Sep
09
DBI is giving away a full license of Calendar COM (ctxCalendar; https://www.dbi-tech.com/ComponentPage_ctxCalendar.aspx) to each Southwest Fox/Southwest Xbase++ 2016 attendee (http://www.swfox.net).
Calendar COM is a really great Outlook style scheduling control with three fully extensible views baked into one control: a multi-column Day View (a multiple day appointment scheduler for one resource or multiple resource appointment scheduler for one day at a time), a Week View Appointment Scheduler, and a Month Calendar / date picker. It comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

DBI has been a long-time supporter of Southwest Fox and we thank them for their generous support once again this year!

Only 13 days until we gather in Gilbert!
Aug
22

Listen to Andrew MacNeill interview Tamar Granor and Doug Hennig about Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ 2016 on the FoxShow #81. There’s a special registration discount offer for FoxShow listeners until September 2.

In case you are wondering why I am not in on the interview, I have left the partnership putting on the conference. I’m kidding! I was in an undisclosed bunker with a limited data plan and no other access to the Internet. Even I need to take a vacation day periodically.

No time like the present to get registered. We have 100% of our registration processing staff not on vacation ready to handle you registration. Get to it!

Only ONE MONTH until we all gather in Gilbert!

Jul
28
Simple quick reminder: save $50 by registering before the Early-bird registration deadline this Sunday, July 31st.

If you still need to register, please head over to the registration Web site today: http://geekgatherings.com/Registration

Every registered attendee gets admission and white papers to all regular conference sessions. Don’t miss this chance to learn from the best and mix with your peers.

It’s still only July and we already have nearly $15,000 in raffle prizes, with more yet to come.

See you in September! Only 56 days until we gather in Gilbert.

Jul
01

I have some good news to share today. Thanks to the support of both the Visual FoxPro and Xbase++ communities, Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ 2016 will proceed as planned September 22-25, 2016 in Gilbert, AZ.

We really appreciate all the support people have shown for the conference with early registrations! That said, the decision comes with a calculated risk because we are still many registrations short of the breakeven point. Please continue to spread the word to your colleagues, clients, user group and anywhere else Visual FoxPro or Xbase++ is spoken.

If you haven’t yet registered, there’s still room for you. Register before August 1 for a $50 early-bird discount.

Only 83 days until we gather in Gilbert!

Jun
27

The countdown clock is ticking! The Super-Saver deadline for Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ 2016 is June 30th, this Thursday! We still need people to register to make the conferences happen.

The conferences take place September 22-25 in Gilbert, Arizona and we really hope you can be there. We would hate to see you miss out on the $125 discount, the FREE pre-conference session, and an opportunity to win a scholarship or a license of Stonefield Query SDK (a $6,000 value).

After checking out our list of amazing speakers (http://www.swfox.net/speakers.aspx) and digging into our session tracks for VFP (http://www.swfox.net/sessionsswfox.aspx) and Xbase++ (http://www.swxbase.net/sessionsswxbase.aspx), head over to the registration Web site today: http://geekgatherings.com/Registration.

87 days until we gather in Glibert (fingers crossed)!

Jun
01

Registration for Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ is now available. See our speaker page for a list of speakers and our session pages for Visual FoxPro and Xbase++ sessions.  Super-Saver Registration, which saves you $125, is available only through June 30th, so don’t wait.

Putting on a conference is a risky endeavor. Conference centers require a guaranteed minimum income to block the dates of a conference; for a conference like Southwest Fox, that minimum is in the tens of thousands of dollars. We have to commit to the conference center by July 2nd and need your support by July 1st to make that commitment. We will not send out a “We need your help” appeal email so please do not wait; register by June 30th! We know most of you like to wait until the last minute to avoid the credit card bill arriving too soon. We will not charge any attendee credit cards or cash any checks until we have committed to going forward (sometime after July 2), so this is not is a reason to wait.

White Light Computing is proud to be a Platinum sponsor for the 10th straight year.

CleverFox Backup is proud to be a Gold sponsor for the 2nd year.

I look forward to seeing you in September! Only 113 days until we gather in Gilbert.

May
09

Exciting news:

Speakers and sessions have been announced for Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ 2016. Registration opens soon; send an email to info@geekgatherings.com if you want us to add you to our email list and let you know when it’s ready. See you in September!

Mar
08

We have customers calling occasionally to share with us their observation that our application we sold them is running slow. In the cases where we know the application is performing fine at other locations, we have to begin the process to determine what is different about their environment and circumstances and how this is different from the average customer who has our application working optimally. We are basically looking for things like slow computers, slow networking, over worked “server” computer, and flooded network traffic. As developers, we understand there are numerous factors in performance of an application and interaction with data. While data size can make an impact, I’ve seen large files perform just fine for our customers.

Note: All the questions assume you have done the standard performance diagnostics with your application using the Visual FoxPro Coverage Profiler to identify and remove all the slow parts. All queries (both SQL Select in-line code and local views) for local data are all optimized and checked using SYS(3054). The same goes for remote views, SQL Passthrough and CursorAdapter code for SQL server data (any SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, etc.) using the performance tools they provide.

I generally like to focus on the other external factors when it comes to performance.

Here are some of the questions I ask:

  1. What is the network configuration with respect to the workstations and networking speed of each connection? How fast is the network card on each computer: 10 mbit, 100 mbit, or 1000 mbit? 1000 mbit networking technology is inexpensive, yet we run into 10 mbit connections deep into the 21st century. It is simple to math to understand the impact.
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  2. What version(s) of Windows are running in your location on each computer? We have seen some performance issue with computers where there is an XP machine accessing the networked computer that runs Windows 7 or Server 2008/2012.
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  3. How much memory is on the “server” computer (Windows Server or workstation where software is installed in peer-to-peer)? What operating system is on the “server” computer?
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  4. Is the “server” computer 32-bit processor or 64-bit processor? What about the workstations?
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  5. How fast is the hard drive where the application is installed? Do you know if the drive is a 7800 rpm drive or better? We do find that slower drives do create performance problems in peer-to-peer networked situations.
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  6. Are you running the application on a server computer or a standard/regular workstation computer? Also, is the main computer a part of the normal operations or does it sit in the back and not get used by anyone?
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  7. If the main computer where the application is installed is a Windows Server, is it running anything else like Exchange, SQL Server, or anything else? How many processors are on the server?
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  8. What ant-virus or security software is installed? Are the data folders excluded from the scans? If I was given $10 each time anti-virus software was being overly aggressive with the data, well, my retirement account would be in excellent shape.
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  9. Where are the Windows TEMP files being written for the workstation? They should be pointed to the local computer, not a server if one is in use.
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  10. Are any of the other machines connected to the network through a wireless connection, or are each of the other computers wired into a switch/hub using an Ethernet cable? We do not support wireless networks for our applications, the computers must be hard wired. Wireless connections, while reliable for surfing the Internet, are not reliable for database applications.
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  11. What is the brand and model of the network switch/hub and how fast is it? We often run into old infrastructure that has worked for years/decades, so why would it stop working today? Hardware breaks eventually, but for some reason people think it only breaks for other people.
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  12. What other programs are running on the “server” computer besides our application when our application is running? I am looking for the memory hogs and the other application that have lots of background processing. People are amazed how much memory Web browsers consume when you leave them open for days and have tons of tabs set up to refresh for the news junkies.
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  13. Drive mappings or UNC to access main computer from workstation? I am never sure if this impacts performance, but it can help me generally get an idea of when someone sets things up themselves or have a professional IT group set things up.
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  14. How many drive mappings on the workstation? Another question to see if a professional set the computers up. Also, it helps me understand if there might be other applications accessing the network.
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  15. When was the “server” hard drive with our applications data defragmented? What is the level of defragmentation? Defragmentation is not much of a problem with larger drives now, but can obviously impact the data if it is scattered all over a drive.

Other things that cause slow performance:

  1. How long has the application been in service? How big is your application data? Inefficient and non-optimized queries obviously run slower with bigger data sets. I think all developers have overlooked this once or twice before, and production is going to reveal this fairly quickly once the users start recording information.
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  2. How frequently do you run the reindex routine? Indexes do get corrupt from time-to-time in the natural course of using the application. We know people who go months without reindexing. Good for them. On average, our reindexing routine takes a few minutes and we are not in the position where our applications are running 24×7 and cannot be down for this brief time. So we recommend to some of our customers to reindex daily, and others on a less frequent schedule.
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  3. Bad Ethernet wires or a bad port on the hub/switch often cause retries sending data over the network. Difficult to track down when more and more computers are used on the network.
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  4. Any chance you are streaming music through the network from Pandora, Spotify or another music service? Anything that creates network traffic will slow a networked application down.
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  5. Is there anything else that is running over the Internet to a computer other than standard browsing or file sharing? I’ve actually found a couple of customers who had people playing games over the network, watching their latest soap opera and Netflix binge watching at lunch, and even during work hours. Does that hurt application performance, um, sure.

Anything else we could be sharing with the local IT people? What are your experiences?