Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Last Post Here

Hello all. I'm just wanting to say: Stop reading this ;) More specifically, please head over to http://eliw.wordpress.com/ to read my blog from now on.

There are a number of reasons for the switch, if you'd like to read them, head over to that blog. They will be posted there.

Sorry for any inconvience.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Conference Update, Website Update, Blog soon

Hey folks. Just wanted to say that the DCPHP conference is going well. In the end I'm ending up giving 2 presentations and sitting on a final closing panel discussion. The panel sounds like it will be fun.

I'll probably post some pictures soon from the conference. Pretty boring, but of a few key PHP folks.

The presentationsfrom the conference are already posted, and since I knew I was sending even MORE people to my website, I went ahead and updated the design 'some', nothing major, just tweaked the CSS to make it a little more visually appealing.

I hope to SOON switch my blog software as well. I'm looking at various solutions, and leaning towards wordpress, so that I can tag/categorize my posts as being about PHP/Digg/SCA/Personal and so on. Various friends & contacts therefore could subscribe/read only the parts they find interesting.

Anyway, more on that soon. Going to have to give my next presentation soon.

(Currently listening to David Recordon give his talk about OpenID)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Off to DCPHP Conference

Well, I'm off to the DCPHP conference for the new two days.

Really looking forward to it, it will be the first conference (not counting tradeshows like FOSE) that I will be able to actually drive to, instead of fly. That's rather nice. Also nice knowing I'll only be a couple of hours away if my wife/son need me.

Anyway, I hope to meet some old friends and make some new ones there. As well as spread the wonders of PHP.

Oh, at this point in time I'm actually giving TWO presentations instead of one, because one of the presenters backed out at the last minute.

So I will be giving 'High Performance PHP & MySQL Scaling Techniques', as well as 'Top PHP Features You Didn't Know Existed'.

Looking forward to it. Perhaps see some of you there!

Current Music: Heavy Traffic Ahead - Earl Scruggs

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Help me choose ... Wii vs. Xbox 360

Ok, so yes, I'm putting this out there to get input from the loving masses that read my blog. Please leave me comments here. I'm curious in other's thoughts.

I'm torn. I've decided that this Christmas I wanna 'ask Santa' for either an Xbox 360, or a Wii. And everytime I think I make a decision, I see something else and change my mind.

For those that don't know me 'as a gamer' as well, let me explain ...

I'm a 30-something low-core gamer (0-10 hours a week). I also have for a long time now, followed a 'scheme' of always buying a gaming system after it's been out a few years, when not only is it cheaper, but all the games for it are cheaper. I also decided a while back that I was tired of dealing with the upgrade cycle to get PC games to play, so stopped playing them.

I went from my Nintendo NES (kept it for a long time while doing PC games), to buying a Dreamcast, just a few months before they stopped making them. It was great, because all the accessories/games/etc dropped down really cheap. I was buying a couple games a week at $5 a pop.

I then, now a year or two ago, bought a Gamecube at a yardsale for $50 (including games/controllers). I've really enjoyed it, and I still find good 'cheap games' for it. There are still a few 'killer games' I wanna get for it, so it's not a dead console in my mind, in fact, with the release of the Wii, games for the Cube will start dropping in price more probably.

(Oh, and I do still have my NES, and an Atari 2600 hooked up as well)

So, Why am I looking at an Xbox 360, or a Wii?

A few reasons. First of all, I actually tried to get a 'free Xbox' a while back, just before the Xbox 360 came out. I figured that it was about time for the Xbox games to start getting cheaper. Well, I never ended up getting it. But I was choosing Xbox over PS2 because of it having some great games that I really wanted to play ... also because of it's graphics 'on the average game' being better.

Once the 360 was out, and I started seeing it in stores, and seeing demos online/etc ... I was floored. The graphics are absolutely AMAZING. I mean AMAZING ... and I've got this HDTV sitting there running DVDs and crappy ReplayTV video right now. The idea of getting an 'old Xbox' stopped appealing to me. Plus hey, I could still buy 'old games' (some of them at least) and play them on the 360. I liked that idea.

Then, here comes the Wii. The Wii has alot going for it (unfortunately not the name). I think that the controller, if it works, is amazing. I can't wait for sword fighting games, for 3rd person shooters where you point and click, etc. I think it will be fun. On top of that, I think my wife would enjoy playing alot of the Wii games, for the 'simple interface' aspect. On top of that, I think my ~2 year old son, would probably get a kick out of some of the games, even while he is a bit young to understand how to use an Xbox/GameCube/etc controller, if he can hold a Wiimote in his hands and move it around, and see that the screen is doing something in response. He 'might' have a blast.

On top of that, I just realized (I'm sure it's been out for a while, but it was news to me), that the Wii is completely GameCube backwards compatible. It will play all of the games, it has a side panel that opens and accepts a GameCube memory card, and GameCube controllers. This is great, since it means I could actually retire the GameCube (ie, not need to keep it hooked up as well, which I will want to do if I get the 360). Also, my GameCube's laser focus is starting to go, and I've already had to adjust the power level up twice on it. It might eventually totally go. At which point I'd need a replacement anyway.

Oh, and I love that the Wii uses regular SD cards for memory, that's brilliant, especially since I'm an SD card house ... We have 2 digital cameras that use SD cards, MP3 players that use them, SD card readers for the computers, GPS devices that use them, etc.

So, as I think you can see, I'm torn. Really torn.


Xbox 360:
  • AMAZING Graphics.
  • Well 'burned in' by now.
  • Lots of great games, and more coming.
  • Prices on games dropping.
  • Can play 'some' Xbox games.
  • $400 or cheaper (sales) to get going.

  • Innovative interface.
  • Potentially fun for whole family.
  • SD cards for memory.
  • GameCube Compatible.
  • $250 to get going
  • Con: Brand New, Completely Untested
So, what do you think? Given my situation, what would you do? Get 360? Get Wii? Heck, or wait even longer and just keep enjoying my GameCube as I currently am?

Please leave me comments for advice and your own thoughts.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Todo lists & Weekends

Well, in the spirit of this blog just including anything/everything ... I wanted to rant a little bit about something that seems to regularly happen to me.

You see, I have a big todo list that I keep for myself and I'm always behind getting to anything on it it seems nowadays. In fact, it got so big and complicated, that I spent like 5 hours Friday night writing myself some software to actually handle managing it.

And that's a good lead-in to the entire weekend. Since in the end I got very little (if anything) done on my todo list ... however at the same time, I got LOTS done.

After Friday's nights 'reorganizing', I proceeded to wake up Saturday and suddenly remembered that I had logs meant to be turned into lumber sitting in my shed, and when I last pulled one out for an SCA demo recently I discovered it had termites in it. Great, in the wooden shed. So I went out in the morning to clean up the shed and check out the damage. Pulled out a bunch of logs (and some old lumber), and discovered that in the back corner of the shed where there termites where in the log, that a squirrel had made a nest, and that was holding moisture, which is what invited the termites. So, I cleaned all that out.

Then I didn't want to put all those logs back in there, to potentially become food again. So I decided that I needed to turn them into lumber, now. But, I needed a way to cut them (they were big), so a phone call later, I was on my way down to Harbor Freight to buy a $25 attachment to my chainsaw that would let me make straight cuts on the log.

We made it back home and I managed to get two of them done (out of 3), and it got dark on me. I was dead tired, so my wife and I crashed on the couch and watched a movie (Mr & Mrs Smith). Oh, I should mention, at one point during the evening, I was walking up the steps to my deck, and went through one of them to my thigh. Lovely.

Sunday morning, I realize I need to finish the other log. So back out I go, finish it up, cut some firewood, stack it all, etc. Then we make a trip out for lunch, to drop off some donated clothing, and to buy lumber to fix the deck. We get back, and I fix the deck. (At one point in the day I took a break to clean up my shop some, in expectation of working on the REAL project I was supposed to be doing this weekend ... making some neat 'popup' archery targets.)

It's now late again. I end up cleaning everything up, doing some basic preparations for the archery shoot in a few weeks, and then deciding that I don't have the time to make the archery targets (nor the storage space). Now tonight I'm going to do some 'computer house cleaning'.

So in the end I got TONS of stuff done. But not a single thing marked off my todo list, except for something that I decided NOT to do.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Digg.com is hiring PHP Programmers

Hey, digg.com (where I work) is looking to hire some high-quality PHP programmers. We are growing fast, have great ideas we want to implement, and need some more hands to do it quickly.

Basic requirements would be:
  • 5+ years of Web Programming
  • 3+ years of PHP programming with EXCELLENT demonstrated skill
  • Ability to pick up and run with something on your own without needing hand-holding, as well as ability to work within a team on bigger projects
  • Experience with version control software (such as CVS/SVN)
  • Strong database/SQL experience (MySQL specific a plus)
  • Good Javascript (with AJAX) skills
  • Willing to work in San Francisco.
If you are interested, go ahead and send your application/resume to: jobs @ digg.com ... Oh, and tell them that you heard about it from Eli ;)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

BTW, folks from the conference ...

Oh, I meant to add this before and didn't. While at the conference I met many really nice people and had great conversations, but two specifically stand out. One was Clint Thayer who was a fellow computer gamer, and works for the University of Wisconsin as a Lead Developer.

Second was Wez Furlong one of the core developers of PHP, who also works now for OmniTI which happens to be in Columbia, MD. So by pure luck of the draw, we ended up on the same flight out, so got to the waiting area at almost the same time, sat and chatted, and then fate ended up giving us seats next to each other on the flight over.

Anyway, not much more to say other than these are two nice guys I ran into in my travel, and had some good conversations with.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back from Conference

Made it back fine from the php|works conference this last week. It was a really good conference. Lots of top notch presenters and really good presentations. Also lots of good folks to meet, chat with, brainstorm, and so on.

Looking forward to the next conference DCphp, although I get a bit of a break inbetween now. That's good. I've just spent 2 of the last 3 weeks away from home.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Off to Toronto

Well, I'm off in the morning to the php|works conference in Toronto ... Perhaps will see some of you blog readers there!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Book & Conferences

Well, my book got added to diggtheblog, and then subsequently someone posted it to digg.com ... Sales on Amazon took off, and at one point it was ranked #6000 of book sales. Not bad for a technical book on PHP!

Also, I wanted to let people know about my conference schedule ... I'm presenting at 3 conferences in the next few months ... they are:

PHP|works - Toronto
Sept 12th-15th

DCPHP - Washington DC
Oct 18th-20th

Zend/PHP Con - San Jose
Oct 30th-Nov 2nd