Blog By Night

The official blog of Fly By Night Graphics, Ltd.          Serving the Twin Cities since Tuesday!


FileMaker’s Let function

If you hang out on the the FileMaker forums (like TechNet), and pay attention to the advice given by those developers in the know, you will no doubt see heavy use of the Let function. I have to admit that at one point, I just didn’t get it. As a novice developer, it seemed like using Let was redundant and unnecessary in many of the example calculations. The official help documentation on Let can be found here.
However, it’s usually not until you see a great example, that it really “clicks” in your head. I don’t remember when that particular example was for me, but I recently came across another one that you may find helpful. Stuart Gripman of FullCity Consulting, Inc. had this informative and concise blog post as part of their “Function of the Week” series. You can read it here.
Another thing to keep in mind with the Let function is that it gets even more useful as your calculations grow in complexity. I cringe when I go back into some of my early FileMaker solutions and try to decipher some of the massively complex calculations I created, often with little to no white space formatting to improve readability or commenting (bad developer!). I had some that I had broken out into multiple fields, just to keep them organized. So I would have fields called something like Xcalc1 and Xcalc2, that would then be used in XcalcFinal to reach the total. All of this would be done very differently, knowing what I know today… especially the use of Let. The Let function will let you reduce the number of times a chunk of code needs to be calculated, and can reduce multi-field dependencies. These things may not matter much at first, but they can become major performance drains as your solution scales up, and as you expand to WAN clients and FileMaker Go clients.
Hopefully after reading Stuart’s post, you will “get it” much earlier than I did!


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on September 4th, 2014 at 11:24 pm. Filled under: FileMaker,Geek. Tags: | No Comments |

FileMaker 13!

This week, FileMaker released version 13 of its database platform. We are really excited about the new capabilities it brings and how it will help our clients.
graphic_create
Image courtesy of FileMaker, Inc.
The big push here is getting your data mobile. Anyone who thought that FileMaker Pro was “just a database” (or worse yet, a glorified spreadsheet *gasp!*), has been wrong for a long time… but now they are completely off base. FileMaker is moving more and more to a custom app development tool, with a big focus on iOS. New tools like popovers (sorry, no honey butter!), slide controls, and swipe gestures make a FileMaker Go solution feel closer to a native iOS app. The new WebDirect feature is intriguing… it feels like this is finally what IWP should have been all along. But the way that the Server concurrent connections are priced might find itself shutting out some soho clients that would have used IWP in the past. Time will tell.
But we are very excited to put the new features to good use, be it for iOS or desktop… or both. Contact us today to chat about how your operation could be made more efficient with a custom solution built on the FileMaker platform!


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on December 4th, 2013 at 11:25 pm. Filled under: FileMaker,Geek. Tags: | No Comments |

Apple to AT&T… we need to talk?

Just random speculation here (I have NO inside info), but I think Apple is done with their AT&T honeymoon. Apple is a company that prides itself on great customer service and creating rabid fans that do more promoting than their ad agency. AT&T doesn’t share that great reputation and for the last 2 years, Apple has had it’s flagship cool product shackled to a service with a less than stellar image. We hear rumors of AT&T wanting to extend their exclusive contract this and Apple wanting better terms for it’s customers that… and even rumors of Apple talking with other carriers, who’s names start with V. I don’t think the relationship is working. I believe there is some tension behind the scenes and the bitterness is starting to spill out. Three separate times during the WWDC keynote, it was blatantly pointed out that the iPhone has a cool new feature… that AT&T would not be supporting right away in the US. Apple could have just said that MMS and tethering required carrier support and not every carrier would support it right away – then left it up to the press releases and reporter questions to disseminate the details of who and when. But no, they specifically touted the number of carriers in the number of countries that would be supporting these features, and either flat-out stated or left it blatantly obvious that AT&T in the US was not on that list.
I believe that negotiations are not going well and Apple used the WWDC keynote to say to AT&T, “See, people don’t like you and they think you are being a dick. They would love it if we offered them another choice.” I don’t know exactly what kind of leverage Apple is hoping for. Do they want a bigger chunk of revenue sharing from AT&T? Do they really want to extend the exclusive contract? Or are they preparing their consumer base for the impending switch? “AT&T was not able to offer the services that our iPhone customers demanded…” kinda has a familiar ring to it. Now, where did I put that 3GHz G5 processor…?


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on June 10th, 2009 at 8:36 am. Filled under: Geek. Tags: , , | No Comments |

Happy Star Wars Day!

May the Fourth Be With You!
Congregation: …and also with you!


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on May 4th, 2009 at 12:50 pm. Filled under: Geek. | No Comments |

The Two Towers

Membership has its priveldeges. Every now and then you come across a deal so as to make you a fool, should you pass it up. Tonight such a deal was made at the Apple Store and a new Mac Pro found its way into my basement office. I won’t go into the specifics of the price, but let’s say that I’m fairly certain that I can nearly break even when I sell my old one. No, it’s not one of the new models announced last week. It is the “Early 2008” model that they are clearing out. This one has two, quad-core 2.8GHz Xeon processors. Not a huge jump from the 2.66 that I had, but there are 8 cores at work now instead of 4. Can’t wait for Snow Leopard! But in the meantime, Photoshop and Aperture will appreciate the breathing room. And the ATi Radeon 4870 plays nicely with this motherboard, so that will help too! So, watch for my old Mac Pro on the Bay of E someday soon…


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on March 11th, 2009 at 11:27 pm. Filled under: Geek. | No Comments |

iPhone test with a photo

Another test… This time with a photo.


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on February 19th, 2009 at 2:56 pm. Filled under: Geek. | 1 Comment |

Test from iPhone

A quick test of a post from the WP iPhone app.


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on February 19th, 2009 at 2:54 pm. Filled under: Geek. | No Comments |

Dodged a data-recovery bullet…

seagate_barracuda_7200_10_sataBack up early, back up often… and then make another backup. Last week one of my internal hard drives died. As in: catastrophic hardware failure. But, that’s OK because I have an external drive that constantly backs up. Except, that drive was mysteriously dead as well – the computer just couldn’t see it and it made an odd buzzing noise. [Panic sets in.] I brought the internal drive into the Apple Store to let the guys at the bar take a look at it. Disk Warrior just laughed at me, as the drive went *click… wirrrr… click… wirrrrr… click…* Nothing. [Freaks out.] Now, allow me to temporarily freak out all of my clients – this was the drive that houses my Aperture library of images (and iPhoto as well). [Starts to feel a sense of camaraderie with Bob’s photog.] But, fear not! One of the great things about my account with Pictage is that they keep any photos I send them. Forever. And it’s super-easy for me to FTP them back to myself. So, that saves my professional work [read: saves my supple buttocks]. So, that just leaves the stuff in iPhoto. Lots of digital memories there. I talked with a data recovery service. Since I was referred by Apple, they offered to look at it for free and give me a file list of what they could recover. At that point, they would quote me anywhere from $500 to $2500 to get the data back. Ouch. How much are memories worth? Let’s take a second look at that external drive. The buzzing is coming from the power supply/brick. We have lots of those drives at the Apple Store. I brought it in and used one of their power supplies and it mounted right up. [Hallelujah Chorus!] It’s all back. Sunk a bunch of money into extra hard drives (and will soon do the same at work with their money), and researching online backup solutions, and will probably swap “off site” drives between home and work for extra redundancy.


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on December 16th, 2008 at 10:53 pm. Filled under: Geek,Photography. | No Comments |

Life on the interwebs…

dotmac

In addition to my infrequently-updated blog, now you can also catch my infrequent updates on the Twitter as “fbng” and the Facebook as “Shawn A. Krueger” – AKA, myself. Yes, I caved. No promises to update much, but we can be virtual “friends” and stuff. I still refuse to get a MySpace…


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on December 10th, 2008 at 9:28 am. Filled under: Geek. | No Comments |

Beautiful aluminum and glass…

OK, I’m sold. I know, easy sale. Shawnee’s 12” PowerBook has served us well, but the hard drive is nearing capacity and Leopard needs more room to breathe than the 512Mb of RAM allows. Sure, we could upgrade the memory to 1.25Gb, but that would be like putting new tires on a car that you are about to replace anyway… well, we’re probably going to actually do that, so perhaps that’s not the best analogy. But, nonetheless, I expect to exercise my employee discount before the end of the year one of the new MacBooks. My only gripe is that the aluminum MacBook dropped the FireWire port. I think I can get over that. MacWorld’s benchmarks show the new systems easily twice as fast as a PowerBook 1.67GHz, which is slightly faster than what we have now and was equipped with 2Gb of RAM for testing.

Pretty, aren’t they?


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on October 21st, 2008 at 9:08 pm. Filled under: Geek. | No Comments |