Archive for July, 2005

Big Computers, Small Memory

The mid-1970s were an interesting time for computers. I don’t know much about what was happening in the industry, but I can tell you what was available to a kid from central New Jersey.

Keywords: keypunch, card reader, card sorter, magnetic core memory, NCR, Fortran, NEAT/3

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History Lesson

This is the start of a new category: Computer History. Subtitle: As seen by Me.

I figured it was time to write about something I actually knew, or rather, something I’ve experienced. Some of you may be too young (sigh) to know about your computer roots.

You’ve heard the saying by now, “experience matters.” Well, it is true on many levels. I’ll try to enlighten you with my experience with computers through the (read: my) ages.

Keywords: teletype, baud rate, acoustic coupler, typewriter, Pulsar, LEDs.

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Next Flash Player 8 Beta Available

Just a reminder… a new version of the public beta for Flash Player 8 is available. If you haven’t checked it out, it kicks serious byte.

Find the public beta at:

Flex RemoteObject and ColdFusion Components

I am not a CF expert. So when I was asked to provide a sample program showing how to use ColdFusion Components (CFCs) from Flex, I decided it was time to learn more about Flex’s big brother.

I’m sure a lot of you will roll your eyes at the simplicity of this, but if are just getting started combining the technologies, this should be a big help.

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More Flex and Flash Interaction Tips

I recently helped a customer who had a Flash movie loaded into his Flex application that was not working as expected. The Flash movie had a MovieClip symbol which could be dragged with the mouse. This is pretty common in Flash movies: you detect that the mouse has been pressed over the MovieClip instance and then startDrag() to let the user move the MovieClip.

This was working sporadically in Flex. I determined that the problem happened when mouse event handlers were present in the Flex application: mouseOut, mouseOver, even ToolTips prevents the MovieClip from being dragged.

I showed this to a Flex engineer and he told me what was happening. When mouse event handling code was present, the DragManager was enabled and superseded the standard mouse handling. In other words, Flex took over mouse control.

There is a work-around however. You must remove startDrag (and stopDrag) and handle the mouse tracking yourself. Here’s how to do that.

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