Recent Tweets for Fri Oct 2, 2009

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Fri Oct 02 7:26 PM
Ghosts of ColdFusion Past http://yfrog.com/3omigoj
Fri Oct 02 4:40 PM
@john_mason_ Thanks. Indeed, the server was under high load.
Fri Oct 02 4:21 PM
Ditto that! RT @awest: Working at home really blows. Not. http://bit.ly/UflXy
Fri Oct 02 3:44 PM
@charliegriefer Enjoy! Twitter is gonna have a melt down. #adobeMAX
Fri Oct 02 3:12 PM
Have you ever launched the ColdFusion Server Monitor and seen the buttons for Monitoring, Profiling, and Memory just not show up at the top?




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Recent Tweets for Fri August 14, 2009

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Thu Aug 13 11:30 PM
"All Washed Up", new photo in the Trash The Dress series. #photog #photoshop http://flic.kr/p/6Px1MC
Thu Aug 13 2:48 PM
RT @iotashan: queries in cfscript is as bad as doing queries in any other lang. cfquery will always be superior to Query() in ease of use
Thu Aug 13 2:47 PM
@Photocritic In digital imaging half the data is in highlights & can be recovered PDFs: http://bit.ly/1ReSZ http://bit.ly/11osFd
Thu Aug 13 12:31 PM
@stevei Great posing on Paige for the lying down, forward shot. Would have been nice to have some more crash to the waves. #TTD #Photog






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Christmas Eve Service makes Front Page Photo

Choir at Candlelight Service A couple weeks ago a friend at the First Parish Photography Club suggested the idea of photographing an outdoor, candlelight service on Christmas Eve in Concord, Massachusetts. As a recent graduate of the Professional Digital Photography program at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University, I embraced the opportunity as a means of practicing real event photography, a genre of its own requiring distinct skills apart from other types of photography.

This event was the first outdoor service in the 300+ year history of the First Parish, due to ongoing renovations this year. Historically as many as four services are held there on Christmas Eve, having as many as 500 attendees per service. This made planning a bit of a challenge because the number of attendees could range anywhere from a hundred to perhaps a thousand.

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ColdFusion 8.01 64-bit Windows Performance Comparisons

My distant colleague Manju has just published a very well written article on Adobe DevNet regarding performance considerations of running ColdFusion 8.01 on 64-bit Windows (and Mac) platforms. The article gets you up to speed on the basics of 64-bit architecture in practical terms, however the best part is on the last page where he reports on three different ColdFusion scenarios comparing 32-bit performance to 64-bit for cpu intensive, memory intensive, and disk I/O intensive conditions. Its definitely worth a read:

Taking advantage of 64-bit support in ColdFusion 8
by Manjukiran Pacchhipulusu
ColdFusion QA Engineer


At the end, Manju provides a list of credits that helped him develop the article, including my blog entry from last year, Performance Considerations for Running ColdFusion 8 in 64-bit Mode.

Photography Web Utilities and My Recent Work

The holiday season has come and gone with little blogging on my part, but there's a few photography utilities for the web that I've wanted to mention. Its been a busy season with a couple weeks in Barcelona and a regular evening schedule at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at BU. It won't get less busy for me, so now's the time to share...

Lightroom SDK: Flickr Export Plugin
Lightroom Flickr Export PluginThe SDK (Software Developer's Kit) for Lightroom provides software developers a way to build custom plugins for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. An example plugin to Export photos directly from Lightroom to Flickr comes with the SDK, so download the Lightroom SDK to get it. Even if you don't care about the SDK and aren't a software geek, download it anyway just to get the plugin to make your Flickr workflow even easier.




SlideShowPro for Lightroom
Speaking of Lightroom (yes, it is my favorite piece of image software right now!), for just $25 you can buy an excellent plugin for Lightroom to export stylish and sophisticated Flash-based Web Galleries for your website. Its very easy to use and provides an intuitive panel of gallery styling options. Previously, to use SlideShowPro you had to understand the Flash Authoring tool in order to get started, but with Lightroom its now incredibly simple to use. Here's where you can check out a Web Gallery example of the SlideShowPro plugin for Lightroom




FlickrEdit: Backup Your Flickr Library
And speaking of Flickr, I've recently read some recommendations for FlickrEdit, free utility that permits you to backup all your images on Flickr to your local desktop, among other things. I haven't used it yet, but it seems like a very useful safety net to have around.




Photographic Storytelling with Soundslides Plus
Moving back to the topic of Web Image Galleries, I've just stumbled across a remarkable Flash-based tool from Soundslides geared towards photojournalists that enables you to easily synchronize digital audio recordings with a collection of photographs. Check out this newspaper article Through the Artists' Eyes to view two wonderful examples.




HDR and Tone Mapping with PhotoMatix
Although Photoshop CS2 and CS3 have a built-in automation tool for generating HDR images from multiple exposures, I've been giving Photomatix a test drive because it has been touted to have better fine-tuned control over the Tone Mapping process. In fact, I find that when using Photomatix I have had more success with HDR, just take a look below for some recent examples. There's lots of detailed knobs and sliders during the Tone Mapping process in Photomatix, and to save time later when I produce a satisfying result Photomatix allows me to save my settings. Later, when working on a new image I can try on some of my previous settings to quickly see if any produce a pleasing effect.





The Tower of Our Sea La Proxima Dirty Business


There we have it... I hope you find some of these useful as I have. Now, since I've got your attention, here's some of my recent work both from the studio at CDIA and from my recent trips to Barcelona and San Francisco. Enjoy!

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Linux Magazine on using Flex with PHP

In the August 2007 edition of Linux Magazine, the editor contributes an article about the usefulness of integrating PHP with the free Flex SDK to achieve a Rich Internet Application (RIA) in a Web 2.0 world.

Flex and PHP
by Martin Streicher
Linux Magazine (full article available online with free registration)


The author begins by a short comparison of the RIA technologies of AJAX vs. Flex, and goes on to suggest that while AJAX is touted as an alternative to Flex UI's, AJAX suffers from a lack of rich media integration such as video, music, or animations and carries the risk of varying JavaScript behavior across different browser implementations.

The article does a great job describing architectural differences between classic web applications and RIAs. In a multi-tiered Rich Internet Application the application server technology such as PHP, or better yet ColdFusion, acts as the controller to implement business logic and interacts with deeper service layers that interface with the database. However, on the client side, Flex runs in the browser to perform data input validation, displays data visually via drill-down charts and graphs or via paginated data grids, and provides real time updates to changes in data (via Live Cycle Data Services a.k.a. Flex Data Services).

Furthermore, Flex provides a smart looking user interface and seamless user experience akin to typical desktop software while lacking the notoriously painful white screens of death during page refreshes that are commonplace in the Web 1.0 world. In effect, more work is done in the browser as a means of distributed computing, leaving the application server to focus on business logic and freeing it from having to generate the UI again and again across requests.

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Performance Considerations for Running ColdFusion 8 in 64-bit Mode

In yesterday's post about configuration nuances of using a 64-bit webserver and 64-bit JVM with ColdFusion 8 on the 64-bit Sun Solaris OS, Damon Gentry posted a comment that is, frankly, way above my head.

I'm curious about if there are any performance gains by running CF8 with a 64-bit JVM. More specifically, given the CPU architecture differences between Intel/AMD, and Sparc (speed vs. cores), does it make since to stick with Solaris? I know that the Sparc T1 can support 32 cores, albeit at 1.2 GHz, whereas the Intel CPU can support 4 cores @ 3.6GHz. [more]


The short answer is, "I don't know".

64-bit Basics
Ok, so I'm not a computer scientist. I don't even have a computer science degree. However, I do have Google. And Wikipedia. And the rest of the Web. So, I've filtered through a variety of articles and selected the following to help inform me on the topic:



All of these articles are quite long, and I encourage you to read them if this subject interests you. Since I cannot precisely answer Damon's question, I'll try to summarize relevant information that I have gleaned from them about running a Java-based web application on a 64-bit JVM/OS. If you want details about any inferences, you should read the above articles, although I may end up quoting liberally here.

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Photography Club Exhibit Opening and Reception in Concord

First Parish of ConcordThis Sunday on April 22 the Photography Club at the First Parish of Concord will present its fifth annual Photography Club Exhibit. The public is welcome (and wanted) to attend... hey, that's what its all about. I joined the group in 2006, and I've been told that membership has swelled in the last couple years, and we're nearly 50 members.

Come join us for food and drinks this Sunday from 3 to 6pm while you wander the galleries throughout the First Parish, just off Concord Center. Concord Center is usually busy on weekends, and with the first burst of Spring's warmth expected for Sunday the place will probably be bustling. You can find a huge parking lot very near on Keyes Road just across from the Sally Ann Food Shop and behind the Bank of America.

Here's photos on Flickr geotagged for Concord. For my photos of Concord click here, or here on a map.

www.flickr.com

Our New Home and the Home Buying Experience

For several years now my wife and I have been researching towns of Eastern Massachusetts to find the best neighborhood to begin a family. In 2006 the real estate bubble in the Northeast finally began to deflate, and for the first time in a decade it became a real estate buyer's market. Coupling the favorable market conditions with regular seasonal lows, we felt the time was right and this winter our search intensified.

We considered factors such as the best schools, lowest crime, amount of open space, commuting distance, housing prices, and overall quality of life. Each year Boston Magazine publishes comprehensive spreadsheets which rank nearly 200 Massachusetts towns by more than 30 factors, including population, average house prices, percent change in prices, student spending, SAT scores, MCAS scores (Science/Math, English), crime rates, contamination, open space, disease rates, average age, and much more. Although this data is published in tabular format as a magazine insert, on some years Boston Magazine made the data available via Excel or CSV document download. We've kept some of these downloaded comparisons and found them to be very handy.

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Fake Miniature Photography with the Tilt-Shift Technique

I've recently discovered Tilt-shift photography. The original technique involves actual camera and lens manipulation. By tilting a lens attached to a camera by a bellow an effect is achieved where a narrow slice of the image is in focus, producing an artificially shallow depth of field which makes the image appear to be a miniature or scale model of the real thing. Tilt-shift photos are said to be "faked".

Its recently become popular to produce the same effect digitally using tools such as Photoshop, and Flickr has some excellent examples as well as tilt-shift pools for both "real" tilt-shift and digital tilt-shift. I'm just getting started with this technique by following some tutorials.

My own tip... When buildings in the scene rise above the surroundings, the default gradient selection will cause the lens blur effect to blur some parts of the building while other parts are in focus. A better result can be achieved by manually "painting" the selection when in Quick Mask mode so that all parts of a buildings or structures in the same plane are selected, then when the lens blur effect is applied the building will appear to pop out of the background better.

This is definitely a lot of fun, and its a great creative outlet in the winter if you haven't had the chance to get out do actual photography. Here's my tilt-shift set on Flickr.

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