Friday, November 11, 2005

patenting common sense

Here is a great read on Internet News about Amazon being awarded three more patents for areas of their mega-site.

This really got me thinking about what people can patent.

Here's the short of it; If you have a "wouldn't it be cool if our app did this?" idea, think about whether others may be using it or not - then file a patent.

hoping to cash in

some may call it heartless...

I call it "strictly bizna$$"

I'm preparing to take delivery on my pre-ordered X-Box 360 within 10 days. I've been keeping a close eye on prices on ebay and they are finally starting to creep up there. The system - which I've paid $399 + tax for, is now grabbing almost $550 for a pre-order on ebay.

My hope is that I'll be able to capitalize big time on a lack of supply for the christmas demand.

I'll be picking up my new toy on Nov. 22 if all goes well. I'll then keep it in it's box and post it up on ebay the first month of December. I'm hoping to draw close to $800 for the system when it sells. I will also be offering a trade option - where I'd take a high end, used Digital SLR camera or a very used D1 camcorder. I would never buy these items myself due to the high price tags - but I would love to have them.

Ah.. and if things don't go well (i've heard rumors) - I may be pushed into the second wave of pre-orders that won't make it out until a December delivery - well that would just mean that the supply is even LESS than what I think it will already be and the demand even HIGHER, which all equals more benji's for me!

Here's a tip - you may want to do something similar for the PS3 coming out next year. I know I will be purchasing a few of those on pre-order.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

cf open source / free applications list

I know quite a few people that don't want to get involved with ColdFusion for their web work due to higher investment costs than languages such as PHP. Some say that the community isn't as active and that there aren't a lot of free resources out there. Well - here's a growing list I stumbled across.... enjoy.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

lock down

I've spent the majority of the weekend locked in my room, pounding out freelance work that I've been putting off. My hopes are that I'll have time to get all of it done and put the pictures up from the conference as well as talk a bit about my fav sessions. More to follow.

- not one to leave you hangin', I'll leave you with this recent birthday.

Happy B-Day email...

Friday, October 21, 2005

blogging big time

Very interesting read over at Internet News.

It's nice to see some numbers starting to come forth about just how many corporations are blogging. Personally - I feel it is one of the best way for knowledge sharing available.

back to the mitten

to quote a friend's lyrics - "back to the mitten, on a rickety bird"

I'm back in Michigan - and back at work!

The tour of Los Angeles by Night on Wednesday evening was fantastic. It started out by going to Universal Studios City Walk, then to Downtown Hollywood (Walk of Fame, Sunset Strip), Beverly Hills, Commerce City and then back to Anaheim. Very well worth the $49 price tag for 5 and a half hours of checking out some sights.

I made a ton of new friends at this year's conference and it was so nice seeing the friends that I've kept in touch with over the four years I've been going to the MM conference. I really look forward to good times with Adobe at the reigns and welcome the future with open arms.

I will be posting about the sessions that I attended that really hit home and what I learned, I will also get the pictures up over the weekend, for right now - it's back to work and trying to catch up on freelance that is past due.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

the tour

I'm officially done with the conference, but now I'm waiting in my hotel room to go on an evening tour of LA with VIP Tours. I'm pretty excited about it - as I'll get to see some great sightseeing attractions. I never made it to the ocean this week - which is just sad, but that's what happens when you don't get a rental car / have time to use one.

I'll post pics tomorrow and hopefully I'll have the slideshow up and working on the new site.

max: Day 3

Well - it's officially over. Another great conference has come to an end. I always get sentimental when it draws to a finish. You make so many great friends at these conferences and it's hard to say goodbye till next year.

I fly back to Michigan at Noon (cali time) tomorrow. I'll be arriving around 8pm. Looking forward to getting back to my normal crazy life. See you soon.

little bit of paradise

We had quite a good time last night at Disney's California Adventure. Macromedia's special event was another top notch show and a great chance to mingle amongst your peers, share a couple drinks and just have a great time.

You can expect many more pics once I get the slideshow up on my new site.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

where do I start?

View from the conference center balcony
what a day!

There is far too much content that I've taken in over the past two days to blog about in one post. I'm in between events right now. We had sessions from 8am - 5:30pm and then a Sneak Peeks session at 5:30 that ran until 7:00pm. I'm back in the hotel room right now, but only for a couple of minutes - because the first buses to Disneyland leave at 7:45. I'll probably head down around 8:00 or 8:15 to avoid the rush.

In a nutshell - today's sessions were split down the middle between ones I found useful and ones that I wish I hadn't went to... more on that later. In the meantime, here are some pics.
My view for the sneak peeks. Hopefully some of the screenshots that I got will turn out.
I'll post lots of pics up from the California Adventure once I get back this evening.

Monday, October 17, 2005

community visibility event

I just got back from the Sponsor's Reception / Community Visibility Event at MAX, which has us User Group Manager that were able to make the trip to MAX talking with attendees and letting them know about the User Group Community and how it can help. Macromedia gets people to talk to us about the User Groups by having us give away raffle tickets to people that ask us question or show an interest in the Community. Once we give out all the tickets, Macromedia raffles up a bunch of schwag and they even gave away a copy of Studio 8!! Below is a picture of people gathering around for the raffle.

Below is Ed Sullivan giving away some of the goodies.

Tonight is going to be a quiet one, in the room. I am going to try and get some of my review projects done and play around a bit more with Flex Builder 2 - which is proving to be very impressive.

let the fun begin

Well - it's day one here at the Macromedia Conference. I'm on the lunch break and thought that it would be the perfect time to blog, seeing as I just got out of the keynote session which was a great one!

The keynote started with a presentation from Ze Frank. It was hilarious and got things going. Ze was followed by Stephen Elop, CEO of Macromedia, who thanked all the people out there that have made Macromedia what is today and asked us all to stick around for the ride to come, assuring us that we wouldn't be disappointed. Kevin Lynch handled the majority of the keynote with help from other MM employees, including one that I had the pleasure of meeting on Saturday evening. After showing a bit of Flex Builder 2, which was announced in Alpha at the keynote, Bruce Chisen, CEO of Adobe Systems, closed out the session with a great pep-talk like presentation on how things will only get better in the future.

Macromedia announced Macromedia Labs, which is a freely open developer portal, used to deliver the very latest builds of upcoming products and other assets directly out to the public in the fastest means possible. This site is live as of today and YOU can grab Flex Builder 2 Alpha and start playing with it! Yes - Macromedia rocks!

Yesterday I enjoyed the Community College, where I got to mingle with fellow User Group Managers and finally put some faces to the names. Team Macromedia members and Macromedia employees were also there. After learning some about Flex Builder 2 and the Flash Platform, it was off to the conference reception. Following the reception, Macromedia put on a User Group Manager appreciation event at Dave and Busters! It was a blast. Do you remember the skit that Dave Chappelle / Charlie Murphy did about playing basketball with Prince? Well - a very similar thing happened when I decided to play Simon Horwith at pool.

More on sessions later... I gotta run.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

now raining

Ok, so the sunshine from this morning didn't stick around too long. It's now gloomy and raining. Proof that I've been working too much and not having fun. =)

sunday morning sunshine

Today is registration day at MAX. Registration starts at Noon. Community College begins at 1:45, that means I have some down time to get caught up on some work, begin putting my portfolio site into place, study a chapter or two and maybe even get in some "quality" time with the PSP.

I should get to work - lots to do before Noon.

the move proves to be a smart one

So - I went downstairs around 9pm - hoping to meet some MAX attendees and talk Macromedia, only to be swarmed by White Sox fans fresh from the game vs. the Angels.

I decided that I should go over to the "official" Macromedia MAX conference hotel - the Mariott, which is physically just across the street. Boy, was this a great decision.

I had very good conversations with many MAX attendees at "deGrees" and had a very great night talking with Sho, Art and Bill. Good stuff. This is what MAX is all about - getting to rub shoulders and share thoughts and a drink with peers in the industry.

Awesome time - fantastic conversations about Flex Builder 2.0, AJAX, CSS, Flash, and ColdFusion and there real world usage.

I can't wait till tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

welcome to MAX!

A very nice welcome. The convention center is a two minute walk from the Anaheim Hilton and Marriott. This is a big change from the last two years. Here's a pic of the welcome banners - ready for the attendees to start flooding in.

the challenge

Ok - so Starbucks is seriously going to make some cash from me this weekend. Here is my first, delicious White Chocolate Mocha, which I grabbed as soon as I arrived. Notice that they even put my name on it... oh yeah - they know how to suck you in.

One of the challenges that I have for myself while here at Macromedia MAX is to finish, or heck - even get started on my portfolio site. I've just purchased SlideShowPro and will use that within the site as it will save me a ton of work and the component is hot!

The second challenge is to write for another certification exam. I've brought along my CFMX study guide, but haven't yet decided if I'll write for that or for DWMX 2004. Either way - I should be hopped up on Starbucks for the entire trip - life is good.


I've arrived in Anaheim, just checked in at the Hilton and I'm running downstairs to grab a White Chocolate Mocha. Yes - there's a Starbucks in the hotel. Kevin - hurry up and buy stocks, I feel that they may be on the rise very soon. =)

Tonight I plan on preparing a bit for the conference, finishing off a couple of tech review for a couple upcoming Dreamweaver books and getting in some CF study time.

The flight was fine, hotel service has been great, bus ride here from LAX was a hoot. More to follow, with pics.

Let the fun begin.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

the best $20 you'll ever spend

Seriously. If you're looking for a way to present a slideshow of pictures - this is your best bet!

Several people that I know have used it for their portfolio sites - as the tool is extremely customizable and will save you tons of time in making a professional way to show your work.

Saved time = more time for gaming.

This one's a no-brainer!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

max 2005 sessions

Here are the sessions that I'm currently signed up for at MAX:

Mon - 8:00 AM
Flash 8 Professional Authoring for Mobile Developers

Mon - 9:15 AM
What's New in Flash 8

Mon - 1:30 PM
Advanced ColdFusion MX 7 Features Exposed

Tue - 8:00 AM
Art of Encoding Video

Tue - 9:15 AM
Flash Lite 2.0 Evolution

Tue - 2:45 PM
Object-Oriented ActionScript

Tue - 4:00 PM
Developing Hybrid Applications with ColdFusion and Java

Wed - 9:30 AM
Building Expressive Content with Next Generation Flash

Wed - 1:30 PM
Integrating ColdFusion with Flex

Wed - 2:45 PM
Flash on Every Screen

Saturday, October 01, 2005

october is...

Conference Central!

I'll be making the drive up to Toronto next weekend (Oct. 8th) for DesignFest. Should be a great time, hope to see some of you there.

The weekend after that I'll be making my first trip to California for the annual Macromedia conference, affectionately known as Macromedia MAX.

This will be my fourth year in a row and second year as a User Group Manager.

This year's conference is in Anaheim, CA and I can't help but be a bit geeked about finally getting to California.

Hope to do a bit of sight seeing while I'm there....

Just for a bit of history:

2002 - DevCon 2002 happened in Orlando, FL. It was the first time I'd ever been to Florida, the trip was awesome and the highlight was when my co-worker took me to Daytona Beach so that I could see the ocean for the first time. New food: Oysters & Crab. Favorite Quote from the trip: "Heidi is my favorite month!" Who was on the trip with me: Matt Smith. Met some great people who I've managed to stay in touch with over the years. Other memorable moments: trying to beat up Scooby Doo for dissin' me at Universal Studios, staying up late drinking with the ladies from NASA, front row seats to Elvis Costello that almost cost me my life - thanks Matt

2003 - Macromedia MAX took place in Salt Lake City, UT. The extreme opposite from the previous year as far as weather goes, but it was just as great of a trip. Highlight: Passing my Flash MX Developer certification after partying all night. New food: Buffalo. Favorite Quote from the trip: "it's called Burt's Tiki Lounge?" Who was on the trip with me: Bryan Springer & Adrian Pittman.

2004 - Macromedia MAX took place in the deep south, New Orleans, LA. What a trip! I'll always remember this one, because I was crazy enough to drive down there! I seen quite a few places while passing through and took lots of pics. Highlight: Riverboat Cruise on the Mighty Mississippi. New food: Alligator. Favorite Quote from the trip: "i'm lost, can you help me get back to the hotel?" Who was on the trip with me: Bryan Springer & Adrian Pittman.

2005 - only time will tell.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

doing the DEW

Pepsi is giving you the chance to be one of the lucky people to WIN an X-Box 360!

They are giving one away every 10 minutes!

What does that mean to me? Well - that I've been downing a lot of DEW lately as I try to help my friends win!

Why would I help my friends win and not myself? Simple - I've already pre-ordered my XB 360 through the local GameStop - so I'm "good to go!"

With the Platinum version of the system that I ordered, I also pre-ordered the following games:

FIFA 2006
Project Gotham Racing 3
Call Of Duty 2

I'm really looking forward to the release of this system.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Meet your Match: Macromedia Studio 8

With the upcoming launch of Macromedia Studio 8, they have designed this very cool site to show off some of the new Flash 8 features.

The new Dreamweaver and Fireworks programs have some great reasons to upgrade to the latest versions as well. With a pre-order upgrade price of $399, this is definitely on my wish list for the near future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Do you appreciate great architecture?

If you do, you will definitely want to pay a visit to Galinsky

They have a collection of some of the most beautiful modern buildings, as well as directions on how to experience them!

I found this link via as I was browsing for some tips.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

sometimes it's nice to start your day in a happy way

and what better way than the Great News Network!

All the good news, all the good time.

Are you fed up with Spam?

I bet you're not as fed up with it as my friend Matt St. Amand!

Check it out.

Great post, Matt. I couldn't agree more!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

the mac goes back

Just a mere 17 days after purchasing my new Mac Mini, I'm returning it today for several reasons, but the largest being that Apple has just upgraded what you get for $599!

Apple Store

You can now get built in wireless($130) and bluetooth($??) capabilities as well as double the RAM($80)!

On top of all that - I'll get the Tiger OS, which will save me another $130. That's a lot of savings!

CompUSA in Ann Arbor is still selling the old versions of the Mac, and they come loaded with Panther. Buyer beware - because Apple used to have a "Up-To-Date" program that would allow you to purchase an older system and then upgrade the version of the OS for $10 - $20, however that offer ended on July 22nd. I think it is completely horrible that CompUSA is still selling the old versions and that you can't upgrade the software at a discount. I plan on sending a message to CompUSA corporate and Apple regarding the situation.

Luckily - I am within the 21 day return policy. However, because I paid CASH - I get to wait 10 business days for CompUSA to get me a refund check.

-- update: I just got back from CompUSA and I got three different answers back from three different people regarding how quickly I would get my refund. The first said two weeks, the second said within 7 days, the third said four weeks. Let the waiting begin.

no cube talk!

I sit on the outskirts of a 70+ rep product support department. I'm used to working in an above average, noisy environment. I have a new pet peeve...

Why is it that people feel the need to converse (out loud) with a person that is two cubes away from them for long periods of time? I'm not talking about just a "hey, I need this..." or even a "hey, how's it going..." - I'm talking about

U1: hey, I think I drove by your house last night...
U2: yeah..
U1: there were no lights on...
U2: i was out...
U1: you're lawn is looking great though... what are you using to keep it so green? One time while applying weed and feed I felt really sick... it was weird.
U2: Yeah, I've worked really hard on it this year...
U1: - so how come you weren't home... were you out?
U1: How's your new (b/f : g/f)?
U2: Awesome... they are SO cool.
U1: Cool - I had (food) for dinner last night. It was yummy.
U1: I went to bed around 1am. How about you?
U2: I was up so late partying... heheh
U1: Sometimes when I go to bed I giggle.
U2: You're weird.
U1: Sometimes I don't.
U1: I like the color yellow and wish I lived in a little pink house.
U1: Did you like the song "Pink Houses" - isn't it cool?
U1: Oooh - I got a call. Hello, (company name) support, can I have your phone number starting with area code, please?
U2: Gotcha!
U1: Hahahah... I can't believe you got me... you're SO funny.
U2: Ha! I'm good.
U1: So - what are you doing tonight?

... and it goes on - and on- and on!!! It never frickin ends! I've grown used to most things in the corporate environment, but this one is really starting to get to me.

I know, I know - headphones, right? A programmer's best friend.

Well - I've tried it and it works for a while... but when I take them off - the convo is still going strong.

Maybe I'll introduce the newbs to the office instant messaging app - as it's such a nice low decibal solution. =)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Trimming the fat - Adobe Reader

This is an oldie but a goodie!

Shows you how to rename the plugins folder and then copy over only the basic ones needed. As the article states, you may need more depending on what you use Adobe Reader for and the type of PDF's you're working with - but this worked fine for me and it loads files so much faster!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Sure it's still a long way off ... but I found this interesting, so I thought I'd post about it.

While browsing on Pete Freitag's blog I found a link to this presentation on what to expect from the next version of the XHTML spec.

As I'm still working on getting the most out of XHTML + CSS in my sites this won't be of any particular use right now... but it's nice to see what lies ahead.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

more with Mini

When deciding to purchase the Mac Mini I wondered if I should get the faster version (1.42Ghz) for the boost in processing power. I've read that the slower model (1.25Ghz) has a faster spinning HD. 5400 rpm on the slower model vs. 4200 rpm on the faster model.

If you're thinking about purchasing one - my suggestion to you is to still go with the 1.42Ghz model. The reason? Simple - the HD size. The 1.25Ghz model comes with a 40GB drive. The 1.42Ghz model comes with an 80GB drive. The real difference comes when you start up your machine for the first time and notice that the OS and the installed Applications take up over 15GB of space!!

I would have been very disappointed to get home and find out that I only had 25GB left on the 1.25Ghz model.

Food for thought - if you're thinking about purchasing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

First Day with Mac Mini : Initial Thoughts

As I rushed home on Monday evening with the purchase of the Mac Mini under my belt, I knew that I had purchased it for a specific reason and that reason was testing. I also knew that it was now 6pm and I would still have to set the computer up in a given location and begin the daunting task of trying to learn how to use OS X. Part of me was excited. Another part was frightened and didn't feel like doing a ton of work to setup and start using a new system.

I sat the cubed box that the Mini comes in off to the side of my regular sitting area in the living room and unwound a bit with some dinner and television. After dinner I ran downstairs and grabbed a network cable so that I could connect the new system to my router and configure it to use the internet. I hesitated slightly as I went to grab my Dell Flat Panel monitor from my parents room, just "knowing" that it would probably be a beast to get it working with the new Mac. I collected all the items I needed and gathered them around my recliner, opened two TV tables, one for my laptop PC and one for the shiny new Mac. It was time, and I was ready.

I reached for the Mac Mini box as eagerly as if it was christmas in July. As I opened it - the first thing I noticed was a very well designed box about the size of a CD case embossed in foam protection. The silver box with white Apple logo caught my eye right away and as I opened it I found that it contained all the software installation CD's for the operating system and applications that were loaded. "Very nice", I thought. I lifted the first layer of foam (in which the CD's were held) and there was the Mac Mini safely surrounded by another layer of foam protection. As I pulled it out I noticed that it also had a thin layer of plastic protection on the actual unit which I removed slowly and it revealed a pristine little machine. I could help but notice how well made this little computer seemed to be made. It weighed in at 2.9lbs, but was built like a rock. No rattling of moving components inside, just "strong". I looked back in the cubed box hoping that there was more for me to find, and there was! Under the layer of foam protection that held the Mini was yet another encasing that held the power supply and cabling as well as the DVI -> VGA adapter. "This is slick packaging", I thought again. You have to understand, I've bought many brand new computers and NOTHING even compares to the presentation quality that Apple put into the packaging of this system. It was impressive. Impressive enough that I'm writing about it! I wondered if as much time had been put into the keyboard packaging and design. It had. The Apple keyboard was also protected by foam on the two edges (not a big deal as most keyboards are), but also had the thin layer of plastic protection right on the hardware that needed to be peeled off revealing another perfectly crafted item. The keyboard is USB and had a nice plastic USB cover that protected the end of the cable from dust, etc. Again - these little things impressed me quite a bit. But there was more to come...

After unpacking the Mac Mini, I couldn't help but think about all the times that I'd heard the saying "it just works" when referring to Apple products. I quickly found the DVI -> VGA adapter and took a look at it. It was designed very well and simply instered into the DVI slot on the back of the Mini. It has nobs on the side that allow you to screw it down tight - these nobs are built right into the adapter and aren't like the kind that you'd find on PC adapters - yes the one's that end up getting stuck or unscrewing nuts from within your PCI / AGP cards because the threads seem to have seized somehow and the adapter is now part of the card. Anyone who's worked with computers a bit will know what I'm talking about. This was very cleverly and carefully designed on the side of the adaptor and designed to be extremely easy to use. I plugged the monitor cable into the DVI adaptor. I hooked up the PC based USB mouse and the new Apple keyboard. I plugged in the network cable too my router and found the power cable for the Mac Mini and plugged that in. Crossed my fingers and turned it on.

OS X welcomed me with open arms as the machine started with a wizard that walked me through registering for a new Apple account. No need to configure a network card - all was setup and working, it had already grabbed an address from my DHCP server and had already communicated information to Apple. Registration was a breeze and within 5 minutes I was greeted with the OS X desktop. "that's it?" - I was shocked at how easy it was to setup and the presentation of all the components. Basically Apple did a good job because they made it extremely easy for anyone to pop out a new system and get up and working with it in no time.

Now that the machine was working - I needed to get to work and complete some of the testing that had to do. But wait - I didn't even know how to install software on a Mac or launch an application. Good thing that the OS X interface is also VERY intuitive. Browsing around a little had me locate "Finder" - which when clicked on listed my home directories and Applications and much, much more. This was a good start. I then located System Preferences, from which I could configure certain parts of the system. Safari caught my eye - so I launched it. BAM - browsing the net I downloaded an application called TextWrangler which is a powerful text editor that I needed to install for my testing. To my surprise, once the download was done a window popped up telling me to drag an icon into my applications folder ( I knew where this was now.. .) and it would install the app, and it did. It mounted as a drive to my system and installed the software from there. Once finished with the installation, you can just eject the mount and move on. Again - the system just kept impressing me. I think some folks may be a bit shy when they find out that the OS X backend is Unix, but don't be... things couldn't be easier. What's nice about it - is that if you do have 'nix knowledge, you'll be able to use it in this new found land! I was able to find "terminal" and I felt right at home. It's like having a linux box with the world's best GUI. It was good - and I was happy.

I did quite a bit that night - found out how to work with Apache (preloaded) and upgrade the version of PHP that comes with OS X. Worked within, and installed applications. Browsed the web and setup email. Changed System Preferences and learned quite a bit about the desktop layout. This was all accomplished in a period of four hours.

Overall - my initial thoughts are very good when it comes to the Mac Mini, Apple and OS X. They've really managed to impress the heck out of me and who knows - if I grow to like it even more - there may just be a G5 in my future.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

nadon goes mac

I made the leap yesterday, and have started an adventure in a new world called Macintosh.

I purchased a Mac Mini.

Weighing in at 2.9 lbs and costing me $680 ($599 for the Mac Mini and $30 for the keyboard) I figured that this was the perfect way to introduce myself to the world of OS X, while also filling a need I had for testing software on Mac.

I purchased from CompUSA in Ann Arbor. The experience was a good one, as there was an Apple Store rep there at CompUSA who was more than happy to take some time and answer any questions that I had. Some of those questions:

q: Can I use a VGA monitor?
a: YES! The Mac Mini comes with a DVI -> VGA adapter that allows PC users who already have a monitor available to them to connect that up to their Mac.

q: Do I have to buy a special keyboard and mouse?
a: NO. You can use any USB keyboard / mouse with the Mac. Even a two button w/ scroll mouse works just fine. If you buy the Apple keyboard you'll notice that it comes with an extra USB port on it, so you could just plug your mouse into that and that way you would have one USB port free on the Mini.

q: What about speakers?
a: The Mac Mini has a regular headphone jack that you can use with external speakers or with headphones. I also found out that it has a built in speaker as well.

q: I do quite a bit of media production. Creating music / movies on the PC using Sony's Vegas Video and Acid Pro 4.0. Is there similar software for the Mac?
a: YES. Mac is made for media production. The Mac Mini even comes with some software that will help you get started like iPhoto, GarageBand, iTunes, iDVD, and iMovie - which are all part of the iLife Suite.

q: Will Mac Mini be able to handle the heavy processor load for music / video creation and editing?
a: KINDA. Mac Mini was made to accomplish exactly what it did with me - get a PC user to check out the "other side" of the playground. It's not a "power" machine by any means. It has a laptop processor and comes with 256 MB ram installed. (can be upgraded very easily to 1GB for $114 through Crucial - thanks for the tip Kevin!) When doing music creation in GarageBand, for instance, you may notice a difference in speed if you're working with anything over 5 tracks. Also - although iLife comes with iDVD, you won't be able to burn DVD's unless you add in the Apple SuperDrive to the Mac Mini. These points didn't sway my decision too much as part of the goal of purchasing the Mac is to check out the software - and if I like it, upgrade to a G5 system later this year.

q: Networking? Does it support it?
a: YES. Mac Mini comes with a built in 10/100 network card, so you can just plug it into your hub/router and you're ready to go! You can also get the optional AirPort Express to give you wireless freedom.

q: Warranty?
a: 90 days - full. 1 year limited, with the option to buy Apple Care Protection for an additional $150.

q: Will it make me cool?
a: YES. As soon as you make the purchase you'll notice that people, starting with the clerk, will start treating you different. It will have nothing to do with you just spending $680. You'll have entered a secret club and should get your handbook with special Mac slang cheat sheets and instructions on how to do the Mac Mini handshake within a couple of weeks.

I think if I had signed up for Apple Care, they would have thrown in a decoder ring and lapel pin... but oh well.

With these questions answered I was prepared to make the leap... and I did.

Next post: First look and initial thoughts...

Monday, July 11, 2005

closer to the dark side...

I've been tossing around the idea of getting a Mac for quite a while now. Recently I have contracted for a project that will allow me to purchase it. Now it's time to figure out which kind to get and how heavily to invest my time in learning the OS. I'm familiar with Linux, so I'm assuming it won't be a huge leap to get things up and working but only time will tell.

At this point I'm thinking about picking up a MiniMac to "test the waters" and if I fall in love may purchase a laptop later this year.

The initial use of the Mac would be for testing purposes of a new beta product as well as setting up Apache / PHP for testing. I'm figuring that this may also become the computer that I'm able to record my music on... filling a double purpose.

Check out the system that I'm looking at here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Having a GIANT in your corner

I swear - I really dig Mark Cuban and what he stands for...

Been reading the Grokster news lately and came across this article on and think that it's great that Mark will help this company out in the upcoming Supreme Court fight.

Most of the statements that he says are right on about the death of innovation due to companies like the RIAA or MGM just using all their resources to crush everyone cause nobody in the world has the wealth to be able to afford to stand up to them and fight a fair fight.

Other courts have already came to the conclusion that the companies that make the P2P software should not be held responsible for what people trade over them and now maybe this company will be able to stand and fight a bit longer.

Success = Hard Work and Determination

I've been reading quite a bit lately (actually - when don't I?) about being successful in business and I came across two very inspiring stories.

The first is a blog post from Mark Cuban, talking about how in business you only have to be successful once and that's reason enough to never give up trying. You can read it here.

The second is from Jeffrey Fox's book, "How To Make Big Money In Your Own Small Business", and talks about how some people think that success or being great at something always looks like it comes easy to that person. In particular Jeffrey talks about the baseball superstar, Ted Williams and how he was asked

"how come hitting a baseball came so easily to him. 'Simple,' answered Ted Williams. 'I take a thousand swings a day.' Ted Williams went to batting practice, to the locker room, to his kitchen, to his bedroom swinging real and imaginary bats. He took 1,000 swings a day. Ted's 1000 swings were probably 900 swings more than anyone else. And 1,000 swings a day is why hitting "came easy" to the great Ted Williams."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Installing Fusebox 3 Apps with CFMX7

Just a note, in case you are installing Fusebox 3 apps on a CFMX 7 server, you may need to edit the index.cfm file to change the variables.fuseboxVersion which is set to check if it is less than 700, to less than 800. This has been addressed in the Fusebox 3 core files by basically checking to see if it's version 4.0 (lt 450) or 4.5 (lt 500) and if not it forces the use of the latest core files for FB3 which would be fbx_fusebox30_cf50.cfm. (fbx_fusebox30_cf50_nix.cfm if using a Linux based system)

I found this out when I was trying to get the Wireframe Viewer/Editor ver. 3.9992 beta installed and all I would get was a blank screen when I brought up the index.cfm file.

Oh and while I'm speaking of it, the Wireframe Viewer/Editor can be found here and pretty much rocks my world. It can be used while sitting with a client to wireframe a site and gives the client the actual "click through" that some like to see. It will also help in a big way as you'll be able to layout the entire site with pages that should be included and the entry and exit points for each page - allowing you to give a certain level of sign off on what the client really wants right from the start!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Office 12 and XML Standards?!

There's a whole heap of stuff going on in the industry these days. Apple computers getting Intel chips, Adobe and Macromedia kissing, making up and proposing marriage.... and then I stumbled across an article about the next version of Microsoft Office that will use XML as the default standard for document formats.

You can read more about views on this here.

I love that MS is calling it "Microsoft Office XML Open Format"

I want my...
I want my...
I want my MOXOF please....

I'll be interested to see what other open formats they'll claim and then tack the M$ name on.

They'll probably start a new community - the Microsoft Open Source Community. Membership will only cost $129 and you'll get a *free* copy of XP!

Sarcastic comments aside, I am excited to see this happening as I'll be able to leverage content created with MS software much easier.

If you're interested in getting news regarding the next version of Office as it comes available, you can sign up here.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

NADONweb: A new home

I've recently moved NADONweb over to a new web host. I'm excited about this as I'll actually be able to get some work done on it now. The new host has CF7 installed - so expect to see a bunch of the new ColdFusion features in use.

I'll also be posting more about the FLiP process as I prepare to get this site up and running.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Walmart adds custom CD service added a custom CD service which allows you to build your own custom CD from over 400,000 songs. This is not a new idea. Other sites have been doing this for a long time, but this is the first time I've seen a major chain pick up the idea. The process seems to be pretty tight but there were a couple of interesting things that I found while browsing it. First - the top 100 songs seem to have repeated titles in it... that's kind of sloppy. Next - this may be a cheaper way to grab an artists album rather than purchasing it, especially if the album has less than 11 tracks. Walmart charges $4.62 for the first three tracks and an additional 88 cents per track from there on. An eleven track CD will cost you $11.66, this is sometimes much less than the full CD from an artist, of course you won't get the artwork or the pride of displaying the CD in your 1,000 CD rack. =)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

More thoughts on the merger

I recently posted this message to our local Macromedia User Group, which I manage.

I've had some time to let the purchase sink in a bit. I spent the majority of yesterday evening going over all of the User Group Managers and Macromedia employee thoughts on the merger.

Overall - I'm taking a positive light on the change. This will expand the software offerings that are covered by our User Group and will allow some of the Macromedia products to be given more resources and make them even better than they already are now.

I'm keeping my eye on any changes that will happen with the User Group community - and I'm thinking it will only be good news. As of right now, and at least till end of year - we'll still be Macromedia focused and cover Macromedia focused topics at the meetings. If things change you'll all be the first to know.

If you haven't had a chance to read them yet, I'll point you to three blog entries that give me a better feel of what may happen in the near future as we progress.

Ben Forta - CF Evangelist

Kevin Lynch - Chief Software Architect (Macromedia)

Mike Chambers - CF / Flash Developer Relations / Product Manager (Macromedia)

Here is also an interesting article about Adobe GoLive vs. Dreamweaver - the reason I post this is because it's my belief that you can pretty much expect the best of both of these products in the next version that Adobe will release. Now that's good news!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Have you seen my Cheese?

Well - I walked in to work today excited about the opportunities that lie ahead of me... and then caught the glance of an email that chilled me to the bone. "Adobe to aquire Macromedia..."

Can this be true?

Yes - it is true, and all the blogging community has already blogged the heck out of it.

Is it a good thing? I believe it will be great for the server product line. I believe that Flash and Dreamweaver will flourish in the environment and I believe that Freehand and Fireworks may have something to worry about.

Adobe is really the expert when it comes to video - and that's been an area that Macromedia has been making great strides in. Adobe's focus has not been video for the web, where as MM's focus has been just that and great experiences for mobile computing and the internet in general. I think the merger of these two powerhouses will have them dominating the video market on the web and off.

The tight ties with Apple will also make it very interesting for developing true cross-platform integration and abilities.

All in all - I was shocked by the announcement - but as it settles in I'm anxious to see what will come next.

The Macromedia Community is so loyal that I'm sure this change won't affect much.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Google Video

Google has started a beta for their new Video service.

Stumbled across this article via Slashdot.

Using SKYPE as a Media Production Tool

Stumbled across this very interesting article via Damien Stolarz's blog. I think I may try to use this for the Indie Sessions site.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Errors when trying to load XML w/ Flash

Usually this is an easy fix and the issue points to the cross-domain security where the player sandbox will not allow you to load data from another domain. The usual workarounds are listed here.

However today I ran across an issue where a person was still getting errors when the cross-domain policies were in place. The issue actually turned out to be related to SSL.

"I think we finally found out the issue. In test we use ssl but the prod names don't match up with our certificates, so you just have to click yes to continue and this has never caused us a problem in the past; however flash seems to care about the certificate not being valid for the hostname. We tried with actual production names that matched the certificate and it worked."

Just another gotcha to watch out for...


I will be attending the Spring (BR) Conference in Athens, Ohio next month. Come on out and say hi! Details below.


Join us in the Baker University Center on the beautiful campus of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio for our Spring
2005 Info Tech Conference! As always, this is shaping up to be a top flight conference, with industry heavy weights participating.

This event is presented by the Southeast Ohio Macromedia User Group [SEOMUG] in partnership with the Information Technology Alliance of Appalachian Ohio [ITAAO] and we are sponsored by the Ohio University Computer Services Center [CSC], Ohio University's Center for Innovations in Technology for Learning [CITL] and Macromedia, Inc. [MM]

Some of the names you might recognize that will be here include: Dave Gruber, Senior Product Manager for Macromedia, Phillip Kerman, Joe Lowery, Nate Weiss, Neil Ross, John Cummings, Keith Instone, and more! Also, we have special guest author, radio host and star of G4TechTV's "Call For Help", Leo Laporte in our special Lunchtime Presentation presented by Que and Sams Publishing.

The conference is a day packed full of information and demonstrations, and an opportunity to meet and network with other web technology professionals and gurus. There is only a nominal $25 charge to attend this event, (which includes your lunch and the special Lunchtime presentation). Student admission is only $15 with lunch, or $5 without lunch. There will be many valuable prizes awarded to attendees, and you must be present at the time of the drawings in order to win!

If you have any questions regarding the conference, parking, directions or accommodations, please feel free to call the Ohio University Computer Services Frontline at (740)597-8000 for assistance.

More Info and to Register Online:

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Powered By Detroit - Session Recap - Day One

On Friday evening I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the speaker's dinner for Powered By Detroit. It was a great evening, fantastic food and even better conversation with some of the most respected experts in the industry.

I found myself enjoying my meal with Danilo Celic , Lawrence Cramer , Angela Buraglia and Dan Short

The highlight of the dinner had to be my UG's unofficial co-manager, Kevin Phillips, explaining his latest project to the group. Of course, I twisted his arm to tell the others about it - but the entire table thought it was a very unique and interesting idea.

I ran into many other friends at the dinner too and got to briefly talk with Greg Rewis about his new phone and some of the fantastic Flash Apps that people are developing for mobile devices.

What a way to kick off a conference - I was geeked for the first day to arrive and sure 'nuff, it did.

The first session I attended was "CFC Crash Course - An Introduction to CF Components" given by Doug Hughes. It was a packed session with something for everyone from beginner to intermediate levels. I've used CFC's in my development in the past, but this session made beginner OOP concepts a bit clearer to me and will help me change the way I layout applications in the future. Great job Doug!

The second session I attended was Jason Michael Perry's - "Developing Rich Internet Applications with Flash Remoting" This session focused on using the Flash Remoting Connector to get data in and bound to components and to tell you the truth - I've always used actionscript to do this - but I think I may just try the connector to see if it can save me some time.

My third session was Matt Woodward's - "Flex your ColdFusion Muscles" which gave a quick view of just how easy Flex can be used as your rich experience interface to existing complex web applications.

The conference lunch was awesome. Seriously - it was buffet style, but the food was great!

Following lunch Greg Rewis gave a very energetic keynote presentation on "Rich Internet Experience" that was well received by all attendees. We even got some sneak peeks at what may be available in the next version of the Flash Player - in a word - "hot!"

After the keynote I attended Jeff Houser's - "Creating Flash Sound", which was a refreshing session that focused much more on how developer's can create their own sound effects and the best way to get them into Flash. There is definitely a place for this kind of session at these conferences - as many people I know focus way too much on grabbing free, lack luster sounds for their applications - when they could be making their own, higher quality sounds/music using programs such as Sound Forge / ACID.

I closed out the first day with Danilo Celic's - "sIFR: Flashy Fonts for the Web" which was fantastic because it allowed me to get an understanding of sIFR and how I could implement it on client sites to add a great feel of uniqueness to sites. Danilo is very cool and a great speaker, he explains things well and makes it look easy. Top notch!

After closing first day comments from Cornel, it was back home to Windsor and a quiet evening at home, testing out some of the many things I learned that day.

Day one grade - A+

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Powered By Detroit - Day Two

Well, it's the second and final day of what's been a great conference! Cornel Ivanescu has done an absolutely amazing job of attracting the best speakers and making this year's conference a smash hit. Ben Forta was introduced in a Hummer that was pushed from behind by the User Group Managers! What a way to start a keynote presentation!

I'll post more tonight about specific information about the sessions - but I gotta run, I was able to use my USB data cable to get this one post off - more later.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Dynamic Banner

I was asked to create a dynamic flash banner for our corporate website a little while back by our Marketing department. They were looking for something similar to this:


They wanted to be able to put an undefined number of swf movies into a folder and have the Flash file automatically generate the navigation and play the files. I accomplished this by calling out to an ASP script - which retrieved a count of files in the directory and then passed it back to Flash to build the navigation.

Since the SWF files that would be played are always going to be named 1.swf, 2.swf, etc. - we ran into a caching issue in certain browsers. I ran across this great technote that shows how to stop the browsers from caching your swf files.

Stop caching of SWFs

I'll be posting my code for the banner once I get NADONweb up and running.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Howie Day Media Player

Here's a very nice example of a Media Player. If you know who built this, I'd love to know - they did a very nice job of making a slick, simple player with a friendly interface.

Howie Day Media Player

You can even watch the video for "Collide"

Monday, April 04, 2005

Just sad...

This morning I looked down at my odometer and it read 127001 and I said "hey! localhost!"

For punishment, I stopped at Starbucks to solidify the fact that I am a geek.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Online CF User Group

Need to get your CFUG fix online?

Mr. Erat has you covered!

Online CFUG at meets on the 2nd thursday of each month.

Check it out.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Top Ten Reasons To Make It to Powered By Detroit

Registration for Powered By Detroit is well under way and just in case you need some last minute reasons to get your employer to pay your way I thought I'd offer up this list.

Top Ten Reasons why I think a company that uses Flash and/or ColdFusion should have representation at the Powered By Detroit Conference:

10. Unique Conference
9. Three learning tracks
8. Speaker List
7. ColdFusion MX 7
6. Detroit, MI
5. Certification Discounts
4. "Finger on the pulse" of Flash
3. Price / Value
2. Excitement
1. Interaction with true peers!

10. Unique Conference

Powered by Detroit offers up a unique experience to learn about the latest features in Flash and ColdFusion. It goes further by also offering a chance to see how the integration between these two products can deliver rich internet experiences. While most conferences focus on one product area, with light content on how to integrate with other products, this one delivers something for both the Flash developer and ColdFusion developer in each session!

9. Three Learning Tracks

Choose your sessions from three great learning tracks.

Foundations - focuses on core web technologies that include some introductory sessions.
Design - Best practices, design along with project management and site migration sessions. Server-Side - CFC's, Flash Remoting, Flex and CF 7 are just some of the session topics.

8. Speaker List

Powered by Detroit has managed to secure a speaker list that has some of the top names in the industry today. I've attended the annual Macromedia Users Conference (DEVCON, MAX) for the past three years in a row, many of the speakers at Powered By Detroit have delivered sessions at the annual Users Conference as well as other large conferences. A+ on aquiring such a great range of talent and some of the most respected people in the Flash and ColdFusion communities.

View the Speaker List

7. ColdFusion MX 7

The server product and backbone of Macromedia's offerings. With this latest release, Macromedia has shown without a doubt, that ColdFusion MX is the best platform for delivering enterprise applications quickly and easily. There are several sessions covering the new features, such as the extremely well accepted Flash Forms and how to leverage FLEX to design RIA's using ColdFusion as the backend.

6. Detroit, MI

A midwestern conference just outside of D-Town! Lots to do, lots to see, heck you can even take a short trip across the border to Canada and make fun of those canucks.

5. Certifications

Macromedia Certification Exams are offered at a discount at the conference.

4. "Finger on the pulse" of Flash

The Macromedia Flash application is going to be changing over the next year, the conference gives you the chance to talk with your peers about current projects you may be working on or future projects that you may have in mind. Learn about Flash Remoting, Flash Communication Server and how you can leverage the power of CF to deliver data connected applications.

3. Price / Value

The conference cost $349 for two days. This is a great value for the amount of information that will be covered and the training that is recieved.

2. Excitement

With the recent release of ColdFusion and a new release of Flash in the works, now is a great time to be working with these two products. There are so many things to learn and experiences to share that this conference is sure to be filled with energy!

1. Interaction with peers!

This has to be the number one reason I would suggest attendance at Powered by Detroit. The chance to talk to, and exchange ideas with others who are doing the exact same job that we are doing is priceless. I've been to conferences / training where there is some people in attendance who may do similar functions as my position, but this is a chance to get face-to-face with 300+ people who are doing extremely similar job functions. It serves as an excellent resource for new ideas as well as building friendships and networking with peers. There have been many times that I have sent an email to a contact that I met at a past conference to ask for advice or to see how they had implemented something in their company and it has saved me time and/or headaches. Come out to Powered by Detroit and do a little networking!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

mobile heaven : USB data cable

Ok, so maybe I've been living under a rock for the past while, but I've just recently picked up a USB data cable for my cell phone. This little beauty allows me to connect it via USB to my laptop computer and then use my Sprint PCS Vision package web connectivity via a Sprint software app to give me a connection to the internet. That's right - I can browse the net on my laptop anywhere that I can get a Sprint PCS signal. This is hot! I was stuck in traffic the other day, was able to hop on my laptop, connect the phone, connect to the net and find an alternate route which saved me not only time, but my sanity as well.

Of course, you shouldn't take advantage of this back door option for downloading large files as Sprint's policy says that it can close your account etc. But I do enjoy having the option and flexibility of actually using my web functions on my phone... seeing as I would never browse the web using my phone browser.

You can grab the cable here.

Friday, March 25, 2005

NADONweb: FLiP Step One

As I've been reading many of the articles on the fusebox site, I find myself getting more and more excited about adopting the FLiP -side of doing things! The more I read about it, the more it makes sense.

The first step in FLiP is: Personas and Goals

After reading the description and finding out that this first step is to get you to create the typical users of your application, I've decided to do just that. These "users" are your make believe testers and will help you decide what your application will be used to accomplish. The goal of step one is to come up with these "users" and then come up with the goals that each would need to accomplish when using your software. It's easy to see how the application can be built much better by using this goal-oriented approach instead of basing the design on application features. The features will come later, but at this point, it seems most important for me to know who is going to come to NADONweb and what they'll need to accomplish when there. Designing the system this way will make things much easier in the long run and allow me to make sure that the true purpose of the site is met, for all visitors.

'Nuff about that. Here are the three personas I have created. I haven't gone into great detail yet about their exact stats or personalities, but I'm sure that will come as they grow and show me what they need from my site.

The IT Director -
John Myer - that's his name. He's been an IT Director for approximately 3 yrs, worked his way up through the ranks and is now looking for talent, that's of course, why he came to my site.

The Friend -
Phil DeLove - Phil loves to browse the site often and check for recent updates. He's downloaded everyone of my songs, read every article I've written and loves giving feedback and feeling involved.

The Browser -
Justin Browsing - you guessed it, he's the occasional browser that might link from Google, or happen to fumble across the site.

I'm going to start with these three personas and now I'll add goals for each. See you in a few.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

NADONweb: FLiP steps

I should first break down the steps of Fusebox Lifecycle Process : FLiP

I plan to use this to build NADONweb and make sure that it fits all that I want it to be.

Steps as found on the Fusebox site:

1. Personas and Goals
2. Wireframe
3. Prototype / Front-End Development
4. Application Architecture
5. FuseCoding
6. Unit Testing
7. Application Integration
8. Deployment

Launching NADONweb

so.. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that I need to get a site up where I can have my portfolio of work. A place to call my own and list accomplishments, milestones and centralize some of the many things I like to call "hobbies"

The idea of NADONweb came to fruition about two weeks ago and I setup my home network to prepare for the launch of the new site. I grabbed all the domains that I could and I'm now ready to go. I sat down and thought about the design of the site and that's pretty much where I stopped.

I had the idea that it may be good to learn something new while putting this 'portfolio' site together. That "something new" is Fusebox and FLiP (Fusebox Lifecycle Process)

I'm going to post all that is the launch of NADONweb here, to document the thinking process and maybe help a few others out there grasp the processes and why they can be so good at helping us organize not only our thoughts but what to do next, our to do list.

I've read up quite a bit on Fusebox and FLiP, but I've never taken the time to use it on a project and NADONweb is the perfect place to test drive it. I'm hoping that I'll then be able to do the same for my other projects - such as Indie Sessions.

I'm starting with FLiP, since it is the methodology that can be followed when designing a Fusebox application. The nice thing about FLiP is that it can be used even if your designing a non-Fusebox application. I know that the lessons I take from FLiP will be of benefit to me in other areas - so I greet it with open arms.

Here is where I've started:

I've printed out the steps and I'm now working on Personas.

This should be an interesting project because I'm the client, the user, the project manager, the designer and the developer. I've got lots of roles to play... so here we go.