Jul
10

Photo of Lego space shuttle

On a whim today I picked up Gavin's Lego space shuttle and headed outside to take some photos. I got a little carried away and had a ton of fun posing the shuttle against a blue sky background. If you're interested you can check out the entire set here or watch a slideshow of the photos here.

Jun
12

Photo of Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean watch

For those interested in watches I just published a set of photos on Flickr of my Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. There's a lot of amazing tech that goes into an Omega dive watch and the Planet Ocean is no exception. It features a decompression system that allows the watch casing to off-gas helium after the watch has been in a pressure chamber for a long time. Also on board are Omega's own self-winding Caliber 2500 automatic movement (or the Caliber 9300 if you have the new 2011 edition) with a 48 hour power reserve, an anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a self-locking screw-in crown. All of this in a watch that can go as deep as 600 meters (2,000 feet). View the photos here or watch a slideshow of the photos here.

Jun
7

Git Workflows: Archiving Old Branches

Posted by Aaron West at 9:57 PM in ColdFusion, Git

I decided to take some time today to clean up old sprint branches that have been resting in Git unused. Some for well over a year. I had two goals I wanted to accomplish when trying to come up with a workflow. First, I wanted the list of branches that display with the command git branch -a (which I have conveniently aliased to just gb) to be shortened. Second, I didn't want to lose any of the commits part of old branches. Sure the commits were already merged into the master branch, but I didn't want to lose commit chain that was stored as branches.

My solution was to archive each branch as a tag then remove the branches from Git on my local machine as well as the Git origin server.

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Apr
29

I received an e-mail this morning from Seth, who was having difficulty getting his initial Time Machine backup completed. Seth graciously agreed to having his question posted here in another edition of Aaron Answers. Below is his question and after the break is my response.

Hi Aaron,

I really appreciate your blog, and wonder if you'd be willing to answer a Time Machine question i've run into. My old backup HD failed, so I bought a new 2T Iomega eGo desktop HD. Partitioned it into 3 partitions, including a 1.1T partition for my time machine backup. All seems to be working fine, except that the backup is too slow to get done unless I leave the computer running for 3-4 days, which I can't do as it's a laptop and I use it all the time. After the first night (8 hours of so) it had only done 20 Gb (out of my 400 Gb). After the second night, it did about 120 Gb. i don't know if I just need to find a 4-day window when I can leave my laptop backing up or if something is wrong with the software. I'm using the new USB2 cord, and it works nice and fast for manually backing up video files etc to other partitions in the drive. The drive seems to work quite fast. If you're able to offer any advice, that would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Seth

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Apr
20

Tomorrow evening (April 21) the Nashville ColdFusion User Group and Dave Ramsey / The Lampo Group are sponsoring a stop on the Adobe ColdFusion Builder 2 tour. If you are in Nashville tomorrow you should head to the Brentwood area to hear Greg Wilson talk about CF Builder 2, ColdFusion, and Flex on mobile including iPad/iPhone.

Food and drink will be provided and prizes will be awarded to some who RSVP. Hit up the NCFUG site to submit your RSVP and get the full meeting details.

Apr
19

Photo of Lego vehicles

My son has taken a strong interest in Legos since Christmas. A few weeks ago the Nashville Public Library sponsored a Lego building competition grouping entries by age. At the close of the competition the entries were put on display at the downtown library. We took Gavin to see all the creations and I took photos of a bunch of them using my DROID X. The photos aren't great quality, but you can see them all in a Flickr gallery here.

There were a bunch of really cool Star Wars themed creations and some included Woody and Buzz from Toy Story. The most intricate was a giant spaceship perched on a stand. I think it was from Star Wars too but I can't be sure.

Apr
18

Earlier this week I was trying to create a new ColdFusion Builder snippet that would insert the current date and time along with my initials into an open template. After inserting the snippet I wanted my cursor to be positioned in the middle of the comment so I could immediately begin writing some notes.

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Mar
1

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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Feb
23

My Review of Evil Plans by Hugh MacLeod

Posted by Aaron West at 10:58 AM in Books

Hugh MacLeod's latest book, Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination was recommended to me last week so I purchased the Kindle edition. It's a short book (192 pages) I was able to knock out in four days. I do recommend the book but don't expect to be given a step-by-step list of todos to create your own Evil Plan. More of my thoughts are after the break.

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Feb
9

For those reading this that do not know, I'm the CTO of Nashville-based startup Dataium, LLC. Dataium is the largest aggregator of Internet automotive shopping activity, and we're looking to hire a software engineer. We're specifically looking for someone with skills in several different technologies such as Java, Apache Hadoop, Adobe Flex/ActionScript 3, ColdFusion, and MySQL.

If you're interested in learning more, the full job description is included after the break.

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Feb
7

This post is a followup to my previous guide to installing ColdFusion 9 on Ubuntu. While that post was all about the specifics to getting ColdFusion up and running on Ubuntu, this post is all about CentOS. The overall process is the same and I'm covering all the same steps, but the commands in this post are specific to the CentOS operating system. So why I'm writing this?

Overall, installing ColdFusion isn't that big of a deal. But I've yet to see a guide or blog post that outlines all the other topics related to getting a decent ColdFusion server on CentOS up and running. That's why I wrote this super guide, to outline what I believe is important to know about installing ColdFusion. Of course, I'm not covering every single possible detail, but I believe I've hit on all the major topics. Along the way I sprinkle in my own ideas, thoughts, and what I believe are best practices. After you read this post and walk through all the instructions you should have a very solid ColdFusion / Apache set up on CentOS Linux.

There are two important things to note, so please read on.

Everything you will read, all paths, and every setup aspect is written specifically for CentOS. I've tested these instructions on CentOS 5.5, but they should be applicable to other recent versions. If you need instructions for Ubuntu, please read that guide here.

Secondly, and this is extremely important, all commands throughout this post are assumed to be run as root. Some of the commands can be run without root, but most of them cannot. So please, log into your CentOS server using the root account, put sudo in front of every command, or run the su - root command (under a non-root account) before walking through the instructions.

Before we get going, here's a list of what I'll be covering:

  1. Creating a Linux user for ColdFusion
  2. Disabling SSH and FTP login for the coldfusion user account
  3. Installing the required libstdc++.so.5 C++ Library
  4. Running the ColdFusion installer
  5. Starting ColdFusion for the first time
  6. Installing the ColdFusion 9.0.1 updater
  7. Verifying the installation of 9.0.1
  8. Creating a new ColdFusion instance for general use
  9. Tweaking the JVM memory settings
  10. Hooking Apache and ColdFusion together
  11. Getting the Apache Connector running with selinux
  12. Locking down Apache
  13. Configuring ColdFusion to start on system boot

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Jan
24

As I was finishing this guide on installing ColdFusion 9 on Ubuntu Linux I tweeted how many words made up the text (over 6,000). Several people commented on Twitter and Facebook saying things like: "[the length] seems a bit excessive," and "is it that complicated?" The thing is, I'm covering much more than simply installing ColdFusion. Overall, just installing ColdFusion isn't that big of a deal. But I've yet to see a guide or blog post that outlines all the other topics related to getting a decent ColdFusion server on Ubuntu up and running. That's why I wrote this super guide, to outline what I believe is important to know about installing ColdFusion. Of course, I'm not covering every single possible detail, but I believe I've hit on all the major topics. Along the way I sprinkle in my own ideas, thoughts, and what I believe are best practices. After you read this post and walk through all the instructions you should have a very solid ColdFusion / Apache set up on Ubuntu Linux.

There are two important things to note, so please read on.

First, this post is all about Ubuntu. Everything you will read, all paths, and every setup aspect is written specifically for Ubuntu. I've tested these instructions on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), but they should be accurate from 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) on. If you're disappointed this was written for Ubuntu, don't be. I have a CentOS post right here that covers all the same topics.

Secondly, and this is extremely important, all commands throughout this post are assumed to be run as root. Some of the commands can be run without root, but most of them cannot. So please, log into your Ubuntu server using the root account, put sudo in front of every command, or run the su - root command (under a non-root account) before walking through the instructions.

Before we get going, here's a list of what I'll be covering:

  1. Creating a Linux user for ColdFusion
  2. Disabling SSH and FTP login for the coldfusion user account
  3. Installing the required libstdc++.so.5 C++ Library
  4. Running the ColdFusion installer
  5. Starting ColdFusion for the first time
  6. Installing the ColdFusion 9.0.1 updater
  7. Verifying the installation of 9.0.1
  8. Creating a new ColdFusion instance for general use
  9. Tweaking the JVM memory settings
  10. Hooking Apache and ColdFusion together
  11. Locking down Apache
  12. Configuring ColdFusion to start on system boot

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Dec
30

Macworld published a blog post about New Year's resolutions for photographers (link below). I read through the post and noted the things I've been trying lately with my Canon 60D. I've had success expanding my photography skills with the following:

  • Fill the frame with your subject.
  • Try packing only an unfamiliar and limited lens and shoot with it all day. A 50mm or macro lens, for example.
  • Resist using a flash in low light.
  • Share your shots: Don't keep all those great new photos to yourself. Post them on Flickr, Picasa, MobileMe, Smugmug, or any other sharing site. Join a photography group and get feedback.
  • Bend your knees--don't shoot every image from eye level.
The Macworld article is here.

Oct
8

Solving problems is a fact of life. But those of us who serve in a technical role such as a programmer or database administrator face problems more than others. In my 10 years working in technical roles at different companies I've seen a lot of weird issues. Just today we had a situation where a customer was unable to fill out a form on our Web site. When asked what they meant they said they simply couldn't type into the form fields. It all sounded pretty bizarre to me. We eventually discovered a div layer was taking up more space than intended but only in Internet Explorer 7. The div took up so much space it trapped user clicks and wouldn't let customers interact with the form.

Tonight I was confronted with an entirely different kind of problem. My wife had a meeting to attend so I had our son all to myself. For dinner I made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, one of his favorites. He usually plays while I make dinner but tonight he decided to watch me spread the peanut butter and jelly on his bread. After finishing he said I wasn't supposed to spread the jelly on top of the peanut butter. I brushed off his comment and finished preparing our meal.

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Oct
4

Web application security is a difficult topic and can't be covered completely in a single blog post. After the break I discuss one quick way to block ColdFusion Administrator requests in Apache. I also list other resources that will help you understand ColdFusion security and how to apply practical security constructs on your ColdFusion servers.

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