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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CIO Magazine on AJAX for the Enterprise

Via ACM TechNews, CIO Magazine presents an editorial regarding the origins of AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML), on the topic of its origin and grassroots adoption as well as pitfalls in the Enterprise space. Given the AJAX technology suite and its recent inception as such, the author can only speculate regarding its future, but suggests that too much hype could put AJAX in disfavor right along with the blink tag.

Read the full article

Galleon Home Media Server for Tivo

A coworker recently recommended a free program to enhance Tivo. This weekend I installed it and now I'm hooked. I don't have to get up from the couch to follow what's going on in the blogosphere, weather, movie listings, and local events. For someone that spends 40+ hours a week sitting down already, is this really such a good thing? ;)

Get a lot more from Tivo with the free program Galleon for Tivo. You can now push recordings from your Tivo to your PC rather than having to log on to the PC and then pull them over. Galleon also has very useful features such as viewing your RSS feeds from your TV, plus local movie theater listings, local social events, local weather, as well as listening to your iPods music collection and watching your JPG photos on your TV. ...And you can watch movies on your TV over the network from the program library on your computer.

Here are some pictures of my TV menus when using Galleon...

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Scientific American Podcast

Science researchers, students, and enthusiasts now have a comprehensive and reputable source of science news in audio format since Scientific American has started its own podcast.

Scientific American Podcast

About the host:

Join host Steve Mirsky each week as he explores the latest developments in science and technology through interviews with leading scientists and journalists.


Episode 1:
In this episode, Scientific American editor-in-chief John Rennie reflects on the Korean stem cell debacle; the National Inventors Hall of Fame announces this year's inductees; and evolution defender Eugenie Scott discusses the importance of the decision in the recent Dover evolution trial. Also: hear outtakes from the CSI show you're never going to see on TV.

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.


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IEEE Computer Society Courses for Spring 2006

At the recommendation of a friend I recently joined the IEEE Computer Society, which has a local chapter in Boston. I'm just starting to discover the benefits of membership with this prestigious group, and today's newsletter revealed a wealth of very interesting local courses sponsored by the IEEE. Courses seem to generally run on a single Saturday or a series of weekday evenings so that working professionals can attend.

Upcoming courses that immediately appeal to me include a series of evening lectures in May on Introduction to Java Servlets and JSP, and a full day course on the Eclipse Development Platform and Application Framework.

One other very tantalizing course is How to Build and Maintain a Profitable Consulting Practice, on March 25th at the Lexington Sheraton.

Check it out.

Duplicate Message-ID values generated for CFMAIL messages

When using ColdFusion MX 6.x/7.x Enterprise Edition, the Mail Settings page of the ColdFusion Administrator has a configurable setting for Mail Delivery Threads which defaults to 10 threads. When sending mail at high volumes via the CFMAIL tag, its possible that two mail threads could generate identical Message-ID numbers for distinct mail messages when sending mail to the SMTP server, and the probability of this is more likely on fast processors.

The Message-ID header is shown as an optional parameter in RFC 822 (Standard for the Format of ARPA Internet Text Messages). RFC 2822 (which obsoletes 822) states:

Though optional, every message SHOULD have a "Message-ID:" field...
The "Message-ID:" field contains a single unique message identifier.


It has been reported that the Microsoft Exchange mail server will not deliver messages having a Message-ID value the same as the Message-ID value from another email message, although Sendmail and Postfix will deliver all messages regardless of redundant Message ID values.

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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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Backup Fiasco: Short Lifespan for CDs

I've been considering how to improve the backups of my personal digital library such as photos, music, files, and other data after reading a story that's been widely circulated since last week. An IBM researcher estimates the lifespan of CD-R discs to be a mere 2-5 years, depending on factors such as heat, humidity, and light.

Storage expert warns of short life span for burned CDs


I'm considering options such as a 300 GB, 600 GB, or 1 TB Maxtor Hard Drive, maybe two of them in fact. To prevent bit rot I could transfer all the data from one megadrive to the other every couple of years, back and forth to write the data fresh. Of course, just like genetic mutations, with frequent copying some variation is introduced due to minor copy errors.

Getting started with Total Training for Adobe Photoshop CS2

Check it out on Flickr

This weekend I've been learning how to better use Photoshop by watching the 22 hour training video on DVD, Total Training for Adobe Photoshop CS2, hosted by Deke McClelland. I've been a Photoshop user for about 7 years now since version 4 (where CS2 is like version 9 I think).

So far, my only training with Photoshop in the past has been through hands-on experimentation and countless hours upon hours of image correction and manipulation for the many photos I have on the web. I've been carrying around the Total Training set of DVDs for a while, waiting for the time and impetus to sit down and start the training. I've decided that with the Adobe merger with Macromedia, now is the perfect time to begin improving my existing skills and learning the many, many new features introduced with CS and CS2.

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