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July 2004

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 around.

"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 jumpie."

"We don't play a block is a touch or net balls, so we're playing CBVA."

"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.

Browse Mode
Jan 10 Solving Performance Emergencies with FileMaker Server
Aug 06 Top Ten Sessions Cut from the 2006 FileMaker Developer Conference
Jul 06 Who's Driving This Thing, Anyway? Or, How Marketing and Engineering Buried the Hatchet (Warning: Contains a Curse Word)
Nov 05 Shingle Grandiloquence
Oct 05 In Celebration of Geek Magnetism
Aug 05 A Rogues' Gallery of Devcon Attendees
Mar 05 Lies, Damned Lies, and Project Specifications
Feb 05 Pick the Right Tool for the Job
Oct 04 Home Media Server Requirements
Jul 04 Leveraging Your FileMaker Lingo
Apr 04 Technical Support Redux
Mar 04 Enforce Seats in FileMaker 7/8/9 Commercial Solutions
Feb 04 Reinventing the Wheel
Oct 03 WAP: The Technology That Wasn't
Aug 03 Brian Dunning's California Governor Election Platform
Jul 03 Sex and the Single Software Developer
May 03 XSLT: Creeping Out of the Closet?
Feb 03 A Consultant's Guide to Traveling
Nov 02 Adventures of Bat Magnum, FileMaker Consultant
Sep 02 FileMaker at Area 51
Aug 02 FileMaker Terminology
Feb 02 Computer Shunts
Dec 01 Aquabase Alpha & the Consultant's Challenge
Aug 01 It IS the Size That Counts
Jun 01 On the Trail of Sasquatch
May 01 Spring Cleaning
Feb 01 FileMaker Mobile Survivor Challenge
Jan 01 Letter from Nürburg
Dec 00 Performance Anxiety
Nov 00 Objection, Your Honor
Oct 00 Leveraging Convergence: Jargon for the 21st Century
Sep 00 Top Ten Things to Do at Devcon
Aug 00 Aesop's FileMaker Fables
Jul 00 Ten Commandments of FileMaker Pro
Jun 00 Explats Cross Examined
May 00 iMac, Therefore iServe
Mar 00 Valley of the Dollars
Jan 00 Are You Up for a Review?
Nov 99 Tales from the Script
Sep 99 Tech Support Revisited
Jul 99 Moderns vs. Classicals
Mar 99 Nashoba, We Hardly Knew Ye