Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Beans of Java

For this years Christmas I asked for some more books that focus more on the heavier side of programming as to last years book list of web development learning. I'm sure I don't know all there is to web development but sometimes you need to change things up a bit and get your feet wet. Change is good and I love change, because for myself, it helps me think better, even if it's just by changing the position of my stuffed beeker toy by my desk.

For Christmas I got three more programming books, Head First Java, 2nd Edition, Ivor Horton's Beginning Visual C++ 2008, and Beginning JavaServer Pages. The first book I cracked open was the Java book because I always had an interest in learning Java, but was always kind of intimidated by the language for a reason that I cant explain. Funny thing is that after reading a good bit, I actually understood what the book was talking about and it was sticking in my brain.

So far I think the hardest part was gathering the JDK (Java Development Kit) and getting it up and running which can be downloaded here. After everything is downloaded and installed you will probably need to add the jdk path to the system variables. Travel to the following directory C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_06\bin\ and copy the full path currently in the address bar of windows explorer and just hold it on the clip board a bit. Now, click start and right-click on My Computer and choose properties from the drop down. Click the Advanced tab and select the system variables button and look for the variable named path or Path or even PATH. Click on the path variable and then click the edit button. Now, at the very end of the value listing add a semicolon ; and paste (control+v) into the value. Click OK on all the dialog boxes to submit your changes. It's now time to check to see if the JDK is running, so click start and choose the run box. Within the run box type cmd and click ok or hit enter on your keyboard. While inside the command window type javac and hit the enter key which should start a process and show a bunch of settings inside the command window. If this is what you see them everything is up and running and you are now ready to start programming in Java. Yay!

So I don't know why but I have always had an interest in learning Java Programming but would have never went ahead and bought a book on the language myself.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Facebook Virus

It's seems as though the virus known as the Facebook virus is coming up in conversation more and more everyday. Just this week I received a call form a friend saying that they received and email that contained this virus. After telling my friend that I have never heard of the Facebook virus, I went on to doing a bit of research, just to see how serious this virus was.

I found a couple articles saying that the Facebook virus is also known as the Koobface virus and lingers in the background of their computer waiting to record keystrokes and since it's now Christmas time, that's a serious matter because almost everyone is doing their shopping over the Internet these days.

So, how do you kill this annoyance?
I searched and searched this also to find a couple solutions to try which are:
1. Update you anti-virus software and run a complete scan.

2. Since all anti virus software is different, download and install another, say a free one called AVG and scan your computer with that. Make sure you disable your primary anti virus before running a scan with the newly installed anti virus. Also, once the scan is complete and all problems are fixed, uninstall that anti virus and enable your primary anti virus.

3. One thing you could try is doing a system restore, although most of the time the utility becomes more of an annoyance then anything else, give it a try. Roll back your computer to a date before you got that virus.

4. Try this: Open up your command prompt and click the processes tab. What you are looking for are processes called fbtre6.exe and another called fmark2.dat and if you find them running, kill those processes. Now find the following files and delete them for ever:

Now, click start, run, regedit, click ok. This should open the registry for your system in which you will have to delete two registry keys created by the virus as follows below:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run\”systray” = “c:\windows\mstre6.exe”
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run\”systray” = “C:\Windows\fbtre6.exe”
After removing those registry keys, you may be asked to restart your computer.

5. One problem I ran into after the virus was removed was that Internet Explorer went into proxy mode which made it seem as though there was no internet connection even though there limited connection. What I found to fix this problem was:
Open Internet Explorer, click Tools, Internet Options, Choose the Connections Tab, click the LAN Settings button, UnTick the checkbox that says "Use a proxy server for your LAN", click OK, click OK, and refresh Internet Explorer.

That's everything I found for this virus as of today and will update if anymore information and fixes become available.

- Pete

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Free Security Applications

Believe it or not some of the best security for PC’s is actually free. But what makes them the best and why on earth are they free?

First let’s talk about some free Anti-Virus Software that seems to be more updated then costly predecessors. The anti-virus software I am referring to AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition. Now, the reason for this awesome software being available free of charge is that it only acts as an anti-virus, and nothing more. This means that there is no Anti-Rootkit, Anti-Spam, Firewall or free support, although AVG does have something they call Safe Search included within the free edition. For the anti-virus itself, I will say that my favorite thing about it is that it does not by any means slow your system down a bit like other Anti-Viruses that are available for a yearly fee. (Ahem, Norton’s). When running a scan on my overly populated system, I saw no change in speed and only know that AVG was scanning my system because a very small dialog box pop ups informing me that a scan has started which is a very fast scan at that given all the files I have. As for this Safe Search stuff that AVG includes in their free anti-virus, it’s not too shabby. Let’s say you run a search on Google, AVG will display small icons next to your search results identifying the web site pertaining to its results as a good or bad web site. Finally, for AVG, you can do the same stuff as with other anti-virus software such as schedule scans, control any viruses that are quarantined, view scan logs, and have AVG check your Outlook for problems. Get it here…

Now for this free Firewall I was talking about. About 3 months ago I made the switch from Zone Alarm Firewall which I absolutely loved and thought it was very easy to use. The problem with it was that it slowed my system down horribly, especially on start up. One day I gave up and began my search for something, anything and didn’t care if it was free. Then I came across COMODO Firewall Pro which is free to download and use. As with AVG, there are versions available for purchase although I don’t see a need especially since this software has almost everything an everyday user needs to protect themselves from intruders and not only that, it’s very easy to use, just like Zone Alarm. Basically, the COMODO Firewall free edition does it all with the exception of protecting you against WIFI connections, remote installations or removals, and there is no support for free clients. That’s all I really have to say about the COMODO Firewall free edition, it really does the job and speaks for itself. Get it here…

- Pete

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The NEW 2008 MacBook Pro

Many many people have already done their reviews on the brand new and shiny 2008 MacBook Pro except for myself. Do I even have one of those monsters, NO!, but I have been saving my pennies for one since those things are insanely priced (yea, only 2k sheesh). I may not have one but as always I believe it's a must to take a trip to the Apple store which is all the way in Atlantic City to have a look at the new laptops in person and instead of driving to AC I just took a trip to the nearest Best Buy with a n Apple section which happened to be in Mays Landing.

The first thing I did was pick the laptop up and noticed how lite it was compared to the older models. I then opened the laptop and glanced at the screen because I heard of there being tons of glare because of the new glossy screens. I don't think the glossy screen is a big deal, maybe because I may be use to the newer glossy monitors since I own a 22" HP LCD which does have a glossy screen. What I did like was the new track pad which is now glass and also acts as a button. I really like that idea lots because I always hated those silly little buttons and always wished for someone to finally get a clue and put a massive track pad on a laptop.

The next thing I played with was the same keyboard as the MacBook Air I was hoping that they wouldn't have put on the MacBook Pro. I'm sorry to say it but I totally loved the keyboard on the old style so much better.

Of coarse you have the ports in their usual laptop locations although missing a standard Firewire port and including a mini display port. I really don't mind the lacking of the older Firewire because they did include all the latest hardware. Again, I don't have any problems with the mini display port for the reason of it being a laptop and I doubt that I'll plug an external screen into it.

There's other changes such as hardware upgrades as there should be along with taking the redundancy of a battery indicator off the bottom of the laptop and placing it on the side where it should be.

That's all I have to say about the new 2008 MacBook Pro and I like many others have been waiting for these changes before placing my order for one.

- Pete

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Internet Browsers

As a web developer, I am suppose to test all my internet applications on as many web browsers as I possibly can, which can be a headache, but definitely something that is needed to be done.

What web browser(s) are your favorites, as for myself, I'm a Firefox and Opera guy at heart, even if I'm working on the Mac platform. Hey now, why not Internet Explorer? I'll get to that in just a moment but I would like to point out the reasons why Firefox and Opera are great browsers.

First we'll do Firefox; Reason one, it's really fast and never degrades as you visit thousands of web pages and build up a nice pot of cache. Reason two, the updates are always coming even if they're for an add-on. Reason three, an idiot can install it, use it, update it, and customize it the way they feel is needed. Reason four, you can easily get rid of any wanted junk that any installer puts on Firefox. Reason five, pretty much a given on all browsers but I like the dragging and dropping of tabs. That should be enough to explain why Firefox is my number one choice no matter what platform I'm working on.

Now for Opera; Reason one, frankly I absolutely love the feature called speed dial where you can set up web sites that you are constantly visiting, and with one click on a screen captured image, your at the web site you always end up during your day. Reason two, tab previews, I like that you can hold your cursor over any open tab to get a preview of the contents of that tab. Very handy when you have 20 tabs open. Reason three, is that Opera just has a very clean GUI that makes you feel comfortable. Reason four, is that they are always releasing updates as well. Reason five, all I have to say is that when I first started using Opera I loved it but it was way too buggy on PC, but with a couple update releases, I feel good enough to call Opera my secondary browser.

Now, about Internet Explorer, I keep trying to find a reason of why this browser still even exists. It still has the exact same issues it's had since IE5 and probably earlier versions. It's horribly slow, bogs down every system I use it with and the everyday user has trouble using it. I even dread opening IE when I have to test an application because I already know that what I'm working on is going to have issues with only IE. People cant possibly be using IE because of Microsoft is always updating it. There rarely ever update IE, only push out newer versions with more worthless features than before along with the same annoying issues. Please Microsoft, see the problems and listen to what the consumer has to say for a change.

Finally for a very quick rundown of other web browsers:
Safari - Good not great
Google Chrome - Safari/Opera but pretty cool
Flock - Its Firefox with unnecessary stuff
Avant - Don't waste your time and bandwidth
Maxthon - Another don't do it

- Pete

Friday, November 28, 2008

First look at fusionCal

The most recent project that I have been working on is a calendar based on ColdFusion and Ajax and other stuff of coarse. You may ask yourself, do we really need another calendar application? Ahhhhhhh, why not. I know it's been done many times before especially by the Google crew but that doesn't mean I can't have a go, right?

Well, I'm calling my calendar fusionCal for obvious reasons and I plan on trying to make it as easy to work with as possible. Meaning, no need for unnecessary page refreshing and everything available within a matter of one click, not two, or even three. Researching the possibilities of making this actually being developed really didn't take long at all thanks to the workings of Ajax(God I love that stuff).

I'm going to say that I've been developing fusionCal for about a month when I can find free time. I'm hoping within a short time to have my first beta release of fusionCal for all that may have an interest in it and how development is going.

- Pete

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Aptana Studio

Alright, about 2 months ago I was searching for a killer coding atmosphere that was similar to Dreamweaver without the cost that would kill the bank and was up-to-date with the most recent Web 2.0 Technologies. I ran through tons for instance, Notepad++, which is a coding environment but a very boring one at that although it was open source. Then I kinda fell in love with TextMate, but unfortunately is only available on the Mac Platform and I needed something Multiplatformable (it's a word). I knew about Eclipse and all the coding environments based on the IDE such as PHP Eclipse. Well, after further searching I ran across Aptana Studio which a coding environment based on Eclipse that is absolutely amazing. It does everything I could ask for including the ability to install CFEclipse and take my pick of Ajax Libraries such as Mootools, Jquery and one of my favorites, YUI (The Yahoo Library).

Would I recommend Aptana to all Internet Developers, not really, mainly because Aptana doesn't seem to have a feature many use in Dreamweaver, the Design View. As for myself, when working in Dreamweaver I rarely ever click that Design View button as I don't see a need for it anymore, but there are some developers that rely on Design View to accomplish certain or all tasks.

Well, Aptana, I like it and after working with it for about 2 months I think I am gonna make the switch and call Dreamweaver my backup. Now if I can only find something to replace Photoshop so I can fully say goodbye to MS.

- Pete

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Playing with coding languages

Most internet developers make it important to themselves to take some time to learn some new programming languages or maybe even do some fiddling with new languages.

As for me, I am a ColdFusion head all the way and definitely consider ColdFusion to be my primary and preferred language to code in. My second language is most likely PHP mainly because of it's support for almost every web hosting service available along with some other reasons of my own.

Recently I was went on an interview for a ColdFusion developer position and was asked if I had any experience with the .NET Framework and I was not able to say yes. I have played with ASP.NET in Visual Studio and Dreamweaver once before, but I have never gotten to the point of making a fully functional application with the language.

I know I'm not alone here but I have never been able to get into the whole Microsoft technology thing and in fact, if I could just throw away all Microsoft apps it would be my pleasure to do so. But (grinding teeth), for the fact that giving this stuff a go will most likely open more doors for myself, I am willing to try it out. Who knows maybe it'll be awesome.

- Pete

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Might be time for a change

It's quite amazing how easily people get use to something and are very hard headed about change. As for myself, I love change, I personally believe it's healthy to make changes and get your feet wet with new experiences. Not everyone feels the same as I am very aware of.

Well, the reason behind me bringing this up is that the Internet is changing constantly, and if your not prepared to go along with it, or learn about the direction it's going, you might lose the battle and your clients. Now a days, developers are creating web sites that are easier for novice users to handle and interact with along with ease of making updates.

I'm finding many web studios still using the same standard that they used when the Internet was first introduced. Not only that, but they tell their clients they have limitations in specified areas when they surely do not. I say take the time and learn what's going on before your world starts to crumble around you.

Some companies are still coding completely in HTML and using table designs which makes a web page act like it's loading from a dial up network. It's 2008, about to be 2009 and the standards, abilities and technologies are definitely available. So why on earth wouldn't you use them to their full extent.

As for myself, I will continue to use the cool new technologies that are often free of charge as long as I know where to get them and will code using todays standards and not the standards that were found back in the early 90's.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The hunt for something better

As many family and friends already know, I have started the search for a better web developer gig. Reasons, reasons, reason. There are actually some very mild reasons for me looking for a new company along with one reason that seems to be in need as of today.

First, living in New Jersey is a killer on the pocket, so I have decided to begin checking out other states and what they may be able to offer, but yet, still checking out companies in New Jersey so a big move is not needed at all. Of coarse, moving to another state might be an interesting experience and will most likely be less of a strain on the pockets, but moving away from family and friends will also be very hard. Time will tell and who knows, maybe I'll get an offer in New Jersey that I can't refuse.

Second, A HOUSE!!!, Very important to get one of those because everyone knows that renting is just a major waste of money and there is no way to get one of those things unless your making enough dough.

Third, and the most important one of them all. Finally and boy do I mean finally, get married to my extremely long-termed women Nicole. Going on 11 years this Christmas, we need to seal the deal.

To be continued later...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blue Web Techniques Portfolio

Recently I have been hard at work putting together my portfolio. The reason for this being is that I every web designer, programmer, artist (however you choose to title) should have a portfolio that is visible for any clientele or possible employers.

Well, it seems as though everything is all starting to come together. For now, there's only a small amount of what I am currently working on posted. Some of which are created using: Table less Designs, Coldfusion, MySQL and of coarse some AJAX.

So come on by and take a look at my portfolio here

- Pete

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Opening Day

Yup! This would be my very first blog ever. So I think I should start opening day by introducing myself. Well, my name is Pete (that's all you really need to know). I am a Web Programmer/Computer Technician/Network Technician for a small company in New Jersey called SMS Inc. I originally went to school to become a Computer/Network Technician so I could try and make the big bucks. After school I really never had any form of interest in any type of coding languages. But, after reading books on HTML, JavaScript and very basic programming with C++, C, and Java. I guess you could say that I was hooked and absolutely loved the feeling of writing many many lines of intricate code. After taking on the art of web design at full force it was definitely time to try and get some work in this industry. Just like everyone else, I got doors slammed in my face and shown to the back door. Finally, someone decided to give me a chance and I was on my way.

One year after starting my career in the web coding world, I was making ok money, but nothing great just yet at least. I can now say I am fluent in the following coding languages: HTML, JavaScript, CSS, ColdFusion, ASP, PHP, ActionScript, SQL and Flex. The language that I do most of my coding in is ColdFusion with MySQL. Why ColdFusion! Because you can integrate many other languages into ColdFusion such as: Java, C++ C and Flex just to name some.

While I do believe that I am doing rather well in the web world after only one year I did make a pact to myself right after I finished school. The pact was if I felt that I was doing well enough cash wise. I would begin to study for the dreaded CCNA exam so I could make an attempt at becoming a Certified Cisco Network Associate. Now, I am not gonna lie one bit. The CCNA exam scares me quite a bit. This might be because everyone in the computer industry has always said that the CCNA exam is by far the hardest exam anyone in the computer industry could take. That right there is enough to make me pretty nervous.

On another note! I would like to plug my web site that is actually under heavy development. It will be based on a freelance service for the everyday person or big companies that need someone to jump in the battle and take care of a few things. Once my web site hits the live state, I will post a link for all to visit.

- Pete