Software Engineering Explained

Not new, but one of those things where every time I think about it and want to show it to somebody, I have to hunt it down. For my convenience, and your pleasure, I present you with “Software Engineering Explained”

Software Engineering Explained Graphic

Now Powered by MySQL

I just “flipped the switch”, and this blog (which had been running MS SQL Server) is now running on MySQL.

If you see anything funky, or at least funkier than usual, please drop me a line. (see comment #3)

Chrom-ifying Firefox

I’m a big fan of Mozilla’s Firefox browser for web development. It’s got a number of tools that I just couldn’t imagine doing without. ColorZilla, Web Developer Toolbar, and of course, Firebug (just to name a few).

But as time went on, I found that Firefox could be a memory hog. I had a handful of plugins installed, but not many. And no themes. But on more than one occasion, I’d see Firefox’s memory consumption start to increase dramatically.

Enter Google’s Chrome. Ironically, in spite of the name, there was very little chrome to be seen. It was a nice, lightweight browser that I eventually transitioned to for day-to-day browsing. Development continued in Firefox, but I really enjoyed Chrome as a lightweight alternative for browsing.

Last week, I made the switch from PC/Windows to a Macbook Pro (blog entry on thoughts of a PC guy making the transition to OS X to follow eventually). Unfortunately, Chrome isn’t available (yet?) for OS X. Well, back to Firefox as my “full time” browser.

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Google’s Chrome… It Still Doesn’t Suck

Day 2 with Chrome, and I’m still liking it quite a bit.

No, it doesn’t necessarily “rule” (as stated by T. Fleming in the comments on yesterday’s post), but it’s off to a very decent start.

It doesn’t “rule” yet, because it’s been available to the public for all of a day. It’s in its infancy. It won’t compete with Firefox until such time that plugins are available (but I understand that’s on the roadmap). There are some options that are lacking, or not at all available (or so hard to find that I’m under the impression that they’re not at all available). How can i tell chrome to check for newer versions of the page with each page request? Don’t think I can. I’d also like a more robust means of organizing my bookmarks. Oh, and I did manage to crash it earlier today. Not even sure what happened… it just… crashed.

Google Chrome Crashed

In spite of these “issues”, I still like the browser. Just like the Google Talk client when it was first introduced (anyone remember… no file transfer options, no voice chat options…), it seems to be laser focused on doing what it’s meant to do. Browse web sites. I’m fairly confident that the additional “bells and whistles” will follow.

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Google’s Chrome… It Doesn’t Suck

The blogosphere and Twitter are both ablaze today with talk of Google’s foray into the browser market with Chrome. My first impressions, and some accompanying screenshots…

Up until it was actually available, I’d not been following the story too much, so I hadn’t seen screenshots or read about any specific features. My first impression upon loading it up was, “wow… there’s… no chrome”. I haven’t messed around yet with configuration options, but there’s no status bar. No toolbar. It’s literally just an address bar (which seems to also serve as an integrated search bar), and tabs. It’s minimalistic in its look, as is standard with most things Google, but I like it. It’s uncluttered, but I’m not sure the general public will see it as such. The plain design that I see as a plus could easily be seen as… well, plain.

Which raises an interesting point. I’m not sure what market Google is after. Are they trying to be a mainstream browser and compete directly with IE and Firefox? I don’t know that I see that happening. But given some of the features that they’ve implemented, I definitely see them competing for the affections of techie geeks.

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twhirl Makes Twitter Worth Doing

Many moons ago, I signed up for a Twitter account. All the cool kids were doing it and damn if I’m not a lemming. I didn’t quite “get it” tho. It’s enough pressure to try and come up with a blog entry once in a blue moon that I think would hold a passing interest to one or two people. Twitter is all about posting something “interesting” (assuming “what are you doing now?” is interesting) on a constant and ongoing basis.

Wasn’t totally unexpected, but I failed at Twitter. At any given time, I just didn’t think I was doing anything worthwhile enough to hit the web site and update my status.

Luke Kilpatrick to the rescue. Luke admonished me for being a bad Twitterer, and I explained that updating my status on the website was just too much of a PITA. He then told me about twhirl, an AIR-based Twitter desktop client, saying that he wouldn’t be active on Twitter at all without it. I downloaded it yesterday and took it for a drive.

*Now* I see why people like Twitter. Aside from being a very cool app (I gotta start writing some AIR stuff), it makes it ridiculously simple to not only update your own status, but also to keep up with the statuses of those people that you’re following. Think IM client on steroids.

If you’re twittering without it, download it and give it a shot. If you’re not twittering, sign up and then download it and give it a shot. Feel free to follow me @charliegriefer.

Thank You Charlie Arehart

A couple of weeks ago I started looking at Transfer. I found myself wishing that I hadn’t missed out on Mark Mandel’s presentation to the Inland Empire ColdFusion User Group that he had given a couple of months ago. Heck I would have been thrilled to see any presentation on Transfer right then and there.

In an all-too-rare moment of clarity, I remembered that Charlie Arehart has a compendium of links to recorded Breeze/Connect presentations, including six on Transfer and, as of this writing, 231(!) on various other topics. Very nice.

I’ve been aware that this existed for quite some time, but I guess I took it for granted until I actually found myself needing it. I meant to post something back then, not only to thank Charlie but also to mention the UGTV page in case there might be a few folks out there who were unaware.

Fast forward to today. Somebody on the BACFUG mailing list asked a question about code generation. I pointed out two resources that I thought may be of use (one being Peter Farrell’s Rooibos Generator, the other being Brian Rinaldi’s Illudium PU-36 Code Generator).

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Inexpensive CF Hosting (Update)

Because the question of inexpensive ColdFusion hosting continues to come up frequently on mailing lists and forums, i’m posting an update to an post i made last year about Hosting A to Z.

I’m no longer hosting with them, as I’ve moved to a VPS solution at AHP Hosting, but thought others might find this to be of some value. Hosting A to Z has recently announced that they’ve upgraded from CF 7 to CF 8 (Enterprise!). You can find a matrix of their CF plans at

The usual caveats definitely come into play when using shared hosting, but for those who are just looking to get started and aren’t ready to spend money for a VPS or dedicated server (or even ready to spend $20 a month on shared hosting), it’s definitely worth looking into. The most expensive CF 8 plan is $74.99 a year, and the cheapest is $29.99 (again, that’s yearly, not monthly).

Feel free to check out the entry under “related blog entries” for my previous post on the subject and a review. To recap, there was some good, and there was some bad… but they definitely fill a need for those who may just be getting started.

Hello (Again) World

I recently made the switch from my cheap inexpensive shared host to a VPS at AHP Hosting. It was a little daunting at first, never having been on anything but shared hosting, and never having had to manage a CF server (other than my own dev box). But the feeling of having complete control over the server has been a very welcome relief over the headaches that frequently accompany shared hosting.

While I was on the inexpensive host, I wasn’t quite confident about the uptime. Hey, it was a good deal for the price, but realistically… it wasn’t something that I felt that I could count on. So I chose to use, an external solution for my blog. Again, given the circumstances, that was a great option for me at the time. But now that I’ve got a server that I’ve got a bit more faith in, I figured it was time to run my own blog. As of now, my old blog has been effectively end-of-life’d. *sniffle* There are still a number of old entries (and comments) that I need to port over. Hopefully that will be done in the near future. I do want to take this opportunity to say thanks to Jon Clausen for all of his hard work on cfblog and all of his assistance while i was there.

Moving forward, this is the new improved blog (running Ray’s BlogCFC). I’ve got a few entries planned about learning Model-Glue, building my first Flex app, and continuing to grasp various OO concepts. Stick around.

Oh, and i haven’t done any extensive browser testing on the new design. If it’s breaking in your browser of choice, please leave a comment below and let me know what’s up (and what browser/OS you’re on).

Oh… and sorry for the clogging up coldfusionbloggers with the new rss :(

Hosting A to Z… Inexpensive CF Hosting

One of the more prevalent questions that come up regarding ColdFusion is “Where can i find a good cheap host”?

Since “good” is a subjective term… I’m going to focus on “cheap” (or as I like to say… “inexpensive” since cheap sounds so… well, cheap).

A little under a year ago, I’d heard about Hosting A to Z when someone inquired about them on the Sitepoint ColdFusion forums. I was looking for a cheap inexpensive host since I just wanted to throw up a personal site. Downtime wasn’t really too much of an issue (as long as it wasn’t too frequent) since this wasn’t a commercial site. I don’t get a lot of traffic, so even $15-$20 a month was a bit hard to justify. But the problem was I wanted ColdFusion. I wanted SQL Server. These are tools that I use daily, and I wanted to use them to build my personal site. But ColdFusion hosting (especially CFMX 7) with MS SQL Server generally has a relatively significant price tag attached.

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