• A disease of the heart

    It all started at 6 am Friday morning December 1st 2006. I had prepared for another day of work via the long commute into town. Recently I have had a feeling inside to be prepared for the unexpected, thus I took my snow gloves and a hat. Off I pulled out of the driveway to head for work. After a short part of the drive I noticed a peculiar sound coming from the front of the car but dismissed this noise as being caused by snow and/or ice. As I pulled closer to a lighted area I decided to pull over just to check. A simple problem with a simple solution met my eyes…

    I saw the source of the noise.. a flat tire. I had a spare in the back so I fussed around the back of the car to get things going. To my disappointment there was no tire iron to remove the bolts off the rim. I thought this too was a simple issue to deal with and walked over to the phone that was at this closed gas station. The words “out of order” met my eyes, along with “NO PUBLIC use of phone inside” in bold letters. The simple problem with a simple solution was starting to get less simple. Next I decided to get everything ready (the jack under the car and the spare in place ready to swap tires). With all of these disappointments happening I’d simple hold out my thumb and ask for help from the next passerby. I use the word “passerby” on purpose! Now this is out in the country where once upon a time people looked out for each other and were more than happy to be of assistance to a needy neighbour. Many vehicles passed by, and those that did stop had this dialog repeated over and over:

    Me: Hi I have a flat tire but for some reason I am missing my tire iron, could I use yours?
    Driver: Sorry I don’t/can’t help you. (some laughed saying I don’t even have a spare tire of my own haha).

    What amazed me is that most people a) didn’t even stop to see what this stranded person on a country road at -10 C temperatures at 6 am is needing help for b) those who did stop almost exclusively tried to convince me they didn’t even have a tire iron in their vehicle. c) offered no further help such as want to use my cell phone or need a drive.

    This is easy to get discouraged and vow to never help anyone again etc.. etc.. but I choose something else. When I have been on the other side of these times, I would say 90% of the time I have stopped and gone the extra mile to help. Why? Because that is what Jesus did all His life. Why the 10% of not picking up? The 10% relates exclusively to hitch-hickers, not broken down cars needing help with a plea for help. Naturally I had expected as I do to others that something would do for me, but alas no-one would/could help me. How did thing send up….?

    After 1 hour of coming to realise the “new” world we live in I had a little talk with Jesus about the situation. I believe He was showing me a few things, that spiritually there are many who need help but many passerby’s. With the unfolding lesson forming in my heart, I drove home with the flat tire, pulled out the tire iron out of the shed and changed the tire in a total of 10 minutes. Then I drove off to work for the second attempt now 7:30 am. I was glad to find out the tire “somehow” was under warranty and would be replaced free of charge, but somehow I now have a greater burden for those people who couldn’t help, couldn’t give 10 minutes out of their day. You can fix a tire, a car, being late for work but how do you fix a diseased heart?

    My vision from this will be to train up my children to do to others what Jesus would do for them. The more this world can see Jesus, the more hearts we will see healed from this disease of self. We don’t need to see more spiritual gifts (though I don’t negate their purpose and fruit) we don’t need more programs to bring people to Christ, we don’t need anything truly but the Life of Jesus operating within. Jesus said in the book of John:

    “I pray not that you take them out of the world, but rather to keep them from the evil one”.

    —————————————–
    … added from my wife: start…

    I just read it. Hm


  • Interesting Security

    Just recently I installed a security “fix” from Microsoft Auto Update which involved modifying how some windows system DLL’s load. Well as soon as I reboot after applying this “auto update” CallerID would crash with the following message when windows starts:

    Well what is going on? CallerID didn’t change so why are we getting this error? What changed? Aha the security “fix” must have changed something! After searching on Google I found this link:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/935448/en-us

    which talks about a new “hotfix” for the security update. After downloading and installing this hotfix, CallerID is working as it always did, now back to what I was working on before this costly event 🙂

    Just a note about CallerID, I not only author the application, I myself rely on it. I work between home and business offices and rely on my call info/voicemail getting passed from one location to another using the “network” feature, which to me is totally awesome.

    Anyone out there who cannot or does not want to get the hotfix from Microsoft, just replace the EXE in the zipfile at:

    http://www.soft-haus.com/vsoft/files/2-1-0-9.zip

    overtop of the one in your callerid installation folder.


  • A Technical follow-up to the security rollout from Microsoft and how to change your own program to not be affected

    After realising in Microsoft’s hotfix regarding the ANI security update that they won’t be pushing out that hotfix I decided to update CallerID to load the htmlhelp subsystem at the end of dll initialization, thus avoiding this problem altogether. For anyone using Borland Compilers goto the Advanced Linker Tab and click the ellipses on the Dlls to delay load. Add the name hhctrl.ocx to the list (most likely already empty). Recompile your program and voila. How do you know it fixed it? Before doing this change open your application using depends:

    http://www.dependencywalker.com/

    And see if hhctrl.ocx is at the top of the list. Recompile your program and refresh or reopen it with depends and now the ocx is loaded at the end.

    Hope this helps.


  • What is revival?

    It is something that can only be experienced and hardly described.

    For the past few days and leading up to Wednesday this week, we have had John Bennet from the Faith Mission in Canada speaking at the Enderby Evanglical Chapel. The theme for these meetings is revival. It became clear to me from the first Sunday morning sermon that this would be no ordinary series. I also had the thought that it would take a miracle from God to fill the seats for the duration of the meetings. Why? Because the message being preached is not a popular one. Having lived in Enderby for a number of years and getting to know the heartbeat of our community I have realized that a simple, direct message of truth is all we need.

    The moment John began sharing about the fact that all we need is to see a) sin the way God sees it… a vision of sin and b) God’s Holiness a vision of how Holy He is!

    Between these two simple truths comes “godly sorrow leading to repentance” and an overwhelming vision of God’s redemption for the Christian to overcome sin. The word’s “don’t settle for anything less” were an essential insertion, which all placed together indeed brought “conviction” and has initiated change… at least in this heart of mine.

    Hope to see anyone here in the Okanagan at the remaining meetings.

    God Bless.


  • Discovering memory leaks and application crashes in BDS 2006

    Over the past couple of days I plunged into our product suite (see http://www.kronos.com/Products/TotalCare.htm) to look for memory leaks and check for any code smells (an Agile term). I remembered back to the good old days when I would use memproof under BCB6 and quickly find and fix my issues, alas in BDS2006 I had no such success. Memproof has not been updated to support BDS2006 so I checked out what my options were. Ultimately I ended up compiling all our packages, application and workspace plugin dll’s under Codeguard which is built into BDS2006. In some ways codeguard is good and in other ways it is aweful. One particular situation to note was that during application exit, the program would crash with an access violation error. This would ONLY happen when one of the plugin DLL’s was fully loaded. Codeguard would not tell me what the problem was but gave me a clue… the clue was the CPU window showed that recently the c++ runtime library was unloading. After many recompiles and compiler setting changes… somehow.. i am not sure.. I think it was a fluke.. but codeguard stopped on a line of code during the access violation! Wonderful! Here was the code:

    void __fastcall MyFunc()

    {

         ostrstream out1;

         out1 << “myField = ” << iID << ends;

         AnsiString asFilter = out1.str();

    }

    Now i have simplified the code but in essence the ostrstream object was the cause of the crash. I noticed this posting on google: http://groups.google.ca/group/borland.public.cppbuilder.ide/browse_thread/thread/caaee99d8be8d0bf/d77d653639e82abd?lnk=st&q=ostrstream+bug&rnum=3&hl=en#d77d653639e82abd

    which at some point mentiones:

    “Also, is there any reason why you’re not using ostringstream, since
    the strstream classes are depreicated?  

    If you need to use the strstream class, note that you’re leaking
    memory, since you’re responsible for deleting (delete[]) the pointer
    returned by the call to str().)”

    So the fact that this DLL was leaking memory had caused a crash at application shutdown.. and to “mask” the problem someone has changed the linker options for that DLL and disabled Use Dynamic RTL.

    Instead of “cleaning up” after the .str() calls I replaced the filter statements with typical AnsiString.sprintf()’s and voila… compile the DLL using dynamic RTL and no more crash on exit. It always troubles me when a workaround is used which nobody knows why it was used 🙂 Now we know what was going on and it was fixed. One thing I have found out about Codeguard… it is somewhat unwieldy to use but almost always is correct in telling you “something is wrong” just not any more detail than that.