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.

Vista, Aero, and Fixed-Border Forms in VFP

I was working on my first VFP 9 app using Vista this week, and I had some forms that just refused to appear correctly. Specifically, the form’s Title Bar and Border would just disappear.

Looks like I’m not alone in this, as Rick Strahl wrote on his blog.

This seemed to only happen with Aero turned on, and with ‘fixed’ BorderStyle’s on my forms.

My workaround was to make the form BorderStyle=3 (Sizable), and set the MaxHeight, MinHeight, MaxWidth and MinWidth properties to the form’s Height and Width.

Problem solved!

Except for one thing. Now the user will see the ‘resize’ cursor when they hover over a border. They can try all they want to resize, but they can’t (thanks to the Max and Min settings).

I tried leaving the BorderStyle as 2, then adding code to my form’s INIT() to check the OS version and change the properties on-the-fly, but it was a no-go, so until VFP9SP2 I’m going to stick with this method for now.

This post originally appeared on the Foxite Weblogs site.

Craig Boyd’s Compression FLL vs. Windows Vista

I’ve been running Windows Vista Business this week.  A bit sluggish on my machine versus Windows XP, but overall I haven’t had any major issues with it.

Until today.

Today I downloaded a zipped file from the internet. It was 4.1 MB (zipped) and 10.4 MB after extraction.

What killed me was the Extraction Wizard.

The file was downloaded to my ‘personal download’ folder (on my machine, C:UsersKevin RagsdaleDownloads), and when I selected ‘Extract All’ from the pseudo-menu in Explorer, I saw the following screen:


Twenty-nine minutes to extract a 10MB file? Oh yeah, that’s how I like spending my afternoons…

Oh well, at least it has the flashy animation in the top right of the form, and (for lack of a better word) the throbbing progress bar. What the heck is it with the progress bar anyway?

After hitting cancel about 80 times, I was finally able to stop the extraction.

Then I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder how long Craig Boyd’s FLL would take?”

Here’s the answer:


Now that’s more like it.

To be fair, I should say that Windows was extracting the file to my ‘personal downloads’ folder, while Craig’s FLL was extracting the file to a different partition.

So, I decided to run Craig’s FLL again, this time extracting to the ‘personal downloads’ folder:


Freaky, huh? Took almost three times longer. I reckon Vista is doing some of that super-dee-dooper-dee-vista-is-so-secure security stuff. Maybe that is what slowed it down. Dunno.

Maybe it’s my machine. Maybe it’s my install. Maybe I’m just imagining things.

But, still, twenty-six seconds versus twenty-nine minutes?

Craig wins…

Anyone else seeing weird behavior like this in Vista?

This post originally appeared on the Foxite Weblogs site.