Kurzweil Keynotes Bio-IT World; Interview in CIO Mag; Using Text-to-Speech

The Bio-IT World fifth annual Life Sciences Conference and Expo on Biotechnology and Bioinformatics is to be held in Boston the week of April 3, 2006 (which coincidentally happens to be at the same time and location as the Linux World Expo). The conference will begin with a keynote lecture "Reprogramming Biology" by Ray Kurzweil, one of my favorite technology luminaries whose ideas constantly fascinate and inspire me.

"Reprogramming Biology" is the title of noted inventor Ray Kurzweil's opening keynote address. Kurzweil will expound upon themes in his latest book, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, in which he predicts the next few decades will see the merging of human biology with the staggering achievements of "GNR" - genetics, nanotechnology and robotics - to create a species of extraordinarily high intelligence, comprehension, and memory.


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CIO Magazine on AJAX for the Enterprise

Via ACM TechNews, CIO Magazine presents an editorial regarding the origins of AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML), on the topic of its origin and grassroots adoption as well as pitfalls in the Enterprise space. Given the AJAX technology suite and its recent inception as such, the author can only speculate regarding its future, but suggests that too much hype could put AJAX in disfavor right along with the blink tag.

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Tim Bray, founder of XML, discusses open source, XML, WS, and blogs

Via ACM TechNews, in an interview with InfoWorld, Tim Bray, inventor of XML, discusses the future of open source as a business model, the origin and successes of XML, and the growth and impact of the blogosphere. He thinks the end is near for closed source and software business will sustain itself through subscription support models, and he mentions that there's no money in selling IDEs given that there are three excellent IDEs out there now for free. In his experiences, bloggers are much more accessible than the authors of formal publications and while inaccuracies are bound to occur in both formats, the record is more likely to be corrected in the blogosphere, and quicker too. Curiously, Tim ends the discussion with a hint that Sun JVMs are soon to support scripting languages like Python.

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Ruta HÃŒpica - a walk along an ancient path in Spain

A walk on the Ruta HÃŒpica, an old road through the Benasque Valley of Spanish Pyrenees. This trail starts on El Camino del Sol near Eresue and passes along a north-western slope until it reaches Cerler, and ultimate Llanos del Hospital.

Before modern transportation this valley was relatively isolated and had its own language, Patues. Many locals still speak Patues and the valley is trying to preseve the language by continuing to teach it in schools.

Un camino antiguo por los Pirineos Aragones en el Valle de Benasque, EspaÃ’a. Desde Eresue hasta Cerler y Llanos del Hospital.

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Barcelona Monthly selects my photos of Casa Mil‡ for February

My photographs of Barcelona's Casa Mil‡ were highlighted today in Barcelona Monthly, a blog described as:

The author's choice of Barcelona's events, worthwhile bars, restaurants, shopping and other leisure experiences.


Updated: Now Playing Pod for BlogCFC

Listen to iTunes for fun and profit!

The Now Playing pod has been updated to take advantage of the additional info present in the iTunes plug-in on Windows such as Amazon Associate ID URL, Amazon album artwork, and Apple Music Store URL. I've also added a Creative Commons license, and changed the pod behavior so when iTunes is stopped a message states that no song is playing but provides text, artwork, and URL of last song played.

The pod will link the album art or title to the Amazon URL with your Associate ID if you configure the Now Playing plug-in that way and if the plug-in sends that information with the now_playing.xml XML packet. The current Mac version of the iTunes plug-in cannot be configured for Amazon or Apple Music store, but if you use iTunes on Windows then you're good to go. At work I listen to iTunes on Mac, so you will only see the linked artwork in my pod on the left when I'm at home.

Download

Now Playing pod for BlogCFC - What's playing on your iTunes?

Recently envious of Matt Woodward's Now Playing on iTunes pod on his blog, a blog built with BlogFusion, I investigated what might be involved in producing an equivalent pod for BlogCFC software users.

I read the installation and usage guide for the Now Playing plug-in, available for a small charge from Brandon Fuller, and it seemed very easy to setup in iTunes. I logged into PayPal, bought a Now Playing license, and immediately received my key in the mail. The plug-in for Mac has few features than the one for Windows by the way. I think he will implement the Mac features in the not too distant future tho.

The plug-in will upload a small xml file called now_playing.xml to a specified directory on your FTP server where your ColdFusion server and blog reside. For each song played, the now_playing.xml file is uploaded with the metadata associated with the song currently playing. If the song has an artwork image associated with it, that image is also uploaded.

To display the song on my blog, I had to write a pod for BlogCFC that would not only parse the the now_playing.xml file to display info like the song name, artist, and album in the pod, but I also had to design a way for the pod to behave efficiently so as to minimize the number of times it reads the timestamp on now_playing.xml and parsing the file only if the pod detects that the file has been updated.

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SeeStack - Parse ColdFusion Thread Dumps Like a Pro!

Sleestacks are scary stuffSleestacks are scary stuff in The Land of the Lost, and so are ColdFusion MX thread dumps.

So many threads, so many stacks, what to do, what to do?

Never fear, SeeStack is here! ... from Webapper, the folks who make SeeFusion. A very helpful utility similar to SeeStack is used by Adobe ColdFusion Support Techs like me. SeeStack can quickly suck up gobs and gobs of those gnarly thread dumps(1) on one end and spit out(2) just the highlights of what you need to know on the other end.

To debug applications that seemed slow or hung, I used to manually read those unsightly stacks while my eyes would glaze over. But then I emerged from the primordial world and started using a stack trace analyzer. SeeStack will make debugging bottlenecks pages much, much easier and far less time consuming.

Thanks Webapper!

(1)(2) This phrasing has not yet been approved by the friendly marketing people at Webapper ;)

Workaround for a cached File Not Found error message

Under unusual circumstances ColdFusion MX 7 server may cache a File Not Found (404 Status Code) error for a template and continue to return the error even when the expected template file resides in the proper location.

For a short reproducible case, create page hello.cfm with the text Hello and browse it. You'll see the page successfully completes. Rename the file to anything else, perhaps hello2.cfm, and browse to the original page hello.cfm again. Assuming that the CF Administrator setting for Missing Template Handler is not configured, you will receive a File Not Found error like this:

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Galleon Home Media Server for Tivo

A coworker recently recommended a free program to enhance Tivo. This weekend I installed it and now I'm hooked. I don't have to get up from the couch to follow what's going on in the blogosphere, weather, movie listings, and local events. For someone that spends 40+ hours a week sitting down already, is this really such a good thing? ;)

Get a lot more from Tivo with the free program Galleon for Tivo. You can now push recordings from your Tivo to your PC rather than having to log on to the PC and then pull them over. Galleon also has very useful features such as viewing your RSS feeds from your TV, plus local movie theater listings, local social events, local weather, as well as listening to your iPods music collection and watching your JPG photos on your TV. ...And you can watch movies on your TV over the network from the program library on your computer.

Here are some pictures of my TV menus when using Galleon...

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