We are working on an app!

I was a little late to jump on the smart phone bandwagon. I resisted for years, scoffing inwardly at those who wove their way through society, heads down, engrossed in their imaginary worlds of bright screens and black plastic cases. Curiosity got the better of me, though; two years ago I finally caved and acquired an Android. It met a prompt and sudden death when it went sailing off a counter and onto an unforgiving and indifferent concrete floor. I caved and bought a shock-proof case for my next phone the very next day.

I was very sure that I didn’t want my phone to supercede my need for in-person conversations with friends, insistent that I not fade into to ranks of pseudo-social relationships predicated upon social media updates and incessant text messages. I was much more sure of my phone’s potential as a tool – a means to an end, rather than an end unto itself. I downloaded some apps, including obvious ones like a memo minder, an email platform, photo-sharing, and (of course) umpteen games featuring cats. I kept the useful ones and eventually deleted the non-useful ones. Between all of that, I wondered: how does one actually build an app?

Fast-forward to my Saturday Morning Productions days. We are working on an app. I can’t tell you what it is just yet, but I can tell you that a mind-boggling amount of work must occur before it ever sees the light of your smartphone screen. We are first faced with the fundamental quandary of “how will we stand out among the millions of apps that already exist?” How do we find our niche? It’s going to be an interesting journey. It already is. The Saturday Morning Productions team is busy brainstorming away, sketching concepts, drawing logic flow-charts, coding, and all those things that I never thought about before I had a smart phone.

It’ll be a little while before our collective brainchild is born, but our goal is to create something that you use everyday and, when you use it, you think “gee, this is cool and really useful!” We think it’s cool so far and will become more and more useful as we revise and refine our work. That’s all I can disclose for now – we don’t want to completely spoil the surprise – but before I drop more tantalizing clues, I have a favour to ask of you…

Because we’re developing an app, we’re conducting some R & D. Would you fill out our survey? Click here. It’ll take a minute or so and for every survey completed, Saturday Morning Productions will donate a dollar (up to a total of $1000) to a local charity.

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The Smiling Goose

Migratory animals keep finding me, no matter where I find myself in life. Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Liv, and I am a new member of the Saturday Morning Productions team. I have never taken a computer class in my life, other than keyboarding on a rickety Apple with “Alphaworks” on one of those giant black floppy disks when I was in junior high, but I somehow found myself sitting at a table with a rather techno-savvy crowd.

It started with a smiling goose.

I am a wildlife biologist who tends to work more in the food industry than directly in the world of science. I studied migratory caribou for nearly a decade, but like my study animal, wanderlust got to me and I ended up working at a restaurant where I met Ada. We clicked right away and, when we both left to pursue other interests, wanted to continue working together. Ada and Chris broached the subject of me growing the social media aspect of Saturday Morning Productions, to which I happily agreed.

However, when I learned about their Migrator program, which “migrates” large databases, an image sprang to mind. A happy goose carrying a database icon. I sketched it out and coloured it in. A smiling goose, wings in a big “V” toting a yellow cylinder, all set against a bright blue sky. I created a digital version and soon the Migrator logo was hatched. It struck me immediately. Another migratory animal found me; geese are certainly a case study in terms of animals that undertake long-distance seasonal migrations. This helpful goose, i.e., me, will help you smile when you need to migrate a large set of data, and provide some humour out there in the world of twitter and Facebook.



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Why I Created Migrator


Once upon a time in the far off land there a young handsome software developer.  This developer married the fairest maiden in the land and together they formed a company to slay problem monsters that prevented others from getting stuff done.  After a couple of successful adventures of banishing problem monsters the developer was asked by another problem monster slaying company to help deal with a monster bugging the local government.  The developer agreed to help.

After some investigation the monster plaguing the local government could be slayed by .NET 3-tiered application quest.  In this case, the 3 parts of the quest were creating the web interface, the business logic, and finally the database.  To complete the tasks all members of the company had to work together and share their work.

Sharing code changes for the web and business parts of the quest was easy and every member of the company knew how to do it.  Using a magical repository of code holding, in this case SVN, code is easily shared between developers.

However, sharing database changes had always been a challenge.  It was not the initial creation of the database but sharing database changes with other developers on the team. This task was fraught with difficulties and in previous quest had resulted in injuries and sometimes casualties.  There was also difficultly in migrating the changes from the Development database to UAT and finally Production.

In previous quests the developer had used a shared development database where all members of the company developed against the same database.  This had several drawbacks including developers locking the database and overwriting other developers’ changes. It could also result in developers making changes to the database that work with their uncommitted code but not with developers who do not yet have the uncommitted changes.

Our brave and handsome developer, who mostly studied the .NET form of developer magic, had started dabbling in other forms for development magic.  One new form of magic, called Ruby on Rails, appeared to have solved the database sharing problem.  Rails had a mystical ritual called Active Record Migrations.

In this ritual each developer has their own local copy of the database to use during development.  Database changes are stored in source control as a migration file.  There is then a process that takes the migrations and applies them to the local developer’s database.

Our developer wanted to apply the Active Record Migrations ritual to this new quest he was but couldn’t find an existing potion.  So he created his own.

While he tweaked it – looking for eye of newt and frog’s breath – it was his own personal potion to use.  But once it turned the right shade of fluorescent purple, he knew it was the right time to share it with the world.

Behold!  Migrator!

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Product Release – Migrator

As the outdoor temperatures quickly drop, the Saturday MP basement dwellers are migrating back to warmth and kicking up productivity. We’ve been working really hard and are so excited to make this announcement!

We are proud to release Migrator to the public!

<Intentional dramatic pause>

Migrator is an easy-to-use, migration tool for SQL Server Databases, inspired by the Ruby on Rails migration process. Use it to migrate database changes between developers and then migrate those changes to the UAT, staging, and production databases.

Chris originally developed Migrator for client work 5 years ago and continues to use it today.

If you really like the product, please consider making a contribution.  Various ways are listed on the Migrator page.  It helps us continue dedicating our time to creating and maintaining quality tools (to help you get stuff done).

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BIG Announcement (and Cookie Time)

A-hem! Hear-ye hear-ye! After many months of hard work and completely professional, non-wifey nagging, Chris has emerged from the basement victorious!

A free trial version of Mini-Compressor is ready for downloading!  Try before you buy!  That’s worth repeating – trial version of Mini-Compressor!  Download it now!

Celebratory Cookie Jar from Washington Convention Center

Celebratory Cookie Jar from Washington Convention Center

What about the cookies? Check out the Privacy Policy that finally made it to the website!

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Happy Father’s Day

Dear Dad,

I treasure our life together as father and child! I have learned to love and laugh through our experiences together. From our time together, you have made me want to become a better person!!!

Thank you for everything and love you!!!


Feel free to compress pic by using the Mini-Compressor!

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Dear Mom…

What does it mean to have a mother? Every mother is very special in our lives.

She has been a champion throughout our good and lessons that we have had to go through with her support and encouragement.

Lets celebrate Mother’s Day by remembering and cherishing our mothers and what she has done for each of us. Send a message with a picture of your favorite memory with her and you with your picture compressed via the Mini-Compressor!

Moms would love to re-live the special moment that made us the way we are today.      :)

Happy Mother’s Day!!!


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Welcome, Alice!

Hello everyone! You must have thought we’ve dropped off the face of the earth, with our last real post being from September…

We’re still around.

  1. Mini-Compressor is still alive and well.
  2. Chris has been working away on a secret project (shhh).
  3. Ada, in between answering customer Mini-Compressor support questions, briefly forayed into the restaurant world at Battista’s Calzone Company.

Although SaturdayMP and Battista’s are very different, we found both are very similar as well:

Saturday Morning Productions Battista’s Calzones
One product that users loooooove One product (9 menu items, all calzones) – renowned
Fiercely proud of product and service Fiercely proud of product and service
Small, family-run Small, partner-run

We also learned one key lesson: you cannot do it all!

During Battista’s busy times, it was impossible for the two owners to handle queues of hungry customers out the door, fill wholesale orders,  and still take vacations! That’s why they hired Ada to help around the shop – to get calzones to the people!

While we may not be exactly facing hungry mobs here in the SaturdayMP basement, we found we were lacking the punch and stamina needed to get the word out about our great product, Mini-Compressor, and still so the necessary day-to-day and coding stuff.

So, we’ll be working with Alice to help better market Mini-Compressor to the masses. Make sure everyone is compressing images to their highest potential! Drop a “hi” to Alice when you have a chance.

Welcome Alice! We hope you enjoy your adventures in Saturday MP Wonderland!

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Saturday MP turns 6 – for real!

Again? Didn’t we just have a 6th birthday this time last year? We re-crunched some numbers and re-calibrated our maths. Today is when we should have put 6 candles on the cake. We knew we were older than we looked.

SatMP 6th birthday cake

Birthday Cake for everyone!

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MM – End of the Summer Rainbow

Summer barely began here at NFTB and here we are at the end of the rainbow. The roundup includes me buying second hand camera – a Canon Eos Rebel XT – from our friend Brad. Thanks, Brad! Now can you show me how to use it?

Also, somewhere along the way the blog broke, but it was an easy fix.
Before school started for the munchkins, we relaxed at our friends’ place near Breton, Alberta, soaking in some sun and some rainbows! A double rainbow, in fact!

Taken with (new-to-me) Canon Eos Rebel XT. Total album size = 10.2 MB

I love how well this camera takes pictures – you can see every colour of the rainbow in the rainbow, and every leaf and needle on the trees! See those dark clouds? They really were that dark! And the fluffy clouds that look like heaven? They really were that three-dimensional!

I wanted to share these fabulous photos with our friends so we could reminiscence once winter hits and summer is but a memory. And to laugh at the ESP going on that night with the rainbow (ahhh, good times)

I simply selected all four photos, right-clicked, shrunk the image size and voila! There was no risk at all – unlike standing out in a thunderstorm with a camera! And it was lightning fast! (seconds)

The best part? Even after using a compression index of 80 and reducing the photo size by 79 % to 86 %, you can still see all the detail in the landscape – all the colours are still there in its brilliancy and heaven-y clouds are just as fluffy!

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