Guns, Germs and Steel: A National Geographic Presentation

The book Guns, Germs and Steel has been recommended to me many times, and I own both the book and the audio cds, but yet I haven't found the time to finish it. I'm thrilled to see that this publication has been turned into a PBS documentary and will air starting Monday July 11th. My local PBS listings show the first time as Tuesday at 5 AM, so I've set my Tivo to record this series with a Season Pass using the online scheduler Tivo Central.

Guns, Germs and Steel: A National Geographic Presentation
"The Crucible of Civilization" A theory suggests that society's potential for development was determined by access to domesticated animals and cultivated plants.

The DVD is already available on DVD at Amazon, where the description is:
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book and national best seller, Guns, Germs, and Steel is an epic detective story that offers a gripping expose on why the world is so unequal. Professor Jared Diamond traveled the globe for over 30 years trying to answer the biggest question of world history. Why is the world so unequal? The answers he found were simple yet extraordinary. Our destiny depends on geography and access to: Guns, Germs, and Steel. Weaving together anthropology and science with epic historical reenactments, Guns, Germs, and Steel brings Diamond's fascinating theories to life, and moves beyond the book to bring his ideas into the present day.

Bob Cringely to begin Podcasting and Videocasting NerdTV

Starting this September, technology pundit Bob Cringely will launch NerdTV, a program that will be available only on the internet with a companion podcast for audio only. Ever since I saw Bob's chronicle of computer history in the PBS program Triumph of the Nerds back in the mid 90's I've craved his insightful yet quirky views into the Internet, the Web, and computer technology. Oh yeah, and Bob's weekly column, I Cringely, will start masquerading as a blog, too, but don't tell anyone.

Read about Bob's plans for NerdTV.

Using AutoAdminLogin to automatically start ColdFusion on the commandline instead of Service

Here's a solution on how to configure Windows to automatically log on as Administrator and then start ColdFusion MX from the commandline using the batch file, all without any required user interaction. This solution is a response for a customer wishing to have this configuration so that when their machine enters a scheduled reboot overnight it can start itself in a manner that allows ColdFusion to run in a mode that will permit taking a thread dump at a later time when a user is around. To rephrase, the only value of this configuration is to be able to start ColdFusion in console mode after a machine reboot when no one is around.

Note that configuring Windows to automatically login as an Adminstrator account is a very serious security hazard and you probably shouldn't do this unless the machine is in a locked server room and you hold the keys, and there may be other security risks I hadn't thought of. However, it can be done. I don't know how to automatically lock the screen while the Administrator is automatically logged in, but if you know then please add a comment. In order for the cfstart.bat file to run in an interactive mode such that someone can come along and hit CTRL+BRK to generate a thread dump, a user must be logged in so that the console is accessible. The screen can be locked, but the user can't log off.

To get started, I followed the instructions listed in this Microsoft article on how to use AutoAdminLogon. This article assumes the following name/value pairs are set in the Windows Registry:

  • AutoAdminLogon
  • DefaultDomainName
  • DefaultUserName
  • DefaultPassword

However, I found that my system did not have the entry for DefaultPassword so I created it and entered the password in clear text, which the article mentions should be that way. Having AutoAdminLogon set to 1, and DefaultDomainName, DefaultUserName, & DefaultPassword all set, I rebooted the machine and confirmed that it automatically logged me on. Whenever tampering with the Windows Registry, be sure to make an export of either they individual key or the whole Registry first to use as a backup.

Then I created a new bat file in C:CFusionMX7in called cfstart_output.bat. The only entry in this bat file was
cfstart.bat >> cfstart_outputfile.txt. Then I dragged the the cfstart_output.bat file to the Start menu in
Start > Programs > Startup. Programs in Startup will run as soon as a user logs in.

The ColdFusion MX 7 Application Server Service should be set to Manual or Disabled if you're planning to start while using the bat file.

Rebooting the system, I found it automatically logged me on and started ColdFusion MX 7 on the commandline, but since output was being appeneded to a file the console window remained blank. I tested CTRL+BRK a couple times, then used CTRL+C to stop the ColdFusion console window. I then examined the cfstart_outputfile.txt file to confirm that it did contain 2 thread dumps.

Again, this is a very insecure configuration so think twice before doing this. But if you're ok with this, it will work.

See also:
An easier way to take ColdFusion Thread Dumps

Video Archive of CFUNITED Keynote

If you missed CFUNITED this year or would just like to relive the Keynote event given by Tim Buntel and Ben Forta of Macromedia, then you might want to check out this 61MB clip of their 50 minute talk.

Highlights from the talk include the announcement of the CFMX 7 Updater codenamed Merrimack, the CFMX 8 announcement codenamed Scorpio, and the big hurrah from the crowd during the announcement of Macromedia support for the CFEclipse project.

Download Video [248 MB]

This was exported from iMovie on Mac OSX, which has better options for compression so that you can keep the full audio quality but compress only the video.

  • 0:00 Tim Buntel introduces himself and Ben Forta
  • 1:50 Ben Forta on where ColdFusion is today
  • 4:00 Ben polls crowd about CFMX 7 usage
  • 6:00 Ben on: Why Upgrade?
  • 7:00 Ben Forta begins discussion of what's new in CFMX 7
  • 19:20 Introduction to Amit Yathirajadasan of Georgetown University who demos CFMX 7 app
  • 20:50 Amit begins, but is generally inaudible
  • 25:30 Tony Weeg's big moment
  • 30:00 Tim Buntel recaps Amits talk and segueways to CFMX future
  • 30:19 Jared Rypka-Hauer saunters by...
  • 31:50 Ben Forta introduces CFMX 7 updater, code named Merrimack
  • 36:00 Start of CFEclipse discusssion by Tim Buntel
  • 42:00 Simeon Bateman of the CFEclipse Project joins the stage
  • 48:50 Tim Buntel and Ben Forta introduce ColdFusion MX 8, codenamed Scorpio
  • 53:50 Ben Forta demos the new CFMX 7 Language Poster

If you would like only the audio of the keynote, you can find it here.

For a video of the CFUNITED CFDJ Panel discussion, see this blog entry.