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Friday, November 30, 2001

[2:38 PM]
SOAP and Visio?

So just what the heck is Richard up to? He's doing something cool for Visio's Find Shape feature! Go Richard!

If he can pull this off it'll wake some folks up! I know you can do it Richard, one day at a time, one piece at a time.
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[10:02 AM]

That's my age as of yesterday. Kim got me some really cool Harry Potter stuff. Ever since she read the books she's been calling me Hagrid, so she got me a Hagrid mug. It's really nice! The coolest thing I got was a pocket watch like Dumbledore's! It has four or five sets of hands on the face! It's way cool! She also got me a shirt that reads "If you want my opinion, ask my wife."

My girls bought me a couple of DVD's, ya they know what dad likes! I got Planet of the Apes and The Patriot. Thanks girls, I love 'em!

All in all it was a great birthday!


The alumni game is back on! Yippee! We got our gear last night and Sunday we start knocking the snot-bubbles out of each other. It's going to be a total blast. Hopefully this year I don't break my nose! I think I'm going to go buy my own helmet so I can get a good fit.

The game is scheduled for Saturday December 8th in Exeter. Come out and see a great game of football and raise money for the kids!
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Thursday, November 29, 2001

[5:53 PM]

I asked Richard to test CheezyPing for me today, and it crashed. DOH! So I got to looking at it this evening when I got home and found the culprit. Remember kids a NULL terminated string is your friend.

In my code I was doing this...

char Buffer[MAX_PATH]; // 255

Then I was calling a function called parseArgs like this...

parseArgs(Arguments, NumArgs, Buffer, strlen(Buffer)...

See my boo-boo! Doing a strlen(Buffer) on Buffer is bad, bad, bad at this time. It's not NULL terminated, what a rookie mistake. Yes, after twelve years I still do stoopid things on occasion. Anyway I've changed that call to look like this...

parseArgs(Arguments, NumArgs, Buffer, MAX_PATH...

Now everybody is happy and I'm no longer corrupting the stack, I hate it when I do that.

So as Dave would say "I make crappy programs, with bugs!"

So would anyone out there like to make a Mac and/or Linux version of CheezyPing? If I had a Mac and/or Linux box I certainly would.

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[1:38 PM]
Old office, the cave

Back in early 1993 (I think it was early '93?) when Visio was starting to grow a bit we were running out of space in our offices in Westlake Center, we were in the tower above the mall. My boss approached me about making what looked to be a storage closet of some kind into an office. I said sure! I was happy to get out of my cube and into a private work area. I loved this space and everyone thought I was crazy for taking it, so there was no chance of losing it! Those were the days. Visio 1.0 wasn't all that old and I was working on my first C/Win32 SDK based project. Visio setup. My first job was to make it localizable since we were putting together our first German and French releases of Visio. I had three computers in that cramped little office. Two Windows 3.1 boxes and, are you ready for this, a Windows NT 3.1 box. Hey this was early in NT's life so that was quite rare in the office, I think I was the first person with it. Anyway here's the office in all it's glory.

Hey! This picture must have been taken in late '93 or early '94 because I can see copies of Visio 2.0 on the shelf in the background. They're on the right hand side of the shelf, with the red 2.0 in the lower right corner. (I know you can't make it out but trust me it's there!) On the monitor you'll notice that Visio setup is running. I must have run this 50 times a day testing new code! Look at the door, you'll notice what looks like a brown rectangle hanging on it. That was a sign that read "Will write C code for food". There's also a screen shot hanging above the computer on the right hand side of my first Visio Add-On called TPalette. It let you create floating toolbars of Visio commands back in the Visio 2.0 days. It never saw the light of day unfortunately, too many bugs!
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Wednesday, November 28, 2001

[2:28 PM]
My idea, yes it was!

You ever get one of those ideas that your family thinks is goofy? I do, all the time! Well I was just across the street at Starbucks and noticed they have a new rechargeable card you can use for your purchases, hey that was my idea! You get the card, give them some amount of cash, they swipe the card to "load" it, and you use it instead of cash for your purchases. I like that, a lot in fact. It would be nice to get Visa or Master Card to do something similar. That way you could use it at more places than Starbucks. Does something like that already exist? If so please tell me about it.


So how do you tell your site has been updated? If you're not using Blogger, Manila, or LiveJournal and you have a Windows box and DevStudio with a C++ compiler you're more than welcome to take CheezyPing. This is how I tell my site has changed.

Once you've built it you can check out pingSample.bat to see how to call it. Enjoy!
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[10:27 AM]

Well yesterday afternoon was bad because of a hardware problem, this morning is good because that same problem magically disappeared! This morning I came in and decided to give this box another chance, and it just worked! So I'm composing this from the problem machine with a freshly upgraded Windows XP installation! Ahhhhh, life is good isn't it?


A couple of friends and I got an evaluation copy of Manila for our Bloghouse venture. We've run into the expiration period for the eval copy and I got an e-mail this morning from Mr. John Robb, UserLand President and COO, asking what he could do to help! WOW! That's impressive. This is the way more companies should treat their customers, and potential customers. I would love nothing more than to purchase Manila RIGHT NOW! The problem right now is more financial than anything. This started as a joint effort between friends and has kinda fallen apart. Bummer! The guys just can't commit the time to make it happen so why should they spend $300.00 on software they can't commit to? They shouldn't! I could get my wife to buy off on the $300.00 commitment, but $900.00 is another matter when you're trying to get your wood floors refinished!

That's ok, I'll figure out a way to do it! Manila rocks!

A good friend asked me the other day "What would you do if you didn't have to work?". Today my answer is this. I'd ask Dave at UserLand to let me work on Manila for free! That's right, I'd volunteer to work on it if I could. That's how much I believe in it!

John, Robert, and Dave THANK YOU for all of your help during our evaluation! I WILL FIND A WAY to purchase Manila!
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Tuesday, November 27, 2001

[4:50 PM]

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, one of those days where everything goes wrong? One of those days when the house is falling apart, the car won't start and your operating system won't install because your CD died? That's ok. I'm still walking, talking, and breathing! Life is good, thank you God.

I decided it was finally time to update both of my boxes running Windows XP RC2. My ThinkPad upgraded without a hitch, just took a while to install. No biggie. When I started the upgrade on my old Dell XPS D266, yes that's right it's a Pentium II-266, it decided to croak after it rebooted the box. Looks like the CD just died! Darn hardware! So now all that box wants to do is boot, look for CD, boot, look for CD, boot... you get the picture. I need to find a new CD drive just to complete the installation. Bummer, I really like that old box.

Anyone have a spare Toshiba CD drive they'd like to loan me for a while?
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[9:34 AM]

Last night was Visalia's annual Main Street Christmas Parade. For the first time since we moved home from Seattle five years ago we missed it! Our lovely Honda Passport decided it didn't want to be fixed in time to be picked up last night so we didn't have a way to get the entire family over here. It's a real bummer because that parade signals the beginning of the Christmas Season for me! Oh well, I'm sure I'll live.

This Friday night we have a Christmas parade in Exeter. I look forward to that one each and every year as well. I'm not missing it and I'll be able to walk to the parade on Main St. because we only live a stones throw away since we moved to our new home. I absolutely love living downtown. Last night Tater and I walked to her volleyball practice, very nice.

More on blades

I just thought I'd throw out a couple of companies that are working on blades platforms. Ensim, BSIComputer, and Egenera. They're the small unknowns in the blades race along with more familiar names like IBM, HP, Compaq, Qwest, Sprint, Rackspace and Interland.

My sister-in-law works for a company called ServerVault. I wonder if they're looking at systems like this? How 'bout it D?

Back in the day...

Back when Netscape was still in business and they had their "fishcam" up and running I created this...

More Visio history!
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Monday, November 26, 2001

[4:33 PM]

No I'm not talking about roller blades! I'm talking about blade servers. They're the latest hope for companies like Exodus. Personally I think they're a really cool idea. To be able to create super servers by plugging in small expansion cards into some sort of bus is a great idea. No need to go out and buy a new server every time you need more horse power, just plug in a new expansion card "server". These things should be inexpensive and hopefully won't ever be out dated, you just add the newest updated module to your existing infrastructure. At least that's my take on it. The internet still isn't good enough for real business. It's gotta work at least as well as your phone service and become just as inexpensive.

NetworkWorldFusion: "Server blades set to invade enterprise nets."
ZDNet News: "Blades shine in grim server market."

In a Red Herring article I read yesterday it sounds like folks are trying to create real distributed network loads. If server A is not being used then use it to offload some of the workload of server B. It seems very logical to me!

Do some research. My explanation of blades is lame at best. It could be a very cool technology.

C# & .NET

I make a living writing C++ code, plain and simple. I love C++ warts and all. Yes it does have warts but I've come to live with them and even love 'em. With all our .NET stuff going on I've started to take notice of C# and the .NET CLR. This stuff is extremely cool! I especially LOVE the built in support for web services. A simple set of attributes will allow you to publish SOAP interfaces without having to write additional code, now isn't that sweet. The idea of that is starting to open new areas of my brain I didn't know I had! It's quite exciting.

Richard has been messing with the new environment more than I have, in fact he's actually writing real production C# code TODAY! I'm just reading about it. Today at lunch he shared some of his observations with me. See Richard is a VB guru and SQL server nutt. They've written some extremely cool software at his place of work entirely in VB with a web front end and SQL Server backend; they have some bottlenecks to work through, but what software project doesn't? Anyway Richard was doing some testing with equivalent VB and C# code calling a stored procedure in SQL Server, here are his results. WOW! I know, I know you doubt them. It's only natural and your mileage may vary, but I find it compelling!
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[9:37 AM]

Well Friday was the annual Fahrni trip to the movies. This years selection, Harry Potter! We arrived about an hour-and-a-half early to line up only to find there wasn't a line! They'd been seating since 10 A.M. and the movie didn't start until 1:00 P.M. DOH! That's ok we still got wonderful seats. While Kim saved us a spot the girls and I grabbed the usual goodies and prepared to have a wonderful time watching the movie we've all been looking forward to. When it started I felt like a little kid, I was giddy with excitement. I wasn't disappointed! I personally thought the movie was spectacular! They did a great job hitting on the things that make the books so wonderful, and this is just the beginning. Overall I'd give it two thumbs WAY up!

Alumni Football

Each year at this time Exeter and Woodlake come together to have an alumni football game. We do it to raise funds for the football programs at our schools. The money made each year is split 50-50. It's a good thing. Well last year we whooped the stuffing out of Woodlake and were looking to do it again this year. The team has been practicing since November 4th and we're really coming together. Yesterday we were supposed to get our pads and start hitting, FINALLY, only to discover Woodlake may back out! Say what! Turns out they have only managed to get 13 players to commit to the game. Man that's really lame guys! Come on pull it together I really want to play.

The game is scheduled for December 8th this year and may possibly move to the 15th. If Woodlake can't manage to get enough players together we're going to allow them to lower the age requirement so they can hopefully field a team. So if you're in the big metropolis of Exeter that day stick around and support our football programs, if we have the game that is.
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