Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 8:32:07 PM by Bill
I don't know about you, but I am not going to be installing SP2 on any of my computers until I hear about other people's experience first. Yeah, call me a coward if you must, but I just don't want to be the guy who helps fix MS' bugs by identifying them the hard way. Have any of you installed it, and if so, what has been your experience?
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 8:02:03 PM by Bill
So I finally found a few minutes to create my first blog entry and... I'm stumped. It's funny, because sometimes when you're busy working on a client's site you think of what else you could be doing. When you're doing the dishes, you think of things you'd rather be doing. Much of my time is spent thinking of things that I could be doing if I wasn't busy doing whatever it is I'm presently doing. Sheesh.
Ah- here's an interesting thing - to me, anyway - that happened today. At my day job, my department upgraded our computers from G3's to G5's. They decided to raffle off the G3's and I ended up with one. I decided long ago that I was a PC guy, not a Mac guy. I've always bought PC's for home use. I won't touch on any of the political reasons for that decision as that's a huge debate I'm not prepared to defend myself on. But you know what? I picked up that Mac, and it was just so darned cute I couldn't put it down. It was like a stray dog that had no home and looked up at me as if to say "Hey, I'm not so bad. I'll be loyal and never show you my Sad Mac face..."
So now I'm the proud owner of a Mac. I'll probably only use it to test my sites on Mac-specific browsers, but it's good to know it's there if I decide to change affiliations all of a sudden. There's no room for it in the office, so I'll probably throw a wireless PCI card in it and put it in the dining room.
It's amazing what I consider proper fodder for a blog.
Category tags: Blogs and Blogging
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 6:46:19 PM by Laurie
Pretty much anything you want to find can be found on this thing known as the Internet, from the obscure to the ridiculous. Trying to think of the name of a certain song, and it's right on the tip of your tongue, but you just can't remember and it's driving you nuts? Hit the search engines, you're bound to find the answer. Heard about an interesting idea and you'd like to know more? Search engines to the rescue. Looking for the best price on that sexy new iPod you're craving? Pricegrabber.com will do the research for you. Have the urge for some sun and sand, but a limited budget? Don't fret, expedia.com has you covered.
More and more I find myself turning to the net....perhaps the next thing I should search for is a support group for internet addictions. I'm sure they have an online group.....right? ;-)
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 5:30:39 PM by Kim
I've had the normal geek-lust for an iPod for some time now, but yesterday I took the first step in my campaign to get The Wife to buy one for me as a birthday present. I sent her a link to the Apple Store and we had a short discussion on the subject last night.
Me: "Please please please please please please please please please please please pretty please."
Wife: "$300 bucks? Are you nuts?! Oh wait, here's a chair I want and it's only $1,200! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!"
OK, that didn't go well, but I intend to persist.
My birthday comes at an inconvenient time for the budget planning of a teacher. Our somewhat weird pay schedule divides our annual salary into 24 payments. Normal right? But, we get three of those at the end of June, and those funds have to be stretched to the next paycheck, which doesn't come until August 31st. Those are a long two months, and having your birthday at the end of that time (and when you're right at the end of the available funds) means the presents tend to be on the modest and practical side. So, hey, that's the way it is. I'm a big boy right? (sniff)
But this year I have a new job in the central office and I got a paycheck today! Whoopee!
Me: "Hey, maybe I can ask The Wife for an iPod as a birthday present? Yeah, an iPod. That's the ticket."
So, the campaign has been launched and I intend to be steadfast and resolute. Clearly though, what I'm after here is an indulgence. With any luck I may be granted my boon. I just need to appeal to a higher power.
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 3:37:37 PM by Ray
It is getting ready to storm here... bad. Two storms are converging on Florida, and that pretty much assures that at least one of them will hit Orlando. We are expecting pretty bad winds and lots of rain starting tomorrow. The power grids around here are pretty much held together with scotch tape, so it should be fun.
I have spent the day backing up my backups; making DVD copies of all of the sites I am responsible for, a few days worth of daily database backups, basically a whole bunch of redundant work, just in case. If things go bad here, those fancy backup arrays will do me no good if I do not have access to the drives that read them. I need a low(er) tech way to have quick access to important stuff.
DVD writers are so cheap now that it is easy to make monthly backups of just about every important file and have them in a couple of locations. Don't copy the program installation files themselves; that just eats up room and you should have the install disks anyway. Downloaded programs for which I do not have a CD are kept at an FTP site on a server somewhere far away so I can get to them.
I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I had to try and reproduce all of this stuff. So sure, I have pretty much wasted a good portion of the day, and in reality, the storm may not come as close as they are expecting. But a good set of backups just makes you sleep good at night.
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:30:49 AM by Tom Muck
Today is the debut of CMXtraneous, the CMX blog. Each Community MX member has an area where he or she can wax poetic on all topics. Because each member has different areas of expertise, different views, and varying interests, there will be a wide variety of topics. My own posts will most likely be related to ColdFusion, SQL Server, and Dreamweaver, with a little commentary here and there.
As with most of the site, the blog is a custom application written with CFML. We chose not to use one of the many blog packages out there so that the blog could be integrated into the site, rather than tacked on as an afterthought.
The basis of the blog was covered in a 3 part series of articles that is available from Community MX:
The articles show how to create basic database tables, administrative pages, and blog pages using ColdFusion, PHP, or ASP. The Community MX blog, however, goes much further in functionality than the basic articles showed. I took the simple blog created in the series and rewrote it from scratch to use CFCs and SQL Server stored procedures. Future articles in the series will show some of the other aspects of blogs that were put to use in the Community MX blog, like the modules used in the sidebars, categorized RSS feeds, and the multiple blog functionality. One of the advantages of working with CFCs is that you can simplify every aspect of your application. For example, when you have to query a database to retrieve a list of posts, it's much easier to write this:
myPosts = myBlog.getPosts()
<cfquery name="myPosts" datasource="myDSN">
SELECT i.blog_item_id, i.blog_item, i.blog_item_datetime, i.blog_item_title, bc.category_name
, COUNT(c.comment_id) AS TheCommentCount FROM blog_items i
LEFT OUTER JOIN blog_comments c
ON c.blog_item_id = i.blog_item_id
INNER JOIN blog_categories bc
ON i.blog_category = bc.category_id
GROUP BY i.blog_item_id, i.blog_item_datetime, i.blog_item, i.blog_item_title,
ORDER BY i.blog_item_datetime DESC
Yes, the function in the CFC will contain the necessary code, but the advantage here is that you can now use myBlog.getPosts() from other places as well. Also, if you remove the query and convert it to a stored procedure within the CFC, your ColdFusion page does not change. If you decide that getPosts() will retrieve the data from an XML file rather than a database, your ColdFusion page does not change. Here's one more added bonus: the CFC function can also be called from Flash unchanged. Another bonus? The CFC function can become a web service that can be utilized from any server language that can consume a web service.
Yes, CFCs are the best thing to happen to ColdFusion since the introduction of the ColdFusion tag. Rather than being an advanced topic in the ColdFusion classes, it should be one of the first things that a budding CF developer is taught. Of course, there are different levels of CFC use as well. You can simply create a CFC as a file that is full of functions, or you can use the more advanced object-oriented approach with design patterns. The bottom line is that the functionality of the ColdFusion application should be put into CFCs.
The articles showed database access using queries. This approach works with any application server and any database. However, if you have SQL Server or another enterprise-level application server at your disposal, it just doesn't make sense to write queries. This is especially true when you are building a web application. When you put together an application like a blog or an e-store or even a guestbook, you are basically putting your database on the web. With all the web terrorists out there (the hackers), this is inviting disaster. If you value your data, use stored procedures and lock down your database. It should be a goal of anyone working with SQL Server to use stored procedures for everything they do, from the simplest SELECT * FROM MyTable to a complex multi-table insert. Of course, using stored procs is not enough -- you also have to validate any incoming url and form variables so that they do not get passed to the database directly.
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:11:53 AM by jojo
When you first install Dreamweaver it is very easy to get caught in "the sweetie shop" with regard to extensions, we all love them! They ease our workflow and allow us to implement functionality in a few clicks, often saving a great deal of time on repetitive tasks. After a while we see the error of our ways, we look at what we grabbed from the sweetie shop and realise most we never use at all. The weeding out begins!
I think it would be kind of cool to share what remains in our Extension Managers after the weeding out has taken place. We could share information on the extensions that we REALLY find useful here, we could point other Dreamweaver users to where they can get them and explain to them why we think they are so useful.
I'll start the ball rolling with some of my favourites, in no particular order:
- Tom Muck's dynamic SQL Search and his Recordset navigation suite
- Danilo's CMX create include
- Massimo's check image upload
The dynamic SQL search extension by Tom Muck is just such a huge time saver, and it is so easy to implement. From selecting the searchable columns to setting the high-lighting of the search words in the results. The time saved in producing a really professional search facility is immeasurable!
Another one of Tom's extensions is the recordset navigation suite, very nice. You can check this one out here, easier to see it in action than try to explain. Incidentally this site also uses the dynamic SQL Search extension, try searching for mice from the banner to see the high-lighting in the search results. This site is still under going some work, so one or two little issues around.
Danilo's CMX create include, just makes the whole include process a breeze. Select your code and create the include from the context menu, job done!
Massimo's Check Image Upload, the perfect solution for a multitude of situations. Catches the width and height on upload for inserting into the database, makes image upload facilities in a CMS a breeze. PC browsers only on this one though.
The three I have mentioned are all to do with server-side technologies, feel free to point out extensions of whatever category you feel helps you most.
What do you have in your box of tricks?
Category tags: Dreamweaver
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 12:25:47 AM by Stephanie
Screaming we run from spyware... adware... those pesky programs that slither in like worms and quietly take over our computers turning them into compost (well, they do if you're on a PC). Some auto-pop Explorer windows onto your desktop when you're not surfing... they put links for adult and pharmacy sites, gambling and shopping directly into your bookmarks. They turn your home page into an ad-popping automaton. And please, do have fun getting rid of it.
The interesting news is that many companies, large and small, are using it to advertise. In fact, a large client of an acquaintance uses Gator/Claria and they say the performance is superior to just about anything they've tried so far. The presentations given by Gator/Claria are said to be impressive and the data they collect is very valuable to advertisers. Gator/Claria claims there are over 40 Million installed users (how many were voluntary?).
Google came out with a policy statement of guidelines and principles about adware that they hope will help foster discussion as well as get others to follow suit. These include transparency, disclosure and simplicity of removal. Well, that would be a start wouldn't it? Personally, I can't stand the stuff. Being predominantely a Mac user with a PC testing box (running XP), I have found it to be extremely time-consuming and annoying to deal with. Especially with kids that go to gaming and guitar sites on a regular basis.
I have a few questions. How valuable is this stuff really? Does America actually click on the bookmarks or pop ups? If so, do they not realize it's coming from scumware or do they not care? Has anyone seen evidence or studies that the traffic or clicks actually turn into conversions? If America wises up and actually learns to clean their computers off (instead of calling me, the web professional who uses a Mac to do it), will adware stats that show this to be valuable incline or decline? Do some of your clients advertise with these companies and find it fruitful? I would love answers to these questions -- however anecdotal. What are you finding "out there."
Can they really make money, long-term, by trying to fool people?
Category tags: Search