I Doubled My Productivity With One Simple Step

For the last couple of months, I have been dragging. Seems like every day I get just a little bit slower and a little less productive.

The last couple of weeks, it’s gotten to the point where I dread getting on the laptop at night, looking for something — anything — to keep me from having to sit down in front of the keyboard.

Yes, for the last two months I’ve been horribly unproductive and uninspired.

Last night I didn’t really feel like working (again), and I lost interest in the NCAA Tournament when Georgetown beat Vanderbilt, so I decided to try something that I hoped would knock me out of this unproductive funk: I wiped Windows Vista Business off the laptop, and reinstalled a fresh copy of XP Professional.

This morning I cranked up the laptop around 4:00 AM to finish setting everything up. An hour later, I started working.


And do I mean W-O-W! What a difference! I felt more productive right away! Everything was faster. A LOT faster. The flashy Aero interface was gone, but to be honest, it had gotten a bit “old” for me by the third day of running Vista.

I know this doesn’t quite match Microsoft’s intention for their “The WOW starts now” marketing campaign for Vista, but Vista is, in my opinion, a dog. And not even a complete dog. More like a “we better ship this thing by January 30th or Steve Ballmer will eat our livers with some fava beans and a nice chianti” dog. Sure, there’s a ton of enhancements and improvements in Vista — BUT — when software gets in the way of productivity instead of enhancing productivity, I start looking for other software.

I’m not even talking about the User Account Control. I mean the computer got slower, and slower, and slower with each passing day. And as it slowed down, I became less inclined to work on

That said, I upgraded my Media Center 2005 to Windows Vista Home Premium last month, and I do like many of the UI enhancements in Home Premium’s Media Center app.

If you’re considering a move to Vista (any flavor) for daily production use, I strongly recommend waiting for (at least) service pack one.

Just my opinion…

This post originally appeared on the Foxite Weblogs site.


It’s that time of year where we reflect on what’s been and prepare for what’s to be. Fix the things that went wrong, and resolve to do better during the next twelve months. The New Year’s Resolution. Here’s mine for 2006:

  • Blog more, whine less (Mama always said, “If you can’t say something good, then say nothing at all.”)
  • Contribute to the community (try to answer some newsgroup postings, instead of just learning from them)
  • Go to WhilFest
  • Go to Southwest Fox
  • Join (or start) a VFP User Group (or CodeCamp, or BeerBash)
  • Find a corporate sponsor for my apps (imagine a splash screen welcoming the user to the “DoritosTM Customer Management Application“ or the “GatoradeTM Medical Billing System“)
  • Become more Google-ized
  • Cheer the Nashville Predators all the way to the NHL Stanley Cup. Welcome to SMashville. GO PREDS!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Just wanted to take a moment to wish all my fellow-Foxer’s a Happy New Year!

It’s been a (gloriously) busy year for Visual FoxPro, and 2006 looks like it will be another banner year.

I would have to say the Fox-phrase of the year for 2005 is “VISUAL FOXPRO ROCKS!!!“

Any thoughts on the Fox-phrase for 2006? 2007? Beyond? Hey Craig Boyd, give us a new phrase!

Wishing everyone a safe, happy, and prosperous new year!

Andrew MacNeill’s Top 10 “Predictions” for 2006

Price, Quality, and Value

Wow! My last post about the recent FoxPro Advisor Update advertisement really struck a nerve with Michael Kopljan, who responded to my post by creating his own blog (Welcome to the Blogosphere, Michael!).

Michael makes a couple of excellent points about the cost of doing business in different parts of the world, which of course results in differing costs for the products produced. After re-reading his take on the subject and Andrew MacNeill’s response, I believe I made at least two HUGE mistakes in my original post.

Mistake #1: My answer for competing with off-shoring specialists who charge a much lower rate versus my current rate was QUALITY. A poor choice of words on my part. The correct word is VALUE.

Mistake #2: The wording I chose leading up to the “You get what you pay for“ statement. In retrospect, I can’t blame Michael at all for being a bit pissed about my post. On the other hand — dude, comparing my statements to Adolf Hitler? Come on…

On the plus side, isn’t this a wonderful example about the global reach of blogs?

Michael was offended by my “Have you ever seen an app developed on the cheap by third-world ‘off-shoring specialists’?“ statement. His response was, “That is to humiliate. Why you think that you are better then any third-world specialist. Why you think that your App is better than any other.“

Let me be the first to say that I don’t necessarily think my apps are better than any others. And I’m not so sure that anyone I know would ever describe me as “super intelligent.“ After all, if you’ve ever read my earlier posts you’d know that I kind of “fell“ into programming, and I’m really just darn lucky and blessed to be making a living at it. Some “real” developers would probably call me a hack. Compared to the Visual FoxPro team at Microsoft and the Visual FoxPro Community that I admire, I feel like a wannabee. I don’t write books. I don’t “share“ much of my code with other developers. I can’t even begin to pretend to be an expert developer.

But I do try to create value for my customers. It doesn’t really matter what something costs, does it? It’s the value you get from the product that makes it worth its while. I can buy Windows XP Professional for $199, or I can download Gentoo Linux for free. They’re both operating systems. They both do their jobs nicely (in fact, I prefer Gentoo Linux — IMHO it is the most elegant system I think I’ve ever seen). But the value I get from Windows XP far exceeds the value I get from Linux (at least today).

Using the steak analogy, I can buy a bland $5 steak, or I can buy a delicious $30 steak. What’s the value I’m getting from them? They both serve the same purpose and, like a lot of software I’ve written, bought, used, and seen over the last fifteen years — they’re both going to end up in the same place eventually.

Please note, Michael, that I certainly didn’t intend to offend you. I don’t even know you. But, after reading your views about your own passion for quality, I’d like to know you. You sound like the kind of guy I’d like to work with.

“Off-shoring“ is an extremely sensitive subject here in the United States. My personal feeling is the long-term damage that will come from it will far outweigh the short-term cost benefit. Too many companies (and governments) work with a near-term mentality (but that’s a subject for a future post).