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Mail 110 July 17 - 23, 2000

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BOOK Reviews

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This week:



Monday  July 17, 2000

If you missed last week's IQ discussion, be sure to see it.


You wrote: "Most of us don't use [Access], but there are many things we do that would be easier if we thought in terms of databases. There was a time when dBase II was one of the most popular PC programs around. Access is a more powerful database that is greatly underused. This book is a good introduction to how to make use of a tool most of us have and do nothing with."

Despite the Wizards, Access is difficult to come to grips with for the average user. Much better is Claris FileMaker Pro. Unlike many "originally for the Mac" products it respects right-click context menus. This is truly "the database for the rest of us" and demonstrates that Apple could have competed with MS had they wanted.

I have trained users in both products and FileMaker is at least 3 times quicker [1] to end product and less frustrating for the beginner. It's nowhere near as powerful as Access [2], but then we're not talking multi user, gigabyte databases here.

Jonathan Sturm

[1] I ported my customer tracking and invoice database to Access when I learnt Access. I never did get to the point where the reports were as as easy to create or look as good as the ones in FileMaker, despite spending *lots* more time.

[2] Before the Mac aficianados come down on me for this, I am not trying to demean FileMaker. It's powerful enough for multi-user databases of considerable sophistication. It would also be in *much* wider use if you didn't have to pay a ridiculous amount for the developer version so you can sell run-time apps.

I'll have to try Filemaker. I never have. Thanks.

Hi Jerry,

Security on the Internet is an illusion.

The best metaphor that I have found for the Internet is the old town square on market day.

Logging on to the net is the same as standing on a soapbox in the middle of the square and the shouting to the various vendor stalls and other people on their soapbox. Anybody who wants to listen in can. You can cup your hands, but this is mostly ineffective.

A lesson applies from the real world of security. Every time a newer and better lock is invented, a newer and better lockpick follows close behind. How do you gain access to your car when you lock your keys inside or the electronic locking system fails? You call a locksmith. The tools of the locksmith are also available to you, if you want your