Apollo, we have liftoff!

At last! Adobe Apollo, the new cross-platform runtime for building rich internet applications is now available on Adobe Labs:


I’ve been reading and hearing about Apollo for what seems like a year… I’ll have to take some of my off-week between classes to give this a test drive by converting some of my Flex 2 applications to Apollo applications.

Installing OS X Software Updates from the Terminal

I discovered today that one of our Mac servers had not correctly shifted to Daylight Savings Time on Sunday…. somewhere along the line this box dropped of our sysadmin’s watch list. Unfortunately, I was on the road so I couldn’t get to the console to run the update myself.

Now with my Redhat Enterprise Linux servers, I routinely patch them from the UNIX shell:

up2date -u --nox

This will run up2date without the X Windows GUI (–nox … get it?). Surely there is a way to do this with a Mac?

In fact there is! The shell command is softwareupdate.

If you want to check what the updates are before you actually install them so they don’t do something nasty (and who wouldn’t?) just use the list flag:

softwareupdate -l

When you’re ready to install the updates, just use the install and all flags:

softwareupdate -i -a

You may need to use sudo to do this if you’re logged in (and who wouldn’t be?) as a non-privileged user.

For more useful Terminal tricks for managing OS X servers, see http://www.bombich.com/mactips/commands.html

MAX ’07 in Second City!

Another excuse to visit one of my favorite cities – Chicago! The 2007 Adobe MAX conference will be held September 30 – October 3 in the Windy City!

This makes my decisions a little tougher. I’m trying to plan my conference agenda for 2007-08, and I was considering skipping MAX due to the expense, and going to Flexmaniacs and maybe cf.Objective. I really like the regional events (I was a speaker at CFNorth ’02 and MXNorth ’03), but MAX ’06 was so amazing it would be hard to pass up a return trip.

Holy Xeons!

Wow… ColdFusion MX on the MacPro is fastfastfast. It took a while to get it set up since it isn’t technically supported, but wow. WOW I say.

I skimped at least on one step: I didn’t recompile mod_jrun on this box. Since I’d gone through that process on the MacBook Pro, I just copied my existing Intel binary .so file to the new machine, and everything seems to be running just fine.

I had to mangle several lines in the config files I copied over from my G5, as the CF files now live in /Applications/JRun4 rather than /Applications/ColdFusionMX due to the recommended multi-server install.

The big drag again was adding our homebrew SSL CA certificate to the system keychain to let our development applications authenticate against Active Directory. I think we should just pony up the cash and get a verified certificate this year.

Fun with Twitter

Stevie told me about Twitter sometime last week, but things have been so hectic I haven’t had a chance to try it until tonight. It’s pretty entertaining so far.

Twitter is sort of an RSSoCS – Really Simple Stream of Consciousness Syndication. It’s basically an SMS/IM aware blog or diary, written one line at a time. I’m sending messages to my Twitter diary with a slick little Mac app called Twitterific.

I’m not sure anyone will actually care to know my innermost, Tourettesiest thoughts, but hey, you’re reading this blog aren’t you?


Setting Up the Mac Pro

I finally took possession of my new Mac Pro this week. Lovin’ it so far. So why the delay?

I’ve been using Parallels since I got my MacBook Pro last summer with a Win2k image I built myself. With the sudden proliferation of Intel Macs around the office, the last thing I wanted to do was to get into the business of building and maintaining VMs for everyone.

When I ordered my new system back in December, I made a deal with our IT group. They hadn’t yet gotten their hands on an Intel Mac of their own — they’d only processed the dozen or so that others had bought. So no time to play with Parallels…

So I offered to let them hold onto the machine for a while to build a standardized VM image (or images) for distribution with new Intel Macs as needed. They took me up on the offer, and everything was peachy.

With the start of the new semester, support queues dragged out, and what was admittedly a low-priority task got put off. The crew finally got back to my system last week.

Well, building a “stock” image is easier said than done. The more we talked about requirements for the image, the more we realized that the audience here is fairly diverse. Certainly, not everyone is going to need a SQL Server instance! So we agreed to revisit the whole VM issue in a couple weeks, but in the mean time I’d get my new system.

TortoiseSVN Lightning Talk slides

Here are my slides from my Lightning Talk on TortoiseSVN from today’s PSU Web Developers’ Lunch:

Quick and Dirty Change Tracking with TortoiseSVN

The last slide has several links to additional resources.

If you want the longer version, here’s my full 60-minute slide set from the Penn State Web 2006 Conference:

Web File Version Control with Subversion

The slides are in S5 format — an open slide show system based entirely in Web Standards: XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Outlook 2007 to use MS Word to render HTML…. ugh

Talk about a step backwards. In a recent announcement, Microsoft has shared its plans to have Outlook 2007 use Word’s HTML rendering engine in place of Internet Explorer’s engine.

Now, I’m not really a fan of HTML email — I generally select plain text format for any mailing lists to which I might subscribe if I have the choice — but I think it does have a place in business. Some e-newsletters are very well done, such as Musician’s Friend or Marketing Sherpa.

But if you’re going to send HTML mail, at least you could be efficient and use CSS and Web Standards to their full potential. We’ve made great strides in the past few years moving away from presentational markup, inappropriate table tags, spacer gifs, and FrontPage-esqe code cruft in Web pages. Email support for rich content has always lagged a bit behind browser support, but now we’re looking to take a huge leap backwards.

With Outlook’s massive install base, this change is pretty much the same as if Microsoft were to declare that IE 8 would use the awful HTML engine from WebTV.