Category Archives: Me

2011 wrap up

As I have done in 2008, 2009 and last year, I thought I'd continue my tradition of recapping my year.

January

PHPBNL 2011 happened in January. Also, my Mac OS X application, Daily Jotter was released onto the Mac App Store.

My app is on the Mac App Store!

February

The first PHPucEU happened in Manchester which was great fun and, of course, the PHPUK conference in London. The biggest news for us though, was that we moved house in February!

We have keys to the new house!

March

I went to Canada for the rather excellent Confoo conference and watched a snowball fight!

Snowball fight!

April

A relaxed month after 3 months of conferences and a house move. There was a Royal wedding in the UK which resulted in a lot of merchandising!

Paraphenalia

May

May was the busiest month ever. Both sons have their birthdays in May and DPC in Amsterdam and php|tek in Chicago are back to back conferences! So many good photographs this month, but I have gone with this one of Jeremy Kendall as he took many excellent photographs at tek!

Here's looking at you!

June

Our trip to the zoo this year was in June when we went to Twycross Zoo.

Lemur

July

We went to the beach in July.

On the beach

August

In August we went to the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

Fleet Air Arm Museum

September

My eldest son achieved his Grade 1 classical guitar certification this month. We also went to a friend's wedding.

Confetti

October

October saw the very excellent PHPNW conference return for its forth year and I was very glad to be asked to do a ZF2 tutorial which seemed to go well.

Rick and Jeremy

November

November was the month that John Arnold held his creativityex project. I particularly liked my effort for negative space:

Shoes

December

Last month of the year and as part of the Worcester Flickr group, I got to take a photograph in a studio!

Elephpants

All in all, a pretty good year. One interesting thing I did notice was that I have a lot more good photos sitting in Aperture than I published. I think this is because Aperture is so slow to use on my old Macbook Pro. I was better at publishing photos with Capture NX2 and I thought that was slow; Clearly it wasn't that bad!

2010 Wrap up

Another year is over, and as is becoming a tradition, I like to show off some photos that recap my year!

January

We started the year with a visit to the zoo!

Lion

There was also snowy weather last January and on the last day of the month, we put our house on the market. We would be accepting an offer on it in late October.

For sale

February

In February, I took pictures of canal boats.

The PHPUK conference was also in February, where I presented a session about Windows Azure and PHP.

Presenting on PHP & Azure

March

I took my best picture yet of Worcester cathedral.

Worcester Cathedral

April

April was all about my wife! She had her first tatoo done.

Tiger tattoo

and spent some time in hospital having her appendix removed

Flowers and cards

May

The big event in May was php|tek. I struggled to find a single picture that captured the conference for me, but went for this one.

php|tek 2010 conference

June

June saw another conference: DPC in Amsterdam.

Cal presentating

This photo of Chris Shiflett was also popular:

I cannot even begin to think of a caption

July

Photographically, the main source of all my photos was my aunt and uncle's 40th wedding anniversary, of which I haven't published any of the photos :)

Camera

August

I took the kids to the Severn Valley Railway in August, but the main event was our friends' wedding!

Bride and groom

September

September saw the inaugural PHPSW meeting in Bristol.

The audience!

I also tried to take a photo of a glass of red wine with a white background. This proved to be much harder than I expected

A glass of red wine

October

The Severn Valley Railway's autumn gala was held in October

City of Truro approaches Highley

October also saw the fantastic PHPNW conference come back to Manchester.

Rowan uses an example we can understand!

November

I tried my hand at photographing fireworks

Fireworks

December

The snow really fell in December. So much so that we had to abandon a trip to London having travelled 13 miles in 6 hours.

It's a bit snowy...

Photos of Seagulls

Today was a good day in photography for me as for the first time in absolutely ages, I took some time out to take photos for the sake of taking the picture. My son was at a birthday party and I had about an hour free, so I went down by the river Severn in Worcester.

Worcester has a cathedral and I was lucky enough to have some lowish sun shining on it:

Worcester Cathedral

I don't often take photos of the cathedral as I find it hard to compose a nice picture of it. Also, it's been done to death by photographers with a better eye than me. However, I really like this one. The composition is nice and the colour of the brickwork is pleasing.

As I had a mostly empty memory card, I went down to the river to try and take a photo of a bird in flight. This isn't easy and I took just under 80 shots and had 3 in focus:

Seagull (1)

Seagull (2)

Seagull (3)

I'm pleased with all three as getting a shot of a bird in flight where the bird's eye isn't blurred takes lots and lots of practice. As I haven't practiced, clearly I got lucky! I set my D80 to use the centre auto-focus point, as it's the most sensitive in the camera, then told it to continually focus and I just pressed the button whilst trying to pan with the moving bird. It's remarkably difficult to keep the bird in the view finder, let alone keeping the focus point on the eye!

I think I did okay and I'm keen to try again sometime.

Mobile web monopoly

There's a recent post by Peter-Paul Koch called The iPhone obsession about how Mobile Safari is being treated by web developers as the only web browser to develop for. PPK likens this to how we all used to only develop for IE6. Unfortunately, the article has lots of hyperbole and iPhone hate which significantly detracts from the actual message.

The fundamental point is that Mobile Safari is not the only web browser available on phones and if you are serious about providing mobile web to your users, then developing for the other 85% should be part of your modus operandi.

However (and there's always a however!) it's not easy. It's trivial for me to have multiple web browsers and multiple operating systems on one computer for testing. It is not trivial for me to have 10 phones with different browsers and screen sizes. We don't do enough mobile work to justify the costs.

What actually annoyed me was Rentzch's response. Rentzch started by saying that Koch's argument was "stupid/lazy/undisciplined" and then goes on to say:

I see a quiet revolution of mobile developers waiting for other phones to catch up to the iPhone.

and

I think mobile developers intuitively grasp that accommodating the insufficient software+hardware of non-iPhones out there will only prolong the status quo, extending needless suffering for developers and users alike.

That's exactly what we all said when we wanted Netscape 4 to die because IE was so much better. Rentzch has made Koch's point for for him whilst trying to disagree.

For what it's worth, I think that any mobile device manufacturer who wants web developers to develop for their device's browser, should provide hardware that doesn't need a plan. It doesn't even need to be a phone. Mobile Safari is the easiest mobile browser to test against as it's available in the iPod Touch.

2009 end-of-year wrap-up

Like last year, my wrap up is mostly an excuse to show off some of the photos I took in 2009!

January

Other than the snow, The big thing that happened in January was that an article I wrote was published in php|architect.

My php|architect article in the Jan 2009 issue

February

We had daffodils in snow at the start of this month and then towards the end, the PHPUK conference took place.

Paying attention during Chris' talk

March

Spring arrived in March. The Severn Valley Railway had its Festival of Steam gala, and I took a day off so that I could photograph it.

Festival of Steam at the SVR

April

A month of punctures. I went to a Microsoft community event in London too.

Scott and Derick

May

This is birthday month in our household. It was also our first trip away camping this year.

Camping

June

What little good weather we had this year, was in June. I popped up to Manchester for a PHPNW meet. DPC 09 was also held in June and I spoke on caching.

Cal and Ivo interview Andrei

July

We finished decorating the living room in July. We also had a week's holiday in Wales.

Cilgerran Castle

August

I started using a Wacom tablet in August as I was getting a pain in my wrist. August is school holiday month, so we went away for another week, to Cumbria.

Old van at the pencil museum

September

We sold our Pathfinder in September and didn't do much else. I took the kids to visit to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway during the month too.

Giving up the token

October

PHP Conference season started again for me with PHPNW 09. I spoke on project management.

Kevlin's keynote was excellent

November

Another month, two conferences! ZendCon 09 where I gave a tutorial on the Zend Framework certification and spoke on project management. I also visited Alcatraz. IPC 09 was also held in November, where I spoke on caching and deployment.

Andi wraps up ZendCon 09

December

The final month of the year saw me working way too hard. We did take the kids to see Santa though.

Teddy Bears

Here's to 2010!

Three years of my Zend Framework Tutorial

Three years ago today, I published my first Getting Started with Zend Framework tutorial. This was the announcement. Back then, Zend Framework was at version 0.1.5 and a considerably smaller download than now :)

Three years later and I haven't lost my enthusiasm for Zend Framework as you can tell since the latest version of the tutorial supports ZF 1.8 and 1.9 and uses the new features like Zend_Application and the command line Zend_Tool scripts. And I wrote a Zend Framework book!

I wonder what will happen in the next three years?!

DNS Transfer

Just a heads up, I am currently transferring the registrar for akrabat.com, so there may be an interruption of service here if I mess up :)

Women in open source communities

An incident occurred at a Rails conference recently where pictures of scantily clad women were used on slides. The attitude behind the use of the images disturbs me. To be clear, this is not a Rails issue as I aware of a similar issue in the PHP community and it is prevalent in the the entire IT industry.

Martin Fowler has summed up pretty much how I feel about it:

The nub is that whatever the presenter may think, people were offended – both in the talk and those who saw the slides later. It doesn't matter whether or not you think the slides were pornographic. The question is does the presenter, and the wider community, care that women feel disturbed, uncomfortable, marginalized and a little scared.

I find it discouraging that we need to ask this question in this day and age, but I'm assured by women I know in the IT industry, that they deal with prejudice because of their sex day in day out in their working lives.

Martin goes on to say:

I have a different vision – one that sticks it to the suits so hard it will make their eyes water. How about a community where women are valued for their ability to program and not by the thickness of their skin? How about a community that edgily pushes new boundaries without reinforcing long running evils? Perhaps even a community where women reach equal numbers? Such a community would hand the suits the defeat in the long battle women have been fighting for centuries. I'd love to be part of that.

Hear hear! That's what I want to be part of too.

I recommend that you read all of Martin Fowler's article as it provides a good grounding in a lot of the issues involved, especially if you read the other articles he links to.

In honour of Ada Lovelace

As today is Ada Lovelace Day, I get to write about a women who has inspired me and isn't my wife!

I first met Alison on the Electronic and Electrical Engineering course at University back in 1991. Of course, that dates me; Freddie Mercury was still alive and died towards the end of '91. I remember her from our Uni days as conscientious and determined to do well, though I did not know her very well.

After Uni, I joined a small telecommunications company writing C++ programs for Windows. Alison joined the company a year later in 1996 We needed a hardware engineer and I knew Alison was looking to get into communications engineering as she was designing sonar systems.She taught me about how important it is to understand the details in a project are along with the importance of good customer relationships.

I remember one project quite clearly which was to integrate GPS with a Psion Series 3 PDA. She found this project very tough, especially the C programming side, but worked very hard at it, overcoming the difficulties in both the (lack of) project spec and understanding programming a new language. She concentrated on the details and delivered what was asked of her. The team rapport we built up is something that I've been trying to replicate ever since.

Unfortunately (for me) after a year or so, Alison moved on to bigger and brighter things. She's gone from strength to strength and is now in a senior position within a major mobile phone company.

Catching-up

Since the New Year, I've been very busy and have had little time for coding. One reason is that I decided to take a photo every single day of this year. It's proving fascinating, but is taking up more time per evening than I realised. Of course, as I get into the swing of things, the time taken choosing which image(s) to post and then processing them will go down :) If you are interested, I'm posting the pictures to my Flickr account.

At work, I'm transmogrifying into a full-on Project Manager and only bug fixing code here and there. We have a good PHP developer at work and I'm gradually getting comfortable with him doing the design of stuff that would have been my domain six months ago. Letting go is hard.

I should probably talk about what my experiences as a Project Manager in a small non-enterprise web shop. Maybe I'll turn it into a talk for the Dutch PHP Conference who have recently opened their Call for Papers. Of course, from Cal's blog article about it, I should also come up with an advanced PHP topic. That may not be too hard as I have an idea for a personal project that may have something interesting to discuss inside it.

Here's today's photo, which proves that I have a long way to go before I can call myself a still-life photographer.

Coins

I quite like it though!