• Resources

    Learning a New (Human) Language in 2020

    April’s lockdown gave a lot of us some extra time to play with and some people took it as an opportunity to learn new skills or start side projects. At the same time, I found myself working on a new project with people who barely spoke English, if at all. Online translators like Google Trainslate and DeepL.com have come a long way since the last time I wrote about language acquisition but I still don’t like to depend on them blindly so my learning project was to finally study the Spanish language after over 30 years living in Florida.

  • Microsoft Access

    Printing Dymo Labels from Microsoft Access

    On a recent project, I had to come up with a way to send labels one or two at a time to a Dymo LabelWriter 450 printer from Microsoft Access. Access does a great job of printing sheet-fed and continuous labels but not specifically to the Dymo printer. Normally, I would select a one of the label templates in Access based on manufacturer and size but, without a specific manufacturer to reference, printing the labels meant setting up my own custom label template. As a bonus, the labels included bar codes ! Naturally, I couldn’t just finish this project and let it pass into the archives without doing a tutorial…

  • Database Design,  Microsoft Access

    Online Course – Managing Your Data with Microsoft Access

    My new Udemy course, Managing Your Data with Microsoft Access is now live! Please take some time to check out the free sample videos. If you sign up early, you’ll get lifetime access to all video content and resources PLUS all future content as I continue to add to the course for the low introductory price. One of the things I hear about Microsoft Access is that it’s simply too complicated for many people to work with. This is because Access is designed for building database applications that can be used to automate and manage processes. Too few resources approach it from that perspective. This leaves users and students without…

  • #LearnMySQLNow,  MySQL2020

    Installing MySQL and MariaDB (Videos)

    Awhile back, I wrote up some instructions for doing a basic install of MySQL on Windows, including the steps to secure it. Now that I’m working on another MySQL book, I decided to start putting together some videos to go with it and I’ve created a couple on MySQL / MariaDB installation. These videos include both the basic manual and the MSI wizard installs. While MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL and similar in most respects, there are some minor differences that have crept in, including during installation. For that reason, it’s good to be familiar with both. The options available during the MSI installs are also pretty different.…

  • Personal Tech

    Designing a Standing Desk Without Spending Lots of Money

    I admit it, I spend way too much time sitting. My work is mostly at the computer so that’s where I am for hours every day and that’s not counting the time in front spent watching Hulu and streaming other stuff. Much is being written now about the dangers of prolonged sitting from increased risks of diabetes and heart disease to back and leg problems. I’ve seen the effects on my own weight over the years. I’ve been wanting to get a standing desk for awhile now but they often run in the hundreds of dollars and I’m not spending that.

  • #LearnMySQLNow,  Articles,  Writing

    A Few Thoughts on the Book Writing Process

    It Seems Like I’ve Been Here Before … People seem fairly impressed when I mention that I’ve written a couple of books on databases and software. I try not to make a big deal of it, just mentioning it in passing as appropriate, because I actually don’t consider it to be a big deal. I’m one of those people who likes to share knowledge, likes to write and has accumulated a decent amount of knowledge on a few things. Occasionally, that knowledge demands to be organized and backed up in article or book form. There’s also been the hope that others will find it useful in their own lives and…

  • Microsoft Access,  Programming,  SQL

    Recovering a Corrupted Table in Access With VBA

    Recently, a client started experiencing errors, seemingly at random, in the database application I managed for them. The errors immediately started mentioning corruption and then these came through … Error 3167 – Record is Deleted Getting everyone out of the system and running a Compact / Repair seemed to help, but then … “The Microsoft Access database engine cannot find a record in the table … with key matching fields() … At this point, I decided a rebuild of the database was in order since it hadn’t been done in years. I’d just create a new database file, import everything, test and everything should be resolved. Then the import process…

  • Databases,  Microsoft Access,  Programming

    How to Shut Down Remote Instances of Microsoft Access

    When you’re managing a multi-user Microsoft Access application, there are times when you need all users out of the database so that you can make changes to table structures and other items. Asking everyone to shut down is unreliable and using the Windows Task Manager to forcibly shut down instances of Microsoft Access is risky at best. Most multi-user apps should be split into separate front-end / back-end files with each user having a separate copy of the front-end so you need something that will signal all those copies to shut down and stay shut down until whatever maintenance you’re performing is complete. In summary, my preferred way to do…

  • Web Design

    Latest Mystery: Tracking Down the Archive

    I installed The Events Calendar by Modern Tribe, Inc. on another site the other day so I could keep a community calendar of tech and business events. It seems like a pretty good WordPress plugin which is probably why it has over 700,000 installs. It’s not perfect – the free version doesn’t handle recurring events and Gutenberg seems to break the CSS, at least on the theme that I’m using – but Gutenberg can be turned off for this plugin and it creates a very attractive calendar for the site. The events are stored as blog posts with their own specific post type so the plugin makes use of the…

  • Microsoft Access,  Programming

    Troubleshooting MS-Access Error 31532 – Unable to export data.

    Microsoft Access can sometimes seem to have its own obstinate personality, throwing errors that persist no matter what you try. I wanted to share a recent troubleshooting experience to show some of the steps that you can take when a function is just not working as expected and the decision process involved in fixing it.