2007 Speaking At Books & Co In Dayton
Incidentally, this Books & Co location is at The Greene Town Center, and the The Greene site is powered by ColdFusion.
2007 Presenting In The Flex AIR Pre-Release Tour
We are scheduling a massive big Flex 3 / AIR Pre-Release Tour in the upcoming months. The whole Platform Evangelism team is involved in this effort, along with many others, and I'll be presenting in just a few locations. In the U.S. I am currently scheduled to present in Atlanta GA, Cary NC, and Nashville TN. Those dates are confirmed and are listed on my homepage (along with links to the specific events).
In addition, I'll be covering the Brazilian segment of the tour, although I don't have final dates and venues yet. I'll post details when I have them.
2007 Public Service Announcement: Check You Free Annual Credit Report
The FTC requires that copies of your credit report (from all three major national credit reporting companies) be made available free of charge annually, and free must really mean free! Checking your credit report is important, if for no other reason than to make sure that there are no accounts or cards that you are unaware of. And taking advantage of the annual free report is a no brainer.
My annual reminder just popped up, I am printing my three reports right now, and am therefore reminding you to do the same. If you've not done so recently, the site you want to visit is www.annualcreditreport.com. (And yes, the individual sites will try to sell you stuff you don't need - just click the No Thanks options).
2007 Microsoft Releases XNA Game Studio 2
XNA Game Studio is a development environment for creating games for Windows and XBox 360. And the XNA team has announced that XNA Game Studio 2 has been released and is ready for download. Lots of new samples and tutorials too. Cool stuff!
2007 How To Shrink A Virtual PC Virtual Hard Disk
Microsoft Virtual PC uses virtual machine hard drive images as disks. These VHD files are typically dynamic in size, they grow as necessary. And I had one grow on me yesterday to over 40GB in size! Microsoft provides a Virtual Disk Wizard which can be used to compact virtual disks (when the virtual machine is not running). But, running it barely reduced the size at all. The problem? The wizard looks for space that has been zeroed out, so that must be done before running the wizard. It would have been nice if the wizard had spelled this out, and also provided instructions on how to do this. But it doesn't (which is odd, as Microsoft actually provides a mechanism to do this)! So, in case anyone else runs into this one, this is what you need to do:
- Power up the virtual machine.
- Clean up the drive (empty the Recycle Bin, get rid of temporary files, and so on).
- You may even want to defrag the drive.
- Then, locate a file named virtual disk precompactor.iso (it should be in c:\program files\microsoft virtual pc\virtual machine additions), and capture the ISO image (right-click on the CCD icon to do this). This will start the precompactor program which zeros out unused space.
- Then shut down the virtual machine.
- And finally, run the Virtual Disk Wizard which should shrink the virtual disk, removing all zeroed out space.
2007 WebKinz - How NOT To Cater To The Young
If you have yet to run into WebKinz, don't feel bad - it may just mean that your age is measured in double digits. For the uninitiated, WebKinz are stuffed animals that each come with a secret code that uniquely identify them. Armed with their stuffed animals, kids go to the WebKinz site, create a login, and adopt their pets by providing the secret code. They can adopt as many pets as they'd like (or as many as their parents will buy for them!), and the pets live online happily in a house in a virtual world (with a Flash front end). Kids earn KinzCash (virtual currency used in Webkinz World) to buy stuff for their pets (pamper them, build nicer houses, buy food, keep them clean and healthy, and so on). In reality this means that the kids ignore their stuffed animals and only play with the online equivalents. But, it's clean harmless fun, and the system is designed to be very kid safe.
And one of my kids got a WebKinz this week, and right away wanted to play with it online. No problem, I helped him get set up, and he started buying furniture for his pet, and more. But then he wanted to access Webkinz World from the computer in his bedroom. My kids are allowed to go online with supervision only, and so the computers that they can access alone are very locked down. My firewall grants access as appropriate, and what is appropriate for younger kids is a whitelist system - basically, they have no access except for sites that we explicitly allow.
And that's where things become problematic. WebKinz uses a whole lot of IP addresses, some contiguous ranges and others not, and some in whole different IP ranges. Fortunately, WebKinz has a Technical Issues page which lists the IP address that need to be allowed. Unfortunately, the list is completely wrong! Heck, the IP address that WebKinz resolves to is not even on the list! So, I had him try and try again while I watched the firewall logs, and I gradually opened up the addresses needed until all worked. That was yesterday, but now it won't work again. Why? A whole different set of IP addresses are now in use!
Really, this is pathetic. WebKinz is targeting young children, and it is very likely that filters and parental controls are going to be an issue. Is it really that hard to A) find a fixed set of IP addresses (preferably a sequential range), B) don't keep changing them, and then C) actually post correct information on your web site? Oh, and just to make it a bit more frustrating, try finding a way to contact support or send feedback!
Too bad. The concept is nice, but the implementation leaves much to be desired. If you have young-uns, consider yourself warned.
2007 CNet: Adobe Helps Enliven Open Source
CNet is running a story entitled New players enliven open source summarizing important open source announcements and projects of 2007, stating that "In 2007, much of the open-source action happened outside the corridors of the usual corporate suspects."
The story then lists several companies and projects, and the very first reads: "Adobe Systems was one. It's long been a powerful proprietary-software company, but its acquisition of Macromedia led to a new sharing ethos. Shortly after a major donation of script-execution code to the Mozilla Foundation last year, Adobe announced in April the open-source release of its Flex tool for Flash programming."
2007 Free CFWACK 8 E-Chapters Posted
The ColdFusion 8 edition of the ColdFusion Web Application Construction Kit is now 1800 pages in 3 volumes. And that was not enough space for all we had cover. So, an additional 678 pages of content were published electronically in PDF form, and may be freely downloaded (whether or not you buy the books). You'll find Chapters 21-23 on the Volume 1 page, and Chapters 41-54 and Appendixes C and D on the Volume 2 page. Enjoy!
2007 CFWACK 8 Volume 3 Shipping
CFWACK 8 Volume 3 - Advanced Application Development is now shipping (I received my copies a few days ago). Some of the new content includes server monitoring, .NET integration, working with data feeds, and more. More details on the book page.
2007 RIAForge Wins A CFeMmy
The 2007 CFeMmys have been announced, and RIAForge has won for Best Community Site. Ray Camden gets much of the credit for this one, as he did the bulk of the work creating RIAForge and continues to do all maintenance and management. Still, as RIAForge was my idea (and I was the one who roped Ray in and helped arrange some funding for the project) I can't help but be proud, too.
Oh, and our own Kristen Schofield (ColdFusion's new Product Marketing Manager) tied for Best Newcomer (CF Blog that started in 2007).