My First Photo Contest, A Main Street Point of View

The Concord Museum called me this week to let me know that I won the photo contest for A Main Street Point of View. This weekend I visited the museum's Brooke Hall to see my photos on display, where they will remain for the duration of the museum's exhibit of the same name as the contest. My prize was a gift certificate to Anderson Photo, the cosponsor of the contest, along with a few museum passes to give out. Here's a litte more background about the contest.

There were only nine photographers contributing to the show, but it was my first photo contest so I'm very proud anyway.

Stacking up the IT Certificates

If you're in Massachusetts, you might want to know that the Boston chapter of the IEEE is holding a 21 hour course on an Introduction to Java Servlets and JSPs, using Head First Servlets & JSP as a guide. This local chapter of the IEEE has a fantastic continuing education program. This Servlet and JSP class will run on Monday nights from late April to May at the Sheraton in Lexington, right off Rt 128. The price is very reasonable at around $550, a bargain at less than $22/hour.

The course perfectly complements the Java and J2EE certificate program that I'm taking at Boston University on other nights. In fact, the IEEE course on Servlets and JSP overlaps with the BU classes on JSP and Servlets.

Using these complementary courses to propel me, I expect to take the Sun Certified Developer and Sun Certified Web Component Developer exams at the end of June.

In mid-April I'll retake the hottest certificate exam, the RHCE. (Update: Mission Accomplished!)

In May I'm scheduled to finally attend the Moving Up to ColdFusion MX 7 and Advanced ColdFusion MX 7 at RemoteSite Training, and I'll follow that up with the ColdFusion MX 7 certificate exam, too. This will be the first time I've had ColdFusion development classes since 2000 with Fast Track and Advanced CF4.5.

On a couple upcoming weekends I'll be taking the Stanford Computer Security Certificate Program, an 8 hour online course in Computer Security Principles, Introduction to Cryptography, and Secure Programming Techniques. The course is concluded with an online exam.

Once these Server and Programming courses are over, I'll add to my 40 hours of Photoshop CS2 training from TotalTraining and try to knock out an Adobe Photoshop ACE certificate this summer or fall.

I feel like I've been progressing well on many related technologies, ... getting my ducks lined up, so to speak. This will be the year to knock them all in.

Red Hat Linux's RHCE Certificate is Hottest Cert for 2006 published their ranking of the most influential IT certificates for 2006, and the RHCE has jumped out ahead as the #1 IT certificate, pushing aside the Cisco and Microsoft Security certs. Their results are derived from a combination of reader surveys and staff buzz ratings.

CertCities.coms 10 Hottest Certifications for 2006

Next month I will attend the RH300 four day course with one day exam for the second time. How'd I do on my third try? Last October I attended this course and narrowly missed passing the 80% requirement for the six hour performance based exam . This time I've ramped up on my deficiencies and hope to do better. In 2003 I earned the intermediate level of RHCT (Red Hat Certified Technician), which is a three hour hands on exam .

(Update: Mission Accomplished!)

Red Hat Certified Engineer Program
RHCE and RHCT are performance-based tests that measure actual competency on live systems. Other training programs teach students to answer multiple choice questions instead of how to perform on real-world systems. Red Hat training and testing focuses on practical hands-on skills. No wonder Red Hat's RHCE Program has been called the "crown jewel" of Linux certifications. A recent Independent Survey ranked RHCE highest quality training and certification in IT!


A Main Street Point of View - Concord Museum holds photo contest

More information here, but Anderson Photo is hosting a photo contest of Concord's main streets while collaborating with the Concord Museum. The museum is hosting a show of the same name, and I gather that the contest is a way to draw attention to and benefit both parties.

I stopped by Anderson Photo just this morning to provide my 3 entries printed in their original aspect ratio on heavy weight archival matte paper. The rules do not state that the photos must be 8x10", nor do they say that they must perform the printing and matting. Rather, the rules suggest that they will do the matting for you if you provide an 8x10, and they specifically say it is permitted to submit photos in print form. They firmly let me know that the prints are required to be 8x10 and that they must do the printing in glossy or satin, but not matte. Rats!

You can imagine that I was rather unhappy when I was abruptly told that my 7x10" photos were not acceptable and that Anderson Photo must do the printing. I tried 3 times to contact the owner Lynda Anderson but she was not available since she arrives late in the day, but then was out walking her dog when I called at the time I was told she'd be in, and she has not returned my email inquiry on the matter.

Update: Can you imagine how ticked off I was after all this hassle from Andersen Photo that when I arrived to see all the contest photos on display about half of them were NOT in 8x10 format. Why did they give me such a run around for then? /END RANT



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Photos of The Mt Washington Hotel and AMC Highland Center

Mt Washington Hotel

The Mt Washington Hotel is a historic hotel in Crawford Notch on Route 302 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This four star hotel is over a hundred years old and is recently part of the Bretton Woods complex. We really loved staying here this weekend. The rates include breakfast and dinner in a magnificent dining room with views of the Presidential Range. In the winter the activities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowshoeing, snow tubing, ice skating, nordic cross country skiing, or downhill skiing. In the summer they have tennis, golf, horseback riding, swimming, and hiking.

From the hotel information:
Throughout its history, the Hotel has been renowned for natural beauty and luxurious extras. Indoor pools, Jacuzzis and fireplaces are just a few of the indoor amenities comforting year round guests. The interior decor of the rooms and halls reflect the elegance and sophistication of those who visit and manage the Hotel. After dinner go for a moonlit stroll on the veranda, listen to jazz music or comtemporary favorites in the Cave Lounge, or plan on one more waltz as the orchestra plays on.


Doing the right thing: Behind Bush's New Stress on Science

Via the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) TechNews:

Behind Bush's New Stress on Science, Lobbying by Republican Executives
New York Times (02/02/06) P. C4; Markoff, John; Leary, Warren E.

President Bush's call for doubling the federal funding of basic scientific research comes as a response to several meetings that White House officials held with technology executives and educators. Bush's plan to request $910 million in the first year, and $50 billion over 10 years was welcome news for computer scientists who have long warned against the destructive impact of eroding federal funding. Bush identified nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources as long-term initiatives that the administration would now support, in a departure from its traditional focus on short-term research. Under Bush's plan, spending would likely increase by 7 percent annually, roughly doubling over 10 years. While the details remain vague, ACM President David Patterson is excited: "This is really a huge deal and I'm very encouraged," though he noted with concern that many legislators attending the State of the Union address were not moved to applause by Bush's announcement. "It just shows the challenge we have." In two high-profile discussions where the administration was urged to heed the warning of the National Academy of Sciences that science and technology education are eroding rapidly, Intel Chairman Craig Barrett met with Vice President Dick Cheney, and Charles Vest, the former president of MIT, met with OMB director Joshua Bolten. The executives and educators who had attended those meetings were still unsure if the administration would act on their recommendations, so Bush's announcement came as a welcome surprise. "We haven't seen this interest in basic research from this president before," said the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Albert Teich. The growing problem of funding for research and education has also attracted Congressional interest, as two bipartisan bills addressing the matter have recently been introduced.

Click Here to View Full Article

Related Resources:

Ice Climbing, Winter Hiking, Rock Climbing, Snorkeling, and Copper Canyon

Over the winter holiday, I had the opportunity to spend some time scanning in many of my old photographs from various trips. I've finally managed to put them together in online photo galleries:

Brandeis Mountain Club, Ice Climbing on Arethusa Falls
The highest waterfall in New Hampshire. Brandeis Mountain Club guided by Kurt Winkler and Ian Turnbull of Mountain Guides Alliance. The highest waterfall in New Hampshire. Brandeis Mountain Club guided by Kurt Winkler and Ian Turnbull of Mountain Guides Alliance. January, 1999.Read the full story

Brandeis Mountain Club, Winter Hiking on Mt Moosilauke
The Brandeis Mountain Club spends a couple days camping and hiking in New Hampshire's western White Mountains to climb Mt. Moosilauke in February, 1999.

Towson University's Project Marj
Project Marj was run by Towson State University modeled on the Outward Bound experience to build teamwork, leadership, and many related skills intended to assist personal development during the college experience and throughout life. We spent a full week camping and hiking long days throughout Shendandoah National Park, Virginia. August, 1990

Swimming with Manatees in Crystal River, Florida
Biology students from Towson State University spend a week in Florida, January, 1994.

Copper Canyon, Mexico
Copper Canyon, also known as Las Barrancas del Cobre, is Mexico's equivalent of the Grand Canyon. You can take the train from Chihuahua through high mountains to arrive at Hotel Divisadero. August, 1995

Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador
Marine Biology class at the Bahamian Field Station on the eastern most island in the Bahamas. This place currently known as the Gerace Research Center. Towson State University 1991.

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:


Red Hat to certify and support web application stacks

Beginning in 2006, Red Hat will begin offering subscription models for web application development stacks, including three levels starting with the basic LAMP stack for $599, as an add-on to Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions. This means that not only will you be able to run a fully supported enterprise class distribution of Linux but that you could also run one of the web application stacks and expect the same level of updates and other support for the software stack from one vendor.

The three stacks range from LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP) to a Java (LAMP + Tomcat, Ant, Lucene, etc) and Enterprise Java web application stack (Java stack + Red Hat J2EE Application Server).

Read more from Red Hat and this c|net news article.

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