Blog In Black - Outstanding Breezo on Using Eclipse for CF, Flex, ActionScript, and SQL

I'd been considering finding a speaker to discuss Eclipse, CFEclipse, and related as an event at the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group, but Kai Kˆnig of bloginblack.de recently recorded a presentation on this.

Kai did an absolutely fantastic job providing a survey of multiple uses Eclipse for ColdFusion, Flex, ActionScript, and as a Database explorer through a discussion of slides and plenty of good demos and walkthroughs.

"Breeze session on Eclipse and how to use it with Macromedia technology" http://www.bloginblack.de/archives/000654.cfm

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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Library of Congress Series on Digital Future - Free on Audible.com

Audible.com has a series of 8 lectures on the topic of the Digital Future, available free of charge, published by C-SPAN. Each lecture is about an hour and a half, and downloadable in mp3 format for you iPod.

I can't post the direct link to the lecture series since audible.com uses session data in the URL and without the session parameter it logs an error, so just search for the topic title or author on their site.

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scienceNow - Special PBS Series

The PBS program NOVA has produced an innovative, educational science program called scienceNow, which started airing this spring. I think the series is absolutely fantastic, not only because of the content, but because the host Robert Krulwich is able to convey the complex topics through his antics as well as serious discussion.

What's best about the actual shows is that they are available for viewing on the internet, so if you weren't able to watch it or record it on your Tivo, no problem. Just go to the site and watch the streaming video there!

Each show covers about 3 or 4 topics, and the most recent edition had a great section about stem cell research and therapeutic cloning.

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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J2EE Clustering with Tangosol's Coherence

Last night I attended the local Boston Java Meetup Group to get a sense of what my technology cousins are up to since most of my conversations are always in Macromedia-centric arenas.

The most interesting part of the evening for me was meeting Cameron Purdy. Cameron was obviously the Java guru at this table of Java gurus. It turns out that Cameron is president of Tangosol, a company in Somerville which he founded. Tangasol's flagship product Coherence is a type of J2EE clustering software which appropriate for storing extremely large quantities of data in memory and replicating it across large numbers of J2EE cluster members while handling thousands of data updates per second.

Coherence is described in various contexts as:

Tangosol Coherence enables in-memory data management for clustered J2EE applications and application servers. Coherence makes sharing and managing data in a cluster as simple as on a single server. It accomplishes this by coordinating updates to the data using cluster-wide concurrency control, replicating and distributing data modifications across the cluster using the highest performing clustered protocol available, and delivering notifications of data modifications to any servers that request them.


and

... provides scalable performance and is not compromised by single points of failure ... [and] manages many gigabytes of data and thousands of updates per second ... self partioning architecture without single points of failure or measureable GC pauses ...


That last quote is about as much as I could jot down while watching this presentation on Coherence while trying to keep up with Cameron's break-neck reading velocity. As an aside, this presentation was hauntingly similar to a Breeze presentation, but actually used a similar product from Articulate.

This large scale clustering software appears to be significantly more robust than the JINI-based clustering found in Macromedia JRun. Replication of session data across small JRun clusters is generally thought to have a noticible performance impact and its typically recommended to minimize the data that is replicated in this manner to unique keys that act as pointers to persistant data on the backend databases. A couple reviews of JRun clustering are available for comparison:

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.

Massachusetts Passes Bill to Strengthen Stem Cell Research

The Boston metropolitan area of eastern Massachusetts has perhaps the highest concentration of biomedical and life sciences research institutions in the world. State restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning have been overturned this week with a bill that was overwhelmingly passed in both the Massachusetts Senate and then the House of Representatives. Had the margin of approval been less, Governor Mitt Romney would have been able to veto the bill which he regards and distorts as a "radical cloning bill". Previously, investigators wishing to conduct such research had to obtain permission from their local district attorney. This bill removes that barrier to scientific research while simultaneously maintaining or even strengthening regulations that ban reproductive cloning.

Harvard's President Lawrence Summers writes in this article that this bill gives scientists the tools they need to help make Massachusetts "a global center in the life sciences revolution". Harvard's Stem Cell Institute (more) was formed last year to conduct the ground breaking stem cell research with private funds since the current federal government's anachronistic policies continue to ban funding of research done with new stem cell lines, limiting scientists to continue to use the aged cultures from the 60 existing embryonic stem cell lines. I can tell you from my own experience maintaing neuronal cell cultures, cell lines that have been maintained for long durations and divided over and over become observably aged and are often retired.

Michael Sandel, professor of political philosophy at Harvard, examines the ethical questions that fuel the controversy surrounding stem cell research in this article from the Boston Globe, where he considers the two primary debates to be a "right to life" objection and a "brave new world" objection.

Despite the Governor's challenge to the stem cell bill, he claims to be trying to increase Biotechnology jobs in Massachusetts, and has even fought to add Science to the MCAS test which determines if high school students may graduate or not. Some sources speculate that the Governor's mixed messages and weak position on stem cell research indicate that he may have ambitions for the next presidential race.

Concord Best Place To Live For Athletic Types

Every spring Boston Magazine produces a ranking of towns throughout Massachusetts, and an article to provide details and context. This year Concord, MA ranks as the best choice for "Fitness Nuts", those that like to participate in sports and outdoor activities.

No surprise to me. We have the conservation land and its many trails around Walden Pond, then there's Great Meadows National Wildlife refuge, Punkatasset Hill area, and lots of canoe activity on the Concord, Assabet, and Subury rivers. Not to mention there's six health clubs including Gold's Gym and the Thoreau Club, and not one fast food restaurant to be found. Over the next few years, the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail will open and pass through 3 miles of Concord as part of a much greater rail trail system. Check out the aerial views, too!

While the full article is not available on the web, the raw form of the multivariate data for 2004 is available in this spreadsheet, and with a brief intro here.

Last year Boston Magazine ranked towns for the "Most Bang for the Buck", placing Concord as #91.

The year before, Concord ranked as #19 for the overall "Best [healthiest] Places to Live" in the state.

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