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Congrats to Kevin Towes, new Adobe Technical Product Manager for Flash Media Server

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Adobe has announced that Kevin Towes is the new Technical Product manager for Flash Media Server (FMS). Folks who've been in the CF world for a while may recognize him as a frequent contributor to the CF community a few years ago, when he was a certified CF developer, founder of the Toronto CFUG, and a speaker at conferences and user groups.

He was an early and vocal advocate of FMS in its early incarnation (Tin Can and the Flash Communication Server), and has spent recent years in media, continuing to work with FMS in its evolution. It's great to see Kevin directly involved at Adobe, and I can't imagine a better FMS advocate to be named to the post.

CFUnited Express coming to Atlanta, Thursday March 15

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Get ready for CFUnited Express, coming to Atlanta on March 15. You've probably heard about CFUnited, the annual multi-day conference in DC in June. But if you live in the Atlanta or NYC area, each will host a one-day mini event with several speakers from the main event--and get this: your attendance fee will be credited to your ticket to CFUnited!

I'll be speaking at the Atlanta event, Thursday March 15, along with the following other great speakers (and their topics):

  • Ben Forta: An Introduction To Apollo Application Development
  • Charlie Arehart: "Caching-In" on CF Performance
  • Hal Helms: Architecting Large-Scale Applications
  • Rob Gonda: Robust Ajax Architecture
  • Andrew Powell: Introduction to CFCs as Objects

Note that some of these are NOT the topics that the presenters will be offering at CFUnited, so this is actually a bonus for those attending the Express event! :-)

More details on the topics (and other info) can be found at http://cfunitedexpress.com/go/atlanta/2007/.

Here are the prices:

  • Full price: $249
  • Early Bird: $199 (expires after 3/8)

Includes lunch, coffee and full CFUnited/Express materials for the talks - plus an exclusive CFUnited laptop bag, CFUnited T-Shirt, 355 page CFUnited-06 show guide and other cool items. Come network with your peers and the speakers.

To learn about the other CFUnited Express events, see http://www.cfunitedexpress.com

Remember, there is no risk to trying out CFUnited Express: if you choose to come to CFUnited-07 in Washington DC you can take the amount you paid for CFUnited Express off your CFUnited-07 ticket!

Know anyone seeking CF training? I'm teaching FastTrack to CF again. Next class 3/6-8

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
After a few year hiatus, I'm back to teaching the "FastTrack to ColdFusion" and soon other Adobe CF classes. I'm doing it on a contract basis with EchoEleven in Atlanta. If you know anyone in the Atlanta area interested in that class, I'll be teaching it March 6-8. For more details on the course (its topics, the location, costs, and more), see their site for the FTCF class. To register, see their schedule.

About EchoEleven Training

Before concluding, I'd like to also point out something special about EchoEleven's Adobe training. Besides an attractive facility and great instructors, they also offer the following commitments:

  • Maximum (8) EIGHT students per class
  • PERSONALIZED attention
  • Classes are NEVER canceled
  • SUPPORT beyond the classroom
  • Satisfaction GUARANTEED

Speaking of instructors, among its many, Echo Eleven has the 2005 Macromedia Instructor of the Year, Holly Quarzo who teaches Flash. If I may say so, when I was teaching the courses in the past a few years ago, I was also one of the top-rated instructors in the country. I feel that my continued growth in CFML experience since then has helped me even better in training newcomers and current developers. So come on out to the classes.

Have you sought a keyboard shortcut to "open table" in SQL Server Management Studio?

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
I'm a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts, so imagine my dismay when I noticed that the new SQL Server 2005 "open table" option, available in Management Studio when you're viewing the tables in a database, had no keyboard shortcut (or Admin menu equivalent). The feature opens an editable grid of data in the table, which is a great when you need to do a quick fix of the data. But you have to right-click to see the option--I wonder how many never even notice it?

So I asked around and got an answer to my keyboard dilemma which actually is a generic windows solution. Did you know that you can get the equivalent of the right-click by using Shift-f10? Whatever you have the keyboard focus on, it will open its corresponding context menu. Very nice.

So in SQL Mgt Studio, open the database, then its tables, then select the table (all of which can be done with the keyboard), and then use shift-F10. You'll suddenly see that each context menu option shows the standard underline under the key to hit to execute that command (it's the "o" for open table).

Hope that may help others.

Charlie Arehart offers new per-minute phone-based support service

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Ever felt stumped trying to solve a CF problem? You've tried everything? Searched the web? Asked on forums and lists, and you're still stuck? Or maybe you're just pressed for time.

Maybe you've wished you could hire someone with more experience but can't justify a high hourly rate. Of course, with so many web tools available to share a desktop, travel need no longer be a significant issue. Sometimes, it could help to simply have someone "look over your shoulder" via the web to resolve a problem.

Recognizing all those challenges, I've created a new service that I'm tentatively calling "AskCharlie", to be able to offer just such assistance.

Via buttons on my site or an 888 number you call, you can arrange to speak with me by phone (and optionally join me in a shared desktop session) to solve some knotty problem.

Best of all, it's very low cost and at a per minute rate (first-time callers can use a 10 minutes free option, and everyone gets a money-back guarantee). That and more are explained on my site:

http://www.carehart.org/askcharlie/

There you can learn more about why I did it, how it works, how the remote desktop sharing assistance works (no problem with firewalls, for instance), and more.

I'd welcome your thoughts on what you think of the idea.

CF-specific Google search engines (yes, that's plural)

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Well, I was tickled to learn about the nifty feature Google's added to let people create "Custom Search Engines" (or CSEs), which can limit searches to a given set of sites, with the intention that this could produce a better topic-specific search. Wouldn't it be nice to search for Ajax and only get sites related to CF implementations and discussions of Ajax (versus other implementations, or the cleaning product?)

So I set off this weekend to create just such a CSE. You can find it here:

Charlie Arehart's CFSearch. It searches over 1,300 CF-related sites.

Update: Here's an update: if you're interested in adding this search to your Firefox search bar (in the top right corner of the browser), you can, via a simple Firefox add-on. I've blogged about it here. Now, back to the original blog entry content...

And then there were two...

But just as I was about to excitedly announce it to the world yesterday, I happened upon an entry in the google Co-op forums related to CSEs when I saw a post from good ol' Joshua Cyr . He was announcing (in October) to a forum there that he'd created one (http://www.cfhunt.com) and would they consider listing it on the featured sites page.

Imagine my dismay. He'd beaten me to the punch. Now, I was about to let it go, and just concede that really only one needed to exist, so I didn't even announce mine yesterday.

And then there were three...

But then today on a CFML list someone else (Jeff Gladnick) announced that he had created one (http://www.cfsearchengine.com). While it was ironic that yet another person had the bright idea just this weekend (it seems), it also struck me as tragic.

Each of us has spent the time gathering over 100 URLs to be searched in our CF-specific CSEs. I know it took me a few hours. I poured through about 300 of the top URLs coming back from a Google search for "ColdFusion". I have docs pages, blog pages, user group pages, CF product pages, and more. And I even went so far as to use a special feature in the CSE setup called contexts, where you can subset URLs such as by those topics (docs, blogs, etc.) Of course, then I saw so had Joshua! :-)

Turns out there are several...

So I'm here to serve several purposes. I want to point out all the CF-related CSEs I've found or been told about (yes, there are more), and hope to warn off any who would create another. We've got enough. They are listed below in descending order of their current count of sites indexed (viewable on their respective CSE home page). A couple have those other domain names by which you can find them:

Michael and Judith Dinowitz's (2544 sites):

http://google.com/coop/cse?cx=007073765987311344167:ci0-oyljemw

Charlie Arehart's (1338 sites)

http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=012970358153442150397%3Aekun5bf_8-m

Jeff Gladnick's (829 sites):

http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=016470950001878139406:ttj6oz4dukc

or via

http://www.cfsearchengine.com

Joshua Cyr's (236 sites)

http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=011762892154798364121:8ekkxumnm6g

or via

http://www.cfhunt.com

Adam Howitt's (38 sites):

http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=007221746090449490499%3Aliubjduev9o

or via

http://www.webdevref.com/

Pete Freitag's (29 sites):

http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=014001148856677045459%3Aih4w5ipkl6c

Mark Gaulin's (11 sites):

http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=011257526413916725596:ayerfqdweyg

Ray Camden's (3 sites):

http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=002988318612745418124%3Ae5ryuhjfoyq

And anonymous (2 sites):

http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=003208873850437307260%3Adbdsbawqu68

If you know of any others, drop me a comment below.

And if you're thinking of creating another...

But let me say that if you find for some reason that one of the CSEs doesn't search one or more sites you think it should, you don't need to go create another one (I don't think that was the case with any of us). Instead, you can choose to volunteer to contribute to any of the existing ones.

Who's should be crowned the ultimate one? Well, I think Joshua's the oldest, and it has the most sites indexed (for now). There's no real harm in the others remaining. Heck, like so many things on the web, sometimes dupes just mean better chances of someone finding a thing.

Why isn't it easier to find all existing ones?

I will say that I've complained to the folks at Google to have them add a means to search for existing ones. That would help both those looking for one, and those thinking of creating a new one. I looked on that featured examples page, and seeing none for CF, thought I'd do the CF community a favor. Now, instead, I see that others are reaching the same conclusions.

I will also add that the folks at Google told me (on the forum, in reply to my question) that s short-term solution is for one to use a particular set of google keywords that might help find CSEs on a specific topic:

site:google.com inurl:coop/cse topic

Sadly, that's imperfect, as it found only 3 of the CF CSEs, and not even the 3 with the most sites (I know mine's new, and perhaps Jeff's is, but Joshua's has been around since October, so this failure to find them using the search feature is dismaying, and I told Google that).

Based on a few comments below, I have added a couple more (Adam's and the HouseofFusion CSE), as well as updated Jeff's site count. I don't want to keep this up to date. As I say above, you can see the site count via the "real cse home page" link for each CSE.

A nifty free tool for presenters: Zoomit (from SysInternals)

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
What will those clever guys from SysInternals think of next? Known for their cool system mgt tools, here's something different, ZoomIt, which enables a couple of simple tools that most presenters will appreciate.

  • a zoom tool (zoom in on any area of your screen)
  • a draw tool (draw on your screen, whether zoomed or not)
  • a "meeting break timer" (to countdown till a break is up)

That last feature can be useful for user group managers or indeed any meeting organizer. All 3 features are toggled using configurable keystrokes (defaults to ctrl-1/2/3, respectively)).

(Update in 2009: The version now available (4.1), now also offers a new option, if you're on Vista or above. You can use Ctrl-4 instead and instead of with Ctrl-1 the zoom is "live", and you can manipulate the interface while zoomed. Nifty!)

Even those doing docs can benefit from the simple zoom and draw features (once set as you like, use the PrintScrn button to copy the screen to the clipboard). It may be easier doing that than using a tool to markup the screenshot after taking it.

Note as well that the zoom tool, once enabled, doesn't zoom unless you tell it to, using either a mouse scroll wheel or the up/down arrow buttons.

Read more about the tool at the MS site (MS acquired SysInternals last year):

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/Miscellaneous/ZoomIt.mspx

Indeed, if you're not familiar with the amazing suite of SysInternals tools for security, performance, networking, and more (all free), check them out at:

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/default.mspx

My favorite may be their replacement for the task manager, whose key feature to me is showing "deltas" for disk i/o, memory, and cpu per process. Sometimes, I want to know who's causing my disk to churn away.

For some "fun", check out the "Blue Screen of Death" simulator:

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/Miscellaneous/BlueScreen.mspx

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