April 29, 2012
I'm Just A Party Animal
Last Friday night, I had a wonderful time. It was wonderful for many reasons; foremost of which was that it was a retirement dinner. “Isn’t that nice? They gave Dave a retirement party.” The fact of the matter is that I (and my wife, Shelley) threw the party. Sure we are the ones who are retiring, but we wanted to honor close friends and co-workers who, in the past 35 years, have contributed to our ability to be in a position to retire. We wanted to give a (very small) “thank you” to each and every one of them. I am not listing them here. They know who they are and if you want a list, I would be happy to send you one. Instead, I would like to thank friends, colleagues, and co-workers (however minimal the contact and brief the relationship) who are "far,far away" and also have had an impact on my success and ability to retire. Each and every one of them, in ways big and small, made me a better person and/or software developer. So, in no particular order…
Anyone who knows FoxPro (and all of its flavors) knows the name George F. Goley IV. George couldn’t pick me out of a police line-up. Nevertheless, it was George and his traveling road show that first brought FoxPro to my attention and the potential it had as a relational database management system. Additionally, the first ever formal FoxPro class I ever took was a three day seminar that George gave when brought in by one of the members of our users group. Thanks, George. You made the last 22 years of my working life something to look forward to each and every day. Thanks, also to Mike West, the developer who brought George to Kansas City for the classes. It was a perfect storm.
Thanks also goes to Tamar Granor, Doug Hennig, and Rick Schummer. Many of you know them as the current hosts and collective force behind the very highly respected Southwest Fox Conferences. Incidentally, the 2012 conference will be held October 18-21, 2012 in Gilbert, AZ. Check out www.SWFox.net for all the juicy details. Besides that wonderful conference, Doug, Rick, and Tamar have contributed to my growing knowledge as it relates to VFP. Authors, editors, and “silent imputers” of nugget upon nugget of information that made my job so much easier and at one customer, earned me the nickname, “Super Dave”. If I am Super Dave, then Rick, Tamar, and Doug are the “wind beneath my cape”. Thanks, guys.
Speaking of authors of books (remember them? Bunches of paper glued together with words on them), there have been other authors who have also contributed to my programming and software development knowledge. That includes Every (with a capital “E”) one of the authors and editors of books from Hentzenwerke Publishing. There are so many I don’t have the time to list them all. Yes, I do! Hell, I have lotsa time – I’m retiring! So, (again) in no particular order…
Marcia Akins - funny, real-world, and very knowledgeable. Craig Berntson - even though I am a VFP Report Writer evangelist through and through, his book on VFP and Crystal Reports saved my fanny more than once. Jim Booth - discussions over BBQ in Kansas City pointed me in the right direction to handle several issues that confronted me at the time. Rick Borup - a gentleman’s gentleman; always informative and a source of real world tools and tips. Bo Durban - cleared up a whole bunch of Sedna questions/misunderstandings. Toni Feltman - always willing to lend a helping hand. Nancy Folsom - allowed me to “take out my wait windows” and actually use the debugger the way it was intended to be used. Tamar Granor, Ted Roche (special thanks to Ted for the tome on SourceSafe), and Doug Hennig - for you three, I have just two words…”Hacker’s Guide!”. I didn’t tell people about the number of pages; I just said it weighed six pounds, but contained TONS of information). Andy Kramek - should I have put him with Marcia Akins? How could you not love that British accent? With that accent, you just KNEW everything he said would be a gem, AND IT WAS. Lisa Slater Nicholls, Rick Strahl, Chuck Urwiler, Marcus Egger, and all of the other editors and authors in the Hentzenwerke stable. I know that I am leaving someone out and they will be hurt. To them I say, “YOUR contributions are more important than anyone’s who I have mentioned.” Of course, there is a special place in my heart for Cathy Pountney Knight. Ten years ago she, Whil Hentzen, and I got together to discuss a proposal I had for a book. Cathy’s enthusiasm for the VFP Report Writer was UNBELIEVABLE. More than I had ever hoped. Once she agreed to author the project, the “world was never the same”. OK, that may be a bit overstated, but it was never the same for me (and I suspect, Cathy, too). It was one of her early steps to reaching the summit of VFP reporting “guru-dom”. I was lucky enough to grab her coattails and go along for the ride. Selfishly, I have secretly loved any attention I received for having been the technical editor. At least, I never denied it wasn’t a brilliant idea, but in the guise of full disclosure, let there be no mistake about it, Cathy Pountney Knight did all the heavy lifting. Thanks Cathy.
Meriting his own paragraph... all of those books and information would not have been available had it not been the brainchild of Whil Hentzen. Whil ran what was, practically, the world’s mass distribution center for FoxPro information. Not only books, but his influence and contributions to “Fox Talk” and even now, “FoxRockX” were extraordinary, but his Great Lakes Database Workshops were the “indie” conferences made on a Roger Corman budget. I am honored to have become acquainted with Whil. Besides Doug Hennig, Whil is another human dynamo. A real mensch, a so-so cookie baker, and one of those friends that you think about a lot, don’t see often, and when you do meet again, it is like you saw each other yesterday. In my best Gomer Pyle impression, to you, Whil, I say… “Thank yew, thank yew, thank yew.”
Others, you ask? The late Drew Speedie. I will always be sad over his untimely death. I only worked with him for a little over a year, but the influence he had on me was unbelievable. We all know Drew, so I won’t elaborate. Of course, my co-worker, Art Bergquist, has the toughest job imaginable - filling Drew’s Visual MaxFrame Professional shoes. Art, you are doing a GREAT job. Hang in there, buddy. If people knew the time you spend on that effort, YOU would be the fifth bust on Mt. Rushmore (and HOW appropriate would that be? Rushmore optimized). Others like boss supreme, Russ Swall, as well as past co-workers like Larry Koska, Kelly Conway, Doug Carpenter, Kathy Day, Bud Wheeler, Bill Brelsford, Jim Erwin, Travis Davies, Kelly Troxell, Michael Wright, Steve Whitcomb, Gene Steinbacher, Dale Inlow, Dustin Decker, and Bill Elvin all had a positive effect on my career. Lotsa co-workers; lotsa rewarding times. Thanks for everything you did. How about Steven Black and that fabulous wiki he set up? You know, if you use his wiki, have used his wiki, or plan on using his wiki, I am seriously suggesting that you donate (his requested amount) $25 to subsidize a portion of the upkeep. Hey, it couldn’t hurt. There are many other International developers (OK, Steven Black and Doug Hennig are “International”) who, as we speak, are continuing to contribute to VFP’s advancement. Christof Wollenhaupt comes to mind. He has more VFP knowledge in his pinky finger than I would ever hope to learn much less remember. Thanks to ALL OF YOU. Keep up the good work for everyone’s benefit. It is truly a labor of love and I (as just a grain of sand on the FoxPro beach) greatly appreciate your efforts. Now for the little people. Those are the attendees at conferences, user groups, etc. that I may have met only once. The discussions, ideas, concepts – all very inspiring. We all know that the FoxPro community is extremely forthcoming with support, ideas, and assistance. Please keep up all that selflessness. Talk about paying it forward!
To each and every one of you, I hope we cross paths again. It has been the funnest 22 years a person could ask for and you all made it possible.
Bestest to all,