My first speaking gig! NCDevCon

Well, I finally did it. After several rejections (and to be quite honest mediocre topics on my part), I finally landed my first speaking gig thanks to the folks at NCDevCon. I promise you, if you attend my session, you won't be disappointed. My session is directly after lunch, so if I don't make it a good one I'm sure I'll have a room full of sleepy heads.

My session is titled "Keeping in Sync - Synchronizing client / remote databases in Adobe AIR". One of the very first things I found facinating about AIR, back when it was Apollo, was the built in SQLite database and the ability to push and pull information to and from other databases using Flash Remoting. I was able to utilize this functionality in a prototype AIR application I wrote for the United States Marine Corps. I do mostly ColdFusion at my current job, but I try my best to keep up with advancements in Flex and AIR development on my own time so I can stay fresh. The point of this session is to share with my colleagues how simple it really is to keep a remote database and client database synchronized with some of the great tools built right into AIR and ColdFusion 9. Terry Ryan did a very similar presentation at last year's CFUnited during his keynote. My goal is the same as his, to show how simple it really is to utilize this functionality in your own projects.

Hopefully I'll see you there! If not, I'm sure the sessions will be recorded or the slides will be posted after the conference. Come on down to NCDevCon and join in the fun!

Great time at RIAUnleashed! A very tired Jim reviews.


RIAUnleashed was great. Awesome topics, top notch speakers and great company. I walked away from this conference feeling inspired to immediately try out the new things I had learned, maybe even branch of some topics of my own to speak on at future events. Congratulations again to Brian Rinaldi for putting on an event to remember.

CFUnited 2009 - One of the greatest yet!

CFUnited 2009 was a huge success. I enjoyed every aspect of this conference. I'm one of the lucky few that is close enough to drive to this conference, so it's already a convenience. Even with the travel aside, there were several reasons I found the conference a delight this year.

The Venue: This year, CFUnited was held at the Landsdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA. This facility was VERY nice. The staff made you feel welcome from the moment you stepped through the door (which they opened for you). Check in was a breeze and everything was nicely laid out. The walls were covered in upscale artwork and the high ceilings almost gave the feeling of being in some sort of palace. The rooms were laid out much like every other hotel room is, but were very clean with high quality furnishing, full length mirrors and plenty of lighting. The beds also came with an abundance of pillows, which I enjoyed quite a bit. During the sessions the staff at Landsdowne made sure we had an abundance of snacks, drinks, pastries, yogurt, cereal bars, ice cream, etc, etc, etc.....I was never wanting for anything.

The Sessions: This year offered more sessions than I think I've ever seen at CFUnited. There was a nice mix of ColdFusion and Flex sessions as well as some design and CSS sessions. I got more out of the sessions this year than I can ever say I have at a prior CFUnited or any other conference. I don't have a bad thing to say about any session I attended.

The People: I can't say enough about the people. Some I knew before, some I didn't, but I met some of the greatest people in the CF community at CFUnited. People like Dan Wilson, Dee Sadler, Lisa Heselton, Ben Nadel, Aaron West, Ray Camden......the list goes on and on. Having meals with these folks and just chatting in the halls made for great networking and just a lot of fun in general. These are some top notch programmers that know how to have some fun as well. Did anyone else drive an entire clover leaf system trying to make a U turn on the interstate while waving your hands around like you're on a roller coaster??? I didn't think so...

Stellr: To Liz and the team, THANK YOU. You made this year perfect. Without your hard work none of this would have been possible. It can't be anywhere near easy to put together an event of this magnitude and have everything go as smoothly as it did. I know I'm not alone when I express my gratitude for what went into CFUnited 2009. I can't wait to see what you've got in store for next year.

There are probably a ton of things I missed, but I think you get the idea. I hope CFUnited continues to use Landsdowne and the venue for next year and I can't wait to attend again. See you next year at CFUnited 2010!

RIAdventure 2009 - Well Worth The Trip

Honestly, I don't know what took me so long to blog about RIAdventure. Perhaps it was the fact that I had such a good time there that I didn't want to return to the normal grind of the day to day hammering on code. Regardless of what it was, I have to share my experience with everyone. RIAdventure was an "unconference" that took place back in February aboard the beautiful Norwegian Sky cruise ship. Joshua Cyr did a great job planning this event and everyone in attendance had a good time. We spent our days touring the islands of the Bahamas and our nights in lounges and restaurants, discussing our experiences, both personal and professional, and just getting to know the members of our community better. I enjoyed meeting everyone there. Some I had met before like Yancy Wharton and Joshua, but I also got to know people I follow on Twitter and had maybe never met in person like Dan Skaggs, Aaron West and Dan Wilson. The lack of sessions made it possible to make a friends rather than just acquaintances. It didn't hurt that we were in the tropics in February either. I had never been to the Bahamas before and Josh did a great job working with a travel agent to make the trip as affordable as possible for everyone. My wife and I are looking forward to this event next year and hope to see many more of you there. Joshua Cyr is already looking for suggestions for next year's destination! Follow jcyr on Twitter and let him know where you'd like to go.

Not speaking, but still attending.

Well, once all the dust settled I didn't make the cut for the CFUnited speakers list. I'm not discouraged, however. It's still very early in my career and I have ample opportunity to speak in the future. I think a lot of my problem is that no one knows who I am, what my background is, or what I'm good at. I need to make use of future conferences (and certain un-conferences I might add) to get the word out. I would also like to congratulate my colleague, mentor and good friend Yancy Wharton on making the list with his topic, "How to Setup a Local Development Environment". He's a brilliant programmer and deserves the recognition of speaking at CFUnited. I will still be attending CFUnited this August, so maybe I'll see some of you there. All I can say is look out CF World, here I come!

Vote for the Green-Haired Guy

Alright, it's shameless self-promotion time. As many of you may know, the survey has been posted at CFUnited.com for topics for the 2009 conference. I'd like to take a moment to tell you about the topic I posted.

The title of my topic is Using CFCs with Flex/Air Applications. It's a fairly basic topic, but one I work with quite a bit. The application I'm currently developing at work relies on Remote Objects and CFCs to obtain the data it needs to populate Data Grids and Dropdown Menus. I would like attendees of this session to walk away knowing how to use the power of CFCs to access remote databases using the ColdFusion server and to be able to handle the data returned from those CFCs. This will combine both Actionscript 3.0 and ColdFusion code. Naturally the actual session will be more descriptive (and a whole lot more entertaining) than this small summary, but I think everyone gets the idea.

So if you like what you see, or even if you don't, drop on by the CF United site at http://www.CFUnited.com and fill out the survey. My topic is one of the only four listed in the CFC section. There are lots of great sessions to vote for this time around. I wish I could attend them all! See you in August!!

I'm a slacker....officially

When I started this blog I thought "yes, I can think of stuff to write about regularly." I'm either terribly wrong or just terribly lazy. I think it's a combination of both to be honest. I'd rather be blogging about things relevant to ColdFusion and programming, but I can never think of anything that first of all hasn't been done before, and second would be relevant to a wide variety of uses and not just the specific task I have at hand. How do you guys do it??? Am I a good programmer? I'd like to think so. Am I an experienced programmer. Not exactly. I really wish I had something more to share with the community. Hopefully I'll figure it out eventually.

On to a more personal topic. I bought a new truck today! It's not "new" new, but it's new to me. It's a 2005 Chevy Colorado in metallic orange. Hopefully this one will stay looking nice, unlike my last car. I had it less than a year and the clear coat peeled off the top and trunk lid. It looked like garbage when I traded it in. I used to wash it every weekend, summer and winter and do all the maintenance on time. After the paint started to fall apart, I stopped caring. Hopefully this truck will be the one I can take care of and it will reward me with many years of good looks and reliability.


Deadlines...

I haven't been posting to my blog as much this week. I have a deadline coming up on a project here at work and I am heads down making sure everything is jiving the way it should before it goes live. The customers I deal with aren't the type you want angry. Luckily it's only Tuesday and I've worked out all of the reported bugs my testers have kicked back to me. Right now I'm in that "click everything" phase where I'm just making sure nothing is going to break in the middle of a demonstration or worse yet, actual use. I have to say I'm glad the end of this project is approaching. For a while there I was feeling kind of burned out on this one, but with the end in sight I was able to gain a second wind. I expect everything will go well on Friday when the new system is switched on. Until then it's just hammer away at it and see if it breaks.

For those who care, I made an attempt at the green hair again. It's better, but not great. I went and talked to a friend who's a licensed hair stylist. I'm going to have to use a special kind of stripper that removes any trace of artificial hair color, then bleach it again, then dye it again. That's for another day. For now I kind of have this brownish/greenish thing going on. It's still more green than orange.

I'm off to play with my new servers that just came in. I've decided to name them all after characters on Adult Swim...

Taking to the AIR once again

I found out this morning that I'm FINLLY, after 5 months of "on hold", being put back onto my AIR project here at work. 5 months ago I was pulled off the project for a higher priority ColdFusion application. I'm just putting the finishing touches on that site now and have to be available during customer review, but I'm very happy about firing up Flex Builder again. I've been trying to keep up on my skills by submerging myself in books and training videos so I'm definitely ready. I'm just trying to get myself prepared for all of the silly syntax errors I'll end up with from crossing over my brain from ColdFusion. The same thing happened when I went from AS3 to ColdFusion. Using = instead of eq in if statments, yadda yadda yadda...it was a mess. I don't see as much of it happening this time around since I've got a little more experience under my belt now. That and I've been writing a lot of "extra curricular" Flex and AIR apps to keep my skills fresh. I probably have a lot more to offer that application now anyhow, with all the training I've had in the mean time. I love programming in ColdFusion, but I think I'm going to try and make Flex and AIR my concentration. I'll still use ColdFusion as my back end of course, but there are very few people in my company, or even my area for that matter, that have even tried to program in Flex at all. I'm going to start making changes and updates this afternoon. Wish me luck!

See you at RIAdventure!

Are you registered for RIAdventure, the 5 day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas where you can network with others interested in ColdFusion, Flex, AIR and other web goodness? I sure am. My wife and I will be spending our vacation time hanging out with programmers this year. As of yesterday my deposit is down, my airfare is booked and we're well on our way to cruise line bliss. If you're interested in joining the crowd visit http://www.riadventure.com for more details. See you on the ship!

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