Leverage Your FileMaker Lingo
by Brian Dunning
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A few weeks ago, I brought a fellow FileMaker professional,
visiting from out of town, down to my favorite volleyball beach,
which is my permanent weekend office. I was in my usual seat,
making wise comments from the sidelines, having lost my own game
pitifully and been forced to sit until my next challenge came
"Nice pokey!" I shouted. "Garbage on two at the first switch!
That's asking for trouble."
The players changed sides and one of them said to me:
"Did you see his hands on that deep line?"
"Doesn't matter, he contacted it above the tape. Lifts are good,
doubles are good, on the dig."
Now the other guys joined the fray.
"That's no dump. He shot open hand to place, off that floater
"We don't play a block is a touch or net balls, so we're playing
"Are you calling my contact?"
It led to fisticuffs, and I snuck to the shelter of a convenient
umbrella. During the fray, I remembered my FileMaker friend,
and went over to help him scrape away some of the glaze that
had formed over his eyes during the exchange.
"Listening to that was like trying to debug a 500 line custom
function," said my friend. I laughed.
"Or trying to consolidate a legacy script that jumped around
to six different files."
"Do you remember what ScriptMaker was like in the 5/6 days?" We
enjoyed a nostalgic chortle.
"Or Access Privileges. Remember trying to synchronize user privileges
across multiple files? Just looking at the Privileges screen
made me want to change my port to 591 so nobody would be able
to find me!"
At this point, I noticed that the volleyball brawl had quieted,
and the participants were frozen like ice sculptures, fists arrested
in mid-air, staring at my friend and I like we were aliens who
had just stepped out of a FileMaker branded spacecraft.
And so I reflected. While the conversation was held in a south
Orange County dialect of volleyballese, my FileMaker friend hadn't
understood a word and had suffered unimaginable boredom. Similarly,
in the brief moments that we discussed FileMaker, the volleyball
players had become more tangled than a live commentator from
Babel. Merely a cultural curiosity, or was here a tool that could
be leveraged to a certain advantage?
I once met a guy who lived in Tahiti, who told me that whenever
visiting stateside, his family would speak in French when they
wanted to be discreet. And when real secrecy was needed, they'd
speak in Tahitian. Might it be possible to pull a similar cloak
over my own speech, using my fluency in FileMakerese?
The chance to find out came soon. Lisa and I were checking in
late to a hotel, and none of the king non-smoking rooms were
still available. Of course they had the ability to upgrade us
to a suite, but they lacked a compelling reason to do so. There
was a simple solution. I turned to Lisa and said:
"You know how you can import a FileMaker file into a container
field, and store it as a BLOB?"
Lisa stared at me for part of a minute, wondering if I'd eaten
something strange for dinner. But I knew that she wouldn't stare
forever. Osmosis might be slow, but it's sure.
Suddenly she brightened, placed a hand on her stomach and said
to the clerk: "Isn't there anything you can do? I'm expecting."
"I'll put you in a suite," said the clerk, and swiped a key
card for us.