A Week in Belgium, and New Year's Eve in Paris

Christmas in Belgium, and New Year's Eve on Champs Elysees in Paris

A Photographic Journey of Belgium during Christmas 1999, and New Year's Eve in Paris for the Millenium 2000 events and Eiffel Tower fireworks display. [ PHOTOS ]

  • Brussels' Le Petite Rue de Bouchers
  • Royal Musems of Fine Arts of Belgium
  • CHAB Youth Hostel in Brussels [ link ]
  • Bauhaus Youth Hostel in Bruges [ link ]
  • Mechelen
  • Ghent
  • Gare du Nord
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Champs Elysees [ PHOTOS ]
In particular, here are a few large images of my favorite photos:

Big News in the Linux World Today

Discussion forums all over the web today were heatedly debating the significance of two items of news in the Linux world:

  • Red Hat announces an end of life for support of Red Hat Linux 7, 8, and 9. Red Hat Linux is to be replaced with the Fedora Project. Red Hat will focus on the enterprise class customer by continuing development and support of Red Hat Enterprise Linux which comes in 3 flavors, AS, ES, and WS.

  • Novell announces the aquisition of Suse Linux. Novell is a US based company whereas Suse was based in Nuremburg, Germany. Novell also used to own Caldera. Caldera morphed into SCO, and SCO as we all know has gone rabid this year.

I'll be digesting the many discussions over the next few days, but for the moment here are a handful of links to the various threads and topics:


Configuring a Different Xalan.jar in ColdFusion MX 6.1

ColdFusion MX's functionality for parsing and transforming XML documents, such as XMLParse() and XMLTransform(), is handled under the hood by Apache's Crimson and Xalan implementations, respectively.

Since Crimson is generally retired in favor of Xerces as the choice of XML Parsers, you may wish to download Xerces jar into the CF classpath (WEB-INF/lib) for programmatic access as a java object in your CFML.


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!

Marriage Ceremony at Town House in Concord, MA

Today my wife and I were married at the Concord Town House. The Concord Justice of the Peace presided over the ceremony. We expect to have a formal and much more elaborate wedding next year in Spain either in Barcelona or in Eresue.

Video Clips from Luray Caverns


I've finally gotten around to editing the video from our trip to Shenandoah National Park and Luray, Virginia. More details here. I recently acquired a Canon Optura 200MC digital video recorder, and it works very well with Windows XP and Windows Movie Maker (WMM). I did have to buy a separate firewire PCI card (IEEE-1394) from Staples that comes with a digital video firewire cable to connect to the computer from the camera's DV port. Note that it was not immediately clear how to get video off the camera since this is not in any of the 3 manuals that the camera comes with. Yes, I did RTFMs. They seemed to have missed this part. Windows very happily recognized the camera when I first connected, and it automagically launched WMM for me. Very nice! I didn't even need to use the cd's that came with the camera or the firewire pci card. I'll concede to give Microsoft a few bonus points on that, while docking Canon for having failed to tell me how to do all this. Ok, end rant :)

Of the two hour tour through the Luray Caverns, I've distilled a few video clips of some of the highlights, each is between 15 seconds and about a minute.

Luray Caverns, Virginia and Shenandoah

Click for Photo Gallery of Luray Caverns and Shenandoah During the previously reported busy, holiday weekend, Mercedes and I had the opportunity to visit the Luray Caverns, in Luray, Virginia. We also spent a few days cruising Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, hiking White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run.(more on this later, RE: bears!).

IMO, Luray itself has very little going for it, and I suspect that if it were not for the tourism generated by the caverns the whole town would just fall into an even greater state of disrepair and collapse. While the caverns themselves are indeed remarkably beautiful and ethereal to most, and intellectually captivating to the armchair geologists out there, they have clearly fallen victim to commercialism and exploitation by the local population.

There was one gem of a shop in Luray, however. A Moment To Remember was definitley an oasis in a Pizza Hut kind of town. The cafe showed great care in the smallest of details and knick knacks, and it easily falls right on par with the most comfortable of coffee shops in Cambridge and Davis Square. Highly recommended both for the homemade pies as well as the sawdust, bar room atmosphere.

For now, though, here are some photos of the cavern and a few of the waterfalls in White Oak Canyon in the National Park. Remember, stalactites hang tight to the ceiling and stalacmites might... oh, whatever...

UPDATE 7/30: Recently added some small video clips from our tour of Luray Caverns. Each is about 15 seconds to a minute.

Spain! A Photographic Journey

Click for Photo Gallery of Catalonia, Spain Here you can find my photographs from Spain in 2000, 2002, and 2005. These trips were primarily to Barcelona in the northeastern province of Catalonia, and to the mountain villiage of Eresue which sits in a valley among the Pyrennees known as El Solano in the province Huesca. If you'd like large images, please email me. The photos are a portrait of life in Spain from the following regions or themes:

For photos of Madrid, Spain during the Christmas and New Year's Eve season, have a look at my trip in 1998 here:

Germany! A Photographic Journey

Click for Photo Gallery of Bamburg, Germany In April of 2000 I completed two years in the Nelson and Turrigiano Neuroscience Lab at Brandeis University. Before moving on my new career at Allaire, and now at Macromedia to work with the ColdFusion Application Server, I spent some time in southeastern Germany (Bamberg, W¸rzburg, and Rothenburg oder Tauber) while visiting my old friend, Isabel Rodriguez. While still in Boston, my friends from Brandeis helped me down a few beers before my flight to commemorate my departure from the lab. If you'd like large images, please add a comment.

Scientific Publications for Steven Erat

Alanna Watt, Mark van Rossum, Sacha Nelson, Gina Turrigiano

Activity Coregulates Quantal AMPA and NMDA Currents at Neocortical Synapses.
Neuron, Vol. 26, 659-670, June, 2000

AMPA and NMDA are coexpressed at many central synapses, but the factors that control the ratio of these two receptors are not well understood. We recorded mixed miniature or evoked synaptic currents arising from coactivation of AMPA and NMDAP receptors and found that the long-lasting changes in activity scaled both currents up and down proportianally through changes in the number of postsynaptic receptors. The ratio of AMPA and NMDA current was similar at different synapses onto the same neuron, and this relationship was preserved following activity-dependent synaptic scaling. These data show that AMPA and NMDA receptors are tightly corregulated by activity at synapses at which they are both expressed and suggest that a mechanism exists to actively maintain a constant receptor ratio across a neuron's synapses. We thank Steven Erat for the preparation of cultures.

Rabin BM, Joseph JA, Erat S.

Effects of exposure to different types of radiation on behaviors mediated by peripheral or central systems.
Advances in Space Research 1998;22(2):217-25. PMID: 11541399 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
The effects of exposure to ionizing radiation on behavior may result from effects on peripheral or on central systems. For behavioral endpoints that are mediated by peripheral systems (e.g., radiation-induced conditioned taste aversion or vomiting), the behavioral effects of exposure to heavy particles (56Fe, 600MeV/n) are qualitatively similar to the effects of exposure to gamma radiation (60Co) and to fission spectrum neutrons. For these endpoints, the only differences between the different types of radiation are in terms of relative behavioral effectiveness. For behavioral endpoints that are mediated by central systems (e.g., amphetamine-induced taste aversion learning), the effects of exposure to 56Fe particles are not seen following exposure to lower LET gamma rays or fission spectrum neutrons. These results indicate that the effects of exposure to heavy particles on behavioral endpoints cannot necessarily be extrapolated from studies using gamma rays, but require the use of heavy particles.


Previous Entries / More Entries