MWM Seeks CFObjective Roommate

OK. I admit it, I am both cheap and a procrastinator. I need to reserve a room today for CFObjective, but I am not keen on spending $120 per night on a room.

I am from Oklahoma, so that seems like a high price to me. If anyone wants a roommate, let me know. If I don't here from anyone in a few hours then I will just suck it up and reserve a room myself.

I look forward to seeing everyone there!


Procrastination pays! I have a roommate now.

Learning from Voldemort

My wife and I are both big fans of the Harry Potter series. It seemed, after finishing the series, that Lord Voldemort had no redeeming qualities. Recent events, however, have convinced me that Voldemort has a valuable lesson to teach.


My Chosen Bahamas Adventure

I am back from the Bahamas and having said I would report back on the adventure that was chosen for me, I will do so here. As it happens, breakfast was the best part of the day, so I will work backward to there.


Choose My Adventure

If you liked "Choose your own adventure" books, this may appeal to you. In this case, you have the opportunity to choose what I do on vacation.


A New Home for My Blog

I have been planning to move my blog for some time now, but I have always put it off (If there is one thing I am good at, it is procrastination). Fortunately, recent developments encouraged me to do now what I have been intending to do eventually.


Missed Milestone

I have been so busy lately that I didn't even notice when a major milestone passed. As of July 22nd, I have been self employed for five years.

I have been busy enough with work and travel that I missed the milestone completely. My workload has been full for more than four years and my client roster has been stable in that time.

So, what is the secret to my success?


Trek to "The Book Thing"

When listening to The ColdFusion Weekly podcast, I heard Peter Farrell describe "The Book Thing" in Baltimore. It was, according to his description, a place that had shelves and shelves of free books – whole rooms of them in fact.

As a book lover, this place sounded like Xanadu. When I got the opportunity to go with my wife to Baltimore (from where I am working right now), I knew that I couldn't pass up the chance to visit "The Book Thing".

I found the web site and looked up the address and hours – open 9-6 on Saturday and Sunday. We had other plans on Saturday, so Sunday was our day. Address in hand, we flagged down a cab in front of the hotel. I told the driver the address, but he didn't know it.

So, back to the hotel we go. This time, I wrote down directions (no printer while I travel) and the nearest major intersection. Back at the street, we found another taxi.

I asked this driver if he knew the address. He didn't either. So, I asked him if he knows the way to 25th and Greenmount. He said that he did, so we got in the cab.

My wife reminded me that I had earlier told her the intersection was 33rd and Greenmount, so I relayed this to the driver. He laughed a bit at this. I figured that he was laughing at a man being corrected about the address by his wife, so I smiled and we were off. In retrospect, this was our first real clue of what was to come.

Neither of us knew what kind of neighborhood "The Book Thing" was in, so we watched out the window for clues. We drove through some rather downtrodden neighborhoods, but then went through some refurbished ones, so we were pretty optimistic. Until, however, we turned into the neighborhood around 33rd and Greenmount.

The cabbie asked us if we want to stop before the light or after. We told him just to stop at the gas station before the light. I asked him for the number to the cab company so that I could call for a return ride. He asked how long we were going to be (our second clue). We told him that we would be a while, so he gave us a card with the number.

When we got out of the cab, we got our first good look at the neighborhood in which we had placed ourselves. I'll be the first to admit that at this stage of my life, I have become rather bourgeois. This neighborhood isn't. To call it "working class" would be generous.

We walked past several small store fronts - churches and "adult" stores clustered together with laundromats and other small stores (all closed). We only had a basic idea of where "The Book Thing" was, so we ended up walking a few blocks to reach it.

"The Books Thing" itself was located in what looked like a former auto repair shop. The books were organized by subject matter, but not by author. This turned out to be good enough. I like exploring for books, so this turned out to be a fun hunt.

After looking around for a while, we ran into a first. I was ready to leave a book store before my wife. She needed time to prepare herself to face such an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Our plan was that after visiting "The Book Thing", we would walk to a nearby McDonald's which the wife found on Google Maps and we drove by on the way in. From there we planned to call a taxi using the cell phone that we brought in.

The McDonald's itself is perhaps a half-mile away. It was still morning, so we expected a comfortable walk. In terms of weather, the walk was very comfortable. In terms of environment however, it was a bit odd.

Everyone we passed on the street seemed to stare at us. In my short life, I have been to about 8 countries and I have never felt as out-of-place as I did in this neighborhood. We felt that we belonged as much in this neighborhood as a zebra would in Manhattan.

In order to explain our level of comfort in the neighborhood, I should mention our last jaunt to a similar area. Nearly a year ago in New York City, we unexpectedly found ourselves in a Harlem subway stop with a three-foot wide FAO Schwartz bag. We belonged there much more than we did in this neighborhood.

I never felt in any immediate danger (though I certainly would have expected to given the look of the neighborhood). I couldn't tell if those around us felt in danger by our presence (though decked out, as we were, in our typical "Eddie Bauer" fashion, I can't imagine how anyone could see trouble from us).

Among the people we passed were several people sitting on the street who watched us go by, a couple who stared at as though we were aliens or hostiles, and a group of men having a loud argument.

Near the end of our walk we saw a handful of people breaking into a gray sedan. It could have been owned by one of the people breaking in, but I didn't ask.

When we reached the McDonald's, we went in to place the call but found the music too loud. We stepped out to call a cab and I noticed that one was sitting at the curb. I looked to see if he had a passenger, but couldn't see one.

The cabby was eating an apple and looked friendly. I asked him if he was available. He looked at me strangely for a second or two and then said "Yeah, be just a minute."

So, we stepped away from the cab and waited. A few minutes later, a woman got out of the cab. I apologized for not having seen her. She said that was OK, but hollered at the cabbie to come back soon.

He told her he just had to drop us off and then he would be back. It seemed clear that he was cutting into his lunch break to remove the foreigners from the neighborhood.

In the cab, after a brief discussion of the whether, he asked what we were doing in this neighborhood. We told him. He said that if we had walked just a few blocks further and turned right (I'm still not sure further what direction), the cops would have stopped us.

He said that the police stop anyone who looks so out of place in this neighborhood – the clear implication being that people from outside the neighborhood only came there to buy narcotics. I asked him how he could tell we weren't from the neighborhood, and he chuckled and said "Just by first glance. You can always tell."

After he dropped us off, we assessed our situation. We spent $15 each way in cab fair for a total of $30 on cabs. I got one free book with a slightly torn cover and list price of $5.95. We took every bit of cash we had in to a neighborhood in which we had no business being.

If I had it to do over again, I would probably leave the excess cash (and my wife) at the hotel.

DataMgr Tour of Two Cities

I got back Friday from my two city DataMgr users group tour. I had a lot of fun presenting in both Boston and Nashville. Both groups were a lot of fun and had good questions.

While in Boston, I had a chance to look around the the city for a few hours before the presentation and it is really beautiful. Then I had time to talk to both Brian Rinaldi and Bernie Dolan a bit before the meeting, which was both fun and educational - two very smart guys.

The presentation to the Boston CFUG went well and everyone I talked to said that they enjoyed the presentation. Feel free to read Bernie's humurous tale of the event (I took the title of this blog entry from his). Afterward, I went to a local pub for a drink with Bernie, Brian, and Tom. Tom bought me a beer, which was much appreciated. Another fun and informational discussion there.

From Boston I flew to Nashville. I was too tired to look around the town, so I stayed in the hotel and napped and tried to get caught up on email and reading. The presentation to the Nashville CFUG also went well (you can read Steve "Cutter" Blades description of the presentation). This presentation was recorded, so feel free to watch the presentation (apologies for some silent spots where I am listening to questions and suggestions).

Some of the Nashville members made some good suggestions for DataMgr which will be in the next build (proving wrong my previous statement that it was feature complete).

The first suggestion was that the getXml() method should be able to return all tables if no table was passed in to the method. It turns out that DataMgr did this already. I went ahead and made it do the same if an empty string is passed in as well.

The second suggestion was that the logAction() method should record the SQL used in the action. I have added that feature and it will be in the next release. As an aside, I said in the presentation that calling this method directly when logging is not enabled would not cause DataMgr to log an entry. This is not true, but startLogging() must have been called before a logAction() method is called (or else the logging table won't exist).

Members of both groups asked about the performance of DataMgr. I was disappointed that I had not done any performance tests on DataMgr, so I had to give a conservative response that it would be best to avoid its use in very high-traffic situations. I believe that it should actually perform very well in those situations (better, I would think, than an ORM approach), but until I test that I can't really recommend its use for high-traffic applications.

That being the case, I would love any suggestions for what people think would be the best approach for load testing and performance testing for DataMgr. Ideally, I would love to see a set of tests that can be performed against DataMgr as well as cfquery, Transfer, and Reactor. I think that this could help people choose the approach that is the best fit for their environment. 

Somehow, I had time to cover "Special" functionality and "Relation Fields" at the Boston meeting, but not the Nashville one. I'm sure that means I left out something else in Nashville. Both of these features can be seen in the DataMgr Demonstration site. If you want a more complete information, the DataMgr page includes links to the documentation as well as Flash tutorials and the CFC Docs for DataMgr.

I would love to present this to any other groups that are interested (via Adobe Acrobat Connect). Just let me know if you would like me to present on DataMgr to your group).

Finally, a big thanks to Brian Rinaldi and Aaron West for allowing me to come to their groups and say a few words about my current pet project. It was a lot of fun to meet everyone in each group and I hope I get to see many of them again in the future. 

Traveling Reference

Ben Forta is asking for input on his next CFWACK book. The discussion in the comments reminded of the old CFML Reference that I keep with me. It is one of a few books that I always have near my computer when I travel.

These books taken together weigh less than a pound and take up less space than your average computer book. They have still managed to be tremendously useful when I am working on the road (especially if I am trying to get some work done with no internet connection).

Anyone else have suggestions for books that they don't leave home without? 


Presenting DataMgr to Users Group

I presented on DataMgr to my local users group yesterday and created a demonstration site to illustrate most of the features. 

I hope to release the demonstration site early next week and release the next beta of DataMgr 2.0 around the same time (and make the download available directly from the site). The demonstration site will also act as a test-bed for DataMgr functionality and will include links to the documentation and some notes on using DataMgr. It will allow you to actually use DataMgr to update data in the database.

This data will be periodically removed and recreated to prevent abuse. Additionally, I hope to have the application regularly switch databases. The demonstration site will demonstrate DataMgr on Access, MySQL, and MS SQL Server. I have to test it on PostGreSQL elsewhere.

The presentation also served as a bit of a dress rehearsal for my February 22nd presentation on DataMgr to the Nashville ColdFusion Users Group. After that, I would love to give presentations (in person or by Breeze/Connect dpending) to any other groups that are interested (just let me know if you are).

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