Planet FoxPro

August 20, 2014

Alex Feldstein

Blues Brothers - Peter Gunn Theme

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by Alex Feldstein ( at August 20, 2014 10:02 AM

August 19, 2014

Alex Feldstein

40 maps that explain the Roman Empire

Vox has a very nice presentation of maps to explain the Roman Empire.

As a student of history myself these are invaluable to help you visualize Roman and world history.


(click on the image for the link)

by Alex Feldstein ( at August 19, 2014 10:23 PM

Calvin Hsia's WebLog

Surface Pro 3 cursor disappears

I like my new Surface Pro 3. Things were working fine and all of a sudden, the cursor would disappear. I just have the Type Cover and a memory card installed: no other hardware. Narrowing down the issue: if I move my finger in circles on the trackpad...(read more)

by CalvinH at August 19, 2014 09:39 PM



Editor comments: new pro for lots of little prgs
Tips, Tricks and Gotcha's with VFP's SET PROCEDURE command

August 19, 2014 08:25 PM

Beth Massi - Sharing the goodness

Fun with the Interns: Christian Salgado Catalogs .NET APIs

A few weeks ago when I was up in Redmond I had the pleasure of interviewing some interns on the .NET team to talk about their experience as an intern at Microsoft and to show off the projects they are working on.

In this interview I sit down with Christian Salgado, a Developer Intern on the .NET BCL team, and we chat about his internship experience and summer project. Christian built an internal website and service that allows anyone in the company to browse the huge catalog of .NET APIs by profile. It also includes syntax, usage and design notes. He used ASP.NET MVC5 and Web API 2 to build the site and service and said it was "pretty comprehensive and straightforward to use". So for those of you just starting out, check out the awesome tutorials on

Watch: Fun with the Interns: Christian Salgado Catalogs .NET APIs

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And for all those students out there pursuing a career in computer science, you should consider an internship at Microsoft. You can help build real software that helps millions of people! Learn more about the Microsoft internship program here.


by Beth Massi - Microsoft at August 19, 2014 08:09 PM

Alex Feldstein

August 18, 2014

Alex Feldstein

Killer Whale Vs Great White shark ( National Geographic WILD )

Amazing footage of a Killer Whale (Orca) attacking and partially eating a Great White shark, filmed by a whale watching tourist.

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by Alex Feldstein ( at August 18, 2014 08:56 PM

Rick Strahl's Web Log

The broken Promise of the Mobile Web

brokenphoneHigh end mobile devices have been with us now for almost 7 years and they have utterly transformed the way we access information. Mobile phones and smartphones that have access to the Internet and host smart applications are in the hands of a large percentage of the population of the world. In many places even very remote, cell phones and even smart phones are a common sight.

I’ll never forget when I was in India in 2011 I was up in the Southern Indian mountains riding an elephant out of a tiny local village, with an elephant herder in front riding atop of the elephant in front of us. He was dressed in traditional garb with the loin wrap and head cloth/turban as did quite a few of the locals in this small out of the way and not so touristy village. So we’re slowly trundling along in the forest and he’s lazily using his stick to guide the elephant and… 10 minutes in he pulls out his cell phone from his sash and starts texting. In the middle of texting a huge pig jumps out from the side of the trail and he takes a picture running across our path in the jungle! So yeah, mobile technology is very pervasive and it’s reached into even very buried and unexpected parts of this world.

Apps are still King

Apps currently rule the roost when it comes to mobile devices and the applications that run on them. If there’s something that you need on your mobile device your first step usually is to look for an app, not use your browser. But native app development remains a pain in the butt, with the requirement to have to support 2 or 3 completely separate platforms.

There are solutions that try to bridge that gap. Xamarin is on a tear at the moment, providing their cross-device toolkit to build applications using C#. While Xamarin tools are impressive – and also *very* expensive – they only address part of the development madness that is app development. There are still specific device integration isssues, dealing with the different developer programs, security and certificate setups and all that other noise that surrounds app development.

There’s also PhoneGap/Cordova which provides a hybrid solution that involves creating local HTML/CSS/JavaScript based applications, and then packaging them to run in a specialized App container that can run on most mobile device platforms using a WebView interface. This allows for using of HTML technology, but it also still requires all the set up, configuration of APIs, security keys and certification and submission and deployment process just like native applications – you actually lose many of the benefits that  Web based apps bring. The big selling point of Cordova is that you get to use HTML have the ability to build your UI once for all platforms and run across all of them – but the rest of the app process remains in place.

Apps can be a big pain to create and manage especially when we are talking about specialized or vertical business applications that aren’t geared at the mainstream market and that don’t fit the ‘store’ model. If you’re building a small intra department application you don’t want to deal with multiple device platforms and certification etc. for various public or corporate app stores. That model is simply not a good fit both from the development and deployment perspective.

Even for commercial, big ticket apps, HTML as a UI platform offers many advantages over native, from write-once run-anywhere, to remote maintenance, single point of management and failure to having full control over the application as opposed to have the app store overloads censor you.

In a lot of ways Web based HTML/CSS/JavaScript applications have so much potential for building better solutions based on existing Web technologies for the very same reasons a lot of content years ago moved off the desktop to the Web.

To me the Web as a mobile platform makes perfect sense, but the reality of today’s Mobile Web unfortunately looks a little different…

Where’s the Love for the Mobile Web?

Yet here we are in the middle of 2014, nearly 7 years after the first iPhone was released and brought the promise of rich interactive information at your fingertips, and yet we still don’t really have a solid mobile Web platform.

I know what you’re thinking: “But we have lots of HTML/JavaScript/CSS features that allows us to build nice mobile interfaces”. I agree to a point – it’s actually quite possible to build nice looking, rich and capable Web UI today. We have media queries to deal with varied display sizes, CSS transforms for smooth animations and transitions, tons of CSS improvements in CSS 3 that facilitate rich layout, a host of APIs geared towards mobile device features and lately even a number of JavaScript framework choices that facilitate development of multi-screen apps in a consistent manner.

Personally I’ve been working a lot with AngularJs and heavily modified Bootstrap themes to build mobile first UIs and that’s been working very well to provide highly usable and attractive UI for typical mobile business applications. From the pure UI perspective things actually look very good.

Not just about the UI

But it’s not just about the UI - it’s also about integration with the mobile device. When it comes to putting all those pieces together into what amounts to a consolidated platform to build mobile Web applications, I think we still have a ways to go… there are a lot of missing pieces to make it all work together and integrate with the device more smoothly, and more importantly to make it work uniformly across the majority of devices.

I think there are a number of reasons for this.

Slow Standards Adoption

HTML standards implementations and ratification has been dreadfully slow, and browser vendors all seem to pick and choose different pieces of the technology they implement. The end result is that we have a capable UI platform that’s missing some of the infrastructure pieces to make it whole on mobile devices. There’s lots of potential but what is lacking that final 10% to build truly compelling mobile applications that can compete favorably with native applications.

mobileweblogSome of it is the fragmentation of browsers and the slow evolution of the mobile specific HTML APIs. A host of mobile standards exist but many of the standards are in the early review stage and they have been there stuck for long periods of time and seem to move at a glacial pace. Browser vendors seem even slower to implement them, and for good reason – non-ratified standards mean that implementations may change and vendor implementations tend to be experimental and  likely have to be changed later. Neither Vendors or developers are not keen on changing standards. This is the typical chicken and egg scenario, but without some forward momentum from some party we end up stuck in the mud. It seems that either the standards bodies or the vendors need to carry the torch forward and that doesn’t seem to be happening quickly enough.

Mobile Device Integration just isn’t good enough

Current standards are not far reaching enough to address a number of the use case scenarios necessary for many mobile applications. While not every application needs to have access to all mobile device features, almost every mobile application could benefit from some integration with other parts of the mobile device platform. Integration with GPS, phone, media, messaging, notifications, linking and contacts system are benefits that are unique to mobile applications and could be widely used, but are mostly (with the exception of GPS) inaccessible for Web based applications today.

Unfortunately trying to do most of this today only with a mobile Web browser is a losing battle. Aside from PhoneGap/Cordova’s app centric model with its own custom API accessing mobile device features and the token exception of the GeoLocation API, most device integration features are not widely supported by the current crop of mobile browsers. For example there’s no usable messaging API that allows access to SMS or contacts from HTML. Even obvious components like the Media Capture API are only implemented partially by mobile devices. There are alternatives and workarounds for some of these interfaces by using browser specific code, but that’s might ugly and something that I thought we were trying to leave behind with newer browser standards. But it’s not quite working out that way.

It’s utterly perplexing to me that mobile standards like Media Capture and Streams, Media Gallery Access, Responsive Images, Messaging API, Contacts Manager API have only minimal or no traction at all today. Keep in mind we’ve had mobile browsers for nearly 7 years now, and yet we still have to think about how to get access to an image from the image gallery or the camera on some devices? Heck Windows Phone IE Mobile just gained the ability to upload images recently in the Windows 8.1 Update – that’s feature that HTML has had for 20 years! These are simple concepts and common problems that should have been solved a long time ago.

It’s extremely frustrating to see build 90% of a mobile Web app with relative ease and then hit a brick wall for the remaining 10%, which often can be show stoppers. The remaining 10% have to do with platform integration, browser differences and working around the limitations that browsers and ‘pinned’ applications impose on HTML applications.

The maddening part is that these limitations seem arbitrary as they could easily work on all mobile platforms. For example, SMS has a URL Moniker interface that sort of works on Android, works badly with iOS (only works if the address is already in the contact list) and not at all on Windows Phone. There’s no reason this shouldn’t work universally using the same interface – after all all phones have supported SMS since before the year 2000!

But, it doesn’t have to be this way

Change can happen very quickly. Take the GeoLocation API for example. Geolocation has taken off at the very beginning of the mobile device era and today it works well, provides the necessary security (a big concern for many mobile APIs), and is supported by just about all major mobile and even desktop browsers today. It handles security concerns via prompts to avoid unwanted access which is a model that would work for most other device APIs in a similar fashion. One time approval and occasional re-approval if code changes or caches expire. Simple and only slightly intrusive. It all works well, even though GeoLocation actually has some physical limitations, such as representing the current location when no GPS device is present. Yet this is a solved problem, where other APIs that are conceptually much simpler to implement have failed to gain any traction at all.

Technically none of these APIs should be a problem to implement, but it appears that the momentum is just not there.

Inadequate Web Application Linking and Activation

Another important piece of the puzzle missing is the integration of HTML based Web applications. Today HTML based applications are not first class citizens on mobile operating systems.

When talking about HTML based content there’s a big difference between content and applications. Content is great for search engine discovery and plain browser usage. Content is usually accessed intermittently and permanent linking is not so critical for this type of content.  But applications have different needs. Applications need to be started up quickly and must be easily switchable to support a multi-tasking user workflow. Therefore, it’s pretty crucial that mobile Web apps are integrated into the underlying mobile OS and work with the standard task management features. Unfortunately this integration is not as smooth as it should be.

It starts with actually trying to find mobile Web applications, to ‘installing’ them onto a phone in an easily accessible manner in a prominent position. The experience of discovering a Mobile Web ‘App’ and making it sticky is by no means as easy or satisfying. Today the way you’d go about this is:

  • Open the browser
  • Search for a Web Site in the browser with your
    search engine of choice
  • Hope that you find the right site
  • Hope that you actually find a site that works for your mobile device
  • Click on the link and run the app in a fully chrome’d browser instance (read tiny surface area)
  • Pin the app to the home screen (with all the limitations outline above)
  • Hope you pointed at the right URL when you pinned

Even for you and me as developers, there are a few steps in there that are painful and annoying, but think about the average user. First figuring out how to search for a specific site or URL? And then pinning the app and hopefully from the right location? You’ve probably lost more than half of your audience at that point.

This experience sucks.

For developers too this process is painful since app developers can’t control the shortcut creation directly. This problem often gets solved by crazy coding schemes, with annoying pop-ups that try to get people to create shortcuts via fancy animations that are both annoying and add overhead to each and every application that implements this sort of thing differently.

And that’s not the end of it - getting the link onto the home screen with an application icon varies quite a bit between browsers. Apple’s non-standard meta tags are prominent and they work with iOS and Android (only more recent versions), but not on Windows Phone. Windows Phone instead requires you to create an actual screen or rather a partial screen be captured for a shortcut in the tile manager. Who had that brilliant idea I wonder? Surprisingly Chrome on recent Android versions seems to actually get it right – icons use pngs, pinning is easy and pinned applications properly behave like standalone apps and retain the browser’s active page state and content. Each of the platforms has a different way to specify icons (WP doesn’t allow you to use an icon image at all), and the most widely used interface in use today is a bunch of Apple specific meta tags that other browsers choose to support.

The question is: Why is there no standard implementation for installing shortcuts across mobile platforms using an official format rather than a proprietary one?

iPhoneSwapThen there’s iOS and the crazy way it treats home screen linked URLs using a crazy hybrid format that is neither as capable as a Web app running in Safari nor a WebView hosted application. Moving off the Web ‘app’ link when switching to another app actually causes the browser and preview it to ‘blank out’ the Web application in the Task View (see screenshot on the right). Then, when the ‘app’ is reactivated it ends up completely restarting the browser with the original link. This is crazy behavior that you can’t easily work around. In some situations you might be able to store the application state and restore it using LocalStorage, but for many scenarios that involve complex data sources (like say Google Maps) that’s not a possibility. The only reason for this screwed up behavior I can think of is that it is deliberate to make Web apps a pain in the butt to use and forcing users trough the App Store/PhoneGap/Cordova route.

App linking and management is a very basic problem – something that we essentially have solved in every desktop browser – yet on mobile devices where it arguably matters a lot more to have easy access to web content we have to jump through hoops to have even a remotely decent linking/activation experience across browsers.

Where’s the Money?

It’s not surprising that device home screen integration and Mobile Web support in general is in such dismal shape – the mobile OS vendors benefit financially from App store sales and have little to gain from Web based applications that bypass the App store and the cash cow that wheresmymoneyit presents.

On top of that, platform specific vendor lock-in of both end users and developers who have invested in hardware, apps and consumables is something that mobile platform vendors actually aspire to. Web based interfaces that are cross-platform are the anti-thesis of that and so again it’s no surprise that the mobile Web is on a struggling path.

But – that may be changing. More and more we’re seeing operations shifting to services that are subscription based or otherwise collect money for usage, and that may drive more progress into the Web direction in the end . Nothing like the almighty dollar to drive innovation forward.

Do we need a Mobile Web App Store?

As much as I dislike moderated experiences in today’s massive App Stores, they do at least provide one single place to look for apps for your device.

I think we could really use some sort of registry, that could provide something akin to an app store for mobile Web apps, to make it easier to actually find mobile applications. This could take the form of a specialized search engine, or maybe a more formal store/registry like structure. Something like apt-get/chocolatey for Web apps. It could be curated and provide at least some feedback and reviews that might help with the integrity of applications.

Coupled to that could be a native application on each platform that would allow searching and browsing of the registry and then also handle installation in the form of providing the home screen linking, plus maybe an initial security configuration that determines what features are allowed access to for the app.

I’m not holding my breath. In order for this sort of thing to take off and gain widespread appeal, a lot of coordination would be required. And in order to get enough traction it would have to come from a well known entity – a mobile Web app store from a no name source is unlikely to gain high enough usage numbers to make a difference. In a way this would eliminate some of the freedom of the Web, but of course this would also be an optional search path in addition to the standard open Web search mechanisms to find and access content today.


Security is a big deal, and one of the perceived reasons why so many IT professionals appear to be willing to go back to the walled garden of deployed apps is that Apps are perceived as safe due to the official review and curation of the App stores. Curated stores are supposed to protect you from malware, illegal and misleading content. It doesn’t always work out that way and all the major vendors have had issues with security and the review process at some time or another.

Security is critical, but I also think that Web applications in general pose less of a security threat than native applications, by nature of the sandboxed browser and JavaScript environments. Web applications run externally completely and in the HTML and JavaScript sandboxes, with only a very few controlled APIs allowing access to device specific features.

And as discussed earlier – security for any device interaction can be granted the same for mobile applications through a Web browser, as they can for native applications either via explicit policies loaded from the Web, or via prompting as GeoLocation does today. Security is important, but it’s certainly solvable problem for Web applications even those that need to access device hardware.

Security shouldn’t be a reason for Web apps to be an equal player in mobile applications.

Apps are winning, but haven’t we been here before?

So now we’re finding ourselves back in an era of installed app, rather than Web based and managed apps. Only it’s even worse today than with Desktop applications, in that the apps are going through a gatekeeper that charges a toll and censors what you can and can’t do in your apps. Frankly it’s a mystery to me why anybody would buy into this model and why it’s lasted this long when we’ve already been through this process. It’s crazy…

It’s really a shame that this regression is happening. We have the technology to make mobile Web apps much more prominent, but yet we’re basically held back by what seems little more than bureaucracy, partisan bickering and self interest of the major parties involved. Back in the day of the desktop it was Internet Explorer’s 98+%  market shareholding back the Web from improvements for many years – now it’s the combined mobile OS market in control of the mobile browsers.

If mobile Web apps were allowed to be treated the same as native apps with simple ways to install and run them consistently and persistently, that would go a long way to making mobile applications much more usable and seriously viable alternatives to native apps. But as it is mobile apps have a severe disadvantage in placement and operation.

There are a few bright spots in all of this.

Mozilla’s FireFoxOs is embracing the Web for it’s mobile OS by essentially firefoxosbuilding every app out of HTML and JavaScript based content. It supports both packaged and certified package modes (that can be put into the app store), and Open Web apps that are loaded and run completely off the Web and can also cache locally for offline operation using a manifest. Open Web apps are treated as full class citizens in FireFoxOS and run using the same mechanism as installed apps.

Unfortunately FireFoxOs is getting a slow start with minimal device support and specifically targeting the low end market. We can hope that this approach will change and catch on with other vendors, but that’s also an uphill battle given the conflict of interest with platform lock in that it represents.

Recent versions of Android also seem to be working reasonably well with mobile application integration onto the desktop and activation out of the box. Although it still uses the Apple meta tags to find icons and behavior settings, everything at least works as you would expect – icons to the desktop on pinning, WebView based full screen activation, and reliable application persistence as the browser/app is treated like a real application. Hopefully iOS will at some point provide this same level of rudimentary Web app support.

What’s also interesting to me is that Microsoft hasn’t picked up on the obvious need for a solid Web App platform. Being a distant third in the mobile OS war, Microsoft certainly has nothing to lose and everything to gain by using fresh ideas and expanding into areas that the other major vendors are neglecting. But instead Microsoft is trying to beat the market leaders at their own game, fighting on their adversary’s terms instead of taking a new tack. Providing a kick ass mobile Web platform that takes the lead on some of the proposed mobile APIs would be something positive that Microsoft could do to improve its miserable position in the mobile device market.

Where are we at with Mobile Web?

It sure sounds like I’m really down on the Mobile Web, right? I’ve built a number of mobile apps in the last year and while overall result and response has been very positive to what we were able to accomplish in terms of UI, getting that final 10% that required device integration dialed was an absolute nightmare on every single one of them. Big compromises had to be made and some features were left out or had to be modified for some devices. In two cases we opted to go the Cordova route in order to get the integration we needed, along with the extra pain involved in that process. Unless you’re not integrating with device features and you don’t care deeply about a smooth integration with the mobile desktop, mobile Web development is fraught with frustration.

So, yes I’m frustrated! But it’s not for lack of wanting the mobile Web to succeed. I am still a firm believer that we will eventually arrive a much more functional mobile Web platform that allows access to the most common device features in a sensible way.

It wouldn't be difficult for device platform vendors to make Web based applications first class citizens on mobile devices.

But unfortunately it looks like it will still be some time before this happens.


So, what’s your experience building mobile Web apps? Are you finding similar issues? Just giving up on raw Web applications and building PhoneGap apps instead? Completely skipping the Web and going native? Leave a comment for discussion.


© Rick Strahl, West Wind Technologies, 2005-2014
Posted in HTML5  Mobile  
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by Rick Strahl at August 18, 2014 06:00 PM - Contributions

Alex Feldstein

MOZART: Turkish March

Played by Gabriele Tomasello

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by Alex Feldstein ( at August 18, 2014 10:51 AM

August 17, 2014

Alex Feldstein

August 16, 2014

Alex Feldstein

How to measure the speed of light - with CHOCOLATE!

All you need to measure the speed of light is a microwave, a ruler and a bar of chocolate.

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by Alex Feldstein ( at August 16, 2014 11:53 PM


Game Review: Monument Valley

Monument ValleyOnce again, it was a tweet that caught my attention... and the official description on the Play Store sounds good, too.

"In Monument Valley you will manipulate impossible architecture and guide a silent princess through a stunningly beautiful world. Monument Valley is a surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry. Guide the silent princess Ida through mysterious monuments, uncovering hidden paths, unfolding optical illusions and outsmarting the enigmatic Crow People."

So, let's check it out.

What an interesting puzzle game

Once again, I left some review on the Play Store:

"Beautiful but short distraction

Woohoo, what a great story behind the game. Using optical illusions and impossible geometries in this fantastic adventure of the silent princess just puts all the pieces perfectly together.

Walking the amazing paths in the various levels and solving the riddles gives some decent hours of distraction but in the end you might have the urge to do more..."

I can't remember exactly when and who tweeted about the game but honestly it caught my attention based on the simplicity of the design and the aspect that it seems to be an isometric design. The game relies heavily on optical illusions in order to guide to the silent princess Ida through her illusory adventure of impossible architecture and forgiveness.

The game is set like a clockwork and you are turning, flipping and switching elements on the paths between the doors. Unfortunately, there aren't many levels and the game play lasted only some hours. Maybe there are more astonishing looking realms and interesting gimmicks in future versions.

Play Store: Monument Valley

Also, check out the latest game updates on the official web site of ustwo

BTW, the game is also available on the Apple App Store and on Amazon Store for the Kindle Fire.

by Jochen Kirstaetter ( at August 16, 2014 06:39 PM

Alex Feldstein

9 Cool Facts About Magnets

Livescience has a good and fun article about magnets, written by Jesse Emspak

9 Cool Facts About Magnets

From electromagnets, to maglev to the little ones you put on your fridge, magnets are fun.

(Public domain image courtesy of Wikipedia)

by Alex Feldstein ( at August 16, 2014 10:50 AM

Cessna 150 touch and gos

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by Alex Feldstein ( at August 16, 2014 12:11 AM

August 15, 2014

Alex Feldstein

August 14, 2014

Rahul Desai's Blog

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Implementation guide Version 6.1.0 Aug 2014 update…

The following table outlines the changes since the last version, more @ the link

New and updated topics

Description of changes

Compatibility for client computers running Windows 8.1 Update for x64-based Systems

Describes requirements for running Microsoft Dynamics CRM on a Windows 8.1 computer that has Windows 8.1 update for x64-based systems.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online reporting considerations

New topic that explains best practices when you run reports with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Manage Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online instances

Two new topics added for Sandbox instances.

Create and edit web resources

New topic added.

Define status reason transitions

New feature added for CRM Online Spring ‘14 and CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 (on-premises)

Set custom icon for custom case origin

New feature added for CRM Online Spring ‘14 and CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 (on-premises)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Service Pack 1

New section that describes Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Service Pack 1.

Lync and Skype integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Updated topic.

Add Office 365 Online services

New topics that describe integrating CRM and Microsoft Office 365.

Tablet support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and CRM Online

Updated for support with Windows 8.1 and Android.

Set up CRM for tablets

New section added: “Get your on-premises deployment ready for CRM for Windows 8.1 tablets”.

Manage your configuration data

New feature added for CRM Online Spring ‘14 and CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 (on-premises).

Deploy packages using CRM Package Deployer and Windows PowerShell

New feature added for CRM Online Spring ‘14 and CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 (on-premises).

Manage Bing Maps for your organization

New topic added.

Install product updates

New feature added for CRM Online Spring ‘14 and CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 (on-premises).

Control social data

New feature added for CRM Online Spring ‘14 and CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 (on-premises).

Connect to Microsoft Social Listening

New feature added for CRM Online Spring ‘14.

Detect duplicate data

Updated topic.

Planning messaging integration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

New section that describes email messaging and email server integration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.


by Rahul Desai at August 14, 2014 09:45 PM


Vacations on Rodrigues 2014

And now something completely different compared to the usual technical or community related articles here on this blog. Yes, this time I'm writing some lines on my (and my family's) activities during our long weekend stay on Rodrigues. So, please bear with me, it's eventually a bit more personal...

Grab a soda, some popcorn and a cosy place to continue to read.

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Special promotions during school holidays

Originally, our children started to ask more frequently about going on the plane again. Obviously, after their aunty from Germany was around during May, they were really eager to travel again. So, we decided that it might be a great opportunity to book some vacations during their school holidays.

And just in time the local hotels and hotel groups started to advertise their special promotions for citizens and residents. After collecting multiple brochures over several days, we got attracted by various hotel packages on Rodrigues - most interestingly the expenses for the stay and flight ticket were less compared to other resorts here on the main island. As we have been to Rodrigues already back in 2008, we followed up on this idea and got in touch with a couple travel agencies. Well, I have to report that you should be really careful about the promotions from some of them. We had a very negative experience with Shamal Travel Agency in Quatre Bornes regarding their adverts and the actual price levels and age definition for children. Please, stay away from them if you are interested in transparent cost and services.

Anyway, after some arrangements with two other close families we managed to confirm our stay at the Cotton Bay Hotel in Rodrigues. Given the fact that we already stayed there, and the hotel has been renovated recently, and it is under new management all looked very promising and relaxed for our vacation.

Counting the days...

As we already booked in July our children were counting down the days. And it got more interesting as soon as they were on school holidays finally. Well, the day arrived and waking them up at 2:30 hrs wasn't a problem after all. Quite the opposite it was fascinating for us parents to watch them waiting for the transport and later on during the airport transfer. Despite the early hours both didn't fall asleep and it was all so exciting. We are taking the plane!

Well organised by the Cotton Bay Hotel

Honestly, it was a breeze and a smooth ride during our stay at the hotel. From the airport transfer, the cleanliness of our bungalow, the organisation of our day trips, and the SPA - all very well and enjoyable. The children had great fun, and although it was a bit too windy to plunge into the pool they had a lot of fun with other activities on the beach and at the Kid's Club. Oh, and we had our private petting zoo with cows, sheep and goats just close to the terrace.

Some of us went to check out the SPA facilities and I have to admit that the services regarding Hammam and Sauna are better than at some other hotels in Mauritius. I don't know after how many months or years I was once again enjoying a very hot sauna. Little draw-back but nothing to worry about... There is no cold water or at least ice cubes to cool down the body, but hey there was a nice breeze coming over the hills.

Some day trips to mention

Based on a friend's recommendation we walked to a "restaurant" called Chez Solange & Robert. Hahaha, restaurant is widely stretched in this case, as we enjoyed a great BBQ with fresh lobster, whole fish, and pieces of chicken breast in an open cottage. Just some wooden structure covered with dried palm leaves on the roof - island feeling pure!

The other day we went to the Giant Tortoise & Cave Reserve Francois Leguat to observe the giant Aldabra turtles and to visit the Grande Caverne. The biggest limestone cave on the island. Compared to our last visit this was a novelty after checking out the Caverne Partate. The formations of stalactites and stalagmites are very impressive and imaginative. Our guide had lots of funny terms and despite the low light conditions the kids had a great time wandering around on the narrow wooden paths and stairs.

And last but not least, we decided to check out the Tyrodrig zip lines... Everyone was allowed to join the trip through the air, and our little ones stayed close to our field guides. But finally went on their own on the very last traversal. Puuuh, it was astounishing to glide over the valley, and for sure something to repeat next time.

Impressions of our vacation on Rodrigues 2014


Next stay has been discussed already

Oh yes, Rodrigues baby! We are going to come again! Tentative dates have been discussed already and now it's up to us to earn enough our next holiday on that wonderful remote piece of paradise. Eventually, a little bit longer than this time. We'll see...

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by Jochen Kirstaetter ( at August 14, 2014 06:50 PM

Craig Bailey

Startup Reviews

I’m thinking of starting a new tech blog called Startup Reviews*, where I review every single new startup that I hear about.

Without exception I’ll predict they will fail, and I’ll further predict they will fail within 2 years. Regardless of how good their product idea, what their business model is, or previous success. I’ll just blanket predict they will fail.

After a year or two I’ll start quietly bragging about my high percentage of correct predictions (likely to be around 80%), and position myself as an industry veteran** who can spot a failure a mile away.


* is taken, but is available if I was silly enough to actually waste time doing this

** I loved Ben Thompson’s point in a recent update*** when referring to tech journalists who change their views on a company after said company releases results:

He was totally wrong to be a bull! To suddenly become a bear after terrible results isn’t good analysis, it’s reporting. Actually, it’s worse than that: it’s no better than what you might get from a newsbot (“If results poor, say company is in trouble. If results good, say company is doing well.”).

*** I’m a Stratechery Daily Update member – which I highly recommend if you like reading considered, insightful, strategic analysis of what’s happening in tech


The post Startup Reviews appeared first on Craig Bailey.

by Craig Bailey at August 14, 2014 11:55 AM

Alex Feldstein

August 13, 2014



Frequently asked questions about Fox RockX magazine

1) Bimonthly instead of monthly for same price?

Fox Talk 2.0 was published monthly with 16 pages. Fox RockX will be published bimonthly with 24 pages DIN A4. This is about the same page size as Fox Talk but it is more pages. Here the calculation for the total number of pages per year:

Fox Talk 2.0 12 issues per year with 16 pages = 192 pages per year
Fox RockX 6 issues per year with 24 pages = 144 pages per year

August 13, 2014 02:45 PM


On-line articles, archives and companion materials are accessible through the "Fox RockX" tab at We provide the entire archive of articles (except for the years 1993-1995) and source code for all Fox Talk and Fox Talk 2.0 past issues. Access information will be sent with confirmation of your subscription.

We offer the following public folders in our document portal for hosting free articles at the following links:
  1. Fox RockX Free Articles
  2. Fox Talk Free Articles
We have prepared the online archive of Fox Talk from 1996 till 2006. Subscribers can reach the archive at:
  1. Fox Talk Online Archive
You will find the following subdirectories with the following number of articles:
  1. WebExtras: 48 online only articles
  2. FoxTalk2007: (under construction, complete issues can be found in PDFIssues directory)
  3. FoxTalk2006: 24 articles (more to be added)
  4. FoxTalk2005: 58 articles
  5. FoxTalk2004: 60 articles
  6. FoxTalk2003: 56 articles
  7. FoxTalk2002: 59 articles
  8. FoxTalk2001: 74 articles
  9. FoxTalk2000: 91 articles
  10. FoxTalk1999: 102 articles
  11. FoxTalk1998: 107 articles
  12. FoxTalk1997: 107 articles
  13. FoxTalk1996: 138 articles
  14. PDFIssues: 124 issues (Jan 1996 to April 2006), recently added 16 issues (May 2006 to December 2007)
  15. Sourcecode: 122 companion files
We offer the following online archive for Fox RockX subscribers:
  1. Fox RockX Online Archive
We have the following files available:
  1. FoxRockX2008: 22 articles, see Fox RockX Issues
  2. FoxRockX2009: 30 articles, see Fox RockX Issues
  3. FoxRockX2010: 23 articles, see Fox RockX Issues
  4. FoxRockX2011: 25 articles, see Fox RockX Issues
  5. FoxRockX2012: 21 articles, see Fox RockX Issues
  6. FoxRockX2013: 23 articles, see Fox RockX Issues
  7. FoxRockX2014: .... articles, see Fox RockX Issues
  8. PDFIssues: 35 regular issues (March 2008 to December 2013)
  9. Sourcecode: 35 regular companion files (see above) and 1 companion file for the first free ADS special issues
  10. Logos: 11 logos for your link to us
  11. Main directory: 3 free special issues

August 13, 2014 02:44 PM

Alex Feldstein

August 12, 2014 - Contributions

transmission de messages entre 2 executables

Ce projet et cette form indépendante vont vous permettre de tester la synchronisation de deux applications et la transmission de messages de l'une à l'autre.
La transmission des messages est basée sur le protocole TCP, sur Winsock et sur l'olecontrol MSWinsock.Winsock.1
L'idée originale en revient à Eddy MAUE.

Le protocole TCP est symétrique : vous allez pouvoir envoyer et recevoir des messages mais il faut tout de même un serveur dont le seul rôle particulier sera d'initialiser le canal de communication. J'ai installé le serveur sur la form babazou_esclave qui appartient au projet donc à l'executable. Avant toute chose il faut donc (compiler et) lancer cet executable (a priori à partir de l'explorateur et non à partir de VFP). Il se peut que Windows vous demande l'autorisation de le lancer (uniquement la première fois). En cas de pépin, vous pouvez fermer l'executable en cliquant sur le bouton 'issue de secours'. Sinon il va être piloter par la form test_esclave.scx.

J'ai défini une structure des messages : les 2 premiers caractères contiennent chacun un code opération le reste du message est libre. Le code 0 + 0 provoque l'arrêt de l'executable (c'est la méthode normale pour l'arréter). Le code 0+1 correspond à un 'ping' : l'executable répond immédiatement à l'émetteur avec le code 1 + 0 suivi du message libre 'retourné'. Le code 0+2 suivi par un message contenant une valeur numérique (<1000 pour commencer !) provoque une attente sur l'executable avant la réponse (c'est ce message qui m'a permis de voir l'utilisation des coeurs avec le gestionnaire des tâches). Vous pouvez compléter les actions dans la méthode ThisForm.tcpServer.DataArrival de la form babazou_esclave du projet.

Lancer VFP et la form test_esclave. Entrez les 2 codes fonctions (en numérique) et un texte; cliquez sur 'envoi' : les 2 codes et le texte apparaissent dans la form babazou_esclave. Si vous avez programmé une réponse ou si vous envoyez le code 0 + 1, la réponse retournée par l'executable s'affiche dans la fenêtre test_esclave avec la durée de la transmission complète. Envoyez un message avec le code 0 + 0 pour arréter l'executable puis quittez la fenêtre test_esclave.

Le code est simple et facilement accessible.

Ceci est un premier jet : toutes les critiques, améliorations, .... sont les bienvenues !

12 août 2014

by Jean à Grenoble at August 12, 2014 01:42 PM

Alex Feldstein

August 11, 2014

CULLY Technologies, LLC

Win8: The Horror – Summary

I previously posted a slightly tongue-in-cheek posting about a hypothetical support call for the Windows 8 user interface. I liked the posting but I thought it needed a follow-up that summarizes my thoughts about Windows 8 UI.

What I was trying to say:

  1. Never have an invisible control. Especially one that kicks off most processes. Who ever thought of the upper+right hand corner control must never have tried it out on regular people.
  2. Don’t have the menus disappear after a time. The user may be evaluating which choice is best. 3 seconds to show a menu isn’t enough for regular people.
  3. A ‘search’ functionality should search everything. In Win8, it searches for applications limited to the category that is selected. Why? Most people would have less than 1,000 applications installed so speed shouldn’t be an issue.

Tips for Windows 9 UI:

  1. Take the UI out for some usability studies. Being different for difference sake doesn’t add value. Honor the past and the existing knowledge base, but make evolutionary changes to make the UI better. Test driving a new UI will tell you if it is better or not.
  2. Steal from the best. Look to the Linux UIs and to OsX. Take the best ideas. Don’t worry about the people complaining on where an element came from. Look to be the best.
  3. Get to two versions: Home and Professional. Confusing the customers with a myriad of choices makes them feel taken advantage of if they lose out on a weird feature.
  4. Make the upgrade process cheap and simple.
  5. Don’t be limited by the past. It seems to me that Win8 was a wrong turn as far as UI goes. Let this be a fresh start. The goal is to make the UI easier to use so your users (customers) are more productive.

by kcully at August 11, 2014 12:52 PM

Alex Feldstein

Duck Dodgers in the 24-1/2 Century!

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe>

Always love a good Sci-Fi classic and have not seen this one in years!


by Alex Feldstein ( at August 11, 2014 11:16 AM

August 10, 2014

Alex Feldstein

August 09, 2014

Alex Feldstein

Hypocrisy over Gaza

Pat Condell always tells it like it is, without sugar coating. I do not always agree with everything he posts but I do most of the time.

Here he shows he knows his history.

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe>


by Alex Feldstein ( at August 09, 2014 01:11 PM

RELIGION: World’s best ever SCAM


<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe>


(by Atheist Digest)

by Alex Feldstein ( at August 09, 2014 12:33 PM

August 08, 2014

Alex Feldstein

Slowing for Mars

Phil Plait has a great article in Slate about NASA’s “flying saucer”, the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD).


His article also point to a JPL video showing the test. Take a look.

by Alex Feldstein ( at August 08, 2014 11:03 PM

CULLY Technologies, LLC

Win8: The Horror

I refuse to call it Windows 8.1 Update. Soon it will be Windows 8.1 Update 2. Why not call it Windows 8.2 and Windows 8.3? Hubris? I can’t say. Just another annoyance with MicroSoft that makes me chuckle inside with a smirk showing on the outside.

Here’s a fictional account where I’m performing phone support on a typical American small business collegue. Let’s call him Timmy. This call was monitored for quality purposes … NOT!

[ME] Hello, it is a bea-ute-iful day in Technical Support and Windows 8 land. Can I have your name, and the nature of your technical emergency?
[Timmy] Erm, my name is Timmy. My boss just bought me a laptop at Office Depot and I’m trying to install Firefox. Firefox runs, but it won’t connect to any Internet sites.

{ NOTE: This is how most small businesses work. They run out to who knows where and purchases laptops with all sorts of bloatware on it. Who knows what's on it. In real life, the technical support department are expected to help them, with the computer sight unseen. }

[Me] It is most pleasant to be speaking with you today … uh … {reading from notes} Timmy! We’ll get you fixed up in a jiffy. Do you know what version of Windows is installed on the laptop? It’s most likely Windows 7, or Windows 8?
[Timmy] Erm, I’m not sure but I think it’s Windows 8.
[Me] Are there all sorts of squares all over the place, many of them swooping information in and out all of the time!
[Timmy] That’s the one!
[Me] Bingo! Okay, so you said that you were able to get Firefox installed and started, but that it won’t show any websites?
[Timmy] That’s correct. Internet Explorer works but I don’t like to use it. I prefer Firefox.

The Force is strong with this one. I need to make a note to watch him closely. My boss said to be on the look-out for anyone who can think for themselves.

[Me] Okay Timmy. If you can get to other websites using Internet Explorer, then you’re connected to the network and to the Internet so that’s not your problem. If it is Firefox that can’t get to the Internet, then it may be the Windows Firewall that is blocking your access.
[Timmy] Nice. How do I fix it so Firefox can get to the Internet?
[Me] Okay here’s what you do. Are you ready?
[Timmy] Yes, I’m ready.
[Me] Are you really ready?
[Timmy] Yes, dammit! I’m ready! What do I do?
[Me] Okay, see the upper right corner of your desktop?
[Timmy] Um, yes. But there’s nothing there.
[Me] Yes, that’s perfect. You won’t see anything there.
[Timmy] In the upper right?
[Me] Yes.
[Timmy] It’s okay that there isn’t there?
[Me] Yes, you’re performing perfectly so far.
[Timmy] Okaaaaay? What do I do with the upper right corner?
[Me] Move your mouse into the upper right corner.
[Timmy] Move my mouse into the upper right corner … even though there isn’t there?
[Me] Yes, you’re catching on now. Move the mouse into the upper right corner.
[Timmy] Okay, it’s in the upper right corner.
[Me] Do you see a menu that appears from right?
[Timmy] No.
[Me] You don’t see a menu that appeared from the right? … when you moved the mouse to the upper right corner … even though there isn’t anything there.
[Timmy] Nothing.
[Me] Let’s try it again. Move your mouse away from the upper right corner and then move the mouse back into the upper right corner again. Look for a menu like thing that appears from the right. It should have a white magnifying glass, a circle with nodules on it, a slanted window looking thing, and buckle, and a sprocket. Do you see it?
[Timmy] How far away from the corner should I move the mouse?
[Me] Erm, perhaps an inch or more?
[Timmy] Okay I moved the mouse … I SEE IT!!! Wait, it went away.
[Me] The menu went away? It appeared and then it went away?
[Timmy] Yes, it appeared for a second, but then went away.
[Me] Did you leave your mouse in the upper right? Make sure not to let it move out of the upper right corner.
[Timmy] Oh, that may have been what happened. Let me try that again. The mouse kind of ‘bounced out’ of the upper right.
[Me] Okay, let’s try that again. Move the mouse to the upper right and make sure that it doesn’t leave the very right edge. Got it?
[Timmy] Yes, I had it but the menu went away after about 3 seconds!
[Me] Well, when you see the menu again; I mean when it appears again; move your mouse down to the magnifying glass … before it disappears again.
[Timmy] Not the sprocket?
[Me] No, not the sprocket. We want the magnifying glass.
[Timmy] What does the sprocket do?
[Me] The sprocket is for ‘Settings’. But we want the magnifying glass which is ‘Search’.
[Timmy] Wouldn’t we be changing the ‘Settings’ on the firewall? That’d be my guess.
[Me] Well, that makes a lot of sense, but that’s not what we want.
[Timmy] Okay, I’ve got the Search menu up.
[Me] Perfect. Type in ‘firewall’ in the search and the firewall application should show up in the list.
[Timmy] It’s saying “No apps match your search.”
[Me] Did you type in ‘firewall’? It’s all one word.
[Timmy] Yup. F-I-R-E-W-A-L-L. Does caps matter? I entered it with a capital ‘F’.
[Me] No, caps shouldn’t matter. … hmmm. Oh wait! I forgot to tell you to click ‘Settings’ with the sprocket icon next to it.
[Timmy] Now you want me to click the “Settings Sprocket”?!?
[Me] Yes, sorry about that. When we’re in “Search” you have to click “Settings” for the firewall option to show up in the list.
[Timmy] I see it! Wait. There are four options showing: [1] Windows Firewall [2] Allow an app through Windows Firewall [3] Check firewall status and [4] Check security status. Which one do I want?

Okay. I’m going to stop here with the transcript.

Here’s the punchine:
Which firewall option does Timmy want?!? Answer: None of them. It’s “Norton Internet Security” which is running their own firewall that is blocking Firefox.

After all of that Windows 8 horror, it turns out to be the “Solution” that is as bad as the “Disease”.

Here’s hoping that Windows 9 returns to UI sanity.

by kcully at August 08, 2014 07:53 PM


Visiting the Emtel Data Centre

Back in February at the first event of the Emtel Knowledge Series (EKS) I spoke to various people at Emtel about their data centre here on the island. I was trying to see whether it would be possible to arrange a meeting over there for a selected group of our community members. Well, let's say it like this... My first approach wasn't that promising and far from successful but during the following months there were more and more occasions to get in touch with the "right" contact persons at Emtel to make it happen...

Setting up an appointment and pre-requisites

The major improvement came during a Boot Camp for Windows Phone 8.1 App development organised by Microsoft Indian Ocean Islands in cooperation with Emtel at the Emtel World, Ebene. Apart from learning bits and pieces regarding Universal Apps I took the opportunity to get in touch with Arvin Lockee, Sales Executive - Data, during our lunch break. And this really kicked off the whole procedure. Prior to get access to the Emtel data centre it is requested that you provide full name and National ID of anyone going to visit. Also, it should be noted that there was only a limited amount of seats available. Anyways, packed with this information I posted through the usual social media channels. Responses came in very quickly and based on First-come, first-serve (FCFS) principle I noted down the details and forwarded them to Emtel in order to fix a date and time for the visit.

In preparation on our side, all attendees exchanged contact details and we organised transport options to go to the data centre in Arsenal. The day before and on the day of our meeting, Arvin send me a reminder to check whether everything is still confirmed and ready to go... Of course, it was!

Arriving at the Emtel Data Centre

As I'm coming from Flic En Flac towards the North, we agreed that I'm going to pick up a couple of young fellows near the old post office in Port Louis. All went well, except that Sean eventually might be living in another time zone compared to the rest of us. Anyway, after some extended stop we were complete and arrived just in time in Arsenal to meet and greet with Ish and Veer.

Again, Emtel is taking access procedures to their data centre very serious and the gate stayed close until all our IDs had been noted and compared to the list of registered attendees. Despite having a good laugh at the mixture of old and new ID cards it was a straight-forward processing. The ward was very helpful and guided us to the waiting area at the entrance section of the building. Shortly after we were welcomed by Kamlesh Bokhoree, the Data Centre Officer. He gave us brief introduction into the rules and regulations during our visit, like no photography allowed, not touching the buttons, and following his instructions through the whole visit. Of course!

Inside the data centre

Next, he explained us the multi-factor authentication system using a combination of bio-metric data, like finger print reader, and "classic" pin panel. The Emtel data centre provides multiple services and next to co-location for your own hardware they also offer storage options for your backup and archive data in their massive, fire-resistant vault. Very impressive to get to know about the considerations that have been done in choosing the right location and how to set up the whole premises. It should also be noted that there is 24/7 CCTV surveillance inside and outside the buildings.

Strengths of the Emtel TIER 3 Data Centre, Mauritius
Strengths of the Emtel TIER 3 Data Centre, Mauritius

Finally, we were guided into the first server room. And wow, the whole setup is cleverly planned and outlined in the architecture. From the false floor and ceilings in order to provide optimum air flow, over to the separation of cold and hot aisles between the full-size server racks, and of course the monitored air conditions in order to analyse and watch changes in temperature, smoke detection and other parameters. And not surprisingly everything has been implemented in two independent circuits. There is a standardised classification for the construction and operation of data centres world-wide, and the Emtel's one has been designed to be a TIER 4 building but due to the lack of an alternative power supplier on the island it is officially registered as a TIER 3 compliant data centre. Maybe in the long run there might be a second supplier of energy next to CEB... time will tell.

Luckily, the data centre is integrated into the National Fibre Optic Gigabit Ring and Emtel already connects internationally through diverse undersea cable routes like SAFE & LION/LION2 out of Mauritius and through several other providers for onwards connectivity.

The data centre is part of the National Fibre Optic Gigabit Ring and has redundant internet connectivity onwards.
The data centre is part of the National Fibre Optic Gigabit Ring and has redundant internet connectivity onwards.

Meanwhile, Arvin managed to join our little group of geeks and he supported Kamlesh in answering our technical questions regarding the capacities and general operation of the data centre. Visiting the NOC and its dedicated team of IT professionals was surely one of the visual highlights. Seeing their wall of screens to monitor any kind of activities on the data lines, the managed servers and the activity in and around the building was great. Even though I'm using a multi-head setup since years I cannot keep it up with that setup... ;-) But I got a couple of ideas on how to improve my work spaces here at the office.

Clear advantages of hosting your e-commerce and mobile backends locally

After the completely isolated NOC area we continued our Q&A session with Kamlesh and Arvin in the second server room which is dedictated to shared environments. On first thought it should be well-noted that there is lots of space for full-sized racks and therefore co-location of your own hardware. Actually, given the feedback that there will be upcoming changes in prices the facilities at the Emtel data centre are getting more and more competitive and interesting for local companies, especially small and medium enterprises. After seeing this world-class infrastructure available on the island, I'm already considering of moving one of my root servers abroad to be co-located here on the island. This would provide an improved user experience in terms of site performance and latency. This would be a good improvement, especially for upcoming e-commerce solutions for two of my local clients.

Later on, we actually started the conversation of additional services that could be a catalyst for the local market in order to attract more small and medium companies to take the data centre into their evaluations regarding online activities. Until today Emtel does not provide virtualised server environments but there might be ongoing plans in the future to cover this field as well. Emtel is a mobile operator and internet connectivity provider in the first place, entering a market of managed and virtualised server infrastructures including capacities in terms of cloud storage and computing are rather new and there is a continuous learning curve at Emtel, too. You cannot just jump into a new market and see how it works out... And I appreciate Emtel's approach towards a solid fundament and then building new services on top of that. Emtel as a future one-stop-shop service provider for all your internet and telecommunications needs.

<iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="346" src="" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="580"></iframe>Emtel's promotional video about their TIER 3 data centre in Arsenal, Mauritius

More details are thoroughly described in Emtel's brochure of their data centre. Check out their PDF document here.

Thanks for this opportunity

Visiting and walking through the Emtel data centre for more than 2 hours was a great experience. As representative of the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community (MSCC) I would like to thank anyone at Emtel involved in the process of making it happen, and especially to Arvin Lockee and Kamlesh Bokhoree for their time and patience in explaining the infrastructure and answering all the endless questions from our members. Thank You!

by Jochen Kirstaetter ( at August 08, 2014 06:40 PM

Alex Feldstein

August 07, 2014

Alex Feldstein

Coming up: Aviation The Invisible Highway

Here is the first trailer for “Aviation The Invisible Highway”, a must-see film coming in 2015.

Narrated by Harrison Ford, it shows us how aviation has in only 100 years gone from a dream into everyday life and how much more is to come.


See the video here!

by Alex Feldstein ( at August 07, 2014 09:26 PM

Rosetta Arrives at a Comet!

This is Phil Plait’s (my favorite astronomer) posting on Rosetta’s arrival at comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

I met Phil in Ft. Lauderdale years ago and I have been a follower of his writings and his presentations for years.

Here he introduces us to the latest pictures from Rosetta (Wikipedia link) who has been travelling since 2004 to reach the comet.



For the next month it will keep orbiting the comet, closer and closer and then release a “lander” that will softly touch down on the comet’s surface and due to the low gravity to keep it in place, will shoot some harpoons to anchor itself there ands spend a year at least, doing experiments and testing the soil. Science is awesome!

by Alex Feldstein ( at August 07, 2014 09:22 PM

August 06, 2014

Beth Massi - Sharing the goodness

Channel 9 Interview - Fun with the Interns: Charles Lowell on the .NET Portability Analyzer

A couple weeks ago when I was up in Redmond I had the pleasure of interviewing some interns on the .NET team to talk about their experience as an intern at Microsoft and to show off the projects they are working on.

In this first interview I sit down with Charles Lowell, a Software Development Engineer in Test. He has been working on a cool Visual Studio extension called the .NET Portability Analyzer. As developers need to target more and more platforms this tool can be a big help in analyzing how portable your .NET code is. It gives you a quick overview of the changes that you would need to make in order to be able to port your code to a given platform. 

Watch: Fun with the Interns: Charles Lowell on the .NET Portability Analyzer

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src=";w=700" style="width: 700px; height: 393px;"></iframe>

The tool's Alpha released today! Download the extension here: .NET Portability Analyzer

And for more information see the .NET Team blog: Leveraging existing code across .NET platforms

And for all those students out there pursuing a career in computer science, you should consider an internship at Microsoft. You can help build real software that helps millions of people! Learn more about the Microsoft internship program here.


by Beth Massi - Microsoft at August 06, 2014 08:10 PM

Alex Feldstein

August 05, 2014



A place to list upcoming Visual FoxPro events like conferences, meetings, user groups, open training sessions...
Closest at the top please, and please remove past events.

August 05, 2014 09:41 PM

FoxCentral News

Philly VFP User Group meets August 12: Doug Hennig on PowerShell

The next meeting of the Philadelphia VFP User Group will be Tuesday, August 12 at 7 PM in Room 158, DeVry University, 1140 Virginia Drive, Fort Washington, PA. As usual, feel free to bring something to eat and arrive as early as 6:30. This month, we begin a series of Southwest Fox previews. Doug Hennig will (remotely) present ?Windows PowerShell: Batch Files on Steroids.?

by Philadelphia Visual FoxPro User Group at August 05, 2014 09:07 PM

VFP Philly

August 12: Doug Hennig on PowerShell

Our next meeting will be next Tuesday, August 12 at 7 PM. As usual, feel free to bring something to eat and arrive as early as 6:30.

This month, we begin a series of Southwest Fox previews. Doug Hennig will (remotely) present “Windows PowerShell: Batch Files on Steroids.”

Bio: Doug Hennig is a partner with Stonefield Software Inc. He is the author of the award-winning Stonefield Database Toolkit (SDT); the award-winning Stonefield Query; the MemberData Editor, Anchor Editor, and CursorAdapter and DataEnvironment builders that come with Microsoft Visual FoxPro; and the My namespace and updated Upsizing Wizard in Sedna.

Doug is co-author of VFPX: Open Source Treasure for the VFP Developer, Making Sense of Sedna and SP2, Visual FoxPro Best Practices For The Next Ten Years, the What's New in Visual FoxProseries, and The Hacker's Guide to Visual FoxPro 7.0. He was the technical editor of The Hacker's Guide to Visual FoxPro 6.0 and The Fundamentals. All of these books are from Hentzenwerke Publishing ( Doug wrote over 100 articles in 10 years for FoxTalk and has written numerous articles in FoxPro Advisor, Advisor Guide to Visual FoxPro, and CoDe. He currently writes for FoxRockX (

Doug spoke at every Microsoft FoxPro Developers Conference (DevCon) starting in 1997 and at user groups and developer conferences all over the world. He is one of the organizers of the annual Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ conferences ( He is one of the administrators for the VFPX VFP community extensions Web site ( He was a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) from 1996 through 2011. Doug was awarded the 2006 FoxPro Community Lifetime Achievement Award (

Abstract: Windows PowerShell has been included with the operating system since Windows 7 and is available for download for Windows XP and Vista. What is PowerShell? It's Microsoft's task automation scripting framework. PowerShell isn't just a replacement for batch files; it can do a lot more than batch files ever could. This session looks at PowerShell, including why you should start using it and how to create PowerShell scripts.

Mark your calendar now. We’ll have Southwest Fox previews by Tamar E. Granor on September 9 and another by Toni Feltman on October 14.

by Tamar E. Granor ( at August 05, 2014 08:03 PM

Beth Massi - Sharing the goodness

Office 365 API Tools for Visual Studio– Building Office 365 Android Apps with Xamarin

The Office 365 APIs allow you to easily integrate Office 365 services into your apps in a consistent way. You can access user data like calendars, documents and more using REST APIs and standard OAuth flows from any platform. The Office 365 API Tools for Visual Studio make it super easy for developers to access the services via .NET or JavaScript client libraries. These tools are currently in preview.

Yesterday the team released a new preview! Download the latest version here: 

And read about the exciting new features here, including Windows Phone 8.1 support: Office 365 API tool for Visual Studio 2013 – summer update

I've been meeting up with team members building these tools and have been watchingthem progress through this preview period. In this interview I once again sit down with Chakkaradeep Chandran (Chaks), a Program Manager on this project. This time we talk about working with Xamarin in Visual Studio and building an Android app that connects to your Office 365 contacts.

Watch: Office 365 API Tools for Visual Studio - Building Office 365 Android Apps with Xamarin

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Also, there’s something funny if you watch to the end. We have an unexpected visitor walk into the interview which causes my “teacher face” to come out. Yes folks I do these interviews in conference rooms not professional studios so sometimes these things happen. What’s funny is the person that walks in on us works on Channel 9! Classic.

Have questions about the Office 365 API tools? Head to StackOverflow and tag your questions with [Office365] & [API]. Or connect with the team on the Office 365 Developer Network on Yammer.


by Beth Massi - Microsoft at August 05, 2014 05:02 PM

Alex Feldstein

Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

TechEd Australia Partner Workshop Opportunities


As part of TechEd in Melbourne and Sydney this year, we're looking for expressions of interest from folks wanting to run training workshops around the event.

What we've got in mind is that organisations run half-, one-, or two-day workshops in the same city as the event, starting the day following TechEd. So in Melbourne that would be staring on October 9th, and in Sydney that would be October 29th.

You'd be responsible for sourcing a venue, taking bookings, managing the registration and so on as well as delivering the content of course. We'd prefer you offered the workshop in both cities, but won't insist on it.

What we'd provide is a curated list of "ancillary workshops" on the TechEd site and in TechEd communications, and a link to a site you provide with additional information and registration links. Pricing (if any) would be up to you.

Is this of interest to you or your organisation? If so, please drop me an email expressing your interest.

by Andrew Coates [MSFT] at August 05, 2014 05:50 AM

August 04, 2014

Alex Feldstein

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Science, Religion and the Universe - Moyers & Company

A wonderful interview.

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by Alex Feldstein ( at August 04, 2014 09:46 AM

August 03, 2014

Alex Feldstein

EAA AirVenture 2014 – Oshkosh - Gee Bee QED

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by Alex Feldstein ( at August 03, 2014 02:43 PM

Three German students surprise a homeless man

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By Be Japy Project

Maybe we all should try to see the human beings we share the planet with more clearly... and more kindly? – Dan mcManus

by Alex Feldstein ( at August 03, 2014 11:56 AM

August 02, 2014

Alex Feldstein

Foster Brooks Roasts Don Rickles

A very funny bit from Foster Brooks.

Lots of famous and funny faces here, sadly all but Don Rickles have passed away.

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by Alex Feldstein ( at August 02, 2014 12:02 PM

August 01, 2014



*#beautify keyword_nochange

This page is about an undocumented VFP function. Use at your own risk. That said, do hack.

Template : Infobox Undoc Fn

*#beautify keyword_nochange

These directives are only relevant for the Beautify tool within Visual 9.0. Prior versions of VFP will not recognize these pair of directives.

These directives do not appear in the VFP 9 help, but they do appear on the MSDN site at And when Microsoft drops this page or moves it somewhere else, take a look at Rick Schummer's blog posting:

These directives tell the Beautify tool not to touch what's inside the directives.

August 01, 2014 11:22 PM

Alex Feldstein

July 31, 2014

Calvin Hsia's WebLog

DPI Aware Sample

Last time I showed a way to use immediate mode graphics in WPF by showing balls bouncing around in a window. This time, we’ll add a few features. I’ve made the program DPI (Dots Per Inch) Aware. On most machines it works correctly. However, on my brand...(read more)

by CalvinH at July 31, 2014 10:13 PM