Category Archives: Microsoft Access

Bringing things up to date …

Every so often, I remember that I have a blog attached  to the site and I make new promises to myself to keep it up to date but it doesn’t seem to happen that often.

2011 was a busy year for me which was one reason I didn’t update the blog much.  It’s easier to post quick thoughts to Facebook than deal with the expectations of a blog entry.  Those updates tend to get lost in the ether, though, and if I’m going to spend time and effort writing interesting things, I’d rather use them for my own promotion than Facebook’s.

After working independently for an extended period, last year started with a new full-time job that looked like an interesting opportunity.  I did manage to gain some extra experience with ASP.NET while acting as the sole developer on an online solution for the company and consulting on other applications.  The position was not without its drawbacks, however, and at the end of September I had my first experience of anticipating exactly when the axe was going to fall.  When I left for the day one Thursday, I made sure to clean out my desk and sure enough, the layoff came early the next day.

Microsoft Access for BeginnersI hit the ground running, though. By the end of October, in addition to updating my resume and other job search fun, I’d completed the project to turn the Microsoft Access for Beginners series into an eBook. On October 31, it went live on Amazon.com as my first Kindle offering and I’ve started to see some sales. I probably should have added a dedication to Starbucks where I spent so many hours staying caffeinated while editing material and figuring out how to get around formatting issues.

I decided to see how the book plays on Amazon.com before reformatting for other outlets and I was a little sick of looking at the project so I moved on to other things including setting up a Facebook page for Drewslair.com.  After sending out some more resumes, my phone started ringing off the hook and by the beginning of December, I’d landed a new contract as a programmer at a local company.  I actually managed to get two job offers within 24 hours which was a new experience for me.  The other one would have meant moving to Jacksonville and I decided  to stay local.

So, since December, I’ve been gaining a lot more experience developing ASP.NET web applications with Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server 2008.  Having a regular work schedule again where I could leave the job behind at the end of the day was nice for awhile but I’ve also found it’s inherently limiting. I need to start accomplishing things on my own again so I’m looking at dusting off some of those  projects that I put on hold to accommodate the day job and seeing what I can do with them.

More updates here would probably be a really good start …

Switching between Access 2010 windows

A visitor to the site asked about using ALT-TAB to switch between open Access windows.  This refers to the “Windows in Taskbar” feature which was available in Access prior to Access 2007.  You could set Access to display a button for every open Access window on the Windows Task Bar and use the standard ALT-TAB to switch between them.  I usually disabled it because I didn’t like all of those taskbar buttons for the same program.

This feature is no longer present in Access 2007 / 2010, although it’s still available for Word and Excel.  One option that is still available is the Ctrl-F6 key combination.  Using Ctrl-F6 or Shift-Ctrl-F6 (for reverse order) you can switch between all open windows in your Access program, including forms, open tables and the database widow.

CTRLF6

Of  course, I usually design Access applications to keep only a couple windows open at a time and my forms have links or buttons that take the user back to the appropriate menu or screen.  During design time, though, or when you’re creating a quick and dirty app for analysis, this can come in handy.

JobSearch 2010 Update

JobSeach 2010 is now out of beta testing and version 1.01 is available for download.  If you’re looking for a job or know someone who is, this is a great tool that can help you maximize your search.  JobSearch 2010 includes contact management, lead tracking and flexible reporting all in one program … and it’s FREE!  No obligation, no registration, no charge!

 

New Article: Data Analysis with Microsoft Access

Most of the articles I’ve written on Microsoft Access have been about designing database applications that are meant for regular use.  One of the strengths of Access, however, is its ability to import and link to data from different sources.  Excel does this too but with Access you can go on to query and report on the data in ways that Excel doesn’t readily provide.  This can come in handy as part of an application but it’s also useful for quick analysis of new information.  I found a new example of this the other day when I was looking over the website statistics for Drewslair.com …

Read more in –  “Crunching the Data:  Data Analysis with Microsoft Access

JobSearch 2010 – Personal Job Search Assistant

jslogoJobSearch 2010 is a personal job search organizer that enables you to manage all of your information in one easy to use program.  With this tool, you can maintain complete detail on each lead and have it all instantly available at the click of a mouse or offline through one of the available reports.  Never lose track of an opportunity again or be at a loss for the information you need on an interview with this free software from Drewslair.com.

The beta version of JobSearch 2010 is now available for download and testing.  If you’d like to try it out and give your input on how it works for you, you can see the full details with screenshots at on ComeauSoftware.com.

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In addition to the free download, I will be starting a series of articles detailing the development process for JobSearch 2010 for those interested in learning more about programming and software development.  So keep checking back because there will be more to come soon!

Moving beyond Microsoft Access

My latest project came out of left field.  Last Saturday, I was going through some archive files and wanted a way to quickly compare all the subfolders and files in two different directories.  Not having a program to do it, I decided to write one myself in VB.NET.  I decided it would make a good article for the site and here it is …

Getting in Sync – Using recursion to compare directories in VB.NET.

It was an interesting project for the week; not only in writing the program but deciding how to present the information and files on the site.  I’ve been wanting to add some more  advanced content for awhile and I think this article came out pretty well.


My project  for this weekend is reviewing the Programming Microsoft Access series that I posted a couple months ago.  Last night, I happened to think about them and started wondering if the articles were enough.  So far, the review’s going well.  As always, I welcome your input!

Almost there …

I’m managing to get my fingers to keep working despite the latest cold snaps and have finished the first draft of “Programming Microsoft Access”, the series on Visual Basic for Applications that I’ve been working on for the last couple weeks.  Now I’m going through the chapters and revising as needed.  It’s amazing what you find when you step back and look at the material from an editorial standpoint rather than the writer.  So far, I’ve changed some examples, switched around a couple of chapters and found some typos and errors that would not have looked good on the site.  Basically, I’m trying to take my own advice from the chapter on algorithms:

“Throw everything you can at your code and try every way you can imagine to break it.  I know it’s tedious and it looks like it works so why tempt fate, right?  Trust me; finding a bug in your code and fixing it before it goes to the customer can feel a bit like having someone shoot at you and miss but it’s better than what you feel when the customer finds the bug.”