan on skipping. Maybe the boss wants you to attend a conference call or staff meeting, or you have a session to give in that slot (can you tell what three organizers asked for this enhancement request {g}), or you just want to play hooky and attend one of the less formal offline sessions that happen in the hallway.

You can try out different session priorities to get different results. If you already know the sessions you want to attend you can just make them your number one sessions and not pick the 2nd and 3rd, and your schedule can be printed out.

In the user acceptance testing phase of this app I found it picked 50% of the sessions I had slotted with the “Rick Schummer Method” to picking sessions. I think this is pretty good. I hope you download it and give it a try, if not to help pick some sessions, but just to see how Visual FoxPro applications can be created and not look like your typical VFP app.

For more details on the new tool, see Dave’s blog entry on the Visionpace blog.

Thanks Dave for putting this together in your spare time and for contributing it to Southwest Fox!

Only 43 days until we all meet in Mesa!

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