Using Twitter effectively for your business : Getting started

I was asked at work to give a bit of a crash course in using twitter and how they could use it to market our business and our products without upsetting the general twitter populace.


Twitter marketing. Should you? Shouldn't you?

I mentioned on Twitter that I did a crash course in using Twitter for some of my colleagues. They needed to know how it could be used for networking and marketing. I was asked what my thoughts on marketing using Twitter were. I said I would write something up and get it posted.


Web 2.0 Articles in the bdaily

One of the many blogs, newsletters and electronic publications that I read is a Newcastle-based business daily newsletter called the bdaily.

The bdaily publishes selected business news from the north east of england to recipients locally as well as globally.


Blog Round up 3 Feb 2009

Errrmmm... Happy New Year! :D  Sorry for not keeping up with my blog round-ups.

I've been looking at my HUGE back log of blog entries and thinking I should do a round-up and then being too daunted by the task.  So finally last week I decided to go back to the 26th of January and only read those blog entries and round-up from there and then mark everything as read!

Now that have a sensible number of blog entries in Google Reader I'm finally starting to read them again, so here goes nothing!!  ;)


New Blog in Google Reader
Not sure how Terry Ryan wasn't already in my blog list, but it came to my attention when I noticed various tweets about Terry being in his first staff meeting at Adobe as an Evangelist.  Congrats to Terry on his appointment.  I hope his passion to see ColdFusion in Higher Education reaches us here in the UK.

ColdFusion Conference Stuff
Close to home Andy and Kev have been busy promoting Scotch on the Road (if you missed the news, there won't be a Scotch on the Rocks this year!) and asking would you attend SotR in Manchester, announcing the Edinburgh venue and the ticket price!  Its been a busy few days for SotR. ;)

If you want to learn a bit more about a small percentage of what ColdFusion can help you develop from your desk, I noticed that a bit further back than the 26th Kristen Scofield announcing ColdFusion eSeminars. At this point you will have missed most of the live performances, but Kristen provides a link to view the recordings.

On other conference new Andy Allan, Peter Bell and Bob Silverberg announced that they would be speaking at cfObjective and Sean Corfield notes that cfObjective have posted the schedule for their May conference.

HTML, CSS and Design
All of the blogs I read tend to be from ColdFusion developers of all flavours, but every one of us has a variety of tasks that we undertake on a daily basis, so they also post articles on these aspects as well.
Dan Wilson posted an interesting article on compressing your CSS to speed up your website.

Semantic HTML seems to have come up in my work day conversations a few times over the last couple of months, so this article on Semantics in HTML5 on alistapart was of interest to me, as well as Beta New's post on the beta release of semantic search engine Sagoon.  Personally, the jury is out on Sagoon at the moment....  Perhaps I'm just too used to google...

Ray Camden has posting a couple of interesting articles on jQuery and ColdFusion.
Its alway interesting to read articles on how to do things better and alistapart always seems to deliver - Here's a nice article on advanced javascript debugging.

ColdFusion Techie Stuff
On to the ColdFusion posts I found interesting.
Andy Allan posted an article on bypassing the web server configuration tool.  Its something I seem to do all the time, other than to generate the appropriate mod file Apache, but its nice to have a good write up to remind yourself of what to do.

Its stuff I've seen previously in the past, but you never remember and can never seem to find again.  Mark Kruger has been writing up all his problems and resolutions whilst using cfhttp. Here are those posts.

Kevin Roche has written a couple of articles on using onMissingMethod() to generate generate getters/setters for an object based on the cfproperty tag. This is actually something that farcry has been doing for a long long time now, but its always interesting to see how new(ish) CF features are being used to implement fun tricks like this.

There's also been a flurry of blog post on how to install the various ColdFusion engines on a variety of environments.
Sean Corfield has posted an article for Railo/CF/BD on Jrun. Matt Woodward and Dave Shuck have posted articles on using Tomcat as the underlying java server.  These articles should help you to install any of these java application on to most java servers. (I wish I could find the blog post that reminded its readers that ColdFusion is a Java application!)

Application Updates
A few application updates for you :
Mark Mandel has released an update to ColdDoc
Nathan Mische notes briefly that ColdFire is now listed on the Firebug extensions page
Matt Woodward has posted that Open BlueDragon 1.0.1 has been released.

Not exactly a podcast but Brian Rinaldi and Peter Bell have been continuing their CFArguments.  The latest ones being Hibernate or HiberNOT (ColdFusion and ORM) and
Kev McCabe has posted the latest in the CFDoc podcasts from the UKCFUG. Andy Allan talks about conferences and Gert Franz talks about Railo.

A couple of other bits and pieces of worth noting: 
Kevin Roche posted that his colleague Roger Panton has started a London Adobe Business User Group.  Speakers at the first meeting on the 11th will be Claude Englebert from Adobe EMEA, David McLean of PJ Media and Roger himself.

Sargeway has highlighted the online Flash Media Server user group. Given some of the work I've been involved in recently I've just joined myself and now I need to have a read through the various discussions.

A blast from the past dropped into my email from Joost the other - the cartoon TrapDoor. There are 10 episodes on Joost for you to watch.  It really is as good as I remember it being!  

Blog Round up 5 Nov 2008 - The Software release edition

The marathon blog round-up! 390 blog entries to have a read through!
A lesson in never leave a job you should be doing today/tonight until tomorrow!

I'm never going to be able to go through all those posts in one sitting so I'm going to start with the batch of software releases that have been going on the last few weeks.

So lets dive in!

Matt Woodward notes that Open Office 3.0, which I mentioned previously in my round posts, has been released.

Nathan Mische has updated ColdFire on RIAForge fixing a few bugs and an extension for a problem with json. I'd love to know how he comes up with his version numbers. :)

Ray Camden released version 1.5 of SpoolMail with a couple of feature enhancements. If you don't know what SpoolMail is - its handy for when you're developing email feature in application and need to see what is going into the mail queue without them actually have to be sent to real people.

Ted Patrick announced the release of Flash Player 10 and gives a quick overview of the new features. Matt Woodward notes that the Linux edition of FP10 was actually released at the same time, which is a rare event!

Transfer 1.1 Final was release by Mark Mandel.  If you're stuck with a pre v1 copy of Transfer you really must get updated to the 1.1 version.  The performance enhancements are superb, along with the addition of new features such as cache monitoring and object proxies and the stack of bug fixes makes this release a must. If you're on the transfer list you may have noticed me making a bit of a tit of myself, but finally something has clicked and I've spent the last few days having the most fun doing development than I have in a while. Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy writing CFML, but its always nice to do something that is different to your usual routine and makes you feel all warm inside. ;oD   I should probably note here that Mark Mandel has done a CFConversation with Brian Meloche.

Are you an open source developer?  Do you work with databases?  Then you might be interested in Aqua Data Studio 7.  Todd Sharp notes that they offer free licences to open source developers.

The chaps at Broadchoice have been busy releasing and updating their very cool looking AIR application "Workspace".  I really should sign up for a beta account.  I wonder if it comes with free "more hours in the day". ;)

Ray Camden must be making use of those "more hours in the day", because in his relentless application development he's released an update to Lighthouse Pro along with everything else he working on.

Adobe have released a hotfix for ColdFusion 7 and 8 that adds multipart support to cfhttp to support changes with the Google and YouTube APIs.

Well I think thats about all the software releases I can find.  My blog entry count is down to 318 and my head is swimming.  Time to get some sleep.  Please let my son sleep the night through so I get more than 4 hours sleep!

Tomorrow night - "Blog Round up 5 Nov 2008 - In other news". ;)

Blog Roundup #4

Hmmm 250 blog entries in google reader!  Whoops!  Time I caught up with my reading and posted a round up!

So here goes!

ColdSpring 1.2 released along with a shiny new website

Web Inventor launches new World Web Foundation
Sir Tim Berners-Lee's initiative to bring the web to the 80% of the worlds populous who don't have access to it.

Peter Bell - Introducing "the CFArgument" with Brian Rinaldi
Their first cfargument is "The iterating Business Object".  Something I've been meaning to find out more about of late, but never had an opportunity.  This CFArgument helped me understand IBOs better.

Peter and Brian's second cfarguments is : DAOs are a waste of Time

CFEclipse Dictionary Generator released.
Daemonite, the developers of Farcry CMS, have released a dictionary generator that will parse a directory of components and tags and then create an XML file that you can use with CFEclipse projects. Looks to be very handy and shortly I'll be running it against some of the internal libraries here at work.

While on the topic of CFEclipse dictionaries - Andrew Mercer has been tinkering with the CF8 dictionary - fixing a few problems that have been around for a while.

ColdFire Update Released
If you're already running Firebug in Firefox - coldfire is a hand add on for debuggerising your ColdFusion applications.

ColdFusion Evangalism Kit
Ever find yourself need to sell ColdFusion to a client or even to your boss and colleagues?  Then you'll probably find the Evangalism Kit that Kristen Schofield has posted handy.  Containing C-Level Exec quote, Key stats, Recent awards, product roadmaps, measured results of CF Usage and much, it should give you more than enough measured ammo to support ColdFusion and counter the "its a dying language" and "can't scale" 'arguments' against it.

Ben Forta notes that AIR 1.1 is now available for Linux

Mark Drew, having taken over the Reactor Project from Doug Hughs comments on the Future of Reactor.

Jeff Chastain (Alagad) - What is a DSL?
What is a Domain Specific Language!?!  Another one of those questions that I've been asking myself answered.

Adobe announced CS4 back on the 23rd of September with a release date some time at the end of October.

Terrance Ryan - Squidhead Still Swimming
Terry announced that Squidhead is getting some additional assistance in the shape of Nathan Mische and Dave Konopka.  If you don't know what Squidhead does, its basically a DAO and scaffold generator for MS SQL Server databases.  Not something that I have a great deal of use for as we use MySQL, but all the same a neat project and pleased to see it get some more resource.

On the 25th, Andy Allan and Kev McCabe hosted A Wee Dram down in London. Here are some of the write ups from this one day conference.



Well there are a stack more blog posts to go through from this week, but I'll save them for the end of the week...

Oh yeah... I bought Star Wars The Force Unleashed for the Wii at the weekend!  Its lots and lots of fun :D  

Blog Round up #1

So here's my first blog round up.

Some of these are probably a bit dated now coming from all the way back at the beginning of August, but hope you find them useful.

Matt Woodward - Very Cool Database Migration Tool
In this line of work databases are always involved in some way shape or form and migrating data is always on the agenda and its always a nightmare. I'll definitely be taking a look at this next time I'm moving some data around.

John Whish - Learn Flex in a Week.
Something I really need to do properly! Hopefully this video that John points to will help!

Dan Vega - Why you should not use ColdFusion
Humour from Ben Forta via the ColdFusion Community website.

Mark Kruger - Sick Server Troubleshooting
Part one of three of a very good series of articles on troubleshooting a sick CF server. Make sure you read them all!

Kristen Schofield - ColdFusion and Clustering
Pointer to an Adobe DevNet article by Mike Brunt on clustering with ColdFusion

Mark Mandel - Transfer 1.1RC2
Its not so long ago that Mark released version 1.0, but here is already a feature full 1.1 RC for Transfer that includes some critical bug fixes.

CFConversations 13 - Hal Helms Interview
They are all on my iPod, I just need to remember to listen to them at lunch times or when I'm on the train to work.

Joe Rinehart - I want CFGoto!
mmm... BASIC and COBOL come to ColdFusion

Scotch on the Rocks - A Wee Dram of Scotch
One day event in London with the likes of Adam Lehman, Claude Englebert and Andrew Shorten (Adobe), Sean Corfield
(Broadchoice), Mike Brunt (go2ria), Peter Bell (SystemsForge) and Mark
Drew (DesignUK).

Emmy Huang - Two! Four! Six! Eight! Numbers we appreciate.
Blogged by Ben Forta as an "interesting read" on Flash Player installs and it is. :)

Todd Sharp - Open Source Flash/Flex IDE (Windows only)
Strangely I can see Todd's post in Google reader, but can't get to his blog, so here's the link for the IDE - FlashDevelop

John Beynon - Flex camp London rocked!
John Beynon notes that FlexCamp - London was a success (even more so as he won a 4 day flex course!) I hope that they bring FlexCamp up to Leeds/Edinburgh in the future.

Ted Patrick - Creating Reusable Components by Ben Clinkinbeard
Ted posts Ben's presentation on creating reusable Flex components.

Catch up

Its been a while since I posted anything to my blog.  I've been busy at work with a large site that's now launched, busy at home with the ever growing/changing son and I've not long been back from a 2 week break in Spain.

The site that was launched while I was away on my holiday is a fairly large site for Benfield Motor Group.  There's some neat work gone on in the background of the site.  as with all these things there's a few tweaks to make, but its been well received by the client and everyone I've shown it to. You can see the site in action at

You may have noticed a previous post where I was playing with Google Docs, Deepest Sender and ScribeFire.  The idea is that I'm going to make a concerted effort to write more entries more regularly and the only way I can do this is with some assistance from the likes of Deepest Sender or ScribeFire.  I'm currently using Deepest Sender, because of a problem in MB with ScribeFire and Dates. Laura has fixed the problem now in svn, but I think I'll be a lazy bum and just wait for MangoBlog 1.2 and run the full set of updates.

One of the things I'm going to do is start writing a blog round up, a la Andy Allan.  I've been reading through various blogs and sending interesting tidbits around to colleagues here at work, so I thought I should actually write these up on my blog at the same time.

I also need to start back up with arranging Scottish ColdFusion User Group meetings and sorting the website out now that the summer is over. Any hints/tips/suggestions as to what you would like the UG to do with meeting time will be gratefully received.
One thing I should say, Adobe User Groups historically have only ever had one manager, but they've recently decided to set up the ability to have co-managers.  Andy Allan used to be the manager of the Scottish CFUG and I took the role of manager with Andy agreeing to be an unofficial co-manager with me.  Now I'm pleased to say that Andy is officially the co-manager of the Scottish CFUG.

Well I think that'll do for the minute.  The blog round up I think  I'll probably publish on a Friday lunch time (GMT).  Otherwise, I'll post some more directed entries shortly.

Hope you've all had a good summer.

Running Firefox2 and Minefield side-by-side

I've been running Minefield (Firefox 3 beta) for a long time now with very little or no problems, so its not often that I switch back to Firefox 2, but its always handy to have that fall back.

I've heard people say and I've been asked a few times recently that they don't want to try FF3beta because they rely on Firefox 2 and don't want to break it or they are using the portable version because FF2 and FF3 won't run at the same time.

Well actually, neither of those are true. You can run FF2 and FF3 at the same time and you can stop them from breaking one another. What you have to do is use the command line arguments when starting Firefox or Minefield.  There's a small bit of jiggery-pokerery to start with but once thats done it runs without a problem.

There are only 2 command line arguments that you really need to worry about for this these are "-ProfileManager", "-P" and "-no-remote".

Firefox has the ability to run with multiple profiles, so you could, for instance, have a profile for when you're doing dev work and a profile for you average everyday surfing. Its this functionality that you need to leverage to allow FF2 and FF3 to run at the same time.

To create a new profile, edit the shortcut for Firefox2, appending "-ProfileManager" to the shortcut target.  You will also need to add "-no-remote". This will allow you to run more than one instance of Firefox at a time as long as they are using different profiles. Giving you :

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -ProfileManager

Now start-up firefox.  You'll get a dialogue box that will have a button "Create Profile".  Click on this and create a profile! I would recommend, for ease, that you call it something like "minefield" (all in lowercase).  While you're here, rename the default profile to "firefox2", no spaces.

Don't bother going into firefox once you're done.  Just hit the "exit" button.

Now that you've got profiles for both firefox and minefield you'll need to edit the shortcuts for both firefox and minefield so that when you start them they start using the appropriate profile.  For this you need the "-P" argument.  On the firefox shortcut, remove the "-ProfileManger" argument and add in "-P firefox2".  On the Minefield shortcut you need to add "-no-remote -P minefield".  And that should be everything!  You should now be able to startup Firefox 2 and Minefield at the same time with different profiles.

One minor note: The reason I used lower case profile names and no spaces is that the profile names are case sensitive and you need to start wrapping the profile names in quotes if you have spaces or other special characters.  Lowercased, no spaces, no special characters is just easy. 

Irn-Bru Christmas advert

This might be lost on the American's out there, but just saw the Irn-Bru Christmas advert on the TV. Having just bought The Snowman original movie for my son - he's not quite one year old and is loving the Christmas decorations and lights, but especially snowmen - I found it particularly funny.

So, anyway, here's the Irn-Bru Have a Phenomenal Christmas advert.

Enjoy! And Merry Christmas everyone. ;)

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