Tag Archives: Week in review


Week in review – 07/01/13 – 06/07/13

This past week, I signed up for MoviePass.  I first heard about it, a few months ago when one of my coworkers signed up for it.  The way it works is that you pay a monthly fee for “unlimited” visits to movie theaters.  The fee is dependent on where you live ($29-$39/mo) but for me it was $35/mo.  I figure that my break-even point is 3-4 movies per month, so if I see at least 1 movie per week, I am coming out ahead.  My only complaint so far is that not all theatres in the area are covered by the program.  In order for the program to work with the theatre, they need to accept discover cards.  It looks like the Oriental, the Downer, and the iPic aren’t covered.  That leaves me with the Fox Bay and the North Shore.  It’s not ideal that I can’t go to every theatre but I think it will be OK in the end.

Also, this past week, I received a reply from the NSA, to my FOIA request for any records they have been building by spying on my phones.  They denied it, stating, “your requests are denied because the fact of the existence or non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with Executive Order 13526, as set forth in Subparagraph (c) of Section 1.4.”  That line says, “intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology.”  So, I think that what they are claiming is that even though they are spying on Americans, you do not know which Americans, so we do not have telling.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

Collection of JS or CSS loaders and spinners

Send your own Pocket Spacecraft on a Mission to the Moon! [Kickstarter]

Huge collection of Free Microsoft eBooks [msdn]

5 Programming Mistakes You Should Stop Making


Week in review – 06/24/13 – 06/30/13

This past week, I replaced my trusty chromebook with new Macbook Air.  I got the 11.6″ one with a haswell i5 CPU, 8gb of RAM, and a 256gb SSD.  It should be significantly more powerful than the chromebook but, most importantly, it should have a really good battery life.

I’ve never been a big fan of OS X but beyond my experiment with a PowerBook, a few years ago, I haven’t given it much of a chance.  I’ve told myself that I would give it one month before I decide whether or not to replace it with ubuntu.  Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of Mac posts pop up on here in the near future.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

Honey [Chrome extension to find coupon codes for your current shopping cart]

8 Things you should not be afraid of as a Developer

Google Translation of Lorem Ipsum

DevDocs [Like LiveDocs but for HTML, CSS, and jQuery]

Blazing mouse sets fire to house

The Alton Browncast [Alton Brown’s new podcast]


Week in review – 06/17/13 – 06/23/13

This past week, I started looking at how to figure out the sales tax rate for a particular location.  If the Marketplace Fairness Act would have passed, it would have required every online store to track the tax rate for every municipality in America, and send sales tax revenue in to the appropriate offices.  My assumption was that the assorted departments of revenue would make sales tax rates available.  Alas, after a bit of research, it appears that few do and fewer make it consumable.

I did find a few resources though:

The Sales Tax Clearinghouse

Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board, Inc.

TaxCloud [Provider of free tax rate info]

I am not sure exactly what the right path is but I think TaxCloud might be a good place to look.  I just need to do a little experimentation.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

Creative usernames and Spotify account hijacking

cfBrackets [Coldfusion extension for brackets]


Had to Pull Some Strings

Image via Quickmeme


Week in review – 06/10/13 – 06/16/13

This past week, I was asked to work (together with the other developers) on a standards document for application development.  This is the second time, in three organizations, where I was asked to work on such a thing.  Organizational application development standards are a hard thing to nail down.  In order to develop such a thing, you really need the buy-in of everybody.  I really think this is something that could take time.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

ChrUbuntu [An alternative to Crouton?]

cfPayment [Interact with multiple payment gateways]

My NSA Records [Submit a FOIA request for your NSA records]

Shirts.io [An API for printing and shipping t-shirts]

Google Loon [A google project to distribute the internet via low-orbit balloons]

The Wirecutter [Interesting new product review site]


Week in review – 06/03/13 – 06/09/13

This past week, I saw Marcos Placona‘s post about running Railo in AppFog for free.  He does it by installing the Railo WAR file into a java instance.  I was able to get a Railo 4 instance running fairly quickly.  Unfortunately, there are a few issues to work out.  You push code update using a CLI ruby app (which is fine) but each time you push updates, the Railo administrator panels lose all of their settings (including the password).  I’m sure there is a way of addressing this but I’m not sure what it is.  I am going to poke at it when I have a chance.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

Buy a cardboard bike

Classic arcade game museum exhibit [ In Green Bay ]

cfWeller [ ColdFusion code review automation tool ]

Skycraft [ Minecraft in WebGL ]

Dreambox [ 3d printing vending machine ]

Run Railo on Appfog … for free [ I’m working on getting this to work, myself ]

SessionRotate() [ New in CF10 ]

sqlmap [ opensource penetration testing tool ]

New HTML5 Form Input Types


Week in review – 05/27/13 – 06/02/13

This past week, I started to about “better” ways of handling crud operations.  A lot of what I do as a developer is to allow the user to input a collection of things and then output that list of things on the page.  I’ve used ORM to speed this up but can you go further?  I think I have an idea for speeding up the CRUD side of things (at least).  I was thinking that you could have a template set of functions (for text inputs, date inputs, text areas, etc).  You could instantiate them, using desired attributes (like range, data type, etc) and put them into an array of a struct or something.  That could be what is used as the template for the CRUD.  I am just kinda curious how far you could take something like that and how flexible it would be.  I would want to make sure it would be flexible, secure, and efficient but I would also want to make sure that it would require less effort than traditional methods.  I’m not sure if that is a feasible goal or not.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

Using HTML5 prerendering to speed up a multi-page registration process

CF Live [A way of easily previewing CFML output]

Unsplash [Free (CC0) photos for websites]

The Buccaneer [A $400, fully assembled 3d printer]

Sold [Sell things easily online (as long as you own an iDevice)]

Free ColdFusion Dev Hosting


Week in review – 05/20/13 – 05/26/13

This past week, I was reminded of the reason why it is important to do proper analysis of a project.  I was handed two project.  One was hot and the other wasn’t.  I was asked to do the not-hot one before the hot one.  I put the sub-tasks of both on a Gantt chart and it showed the hot project’s deadline being blown by 7 days.  I was able to use the Gantt chart to justify reordering my todo list.  This is one of the biggest lessons I walked away from Kohler with.  If I hadn’t broken down the individual tasks of the two projects, I would have been stuck in a world of hurt in a few weeks.  Now, I have a much more comfortable timetable.  Interested in starting to make your own Gantt charts? Check out the link below.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

cf.Objective 2013 slides

EconTalk [Economics Podcast]

Python-Modernize [Modernizes Python Code]

WideArea [JS/CSS Library For Better Text Area]

Easy template for gantt charting in excel

Coinbase [Cloud Hosting Bitcoin Wallet]


Week in review – 05/13/13 – 05/19/13

So, this week, I was approached about doing a project in a language that I have never written in before.  I do not have the project yet but I was left wondering how much time to budget to learn the language.  A good friend of mine is fond of saying that a coder should be able to write in any language and I do believe that.  I also know that I do not know everything, though.  I’ve had good experiences previously with koans.  This week, I’ll probably download and check out C# Koans.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

The effect of positive/negative attitude in system development

IronGate: ColdFusion Exception Manager

Man puts plane engine in bike

Using closures [I just started looking into this]

Georgia Tech / Udacity $7k MS in Computer Science

Send money for free, with gmail

Make/keep an off-site copy of your MSSQL Database

Monitor website up-time for free [I love this]


Week in review – 05/06/13 – 05/12/13

So, this week, I was asked to write a chunk of PHP code to interact with the PayFlow Pro APIs.  It was my first ever chunk of production PHP code.  I have to admit, I was not necessarily impressed with PHP.  What’s up those weird data masks?

I also used cfthread for the first time (that I can remember).  I came across a chunk of ColdFusion that was running as a scheduled task but it heavily leveraging JavaScript.  Essentially, it was building a list of tasks and spinning them off using ajax.  I didn’t think that would work, so I threw a cfmail into the code to verify that.  The cfmail tag never triggered.  So, how did I fix the code?  Instead using JavaScript to spin off the task, I just included the subtask’s code into a cfthread block.  It works well now.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

Planet Money is making a T-shirt [kickstarter]

Add “Login using Twitter” to your ColdFusion App

Real programmers use … [xkcd]

fartscroll.js [The Onion]

How to (actually) eat healthily on £1 per day

Pictures of food cut in half


Week in review – 04/29/13 – 05/05/13

So, this past week, I spent a lot of time working on basic clean-up and security tightening.  I was thinking, though about how to improve development of CRUD code.

I read a reddit post a few months ago, that talked about reddit having only two tables per thing.  There is a thing table (holding common attributes) and a data table (holding ID, key, and value).  I could see this as speeding up development of CRUD code.  If all schemas are essentially the same, you would only need minor tweaks from CRUD app to CRUD app.  It feels like a little bit of a deal with the devil, though.

I have always liked the thought of bottling up chunks of CRUD and calling them as methods of a crud class.  You could have a date-picker method, a file upload method, a record list method, etc.  I’m not sure if such a thing exists in the ColdFusion world.  One of these days, I might need to pick it up as a task.  That, along with use of ORM should make CRUD development reasonably easy and uniform.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

Is It Worth the Time? [xkcd]
Microsoft Puts Free Portable WiFi In Forbes Magazine Print Issues
“Google’s Self-Driving Car gathers almost 1 GB per SECOND”
Eat This Much [Automated Meal Planner]
Super Mario Bros. Characters Reimagined as Hipsters
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Milwaukee
$50, Starbucks-based application testing
Embed Photo Spheres on Your Website
Ghost: Just a Blogging Platform [kickstarter]
Tool for checking a vehicle’s VIN for free


Week in review – 04/22/13 – 04/28/13

I am planning on doing something new, here.  I am going to start writing a “week in review” post where I talk about something that I worked on over the past week and maybe provide some links and/or photos from the week.  This is meant to be 50% brain dump and 50% “I hope this helps someone”.

Early this week, I was given the task of double-checking the output of an international website.  The site was written in ColdFusion 8 and I inherited it when I entered the organization.  It has a “local site” for a dozen different countries and there is a mechanism for determining which content is visible for which country.  I changed this mechanism, with the goal of making it more efficient and maintainable.  I believe I succeeded in that, but I was left with the task of making sure that the correct content was still displayed in the correct place.  After all, there was a lot of legal disclosures to compare.

At first, I started looking at writing a script that would get each page, trim it, and show me the differences.  The problem with that is that tools like Beyond Compare and WinMerge already exist.  Why reinvent the wheel?  I then started looking at writing a script to just get the versions of the sites so that I could compare them.  I quickly remembered (or was reminded) that wget can do that for you.

I wrote a bash script to get all of the local versions of the site and save them to the local disk.  I then started doing comparisons.  That is when I realized something that stopped me cold.  ColdFusion outputs spaces and line breaks in parts of the code that don’t output anything (like cfloop, cfif, etc.).  Since I changed the way the content inclusion worked, it moved a lot of those spaces and line breaks.

In the end, I had to go from page to page, manually copying text into Beyond Compare and marking each page as checked.  It was a good idea but not all good ideas work out in the end.


Useful and/or interesting stuff I found this week:

Passwords for the manly man

Open … the … door.

Boy scouts vaporize watermelon