India Travel Warning: Hit And Run is a must!

While researching health and travel requirements for my upcoming trip to Bangalore, India I stumbled across this little factoid from the US Deptartment of State that instills oh so much confidence that this will be a pleasant journey:

If a driver hits a pedestrian or a cow, the vehicle and its occupants are at risk of being attacked by passersby. Such attacks pose significant risk of injury or death to the vehicle's occupants or at least of incineration of the vehicle. It can thus be unsafe to remain at the scene of an accident of this nature, and drivers may instead wish to seek out the nearest police station.


Ok, let me get this straight... In between taking my malaria pills, seeking out bottled water only, eating at only "American" restaurants, and looking 10 times before attempting to cross the street, now I've got to worry if my driver will smack into a cow at the risk of conflagration and death... the car's conflagration and my death. Yikes! Hit and Run is mandatory!

Driving in Bangalore video clips on YouTube.

New Course: Total Training for Adobe Flex 2 Advanced Visual Programming

If you were happy with Total Training's Rich Internet Applications with Flex 2 hosted by Adobe's James Talbot, then you should have a look at Advanced Visual Programming in Flex 2, hosted by Leo Schuman, just released today.

Total Training for Adobe Flex 2 Advanced Visual Programming
You will learn how to work with embedded images and fonts, implement transitions and easing effects, apply filters and blends, and programmatically interact with mouse position and actions like dragging and dropping. In addition, you will learn how to extend and skin Flex UI components using both images and shapes drawn with the ActionScript Drawing API. (9 hours)


Total Training for Adobe Flex 2 Rich Internet Applications
Learn how the Adobe Flex 2 product line delivers a standards-based programming methodology to combine the richness of the desktop with the reach of the web. Discover best practices for architecting a Flex application. Learn how to connect a Flex application to server side data including web services and remote methods. Understand how to customize a Flex application to give it a unique look and feel. (8 hours)

How to create HDR images with Photoshop's Merge to HDR

A couple weeks ago, I visited Zion National Park where I made some shots that I intended to merge into HDR images, and inspired by a discussion at my local photography club I thought I'd settle down to get it done. While I was at it I created a tutorial to share with everyone.

Here's a quick shot that demonstrates the input and output of an HDR shot to help you get the general idea:

Merge to HDR

The final HDR image represents what my eye saw at that moment even though the camera wasn't able to capture it in one exposure alone.

What is HDR? High Dynamic Range... Think of a scene that has bright sunlight and dark shadows. A single image can't capture all parts of the scene in a proper exposure, but if you take a series of photos of exactly the same scene while altering the exposure between each shot, then later you can blend the images together in Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Wikipedia describes HDR imaging (HDRI) as:

In computer graphics and cinematography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) is a set of techniques that allow a far greater dynamic range of exposures (i.e a large difference between light and dark areas) than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention of HDRI is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes ranging from direct sunlight to the deepest shadows.


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Adding Authorship, Description, and Copyright to images with Adobe XMP in Bridge

I've been asked many times how I embed information in a photograph (i.e. a jpg file) such as my name, my contact info, a description, a location, and even a copyright (such as a Creative Commons License). This metadata becomes part of the image file, and remains part of the image even if renamed or resized by me or anyone else. If you ever find that someone has used your photo without permission and even perhaps claimed ownership of the photo while denying the theft, then IPTC metadata is a good way to prove ownership. The metadata can be deliberately changed or removed by editing the IPTC metadata, but I think most unauthorized usage of images is done without tampering with the metadata since its hidden in the image file, and you can't see that its there by looking at the picture.

To embed this type of metadata in an image I use Adobe Bridge, a product that ships with Adobe Photoshop CS2. Here's a screenshot that show's the IPTC panel in Bridge. You can select one or more images and edit the IPTC metadata simultaneously.

From the web page about Adobe eXtensible Metadata Platform (XMP):

Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is a labeling technology that allows you to embed data about a file, known as metadata, into the file itself. With XMP, desktop applications and back-end publishing systems gain a common method for capturing, sharing, and leveraging this valuable metadata opening the door for more efficient job processing, workflow automation, and rights management, among many other possibilities. With XMP, Adobe has taken the heavy lifting out of metadata integration, offering content creators an easy way to embed meaningful information about their projects and providing industry partners with standards-based building blocks to develop optimized workflow solutions.




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ColdFusion 10th Birthday Event on Google Video

Take a walk down memory lane with the founders of ColdFusion and Allaire Corporation on the occassion of ColdFusion's 10th Anniversary, July 2005 in Newton MA.

JJ Allaire, Charles Teague, and Sim Simeonov

Watch on Google Video

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Time-lapse video of caterpillar to chrysalis to Monarch butterfly

Captured here is a time-lapse movie of the lifespan of a Monarch butterfly, condensing about two weeks of activity into a short video clip. I kept the caterpillar in a jar supplied with milkweed leaves and ventilation through holes punched in the lid. After days of munching on the leaves, it's interesting to observe the caterpillar 's circling behavior the day before transforming into a chrysalis, although the actual formation of the chryslis occurred at night and is not shown in the video.

When releasing the butterfly into a nearby field, you can see the wings are still damp as it flicks its wings and twitches before resting on leaf to finish drying.

From Monarch Butterfly - USA:
The total time frame for one butterfly's life cycle (one generation) is about 6-8 weeks . . . egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. It grows inside the egg for about 4 days. It then munches milkweed and grows as a monarch caterpillar (larvae) for about 2 more weeks. The caterpillar's life inside the chrysalis (pupa) lasts about 10 days and its wonderful life as an adult butterfly lasts from 2 - 6 weeks.


Be sure to also check out my photo gallery of the Butterfly Place in nearby Westford, MA.

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Video clips of Valle de Benasque and Llanos del Hospital in Spain

Here are a couple short video clips from a valley in the central Pyrenees, or Pirineos, in Spain. These show the mountainous region close the border of Spain and France, within the Valle de Benasque. My wife and I were married in a small church in this region, since her father and his ancestors lived in and farmed the valley using traditional, non-technological tools and practices.

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The Butterfly Place in Westford, MA - A Photo Gallery

www.flickr.com


The Butterfly Place [map]
The Butterfly Place is an indoor living environment which has been carefully designed for the propagation and development of some of natures most colorful living creations. This wonderful man-made habitat is contained within a 3,100 sq. ft. glass atrium building towering to a height of over 27 ft. at its peak. Within this atriums living butterfly environment can be found a variety of colorful plants and shrubs, each of which has been selected as a source of nectar for the butterflies.


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IllegalAccessError, CFMAIL attachments, and CFX_SOAP.jar improperly installed

For several days now I've been trying to get to the bottom of the error:

view plain print about
1"Error","jrpp-0", tried to access class javax.mail.internet.ContentDisposition from class coldfusion.mail.RFC2231Util The specific sequence of files included or processed is: C:CFusionMX7wwwrootcontentdisposition.cfm, line: 2
2java.lang.IllegalAccessError: tried to access class javax.mail.internet.ContentDisposition from class coldfusion.mail.RFC2231Util
3    at coldfusion.mail.RFC2231Util.setFileName(RFC2231Util.java:31)
4    at coldfusion.mail.MailImpl.setAttachment(MailImpl.java:780)
5    at coldfusion.tagext.net.MailParamTag.doStartTag(MailParamTag.java:257)
6    at coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage._emptyTag(CfJspPage.java:1915)
7    at cfcontentdisposition2ecfm1804490529.runPage(C:CFusionMX7wwwrootcontentdisposition.cfm:2)
8...


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My First Print Photo Publication is a Magazine Cover

Cover Photo

Shortly after publishing a collection of photos in the online Concord Magazine, the Editor of the New England Print & Publisher magazine contacted me to request that I submit some area photographs for the cover of the upcoming April 2006 edition.

Initially he suggested that I submit new photos of the Spring season, but when I shared some of my existing photos from last fall he latched on this night shot of Concord Center. He requested to crop it down to a vertical shot appropriate for the cover, so I agreed.

Embedding License in Digital Photo with XMP MetaDataThere was no monetary compensation for the use of my photo, although I'm quite happy with crossing the threshold from amateur to professional photographer. I released the photo under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. Here's how to embed license and copyright data into a digital photograph using XMP with Adobe Bridge or Adobe Photoshop CS2.

This photo was one of my three entries in a local photo contest in Concord.

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