Headache, Eye Strain, and 2000 Fever

Tuesday Nov 19th 2002 by Ronald Garlit
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Headache, Eye Strain and 2000 Fever

Thats right. Illness has hit this house bad both real and symbolic. On the real side we have the itchy, water, blood shot eyes with a headache and stiff neck. It must be the weather or the fact that spring is in the air.

No; I think not. My wife (the family doctor) is probably right. When she says, Youre spending too much time on those computers. She may be right. I think it is a bad case of 2000 FEVER. Thats right 2000 fever. But the question is what strain of 2000 Fever? There is more than one kind you know?

I have two fully packed development machines at the office weve playing with since before the official release. My notebook here, which is not, a development machine weighs in at over 2300 DLLs alone. All three of these machines have yet to present me with the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH or any of those other Microsoft related symptoms. There are one or two quirks on the notebook. But that is because it only has Windows 98 drivers for those affected components. Microsoft and Windows 2000 itself will tell you that the use of some Win 98 drivers can make the system unstable. Though I havent seen anything other than a message telling me to get a W2K driver from the manufacturer of the hardware.

In fact, on the development machines I have intentionally run code that has taken down my NT4 Server and the rest of the network. W2K kept on running even though the program running in the Visual Basic IDE crashed taking VB with it. This is a great thing for our development teams would have to reboot several times a day under Win 95 when playing with API calls.

Dan Appleman Im not. So when I play around with API calls you can tell I served in the U.S. Marine Corps by the weird language coming from my cubicles. Maybe I just havent hurt those machines bad enough yet with the right API goof. I do know that I havent seen any bugs in W2K let alone the 60,000 plus bugs that everyone has been talking about in the press. But when have they told the truth in the last 8 years?

I have to say that I now understand why they broke from the original NT5 plan and concept which was to have the NT5 (W2K) workstation version replace win 95 & 98. The replacement to Windows 98 is a variation of W2K being referred to as Millennium is NT with a heavier reliance on hardware specific code instead of a fully platform portable C code. (Ive seen a beta copy. Just what I need for more sleepless hours.)

This is for the gaming world I would guess and that is a big factor for the home market. But I fear that security is the bigger reason. Thats right. W2K is the system administrators dream. But on the home front there are not SysAdmin people and I cant see the normal everyday person going nuts with having to set permissions, options etc, etc, etc. They dont need all that security.

Where as in the Enterprise environment the admin boys are having a hay day. You pick an option they can control it without leaving the bowels of their secure complex in the basement somewhere. The group policy will rule. But programmers have no fear. Some of us have figured out how to get at our tools anyway. That dreaded REGEDIT will not be kept from the programmers no matter how hard that pesky Administer tries to keep it from us. Thats right we got hold of the registry codes for the POLEDIT program. If need be we can write that program to stop the policy refresh rate from shutting down the tools. At least I think I got all 131 pages worth of the system registry codes.

Do I sound sick? If it were only so simple? I have been sick with similar fevers before. No; this is something else. But what could it be?

I have had a really bad case of Office 2000 FEVER since September of last year (1999). That is still lingering. Those Object Models alone have had me off balance for months. Everyday I open up the object browser and find something new or different.

Im thrilled with the things we can pull off with the Word 9.0 Object Model. Ive got about 50 Meg of hard drive space filled with test code from that alone. Add to this that Office 2000 is equipped with VBA 6.0, which includes all the VB6 language features.

Now FrontPage, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and Access are all packing VB editors on the tool menus. You have access to real database objects too. Yep, ADO 2.5 is in there replacing DAO. To fill any gaps any other object you want is just a check off in the References waiting for you. DAO is still there so dont worry. But now this means the VBA boys (and girls) can do real full-blown Client Server level programs right within these products.

As if having Office 2000 Fever and Windows 2000 Fever wasnt enough. There is another strain of 2000 fever going around.

Its called MOD 2000 Fever. Thats right. Microsoft Office Developer 2000 has arrived. This is going to kill me. You see; Im one of those guys that poo pood VBA as not being a complete language. (I did the same thing when I was a C programmer about VB and look at me now.)

You see MOD 2000 adds things like COM Addin Designer, Visual Studio Templates, Visual SourceSafe and the Data Environment Designer. But thats not all.

There is Royalty-Free Runtime Access (yes, as in the database program) and MSDE Runtime Licensing. Whats that mean. Well, throw in the Package and Deployment Wizard and you can package and ship solution created in VBA.

Now for what really has made me sick with MOD 2000. There are productivity tools! Im really ticked over this because these only work within Office. The Add-ins consist of a Code Commenter, Error Handler and String Editor. The String Editor I d kill for on the VB side. It wont export to the VB environment. Believe me I tried.

The crowning jewel though is the VBA Code Librarian. Microsoft was smart enough not to tease me with this one as it loads under the Windows Program Menu as well as an Office Add-in. This means that the tons of code in there can be used and adapted by us real VB programmers.

In there we have 38 separate categories ranging from Access to Word. But in the middle is a broad range of really useful source code. Much of it Ive seen comp-sci students kill for. For example the String Manipulation/Parsing category has some 24 functions and code snippets in it. Plus the String Parsing (Generic) category adds 13 more pieces of code. Im talking useful stuff here. The kind that many of us code pack rats have been compiling over the years. You know the kind of code your surfing the web for. Lets say like those tips you can find here vbsquare.com and other Visual Basic web sites.

To say Im jealous would be a under statement. Except; I have my copy of Microsoft Office Developer and will be adding that code to my own stash in the Add-in code library database I wrote to organize my stash of snippets.

The only bite is Microsoft password protected the Access database its kept in. So I cant just import it. I have to add it by hand to my library. So it is with blood shot eyes that Ill have to read all that code too. Just comparing that to the code that I already have will take hours. After all, I know I have three different Split functions in my snippet collection that all work differently than the one now included in VB 6.

So Im really sick. Im calling it 2000 Fever. My wife says its really just that old case of Computer Widow Syndrome flaring up again. Who knows? Either way Microsoft is to blame for this like everything else these days.

So youll have to excuse me now. I have to go. There is a can of Jolt in the fridge I need to wash the Advil down with and a bottle of Visine is next to my mouse pad. Good night everyone.

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