Thursday, February 26, 2009

what an amazing world

As some of you may know, my main work project is a database application for the US Dept of Agriculture. My development contacts are in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

A couple of days ago, I sent them a new build of the database, for them to test the latest new capability (pull GPS data from an attached device directly into an Access form). It was working great for me, and I needed them to test it on their hardware.

Alas, they saw weird problems that I could not reproduce in Portland. We had a number of phone conversations - finally, it occurred to me to set up a screen-sharing session, so I could see exactly what they were seeing (and even control their machine to diagnose things).

A quick Web search led me to Adobe's free 'ConnectNow' application, which works GREAT. Highly recommended.

So, there I was, in my computer dungeon here, taking over a laptop connected wirelessly to a network in New Mexico. After messing around and thinking it thru, I figured out my problem (I needed to *register* a DLL, not just add it to the Access app as a Reference - doh!).

I grabbed some code from another application, pasted it in and tweaked a tiny bit, then uploaded a new build for my contact in NM to install on the laptop.

Then we set up another screen-sharing session in her office, and I was able to watch as we got beyond the previous brick-wall. It was very cool.

Then, Ericha took the laptop outside, to get a real GPS fix. Amazingly, she was still in range of their WiFi, so I was able to witness the final test. When the good results came in, it was a moment of sheer delight.

Here's a screen shot of what I saw (it's the numbers in the Latitude/Longitude that signal 'SUCCESS'):

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