Apples, Softies, and Trains

Three Apple engineers and three Microsoft employees are traveling by train to a conference. At the station, the three Microsoft employees each buy tickets and watch as the three Apple engineers buy only a single ticket. "How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?" asks a Microsoft employee.

"Watch and you'll see," answers the Apple engineer. They all board the train. The Microsoft employees take their respective seats but all three Apple engineers cram into a restroom and close the door behind them. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the restroom door and says, "Ticket, please." The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The Microsoft employees saw this and agreed it was quite a clever idea. So after the conference, the Microsoft employees decide to copy the Apple engineers on the return trip and save some money (being clever with money, and all that). When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip.

To their astonishment, the Apple engineers don't buy a ticket at all. "How are you going to travel without a ticket" says one perplexed Microsoft employee. "Watch and you'll see," answers an Apple engineer. When they board the train the three Microsoft employees cram into a restroom and the three Apple engineers cram into another one nearby.

The train departs. Shortly afterward, one of the Apple engineers leaves his restroom and walks over to the restroom where the Microsoft employees are hiding. He knocks on the door and says, "Ticket, please..."

CFDJ on Misconceptions and Myths About ColdFusion

This is old news, but worth posting regardless of the many other blogs that have also rebroadcast this article...

Simon Horwith, editor at ColdFusion Developer's Journal, has written an important article that does a nice job to dispel the negative myths that remain attached to ColdFusion, even after ten years in the market place.

Misconceptions and Myths About ColdFusion


Ice Climbing, Winter Hiking, Rock Climbing, Snorkeling, and Copper Canyon

Over the winter holiday, I had the opportunity to spend some time scanning in many of my old photographs from various trips. I've finally managed to put them together in online photo galleries:

Brandeis Mountain Club, Ice Climbing on Arethusa Falls
The highest waterfall in New Hampshire. Brandeis Mountain Club guided by Kurt Winkler and Ian Turnbull of Mountain Guides Alliance. The highest waterfall in New Hampshire. Brandeis Mountain Club guided by Kurt Winkler and Ian Turnbull of Mountain Guides Alliance. January, 1999.Read the full story

Brandeis Mountain Club, Winter Hiking on Mt Moosilauke
The Brandeis Mountain Club spends a couple days camping and hiking in New Hampshire's western White Mountains to climb Mt. Moosilauke in February, 1999.

Towson University's Project Marj
Project Marj was run by Towson State University modeled on the Outward Bound experience to build teamwork, leadership, and many related skills intended to assist personal development during the college experience and throughout life. We spent a full week camping and hiking long days throughout Shendandoah National Park, Virginia. August, 1990

Swimming with Manatees in Crystal River, Florida
Biology students from Towson State University spend a week in Florida, January, 1994.

Copper Canyon, Mexico
Copper Canyon, also known as Las Barrancas del Cobre, is Mexico's equivalent of the Grand Canyon. You can take the train from Chihuahua through high mountains to arrive at Hotel Divisadero. August, 1995

Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador
Marine Biology class at the Bahamian Field Station on the eastern most island in the Bahamas. This place currently known as the Gerace Research Center. Towson State University 1991.

Panorama Maker from ArcSoft

ArcSoft Panorama MakerI recommend ArcSoft Panorama Maker to create 360∞ panoramas from your photos. Output format is Quicktime (.mov), Flash (.swf), or just as a single large image (.jpg). The Quicktime movie evokes the sensation of being inside the image and looking around since you can zoom in, pan up and down, and pan sideways. The Flash output can only pan sideways.

There are several features I like very much. Other than the choice of output format, I like the Automatic Exposure Correction in case the lighting varies between adjacent images, and the Fine Tuning that you can do by selecting a region and then moving three reference points into synchronized positions in adjacent images.


UDF to replace URLs with a hyperlinked equivalent

My search on CFLIB didn't produce a match for a UDF to replace URLs with an HTML link for that URL, so I'm going to submit one as soon as I convert my CFSCRIPT version to standard ColdFusion tag equivalent.

In the mean time, below is the custom function that I use to automatically convert URLs in my blog comments to a link so readers can just click through. I strip HTML and CFML tags from user comments rather than convert the tags to text with htmleditformat(), so a user cannot insert anchor tags for a link with their comment.


Demonstration of Connection Failover for Oracle DSNs

Earlier this week I blogged about using the Oracle AlternateServers connection string parameter with ColdFusion Oracle datasources for connection failover, a feature of the DataDirect 3.5 driver bundle. This blog entry shows a network trace of connection failover in action using the Ethereal Network Analyzer (a favorite tool) to packet sniff a simple query made from a ColdFusion page. The packets were traced between the ColdFusion server and the Oracle database. Effectively, the trace shows the TCP communication between the JDBC driver in macromedia_drivers.jar version 3.5 to the Oracle database server.

To demonstrate how this works, I configured the datasource with incorrect information to simulate a situation where an Oracle database is unreachable. I listed the default port incorrectly, and provided a list of two alternate Oracle servers where the first in that list also had an incorrect port. The last in the list, which was the third server/port pair in the sequence provided a known good host/port combination. I then restarted the ColdFusion server to make sure any existing connections were dropped, and then began tracing all connections from the ColdFusion server to Oracle, and finally I made a single page request for a simple query to that datasource. You can see in the trace that three connection attempts were made in the order specified in the JDBC URL, where the first two (highlighted in red by Ethereal) failed to connect, and the third was successful.


Doug Hughes on Reactor: Inline Dynamic Database Abstraction Generator

Once again Doug Hughes pulled off a great presentation for the members of the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group with today's topic Reactor. Doug's Reactor project is a new persistence framework he has been working on. It is an Inline Dynamic Database Abstraction Generator. What this means is that by using Reactor you can dynamically generate database objects on the fly in your code as needed. Additionally, these objects will be rewritten as your database changes. Reactor is simple, quick and powerful.

The event was recorded and is available for viewing at the link below so feel free to watch!

Doug Hughes on Reactor

One lucky member at today's event won a FREE copy of ColdFusion MX 7 Standard Edition!

If you have a ColdFusion related topic or product that you'd like to share with the developer community, let me know and I'll work with you to hold your own Breeze Meeting. I'm looking for speakers for the next few months, so don't be shy :)

Outlook for my professional development

Since I began supporting ColdFusion customers for Allaire many years ago I've taken a wide range of computer and web development courses in local universites and vendors, as well as many internal training classes on Macromedia products. Except for a few vendor certifications though, I have no advanced degree or similar milestone to demonstrate my aptitude and achievements in computer or web technology.

I'd like to be able point a tangible and definitive milestone to demonstrate my technical level to others, as well as to satisfy myself when reflecting on the subject. To address this need, I've committed to a 6 month Master's Certificate in Java and J2EE from Boston University. I think a Certifcate from an accredited university carries much more weight than most vendor "certifcates", so much so that I wish the naming convention was different because you can't compare a 60 minute multiple choice test with a 6 month program. At any rate, the BU Master of Java & J2EE Certificate includes the following sequence of courses which could be broken down into two sub-areas:


Adobe Production Studio Premium software released today!

From the press release about the new Adobe Production Studio:

Adobe Systems Incorporated today unveiled Adobe Production Studio, an extension of the Adobe Creative Suite family of products. The most complete post-production software solution available today, Adobe Production Studio combines full new versions of Adobe's world class video and graphics applicationsAdobe After Effects 7.0, Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, Adobe AuditionÆ 2.0, Adobe Encore 2.0 (also announced today, see separate releases) and the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Adobe IllustratorÆ CS2with time-saving innovations such as Adobe Dynamic Link that deliver a highly efficient workflow experience. Adobe Production Studio also integrates Flash Video (FLV) export capabilities to provide video professionals with a new, fluid method of delivering content to the Web using this ubiquitous Web video standard.

Read the entire press release in the Press Room on

Doug Hughes on the Alagad Image and Captcha Components

Doug Hughes generously donated his time to the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group on Thursday of last week to present two projects, the Alagad Image Component and the Alagad Captcha Component. Doug actually presented the same talk the day before as part of the Macromedia User Group Tech Wednesday program. For the Online CF Meetup Group, Doug gave away two free licenses, one for each of the components, and I gave away a copy of the Macromedia Flash Professional 8 training book (Its in the mail Dave!).

Recording URLs are available below so feel free to watch again and again!

Doug Hughes on the Alagad Image and Captcha Components

Online ColdFusion User Group

Macromedia User Group Tech Wednesday

On Thursday of this week, Doug will present again on his new project Reactor. I will be giving away one copy of ColdFusion MX 7 Standard Edition or an Adobe software product of equal or lesser value per request of the winner. Please RSVP to attend.

If you have a ColdFusion related topic or product that you'd like to share with the developer community, let me know and I'll work with you to hold your own Breeze Meeting. I'm looking for speakers for the next few months, so don't be shy :)

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