Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A sad day for dBASE'rs - dBASE up for sale.

I've been a loyal dbase supporter for many years. Cut my teeth in programming through dBASE III+. A few years ago I changed course. Decided to learn a new language, namely C#. Why?, Because way back then, with all the failed promises and bad PR I saw the writing on the wall. Myself along with many others, were ridiculed by the dBASE community for leaving, or even daring to look at another language.

But sad to say, I learnt that dBASE is up for sale once again. With declining market share, old database connectivity, even older programming structures, dBASE will be hard pressed to find a buyer to resurrect it. Me thinks dBASE is officially dead.

Here is a link about the sale, find it @ Software company (dBASE rights)with assets revenues

It will cost millions, even billions to resurrect it. In this current economic climate, spare money to though at a dead horse is not what many have lying around.

RIP dBASE, we will miss you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pivoting your data in MS SQL. Creating "Cross-Tab" reports.

A pivot is a normally used to transform large amounts data into a condensed list or grid. A Pivot report displays data in a grid along a vertical and horizontal axis. Financial reports are good candidates for Pivot reports.

Microsoft Access refers to pivots as "Cross tabs." In MS Acces there is a wizard as well. It asks which columns should be on which axis, then auto-generates the code needed. Access creates pivots by using the special key word TRANSFORM.

Unfortunately it is not as easy as using a wizard in MS SQL. In SQL 2000, pivot style reports, called "Cross-Tab Reports" can be created using the CASE keyword. CASE can also be used in SQL 2005 and SQL 2008. But there is another keyword that can be used, PIVOT.

Read More..

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is your job under threat. Tech market to see huge layoffs.

With the overall economy slumping, the tech industry is taking its fair share of hits. Massive layoff's are in the pipe-line.
Not good news for a market that was once booming and moving upward at the speed of sound.

Some of the most well knows and industry leaders are amongst the highest job cuts we will see this year.

Among them are:
Logitech - 9,000
Ebay - 1,000
Sony-Ericson - 24,600 over three years (6200/year)
Xerox - 3,000
Freescale - 2,400
Nortel Networks - 1,300
Applied Materials - 1,800
Sun Microsystems - 6,000
Palm - 1,050
AT&T - 12,000
Alcatel-Lucent - 6,000
Western Digital - 2,500
Lenovo - 2,500
Dell - 1,900

How does that make you feel? Do you feel secure in you IT related job?

This is only half the problem. If there are so many job cuts in the market, then it stands to reason that the hiring will be just as bad or worse. You can't hire if you fire.

What about jobs for those leaving school, college or university?

Although a lot of tech companies seem to be doing well. Was it just that they hired too much? Did they pay too much for the so called experts? Were they overstaffed?

So what happens now? What does the future hold for us techies? Should we start looking at another career, like politics perhaps?

What are your thoughts, what do you think the future holds for the IT industry?

Bad Website Designers / Developers

How do you tactfully suggest to someone that there website design skills are sitting in the 90's?

I have opportunity to do some work for a web design and hosting company. Going through their profile and looking at their work, I come to the distinct conclusion that they are still in the 1990's and web 1.0.

Even their own site is boring, and hurtful to the eyes. Most of the sites that they have designed, have a similar style look and feel, and layout.

The graphics are shocking. Granulated. Some sites do not even work correctly. Yet they claim to be a professional outfit.

Maybe they are. Maybe their web design and development team are just not that good.

So how do you tell them that their websites are really bad, and that they need your services? How do you tell them in such a way that they will be willing to take you on as well as not being offended?

I covet you suggestions. Leave me a note.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

C# (.NET) vs PHP

This question has been one that has been asked for many years but no definite answer has been forthcoming.

Very much like which soft drink is best Pepsi or Coca Cola. It’s really about personal taste and what you can get out of it.

There are two major development platforms to choose from. They are PHP and .NET from Microsoft. Then choosing .NET you have a further choice of development languages, being Visual Basic and C#.

PHP has, over the years been a great development platform. One of it's main pro's is that it is open source and free. The costs of ownership and development are minimal. Running on a Linux OS and using mySQL as the back end database and Apache as the web server, all of which are open source, reduced the cost considerably. This was very attractive to students and those who could not afford the set-up prices of other systems.
Many People believe that the open source market is the way to go. They have this unexplained fear or hatred for Microsoft

With php, you are now platform independent, you are not locked into one particular OS

However, don't discount .NET. It is an excellent platform to program in.
.NET is a framework. The major MS languages like VB, C# C++ all use the .NET framework which makes interaction and integration a lot easier.

Over the years the biggest con against MS has been its cost. This has to some degree been addressed. You can now download all the MS express editions (limited versions) free from MS. In fact with the express editions of Visual Studio products you can create quite a range of excellent professional products.

Products include. MS SQLExpress, C# Express, VB Express, WebDev Express.
There is now little difference with hosting providers when it comes to hosting Linux/Windows/PHP/.NET.

Visual Studio Supports a great IDE with Two way tools with great plug-ins available that makes programming a cinch. This is what is commonly termed as RAD. Rapid Application Development. The idea is that you concentrate more on development and design than syntax and coding as such.

PHP does not have a great IDE, none that I am aware of, and none that are considered Two way tools.

Two way tools are in essence, the ability for your Graphical Interface to write the code behind, and also when you write the code behind you graphical interface (IDE) changes as well. Another advantage of .NET is that you can program desktop applications with it as well, your new skills in .NET will not limit you to web programming as such.

Many large companies prefer MS over open source platforms such as PHP. This is because there is a definite face to the Product. Namely, Microsoft. To Many, the Idea of Open source and PHP conjures up images of geeks in a basement with little support or responsibility. If there is a bug in .NET you can phone MS, talk to a person, someone is responsible. To many this is an attractive module, there is security in it, there is history. Sometimes with OneSource you have no idea what you’re getting. For instance there are so many versions of Linux, and you can change the code to create your own version. To many this smacks of lack of control.

However the open source market has evolved to a much more mature model and a lot of these fears have been addressed.

I have used both, but prefer .NET mainly because of its IDE, RAD and Plug-in tools available. Both support a mature security protocol. In essence security is protocol dependent and not language specific. Both are mainly server side execution. You would still use JS for some client side execution. Both have tons of help and tutorials on the net. Both have excellent support for many databases. However .NET is considered by some to be the better choice for lager sites and projects.
So for me, I would recommend MS .NET with C#.

I have put up some MS WebDev Tutorials for beginners on my website if you’re interested.

Let me know what your preferences are. I would be interested to know. Perhaps take the poll.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Are you a Web-a-Holic?

With the many forms of addiction available in the world today, one has to be careful at what you eat or drink or otherwise take in, because you might well form an addiction.

I come from a home where alcoholic addiction was prime. Drugs we used, and everybody was a smoker.

We frown at Chemical dependencies and call it a sickness. But many are addicted, I use this term loosely, to something.

What about your love for Coca-cola or Pepsi. What about all that coffee or tea you drink. Is it an addiction when you continually think about it if you have not had it in a while.

With the rise of the internet a whole new form of addiction a has surfaced. With free and easy access to porn sites, porn addiction is a real life concern.

But with the rise of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, MySpace, etc. The internet has become the addiction.

People spend hour and hours checking their social networks, e-mails, etc. If you haven't got an e-mail within the hour, or you haven't checked your wall on Facebook, you get the jitters.

I am not a big social network fan, but certainly I might be a candidate for a web-a-holic. When my ADSL line when down and I ran out of bandwidth the other day, I did not know what to do with myself.

I paced up and down waiting for the internet to come back on line. When my website was down for server maintenance, I was lost.

Just this Christmas season I found that I had a pain in my right hand, near the thumb knuckle. I soon realised that it was a "repetitive strain injury". Picked up as a result of being on the computer for more than 12 hours a day, using the mouse with my right hand.

Am I addicted to the internet? I very well might be. What about you? I would be interested to hear you thoughts or experiences. Drop us a comment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Congratulations to DBI and dBASE

A huge PR nightmare appeared recently from the Microsoft groups. I blogged about it. Many, including myself, posted messages in the dbase news groups.

What was surprising was the quick turn-around time that DBI, and Marty Kay in particular, in responding to this PR mistake. Contacting the customer, posting a reply in the Microsoft news group. Even making a comment here on this blog.
"Our customer service manager has learned a lesson about speaking with potential customers and not reacting inappropriately to any provocative statements the customer may make." - Marty Kay replied.

In the past DBI/dBASE has not been known for their great PR skills, or their care for their customers or potential customers. But this incedent shows that those notions are changing. Things certainly look up.

I have said in this blog that I write as I see it. True to my word I see a big plus for DBI and dBASE here. I would be the first, and I actually did, congratulate Marty Kay on the excellent way that he handled this matter.

Perhaps there is hope yet for DBI and dBASE.
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