This last month has been quite tragic on a number of levels. Early September brought Hurricane Katrina which reaped havoc on the citizens of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Literally thousands of people were made homeless, lost family members, lost homes, and lost all of their worldly possessions. It will be years before that region of the country recovers.

Along with Katrina, the Visual FoxPro community has lost three members. We lost our friends Jim Kearns, Drew Speedie and Brent Speedie. All of these folks will be sorely missed by their friends and family.

In times of tragedy like this I am happy we live in a world where people are generous and giving. I know the company that Jim worked at is helping his family. I am also sure that the VFP community will be nothing if not supportive of Drew's family. These are the types of people I am proud to call my friends.

On another front, I am proud of the people in our country that have given their time, money, and possessions to help and comfort the people in the Mississippi Delta. A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Markus (CODE Magazine's publisher) about a potential new author named Jay Sawyer. Jay works for Microsoft in the Houston area. A week or so later I read a blog entry about a Web site called This Web site was put together by Jay and a number of other members of the software community and has been helping people that were separated by hurricane Katrina to find each other. Once again these are the types of people I find every day in our community, people that actually care about the health and welfare of others.

Call to Action

So this is where I call you to action. Over the last couple of years I have had three people influence me greatly as I think about giving to others. My friend Larry Couture is on the board of the local theatre group in the community where I live. Basically he said to me one day… “You need to donate money to the theatre.” I said OK. It felt pretty good to help a great organization in my community. Another person that encourages me is Dan Zerfas. I have worked with Dan for about seven years now. Over the last few years, Dan has volunteered his time to create Web sites for his son's Boy Scout troop, his Knights of Columbus group, and lately his small town theatre group. He has asked me for technical help from time to time which I have gladly provided. Finally there is Erik Ruthruff who works on CODE Magazine with me. For as long as I can remember, Erik has been involved in a tutoring program for disadvantaged students in his community.

With the encouragement of friends like these I have branched out a little. I donate money to different charities and I now maintain a Web site for my daughter's school playground project.

So here's what I would like you to do. If you have the means, donate some money to your local charities, or national charities like the Red Cross. Or if you cannot afford to donate money, donate your time. There are literally thousands of organizations that can use your help now. I encourage you to talk to people at schools, churches, or non-profit organizations in your location to see where you can help. Also, that old PIII that's gathering dust in your closet-I bet someone can put it to good use.

New CODE Focus Issues

On a completely different subject, we are currently working on several special issues of CODE Magazine, called CODE Focus magazines. These are magazines that discuss a particular subject in great detail.

The next one to come out focuses on Tablet PC and Mobile PC development, and there are other topics to follow. We think this is great, but what is even better for our readers is that we make these issues available completely free of charge for everyone (subscriber or otherwise). Visit us at to sign up for your free Focus issue(s) and also to let us know which topics you are interested in. Requests are served on a first come, first serve basis.