Aug
16

I haven't blogged on this website in well over a year. In fact, in 12 years of writing on this site I've only published 599 posts. That's on average 50 posts a year. I think I've figured out why it has been so hard for me to add content and posts to this site in the way I had hoped. I was focusing more on getting posts perfect than on getting the basics covered and published.

In order to get back to writing more content more frequently I'm trying something new. I've created a new website with a new approach to the process of writing and publishing content. If you've enjoyed any of the posts on this site over the last 12 years I hope you'll take a few minutes to check out my new engineering notebook website at notebook.aaronwest.net. You can read all about this change and the tools I used to create the new website by reading this post.

While I'm not abandoning this website or taking any of the posts down, I plan to write all new posts over on the notebook website. I sincerely hope you'll check it out. Thank you so much for reading the content I've posted here and providing me with feedback over the years. I greatly appreciate it.

Aug
20

Push My Tweet Buttons

Posted by Aaron West at 12:42 PM in Site News, Blogging

I've added Twitter's new tweet button to all posts on this blog. If you are reading a post that you like or that you think others will find useful in some way, I'd very much appreciate it if you'd use the button to tell your Twitter followers. All you have to do is press the tweet button and a pop-up window will display with twitter.com loaded. If you are signed into Twitter's site you'll be able to submit the tweet immediately. If you aren't signed into Twitter, you'll need to enter your username and password first.

Jul
20

Interesting Site Statistics

Posted by Aaron West at 10:05 AM in Site News, Blogging

Yesterday, Dan Wilson blogged about his Web site statistics and how Linux was less than 1% behind Macintosh in his visitor stats. He asked what trends others were seeing so I thought I'd post the same stats he did. After the break you will see a screenshot from Google Analytics of the operating system statistics for aaronwest.net from June 19 - July 19, 2010.

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Mar
6

Welcome to My New Site!

Posted by Aaron West at 11:24 AM in ColdFusion, Personal, Site News, Blogging

Two weeks ago today I brought aaronwest.net live bringing all my content from trajiklyhip.com and trajiklyhip.com/blog to a brand new, consolidated interface on a new domain. Before I talk about my new site and what I like about it, I want to give a (somewhat) brief overview describing my sites evolution over the last 8 years. Keep reading after the break.

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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.

Apr
17

Yesterday I posted about upgrading my blog to BlogCFC 5.9.3. How I went about the upgrade process is probably just as important as getting on the latest version. What follows is a run-down of how I upgraded, what tools I used to make it painless, and the SQL scripts I wrote you can use to get your own blog upgraded. Hit the more link for all the goodness.

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Apr
16

I haven't upgraded my blog software (BlogCFC) since 2006. I've written several customizations that until recently have made it a huge burden to migrate to Ray's latest enhancements without losing my own additions and changes. Last weekend I decided enough was enough and I made a personal goal to get everything running on 5.9.3 before Monday. It wasn't easy but with the help of some nice tools I was able to reach my goal.

I'll post a later entry on the tools I used that made the upgrade process painless. I'll also provide custom MySQL scripts I wrote to upgrade the database architecture, just like I did before. In the meantime, here's a short list of what has been added and changed:

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Dec
31

In just a few hours 2008 will come to a close and I'll ring in 2009 with my wife, son, and inlaws. This past year has brought some real challenges into my life many of which were unexpected. Fortunately, most of those challenges were met head on, were turned into opportunities, and then accomplishments. I played a major role in a very large datacenter migration project, one that involved months of planning and careful execution. That project, which migrated several thousand Web sites we host at Dealerskins was one of the most detailed, scary, and involved projects I've ever worked on. In the end it went very smooth. As they say, spend 80% of your time planning and 20% executing. Well, something like that anyhow.

There were several other major projects at work, some that took a matter of weeks and some that took over four months. During one part of the year I was managing over seven simultaneous projects involving four full-time Web developers, one DBA, two SQL Programmers, and one designer. It was super hard and I'm still learning while making a ton of mistakes. Many many thanks to the great folks that work with me at Dealerskins! It's been a pleasure working through the obstacles and challenges (and easy stuff).

Outside the office I was able to work on a few small consulting projects and create two new Web sites. The Nashville ColdFusion User Group site was a reincarnation of our previous site, and my wife and I launched a family blog at aaronandlindy.com. I continued to function as the user group manager for the NCFUG for the third full year.

During the last half of the year I had the pleasure of speaking at the BFlex conference in Bloomington Indiana, I wrote one article for the Fusion Authority Quarterly, and one article for the new magazine Flex Authority. Lastly, I served as an Adobe Community Expert for ColdFusion (Team Macromedia back in the day) for the sixth straight year.

I traveled to nine different cities spanning the east and west coasts of the United States including San Francisco, Cancun Mexico, and Norfolk VA. The year seemed incredibly busy to me but not when I compare it to other friends and developers (some who are both).

When I peer into my crystal ball I see 2009 being much the same as 2008. My travel kick starts again in a few weeks when I head to New Orleans for the NADA conference. Projects at work are more numerous than I've seen in a long time and we have plans to do some really great things for our customers (some of which have launched in the last two weeks).

On a personal front I plan to blog more, continue writing for magazines, and I hope to speak at more conferences next year. I also want to launch a new personal Web site, one that will replace trajiklyhip.com and trajiklyhip.com/blog. It's shaping up to be a fun and busy year.

To everyone who reads this I wish you and your family all the happiness and success you can stand. Happy New Year!!!

Dec
31

Yearly Blogging Stats

Posted by Aaron West at 11:08 AM in ColdFusion, Personal, Site News, Blogging

I took Ray Camden's lead and created a new BlogCFC stats page that allows me to display stats for the current year (year-to-date) or any previous years. You can pass a URL parameter called statsYear in order to filter by a specific year, or exclude the parameter to see the current year.

Looking through my blog stats over the past few years I was a bit suprised to see my blogging has tapered off since 2006. From 2002 through 2005 I posted 34 entries or less each year. In 2006 I ramped up quite a bit with 119 entries. 2007 saw a drop to 105 and this year I dropped even further to 89. My excuse? For one, having a child (late 2006) really threw off my evenings. It wasn't uncommon for me to come home and code for hours or write a few blog posts a week. Now, I spend most nights hanging out with my son. I also attribute my lack of blogging to the insane work hours I've kept. I took on a management role in 2006 that I thought was going to make my life less stressful. I was totally wrong. I find myself working 15-20 hours more a week and the type of work I'm doing is definitely more stressful. I've been twittering lately about my vacations encompassing hours and hours of work (examples here, here, here, and here). All of these things taken together mean I'm pooped at the end of the day and the last thing I want to do is sit down and code or blog for hours.

In 2009 I need to find a way to cut the stress. This will not only allow me to blog more but also provide a better overall quality of life. To that end, my goal for 2009 is to increase my post percentage by 224% by posting 200 entries. This is an insane goal but I thrive on really difficult challenges.

Dec
25

Comments Are Now Moderated

Posted by Aaron West at 9:02 PM in Site News, Blogging

I've waited as long as I could before turning on comment moderation here, but due to the amount of spam comments that have ramped up over the last few months it's now in place. My Inbox gets flooded with each spam comment notification and I'd hate to think other folks who subscribe to this blog or specific entries are receiving the same crap. So, until I get my site/blog moved to the VPS each and every comment will have to be approved before it shows up in an entry.

This shouldn't present a problem for valid commenters as I will typically approve comments within minutes or a few hours at most. My iPhone and access to my blog will certainly help me stay on top of it.

Aug
15

Ed Sullivan Is Now Blogging

Posted by Aaron West at 11:24 AM in User Groups, Blogging

For those of you not "in the know," Ed Sullivan is the man behind the user group program, the Adobe Champion's program and more at Adobe. If it weren't for Ed and his hard work there wouldn't be the 300 plus Adobe user group's in the U.S. today.

Ed's now blogging alongside Jonathan Wall (Ed's boss) over at Jonathan's blog. You can check out his first post here:

http://jonathanwall.blogspot.com/2007/08/let-games-begin.html

Mar
22

I'm terribly embarrassed I didn't know this (until yesterday) but you can run blog-specific searches on Google using blogsearch.google.com or selecting the Blog option from the "more" context menu on Google's homepage. Like everything else at Google, Blogsearch is in beta. However, I found it to be really useful when targeting a post I had read several months ago but never bookmarked. Thanks Google.

Nov
12

This morning I spent a few minutes updating my own BlogCFC codebase to support more e-mail functionality. The current incarnation of BlogCFC (5.5.003) has a drop-down menu where authors choose whether or not to e-mail a new entry to their subscribers. I've taken this a bit further by adding the ability to re-send blog posts to subscribers when editing existing posts. This is a nice feature to have if you make a significant change to an entry. Adding this new feature also fixes a bug in BlogCFC where subscribers would not be e-mailed when releasing a previously un-released entry. Since Ray added the released flag, I find myself starting blog posts even when I don't have time to finish them. This keeps me from forgetting about my planned posts and allows me to play "catch up" when I find more time. However, knowing this workflow meant my subscribers would not be e-mailed made it less than desirable. After today that's no longer a problem.

I've sent these changes to Ray for inclusion in the next minor release of BlogCFC, which should be coming pretty soon.

Nov
1

Site Downage

Posted by Aaron West at 9:35 PM in ColdFusion, General, Site News, Blogging

This evening, between 5:33pm CST and 6:05pm CST, my blog was down due to network issues with HostMySite. According to HMS...

...the service governing the authentication protocol on the server where your website is located became corrupted. Our infrastructure team immediately responded to this incident, and corrected the problem. We are continuing to investigate the initial cause of this issue.

For those that tried to view entries during this time I apologize. On a less important note I pulled Ray's new files from SVN and upgraded the blog to 5.5.003. Thanks Ray!

Nov
1

It figures I would spend the time to get my blog up to date with the latest BlogCFC and then Ray would release a new version. This time I'm going to try and keep up with the releases instead of getting behind. So, tonight I'll be upgrading things to 5.5.003 which includes several bug fixes (one of which has been plaguing my Inbox) and some new features like Contribute support. I'm using this post to test another potential bug where blog subscribers are not e-mailed when an un-released post is finally released. We'll see what happens.

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