Photo Gallery of Concord, Massachusetts in Autumn

View a photo gallery of Concord in Autumn of 2004
Concord Massachusetts was the first town I settled in when I moved to New England in 1994. I was living in Boston after having first arrived to this area, and my first train ride out of the city was a weekend visit to Concord. It didn't take very long before I realized that Concord was the town I had to live in. It felt like I had fallen into a living Norman Rockwell painting.

Many years have passed, and although I was away for a while, I've lived here for the better part of these last 10 years. I've wandered through the Walden woods, canoed long stretches of Sudbury River, shuffled through Vanderhoof Hardware and the Concord Bookstore, and spent many days reading the many headstones throughout Sleepy Hollow Cemetary. Concord's residents are devoted to maintaining and celebrating the rich history that saturates every corner, and the town an amazingly friendly and peaceful place to live or visit. The beauty of the place through winter and summer has inspired me to practice poetry and photography.

Join me now with this walk through Concord on this cool October afternoon for a glimpse of that beauty that I've grown to love and the history that I continue to learn. Visit front porches decorated with jack o' lanterns, and survey the colorful hues of sugar maples and pin oaks.

Concord Photo Gallery

My other photo galleries of Concord, MA:
- Concord Center and the Hartwell House in Lexington
- Snow Storm in Concord, MA
- Concord on Forth of July

Updated Version of CFXML_Blog 1.2

Several friends have recently expressed an interest in starting their own blogs, so naturally I recommended CFXML_Blog as the blog software. CFXML_Blog maintains its data in XML files, so no database is required, and it has many themes, a configuration interface, is unicode compliant, and much more. In fact, uses an updated and customized version of CFXML_Blog v1.2.

While helping them out, I found that the latest CFXML_Blog 1.5 Beta 3 version remained sufficiently problematic, and even though I would have liked to have helped out with improvements to that version, I don't have the time to acquaint myself with the new (unfinished) features in it. So instead, I've made many new improvements to the CFXML_Blog 1.2 because I'm already quite familiar with the internals of that version.

The recent improvements include:


Hiking in Alaska's Denali National Park

Hiking in Denali National Park, A Photo Gallery

This photo gallery of Alaska is a collection of images from my trips to Alaska in August 1992, December 1992, and August 1994. The destinations along the way include:

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Vashon Island, Washington
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Denali National Park
  • Talkeetna, Alaska
You can also read about an interesting night on the Thorofare River here.


Amazon BookKit CFC

I'd like to give proper credit and thanks to Cameron Childress of Sumo Consulting for the ColdFusion CFC that interfaces with Amazon's Web Service for Associate referals. Cameron has dubbed it the "BookKit CFC" and distributes it for free from his website. The books displayed in the Recommendations panel on this page are rendered using BookKit CFC.

The CFC is really a piece of art and I enjoyed reading the code and following the logic. The CFC queries Amazon's webservice, generates the HTML behind each book view rendered, and then caches the HTML result for some interval (controlled in a config.xml file). Each call to the method getRandomASID( ) pages through the cached result list, yielding a new for every page hit.

To enhance your experience here on, I've written a wrapper around the CFC that provides category-specific book recommendations based on which blog category you are viewing, although the main blog page displays a default set of recommendations, and categories such as ColdFusion, Flex, Linux, and Biology display a narrowed list of books. To implement this I use a csv text file to hold the list of book ids, then I filter on the blog category, and finally call the CFC while passing the filtered book list.

Thanks Cameron!

Parsing XML in ColdFusion 5 Using the Microsoft XML DOM Parser

Someone recently requested an example for using the Microsoft XML Parser with CF5. Here is a small example that pulls in an XML news feed from SlashDot, parses the result, and displays a simple table of the lastest stories.


Page 23, At Work

My office bookshelf, part 1
Pete told me to:

  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open the book to page 23.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

The nearest books are all for web development, and the easiest to reach of those is Sams Teach Yourself MySQL in 21 Days (already I'm thinking I would prefer to Teach Myself Regular Expresssions in just 10 Minutes ! ).

"Each database has its corresponding directory, as well as files that store the data, configure the tables, and provide a way to access the data stored in the files."

The nearest literature of any other type is a magazine, Bio-IT World. Page 23 is an article on ZeroConf, a new ITEF working group:

"The answer is largely becauase our hardware and software have no inherent 'awareness' of other devices and services on the network, and require considerable manual effort to configure and maintain."

Don't have a Journal or Blog? Add your Page 23 here!

New Book: ColdFusion Lists, Arrays, and Structures - by Jeff Peters

Jeff Peters announced his new book on the CFTalk list today, ColdFusion Lists, Arrays, and Structures. I believe that this is one of the few books that tackle specific facets of the CFML Language, rather than the language and the server as a whole.

The book has positive reviews from ColdFusion pundits such as Hal Helms. Jeff is trying keep the cost low by not distributing on, and I'll try to help out by further broadcasting this new book here.

Read an excerpt [PDF].

I once tackled this topic myself shortly after CFMX was released, which was later blogged as "MX Compatibility Summary On Structure & Sorting Usage" on CFGURU.

John Terpstra, on Samba and FLOSS

John Terpstra of the Samba Team I had the honor and pleasure of hearing John Terpstra speak last evening at the monthly meeting of the Boston Network Users Group. John is best known as a co-founder of Samba and current member of the Samba Team along with Andrew Tridgell and many others. From the Samba website, "Samba is an Open Source/Free Software suite that provides seamless file and print services to SMB/CIFS clients. Samba is freely available under the GNU General Public License.".

John gave two talks at the meeting, the first on Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), and the second what's new in Samba 3.0. John is a very passionate speaker and quite a good story teller, which is hard to do when it comes to such technical topics. During the FLOSS talk, he evangelized that FLOSS holds the keys to innovation.


Beware of Howard Johnson, West 34th Street, New York City

I'd like to share the photos from a recent trip to New York City. Specifically, I'd like to share my negative review with supporting photographic evidence for the Howard Johnson on West 34th Street.

Take a photo tour: Hotel from Hell

Complaints regarding Howard Johnson on West 34th St:

  • Only 1 elevator. Serves dual purpose for cargo/trash and guests. Smells like ripe trash. Watch out for the puddles from the leaky trash.

  • Hallways very narrow, need to carry bags lengthwise to pass
  • Rooms exceptionally small, perhaps just 7x 15', plus a room they refer to as a bathroom.
  • Map of fire escape route doesn't show you where your room is on the map.
  • Advertises internet access in hotel. In reality this means a coin operated kiosk in lobby. Bring a napkin to wipe the snot and greasy fingerprints off it.

  • Advertises desk/work area. In reality there is a narrow desk opposite the door and cluttered with coffee maker, telephone books, etc... No chair provided
  • Air conditioner did not work. The cold setting just blew hot air. Windows did not open.
  • View from window to a dark, inner courtyard consisting of concrete, trash, and views to other guestrooms. Very depressing.
  • Television marred with many cigarrette burns where the plastic was burned. No remote control.
  • Dorm-like shower stall had no lights, a flimsy plastic curtain with rusting hangers, and tile floor infested with god knows what fungus.
  • Toilet paper 5 feet away from toilet. Picture this in your mind for a second...

  • Sink positioned in tiny alcove only shoulder-wide.
  • One wash rag. Two towels. That's it. Material was thin enough to see through.
  • Ventilation system had something like spanish moss hanging from it or growing out of it. Last I checked spanish moss does not grow in New York City.
  • Ceiling tiles ajar and water stained with yellow tint. You may want to consider moving the bed under a tile that does not have leak stains, but you may be torn between that and moving the bed towards the hot air coming from "air conditioner" just to have a breeze of any type.

  • Coffee maker was clogged. Coffee (dark water) ran over and onto desk. Saturated personal items on desk.

Any hotel in NYC is going to be much more expensive than hotels in most other small cities, and the Hojo charged about $100+ for this dump. What a hell hole. After one night in the Hojo we cancelled the remaining 5 days and went somewhere else. Just say No Go to the HoJo!

For about $240 we stayed at the Hilton. The Hilton is immaculate, elegant, and professional. The rooms were spacious, well appointed, and had spectacular view of the Hudson in the distance and 42nd street below. Take my advice, stay at the Hilton in Times Square instead!!!

See also Eric's Guide to Hotels in NYC

[Repost] Review of ColdFusion 5 Certification Exam

I prepared for the exam by doing all 550 questions (9 exams of about 60 questions each)in CF_BUSTER from and by doing all the questions from Ben Forta's study guide, all in one day. I had read the BF guide a few months ago.

After each CF_Buster practice exam, I reviewed in detail each item that was wrong. Same for the Ben Forta guide. Be aware that there are some questions in each of these exams which have either wrong answers or misprints... after shaking my head over them, I tested the question and confirmed that the printed answer was in fact wrong. There are very few of those, but it can be frustrating. Next day I walked in to the exam and got 57 out of 60 correct in about 25 minutes.


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