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Archive for February, 2005

Road Trip


Road Trip

Random thoughts of a pink-eyed road warrior

I had to drive to Texas and back this week. All part of moving home, it’s a long story that I won’t bore you with. But I had to drive 1300 miles in a couple of days, and my mind got to wandering a time or two …

  • Why do you never see a police speed trap when it is raining?
  • Texas road kill – skunk, armadillo, hound dawg.
  • There are way too many Country radio stations in Texas to be considered healthy.
  • What’s whith that Mexican music? It sounds like a mixture between Spanish and Bavarian … Flamenco meets lederhosen, Spanish guitar meets oompah!
  • Ohh that Cajun stuff in Louisiana is just as odd.
  • So what do American road builders have against corners?
  • … and why do they make the roads out of concrete and Teflon?
  • I hate cruise-control-induced synchronised driving. There is absolutely no sense in ‘overtaking’ another car ar the rate of 1 inch per fortnight!
  • Fountain drinks in gas stations. Amazing. A 3 pint ‘cup’ of Coke costs about $1.20. That’s less than 75p in real money. I wish they would learn how cheap these drinks are in Britain, and then install them in service stations everywhere – and stop charging £3 (about $5.40) for one pint of the stuff in the pubs!!!!
  • What’s with the temperature here??? 80 farenheit in February!
  • Is there really any need for those heeeeeeeeuuuuuuuge trucks just to go to Walmart?
  • Looks like CB radio technology here has not moved on 20 years … they’re still using Firesticks and k40s. Wow.
  • Why don’t the police cars get a proper paint job over here?

    Police Volvo - UK motorway patrol colours

  • MacDonald’s burgers really do taste the same everywhere.
  • Waffle House is the perfect on-the-road junk food!
  • There may be 12000 radio stations between Mississippi and Texas, but the ones that do not play Country seem to have only 12 songs that they share between them.
  • … and about 237 adverts.
  • Armadillos really are ugly – but it sure seems hard to crush them.
  • You can smell a squashed skunk from about a mile away!
  • The trees are budding everywhere.
  • There seem to be little clumps of miniature Daffodils wherever I look.
  • The City of Martindale, Polulation 691. That’s not a city, it’s a friggin’ hamlet!
  • But it has its own police force of 2 and they are hot on speeders! … nothing else to do, and they need to earn their own pay somehow.
  • If you are ever in the region of San Marcos in Texas you must try Mamacita’s
    mexican restaurant. They have a machine there in the restaurant that churns out fresh tortillas all day. Yummmmm. Fresh-baked tortillas. Oh heaven.
  • And the HEB store around the corner has the same. You can buy fresh hot tortillas all day.

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Scotch on the Rocks

Cold Fusion user group conference, May 2005

I just got this notification about a Cold Fusion User Group in Edinburgh holding a conference in May 2005 …


Scotch on the Rocks, May 26/27 Edinburgh University

The Scottish ColdFusion User Group is both proud and excited to announce a two day conference covering Macromedia ColdFusion MX 7.

Taking place in Edinburgh, Scotland on the 26th and 27th May, you are invited to join speakers, including representatives from Macromedia, Firstserv and InterAKT, as they present on why ColdFusion MX 7 is the fastest and easiest way to build and deploy Internet applications.

There will be a number of big prizes up for grabs, including a copy of ColdFusion MX 7 Standard, as well as an iPod. To top this off, each event attendee will go home with a gift, which will be included in their goodie bag.

As well as all the fun during the day, the Scottish ColdFusion User Group will take you on a pub crawl on both the Thursday and Friday nights, so prepare yourself for an almighty hangover.

Tickets for the event are 25(GBP), which covers both days attendance. Registration for the event will open soon.

More details including confirmed speakers, sponsors, as well as promotional documents including how to sponsor the event, can all be found at http://www.scottishcfug.com

Edinburgh is an absolutely gorgeous city. If you have not been there before you should use this conference as an excuse to go. Here’s some photographs of Edinburgh that I took a couple or three years ago to help publicise EuroTAAC.

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“How far into your own digital navel can you gaze?”

“Each of us populates a personal tech-bubble of one. Solo-tech-travelers often are unaware that others occupy the same dimensions as them — that’s why they often bump into others, in their cars or on foot.”

D. Pravaz from the Seattle Post writes about how personal technology is isolating us from the rest of the world, instead of bringing us closer together like the adverts say they do … you didn’t believe what T-mobile said did you???

The article is both entertaining and thought-provoking. If you are obsessed with your iPod, PDA and camera phone(s) take a look in Pravaz’z mirror.

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Testing Post and ReadURL


Testing Post and ReadURL

I needed to test some cfm calls, so I built a little tool

Whilst working with Cold Fusion and Authorware this week I discovered the need of a simple tool to test calls to cfm pages. I also realised that this same tool could be useful for ASP, php and any other TLA server-side-scripting page.

So anyway, I built a simple tool that can be placed on your web server and used to test your calls to the database or whatever without having to build your full Authorware application. I posted the tool on my Downloads page

http://www.tomorrows-key.com/downloads.asp

It’s (at the time of writing) the first question:-


Q. How can I easily test my calls to Cold Fusion, ASP, PHP or any other web pages that enable communications between Authorware and a server and/or database over the web?

A. I built this test application that lets you quickly test PostURL and ReadURL code in Authorware (Post and Get in HTML form terms). It displays the pure text of the return from the server, so if the server returns HTML or XML or plain text, you see the exact contents of the return without any formatting.


Use this page to send any comments or feedback you have about the tool. Remember, it’s free and as-is, so I make no promises of perfection, but I will make changes based on feedback to fix bugs or make improvements … time permitting of course!

You could always make changes yourself and send them back to me too 🙂

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Cold Fusion and Authorware PostURL

I discovered today that Cold Fusion pages act strangely with Authorware and PostURL if no parameters are sent

I have been working with a client over the last couple of weeks, setting up a simple tracking system using Cold Fusion pages to handle the communication between the database and Authorware.

We hit an odd situation where one specific call to one specific .cfm page failed to return anything to Authorware, and instead opened a new web page containing the expected return.

After a bit of digging about I discovered that the cause of the problem was that this particular call sent no parameters to the cfm page, yet was still using PostURL. I had set up a function in Authorware that used PostURL for all the database calls, and for security and consistency I did not want to change that.

The ultimate workaround was to send the following parameter when none were actually required

true=true

So the final call to the cfm page became something like

result:=PostUrl(NetLocation^"call.cfm", "true=true", 5)

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Have you ever tried to use scrolling RTF files with hyperinks?

Did you find that the RTF KO did not work as expected?

While teaching an Authorware class recently, one of my students pointed out that she had been unable to get the Insert RTF Object Hot Text Interaction to work correcly with scrolling RTF text. She asked if it were possible to get this to work using RTFObj.u32 functions.

After a little head scratching I came up with some working code that seems to do what she needed. You can try it out by downloading it from my web site

http://www.tomorrows-key.com/downloads.asp

Look for the question Q. How can I use RTFObj.u32 with scrolling rtf pages that contain hyperlinks?

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Macromedia has released a number of recorded Breeze presentations

Something for everyone in this bundle of presentations

If you have never seen Breeze in action, you should take the time to look at at least one of the following presentations. Of course, you should look at them anyway if you want to get to know more about Macromedia’s products.

Please note these are recordings of live presentations, lasting about an hour

each. Some of the presentations take a minute or two to get up and running.


  1. Shape Tweening in Flash MX 2004
  2. Cold Fusion 7
  3. Cold Fusion Forms
  4. Creating Raster Effects in Freehand
  5. Fireworks Best Practices
  6. Introducing the Flash Player Detection Kit
  7. Troubleshooting FTP issues in Dreamweaver

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