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.

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:

Selene Bainum - Database Design

This was a very well organized and well presented talk by Selene. I'll also be attending here Advanced SQL talk later, but here's my notes from this presentation.

Databases: Collection of Tables, rows, columns, look like spread sheets, unique identifers, etc..

Relational Databases (RDBMS) - determine what the db is going to be, what the data might be, visualize columns and think about their relationship, helps to build tables.

For example, a product db might have product name, category, when they placed order, customer info, etc.... Example shows a flat data file with all info in one big table, but elements are repeated in multiple rows, duplication of data, no referential data, and data can't be queried until its inserted. A form should be able display all the product names, (a little fast here...) How to get rid of data duplication, data could be misspelled in different instances, how do you know which values are the good values, and might have multiple prices so how do you know which one is the current price.

[More]

Get Glued at CFUNITED! Class for me today, Breezo for everyone tomorrow!

Get Glued with Model-Glue! (Joe Rinehart)My first day at CFUNITED was largely spent in Joe Rinehart's class Forms and Beans: Refactoring existing ColdFusion using Objects. Joe's focus was on how an OO approach to ColdFusion development can save time by encapsulating application behaviors to reusable ColdFusion components, Further, when iteratively blended into a procedural application by gradually replacing procedural code with OO-based code the procedural application becomes easier to maintain and scalable.

The class had about 15 persons, most of whom were reasonably advanced in ColdFusion development and generally understood OO concepts already. This allowed Joe to speed up a bit, although he was prepared to cover CFC best practices or basic OO PIE concepts in futher detail if needed.

The quick pace permitted the class to move on at the end to make room for a great overview of the Model-Glue framework while also digging deeper into the ServiceFacade and Decorator patterns as they apply to CFCs. Indeed, I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer in this class, and I was certainly humbled by Joe's mastery not only of ColdFusion but OO thought processes. Complex code just streamed effortlessly from his fingertips to the screen while maintaining the cadence and never missing a beat in the presentation flow.

Joe advised developers to perform discrete unit testing of components, which in short means building a test harness that isolates a CFC to validate that it behaves as intended, where testing the CFC outside the larger application reduces complexity during the design or debugging phases. Here, Joe recommended Paul Kenney's CFCUNIT as a very convenient and robust means of unit testing in ColdFusion.

Joe's choice of IDE for ColdFusion is CFEclipse, and I think that Joe and everyone else will be very pleased with some important information from Macromedia coming very soon! I followed along in the class while using Fedora Core 4 Linux on my laptop. FC4 actually ships Java and Eclipse with the distribution, so FC4 is a great way to get started with CFEclipse (although FC4 is technically not supported for ColdFusion, its very close to the supported RH distros and I've encountered no CF problems as a result of running on FC4 so far).

On Wednesday night at 9pm in room 4, there will be a panel discussion of Model-Glue under the guise of a new Model-Glue BOF session. Then at 9:30 I'll help Joe start the online Breezo of Model-Glue that will be broadcast live from CFUNITED. You can RSVP for the Breezo here: http://coldfusion.meetup.com/17/events/4726812/.

After class I headed out to dinner to celebrate ColdFusion's bright future with the Macromedia CF engineers Dean Harmon, Mike Nimer, Tom Jordahl, director of engineering Damon Cooper, CF QA Bob Powell and Billy Sahlas, plus Ben Forta and Tim Buntel who are presenting the keynote tomorrow, and also Amy Brooks and Christine Lawson of Developer Relations. Macromedia definitely has a huge turnout at this unique ColdFusion conference, and Amy in particular has done a great job at organizing everything. Check out the Macromedia booth in the exhibit hall where we'll all be hanging out to talk to you and help answer your ColdFusion questions. Stop by for posters and T-shirts!

I think CFUNITED is booked with 8-900 attendees, so I plan to get up early for Ben and Tim's keynote address tomorrow morning... just a paltry 7 hours from now :( I'd like to set up my video camera to record the keynote, then I'll try to edit it down to a small file for distribution here soon so everyone can share the good news :)

See you there and see you at the Model-Glue BOF tomorrow!

Movie Meme

Taking a clue from Leslee, here's my own take on the Movie Meme...

Total number of films I own on DVD and video:
Looking at the two bookshelves on either side of the living room TV, Id say there must be over 200 DVDs right there. This includes perhaps 100 movies from the states, and 50 foreign films including mostly Almodovar and Amenabar films, but theres the odd French films in there too including almost all of the Audrey Tautou films and an old favorite Betty Blue. The other 50 DVDs are of the educational variety such as the Carl Sagan series Cosmos, the PBS series on String Theory called The Elegant Universe by Brian Green, a whole bunch of Nova episodes, the 2001 PBS 6 hour series on Evolution, the 4 hour Ken Burns special on Lewis and Clark, several NASA/Space Travel type shows like Origins, and the Revolution OS flick which traces the development of Linux and includes curious interviews with Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, and of course Linus Torvalds. Among the VHS tapes, I still have my very first VHS purchase, Jeremiah Johnson, and my most recent VHS purchase, the Ernest Shackleton 6 part series starring Kenneth Brannigan(?).

Last film I bought:
Just this week the most recent addition to our DVD collection came in from Amazon... Northern Exposure, Season 3. This television series was a centerpiece to my twenties. The story as a whole further compelled me to travel to Alaska several times, although the filming was done in Roslyn, Washington outside Seattle where I had to stop and have a beer in The Brick,and I did manage to spend a couple days in Talkeetna, AK where the series was supposedly based on. Check out my photos. Only this past year has the NX series been available on DVD. Previously, while fearing that I would never obtain a video archive of the series, I bought a few key episodes that were available on VHS from independent vendors on Amazon. I paid $20-45 for individual episodes that I felt were most memorable, including "Northern Lights" from season 1 and "Thanksgiving" from series 3. The most inspiring character to me was Chris Stevens, the self-taught, quasi-hippi/biker from a wrecked home in West Virginia that elevated himself to the Cicelys poet laureate, DJ, lay philosopher. I remember frantically writing down and later researching all the literary fragments that were used by the Chris Stevens role. There was even a book published containing only the musings, quips, and quotes of Chris Stevens, : Chris in the Morning: Love, Life, and the Whole Karmic Enchilada. By season 5 the NX writers were jumping the shark, and as much as I loved the series I could hardly bring myself to watch with the new doctor and all. I missed the final episode Tranquility Base, which ended with the folky Our Town by Iris Dement, so I guess it will be a year or so before its available on DVD.

[More]

Finished the Model-Glue Quickstart Guide

I've just completed the Model-Glue Quickstart Guide, written by Joe Rinehart. It reads a lot like the Head First series of tech books, so that made it a lot of fun. In total, it took me about 3 hours tonight starting with the initial Model-Glue download until the end of the last page.

Right out of the gate, I'd have to say that this tutorial enabled me to really understand the Model-Glue framework much more than the Waterswing tutorial did with Mach II. Joe did a fantastic job with this. The mini-quickstarts are easy to follow, make sense, and break the tutorial down into logical parts. This makes it easy to measure success while also providing a clear stopping point while working out any errors. The whole tutorial really flows well.

There are a couple confusing aspects to the tutorial, such as the frequent use of different case for the same variable or page name, including one tag in the StockQuoteConfig.xml that had a matching closing tag, upper case B. The ModelGlue directory structure itself varies in the case of file and directory names compared to the tutorial. I thought that the inconsistent case usage would cause problems, but even though I completed the tutorial on a Mac while using vi and CFEclipse the case issues were largely negligible. Some of the mini-quickstarts show code that builds upon code from the last quickstart, but the lack of markup makes it difficult to catch exactly which parts are to be changed for the current lesson, such as in the Message Arguments lesson.

While some polishing could be used, it is very well written and entertaining. I liked it a lot. I highly recommend you check out the Model-Glue Quickstart Guide too.

Sarge on Security in CFMX 7 - AZCFUG

Sarge's presentation on Security Changes in ColdFusion MX 7 was recorded in Breeze and is available for viewing at this URL:

http://macromedia.breezecentral.com/p29094700/

Sheldon Sargent of Macromedia Server Support, better known as Sarge, is co-author of Hack Proofing ColdFusion, available on Amazon and Advanced ColdFusion MX 7 Application Development.

You can check out Sarge's blog at http://www.sargeway.com/blog

This event was sponsored by the AZCFUG in cooperation with the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group

Online Event - Arizona CFUG - Sarge on Security Changes in CFMX 7

The Arizona ColdFusion User Group in cooperation with the Online ColdFusion User Group present Sarge on Security Changes in ColdFusion MX 7.

** Note time: Wednesday, May 25 - 9:30 PM US/Eastern, or 6:30 PM US/Pacific ***

Sheldon Sargent of Macromedia Server Support, better known as Sarge, will present at the Arizona CFUG this Wednesday evening on Security Changes in ColdFusion MX 7.

The event will last about 1/2 hour, so for those on the East coast this won't keep you up too late :)

Sarge is also co-author of Hack Proofing ColdFusion and Advanced ColdFusion MX 7 Application Development.

When: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 9:30 PM US/Eastern

Where: This is an online event using Macromedia Breeze Meeting.

RSVP for online location.

Notes: Help with attending a Breeze meeting

Library of Congress Series on Digital Future - Free on Audible.com

Audible.com has a series of 8 lectures on the topic of the Digital Future, available free of charge, published by C-SPAN. Each lecture is about an hour and a half, and downloadable in mp3 format for you iPod.

I can't post the direct link to the lecture series since audible.com uses session data in the URL and without the session parameter it logs an error, so just search for the topic title or author on their site.

[More]

The Best of Concord Police Logs

I love reading the crazy things that happen around the sleepy town of Concord, as reported in the weeekly Police Logs from the Concord Journal. I've lived in a lot of places, some where most people wouldn't bat an eye if a carjacking were happening, but here in Concord the residents are easily spooked... Enjoy!

I'm proud to claim my own place in the town's log. Here's the what ended up in the newspaper when I was spotted taking pictures in the early morning hours:

    Sunday, Oct. 16 2005
  • At 1:23 a.m., officer on patrol reported a male subject on foot in the Milldam. Officer spoke with the individual, who was taking photos for a college course.


This blog entry will be updated with a selections taken from those logs.



    Week of June 12, 2006
  • At 11:45 a.m., a Simon Willard Road caller reported someone had dumped a bag of brush in her yard. (Why would someone call the police for this? Just pick up the bag and put it in the trash!)
  • At 11:38 a.m., staff from a Sudbury Road country club asked for police assistance with a squirrel that was stuck on a roof. The fire department was dispatched.
  • At 6:13 a.m., emergency crews responded to reports of a smoldering bonfire at White Pond.
  • At 11:48 a.m., a cellular caller reported a motor vehicle versus deer accident on Shadyside Avenue. The deer left the scene.


    Week of June 5, 2006
  • At 7:58 p.m., police received a call about a trespassing bather and his children at White Pond. When confronted the bather apparently got agitated and used profanity.
  • At 8:35 p.m., a Lexington Road caller reported a loose horse and carriage heading down the street. The horse was wrangled by its owner.
  • At 10:31 a.m., a Peter Bulkeley Road caller reported a three-legged pit bull and a Welch corgi running through her yard.
  • At 1:04 p.m., a Manuel Drive caller reported a former friend had posted her picture on a Web site. The pictures were not obscene, the caller said, nor were they appreciated. Police told the caller to contact police in Shirley, where her former friend resides.
  • At 5:19 p.m., a guest at an Elm Street hotel reported she was concerned about the children in the room above her because they had stopped making noise. In an apparently unrelated incident, she also reported heavy set male walking in the hallway. Then she asked for a phone number for the CIA because the FBI had been rude to her.
  • At 7:42 p.m., a resident walked into the police station with her son to report someone had sent the son unwanted instant messages while he as on the computer.


    Week ending July 25, 2005
  • At 8:45 p.m., a College Road caller reported finding dog feces in her mailbox.
  • At 2:50 p.m., a caller reported a male drinking a beer in a vehicle at the West Concord Plaza.
  • At 2:59 p.m., a caller reported a couple engaged in a "public display of affection" on a bench near The Concord Depot.
  • At 5:58 p.m., a Shore Drive caller reported youths swimming in White Pond.
  • At 1:21 a.m., a Shore Drive caller reported people being loud in the area of White Pond. Police found no one at the beach and placed a pair of sneakers, two pairs of sandals, a cell phone, three shirts and a belt into property.
  • At 7:28 p.m., a caller reported two vehicles weaving in and out of traffic shooting water guns at each other. State Police responded

[More]

Previous Entries / More Entries