Blog

I will blog on this page about computer related topics like Microsoft®, Access, Java...as well as post things of personal interest. I will try to keep the blog as current as possible, so please check back every now and then. Entries are in order from newest to oldest from top to bottom.

 
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December 2007 - RibbonX : Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon released

December 2007 - Microsoft Office SP1 released

November 2007 - Christmas Village 2007

Novermber 2007 - Birthday Cake Adventure #2

November 2007 - Contributor for RibbonX : Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon

November 2007 - Expert Access 2007 Programming released

October 2007 - Dobby the lobster

October 2007 - Retrieving File Size of Attachment Value

October 2007 - Taiming the Griffon Coaster

August 2007 - Another example of working with the Attachment DataType

August 2007 - New Tutorial about the Email Data Collection Feature

August 2007 - Birthday Cake Adventure

August 2007 - New Tutorial about the Rich Text Feature

August 2007 - New Tutorial about the Attachment DataType

July 2007 - 2007 Runtime finally available

July 2007 - Access MVPs join me in our own FaceBook group!

July 2007 - For Simpsons fans: Simpsonize yourself

July 2007 - Special 40% Discount on The Rational Guide To Microsoft Office Access 2007 Templates

July 2007 - New Tutorial about the Navigation Pane

July 2007 - Finishing Technical Editing on book

July 2007 - Clint/Eric blog about 10 reasons people love UtterAccess

July 2007 - New Ranking System Puts Terrapins Second in Comp-Sci

June 2007 - Access Runtime/Developer Extension got recalled

June 2007 - Tutorial on how to get started with Java posted on UA

June 2007 - Dobby Cam

March 2007 - Microsoft MVP Global Summit (Seattle/Redmond Washington)

 


December 2007 - RibbonX : Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon released

As mentioned earlier this year I had the oustanding chance to work with Robert Martin, Ken Puls and Teresa Hennig on a new book that mainly focuses on Ribbon customization in Office 2007. The book has been released to the general public and is available and the usual bookstores (Amazon, BN, Borders...). As pointed out before, if you want to get the most of the 2007 edition or want to start tackling XML and advanced customization techniques, then this might be a book for you. Here is a short description from Amazon and a link to Wiley's site.

<Quote:>
* As the most radical change to the Office interface in its history, the Ribbon replaces the traditional menu bar and toolbars and requires a new set of skills for customizing
* Instructions and examples demonstrate how to customize the Ribbon using VBA, XML, Access, Excel, and Word
* Covers the relevant aspects of security, such as trust centers and digital certificates
* Packed with real-world code examples that readers can immediately apply
* Features helpful references

</Quote>

 


December 2007 - Microsoft Office Service Pack 1 released

As anticipated Microsoft has released the first service pack for Microsoft Office 2007. The link to the download page can be found on the Office website:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/default.aspx

Here is the direct link:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=9EC51594-992C-4165-A997-25DA01F388F5&displaylang=en

Here is the description from the download page:
<Quote:>

The 2007 Microsoft Office suite Service Pack 1 delivers important customer-requested stability and performance improvements, while incorporating further enhancements to user security. This service pack also includes all of the updates released for the 2007 Office suite prior to December of 2007. You can get a more complete description of SP1, including a list of issues that were fixed, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 936982: Description of the 2007 Microsoft Office suite Service Pack 1.

Service Pack 1 will install even if a publicly available update has already been installed on your computer.

SP1 also includes stability improvements developed as a result of user input from the Microsoft Online Crash Analysis and from Microsoft Product Support feedback.
</Quote>

As mentioned in the above quote more details about specific fixes within the SP can be read in MSKB article 936982.

 


November 2007 - Christmas Village 2007

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein, auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat schon zur Winterszeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Dein Kleid will mich was lehren:
Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Mut und Kraft zu jeder Zeit!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Dein Kleid will mich was lehren!

Traditionally each advent season we buy one new addition to the Department 56 collection and bring the Christmas village to life. Over time the village has grown to a full sized town with suburbs, which leads to problems like traffic congestion, arsonists (which the fire department has to deal with), drunken homeless... ;) You can see it in the below pictures.

 


November 2007 - Birthday Cake Adventure #2

Ahoy! Me buxom beauty made me an awesome cake this birthday voyage. Arrrrrr...as ye can be seein' th' boat includes a sea dog figure, kraken, booty chest, jolly roger...
It tookst th' lass' three days t' complete all on th' lass' own. This be th' lass' second cake after th' Thomas th' Tank engine one earlier this voyage. Enjoy th' pictures.

 


November 2007 - Contributor for RibbonX : Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon

A couple weeks ago I've finished contributions to RibbonX : Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon. The book will be published by Wiley in January 2008. The authors are Robert Martin, Ken Puls and Teresa Hennig and it was an honor and pleasure to have worked with them. The book covers Ribbon customization as well as other topics relevant to the new Office 2007 release mainly demonstrated with Word, Excel and Access. So if you want to get the most of the 2007 edition or want to start tackling XML and advanced customization techniques, then this might be a book for you. Here is a short description from Amazon:

<Quote:>
* As the most radical change to the Office interface in its history, the Ribbon replaces the traditional menu bar and toolbars and requires a new set of skills for customizing
* Instructions and examples demonstrate how to customize the Ribbon using VBA, XML, Access, Excel, and Word
* Covers the relevant aspects of security, such as trust centers and digital certificates
* Packed with real-world code examples that readers can immediately apply
* Features helpful references

</Quote>

 


November 2007 - Expert Access 2007 Programming released

Rob Cooper's and Michael Tucker's Expert Access 2007 Programming book has been released. I had the honor of being one of the tech editors for the book and it really came together to a great piece of work. If you are an intermediate Access programmer and want to learn more about common developer practices as well as new features of Microsoft Access 2007 and Windows Vista then this might be a great book for you. Here is a description from Amazon:

<Quote:>
Expert Access 2007 Programming shows experienced developers how to create professional-level Access database applications. The authors--software engineers on the Access development team at Microsoft--show how to apply software engineering methodologies to Access application development. The book is organized to cover all phases of Access development.

The authors demonstrate techniques for creating Access controls, forms, and reports that help streamline development and produce more user-friendly applications. They also cover such overlooked areas as custom deployment and documentation. The book contains many useful code examples designed so they can be used with minimal modification.
</Quote>


October 2007 - Dobby the lobster

Despite several failed attempts to preserve the dog’s dignity by not dressing him up in a weird Halloween costume my wife decided that he will be Dobby the lobster this year. The result of our pumpkin carving can be seen below, too. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

 


October 2007 - Retrieving File Size of Attachment Value

This recently came up on UtterAccess. A member wanted to know how to actually retrieve the file size of an attachment stored in the new attachment data type. As with other examples before we can use DAO to achieve this. Here is some sample code that was tested using a form which is based on a table housing an attachment field.

On Error GoTo Err_AttachSize

Dim db As DAO.Database
Dim rsParent As DAO.Recordset2
Dim rsChild As DAO.Recordset2

Set db = CurrentDb
Set rsParent = Me.Recordset

rsParent.OpenRecordset

Set rsChild = rsParent.Fields("AttachmentTest").Value

rsChild.OpenRecordset

Debug.Print Round(rsChild.Fields("FileData").FieldSize / 1024, 2) & " KB"


Exit_AttachSize:
Set rsChild = Nothing
Set rsParent = Nothing

Exit Sub

Err_AttachSize:
MsgBox "Some Error occured!", Err.number, Err.Description

Resume Exit_AttachSize
End If

As you can see we create a recordset based on the form. Then we create another recordset to work with the multi valued attachment field and retrieve the field size of the attachment that was currently displayed. Hope someone finds this useful.

 


October 2007 - Taiming the Griffon Coaster

So we recently went to Busch Gardens Europe to fill my wife's yearly roller coaster urge. Busch Gardens Europe is one of our favorit theme parks and they just recently opened a brand new floorless diving coaster. It's an amazing ride called Griffon. If it isn't enough to know that the first drop is 205ft high at a 90 degree angle with speeds up to 71mph, then you might enjoy the fact that it actually stops for several seconds at the top of the hill before it releases you. If you are familiar with the park you might know the legendary loch ness monster ride. The second drop on the Griffon is higher then the first one on that ride. The ride is really smooth and it feels like you are gliding through the air (hence the name Griffon I guess). If you are interested you can read/see more about it at any of these sites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griffon_(roller_coaster)
http://www.griffoncoaster.com/
http://coastercritic.blogspot.com/2006/08/busch-releases-griffon-coaster-details.html

If you plan on going to Busch Gardens and might want to find discount ticket prices then send me an email. Throughout the years I've discovered several ways to get your hands on them.




August 2007 - Another example of working with the Attachment DataType

This recently came up in a question on UtterAccess.com

This is an additional sample to the Attachment DataType tutorial in the Tutorials section.

What if you wanted to move existing attachments from an attachment field in one table to an attachment field in another table?

For this example I created two identical table designs with only an ID Primary Key field of type AutoNumber and an Attachment data type field. In the one table I added several files as attachments in datasheet view. The Attachment field in the other table will stay empty for now since we want to move files into it.

To visually simulate the file movement I created a form based on the first table and then created a form based on the second table. I moved the second form onto the first form as a subform. Your setup might look like in this picture:

Microsoft Access 2007 Attachment Data Type

In the on click event of the button on the main form I used the following code:

On Error GoTo Err_SaveImage

Dim db As DAO.Database
Dim rsParent As DAO.Recordset2
Dim rsChild As DAO.Recordset2
Dim rsForeign As DAO.Recordset2
Dim rsForeignChild As DAO.Recordset2

Set db = CurrentDb
Set rsParent = Me.Recordset
Set rsForeign = Me.frmAttachReceive.Form.Recordset

rsParent.OpenRecordset
rsForeign.OpenRecordset

Set rsChild = rsParent.Fields("AttachSample").Value

rsChild.OpenRecordset

rsForeign.AddNew

Set rsForeignChild = rsForeign.Fields("AttachReceive").Value

rsForeignChild.AddNew
rsForeignChild.Fields("FileData") = rsChild.Fields("FileData")
rsForeignChild.Fields("FileName") = rsChild.Fields("FileName")

rsForeignChild.Update
rsForeign.Update

Exit_SaveImage:

Set rsChild = Nothing
Set rsParent = Nothing
Set rsForeign = Nothing
Set rsForeignChild = Nothing
Exit Sub

Err_SaveImage:

If Err <> 0 Then
MsgBox "Some Error occured!", Err.Number, Err.Description
Resume Exit_SaveImage
End If

The result can be seen in this next image:

Microsoft Access 2007 Attachment Data Type

I hope someone will find this useful.


August 2007 New Tutorial about the Email Data Collection Feature

I added a new tutorial to the tutorials section about the new and impressive Email Data Collection feature in Access 2007.

<Quote>:

Today we will have a look at yet another great new feature introduced in Access 2007. Have you ever been in the situation of needing to send or retrieve information into your Access application from clients who are infrequent users of your application and not directly connected to it at any point in time? I have been there and done that and can say from experience that your options as a developer are pretty limited. The simplest but yet still long winded workaround was normally to export internal application data to an Excel workbook or text file and sending that with emails as attachments. After the external user reviews, edits, updates, or adds data they would reattach the file to a new email and send it back, which started a whole new problem of importing everything back into the application. As with many other things Access 2007 makes our life so much easier with an internal feature for data collection through emails.

</Quote>


August 2007 Birthday Cake Adventure

- 20 lb Fondant

$60

- ingredients for 12 sheet cakes

$50

- 19h work at $20/h

$380

- seeing the glowing expression of your 3 year old nephew

priceless


So my wife had wanted to do a large sized birthday cake for the longest time and finally took the opportunity to do so for our nephew's 3rd birthday celebration.

After a couple weeks of research, ingredient and material shopping we started the cake adventure on Friday evening. After 5 hours we called it a night. On Saturday we put in 14 hours straight and finished up the cake (see pictures). It is completely edible and was a great hit with everyone at the party on Sunday.

In case you are not familiar with the motif. It is supposed to represent Thomas The Tank Engine, which seems to be a hit with 2-5+ year olds right now.

 


August 2007 New Tutorial about the Rich Text Feature

I added a new tutorial to the tutorials section about the new, native Rich Text feature in Access 2007.

<Quote>:

In this tutorial we will have a closer look at the new Rich Text feature introduced in Access 2007. I had made brief comments about it in prior tutorials so it is time to introduce more details. This tutorial will be a little shorter just based on the content amount but we will go through some general information about the Rich Text feature as well as manual and programmatical usage samples.

</Quote>


August 2007 New Tutorial about the Attachment DataType

I added a new tutorial to the tutorials section about the new Attachment DataType in Access 2007.

<Quote>:

In this tutorial we will look in detail at the new Attachment DataType introduced in Access 2007. We will go through examples demonstrating the usage of the new DataType and illustrate why it might benefit developers. Furthermore, we will work with manual as well as programmatical implementations of the Attachment DataType.

</Quote>


2007 Runtime finally available

The 2007 Access Runtime is finally available as a free download.More about the release at Clint's blog.


Access MVPs join me in our own FaceBook group!

I created a group for us on FaceBook so we are represented there as well. Feel free to join if you are already a member of FaceBook or even if you aren't. You can find the group here.


For Simpsons fans: Simpsonize yourself

Check out how you would look in the yellow simpsons world at http://www.simpsonizeme.com. Below is what it created for me :)





Special 40% discount on The Rational Guide To Microsoft Office Access 2007 Templates

Book description:

<Quote>:
Microsoft® Access 2007 uses templates to create tracking applications, offering a rich user experience for entering, managing, and reporting on data for targeted scenarios. In The Rational Guide to Microsoft® Office Access 2007 Templates, Microsoft Program Manager Zac Woodall shows how to design, create, and share Access templates.

Topics include customization, personalization, branding, and working with SharePoint. Advanced topics include template file anatomy, template collections, enterprise templates, generating templates without running Access, and integrating templates with add-ins.
</Quote>

To read a sample chapter of the book click here (PDF format).

If you want to purchase this great book then click the image provided below to receive a special 40% discount of the original $24.99 list price (only $14.99).

40 % Discount on awesome book!


July 2007 - New Tutorial about the Navigation Pane

I added a new tutorial to the tutorials section about the new Navigation Pane of Access 2007.

<Quote>:

In this tutorial we will look at the new Navigation Pane introduced in Access 2007. Next to the new Ribbon interface discussed in earlier tutorials the Navigation Pane adds a lot to the overall new interface of the development environment. This should be a stepping stone to navigating and customizing the Navigation Pane as well will have a detailed look at it.

</Quote>



July 2007 - Finishing Technical Editing on book

I just finished a tech editing job on Rob Cooper and Michael Tucker's Expert Access 2007 Programming. Rob and Michael have done a great job with this piece and I personally cannot wait for its release later in the year. Any developer who wants to spice up their Access applications design/functional/feature wise should consider looking into it. It is also a great introduction to features of Access 2007 and Windows Vista.


July 2007 - Clint/Eric blog about 10 reasons people love UtterAccess

After amounts of research Clint Covington, Lead Program Manager on the Access team, has compiled a list of 10 reasons why people love UtterAccess Forums. He has done a great job in capturing the spirit of the UA community. The post can be found at the Access blog or by visiting the home page of www.utteraccess.com. Thank you Clint, Eric and the rest of the Access/Microsoft team who have regularly supported UtterAccess throughout the years.


July 2007 - New Ranking System Puts Terrapins Second in Comp-Science

<Quote>:

The University of Maryland has the second-best computer science department in the United States.

Surprised?

Based on a new department ranking system that considers how many articles a faculty has published, as well its level of participation in professional conferences, the Terrapin CS department outranks most of the usual vaunted suspects, including Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and the University of Illinois.

Caltech? Thirty-forth place, well behind the University of Texas at Dallas (29th)--who knew?--and just one position ahead of Par-Tay Central, the University of Arizona. MIT, natch, held on to its No. 1 perch.

Publication-based rankings have been done in the past, but the new approach is much more sophisticated, according to the authors of an article in the June issue of the Association for Computing Machinery's monthly magazine, Communications of the ACM.

The method was co-developed by a software engineer from Google and expands upon the number of journals that can easily be considered, the authors said. The article noted that the publication-based approach also sidesteps the pitfall of basing rankings on subjective opinions about a given program. Nevertheless, the authors noted that publication-based ranking "should probably serve as one quantitative indicator in a more comprehensive methodology."
...
</Quote>

CampusTechnology


June 2007 - Access Runtime/Developer Extension got recalled

After releasing the 2007 Access runtime version as well as the ADE (Access Developer Extension) the Access team has recalled both components to do some further work. The news can be read at Clint Covington's blog.



June 2007 - Tutorial on how to get started with Java posted on UA

With the addition of the Java/C# forum at UtterAccess.com I've decided to put together a quick tutorial on how to get started with Java. It is only a small introduction to the technology but should guide anyone if they want to get started. You can find the tutorial here. Feel free to post any questions/comments in the forum.



June 2007 - Dobby Cam

The most recent addition to our family is a Mini-Dachshund puppy. As a litle experiment I installed a webcam. You can see Dobby during the week from 8am to 1pm (EST). Access the Dobby-Cam here.



March 2007 - Microsoft MVP Global Summit (Seattle/Redmond Washington)

I had a fantastic time during the 2007 Microsoft global MVP summit in Seattle, WA. I posted a review with tons of pictures here. Thank you Microsoft® for putting on this industry wide unique event and allowing us MVPs to interact with the people that design/develop the products we love to use in every day life.


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