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.

Film of the day: Concord, MA by Matthew Grant

Turn Here: Short films, cool places
A short vignette of historic Concord, Massachusetts.

Hop a train to Concord and explore the nexus of the American Revolution and revolutionary philosophy.
By Matthew Grant and Andy Vermouth

I found this short film among the sites linking to my blog. A warm and friendly look at some of the characters of this town.


Online Edition of Concord Magazine for Spring 2006 Publishes My Photos

I'm happy to announce that the publisher of Concord Magazine, Deborah Bier, has kindly published a small collection of some of my photographs of the town of Concord in Winter. This online magazine has a large subscription base of people throughout the USA and abroad, so the distribution is significant.

Concord in Winter, Concord Magazine Spring 2006

The new issue is filled with the flowers and foliage of a beautiful Concord Spring. A dozen pages of events, activities, stories, photographs and more!

This week I will be entering a local photo contest, A Main Street Point of View.

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


The ColdFusion Engineering Team is Looking For a Few Good Interns

The Adobe website recently posted the following job listing for college internships in the Boston area: (Job ID: RP020605)



The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is currently accepting registrations for 35 intensive, week-long programs designed especially for professionals. Courses taught on campus by MIT faculty from June through August. Earn a certificate and CEUs. Offerings include biotechnology, chemical engineering, energy, IT, mechanical engineering, nanotechnology, physics, technology policy, system architecture, and other topics of vital interest to today's engineers and scientists.

Visit this website to register and view course descriptions.

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.


Blizzard February 12, 2006: MBTA or Polar Express?

MBTA Commuter Rail motion sequence

This afternoon I walked the train tracks from Concord Depot to Walden Pond and the site of Thoreau's cabin, being very careful to watch for the passing commuter trains emerging suddenly from the white ether. The snow was blinding especially near open fields or open water.

Taking a single photo was an endeavor: Brush the snow off me; expose fingertips through gloves; remove camera from plastic bag; remove lens cap; quickly compose shot and focus; try for a few more shots; clean snow off lens filter; clean lens filter again; replace lens cap; brush snow off camera; put camera back in bag...

Why would I go out into the woods on such a windy, snowy day?

Because... -- Hey, I know that guy!

After some late evening blog reading I put away my laptop and decide to catch the last half of the local news. Channel 5 then begins a web site review in a section they call The Click, and they begin to highlight a website where you can compete for Florida vacation packages. I snag the Tivo remote and hit rewind three times before my wife starts to give me the eye, so I hit record and risk rewinding one more time. Finally, it hits me... I think to myself, that's Doug Hughes' new site, and blurt out, "Hey, I know that guy!". So I get out my laptop to start blogging this - at least its warmed up already.

You know Doug, too. He's the Alagad guy who makes ColdFusion-based software including Captcha and Image CFCs, as well as the new Reactor framework. :)

Turns out that you can watch the video segment on WCVB's website:

The Boston Channel, The Click:
Bid On Your Next Florida Vacation

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.


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