Life is like Code, you never know what you will create next

A Few Problems with ColdFusion

27. February 2009 03:11 by Scott in   //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (23)

I have a couple of Co-Workers who work in ColdFusion along with my Alma Mater. I wanted to see if it was the right thing to do or was there something better than it.  I did find a couple reasons why NOT to use ColdFusion which I have begun to believe in.  Don't want to start a flame war here, but I see a big problem with ColdFusion.

Photo by Mike Licht,

  • It discourages the separation between business logic (the code) and the presentation layer (the layout).  This in turn creates something I like to call spaghetti pages. Bad for code reuse and code readability.
  • Because of the template model it uses, it creates cross site scripting vulnerabilities easier.  Most web frameworks escape the html entity in output automatically.
  • CFML and CFScirpt are poor abstractions.  You just aren't able to write business logic in them.  Some CF components will say to write you business logic in Java classes and then refer to them from CFML. 

This means that CF is a $3000.00 template library with has to be renewed.  Whats the point?

Just putting some thoughts down on paper.

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The Rules of an Entrepreneur

25. February 2009 03:48 by Scott in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (18)

You know, I have always wondered like every other entrepreneur what makes some people just so successful and others not successful.  I wrote a blog post a while back on one of my other blogs, I thought I would move over to this one because well it was just so damn popular.  In working with my startup or just one of my start up ideas at DrinkingFor I have to live by the rules stated in that post in which I also found them at GoDaddy in which Bob Parsons is the original author.  I am not trying to take his stage, but rather spread the ideas. Make them known to more people in more places in more types of crowds.  He wrote some 16 rules to live by and I just wanted to express them to the technical crowd that reads this blog.

A vast many of these can be used in an entrepreneur type environment and I feel thats where I am moving more and more every day. So to be as powerful and rich as Parsons, I will start by living by what he says are rules to live by.

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone.
I believe that not much happens of any significance when we're in our comfort zone. I hear people say, "But I'm concerned about security." My response to that is simple: "Security is for cadavers."

2. Never give up.
Almost nothing works the first time it's attempted. Just because what you're doing does not seem to be working, doesn't mean it won't work. It just means that it might not work the way you're doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn't have an opportunity.

3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think.
There's an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: "The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be.
Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of "undefined consequences." My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, "Well, Robert, if it doesn't work, they can't eat you."

5. Focus on what you want to have happen.
Remember that old saying, "As you think, so shall you be."

6. Take things a day at a time.
No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don't look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.

7. Always be moving forward.
Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

Photo by _nickd


8. Be quick to decide.
Remember what General George S. Patton said: "A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

9. Measure everything of significance.
I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.
If you want to uncover problems you don't know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven't examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.

11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing.
When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

12. Never let anybody push you around.
In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you're doing as anyone else, provided that what you're doing is legal.  If the law is unfair to you and others, you should do everything in your power to see that doesn't happen anymore going along with not allowing anyone to push you around. Imagine if Rosa Parks would have obeyed the laws! [Thanks Katrina]

13. Never expect life to be fair.
Life isn't fair. You make your own breaks. You'll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).

14. Solve your own problems.
You'll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you'll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: "You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others." There's also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: "A wise man keeps his own counsel."

15. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

16. There’s always a reason to smile.
Find it. After all, you're really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”


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Why Write to a Blog?

23. February 2009 03:43 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (28)

Why read Blogs?  Whats really the point of them.  I know my RSS reader has hundreds of blogs on it and I have a morning ritual of going through the reader every day.  I love blogs by why really use them, write to them or read them?  I read a quote the other day that summed it all up.  I forget where I got it, but it was one of those quotes that sticks to you deep.  Its almost like that S.G. Tallentyre Quote (thought to be Voltaire, but not compeltely there.  If you don't know what Voltaire I am talking about, I am talking about the Quote

"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". - S.G. Tallentyre


Photo by Qtea

I think blogs are almost like that.  They allow for freedom of speech.  They allow for a person to change anothers mind on things.  If it wasn't for blogs, you wouldn't have a strong Iranian Resistance.  If it wasn't for blogs, many people would still be in their homes in china instead of jails for which China has sent them.  Well the quote I found was almost just as powerful.

 I read your blog every day, I hugely disagree with loads that you write and think you are overly kind to Microsoft.


I'm not going to intimidate, threaten or otherwise cajole you to stop because sometimes you change my mind about stuff And thats the point of reading a blog.


I thought that summed up a lot of why I read blogs.  I want to learn, I want to experience, I want my mind changed.  I am open to the world.

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Pay Homage to Paul Baran

20. February 2009 03:43 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (25)

Pay Homage to the inventor of Packet Switching in which is one of the foundations of the World Wide Web.  Along with Paul Baran, Donald Davies and Leonard Kleinrock they are the inventors of Packet Switching.  The idea and execution of packet switching is what allows the entire internet to exist in side a giant bubble.  The bubble when tested can reroute it self automatically.  Data that gets sent over the internet is not defined by a single line feed.  It is not defined by a single point of entry and exit.  It is not defined by where the phone lines come and go to.  What defines the direct of data is the whole term packet switching. 

Packet switching in its simplest sense is data transfer of small packets of data over the internet or world wide web in which each packet defines its own highway to get to its destination.  The idea behind it was to have multiple routes to send data.  Developed and designed back in the 60's.  It was to allow for communications to be made over phone lines which had a linear track.  If the soviets back in the 60's decided to bomb the United States in a critical area, they would have taken out phone lines and most likely short wave radio.  Therefore leaving parts of the country un attached to the rest of the country.  An idea had to be created which allowed transfer of information other than phone lines and other than single node transports.  The Packet Switching at that time was being invented by Paul Baran and his team. 

World Wide Webs First Server
Photo by raneko

The internet was started by Arpa which is now known as Darpa.  Arpa had the latest and greatest.  There was very little red tape with Arpa and extremely little politics.  If they wanted it, they got it.  Paul was apart of Arpa. 

Al Gore is said to have created the internet which is not entirely false.  He was a leader in providing funding to the world wide web.  If it wasn't for his funding, government funding the WWW wouldn't exist as it does today.  The WWW is still in its infancy but we are further in communication than we would have ever been without it.  So next time you talk to one of your libertarian friends talk about Paul Baran and his creation, but also tell them that if it wasn't for the Government, we wouldn't have the World Wide Web as it is today.

Thank you Paul.  I am able to type in this blog because of what you created.  I am able to make a bit of money on what you helped create.  Silicone Valley is able to exist because of you and your team.  The Global World is able to communicate a bit faster and easier because of what you created.  In the past, it was not done for fame, money or reputation points.  It was done to help the world communicate better, faster and have a more reliable Government.  If you voted for Obama in the past election, thank Paul and his team.  Obama's Presidency would have been very unlikely along with anyone knowing his name if it wasn't for the internet and what Paul helped to create.  The internet is changing the way the government communicates to its citizens.  It is becoming a more transparent system. Instead of worrying about your reputation points or money, why not focus a little more on your community because if it wasn't for the community Paul Baran might have not created Packet Switching.


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Making It Big!

18. February 2009 03:18 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments (12)

I am now 24 years old soon to be 25. I have worked for a fairly decent company over the past 2 years and have had a GREAT boss while I was in college.  Before college I was in high school where I created a few websites.  Nothing dynamic as what can be done today, but something that could have made money.  I canceled the site and never saw it again.  I created my first website over 10 years ago and what can I show for it?  I am at my current job creating web services.  I feel more capable on the web than on desktop applications.  I feel in tune with the code on the web than on the desktop.  In the beginning I was a website creator, I was a fairly new internet user in that time and I never truly implemented a business idea in that time.  I never truly made money from any idea that I had except for "the getting paid to surf programs" which were a miserable failure and put a lot of companies out of work. 

I remember when I first heard about a guy who was writing about his daily life and it was called blogging.  I didn't jump on. I remember hearing about Google adwords and adsense, yet I didn't jump on the bandwagon.  I wanted to create a large blogging community.  I wanted to use adsense in the community, yet I didn't.  I had ideas and never used them.

Photo by Daveybot

I am pretty sure there are plenty of people out in the world with billion dollar ideas but have never implemented them.  They have never tried making their ideas worth anything.  I am here today to say that I have created my first business idea.  Its not much and is my first real business idea on the internet in the past 8 years, but I still got it done.  I am tired of wasting time.  I am tired of not getting things done.  I am still working on my ideas and still heading them up.  One idea at a time.  Baby steps until I can some day quit my day job.  Work hours that I choose on time that I choose.  I commit my self to getting out of this work environment and I have a personal goal of doing it in under 2 years.  I want to move on.

For anyone else out there with an idea, put it into motion. Make it happen.  Do good and become successful. Become the person at the party who brags about how you made it big.  I want to make it big and get out of my 9-5 job.  I hope you do it as well. Don't quit.

Elements of a Sustainable Company

6. February 2009 03:25 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (7)

At Start Up School 08, Greg McAdoo spoke about some different ideas on how to get your start up out the door fast.  And what elements you will need for a Sustainable Company. The key points are his, but I try to explain it better.

  • Clarity of Purpose - One must know what your trying to achieve in order to achieve it.  Get some goals in place.
  • Spectacular Market - Once must have a very good market in which to enter. The video market is just now catching on with YouTube, there can be more competitors if it grew large enough and was able to turn it around.
  • Alleviate Customer Pain - Make sure you have something that people want or have been dieing for.
  • Team DNA - You must have the ability to work together with your company.
  • Incredible Product Focus - You must have one or two solid products before you decide to expand.  Make sure the customer is happy with your product.
  • Real Operating Margins - Someone help me out here.  Still trying to decipher what he is saying.
  • Frugality - Spend less, develop more!
  • Inferno with a single Match - Light a fire and make your one product sell like mad!

I hope these points helped, because they are incredibly valuable.

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How to Create a Threaded Comment System with ASP.NET

4. February 2009 03:49 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (1)

A few days ago I was designing a threaded comment system for which allows users to reply back to other users directly instead of a flat comment system like you see at most other places.  I made my argument for threaded comments over here and why they should be used.  I didn't know where to start or how to write the code.  I had a pretty good idea on database design which was decently simple.  Each comment shall have an owner comment.  The treeview is the best example of what the data in the database should look like.  As for how to display this out to code is another problem.  I ended up searching on the internet and found a man who created hierarchy class which is exactly what I needed.  The Hierarchy class selects the information from the database and organizes it into a cached treeview.  I ended up talking to him and he had explained to me that he was refactoring the class which will allow it to run faster.  As for how I implemented the code to write out HTML, I ran through the hierarchy class recursively and then created html for each node found.  The class was quite impressive and I included some sample code below.  I didn't want something like this to be wasted and hope everyone can put it to good use.

Photo by jurvetson

I also wanted to give a shout out to Stefan Cruysberghs and say thank you for creating this class and posting it up on the net.  Now to keep with the current standard, I will post up my execution of his code.

ThreadedComments.cs (5.98 kb)

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Building a Workflow To-Do List

2. February 2009 03:03 by Scott in   //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

When working with workflows in software engineering, there are plenty of people that have done it before you and there will be plenty of others that come after you.  Workflows are a foundation in the corporate world and new and old workflows are coded each day into the world of applications.  So much so that Microsoft came out with SharePoint to help with your workflows and make them just a much better system and easier for developers.  Workflows allow you to pass information from one person to another most likely attached with costs and some item of priority.  Ideas and development happen all the time, but their hasn't been much innovation in workflows today just because they are exactly the way they worked 20 years ago.  No need to innovate something that works unless your in the computer industry making state of the art hardware.  When understanding a workflow, there needs to be a front page, a designed system to go through each "step" in the workflow and a ending point.  You have to be able to send emails, show the workflows entirety and show some sort of "to-do" list which shows the user what they have to complete in the flow.  It helps them understanding their current tasks.

Workflows are easy to display and configure.  You have to pass information from one step to another where the steps are not infinite, so you can display them in a bubble like format on one page of your application.  Reporting is easy as long as you capture all the data that gets entered, all the dates in which something happens and every thing in between.  The innovation for workflows has more or less come to a skreaching hault.  When you take a paper workflow and build it into an application, its hard to display your to-do list.  You need to display the tasks easy enough for the person to understand what they have to do.  Due to the screen real estate in such a high demand on the front page it is important to get that list as small as possible so you must learn to innovate a way to show them a to-do list which is small and tight.  You must allow them to see ALL the item that need to be completed while also allowing items to be sorted and let them sit stagnant for a long period of time while other items are being added in daily.  So what do we have?  Well if your keeping up, before we created the app, we have a whole pile of paper sitting on a desk ordered by how recently it has been worked on and after, items sitting in a to-do list in an application with a few hundred entries in the list.  Now, how to split those entries up or display them as fast as possible that the human eye is able to capture all in a few split seconds.

The to-do list is easy to see if it is a huge stack of papers, but hard to keep organized.  The application allows for much less paper to be involved, but forces you to innovate in which the user sees the stack of paper(in the app).  I currently am working on how to innovate a "to-do" list and I must say that there aren't many examples of the list in the world.  What sits in the users queue could be only a few items or a few hundred items.  Here is where the problem lies.  How to display and organize a 100 plus items in a to-do list with the ability to sort through them in a few split seconds with the human eyes.

Taken by

Items that are a must have:

  1. Very Little Scrolling.
  2. Sorting.
  3. Split second reactions to what is seen.
  4. Fast Loading - Is taken care of with the language your using and the hardware your on.

Very little scrolling, Sorting and Split second reactions go hand in hand.  If you can sort fast, people will have a much better understanding of what they have to do, while sorting gives us the ability to make those split second decisions.  The question though is how to get all three into one application of the front page where screen real estate is very important?  Split second reactions need extremely relevant information up front.  This information will need to be sorted along with little scrolling.  Well how do you Sort 100 objects with no scrolling on tight screen real estate?

  • Options that came to mind are grouping them into tables when a user clicked the group. 
  • The default way is to just show a table of information with sort buttons up top which seems to be standard, but when you have to go through 100 items, it gets tough for the split second reaction times and which still requires scrolling.
  • Another Option would be to show the user which items they have already viewed for the current step its at.  Then create a new list which contains the "already viewed" items.  This will allow for a lot less scrolling, because the items were on an entirely separate list and unless the user had an action for that item, they wouldn't need to scroll down. But the fact that you still need to show the user the list would force you show them all together, but once the user clicks a sort button for "Already Viewed" they would then separate into two lists.

Which type of to-do list shall I go with? Well, I am going to go with the third one.  Even though it involves a bit more programming on my part, I think it is the "to-do" lists of the future.  The next question is how to make this happen in such a small tight place of screen real estate.  Hmm.

Got any other ideas on how to show to-do lists?  Show them in the comments, I would love to see them.

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GoDaddy, ASP.NET and Discount ASP

30. January 2009 03:38 by Scott in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (30)

Seriously, sometimes I wonder why I stay with GoDaddy.  Here I am developing a cutting edge app over at DrinkingFor. I just installed URL Routing on the app from the ASP.NET SP1 release.  I get to the point where I upload my changes to the site and what do I get?  I get a freaking Error.  SP1 for ASP.NET has been out for over 3 months now and GoDaddy still has yet to support it.  Why do I stay with them?  Sometimes I will never know.

I decide to take action.  So I call up GoDaddy support to ask them when do they plan on supporting SP1.  I waited on the line for about 10 minutes, and then someone finally answered.  The problem was that he was actually SNOOTY with me.  It was just plain sad.  I decided to go ahead and ask him when they expect the update.  Now being such a LARGE company, you would expect they would have roll out dates and times set up as to when they would start supporting a software upgrade.  Well, I talked to them and he said specifically they don’t.  They don’t have any kind of time line for SP1 or any other release.  I was just plain frustrated so I quickly hung up the phone with him and went to check out their competitor Discount ASP.  I come to find out that GoDaddy has a superior control panel than DASP.  I also found out that DASP is about double the price of GoDaddy.  I am a poor developer and I just really don’t make enough money to move my stuff over to a double the price hosting service. 

But, If Discount ASP was able to come down on their price a bit and upgrade their control panel, I would have moved over no questions asked with 20+ websites and customers.

Now as for GoDaddy, I am putting out a warning that if you don’t change your service and make software upgrades faster and let your developers know when its made, you will begin to see a mass exodus of your service.  I will make the promise that when I am able to pool enough funds together for about 20 websites, I will be moving.  I have had enough of the Big Daddy in the room.

Has anyone else had this bad of service?  What do you think of Discount ASP?

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The Hackers of the Past

28. January 2009 03:54 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (12)

The Hackers of the past are a dwindling group of people.  The hackers of the future have a bright journey ahead of them.  The whole culture behind a hacker has shifted and is evolving over time.  The new culture is taking over a dwindling past time.  Phrack and 2600 both talk about the hacking underground changing and morphing.  They both don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I will to show them a new tunnel.  The hacking underground is still alive and well, but in a different format.  Hackers of the past were for freedom of information and to some, open source software stated by Richard Stallman.  Both Phrack and 2600 are looking for new outs and ins.  They both talk about how hackers have left the underground and joined the computer security job.  While security is important, it has basically ripped through the underground and taken a big chomp out of its culture.  No one knows how long the underground will stay active and they are of course looking for another course of action, but who will provide?  At this moment, there could be three type of hackers in the world.

The first type of hacker is your old school underground hacker.  It isn't your script kiddies, but the ones of the past.  The kind of hackers that ethically or unethically broke into computer systems for the freedom of information. To open the world to more information.  This is the hacker of the past.  The underground hackers still exist today, but their culture is falling to the floor with its last foot on the step. I hope to revive the culture in the coming years.

The second type of hackers are the ever failing computer security hackers.  This type of guy left the underground years ago to earn some money for doing what they love.  These hackers, left a large gaping void in the underground culture and have stopped the true ideal of a hacker.  They no longer hack.  They now prey on the underground for security secrets to divulge to the world.  About 6 months ago, a huge flaw was found in the basic dns of computers.  It was the security hacker who released the flaw before it was patched.  It was the security hacker who put the entire world at risk just for a little more publicity.  Why does this type of hacker need the publicity?  Because their jobs are turning into nothing.  They are losing work, though staying very busy, they are no longer having as much fun as they were sitting in front of a computer at 3am in the morning working on the next system and show them it has a flaw to the world.


Taken by Ted Percival


The third type of hacker has been around for years and years.  It was supposedly started back in the 1950's with amateur radio enthusiasts.  Looking for a new way to improve performance, which they coined the term hacking.  They have come from MIT in 1959, Stewart Brand in 1972 when he publishes SpaceWar.  It was made popular around 1982 when Tron and WarGames came out.  The third type of hacker is the hobbyst.  The guy that goes home after working a 9-5 job and working on some piece of software or hardware.  This is what hacking and the culture has turned into.  The type of person that enjoys solving real world problems.  The person that might choose to make a few bucks with their new gadget they just created or release it to the open source market which Richard Stallman and the creator of Linux Linus Torvalds strive for.  The term hacking has even morphed and created user groups such as Ycombinator and Hacking News.

The culture has changed a bit, but the underlying ethical ideals are still their.  Open up to the world. The Homebrew Computer Club started it all, hackers of the underground kept it going and now hackers of the future will have continued the legacy.  The security consultants though, will die off as the software of the future hackers get better.

The computer and the idea of software engineering is still in its infancy.  We have yet to see what new changes can be made, but I do know this.  The culture changes, but the ethics remain the same.

Which type of hacker were you?  Do you feel upset by this culture change?

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