How to open CFM files on a Mac: Come in out of the Cold (Fusion)

The .CFM file extension stands for Cold Fusion Markup (language). You don't see it very often, but when you do, you may have a problem opening or printing the file.

A PDF is a PDF by Any Other Name?

If you open a .CFM file using a Text Editor, you'll see mostly unprintable characters. But there's a clue to how to open the file amid the jibberish.


Close the file. Change the extension to .PDF. When you do this you'll get a warning:

Choose "Use .pdf".  (I don't recommend that you ignore warnings regarding extenions as a rule but in this case, please do.)  

Look at the file properties (Select the file then click the right button mouse or type control-click). 

Now open the file with Preview, Safari...

Changing the file extension also works if you want to open CFM files on Windows PCs. 


RSS: underappreciated technology or unobtrusive?

David Strom ended 2009 with a commentary on Real Simple Syndication (RSS), stating "it has been one of the most significant technologies that Rodney Dangerfield would say 'got no respect'. Providing the connective glue behind most social media, linking various Web sites for automatically posting content, being able to Webify various other protocols — RSS is the tech that most of us now take for granted."

In a personal email, I commented back to David, "Do you want appreciation or fanfare for RSS?"

Technology is a curious beast, embraced by the broadest collection of cultures imaginable. On one cultural extreme, we have the web-evolved-to-social-media cultists. Obsessed with content distribution, anything worthy of appreciation must surely go viral - and spectacularly so - or it's either unimportant or under-appreciated. The opposing cultural extreme, Old School Internetters, think quite differently. Old Schoolers have seen hundreds of technologies introduced, each heralded as the next, most disruptive, experience-altering, wildly beneficial breakthrough in communications. But Old Schoolers understand that a technology must weather the test of time, prove to scale commensurately with the growth of the Internet itself, outlast all wannabes and challengers, and in a true Heideggerian sense, become unobtrusive before it earns respect.

For an Old Schooler, there is no greater demonstration of appreciation of a technology than to use it until it eventually becomes unnoticed, unchallenged, and undisputed, or it reaches end of life. TCP and IP have achieved this happy state. Ethernet has (the MAC, not the underlying media). So has the web. If you think other technologies have, share them - comment!

RSS has experienced a rate of adoption and acceptance few applications have enjoyed, even the web. Practically no one who uses it today can tell you how the protocol works. Most folks who syndicate their content do so using automation (Feed managers, RSS creator wizards...), and the overwhelming majority would stare blankly at the XML file hidden beneath a subscribe or add Feed button or hyperlink. Nothing has come close to challenging RSS in terms of ubiquity and utility. People treat it matter of factly.

Unobtrusive? Yes. Under-appreciated? I think not.