Getting into podcasting

Not long ago I decided to take the plunge and buy an Apple iPod. It was a great decision and now I love having all my music and photos on one small, portable device that I can take with me walking, running, and driving (while using the iTrip attachment).

One of the best advantages to the iPod is being able to listen to Podcasts. Podcasting is to Radio what blogging is to Publishing. Many individuals and organizations are now providing audio programs as attachments to blog entries. The programs might be a live interview, a tech show, a recorded keynote speech, a short newscast, or even a couple just hanging out.

There are several podcast directories where you can search categories and topics of interest. The two that I use are PodcastAlley and iPodder. PodcastAlley for example even has a Linux podcast category where my favorite there is from Linux Questions.

The convenience of listening to podcasts comes from blog aggregator software that is podcast aware. I use used Feed Demon ($29) from Nick Bradbury, maker of the Top Style CSS editor. With Feed Demon you just configure it to add the podcast channels that interest you and add specific podcasts to queue for download. Feed Demon can then synchronize podcast downloads with your iPod. Another popular podcast aggregator is the freely available iPodder, by Dave Winer and Adam Curry. I've just switched to using iPodder because I find it easier to use than Feed Demon, and I like its scheduling service a lot.

Podcasting was first envisioned by Dave Winer, who added it to the RSS 2.0 specification. In fact, just today I listened to a great IT Conversations podcast interview with Dave Winer where he discusses the origins of RSS, Podcasting, and his vision of how they serve the public by lowering the barriers to publishing so that the little guy can compete toe to toe with large publishers.

If you want to make your own podcasts like I've done, check this engadget blog.

For more on what podcasting is all about, check out the Boston Globe's Computer, microphone, iPod make broadcasting personal, and also Wired Magazine's Adam Curry wants to make you and iPod radio star.

Journey to the center of the iPod vortex

My iPod Photo fits nicely into my Macromedia team jacket.Today, I shoved off into the brave new iPod world as the vortex has finally sucked me in. Today, I am no longer an iPod virgin. My iPod Photo has finally arrived, and the world is good again.

Seriously, I decided it was time to take a look at all that iPod hacking, podcasting, and audio blogcasting going on. I've loaded up my modest mp3 collection of 1900+ songs in about an hour, and the Old 97's are happily humming along in my head right now. Just 8GB so far with plenty of elbow room for my entire digital photo collection.

The iPod phenomenon is really amazing, and I'm surprised that it took me this long to dive in. There are people who use it for just about every purpose under the sun. People who cook by it. People who just want to keep their iPod cozy and warm while still being stylish. Personally, I'd like to catch up with those who want to use it with Linux, and others who want to run Linux on it. So if you see me on the street just tap me on the shoulder coz I might not hear you ;-)

CFTalk - J2EE SessionID with CFMX6.1 and Applets

I'm reposting a response to a CFTalk thread because my reply was too long and got bounced back with a warning that I should have truncated previous messages in the thread, although I did.

CFTalk Thread: J2EE SessionID with CFMX6.1 and Applets


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.


First Impressions of the Rob Rohan's Eclipse Plug-in for CFMX

Free Eclipse IDEFree Eclipse Plug-in for ColdFusion MX from Rob Rohan

I've finally had the opportunity to check out Rob Rohan's cfeclipse plug-in, which allows for ColdFusion MX development in the Eclipse IDE. I'm very impressed with the feature set, including tag insight, function insight, color coding, and helpful hints during mouseovers [screenshot]. This means I'll probably forego using HomeSite+ on Linux using WINE, which isn't as flawless as it could be so far, but does provide convenience for creatures of habit used to relying on the HomeSite+ toolbars and RDS.

The Eclipse IDE runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and *nix, loads quickly, and is much more aestetically pleasing than Sun One Studio (Community Edition). Eclipse and the cfeclipse plug-in are free. Great work Rob! >bowing in reverence<

Update: Spike has extended this blog with his review of Eclipse and the cfeclipse plugin in the comments.

Hurray For The Proposed Harvard Stem Cell Research Center

It's not every day that I find an article about someone I know as the front page story of the Boston Globe. I was very pleased this past Sunday to read about Harvard University's initiative to launch a center for the study of human embryonic stem cells, and as a follow-on to the main article about fund-raising for the proposed center there was an article about Dr. Ole Isacson of Mclean Hospital in Belmont, MA. Harvard's new center will be comprised of an amalgamation of various existing laboratories throughout the greater Boston area, including Mclean Hospital. Since the federal government currently limits funding of stem cell research to existing (aged) cell lines while prohibiting funding for research conducted from newly generated cell lines, Harvard is skirting the ban by funding its center through privately raised money.

Dr. Isacson, a professor of neuroscience and a director for the center of regeneration at Mclean, focuses on the transplanation of fetal brain tissue into the degenerated area of the brain for those afflicted by Parkinson's disease [listen]. The brains of Parkinson's patients exhibit a degeneration of the Basal Ganglia (striata or corpus striatum), a dopaminergic center of the brain involved in (extra pyramidal) regulation of fine movement (or motor control). Some degree of this type of degeneration occurs "normally" in the aging process and can be noticed by the slight shaking of the hand of an elderly person for example, but this condition is exacerbated in Parkinson's patients to the point of spasms and the complete inability to walk or sit still. A type of cell therapy to treat Parkinsons harvests young cells from that part of fetal mamalian brain that would normally develop into the Basal Ganglia (corpus striatum), and transplant it into the equivalent area of the host brain in the patient. The transplanted cells would recognize the cellular signals given off by neighboring areas of the brain, which would cue the cells to develop normally and replace those that have died in that brain area. Those cells have been shown to take hold in the patient's brain, develop properly, and begin producing dopamine, hopefully in the desired levels to restore the neural networks that govern fine control of movement. The result is the amelioriation of Parkinson's symptoms indefinitely. Some day this type of therapy may be replaced by the use of neural tissues grown from embryonic stem cells instead.


Server Error - IO error on server communication

Server Error pop-up alertClicking the Browse Server button in the ColdFusion MX 6.0/6.1 Administrator while RDS is disabled will cause a pop-up alert as shown here. The Browse Server button is part of an Applet built into the Administrator and is used for a variety of tasks, such?as selecting?the appropriate *.mdb file when creating an Microsoft Access Database Datasource from the CF Admin. If RDS was selected to be disabled during the post-installation configuration wizard, a recommended practice for production servers, then the Browse Server functionality will not work from the ColdFusion Administrator. There is no workaround other than to re-enable RDS in the deployment descriptor web.xml, found at{CF_HOME}/wwwroot/WEB-INF/web.xml. Refer to this document for how to enable/disable RDS. This issue is available as a TechNote.

It really is a snap with Snap Gallery

Madrid 1998-1999

This weekend I launched my first incarnation of a Snap Gallery photo organizer/slideshow. Snap Gallery is an open source wizard that allows you to build a nicely polished, customizable photo gallery with very little effort. I'd first seen this on Aaron Johnson's blog and I really liked it. I had been rolling my own version of a photo wizard, but with time constraints it wasn't as nice as I hoped. SnapGallery is perfect.

The wizard script runs on your desktop when you build the gallery, where it finds the photos in the directory you point it to, walks you through each photo while you create a title and caption, and then generates the appropriate web files that are saved along side the photos. Then all you need to do is upload the photos and web files to their final destination on the web. The wizard script runs on Windows, but the web files it produces are compatible for Linux and Windows.

In my case, I downloaded the zipped snapGallery.wmf file and then edited it to default to certain colors and fonts, which the comments in the script prompt you to do. I then made additional edits to wizard that changed the size of the windows used during the wizard (they were too small for me), changed the default document type to index.cfm (ColdFusion), and then changed the generated html to add a banner and even some CFML. The CFML includes a footer at runtime so that if I choose I can customize the footer and it will automatically be reflected in each of the snapGallery web files.

So, check out my first Snap Gallery!

Creative Writing Project #3: Into The Yellow Wood (1992)

I remember Mama.

You see, this morning I opened up the travel section in the Sunday paper to find a flashy ad that told me I could spend four days and three nights gambling, drinking, or sunbathing on one of the gaudiest Caribbean islands for what amounted to about a week's salary for me. That's gross...
salary, I mean. But that's not for me. I could find all that right down the street if that's what I wanted. No, I've always been a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kind of traveler, never paying for much more than an airline or train ticket . I'd rather opt for a youth hostel or tent than plush hotel accommodations that insulate a traveler from being submersed knee-deep in the local culture. Out on the road, like Jack Kerouac, that's where the most fun is. That's where the people are. And that's where you'll find me. On the road, where I am most at home.

This is where Mama comes in. She was always smiling at all the passerbys, and if she ever got a hold on you, look out. CRUNCH! She'd give you a hug that'd squeeze the devil out of you It was on the Island of San Salvador where she sat everyday at the intersection of a two street town, in the cool shade of the Talking Tree, while she weaved palm leaves into broad-rimmed hats and two-handled baskets that read 'San Sal' in bright red yarn.

She was a cunning old gal. She'd wait patiently for the college students who came to study at the research station, the only source of outside visitors on the island. The deep folds in the fabric of Mama's coton white skirt seemed to run clear up to the time worn folds in her dimpled cheeks. Whenever my fellow students and I would stroll through town, Mama would flash that inviting grin of hers, wave her arms, and softly shout, 'Come to Mama, darlings,' with an irresistible charm. That was the hook


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