A Tech Book a Day 3

When it comes to reading I’m coming from a different corner: I read a lot of philosophical books from philosophers like Adorno, Marcuse, Marx before I really started reading tech books. These books are hard to read, especially the works of the Frankfurt School are notorious for their specific language which is sometimes hard to decipher. Tech books are exactly the opposite: while there are entertaining technical writers with a good style a lot use a pretty common and dry vocabulary – which is a good thing. The thing is, you don’t really need to read tech books.

Novels, philosophical – and more general humanistic – works are much harder. They often transport semantics in metaphors you don’t get when just reading. You have to read a sentence more than once to get it. But when you read a book about Design Patterns, your favourite book on PHP or something similar non-algorithm related you can just scan the book for news, read and understand the code samples and go on, page per page. Scan through the page, take notes but just note what’s new to you. If it is a reference, mark the important parts with stickers. Ignore the rest, remember, don’t read, just scan.

Additionally technical books tend to have a foreword and a foreword for the second edition and a forward for the third edition and a lot of testimonials attesting how good this book is (hey, I already purchased it, don’t sell it to me again). So the real content starts at page 40. Excluding white pages the book that was 400 pages long might shrink to 300 pages. If you need 30 seconds per page that means you can read the book in two and a half hours. And 30 seconds per page a a pessimistic estimation. With this technique it is possible to read a technical book in a day without stress and totally relaxed in a week. That means you could read 52 tech books a year. I’m lame, I just read scanned around 20 last year.

Filed on 02-02-2009, 18:06 under , , , , , & three comments & no trackbacks

Plug it in, baby 2

Ignoring the cloddy ambiguous meaning of the title I’m happy to announce two new plugins for Serendipity. As you can read in the forum (1, 2) and watch in the sidebar of my weblog, I’d written two new plugins for Serendipity. The first one, »Flickr badge«, displays your last images from Flickr in your sidebar. It uses the serialize()/unserialize()-based API provided by Flickr which is very easy to use with PHP. The other plugin displays the album, which was on »Heavy Rotation« in the last week. It uses your Last.fm-account to retrieve these information and Amazon to find an appropriate cover. You can find both plugins in the CVS-repository for Serendipity (1, 2) or install them via Spartacus. Please take care that you need at least PHP 5.1 to use this plugins as I decided to use the wonderful OOP-model of PHP 5.

Filed on 26-01-2007, 02:02 under , , , , , , , & two comments & no trackbacks

Secure administration panel for Serendipity 0

Serendipity is of course the best availiable blogging software out in the wild. But you can even make it better. For example with rewrite rules. The following rule enforces HTTPS on your administration panel:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/serendipity_admin\.php$
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=302]

Filed on 26-01-2007, 01:01 under , , , , & no comments & no trackbacks

Our lovely PHP in 2006 0

Derick Rethans spends a lot of time to write this wonderful wrap up of PHP in 2006. For everyone who is interested in PHP development this is a must-read.

Filed on 23-01-2007, 22:10 under , & no comments & no trackbacks

Live vom Webmontag 0

So, gerade nen Vortrag über webnews.de gehört. Ich habe nicht so genau verstanden, was die machen, aber ich habe das da gefunden:


Es scheint so, als hätten sie das Problem behoben. Jetzt warte ich nur noch auf meinen Milchschäumer. Aber ich finde das cool, dass das so schnell ging!

Filed on 22-01-2007, 21:09 under , , , , , , , , & no comments & no trackbacks

Using Phing with PHPUnit3 1

If you are interested in using Phing and PHPUnit >=3.0 together, you can just use this patch. It is heavily based on this work by Kentaro Ishitoya.

Filed on 19-01-2007, 15:03 under , , , , , , & one comment & no trackbacks

PhpWishList mentioned on Zend Developer Zone 0

John Herren mentioned PhpWishList on Zend Developer Zone. Yippieh!

Filed on 15-01-2007, 00:12 under , , , & no comments & no trackbacks

PhpWishList – Being better than Amazon 2

To adduce my own release README:

»An online-wishlist is a daily tool nowadays. It is used to track and publish wishes to relatives, friends and weblog readers. The usual variant is Amazon’s wishlist implementation. There are a few reasons why to prefer an independent solution to fullfill this need: On the one hand Amazon lacks a lot of products which are offered elsewhere and there is no need to organize such a thing centrally. And, not to forget, there is no newsfeed at all on amazon.com.«
You can checkout PhpWishList via SVN. Please consider this at least as a pre-release. There are some glitches, lot of comments are missing in the source files but enjoy what’s there. For installation support consult the README or ask here or via jabber or mail. There is no license listed in any of my source files. If I find time, I will add the link and relevant text to mark it as GPL-software (of course!).
I did not research, but I guess this is the first release of a Open Source application which is based on Zend Framework.
And yes, there is also my personal test-installation.

Filed on 02-01-2007, 07:07 under , , , , & two comments & no trackbacks

Falscher Hersteller? 0

Hardware, die unter der Regie eines Esoterik-Junkies hergestellt wurde, hat wohl notwendigerweise Pixelfehler. Von solchen Leuten würde ich nichts kaufen. Allerdings ist auch unklar, ob man Software verwenden will, deren Autoren in ihrer Freizeit indigene Volkstänze aufführen. Das mit der Reinheit will und will nicht klappen. Hoffentlich auch nicht 2007.

Filed on 30-12-2006, 21:09 under , , & no comments & no trackbacks

ezComponents 2006.2 0

As Derick Rethans states, ezComponents 2006.2 were released. I really like the new graph-component, you can draw beautiful graphs now easily. And I mean graphs that does not look like typical graphs.

Filed on 21-12-2006, 01:01 under , , & no comments & no trackbacks

Retiring from the retirement? 0

In the last days there was a big discussion in the PHP-community about Stefan Essers retirement from the PHP Security Team. He states, that changing PHPs security from inside is futile, as he has been quoted by Slashdot. Stefan has found a lot of serious security holes in diverse software projects over years and he seems to be one of the best-skilled security researchers who permanently audits free software, which is always a good thing. He critizises, that fixing security holes in PHP takes too long and that he is taken as a persona non grata because he also blames PHPs design problems not just application bugs.
Stefan constantly put the finger on the wound in the last years, that PHP comes with bunch of features making it easy for beginners to blow away their whole leg when writing PHP-programs or being unexperienced in configuring their PHP-environment in a sane way. Starting from remote file inclusion, which is maybe the top-seller of remote exploits in PHP projects, over header-splitting attacks, to register globals he insists that not everything is in the application developers responsibility. Also he did research in PHPs »deep shit«, e.g. memory management. He is one of the authors of hardened PHP, a patch to make a PHP-installation more robust and suhosin, which attempts the same target and being binary compatible to vanilla PHP, which the hardened patch was not. I’m using the suhosin extension and also I really do not agree with the way to low defaults, I like the extension.
I’m not a PHP-insider, I cannot assess the different standpoints but I’m a software developer who likes to use PHP for daily work, for fun and for profit. And I care about application- and interpreter-level security. So my interest is to be sure that the best are working together in the PHP Security Team. Hopefully in a few weeks when heat of the discussion is gone a wise man could bang heads together again. It would be the best for the PHP-world and I would like to ask everyone not to make the gap deeper.

Filed on 20-12-2006, 01:01 under , , , , & no comments & no trackbacks

Searching for the holy grail 0

Seven stinking guys searching for the holy grail, aehm, finishing Neu.de. This room is internally called »warroom«

Filed on 08-12-2006, 14:02 under , , & no comments & no trackbacks

Werbeirrsinn 4

Was passiert, wenn Leute Projekte machen, ohne irgendwas vom Web zu verstehen.

Filed on 03-12-2006, 19:07 under , , & four comments & no trackbacks

Mit den Augen eines Kindes 1

Das letzte mal, dass ich von Freier Software so richtig beeindruckt war, ist inzwischen über vier Jahre her. Der simple Grund damals war GNOME 2.0 auf Hannos Laptop, genauer gesagt der Login-Manager GDM mit diesem Theme. Ich hatte mich zur Gänze in den Look dieses Login-Managers verschossen, dass ich alles dafür gab, das Ding auch zu bekommen. Ich war damals SuSE-Nutzer, weil ich nichts anderes kannte und konnte. Leider gab es für SuSE keine Pakete und selbst bauen kam damals nun wirklich nicht in Frage. Jedenfalls nicht ohne passende Distribution. Nach einigem hin und her und dem Umweg über Debian verpasste mir Hanno ein Gentoo Linux. Nicht, dass ich damit hätte umgehen können, aber ich bekam immerhin GNOME 2.0. Seitdem ist einiges passiert. Ich sah Software kommen und gehen, habe ein paar Programmiersprachen gelernt, Elegantes und weniger Elegantes kennen gelernt, habe ziemlich viel Freie Software benutzt und benutze sie weiterhin jeden Tag. Aber dieser kindliche Blick auf einen schön gestalteten Login-Manager habe ich so nicht mehr erlebt. Bis gestern. Seit gestern verwende ich auch (wie Bernd und Jens) AIGLX.

Filed on 03-12-2006, 19:07 under , , , & one comment & no trackbacks

Die Welt ist ein Dorf ohne nervende Nachbarn 0

Heute Nachmittag bekam ich eine Mail eines überaus freundlichen Menschen aus Berlin, der mir »und meinen Freunden« nach Lektüre dieses Weblogs anbot, bei ihm während des 23C3 zu übernachten. Der gute Mann ist verheiratet, für die Leser mit sinistren Gedanken. Somit habe ich jetzt – ewig vorher – einen Schlafplatz. Ich glaube, letztes Jahr besprach ich mit Hanno um den 20. Dezember herum, ob und wann und wo und wie »das mit Berlin« denn so laufen würde. Bisher war ich mir eigentlich auch noch nicht sicher, ob ich auf den Kongress will. Jetzt ist das wohl geklärt.

Filed on 20-11-2006, 02:02 under , , , & no comments & no trackbacks

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