Sunday, September 30, 2007

FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced: Installation & Requirements

I am going to refer to the software, "FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced" as "FileMaker" or "the software" for the rest of this review.

The Package

FileMaker comes boxed with a printed manual (which is a nice feature compared to other products). The siftware is contained on a single CD. Printed on the back of the CD is a 35 digit license key that must be entered, registered and activated. The software comes with a and a freebie trial CD to pass on to a friend and with a printed resource guide containing third party software solutions, consultants, certified developers, etc.

Access to the FileMaker Technet requires a paid account. The current price is US$99/year. The FileMaker site contains links to user groups, news groups and email lists. I was not able to find an actual forum on the site but that may be included with a technet membership. You can search the knowledge base for free.

System Requirements

FileMaker runs on Windows and Mac operating systems. According to FileMaker, the system requirements are:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.8
    • PowerPC G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac
    • 256 MB of RAM
    • CD-ROM drive

  • Windows XP Professional, Home Edition (Service Pack 2)
    • Pentium III 500MHz or higher
    • 256 MB of RAM
    • CD-ROM drive
    • SVGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution video adapter and display
  • Windows Vista Ultimate, Business, Home
    • 800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or higher
    • 512 MB of RAM
    • SVGA (800x600) or higher resolution video adapter and display
    • CD-ROM drive

I installed FileMaker on a Pentium 4, 3GHz laptop with 1.5GB of ram running Windows XP Pro. Before installation, I had 16.1GB free disk space and aftwards, I had 15.8 GB free disk space.


Installation was quick and painless. The setup program is the normal wizard that we have come to expect of any quality software. The wizard contained about 10 or so screens: choose your langauge, enter the user/company/license key, review the license, where should it go, etc.

The actual installation runtime on my laptop was about 10 or 15 minutes from start to finish. Once I answered the questions on the wizard, it ran undisturbed. I accepted the option to create a desktop short cut and a quick link short cut. It does give you the option to not create those.

Following the installation, you have the opportunity to register your software. You can register via email or online. I chose online and was finished in just a minute or two.

That was it for installation.

Post Installation

File Maker Pro Quick Start There are no post installation steps that are required to be taken but, being the curious type, I decided to nose around a bit.

Unlike almost any other database software that you will install, FileMaker does not install a server service.

FileMaker does install a license manager called FlexNet. This service is started when FileMaker starts and may (or not) shut down right away. You can get additional information on this service from the FelxNet Site.

As part of the FlexNet license management, the first time you run FileMaker, you will need to go through an activation process. You can choose to activate via telephone or via the internet. I chose the internet.

The activation also went flawlessly and within about 20 minutes, I had installed the software, registered it and activated it. I was now ready to create my first database.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Review - FileMaker Pro Advanced 9.0: Intro

I recently had the opportunity to get my hands on FileMaker Pro Advanced 9.0. I played with FileMaker waaaaay back in the DOS days but I haven't taken a look at it in a long time. Since I had this opportunity, I thought I would review the software from a holistic point of view.

This will be a multi-part review over the next couple of weeks. I'm going to take it from the basics of installation and reviewing FileMaker's support offerings all the way out to advanced topics like connecting to and querying multiple databases (Oracle, Postgres, MySQL, etc).

If there are any topics of interest for you along the way, please drop me a note and I will try to cover it.

Some historical information

FileMaker, a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple, has a long history. You can think of it somewhat as a multi-platform dBase that grew up. While dBase couldn't keep up with the changing technologies, FileMaker has thrived and grown. Currently profitable with 250 employees in 8 offices around the world, I think it can be considered a success.

Wikipedia has a very detailed history of FileMaker. In the beginning:

FileMaker began as a DOS-based product known as "Nutshell", developed by Nashoba Systems of Concord, Massachusetts around 1982 or 1983. Nutshell was distributed by Leading Edge, an electronics marketer that had recently started selling PC-compatible computers and software.

With the introduction of the Macintosh, Nashoba combined the basic data engine with a new forms-based GUI, creating a program that was dramatically easier to use. Leading Edge was not interested in the product, preferring to remain a DOS-only vendor, and kept the Nutshell name. Nashoba found another distributor, Forethought Inc., and introduced it to the Mac market as "FileMaker". When the Macintosh Plus was introduced, the next version of FileMaker was named "FileMaker Plus" to reflect the computer's name.

Forethought Inc. was purchased by Microsoft, who were then introducing a series of products that are today the core of Microsoft Office. Microsoft had their own database product, Microsoft File, so the rights to FileMaker were reverted to Nashoba. In 1988 Nashoba introduced "FileMaker 4" under its own name.

Shortly thereafter, Apple Computer formed Claris, a wholly owned subsidiary, to market software. Within months they had purchased Nashoba to round out their software suite. By that time, Leading Edge and Nutshell had faded from the marketplace because of competition from other DOS and later Windows platform database products, whereas, in spite of competition from Microsoft File, FileMaker continued to succeed on the Macintosh platform.

And from there, we have 9.0. In the next installment of this detailed review, I will cover features, system requirements and the installation process.

Heroes Season 2, Episode 1

Don't worry, this isn't a recap. Just some thoughts. Drivel really.

I finally caught the first episode. I had it DVRed because it comes on at the same time as K-Ville. Anyway, a buddy of mine saw it the night it premiered and didn't like it. I was expecting to be disappointed but I was disappointed about being disappointed. I mean I liked it.

Kinsei being a brit was a total shock to me. But I can see how Hiro will replace him and be the real Hero. I should have seen that coming.

Not so surprising is the little hottie Claire. She started a new school and has already found a new boyfriend. Somewhat surprising is the fact that he can fly.

The other plot twists are that Hiro's father and Nathan and Peter's mother are both marked for death by an unknown assailant. At the end of the show, a hooded intruder jumps with Hiro's father (I really want to call him Sulu) over the side of a building. Could it be Sylar? Someone else?

Not much going on with Suresh and copper Matt. They are baby sitting Molly, the girl who can find anyone. Looks like Matt is getting divorced and Suresh is going to work for the "Company".

New to the cast are Maya and Alejandro. Maya seems to have a power that kills large groups of people by making them bleed from their eyes. Sweet! That would be a bad skill for Sylar to pick up.

The show ended with several guys whacking a security guard over the head and opening a shipping container. Inside is Peter who is chained to a wall. He doesn't remember who he is.

The two plot points I am most interested in this season, so far anyway, are Hiro in 16th century Japan and Peter. How did Nathan live? Did he just drop Peter off and fly away before Peter blew up? Will Hiro take over for Kensei and become a legendary hero?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Sorry. I guess this did become a recap. Oops. ;-0

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Review: Doomsday - The Death of Superman

Close to a month ago, I blogged about Doomsday - The Death of Superman. As I said in that post, I really wanted to see it. I just finished watching it a little while ago. I planned to buy the DVD but I noticed that it was on pay per view so I watched it with my son.

He is 4 and he lost interest within the first few minutes. This is a very adult cartoon. Not in language or sex or anything but in themes. There were a few brutal parts, Doomsday crushes a soldier's head for example. The movie shows Doomsday grab his head, the camera angles away and you hear the crushing sound.

It's not just the insinuated violence that makes say it's adult-themed. The relationship between Lois and Kal-El is very adult and the show spends quite a bit of time on that relationship. The reactions when superman dies are equally adult.

I'm not complaining. Though my son lost interest right away, I thought it was a very good movie. Great graphics and animation. Good color. The story and action were well done. I would watch it again.

It wasn't the book though. The book The Death and Life of Superman and the Graphic Novels were much deeper and contained several concurrent plots. There were many characters involved.

This movie mainly concentrates around the initial fight and death of Superman and then into Lex Luthor, Clone Superman and Superman rebuilding himself. That was kind of disappointing; to know how much story there was and for the movie to be so limited.

I think the only way to really do this justice would be to make it a mini-series. And while I would watch it, I'm not sure how many others would. It's too adult to hold a small child's attention and not many adults want to sit through several nights of cartoon.

I can heartily recommend this DVD to any genre fan though. If you are a fan of Superman, which I have always been, this is a must have. If you are a fan of comics in general, this is a good addition to the collection. If you don't really like animated movies or if you are thinking of a movie for your child, I would say to stay away.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Heroes Graphic Novel

If you were not aware of it, you can get your Heroes fix on by reading the Heroes Graphic Novel. Of course, it's a little late now. Heroes Season 2 will be starting in less than two weeks on September 24. I am so looking forward to its return. I started watching it last season but missed a few episodes due to other commitments. Instead of picking it back up in the middle, I waited for the Heroes - Season One DVD. I watched the entire season in a nightly orgy of heroing over the course of a week. I was tired at work but it was worth it. Heroes is just about the perfect series. I was slightly disappointed in the ending of season 1. Is Nathan dead? Dis Sylar escape to the sewers? Who is the man who can see anyone anywhere? I kind of thought the "saved by love" thin was a bit of a cop out. I will not miss Hiro in ancient japan though.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/11 Video Overcome

There's nothing I can really add to this. The video stands on its own.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Video: Combine multiple RSS Feeds Using Yahoo Pipes

I've been playing with Yahoo Pipes and creating some RSS feed aggregators. I decided to create a video showing how easy it is to create a pipe. In this video, I create a pipe that takes the feed from two sites, OraBlogs and OraNA. I join them together using a Fetch, I de-dupe using a Unique and then sort descending by publish date using a Sort. You can get the code for the pipe I created in the video here: Sorted Unique Oracle RSS Feed. You can see some others I have created also. Database Pipe, Oracle Pipe, Postgres Pipe, EnterpriseDB Pipe, DB2 Pipe, MySQL Pipe, New Orleans Pipe. To see the video, go to Blip.TV. Let me know if the video helps at all. Also, please let me know if there are other videos that you think might be useful. LewisC

Monday, September 03, 2007

My Recipe: Light and Spicy Grilled Chicken

This is my recipe for a light and spicy grilled chicken. It's spicy but not hot. I cook it on a hot grill. Prep time is about an hour and the cooking time is about 10-15 minutes. Feeds 4 (with sides). Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs Chicken - Breasts cut into thin strips or tenderloin, skinless and boneless
  • 1 tsp Curry powder, Red, Yellow or Garam Masala. I prefer red curry powder.
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh Ground Cinnamon
cooking 002 Mix all spices in a zip lock bag. Shake until well mixed. Add chicken. Shake until totally covered by spices. This amount of spice should completely cover the chicken and have some left over. If you have more than 1 lbs of chicken, just double the spice mixture. Any extra will just be thrown away and doesn't hurt anything. Refrigerate the zip lock bag for an hour or more. The longer the better up to about 4 hours. Then you get diminishing returns on time. Fire up the grill. Turn it up high on all burners. I cook these at at least 500 degrees. Remove the zip lock from the fridge and let it rest while the grill heats up. When the grill is ready, toss the chicken on and throw away the zip local and left over spices. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken and make sure it doesn't burn. After the chicken is cooked, take it off and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This chicken goes great with spicy, grilled veggies (I will post a recipe for that in the future) and/or brown rice.

Humorous Post of the Week

With all the "how to get a job" sites out there, I am glad to see someone has started a site for the other side of the story.'s tagline is: If You Don't Laugh, You'll Cry. This is a fun site (at least for those not recently fired) with stories about getting fired. There's a blog, stories and videos. Some of the videos are killer funny. Check out the video, "Job Interview Gone Bad (You've been Googled!)" A fun way to waste some time.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Top 10 Reasons History Will Be Kind to George W Bush

Before leaving his job, Karl Rove said that he thinks history will be kind to Bush.  I agree.  I decided to put together this list of the top 10 reasons that history will be kind to George W Bush.

History will be kind to George W Bush because:

10.  It wasn't his fault.  It was that mean kid in Iraq.

9.  Presidents are not responsible for hurricanes.  And apparently not responsible for responding to hurricanes.

8.  No matter who is elected in 2008, they can help but look good in comparison.

7.  It wasn't his fault.  It was that mean kid in North Korea.

6.  He tried to help America by setting a new standard for vacation days.

5.  He didn't shoot any friends in the face.

4. It wasn't his fault.  It was that Axes, Axial, Axs group of evil guys.

3.  He saved so much money by not rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

2.  Even people who hated Clinton now look back fondly on his term.

And the #1 reason history will be kind to George W Bush: because history's mama said that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!