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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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:

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Dave Mendels on the future of ColdFusion at Adobe

For those who have been wondering about ColdFusion at Adobe, Ben Forta just posted about a CFDJ interview between the editor Simon Horwith and Adobe's Dave Mendels, formerly the VP of the Macromedia server business unit, now the SVP of Adobe's new Enterprise & Developer Solutions business unit that encompasses ColdFusion MX, JRun, Flex, and now the LiveCycle J2EE applications.

Where's ColdFusion Headed Under Adobe?
Simon Horwith Speaks With David Mendels, SVP of Adobe's New Enterprise and Developer Solutions Business Unit


The full article is worth your time, but in brief here are a few of the talking points:

  • Adobe and Macromedia products are primarily complementary, not overlapping, especially the server products
  • Adobe is completely behind the future of ColdFusion, and plans for ColdFusion 8 (Scorpio), are still going strong
  • The ColdFusion engineering team is examining how to integrate Adobe's J2EE LiveCycle products with ColdFusion
  • ColdFusion is still engineered and guided by people who have been already been doing for Allaire & Macromedia
  • Adobe expects to continue listening and working with to the ColdFusion enterprise and developer communities

Hello Adobe!

Since the announcement Thursday evening, the blogosphere has been saturated with speculations, musings, tributes, and congratulations about the Adobe merger with Macromedia. As a former Macromedia (and Allaire) employee, I'm personally excited that today is Day One for me at Adobe, and I can finally say so!

Although, it turns out that in the office Day One is not much different than any other day for me from a practical point of view. Its business as usual here in Newton. My same customers calling for support, the same ColdFusion community members IM-ing me, and the voices of my same colleagues echoing in the hallway.

So what am I excited about? Well, I get to work for the 13th best company in the US, according to Fortune Magazine, where if you consider only software companies, Adobe comes out as #1. For another, for 7 years I've been a big fan of Adobe Photoshop. I know it better than Jasc PaintShop Pro or The Gimp, or even Fireworks. Now I can approach Photoshop as a professional rather than just a hobbyist, and I look forward to more opportunities to learn the many features in Photoshop CS and CS2. I also get to watch ColdFusion evolve closer integration with Adobe products including not just PDF generation but their server technology as well. When Macromedia acquired Allaire who would have imagined Flex or Flash Forms or Flash Remoting, so imagine what the future holds for ColdFusion under the auspice of Adobe. Yet ColdFusion is still guided by and supported by many of the same passionate folks that have been doing so since the days of Allaire.

Like Jared said,... Yes, I'm psyched. Here's to another 10 years, folks!

Adobe Merges with Macromedia



ColdFusion MX Resource List for Database Driven Web Apps

Recently I had a need to compile a broad, and up to date list of ColdFusion MX resources to help get started building database driven web applications, so I'll share that here. I'm not including recent resources such as ARF! and ColdFusion on Wheels because while I think they are fantastic projects they reside on the advanced end of the developer's spectrum.

Resources on Macromedia.com



Building Your First ColdFusion MX Database-Driven Web Application (Demo)
  • Part 1 Create a new ColdFusion site in Dreamweaver MX 2004
  • Part 2 Use the new ColdFusion MX 7 extensions for Dreamweaver to create a new ColdFusion data source.
  • Part 3 Retrieve records from a database and display them in an HTML table.
  • Part 4 Create a basic master/detail page with dynamic data.
  • Part 5 Create a ColdFusion component to make data reusable and more flexible.
  • Part 6 Add a new function to the CFC for parameter-driven queries.


Other Resources

Progressive JPG images don't render in Flex's mx:Image tag

Just ran across a problem where two JPG images were intended for display in Flex 1.5 using the mx:Image tag, but only one image would render in the browser. Using a clue from a Flash Player problem, I opened both images up in PaintShop Pro and saved them again but as Standard JPG and as Progressive JPG. Only the Standard JPG images would render, but not the Progressive JPG. Standard and Progressive are options when saving JPG files in most image editors. So if you find this problem, try saving the image again but in Standard JPG format and Flex will be able to render it.

"1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
"http://www.macromedia.com/2003/mxml">
"test1_standard.jpg" width="150" height="150"/>
"test1_progressive.jpg" width="150" height="150"/>

How Many ColdFusion Titles Does Your Local Book Store Carry?

Over the weekend I passed by the Barnes & Nobles in Burlington, MA across from the mall, so I stopped to check out the latest titles in their vast Computers section, which spans about 8 bookshelves, each about 12-20 feet long and 5-10 rows high. This is an enormous amount of books for a generic book store just devoted to General Computing, Web Programming, Web Design, Graphic Design, Macintosh, Databases, XML, Perl, Java, C/C++, Windows, Unix/Linux, and more.

I poured over the titles looking for ColdFusion books, through the Java/J2EE section, past the ASP and PHP sections, on to the Web Programming section and even into the General Computing section, but there was no sign of the familiar blue and white covers, a popular color scheme in CFMX related books. Disappointed, and already thinking up a rant blog entry, I turned the corner and stumbled into the Web Design section. There among a towering but narrow shelf that was 10 or more rows high, saturated with Flash and Dreamweaver books, I finally recognized what I was looking for. Just below center were a tiny handful of ColdFusion books, including the CFMX Bible, the CFMX WACK set of books, the O'Reilly book, and a couple other titles I don't remember. Right next to it was a single Macromedia Flex book.

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Video Archive of ColdFusion Birthday Party with Founders Panel Discussion

Watch the video of Macromedia's ColdFusion birthday party event held in the Newton, MA office yesterday, July 13 2005. The founders of ColdFusion, which was almost known as Prometheus or Horizon, recant the early days of Allaire Corporation.

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Ryan Guill presents on COAL, the ColdFusion Open Application Library

EVENT:
Tomorrow, Wednesday July 13, Ryan Guill will present COAL, a new project for the ColdFusion Community.

TOPIC:
COAL, the ColdFusion Open Application Library was created to create a single repository for coldfusion components to be exposed as services and used in any ColdFusion application. The idea is similar to php's PEAR, althought there are several differences. The idea is to create a library of reusable services to keep developers from having to do the same tasks over and over, or having to reinvent the wheel everytime they need to create a new application. COAL puts these services in a position to be used very easily and makes them very flexible. COAL is built using the Java Service Locator pattern which makes for a very robust platform for delivery of the services.

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Macromedia Hiring ColdFusion Product Support

If you thought about participating in the CF Survivor game last week at CFUNITED, then step up to the plate and try the real thing! There's a contract position open for a ColdFusion Product Support Engineer (tech support) right here in Newton, Massachusetts. Check it out.

From my experience, I can tell you that Macromedia ColdFusion Product Support encompasses not only the ColdFusion server and the CFML language, but also the wealth of web technologies and protocols that integrate with ColdFusion including TCP/IP, HTTP, SQL, SMTP, LDAP, plus operating system usage and administration for Windows, Solaris, and Linux. There's a lot more than that, too.

I find this role at Macromedia to be perpetually challenging and I enjoy learning and keeping up with emerging technologies. Additional perks include exposure to all the Macromedia products, and training is often provided for many of them, including Flash, Flex, Dreamweaver, and Breeze.

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