GLGDW 2006 Conference Notes and Photos

The 2006 edition of the Great Lakes Great Database Workshop (GLGDW, aka Whilfest) wrapped up last Monday in Milwaukee. Others who were there, including Doug Hennig and Rick Schummer, have already posted excellent conference wrap-ups on their blogs that include individual conference session summaries, so I'll just add a couple of general comments here.

GLGDW has a well-deserved reputation for being an excellent conference, and this year was certainly no exception. After a 2 1/2 year hiatus since the last one in October 2003, Whil brought the conference back in a somewhat different format this year. For one thing, it was essentially just a weekend conference, running from Friday evening to Monday noon instead of stretching over four of five days. For another, there was only one track this year, meaning each session was presented only once and everybody attended the same session at the same time. Also, the entire conference was focused on the single theme of "Best Practices for Visual FoxPro", which gave a certain continuity to the sessions.

The one-track format allowed everyone, including speakers, to attend all the sessions. This worked out pretty well for everyone, particularly so for the speakers because we don't ordinarily get to see the whole show. The smaller size of this conference also facilitated more than the usual amount of dialog between the speakers and the audience during the sessions, which added to the informal feeling of this event. Larger, multi-track conference formats are good because they can accommodate a wider variety of topics and a greater number of speakers and attendees, but the intense "weekend jam session" nature of this year's GLGDW was a nice change of pace.

Kudos to all the other speakers, who did a uniformly excellent job with their sessions, and thanks to everyone who attended and helped make the weekend happen. As always, Whil Hentzen deserves a ton of credit for putting it all together, and his daughter Aleix earns special recognition for helping to keep things running smoothly throughout the entire weekend.

I took a few snapshots at the conference. You can see them at www.ita-software.com/GLGDW2006_Photos/index.html.

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FeedDemon 2.0 Wins PC Magazine Editors' Choice Award

PC Magazine agrees with what I've been saying for a long time: "FeedDemon 2.0 is the best desktop RSS aggregator money can buy." Snapshot review at www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1948579,00.asp, full review here.



Chainsaw unusable after being attacked by crocodile [off topic]

Sometimes you see a headline and you just have to read the story. This one caught my attention on MSNBC this morning. According to the report, neither animal nor man were injured, but the chainsaw didn't fare so well.

"Crocodile comes out on top after fight with saw -
"Chainsaw unusable after being attacked by 14.5-foot saltwater crocodile".
Story at www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12526001/.



Chicago FUDG Meeting Tonight

If you're a Visual FoxPro developer in the Chicago area, come on over to the FoxPro Users and Developers Group (Chicago FUDG) meeting this evening. I'll be giving a sneak preview of my Best Practices for Deployment session, which will be presented at the Great Lakes Great Database Workshop (GLGDW) in Milwaukee later this month. Tonight's meeting is at 5:30 PM; see the Chicago FUDG website for location and details. In addition to the talk, I'll be giving away copies of Deploying Visual FoxPro Solutions and What's New in Nine: Visual FoxPro's Latest Hits as door prizes.

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"The 10 worst ways to communicate with end users"

Great article by Becky Roberts over on TechRepublic this morning. "The 10 worst ways to communicate with end users" is a short but valuable read for anybody who deals with end users (and who doesn't?). Originally spotted on the TechRepublic Downloads feed.

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The Future of Programming [Humor]

Charles Petzold, author of "Programming Windows" (Microsoft Press) and many other books, shows us the future of programming with his article on the C# Application Markup Language (CSAML). Note the publication date of April 1, 2006.


FeedDemon 2.0

The newest version of FeedDemon is finally out of beta. FeedDemon 2.0 was released last week and is available for download from NewsGator.

Anyone who's been reading this blog or listening to me speak at user groups and conferences knows I've been a fan of FeedDemon ("Insanely Great Software: FeedDemon") and the other products developed by Nick Bradbury (TopStyle, also now from NewsGator, and HomeSite, now from Macromedia) for a long time. I had some initial concerns about the future of FeedDemon following NewsGator's acquisition of Bradbury Software back in May of 2005 ("Newsgator acquires FeedDemon"), but at least one of those concerns was soon alleviated when it was announced in July that FeedDemon would retain it's stand-alone capabilities and not require a NewsGator subscription ("NewsGator acquires FeedDemon Redux").

My other concerns were (a) how much involvement with and influence over FeedDemon would Nick Bradbury really continue to have, and (b) would NewsGator prove to be as responsive to the FeedDemon and TopStyle user community as Bradbury Software had always been. From what I've observed, the answers are: a lot, and yes.

During the FeedDemon 2.0 development cycle, NewsGator maintained a beta support forum. Those of us who were using the betas got a lot of releases to play with along the way, and needless to say the beta forum was very active. In spite of the daily flood of ideas (and sometimes complaints) flowing their way via the support forum, the company was very responsive to problem reports and suggestions. In particular, Jack Brewster of NewsGator technical support and Nick Bradbury himself deserve a lot of credit for their willingness to listen to and interact personally with the community.

FeedDemon 2.0 features a long list -- ten pages! -- of changes and improvements over the previous release version, v1.5. (Version 1.6 was around for a while but was never released other than as a Beta.) The most noticeable change in 2.0 is that feeds are organized and presented as nodes in a treeview, replacing the separate folders in a drop-down list used in previous versions. Also, synchronization of feeds with NewsGator Online is an option but is not required.

IMO FeedDemon 2.0 is a worthwhile upgrade for anyone still using 1.5 or 1.6, and continues to be an attractive choice for anyone who's looking for a good feed reader. There are still some things I'd like to see added or changed, but it's time to let Nick catch his breath and relax for a while. Meanwhile, FeedDemon 2.0 is ready to rock and roll, and the Technical Support forum and Feature Requests forum are up and active.

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Blog Comment Notification Issues

Blogger evidently isn't sending me e-mail notification of blog comments until I log in to Blogger again. Either I'm misunderstanding how it's supposed to work (expected behavior: someone posts a comment, I get e-mail notification right away) or I have something configured incorrectly. Maybe it's because I'm hosting the blog on my own server. I'll have to dig into this some more...


WiX turns 2

WiX, the Windows Installer XML toolset, is two years old today. Creator Rob Mensching looks back over the history of the project and talks about its future direction on his blog.

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