Archive for May, 2004

Technology Sneak Peek MacroChat Today

Today’s MacroChat is going to be a good one. At 9:00AM, 4:00PM and 7:00PM Pacific today, you can get a special sneak peek at some very cool upcoming Macromedia technology in the Worldwide User Group Meeting MacroChat. Here’s the description from the website:

“Take advantage of this special opportunity to get a glimpse of the future technologies, features, and functions that Macromedia engineers have been working on in our development labs. Be among the first to see some of the goodies that may (or may not) make it into future Macromedia product releases. There is only one place you can get this special sneak peek – your local Macromedia User Group. Please check their web site to find when they are holding a meeting.”

Also, check out the schedule for the entire week, if you haven’t already.

Team Macromedia Flash Comes Together

About 12 people from Team Macromedia Flash are joining forces to contribute to a single new Macromedia weblog. Not much traffic as of yet, but I think you’ll see some interesting posts in the very near future. It’s being aggregated by MXNA, and I’m sure Fullasagoog will pick it up shortly. (Geoff, you getting this?) Regardless of what happens, it seems like an interesting experiment. Add it to your aggregator of choice, and let’s see where it goes!

Count Some Change, Win a DRK

I’ve been collecting loose change in a giant pickle jar for years, but recently it’s reached its capacity. I thought about using one of those Coinstar machines at the grocery store to convert it to cash, however I seem to remember they keep something like 8 or 9% of your money, which can go a long way toward a personal coin sorting machine. I picked one up at Staples over the weekend, and one evening this week, I’ll turn on some music or sit in front of the TV and see how much my pickle jar actually holds.

How much money do you think is in the jar? I have absolutely no idea myself. Somewhere in the hundreds, I guess. More than one hundred, less than one thousand. The person who can come closest to guessing will win a free DRK of their choice (post guesses here, or send them to me directly). It’s ok if you go over the amount — you just have to be the closest. One guess per person, please.

I included a CD in the picture help give you some perspective on how big the jar is. Another hint: the jar weighs 35.5 pounds, if that’s of any use. Good luck!

New Macromedia University Courses

I just learned there are some new Macromedia University courses available for Flash and Dreamweaver:

Flash MX 2004

  • Flash MX 2004 Application Development
    1. Manipulating the Flash Environment
    2. Enhancing Functionality Using ActionScript
    3. Completing a Flash Application
  • Flash MX 2004 Rich Media Design
    1. Fundamental Design with Flash MX 2004
    2. Adding Media and Interactivity with Flash MX 2004

Dreamweaver MX 2004

  • Dreamweaver MX 2004 Web Site Design
    1. Creating a Basic Web Site
    2. Altering the Look and Feel of Web Pages
    3. Enhancing Site Usability
    4. Improve Workflow, Interact with Users, and Upload a Site

For more information, check out the course listing page on Macromedia’s website.

Keeping Content From Caching

The tags below are what I use to keep dynamic data from being cached:

<cfheader name=”Cache-Control” value=”no-store” />
<cfheader name=”Pragma” value=”no-cache” />
<cfheader name=”Expires” value=”Tue, 16 Oct 1973 00:00:00 GMT” />

(The value of the “Expires” header is not some magical date — it can be any date in the past. I usually use my birthday, just for fun.)

These headers address client-side caching (caching by the browser), and server-side caching (proxy servers that do caching, like those used by AOL). The “Pragma” tag is a little obsolete and has been replaced by the “Cache-Control” tag in HTTP 1.1, but I keep it in there just to be safe. These tags go at the top of my Application.cfm file, just below the CFAPPLICATION tag. So far, I have had pretty good luck with them, and they go in just about every application I write.

For more information on how AOL handles proxy server caching (something all web developers need to be aware of), check out this document published by AOL.

Cool Bluetooth Toy

I installed this very cool little Bluetooth utility today called BluePhoneMenu, and it works perfectly. As long as my cell phone is in range and Bluetooth is enabled, the utility reports signal strength, battery life, and shows a call log. When the phone rings, the screen flashes, and a windows pops up with the number and, if possible, the name of the caller. The app will check the Phone Book application for matches, and can even be configured to pause iTunes so you can take the call in peace. Very fun application.

Ugly Desktop Icons

One of the first things I noticed when setting up my new ThinkPad was that the labels below icons on my desktop had solid background colors rather than being transparent as they are on OS X, which made them look terrible. Having been a Mac user since OS X was first introduced, I couldn’t stand the effect, so I started searching for a way to “fix” the OS. I downloaded the TweakUI Powertoy from Microsoft’s website, and although it provided me with some other interesting capabilities, making icon label backgrounds transparent was not one of them. To make a long story short, I ended up going to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced (tab) -> Performance Settings and checking “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop”. I also checked several other options in that menu which has made working with Windows XP a little more aesthetically pleasing. It’s still no OS X, but at least it’s also no Windows 98.

Migrating and Propagating Bookmarks

I recently got a second laptop (a ThinkPad) which I will be using on a day-to-day basis in conjunction with my Mac, so naturally I wanted to have it equipped with the hundreds of bookmarks I’ve accumulated inside of Safari. I also decided that it was time to solve the problem of bookmark synchronization once and for all. Firefox, an extension called “Bookmark Backup,” and a handy little program called Safari Bookmark Exporter solved all my problems.

The first thing I did was download Firefox 0.8, then I used the Safari Bookmark Exporter utility to export all my hundreds of bookmarks from Safari to Firefox. I then installed the Bookmark Backup extension which automatically FTPed an XML file containing all my bookmarks to a central server where any number of other Firefox instances could, and soon did, import them. Now all my machines have the exact same bookmark configuration.

I like Safari, and I really liked MyIE2 when I tested it out the other day, but the ability to synchronize bookmarks across machines and platforms has made me a devoted Firefox user.

New ColdFusion IDE On The Way

Gestaltech, Inc. and R337 Consulting (Matt Liotta’s new company) have formed a joint venture called RichPallet, Inc. in order to build new tools for the ColdFusion market. Their first project is a new dedicated ColdFusion IDE called He3 based on the open-source editor Eclipse. A beta version is planned for release at CFUN-04 on June 26th. I look forward to taking it for a spin!

Macromedia Announces Community Week

Macromedia has declared Monday, May 17th through Friday, May 21st to be Community Week! Get all the details from the Community Week Home Page. The main attraction will be daily “MacroChats” which are “hour-long, in-depth, technical presentations by Macromedia Product Managers, Technical Support Engineers, Certified Trainers, and Team Macromedia members. MacroChats will utilize the Macromedia web communication tool, Breeze Live. There is no charge to participate in any of these presentations.” Between one and four chats will be held every day next week, so check out the schedule and start planning!