Typical Daily Tamoto Harvest
Here's a picture of a daily harvest of tomatoes from our home system. We're also getting a lot of lettuce, onions, kale, chard, and peppers, although the peppers aren't ready to harvest yet.

We Have Fish
Yesterday we spent the day in the Van. We drove to Burbank pick up our first boxes of fish and then drove them all to Goleta. We saved one box to add to the tank at home and put the rest in the two tanks at Sustained Harvest Farms. Here's what the bags of fish look like while the temperature of the water in the bags matches the temperature of the water in the big tank.

We Have Nutrients
Seeing algae in your aquaponics system is a double-edged sword. All that green tells you your system is cycled (or cycling) and that you have nutrients galore. On the other hand, all that algae has a life cycle of about 24 hours and the deceased algae create a lot of ammonia, which is not good for your fish. We have no fish in the system, yet, so I scraped out the worst of it and we will hope for the best.

Printing Address Labels with Coldfusion
This is a hack, for sure, but this does output a pdf that will print on Avery 5260 address labels:

<cfdocument format="PDF" scale="80" marginleft="1" margintop=".25" marginbottom=".25" marginright=".05">
<!--- Specify the number of columns to return --->
<CFSET NumCols = 3>

<!--- Use a table--->


<CFOUTPUT query="Seeds">

<CFIF (CurrentRow MOD NumCols) IS 1>

<td height="115" <div style="width: 1000px" >#plant_name#<br />
#dateFormat(now (),"mm/dd/yyyy")#</div></td>



What I Use To Confirm Deletes
Here's the code I use to make the use confirm the decision to delete something:

In the head:

function confirmDelete(delUrl) {
  if (confirm("Are you sure you want to delete")) {
    document.location = delUrl;

The Delete Link:

<a href="delete_this.cfm?ID=<cfoutput>#del.ID#</cfoutput>" onClick="return confirm('Are you sure you want to delete?')">DELETE THIS</a>

Bob with All Troughs
All the troughs have been constructed in Bob, but we're waiting to put the liner in the final trough until we have the 3" PVC plumbed through the hole it will cover.

Sprouting Tables
Here are the sprouting tables, in Carol, right after being painted.

Cleaning Up Carol's Soil
Meanwhile, I've been cleaning up the dirt sections in Carol, getting ready for the tanks and the sprouting tables. Lot's of work, but beginning to look good.

Three Troughs and Counting
It looks like John and David and Linda can build and line about one trough per day. We have nine more to go.

Beginning To Install Weed Mat
We got "Bob" all cleaned up and are getting ready to install weed mat over the dirt areas. One of these dirt rows will become our main path for moving rafts around, since the troughs will take up almost all the concrete lanes. We'll begin construction of the rafts tomorrow.

Here's a picture of "Bob", the inside greenhouse in Goleta, shortly after we signed the lease. It's a before and after sort of thing.
Flush off our "success" (it's an inside joke) with our home aquaponics system, we did what anyone would do.  We signed a one year lease for two greenhouses in Goleta to build a commercial aquaponics system. These greenhouses were built in the 1960's by Samual B. Mosher, an oilman who later willed the "orchid farm" to his wife. Needless to say, they are not in "new" condition, so we will have our hands full getting them up to speed. 

We named them "Bob" and "Carol". Carol is a twin peaks model and this is Jason and Linda posing shortly after we moved in.

Our New Greenhouse
As we're getting ready to start a new aquaponics venture we decided to start a test system at home. We also decided to put it in a greenhouse. After looking at the options I went ahead and built my own.

Treating a Knee Injury
Many years ago (like 35) I injured my knee while lifting a couch. Something went snap and I was hobbling around for two or three months before I could start to walk and run normally again. Many of my friends criticized me for failing to undergo knee surgery.  However, to this day, I still don't believe it would have helped.

And today I read this article. Yep.

The Things You'll Find In The Rain Forest
I don't know how they got it there. I don't know what's inside. They had airline seats in the restaurant. Ignorance is bliss.

First Full Day At Hatch House
This is our second trip to Costa Rica, and our first visit to the southern Pacific coast area. We feel lucky to get to travel as much as we do, and it provides us with a great deal of satisfaction. Most of the people we will meet here will never fly on an airplane or visit another continent. Yet they probably feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful setting. Most of the Earth's peoples do not live in such a place, so luck takes many forms.

This is the view from the back porch of the house where we're staying for four nights.

Lock Down Coldfusion Directories in Apache
If you're using Apache webserver, like I am, and Coldfusion, block these administrative directories in the CFIDE directory, for security's sake. These lines should be entered in the httpd.conf file:

<LocationMatch "/CFIDE/administrator/"> 
order deny,allow 
deny from all 
#allow from local and EWH 
allow from 
allow from 

<LocationMatch "/CFIDE/adminapi">
order deny,allow
deny from all
#allow from local and EWH
allow from
allow from

<LocationMatch "/CFIDE/componentutils">
order deny,allow
deny from all
#allow from local and EWH
allow from
allow from

We decided to spend the last week of our vacation in Edinburgh, Scotland. The city is beautiful and green and we bought one-week passes for the bus so we were able to go everywhere we wanted. We also spent a lot of time walking. A Scot won Wimbledon while we were there.

Spain - Ronda
We spent a day in Ronda, doing a lot of walking and sightseeing. There's this ancient bridge built across a canyon that runs through the old part of the city that is amazing.

Distributed Everything
Here's some advice from Ven Portman on hosting your own internet stuff and getting away from the walled gardens. I've been thinking along these lines, too, for quite some time:

Distributed everything

So I?ve illustrated the problem. Now I want to talk about a few of the solutions I?ve discovered in the past few years of pulling my own shots.

  1. CJDNS + Hyperboria. There are around 100 people living and working on another Internet called Hyperboria. It?s based on a mesh networking router called CJDNS. If you get someone to peer you in, you?ll discover another Internet that?s a whole lot freer than this one. Visit Project Meshnet
  2. IRC. Everyone who wants to make sure their messages land use IRC as a backchannel now.
  3. Duckduckgo. The search engine that gets you out of your filter bubble, and respects your privacy.
  4. Pump.io. The creator of Identi.ca has a new federated social network called Pump. Visit him at e14n.com
  5. Host your own web server. Get your own VPS (Digital Ocean is only $5 a month) and host your own web server. Deploy using Node.js using Bitters.

When in doubt, start by learning some Internet basics. HTML5 and CSS3 are a good start for anyone who?s never learned how to code. Then move on to JavaScript and the other favorite languages of the Internet.

We?re not going to get through this by pushing buttons on centralized services.

If you want to use the Internet in 2013, you need to pick up some tech skills. In a few years this will probably be all figured out and no one will be intercepting your iMessages.

Until then, let?s send everyone a strong message by deleting our accounts on centralized services and learning how to use the distributed Internet.

Visit my distributed website at http://evbogue.com/

Spain 2013 - Granada
We stayed at an apartment in Granada, which unfortunately had a bed that had been treated with some kind of chemical. Despite seeing more mangy dogs than I've every seen, the city was fascinating and we were very close to the section of the city that more or less duplicated the Moroccan experience. We even got to smoke a hookah.

After our three days in Granada we spent two nights in Conil, which was very reminiscent of our stay in Albufeira on our trip to Portugal.

Spain 2013 - Malaga
Our first stop in Spain, 2013, was Malaga. We were not terribly impressed by the Novotel suite where we stayed as it was small and not very well designed. Still, we had a great time walking around the city for the two days we stayed and began enjoying the Tapas experience right away.

We also got to see the Malaga Market, where we bought some wonderful olives and one very unusual pepper.

Spectra Cine
Back in 1989, when I lived in Burbank, one of my bookkeeping clients was Spectra Cine. Lynne and I rented a house with a swimming pool and she worked for Buena Vista Video, part of the Disney Empire. I don't remember much about the company, but I also had other clients in the entertainment industry.

I also bought and sold motorcycles, after fixing them up a bit, with my buddy Johnny Doucette.

Our Garden - 2013
This is our second year on Vista Del Mar and we're off to a fast start. Once again everything is happy and we've planted the usual suspects, but also Kale and Grapes and Raspberries. It's been windy this year, but mostly clear. This is a shot from our upstairs bedroom, out the east facing window. Note the teepees and the half-moon pattern.

Excellent Advice from a Young Whippersnapper
Here is the post:

  • Try not to give unsolicited advice.
  • Showing up on time, consistently and without fanfare, is the single best way to show another person that you respect them.
  • People should hear nice things about themselves. Do not assume that everyone does. Give more honest compliments.
  • If you drink beer, drink the absolute best beer available, even if that means you can afford fewer beers.
  • Try to be the best person that you can be all the time. Maintaining different identities is a burden and it distracts you from working on your real one.
  • Kindness, and the strength to display it in all situations, is the single most admirable quality that people can possess.
  • If given the opportunity, people will surprise you. Leaving yourself open to these surprises is a kind of risk. Taking that risk is how you believe in people.
  • Own fewer things. Identify possessions that you love. Take care of them, treat them well, and keep them forever.
  • When with others, make every possible effort to be with them wholeheartedly and every possible effort to not fiddle with your mobile devices.
  • Every photograph and video you take at a concert or other live event will probably be terrible. Just enjoy the moments, don?t feel pressured to document them.
  • Let people leave your life when they need to. Leave a light on for them in case they ever decide to return. Collect those lights and regularly remember why you keep them lit.
  • Write more letters. Literal, pen-and-paper, had-to-buy-a-stamp-and-remember-where-your-friend-lives letters.
  • Be a relentless champion of people you care about.
  • When hugging, hug with two arms, while standing and applying reasonable, affectionate pressure.
  • Take every possible precaution to ensure that you own what you make: words, art, music, photographs, and even social media updates.
  • If you make something that you think could help someone, give it away.
  • Go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier. Life is nicer in the morning.
  • Give more, smaller, unexpected, personal gifts.
  • You will miss things. You will not live long enough to experience everything. Try to spend time with this in mind.
  • To accomplish something difficult, make the work as easy as you can on yourself. Remove every obstacle except the work. Then do the work.
  • When writing lists of advice, simply mine your past mistakes and failures, then try to rephrase them as folksy wisdom.
  • There are not many tasks that you?ll be doing repeatedly for as long as you?re alive, carrying stuff is probably one of them. Buy a really nice bag.
  • Other people cannot always see your intentions, they can see your actions.
  • No matter how important the rush that you are in, there exists someone in a more important rush, possibly the person directly in front of you.
  • Find something small, cheap, and easily reproducible that makes your day better. Make it a point to include it in life as often as possible. I suggest tea.
  • Settle into the realization that other people can be as intelligent as you. And more intelligent. And less intelligent. But, understand that you often won?t be able to tell the difference.
  • Ask your parents more questions about themselves, answer more of your parents? questions about yourself.
  • Unless you have finished writing a book, it?s probably best not to tell anyone that you are writing a book.
  • Seeking comfort is just fine. Seeking unending comfort can be a trap; occasionally, pursue the uncomfortable.
  • Placing a ripe, soft avocado in a refrigerator will extend its life by two days, give or take.
  • Once in a while, when you feel strongly about it, break a rule.

Physical Therapy
A couple of weeks ago I had my last physical therapy session, the third I had to pay for myself since Blue Shield had denied any further therapy beyond 12 sessions in a year.

All this started a couple of years ago when I over-threw a disc at Casitas disc golf course. I tore my rotator cuff and labrum, so much so that it produced bruises. As the pain continued over the months I finally relented to have an X-ray and then an MRI. With the tears revealed, I scheduled surgery for May 20, 2012.

The aftermath of this surgery wasn't fun. I was in a sling for three weeks and didn't begin therapy until after six weeks. In retrospect it is easy to see that this waiting period was far too long. Despite their best efforts, my therapists were unable to restore my full range of motion. My surgeon didn't seem to care, saying that I probably had developed a case of arthritis.

I sought a second opinion and in early February, 2013 I had a second surgery which removed some bone impingement from my collarbone (which had been mysteriously missed by the first surgeon) and also removed lots of scar tissue.

Now, almost a year later, I am getting close to my full range of motion in my right shoulder and am working hard on strengthening the rotator cuff muscles. It has been a frustrating year and at times I regretted having had surgery in the first place. I can't say that this regret has gone completely away, but I'm moving on and am seeing the bright side of life once again.

Every day a try to do one more push-up than the previous day. Today I did eleven.

Repost of Excellent Summary of Obamacare
From CaspianX2 on reddit:

What people call "Obamacare" is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (abbreviated to PPACA or ACA). However, people were calling it "Obamacare" before everyone even hammered out what it would be. It's a term that was, at first, mostly used by people who didn't like the PPACA, and it's become popularized in part because PPACA is a really long and awkward name, even when you turn it into an acronym like that. Barack Obama has since said that he actually likes the term "Obamacare" because, he says, "I do care".

Anyway, the PPACA made a bunch of new rules regarding health care, with the purpose of making health care more affordable for everyone. Opponents of the PPACA, on the other hand, feel that the rules it makes take away too many freedoms and force people (both individuals and businesses) to do things they shouldn't have to.

So what does it do? Well, here is everything, in the order of when it goes into effect (because some of it happens later than other parts of it):

(Note: Page numbers listed in citations are the page numbers within the PDF, not the page numbers of the document itself)

Already in effect:

  • It allows the Food and Drug Administration to approve more generic drugs (making for more competition in the market to drive down prices) ( Citation: An entire section of the bill, called Title VII, is devoted to this, starting on page 766 )

  • It increases the rebates on drugs people get through Medicare (so drugs cost less) ( Citation: Page 235, sec. 2501 )

  • It establishes a non-profit group, that the government doesn't directly control, PCORI, to study different kinds of treatments to see what works better and is the best use of money. ( Citation: Page 684, sec. 1181)

  • It makes chain restaurants like McDonalds display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy. ( Citation: Page 518, sec. 4205 )

  • It makes a "high-risk pool" for people with pre-existing conditions. Basically, this is a way to slowly ease into getting rid of "pre-existing conditions" altogether. For now, people who already have health issues that would be considered "pre-existing conditions" can still get insurance, but at different rates than people without them. ( Citation: Page 49, sec. 1101Page 64, sec. 2704, and Page 65, sec. 2702 )

  • It forbids insurance companies from discriminating based on a disability, or because they were the victim of domestic abuse in the past (yes, insurers really did deny coverage for that) ( Citation: Page 66, sec. 2705 )

  • It renews some old policies, and calls for the appointment of various positions.

  • It creates a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths. ( Citation: Page 942, sec. 5000B )

  • It says that health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won't get any more coverage because they have hit a "lifetime limit". Basically, if someone has paid for health insurance, that company can't tell that person that he's used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won't cover him any more. They can't do this for lifetime spending, and they're limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2711 )

  • Kids can continue to be covered by their parents' health insurance until they're 26. ( Citation: Page 34, sec. 2714 )

  • No more "pre-existing conditions" for kids under the age of 19. ( Citation: Page 64, sec. 2704 and Page 76, sec. 1255 )

  • Insurers have less ability to change the amount customers have to pay for their plans. ( Citation: Page 47, sec. 2794 )

  • People in the "Medicare Part D Coverage Gap" (also referred to as the "Donut Hole") get a rebate to make up for the extra money they would otherwise have to spend. ( Citation: Page 398, sec. 3301 )

  • Insurers can't just drop customers once they get sick. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2712 )

  • Insurers have to tell customers what they're spending money on. (Instead of just "administrative fee", they have to be more specific).

  • Insurers need to have an appeals process for when they turn down a claim, so customers have some manner of recourse other than a lawsuit when they're turned down. ( Citation: Page 42, sec. 2719 )

  • Anti-fraud funding is increased and new ways to stop fraud are created. ( Citation: Page 718, sec. 6402 )

  • Medicare extends to smaller hospitals. ( Citation: Starting on page 363, the entire section "Part II" seems to deal with this )

  • Medicare patients with chronic illnesses must be monitored more thoroughly.

  • Reduces the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly. ( Citation: Page 511, sec. 4202)

  • A new website is made to give people insurance and health information. (I think this is it:http://www.healthcare.gov/ ). ( Citation: Page 55, sec. 1103 )

  • A credit program is made that will make it easier for business to invest in new ways to treat illness by paying half the cost of the investment. (Note - this program was temporary. It already ended) ( Citation: Page 849, sec. 9023 )

  • A limit is placed on just how much of a percentage of the money an insurer makes can be profit, to make sure they're not price-gouging customers. ( Citation: Page 41, sec. 1101 )

  • A limit is placed on what type of insurance accounts can be used to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. Basically, your insurer isn't paying for the Aspirin you bought for that hangover. ( Citation: Page 819, sec. 9003 )

  • Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms. ( Citation: Page 819, sec. 9002 )

  • Any new health plans must provide preventive care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2713 )


  • If you make over $200,000 a year, your taxes go up a tiny bit (0.9%). Edit: To address those who take issue with the word "tiny", a change of 0.9% is relatively tiny. Any look at how taxes have fluctuated over the years will reveal that a change of less than one percent is miniscule, especially when we're talking about people in the top 5% of earners. ( Citation: Page 837, sec. 9015 )


This is when a lot of the really big changes happen.

  • No more "pre-existing conditions". At all. People will be charged the same regardless of their medical history. ( Citation: Page 64, sec. 2704Page 65, sec. 2701, and Page 76, sec. 1255 )

  • If you can afford insurance but do not get it, you will be charged a fee. This is the "mandate" that people are talking about. Basically, it's a trade-off for the "pre-existing conditions" bit, saying that since insurers now have to cover you regardless of what you have, you can't just wait to buy insurance until you get sick. Otherwise no one would buy insurance until they needed it. You can opt not to get insurance, but you'll have to pay the fee instead, unless of course you're not buying insurance because you just can't afford it. (Note: On 6/28/12, the Supreme Court ruled that this is Constitutional, as long as it's considered a tax on the uninsured and not a penalty for not buying insurance... nitpicking about wording, mostly, but the long and short of it is, it looks like this is accepted by the courts) ( Citation: Page 164, sec. 5000A, and here is the actual court ruling for those who wish to read it. )

Question: What determines whether or not I can afford the mandate? Will I be forced to pay for insurance I can't afford?

Answer: There are all kinds of checks in place to keep you from getting screwed. Kaiser actually has a webpage with a pretty good rundown on it, if you're worried about it. You can see it here.

Okay, have we got that settled? Okay, moving on...

  • Medicaid can now be used by everyone up to 133% of the poverty line (basically, a lot more poor people can get insurance) ( Citation: Page 198, sec. 2001 ) (Note: The recent court ruling says that states can opt out of this and that the Federal government cannot penalize them by withholding Medicaid funding, but as far as I can tell, nothing is stopping the Federal government from simply just offering incentives to those who do opt to do it, instead)

  • Small businesses get some tax credits for two years. (It looks like this is specifically for businesses with 25 or fewer employees) ( Citation: Page 157, sec. 1421 )

  • Businesses with over 50 employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees, or pay a penalty. (Citation: Page 174, sec. 4980H )

Question: Can't businesses just fire employees or make them work part-time to get around this requirement? Also, what about businesses with multiple locations?

Answer: Yes and no. Switching to part-time only won't help to get out of the requirement, as the Affordable Care Act counts the hours worked, not the number of full-time employees you have. If your employees worked an equivalent of 50 full-time employees' hours, the requirement kicks in. Really, the only plausible way a business could reasonably utilize this strategy is if they currently operate with just over the 50-employee number, and could still operate with under 50 employees, and have no intention to expand. Also, regarding the questions about multiple locations, this legal website analyzed the law and claims that multiple locations in one chain all count as a part of the same business (meaning employers like Wal-Mart can't get around this by being under 50 employees in one store - they'd have to be under that for the entire chain, which just ain't happening). Independently-owned franchises are different, however, as they have a separate owner and as such aren't included under the same net as the parent company. However, any individual franchise with over 50 employees will have to meet the requirement.

Having said that, the ACA only requires employers to offer insurance to full-time employees, so theoretically they could get out of this by reducing all employees to 29 hours or fewer a week. However, if any employees' hours go above that, their employer will have to provide insurance or pay the penalty. And also, this is putting aside how an employer only offering part-time work with no insurance will affect how competitive they are on the job market, especially when small businesses with 25 or fewer employees actually get that aforementioned tax credit to help pay for insurance if they choose to get it (though they are not required to provide insurance).

  • Insurers now can't do annual spending caps. Their customers can get as much health care in a given year as they need. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2711 )

  • Limits how high of an annual deductible insurers can charge customers. ( Citation: Page 81, sec. 1302 )

  • Health insurance cannot discriminate against women on pricing or plan availability ( Citation: Page 185, sec. 1557 )

  • Reduce costs for some Medicare spending, which in turn are put right back into Medicare to increase its solvency. Most notably, this bill reduces the amount that Medicare Advantage pays to be more in line with other areas of Medicare ( Citation: Page 384, Sec. 3201 and Page 389, Sec. 3202 ), and reduces the growth of Medicare payments in the future ( Citation: Page 426, Sec. 3402 ). The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that between 2012 and 2022, this will amount to $716 Billion in reduced spending (Citation: CBO Estimate ). Also being cut is $22 Billion from the Medicare Improvement Fund, most likely because the PPACA does a lot of the same stuff, so that spending would be redundant ( Citation: Page 361, Sec. 3112 ).

  • Place a $2500 limit on tax-free spending on FSAs (accounts for medical spending). Basically, people using these accounts now have to pay taxes on any money over $2500 they put into them. ( Citation: Page 820, sec. 9005 )

  • Establish health insurance exchanges and rebates for the lower and middle-class, basically making it so they have an easier time getting affordable medical coverage. ( Citation: Page 107, sec. 1311 )

  • Congress and Congressional staff will only be offered the same insurance offered to people in the insurance exchanges, rather than Federal Insurance. Basically, we won't be footing their health care bills any more than any other American citizen. ( Citation: Page 100, sec. 1312 )

  • A new tax on pharmaceutical companies.

  • A new tax on the purchase of medical devices.

  • A new tax on insurance companies based on their market share. Basically, the more of the market they control, the more they'll get taxed.

  • Raises the bar for how much your medical expenses must cost before you can start deducting them from your taxes (Thanks to Redditor cnash6 for the correction!).


  • Doctors' pay will be determined by the quality of their care, not how many people they treat. Edit: a_real_MD addresses questions regarding this one in far more detail and with far more expertise than I can offer in this post. If you're looking for a more in-depth explanation of this one (as many of you are), I highly recommend you give his post a read.


  • If any state can come up with their own plan, one which gives citizens the same level of care at the same price as the PPACA, they can ask the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for permission to do their plan instead of the PPACA. So if they can get the same results without, say, the mandate, they can be allowed to do so. Vermont, for example, has expressed a desire to just go straight to single-payer (in simple terms, everyone is covered, and medical expenses are paid by taxpayers). ( Citation: Page 117, sec. 1332 )


  • All health care plans must now cover preventive care (not just the new ones).

  • A new tax on "Cadillac" health care plans (more expensive plans for rich people who want fancier coverage).


  • The elimination of the "Medicare gap"


Can't convert Variant of type 8 to desired type 14
Can't convert Variant of type 8 to desired type 14

I've run into this error message a couple of times now, and each time it has taken me far too long to correct it.

In the end, the problem lies in data that is copied from one source to another, usually from Excel into Access, and the error doesn't show up in every field, nor is it something you can see. Generally, the solution is to delete the offending data and re-key it manually.

Organize or Die
I'm not getting any younger, and my brain feels like it wants to go on permanent vacation, which is fine with me, really, if it will just take me with it. Part of the fun of having a vacationing brain is that it doesn't care at all about remembering things that you may find important. Trying to remember how to set up your Outlook to work with that stupid webmail account from work? Forget about it. Just give up. Unless, of course, you had the foresight to wright down the procedure the first time you had to do it, realizing as you did, genius, that you'd have to do it again someday.

That, of course, brings us to why I use ninellc.com to keep track of all the things I tend to forget, not the least of which are my passwords. I'm lucky when my brain can remember that I've saved such information on a convenient web site, because then I get to log on to whatever site I wanted to log on to, without having to admit to the site in question that I had forgotten my password, and would they please email me a new one. Embarrassing.

Steps Towards Online Security
Years ago, when I first started building the online tools that would become ninellc.com, the most useful feature for my personal use was the storage of login and password information. Back then I didn't know much about online security in general, much less about the secure socket layer or cryptography. Luckily, I never suffered from a security breach, even though, at that time, I was storing my passwords in plain text.

Nowadays almost everyone knows that such a practice is a recipe for disaster. A simple "man in the middle" attack is enough to expose anything sent between two nodes on the internet. SSL is an almost complete solution for the "man in the middle" attack, probably close enough, by itself, to keep you out of harms way.

But there is more that can be done, and that is cryptography. Nine uses AES cryptography, which replaces something like "1234" with "7110EDA4D09E062BA5E4A390B0A572AC0D2C0220".

Further steps towards a more secure online environment include two factor authentication and encryption key management. Nine will be set up to use two factor authentication in the near future, but we are not yet able to offer individual encryption keys without a custom set up. In some ways, the use of individual encryption keys is a dangerous practice. Once lost or forgotten, so is all of the data the key was securing.

Part of the problem with securing your online data is the issue of trust. Unless you host your own application you are essentially trusting someone else with your data, unless you are using an individual encryption key. The administrator of the site you use will almost always be able to decrypt your data, should the need arise, unless you are using an individual encryption key. Thus, you must trust the administrator to keep your data encrypted at all times.

We build trust into our terms of use. We will not decrypt your data for any reason other than legal necessity. We promise to protect your privacy at all costs and to insure that the data you have entrusted to us remains safe.

Using Coldfusion To Direct Domains
You can use Coldfusion to direct domain requests to specific directories. Here's what the code looks like:

<cfif server_name IS "www.domain2.com">
<cflocation url="directory2" addtoken="no">
<cfelseif server_name IS "www.domain3.com">
<cflocation url="directory3" addtoken="no">
Coldfusion and Dreamweaver
I was setting up Coldfusion on a new computer recently when I started running into some problems getting Dreamweaver to play nice. I was getting strange issues previewing in the browser. In some cases the preview reverted to Google! Well, it turns out Dreamweaver has changed the way it deals with the local server, and it's been a while since I've had to use Dreamweaver. In CS5 you must specify the following in the Testing Server Web URL: localhost:8500/"your folder in wwwroot"/.

An exception occurred while instantiating a Java object. The class must not be an interface or an abstract class. Error: '.
I received this error when attempting to upload an excel file to use with Ben Nadel's poiutility.cfc:

An exception occurred while instantiating a Java object. The class must not be an interface or an abstract class. Error: '.

Problem? I still had the file open. Duh!

Parsing Dates for MySQL
MySQL requires dates in the 2012-08-15 format. I haven't had success using LSParseDateTime to clean dates for insertion, but '#LSDateFormat(query.date, 'yyyy,mm,dd')#' works fine. For numbers and currency #LSParseCurrency(FORM.dollars)# and #LSParseNumber(FORM.number)# work, allowing you to format numbers and currency in the FORM (like 1,344.56 and $535.00) and still insert the values properly in MySQL.

I've Had Just One User Since May 2010
Back in January of 2010 I failed my annual physical exam. My blood pressure was measured at 168 over 80. Apparently this is high. I was told by my doctor to get a blood pressure machine and start taking my blood pressure every day in the hopes that it would report that my blood pressure is normal and that I tested high at my physical exam because of anxiety. OK. To skip to the end of the story, yes, my blood pressure is normal, at most times, but tends to be high when measured by medical professionals. 

I hate paper lists, so I wrote a quick little web app so I could record my blood pressure on a daily basis and keep track of the resulting average.  Because I am who I am, I registered recordmybloodpressure.com and exposed my little application to the world.

In May of 2010, user number 653 recorded his/her first blood pressure and pulse readings. User 653 has entered data every day since.

Making Textarea Work With iPad
You can't use rich text in textareas when using an iPad or iPhone. So, to check for iPad or iPhone and remove the rich text feature do this:

<textarea name="post" cols="60" rows="10" id="post" <cfif (REFind("iPad|iPhone|iPod|Android", CGI.HTTP_USER_AGENT) GT 0)><cfelse>class="wysiwyg"</cfif>></textarea>

Coldfusion Datefield Not Opening Calendar Window
I was having an unusual problem with a coldfusion form this morning, where my cfinput fields of type="datefield" would show the tiny calendar icon, but wouldn't open the popup window. I couldn't find any discussion of this issue anywhere, but I kept looking at code until the obvious jumped out, as it always does. The site I was working on was heavily ajaxed, and it seems I had lost track of form names. The form that was exhibiting abnormal behavior had the same name as another form on the page (ultimately). Changing the form name fixed the issue.

Focusing on Your First Form Field
I've had mixed results with scripts that attempted to set the focus on individual form fields, but this one has worked well for me in a number of situations. First, place this script right before </head>:

<script type="text/javascript">
// This will focus first non-hidden text or textarea field on the first form.
function focus_first ()
    var form = document.forms[0];
    if (form != null && form.elements[0] != null)
        for (var i = 0; i < form.elements.length; ++i)
            var field = form.elements[i];
            if (field.type!="hidden" && (field.type=="text" || field.type=="textarea"))

Then, make sure your <body> tag includes onload="focus_first()", like:

<body onload="focus_first()">

Planet 10
Here's a link to a band I was in back in the day:


A Tree Named Bob
When Carol passed, the family planted a tree at Jason's house. When Bob passed, the family decided to plant a tree in a pot, to sit at Miles and Linda's house, since we rent. It's a Lime tree, named Bob.

A Sea-Home
Check this out:


Robert Nelson
Linda's father, Bob, died yesterday at the age of 87. I will always remember him for his grin. It was infectious.

Robert Richard Nelson, 87, was born Feb. 6, 1925 in Newberg and passed away peacefully April 4, 2012 at his home in Tillamook with his daughter, Linda, by his side.

Bob served in the U.S. Navy at the end of WWII and was honorably discharged in March, 1946. He then graduated from the University of Portland. He married Carol V. Olby in June, 1948. His loving wife preceded him in death on Nov. 2, 2011.

Bob and Carol moved to Tillamook in 1955, where he and his brother Jim owned and operated Atlantic Richfield Oil Distributorship until they retired in 1986. Bob was an avid bowler and also was active on the local golf league. He was a member of the Elks Lodge and the Oddfellows. He spent most winters after retirement on the  Island of Maui, and enjoyed plenty of time snorkeling, golfing and just enjoying the sun and their newly made friends.

He is survived by his son, James Nelson; daughter Linda Gassaway and husband Miles, of Ventura, Calif. and daughter Melissa Riverman and husband Joe of Bend. There are eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchilden who will also miss him dearly.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to hospice or a charity of your choice. No service is scheduled at this time.

Linda's New Drawing App
Linda created this using an app called "Paper" from fiftythree.com. I couldn't do this sort of thing in a million years.

My Baby In Jamaica
Here's my best buddy standing on "our" beach in Jamaica. This was in front of the condo we stayed at the first week, at the north end of the seven mile beach.

The Tram Above Como
While we were in Como, Italy, we rode the tram up the mountain, which afforded spectacular views, like this:

Linda and I regularly pick a spread of Tarot and analyze the results using numerology. We find it both fascinating and useful. Here's one of our spreads from late last year.

Polka Dots For Halloween
Here's Terry, Jeff and Harper, resplendent in their Halloween garb.

Off To Hawaii
We're flying to Hawaii tomorrow to visit Linda's dad, Bob, and to help him clean the place up in preparation of his departure back to Oregon. Linda was over there recently and here's a picture to prove it.

Linda and Johnny
Here's more from the cleaning pictures off my phone department:

A Friend Made In Paris
While in Paris, Linda and I went out to see a jazz band called No Jazz. They were terrific. We met Isabelle at the show and had a great time chatting her up. She invited us to lunch at her place in the ninth arrondissement and we completely forgot to mention that we don't eat meat. Well, she prepared a beautiful coq au vin, and we didn't get to taste a bite.

Here's Linda with Isabelle and her children Daphne and Odysseus.

Why We Had To Move
This is why we had to move:

View Video

Lake Como
Here's more from the "cleaning photos off my phone" theme. We loved Lake Como, Italy. It would be wonderful to live there. We stayed at the Hotel Borgovico, which was run by the same sort of friendly, happy people that you would see all around you.

Gary and the Harp
I'm cleaning out some photos from my phone, starting with this one of Gary holding the Harper in her first few days. About a year ago.

Reminds Me Of St. Lucia
I stumbled across this image on the internets recently. It so reminds me of the tree house we stayed at on St. Lucia.

Exporting to Excel in Coldfusion 9
In past versions of Coldfusion, I was able to export a page to Excel by including this code in the heading:

<cfcontent type="application/vnd.ms-excel">

Coldfusion 9 no longer recognizes this type of page as an Excel file, but the following code will work:

<cfheader name="Content-Disposition"
value="inline; filename=AllRevDist.xls">
<cfcontent type="application/vnd.ms-excel">

Our New Address
We've moved! Our new address is 1511 Vista Del Mar, Ventura, CA 93001.

 Here's the new pad:

Treasure Beach
We stayed three days at Treasure Beach in Jamaica before we returned to Negril for four days prior to flying back December 1st. A good trip, very relaxing.

Our Trip to Jamaica
The first half of our holiday to Jamaica is coming to a close. We've been in Negril enjoying the sun and the beach and generally having a relaxing time of it. We went on a bit of a tour yesterday with Earl, who has been taking us around town, and got to see some remarkable sites. Today we will be journeying to Treasure Beach, for more relaxation and perhaps a chance to play some tennis.

My Mother In Law Passed Away Last Week

Carol Virginia Olby Nelson, 81, of Tillamook, died Nov. 2, 2011. She was born in Mellen, Wisc., and then moved to Gresham with her parents, the late Helen and Hugo Olby in 1930. Carol graduated from Gresham High School in 1948.  She married Robert Richard Nelson that same year. They lived together in the Portland area before relocating to Tillamook in 1955.

Carol worked at Tillamook High School as an office secretary until her retirement in 1988. She was passionate about making a difference in the lives of students. She was well known and loved by the students for her willingness to listen and her fairness.

Carol was an active member of the Tillamook Womens Bowling League, a golfer for many years, an avid ping pong player and an aggressive card player. After raising her three children, Carol loved to travel to Maui where she and her husband resided in Kihei.  They spent over twenty winter years there enjoying the Maui sunshine, community and lifestyle. Carol had many friends. She made friends easily.

Carol is survived by three children: James Nelson of Tillamook, Linda Nelson Gassaway of Ventura, Calif., and Melissa Nelson Riverman of Bend. She also is survived by eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren with twin great grandchildren on the way!

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to a cause of your choice.

No service is scheduled, as family and friends will gather for a private celebration of Carols life. She will be missed by all.

Cremation arrangements are in care of Wauds Funeral Home in Tillamook.

The Impending Doom
I've got a real reputation for predicting imminent demise for us all, and for the past forty years I've been wrong. I now chalk that up to the free-for-all spending of all our cheap energy, which has enabled "growth", which has kept everyone busy, employed, and consuming. I'm absolutely sure that all of this is about to come to an end.

Linda and I will be traveling to Jamaica in November, and one of the things I hope to accomplish is to get a better idea of what life will be like when our economy tanks. Already a quarter of Jamaicans are unemployed, most recently with the decline in textile and clothing work. The tourism industry is being hit hard, just as it has been world-wide. There is no petroleum on the island, but they do manage to provide the world with 10.4% and 7.4% respectively of its bauxite and alumina. 

It's weird to think of having to do without things that you've had your whole life, like properly paved roads, guaranteed clean water, and all manner of consumer goods that are soon to be too expensive to ship long distances. I expect to begin losing electricity a lot, which will certainly serve to get us out of the house more.

A Secret Camping Spot
I used to live in Jamestown, Colorado, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon a great camping spot within a mile or two of my house. At that time I had a four wheel drive vehicle (had to have, actually) so I could get within a few hundred yards of this spot during the summer. In the winter I could get within about a mile.

On our recent trip to Boulder, I took Linda up to this area and we discovered that the four wheel drive road had been closed by the county. I wasn't expecting to use this road in a rental car, anyway, so we hiked in and found the camp even more primitive than I remembered it, probably because of the road closure. The total hike was nearly four miles, but it brought back a lot of nice memories for me.

Mobile Internet Connection
Back when I was boondocking a lot (in my RV, don't your know), I often wished for a way to connect to the internet, fantasizing about a satellite dish and so forth. In those days, the satellite companies wouldn't let you install or use a dish on an RV. I don't know if the Dish Network offers an internet package, but they certainly have made a portable dish package.
Thoughts On Oil and Bicycling
I love riding my bike to work. The trip is 7 miles each way with some good hills thrown in for variety. I have an electric motor on my rear wheel that helps me up the hills and lets me get to work in 40 minutes instead of an hour.

Every day I am struck by how many people are driving around. Do they all have urgent business? Nah. I remember when I was a kid that one of our favorite passtimes was simply driving around. This has obviously remained true. I also see an awful lot of people sitting in an idling car.

All this will change, of course, and probably pretty soon. America uses 21 million barrels of oil a day, of which we are able to produce 6 million barrels domestically. Wikipedia explains our energy usage quite well.

It seems apparent to me that we will soon reach a point where gasoline and diesel fuel will be too expensive for the majority of Americans to afford. Oil is running out, and demand in the rest of the world is increasing dramatically. Since our transportation is based entirely around single occupant, internal cumbustion automobiles, we face a cunnundrum. The development of electric vehicles is a start, but widespread use is unlikely to come in time to prevent a dramatic disruption of transportation in this country. 

In a way, this is a good thing. I urge everyone I know to get out of their cars and get some fresh air. It makes you feel better and gives you a better outlook on your day. Unfortunately, a lot of people have too far to go to work to feasibly ride a bike or walk. And as we all know, America frowns on public transportation, for the most part.

My Daily Commute
I love riding my bicycle to work, and I really enjoy the route I take. This morning it was unusually cold on the way in to work, but you always warm up after a half mile or so, no matter how cold it is. I get to ride down Ventura Avenue, which is always a hoot because of the wide variety of people you see, even first think in the morning, and because you get to make drivers nervous (not really). The first good hill climbs up to Poli, and then again after the courthouse, finally topping out next to cemetery park. Then comes a long fast downhill to Jeff and Terry's house which is followed by a long flat stretch that passes Ventura High School, goes partway up Foothill, down Dalton to the hospital, crosses Telegraph and then heads into the Mall parking lot. Once I get across Mills Road I have arrived at the office.

Here's a picture of the steepest hill closest to home:

Detecting Mobile Device Using Coldfusion
Here's the code I use on Extended Tribe to detect mobile devices and disable rich text editing in my textarea fields:

<cfif (REFind("iPad|iPhone|iPod|Android", CGI.HTTP_USER_AGENT) GT 0)><cfelse>class="wysiwyg"></cfif>

Here's the long version:
 <textarea name="post" cols="60" rows="10" id="post" <cfif (REFind("iPad|iPhone|iPod|Android", CGI.HTTP_USER_AGENT) GT 0)><cfelse>class="wysiwyg"></cfif></textarea>

Back to Biking
A couple of weeks ago Linda and I bought new bicycles. My old Gary Fisher had served me well but needed to be put out to pasture. Linda's Trek was really a man's bike. We got a couple of Specialized bikes and I installed our motors on them. We also ordered two new lithium ion battery tubes from AmpedBikes. It's nice to be commuting on a bike again.

Bear Creek
This weekend we camped at Bear Creek along the Sespe Creek trail, on the way to Willett's Hot Springs. The hike itself was beautiful, but somewhat marred by the large number of people also enjoying the trail. The campground itself reminded us of car camping, what with people camping so close together. The hike was our longest yet at just over 4 miles and we felt it the next day.
Back To Nordhoff Ridge
Our first camping trip of the season was great. We had less trouble with the hike than we expected and the camping was wonderful. Here's a pic of some milkweed we found.
Momentos From Italy and Paris
Here are some of the cards and tickets I saved from our trip to Italy and Paris.

Como, Italy
We spent the next day by taking the funicular up the side of the hill to get this view.
Second Day in Como
We found a suit jacket and tie, though it turns out this was not necessary, since the printed restrictions on dress code were not enforced. The Ballet was incredible, as we hoped it would be. It was very modern, but was danced mostly to Baroque pieces, with the exception of the last one, which must have been a modern piece meant to show the difference between Baroque and nightmare (or simply modern discordant 20th century music), which gave a very fine point to the whole of the ballet. We were worried by the potential of a strike by the train workers that was scheduled to start midway through the ballet, but luckily was postponed due to the "exposition", which we assumed to mean the furniture show we will attend on Saturday. It would have been tricky/expensive to get back to Como after the ballet without the trains running. As it is, we caught a train and had a late drink at a neat bar down the street from the hotel before retiring around 2:00 AM.
Second Trip to Italy
We have arrived in Como after a very long travel day. The flight from LAX to Zurich was about 11 hours but we managed to sleep about half of it. We figured out the train and arrived in Como around 8:00 PM local time. After a salad and drinks at a lovely bar we found down the street we retired to the room for a well earned night's rest. We slept until 9:30 AM and just made it to breakfast in time. We're hoping to go to the ballet at La Scala tonight but apparently I'll need a jacket and tie, so we'll try to locate them today.
Human Resource Management
I deal with human resource management on a daily basis. It's part of my day job. It's kind of neat, really, to be the guy in the company that everyone else goes to to get information about their hours, how overtime works, their benefits and how to manage them, and stuff like "how do I reduce all these garnishments on my wages?" Keeping track of employees and their dependents, and all the various details that go with them (how many dependents exactly, and whether they are natural children, adopted, or step-children) is a bit tricky, so I've developed a human resource management service at extendedtribe.com. I had already built many of the pieces of this puzzle during the course of my duties, so putting it all together hasn't been as hard as it would have been if I were starting from scratch. Still, there are lots of interactions to consider as I build out the features and I'm sure I'm in for one of my famous "learning experiences". 

Besides employee tracking, I've included an online time clock feature, an employee manual wizard, and an evaluation (appraisal) service. It's always nice to build a service to solve your own problems. Who better to do so, eh?

What Not To Care About
My wife and I are both accountants, among other things. I lived my life single, she had six kids before we met. Her desire to be in control of her life is intense; the four husbands she had were little or no help in bringing up her children, weren't particularly good bread winners, and failed miserably at accounting. There can be little surprise, then, that my wife wants very much to take care of our family finances, just by force of habit, if nothing else. 

Accountants are nit-picky sons of bitches, as most everyone knows. We like to get everything just right. And why not, when you're working with numbers there's no reason to settle for approximations (at least in accounting) because you should be able to balance everything out to the penny. So it is with no small degree of effort that I have managed to not want to take care of my own finances. 

But there is something much more important that I have learned to not want. Opinion. I have found myself forming opinions about the various things she does, which amounts to forming judgements based on my own perceived superiority. That's really it in a nutshell; it's my ego wanting her to live up to my image of her. Sounds stupid, doesn't it. Believe me, there is no greater stupidity than to waste your moments forming an opinion of your mate, when you could simply be loving her. I've tried both ways, and the love wins, hands down. It's been a hard thing not to want, this intense scrutiny of her behavior. But in order to have her back (always be there for her), I cannot care about this, not even a little. And guess what. Guess who gets to be happier as a result of giving something up?

Poi Problem
I had a problem again today with Ben Nadel's poi solution for uploading excel spreadsheets and inserting the data in your database. The error I got was:  An exception occurred while instantiating a Java object. The class must not be an interface or an abstract class. Error: '.

The solution was to delete several of the rows at the end of the spreadsheet. Somehow something gets into one of the blank rows that you can't see. Deleting rows after your data always seems to fix the problem.  

Looking Ahead
I can see two things happening in the future, inevitably. Or not. This would depend on there being a future, so I guess inevitable is overstating it. At any rate, I believe that voice command will become the default human interface with computers and devices that contain computers just as soon as it becomes technologically feasible, and probably a bit before then. I also believe that wearable computers are just around the corner. Some are already here, of course, but just you wait. There is one more thing about voice interfaces. Members of the young generation today who have come to depend on text messaging, you know the ones, they have learned to walk and drive while staring intently at their portable device, will not wish to make the change to this new interface. They have become reliant on the close relations giving by instant messaging, which also gives them safe distancing, since never a word need be uttered, nor a thought thunk, methinks.
Christmas 2010 Silverbells
This was the first one I recorded, and then made a rough mix for my producer (Linda). As she pointed out, it was way too slow, so I went back to change the tempo on the sequences, but the keyboard had not retained them on power-off because its battery was dead. So I set about to replace the battery, which I discovered was soldered into the main board. Luckily I can solder, so I replaced the dead battery with a jury-rigged battery holder/battery combination that seems to be working quite well. Except that I had to go back and record the track from scratch.
Christmas 2010 Let It Snow
Here's a lovely little vignette, a solo piece by Linda.

Christmas 2010 Deck The Halls
Linda recorded the piano on this one and I added the drums later. You can't really hear it, but I was thinking about "My Sharona" for the middle section with the "deck the halls" chant. I tried to get Linda to shout it out with me, but she had butterflies.
Christmas 2010 Coming To Town
This one was put together using the WK-500, which had a couple of usable accompaniments. The trick was getting the changes smooth, since you could only do the whole song, not in pieces. Once you get that done, though, the rest is just a walk in the park. Santa Claus is Coming to Town thus becomes a bubbly little number, with a carefree feel and no particular intrinsic value.
Coventry Carol
The third song on the xmas CD is our version of the Coventry Carol. Linda was kind enough to record this one on the SQ-2 and we both chose the various voices to replace the piano. One soprano sax improvisation later, and we had this one in the can.
Music Tool
People have been asking lately what equipment we use to produce the songs. Here goes.

My keyboard of choice is the Ensoniq SQ-2, which was manufactured in 1990. I have owned four or five over the years. It makes use of sampled waveforms, and thus performs somewhat like a sampler, with many realistic acoustic sounds. It also has an on-board sequencer, which takes some getting use to, but when learned, provides all the functions necessary to edit performances, right down to individual notes. The quantizing (correcting performances to conform to rhythm) is excellent and versatile. The keyboard itself, while not weighted like a real piano, has a good firm touch and is quite easy to play.

Once I have recorded basic tracks such as bass and drums (which the SQ-2 does very nicely) I can add a few accompanying parts and then begin copying the basic sequence, so I can edit each copy to provide for variety, and then place all the copies in an order that makes sense. This becomes the basis for the song, which I then record into Steinberg's Cubasis program on a computer. This is where I begin to overdub any acoustic parts, such as saxophone and hand-held percussion. Cubasis is an excellent program for this purpose and also allows for automated mix-downs, meaning you can mix each track separately and the program will remember these mixes and combine them all when you export the song. You can export the final mix-down into a variety of file formats, including MP3.

As far as the inspiration for the songs goes, if it's going to be an original I simply sit down to the keyboard and start playing. Soon I'll have come up with something I can use. At this point, whether it is original or cover, I begin to use my experience to give the song a sense of style or purpose. Sometimes I succeed.

Xmas Tree
The second song on the 2010 christmas CD is xmastree. This one is supposed to emulate a marching band, though of course it is much too repetitious and synthy to do a proper job of that. Nonetheless, it does destroy the song nicely, which is the whole idea.
Christmas 2010 Frosty
This year for christmas presents, among other things, Linda and I put together a collection of our own fractured carols. I'm familiar only with using an Ensoniq SQ-2 for a workstation, so that's what we used. I had to replace the backup battery first thing, which was a bit of a challenge, since the unit doesn't have a battery holder, but instead has a battery soldered in. Thank good I can solder. My poor SQ-2 performed admirably up to the first nine songs, and then it became unstable and will now require repair. Luckily, there is still one man left who can do the work

Here's the first song on the finished CD, frosty. After the SQ-2 died, I purchased a Casio WK-500 at Target and used it to finish this track and one other. On this track I simply used the stock accompaniment with only a tiny bit of playing along to lay down the basic track. My soprano is a Cannonball that Linda bought for me several years ago. She put the percussion on this one (egg, jingle bells).

Why Everyone Needs Their Own Server
It's getting to the point where Web 2.0 is beginning to fail. Each man for himself and the internet providers against all.  But that's a different story, after all. The good old US of A is by far the highest priced provider of broadband access, except that it isn't broadband (by definition). But it sure is expensive. Competition, schmompetition.
Christmas 2010
This year we decided to make a bunch of stuff, rather than spend so much on everyone, so the house ended up looking like a manufacturing facility.

These trays that Linda made are terrific. Each one has a sponge, some sea salt for the bath, some of Linda's famous soy soap, three soy pillars, two palm was pillars and three palm was cubes. Also included are two soy and bayberry tapers.

Here are the baskets that Linda put together.

Second Trip to Nordhoff Ridge
Last weekend we again hiked Howard Creek Trail up to the Nordhoff ridge and stayed in the campground with the fire pit and table. We really like it up there because of the views and the peace and quiet, but that last mile is a killer. Coming down was easy, as always, and we met a range with a group of volunteers doing trail maintenance. Here's a view down onto a private lake along the trail.
Coldfusion Rounding Issue
I had a very strange problem recently with my production server rounding numbers for only one of my sites. For example, it was displaying $35.67 as $36.00. The problem, I think, was that I was inserting sums into a table, using cf_sql_numeric. This is the first time I've encountered the need to use a table to store sums, so I haven't run into this problem before. Luckily, after much thought, I checked the list of available cf_sql datatypes and found this one: cf_sql_money. I made the change in my code and the problem disappeared.
Hiking From Pine Mountain Road to Chorro Springs
Friday we drove up to Pine Mountain and took the road to the top of the Chorro Grande Trail. It was really beautiful up there and we collected some amazing pine cones, but when we hiked down the trail to the Chorro Springs campground we were greeted with a heavy swarm of gnatty bugs and flies. It really was uncomfortable. The hike back up was steep and strenuous and more uncomfortable still because of the large amount of flying insects. It was a beautiful place, but, as you must now know, way too buggy.

Camping on the Nordhoff Ridge
This weekend we hiked the 3.2 mile Howard Creek trail up to the Nordhoff Ridge where we found a camp complete with a table. It was beautiful up there, with marvelous views in all directions. Linda especially liked the quiet. We could see the fire lookout on the top of Nordhoff peak. This hike went well, though it is quite strenuous. Lot's of poison oak along the trail.
MySQL Date Fields and PHP and jQueryUI
Here's how to quickly make jQuery UI work with MySQL date fields. Insert these scripts in the head of the document:

<script type="text/javascript" src="js/jquery-1.4.2.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/jquery-ui-1.8.4.custom.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">

// Datepicker
inline: true
//hover states on the static widgets
$('#dialog_link, ul#icons li').hover(
function() { $(this).addClass('ui-state-hover'); }, 
function() { $(this).removeClass('ui-state-hover'); }

Make sure to set your input like this:

<td><input type="text" name="ck_date" value="" size="32" id="datepicker"></td>

Then, to get MySQL to work with a date field, change this:

inline: true
To this:

$('#datepicker').datepicker({ dateFormat: 'yy-mm-dd' 

Hiking the Pratt Trail
This weekend we took a day hike along the Pratt trail, which begins at a parking lot in Ojai, and eventually ends up on the Nordhoff ridge road at an elevation of nearly 5000 feet. It was very hot and the trail is a strenuous one, so we only went about two miles and turned around. We weren't terribly fond of the fact that much of the trail goes through private property and right next to houses, but once we got past that section it was really quite lovely. Here's the sign where we turned back.

Using Session.MM_Username in a PHP MySQL Query
When you want to use Session.MM_Username in the WHERE clause of a query, use this example for reference:

$username = $_SESSION['MM_Username'];
mysql_select_db($database_CostFlow, $CostFlow);
$query_accounts = "SELECT cost_accounts.autonum, cost_accounts.acnt_type, cost_accounts.acnt_num,  cost_accounts.acnt_compcode, cost_users.user_name, cost_users.user_compcode
FROM cost_accounts, cost_users 
WHERE cost_accounts.acnt_compcode = cost_users.user_compcode AND cost_users.user_name = '$username'
ORDER BY acnt_num ASC";

Camping At East Fork Lion Camp
Last weekend we camped at the East Fork Lion Camp off of Lion Valley near Rose Valley. We hiked in about four miles over the connector trail that links to the Rose Valley campground. We had previously hiked to this camp from the Middle Lion campground about three years ago in some monstrous heat. This time it was warm, but nothing like it was back then. The campsite is nice, and there weren't nearly as many bugs as we encountered the first time.
Validating Fields In Dreamweaver
Now that I'm learning PHP, I can't lean on the built-in functions that Coldfusion has. For instance, I was having trouble with the Validate Form behavior. Here's the correct way to do it:

I have added the action behaviour validate form and event onBlur to the email text field and name field for an order form and selected for the name "required" and "anything". and for the email field required and email address. Other fields such as name and message I have not validated. Saved and uploaded however I can still send the form with just 'test' in the message field with no prompts for the required fields to be filled in. What am I missing. Do I need to add an event to the send button?  I have a separate q about adding many forms to a shopping cart. Any advice would be much appreciated.Thanks Michael

ANSWER: Apply to form's submit button the same form validation and the event is onClick. Thats all! 

Murietta Camp
Yesterday we did the short hike to Murietta camp across from Matilija valley where we had camped previously. The hike totaled 2 miles one way along the road to the trail-head and then a nice single track well shaded by mature trees. The campground itself was nice enough and is situated near the stream with a nice pool below. There were a couple of girls hanging out at the pool who we later agreed must have been on hallucinogenic drugs. They appeared to be reading a book about hippies and trying to re-enact things they read. They had a rattle with them and they couldn't stop giggling. They left well after dark, leaving behind a water bottle, a blanket, and a straw hat, going down the trail to the light of a glow stick. I hope they made it OK.
If I'm Not Here When You Get Back
"If I'm not here when you get back, it will mean I've gone somewhere." I was sitting by the fire, gazing idly at the sky to the west. The day was ending, but that was because it was almost over.
"Do tell," she said. As she walked away towards the clearing I got the impression that she wasn't at all interested in the sky or the day, much less what I might be able to tell. The last of the dinner lay sullenly in my stomach, which meant I had over-eaten, again. Time for a drink.

Camping Along the Chorro Grande Trail
This weekend we hiked the lower portion of the Chorro Grande trail, up to the first campground which Linda's pedometer indicated was 2.3 miles from where we parked. We didn't see anyone at all on this hike, and it looked like this trail hasn't seen much activity in quite a while.

We camped at the lower of the three campsites we found and liked this spot as much or more than any campsite we've been to this year.

The upper campsite is larger and looks like a great place for a party. However, it was very clean and very close to the stream. We used our new water filter for the first time to no ill effect. 

Overall, we really liked this trail and camp and look forward to going back to explore the rest of the trail going up to Pine Mountain.

Camping at Piedra Blanca
Camping at Piedra Blanca

We returned yesterday from an overnighter at the Twin Forks campground on the Piedra Blanca trail. Luckily, the skies were overcast Friday as we hiked in, otherwise it would have been a scorcher.

The white rocks are beautiful and the trail is excellent. On our way in we met a trail-building crew complete with five pack horses. They had been working up around the Pine Mountain Lodge area.

It's It's about a 4 mile hike to the Piedra Blanca camp, and another half mile to the Twin Forks camp, where we stayed. The camp was great, well shaded with a good clean stream running nearby.

I saw a couple of dear, and there was a water snake in Piedra Blanca creek, but otherwise we didn't encounter any critters.

Linda made a beautiful bouquet out of plants growing around the camp.

Camping Along Matilija Canyon Trail
Friday we drove up to Mitilija Canyon and hiked in about 3.5 miles, past the Middle Matilija campground.

We had to park at a gate and walk down a private road that gave access to the canyon. It was a beautiful day. I fell into the creek and cut my leg pretty good, and Linda tripped over a branch and hit the ground hard. We both survived, but it became obvious that we were carrying too much weight.

We had to build our own camp. It was Memorial Day weekend, after all, and there were plenty of hikers and campers about.

Saturday morning we hiked another mile or so up the canyon but didn't make it all the way to the Upper Matilija campground. The bugs were out in force, so we hiked back out and came home. 

Camping Along Sespe Creek
Yesterday, Linda and I returned from an overnight camp along Sespe Creek out of Rose Valley. We had originally planned to visit Piedre Blanca but took a wrong turn and ended up hiking the trail towards Willett's Camp.

We're not sure how far we hiked, but it seemed like three to six miles, one way. We actually hiked at least a mile beyond where we ended up camping, coming upon a series of switchbacks that seemed to have no end (and we were getting pretty tired). So, we hiked back to a spot we had seen from the trail and made camp on a sandy spot next to the creek.

We found some old folding chairs nearby, left by hardier folks than us, and put them to good use next to an excellent firepit.

There was a terrific pool right next to the camp.

The creek was very clear and likely as high as it will be all year.

We had a great time, and for our first backpacking trip of the season, didn't get too sore or sustain too many injuries. We forgot the butter, but didn't really need it. All in all, a recommended trail, especially in May with flowers in bloom and the creek clear and inviting.

Setting Default Contacts List in Outlook
Every time I change computers or have to install Outlook in an Exchange setting I end up with the Global Contacts list being the default, and I always forget how to change the default list. This is how:

  1.. On the Standard toolbar, click Address Book.
  2.. In the Address Book dialog box, on the Tools menu, click Options.
  3.. In the Show this address list first list, click Contacts.
  4.. Click OK.

The Tree In Mission Park
This is the big tree that grows in Mission Park on Main Street. I took a photo of it when we were on our way to a Thursday night happy hour at J's for martini's. $4 a piece, a very nice bargain. Plus they have a very nice Caesar salad and a humus plate with pita bread. 
Possible Futures
I'm going to indulge in some multiple prognostication. I've been thinking a lot about the future lately, with an eye towards some major changes in our communities. I feel that the coming shortages of fuel and water are going to bring about a new way of life for us all, at least to a minor degree. And here's where the multiple part of the multiple prognostication comes in. I'm going to make three sets of assumptions and attempt to describe the likely results of these three cases.

First, some background. I'm assuming that the cost of fuel for all purposes will increase steadily going forward. The degree of the increases will change with each of my three assumptions. I can safely predict rising fuel costs because of simple supply and demand. Currently, the U.S. imports over 9.8 million barrels of oil a day and 3.1 million barrels of gasoline. Remember, a barrel equals about 43 gallons. Due to falling production and rising demand elsewhere in the world, The U.S. is going to experience shortages of gasoline, and reliable alternatives simply do not exist. A good summary of this problem can be found here.

Perhaps more troubling are impending shortages of water. In my own community I have witnessed the inevitable march of Peak Water. With shortage of both fuel and water looming on the horizon, individuals will be well advised to prepare for the changes to come.

So, here are my three predictions about conditions in my own community three years from today.


This first prediction involves the least change. I foresee much higher gasoline prices and a deep recession still in play. As much as 30% of the U.S. workforce will be unemployed. People will be driving a lot less, so there shouldn't be any rationing in play. Water rationing will not yet be a permanent part of life, and the era of the green grass yard will still exist for years to come. Drinking water will still flow from the tap. This prediction is that most people will still have a very high standard of living, compared to other countries, but the deep recession will be effecting everyone in one way or another. Families will be the last lifeline for many of the unemployed. Government programs will be overwhelmed. Our communities will respond with compassion and goodwill, but many people will become desperate. Violent crime will increase dramatically and homelessness will be rising rapidly. 


This prediction sees even higher gas prices leading to depression and very high unemployment. Government infrastructure will still be intact but operating at low levels. Communities will attempt to take up the slack, but many people will be living in parks and hastily set up homeless shelters. Many communities in the U.S. will be struggling with lack of clean drinking water. Water rationing will be in effect everywhere. Violent crime will be high and many people will start carrying firearms. There will still be a high quality of life for many people, but a change back to an agrarian economy will have commenced.


In this scenario, gasoline is prohibitively expensive and depression is combined with a lack of basic goods due to shipping problems. Government at non-local levels is ineffective. Violence is increasing and many people are having trouble just surviving. Health care suffers from the lack of prescription drug deliveries, though those are given highest priority. Water is a precious commodity and gangs begin to take control of communities.

Algonquian Street
When you walk up Algonquian Street in my neighborhood you come to a locked gate (easily circumvented) and a short road up to the town's water tank. Walking around the tank back towards the orchard you see the backyards of all the houses across the street from my house. And you get a lot of stickers in your socks.
Uninspired At Times
This is one of those days when I'm completely uninspired to work on any of my projects. I have a project time line going for Extended Tribe, but I'm up against a wall of doubt, wondering who I think I'm kidding with the decidedly amateurish code and techniques the site consists of. Some days you just want to give up. I also thought to tackle the production database at work, but it is so convoluted now (40 tables and 130 queries) that the thread of what I'm trying to accomplish can easily escape me. These are good days, then, for doing trivial and mundane maintenance, if I can find some. Yum.
Biking Up Sulphur Mountain Road
We took a trip up Sulphur Mountain Road yesterday, and the road is a little smoother than it was this time last year. There were quite a few bikers and hikers on the road, but it was still a very enjoyable time. Here's a photo overlooking Oak View.

You Better Have Some Hobbies
Some days you wake up wanting to get straight to the computer to begin coding. And on some of these days you have one of those days when nothing you do works out right. The simplest tasks turn into major research efforts and you tend to make stupid mistakes. I've lived long enough and am unintelligent enough to have had way too many of these kinds of days. There are basically two ways to approach this problem. The first is to try to work your way through all the difficulties until you succeed at whatever you were attempting to do. The second is to walk away and enjoy one of the fascinating hobbies you have taken up. You do have hobbies, don't you? You're going to want more than one, because sometimes even your favorite hobby will throw monkey-wrenches and road-blocks at you, and you'd better have a plan B. 

Come back and beat your head against the wall later, because if you just keep beating, you're going to end up with a bloody head.

Coldfusion, WHERE Clause with Dates
In coldfusion, when using an MS Access database, I often build queries in Access and then paste the SQL into my coldfusion page. When filtering (using the WHERE or HAVING clauses) by date, Access surrounds a date with pound signs (#1/1/2055#). Coldfusion uses hash or pound signs as pointers, so such a query will fail. The answer is to use double pound signs (##1/1/2005##).

What Was Hard Is Now Easy
I only started using Coldfusion about six years ago and I didn't have any relevant experience with web development before that time. Along the way I made some lousy programming decisions, based on my lack of knowledge of simple techniques. Well, as time goes by, you learn new things (or die). This week I'm going back over some poorly made decisions and upgrading them to reliable code. I thought that this exercise would be cumbersome and time consuming but neither of these turned out to be true. I've learned enough that making these changes, now, is almost trivial. As good as that makes me feel, I realize I should have done this task long ago. I'll take some of the time I thought I would need and I'll use it to review more old code. And, while I'm at it, I'll schedule regular code review into my routine. Dreary as it sounds, the advantages outweigh the inconvenience.
Sending bulk email with Coldfusion
Here's an excellent write-up on sending bulk email with cfmail. However, since I've already checked for bad email addresses before sending them to the cfmail page, I've reduced my code to something far simpler, just a loop through a table that has a field marked "Yes" for those folks I want to send mail to. Near the end of the loop I then update that table, changing the field from "Yes" to "No". After the loop is a counter which shows how many emails remain to be sent. The page refreshes after five seconds and cfmail has been successfully throttled.
Strange Datefield Behavior in Internet Explorer
I was having a problem with the fieldbox in a cfinput type="datefield" when using Internet Explorer. The calendar was hiding behind the field (not to mention some other strange sizing behaviors). I found this solution at StackOverflow:

Well, you have to encapsulate your datefield within a div with both position:relative and Z-index value, as in :

<div style="position:relative; z-index:3">
<cfinput type="dateField" name="info_dateDebutPub" value="#dateformat(info_dateDebutPub,'dd/mm/yy')#" mask="dd/mm/yy">

Feature Free
As I get older (and older, and older) I marvel at the ability of our new technologies to bring us information at volumes never before available. These days I fight to reverse the trend of complexity towards a minimalism that will allow me to get through the day without so much frustration that I can't get a grip on what my life is about. Now, the most useful tools seem to be the ones that simplify all this complexity in a way that actually makes me glad to be part of this technological assembly line. Today I posted to Single Function a new site I built to save myself some time, Record My Blood Pressure. Anything that frees up a few minutes is welcome, so I'm always on the lookout for good minimalism tools.
Preventing Session Hijacking
Session hijacking is a valid concern for all web developers. One of the easiest ways to hijack a session is by reading cookies and impersonating a user at one of the popular web sites. In Coldfusion, you can secure your cookies like so:

<!---<cfif IsDefined("Cookie.cfID") AND IsDefined("Cookie.cfToken")>
	<cfset Variables.cfID_local = Cookie.cfID>
	<cfset Variables.cfToken_local = Cookie.cfToken>
	<cfcookie name="cfID" value="#Variables.cfID_local#" secure="Yes">
	<cfcookie name="cfToken" value="#Variables.cfToken_local#" secure="Yes">

Also, you need to set the ALL of your cookies (not just CFID and CFTOKEN) to be secure.

Basically just just call <cfcookie> tag for each cookie and make sure to set the SECURE attribute to yes.

To secure the JSESSIONID (which is important), make sure to explicitly set it with a <cfcookie> tag and set the value to be SESSION.SESSIONID (since the JSESSIONID value is the same as SESSION.SESSIONID).

What I Did This Year
As 2009 draws to a close, I wanted to sit down and recap some of the things I've done this year. My major accomplishment, as always, has been to remain the loved-one of my wife, Linda. Without her I don't amount to a hill of pintos. 

Most recently we have become involved in the upcoming congressional campaign of one
Tim Allison. Deborah Dent, who guided us through the Obama campaign has signed on as his (interim) campaign manager, and Linda and I have agreed to volunteer on his behalf. As a result, one of the projects I just started is an online database of voters and volunteers in the 24th Congressional District of California. I'm sorry I can't show it to you, but it is password protected by user, as it must be.

Linda and I have also started a "new" company which will complement our "old" company,
The Extended Tribe. We're still trying to get that one together and have lots of work to do. But the new one, Nine, is already seeing revenue and will probably be easier to push and time goes on. These projects, though relatively old, are being re-worked all the time.

One project I haven't worked on lately is
menotforget. Even so, of all the things I've thrown up there, it gets the most attention. Also, Tribe101 has fallen into a bit of disrepair, mostly from lack of interest, except for Ben.

This year we also started a
site to aggregate local resources, though there didn't seem to be any enthusiasm behind it, on my part. It sits there waiting, however, and may come to something eventually.

Meanwhile, life goes on. I chronicle some of my daily real-job learning at
txspt. And Linda and Jayme and I got to go to Saint Lucia this year. We've been lucky, as usual, to be healthy and happy and to have loved-ones around us to amaze and amuse us as this delightful life goes on. We are in for interesting and probably difficult (if not disastrous) times ahead and we need to be able to help each other where we can. Happy new year and love to all.
Recordcount Syntax
I always forget the easy things. Here's the correct syntax for a recordcount question:

<!---<cfif #QueryName.RecordCount# EQ 0>--->

Webhostingpad Path
Here's the real path for uploading files to webhostingpad:


Network problem, session aborted due to internal error in remote procedure call
I got this error:

Network problem, session aborted due to internal error in remote procedure call
which turned out to be a database issue, division by zero.
Coldfusion Testing Server Setup
The correct settings for the localhost coldfusion testing server is as follows:


Electric Bicycling
I've been riding an electric-powered bicycle to work now for a year and a half. I bought my first kit from Largo Scooters (a Crystallite Go-Hub kit) in late May 2008 and posted a picture of my bike here. It came with Sealed Lead Acid batteries which are not really up to the task. I purchased my first LiFePO4 battery from Li Ping in September 2008 and that was a terrific improvement in the performance of the bike. I bought a kit for Linda's bike from AmpedBikes in October and ordered a second battery from Li Ping. 

Towards the end of summer, this year, my Go-Hub kit started cutting out on the way up the hill. Research indicated that the battery wasn't getting enough of a charge and Li Ping told me how to adjust the output of his charger. That helped, but the Crystallite motor just wasn't working very well any more. I went ahead and ordered a new geared, rear-wheel motor from AmpedBikes and have been extremely happy with it. Of course, I forgot to check the wheel and installed a tube and tire without the protective band in place and thusly got a flat tire my first time out.

Now Linda's kit is cutting out regularly even though I had already adjusted her charger. Could it be the controller this time?

Eliminated Dangerous Characters
I've been looking for a way to eliminate suspect characters from my title field in my addpost form. This is because I stupidly built the ID structure around the post title instead of the autonum key. Oh Well. Anyway, I rooted around in regular expressions and found that this does the trick so far. The new line goes right after:

<!---<cfif IsDefined("FORM.MM_InsertRecord") AND FORM.MM_InsertRecord EQ "form1">--->

Here's the new line:

<!---<cfset Form.NewTitle = REReplaceNoCase(FORM.Title, "[^a-zA-Z0-9 '()-_?.]", " ", "ALL")>--->

Remember to uncomment these lines.

You then replace Form.Title with Form.NewTitle in the Select statement. 

SMTP Setting For GearHost
When using cfmail on a site hosted by GearHost, the server must be set in the tag as so:


CFMAIL is a ColdFusion tag that can be used to send mail from a script. Here is an example of a script using CFMAIL to send a message.

<cfmail to = "someone@example.com"
       from = "someone@example.com"
       subject = "test email"
 server = "localhost">
       This message was sent by an
       automatic mailer built with cfmail:
       = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
       = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
<center>Message Sent Successfully</center>

Winsock Fix
I'm certainly no expert, but I am called upon, regularly, to fix computers that appear to be victims of viruses or trojans, many of which are acquired simply through browsing the internet. I have had universal success in fixing connectivity problems by using winsockfix, from Option^Explicit Software. It basically resets your TCP/IP settings to the Windows XP defaults.

You can download it here.
How To Display Current Time Minus One Hour
Here's how to display the current time minus one hour, which is useful to me because my shared server is one hour to the east, time-zone-wise.

value="<cfoutput>#TimeFormat(Now()-.0416,"hh:mm tt")#</cfoutput>"

A Wonderful Time In Bend
We had a great time at Marcus and Kate's wedding in Bend this weekend and all the kids did, too. The dancing especially was fun. Can't wait for the Sportsman and Jeff and Teri's wedding.

Here's my beautiful wife.

Along The Bike Path
In Ventura, we're extremely lucky to have a well-maintained bike path that goes all the way up to Ojai. Along the way is passes an old, abandoned refinery. That's where I took this photo of a spray-painted sign bidding us to "Behold" the junk someone had been hanging up on the fence that surrounds the place.

How to reference MS Access database in CF8 64bit
Special thanks to:


CIW Professional:

Hi folks,


I think I found the way of adding MS Aceess (2007) to CF8 (64bit) on OS Vista Premium (64bit).

I did have problem doing this for some time and I have visited many forums looking for an answer. However today I think I found the answer how to connect the MSAccess db. If you remember it was very easy to do this with the 32 bit where we had an option for "Microsoft Access for Unicode. In the CF8 64bit you do not have this option but only "Microsoft Access". I think the problem was because CF8 was point to the Windowssystem32 directory instead of SysWOW64. Both system32 and SysWOW64 hold same application - ODBC Data Source Administrator (odbcad32.exe). If you open the one under SysWOW64 an click on Drivers tab you will see that all drivers are there. But if you open the one under system32 (same filename) you will notice that there is only one driver listed, well at least that's what I saw in my PC. NOTE: you will need to have an admin rights in order to open these files.

Then I decided to overwrite the file from SysWOW64 to system32 ( note: you will need to assign full control in order to overwrite this file, to do so right click on the file, choose properties and then security tab, make sure that you have all ticks under the permission for SYSTEM box). After you done this there is more work for you to do.

Double click on the application or you can open via the Control Panel  > Administrative Tools > Data Sources (ODBC).

Now you will open the same application but this time you will have all drivers listed in it.

Click on System DSN tab and then Add button. Choose the drivers ( in this case Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb) and click finish.

In the data source name enter the name of the database

Click select and navigate to the folder where you have Access file is saved in. When you select the folder, in the left panel you will see the database file(s). Select and click OK. Click OK again. The database will appear under the System Data Sources window. Click Apply and then OK. The application will close.

Open CF8 Admin page and navigate to the Data Sources.
Give a name to your database in the Data Source Name filed and choose Microsoft Access as your driver.

Click Add button.

Database File  navigate to your MS Access Database file.

System Database File - C:windowssystem32system.mdw ( enter as it is)

Use Default User name  tick this box

Click Submit.

You will get an error at the top:
Unable to update the NT registry. Variable DRIVERPATH is undefined.

Do not worry. Click Cancel this will take you back to the Data Sources window. Click Verify All Connections button and you will see OK against your MS Access database.

If you use Dreamweaver you will see it under the databases. Ola! now you have MS Access connected via the MS Access drivers.

I have attached document with screenshot for you to follow. If it is working then I will be happy to know that I somehow contributed to help those who had the same problem as I had ( not anymore ).

Any questions please email to v_sabov@yahoo.co.uk

Our Hawk
Here's a beautiful picture Linda took of the young hawk we have living around our neighborhood. I've seen as many as three at one time, but we've only been seing this one for a while now.

Restrict Access Based on IP Address
I'm developing a timeclock application that needs to restrict access based on the visitor's IP Address. This code worked on my testing server but not on any of my production hosts:

<cfset Session.IPAdd="#CGI.Remote_Addr#">
<cfquery name="IPs" datasource="101TC">
SELECT Table_IpAllowed.autonum, Table_IpAllowed.IPAllowed
FROM Table_IpAllowed
WHERE (((Table_IpAllowed.IpAllowed)="<cfoutput>#Session.IPAdd#</cfoutput>"));

<cfif IPs.RecordCount EQ "0">
<cflocation url = "iprejected.cfm">

Based on a couple of forums I visited, this is probably a bug in Access 2007. I finally found some code here that was almost usable. With a few added parentheses the working code became this:

<cfif #cgi.remote_addr# NEQ
"12.345.678.9" AND #cgi.remote_addr# NEQ ""> <!--- Redirect To An Error Invalid Page Access --->
<cflocation url='iprejected.cfm' addtoken='No'> <cfexit method='EXITTEMPLATE'> </cfif>

Obtain Site Visitor IP Address
In coldfusion it is stupidly easy to obtain your visitor's ip addresses. I am building out a timesheet application that requires a restriction based on where the employee is loggin in from. Obviously it wouldn't make sense to allow them to log in from home (or anywhere except work). Here is the simple variable that acquires the address:


Time To Move On
Last year we befriended a number of younger people while working on a political campaign. One of them, Mike, is a very gifted programmer as well as a community activist. He came up with a plan to build out a community free and low-cost wifi service. I pitched in to help and Linda arranged the use of a building and its internet service. Jeff helped out greatly with the installation and everything was looking good. Unfortunately, the installation for the company that uses the building had some issues even before we did our work, and they lost connectivity two days in a row. It wasn't really our problem but Mike came in each time and got things going again. During this process I must have done something stupid or whatever because Mike no longer returns my calls.

All of this is merely background for something that happens to me all the time anyway. Any new friends I cultivate will eventually decide the work isn't worth the gain and the relationship comes to an abrupt end. My point here is that this isn't necessarily a bad thing. When you recognize that time spent with someone might be more productively used elsewhere, the sooner you move on the better. I don't really care what caused Mike's decision. It doesn't matter. Life is short.

The Top Half Percent
When I was younger I had a moderately successful career as a musician. I came from a musical family who insisted that I learn to play and sing. So, from the time I was eight years old, part of each day consisted of practicing an instrument (it became clear early on that I wouldn't be much of a singer). In high school I was all nerd, even though I was in the school's jazz band and was studying music theory. But as I began to look around I noticed that the nerds were not getting the girls, so I joined a blues band that some friends had put together. By the time I was in my mid twenties I had come to realize that success, for musicians, was largely limited to the most successful half percent. Which is being hugely optimistic. The artists who are bitching about piracy these days are among these happy few. Seldom do you hear about Joe the Harmonica Player lambasting his fans (both of them) for stealing his recordings, which don't exist. Now, the internet is following this trend, where the successes seem to be limited to the ones who came first and got luckiest, not necessarily the ones who are best. If you choose to be a musician, or an entrepreneur, you should expect to fail, from a business perspective. On the other hand, you can't beat the experiences you'll have. And you'll certainly be popular with the girls.

Keep It Simple
I've been toying with really simple user interfaces lately and it has made me more aware of the philosophy of simplicity and observant of attempts to be simple. In many ways, as Merlin Mann says, it is essential to "shut off anything that's noisier than it is useful". And as Kas Thomas says, "We know that something like 30% to 40% (some experts say 45%) of the features in a software system are typically never used, while another 20% are rarely used". So the simpleness of a user interface not only allows for simpler development, it also improves the user experience. As I observe simpleness, I begin to see patterns all over the place. The latest figures on netbooks show that they are, apparently, the bridge down to the pocket computer we've all been predicting for years, and which has probably already arrived in the form of the iPhone. Some of the iPhone's success can be attributed to keeping it simple. As John Gruber points out, "There's a long list of features many experts and pundits claimed the original 1.0 iPhone needed but lacked". Obviously the features it shipped with were enough. You even see the advantages of simplicity when choosing which language to use for a particular purpose.  On a larger scale, it is beginning to look like the era of big business is getting what it deserves - less profit. The advantages that small companies can bring to the customer gives them a huge advantage. 37 Signals appears to have gotten it right with their strategy of:
  • Less features
  • Less options/preferences
  • Less people and corporate structure
  • Less meetings and abstractions
  • Less promises

Travel Adapters
On this trip to Avila Beach I realized that I need to put together an adapter pack to take on trips. I will need a miniature stereo to RCA adapter for audio. We could use an HDMI to composite adapter in order to use the VAIO to show movies on a big screen. May as well have a regular HDMI cable as well.
My Two Latest Project Ideas
Here are my latest two project ideas:

A local produce-distribution hub, inspired by eFarm.  This would be a local-to-Ventura resource that would tie producers, distributors, and consumers together to deliver the freshest and healthiest fresh produce. This service could include everyone who is currently involved in our two Farmer's Markets, both sellers and buyers. It could also easily include local produce stands and vendors such as those on the Avenue.

The second is a local-to-Ventura delivery service based on a shared network of individual's vehicles whose routes are plotted each day and slightly re-routed to pickup and deliver goods at super low cost. Individuals would share their vehicle space with packages that could be passed off at participating locations (hubs) close to where most people drive anyway. In this way local delivery could be accomplished at very low cost. If it was expanded into Los Angeles it could even be popular. This service could be combined with the local produce distribution idea.

The Unique Name Syndrome
Having joined Facebook recently, I have come to discover that I am the victim of "Unique Name Syndrome". I admit to some small regional fame in my youth, and was surely known to many more people than I could have known.

Since my name is not only unique but also memorable, it is likely that scores of individuals have googled me in these past years.

Facebook has given them a way to reach out to me. I can only say that not everyone ages gracefully, myself undoubtedly among them, and that some sleeping dogs should emphatically be left reclining.

From a Post by Bre Pettis
I present to you a manifesto of done. This was written in collaboration with Kio Stark in 20 minutes because we only had 20 minutes to get it done. The Cult of Done Manifesto:

1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
3. There is no editing stage.
4. Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
7. Once you're done you can throw it away.
8. Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
11. Destruction is a variant of done.
12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
13. Done is the engine of more.
Son of a Lightning Rod Salesman
My father was, among other things, a lightning rod salesman. I got to help him install lightning rods on houses, barns, and other buildings (and trees) for most of my life. I also lived in an area of Colorado noted for its ferocious lightning storms. I had many brushes with lightning, including having my hair stand on end during a lightning storm, and several times seeing lightning strike within a hundred feet of where I stood.
Too Few Parameters
I recently got this database error message:
[Macromedia][SequeLink JDBC Driver][ODBC Socket][Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver] Too few parameters. Expected 3.
I've taken to using Access lately to generate SQL and copying the queries into my coldfusion. The problem is that Access returns the parameters in the WHERE clause with full quotes around them. In order for the query to work in coldfusion, the parameters must have single quotes.

Dealing with Antivirus2009
Here's a snippet from a Reddit thread that may help with fighting Antivirus2009:

For those who are having trouble updating or installing your anti-spyware and anti-virus programs due to Antivirus 2009 and its ilk, here is the solution.

This particular virus was bundled with a hidden process named TDSSserv.sys It's a service that re-directs all software updates to (your own computer) so that nothing will update. It also prevents Malwarebytes and Hijack This!(probably more) from installing or running.

What you need to do is go to Start, Control Panel, System, Hardware, Device Manager, Show Hidden Devices.

Scroll down to Non-plug and Play Drivers and click the plus icon to open those drivers.

Then search for TDSSserv.sys.

Right click on it, and select Disable.

Note If you select Uninstall, it will install itself again when you reboot the system, so DON'T select Uninstall.

Now people will be able to update and use their programs and delete the virus. I used Malware Bytes.

---------I just C/P from comments from somewhere on the interwebs, but it helped me once. I had the same problem trying to install malwarebytes, even after renaming the installer. This fix helped with that issue as well. This will allow Malwarebytes to be installed without changing the name, without being in safemode, without installing it 3 times. (Though you should run it from safe-mode anyway because it has an easier time deleting locked files). Also clear your temporary internet files/history/cookies, it will speed up your scans immensely.

Multi-step OLE DB Operation Generated Errors
Today one page returned:

Error Executing Database Query.
> Multiple-step OLE DB operation generated errors. Check each OLE DB status value, if available. No work was done.

As it turns out, this was due to a division by zero problem, which returned a simple "Error" notification in one field in Access. This error can also be returned as:

Error Executing Database Query.
[Macromedia][SequeLink JDBC Driver]Network problem, session aborted due to internal error in remote procedure call, connection closed.

I also had this error return under different circumstances and my hosting service determined it was due to the following:

This was a problem being caused by the access jdbc driver. I changed the driver for your DSN to the default in ColdFusion 8 and that fixed the problem.

No Value Given For One Or More Required Parameters.
When you get this error, look for quotes in your parameters, like this:

 UPDATE Table_Production SET TesterStart=
  <cfif IsDefined("FORM.TesterStart") AND #FORM.TesterStart# NEQ "">
  , "TesterEnd"=
  <cfif IsDefined("FORM.TesterEnd") AND #FORM.TesterEnd# NEQ "">
  , TodayDate=
  <cfif IsDefined("FORM.TodayDate") AND #FORM.TodayDate# NEQ "">

I don't know where they came from, probably Dreamweaver. I know, I know, nobody should use Dreamweaver, etc., etc.

Optimizing Pages For iPhone
To optimize your pages for the iPhone (for instance, removing the rich text editing feature) you can run this code at the beginning of any page that may need to be optimized:

<!--- detect iphone --->
<cfif findNoCase("iphone", cgi.http_user_agent)>
   <cflocation url="optimizedpage.cfm" addToken="false">

DailyRazor Hosting
The DailyRazor hosting wasn't good. Had to cancel.

The Third Element
Lithium is the third element in the Periodic Table of the Elements. If you haven't seen this movie, drop everything and go NOW. Besides being used as a treatment for anxiety, Lithium is also used in the manufacture of batteries, most notably laptop batteries, but also batteries that are used in electrically powered automobiles. There is much speculation that electric vehicles are the wave of the future, and as such, any resource that is necessary to the manufacture of such vehicles must take its place as one of the prime resources on the planet. There's an interesting article here about where most of the planet's Lithium comes from. It's a really nice looking place, too.

LiFePO4 Battery Facts
Here's a good link to information on Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. These are the ones I use to power the motor on my bike.

Also, I use Anderson Powerpole connectors to connect the batteries to the motor and charger.

Coldfusion Authentication Fails
When I can't get my login page to open a restricted page, I first have to check to make sure all the application names are the same, then make sure to put this at the top of the login page:

<cfapplication NAME="whatever" SESSIONMANAGEMENT="yes" SESSIONTIMEOUT="20">

What If US Collapses?
Here's an interesting article with this same title. It gets me to thinking about converting savings to "durable objects of lasting value".

More Alternative Energy Analysis
Here's another terrific article about the math of alternative energy. Professor David MacKay of the Cambridge University Department of Physics is the featured source.

My Electric Bike
I've electrified my bicycle so I can get up the hill to our house without killing myself. Now I can ride it to work! Here's the bad boy parked at my office:

More data type mismatch in criteria expression
In querying by date range I was having the old familiar dtmice errors popping up and ran across the fix here. Here's the finished code:

<cfquery name="Recordset2" datasource="Database">
FROM Query_DOGInjectorsDetail
WHERE TodayDate BETWEEN #createODBCDate(form.startdate)# AND #createODBCDate(form.enddate)#

and here's a query of this query:

<cfquery name ="Recordset1" dbtype="query">
FROM Recordset2
WHERE Injector = '#Form.injector#'</cfquery>

While rebooting the server at work this morning, I received the following notification:

LCERPZH.exe has encountered problems and is unable to start.

To my disbelief, astonishment, and horror, there are no results returned by Google for "LCERPZH.exe".


Syntax error in UPDATE statement.
I get this error a lot when using the Update Form Wizard in Dreamweaver. This time it turns out I was using a field called "password", which is a reserved field in MS Access. To fix the problem I had to change:

  <cfif IsDefined("FORM.password") AND #FORM.password# NEQ "">


  <cfif IsDefined("FORM.password") AND #FORM.password# NEQ "">

Link to Exhaustive Article on Sustainability, Energy Independence and Agricultural Policy
This one's a bit old, but you have to love the way engineers think.


No "Action"
It took me an hour to track down the reason one of my contact forms wasn't working. In the cfform header, I put action="signupthanks.cfm" to direct the user to a thank you page after submitting the email. I guess cfmail won't work with anything in the "action". More likely, any entry in this parameter simply bypasses the rest of the code once the submit button is clicked.

Union All Select
I've got this query in the daily email notification page at Tribe 101:

SELECT Query_PostsWithNewComments.postsid, Query_PostsWithNewComments.sdate, Query_PostsWithNewComments.author, Query_PostsWithNewComments.title, Query_PostsWithNewComments.post, Query_PostsWithNewComments.category, Query_PostsWithNewComments.stime
FROM Query_PostsWithNewComments
UNION ALL SELECT Query_titlelist.postsid, Query_titlelist.sdate, Query_titlelist.author, Query_titlelist.title, Query_titlelist.post, Query_titlelist.category, Query_titlelist.stime
FROM Query_titlelist;

It's returning duplicate posts. I can't remember now why I included the ALL statement, but I know there was a reason. I'm going to remove ALL for the time being and wait to see why it was there.

Am I a Hacker?
Here's a wonderful little page about hackers. If you're not quite sure what a hacker is, this is the right place to find out. This article so reminds me of my day job.
Data type mismatch in criteria expression
This one pops up all the time and can be very frustrating. What you tend to forget is that the error could be happening in any of the fields, not just the Where whatever = "blah". So, you've got to take out one field at a time to find the culprit. In an Update Record behavior, it's usually a date field.

Error notification
Here is some code I just used to catch duplicate title errors at Extended Tribe:

... CFML code ...


The insert record behavior goes here.

<CFCATCH type="database">

<CFIF cfcatch.NativeErrorCode EQ 0>

 <cflocation url="duptitle.cfm">


<CFMAIL TO="miles@txspt.com"
SUBJECT="Error on #GetCurrentTemplatePath()#">

<cflocation url="errorpage.cfm">



This method works because I made the title field in Access indexed with no duplicates. Having dedicated pages for the error notification is a good idea, too.


Validation in Coldfusion Forms
The first thing you'll need to do is convert all those crusty INPUT tags to CFINPUT. The CFINPUT tag is one of those extended controls that ColdFusion users adore. It has two extremely flavorful options: validation and requirement. You already know what validation means. Requirement means that if information is not valid, an alert box will honk at you until good data is entered. Let's make the simple changes to that will get this done.

You can add validation to your form manually. All you have to do is add three attributes to your CFINPUT tag: REQUIRED, VALIDATE, and MESSAGE. If you set Required to "Yes," the form won't submit if the field is blank. If users try to do it anyway, they 'll get whatever you put in the MESSAGE attribute. VALIDATE lets you check to ensure that the form input is in a certain format. If it's not, you'll get the MESSAGE attribute. Available formats are integer, long, date, eurodate, time, telephone, ZIP code, credit card, and Social Security number.

If we were going to add validation and requirement to the phone field, our code would look like this:



message="Please enter your phone number in XXX-XXX-XXXX format."





You only need to change the input tags to cfinput that you need to validate. Don't forget to change the closing tag to /cfform. Also, remove and cfoutput tags from inside the cfinput tags as they are not needed. Also remember to take out the cfoutput tags in the cfform action= parameter.

Preparing For a Post Oil Society

Note: James Howard Kunstler is a leading writer on the topic of peak oil the problems it poses for American suburbia. Deeply concerned about the future of our petroleum dependent society, Kunstler believes we must take radical steps to avoid the total meltdown of modern society in the face looming oil and gas shortages. For background on this topic, read Kunstler's essay, "Pricey Gas, That's Reality."

Out in the public arena, people frequently twang on me for being "Mister Gloom'n'doom," or for "not offering any solutions" to our looming energy crisis. So, for those of you who are tired of wringing your hands, who would like to do something useful, or focus your attention in a purposeful way, here are my suggestions:

1. Expand your view beyond the question of how we will run all the cars by means other than gasoline. This obsession with keeping the cars running at all costs could really prove fatal. It is especially unhelpful that so many self-proclaimed "greens" and political "progressives" are hung up on this monomaniacal theme. Get this: the cars are not part of the solution (whether they run on fossil fuels, vodka, used frymax? oil, or cow shit). They are at the heart of the problem. And trying to salvage the entire Happy Motoring system by shifting it from gasoline to other fuels will only make things much worse. The bottom line of this is: start thinking beyond the car. We have to make other arrangements for virtually all the common activities of daily life.

2. We have to produce food differently. The Monsanto/Cargill model of industrial agribusiness is heading toward its Waterloo. As oil and gas deplete, we will be left with sterile soils and farming organized at an unworkable scale. Many lives will depend on our ability to fix this. Farming will soon return much closer to the center of American economic life. It will necessarily have to be done more locally, at a smaller-and-finer scale, and will require more human labor. The value-added activities associated with farming -- e.g. making products like cheese, wine, oils -- will also have to be done much more locally. This situation presents excellent business and vocational opportunities for America's young people (if they can unplug their Ipods long enough to pay attention.) It also presents huge problems in land-use reform. Not to mention the fact that the knowledge and skill for doing these things has to be painstakingly retrieved from the dumpster of history. Get busy.

3. We have to inhabit the terrain differently. Virtually every place in our nation organized for car dependency is going to fail to some degree. Quite a few places (Phoenix, Las Vegas, Miami ...) will support only a fraction of their current populations. We'll have to return to traditional human ecologies at a smaller scale: villages, towns, and cities (along with a productive rural landscape). Our small towns are waiting to be reinhabited. Our cities will have to contract. The cities that are composed proportionately more of suburban fabric (e.g. Atlanta, Houston) will pose especially tough problems. Most of that stuff will not be fixed. The loss of monetary value in suburban property will have far-reaching ramifications. The stuff we build in the decades ahead will have to be made of regional materials found in nature -- as opposed to modular, snap-together, manufactured components -- at a more modest scale. This whole process will entail enormous demographic shifts and is liable to be turbulent. Like farming, it will require the retrieval of skill-sets and methodologies that have been forsaken. The graduate schools of architecture are still tragically preoccupied with teaching Narcissism. The faculties will have to be overthrown. Our attitudes about land-use will have to change dramatically. The building codes and zoning laws will eventually be abandoned and will have to be replaced with vernacular wisdom. Get busy.

4. We have to move things and people differently. This is the sunset of Happy Motoring (including the entire US trucking system). Get used to it. Don't waste your society's remaining resources trying to prop up car-and-truck dependency. Moving things and people by water and rail is vastly more energy-efficient. Need something to do? Get involved in restoring public transit. Let's start with railroads, and let's make sure we electrify them so they will run on things other than fossil fuel or, if we have to run them partly on coal-fired power plants, at least scrub the emissions and sequester the CO2 at as few source-points as possible. We also have to prepare our society for moving people and things much more by water. This implies the rebuilding of infrastructure for our harbors, and also for our inland river and canal systems -- including the towns associated with them. The great harbor towns, like Baltimore, Boston, and New York, can no longer devote their waterfronts to condo sites and bikeways. We actually have to put the piers and warehouses back in place (not to mention the sleazy accommodations for sailors). Right now, programs are underway to restore maritime shipping based on wind -- yes, sailing ships. It's for real. Lots to do here. Put down your Ipod and get busy.

5. We have to transform retail trade. The national chains that have used the high tide of fossil fuels to contrive predatory economies-of-scale (and kill local economies) -- they are going down. WalMart and the other outfits will not survive the coming era of expensive, scarcer oil. They will not be able to run the "warehouses-on-wheels" of 18-wheel tractor-trailers incessantly circulating along the interstate highways. Their 12,000-mile supply lines to the Asian slave-factories are also endangered as the US and China contest for Middle East and African oil. The local networks of commercial interdependency which these chain stores systematically destroyed (with the public's acquiescence) will have to be rebuilt brick-by-brick and inventory-by-inventory. This will require rich, fine-grained, multi-layered networks of people who make, distribute, and sell stuff (including the much-maligned "middlemen"). Don't be fooled into thinking that the Internet will replace local retail economies. Internet shopping is totally dependent now on cheap delivery, and delivery will no longer be cheap. It also is predicated on electric power systems that are completely reliable. That is something we are unlikely to enjoy in the years ahead. Do you have a penchant for retail trade and don't want to work for a big predatory corporation? There's lots to do here in the realm of small, local business. Quit carping and get busy.

6. We will have to make things again in America. However, we are going to make less stuff. We will have fewer things to buy, fewer choices of things. The curtain is coming down on the endless blue-light-special shopping frenzy that has occupied the forefront of daily life in America for decades. But we will still need household goods and things to wear. As a practical matter, we are not going to re-live the 20th century. The factories from America's heyday of manufacturing (1900 - 1970) were all designed for massive inputs of fossil fuel, and many of them have already been demolished. We're going to have to make things on a smaller scale by other means. Perhaps we will have to use more water power. The truth is, we don't know yet how we're going to make anything. This is something that the younger generations can put their minds and muscles into.

7. The age of canned entertainment is coming to and end. It was fun for a while. We liked "Citizen Kane" and the Beatles. But we're going to have to make our own music and our own drama down the road. We're going to need playhouses and live performance halls. We're going to need violin and banjo players and playwrights and scenery-makers, and singers. We'll need theater managers and stage-hands. The Internet is not going to save canned entertainment. The Internet will not work so well if the electricity is on the fritz half the time (or more).

8. We'll have to reorganize the education system. The centralized secondary school systems based on the yellow school bus fleets will not survive the coming decades. The huge investments we have made in these facilities will impede the transition out of them, but they will fail anyway. Since we will be a less-affluent society, we probably won't be able to replace these centralized facilities with smaller and more equitably distributed schools, at least not right away. Personally, I believe that the next incarnation of education will grow out of the home schooling movement, as home schooling efforts aggregate locally into units of more than one family. God knows what happens beyond secondary ed. The big universities, both public and private, may not be salvageable. And the activity of higher ed itself may engender huge resentment by those foreclosed from it. But anyone who learns to do long division and write a coherent paragraph will be at a great advantage -- and, in any case, will probably out-perform today's average college graduate. One thing for sure: teaching children is not liable to become an obsolete line-of-work, as compared to public relations and sports marketing. Lots to do here, and lots to think about. Get busy, future teachers of America.

9. We have to reorganize the medical system. The current skein of intertwined rackets based on endless Ponzi buck passing scams will not survive the discontinuities to come. We will probably have to return to a model of service much closer to what used to be called "doctoring." Medical training may also have to change as the big universities run into trouble functioning. Doctors of the 21st century will certainly drive fewer German cars, and there will be fewer opportunities in the cosmetic surgery field. Let's hope that we don't slide so far back that we forget the germ theory of disease, or the need to wash our hands, or the fundamentals of pharmaceutical science. Lots to do here for the unsqueamish.

10. Life in the USA will have to become much more local, and virtually all the activities of everyday life will have to be re-scaled. You can state categorically that any enterprise now supersized is likely to fail -- everything from the federal government to big corporations to huge institutions. If you can find a way to do something practical and useful on a smaller scale than it is currently being done, you are likely to have food in your cupboard and people who esteem you. An entire social infrastructure of voluntary associations, co-opted by the narcotic of television, needs to be reconstructed. Local institutions for care of the helpless will have to be organized. Local politics will be much more meaningful as state governments and federal agencies slide into complete impotence. Lots of jobs here for local heroes.

So, that's the task list for now. Forgive me if I left things out. Quit wishing and start doing. The best way to feel hopeful about the future is to get off your ass and demonstrate to yourself that you are a capable, competent individual resolutely able to face new circumstances.

Page Security in Coldfusion
Securing all the pages on your site with Coldfusion is easy. Today I uploaded this new version of Whompyjawed and started getting error messages because I only wanted to secure the admin section.

There is one page where I used conditional logic to determine whether to show the links to the update pages. That's where I was getting my error messages.

The answer is to put this line of code on the page where you need to test the user's role:

<cfparam name="Session.MM_UserAuthorization" default="1">

Linda's Words
Linda has gotten into the habit of inventing words:

Trollup (verb)

San Diego
We went to San Diego last weekend to visit with Tom and Pam. We took our new Flip Camera with us. Voila: Miles and Tom
Healthiest Foods
I'm starting a list of the overall healthiest foods.

1. Spinach

Spinach is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. It's also packed with lutein, a compound that fights age-related muscular degeneration. Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day.

2. Yogurt

This 2,000-year-old food's health benefits are not disputed: Fermentation spawns hundreds of millions of probiotic organisms that serve as reinforcements to the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body, which boost the immune system and provide protection against cancer. Not all yogurts are probiotic though, so make sure the label says "live and active cultures." Aim for 1 cup of the calcium and protein-rich goop a day.

3. Tomatoes

There are two things you need to know about tomatoes: Red are the best, because they're packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene, and processed tomatoes are just as potent as fresh ones, because it' easier for the body to absorb the lycopene. Studies show that a diet rich in lycopene can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Aim for 22 mg of lycopene a day, which is about eight red cherry tomatoes or a glass of tomato juice.

4. Carrots

Most red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits are spiked with carotenoids, fat-soluble compounds that are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. None are as easy to prepare, or have as low a caloric density, as carrots. Aim for 1/2 cup a day.
5. Blueberries

Host to more antioxidants than any other popular fruit, blueberries help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory changes (hence the nickname "brain berry"). Studies show that blueberries, which are rich in fiber and vitamins A and C, boost cardiovascular health. Aim for 1 cup fresh blueberries a day, or 1/2 cup frozen or dried.
6. Black Beans

All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brain power like black beans. That's because they're full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. A daily ?cup serving provides 8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber, and is low in calories and free of saturated fat.
7. Walnuts

Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken, the walnut sounds like a Frankenfood, but it grows on trees. Other nuts combine only one or two of these features, not all three. A serving of walnuts - about 1 ounce, or seven nuts - is good anytime, but especially as a postworkout recovery snack.
8. Oats

The grandfather of health food, oats garnered the FDA's first seal of approval. They are packed with soluble fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease. Yes, oats are loaded with carbs, but the release of those sugars is slowed by the fiber, and because oats also have 10 grams of protein per ?-cup serving, they deliver steady muscle-building energy.
Funny Sign, Useful File
Here's a useful file, a process explorer that tells what svchost.exe is actually running. Get it here.

Disc Golf
Linda and Jason and Ellene and I stopped off in Victorville on our way to Las Vegas to play disc golf at this course:

Compare that to our home course at Lake Casitas a few miles from where we live in Ventura:

All but one hole at Victorville were less than 300 feet, yet they were all par 4's. The course at Lake Casitas is a bit more challenging and is all par 3's.
The Order of Mystics
I used to live next door to Stan Zurawski, a funny old guy who fancied himself a "Preceptor". He talked me into putting together a website for him which consisted mostly of stuff copied from some theosophy book, I think. The website is gone, as is Stan, but his card will live on (for a while).

54 Things To Remember
1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set
2. A day without sunshine is, like, night
3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
4. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
7. I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
8. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.
9. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.
10. Honk if you love peace and quiet.
11. Remember half the people you know are below average.
12. Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?
13. Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool.
14. Atheism is a non-prophet organisation.
15. He who laughs last thinks slowest.
16. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
17. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
18. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
19. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.
20. I intend to live forever - so far so good.
21. Borrow money from a pessimist - they don't expect it back.
22. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
24. Quantum mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of.
25. The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes.
26. Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.
27. When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane and going the wrong way.
28. If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
29. A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
30. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
31. For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.
32. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.
33. Never do card tricks for the group you play poker with.
34. No one is listening until you make a mistake.
35. Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.
37. The hardness of butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.
38. The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the ability to reach it.
39. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
40. To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.
41. Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7 of your life.
42. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.
43. Two wrongs are only the beginning.
44. The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
45. The sooner you fall behind the more time you'll have to catch up.
46. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
47. Change is inevitable except from vending machines.
48. Get a new car for your spouse - it'll be a great trade!
49. Plan to be spontaneous - tomorrow.
50. Always try to be modest and be proud of it!
51. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
52. How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand...
53. Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.
54. If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving isn't for you.
Peak Oil
This article is pretty scary, but this information is nothing new and the consequences are not unexpected.
Here's a new category: Lists. Here's the start of my camping list:

Sleeping bags
Toilet Paper
Extra batteries
Trash bags
First Aid
Pot and Pan
Pot holder
Can/Bottle opener
Duct tape
Pad and pen
Sewing kit
Folding chairs
Containers for leftovers
Clothes pins
Paper towels
Extra stakes

The Fox
I woke up this morning with a memory in my head. When I was first living in LA, back in the late 70's, my roommate got a tip about this guy who played piano at a bar and who could chug a beer while standing on his head. Well, we couldn't miss that. So we managed to find the place and spent a night laughing our asses off. I looked him up this morning, and thanks to the magic of the internet, here are two great links about this weird fellow.

Link One

Link Two
What I Hear
OK, for starters, here's my new email address: miles at txspt dot com.

Next, take a gander at www.anythingwillhelp.com which has a link to this.
Some Nostalgia
Here are some videos of bands I used to go see (and sometimes played on the same bill with).

The Specials

The Stranglers

Siouxie and the Banshees

How To Help Kids Nowadays
I've been put in charge of handling Johnny, Linda's 21 year-old son. He hasn't been able to hang on to a job and has pretty much burned his bridges with his brothers and sisters. He lived with us up to a few months ago and it was a trying time. He has a tendency to lie and steal and seems to have no sense of courtesy towards others. I believe he is reasonably bright, but he behaves in ways that make you wonder if he's stupid. Linda and I have been renting him a room here in Ventura in order to get him out of the house, and he has had a couple of jobs for a few weeks at a time. Linda tries to help him find work - Johnny got a DUI soon after we bought him a truck and he never took care of the tickets or court appearances, so he has spent a considerable amount of time in jail and will have a hell of a time getting his license back. He smokes pot, has no ambition (except to con his family out of money), but when he does work he is a pretty good worker. I wonder if we shouldn't start a foreign exchange service for troubled kids. I'm not talking about international exchange, just getting them out of their environment and into a job that would teach them something. I know we would be willing to pay to relocate Johnny to a trustworthy place where he could have meaningful employment and a positive experience. Ultimately, it would be up to him. But the alternative, at this point, is welfare. I wonder how many other parents are having this problem?
Pam makes the newspapers

Original Article

Don't stress out Pamela Gassaway or she's likely to go and stand on her head for a while.

"Oh, it's one of my favorite poses," Gassaway gushed. "It's such a mood changer."

But don't worry about this limber lady hurting herself - she's a pro. Gassaway teaches yoga and has been helping folks use the ancient art to improve their health for years.

People sometimes joke about the sometimes peculiar poses and postures used in yoga, but this teacher swears that more people should seriously give being upside-down a spin.

"You know handstands can do the same thing. If you're really dragging in energy, drag yourself over to the wall and do a handstand. It just works wonders."

She currently teaches yoga at Club Yuma, where she emphasizes that yoga offers the human body much more than an emotional response.

"It gives you a workout, it increases your flexibility and your strength. And the meditation is just like taking a trip. Without psychedelic drugs, it's the next best thing!"

Gassaway just chuckles when the uninformed write off yoga as being new or faddish. She just smiles and points to its history - its ancient history.

"Yoga has been here for many centuries, almost like forever. This is certainly nothing new."

In addition to yoga, Gassaway also performs other healing modalities ranging from massage to healing touch. She is a recent graduate of the new massage therapy program at Arizona Western College. She also practices a form of energy exchange simply known as healing touch.

Gassaway describes her own spiritual path as being most parallel to Buddhism. She travels for events and workshops to a center in El Centro where a Buddhist lama from Los Angeles visits.

Gassaway says she was hatched in Ohio but grew up in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area.

"You lived in a cocoon there, though. You thought everyone had sunshine, a good time, and going to the beach was just a routine of life," she said, chuckling. "It was a good way to grow up."

Her mother worked as a teacher-librarian and her father sailed around the world with the Merchant Marines, a combination of influences that would have a unique affect on young Gassaway.

"I ended up with the idea that you needed book learning, but you could always go wherever you wanted to go. Travel was good for the soul. The trick is that I was too into having a good time and fooling around to get an education. That's why I'm still going to Arizona Western College!"

It was the 1960s during her college years and Gassaway may be quite the free spirit today, but she says the whole counterculture thing was just one ride that passed her up somehow.

"I was not the '60s flower child. I missed out on that. My upbringing was not in that variety at all. I didn't learn anything about being a flower child until I moved to Denver. That's when I finally got with it."

Instead Gassaway got married in Florida, had two children and "got divorced somewhere in there." She also pursued her dream of becoming a legal secretary.

"Do you remember Perry Mason? Well, his secretary just knew how to do everything. I knew I could do all that, too."

Gassaway eventually moved to Denver, where she worked for an international broker and married her husband, Tom. The couple have since run businesses selling fire extinguishers and lightning rods in Denver, San Francisco and around Farmington, N.M.

They moved to these parts in search of cleaner and warmer air to help Gassaway's asthma.

The lifelong lover of jogging and running discovered yoga 23 years ago, back in Denver. But unlike now, yoga wasn't found at practically every gym. There was only one yoga studio at the time in the entire city of Denver.

"I first got into Jazzercise, when that addiction hit. Well, I was right in there, right in the center until I could no longer move! I was obviously doing something wrong and told my friend that we needed to find something else to try."

But she found something far more than just another form of exercise.

"You can take from yoga whatever you want. You can have a meditative workout. You can have total concentration on the breath. Or you can have a physical workout and get going with the muscles full force just like a jock would. You just tune into the level you want."

She began teaching 19 years ago.

Outside of her work at Club Yuma, she has also taken yoga into more experimental territories, including a year of teaching special education students at a local school.

"It was the most rewarding experience ever. These kids had all kinds of problems, mental and physical, but it didn't matter and they didn't care. We can all do yoga - and they loved it."

More recently Gassaway began working with Hospice of Yuma, offering the comfort of healing touch to clients preparing to make the transition into death. It's obviously hard losing clients, especially those whose bodies she worked on for a long time. But Gassaway stressed how that challenge is also the source of the greatest joy.

"You know that you were blessed to have been there with them," she said, smiling. "It just makes life more special."


Name: Pamela Gassaway
Birthplace: Somewhere in Ohio
Occupation: Yoga instructor
Marital status: Married
Children: Daughter and son
Pets: Two cats Pokemon and Pound Cake. I once had a horse at a racetrack in Denver, but he never earned us a dang penny!
Political affiliation: I am glad to be a Democrat and I just wish more people would stand up and say 'I am.'
Favorite thing to eat: Seafood
Favorite midnight snack: Please. Stay away from midnight snacks!
Favorite movie: Anything with Brad Pitt!
Favorite TV show: Anything on BBC America. I love "Footballers Wives." My grandson looks just like that bad boy that got killed on the show.
Biggest pet peeve: I really have to 'Om' over some of these drivers who have to turn left on the light when it's red.
If the world was ending tomorrow, what I'd do today: I'd be on a flight to London.
If my life had a theme song it would be: "Pearl" by Janis Joplin
If they make a movie about me I'll be played by: I don't think there would be a movie about me when we could watch one about Brad Pitt.
Favorite weekend getaway: Palm Springs
How To Avoid Hot-Linking
To avoid hot-linking an image, prepend http://imgred.com/ before the URL. To show a thumbnail of the image, prepend http://imgred.com/tn/ before the URL. Details: When posting on message boards or blogs, often you want to show or link to an image on another website. Directly showing or linking to that image is called hot-linking. It's generally bad because it leeches bandwidth from the host site, and as a result many webmasters have their servers set up to prohibit hot-linking. The typical work-around is to do the following: * Save the image to your hard drive * Navigate to a free image-hosting website * Enter the path to the image on your hard drive * Wait for it to upload * Copy the new URL and paste it into your message-board or blog post That's rather tedious. Well ImgRed.com lets you simply enter the original URL in your post as you normally would, but with http://imgred.com/ written before the URL. When this is viewed, the image will be copied once to imgred.com, and from then on the image will always be served from imgred.com instead of the host site. Additionally, a thumbnail is automatically generated, which can be accessed by adding http://imgred.com/tn/ before the original URL.
Our Trip To Italy
We are on our last day staying near Siena at the Relais Borgo Scopeto, a beautiful old villa converted to a hotel. We liked it so much here that we extended our stay several days at the expense of time spent in Rome. Sunday is the dreaded travel day.
New Macs
I got a new mini mac for Xmas and Linda got a new Macbook Pro to replace her ailing VAIO. Neither of us have used Macs since the early nineties and the relearning process has been interesting. I'll be adding some helpful links here to help us in the process. Here's a good general-purpose list.
The 16 Essential People in Your Life
I have removed the text of this article. It was written by pjammer (Kai Chang).

You can see the original post here.
Verity Search
Here's the procedure my coldfusion host, CrystalTech, said to use to create a verity search collection (a site search tool using coldfusion). Create a file to open that has this code: <cfcollection action="create" collection="WildcatCollection" path="d:inetpubcoldfusionhostwildcatdataservicesverity"> <cfindex collection="WildcatCollection" action="update" key="d:inetpubcoldfusionhostwildcatdataservices"> Use just the second half to do updates. This code returned results, but the links were broken (http://www.wildcatdataservices.com/wildcatdataservices/wildcatdataservices). CrystalTech support, though responsive, was ineffective. CrystalTech forums were seemingly in an alien language. I had to resort to deep digging in the documentation and trial and error, two of my favorite methods for problem solving (not). The proper code after the collection is created: <cfindex collection="WildcatCollection" action="refresh" type="path" key="d:inetpubcoldfusionhostwildcatdataservices" urlpath="http://www.wildcatdataservices.com/wildcatdataservices" extensions = ".htm, .html" recurse="no">
Yet Another Hare-Brained Scheme
But it's not mine this time...

The author of this article is unknown, sorry.

When we think of the energy resources that we rely upon everyday, what words come to mind?

Oil. Nuclear. Hydroelectricity. Solar. Hydrino. Wind. Gas.

Spot the odd one out? The word hydrino is understood by few - and accepted as a reality by even fewer. But if a small company situated in Cranbury, New Jersey has its way, hydrino is a word that will soon be as commonly understood as all the others, ushering in a golden age of abundant energy, research and causing a transformation in society that will be - at a minimum - comparable to the introduction of the electricity grid.

That company is BlackLight Power. Set up in 1991 in what was previously a Lockheed Martin satellite manufacturing facility, this small outfit has made claims that initially appear dismissible as completely pie in the sky, yet it has managed to secure interest from some highly respected investors to the tune of over US $50 million. These individuals and companies have effectively entrusted BlackLight Power to overturn some of the most fundamental rules of quantum physics, an expectation that has caused many a raised eyebrow across the scientific as well as investment communities.

The stakes are difficult to comprehend. This technology, if real, could radically alter the value of trillions of dollars of energy generation infrastructure and future investment patterns worldwide. But the key question remains - is it real? What is the truth? Are we soon to see a new world of limitless energy, or will this company go down the path of countless other scammers, except taking down millions of dollars and the reputations of some formerly brilliant investors with it?

To find out the answer, let's have a look at some background and go back to a time when another - possibly related - supposed breakthrough was about the change the world.

Back to the Future: Cold Fusion v2.0 or is it?

The world of alternative energy can broadly be divided into two sections: first, we have the relatively established players such as solar energy, wind power and wave generators, which use accepted technologies and methods for generating energy in somewhat novel ways. There is nothing fundamentally unknown about these technologies and the way they use physical laws is not questioned.

Then, we have the flip (an apt word in many cases) side: unproven technologies based on theories which exist largely in the realm of fringe science, often associated with claims of perpetual motion or other concepts which partly or completely go against fundamentally understood physical laws relating to energy conservation. Devices and concepts that predominate in this field include the Joe Cell, the Searl Effect, the Adams Motor and assorted "vacuum energy" devices, all of which promise near unlimited energy, but to date have produced nothing except confusion, derision and more than a few lawsuits from hoodwinked investors.

There have, however, been hints that some non-mainstream technologies could have some substance to them. One of the most famous of these was cold fusion. The cold fusion saga is one of the most interesting in modern science, combining not only cutting edge research, but media manipulation, political intrigue and - allegedly - big business interference&at least according to the conspiracy theorists.

Cold fusion is supposedly a nuclear fusion reaction (where lighter nuclei join together to form heavier particles) that occurs at temperatures and pressures which are close to atmospheric conditions, as opposed to the extreme conditions in a Tokamak reactor type device (where temperatures exceed 100 million Celsius), which tries to create a "hot" fusion reaction. This approach has been researched for over a quarter century and has produced some positive results, but commercial viability remains distant, at best.

In 1989, two scientists from the University of Utah claimed to have achieved room temperature fusion reactions, gaining worldwide fame&which soon transformed into notoriety as the global scientific community joined pro and anti cold fusion camps in the debate as to the validity of their findings.

Scientists around the world tried to repeat the experiments, with disappointing results  largely as a result of somewhat ill defined experimental methodologies. The un-reproducibility of the original findings caused scathing reports in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, with the original cold fusion results being aggressively challenged. Subsequent years saw cold fusion discredited into the realms of fringe science, with many capable scientists scared off further research into the area.

Nevertheless, low level investigations have continued worldwide and whilst not conclusive, sometimes reactions are reportedly being observed that do not appear to conform to the classical understanding of chemistry and / or physics, though stating that these are nuclear reactions may perhaps be a bridge too far. There is no agreement as to what people are observing or even what actually did occur back in 1989.

Many people now see BlackLight Power as a revision of the cold fusion saga. There is a world of debate as to whether BlackLight Power has perfected a cold fusion process or something else. However, since cold fusion itself is a process not properly understood, the question remains hard to answer. But what is clear is that the controversy surrounding both claims, despite the more than 16 years that separate them, is much the same.

The original controversy about cold fusion focused on two individuals, but BlackLight Power has one intriguing individual as the driving force.

The Initiator: Quack or Visionary?

The man in question is Dr. Randell (Randy) Mills, the founder of BlackLight Power. The 6'5", lanky Mills is the son of a farmer and for some time was a farmer himself. As a teenager, the prodigal Mills ran a very profitable business on land he leased to raise corn. But despite, or perhaps because of, his obvious business acumen, he did not see himself as college bound.

Like many individuals of uncommon brilliance, Randy did not have a stellar introduction to academia. Bored for many years with classes that were clearly way beneath his capability, his lack of attendance at so many high school lectures and disinterest in those few he did attend seriously jeopardized his graduation. His native genius did not translate into fine marks in most cases.

Fate, however, intervened in the form of a freak accident which caused him to re-evaluate his life and ideals. After badly slicing up his hand and spending 5 hours in surgery, he gained a realisation that his life could have ended then and there and thus he became determined to find out as much about the universe as possible. With a new found zest, he used profits from his business to fund attendance at the prestigious Franklin and Marshall College, where he graduated first with ease and enrolled at Harvard to become a doctor.

His Harvard Medical School years were characterized by outstanding results achieved with little apparent effort, passing with such ease that it was obvious to all that barely a little more focus would result in achievements of world significance. But interestingly, he simultaneously undertook a number of science based courses at MIT, where he also excelled - courses that caused him to start questioning quantum theory. The workload for any normal student would have been horrendous, but Randy sailed through, the result of not only being brilliant, but of being truly enthused about what he was both learning&and discovering.

Whilst an MBS may seem a somewhat unusual background for an individual who wishes to overturn quantum physics on its head, it is clear evidence that the man is highly intelligent, but when combined with his excellent results in such a broad range of areas it shows him to be unconventional thinker with a mind on a par with those of the greatest inventors.

Clearly, Randy is not some unqualified backyard hobbyist, but that does not automatically mean his claims are correct. He is a genius and has unquestionable achievements in an area where he is highly qualified, but he has ventured into a field where others with more impressive credentials vehemently discredit his claims.

The Claims: A New Technology&and A New Physics?

So what, exactly, are Dr. Mills and BlackLight Power saying they have discovered?

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the Universe, is the focus of the companys claims. Essentially, BlackLight Power states to have invented a new process that lowers the energy state of the hydrogen atom (one proton being orbited by one electron&though that again is something that is questioned, as we will see below).

In physics, the grounded state is the natural state of all atoms, where the components of the atom are in "perfect" balance. What Blacklight Power claims is that it has discovered a way to make the orbiting electron move below its ground state, closer to the proton nucleus (at least in the classical reckoning. In reality, what Dr. Mills is hypothesizing is that the hydrogen atom is not so much an electron orbiting a proton but rather, a proton surrounded by a shell of energy). The transition process from the ground state to the new state is supposed to release a huge amount of energy - far more than that required to initiate the reaction - across a broad range of the EM spectrum, creating a type of plasma in the process.

According to convention, 13.6 eV (electron volts) of energy is needed to separate the orbiting electron from the proton. Naturally, this means that if a proton and electron are combined, then 13.6 eV is released in the process. But if it is possible to go below the grounded state, then the amount of energy released is far greater.

The method for achieving this is a catalytic process that varies in application (and for obvious reasons is not fully explained), but it involves the presence of - for example - potassium atoms or strontium ions. The hydrogen atom becomes a hydrino, with a radius of anywhere between one half to one fifth of the original particle. In the process, a huge amount of energy is released. The net energy release in this reaction is a remarkable 68 eV.

Trouble is, quantum theory states this is impossible - the grounded state of an atom is simply the lowest energy state possible and that anything that contradicts this is impossible.

Some details as to this process can be found here:


If Mills is right, then quantum physics is wrong. And that is something which is does not sit well with many individuals with credentials at least as impressive as Dr. Mills.

Also, what is being described here seems suspiciously close to an explanation of cold fusion, which is causing further consternation among those who remember the nightmare that occurred back in 1989. This is a state of affairs no one wants a repeat of. However, not everyone is a critic.

The Supporters and the Detractors.

Very often, claims for alternative energy of this nature attract fringe science groups and individuals, who despite their best intentions often do more harm than good to the cause they are trying to support.

This is where it gets interesting. BlackLight Power has secured various levels of backing from both NASA and the US Navy: neither organization is exactly bereft of exceptionally capable scientific talent, or of rigorous methodological approaches to evaluating extravagant claims.

But it does not stop there. The Company's Board boasts names of impeccable pedigree: they include Michael Jordan, Chairman and CEO of EDS; Neil Moskowitz, the CFO of CSA First Boston; General Merrill McPeak (ret.), the former Chief of Staff of the USAF and Vice-Admiral Michael Kalleres (ret.), a senior USN officer who once commanded the US Second Fleet and Military Sealift Command. Other directors are also individuals of remarkable achievement and credentials.

What is especially noteworthy here is the involvement of the former military officers. There is no way that any of these individuals would have accepted Board positions with BlackLight Power without having the claims of the company tested to some degree by the scientific arms of the respective former services in which they held strategic roles and it is likely that they would have had access to resources not available or even known to the general public. Without doubt, the US military sees something in these claims and wishes to have some control as to the company's future.

But again, this cannot be regarded as proof that the theory works. It could merely be indicative of the perilous state of both US scientific research and decision making.

What the US military would have (should have?) done is subject these claims to rigorous testing. The results of these - assuming they were undertaken - have not been revealed, but there have been other attempts to replicate the experimental protocols of Blacklight Power. On the positive side, Prof. Maas, a chemist from the University of North Carolina, has examined the claims of the company and observed its experiments. His conclusion is one of cautious optimism: whilst he cannot explain fully what is being observed, he has seen enough to rule out trickery, error or misinterpretation. Of course, a key test of any scientific hypothesis is independent reproducibility on as wider scale. This was the great failing of cold fusion, where somewhat sloppy wording in describing the experimental parameters and a blatant error in gamma radiation data back in 1989 was later brutally picked apart by the media. BlackLight Power so far is a mixed bag: it has generated enough independent evidence to make it fairly certain something interesting is happening, that it is not a scam. But others have tried and failed to achieve anything, making them believers that BlackLight Power has perpetuated a scam, though possibly not deliberately.

But could a scam fool so many capable people? Would not due diligence have long ago discovered if there was a fraud? Not always. Breakthrough physics such as this by definition means that there are very few - if any - experts in the field other than the people claiming the new process or invention. There exists little external ability to critique the claims with anything like the required level of validity. Thus, BlackLight Power exists in a rarefied world: too much evidence to be dismissed offhand, but not enough evidence to persuade conclusively.

Conclusion: Too intriguing to ignore, too dubious to support.

There is no simple answer to BlackLight Power. Its claims are superficially extravagant enough to be dismissed out of hand, yet it has attracted proponents whose credentials would prima facie make them extremely difficult to deceive. It has promised much for many years and so far nothing substantive has happened&yet the research that the company puts out is scholarly and has attracted reputable supporters.

The truth may lie somewhere in between. Perhaps BlackLight Power has stumbled on some unusual chemical reactions, but may have misunderstood or misinterpreted their discovery and that - at best - the future of their technology will be for high school student experiments, rather than transforming the world. Or is the case - as some conspiracy theorists would like to believe  that evil, dark powers are deliberately stalling this technology in a Machiavellian conspiracy of global proportions to ensure they extract the best deal from it and the greatest amount of profit from existing energy sources before they are rendered obsolete? Such a theory may be intriguing, but sadly, the X-Files has long since ceased production.

Whatever the case, BlackLight Power cannot be ignored.

With certainty we can only lead to one conclusion: Blacklight Power has done something truly remarkable. Time will tell whether it has actually done anything useful.
Flat Screen TV
We always wanted a flat screen TV, and now I've discovered a way to get one on the cheap...

Browsing the World Wide Web
Here's a comment recently posted to the "Build Your Own Job" post:


Posted by Anonymous on September 19, 2006 10:09

Hi, I can't figure out how to get rid of these items on the side of the page ------------------------> when they're covering up other text. Please advise.


First, I'd like to thank Joella for actually reading this page, and I thank all the rest of you, too. Both of you. Now, I hear these kinds of comments nearly everyday where I work; it's part of my job. Computers have changed the way many of us interact with the world and that would be a far better thing if computers (and the software that runs them) could be depended upon to work like, say, a refrigerator. Your refrigerator sits there calmly making cold air for years on end without maintenance of any kind (save cleaning, one would hope). Try that with a computer. The problem Joella alludes to (which I could not reproduce) is probably due to the "version" of her chosen browser, which I further assume to be Internet Explorer. For the uninitiated, let me say this about Internet Explorer: Please stop using it. Download Firefox now. You will get used to the slightly different interface within minutes and will save your computer exposure to countless bad things. Those of us who dabble at HTML, which is the programming language of the world wide web, know that getting your web pages to look exactly the same no matter what browser is looking at it is nigh on to impossible. It's similar to what might happen if television broadcast had never been standardized. You'd need a different television to watch each channel.

So, I don't know why the stuff on the right side of the page is covering up the text. I can't get it to do that with the two browsers I have (yes, IE is one of them). If this question were posed to me by, say, my boss, I'd take the time and effort to figure it out. But from Ventura, I can't see what Joella is seeing. As with so many other things in life, it's every man and woman for himself or herself. And Microsoft against everybody.

By the way, if it sounds like I've taken offense at Joella's comment, please chalk it up to my imperfect writing abilities. In fact, I'm always interested in what other people discover when they're using their computers. Strangely, I've always had a fascination for computing, and now it is a big part of my job. Besides letting me do what I enjoy, it has also been quite a character-building process, as those of you who know me well can easily guess. Thanks again, Jody.
Weekend in SF
We're just back from a fun-filled weekend in Mountain View where we caught a concert and hung out in a neat hotel (they provided a slinky). The show was GREAT and I thought I'd quote the following article which described the band's performance of the previous evening. By the way, Carter Beauford really is THAT good.

Dave Matthews Band sharp at Shoreline GROUP SOUNDING, PLAYING BETTER THAN EVER By Jim Harrington MediaNews

It's odd to think of a two-night stand at Shoreline Amphitheatre as downsizing for a rock act.

Yet, that's exactly what it was for the Dave Matthews Band when it visited the 22,000-capacity Mountain View venue on this past Friday and Saturday nights. That's because the last two times through the Bay Area DMB performed at even bigger venues -- drawing some 50,000 fans to a free show at Golden Gate Park in 2004 and then performing two nights at AT&T Park last year.

Equally odd was that one could see green on the Shoreline lawn --enough green to build a few new duplexes -- as the band took the stage on Friday. That was not only a sign of DMB's dip in popularity as a live act, especially from a few years back when it could sell out multiple nights at football stadiums, but a clear example of the general downturn in overall concert attendance. Even the biggest acts in the concert industry, of which DMB certainly qualifies as one, are having a hard time filling places like Shoreline to capacity.

Issues of popularity aside, the Dave Matthews Band is currently sounding and playing better than at any other time during its 17-year career. Grab a recording of Friday's show -- which shouldn't be hard to find, since DMB still allows fans to tape its concerts -- and then compare it to, say, the band's ``Live Trax Vol. 4,' which chronicles a 1996 concert in Virginia. You might have a hard time believing that both sets come from the same band -- the sound is now so much fuller and the songs are vastly more powerful than 10 years ago.

That's what, ideally, is supposed to happen to a group: It's supposed to get better. That hasn't happened with most bands that first made it big in the early '90s. Yet, DMB has continually found new ways to improve its game in the live arena.

Following an opening set by pedal-steel guitar guru Robert Randolph and his Family Band, Matthews and his sidemen -- bassist Stefan Lessard, saxophonist Leroi Moore, violinist Boyd Tinsley, drummer Carter Beauford, keyboardist Butch Taylor and guest trumpeter Rashawn Ross -- took the stage in a decidedly casual fashion. Dressed in a simple hooded sweatshirt and worn blue jeans, the vocalist-guitarist strolled to the front of the stage and applauded the crowd. The fans returned the gesture a thousandfold.

Although DMB's fan base isn't as large as it was earlier in the decade, it remains one of the most passionate in all of rock 'n'roll. Take, for instance, Tracey Borowski of Newport Beach, who was experiencing her seventh DMB show in two weeks on Friday night.

``I'm a real fan,' Borowski said.

The crowd was full of real fans, who seemingly knew every word to every song and sang along with gusto as the band opened the show with a mellow, friendly version of ``Everyday' and then cranked up the intensity for ``Big Eyed Fish.'

The group sounded great -- led, as per usual, by Beauford, who continues to make the case that he deserves to be ranked among the finest drummers in rock history.

As the band moved through sensational versions of ``Bartender' and ``If I Had It All,' it was easy to see how a drum junkie would come to DMB just to watch Beauford play, much like how a guitar freak would go see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to stare at Mike Campbell. Eschewing all of the over-the-top theatrics that one normally associates with A-list rock drummers -- hello, Tommy Lee! -- Beauford always finds a way to shine within the framework of each song. He's the kind of drummer that a jazz cat would appreciate.

Matthews proved to be a very versatile singer on this night. He showed an amazing degree of sensitivity as he cradled such gentle ballads as ``Loving Wings' and ``Stolen Away On 55th and 3rd.' Then, like some switch was flipped on, he sang like a madman just escaped from an institution as he brought tangible drama and passion to``Bartender' and ``Hunger for the Great Light,' which might be the best song currently in the band's rotation.

The singer ranks as one of the greatest screamers in rock, following in the fabled footprints of the likes of Roger Daltrey and Janis Joplin, and fans simply can't get enough of it.

``I love it when he screams at us. I think that's the hottest thing. It turns me on,' said Borowski, who works as a professional dog walker when she's not following DMB around the country. ``I don't need a boyfriend when I have him singing to me.'

Following big versions of the fan favorites ``Dancing Nancies' and``What Would You Say,' Matthews invited Randolph back to the stage and the pedal-steel great helped the band close the main set with asmoking version of ``Louisiana Bayou.' DMB would return for a stellar two-song encore of ``So Right' and ``Stay (Wasting Time).'

When it was all said and done, the band had been on stage for nearly three hours. Yet, it felt much shorter than that and the crowd was left wanting even more. Bet that a good portion of these fans would be back on Saturday night for another dose of the Dave Matthews Band.

And, really, who can blame them?
Lightning on the Water

This lightning bolt struck in Rushcutter's Bay, Sydney, Australia recently.

Note the damage to the aluminum mast. We just spent nearly a week on Lake Shasta, one night of which featured a major thunderstorm that started several fires during the night. We got to see airplanes fighting the fires the next day. It never occured to me that we could have been at risk from the lightning itself.

Main photo by Gabriel Urbinaga and inset pictures by Scott Finsten.
Technology, Ain't It Grand?
Technology wastes so much of our time. Here are some tips on how to get revenge on a technological world.

The designers of some elevators include a hidden feature that is very handy if you're in a hurry or it's a busy time in the building (like check-out time in a hotel). While some elevators require a key, others can be put into "Express" mode by pressing the "Door Close" and "Floor" buttons at the same time. This sweeps the car to the floor of your choice and avoids stops at any other floor.

Most elevators have the option for this to work, but on some of them the option is turned off by whoever runs them. This is a rather fun hack, so the next time you are on an elevator, give it a try, you have nothing to lose.


How To Change A Southwest Airlines Boarding Pass From a "C" or "B" to an "A"!

Note to self: Tell airlines that HTML based print-at-home boarding passes are a bad idea. The info below is very innocuous, but if you think about other things that could be done.....

If you fly Southwest, you know that being a B or C is undesirable. If you print your boarding passes, you never have to be in that group again.

1) Use Firefox (IE cannot correctly save the web page).

2) When viewing your boarding pass, click "File" then "Save Page As". You want the "Save as Type" to be "Web Page, Complete".

3) Save this graphic: http://www.southwest.com/images/boardingA.gif somewhere on your hard drive.

4) Use any HTML editor to change the "B" or "C" graphic on your saved boarding pass to the "A" graphic that you saved.

You now have an A boarding pass. I'm told that this works perfectly, and that the A, B, or C is not embedded or associated in any way with the barcode on the side. My informant says to watch the screen attached to the boarding pass scanner the next time you are boarding on Southwest. He says it just turns green and says "Valid Boarding Pass" - nothing about boarding group.
Lenticular and Shasta
It's not every day I get to use lenticular and shasta in the same sentence (much less twice!) but here's a picture of some lenticular clouds hanging over Mount Shasta, whose namessake lake Linda, Joe, Melissa, and I will be frolicking in within two short weeks from now.


If anybody has any good ideas about water games that they'd like to share, now would be the time.

Building Your Own Job
Linda's been talking about wanting to help people when we can afford to do so, and I've been thinking about how to build a business or a job that can sustain us through our older but better years. I've been thinking about ways that people can get together to share their abilities to do good things and help themselves at the same time. I come up with a hare-brained scheme every week or two, but I don't ever follow through on anything, in part because I don't have time. Now, I'm the sort of person who can get an awful lot done in one hour, and I'll bet most of you are too. What if we had some framework by which we could each put our hour in and have something to show for it at the end? I know I'm much better at fleshing out certain parts of other people's ideas than I am of my own ideas, for whatever reason, and it makes sense to me that I could put in an hour a week contributing my energy to a good idea.

I've been looking at how successful businesses organize their projects, and I think that the same techniques could be used in a more casual environment. Projects could be organized in a way that each can give according to their expertise (and I could reap the rewards - yea!). (And Joella could manage everything!) Anyway, here's an interesting article on how someone started a temp agency for the disabled. As you will see, this site has lot's of interesting articles about how people turned their hare-brained schemes into commerce. Yes, I know, capitalism is a BAD thing, so let's figure out a way around it, eh?
Ethanol Instead of Gasoline?
Here is an article from the University of Minnesota detailing some findings on the energy efficiency of biofuels, which are broadly touted to be the great gasoline replacement. Here are some of the most interesting findings: "Soybean biodiesel returns 93 percent more energy than is used to produce it, while corn grain ethanol currently provides only 25 percent more energy." Corn grain ethanol just isn't going to work as a replacement for gasoline. Yet, the major automobile manufacturers are beginning to produce cars that will run on this fuel, in combination with gasoline. "Still, the researchers caution that neither biofuel can come close to meeting the growing demand for alternatives to petroleum. Dedicating all current U.S. corn and soybean production to biofuels would meet only 12 percent of gasoline demand and 6 percent of diesel demand. Meanwhile, global population growth and increasingly affluent societies will increase demand for corn and soybeans for food." OK, fuel from plants will not work as a replacement for gasoline. Unless... "The next step is a biofuel crop that requires low chemical and energy inputs and can give us much greater energy and environmental returns. Prairie grasses have great potential." Goodby prairie!
Art is Everywhere
I just love the whole idea behind making the ordinary tissue dispenser into a statement all its own.

Go here for more.

Coldfusion and Access
Sometimes Coldfusion can be a bit of a challenge. This week I struggled with a formatting problem with some code that was returning the following error message:

[Macromedia][SequeLink JDBC Driver][ODBC Socket][Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver] Data type mismatch in criteria expression.

I suspected a formatting problem in a date/time field I was using and as it turns out, I was right. The best link I could find addressing the problem is here.

The actual fix, since I don't have access to the root of the server I'm using, is to format the date/time the way MS Access wants it. I had a devil of a time finding the correct syntax, but it is this:

#DateFormat(Recordset1.StartTime,'MM/DD/YYYY')&' '&TimeFormat(Recordset1.StartTime,'HH:mm tt')#

Seems simple enough, eh? The first few times I went looking for this I ran across the correct answer given with an incorrect example. Ugh!
Twins, Birdsong, and the End of the World
Linda recently dreamed that we had twins, Mary the Painter and Merton. I recently ran across this article about Olivier Messaien which included some interesting information about music and birds.

He was most famous for composing a quartet that brings us to this quiz.
New Grandson!
Ellene and Jason Donaldson gave birth last night to a beautiful baby boy, Hudson Robert Donaldson. Hudson was born at 3:40 AM. He and his mother are healthy and resting comfortably at home.

My Mic
Back in the day, when I used to do a lot of recording in real studios, I fell in love with the sound of a certain Sennheiser microphone. Nowadays you can get anything on ebay, so I did a search and waited a few weeks and managed to find one for sale. I bought it and have been pleased with the way it sounds.

It's probably the best sounding dynamic microphone there is. I recently ran across a fascinating website called Music Thing which had an article on this old, yet stylish mic.
Mexican Poker
We spent the weekend in San Diego with Tom and Pam and played a game called Mexican Poker. At one point we had the rules (found online) printed out, but nobody remembered to bring a copy. We couldn't find the right one's on the internet, but we did find these, which aren't right at all:

Minimum of 4 people start with 4 decks of cards. For every 2 people more add another deck.

Start the first hand by dealing the number of cards indicated. Put the remainder of the cards in a stack and flip the top card for the discard pile.

Everyone must try to achieve the first set listed. To achieve this the person who's turn it is may take the top card from either the discard pile or the stack before they do anything. NOTE: if this is not the first thing they do they can be penalized. If that person can not make the needed hand they must discard one card. When someone has the hand needed they must place only those cards face up. Mark that this person has finished the hand on a separate sheet of paper. If that person has any 3 (or more) of a kinds, or straights, they may also place these down face up. When they can place nothing more down they must discard a card. Play continues. After the next person finishes their hand they may play off of any of the other 3 of a kinds or flushes, someone who has not gotten the cards they need to finish their hand may NOT play off of the cards on the table. The hand is finished when the someone has played all their cards, they must remember to discard their last card.

At this point everyone must count the remaining cards in their hand, see scoring below.

The next hand begins with dealing the next level number of cards. I.e. everyone is dealt twelve cards on the second hand. However there may be someone who did not complete their last hand, they may not move on and must complete it, if they do on this hand they may move up only one step on the next deal. This continues on until someone completes hand #10.

1st hand, 11 cards, 2 X (3 of a kind)

2nd hand, 12 cards, 1 (5 card straight) 1 (3 of a kind)

3rd hand, 13 cards, 3 (3 of a kind)

4th hand, 14 cards, 1 (5 card straight flush) 2 (3 of a kind)

5th hand, 15 cards, 4 (3 of a kind)

6th hand, 16 cards, 1 (7 card straight flush) 2 (3 of a kind)

7th hand, 17 cards, 2 (5 card straight flush)

8th hand, 18 cards, 5 (3 of a kind)

9th hand, 19 cards, 3(5 card straight flush)

10th hand, 20 cards, 1 (10 card straight flush) 2 (3 of a kind)

We played with just two decks and never required a straight flush.

Let's hear what you think the rules should be.
Solar Furnace
Much has been made about "peak oil", which is the moment when the production of crude oil stops increasing and starts its inevitable decline. Most people don't concern themselves with this event, but those of us who do often speculate on what the future holds in terms of energy production. While solar electricity is groovey (I've used it myself) and makes you feel like you're in control of your life, it's damned inefficient as compared to a solar furnace. Remember those novelty solar cigarette lighters? Well, I'm thinking this article shows us which direction solar energy is really headed.
G. Love and Special Sauce
Linda and I went to see G. Love and Special Sauce at the Ventura Theatre last night and it was very, very good. This young fellow is loaded with talent, as is the band. What an interesting combination of styles! Dobro-style guitar (G Love plays a little like Robbie Robertson), harmonica, upright bass, two! drummers, keyboards, all in service of blues, rap, jazz, southern rock, you name it. The drummers were great fun to watch, and they seemed to be sharing some kind of inside joke. My favorite was the bass player. Just a great time all around.
Bird of Paradise
Here's a picture Linda took of a Bird of Paradise taking a sip from the fountain out front.

Identity Protection
Here's an email forwarded to me by my old boss, Petter.

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".

3 When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a P.O. Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks.(DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)

3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away. This weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, etc., has been stolen:
1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
Computer Security
I'd like to share with you a few of my computer security concerns. We all consider our computers remarkably useful tools, and we have a tendency to treat them as appliances (taking for granted that they'll run on their own without our intervention). However, being tools, they require maintenance to work properly and safely. The security threats I'll discuss here arrive from three sources: email, browsing the web, and remote access. When it comes to email, please remember that we should never open an attachment unless we are ABSOLUTELY sure of the source. This is the easiest way for malicious hackers to get into your computer.

All the computers at work, and hopefully your home computers, are protected by a program called Avast. This program, in its default implementation, defends against viruses, Trojan horses, keystroke loggers, and malware (spyware and adware). But even Avast isn't immune to bugs. It was recently discovered that the installation files could, in some cases, make it possible for someone else using your computer to gain access to your files. For this to happen, someone would need to be able to log onto your computer, so this is only a problem if your computer is not password protected. Still, Avast has fixed the bug, and you may need to download the program again, and re-register. I'll be happy to do this for you.

Another malicious attack that comes via email is "phishing". This is where you receive an email that seems to come from a legitimate source, like Citibank or PayPal, telling you that you account has been compromised or otherwise breached and that you need to follow a link to a page where you'll be asked to enter you personal information such as login name, password, account number, etc. These bogus sites, which look just like the real ones, then use your personal information for illegal purposes. The best advice, in the past, was never to follow these links, and if you had concerns simply to enter the address of the legitimate page in your browser address bar and check on your account at the legitimate source. This is no longer good enough. A recent DNS (Domain Name Service) hack led people to malicious sites even if they had manually entered the address in their browser. The best advice is to never enter personal information into a web page if told you need to update or confirm your information. Do this only after calling the institution to confirm any message you may have received from them.

Web browsing is another vector for fraud. Internet Explorer, because of its built in ability to share and execute programs (Active X), is inherently insecure. See this story for a current vulnerability:


The browser I recommend is Firefox, which is much more secure for everyday use. Computer code is so complex that there will always be new exploits (ways to get into the code being run on your computer). Making sure you have the latest security updates for your operating system is your first line of defense. That's why all the computers at work are set to update automatically. Again, Avast will help protect you from malicious sites when you are browsing the web.

The third door for hackers is through remote access. We use Remote Desktop Connection at work, which provides us with username and password protection. Our default password is a combination of numbers and letters and is at least seven characters long. That is the least we can do to make it hard for hackers to gain access to our computers. Software is freely available that will enter every word in the dictionary, in all its permutations, into our password request field in a matter of minutes. You should change your password from the default (ask me if you don't know how), but don't replace it with something easy to hack. Make it a combination of letters and numbers and at least seven characters long. Obviously, we should never share our passwords and we should change them periodically.

As you can see, there are numerous ways in which someone can gain access to your computer and the information on it. A virus is bad enough, but it can be removed. If someone gains control of your computer then they'll have access to all the information on it and to all the information on the network that you have access to. If this unhappy event occurs, our first problem is detecting it. That part is up to me. Often, however, a compromised computer will simply result in LOST data. That's why backups are so important. You do back up the data on your home computer, don't you?
Steel Pulse!

Each year we attend a Steel Pulse show at the Ventura Theatre, and this year the show was particularly fun. There were plenty of friends and family with us and the band was superb. The sound was very good and the urge to dance was irresistable. I particularly loved the medley that started the show. Besides showing off a formidable catalog it also served to showcase the arranging chops of the most "interesting" reggae band on the planet. Reggae has long been known for its staid, if not boring, approach to arrangement, where the beat never changes and the individual parts seldom do. Steel Pulse, on the other hand, are past masters of the intentional lurch; at times the music virually stops, as if in error, only to launch fabulously into some new energy and tempo. Delicious! The show was attended primarily by youngsters who seemed to love the band as much as those of us who have been around since their inception. Looking forward to next year!
Toilet Art
You've heard of Toilet Humor? Well roll over in your grave, here comes toilet art. My latest hare-brained scheme is to market art on toilet paper that can be put, one sheet at a time, into the toilet (say, when important guests come over) to create that "one-of-a-kind" art experience. Be the first on your block!

Trip to Yuma
Linda and I drove to Yuma last weekend to visit Tom and Pam. We all had a great time playing Mexican poker and eating at Mexican restaurants. Linda was the big winner at Mexican Poker, but Tom made the board at Yahtzee. Tom also recorded some basic tracks for The Traveling Gassaway's latest single Travelers. I completed the track at WhompyJawed Studios with the able assistance of Linda Gassaway.

A Day at the Beach
Here's a photograph Linda took one day at the volleyball beach in Ventura. Gary just yelled at her to take a shot and when she had the camera to her eye he tossed Nevada up in the air and caught her. That's Joey watching and the picture is just as it came out of the camera.

Amazon Offers Online Storage
EWeek posted this article today.

Amazon.com's Amazon Web Services on March 14 announced Amazon S3, an inexpensive, reliable storage service that allows small companies to instantly scale their growth.

Amazon S3 offers software developers a highly scalable, reliable, and low-latency data storage infrastructure at low cost, according to the Seattle-based company. It provides developers with access to the same storage system that Amazon uses to run its own infrastructure, company officials said.

"Amazon S3 is based on the idea that quality Internet-based storage should be taken for granted," said Andy Jassy, vice president of Amazon Web Services, in a statement. "It helps free developers from worrying about where they are going to store data, whether it will be safe and secure, if it will be available when they need it, the costs associated with server maintenance, or whether they have enough storage available. Amazon S3 enables developers to focus on innovating with data, rather than figuring out how to store it."

Jassy said Amazon S3 lets developers pay only for what they consume and there is no minimum fee. Developers pay $0.15 per gigabyte of storage per month and $0.20 per gigabyte of data transferred, Jassy said.

Amazon S3 provides a Web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the Web.

The new Amazon storage service enables developers to write, read and delete objects containing from one byte to 5GB of data each; each object is stored and retrieved via a unique developer-assigned key; objects can be made private or public, and rights can be assigned to specific users; and Amazon S3 uses standards-based REST (Representational State Transfer) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) interfaces designed to work with any Internet-development tool kit, company officials said.

Amazon S3 already has some early users, including the University of California, Berkeley's Stardust@Home team, which is responsible for NASA's "Stardust@Home" project. The team is using Amazon S3 to store and deliver the 60,000 images that represent the data collected from its dust particle aerogel experiment. These images will be delivered to 100,000 volunteers around the world who scan the images looking for dust particles from comet Wild2.

"We quickly ran into challenges when we started the project using our own infrastructure," said Andrew Westphal, project director of Stardust@Home, in a statement. "Using Amazon S3 has allowed us to proceed without having to worry about building out the massive storage infrastructure we realized that we needed to successfully complete the project. The fact that Amazon S3 is an Internet-connected storage service is particularly useful to us as we expect the data examination phase of the project to take only a few months. We can quickly ramp up and back down again without a huge investment."
New Toys
Here's a fantastic new toy that has given me an idea for yet another one.


Remember "MouseTrap"? Let's all think of a way to update that particular time killer. I like the way the above toy uses a Lego-like approach, with individual pieces that fit together to make a path for the marble. For the new MouseTrap I suggest we take a similar approach: individual building blocks that can be put together to form parts that carry a ball, guide a ball, balance and redirect a ball...you get the picture. The world's waiting, let's go.
EarFull, The Game
Linda and I have had an idea for a new game called EarFull. It will be sort of like Name That Tune with other categories besides songs. Things you'd hear at the beach; things you'd hear at a casino; and so on. There will be some mechanism for playing snippets of sounds and then the players will try to guess the origin of the sound or be given multiple choices and there will need to be some mechanism for confirming guesses. Other details will have to arise out of your comments.
Dumb Joke
An elephant, a rabbit, a priest, a soldier, and a blond walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Hey, is this some kind of a joke?"
Using Cubasis
I've been using Cubasis for Music recording since I began recording digitally. It can be a tricky program to use and set up and today I've run into a fresh problem. I'm exporting a song as MP3 and creating a file, no problem, but when I try to play the MP3 there is no sound. Even though the file is over 5 megs, Media Player shows no information. Media Player will play other files without problem, even one I exported from Cubasis a few days ago. The next step is to change the outside lines (where the piece begins and ends) and then there is no problem exporting. The snippet plays fine. The next time I export the whole song it works without a problem. Oh, well. Anyway, I've added the song Snort to the Downloads.
This blog was originally built from a community portal application called cfxtreme which was in turn built using coldfusion. I can barely use coldfusion at all, and I'll never be accused of being a developer, but I truly enjoy tinkering with web pages, whether static or dynamic, and I always have. One of these days someone's going to come along and expose my lack of expertise to somebody else (won't that be awful) and I'll no longer get to pretend I know what the hell I'm doing. By the way, whompyjawed is an old southern expression my father used to use. It means, basically, asymmetric. It is usually used in the context of something being out of alignment or crooked. My face, for instance, is slightly whompyjawed.

I've cobbled together a few websites using coldfusion and my favorite is simply my own notebook where I keep my contacts and dates to remember and so forth. It comes in handy on a regular basis and I have complete control over it. What that means, naturally, is that it's probably insecure to the point of being public and misses best practices by a wide margin. Nonetheless, it gives me pleasure to screw around with it, especially when it works the way I want it to.
Auditory Illusions
I've been preparing to finish off some old tunes and I've been rediscovering some parts that aren't what they appear to be.

Long a fan of the term psychoacoustics I've recently found that what I've been hearing is actually an auditory illusion that I haven't seen described elsewhere, as yet. What happens is that there is a line that is quite complete and logical, or so it sounds, because it's actually missing a couple of notes in the sequence. However, my brain just fills in the blanks so the melodic line sounds whole. I'll be throwing some other things like that in the mix, and I'll be uploading the tune as an attachment to this post, as soon as I've finished it.
I've got an idea for a new piece I want to record and it harkens back to my days at The Creative Music Studio and the study of Klangfarbenmelodie.

I intend to do a repetitive line on sax that suggests a nice resolution, but the sax doesn't go there, instead that last note is played, each time, by a differnt instrument or timbre.
I'm very paranoid about losing data, and where I work I'm in charge of backing up everyone's data, including files on the server. I use Retrospect, and like it just fine, but I have never really trusted tape backups. However, I will continue to use tape as long as I can because it adds one more layer to my scheme and tapes are quite portable. But then, so are today's external USB drives. I have one USB drive attached to the server, and it receives a full backup every night. This drive is really handy for restoring accidentally deleted files or anything else from yesterday. It's much faster than the tapes. I do make a full backup to tape each night, as well. I also rotate the tapes like this: one tape for each day of the week except Friday, when I use one of my five weekly tapes. I take the most recent weekly tape off site. I also have a second USB drive that I restore a full backup to every couple of weeks. This USB drive also goes off site. If I could, I'd have USB drives for each day of the week. As my company grows I'm going to have to set up a machine or two just for backups.