For an easy route to displaying a progress bar from a DLL routine, see the DLLPRGRS CVF sample. One (not too difficult) way to display progress messages in the status bar is passing a callback function to the f90 dll routine. Thef90 routine periodically calls the VB callback routine passing progress info. The VB callback updates and refreshes the statusbar. You may want to look at the CVF CALLBACK sample.
IMO, the shipping CVF samples are a resource that is way under-utilized by users. It helps to be familiar with C:Program FilesMicrosoft Visual StudioDF98samplessamples.htm.
Hmm, here's a suggestion for the newsletter - a column that reviews one or two of the samples each issue to help draw attention to them. What d'ya think?