I remember having to deal with such situations when a T1 router went down last year which forced us to react within an hour to go back online asap. An overall look at the situation, a few phone calls, a recovery plan and a planification to apply a few steps in order to go back online with a new T1 router within an hour. A recent situation in downtime Montreal also forced us to work on a recovery plan. As some of you may know, construction workers working on a major construction site in downtime Montreal cut accidentally 1200 pairs of communications cable including our fiber optic.
Those unexpected situations are part of our life. We just have to sit down, thing about what's best to do and apply a recovery plan. This is exactly what several of us did in San Diego. From the recent tragedy in New York and elsewhere, we found ourselves locked in San Diego without any immediate way of coming back home. When we found about that, several of us immediately worked on a recovery plan to see what could be done in order to get back home safely and as fast as we can. As for me and Nick, we decided to rent a car and drive up north to Vancouver. I figure that we could decide there if we would be able to get a flight back to Montreal or have to use another way back home. As all of the flights had a waiting time of several days, I found myself to book a train ticket to Montreal. Nick decided to stay in Vancouver for a while for a vacation. As I write these lines, I am presently in the train, travelling across the Rocky Mountains, heading to Edmonton. It is presently Saturday 13h30 EDT and it is expected I'll be in Montreal Tuesday at 8h00 EDT.
At this present time, several people are still in San Diego. Some of them are overseas and have to wait for the next available flight. For some, it could represent a delay of one or two days. For others, it could be up to 10 days. From Vancouver, when I call US Air, they told me if I would have stayed in San Diego, the best would have been to take a flight back home within about one week. So, this would have been the same. I and some others are considering ourselves lucky as we had a recovery plan. Some had to simply wait for what's available.
Despite the fact of the events that took place in New York and other areas in the country, DevCon took place. While some of its activities, such as the evening event at Sea Workd, have been cancelled, its technical aspect was well given and DevCon attendees were quite satisified of the result.
The keynote of Monday was focusing a lot of the Visual FoxPro marketing. "Working closer to the community" has been the message sent today by Microsoft representatives from the Visual FoxPro team. From various aspects of marketing to demos of Web services in Visual FoxPro and a first shot at Toledo, attendees were extremly satisified by a well presented keynote by Ken Levy, Randy Brown and Calvin Hsia. You can find our full article on the keynote at http://www.universalthread.com/Conferences/SanDiego2001/Index.asp.
FoxCentral.net has been demonstrated during the Bonus session on Monday night. DevCon attendees were able to get a preview of this new Visual FoxPro community portal for the release of Visual FoxPro news. Ken Levy, Rick Strahl and Michel Fournier talked about its features and its implementation. You can find our full article on the bonus session at http://www.universalthread.com/Conferences/SanDiego2001/Bonus.asp.
In overall, the technical material presented during the technical sessions were excellent. Experienced speakers presented on several topics such as the new features of Visual FoxPro 7, Web Services and more.
Universal Thread at the Bonus Session
On Monday night at DevCon, the Universal Thread was part of the Bonus Session. Ken Levy, Rick Strahl and me were given an overview of FoxCentral. Rick has designed FoxCentral which offers us an interesting perspective of exchanging and accessing Visual FoxPro news items. While Ken introduced FoxCentral and Rick demonstrated more into its technical aspect, I talked about how the Universal Thread is actually making use of it.
As of this writing, our approval process of Visual FoxPro news works in parallel with FoxCentral. Thus, anyone using a FoxCentral client can have a fast access to Visual FoxPro news by having the benefit of customizing locally the data representation. At this point, it is expected that the Universal Thread will also make use of such Web service to allow its members to benefit of a FoxCentral approach to extract the content directly from the Universal Thread as well as the ability to gain access to other types of content.
User Group Meeting Tracker
At DevCon, there was also several talks about the Universal Thread User Group Meeting Tracker. This new feature of the Universal Thread allows to track various information regarding the user group activities around the world. Among several meetings I had with user group leaders, we took a look at several approaches to get the most out of it. By the time you read this editorial, the User Group Meeting Tracker will probably support many new options such as the ability to gain access to other user groups nearby the user group you are looking at, a list of available speakers, some requested topics by user group leaders and other additional fields which will help to have an overall view of what's going on.
Toledo Wish List
Recently, we released the Toledo Wish List. As our document which was holding several requested features for the upcoming versions of Visual FoxPro was getting popular, we decided to work with Microsoft to lay out a better approach for the gathering of that information. Before DevCon, we released a new data driven version as well as the support of various other options. At DevCon, I had several meetings with the Microsoft Visual FoxPro team and we agreed to extend its functionalities to get more closer to what Microsoft Visual FoxPro team need for such information. By the time you read this editorial, it may well also be that the Toledo Wish List has already been enhanced with several other new functionalities.
When we released the version which is making use of a list format, it became so popular that we had to react and come up with an enhanced design. Once we released it, the number of entries has increased by several times the average we used to have. This new approach allows a better interaction with the current data by allowing a better retrieval of requested data, allowing the sorting by various fields and to benefit of other related options. Our members found it extremly useful and they started to get involved more into what the believe is the best approach so far to let the Microsoft Visual FoxPro team know about what they would like to have for upcoming versions.