Day 2

Well, yesterday was interesting. First, my three hour Flex Coding Kitchen session was, unfortunately, a waste of time. General consensus from the crowd is that we could have learned more from five minutes with the online documentation.

Speaking of online, the conference center's wireless access was pretty blown after 11 am.

The session on usability was cool, but my sessions on ansynchronus gateways and beginning web services were a little lower level than I really expected.

On the high side, the Celebrity Death Match between Simon Horwith and Hal Helms was outstanding. At least from what I heard. I was out on the deck outside the bar with Emmet McGovern (Full City Media) with a Captain and Coke just shootin' the breeze. Once the 'match' got out, we were joined by Aaron West, Michael and Judith Dinowitz stopped by, and we got down to serious drinking with Mark Drew (CFEclipse), who is a riot. Really glad he had the chance to come across the pond and join us yanks.

Anyway, I need to pay more attention to this session on MVC from Joe Rinehart, so I'm going to sign off for now. Hopefully I'll be able to connect later...

CFUnited: Flex 101

Welcome from the ColdFusion/Flex Coding Kitchen. Idiot-boy (me) forgot to pack the powercord for my laptop when I transferred things into my new CFUnited backpack. The good news? Forty minutes into the 3-hour session and they are still covering the install for all of the various components that are needed (I did this in advance since I signed up for the class a month ago).

We know now, from Ben Forta's keynote, that Flex Builder 2.0, Flash Player 9, and all of the other nifty stuff involved (i.e.: CF 7.0.2 updater, etc.) were officially released at midnight last night.

OK, one hour in and we're now starting some training. Our presenter is showcasing an example of an online MP3 player designed in Flex. This leads into discussion on the Eclipse based Flex Builder IDE, showing the basics of the design view.

This example app is using web services calls to a CF component. He's done this to show that weeb services calls are possible for data access (through PHP, ASP, etc), though it's possible (even preferrable) to access the CFC through Flash Remoting or Flash Data Services. Ben had stated, in the keynote, several advantages to integrating CF and Flex, including using FDS for real-time data record state management within multiple concurrent transactions. This functionality is only available with ColdFusion.

Now going through creating an app from scratch, utilizing Flex's wizards to 'create' the initial application. This wizard will generate your beginning data access objects for the tables of the db specified, with CRUD methods and all. You can set up pages (views) with reference to tables, query objects, foreign keyed data, etc. Some confusion among other attendees about the difference between the query builder and the form designer, which appear very similar and give you a great deal of flexability for quickly designing your views, even around complex data sets. It'll even set up a basic (no true starting functionality) authentication set up on specified page views when you ask for it. He hit 'Finish', watched the files auto-generate, hit 'Run', and...BAM! There it was! Basic, but functional. Next he adjusted the login/logout methods in the auto-generated CFC, recompiled, and BAM! There it was. So simple. I can't tell you how smokin' this is.

Wonder what we could have gotten through if everyone had started prepared?

CFUnited Begins

So, here we are, in the keynote for CFUnited, Day 1.

Last night Aaron West and I went to the MiniMax conference, put on by Adam Bell. Adam is an interesting character, and a lot of fun to speak with. He has a varied background from many different geographical areas, and currently works out of L.A. Aaron spoke on the CF Application framework, Simon Horwith on Flex, and many other great speakers doing quick, 15 minute presentations on various Adobe products.

This morning, after a late wake up, I met up with Aaron and headed for the conference center. While Aaron was registering (I registered last nigt) I stepped out for a smoke with Simon Horwith. He filled me in on the 'secret' he couldn't let out of the bag last night. Ben Forta is going to announce (in just a moment) what went live on the Adobe site at midnight, the final release of Flex 2.0. Exciting news!

Anyway, signing off for now. I want to listen to Ben's keynote. More as the day goes on...

Can You Believe These Guys?

You know, some things really get to me (I'm watching my language here). Maybe they shouldn't, but they do. Take the following line from a recent posting to a job posting mailing list for ColdFusion professionals:

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from an accredited University.
Note: Individuals who do not meet this requirement need not apply.

Well, if that isn't an intensely narrow view of 'qualified'. I'm not knocking higher ed, in fact I have a little, but the last time I checked experience is, and always will be, the best teacher.


The History of Cutter and Computers: Part 2

The Early Days

A continuation of The History of Cutter and Computers

In February of my senior year of High School I went down to the Military Enlistment Processing Station in Atlanta, GA to sign up for the U.S. Army's Delayed Entry Program. I told them I wanted to work with computers, so they sat me down to watch a little movie, off a 12 inch Laser Disc, about the wonders and joys of working as a Tactical Fire Direction Control Specialist in the Field Artillery. Eight months later, while going through Advanced Individual Training in Fort Sill, OK, I discovered that these highly advanced system [note the sarcasm here] were invented during the Korean War, sat on the back of a five-ton truck hauling a noisy generator, and gave it's user a battlefield life expectency of about thirty seconds. (This machinery has been replaced since my time.)

OK, so the Army, computers, and myself, didn't get off to the rockin' start I had been hoping for. But, that was OK. I was young (18 my first tour of duty) and stupid, and really only wanted to get drunk and laid in those days anyway.


CF's Built-In Server and Virtual Directories

OK. So I'm running CF on it's built-in server on my development system. On production I have a Virtual Directory setup with my hosting provider. This virtual directory houses many different things, all of which I need easy access to from either HTML pages or CF, so a CF mapping isn't an option.


The History of Cutter and Computers: Part I

The Beginning

"Who's this guy Cutter?" Fair question. One that'll take more than one entry to answer. Today I'll stick to the very basic, and the tech side.

My name is Stephen Gregory Blades, Jr. (aka Cutter), named for my father (of course). I'm considered, by some, to be an old man in the tech world at 36 years. I was born in Roanoke, Virginia. My mother, sister, and I moved to the Atlanta, Georgia metro area when I was six, where we moved all over until I graduated Marietta High School at 17.


The Unintentional Connection

Ok, so my co-worker, Ben, decided to Google Cutter's Crossing to see what would come up (hadn't thought of that). What he found was am obscure reference within a script for a "Knight Rider" episode:


Welcome to Cutter's Crossing

So, once again I stand at a crossing. I've been at crossings before. Once was when I crossed into adulthood, as I left home and entered the U.S. Army. Once was when I decided to become a ’web’ guy. Once was that first time I took a stage in front of others to entertain through song. Once was at the alter (with a songstress, on a stage). Once was the birth of my daughter. Many crossings, all unique, and usually life-changing. Now I'm at another crossing, and it's purely mine to share with you.

Why am I here? Here I will embark upon a new journey, waxing rhapsodic about...whatever I like. Probably there will be quite a bit about web development, and ColdFusion especially, but you'll also get my views on most everything and a lot about my life, family, interests, diversions. A word of warning though, I'm not PC. Some of the things I say may offend some of you, and that's too bad. This is my blog, my opinion, and you are welcome (even encouraged) to take it or leave it. That's the great thing about living in America, I have the right to say and think what I want, as do we all. Just use the shopping cart method; take what you need off the shelf, throw it in your basket, the rest can stay. 'Nuff Said.

If you want something pretty to look at you'll have to wait. Ray Camden, who so graciously gives his code away each and every day, is currently working on version 5 of his BlogCFC application, so I'm not going to spend too much time making this pretty til that one comes out. Ray, the CF community can’t tell you enough how blessed we are to have you. Thanks Ray (Looking forward to the CSS support).

Also want to throw out a big Thank You (and a plug) to Emmet over at Full City Media. I've been trying to throw some business his way and he was kind enough to help a fellow developer get some space for his blog (at a great rate). [For truly top-notch, up-to-date, full-service CF7 Hosting, turn to...]

And so I leave you, for now. Come back soon and often, or just subscribe, and hopefully you'll be surprised. I look forward to hearing from you all.


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