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 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.


For the past few months I've been planning on writing a post about the services that make this site possible. I've read these sorts of posts on other sites and they seem very marketing heavy. They're often titled "sponsor post" or something equivalent. This post is different. I'm genuinely a fan (and customer) of all of these services and in most cases I pay for them monthly. After the break I discuss each service/app I rely on to power this site. I put each service within category blocks such as: the server, the app, backups, uptime, etc.

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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 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.


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 from June 19 - July 19, 2010.

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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 live bringing all my content from and 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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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.
  • Google to end support of IE6 on March 1, 2010.
  • 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.
  • Microsoft announces they'll be automatically upgrading Internet Explorer on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Check out their announcement here.


My Blog is Now Hosted at Linode

Posted by Aaron West at 11:00 AM in ColdFusion, Site News

Last week I accomplished something I had been thinking about for at least a year, moving this blog to my own server. I had been hosting this site with a popular shared hosting provider for nearly four years and had not been happy for a long time. Picking a shared hosting provider in 2005 had been a pretty easy thing to do. I wasn't too comfortable with managing an entire Linux server so having others take care of it while I simply managed and wrote content was a good choice.

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Comment spam on my blog has increased immensely over the last four to six weeks. I'm getting, on average, 150 spam comments per week. In order to help combat the scum of the earth I have implemented both Akismet and Project Honeypot by way of activating these two features in CFFormProtect (which ships with BlogCFC).

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I've been adding photographs and screenshots to my blog posts for years using simply image tags. I've grown tired of the lack of full screen images and always worrying if the 520px images are even useful. And I've seen all the snazzy imaging tools out there giving users a better interaction with photos on Web sites. This weekend I decided to look into adding Lightbox to BlogCFC and wound up with Slimbox, a visual clone of Lightbox. The major difference between the two is Slimbox is super lightweight and very customizable.

To see Slimbox in action click the photo of my son below. If you want to add Slimbox to your installation of BlogCFC here's how to do it.

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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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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.


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.


Upcoming Site Maintenance

Posted by Aaron West at 8:53 PM in Site News

Due to some major instability problems on the shared server my site resides I'm having some changes made. Specifically, my site and blog will be moved to a Virtual Private Server - running enterprise Linux and CF 7 - within the next 24 hours. During the switchover from shared hosting to VPS there's likely to be at least some downtime. Hopefully things will be running much better very soon.


Things Just Got a Little Bigger

Posted by Aaron West at 11:14 PM in Site News

I don't know if it's my eyesight, my age, or a combination of the two but I'm not seeing as good as I used to. I visit Web sites every day where I have to squint to read the text. This evening, reading a comment on my own blog, I noticed I was squinting. So, I've increased the font sizes around here and I'm already liking it better.


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!