Wednesday, October 15, 1997

Got Web?

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Now that FileMaker Pro 4.0 has hit the streets, I can finally talk about the cool stuff that this reasonably priced upgrade ($99 US) contains.

You'll be hearing a lot from Claris about the built-in Web Features: HTTP server, Instant Web Publishing, CDML (Claris Dynamic Markup Language), etc. These are extremely cool. I'll glaze over this topic later, but in a nutshell the new web integration feature basically means that you can serve FileMaker Pro 4.0 data from Windows 95, Windows NT, and the Mac OS without any other software. You can publish a database without creating custom HTML, or, if you're like us, you can create custom HTML pages that use Claris CDML tags (similar to Blue World Communication's Lasso 1.2 product) to add, delete, update, or find information.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

You can now define a SORT order for each relationship - that's right, you can now have sorted data in portals! It's worth the $99 just for that one feature. Although Claris Tech Support may tell you it can't be done, you CAN Dynamically Sort data in a portal. This is something that every developer (and customer) has wanted for a long time.

There are several new "Design" functions that allow you to get information about other databases that are currently open. You can get the names of the open databases, the fields, the layouts, what fields are on a specific layout, the value list names, value list values, relationship names, relationship specifications, etc. This is awesome! In fact (WARNING: Shameless plug ahead) we've completely re-written our best selling ClickStats to take advantage of all these new features and more (watch this site for more details in a couple of weeks - including a free trial version).

There are multiple "smaller" features as well - you can now choose to display the last x opened databases (where x is any number), there's a couple of new Status() functions (including a cool one for telling what modifier keys are held down when clicking on a button, etc.), and there's a new API for writing your own external functions, Java API for the Web stuff... and... WAIT! Did you just hear what I said? Yep, there's an external API (Application Programming Interface) so that third parties can write C or C++ code to make their own functions! And yes, there is a Java API (including all necessary classes) for the new Web Companion.

"When do we get em'?" Well, I can't really say... or I could be shot. Suffice it to say that these specifications should be available about the same time as the SDK (runtime) for 4.0. "When's that?" Ummm... soon-ish.

I'm excited about the possibilities of third parties writing "plug-in" external functions. If (when) the specifications are made public, and you write an external function, or Java stuff, please let me know and I'd be happy to include your work on our site.

Also, for those of you who are just dying to do cool stuff with FileMaker Pro 4.0 - check out the new magazine "FileMaker Pro Advisor" - it ROCKS. Ok, ok, so I'm the Technical Editor... but it's a really COOL mag. There are some sample files up on the site showing you how to get started with a basic search form on the Web, and more.

Friday, September 26, 1997

The Impending NC Revolution

So Steve Jobs will finally have the last laugh. He co-founded Apple, got booted out by the Board of Directors, started a new hardware company - NEXT - (that never caught on so they changed to a software company), and had enough money from his Apple holdings to buy Pixar. What a "visionary"... NOT!

But, like the unwanted guest in the movie Poltergiest, "...heeeeee'ssss baaaaaack.." but only as "interim CEO" a job he "never wanted."

Guess what? We don't want him EITHER. In the past few months, he's managed to fire (or in Applespeak, "..cause to excercise options..") of all the best and brightest Apple directors - Eileen Hancock, Guerino De Luca, and scads of others. I have it on good authority, from a person who works in highest levels at Apple, that Steve was actually seen walking down the halls in a fit saying to random people in the halls "You're fired! You're fired! You're all fired!".

Yeah, that's mature.

Better yet, he's ousted or "..caused to excercise options..." of almost all of the Board of Directors and replaced them with his own long-time, apple-bashing friends. The most distasteful of these has to be Larry Ellison (CEO and founder of Oracle - a kick-ass company with kick-ass products). Larry has had a "hunkering" for a new type of PC, called an NC (Network Computer) that has no internal hard drive. This type of computer would have a Java operating system, and would link to a powerful server computer to run all the applications.

Old Larry has been hyping his vision in the press, but as yet, no one has actually bought a NC computer, because they don't exist (in mass quantities). Now this makes really, really good demos at computer shows, but that's about it.

Now Larry has convinced Steve that NC's would be a good direction for Apple.

Danger! Danger! Danger Will Robinson!

What in the hell can Steve actually be thinking? I mean do we really want to return to the era of bell bottoms, tie dye, afros, and platform shoes? In the 70's and early 80's NC's (or "dumb terminals" as they were called) was the ONLY way of networked computing. The theory was that you have monitor and keyboard for all the lowly "users" and that all the applications and "cool stuff" to make it all work was housed in a big computer room under the watchful (and often tyrannical control) of the "MIS" department.

Then came the "desktop revolution" that de-centralized the control of the "dumb terminals" with the advent of the "personal" computer. Now every user had the ability to save, copy and open their own files, upgrade their hardware and software, and add new features to their computers without having to wait the 4 to 6 weeks for some MIS guy to "get around to it."

People liked it. Lots of folks sold lots of computers. Bill Gates became a billionaire (for the first time). It was good.

Now we're supposed to buy this NC thing? It's a simple return to the "good ol days" of centralized computing. It takes all the power from the user and re-instills it to the MIS department. Don't get me wrong, some of the MIS people I know aren't maniacle, power-hungry, tyrannical despots who lord their "keeper of the keys" mentality over every "lowly user"... but some are.

Do we really want to return to those days? As for me and mine - the answer is a resounding NO! Hell no, we won't go (NC).. hell no we won't go.. echos from the hallways as I write this.

Maybe I'm too cynical. I long for the kind of Apple that produced the in-your-face-IBM commercial in 1984. I wish for the Apple "evangelists" that would beg, cajole, and actually LISTEN to developers. Was it all for naught? Some say yes (i.e. ALL the PC press), some say no (like me, for now) and some are doing something about it.

If you REALLY want to recapture the passion of empowered computing check out this little company called Be Computing... I know I'll be watching them closely as the replacement for what the Mac COULD have been.

Tuesday, September 02, 1997

Clone Home

Rumors have been flying fast and furious over the last few weeks as to the future of Power Computing. For those of you who don't know (or care) - PowerComputing is (has been) the #1 clone Macintosh manufacturer and the industry leader in Mac OS technology for the past two years. Reported price: $100 million.

It is reported that Apple will purchase Power's assets. Power will retain its name and logo, and continue operating through the end of the year.

Apple's clone market slogan from the beginning has been: "Expand the market, don't cannibalize it." Read: "Don't do anything better than us - like marketing, sales, delivering on-time, offering customers lifetime support, creating cool technology, etc. because it will 'cannibalize' OUR crappy sales efforts, lame products, late delivery, no support and general mis-management."

It looks like Steve Jobs got far more for the $150+ million that Bill Gates recently "invested" in Apple - he picked up on Bill's "if you can't beat them, buy them and beat them up" strategy.

As if taken from the Official Microsoft Play book - Apple is effectively "buying off" the competition. Loud competition. Real in-your-face competition. Competition with a REAL marketing department. Competition with a REAL management team.

Who'll lose? Us. PowerComputing is now going to be making Wintel machines (including notebooks). Just what the world needs - another hardware manufacturer. Hopefully, the folks at Power will be able to pull it off, and provide the same quality/feature to price ratio as they had in the Mac OS market. If so they'll succeed. If not, they'll fail.

What about the future of clones and cloning? Well, Motorola still remains the most viable cloner (as do the companies such as PowerTools which buy its OEM equipment from Motorola). You see, Moto is a licensor of Apple's OS, not a licensee. Not even Steve's buddy Bill Gates has enough money to buy THEM - and even if they did, Bill doesn't want another Justice Department proctology exam.

While other clone makers have voiced their continued support for the Mac OS clone market (i.e. UMAX, et al), it looks like Moto is going to be, by default, the big winner. It's not going to "bet the clone farm" on just the boring PowerPC boxes, but has recently inked a deal with Apple to build and market CHRP (Common Hardware Reference Platform) machines. These machines will run ANY OL' OS - not just the Mac OS. It seems that even THEY are hedging their bets...

Friday, August 15, 1997

Plug N Play - "ish"

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Setting up a LAN can suck.

I recently upgraded the LAN (Local Area Network) on our cadre of Macs here at ClickWare to 10 Base T Ethernet. It was a fairly straight forward process: plug the AAUI adapter into the back of the machine, connect the cable to the hub, go to the "Network" control panel and specify "Ethernet" rather than "LocalTalk". Done. All the machines now "talk" to each other, share network printers, modems, can "see" all the hard drives on all the machines, etc. Total time: 35 minutes from the arrival of the FedEx package.

Since having donated our "screamingly fast" 386 SX 33 PCs to our local university earlier this year, we've been "Mac OS only" shop for over 6 months now. Two columns ago ("Virtual (PC) Reality") I shared my very positive experience with Virtual PC for the Mac. It allows high-end hardware to emulate the Pentium CHIP, and thus run Windows 95/NT/OS2/Warp, etc.

Virtual PC works very well, and shares all the printers, modems, etc. that are installed on the Ethernet network - completely seamlessly.

Being the "speed pig" that I am, and with the news of the assimilation of Apple by Bill Gates, I decided that it was time to buy at least ONE dedicated PC (with the thought of buying several more). Besides, the upcoming release of FileMaker Pro (4.0) has really cool cross-platform hosting capabilities that I wanted to test.

Day 1: Bought the PC (a 166Mhz NEC "Ready" 9337, Pentium, 32MB RAM, 4 GIG hard drive, 24x CD ROM) and a NEC MultiSync XV17+ monitor from my local Circuit City Superstore. I was SHOCKED that this hardware cost LESS than my Mac SE (in 1986). I said to myself, "See, your readers who are jumping to the PC platform from the Mac were right - it is much cheaper!"

Day 2: Having installed the Windows 95 versions of all the software that I use (FileMaker, ClarisWorks, StuffIt Expander, etc.), I loaded (downloaded) new replacements for Email clients, screen capture utilities, etc. After a couple of hours of trying (and using my Mac to browse the NetCom Web Site for the 6 pages of notes on DNS name servers, configuring logon names, etc.) - I was even "connected" to the Internet for email and Web Surfing. Everything was working just fine. There was just one minor problem - the computer wasn't connected to the LAN, so I had to send files from the Mac to an email account, and download the file on the PC - just to transfer files between the two machines.

At this point, I'm thinking, "Hey, this DOES work pretty well. It's no Mac, but it doesn't suck TOO BAD."

Day 3: I get the brilliant idea to add a PCI Ethernet card to the PC so that I can "talk" to Windows 95 (running on the Mac OS via Virtual PC) across our entire network. Since we have printers that are cross-platform ready (Apple 16/600 with fax cards) - AND I have no problems printing from Virtual PC, I think to myself, "This should be a SNAP! After all, Windows 95 is much better than Windows 3.1 because of 'Plug N Play' technology." I order the card (3COM Etherlink XL COMBO 3C900-COMBO) from PC Warehouse, as well as a copy of LapLink software. Total: $200 and change.

Day 4: The hardware and software arrive (by a sheer act of God) via Airborne Express. I eagerly read the manual for "Upgrading" the PC, remove the cover, install the card into the PCI slot, replace the cover, plug in the Level 5 10 Base T cord (not included - ordered for $12.00 extra), and restarted the PC. I was greeted by a "Wizard" (read: a piece of software designed to look like it knows what the hell it's doing, but really has less of an idea than you do) informing me that I installed a new piece of hardware that it didn't recognize.

"Hooray!", I cried. "Maybe this will be as easy as the Mac! (gulp) Maybe I've been wrong to slam the Borg Leader (Bill Gates) for all these years.", I exaulted. The wizard showed me a list of "drivers" for the card I had installed (the one for the hardware I had didn't appear in the list), but there was a button titled "Have disk". I had a disk that came with the card. Giddy with excitement, I inserted the disk, clicked the "Have disk" button, and clicked "OK" at the prompt.

I might as well have blown my head off with a shotgun.

After "loading" 10 files from the diskette, I was prompted to insert the Windows 95 CD. I did. I clicked OK. The "wizard" choked - it couldn't find a file, but did offer a nice 2 inch text block to enter the full path to the "missing" file. Having dealt with PCs for years before the Mac, this didn't intimidate me in the least. I typed "Q:\". No good. I clicked "Skip this file", and it seemed happy - and "completed" the installation. "Hmmm...", I said to myself, "It must not have needed that file so badly after all. I mean, hey, it 'finished' the installation. Cool."

In hindsight, I should have slashed my wrists at this point - it would have saved LOTS of time.

Needless to say, the card didn't "see" printers or anything else. Luckily, I have a good friend, Marc Norman who is a Mac and Windows Networking/FileMaker GOD. He and I spend the next 6+ hours on the phone deleting stuff, adding stuff, and restarting after every try. Still, no good.

Day 5:Marc calls NEC, and speaks to several technicians before hooking up the very friendly, helpful Anne Martinez (extension 7637). She informs us that there was supposed to be TWO disks, and that we were supposed to insert disk 2 FIRST. I download the software from the NEC site (on the PC), and Marc and I spend another 9 hours and 30 minutes over the next two days trying every conceivable installation option we can think of (and restarting the computer after every one).

Day 6: I spend another 6 hours trying to get the card to print a test page on the networked printer. No luck. Marc is busy, but promises to get back to me with an answer from Anne at NEC in the morning.

Today: I'm waiting from a call from NEC, still can't print a test page, and am still sending myself email to transfer files.

What I learned: Call the folks at Dell computers - order EVERY CONCEIVABLE piece of hardware that you'll ever need (including SCSI cards, audio cards, extra hard drives, ethernet card, modem card, and anything else you can think of). That way, it will be "configured" by the factory, and just NEVER upgrade ANY software. Of course, the price will be about $1,500 more than I paid for my "bargain" PC, but it will save you the literally 100+ hours of your time just to get the damn thing to work.

I just realized for an extra $1,500 I SHOULD have spent to have the computer properly factory configured I could have bought another top-of-the-line Mac that I really WANTED in the first place...

Monday, August 04, 1997

The Crucible

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Okay, so this weekend I watched "The Crucible" with my Brother and Sister In-Law (Ron & Julie St. Amand - see? I DID mention you!). This movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis (hunk factor and strong, silent, type) and Winona Ryder (good actress that plays a psycho hose-beast) is set in Salem in the 1800's and about a young girl (Winona) who uses witchcraft to cast a spell wishing for the death of her former lover's (Day-Lewis) wife.

Sounds fun so far.

The highly repressed "Christian" people of Salem don't like the fact that Winona's uncle (the local preacher) has caught the girls... gasp... dancing in the woods. These folks see the devil in every corner of human expression, and well... they're really not happy about it.

Act II

They have a trial and put these "devil inside" young girls in the capable hands of the Magistrate (who makes Jesse Helms look like Larry Flint) to either; 1) help the girls confess that the devil has inhabited them, tell them all other people the devil as got a hold of, get exorcised, and go free, or 2) hang by the neck until dead. Choices... choices...

Winona gets the idea that if she "confesses" (and implicates other innocent people to back up the fact that she "sees" the devil in them too) then she can avoid the rope. The townsfolk buy the crap she dishes out, and several unlucky people (including the old "healer" woman who's never hurt a fly in her life) are arrested and sentenced to death.

Meanwhile, Daniel Day-Lewis and his wife (she don't know that ol' Daniel and Winona played hide the salami) are having problems of their own. It seems that one of the girls on trial is staying with them, and that the wife's name "came up a bit" at the trial (courtesy of Winona). Hell-bent on setting the record straight, Day-Lewis marches into court to confront the Magistrate and Winona.

Music builds...

Day-Lewis spills the beans that he and Winona had sex (much to the chagrin of the court), and his wife is brought in to confirm that's why she asked Winona to leave their house. Now, the wife (who has two adorable pre-teen boys), loves her husband, and to protect his "honor" she lies and says that she kicked Winona out (and I'm paraphrasing here) because she sucked as a housekeeper.

She is accused of being a witch (i.e. "devil inside"), and so is he. They're both arrested and taken to the holding jail to await their number to be called for the public hanging.

Fast forward...

The Magistrate offers Day-Lewis a deal; if he will "confess" to being a puppet of the devil, then they won't hang him and his wife will live at least until she gives birth to the baby (his) that she's carrying. Herein lies the moral dilemma. Day-Lewis is an honorable man who's done nothing wrong except disagree that the devil is behind every corner, and that people are people, and sometimes stuff happens.

Because he's honorable, he agrees to sign a piece of paper that will free himself and his wife. The local preacher (psycho that he is) - insists that the paper be hung from the church door (the equivalent of posting it to their web site). Day-Lewis, being the honorable man he is, decides at the last minute that having his "name" soiled is not worth it.

He is lead to the gallows (along with two other innocent people whom you've come to admire during the movie), and is the last one to be kicked off the scaffold (you hear necks breaking). Closeup on the taught rope. Roll credits.

Today's computer industry is very similar. Apple (Day-Lewis) was seduced once by the Press (Winona) and has gone on public trial for having "non Intel Inside." The Magistrate (Bill Gates, et al) is offering a way out ("we'll continue to develop for the Mac as long as Steve Jobs takes the helm, otherwise we won't"). It's up to Apple (Day-Lewis) to determine whether everything they've stood for (their name and OS) will give in to remain alive (and keep their wife [clone makers] and their unborn baby [Rhapsody] alive), or whether they will face death rather than give up their principles.

Even though they're on the path to the gallows, the rope has not yet been put around their neck. There's still time... we hope.

Tuesday, July 15, 1997


The heavenly smell of meat roasting over an open fire, the ungodly pain of the year's first good sunburn, the ever-present itching of mosquitos swarming all over your body...

... NO, I was NOT talking about the latest Apple debacle, I meant summer. Sheessh. Although, I must admit there are some substantial similarities.

Where's the beef? It was former Apple CEO Gil Amelio's butt held closely to flame last week when Apple's board of directors invited him to leave. Citing a slew of Apple-speak including "declining profits" (now that's a news flash), "failure to return to shareholder value in a timely manner" (read: no profits = bye bye), and equally vibrant variations on you-didn't-do-your-job-fast-enough-and-we-need someone-to-sacrafice-so-hit-the-road-buddy jargon.

Not that Gil was a prized public speaker, but hey, if he can turnaround a semiconductor company, surely it shouldn't be no problem to get a little software/hardware company on its feet again...I mean, hardware, software, chips, what's the difference? D'oh!

Okay, okay, so the Apple Board screwed up in hiring the wrong person for the job... at least they're CONSISTENT. It was about a year and a half ago that they invited Michael Spindler to get the hell out of Dodge, and before that they booted John Sculley out the door.

Interesting "re-organization" strategy - but it just makes people out there using (and loving) the Mac scratch their heads and say "surely it can't get worse..."

Can, and has. Ellen Hancock, the EX Chief Technology Officer (read: cool chick in charge of all technical aspects for hardware and software) decided that she'd rather be sitting on a beach somewhere, so... yep - she quit, too.

So now, they're minus two of the most visible people in the company - and have given some measure of control to... get this... Steve Jobs! This is the same guy the same board jettisoned from the company HE FOUNDED. Just goes to show that you just never know.

Oh yeah - don't be too sad for "gool ol' Gil" - he was handed a parachute along with his exit survey, to the tune of over $7 million in cash and prizes. Seven million dollars for getting fired? Where can I sign up?

Special thanks to Jeff Pagano the FileMaker Pro Tips & Tricks correspondent for Mac Today for his kind words regarding this column in the latest edition. It's nice to know someone besides my wife reads this...

Tuesday, July 01, 1997

Virtual (PC) Reality

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

It's no secret that we prefer the Mac OS here at ClickWare. It's not that we're anti-Windows, it's just that, for us, the Mac OS is an easier, more elegant solution.

That said, there is no denying the fact that most of the "civilized" society we deal with (including the majority of our major customers and business partners) has chosen to use the Windows Operating System. Why? Who knows. It's simply a fact.

Are we at ClickWare going to stop using the Mac OS? Not a chance in hell! Are we going to use the semi-vaporware "Rhapsody" when it comes out? You betcha'. Are we going to use Windows? Yes... on my Mac.

The hell, you say! Yes, it's true. In my continuing quest to seek out all things cool and useful, I recently bought a copy of Connectix Virtual PC (the Windows 95 Edition) - that allows me to have a Pentium speed Windows 95 machine - on my Macintosh!

There is another edition that allows you to run DOS and Windows 3.1... but if you're running Windows 95, you've got all the DOS you "need."

The software basically emulates the Intel CHIP, NOT the operating system. That means that my Ethernet Network, Networked Printers, CD ROM, etc. works seamlessly in the PC environment. Add to that the fact that VirtualPC fully support the popular SoundBlaster audio, supports PC joysticks, and can even output video and sound (some tinkering required) - and now I can play DOOM on two platforms at once.

You can set up "shared" folders - so that you can "exchanged" files between the Mac and Windows systems. For example, we do lots of cross-platform development, and rather than copying across the network to test on a PC, we can actually just toggle between platforms, checking the colors, fonts, etc. that can get you into trouble (especially in FileMaker Pro development).

But wait, there's more.

It will run Windows NT, Warp (OS2), Rhapsody for Intel, Rhapsody for Windows - in short, whatever operating system you want. Now, my friends, THAT is very cool! If you don't have the Mac Hardware (100 MhZ 603e with 64MB of RAM at the MINIMUM) - don't bother with Virtual PC. I'm using a Mac 9600/200 with 64MB of RAM (45MB dedicated to Virtual PC), a built-in 4 GIG hard drive (of which Virtual PC takes up 275 MB), 2MB of L2 Cache, 4MB of Video RAM (driving a Sony 17" monitor).

Granted, my setup is not exactly "typical", but I swear, the performance of Virtual PC is almost as good as a dedicated PC box. Now, I'm not getting paid by Connectix, I don't own stock in the company, and they didn't give me a free copy of the software. This is a real world, take no prisoners, truly USEFUL productivity tool.

Wednesday, June 11, 1997

Web For Thee?

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past year (and you haven't, since you've found THIS page!) you've probably run into web sites that were powered by FileMaker Pro.

Yes, yes, yes, I know... this one is not (yet!).

Anyway, now Claris has a Powered By FileMaker Pro site (that we created for them) that itself is powered by FileMaker Pro.

You can search for sites, link to them, and learn all the "dirty little secrets" about each site - such as number of hits, CGI they use, type of server, hardware configurations, the works.

Now, this is really neato! Can you imagine how powerful you web site/intranet/extranet would be if you could simply use the data that already exists in your database(s)? Yes, I'm sure you can.

Would it save you time? Yes. Would it save you money? Yes. It is fairly easy to do? Yes. Why then, doesn't every user of FileMaker Pro have their sites/intranets/extranets powered by FileMaker Pro?

Ummmm - here's some of the reasons people have shared with us over the past month or so:

  • Can serve on Macintosh only

  • Maintaining a server is a hassle

  • Don't have enough bandwidth

  • Don't want to buy a dedicated (Mac) server

  • Company "standardized" on Windows

  • What's a Web Server?

  • Many more excuses... (MINE included)

For those of us folks with a great excuse NOT to create a Powered By FileMaker Pro site/intranet/extranet - check out those companies (big and small) that DID take the plunge:

  • 20th Century Fox

  • American Computer Exchange

  • Numerous Big-Time and Ivy League Colleges

  • DuPont (Confidential Intranet)

  • Lockheed Martin

  • And many, many, more

If you don't want to go through the hassles of having your own full-time connection to the Net, and/or don't want to maintain a server, and/or don't want the basic "hassles" - use an ISP who does.

There are a number of ISPs that will host your FileMaker files using a variety of CGIs (i.e. Lasso, WEB FM, and Tango) - who will do all the maintenance, keep the network up and going, and handle all the "yucky" stuff. Best of all - pricing starts at about $50 per month.

How do you find them? Simply scoot on over to your favorite search engine - where you'll find your entry into dynamically created pages, personalized pages, up-to-the-minute information and more - are just a few clicks away.

P.S. Yes, we ARE working on getting THIS site "wired" - watch this space!

Wednesday, May 21, 1997

Wiz Bang!

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

One word: COOL! That sums up my experience at the 2nd annual Claris Solutions Conference.

For those of you living in a cave (or those of you who don't click on banners on our site), the conference was held at the Fairmont Hotel in beautiful downtown San Jose, California - right across the street from the Apple Worldwide Developer's Conference.

Unlike Apple's love-fest, attendance was actually UP from last year, and the general feeling I got from the people who attended was one of excitement, innovation, and high energy!

Not only was the content great, so was the food, information, presenters, and the overall experience. There were many different sessions going on (unfortunately, only a few were given more than once) everything from running a consulting business, advanced FileMaker scripting, supporting your solutions, to sessions on future versions of FileMaker (under non disclosure, of course - watch this space).

Yours truly participated in 4 sessions, including the Tips and Tricks Panel, Database Version Control, Integration with MYOB and QuickBooks (with MYOB GURU Ron Finnigan), and the AppleScript session (with co-hosts Chris Moyer and his sidekick Bob) - not to mention the numerous sessions that I ATTENDED. This was, of course, on TOP of the great many hours spent in various establishments that serve liquid refreshments (read: bars). WHEW!

The thing that was such a pleasant surprise is that people were psyched to talk to and actually HELP anyone and everyone who wanted to listen. I mean at breakfast, lunch, dinner, between sessions, in bars, lobbies, elevators, everyone was talking about tips, techniques, strategies, business practices, new products, alliances, the Web - everything you can imagine. All with the intent of learning as well as teaching. No petty competition. No back-stabbing. Cooperation. Nice!

My hat's off to Jeff Gagne, Delfina Daves, Susan Munne, Eric Frasier (and the many, many behind-the-scenes folks at Claris), Donna Wotton (and her crew at Unconventional Promotions) - you guys did a very good job.

If you weren't able to make it this year - start saving your pennies for next year - it's well worth the time and money!

Monday, May 05, 1997

Click Where?

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

First of all, let me apologize for the length of time that has elapsed since the last Bob's World column. We've been very busy creating some neato FileMaker based Web Sites for Claris and others.

Now, on with the festivities...

Apparently, litigation is as much a part of business world as marketing and sales. This is a true story - TicketMaster is SUING Microsoft for putting a link to their site on Microsoft's site.

No, really, I'm not kidding!

It seems that Microsoft is "..infringing on TicketMaster's intellectual property..." by linking directly to certain pages WITHIN the site - and not the "main" page.

Yes, I'm serious!

Now, how stupid is this? I'm just as jealous of Bill Gate's billions as the next guy - but taking someone to court for a LINK? Um... no.

Here's another one - again 100% true: It seems that some HUGE companies (Turner Broadcasting, Warner Brothers, ZD Net, and others) are suing a company for showing linked articles within a FRAME on their site. Now, they don't object to the LINK, they just object to the content being in a FRAME rather than having the user JUMP to the site.

What the hell's up with that? I'll tell you - bucks, BIG bucks. You see - some of the ad tracking software has a hard time telling where you're coming from if you access a banner from within a frame - but NOT if you click it on the "real" site.

Less "click through" means less MONEY advertisers are willing to pay, which means less MONEY in the corporate pockets of media giants (poor babies!). It's true, money makes the business world "go 'round", and without the support of you, our customers, this site wouldn't exist either. But, come on!

Litigation only leads to two things - lawyers getting rich, and new rules and regulations that restrict the free spirit of the Web.

Isn't the whole premise of the Web (and links to other sites) - to provide more information for folks who take the time and effort to visit your site? Aren't we (as webmasters) providing a service by providing links to other sites that have a common thread? Do you really ENJOY search engines with 10,000 entries and 40+ screens of unless garbage?

I, for one, will continue to link to other sites - with or without their prior "permission." If you find your link on our Other Sites page, and would like your link removed - please just speak up... I'll be happy to remove it. But for godsake - don't SUE US!

Monday, March 24, 1997

Groupware This!

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Before we get to this installation, I need to clarify statements some people think I made in my last column.

It seems that a number of folks CHOOSE the Windows platform as their "tool of choice" (see our last issue) and by naming our fictitious examples with the name of an apparently popular Intel supplier, I alluded that the Windows platform was less than stellar. This was not my intention - people, the focus was supposed to be "Managers - wake up! Let your folks use the tool that works for them [regardless of platform]" - and not "...Windows sucks." Just so there's no confusion - in the future if I mean to say "Windows sucks", I'll say "Windows sucks."

Onward and upward...

So what's up with "groupware?" I mean, the newest version of Netscape Navigator (behemoth bloatware that it is) boasts newer, better "groupware" communications. Oh, it also requires that you have a Cray supercomputer to run it... but hey, you can "collaborate" with people in your "work group." Huh?

Ten years ago you put your 19 cent stamp on your latest work, dropped it in the mail and waited for the phone to ring. "Groupware" meant that your client would call in two or three days, and go over any changes on the phone. You would then redo the work, and "fire it off" with another cover letter, padded envelope with "DO NOT BEND" written all over it, affix a spiffy a hand-addressed label, and wait for two or three more days.

Not long after that the "groupware" application of choice was next day delivery. I mean, rather than dealing with the mail you could get the same stuff to your customer the very next DAY! Of course it cost a little more (read: finance a small country for a year), but that was the price of that day's "fast-moving" technology.

Then, three or four years ago (when a fax machine cost $1,000 and a fax modem [the absolute bleeding edge of technology] cost about $500), "groupware" meant communicating by fax. You know, "I'll fax it right over..." and you get a curly piece of non-biodegradable toilet paper that was useless to write on - but hey, it worked. You then copied that (on a copy machine, no less!), made YOUR changes, then re-faxed it back. Then the person on the other side would copy YOUR fax, make changes and fax it back... and so on.

In the past year "groupware" means communicating by means of the wonderful world of .hqx, ftp, www, and the most immediate form of communication "email." Ah email. I wonder how I ever got along without it. It's now possible to completely consume my ENTIRE day with "newsgroups", mailing lists, recipes, dirty jokes, chain letters, press releases, announcements, spam (and anti-spam) and more - all at the click of a button.

The term "I'll FedEx it to you" is no longer met with "Great!" or "WOW, really?" but, "Is your email server down?" We've grown to call sending something sent via "regular" mail - "snail mail", and the only time I get a fax is when THEIR email server is down.

Not that this is bad - I've met LOTS more people (at least via email) - and have had great "conversations" with people all over the world. At trade shows, or other "analog" gatherings people introduce themselves and I have no idea who they are - UNTIL I ask their email address: "Oh, you're '' - nice to meet you. By the way check your email when you get back to your hotel the stuff you asked for has been uploaded to our ftp server..."

Do we need "groupware"... probably not. Are we going to get it whether we like it or not? Yes. Will we look back on the days email and laugh at the arcane (and slow) way we used to communicate? Yes. Will we ever get the damn 12:00 to stop blinking on our VCR's? No, never. That's technology...

Thursday, March 06, 1997

Tool Time from Hell

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Judging from all the email we received from our last issue from poor, hapless souls trapped in "...huge multi-national corporation...", the Mac spirit is alive - although the body is slowly dying in Corporate America.

Numerous people wrote in (from many different companies) saying that they love the Mac (and FileMaker) but are being forced into dumping their "toy" in favor of a bean-counter-approved Windows box, and trade in FileMaker for the "standard" - Microsoft Access. AAAAAHHHHHH!

Let me share my views on this - it SUCKS, is short-sighted, and just plain won't work.

The thing that some folks don't seem to understand is that computers and software are tools that were created to help us get our work done - so that we can go home and see our significant others and have some real fun. I mean, how many of you want to go back to keeping all of your contacts on 3 x 5 index cards?

That being said, it's plain stupid to force people into working with a tool they're unfamiliar with, don't want, don't need, and that will actually stop them from getting their work done.

Let's say you're using a regular hammer to pound nails - that's your job - "Director of Corporate Nail Pounding." Now imagine if the "powers that be" decide in their infinite wisdom that you should stop using that "outdated", underpowered tool because they got a great deal on 50 pound sledge hammers. Besides, they drone, it's easier for the guys in tool maintenance to maintain 50 pound sledge hammers, and they don't want to deal with "non-standard", regular hammers.

Absurd? Nope - reality.

Since you have no choice or voice in the decision (god-forbid that the people actually pounding nails have a say in what tool they use), you "buckle up", put on a happy face, and try to use your brand new 50 pound sledge hammer to pound your nails... the only problem is that you can't lift it. So, being the conscientious worker you are, you decide to call down to tool maintenance, and have one of their "technicians" come and help you.

YOU: Hello, tool department? I have a question about my new 50 pound sledge hammer...

TECHNICIAN: Are you using the Compaq5000, Compaq5000 R5 DLX, Compaq5001, or the Compaq5001 R8 DLS?

YOU: Uh... I don't know, how do I tell?

TECHNICIAN: (heavy sigh) It's very easy - anyone who knows anything about sledge hammers would know. I can't help you until you tell me which model you're using.

YOU: I understand, but I have just a quick question...

TECHNICIAN: No model number, no helpie.

YOU: Yes, but I just need to know how to pick it up... you see, I have 100 nails to pound before the end of the day.. and I just can't get it to work...

TECHNICIAN: Pounding nails??? Do you have the special "nail pounding adapter?"

YOU: I don't know, what does it look like?

TECHNICIAN: (another heavy sigh) Well, if you don't know, we can't help you. They're probably on backorder, but once they come in we'll have to reconfigure your tool to accept the new adapter. Since everyone else got new tools, we're backlogged until six weeks from Tuesday. Thank you for calling tool maintenance. "CLICK";

Faced with an impending deadline, you proceed to pound the first 50 nails using your stapler, and write a memo detailing why you won't be able to meet the deadline. "Management" dismisses this as an "isolated" incident since "no one else" seems to be having problems.

READER EXERCISE: Requisition a really, really good dust cover for your new tool and blow the dust off the old typewriter in the corner - at least then you can get your work done.

MANAGER EXERCISE: Stop bitching about "non standard" equipment - and give your people the tools that they need to remain productive. You'll save a ton of money, keep morale high, and stay in business.

Oh, by the way, FileMaker Pro was just declared the #2 Windows Database...

Tuesday, February 25, 1997

Network Cajones

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Ok, so if you were on another planet on Sunday night, you may have missed the powerful movie "Schindler's List." Now, I've seen the movie in the theater, but since they weren't going to show "Third Rock from the Sun", I figured "hey, might as well watch the movie again."

WOW. I had forgotten how poignant and moving that film is. I was completely wrapped up in the drama, tragedy, shock, horror, and jubilation that is so skillfully intertwined that I didn't even notice that there were no commercials!

There were also some potentially "offensive" (read: too real) scenes that were NOT "edited for television." I had to check that I was, in fact, watching network television, and not the cable movie station. At about the same time I realized this, about half way through the movie, a tasteful screen appeared that said: Schindler's List Intermission, had a countdown clock set for 1:45, and a very small "brought to you by Ford" logo at the bottom. That's it. At the end of the 1:45, the movie continued without interruption until the end.

HOLY SMOKES, BATMAN! I must say that I was completely blown away by 1) the network's GUTS to show the fully uncut version of the film, 2) Ford Motor Corporation's GUTS at sponsoring a true movie event with only 1:45 and a single, tasteful logo at the "intermission", and 3) Amblin entertainment's (read: Steven Spielberg's) GUTS at putting the whole thing together.

Again, you're probably asking yourself - "how the hell does that relate to computers..." - here's how:

  • Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation (Spielberg-created foundation)uses FileMaker to document the 50,000 stories of Holocaust survivors;

  • NBC's Schindler's List Site contains interviews with actual survivors, an interview with Steven Spielberg, and links to other sites

    Reader Exercise #1: send a letter (or email) to NBC and Ford congratulating them for having the cajones for putting on such a fine show.

    Folks - the point here is to "think outside the box." Just because something's never been done before (at least in recent memory), doesn't mean it can't be done, it just means that no one's tried hard enough yet; this includes computing/web/filemaker/scripting stuff.

    I get charged up when people tell me "...that can't be done in FileMaker..." - it inspires me to push the outside envelope a bit further, often forcing me to look at the problem (or solution) in an entirely different way. I've found that there IS a solution, and it CAN be done (although "should" is another issue) one way or the other.

    Reader Exercise #2: think "outside the box" - and come up with an innovative, cool, useful database or site that "flies in the face of convention." Let us know what you come up with.

  • Tuesday, February 18, 1997

    Bob Vila for the Web

    Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

    In this frenzied world of ever-changing software, (sort of) WYSIWYG HTML editors , IP addresses, CGI's, and other things technical - I've often found myself wanting to turn to a down-home, friendly Web guru to give step-by-step directions for creating cool web stuff. Sorta like... well... a digital version of Bob Vila.

    For those of you not familiar with Bob, he's the host of the popular cable show "The Renovation Guide" and was creator of "This Old House" (before Sears bought it) - both programs for the would-be do-it-yourselfer. In his shows, he and his sidekick (read: butthead slave) Norm, would add a bathroom, a bedroom, or redesign a kitchen in a half hour. I like to watch these shows because people with fix-it/construction skills amaze me.

    I'm no Bob Vila - in fact, until this past weekend, whenever something needed fixing around the house my wife knew just what to do: CALL SOMEONE who knows what the hell they're doing! She learned this little trick when I would "fix" things that would later need to be REALLY fixed by someone else anyway - this way she can cutout the middleman (me).

    There really is a point to this, I swear.. but first, let me set up the story:

    My wife and I had a problem: our dogs (Mac and Panda) have slowly turned our once-picturesque backyard into a missile test site. Panda (border collie and akita mix we got from the pound when she was a year old), bless her heart, feels it's her duty to return to China via our backyard. She digs (daily) holes that can easily accommodate a compact sedan with room left over for 3 miles of broken sprinkler pipe.

    Our once well-behaved "baby" - Mac (pure border collie who we got from the pound when he was a puppy), not one to be left out of the festivities, has learned to also dig 4 or 5 smaller holes in his never-ending search for rocks to play with.

    My wife likes to garden. She loves to plant seeds, bulbs, shrubs, and lovingly watch them grow. She does not like the fact that our backyard looks like a white trash reject. She suggests building a dog run by filling our side yard with concrete. Bob is not Bob Vila. He once took 2 hours to hang a spice rack that's still crooked and will not come out of the wall EVER. Bob thinks to himself "hey, concrete, what's the big deal?" Bob remembers the spice rack and comes to his senses.

    Long story short, we asked the advice of our relatives (all of whom are absolutely GIFTED in the construction/fix-it department - plus they have all the COOL TOOLS!) about the project. WHAMMO-
    BAMMO two weeks later they all came up to our house. They dug a trench for a new drain; removed our entire fence (in WHOLE sections, no less); flattened out the side yard by removing wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dirt; built forms concrete forms; had the concrete pumped in to the back of the yard while finishing the front concrete forms; "floated", edged, smoothed and finished the surface; replaced the fence (and set three new posts that were damaged)... well, you get the idea.

    Out of all those tasks, I had the most strenuous jobs: writing the checks, making HomeBase runs, bringing refreshments out, etc. I even bought a power saw (my first) when my relatives mentioned that cutting through 125 feet of lumber with a 10 year old handsaw wasn't exactly fun.

    That brings us to the point of this column: it's one thing to watch folks do it on TV, but it's a whole different ball game when you set out to actually do a project. I learned that when a group of dedicated people get together to accomplish a single goal, there's nothing that can't be accomplished. I also learned that I don't personally have to know how to do all the aspects of a job to get it done. All I have to do is just do what I do well, and give the freedom and tools to those with other skills the room to do what they do well.

    Reader Exercise: Share your own particular talents (or knowledge) with other people with different talents and create something cool!

    Monday, February 10, 1997

    The Sky Is Falling!

    Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

    NOT! If I read just one more nay-sayer predict the demise of Apple Computer, I'm going to get out the nearest butter knife and slash my wrists.

    To be sure, losing 125+ MILLION dollars per quarter isn't a GOOD thing... HOWEVER, there are some bright spots that just recently appeared:

    • the Gil-meister decreed that there will be no executive bonuses (read: multi-million dollar giveaways) to any executives until Apple has returned to profitability;

    • the newly-reorged folks at the top of the technology food chain are folks from NeXT (read: they know the new OS inside and out - literally!);

    • Claris' ex-president and helluva good presenter, Guerrino De Luca is now in charge of Apple marketing (read: REAL ads touting the Mac's benefits, not the typical "Mission Impossible" crap);

    • looking ahead to Rhapsody, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Avadis Tevanian and Vice President of AppleSoft Marketing Jim Gable said Apple plans to offer a version of that OS for Intel-standard PCs (read: watch out Windows!);

    • Apple is slashing prices across the board (read: say goodbye to the "it's more expensive" PC argument);

    • Etc., etc., etc.
    There will always be the folks who can't get enough of doomsday predictions - just like there are people who continue to read and believe tabloids (as Jerry Seinfeld said on 60 Minutes "...people who believe tabloids deserve to be lied to...")! As for me, I'm going to continue to use the best tool for the job.

    Sure, someday (1st dev release of Rhapsody is due in summer) Apple will come out with the NeXT operating system - but until then I'm happy using what I've got. I'm writing this column, sending email, designing web pages, writing software, sending files via FTP, and listening to streaming audio while playing a CD all at the same time!

    Interactive Reader Exercise: try this on DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, or Windows NT on a machine right out of the box. Go ahead, I'll wait.

    Nice try! Computers are a tool that should be used to make one's life easier - not cause higher blood pressure, loud shouts of obscenities, and overall general mayhem. If you're like 95% of the rest of the world, and you use a Windows machine - great. I've got nothing against INTEL-box users, quite the contrary - some of my best friends (and relatives) are constantly on the phone to me asking why the hell they can't print (or fax, or dial out, or run software on "only" 16 megs of RAM, etc.).

    I'll admit it - I even OWN an INTEL box (of course, it's in the warehouse collecting dust because the FedEx software won't run on less than 60 MB of disk space and 16 MB of RAM [thanks Mr. Gates!]), the disk-doubled hard drive loses data on a semi-regular basis, the external CD drive doesn't have a Win 95 driver so won't work on Windows 95, etc.

    Interactive Reader Exercise #2: do a network install of Windows 95 from FLOPPIES. Have a NICE DAY (I mean weekend).

    The bottom line is this - use the tool that works the best for you, period. In the case of me and mine, we'll stick with Mac OS as our tool of choice thank you very much. Even if Apple went out of business tomorrow afternoon, we would still continue to use the Mac OS because it does the one thing we bought computers for in the first place - it helps us get our work done with a minimum of hassle and virtually no "down time."

    Monday, February 03, 1997

    It Slices... It Dices...

    Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

    OK. So last night I was watching late night television in a scotch-induced haze and I came to the conclusion that this world is going to hell in a hand basket. With my thumb poised in the "surfing" position, I rocketed through all 77 channels and saw only 4 channels with programming on it - the rest were infomercials.

    Infomercials? Give me a break! If I see one more ad for a psychic hotline (Deonne - stick with music, baby), ab crunchers, gizmos for walking without going anywhere, car polish, no money down real estate (give me a break - this ISN'T the 80's!)... you get the idea. These "programs" had nothing to do with providing INFORMATION (other than how to order) - and only wasted the bandwidth of occasional insomniacs like myself.

    Every single program has the same objective - induce other caffeine junkies to buy a product to change their pathetic, miserable little lives: "Just by ordering your course (or calling your hotline, or going a bazillion dollars in debt to buy property I can never resell, etc.) I've felt better about myself (or "made $1,000 a minute while playing golf", or "took control of my life", etc.).

    HOT TIP: Once the 4 easy payments of $39.95 have been consumed, I guarantee that most of these people will eagerly awaiting Sunday night at 1:00am so they can go on to the NEXT "real thing" that will make them happy.

    Now, let's contrast that with the good folks over at the Orange County Mac User's Group that invited me to preach about the virtues of FileMaker this past Saturday morning:

    • The organizers don't get paid - they're there on a Saturday because they WANT to be
    • They exist to help people with their computing questions, problems, etc.
    • They charge about $35 per year to provide newsletters, disks, web site, and more
    • They actually like their members, and actually help people to work through technology problems (as well as the occasional personal ones as well)

    In a nutshell - they give to get. This also applies to others in the FileMaker (and computer) "family" here on the Infobahn - we're here because we WANT to be. Check out our Other Sites for a PARTIAL listing of others who also want to help.

    Rather than putting MY 4 easy payments of $39.95 into a machine that I'll use 4 times and still be paying for long after it's been collecting dust in a closet, I'll take a REAL walk and divert the time, energy and money into something that REALLY matters.

    I suggest that YOU also take YOUR 4 easy payments of $39.95, and join a local users group, volunteer to set up a database or two for your local school (or church, or synagogue, or mosque), or throw up a web site to share your experiences and knowledge with others.

    If you're hell-bent on pissing away your 4 easy payments of $39.95, make your check payable to "ClickWare" (we also take Visa and MasterCard) and we guarantee to change your life by taking your money....

    Thursday, January 16, 1997

    MacWorld Melee!

    Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

    Greetings from the computing bowels of the lovely city by the bay - San Francisco, California. It's my annual pilgrimage to "fog city" (not to be confused with the excellent software company fog city software) for a week of outrageous hotel prices, inflated parking prices, expensive food and drink... oh yeah, and computer stuff.

    MacWorld in San Francisco is like an intimate encounter with 9,000 of your closest friends - there's no time to see them all - and even if you could you wouldn't. Among all the Internet hype, new hardware announcements, software introductions, show specials on software you'll never use, and endless opportunities to melt even the most hearty of credit cards, there were a few notable things in the pipeline that I found to be of interest to us folk who wax poetic in the (sometimes lonely) land of FileMaker development:

  • There's a new version of FileMaker Pro in the works... That's about all I can say about it. Suffice it to say it will be good and will include new stuff as well as fix some stuff that's been bugging all of us for years.

  • New versions of CGI's exposed: All three major FileMaker CGI vendors showed off their latest versions (all included WebStar 2.x plug-in capabilities),
    *Web Broadcasting's WEB FM (and "Web Essentials" bundle), *BlueWorld Communication's Lasso (as well as a super-duper 2.0 version that will include it's own HTTP server AND will Java-enable FileMaker), *Everyware's Tango. I'll be ranting and raving about CGI & FileMaker stuff in a future column.... but you owe it to yourself to check out the latest YUMMY offerings from these vendors!

  • Cool New MAC ONLY Software
    *Everything FileMaker CD Matt and folks at ISO have put out THE reference source for FileMaker users! This FANTASTIC $35 CD is chocked-full of over 600 megs of actual FileMaker FILES, EXAMPLES, TECHNIQUES and more - get it while it's HOT!

    *Secure FM (download here!) Danny Mack and the wired-in people at New Millennium have cooked up an extension that will dim out editing menu commands IN FILEMAKER! They're also at looking at doing a windoze version, and adding FULL MENU CONTROL in a future version!

    *Web Collage that will collate info from the Web or FileMaker databases and create (and auto-upload to server or FTP) GIF images based on the data

    *Myrmidon by Terry Morse Software - weird name, COOL print driver that will translate ANYTHING that can be printed into HTML and other formats (INCLUDING script steps, field definitions, etc.)

    *Coda by Random Noise is a visual Java builder for creating 100% Java web pages. It will also run on Windows 95, Windows NT, AND Solaris - WAY COOL!

    *Web Burst - by the good folks over at PowerProduction is a visual animation tool that will generate it's own Java code, classes, and HTML,
    *Home Page 2.0 (Mac & Windows) - nice update to a useful, mostly WYSIWYG HTML editor - watch this space for more info on possible FMP integration in a future version

  • Coolest place to stay in S.F. if you're staying a week or more - is the City Central Townhouse (click for picture) owned by my good friend Leigh Robinson. This place is the best - it's right next to Jefferson Square and is in walking distance from the Civic Center, Main Library, Memorial Opera House, Japantown, St. Mary's Cathedral, etc. It's 3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths of pure pleasure that INCLUDES a jacuzzi tub in master bath, fully equipped kitchen, fireplace, washer/dryer, multiple TV's, VCR, phone, answering machine, roof garden, exercise stuff, and housekeeping services! Check it out - it's even got it's own web site!. You can also contact Leigh at (510) 236-5496, FAX (510) 215-9385 or write to Express, P.O. Box 1639, El Cerrito, CA 94530 and tell em' BOB SENT YOU.

  • Mac Based ISP I met the folks from the Bay Area Infoasis at the most excellent Macs of Marin FileMaker Pro SIG meeting that I hosted. If you want to super-charge your site by offering the power of FileMaker and CGI's, but don't want the hassles of having your own T-1 or server, contact them and check out their FileMaker Serving services (from $100/mo.)

    I also met (for the first time in person) Chris Ogden fellow wine nut, CGI maestro and author of the most excellent AppleScript Web Site that uses Tango and FileMaker Pro to run the ENTIRE site! He and I... well... um... let's just say that the good people at the oh-so-trendy watering hole "Bix" weren't sorry to see us leave in the wee hours of the morning. Keep watching this space for more on the super yummy FileMaker gyrations from the slight-of-hand magicians at Infovista.

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