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Using GitHub for things other than code

At SunshinePHP in January, Elizabeth Naramore gave a talk on how GitHub uses GitHub internally for projects that may or may not involve code. For example, all requests for sponsorship are turned into issues, which are tracked, tagged and labeled.

After this talk, I decided to create repositories for the purpose of tracking bugs in my books. The idea was that I would have a place to track the issues, and that readers would be able to file their issues with the books in a place that most of us are familiar with using and interacting already. No writer is perfect, and no book is published without bugs, so it seemed like a win for everybody.


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Ever since releasing Mastering Object Oriented PHP in December, PHP developers have had an easy and straightforward way to learn how to write better object oriented PHP. It is possible to write better object oriented PHP; Mastering Object Oriented PHP can help!


Apple Breaks The Internet Temporarily


Like many people, I upgraded my iPhone to iOS 6 this afternoon. The update for me wasn’t all that exciting, being that I’m on the Death Star network, but it was still worthwhile to upgrade for the Do Not Disturb features.

Shortly after updating, it seems that the wifi connectivity stopped working for me, as well as for lots of other people all over the world. Many people got a screen, similar to what they see when they log in on a wireless network that requires payment or agreement to certain terms and conditions. It appears that whatever URL the iPhone utilizes to determine whether or not connection to the outside world is established was returning a 404 error – not what the iPhone expected, and thus resulting in the display of the Log In screen.


Flight Time Tracking In The 21st Century

Every pilot works hard to maintain good records of their flight time. Besides being expensive to obtain, the FAA requires that flight time of a certain nature be logged and available for inspection, should it ever be required or questioned. The pertinent regulation gives a description of what information must be logged, but leaves the method up to the individual pilot.

Being a bit of a technologist, I wanted a system for logging flight data that would give me maximum flexibility for manipulating the statistics. And so, my own version of an online flight log was born. I built it using Playdoh, Mozilla’s Django-Plus framework. The application is a very simple CRUD application, but it’s not the input of data that’s interesting; it’s the way it’s displayed.


An XSS Vulnerability In The Making

Back in September, Socorro received a security bug relating to the method we were using for processing inputs for the duration of certain reports. The vulnerability included a proof of concept, with an alert box popping up on production when the link was followed.

The Vulnerability


We The State, Not We The People

By now, most if not all of us have seen the graphic images from UC Davis, where students were pepper sprayed at point blank range by two officers of the campus police force. These images have become more and more commonplace in our society, which is quite sad. The news seems more and more consistently filled with stories of police actions that cross the boundaries of what we might consider acceptable, and the reality is that technology has made it easier to catch these officers “in the act.” But what is terribly heinous is not the actions themselves (though they are); it is the systematic setting of internal policies that allow these activities to take place – and often, go unpunished.

A few months ago, I had the privilege of serving on a jury. The case was simple: a single misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. The facts were equally simple: the defendant, after walking out of a bar, was struck by another man who had just left a different bar. Bouncers from the second bar immediately forced the assailant into the parking lot, and made sure that the defendant was alright. After a few minutes, he proceeded to the parking lot to get his car; the assailant again assaulted him. The defendant this time defended himself; he easily overpowered the assailant and by the time the police arrived, had the altercation well in hand.


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