Curiosities abound at MXDJ

Steve Erat - Industry Blog ... Really?

Looking at my blog referrers, I found this one popping up quite frequently today:

http://mxdj.sys-con.com/read/rss/100.htm


When I clicked on this link I was taken to a blog aggregator that displayed a list of images in the left menu, and to my surprise, there was a rather low-res graphic of me, with a banner "Steve Erat - Industry Blog". Really? Industry blog? Hadn't thought of it that way before. To me its just my personal blog. In fact, it says so on my TalkingTree banner image.

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ColdFusion 10th Birthday, My 5th Anniversary, and CF Baby Pictures

Everyone's talking about the approaching 10th year anniversary for ColdFusion, so I thought I'd help take you for a walk down memory lane.

Points of interest in Allaire website history:



Other notable archives include:

This month is my personal 5th year anniversary of working for Allaire/Macromedia, so here's the Allaire website archive for the week I started.

Finally, here's some ColdFusion baby pictures.

ColdFusion 1.51 was distributed on
3 floppy disks in 1996
Allaire Alive meets the Brady Bunch.
Aren't they all so cute?

Let Jennifer Wilbanks Be

Give me a break already. What an oversensitive pack of wussies we've become if people are seriously considering prosecuting the so called "runaway bride" Jennifer Wilbanks, whose story has been sensationalized though the headlines of all the major news networks. I think the popular media is perpetually in a frenzy, looking to produce overhyped stories that lead to showcase trials which the American public sadly loves to consume for pure entertainment value.

Watching CBS News this morning, there was a debate between some witch lawyer from Boston and Gloria Allred, a self-styled victims'-rights advocate. The witch was salivating over the prospect of prosecuting Jennifer and compared her to serial killer Jeffrey Dawmer and Andrea Yates who killed her children in a fit of depression.

Let Jennifer go home, settle down, and think about what she's done. She freaked out about getting married, nothing more. Enough already, send the media home, and kick them in the ass on the way out the door!

In a related "we're all a pack of wussies" story, Boston news has recently highlighted a man who spanked his child with a belt, 3 slaps, for chronically not doing his homework. Clearly the father and son generally have a good relationship, and this man was not abusing his son, and even the law permits spanking your child within a reasonable amount if the parent thinks its warranted. But the child got scared the next day and called his mom, the father's ex-wife, and she called the police and got a restraining order.

Again... Give me a break!

I had many relatives grow up with tough love and they've all turned out fine. Yikes! Get over it already lady! The law which this guy supposedly broke was obviously intended to protect children against serious child abuse and extreme corporal punishment. You can see from the interviews of the child that he loves his father and gets along great.

Power Mac dream machine on its way



I've been comtemplating my jump into Mac OS X for a long time now, and I've recently decided to go for it. My dream machine should arrive this week to the office where I'll use the Power Mac G5 and its 30" display as my principle work station, in between my Windows XP box on one side and Red Hat Linux on the other.

I wasn't planning on the 30" display, but after spending a lot of time in the Apple store getting the feel of the displays, I couldn't get myself to part with the motherload of all displays. I mean, hey, I'm in front of a monitor for the better part of 50 hours a week here, so I'd better start making it a better experience than a 17" CRT on top a Wintel workstation that's bulging under the load.

Here's the full spec:

  • 2GB DDR400 SDRAM (PC3200) - 4x512
  • Dual 2GHz PowerPC G5
  • 160GB Serial ATA - 7200rpm
  • ATI Radeon 9650 w/256MB DDR SDRAM
  • Apple Cinema HD Display (30" flat panel)
  • 16x SuperDrive double-layer (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

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Protecting Personal Data in Windows XP

Jake Ludington's blog, MediaBlab, has a comprehensive blog entry to securing Windows XP computers in case they are stolen. The guide includes basic security advise such as forcing users to login to XP, but also covers advanced security options such as file system encryption and offsite, hard-copy password storage. The author has published a longer security guide available here.

The Best of Concord Police Logs

I love reading the crazy things that happen around the sleepy town of Concord, as reported in the weeekly Police Logs from the Concord Journal. I've lived in a lot of places, some where most people wouldn't bat an eye if a carjacking were happening, but here in Concord the residents are easily spooked... Enjoy!

I'm proud to claim my own place in the town's log. Here's the what ended up in the newspaper when I was spotted taking pictures in the early morning hours:

    Sunday, Oct. 16 2005
  • At 1:23 a.m., officer on patrol reported a male subject on foot in the Milldam. Officer spoke with the individual, who was taking photos for a college course.


This blog entry will be updated with a selections taken from those logs.



    Week of June 12, 2006
  • At 11:45 a.m., a Simon Willard Road caller reported someone had dumped a bag of brush in her yard. (Why would someone call the police for this? Just pick up the bag and put it in the trash!)
  • At 11:38 a.m., staff from a Sudbury Road country club asked for police assistance with a squirrel that was stuck on a roof. The fire department was dispatched.
  • At 6:13 a.m., emergency crews responded to reports of a smoldering bonfire at White Pond.
  • At 11:48 a.m., a cellular caller reported a motor vehicle versus deer accident on Shadyside Avenue. The deer left the scene.


    Week of June 5, 2006
  • At 7:58 p.m., police received a call about a trespassing bather and his children at White Pond. When confronted the bather apparently got agitated and used profanity.
  • At 8:35 p.m., a Lexington Road caller reported a loose horse and carriage heading down the street. The horse was wrangled by its owner.
  • At 10:31 a.m., a Peter Bulkeley Road caller reported a three-legged pit bull and a Welch corgi running through her yard.
  • At 1:04 p.m., a Manuel Drive caller reported a former friend had posted her picture on a Web site. The pictures were not obscene, the caller said, nor were they appreciated. Police told the caller to contact police in Shirley, where her former friend resides.
  • At 5:19 p.m., a guest at an Elm Street hotel reported she was concerned about the children in the room above her because they had stopped making noise. In an apparently unrelated incident, she also reported heavy set male walking in the hallway. Then she asked for a phone number for the CIA because the FBI had been rude to her.
  • At 7:42 p.m., a resident walked into the police station with her son to report someone had sent the son unwanted instant messages while he as on the computer.


    Week ending July 25, 2005
  • At 8:45 p.m., a College Road caller reported finding dog feces in her mailbox.
  • At 2:50 p.m., a caller reported a male drinking a beer in a vehicle at the West Concord Plaza.
  • At 2:59 p.m., a caller reported a couple engaged in a "public display of affection" on a bench near The Concord Depot.
  • At 5:58 p.m., a Shore Drive caller reported youths swimming in White Pond.
  • At 1:21 a.m., a Shore Drive caller reported people being loud in the area of White Pond. Police found no one at the beach and placed a pair of sneakers, two pairs of sandals, a cell phone, three shirts and a belt into property.
  • At 7:28 p.m., a caller reported two vehicles weaving in and out of traffic shooting water guns at each other. State Police responded

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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.

Usage of Verity's vspider utility with CFMX 7 on Unix or Linux

An article was published today that provides a fix for the Verity spidering utility known as vspider when used with ColdFusion MX 7. That article provides some additional style files will help populate the appropriate metadata fields of a collection such as Title, URL, Size, etc... The article also comes with an example of using vspider on Windows.

ColdFusion MX 7: Additional files for using Verity Spider

It should be noted that when running vpsider on Unix or Linux, that the environmental variable for LD_LIBRARY_PATH must also be set to include the location of core Verity binary files. Its often useful to create a script to set up all the vspider commands, and in that script you can set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH to include the Verity bin directory.

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Macromedia Flex for Web Application Developers - A New Course

View Final Project for Macromedia Flex for Web Application DevelopersThis week I've completed a new Macromedia course, Flex for Web Application Developers, recently renamed to indicate the course's appropriateness for programmers from all web application backgrounds, rather than just ColdFusion. The course is designed to be a day longer than the existing Fast Track to Flex course and has a target audience of web application developers that may not yet be proficient with ActionScript 2.0 or Object Oriented concepts and programming.

The Macromedia Training web page has not yet been updated to include this course, but that is expected soon. I was forturnate enough to participate in the course in its final testing stage where the instructor sought feedback from technology professionals, to be used in carefully tuning the class towards the general skill set of contemporary ColdFusion MX Developers. In addition, this week's course in particular was also used to train Macromedia Training Partners who will later be teaching this course as well.

The Flex for Web Application Developers course demonstrates how to easily build robust Flex applications that provide a sharp looking user interface while integrating with ColdFusion components as the primary data provider. Knowledge of Actionscript 2.0 is not assumed, and the progressive use of Actionscript from day one builds fluency in the language through osmosis, so to speak. The course emphasises programming best practices for Flex's markup language MXML, as well as Actionscript and ColdFusion's CFML language.

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Technology Review Article on Employee Blogging

The current edition of M.I.T.'s Technology Review magazine accolades employee blogging by highlighting the PR value to corporations that permit this activity. Read about it here. The print magazine has a supplementary article that extends this web article a bit.

TalkingTree itself is not hosted on the markme.com website which hosts many Macromedia employee blogs. This is partly because I like to have full control over the website itself, and I like to have a great deal of personal or non-technology blogs intermixed. The Google Adsense revenue covers hosting costs and then some, so there's really no expense in maintaining my blog individually. See the Credits on the sidebar for a link to my hosting provider in case you're shopping around.

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