Friday, October 31, 2008

Over 80, It's Anyone's Race

Wow, I thought I was tired after my morning runs.

Joy Johnson, 81, aims to break six hours in Sunday's New York Marathon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ripped off by PayPal

Someone ordered an eBook from me several months ago through PayPal---now, the customer disputes the payment, said he never initiated the purchase, and wants his money back.

No big deal--it's not inventory, it was an eBook. However, I didn't think this was possible with PayPal, since they validate the Credit Card Numbers and CID (3 or 4 Digit Security Code that appears on the front or back of a Credit card).

Apparently, if I really, really, really want to prevent chargebacks like this from occurring, I need to pay more money for the transaction than I already do.

I can't wait to see what the below listed 'settlement fee' costs me.

Here's the email I just received.

Dear John Smiley

We recently notified you that one of your buyers filed a chargeback withtheir credit card company indicating unauthorized credit card use.

It is PayPal's standard practice to attempt to dispute wrongfulchargebacks. After careful consideration of the information provided by youand the buyer regarding the transaction detailed below, we have determinedthat we will be unable to successfully dispute this chargeback with thebuyer's credit card issuer.

Since the credit card issuer granted the chargeback to the buyer, we havedebited $12.95 USD from your PayPal account in order to reimburse thebuyer. This is in accordance with the terms of the PayPal User Agreement.

Also, PayPal was charged a settlement fee. As a result we debited yourPayPal account to pay for this fee. This action was taken in accordance with the terms of the PayPal User Agreement.

Please review the transaction information below and other details about this case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just found this link...check it out, it seems like a pretty valuable site...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Self Publishing

I started self publishing last year---primarily putting out of books back in print.

This year I wrote and self published two original titles---not (and never) available anywhere else.

The only source of supply for these books is my Print on Demand company anyone buys a book, I know about it.

That's why it's really interesting to find that my 'new' books are now being sold all over the world as used books.

Could someone be printing these on their own and selling them as mine?

Tsk...tsk...shame on you.

Other John Smiley's

Yes, there are others...

This one is some kind of marketing guru

Visual Basic History

One of my most popular pages on my Website is my history of Visual Basic

--so I thought I would repeat it here...

March 6, 1988
Microsoft Buys Tripod
Alan Cooper, the 'father' of Visual Basic, shows a drag-and-drop shell prototype called Tripod to Bill Gates. Microsoft negotiates to buy the concept, now code-named Ruby. The Tool includes a widget control box, the ability to add widgets dynamically, and a small language engine.

January 1, 1991
PowerSoft's Powerbuilder Debuts
DataWindow gives point-and-click SQL data access.

March 20, 1991
Visual Basic 1.0 Debuts at Windows World
Microsoft marries QuickBasic to Ruby shell app and gives it a new code name: Thunder. The result is the first tool that lets you create Windows apps quickly, easily, and visually. Features include a drag-and=drop control toolbox, codeless UI creation, and an event-oriented programming model.

May 1991
Third Party Market Born
Several standard-setting add-ons become available at or slightly after VB1's introduction, including MicroHelp's VBTools.

May 1991
Sheridan Software's VBAssist Debuts
First add-on to integrate directly into the IDE

March 1992
Visual Basic 2.0 Toolkit (Rawhide) Released
This toolkit integrated several third-party tools into a single package, putting controls in the hands of many VB developers for the first time. It provided instrumental in helping VB's third party market achieve critical mass.

September 1992
Visual Basic 1.0 for DOS is released. Figure this one out :)
The language itself was not quite compatible with Visual Basic for Windows, as it was actually the next version of Microsoft's DOS-based BASIC compilers, QuickBASIC and BASIC Professional Development System.

November 1992
Visual Basic 2 Debuts
Adds ODBC Level 1 support, MDI forms, and object variables. First version to feature the Professional Edition. The programming environment was easier to use, and its speed was improved.

November 1992
Microsoft Access Ships
It brings VB's combination of extensibility, ease-of-use, and visual point-and-click emphasis to a Relational Database. It also includes a macro language called Access BASIC that contains a subset of VB 2.0's core syntax.

June 1993
Visual Basic 3 Debuts
Integrates the Access Engine (Jet), OLE Automation and reporting. It came in both Standard and Professional versions. Visual Basic 3 included version 1.1 of the Microsoft Jet DatabaseEngine that could read and write Jet (or Access) 1.x databases.

May 1995
Borland's Delphi Debuts
The perennial preview for the features you'll find in the next VB release.

Fall 1996
Internet Explorer 3.0 Ships
Features include VBScript, which contains a subset of VB. It lets developers leverage their existing VB skills in Web programming.

October 1996
Visual Basic 4 Debuts
Permits you to create your own add-ins. Also introduces classes and OCX's. Was the first version that could created 32 bit as well as 16-bit Windows programs (remember that?)

Winter 1996
NT Option Pack 4 Released
Includes Internet Information Server 3.0, which includes ASP. Enabled VB programmers to leverage their existing skills on Web servers.

January 1997
Microsoft Office 97 Debuts
Developer Edition integrates VBA into all Office apps (except Outlook which uses VBScript)

April 1997
Visual Basic 5 Debuts
Incorporates compiler, WithEvents, and the ability to create ActiveX controls. A free, downloadable Control Creation Edition was also released for creation of ActiveX controls. It was also used as an introductory form of Visual Basic: a regular. exe project could be created and run in the IDE, but not compiled.

October 1998
Visual Basic 6 Debuts
Introduces WebClasses, windowless controls, data designers, new reporting designers, and the ability to create data sources.

November 1998
John Smiley writes his first Visual Basic book, Learn to Program with Visual Basic 6

May 1999
John Smiley writes his second Visual Basic book, Learn to Program with Visual Basic 6 Examples
July 1999
John Smiley writes his third Visual Basic book, Learn to Program with Visual Basic 6 Databases

December 1999
John Smiley writes his fourth Visual Basic book, Learn to Program with Visual Basic 6 Objects

January 2002
John Smiley writes his fifth Visual Basic book, Learn to Program with Visual Basic.Net

February 2002
Visual Basic.Net (VB 7.0) Debuts

April 2003
Visual Basic.Net 2003 (VB 7.1) Debuts

March 31, 2005
Mainstream support for Visual Basic 6 ends

October 18, 2005
Visual Basic.Net 2005 (VB 8.0) Debuts

October 18 2005
Visual Basic.Net 2005 Express Version Introduced

May 16, 2007
John Smiley writes his sixth Visual Basic book, Learn to Program with Visual Basic.Net 2005 Express

November 19, 2007
Visual Basic.Net 2008 (VB 9.0) Debuts

November 19, 2007
Visual Basic.Net 2008 Express Version Introduced

March 31, 2008
Extended support for Visual Basic 6 ends

August 16, 2008
John Smiley writes his seventh Visual Basic book, Learn to Program with Visual Basic.Net 2008 Express

??? VBx (VB 10.0)

Oracle 10g Express Edition

I'm teaching a course on Oracle SQL PL/SQL right now using Oracle's 10g Express edition.

This edition allows you to have a fully operational version of the powerful Oracle database on your PC. So far, it's been great!

Here's the link...the install is fast and easy, you just need to register with Oracle to download and install it.

There's also a newer version of Oracle 11g Standard Edition available if you would rather work with that one--here's the link for that...

Along with installing the database, it would be a great idea of also install Oracle SQL Developer, which is a GUI for managing the database. Here's the direct link for Oracle SQL Developer...

By the way, if you are interested in learning more about the course, follow this link...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Creating Microsoft Vista Gadgets

I just received an email from a reader asking if I knew how to create Vista Sidebar Gadgets.

I don't--but I do see that Microsoft has a tutorial on building them---that might make an interesting Seminar for my Internet School. Here's the link for Part 1...

I don't see a Part 2.

Friday, October 24, 2008

One of my Internet students works in a quarry!

One of my Internet students works in a quarry--that is pretty neat!

Here's an excerpt from his bio...

I live in the UK in a place called Greenhithe which is a village on the outskirts of London. I have been working in the IT side of things for over 10 years now.

My current role is as a Systems Support Technician for one of the main retailers in the UK called John Lewis. John Lewis is a Partnership which means that the people who work for the business (referred to as Partners) are co owners and share some of the profit in the form of a bonus each year (in effect the shareholders are the people who work in the business).

We are part of the largest shopping Centre in Europe, which is built in a giant quarry.

Although I only live 5 mins away from where I work I don't hear it at all because the quarry walls do a great job at keeping the sound in

Bye bye Retrofitness

I'm cancelling my Retrofitness Membership, effective January 11, 2009---they need to fix their water fountain and they need kettlebells.

Aside from that, I thought it was a decent health club---one of the best that I've belonged to.

However, at this point in my life, I'm more into outdoor cardio (jogging) than I am indoor cardio or weight training.

Still, they could probably change my mind if they got the kettlebells.

Programming for Kids from MSDN Microsoft

On a similar note, Microsoft also has some great free materials specifically for kids. Check out this link...

Beginner Programming from MSDN Microsoft

I just noticed that Microsoft has some interesting material on their website for Beginner Programmers. At one time my agent at StudioB was going to pitch this idea to Microsoft with me as the moderator. Oh well, let's not cry over spilled milk---here's the link...

They have two tracks---Web or Windows Development.

Be sure to check out the Coding4fun blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Waiting on Google Adsense

About 2 years ago I had a Google Adsense account which allowed me to make some money from advertisements that Google would place on my website.

Unfortunately, I mentioned this in one of my Penn State classes, and some enterprising students wrote a program that clicked on the Adsense links about 10 million times, causing Google to drop me because they termed me a 'click bandit'.

My emails to Google (along with those of the two students) did me no good--and since then, I've been unable to get them to reinstate my account.

When I created this blog, I received a notification from Google that I could apply to have advertisements displayed in my very dynamic blog (so far, no one has read it :)

I'm still waiting for word from Google as to whether all is forgiven.

I hope so.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

44 years ago

I woke up this morning at 7:12 with a rapid heart rate...strangely, that's about the same time that I was awakened 44 years ago when my grandmother called the house to say my grandfather had a heart attack. Later that day, I found out he had died.

Every sunday night I would visit him and my grandmother.

I was 9 at the time, and his passing began a very depressing time in my life.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Old friends and customers

Back when I was selling a bunch of books every year, I probably received over 200 emails a day---most of them asking me for computer programming help or career advice.

I did my best to answer all of these, even if it was just something to say OK, I got it, I'll get back to you. If I ever failed to do that, it was usually because the answer to the question was too involved and I would save them for Sunday morning, or I just forgot.

I use Eudora for my email, and I found something like 10,000 emails in nearly 500 folders---I've managed to break them down into two major categories---Customers, and Others.

Some of these people are definitely customers of mine---I can verify they bought something directly from me via my website.

Others are people who say they bought or read one of my books, perhaps in a book store or a second hand store, something like that.

When I could identify a last name, I moved these emails into a subfolder with the last name letter---for instance, all the Smiths are in a folder called S.

Over the last few months I've been doing my best to make contact with everyone who's ever contacted me. Right now, I'm up to the B's in both the Customer and Other lists.

Many come back undeliverable---some are being answered, mostly nicely---and surprisingly, some people attribute my book to the reason they got a job, a promotion, something like that.

Once in a while, someone will say something like "I asked you this question 5 years ago, and you never answered me..."

Unlikely, but possible.

Another interesting thing...some of these people have really done a lot of good computer work since reading my Intro books, and I'd like to hire them to teach for me.

I don't think they believe me when I say so.

Who cares what I have to say?

I'm not sure---everyone seems to have a blog these days, I thought I would try it out.