Periods Go Inside Quotations

Posted by Aaron West at 12:28 PM in General

You'll never hear me claim to be a good writer or to understand all the rules of grammar. But there's one particular rule with periods and quotation marks that irks me when broken. You should always put periods inside quotation marks when the quotation is at the end of a sentence. Consider the following sentence. I was talking with Aaron the other day and he said, "Always place periods inside your quotations." Notice the placement of the period. I see this grammar rule broken all the time and it is one of the easiest to follow in my opinion. I suppose seeing the period used incorrectly has become a pet peeve of mine. If you're reading this post and you break this rule, you have no excuse for continuing to do so. For more information on this rule (and others), check out this site and Wikipedia.


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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SanDisk Gets Props for Better Packaging

Posted by Aaron West at 8:00 AM in General

I ordered a Canon G10 camera last week and it arrived yesterday. Aside from all the giddiness of another gadget in the house I was really excited to finally, finally see a company do something about plastic packaging. For decades many simple products have been packaged into a super protective sheath of environment-killing plastic.

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I'm really interested in fun product/software "hacks" that create more usable, more productive, or generally better stuff. I'm not talking about the blackhat kind of hacks, but more the kind of thing you would find here. One such example is illustrated on this site. The idea of having a writing instrument that performs as well as a $200+ Mont Blanc pen - at a fraction of the cost - is pretty cool. So I followed the instructions on the Web site to see if it really worked. Read on for more.

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If you're familiar with Microsoft's Surface this video will be very funny. Don't you want a big ass 10,000 dollar table?


Google Maps and Happy Hour Mashup

Posted by Aaron West at 9:40 AM in General

If you're searching for the nearest (and highly rated) happy hour following a hard day at work you should look into MappyHour, a custom Google Maps app that helps you get your drink on. The app displays happy hour locations in your area complete with ratings, costs, and of course directions to get you there.


There's a good bit of buzz in the blog-o-sphere about Microsoft's new Surface technology. I've watched the demo's on the site, read the background information and yes it is really cool stuff. I especially like the idea that I can put my smartphone on top of the table and drag content to the device. Whether it's music, spreadsheets, maps or directions, the idea just seems really compelling to me. But is any of it really new? Well over a year ago I was watching demo videos of very similar technology (see below) that included various usages of surface computing. I suppose the idea of surface computing is nothing new but Microsoft's implementation is. And as far as I know their technology will be the first to reach the market and be available for consumers in the winter of 2007.

View the videos below and see what you think.

Bumptop 3D Desktop Prototype

Multi-touch technology from Adobe TED

UPDATE: 07.24.2007 Check out this parody "Surface" video


How To Be A Poor Presenter

Posted by Aaron West at 1:59 PM in ColdFusion, General

I've seen some pretty awesome presentations when attending technology conferences. Many of them were by incredible presenters like Ben Forta and Hal Helms. I've also seen some really, really terrible presentations where the audience is embarrassed just attending. Below is a video of some examples of what NOT to do when presenting (note: these examples aren't real and I've seen far worse). Some of the things to avoid relate directly to technology preso's while others relate to any subject.

And since I'm not a fan of bringing up a problem without a potential solution I'm listing some links regarding how to present effectively. Please list in the comments any additional tips or links that would prove helpful.

Presentation tips:

How not to present:


Trillian's Next Generation IM Tool

Posted by Aaron West at 10:45 AM in General, Flash

The folks at Cerulean Studios are working on the next release of Trillian, version 4, code-named Astra. But there's always new IM software being released, is Trillian Astra more fluff or the right stuff?

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Anyone seen' www?

Posted by Aaron West at 12:55 PM in Web Standards, General

Every now and then I try and open the Web site using "" And every time I do that I realize they don't have their site set up to work with "www." Why would they not set this up? Having both "dubs" and non-dubs set up just seems part of the normal site development/deployment process to me. And considering we're talking about a large, highly used and publicized site like this whole thing just seems asinine. My only guess is the URL looks cooler without the dubs.


Cool - View Selection Source
Have you ever been interested in viewing just part of the source code that created a Web page? Perhaps there's one section of the page that you're curious about. Instead of viewing the entire HTML source, highlight the text of the area you are interested in, right-click (control-click on Mac) and then select "View Selection Source."

Not Cool - View Source Hits Server
Every time you view source in Firefox - whether using Firefox's built-in controls or alternate controls like those included in the Web Developer add-on - the view source window makes an additional server request to ensure you are not viewing source from your cache. While this initially may sound like a good thing it absolutely sucks if you are attempting to view source behind a certain session-enabled applications such as an intranet. This is the case for me at work. When I view source in our intranet Firefox makes an additional trip to the server where our session-management code sees the Firefox source window as a new session and shows the code prompting me to log-in again. To get around this feature I searched Firefox's add-ons and found the View Source Chart add-on. Not only does this get around the issue but it also produces a more readable document complete with color-coding and collapsible sections. Note, this add-on does not fix the problem if you are working in a frames environment. If you are interested in reading more about this add-on check out the authors Web site.

Cool - Refresh View Source Window
Another cool feature about viewing source is you can refresh the code, and hit the server again just like you would a normal Web page. Just hit control-R (command-R on Mac). This is pretty handy if you are making some code changes and you need to view the source to check your work.


Artist Creates Self-Portrait Using Crayons

Posted by Aaron West at 10:46 PM in General

I saw this on Digg and had to check it out. An artist created a self-portrait of himself using crayons. The crayons were not used to draw his likeness, but were placed with the tip pointing up so the color of all the crayons when viewed as a whole represent his face. There looks to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 crayons used to create this unique work of art. The artist has a few close up photographs of the piece which are, to me, the most interesting.

Check it out here (


Break The Password Vault

Posted by Aaron West at 1:15 PM in General

I saw this the other day and didn't get around to blogging about it. This site ( presents you with a password challenge. Given one clue per day visitors are challenged to guess the password and are awarded with £100. The only real rule is players aren't supposed to "deliberately undermine or violate the legitate operation of [the site]." There have been two games and two winners already. Kind of interesting and then kind of not too.


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!


USB Flash Drives, U3, and Macs

Posted by Aaron West at 10:25 AM in General, Mac

I bought a SanDisk Cruzer Micro 2GB Flash drive last week and was dismayed when plugging it in to my Powerbook. Not only was the Flash drive mounted as a new disk in OS X, but a CD drive called "U3" was also mounted. The U3 drive consisted of Windows only software called LaunchPad that installs the U3 system on a Windows computer. The U3 platform allows users to take their applications and data with them on the road. Through the U3 system and a U3-enabled Flash drive you can store applications and run them without the need for a computer. However, this technology does not currently work on OS X. Furthermore, to correctly eject a U3-enabled Flash drive on OS X you have to eject the U3 CD in addition to the Flash drive itself. To make matters worse, the U3 CD does not always show as a mounted CD in the Finder. In all my test I had to launch OS X's built-in Disk Utility, and eject the U3 CD from there. It's a major pain to say the least so I began trying ditch the U3 system on the Flash drive.

After many attempts at formatting the Cruzer I was not able to get rid of the U3 partition using OS X. However, using the U3 software itself on a Windows computer, you can run a U3 uninstaller that will effectively get rid of the read-only partition for you. This turns a U3-enabled Flash drive into a regular Flash drive eliminating all the headaches when using it with a Mac. It's a bit of pain to have to use a Windows box in order to get your Flash drive functioning like you want with OS X, but it's certainly worth the effort. So, for now, either stay away from U3-enabled Flash drives (which are clearly marked as such on the packaging) or find a friend with a Windows box, plugin the Flash drive, access the U3 software, and run the uninstaller.