Jan
20

I've been using Google Voice ever since it was Grand Central back in the day. I'm quite fond of the service as it lets me display a phone number on sites like Twitter and Facebook without giving out my mobile number. I also like the call me widget that sits in the right sidebar of this blog. If you'd like to try Google Voice I have three invites I can send out. Warning, I'm going to be a bit stingy with these invites. Since I don't have many I want to make sure the folks I sign up actually use the service. So please don't take it personal if I ask why you want to use the service. In fact, just make it easier on me and with your "sign me up" comment to this blog post tell me why you want in.

Jan
18

A few hours ago Liz Frederick, manager of the Adobe Community Expert program, announced the program name has been changed to Adobe Community Professionals. The history behind the original name and why it has been changed might not be interesting to you, but I'm proud that I was part of the process to help choose a new name. In fact, the entire Adobe Community Experts group was responsible with coming up with candidate program names that were ultimately submitted to Adobe for final approval. I'm quite happy with the new name as I believe it reflects more on what we are tasked to do. Which is...

The Adobe Community Experts Professionals Program is a community based program made up of Adobe customers who share their product expertise with the world-wide Adobe community. The Adobe Community Experts' Professional mission is to provide high caliber peer-to-peer communication educating and improving the product skills of Adobe customers worldwide.

Being an expert in anything is immensely tough to do. In fact, I often argue that there aren't any experts, there are simply people at different stages of understanding and learning. At the moment you consider yourself an expert you're likely to stop working hard, stop investigating, learning, and growing in your field, and ultimately stop being an expert. Being an Adobe Community Professional on the other hand still means you work hard at what you do, you serve as a leader in your online community, and you help others learn and become more skilled by sharing your expertise.

I welcome the switch from expert to professional and am extremely happy to report that my request to stay with the program in 2010 has been accepted. This marks my eighth consecutive year in a program that has gone from Team Macromedia, to Adobe Community Experts, to Adobe Community Professionals. A big "shout out" and thanks to Liz Frederick (Adobe Community Professional Manager), Adam Lehman (ColdFusion Product Manager), Rachel Luxemburg, and the entire ColdFusion team for allowing me to serve the ColdFusion, Flash, and Flex communities yet again.

I also want to send out a hearty welcome to new members of the program! I went through Liz's list and picked out names I a) recognized and b) were new to the program.

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Jan
18

I write many blog posts that instruct readers to press command+this and command+that and for the longest time that's exactly how I wrote them. But isn't it much better to say press ⌘+i or press ⌘+m?

To display the ⌘ symbol online simply use the HTML Entity ⌘. This works in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, the only browsers I tested. And frankly, the only browsers worth using really.

Jan
17

As of the date/time of this blog post I am no longer supporting Internet Explorer 6. That's right, I've joined the IE6 No More campaign. If you're reading this blog post because you accessed my blog and were redirected here, then you are using an ancient, ancient Web browser and you need an intervention. A nice one. =)

It's time to upgrade. It's time to see the light. It's time to get into the modern age of browsers. So please, take a moment right now to click one of the logos below and download one of the fine browsers out there. If you don't, a litter of puppies will die, a thousand fairies will have their wings pulled off, and a hundred unicorns will perish of african sickness. You don't want all that on you do you?

Update: Over the last several weeks other organizations and countries have announced their lack of support of Internet Explorer 6. All of this is further reason to get a better browser:

  • The French government joins Germany in recommending its citizens use something other than Internet Explorer. http://bit.ly/7Bap4c
  • Google to end support of IE6 on March 1, 2010. http://bit.ly/an3z93
  • From TechCrunch, a funeral is being held for IE6 on March 4. Browser to be buried without the body.
  • From Ars Technica, YouTube to kill IE6 support on March 13, 2010
  • March 4, 2011 - I learned Microsoft has created a site to EOL (end of life) Internet Explorer 6. http://ie6countdown.com
  • Microsoft announces they'll be automatically upgrading Internet Explorer on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Check out their announcement here.

Jan
17

The Concept of Coworking

Posted by Aaron West at 11:33 AM in ColdFusion, Nashville, Coworking

Today I learned the term coworking. According to the coworking Web site the term means:

...a movement to create a community of cafe-like collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents.

I've been familiar with the idea of friends in local communities sharing workspaces for a number of years. I just hadn't heard it called coworking before today. I don't know the official history of coworking but I suppose it came about due to the growing number of independent workers/freelancers/consultants/contractors. Working on your own is great but is also sucks when you're by yourself all the time. Banding together with other independent workers allows you have an office space of sorts and interact with similar folks. Here's short video of Eddie Codel (Hat Factory) and Sean Savage (PariSoMa) talking about their experience running two coworking spots, followed by a map of some coworking locations in Tennessee.

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Jan
16

Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young (Video)

Posted by Aaron West at 5:58 PM in Music

I'm not a huge fan of the Jimmy Fallon show but sometimes it has great moments. This is one of them. Check out Jimmy Fallon performing as Neil Young. His is a scary-good rendition of the iconic musician.

Jan
16

You've been able to turn on SSL on your Gmail account since 2008. It was a transmission preference that Google let you manage on your own. That management has supposedly been taken away as Google has announced HTTPS is now default on all Gmail accounts.

According to the blog posts, and the below screenshot from a Gmail help page, only those users who had not already changed their security setting will have it turned on by default. And even after they've turned it on by default you'll still be able to turn it off the same way you have before.

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Jan
16

How To Show All File Extensions on Mac

Posted by Aaron West at 2:43 PM in Mac, Leopard

I was on my new MacBook Pro the other day, working on some database stuff when I accidentally hit ⌘+comma in a Finder window. This keyboard sequence brings up the software preferences for whatever program you have activated. I was a bit surprised to see the Finder Preferences window pop up because I hadn't seen it in over a year. Since I was on a new machine I clicked through the various tabs in the window and noticed the Show all filename extensions in the Advanced tab. I'd never seen this setting before so I turned it on. And it did exactly what it says it does, makes all extensions of every file show up in all Finder windows.

I like this setting as I'm always editing file properties (⌘+i) that don't show an extension to force the behavior. The only downside to this setting - if you can call it that - is apps in the Applications Finder window show a .app extension. That's probably the only file type I don't want to show an extension.

Here's a screenshot of the Advanced tab settings in the Finder preferences window. Maybe someone else will be as excited to find this feature as I was. Incidentally, I thought this might've been a feature added in Snow Leopard. Sadly (sad that I didn't know), I checked an OS X 10.5 machine and saw the same setting.

Jan
12

This so-called "quadricopter" is too cool! I recently purchased two small mini RC helicopters (here's one of them) and they pale in comparison to this puppy. If you're into remote control stuff - or just cool tech - check out this video. Did I mention the AR.Drone is built on a totally open platform? It's initially going to be controllable via iPhone (and probably iPod Touch) but developers can use an API to build a Blackberry, DROID, or other interface.

Jan
9

I recently configured my iPhone with a new Google Sync account. Using Google Sync requires iPhone 3.0 software and includes advantages like push e-mail and e-mail, calendar, and contact syncing in one setup. The setup uses the Microsoft Exchange account type and allows you to choose what you want to sync. Google Sync works with regular Gmail accounts and Google Apps accounts. For a Google Apps account to work the domain administrator must enable Google sync.

The first day I set up my Google Sync account I noticed my iPhone battery life suffering. Thinking it was an anomaly I ignored it. Now, a week later I'm convinced using Google Sync has dramatically impacted the battery for the worse. I did some research and found a Google help page where they mention Google Sync (ActiveSync) may affect the life of your mobile device battery. Here's a screenshot.

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Jan
4

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Posted by Aaron West at 10:54 AM in Mac

I found this slide deck on the presentation secrets of Steve Jobs interesting. While I was reading I found myself thinking: "I know most of this." But, the hard part is actually doing the things Steve does. For instance, creating a "holy crap" moment in a presentation is tough. Especially if you're giving a talk on Web caching. Introducing a revolutionary product on the other hand comes with more "holy crap" fodder. I enjoyed this slide deck and thought I'd share.

Click here to view the deck.

Jan
3

This is just a quick post to let everyone know I've been posting content - what I'm calling "digital bytes" - on Tumblr. A friend recommended I use Tumblr a few months ago and I've been posting content ever since. I like how easy Tumblr is to use and how there's an iPhone app (iTunes link) I can use to post photos, videos, and links. The reblog feature of Tumblr is also quite nice. If I see something someone else has posted that I really like I can reblog their content, placing it on my Tumblr page, with a few clicks of my mouse.

I view Tumblr as sort of a mini-blog and will continue to post content I think is relevant and interesting. Check it out and be sure to follow me if you also use Tumblr.