Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back to Mac

After about 10 years away from Mac I finally have returned. I grew up with Macintosh and left after a horrible experience with Power Computing and OS8. Over my time away I've grown fairly used to Windows but quite a few events have taken place that have led to my Mac reunion. Firstly I've always secretly wanted to return to a Mac but the initial release of OS X was lack luster (and the OS9 backwards compatibility was a nighmare, my mother went through it). Then I had no desire to go back to Mac with the adoption of Intel, reference the time frame I left Mac the first time. The Intel switch seems to be stable and Leopard seems to have gone through a nice settling period as well so this seemed like a good time to make my move back home.

My second reason, Vista, aka windows biggest mistake since ME which was not even that long ago. Vista itself really is not enough to turn a person to Mac, XP is solid and supported and I am sure Windows will correct itself with the next major release. The unfortunate part of Vista was it did show me where Microsoft is heading with their OS and quite frankly I am unimpressed. Vista is a hog and if nothing else is trying to be more Mac like, it lacks innovation and MS looks to be moving towards a subscription model. I'm not saying Mac really impresses me as an OS but Apple is continuing to push innovation into their line of computers and OS.

Features that won me over:
  • Similarly spec'ed laptops in the Windows arena are as much or more
  • Spaces is cool and I think I will be more efficient in the longrun
  • I missed AppleScript and it can be very helpful
  • Expose looks like it will be nice
  • The multitouch track pad was attractive
  • Time machine looked impressive
Finally I'll admit its "the in thing." Anyone that knows me would know I am not generally in the "in" crowd so it shouldn't come as a a surprise that this was not a determining factor but it did add a sense of urgency to purchase it now. I planned to get one soon and was considerng waiting till June to see if they did anything like add BlueRay but after reading about the power cost of BR I figured it may not be worth it anyway.

After < 24 hours of use I have to say I am loving the multitouch mouse pad! On my previous HP I would use my pinky to hit that small little sliver on the right side of my mousepad to scroll up and down, and heaven forbid if I wanted to horizontally scroll. Bedlam would happen if I accidentally passed over the sacred scrolling area while just trying to move the mouse! The multitouch pad is nice and large and there is no sweet spot for scrolling, just use 2 fingers and pull/push, sorry for anyone out there that sawed off all but one finger. "Right Clicking" is easy as well with the 2 finger tap very easy and pretty intuitive. Most annoying thing so far is the lack of a delete key, well its called delete but it is a backspace to do a (windows) delete I have to do fn + delete.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Generally I keep my blog entries to technology, and rarely stray. Well today is one of those days where I am pissed off enough to post about something other than technology.

The Good
My Sony digital camera tumbled all the way down my roof and fell off to the concrete patio below and is working perfectly, after I glued the dial back on. I am amazed it is working great, zoom and everything. Kudos goes out to Sony on this one, when I saw it fly off the roof I thought for sure I was out a camera.

The Bad
So why in earth was my camera on the roof in the first place? Well we discovered we had a leak in the roof and when the roofer came to inspect it I wanted before and after pictures. The repair was to a flashing (I think thats the term) around a vent and was not too expensive $200.

The Ugly

Why did I want before and after pictures? Apparently this was never done correctly since our house was built by MI Homes 2+ years ago. And even though it just now was showing it has been leaking water for 2 solid years into our home. Upon further inspection we have at least a small amount of mold growing that is currently visible and from the looks of it we might find more. We'll know how ugly tomorrow when the drywall folks come out and repair/inspect.

So moral of the story, don't trust a builder and make sure to double check EVERYTHING. We checked everything but our ass of a Realtor did not recommend getting a home inspector, shame on us for not knowing better (we were first time home buyers too boot here). Overall I have been fairly dissatisfied with my purchase from MI Homes, some due to their incompetence and some due to my incompetence as to what to look for when a home is built (like doing their jobs properly and roofing correctly). There I finally posted a rant, its been a while.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Open BlueDragon Steering Committee

Alan Williamson introduced the Open BlueDragon Steering Committee today. As my previous posts may have given away I am honored to be among the likes of Sean, Matt, Mark, Mike and others on the Steering Committee. I feel like the small fish among the giants which is kind of cool since at work I am the Lead ColdFusion Architect. As I am quoted on Alan's blog entry I want to see CFML grow but I think it is important that we stay true to the spirit of the language. An additional focus area for me will definitely revolve around packaging and deploying Open BlueDragon. I feel that packaging an deployment is a 2 way stream, the community feedback on directions or tutorials is vital to the success of this project. Expect more, and better, tutorials in the upcoming weeks.

Like everyone involved in the Steering Committee if you ever would like to discuss Open BlueDragon feel free to email me at Also don't hesitate to hunt me down at cf.Objective() or cfUnited to speak your mind about the project. I've had the pleasure of talking to many of the Steering Committee members at conferences past and we are all very approachable, though apparently Mark Drew can be scary sometimes!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Why Adobe should LOVE Open BlueDragon

Friday I let the cat out of the bag about one of the cool features of Open BlueDragon, Sandbox Projects. Prior to this Jason Delmore had a very informative post explaining why ColdFusion is not free. Jason begins by stating ColdFusion is not a lot of things, failing to really tell us what ColdFusion is in any certain terms other than a platform that does not fit the mold of all the things it is not. He conceeds that ColdFusion the language is free, or rather agrees to call it free for the sake of conversation, "let's call this FREE." Jason then proceeds to describe a bunch of features that cost oodles of money if developers/organizations want to use these technologies. Adobe seems to be very enamored with creating the "ColdFusion platform," and why not its a great revenue machine. This is EXACTLY why they should love Open BlueDragon. Think about sandbox projects for a second. If the language itself is a small part if ColdFusion why bother maintaining it? Why not let the community support the language, while you (Adobe), and others, focus on the platform. If Adobe thinks their exchange integration is popular enough test the waters make an extension pack for Open BlueDragon and put a price tag on it, likewise for the ajax features (though I would love to see that one GPLv2 so it can come bundled). One thing I did not cover in my last entry is how you can even override default behaviors with Sandboxes. Thanks to this type of behavior Adobe could even offer their cfImage enhancements as an alternate package. The community would really prosper from this type of business model. CFML becomes a powerful community driven language by itself and the platform can be grown by multiple companies that add value to the platform (or language) through extensions (humm sounds like my favorite IDE!!).

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Going to cf.Objective()

I have been considering going to cf.Objective() for a while now, despite the fact that I would be paying for it myself. You see, I have been spoiled for years as my employer has paid, all expenses, for me to attend CFunited, including this year. Heck even in college I had a full ride between scholarships and tuition savings from relatives. The thought of paying for education was simply foreign to me. I was having a hard time justifying the cost (not so much of the conference but the flight, hotel, food, etc.), as I felt many of the topics revolved around things I was less than interested in or I already had experienced. Then the big news broke; Open BlueDragon will be released at cf.Objective. This pushed me back into looking at the topics and reconsidering. As I read more about the topics and thought more about them I began to realize my original thinking was...scary. I had begun to become complacent in my role and was not interested in looking "outside my box." Opening my eyes, and readjusting my attitude, I realized there was not a single session where I could learn something, share experiences with others after a session, or ask insightful questions during the session. I started looking at my budget and really considering going. Then Brian Meloche changed his topic a slight bit and Adobe announced their topics. After reading the descriptions I realized these sessions alone could be worth the price of admission. After that it was a week worth of getting over actually spending money to get educated, I know crazy . I am going!!

To lessen the mental anguish of spending money to get educated I've decided to make a vacation of it and my wife will be tagging along. We'll fly in Wednesday and leave Monday. This should give her plenty of time to shop without me and enough time to hang out together in the evenings and before the conference. Hotwire fetched us a great deal for the trip. Surprisingly it only ended up costing about $200 more to turn this into a vacation, when compared to my original budget that was not figuring Hotwire's sweet deal. If anyone has suggestions of must see's or must do's leave a comment! I'm really looking forward to the experience, I just wish some of my co-workers could come too.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I <3 Open BlueDragon

A couple times now I have see Vince, Alan, or others from the BlueDragon teams quoted as saying, "Don't you love being in control." I thought sure yeah its open source but I still have to either branch or wait for you to accept my contributes to make it in the distro. Well I am happy to make an exclusive announcement! Introducing.... Open BlueDragon Sandboxe Projects! Take from the Steering Committee's, draft, charter:

As part of the Open BlueDragon initiative, there will be a secondary code repository for projects that are not part of the core code base. This repository will be known as the project sandbox. Contributions to this area will extend the BlueDragon engine via the official plugin interface. This plugin interface facilitates deep integration into the core engine without necessitating any changes to the core code base.

This is THE most exciting news I have seen, and it gets better:
The plugin API makes it VERY EASY to hook Java code up to CFC's... [the] plugin makes it easy for you to create a tag that would then bridge Java Technology-with-CFML-through-CFC.
Say your enterprise wants to use Open BlueDragon but you heavily use cfgrid's AJAX functionality, nothing is stopping you from writing a jar and dropping it in your distro, its that simple! No branching or figuring out the engine, use the published API and presto, AWESOME! As an added bonus you can contribute it back and if it is popular and well written it may become part of the distro in the future. Alan has already talked about some fantastic Sandbox Projects that blog-city uses which I will let him brag about, and others have spoke of additional ideas as well.

I was excited about the open source initiative from the beginning but seeing this and learning more about it I am even more excited. Thanks to Alan and Andy and everyone over at New Atlanta for this contribution to the community. And a special thanks to Alan for giving me the go ahead to blog about this, I was so excited I just couldn't contain myself.