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Ninjas are deadly. Chipmunk Ninjas are just weird.
About this blog
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Marc Wandschneider is a professional software developer with well over fifteen years of industry experience (yes, he really is that old). He travels the globe working on interesting projects and gives talks at conferences and trade shows whenever possible.

My Publications:

My book, "Core Web Application Programming with PHP and MySQL" is now available everywhere, including

My "PHP and MySQL LiveLessons" DVD Series has just been published by Prentice-Hall, and can be purchased on Amazon, through Informit, or Safari


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cncool wrote:

GLint zeroOpacity = 0;
[[self openGLContext] setValues:&zeroOpacity forParameter:NSOpenGLCPS...
Posted to: Things I've learned about CoreImage (and Quartz, and OpenGL) in two weeks
Dec 31, 2008 | 11:33:31
My iPhone is dead, long live - no wait, it's just dead
By marcwan

In a reasonably recent article, I chronicled the purchase and subsequent untimely loss (via theft) of my first generation iPhone. While expensive and unfortunate, this had the nice side effect of giving me the chance to buy a second generation – 3G – iPhone to play around with some more.

Having had it for over two months now, I’ve been quite pleased with it, although the battery life leaves something to be desired. The 16G of storage and the better internationalisation support are huge enough sells on their own for me.

Given that the iPhone dev-team hasn’t cracked the 3G baseband yet and that I have been using such a non-cracked phone here in China for many weeks now, I was under the assumption that I was using an unlocked Hong Kong 3G iPhone, and could upgrade it as I wished to use it around the world.

It turns out I was wrong. Spectacularly so. Last night, after upgrading the phone to the 2.2 firmware (and therefore the 2.28.00 baseband), I now have an iPod Touch, with a permanent “No Signal” in the upper left corner. What happened? I do not, it seems, have an unlocked phone, but instead there’s a little shim SIM card inside the phone which does the unlocking for you, but only for specific basebands. While I can’t quite see which one I have, it clearly doesn’t like the 2.2 release’s new baseband, and stopped working entirely.

So, I have two choices:

  1. Given that new 2.2-enabled shim SIM cards are coming out, I can go to the same place I purchased the phone sometime later this week hopefully and get a new shim card to re-enable my China Mobile SIM card.
  2. I can otherwise wait for the dev-team to crack the 2.2 firmware’s 2.28.00 baseband, which will likely take a while, as they’ve only recently cracked the 2.11.07, and haven’t actually released that yet.

I could have avoided all of this by only updating the firmware and not the baseband, but that would have required understanding exactly what I had in my phone. Whoops.

[Read Rest of Article]
Dec 29, 2008 | 03:00:51
2008: The year that PHP nearly died
By marcwan

PHP started 2008 out on a roaring positive note. With adoption of PHP 4 finally dropping off to barely perceptible levels (apart from the occasional user complaining about how great things were in the good ole’ days and why do we have to change and – hey, get off my lawn you punk kids), PHP 5 had truly joined the big leagues, and the main complaint about the language shifted from it being be a quirky language with horrific (potential) security holes like register globals and klunky HTTP_POST_VAR arrays to it being a quirky language with crappy Unicode support. Talk about PHP 6, already quite vocal in the second half of 2007, was reaching a fever pitch, and some overly zealous people even started publishing books based on only some white-papers and vague ideas of what it would look like.

Along came March, however, and PHP 6 was nowhere to be seen. At conferences, questions from attendees and developers about rough guestimates for a final release dates were met with awkward coughs, sideways glances, and the inevitable “it will ship when it’s ready” response. When asked what they were working on, many people pointed out how focused they were on PHP 5.3 and near-term releases.

In fact, the more you looked, the farther and farther PHP 6 seemed to get, and the community suddenly got very quiet. As summer rolled around, much of the mindshare and energy seemed to be switching to framework development, as companies such as Zend realised they weren’t going to make money selling PHP and related IDEs alone, and other big name developers found themselves having to work to make money. News on the PHP website was hard to come by and limited largely to conference announcements.

While the rest of the web development community started to get excited about developments in new and exciting languages such as Ruby, Erlang, or even Python, PHP was starting to feel decidedly stale and old. The blogosphere went on one of its periodic “PHP sucks” campaigns, and loyalists found themselves on the defensive, trying to explain the whole needle-haystack / haystack-needle thing again and again. Late in the summer, a pretty alert colleague with whom I develop sites even commented that “PHP’s dying. It might be time to look at other options.” Throw in a non-trivial amount of bad press that MySQL seemed to be receiving after its merger with Sun Microsystems along with the latter’s subsequent mismanagement of employees and community, and it was beginning to look like time to worry about people jumping off the PHP/MySQL platform ship.

As the year grew old, however, and PHP 6 looked like a depressing myth, something interesting happened: PHP 5.3 started to gel together and enter alpha-release. Many features that had originally been planned for version 6 had been pushed forward into this release, including namespaces (including the much-derieded \ syntax), some international support, and some better math functionality.

Indeed, many of the non-vague or extremely optimistic features of PHP 6 will be showing up in this release, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see PHP 6 completely rebooted as a new branch and new project based on the current 5.3 line. Looking more closely, you’ll see that there were many of the same people this year quietly working behind the scenes on the project, developing and adding new features, and advocating in favour of the platform. People are still developing for PHP in huge numbers, and the language’s sheer productivity and ease of use make a compelling argument even in the face of sexier or more innovative-seeming languages.

With the arrival of 2009, and the pending release of PHP 5.3, one can feel the excitement in the air. With namespaces, closures, and continually improving i18n support (which is already workable, if not optimal), there is no reason to doubt that PHP will continue to be a dominant platform for years to come. Rest assured the language isn’t dead or dying. It just took a breather for a few months.

Happy 2009 to everybody, whatever platform you use!

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