Learning PHP: Get Started Using PHP

This PHP tutorial will guide you through the process of learning and using PHP, preparing you with some fundamental knowledge to get you started in the right path. We will talk about the history of PHP, create a local development environment (so that you won’t need a web server) and create a basic PHP script while discussing common beginner PHP gotchas along the way.
Introduction

In the beginning, there was nothing. Well, there were static web pages that had to be edited manually. That was a pain. And it didn’t do anything other than display text and images on a web page.

With the introduction of PHP/FI (Personal Homepage Tools) in 1995, everything changed. It became possible to create dynamic web applications that generated content on-the-fly and allowed users to interact with the once static web pages.

When Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP/FI, decided to release the source code of his project, the development went even faster.

Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski joined the project in 1997 and started working on PHP 3.0 as the official successor of PHP/FI. The development of PHP/FI was mostly halted. PHP 3.0 (which is a recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) was officially released in June 1998.

Shortly after the release, Andi and Zeev were already working on a rewrite of PHP’s core. It was finished in mid-1999 and the new engine, dubbed Zend Engine (comprised of parts of their first names, Zeev and Andi), was a huge success.

PHP 4.0, based on the new Zend engine, was officially released in May 2000.

After four long years, PHP 5.0 was released introducing a new object model and dozens of other new features. In 2010, PHP 5.3.1 is the latest stable release.


by Elias Zerrouq

Learning PHP: Get Started Using PHP

This PHP tutorial will guide you through the process of learning and using PHP, preparing you with some fundamental knowledge to get you started in the right path. We will talk about the history of PHP, create a local development environment (so that you won’t need a web server) and create a basic PHP script while discussing common beginner PHP gotchas along the way.

Introduction

In the beginning, there was nothing. Well, there were static web pages that had to be edited manually. That was a pain. And it didn’t do anything other than display text and images on a web page.

With the introduction of PHP/FI (Personal Homepage Tools) in 1995, everything changed. It became possible to create dynamic web applications that generated content on-the-fly and allowed users to interact with the once static web pages.

When Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP/FI, decided to release the source code of his project, the development went even faster.

Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski joined the project in 1997 and started working on PHP 3.0 as the official successor of PHP/FI. The development of PHP/FI was mostly halted. PHP 3.0 (which is a recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) was officially released in June 1998.

Shortly after the release, Andi and Zeev were already working on a rewrite of PHP’s core. It was finished in mid-1999 and the new engine, dubbed Zend Engine (comprised of parts of their first names, Zeev and Andi), was a huge success.

PHP 4.0, based on the new Zend engine, was officially released in May 2000.

After four long years, PHP 5.0 was released introducing a new object model and dozens of other new features. In 2010, PHP 5.3.1 is the latest stable release. Leer más “Learning PHP: Get Started Using PHP”

Why People Pleasers Get Hit By Trains

n the hit film Inception Leonardo DiCaprio plays a man who can enter peoples’ dreams to steal corporate secrets. At one point (spoiler coming) he enters a businessman’s dream and is driving down a city street in a parade of cars when a 300-ton freight train juggernauts out of a side road and smashes into the lead car taking vehicles, asphalt and everything else with it….

If you are a people pleaser, then not only are you in a dream-world where you think others control you, but you are also in that lead car. And each time you give in to someone and compromise your dreams you get hit…hard.

In this article I’m going to introduce several ‘truths’ about the mindset that leads to people pleasing, the repercussions, and what you can do about it to keep yourself ‘on track’ (and the trains decommissioned or left in the sidings). [Más…]

Truth 1:

It’s your train

Train, of course, is a metaphor for negative, unhelpful attitudes, beliefs and thinking patterns which ‘derail you’ from your chosen course of action. But unlike British Rail, or the New York Metro, you actually own these ‘trains’. I know it seems that they just career out of no-where and smash into your conscious but all that’s about to change. It’s time to apply the emergency break!

Try stepping back (mentally) and asking yourself:

* Do I have to tolerate this thinking pattern any longer than necessary?
* How long before I step up and take control of what I already own?
* Am I’m willing to claim ownership now?

‘People pleasing’ often comes from believing that other people have more authority than you; that when it comes down to the deciding vote between you and them – they have the final say. This is a thinking process often referred to as a meta-program – a set of instructions that operate meta – above’ – what you are consciously aware of. You can become aware of them, but most people don’t.

So unless you have taken ownership of your ‘train’ it will continue to ‘hit you’ without you knowing where or when to expect it.

Think of it this way. When you have a problem with someone else, when you call them a bully or an enemy your problem is not just with them. It is with your concept of them. You are classifying them and rejecting them according to your mental model of how they are behaving. Geddit?

Therefore, you have the power to reclassify people in your head. Recently, I decided I would not use the concept ‘enemy’ any more as it prevented me from looking at the situation objectively (I know all perception is subjective, but it helps me to think this way!)

As I did this, I remembered something I’d been taught: “People are not the problem, it’s the frames….” And remembering that all that stands between us is a difference of opinion and as a difference opinion doesn’t necessarily make someone ‘evil’ or someone to avoid, I feel a lot freer in my head. And I don’t hear the sound of a train approaching…!

Truth 2:


In the hit film Inception Leonardo DiCaprio plays a man who can enter peoples’ dreams to steal corporate secrets. At one point (spoiler coming) he enters a businessman’s dream and is driving down a city street in a parade of cars when a 300-ton freight train juggernauts out of a side road and smashes into the lead car taking vehicles, asphalt and everything else with it….

If you are a people pleaser, then not only are you in a dream-world where you think others control you, but you are also in that lead car. And each time you give in to someone and compromise your dreams you get hit…hard.

In this article I’m going to introduce several ‘truths’ about the mindset that leads to people pleasing, the repercussions, and what you can do about it to keep yourself ‘on track’ (and the trains decommissioned or left in the sidings). Leer más “Why People Pleasers Get Hit By Trains”

Bouncing a Ball Around with HTML5 and JavaScript

As many of you right now, the element is one of the most popular additions to the HTML5 standards. It is widely supported by popular browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera (Internet Explorer supports it in their IE9 beta version). This guide will explore the use of HTML5’s element through a fun example: bouncing a blue ball around.

Final Result

Final Result

View Demo

Download Source
An Overview of HTML5’s Canvas

The tag primarily allows you to render 2D shapes and images dynamically using math functions. Practical uses for this are things such as dynamic charts that are populated by data from a relational database like MySQL or web games that rely solely on open technologies (JavaScript/HTML).

While in HTML merely allows you to define a region in terms of width and height, everything else related to the actual drawing of the shapes is done through JavaScript via a full set of drawing functions and methods (collectively known as the Canvas 2D API).

So that we may explore the element through a hands-on approach, we will create a ball that will be bouncing around using HTML5 specifications and JavaScript.

Note that we will skip CSS because this guide is about HTML5 and JavaScript. CSS doesn’t play a part in the appearance and functionality of the bouncing ball, so we don’t need to discuss it.


by Vinci Rufu

Bouncing a Ball Around with HTML5 and JavaScript

As many of you right now, the <canvas> element is one of the most popular additions to the HTML5 standards. It is widely supported by popular browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera (Internet Explorer supports it in their IE9 beta version). This guide will explore the use of HTML5’s <canvas> element through a fun example: bouncing a blue ball around.

Final Result

Final Result

View Demo

Download Source

An Overview of HTML5’s Canvas

The <canvas> tag primarily allows you to render 2D shapes and images dynamically using math functions. Practical uses for this are things such as dynamic charts that are populated by data from a relational database like MySQL or web games that rely solely on open technologies (JavaScript/HTML).

While <canvas> in HTML merely allows you to define a region in terms of width and height, everything else related to the actual drawing of the shapes is done through JavaScript via a full set of drawing functions and methods (collectively known as the Canvas 2D API).

So that we may explore the <canvas> element through a hands-on approach, we will create a ball that will be bouncing around using HTML5 specifications and JavaScript.

Note that we will skip CSS because this guide is about HTML5 and JavaScript. CSS doesn’t play a part in the appearance and functionality of the bouncing ball, so we don’t need to discuss it. Leer más “Bouncing a Ball Around with HTML5 and JavaScript”

10 Must Read Tips for Newbie Freelancers

# Start an Emergency Fund – New freelancers will soon learn that work comes and goes, and when it goes, it might be gone for a while. Prepare yourselves for those times when the fridge breaks, the car goes on the fritz or you have to travel to a funeral by stowing away some cash. Begin with a $1,000 emergency fund and build it up every year. When you use some of it, make it a priority to put it back as soon as possible.
# Build a Portfolio – Assemble some of your best work in an attractive format to distribute to potential clients. It’s hard to convince someone to hire you without showing them the kind of work you can do. Depending on what you have to show, figure on a couple hundred dollars or more to get this done right.

New freelancers often have set their sights on ambitious goals: how well your life goes now depends solely on you. Among your new challenges are project management, bookkeeping, time management and relationship building. So while freelancing can be perceived somewhat romantically, the reality is often quite far removed from the original dream.

To avoid the pitfalls of the freelance life, apply these 8 must read tips to your business and start off in the right direction!


Photo credit: PureGrey

New freelancers often have set their sights on ambitious goals: how well your life goes now depends solely on you. Among your new challenges are project management, bookkeeping, time management and relationship building. So while freelancing can be perceived somewhat romantically, the reality is often quite far removed from the original dream.

To avoid the pitfalls of the freelance life, apply these 8 must read tips to your business and start off in the right direction! Leer más “10 Must Read Tips for Newbie Freelancers”

5 Motivational Tips to Get You Through the Day

That help really makes a big difference.

So how did it go for my colleague?
He started by getting out of the office and taking a walk. He then sat down and made an action plan listing rewards for finished tasks. He knew he wanted to complete the goal and was going to do everything in his power to complete it.
He got back to work and after 3 hours of hard work had made a dozen great calls, lined up some potential customers but still not made a sale.
He felt he was slipping back into his apathy, so he called his wife. She talked to him, listened to him and spurred him on.

When they hung up he had renewed his energy and got back to work. 1 hour later he had made a close and his confidence came rushing back.

2 weeks later he was back on course and on his was to break his personal best.


Photo Credit: The Pirata

Your motivation is what pushed you to succeed and determines to a large degree if you are going to succeed or fail. But even the most motivated person needs a little extra help sometimes.

When the going gets tough these 5 tips can help you turn the day around and get you back on track.

Getting out of a cold streak
 I recall using these techniques with one of my salesmen; he was having a really bad week and was on the verge of just giving up, working just meant another rejection anyway.

At the beginning of the month we had set the goal that he was going to make two sales a week and agreed upon a very nice reward if he made it.

He was still motivated, as he really wanted the reward, but just couldn’t focus and get hungry about his work.

We went through these 5 tips (I will share the results with you below):

•    Focus on Your Goals
Your motivation stands in direct relationship to how clear your goals are, they are the source of your motivation. When you feel down, focus on them, visualize them and think about how great it will be once you have completed them.

•    Reward Yourself for Finishing Tasks
This is a great technique. Whenever you finish a task or complete a goal, give yourself a reward.
It can be a cup of coffee, a 10 minute break, a weekend away…. Anything that gets you motivated.
By doing this you train yourself to want to complete the goals and tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible, you will work hard to complete your goals, get the reward and move on the next. Always remember though, make sure you do the job well, you don’t want to have to go back and redo the task you already thought was finished.

•    Take a Short Walk
Sometimes you need a break, to clear your mind and get yourself back on track. Taking a walk is a great way to sort your thoughts and refocus.

•    Remember That When You Are Done, You Are Done
By this I mean that once you have done everything you need to do during the day, you are finished and can go home. That gives me a burst of motivation every time the day starts to feel long, it is up to me to make it go quickly so I can relax.

•    Call a Loved One for Inspiration
Sometimes we cannot do it alone. Make sure to find a friend or loved one who can help you when you need motivation, who you can call and who you know will tell you that you can do it and that they know you are great.

Leer más “5 Motivational Tips to Get You Through the Day”

The power of the symbolic world: Why burning the Quran is so disturbing Why is burning the Quran a symbolic threat?

As discussed in some of my previous posts, there is a very large body of empirical research in support of this basic position. When people are reminded of health vulnerabilities and physical limitations, they cling to the symbolic world (e.g., become more religious and patriotic, engage in efforts to feel more socially significant).

Returning to the specific issues of the Quran burning, in 1995 Jeff Greenberg, a professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, and colleagues published a series of experiments testing specifically this idea that cultural symbols are important because they help us cope with our awareness of physical vulnerability. In these experiments, participants completed some questionnaires that they were told measured personality. In one of these measures, they were asked to write down their thoughts about death or a control topic (a non-death related topic). Then they were given a problem-solving task. Successful completion of the task required the inappropriate use of a cultural symbol. For example, in one task, participants had to hang a picture on the wall but the only object in the room that could be used to hammer in the nail was a crucifix. Participants who had previously been asked to write about death took longer to resort to using the crucifix as a hammer than participants who did not write about death. These participants also tried to come up with more alternative means of hanging the picture and expressed more reluctance about using the crucifix in that manner. In another study, similar findings were observed when participants had to damage an American flag to resolve the presented problem.


When questioned about the backlash that may result from the planned Quran burning, the Rev Terry Jones pointed out that he was only burning a book. He was not killing anyone. This was a curious response. If burning a book was not that big of a deal, then it would not have been much of a stand against Islam, and thus not really worth doing. I suspect Rev Jones understands the power of symbols. He clearly wanted to make a potent statement. It does pose the question though: Why are we so protective of symbols?

Many philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists, and psychologists have pointed out that humans are uniquely symbolic creatures. We are chained to a physical reality, like all other animals. But we also have the capacity for imaginative and symbolic thought. The anthropologist Ernest Becker nicely illustrated this with the example of water. Water is part of the physical world and a critical component of our physical existence. But humans are the only animals that symbolize water (as H20) and, critically, the only animals that magically empower water (by blessing it and making it holy).

Look at the diverse tapestry of human cultural life. We go to great lengths to fashion a symbolic world. If you don’t believe in the power of symbols, try attending a local sporting event wearing the jersey of a rival team. In certain places, this little experiment could be a rather painful lesson in how important the symbolic world is to humans.

But the question is still unanswered. Why is the symbolic world so important to us? Many scholars have argued that the symbolic world is critical to humans because we are smart enough to fully understand the implications of being physical beings. We understand that life is fragile, we often have little control over it (e.g., I could be hit by a bus tomorrow or a tumor could be growing in me right now), and, critically, it is finite. However, the same advanced intellect that allows us to contemplate the grim reality of physical existence also allows us to construct a symbolic world.

With the construction of a symbolic world we can ease the pain of understanding our physical limitations; that we are merely, as Becker asserted, worms and food for worms. That is, we create a cultural world of meaning in which humans are not merely animals, but are symbolic entities. We are part of something larger and more enduring than our physical existence. In other words, in the symbolic world we can be immortal. Each of us will die, maybe even tomorrow, but our religions will live on. Our nations will live on. Even our favorite sports teams will live on. If we are lucky, our names may even live on through enduring societal contributions. In short, we invest heavily in the symbolic cultural institutions and identifications, in part, because they help insulate us from basic fears about our mortal predicament. Leer más “The power of the symbolic world: Why burning the Quran is so disturbing Why is burning the Quran a symbolic threat?”

Building a Marketing Strategy for Innovation Efforts

We’ve covered features, and the spectrum of innovation initiatives in our previous posts, so now let’s touch on a topic central to successful idea or innovation challenges- marketing. Properly implemented, marketing will ensure a robust social community is developed and most importantly, sustained.

It’s important to define and understand the target audience of an individual campaign or idea generating initiative before beginning any marketing effort. In general, campaigns will be either internal, employee-facing campaigns, or externally-facing to customers, targeted groups, or the general public.

Used internally, campaigns leverage the collective wisdom of employees to drive innovation. This can happen among small, cross-functional, groups, entire departments, or company-wide. Marketing a campaign to an internal audience should be targeted, utilizing existing channels of communication such as intranet portals and direct email communications. Take into account the role and functions of employees to determine the most effective means of communication—the marketing approach for factory-floor workers, for example, might be different than for software product managers.

When using idea management tools to power a public-facing campaign or initiative, it’s important to narrow down who the audience will be (much like determining targeted vs. broad-spectrum campaigns) to focus efforts and still stay as broad as possible to encourage maximum participation. Identifying where the audience can be reached—social networks, blogs, through print advertising, etc. – setting a budget, and setting and communicating expectations internally are all key factors to developing a productive community with active, sustained participation.

Here are some ways to think about how to market an ideation site campaign, and real-world examples of successful initiatives, broken down into three categories: Big Splash, Continuous Communication, and Get Creative.


by James Pasmantier

Marketing StrategyWe’ve covered features, and the spectrum of innovation initiatives in our previous posts, so now let’s touch on a topic central to successful idea or innovation challenges- marketing. Properly implemented, marketing will ensure a robust social community is developed and most importantly, sustained.

It’s important to define and understand the target audience of an individual campaign or idea generating initiative before beginning any marketing effort. In general, campaigns will be either internal, employee-facing campaigns, or externally-facing to customers, targeted groups, or the general public.

Used internally, campaigns leverage the collective wisdom of employees to drive innovation. This can happen among small, cross-functional, groups, entire departments, or company-wide. Marketing a campaign to an internal audience should be targeted, utilizing existing channels of communication such as intranet portals and direct email communications. Take into account the role and functions of employees to determine the most effective means of communication—the marketing approach for factory-floor workers, for example, might be different than for software product managers.

When using idea management tools to power a public-facing campaign or initiative, it’s important to narrow down who the audience will be (much like determining targeted vs. broad-spectrum campaigns) to focus efforts and still stay as broad as possible to encourage maximum participation. Identifying where the audience can be reached—social networks, blogs, through print advertising, etc. – setting a budget, and setting and communicating expectations internally are all key factors to developing a productive community with active, sustained participation.

Here are some ways to think about how to market an ideation site campaign, and real-world examples of successful initiatives, broken down into three categories: Big Splash, Continuous Communication, and Get Creative. Leer más “Building a Marketing Strategy for Innovation Efforts”