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Errorik's Blog Archive

These are my blog entries - things I wrote, things I linked to, maybe a few rants, lots of improper grammar and personal stories.

4:20AM Half-Pound Burrito

Last night I was up late helping a friend with a web site project. And by late I mean almost all night. Instead of being up late at home working like I normally am, I was at his office with the lack of a well stocked pantry and fridge like I am accustomed to. Several times during the night I was like, "man I am hungry, I should make a run to get some tacos."
I fought all the urges and just downed soda that was stocked in his office.
On my way home I knew that I would get home and lay in bed and even though I would be exhausted, I would be more so hungry and it would keep me from sleeping. So decided to stop by my favorite fast food Meximerican place, Del Taco, and get me some grub on.
When approaching the drive-thru speaker all I could think about was the Jack in the Box stoner taco commercial were the bobble head Jack tells him to order 30 tacos.
Luckily for me I don't have a Dan bobble head and so I never felt tempted to purchase 30 tacos. But at the same time, I knew a single taco would not hit the spot.
I decided to purchase a single half-pound green burrito. Ninety-nine cents of goodness that would hit the spot.
While waiting for the burrito I discovered I had a $5 bill, no singles. I didn't want to dig up the change, so I opted to pull out the debit card. Then I noticed something that struck me a bit peculiar, my half-pound burrito was being placed on a scale. I have ordered countless numbers of these for myself and my wife over the years, have I always missed that they hand weigh every single half-pound burrito they make?
I was quite astonished. But then I got a special treat... my freshly weighed burrito was bagged and handed to me with a message of, "Don't worry about it bro, come back again soon." My burrito was free.
But not only was it free, it was about double the size of a standard half-pound burrito. I was stoked. This truly what I would expect out of a 4:20AM burrito. It was, A) free, B) hand-rolled, and C) a munchy killer.
The burrito was large enough to survive the entire 10 minute drive home. I had to finish it in the kitchen. I contemplated throwing the end of the burrito in the trash I was so full. If you have ever eaten a single half-pound burrito you should know that it is not humanly possible for a standard issue burrito to fill you up like this. It may satisfy you, but it will not have this effect on you. Ever.
Why the hell did they weigh it? Seriously, why bother? I assume it's company policy. Has anyone ever sued them over a burrito coming in underweight?
I wonder if I could complain for an overweight burrito? Maybe I have some rare condition that I can not feel the sensation of being full, nor can I perceive if the amount of food I am consuming is of normal portions or not, and I require a dietitian to measure out all of my food. But, it's 4 o'clock in the morning and my dietitian is sleeping and I do the only thing I can think of... I drive to the nearest Del Taco where I can order a burrito that is measured out to be exactly one-half pound. A perfect amount of beans, cheese, green sauce, and tortilla. But sadly the burrito was made three times the correct size (yes, the burrito has grown the more I think about it) it gives me a serious tummy ache.
I am not complaining, just throwing the "what-if" out there.
The true story really ends with me falling asleep rather quickly and having a decent blog entry about it the next day.
Thanks 4:20 half-pound burrito. You deserve a "Mission Accomplished" banner to be hung in your honor.

CFUNITED 2007 - Early registration incentive

According to Sean Corfield's blog TeraTech is offering a bonus incentive to anyone that registers for CFUNITED by the end of February:

Register for CFUNITED-07 before 2/28/07 and get the CFUNITED-06 videos at no charge (a $649 value!) Includes video of the speaker and a view of the presentation to follow along. Includes all 50 sessions and 4 keynotes, over 54 hours of total educational materials! In addition you recieve the presentations and code samples plus the conference sound recordings as MP3.

TeraTech normally sells this video set for $649 - so this is a great deal. If you plan on going to CFUNITED, it would be silly to procrastinate your registration and pass up the offer.

Google Co-Op : Roll Your Own Custom Search Engine

I may be way behind the times on this one, but Google has a yet another beta product called Google Co-Op which lets you create your own Custom Search Engine (CSE) that only searches the site(s) you specify.
You can even market your CSE and get paid for the ad revenue it generates. That's actually how I became aware of the CSE, today Charlie Arehart blogged about ColdFusion specific CSEs that have been setup.
Both CF Hunt and CFSearchEngine.com are just two of the many ColdFusion search engines Charlie pointed out.
Some other cool options available in Google Co-Op:
  • Not limiting results only to your selected sites, but just emphasizing your selected sites in the results.
  • Excluding sites or specific pages
The excluding feature has me a little bit excited, as it would be pretty cool to create an exact mirror of Google, but then start excluding sites that you find are completely worthless. I am not completely sure if this is even possible, but it would be hella cool.

Boise Code Camp : Password Protocols Presentation

I am just a few hours away from my presentation, I thought I would upload a copy of my Keynote presentation, exported as a PDF, for all who are interested to see. You don't get my commentary, but it still might be interesting.

Download BoiseCodeCamp_-_Password_Protocols.pdf (197KB)
NOTE: UPDATES PENDING. I have several links that I am compiling for where to go after my presentation, I will be posting those shortly. Check back later.

Rolling blackouts? Nope, damn squirrels

It think I live in an area of Boise that performs rolling blackouts. I woke up this morning and had no power.
I was held hostage as I couldn't work. I would say a loss of power in a residential area is acceptable maybe once a year, but in my 4 years of living here I think I have been subject to no less than 15 power outages. This one was short, my best guesstimate from differences in clocks, etc. tell me that the down time was only about 25 minutes - previous outages have lasted several hours.
Combined with Cable Internet outages I have had a challenging time working from my home office over the years here. Luckily I have friends with offices nearby that will let me work from there if I need to. But it's hard to make the drive when by the time you get there power might be back up at home (plus, my garage door wouldn't open).
I have three UPS battery systems in my house. Sometimes the chirping from these guys (letting me know they are running on battery because the power is out) is enough to make me jump out of bed and run around like a mad man saving work and shutting down the right way.
I need to look into the power company some more, verify if my rolling blackouts theory is correct or not, and see if they have any RSS feed or e-mail mailing list to sign-up and receive notifications of planned outages.
Whoa! It just hit me that I have a contact in IT at my local power company! I can't wait until he shows up on Google Talk.


as far as I know, they never have 'planned' outages

but I do know that most of the outages are due to squirrels, construction, auto-accidents, and other unplanned things

While I would like to blame squirrels, it was most likely due to construction since there is still a ton of it going on in my area, and that today's downtime was relatively short.

Secure web passwords with SuperGenPass

I have blogged in the past several times about passwords, and I am here to do it again today.
I believe the following when it comes to passwords for the web:
  1. No one should have to remember more than a single password.
  2. No one should use the same password on more than 1 web site.
You might read these rules and think that they cancel each other out. However that is not the case.
Enter SuperGenPass. SuperGenPass is an updated version of the GenPass bookmarklet that I previously praised, written by Chris Zarate.
If you have never used a bookmarklet before, they are super easy. You save them in your browser's Bookmarks (or Favorites) like you do when you bookmark a web page, however when you click on them they run JavaScript commands against the page you are currently viewing opposed to taking you to a new page.
SuperGenPass will populate any password form fields on the current web page with an auto generated password that is unique to that web site. It does this by having you first enter your "master password", then it takes that master password and uses it to perform multiple MD5 hashes (one-way encryptions) of the domain name of the web site you are viewing until it has a nice string of letters (lower and upper case) and numbers - a perfect, secure, password.
This method requires that you only remember your single master password, and even though you enter it in your browser when using SuperGenPass, it is never saved in the browser and never transmitted over the Internet/network. The result is unique passwords for every web site you visit.
If a database containing your password is ever stolen, or if the owner of some random web site ever decided to try and use your password for his web site against your web based e-mail account (or checks to see if you have an Amazon or PayPal account, etc.) they would be SOL because each and every web site has a different password.
I think I have said enough on how it works and why you should use it. It's time for you to start using SuperGenPass on your own.
Full explanation, instructions, things to know before using it can be found on the SuperGenPass web page: http://labs.zarate.org/passwd_new/.
SuperGenPass works in Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera. I of course use Firefox and love how I can save SuperGenPass to the Bookmarks Toolbar which makes it readily available for easy access at all time.

SuperGenPass bookmarklet in my Firefox Bookmark Toolbar
For the best security, use the default SuperGenPass that requires you to enter your master password each time, and have your browser set to not save passwords for web sites. However, if you feel that your computer is safe (not going to get stolen, not shared with other users), there is a SuperGenPass bookmarklet builder where you can customize SuperGenPass to save you clicks after entering your master password on each page, or to completely forgo having to enter your password at all.
One last thing, if you are concerned about not having access to your passwords if you are at a friends house, the library, Internet cafe, at a ColdFusion conference, etc... you are on your toes as that is definitely something you need to be thinking about. Chris has created a mobile version of SuperGenPass that you can run directly from his web site (no need to add the bookmarklet to the browser you are using, as that is not always an option). You can copy the mobile version to your own web site so you can have easy access to it there, save it to your hard drive, carry it around on a USB thumb drive - your options are endless.

I Was Tagged with a "meme"

For the first time ever I was tagged with a "meme" by my buddy and former co-worker Aaron. I feed bad, he actually tagged me over a month ago, but I didn't see it right away, and then it still took me about 3 weeks to answer the call.
So long overdue, here is my list of 5 things you probably don't know about me:
  1. In the 4th grade my parents took the computer away from me because I ran our phone bill up connecting to Bulletin board systems. I recall at the time downloading images, programs, and games (yes, I was likely committing piracy at age 9) and I said to my father "this program says I needs something called 'Windows' to run it, whats that?", and he just said back to me "all you need to know is that we don't have that." It wasn't until I was in high-school that we got another computer, this time around I learned what Windows was.
  2. In my life I have had to interview for jobs 8 times. For all but 2 interviews I was offered jobs. 1 of those 2 I knew I was asking for too much money, and I said that I was not flexible (I had another job lined up already, figured I would aim high). The other was for Jamba Juice - they flat out just didn't want me I guess. I look at that as my 1 true rejection, which is funny because it's the only minimum wage job on the list, the rest were all IT jobs.
  3. If I was granted 3 wishes in life, I would use one wish to grant myself amazing drumming skills. I have always wished I knew how to play the drums and play music. At one point I was taking lessons, but I didn't have a set at home to practice on, and the drive to lessons was impractical. I really sucked at it, but I would still like to try again. To this day I have day dreams that I am drumming for my favorite punk/rock bands. Forget being lead singer.
  4. I rarely get sentimental when it comes to love stories, but there is something about stories that revolve around troubled father / son relationships that bring out the emotions in me. Notably October Sky
  5. I am the type of guy that will fix himself a bowl of Fruity Pebbles at 2 AM and write on his blog.
Now I am gonna tag Nathan, Jacob, BJay, Tyler, and Mike (who hasn't yet answered Aaron's tag, come on, we are all dying to see your list).

Open Sourcing Personal ColdFusion Projects

Today is my birthday (28 years old now), and to celebrate I am going to open source (give away and share source code) two personal ColdFusion projects of mine.
Unfortunately I don't have the source code / documentation quite ready just yet, so you can't download the source code as of today... I originally never planned to do such a thing, so I have to take a few steps to get the projects ready to post. So, I guess, for my birthday I am really just announcing that I am going to be open sourcing some projects.
I have created an account at RIAForge and plan on creating the project pages as soon as I have them ready.
Both projects need official names, I have ideas, but I am open to input, here are the descriptions:

CURRENT NAME: cfOto (see-ef-oh-toe)
SUMMARY: Digital Camera Photo Manager
DETAILS: I have this ColdFusion script that is automatically launched by WindowsXP when my digital camera is plugged in (or SD Card is inserted into my media bay). The script pulls all the photos off the card an organizes them into folders based on Month/Year the photo was taken. Thumbnails are automatically generated (using a separate open source project, looking into the details of how to handle using this in my own project, several options are available, I will use which ever is easiest to distribute/install, Scorpio will make the 3rd party project obsolete). Then you are given an administrator to view all your photos, title them, rotate, delete, all the basics. You can re-organize the photos into sub folders based on events within your month (or however you like). You can select photos to FTP to a remove server, where a public/non-administrator version of the photo browser is automatically created on the fly. You can also select photos and have them sent to your Flickr account. No database required. XML is used for all the data storage. This project will be a major example of using XML as a data storage in my upcoming CFUNITED 2007 presentation this June.
OPEN SOURCE GOALS: I have a long list of new features I would love to add to the project (photo cropping and other adjustments, multiple templates, Flex/Flash front-end options, etc).
REQUIREMENTS: You need a local ColdFusion server running on your machine you are plugging your camera into. ColdFusion MX (6 should be good enough).

CURRENT NAME: cfQueryParam Tools
SUMMARY: Tool set for analyzing debugging output from queries using CFQUERYPARAM tags
DETAILS: Debugging output for queries using CFQUERYPARAM tags can be a little obfuscated since the SQL and the param values are separated. I have a series of simple tools I have built where you paste in the debugging output and it spits out the generated SQL statement, ready to throw into MySQL Query Browser or MS SQL Query Analyzer. There are also tools that give you the lengths of all the params so you can track down your truncation error culprit.
OPEN SOURCE GOALS: A) Improve the current tools, and B) Expand the tool set to include other tools that CF developers would find useful.
REQUIREMENTS: ColdFusion MX (6 should be good enough).

I am really looking forward to releasing these and getting feedback.

Played Me For A Fool : Phone Survey

This morning I got a phone call asked me if I would take part in a 30 second survey on "the air quality in our community". Now, normally I politely say no to taking part in anything remotely close to this nature, but I knew from the local news reports that there is a 14 member council put together to analyze the local air quality here in Boise (the entire Treasure Valley actually) and I figured that I would like to help out. So I agreed.
Here are the questions I was asked (might be out of order, and maybe missing 1 or 2, but I think I recall them all):

1) Do you think that there is an air quality problem in the community?
2) Anyone in your household suffer from asthma or allergies?
3) Anyone in your household smoke?
4) Is your laundry detergent liquid or powder?
5) What brand of vacuum do you own, and how old is it?
6) Is your primary heating source gas, electric, or wood fireplace?

At this point the girl asking the questions said the rest is for demographic information and would not leave their office:

7) Do you own or rent?
8) For how long?
9) What model year is your car?
10) What type of work do you do? (don't need specific company name)
11) Are you single, married, divorced, living with significant other?
12) What is your wife's name?
13) Are you in your 20's, 30's, 40's, etc?
14) In case of emergency, what credit card gives you the best protection: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover?

When that last question was asked about the credit cards it hit me that the air quality survey portion was complete bullocks and a ruse to get me to answer some marketing questions.
I, like a complete fool, fell for the trap hook, line and sinker!

Tips for presenting with Apple Keynote

One of the factors that played into me purchasing a new notebook are some speaking engagements that I have coming up this year. When I purchased the MacBook Pro I made sure to include iWork in the pre-installed software package so I could use Apple Keynote for my presentations.
As a primer to introduce myself to Keynote I whipped up a small slideshow for a 15 minute code presentation I did at my local Adobe ColdFusion Developer's Group. Keynote itself is pretty easy to use and I was able to get a decent preso put together in a relatively short amount of time.
One thing I forgot to do was practice my presentation on an external monitor/projector. I mistakenly assumed that presenting my slideshow would be as brain dead simple as making the presentation. However, I was wrong. A couple of things went wrong when I tried to do my presentation:
  1. I didn't bring my DVI to VGA adapter to hook-up to the non-DVI display, luckily another Mac user was there and had his adapter with him (thanks Justin).
  2. When I entered into the slideshow the slides played on my notebook screen and the "presenter's view" played on the external screen the group was looking at.
  3. I entered into "mirrored" display mode on my Mac so both screens would show the slideshow, this did work, but the slides didn't fill the screen like I wanted (instead had a thick black border).
Problem number 1 is my fault and hopefully one I wont repeat as I may not always be so lucky to have someone there with the correct adapter for me. The other two problems I knew had to be fixable with some settings adjustments. However, I was live in front of a crowd and didn't have time to explore the preferences to see if I could remedy these problems on the spot. Thankfully my Group is forgiving and the presentation was short, so I was able to fudge my way through in light of the non-optimal conditions.
Since then I have explored the preferences and want to share my findings. First, there are two preferences screen that you will need to adjust settings on. Lets take a look:

Screenshot 1: Presenter Display Preferences

Screenshot 2: Slideshow Preferences
On the "Presenter Display Preferences" panel seen in Screenshot 1, I originally thought that un-checking the first checkbox "Use alternate display to view presenter information" would switch the presenter view to the main notebook screen (since the opposite of using the alternate (external) display is to use the primary display), but it did not. Instead this made nothing show up on the external screen. I knew that this was a step in the wrong direction so I re-checked this option.
On the "Slideshow Preferences" panel we find the solutions to both my problems. Enabling the first checkbox "Scale slides up to fit display" will force the slideshow to display the slides full screen (with no black border to fill the space) fixing problem number 3 I encountered above. The last setting is a pair of radio buttons for changing which screen to "Present" on, the primary or secondary display. Bingo! Switching this to secondary arranged the slideshow on the external display, and the presenter view on my MacBook's display. Perfect. I would think that this would be the default since I would assume most presentation are given from notebooks vs. desktops - but maybe I am wrong. Maybe intelligent software that flips the setting based on quick hardware analysis?
Some other options you might want to tweak:
"Presenter Display Preferences" - Change the "Timer" setting to count down your remaining time (if you have been given a pre-determined time frame you must adhere to).
"Presenter Display Preferences" - Enable "Notes" and use them with your slides to leave yourself additional pointers of what you plan to say during this slide, or maybe a URL you want to launch, or a path and filename of the source code you want to show (I have been in several sessions where the speaker had to thumb through a couple files to find the correct one).
"Slideshow Preferences" - Enable "Allow Expose, Dashboard and others to use the screen". I run VirtueDesktops on my MacBook with three virtual desktops. Each desktop have have separate applications running on them, and you can transition between them. Well a really cool thing I learned during my testing is that when you have an external display connected, you double your virtual desktops because each the external display also has three distinct spaces as well. So I had the idea, put the Keynote slideshow on Desktop One, CFEclipse showing my source code on Desktop Two, and web app running in Mozilla Firefox on Desktop Three. However, if this last setting is not enabled the default hot-keys for virtual desktop switching (CTRL+Shift+Left/Right Arrow) does not change my desktops, but instead advances/reverses my slideshow. If I were to jump out of my slideshow, and then switch desktops, when I came back to my slideshow the presenter countdown clock would have reset itself - making it completely useless. However, enabling this setting allowed the CTRL+SHIFT+Arrow hot-keys to work properly, and when I switch back to my slideshow desktop, it is in the correct place, running full screen, and my timer is running in the correct spot.
So, hopefully there is some info there that is useful to someone.


In September of 2005 I did what I labeled "Blogging Semptember" where I forced myself to blog each weekday of the month. It turned out pretty good, I got 22 entries in... since then I have averaged just over 3 entries a month, with a monthly max of 6 and one month with nada. It's not that I have nothing to say, I actually have a lot I would like to write about - but a mixture of being lazy, prone to procrastinating, and also super busy with work makes it hard to blog.
In the following months I want to use my blog to promote my upcoming speaking engagements at CFUNITED 2007 and Boise Code Camp 2.0... as well as other things going on. So I am once again going to force myself to blog each weekday this month... and maybe give myself a prize at the end if I meet the goal.
One thing I will spend a decent portion of my entries on is my first Mac, which I purchased in December and received last month. I am not a "switcher", I still plan on using my PC as my main system, but I do love my little MacBook Pro - and I have to admit that it is my main source of inspiration on things I want to write about currently.
Here is a Flickr set to checkout the day my MBPro arrived:
In the office now... Shazam! etch