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November 29, 2004

SCO Hacked!

One of the guys in the office has been yelling that SCO has been hacked! SCO has been hacked! Also our CEO came in about two minutes later telling us that SCO has been hacked. Mirror of the SCO Home Page.

www.sco.com.hacked.jpg

November 27, 2004

Clickatell's linking to me!

I'm quite impressed! Pieter's company Clickatell is linking to my PEAR projects page with the following text:

Clickatell SMS PEAR Module (Reusable PHP component)
This PEAR package provides SMS functionality and access to the Clickatell SMS Gateway.
http://www.powertrip.co.za/PEAR/

I think it should be updated to say something like:

"The SMS_Clickatell PEAR package provides SMS functionality and access to the Clickatell SMS Gateway."

Also the link should be pointed to http://www.powertrip.co.za/PEAR/SMS_Clickatell/ considering I started moving content for each PEAR package to a seperate page.

I will at some stage place some decent documentation online for the package. I was wondering how long it would take them to link to my website as their "code example" is not really reusable.

There is also a python version of the script which I'm working which should be finished sometime into the new year.

CEO's are Chickens... apparently

Saw the following on my Planet PHP RSS feed this evening while at work which was an interesting read considering I'm told that sales people are five different kinds of dogs according to the book entitled Sales Dogs.

The following analogy comes from Scrum. In fact I am going to quote Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle’s “Agile Software Development with Scrum"…

A chicken and a pig are together when the chicken says, “Let’s start a restaurant!” The pig thinks it over and says “What would we call this restaurant?” The chicken says “Ham n’ Eggs!” The pig says, “No thanks. I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved!”

The Scrum meeting rule says that pigs, committed project members, are allowed to talk. Chickens, people who’s career would be unscarred by project failure, can only listen. Opinions from pigs will have the needs of the project at the top of their concerns. They cannot afford to put self interest first, leading to balanced and rational compromise. So in a small web based firm, besides the web developers, who are the pigs?

The sales managers are usually piggies. They have sales targets, so usability, customer profiling and conversion rates are vital to them. Missing those targets is financially limiting, and possibly career limiting too.

Marketing are also in the pig pen. They will need a constant stream of information from the developers, usually in the form of processed log files. They also need to post process content for search engine optimisation and usually have link building programs in play. If the developers cannot supply these services then the marketing plan can be severely disrupted. Even if marketing’s jobs are safe, someone’s head will eventually roll.

Another porker is the content manager. An unpublished author has achieved nothing and will complain loudly. There may have been expensive copyright negotiations beforehand that won’t repay themselves until publication. Also content ages. A delayed appearance on the web site could invalidate it. If the content manager has a problem, the development team will hear about it in about the time it takes to walk down the corridoor.

The support staff slopping around in the mud are utterly dependent on IT. They can have a miserable job, so let’s not make it worse for them.

By contrast the CEO can take project scale action. That action could be as drastic to fire everyone responsible and outsource the whole project to India, and they might do it anyway if it’s perceived to be in the interest of the company. More usually intervention comes in the form of long term strategy changes that affect the other stakeholders. The mission statement of the project will shift accordingly, or the project may fragment or be allowed fewer resources. The original plans can be changed to the point of mutilation by them. The CEO is committed to the company, not the project.

If you are using iterative development than you have supplied your CEO with options other than cancellation or expensive change requests. The CEO already has sufficient influence over the warring parties that there is no need for them to write stories or micromanage priorities.

So, can you keep them from interfering in iteration meetings? Good cluck…

November 24, 2004

cvs to subversion migration

So I'm busy migrating CVS Repositories from SourceForge over to a locally self-hosted solution. One of my pet irritations with cvs2svn is that it insists on thinking each module is part of the same "project". Highly annoying.

November 22, 2004

Maybe you should be using perlbal?

Starts making you wonder why they aren't using some software such as perlbal from Danga Interactive? Or doing LSNAT on a FreeBSD box?

Site notice On Saturday, The Register suspended service by third party ad serving supplier, Falk, following security issues detailed here.

Falk fixed the problem within six hours of notification. Here is its summary of what went wrong:

Saturday, 20th November 2004 Falk eSolutions clients using AdSolution Global experienced problems with banner delivery between 6.10pm and 12.30pm GMT. This started on Saturday morning with a hacker attack on one of our load balancers. This attack made use of a weak point on this specific type of load balancer. The function of a load balancer is to evenly distribute requests to the multiple servers behind it. The system concerned was only used to handle a specific request type to our ad server and has now been investigated.

The use of a weak point in one of our load balancers led to user requests not being passed to the ad servers. Instead the user requests were answered with a 302 redirect to a compromised website. This happened with approximately every 30th request. Users visiting websites that carry banner advertising delivered by our system were periodically delivered a file from the compromised site. This file tries to execute the IE-Exploit function on the users' computer.

November 21, 2004

Starting my Christmas Wishlist

I've decided on which toy I want for christmas this year! It has to be a Wacom Cintiq 15" interactive pen display. It's quite wicked for drawing on which the graphics department at work utilise and I'm hoping for sometime to utilise one of the work ones more often to get back into drawing again. Quite fun really! And you have to remember to use lots of layers else it looks not so great. I also plan on finding what resolution Caroline and Luan utilise when drawing at work so that I can attempt to create images like they do.

Digital Artwork

So we have some Wacom Cintiq's at work which I've played with a little bit tonight just because the boss came back to the office with his dad and sister and wanted to demo so I booted up one of the other graphics department pc's and started working on drawing something while Rob demo'ed on the other cintiq.

Oh boy! These are awesome for drawing pictures on even though I haven't drawn much in years. I'm not good like the three musketeers in our graphics department hang they draw way better than me.

Jacques Artwork
Jacques Artwork

And still the boss won't consider allowing me to work in the art department. *sigh*

November 20, 2004

IE has not heard of web standards

I'm starting to think more and more that Internet Exterminator has not been made to follow web standards.

Getting a certain website at work to render decently in Internet Exterminator has made the HTML code bloat up by an added 20% of extra HTML code just to support IE and make the site look the same as it does in Firefox.

I just dislike IE even more!

Type Key Authentication on PHP

Finally! There is a decent implementation for authentication using Type Key which you can download a copy of the Auth_Typekey which Daiji Hriata wrote. Looks way better than the PECL module called Auth_Typekey which I've been developing in my free time which is quite nasty c code seeing that I fortunately don't develop c code as part of my day job!

Also a resource called "Everything TypeKey" was setup by Jason Torrez from Drop Cash.

The links to download the code from auth-typekey.zip which is released under the PHP license :)

I'll make a PEAR package for Auth_Typekey later the weekend to make it easier to install than manually installing it in /usr/local/share/pear or whereever you have installed PEAR to.

We live in a cruel cruel world?

Rasmus has had his laptop stolen at a PHP conference in Paris.

My nice new T42p was stolen by some loser at a PHP conference in Paris. It is amazingly inconvenient to lose a laptop like this. It was from inside the conference hall and there was virtually no non-geek traffic there. If a fellow geek actually stole my laptop from a PHP conference then there is something seriously wrong with the world. You can steal my car, my money, my shoes, I don't really care, but don't steal my damn laptop!

Really sucks when someone steals your hardware.

November 18, 2004

Ransom Donkey

At work I have various collegues who believe in pulling practical jokes on each other.

One of the current one is that one of staff members toy donkey has been kidnapped during the early hours of the morning an a mysterious ransom note was placed as her desktop wallpaper and her home page on her webbrowser.

Highly ammusing none the less when she was trying to explain to various other colleagues that her donkey was kidnapped.

Bushisms?

iol-bushisms.jpg

Look at the left before reading the text below George. Movable Type makes weird thumbnails, so you want to click on the picture to view it.

November 17, 2004

Fixing irritations with vim etc.

I've decided that I'm actually going to try and learn more of the features of vim which would make it easier to use than having to fight with it all the time. There are various annoying little misfeatures which annoy me but don't annoy me to the point where I'm going to change the editor which I'm using to editor which I dislike even more.

Joey was meantioning that one should take a look at editing in vim which is quite useful. I'm hopefully going to get some time next week to pick our resident vim zealot in the office's brain a bit to get vim to work more efficiently for me. There are also notes on working with multiple windows in vim as well.

Consfuse them telesales people

Found a resource for annoying telesales people who don't do their research prior to phoning me and wasting my time trying to arrange a meeting to tell me why their company needs where I work to use their company etc. Quite ammusing!

The Direct Marketing sector regards the telephone as one of its most successful tools. Consumers experience telemarketing from a completely different point of view: more than 92% perceive commercial telephone calls as a violation of privacy. Telemarketers make use of a telescript - a guideline for a telephone conversation. This script creates an imbalance in the conversation between the marketer and the consumer. It is this imbalance, most of all, that makes telemarketing successful. The EGBG Counterscript attempts to redress that balance.

November 16, 2004

Events Calendar Submissions

I must be the only one wondering why there are trolls who continously think that when they submit "events" using the event calendar that they are just going to automatically be added to the php.net website and the various mirrors of the website?

Am I missing something here? Or should I just assume that people can't read?

Have an upcoming PHP user group meeting? Holding a PHP training session? Submit your event here, and after it has been approved, it will be listed on the PHP.net homepage and appear in our full event listings.

November 15, 2004

Silly SBL Kiddies

Don't you just hate idiots who block an entire subnet just because other idiots who are using the subnet SPAM (10 ips's according to SBL) and then the idiots at M-Web think that it's their right to now block based on SBL's useless blacklist which has been proven numerous times to not be a good form of blocking mail due to the SBL managements huge ego and they block an entire subnet.

Making pretty HTML Mailers

Yeah it's been a long weekend. Work has been going hetically and I think I'm way too tired to do maths for making tables with images look decent. Prehaps it's just me the fact that I've not had any coffee since the morning. Normally I have a good couple of cuppa's of coffee during the day at work.

Reminds me of a couple of months ago before the big code slush to release a big project which was the accumulation of three months of coding and trying to keep web-standards compliant while keeping code which interacted with various other 3rd-party services and what not working according to the RFC.

November 10, 2004

doc.php.net

If doc.php.net looks half dead for the next twenty or so minutes it's due to an apache upgrade. It should be back to normal in a bit. :) I'm having to rebuild all the misc. apache modules etc. which I run on the webserver. Hopefully sqlite will behave after the upgrade :)

UPDATE:
Upgrade has been completed successfully and sqlite is working again.

November 9, 2004

Programming Python

I'm busy looking for decent tutorials and or online books written for PHP Programmers who are wanting to use Python. I've started hacking a bit in python of late and tend to find it easier to use PHP than python. If anyone has suggestions and pointers it would be appreciated.

Firefox 1.0 is out!

Mozilla Firefox
For those of you who have not heard yet! Mozilla Firefox 1.0 has been released!

The wait is over. Firefox 1.0 empowers you to browse faster, more safely and more efficiently than with any other browser. Join more than 8 million others and make the switch today — Firefox imports your Favorites, settings and other information, so you have nothing to lose.

Some blogs linking to the Mozilla Firefox 1.0 Release:

In the Press

November 8, 2004

Gnome 2.8.1 is in FreeBSD Ports

gnome-64.pngJust seen on Freshports that Gnome 2.8.1 is in the FreeBSD ports tree.

Good news for users who like using the open source email client Evolution you can now upgrade to 2.0.2.

I've also noticed that Thunderbird 0.9 is also in the ports tree.

Firefox buglet with middle mouse button

Mozilla Firefox
This is prob better classed as a UI issue considering that the middle mouse button is inconsitent across platforms. It turns out that under using the middle mouse button under unix is supposed to be an easy way to paste a URL apparently which can be disabled via the following option in your prefs.js file

user_pref("middlemouse.contentLoadURL", false);

Which removes that annoying pasting misfeature and fixes the middle mouse button to being consistent when using Firefox over multiple operating systems.

November 7, 2004

Time to change your webbrowser?

Mozilla Firefox
We keep hearing about exploits for Windows Internet Explorer doing the rounds.

I would suggest that people rather start using firefox which is a more secure webbrowser. It has many features which IE does not have including:

  • Tabbed browsing
  • Popup blocker
  • Better find text in document support

Just to name a few.

FreeBSD 5.3 Released

Finally! Another release of FreeBSD 5 was released during the wee hours of this morning :)

It is my great pleasure and privilege to announce the availability of FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE. This release marks a milestone in the FreeBSD 5.x series and the beginning of the 5-STABLE branch of releases. Some of the many changes since 5.2.1 include:

  • A binary compatibility interface has been introduced for the i386 platform that allows running Microsoft Windows NDIS network drivers natively in the kernel.
  • The network and socket subsystems are now multi-threaded and reentrant. This allows for much better use of SMP parallelism when processing and forwarding local and remote network traffic.
  • The development environment has been updated to GCC 2.4.2, Binutils 2.15, and GDB 6.1
  • The choices for graphical environments have been updated to include X.org 6.7, Gnome 2.6.2 and KDE 3.3.0.
There has also been a significant focus on testing and bug-fixing with this release, as well as the freezing of most kernel and userland APIs. Users and vendors are encouraged to consider transitioning to it as FreeBSD 5.x is no longer considered a 'New Technology' release series. Information on migrating from FreeBSD 4.x to 5.x can be found at

FreeBSD 5.3 Migration Guide

For a complete list of new features and known problems, please see the release notes and errata list, available at:

    http://www.FreeBSD.org/releases/5.3R/relnotes.html
    http://www.FreeBSD.org/releases/5.3R/errata.html
For more information about FreeBSD release engineering activities, please see:

http://www.FreeBSD.org/releng

November 6, 2004

‘IE Bug of the Day’

Via Dan Cederholm:

You know those desk calendars where you tear off a page for each day of the year? Typically, each day comes with a little nugget of useless info to start your day. Someone should create one based on CSS bugs, where each day talks about a different bug and its workaround. Perhaps even more nerdy than the “365 Days of Dragons, Merlins and Magical Stones” that I’ve been meaning to covertly purchase.

Until then, perhaps I’ll start posting reminders here as I rediscover old favorites. While there are some bugs that we run into every day, immediately knowing their remedies, there are others that pop up here and there, only to be looked up again and again to be reminded of their workarounds. It never hurts to publicize these suckers now and again.

November 5, 2004

IS Connectivity

Is it just me or do other IS clients experience horrific internet connectivity via IS's Cape Town network. Currently IS's caching DNS servers aren't responding hence I've opened yet another helpdesk ticket with their Global Service Centre. I've actually opened up various tickets for IS to fix connectivity so that it appears that they have ample bandwidth similar to UUnet. I from other friends who also happen to use IS's network that they also experience similar connectivity issues.

What I'm curious to know is why does the UUnet connections that I've used in the past always out perform my IS connectivity experience? Makes one wonder.

Even less reason for using Internet Exterminator

Internet Exterminator's support for web standards is shocking. Unfortunately one needs to ensure cross-browser compatibility so you end up having to hack css to get it to work under Interne Exploder. Then you have to work on your Javascript and Javascript hacks to get Internet Exploder to work similar to Firefox, Mozilla et. al. when posting forms etc. etc. with multiple submit buttons. Can't Microsoft just package Firefox as the default webbrowser on Windows? It sounds like a very good idea to me ;)

Learning Python

Does anyone have any suggestions for good reading material for learning to code effectively using python? What I'm wanting to rewrite various scripts which were written in php, perl and shell script over to python to learn enough python to take over the world! No really. ;)

I've been reading the Python Tutorial which is not as effective as the PHP tutorial which gave you enough rope to hang yourself. I think a tutorial should perhaps teach you over a few steps as well as providing reference to other resources for futher reading.

Maybe if the Python Documentation contained user notes like the PHP manual it would be a good start. Sometimes reading manual notes on the PHP website enables you to figure out what you are doing wrong. Also #php on freenode in the past was a good resource for assistance.

November 2, 2004

Coding better PHP

I think numerous people who code using PHP have no clue how to utilise various excellent resources / add-ons for PHP from Smarty: template engine to using PEAR packages.

I've heard numerous times by various sources to not re-invent the wheel hence I started hacking up various application frameworks which I use on personal projects currently like my personal website.

I think reading the PHP manual is a place to start reading. I remember when I started coding PHP I used to read the source code to various websites from the PHP.net website to example files included with php2 and php3.

Other useful resources include:

I suppose we can always learn from various people and improve our usage of PHP. I try and utilise PEAR packages like PEAR DB which make it easier for others to see what I'm smoking or whatever that saying is when coding as well as reducing the time it takes on coding projects duplicating code. Sometimes one finds that you can extend a class like Net_Socket instead of starting your own one from scratch.

New releases from the Horde Stable

Heard via the grapevine that the Horde Project has released beta major versions of certain software applications which they maintain. Some cool news none the less considering I use Chora and IMP and various other applications for personal usage.

Whatever this day might bring to the world, there are some really good news: the Horde Project released beta major versions of their VIPs (very important programs) today. This is very exciting because we will try to release RCs (release candidates) once per week until the applications are stable enough to meet our requirements of production releases. Read further for the most important changes since the ALPHA versions.

Is Firefox not going to crash?

Mozilla Firefox
I'm wondering when Mozilla Firefox is going to start behaving like a decent webbrowser like earlier versions of Firefox which did not crash as often as the 0.1.0 RC1. It would be a good start!

Maybe it's just me but it's sort of highly annoying that this happens as you normally tend to have lots of tabs open while working and doing research for work based projects and what not.

Maybe Firefox should render a page that informs you that the site you are viewing has badly written HTML etc. etc. and stop parsing?

Afrigator