iOS Messages App Handles Replies to Group Messages Completely Wrong

Imagine if you will an email program in which Reply All is not only the default reply option but also the only reply option. Most annoying thing ever? Nope: a text application that works like that would be the most annoying thing ever--and as it happens, that's exactly how the iOS Messages application works: if you receive a group message (or group MMS or group SMS or group iMessage message or whatever else) on an iOS device, you can reply to all the recipients of that message but you cannot reply directly to only the sender*. I'm shocked that Apple--that anyone--would implement Reply All as the default for replying to a group message and I'm even more dumbfounded that this is the only reply option available: surely it is not unimaginable to Apple that some users might value the ability to reply back only to the sender of any given group message as a per-message option.** But hey: mistakes and bad decisions are made by all of us in life; it's not the end of the world! But it sure would be nice if it were fixed: Apple, please recognize the disaster that this implementation is (if by no other means than by way of all the annoying group text replies that your employees themselves surely receive as a result of this implementation) and fix it. My thanks!

*Workaround (albeit one that, as well as I can tell, pretty much no one ever uses): create a brand new message to only the sender. The keyword there is "workaround": it is not by any means a justification for not enabling a direct "reply to sender" functionality in the Messages app.

**There is apparently the ability to turn off group messages at a global level in iOS. This apparently prevents you from being able to send group messages; I do not know if it prevents you from receiving group messages or not. Going back to the earlier email analogy, this would be like an email program that won't let you put more than a single recipient on any given email and potentially like an email program that won't let you receive emails unless you're the only recipient on them.

My New Job: Senior Solution Consultant at Ariba

I am pleased to announce that I started a new job today: I'm honored and excited to have accepted a role as a Senior Solution Consultant with Ariba, an SAP company. It's interesting how sometimes things come full-circle: Ariba is the leader in business commerce and corporate procurement, an industry in which I worked at the start of my career over 15 years ago!

The Times They Are A-Changin': New Baby, New Job

Well! These past 2 days have been rather action-packed!

First things first: I am pleased to announce that yesterday afternoon, my beautiful wife Kendall delivered our first child. Our daughter Hallie Elizabeth Adams was born into the world at 12:14 PM EST on Sunday, January 6, 2013. She is being monitored for some kidney issues we already knew about from prenatal ultrasounds but otherwise is healthy and doing very well. We posted a picture of our happy family on the post we added on our family blog.

As if that wasn't enough activity for one day, I started a new job today as well! I'm honored and excited to have accepted a role as a Senior Solution Consultant with Ariba, an SAP company. It's interesting how sometimes things come full-circle: Ariba is the leader in business commerce and corporate procurement, an industry in which I worked at the start of my career over 15 years ago! Ariba has been very understanding about the near-simultaneous timing of these 2 wonderful events and they are allowing me to ease into the job slowly, which I very much appreciate.

I think I'm going to be just a little bit busy for a little while... :)

Recommendation for First-time Expectant Fathers: Boot Camp for New Dads

A couple of weeks back I took a Boot Camp for New Dads class at Northside Hospital and it was awesome! I didn't realize it at the time, but it turns out that Boot Camp for New Dads is a national and even international organization! So if you're in the Atlanta area, you can participate in a class at Northside or (at least ostensibly) a class at Kennestone and if you're elsewhere, the Boot Camp for New Dads site will help you find information on classes in your area. At Northside the class was a mere $35 and I felt like it was money extremely well-spent in helping me learn practical and useful information regarding what to expect as I get ready for fatherhood. I'm not saying this class, or any class, is sufficient for one to learn everything one needs to be a father, I'm just saying for me it was very beneficial and I highly recommend it. If you'd like a copy of the notes I took in the class, request one in a comment on this blog post and I'll see about shooting you off a copy via email.

By the way, our little girl is now due in only 1 more month! :)

Lindsey Buckingham's Holiday Road (from National Lampoon's Vacation) on CD: A Hollywood Christmas

I'm reticent to post this because, topically speaking, it's extremely out of character for my blog, which up to now has been pretty much exclusively about technology with the occasional personal post. However, in my experience this is difficult information to find--and detailing hard-to-find information is very much in keeping with the character of my blog! Hopefully this post will be found by others searching for the song on CD in the future. So with that: onward!

If you're a fan of the National Lampoon's Vacation film series, you'll doubtlessly be familiar with Lindsey Buckingham's seminal "Holiday Road." Now, let's say you want to enjoy this song on CD or download a legitimate digital version of it--well, it turns out it's not so easy to find! As well as I can tell, as of this writing, it's not available for legitimate digital download at all (well, there's a live version readily available but I can't find the version used in the film). And when it comes to finding a legitimate CD with the song on it, I've only been able to find it on one: A Hollywood Christmas. I had a lot of difficulty in finding the existence of this song on this CD by searching for the song on places like Google and Amazon; I was only able to find it via AllMusic.

What about soundtracks for the films? There are claims that "Holiday Road" was made available on CD via a limited CD run of the soundtrack for National Lampoon's Vacation as well as via a limited CD run of the soundtrack for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The research I've done leads me to believe that these CDs are merely bootlegs for which someone has created a compelling faux backstory. As far as legitimate soundtracks for these films go: there was a soundtrack for National Lampoon's Vacation released on vinyl and maybe cassette but not CD (it was released with the film in 1983 and not everything--or much of anything I think--was released on CD at that time; I like vinyl and all but it's not what I'm looking for here). As for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, it appears it never had a soundtrack released on any media.

Incidentally, "Holiday Road" is in no way a Christmas song--and in fact, the irony is that it's so much not a Christmas song that, from what I've read, the only one of the four major Vacation films that doesn't include the song is Christmas Vacation (a fact that makes the purported limited run soundtrack for that film all the more suspect as there is no reason it should include "Holiday Road" if the song wasn't even in the film). So it is odd that it appears on A Hollywood Christmas. I suspect that someone at WEA knew it wasn't available on CD and took A Hollywood Christmas as an opportunity to rectify that situation, even though it wasn't exactly a perfect fit. But whatever the reason, I'm glad it's there!

2019-08-29: this post hasn't had a new legitimate comment in years, yet spam comments continue to be posted to it pretty much daily. Accordingly, it seems wise to me then to stop the insanity by closing comments to this post. Should you have a legitimate comment you wish to post here, please contact me via the the contact form here on my blog. Thanks!

My Savings War

I'm fighting a war on "savings." Not savings the concept, but "savings" the word: I'm fighting to get it back, back from all the marketing and advertising people who have stolen it from us.

Raise your hand if you believe that saving and savings are good. Now wave at everyone who is looking at you and wondering why you raised your hand while reading from your computer (or mobile device or whatever you're using). You may look silly with your hand raised, but the point here is that everyone believes that saving and savings are good and so if everyone else reading this participated as well as you, you wouldn't be the only one looking silly right now.

Now, raise your hand if you believe that you can save money when buying things, like perhaps due to a sale a store is having. If you're again looking silly with your hand raised, this time I'm hoping you're not in good company. But take heart: untold amounts of money have been spent by marketers and advertisers who want you to believe that you can save money when buying things. Unfortunately, this leaves you...wait for it...looking silly.

Here's the deal: we have all been taught that saving and savings are good things; these are values that are instilled in us. And saving and savings--real saving and real savings--are good things! Now, let's talk about spending: no, the point isn't that spending is, by contrast with saving, bad. Spending is necessary, at least for the vast majority of us. What spending always is, however, is the complete opposite of saving! So: if go into a store and come out with stuff, you have spent money and you have not saved money. What's wrong with that? In and of itself, nothing: as I said, spending is necessary. But what's good about spending? Well, when you're buying things you need, that's a good thing (or at least, if you're able to afford the necessities of your life, that's a good thing). But...well, the truth for many of us is that we don't actually need most of what we buy. Now, we all know that marketers and advertisers work to convince us that we need things we really don't need and they're good at this. But there's always something there we can argue against. So you know what an even better strategy for them is? Divert our attention away from that issue and instead focus on something we all believe in: saving money! So that's exactly what they do: they tell us how much we can "save" by buying from them during whatever sales promotion it is they're doing. And we get all excited because we get what we want (whatever they're selling) and we get to "save" (which we value). It's subtle--and brilliant.

It's brilliant because it works. And it works so well that they've managed to steal "savings" from us and completely redefine it. Take a look the last paragraph of this ABC News article and you'll see an example (I tried to post a comment about this subject to this article but I guess it wasn't approved; well, fine: I'll just include a link to their article here in my blog post instead).

You may think how we define "savings" is mere semantics and a trivial issue but it's not: because of the fact that we value savings, it's psychologically important for us to define it properly. So let's take "savings" back--and lets use it to refer to holding onto our money, not spending it.

Adobe Adventures, the Final Chapter: Moving on

It is with great excitement that I announce that I have left Adobe to seek new opportunities. My 4.5+ years at Adobe were amazing: joining Adobe was a great choice--in fact, it was without a doubt the best choice I could have made at the time. I am leaving very much better for the experience than when I arrived and I have incredible customers and partners as well as great colleagues past and present to thank for that. So thank you!

I joined Adobe in February 2008 as the Senior Solutions Consultant for ColdFusion for North America (see this blog post). At the beginning of this fiscal year, I was moved to a new team, the Web Experience Management Solutions Consulting team, and I worked with CQ and Scene7. Both of these roles were wonderful experiences and I gained so much from them. However, due to some organizational changes at Adobe combined with a number of extremely encouraging conversations with external organizations, I chose to leave Adobe at the end of September.

Leaving Adobe is certainly bittersweet for me: as I mentioned above, joining Adobe was a great choice and I'm leaving very much better for the experience and I will miss so many people I had the pleasure of interacting with in my roles at Adobe. Getting to be the ColdFusion SC was a dream job and the opportunity to work with CQ and Scene7 was tremendous as well. However, as I also mentioned above, the conversations I've had about external opportunities have me feeling very excited and encouraged about what comes next for me and it just appears at this point that the best fit is going to be outside Adobe. I was initially going to hold posting about my departure from Adobe until such time as I have made a choice as to what the next thing is going to be--but I decided to get this on out there now while I'm still investigating my options because it's always possible that someone reading this will know about an opportunity that is even better than the great opportunities I am already considering. :) So: if you have available or know of any opportunities I should know about, please let me know! The best way to reach me is to fill out my contact form. Thanks!

I look forward to updating you very soon about my next adventure!

We're Having a Baby Girl!

Adobe ColdFusion 10 and Adobe ColdFusion Builder 2.0.1 - Available Now!

Exciting news: Adobe ColdFusion 10 was released earlier today (sorry for the delay in posting: busy day!). Check it out at ColdFusion 10 (previously known by its codename, Zeus) has various exciting features such as HTML5 websockets, HTML5 charting, security enhancements, Tomcat integration, improved Web Services support through Axis 2, and more. Thanks to the ColdFusion Engineering Team for building a great ColdFusion 10!

Also released today was ColdFusion Builder 2, Update 1 (brings ColdFusion Builder 2 up to ColdFusion Builder 2.0.1). This is a free update for ColdFusion Builder 2. Get it at

And check out the official ColdFusion Product Team blog at for posts from the engineers who built the features of ColdFusion 10 as well as announcements about eSeminars and other events where you can learn more about ColdFusion 10.

Setting Firefox to Open External Links in a New Window

I finally got fed up with Firefox (I'm using Firefox 11.0) opening external links (that is, links launched from other programs, such as by clicking a link in an email in Outlook) in a new tab in the current window instead of in a new window and so I figured out the setting to change to make external links instead open in a new window: I can't find this documented well anywhere and thus I'm writing this blog post in the hope it helps future searchers for the solution to this same issue.

In my install of Firefox, the value of was by default -1. After some trial and error, I found that by setting it to 2, external links open in a new tab.

And to be clear, this is in the situation where I have Firefox set so that new pages opened from within Firefox open in new tabs (except in the case of popup windows: there's another setting for those). If you simply want all new pages to always open in new windows instead of new tabs, you don't need to set all you have to do is uncheck "Open new windows in a new tab" in the Tabs tab of Preferences and you'll be set to have ALL new pages always open in new windows, no matter if they're opened from within Firefox or from external sources (again, with the exception of popups for which there is another setting, specifically

If you don't know how to access these settings I'm talking about, the short story is that you type about:config in your Firefox's address bar. The longer story can be found at

By the way, I make use of multiple tabs in Firefox, I just don't use them for random collections of pages: I use multiple tabs to open multiple pages related in a way I deem important. For multiple pages that are not related in a way I deem important, I use different windows. This keeps things organized effectively in Firefox for me. So since, more often than not, the new pages being opened in new tabs are not related to the other tabs in said windows, it makes more sense to open them in new windows than it does to open them in a new tab in an existing window.

Company & Product Recommendation: ZAGG & the ZAGGfolio

The product recommendation:
The ZAGGfolio for iPad 2. If you're going to get The new iPad (you may refer to it as the iPad 3; Apple isn't referring to it that way, however), you're covered too: ZAGG is already selling the ZAGGfolio for The new iPad and I'm sure it's just as awesome, maybe even more so, as the ZAGGfolio for iPad 2. And Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 users, there's a ZAGGfolio for Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 too.

The backstory:
When Adobe issued me an iPad 2 to use in my job, I...well, I really didn't care. See, I'm not a technology for technology's sake type of person; to the contrary, I'm only interested in technology that can really provide value to me and I just didn't see a tablet doing that. In fact, I already had a tablet, a 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab (also issued to me by Adobe), that I didn't use much. You may be thinking "well, that's an Android device and iOS is the only way to go"; for me this is not true: for me, both iOS and Android have their pros/cons; I have an Android phone (the Motorola Atrix) and so I'm comfortable in Android and my non-use of my 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab was in no way because it is an Android device. You may be thinking "well, a 7" tablet is too small, that's why you didn't use it" and that's not it for me either: to the contrary, the interesting thing is that, for me, one of the great attributes of a tablet to me is portability and because a 7" tablet is more portable than a 10" tablet (I can fit it in the side pocket of my cargo shorts!), I anticipated that the 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab would be my tablet of choice whenever I did use a tablet--so I thought that I would use the iPad 2 even less than the 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The issue for me isn't screen size and the issue for me isn't operating system--the issue for me is whether or not the device has a keyboard I can use approximately as well as a full-size physical keyboard. When consuming content (such as when clicking around the Internet), a tablet is all I need. But when creating content, I need a device with a keyboard--a real keyboard, not a software keyboard on the screen. Both Android tablets and iPads allow the use of any Bluetooth keyboard. However, as previously mentioned, portability is for me one of the key attributes of a tablet and so what I needed was something that would bundle up my iPad2 and a Bluetooth keyboard all in one convenient package. And that's exactly wha the ZAGGfolio for iPad 2 provides.

Before buying the ZAGGfolio, I did a lot of online research into iPad2 cases that include a Bluetooth keyboard. There are quite a large number of them available and most of them cost less than the ZAGGfolio. But only the ZAGGfolio has what I consider to be a faithful recreation of a MacBook keyboard and that was critical to me. You may say "well, I'm a Windows person so I don't care if my tablet Bluetooth keyboard is laid out like a Mac keyboard or not" but I'm pretty sure that if you compare your keyboard to a Mac keyboard, you'll see that they're very similar whereas if you compare your keyboard to the Bluetooth keyboards that come with some of these other iPad2 cases, you'll see that certain keys on those Bluetooth keyboards are shifted around. This made those other keyboards all non-starters for me. So, encouraged by a couple of online reviews calling the ZAGGfolio the best typing experience among iPad 2 cases with a Bluetooth keyboard, I purchased the the ZAGGfolio for iPad 2.

As you can tell from the fact that I'm writing this review, I've been very pleased with the ZAGGfolio--so pleased that when my dad got an iPad 2, I bought him a ZAGGfolio too (and in the spirit of full disclosure I will note that the price of the ZAGGfolio for my iPad 2 was covered by Adobe as a business expense; however, the key point is that I like my ZAGGfolio so much that when paying out of my own pocket for a case for my father, I bought him the ZAGGfolio as well). In regards to comparison with other cases on the market, I can only provide this one small note: my uncle has another iPad 2 case with a Bluetooth keyboard and I used it briefly one day and the mucked-up keyboard layout definitely caused me trouble. UPDATE 2012-07-27: after seeing and using my ZAGGfolio, my uncle expressed interest in one so I bought him one for his birthday and he's loving it and he says it's much better than his previous iPad 2 case+keyboard (which, again, I already knew but the point is that he is very glad he made the switch).

Having the ZAGGfolio has made a night-and-day difference in my use of the iPad 2: far from rarely using it, I use it constantly now. In fact, I typed most of this blog post on it, something I wouldn't dream of doing on the iPad 2 without a good physical keyboard. And, because it's so portable, I take it with me pretty much everywhere I go--in fact, my wife has been known to ask me if I'm really going to take it to such-and-such place that we're going (the answer: sometimes yes, sometimes no). I've been taking notes during church for years by hand but now I've switched to typing them, again something I wouldn't have dreamed about doing on the iPad 2 without a good physical keyboard. Speaking of notes, if I'm not presenting at a business meeting but rather am just taking notes, I'll leave my MacBook Pro behind and just use my iPad2 (by the way, I highly recommend Notability: it's a great note-taking and note-management app that can do a lot of cool things including recording audio and synching it up with the notes you type; last I knew, Notability was a mere $0.99).

What about that 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab? Well, it still has the advantage that it fits in my cargo shorts so it might get some use here and there but since it doesn't have a physical keyboard, it pretty much just sits around. I will note, however, that if you just want to consume content, not create it, the 7" size is really great: it fits in one hand nicely (well, okay, my big hand at least) and it's a lot bigger than a mobile phone and definitely provides a much nicer user experience than a mobile phone--so if you're ruling out 7" tablets without ever using one because you think they're too small, check them out before you dismiss them so quickly.

One last note: if you're thinking that all this sounds well and good but you'll just use your laptop, thank you very much: more power to you! It certainly can be hard to justify the cost of a tablet if you own a laptop. But a tablet does bring increased portability. And don't overlook battery life: my iPad 2 will get 10 hours easily on a single charge whereas my MacBook Pro can't go more than a few hours on a charge. Now, I hear that the MacBook Air with a solid state drive can go a really long time on a single charge and given its size and weight, the portability argument for an iPad is weakened for MacBook Air owners. In regards to user experience: I personally find that it can be more enjoyable to do certain things on a tablet (for instance, I prefer the Weather Channel iPad app over their website though for Windows users they do have a Windows app that looks very similar to the iPad app) and on the flip side, other things are more enjoyable to do on a desktop/laptop; sometimes one being preferable to the other is due to the paradigm of the OS itself but many times it is due to app considerations (as with the example above where Weather Channel has an iPad app but not, at the time of this writing, a Mac OS X app).

Note that ZAGG has run some promos in the past to sweeten the pot a little on the ZAGGfolios so you might look around for those (if you contact me I may be able to see what I can do to help you find a promo).

The company recommendation:

The backstory:
It's important that I broaden things out a little bit to a general company recommendation, not just a product recommendation, because I've had a really good experience with the folks at ZAGG. My nephew accidentally broke a key on my dad's ZAGGfolio; I emailed ZAGG about it, asking if I could get a replacement key and not only did they email me back quickly, they sent me a free replacement key! Now that's a company that stands behind its products! It was through no fault of their workmanship that the ZAGGfolio broke but they went to time and expense to help me get it fixed anyway. I'm tempted to say "that's how business should be done" but I think it's better than that: it would have been perfectly fine for them to charge a reasonable few dollars for shipping & handling. But instead, they went over and above and I think that really speaks highly of ZAGG.

UPDATE 2012-07-27: my dad learned his lesson about letting my nephew use the iPad while it's in the ZAGGfolio--yet somehow my nephew got hold of the iPad in the ZAGGfolio and broke some more keys so dad got in touch with ZAGG and once again they came through with free keys. Awesome! But dad certainly doesn't want to take advantage of the generosity of ZAGG so here's to hoping he can keep the ZAGGfolio away from my nephew!

Outlook 2011 for Mac Email Reply Name Is Wrong + Changing Registration Name for Office 2011 for Mac

I recently wrote a blog post about Outlook 2011 for Mac showing my name as "Default User Nam" in replies. I had no idea why Outlook 2011 for Mac was using "Default User Nam" so I presumed that, in keeping with the name itself, it was a program default. But then I noticed something: when any of the Office 2011 for Mac apps loaded on my machine, they showed that "Default User Nam" in the load banner. Maybe that's what you get if you install Office 2011 for Mac and don't put something else in--but maybe it's just what ended up in there specifically in my case when Adobe IT did this install. But in any case, it makes one thing pretty clear: in my case, the name that shows on the load banner for Office 2011 for Mac programs (you might also refer to this as the name used to register Office 2011 for Mac) is the name that was used to create the initial contact for "me" in Outlook 2011 for Mac. So, for what it's worth, that's certainly how the issue I described in my referenced blog post above (the issue of Outlook 2011 for Mac showing "Default User Nam" for me when writing an email reply) came about.

Now, if you want to change the name to which Office 2011 for Mac is actually registered, check out this forum thread. This will change what appears in those Office 2011 for Mac load banners. However, I strongly suspect that this won't fix the issue with Outlook 2011 for Mac using the incorrect name for you when you write a reply--but the good news is that the instructions in my blog post linked above will help you fix that issue. And note that while in my case there is strong evidence that the two issues were related, they don't have to be. So you might have your name properly entered for Office 2011 for Mac such that it shows up correctly in the load banners and yet you still might be getting the right name showing up for yourself in reply emails--well, that's okay: my blog post linked above will still help you solve that issue. It doesn't matter if you're getting "Default User Nam" as the wrong name for yourself when replying to email or if you're getting some other random wrong name or even if you're getting the name of one of your real contacts: it's all ultimately the same situation and going through the instructions on my blog post linked above will help you.

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