ColdFusion MX 7 Released! Discuss it at BCMG on Monday!

The first online meeting of the rejuvinated Boston ColdFusion Meetup Group happens tomorrow (news, details), coinciding with the release of Blackstone, or ColdFusion MX 7. Round up your ideas and questions and stop by for the discussion.

Cue evil laugh here ...

With a whopping overnight growth spurt, registered members of the (virtual) Boston Coldfusion Meetup Group has jumped to 14 people from Sacramento to Lincoln, MA. This makes us the largest ColdFusion Meetup Group in the universe.... Muwahahaha!

Since most of the meetings will be conducted virtually using Macromedia Breeze Live, CF people from all over are welcome to attend online.

The first meeting is this coming Monday, Feb 7th, at 6pm ET. For more information see the following:

Introductory Blog Entry

Boston Coldfusion Meetup Group

For more evil laughs, check out these quotes ;-) Holy atomic pile, Batman!

Boston Coldfusion Meetup Group, ... Virtually

In lieu of an active Boston CFUG, I've taken the bull by the horns by organizing the Boston Coldfusion Meetup Group. This group can augment the Boston CFUG proper, but isn't intended to replace it.

Initially, the meetings will conducted virtually using Macromedia Breeze Live and a conference call line. Optionally, if a venue is found we could consider a physical location for hands-on sessions at a later time.


Warming up for Blackstone on Unix and Linux

This past week I put my blogging on hold while I worked furiously on my presentation "Running Blackstone on Unix and Linux". This is was an internal presentation that I gave today within the company.

I'll revise it after Blackstone release, and then I'll make a Breeze presentation of the talk, available publically, so I'll be sure to blog it when that time arrives.

Currently, the presentation covers just about everything unique about using ColdFusion MX on Unix or Linux, with special focus on differences in Blackstone. It also covers history of CF on *nix, known issues, finding system information, debugging tips, and Linux IDEs available for developing ColdFusion.

Hey, maybe I'll even bring it to my local CFUG to get Ron off my back ;-)

Using Breeze for Group Training with Remote Attendees

Collaborative Meetings with Macromedia Breeze.  [CLICK]

My coworkers and I held a team meeting today using Breeze Live, where the subject was actually how to use Breeze and Breeze Live. I've previously worked with others far away to diagnose technical problems on their end, and using the screen sharing feature allowed me to see the exact problem. Breeze is a great way to have a meeting when many of the attendees aren't in one location. It works over port 80 (the standard HTTP or web browsing port), so that usally circumvents problems with corporate firewalls.

I just thought I'd share a screen shot of what it looks like when starting a Breeze meeting. Note that video is optional.

Breeze is described on the Macromedia website as:

"With Breeze, more than half a billion web users can immediately experience engaging online meetings and rich content. Using the ubiquitous Macromedia Flash Player, Breeze delivers instant web meetings without requiring special plug-ins or media players."

CFMyAdmin - The Free MySQL DB Administration Tool

Running CFMyAdmin on Red Hat Linux with ColdFusion MX 6.1 against MySQL 3.23 on LinuxI'd like to complement Digital Crew on the enhancements and bug fixes in the new CFMyAdmin tool since I first blogged about it earlier in their Beta cycle. They even volunteered their time on Friday night to conduct a Breeze Live meeting with me where I provided them access to use my desktop to resolve a problem that I was having.
I've found that I can now run CFMyAdmin to administer the various MySQL databases in our lab, and I can run the application from either Windows or Linux flawlessly. Although it is a free tool, the application is very professional. Great job!!
Daniel Mackey offered some recent changes and links, which I'll forward here. Check it out!!
Download URL:
Update List:


Desktop Firewall Silently Blocking Breeze Live Meeting

Breeze Live meetings, analogous to WebEx meetings, utilize the Flash Player as the medium for permitting multiple guest attendees to view the desktop of the Presenter. Breeze Live has built-in video and audio capability as well as whiteboarding and chat, and the Breeze Live Presenter can grant permission to a specific guest to also become a Presenter in order to share the guest desktop with the original Presenter and other guests.

This could be a great way to handle many technical support problems as Breeze Live is conducted over the HTTP port 80, so if the person needing support can at least browse the internet, then that person can also participate in a Breeze Live meeting with technical support. Both sides can visually demonstrate problems and solutions to eachother as needed. Breeze Live can faciliate problem solving by reducing confusion that can occur during telephone or email communications.

While attempting to practice a Breeze Live meeting today, I was completely perplexed for longer than I care to say when the Breeze meeting would not start. I was able to set up a meeting, invite attendees, but when clicking on the button to enter the meeting, the Breeze Live presenter plug-in (Breeze Add-In, a special Flash player called breezeaddin.exe) launched in a small white box with the text "Loading Breeze...". Nothing else happened, and the normal Breeze presenter interface didn't launch. I began following all the troubleshooting instructions that are documented for Breeze Live, scouring the TCP/IP settings of my network connections, monitoring the executables in memory with Process Explorer, and even doing network traces to determine if Breeze was even getting to the network.

Somewhere during this I recalled that earlier in the day I disabled the Zone Alarm personal firewall for Windows desktops. I confirmed that the ZA icon wasn't in the system tray, so I assumed that it wasn't running. But when looking through the Services control panel, I found the TrueVector Internet Monitor and it was running. It occured to me then that the Service was tied to the Zone Alarm program, and I realized that the TrueVector Service was still blocking new programs from accessing the internet even though the ZA system tray icon was not running. When the ZA icon is present in the system tray, the program will display a pop-up alert when an unauthorized program attempts to access the internet. The user can click YES or NO. But without the GUI in the sys tray, all programs are blocked and no notification is provided.

I added the Zone Alarm program back to the Start Up group under the Windows Start menu, so that the sys tray program would launch upon a reboot, and so that the gui would be present when the service is running. Starting the Zone Alarm sys tray program and then running Breeze Live caused a pop-up alert notification that the Flash Player would like to access the internet. Clicking the box for YES permitted Breeze Live to initialize the Presenter interface, and the practice meeting then succeeded.

Starting Breeze Live Failed, Showing Only a Pop-up Flash Player Window The Zone Alarm GUI Was Stopped, But the TrueVector Service Was Still Running Starting the Zone Alarm System Tray Program Permitted Notifications for Programs to Access the InternetConfiguring the ZA Firewall Permitted the BreezeLive Meeting to Begin

Welcome Flex!

Its just past midnight, and while checking the Macromedia website I found that Macromedia Flex has just been publically launched. Welcome Flex!

From the Macromedia Flex page, Flex is described as:

The Macromedia Flex presentation server offers a familiar, standards-based programming framework and powerful set of components for creating a rich, responsive presentation tier for enterprise Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).

CNET News describes Flex as:

Flex, formerly code-named Royale, allows developers to create scripts in common languages such as Java and .Net and to run them on top of Web applications. Flex breaks them down into a Macromedia dialect of extensible markup language (XML) that can be read by the Flash Player, the widespread Flash client commonly used to spice up Web pages.

Libby Freligh provides an Overview of Flex in a Breeze presentation here, and Ben Forta provides an update for the ColdFusion Community in a Breeze presentation here.

I'm pleased to see that my first Flex Technotes also went live tonight:

  • [ TechNote 19260 ] Protection of MXML Source Code using pre-compiled SWF files

  • [ TechNote 19258 ] Configuring the Flex Samples application for ColdFusion MX

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

ColdFusion MX and J2EETechnical Introduction by Ben Forta

I've recently discovered a great presentation on the topic of J2EE integration with ColdFusion, created by Ben Forta:

Java and ColdFusion MX - The Marriage of Power and Productivity

This is perhaps the best presentation I've seen on the topic for both its content and presentation. Ben illustrates the technical highlights of ColdFusion in fluent manager-ese in a manner that is aimed at traditional Java audiences. The presentation itself is given in Macromedia Breeze, which can be loosely thought of as an enhanced PowerPoint with audio.

- Additional information: ColdFusion MX and the Java Platform

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