March 01, 2010
Filed Under (Open Source, PHP, Technology, Web Development) by Ollie Cronk on 01-03-2010

Here are some notes / interesting products/thoughts that were mentioned (apologies this is more of a set of notes for me than a proper blog post – if I get time I will refine this!)

Started the day on a conference call back to the office so had to miss the keynote which was a shame as it was by quite an eccentric guy who Microsoft have hired (as a UX Architect Evangelist) largely about keeping thing simple and usability from what I gathered of the end of the talk.

Day was very tough as a I had a late night catching up on various things to allow me to free up the Friday – its difficult sitting through talks when really tired!

Met with several former colleagues from my last company (and former colleagues from my current company) so was a bit of a blast from the past at times.

There appear to be a lot of development and interest around NoSQL / document based databases at the moment – definitely something to keep an eye on as it matures as a technology.
http://www.phpconference.co.uk/talks

RDBMS in the social networks age
by Lorenzo Alberton

Database Graph Structures via advanced features of SQL, using SQL-99 and SQL-2003 functionality that certainly MySQL doesn’t have any many other DBs won’t have the 2003 extensions. Obviously using this kind of advanced functionality will have an impact on Database server load.

This talk felt a bit like it was flying in the wind of most new thinking at the moment (although to be fair – this is partly what Lorenzo has now put on his website below) which is to keep your database tier minimally loaded as it’s the part that has most issues with vertical and horzontal scalability (keep most of the CPU load in the web app tier as its easier to add more nodes there).

Slides available at:
http://www.alberton.info/talks

Legacy Code Talk by Ibuildings
doxygen – code documentation for any language not just PHP

ctags.sourceforge.net

BOUML bouml.free.fr (reverse engineering capabilities)

phpcs – Codesniffer (part of PhpUnderControl)

Thoughts for tackling older PHP4 based projects and code bases – get them in Source Control, start to apply Continous Integration type approaches.

Suggestions made around
Full isolation (separate server)
Using wrapper classes
Possible code rewriting routes for legacy code:
Going from random mix of PHP business logic and HTML outputting to neater procedural based code
Procedural to OO
OO to full OO

CouchDB
Early sight of the possible future of web application data persistance and replication. Interesting that CouchDB makes uses of HTTP as the connecting protocol. Might be possible (but probably not desirable apart from specific cases) in the future to create web applications that are JS direct to CouchDB in certain cases?

http://couchdb.apache.org/

Web and mobile application monetisation models / Paypal X

Paypal appear to be launching a new platform / API

  • Adaptive Payments
  • Pay multiplerecipients at once
  • Partnership
  • Chained payments (e.g. commission based payments)

Bit disappointed by this one as it was about PayPal’s API (https://www.x.com) rather than strategies for monetisation which is what the title lead me to believe.

Web Services Best Practise
At the beginning lots of stuff about basic HTTP (eg HTTP headers, Verbs)that ever developer should know about.

Lorna (also from iBuildings) who gave this talk seems to have a bit of a sarcastic talking down to you type tone I found slightly annoying – maybe she gives training to newbies all the time or something. Or maybe I was just tired. She had some interesting things to say about Web Services design particularly towards the end of her talk. The talk was caveated as being a bit of “a rant” and it was exactly that in places – felt like she was having a go at everyone a lot of the time!

Beers at the end sponsored by Facebook were a nice touch though, although I only had time to grab a quick one whilst chatting to Mark Schaschke from iBuildings and a couple of guys from my previous company. Think next year I will sit this one out to allow more developers to attend as think they will get more value out of it.



March 15, 2009
Filed Under (Random Thoughts) by Ollie Cronk on 15-03-2009

When I publish this blog article it should update my Twitter status, my Twitter status is linked to my Facebook status via the Twitter Application.

Hmm I wonder whether these could get caught up in an infinite loop – updating themselves and annoying the hell out of everyone…!

I know – This is all very very sad – but maybe it will save me some time to do something useful for a change!



August 14, 2008
Filed Under (Technology) by Ollie Cronk on 14-08-2008

If your a facebook user then you’ll want to check out the new design:  which is a vast improvement – sharing content link URLs and photos is now mega easy compared to the old site.

Also I discovered badges on FB tonight too – here’s mine which I’ve inserted into the sidebar of this WordPress powered blog (this is easy to do in the admin – just edit the sidebar.php file in design -> theme editor). I guess I’ll have to watch what I put as my status message now though..!



July 05, 2008
Filed Under (Technology, Web Development) by Ollie Cronk on 05-07-2008

I’ve blogged about Facebook before here and here when I was talking about privacy; came across a couple of videos on BBC news (talking of which is really impressive the video and audio quality has vastly improved over last time I used) about facebook – one of which is about a facebook privacy flaw relating to Google applications. What they don’t tell you is how you can fix this…

If you want a workaround to prevent this then when next logged in to FB go to “privacy” option (which is top right), then “applications” then “other application”, scroll down until you see the image below:

Click to view full size version

Note that I’ve unticked the Basic Info and Personal Info (I’ve actually now unticked Work and Education too) as can’t really see why a Facebook application really needs this stuff in any case.

The other video is about a police force developing some kind of app that allows the local community to help fight crime through alerting them to crimes and related news. Thats pretty innovative and cutting edge for a Police force and is definitely food for thought for other uses in the public sector.

I’ve also changed my facebook password as realised it was the same as a couple of other sites and seeing as Facebook is probably a massive target / security risk (as makes such a juicy target) decided that it wouldn’t be good if someone got hold of my personal details AND a password I use for some other stuff (note to self: use password management and more passwords!!!).

We’re doing some ISO27001 stuff at work at the moment which is really making me re-think information security stuff…



May 27, 2007
Filed Under (Life, Random Thoughts) by Ollie Cronk on 27-05-2007

Facebook tagging - picture of me with some former colleagues

Heres a random thought pattern I had today – could Internet content one day be used a massive database for Artificial intelligence? Sure Google search or Wikipedia could provide facts etc but what about tagging friends on Facebook? In the future could a computer based system start to identify who people are in real life from this? (Think Terminator!)

I am aware that there is already face recognition on devices such as web cams (that can track your movements around the room for example) and also for CCTV systems (back at Essex Uni I was told about a research project for a system that could identify known thieves and track them through retail stores). But I am thinking more about an AI system using the richer content that is coming online to connect more stuff together. Also on this thought pattern is a reoccuring thought pattern that I’ve had since Uni and learning about Object Orientated Programming and Database relationships – representing the world as structured objects in a Virtual Reality type application (think Second life combined with Google Earth / 3D Live Maps and real world data on everything).

There is also a more real and here and now threat from this – the erosion of privacy which is obviously a topic of concern at the moment as a downside to all this Web 2.0 / community site shenanigans. So more likely is the fact that unfriendly strangers could use this information and photos to find you / scam you etc.