This was going to just be a tweet, but I felt it needed more than 140 characters.
If you know me in person, you’ve probably met me at a conference or user group. It should be immediately apparent that I am a confident, outspoken person (at least publicly).
I’m a former PHPWomen US Lead, as well as co-organizer for Prompt, raising awareness about mental health in technology, I’m no stranger to speaking out on tough subjects.
Furthermore, I’ve been a contributor to the PHP community for 15 years, and an internals contributor for half of that (since PHP 5.3.0).
The fact that I — as that person, and as a member of the majority makeup of the PHP community — don’t feel safe contributing back to the Code of Conduct discussion in favor of it — should tell you everything you need to know about why we need one. This is due in part to the hostility from some people involved, and to possible backlash from the wider community.
So let me state here, for the record, in unequivocal terms:
I fully support a Code of Conduct, and a reporting infrastructure in which we can act to remove those who are unable to abide by the Code of Conduct from our community.
This should be applied to all mailing lists, all websites (e.g. comments in the manual, news items, etc.), and all social media put out by the PHP project itself.
It should also apply anywhere a contributor is using their @php.net email address — whether thats a private email conversation, or at a conference/user group where you put it on your contact slide. Obviously while the person could not be removed from the event, they can be restricted from contributing based on their behavior.
Also: thank you Anthony for bringing this RFC to the table.
This has gotten quite a bit of support and a couple of questions, so I wanted to add one specific thing:
To clarify, I don’t support the Contributor Covenant as it stands as the CoC for PHP; I think it is a good starting point, but it is just that, a starting point. Additionally, regardless of the content of the CoC, what matters more is documented procedures for handling reported violations.
As 2015 comes to a close, I thought that I would jot down some words to reflect up what can only be called an incredible year.
In April I will celebrate the end of my third year as a Community Engineer Developer Evangelist, and it has been filled with more firsts that I ever thought I would experience.
The year started out pretty standard with PHPBenelux (not that one could ever even suggest that PHPBenelux is anything but an extraordinary event!), but was then followed by the first of threeWurstCons, which was actually a mini-tour of Germany.
We took the train from Brussels to Köln, where we spent two nights and visited a local Biergärten, an experience in and of itself. Here, I tried blood sausage for the first time (which some might find strange, as I am British), as well as pork knuckle.
From Köln, Yitz, Beth, and myself took another train to Frankfurt, while Jeremy flew to Berlin. We spent one night in Frankfurt, before Beth went off, leaving Yitz and I to carry on and meet Jeremy in Berlin.
After 3 days in Berlin, and 6 days total in Germany, I took the train back to Brussels for FOSDEM.
Next up, was ConFoo, where I unfortunately had to rush through (one talk before lunch, one talk after, and then a flight 2 hours later…) on my way to PHPUK where I was giving my first keynote.
I cannot thank the PHPUK folks enough for allowing me to have such an amazing experience. This was a professional goal of mine for many years, and I finally realized it on a stage that, being in my home country, made it all the more special. Plus, my mum got to come!
March started with me knocking another two items off my bucket-list: I made it to the Southern Hemisphere, and specifically, to Australia, for PHPAustralia. In Sydney, I got to put my feet in the other side of the Pacific Ocean for the first time, as well as see Koalas, Tasmanian Devils, Wallabies, and even take a Quokka selfie with Jordi Boggiano at Taronga Zoo.
I saw the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge, another bucket list item (the Opera House is much smaller than I thought!), and the Three Sisters.
I even ate Kangaroo (both in Kebab, and steak form, very yummy!), as well as Crocodile (tasted like salt water…).
Following on from my longest trip to date, I then took one of the shortest, in what was my least busy month of the year, to one of my favorite conferences, Lone Star PHP. Once again, Lone Star delivered, and I have the nice comfy t-shirt to prove it. I also experienced my first Tornado Siren. That was not on my bucket list.
We also enjoyed one of the best outings for PHP Karaoke for the year. I think this picture from Ben Ramsey captures it pretty well:
I also saw this great talk by Heather White on Teaching, which changed the way I do my slides and I’ve been getting compliments ever since: Thanks Heather!
On the way home from Lone Star, I actually ditched my checked luggage in Atlanta and went to hang out at my first RailsConf, and in fact, my first Ruby-related conference. I had a great time, met some great people, and got to hang out with PJ again. Oh yeah, and Phil Sturgeon turned up too. More karaoke happened.
May was another month for knocking out bucket-list items, I took my wife along to Rome, Italy where we got to see the Vatican City and watch the Pope speak (neither on my bucket list, but highly recommended), I also got to see The Colosseum (the oldest item on my bucket list, I actually cried), Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, and much more. From here, we took a train to Venice, another bucket list item, and got to see the islands of Murano (famous for its glassware) & Burano (famous for its brightly colored painted buildings), as well as Piaza San Marco, and some beautiful sunsets and canals views.
Our final stop in Italy, was of course Verona, for phpDay, a great little conference, in a lovely town with it’s own historic arena (which is apparently older than The Colosseum), as well as Juliets House, and I got to see the old city for the first time at the speaker dinner.
From there, I headed on to Chicago, for php[tek], always a good time, and in fact, the last time it will be held in Chicago. I am excited to see what St. Louis brings to the table, and how we will ever replace Shoeless Joe’s. I think I will always remember watching The EuroVision Song Contest with a small group of people on my phone in the Club Lounge after the conference ended…
After a quick trip to Boston, MA, I headed down to Mexico for MagmaConf, an amazing polyglot conference that is only eclipsed by it’s location. If you ever get the chance to go, take it. I had an amazing time for my first time in Mexico (other than the port of Cozumel on a cruise, which I’m not counting) — I flew into Colima, and then, after giving a workshop, took a bus through the hills to Manzanillo on the Pacific coast. MagmaConf happens at Magma Village, a coastal resort where you share a villa with a number of other [random] folks attending the conference. I swam in 7 different pools over the 2 days of the conference, hanging out and meeting new people.
I then ended the month at the DutchPHP Conference, this was my second time there, and it turned out to be my last talk for Engine Yard. This was actually quite an emotional thing for me — after almost 4 years, I was no longer a Yardee.
But, thanks to that quick trip to Boston back in May (Cambridge, actually), I was moving on to a new gig at Akamai Technologies. I then experienced yet another first, this time, Istanbul, Turkey. This was my first experience of a country that didn’t use the Latin alphabet (except Egypt, before I could read 😋), which was quite an interesting experience, and it would not be my last time this year.
Istanbul was another amazing city, with so much history and culture. I got to see the underground Basilica Cistern, and sunset from Galata Tower, among other great sights, and attended another great conference, PHPKonf. This was also the first time speaking where I was translated in real time, which was fascinating.
August was the start of my longest travel period ever. Starting with a family vacation on the 24th, I was on the road non-stop till October 9th.
Considering I started the year never having been to the Southern Hemisphere, I — much to my amazement – got to go a second time. This time, I headed to beautiful New Zealand, and while I didn’t get to see Hobbits, I did get to enjoy a lovely drive along the coast, and had a fantastic time catching up with friends new and old at the New Zealand PHP Conference.
Contrary to popular belief, I did not write the patch for T_SPACESHIP in 7.0. I wrote and proposed the T_SPACESHIP against 5.6, and it was re-written independently by Andrea Faulds. She later took on the T_SPACESHIP name after finding my original patch.
P.s. it’s one of these, not a Tie-Fighter or anything else!)
From New Zealand, I headed back to Sydney for a few days, where I got to speak at the SydPHP User Group, and gave my first talk on HTTP/2, a topic that would become a major focus for me for the rest of the year (and hopefully, beyond!). Next, I headed back to the US, to Seattle for the first time, and to meet up with my wife and son, for the inaugural Pacific North West PHP, where I was once again fortunate to keynote.
Following the event was my second WurstCon of the year, WurstCon NW, at Pike’s Place Market, where we shut down the restaurant for our impromptu private party (thanks to the gracious staff for that!)
I enjoyed this conference a lot, and apparently enjoyed Seattle so much (especially the drive through Mt. Rainier National Park) I’m planning to move there this upcoming February where I’ll get to hang out with awesome folks like Margaret Staples and Tessa Mero.
I then flew back to Europe, to Sofia, Bulgaria, my second non-Latin language country of the year. Now, let me stop for a moment and give a special shout out to this conference, easily in my top 3 for the year. The organizers of this conference were so amazing at making the speakers feel welcome, and safe in a country where all but two of us couldn’t even read the alphabet, and the event itself was just top-notch. I absolutely have this one my must-do list next year. Also, I climbed a fricken mountain. And the group hug at the end was epic. Oh, and let’s not forget, so much food meat, including my first time eating Horse thanks to the nicest guy I know, Damiano Venturing.
Thank you to the entire crew at Site Ground, but especially Dima Peteva for being my handler, and for even translating some Cyrillic receipts via IM for expenses after I got home!
From Europe, I took my third and final trip to the Southern Hemisphere for the year for PHP South Africa.
PHP South Africa actually comprised of two events, the first in Johannesburg, and the second in Cape Town. Johannesburg while fantastic, couldn’t have prepared me for our 2-day stop before heading on to Cape Town: Pilanesburg.
Here I got to take another item off my bucket list: we took not one, but two safaris. Despite the bug in my room larger than my head (my wife who was on FaceTime with me at the time I discovered it — and deafened by my high pitched scream — says I’m exaggerating), and losing one of my lenses, this was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Seeing Elephants, Rhinos, Lions, Leopards, Hippos, Antelope, Zebras, and more in the wild, was beyond words. No photo, zoo, or wildlife park can do them justice.
And yet… even that didn’t compare to the majesty of seeing, and ascending Table Mountain in Cape Town. Although Jordi and Derick actually climbed the mountain, myself, Raphael Dohms and his wife Tiscilla took the cable car to the top, where we were treated to amazing views of the end of the world, and after being joined by the hikers, we enjoyed watching the sun set over the water1.
My final event took me back to the frozen slightly cool North, this time to Toronto for TrueNorth PHP and the final — arguably the best — WurstCon of the year, at Wvrst in downtown Toronto, where I got to split a multi-sausage meal with Margaret and Mr. WurstCon himself, Jeremy Mikola (and we were joined by a bunch of other great folks).
We started with duck, pheasant, venison, bison, and guinea fowl:
And of course, I participated in this work of art:
Unfortunately, I was supposed to also speak at RailsIsrael (how this event isn’t called Israils, I have no idea!) but had to cancel due to safety concerns — this also means I didn’t manage to achieve my goal of hitting every continent2.
I also started my first real RFC for PHP 7.1, adding — you guessed it — yet more HTTP/2 feature support to ext/curl, this time in the form of HTTP/2 Server Push support.
December is the first month this year without any travel for work, and I’m looking forward to a full month with my family, to enjoy Christmas, and reflect on the year passed.
This year, I visited 13 countries, covering 162,862 miles (262,101km) on 79 flights via 28 airports. I spent 15.5 days in the air. That’s equal to more than six and a half (6.54) times around the world, and over half way (68.2%) to the moon!
I also tried many new kinds of meat: Kangaroo, Crocodile, Horse, Kudu, Ostrich, Springbok, Guinea Fowl, Pheasant, Venison, Bison, Wild Boar, Elk, Rabbit, and Veal!
I hope to see all of you again next year, somewhere, and I look forward to meeting new people, and learning even more than I did this year!
You can see an even better time-lapse by Jordi, here↩
At least as far the UN 5 inhabited continents model goes! ↩
Prior to November 19th 2006 I was really into PHP. I tested every alpha, beta, and release candidate, I knew every new feature inside and out, and I had plans to contribute… something. I didn’t know what, but I was going to give back to the language I loved.
However, just a few weeks after the release of PHP 5.2, my first wife passed away and I pretty much dropped off the face of the Earth as far as being part of the PHP community is concerned (EartPHP?). I did my job, and very little else. I had pushed out PHAR the year before, and it went on to become part of PHP 5.3, earning me my name in the phpinfo() output — a long time goal of mine at the time — but I pretty much missed the 5.3 release. For all the drama around killing PHP 6, and the huge changes in 5.3, I just wasn’t paying much attention.
I’ve felt like I was playing catch-up to pre-November 2006 me ever since then.
Despite everything I’ve accomplished since then, I never felt like I had reached the same level I was at back then (see: Impostor Syndrome). Till now.
To help ease the transition from 5.6 to 7.0 I have created a simple package that acts as a shim between the newly removed ext/mysql and ext/mysqli.
I was a little hesistent to even publish this as I don’t want to encourage the continued use of potentially insecure code, however, I want people to upgrade to 7.0 and don’t want this to be the blocker.
It does require 5.6 (though it would be possible to lower that) — however I suspect that most people who are upgrading to 7.0 are either coming from 5.6 or have the native ext/mysql. The primary reason for support 5.6 is to be able to compare the test suite results against native ext/mysql.
It’s not yet production ready, but tests are coming along pretty well (PRs welcome!):
Current known (and unlikely to be fixed) issues are:
You must prefix all calls to mysql_* with a \ (e.g. \mysql_connect()); Not sure why I thought this, but non-internal functions do fall back to the global namespace.
Calls to is_resource() and get_resource_type() on MySQL connections and results will fail as these are now their mysqli equivalents.
-Some errors are now from ext/mysqli, and others are E_USER_WARNING instead of E_WARNING. Where possible, the original error messages are replicated.
Column lengths reported by mysql_field_len() assume latin1 charset, and will return incorrect lengths for other charsets.
This is a simple middleware that records a request’s response the first time it’s made in a test, and then replays it in response to requests in subsequent runs.
It does this by returning a Guzzle \GuzzleHttp\HandlerStack with either the \Dshafik\GuzzleHttp\VCRHandler middleware, or the GuzzleHttp\Handler\MockHandler added. The first will record the responses to JSON files, while the latter will be pre-loaded with those responses and will return them when requests are made.
It’s important to understand that the responses are returned in order regardless of whether it is the same request being made.
The purpose of this library is to just make it easier to create and update your tests for API clients.
Usage is simple, just call Dshafik\GuzzleHttp\VCRHandler::turnOn() passing in the storage location before running the test, and pass in the handler as a guzzle client option:
You can pass in the handler when instantiating the \GuzzleHttp\Client, or when making the individual requests — if you use the same instance for the individual requests it will re-use the same JSON file for storage, otherwise if you pass in unique instances (with unique storage files) it will create individual ones. I recommend passing in the handler to the constructor, but ensuring that you use a new instance (of the middleware, and the client) for each test.
Hopefully folks find this useful, do let me know if you do. If you have issues, please report them and pull requests are welcome!
I’ll be releasing a new Akamai library which uses dshafik/guzzlehttp-vcr next week (probably) so look out for that if you want to see it’s use in a real project.
Over the following few days it earned an astonishing amount of attention compared to what I expected (as of Aug. 1st):
I figured in light of this, folks might be interested in learning a bit more about Made for iPhone (MFI) Hearing Aids.
While there are many non-MFI Bluetooth hearing aids that will pair with the iPhone, they are treated more like a bluetooth headset than an assistive listening device. This means that you can route audio to them, just like bluetooth headphones. Some support Bluetooth 4.0/BTLE, A2DP, and such what. These are pretty awesome as-is. You can pair them with any number of BT enabled devices, with no restrictions beyond technical incompatibilities.
MFI Hearing Aids on the other hand are Apple certified hearing aids that are intended to connect via Bluetooth to an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad device (I use an iPhone so I’ll just use that here). Due to being MFI, they integrate much more closely with the OS. Unfortunately, this bluetooth connection seems to have a proprietary handshake that disables them from connecting as generic bluetooth devices to other types of devices (this is my biggest issue).
I have the Resound Linx 961’s. I want to write a note about the cost, because it was impossible for me to find a price without seeing an audiologist: without any kind of insurance, these things run about $7400 (a pair). With my insurance, which has an agreement with a large national discount program (but not actual coverage), they were $5200. Having worn them for a year, while I was hesitant at first, these really have had a hugely noticeable difference in my life, and especially when it comes to music, which is extremely important to me.
With these, I can pipe music, videos, turn by turn directions, phone calls, and pretty much all audio directly to my ears. And while the quality isn’t the best, I now always have a way to privately listen to music on the go.
These things are tiny, as you can see below, and the batteries are standard size 312’s, which last 3-5 days. Unfortunately, no recharging here — it’s just too small.
I say “pretty much all audio” because there are a couple of things that baffle me: No matter what, the FaceTime/FaceTime Audio outgoing dial tone always plays through the phone speaker. Inversely, the Find My iPhone locator ping plays through my hearing aids — less than useful when trying to find my iPhone in the couch! (Both of these issues are still present in iOS 9 PB 2)
This integration takes a number of forms, but it all pretty much comes down to two places:
Settings app > General > Accessibility > Hearing Aids (this option has moved down the screen in iOS 9, but it’s still there). In iOS 8 and 9 this will be where you pair the hearing aids, you cannot pair them in the general bluetooth preferences.
Additionally, you can enable access to the controls from the look screen, and turn on Hearing Aid Mode (which I don’t use, this seems to be for traditional hearing aids when using the phone).
Choosing my hearing aids gives me more information and settings:
In particular, you can see the battery level (yes, 5 taps deep, as opposed to in the Today overlay…), the ability to choose which hearing aids I stream to, whether the volume can be adjusted independently, which preset I’m using, and the Live Listen feature (I’ll cover this in detail later).
Furthermore, in iOS 9, they added two new options, “Hearing Aids Play Ringtones” (which will make it play your incoming call ringtone) and “Audio Routing” which lets you decide where Call Audio, and Media Audio is routed by default.
Hopefully this last setting will solve the issue I have in iOS 8 of audio jumping between my hearing aids and my car stereo which is also connected via bluetooth — sometimes they fight for control, and as you can imagine, that’s very frustrating.
The second integration point is around the triple click of the home button. A triple click will show the accessibility menu, which will include the Hearing Aids option:
Choosing this option will then bring up a whole host of settings. Mostly the same as are available through the settings app, but globally available (including, optionally, on the lock screen), and in my opinion, better organized:
Here we have the battery levels (triple click + tap), independent volume (regardless of the setting above) and combined volume, preset option, and again, Live Listen.
I use this screen approximately a billion times a day.
The presets are actually why I love these devices. These particular ones can have 4 different presets, and there are many to choose from (though they have to be setup by an audiologist, and they can be tweaked individually). Presets are realtime audio filters, that will enhance the audio on it’s way to my ears.
In my case, these presets are:
Softswitch — auto-pilot, I use this most of the time
Outdoor — this will cut things like wind noise, great for cycling, or walking in windy conditions (imagine getting turn by turn directions directly in your ears while cycling)
Restaurant — this will enhance voices, and dim things like clattering silverware, making it much easier to hear in crowded spaces
Music — this is my favorite, it will actually remove all filters, and let me hear just the raw audio, with the volume boosted.
If we’re having a conversation, and you see me reach behind one of my ears, or fiddle with my phone, it’s actually me trying different presets to make your voice as clear as possible in whatever situation I’m in — it’s not perfect, sometimes Outdoors is great in crowds, other times Music is the best option to be able to hear (I find that when listening to anything through a PA, Music works better).
Another feature, which I really don’t use, but is still pretty cool, is the Live Listen feature. This lets your iPhone act as a remote microphone. Simply place it near the person/thing you’re trying to hear, and it will stream whatever the microphone picks up directly to your hearing aids via bluetooth.
In addition to all of this, through the accompanying app, you can also change the treble and bass, as well as set geo-fences for automatically switching programs (and treble/bass) based on location.
All-in-all, I’m super glad I made the plunge to get hearing aids (again), they have had a remarkable impact on my life, and the technology packed into these things is crazy. They’re almost invisible, and I’ve had many people say they would like the abilities of these even if they have good hearing!
I hope this post shows you just how cool we’ve come with the technology, and that if you have avoided them till now that you consider getting something like this.
I also evaluated the Resound Linx 700-series, and the Starkey Halo. I settled on these as having the best features and app.
However: while looking stuff up for this post, I came across the Kirkland Signature™ Hearing Aid at CostCo, which looks to be the same device branded under another name. These run just $1799 a pair! I was also reminded that there is an additional piece of hardware to allow generic bluetooth connections, as well as connecting to things like TVs and streaming to the hearing aids.