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.

ColdFusion Bloggers BOF @ CFUNITED 2005

CFUNITED ColdFusion Bloggers BOF 2005 CFUNITED ColdFusion Bloggers BOF 2005 CFUNITED ColdFusion Bloggers BOF 2005

Here's a photo to put some names to faces if you're not already familiar with the bloggers that attended a Birds of a Feather session at last week's CFUNITED ColdFusion conference. Frankly, I can't recall everything that was discussed there, but Jared's summary is up on FusionAuthority to help fill in some details. Just for fun I tried some art that might make a nice album cover or possibly a poster for next year's Bloggers BOF.

While we missed a few well known bloggers at the BOF such as Ray Camden, Rob Brooks-Bilson, and Tony Weeg, here's a short list of some of those who turned out:

I see Tony thought it was a great networking experience... I certainly enjoyed meeting all of you.

Bad Medicine: Kevin Trudeau Fraud 'Natural Cures'

During an investigative report earlier this year, I heard about the fraudulent practices by "infomercial scammer" Kevin Trudeau who published bogus health information in a book called Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About. I was very surprised when my regularly scheduled Tivo recording of a Saturday morning program was actually replaced with a half hour infomercial from this clown who makes outrageous claims about Science and medical research to foster the adoption of his book and take your money.

I'd just like to take a moment to point out that this huckster is cited by the National Council Against Health Fraud, and you should not believe his claims.

Misleading infomercial driving sales of junk book. Infomercial scammer Kevin Trudeau, who signed a court-approved consent agreement prohibiting him from selling health-related products (except publications), has continued his longstanding patters of deception by selling a book called Natural Cures They Dont Want You to Know About. In a frequently aired infomercial, Trudeau falsely claims that government agencies and the food and drug industries are conspiring against "natural cures" and that people who want such information should buy his book. Although the infomercial suggests that the book makes specific recommendations for specific problems, it actually does not. In the book, Trudeau claims that the FTC censored the entire chapter titled "Cures for All Diseases." However, Daniel Kaufman, the lead attorney in FTC's most recent case, told Dr. Stephen Barrett that as long as Trudeau is not promoting brand-name products, he still has the First Amendment right to claim that various methods or product ingredients are beneficial. Frequent airing of the infomercial has driven the book to the #8 position at Amazon Books, but many of the buyers are highly dissatisfied. As of February 2, 2005, more than 60% of the 188 posted reviews have characterized the book as a ripoff. Trudeau has been the target of several FTC regulatory actions and has served time in prison for credit card fraud. Infomercial Watch has posted a detailed analysis of the infomercial.

See also:

Photos of Casa Mil‡ in Barcelona Spain

CLICK for photos of Casa Mil‡ Also known as La Pedrera, Casa Mil‡ is one of Antonio Guadi's architectural masterpieces. At one time it served as a collection of luxurious apartments for Barcelona's elite, but today exists as a museum. Built in the very early 1900's, it is a monument to 20th century Modernism. It sits on Passeig de Gr‡cia in central Barcelona, a few blocks north Plaza Catalunya. These photos were taken in January 2005.

Photos of Casa Mil‡

Other Photos of Spain

This photo gallery was highlighted in February 2006 on Barcelona Monthly.

CF Survivor Finalists and Winner

This year's CFUNITED game show was CF Survivor, where contestants were given challenges to overcome while avoiding being voted out. The questions varied from mild coding to server configuration to stylizing an RSS feed. Moderated by Simon Horwith of AboutWeb (thanks for the M&M's!), two contestants made it to the final round, and Daniel Elmore raced to the finish during a final death challenge. Congratulations Daniel (of the Dallas CFUG)! Joseph Danziger came in a close second. I'll send the solutions to Michael Dinowitz, and he'll post them on


Do you know about the Code Compatibility Analyzer?

A lot of people at the CFUNITED conference last week didn't know about it, so I'd like to take a moment to highlight this helpful utility, the ColdFusion MX Code Compatibility Analyzer, which helps check code that you are migrating from earlier versions, such as ColdFusion 5.

This setting is available in the ColdFusion Administrator, in the left menu under the Debugging and Logging section. You select a directory containing the ColdFusion application or CFML source code to be analyzed, list the type of extensions to match such as .cfc or .cfm, and then under the Advanced options I always recommend selecting ALL for the Filter By Severity option. The ALL option will provide warnings at both the ERROR level and the INFORMATION level. The default is ERROR, so you might miss some important INFORMATION messages with that, so choose ALL.

Using this utility is a great first pass at your application when considering the migration process when moving to ColdFusion MX, and will probably save you a little frustration later. Its available in both CFMX 6.x and 7.

Helpful Resources:

Macromedia Hiring ColdFusion Product Support

If you thought about participating in the CF Survivor game last week at CFUNITED, then step up to the plate and try the real thing! There's a contract position open for a ColdFusion Product Support Engineer (tech support) right here in Newton, Massachusetts. Check it out.

From my experience, I can tell you that Macromedia ColdFusion Product Support encompasses not only the ColdFusion server and the CFML language, but also the wealth of web technologies and protocols that integrate with ColdFusion including TCP/IP, HTTP, SQL, SMTP, LDAP, plus operating system usage and administration for Windows, Solaris, and Linux. There's a lot more than that, too.

I find this role at Macromedia to be perpetually challenging and I enjoy learning and keeping up with emerging technologies. Additional perks include exposure to all the Macromedia products, and training is often provided for many of them, including Flash, Flex, Dreamweaver, and Breeze.

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