Calvin Hsia's WebLog

thoughts from a professional developer

  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Creating, parsing, graphing web hit logfiles or other temporal data

    • 4 Comments
    Looking at temporal data can be quite informative. For example, I have a table of about 16000 photographs . Each record has a datetime stamp. Looking at the temporal distribution one can clearly see events, such as the birth of a child, the visit of relatives...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Very Advanced Debugging tips

    • 9 Comments
    While debugging code, it might take very many complicated steps to reproduce an issue. The following applies to debugging both Visual FoxPro and Visual Studio Native code debugging, except where noted. The VFP debugger is modeled after the VS debugger...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Give the impression that you're an expert and earn palpable respect

    • 2 Comments
    Our local bridge club uses a computer program to tabulate scores. The bridge director enters scores from each round as they finish, so within a few minutes after the event is over, the final scores, rankings and earned masterpoints are available, and...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Is a process hijacking your machine?

    • 25 Comments
    Suppose there is a process on your machine that is hijacking your processor. Perhaps it’s in an infinite loop. Or perhaps you have no idea what a particular process is doing, and you’d like to find out. If you have a debugger installed, like Visual Studio...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    The Plane Man

    • 1 Comments
    A couple years ago, despite the airspace security implications just after 9/11, an airplane flew over Microsoft campus for about an hour towing an advertising banner that said “Thanks to Microsoft © 10 years of FoxPro!”. . Last week at DevCon, I was privileged...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    A Happy Customer

    • 8 Comments
    I bought myself a notebook computer a few months ago while Dell was having a Free Printer special. It turns out the printer can also scan, and the scanner has an option to output to MS Word after using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to convert to...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Cold Solder Joint

    • 7 Comments
    When we had our first child, we had an audio monitor that consisted of 2 pieces: a microphone with a wireless transmitter and a speaker with a wireless receiver. Thus we could hear the baby from afar. Times have changed. Now the hospital uses disposable...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Reboot from remote desktop

    • 64 Comments
    Remote Desktop (mstsc.exe) is great: it allows me to access another remote machine as if I were sitting at its keyboard and seeing its screen. My web server sits on top of a 7 foot tall bookcase but I have no need to touch it: I can use RD from other...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Make an interactive screen saver

    • 9 Comments
    Most screen savers will terminate when there is any mouse or keyboard activity, but a screen saver is just a program: it can do whatever it wants in response to input. Below is 40 lines of sample code to make a Visual FoxPro screen saver which consists...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Start your Screen Saver NOW!

    • 7 Comments
    Now that Las Vegas Devcon is over, I’ll be posting some of my sample code from the keynote and my session here. I demonstrated how to make a simple VFP screen saver. To test it, invoking it immediately is useful. Windows XP allows you to have a screen...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Form design shortcut

    • 1 Comments
    I’ve been very busy creating content for our developer conference and we’ve been working hard on our product because we’re close to shipping. While preparing a demo form, I came across a shortcut for designing a form that I thought I’d share. I wanted...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Spy on your programs

    • 10 Comments
    A user emailed me a question: How can I get the handle often named as "HWnd" of any Visual Foxpro native visual object such as COMMANDBUTTON,SHAPE,EDITBOX,LISTBOX ,etc.? There is a tool called SPY++ that ships with Visual Studio (on my machine, Start...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Print a t-shirt

    • 6 Comments
    I went to http://www.stamps.com to order US Postage stamps with a photo that I choose to upload: no Elvis stamps for me. There are also sites (like www.pictureframes.com ) that will print/frame and deliver a customer photograph to any address: a great...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    How to protect your web site pictures from being saved

    • 9 Comments
    A customer emailed me: As you are an expert I have the following question that maybe you know to answer. My wife is an artist making cards for every occasion. We have now the idea of selling these cards through internet. Showing these cards on a gallery...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Hear your web site being hit

    • 14 Comments
    Somebody in the world is browsing the internet and hits your web site. How do you know? IIS provides logging services (WinXP: Control Panel->Admin Tools->IIS->Web Sites->Default Web Site. Rt-Click, Properties, Enable Logging, choose the kind...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Anachronisms

    • 20 Comments
    My 7 year old daughter was playing with a toy Fisher Price dial telephone. She asked “How does this work?” I had to explain how we had to “dial” a phone. Remember slide rules? (I still use a slide rule: they’re great when you want to have a custom lookup...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Put a web browser on your desktop

    • 10 Comments
    Just a few lines of code allow you to put a fully functioning custom web browser on your screen background. If you’re not running the beta of VFP9, then remove the autocomplete property on the textbox below. The AlwaysOnBottom puts the browser form below...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Harvesting blood

    • 3 Comments
    I gave blood yesterday to the Puget Sound Blood Center It’s great: they have an online reservation system and send a bloodmobile to Microsoft campus pretty frequently (about every 8 weeks: (that’s how often you are allowed to give blood) how about that...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Displaying playing cards for bridge

    • 7 Comments
    I love to play bridge. When I was a little kid, my parents played with their parents. I would put my palm on the table, and my dad would riffle shuffle on my hand. The thrills of childhood! Nowadays I read bridge columns and try to play at the local bridge...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Why was the original IBM PC 4.77 Megahertz?

    • 34 Comments
    In 1979, I had a summer job on Long Island , NY designing a circuit board for the front panel of a satellite control system. That was the time Apple II and Radio Shack were top selling computers. We were designing a circuit board that had an embedded...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Sharing Digital Pictures of your friend's

    • 13 Comments
    My family recently went to the Microsoft Company Picnic, where we met with a friend’s family to enjoy the amenities. I took some pictures of our kids, and I emailed a link to the pictures to my friend. The link shows a page with the picture...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Phone Number Challenge update

    • 9 Comments
    I'm back from a month sabbatical/paternity leave. Due to popular demand, here’s an update of the phone number problem, with a web site from which you can try the algorithm A while ago, I posted a blog about a sort of informal programming...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Ancestors and population paradox: exponential growth

    • 16 Comments
    If I have 2 parents, and each of them have 2 parents, each generation back has double the number of members. Thus there are 2^n members n generations ago. 10 generations ago there were about one thousand (1024) people, 20 back were 1 million, and 30 back...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    What is a C0000005 crash?

    • 35 Comments
    In my blog about Dr. Watson I talked about product crashes. What is an example of a crash? How destructive is it? Here’s a simple example. MyFunction takes a string parameter and calculates its length MyFunction ( char * StringParam...
  • Calvin Hsia's WebLog

    Thirty years ago, computers were quite different

    • 6 Comments
    In the old days, we had to use a typewriter. I asked if I could use the ASR-33 teletype machine which connected to our high school PDP-8 computer, but it only printed in UPPER CASE on rolls of yellow paper. Did you ever wonder the origin of the...
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