After searching a rather long time and not finding anything, I decided to publish my own list of URLs as a plain text file, one URL per line.

As I do development, I sometimes need plain text files of test data. I can find Lipsum galore, placeholder photos of Bill Murry, lists of words, plain text files of varying sizes, even a place to dispose of your data (yes, trash can as a service), but I’ll be damned if I can find a single text file full of URLs. So I made my own plain text file of URLs. I hope you find this useful 🙂

You know the problem… “We’d like users to be able to authenticate using Facebook so they don’t have to create an account on our system.”

Here at Secret Source Ltd we do lots and lots of WordPress development and lately, nearly every project has required some sort of Facebook integration, the ability to log in with your Facebook account in particular. Fortunately there are multiple plugins to help you with that. We’re quite fond of the Nextend Facebook Connect plugin as it is very easy to configure and includes clear instructions on how to create a Facebook app and get everything working like a charm.

For me, though, there has always been one particular point of pain that none of these plugins have figured out how to work around: unless you want to be responsible for a Facebook app for your client’s logins, your client needs to give you THEIR Facebook credentials so you can login AS THEM to create and configure the Facebook login app.

However, I recently figured out a way around this. I know I may be late to the party but I’ve been unable to find this approach documented anywhere, or maybe I just didn’t search hard enough.

The approach is as follows:

  1. Log in to the Facebook Developer portal as yourself.
  2. Create a new app and configure it for your client, using their logo, domain, and everything.
  3. Go to Roles -> Administrators -> Add Administrators and add your client as an administrator. Note that you and your client do not need to be friends in order for you to add them, but you will need to know either their Facebook ID or Facebook “username”.

Once your client accepts your invitation to be an administrator, they can then go to the Roles tab and remove YOU from the list of administrators. The app is now THEIRS and your job is done! Note that if needed, the client can always add you back as an administrator.

This, to me, seems like a very reasonable way to have set this up and I can, for once, say I am quite happy with Facebook’s developer tools.

System Configuration

I have a CentOS 7 host machine with two KVM guests:

  1. Smoothwall 3.1
  2. Ubuntu 14.04

The Smoothwall is configured RED+GREEN+ORANGE with three separate network interfaces. The RED and GREEN interfaces are connected via bridged Macvtap with virtio drivers to two separate host interfaces (enp5s0 and enp6s0) which, in turn, are connected to two physical network cards on the machine. ORANGE is connected to a guest-only virtual switch. RED is connected to another network / gateway that connects the Smoothwall to the Internet, same as the host interface on the same card (but with different IP addresses – the RED is static, entered manually and the host is dynamic – DHCP).

After a restart of the host, all machines, host and guests, have all of the expected network connectivity, and everything just works.

The Problem

Where I live we experience periodic Internet outages lasting from a second or two to several minutes. Every time there is an outage the RED interface loses all connectivity, both inbound and outbound, once connectivity to the host has been restored (and possibly during the outage).

Following the loss of connectivity, in the host Settings -> Network control panel the interface associate with RED (Macvtap0), which is normally visible and editable, is still visible but it’s options cannot be changed as the Options button is missing. Also, the ON/OFF button is missing too. Furthermore, it no longer has anything more than a MAC address (normally it has both a MAC and an IPV6 address).

Control Panel Before Outage

Macvtap working properly

Control Panel After Outage

Macvtap failing

I’ve tried changing the driver (virtio, rtl8139, e1000, etc.) and I’ve tried changing the physical hardware but neither change has altered the behavior so I’m pretty sure it’s something in the Macvtap software that’s failing (or misconfigured).

The Solution?

There are multiple articles and bug reports that seem to indicate that this can be repaired by enabling promiscuous mode on the interface, but I tried that (sudo ifconfig Macvtap0 promisc) to no avail. Maybe I needed to toggle the interface (ifup or something like that?)

I’m new to WordPress development and recently found myself needing to create a secondary query using WP_Query. The Codex has a pretty good introduction to querying WordPress using WP_Query but no where, not even in the new Developer documentation, do they say that you MUST call the_post() inside the loop. If you fail to call the_post(), you may get the error “Fatal error: Maximum function nesting level of ‘100’ reached, aborting!”

To the documentation team’s credit, they do point out that if you fail to call the_post(), many template tags will fail to function as expected. Also, in a few places they do mention that the_post() increments the internal counter by one. It makes me wonder why have_posts() doesn’t just call the_post() internally and be done with it…

I lost hours trying to figure this out. And just for the sake of completeness, here is a full example of what WordPress needs to properly execute a loop as a secondary query (and it matters not that this is against a custom post type):

$my_query = new WP_Query( $args );

while( $my_query->have_posts() ) {

$my_query->the_post(); // does nothing visual, just sets some variables and advances the internal pointer

the_title(); // note that we do NOT use $my_query->the_title(), I have no idea why not…

}

wp_reset_postdata(); // reset the main post variable, $wp_the_post to the main query

And it should be noted that all those posts about the problem being XDebug are all just wrong. The problem is not the limit placed on the number of nested function calls (100 seems far, far more than adequate) but the fact that you’ve reach 100 in the first place.

I sincerely hope this helps others in the same situation.

Although I’ve been using XSLT on a variety of projects for nearly 10 years now, I’m still stuck using XSLT version 1.0 only processors and frequently turn to “keys” to solve complex grouping problems. A few weeks ago I was presented with a grouping problem that put my knowledge to the test and forced me to fully understand how keys work and how best to set them up. Thanks to the fabulous people on the XSL mailing list, I was given lots of valuable feedback and pointed in the right direction. I feel it’s only fair to share what I learned: the USE attribute is the XPath to the node whose data you want to use as the key (the “grouper” if you will). Furthermore, the XPath is relative to the ELEMENT in the MATCH attribute.

Normally it’s as easy as specifying an attribute to use as the key but let’s consider an example in which all the elements are the same and the only thing that uniquely identifies them is their location relative to each other. Consider a table with the following structure (TD elements with nothing below them have ROWSPANs set):

td td td td td td
td td td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
   td td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
   td td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
td td td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
   td td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
   td td td td td
td td td td td td
      td td td td
   td td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
   td td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td
      td td td td

In a KEY element, you identify the source element you wish to capture (TR in this case) in the MATCH attribute. In the USE attribute you specify an XPath statement indicating the node the matched element will belong to (be grouped by). This is fairly straight forward when the input is well defined, but in a situation like ours, where structure is the only thing we can key off of, and the structure itself is somewhat amorphous, it can be quite difficult to write the proper XPath.

Let’s say the first row is the header row. It should not be included in the output as it simply contains labels for the columns. Rather than accounting for it in the key element, we’ll simply skip it when applying templates (select="//tr[position() > 1]").

The key (or group name) for the matched elements will come from rows containing 6 or more TD elements. Specifically, the data will come from the first TD element in those rows. The XPath would be something like this ancestor-or-self::tr[count(td) >= 6]/td[1]. Unfortunately, this code only groups rows in which there are 6 or more TD elements. Rows with 5 or less TD elements are left out of the result set. For rows with 5 or less TD elements we will need to look up in document order and stop at the first row above them containing 6 or more TD elements. This is where it gets complicated… This could be solved with some sort of IF-THEN-ELSE construct but since we’re using XSLT, that’s not the best approach.

Instead, we’re going to capture ALL the potential keys above the current row and filter out the ones we don’t need.

To “look up” we use preceding-sibling: ancestor-or-self::tr/preceding-sibling::tr[count(td) >= 6]. This will give us ALL the rows with 6 TD elements preceding the currently matched row. However, we only want the row [with 6 TD elements] that immediately precedes the currently matched row, and not all of the preceding siblings. Thus we append: [position() = count(.)] which gives us the last item in the set (not exactly sure why last() doesn’t work here, but it doesn’t) followed by the first TD element in the row: /td[1].

Finally we filter out the nodes we don’t need. We do this by joining the statements via the pipe character | and enclosing the whole thing in parentheses, and from that result set we take the very last element: [last()], which is exactly the key we are looking for. Here is the final key element:

 

<xsl:key 
	name="ports-by-ship" 
	match="tr" 
	use="(ancestor-or-self::tr[count(td) &gt;= 6]/td[1] 
		| ancestor-or-self::tr/preceding-sibling::tr[count(td) &gt;= 6][position() = count(.)]/td[1])[last()]" 
/>

 

Because it’s hard to see the result of such a complex XPath, I first run the transformation using a template match on TR elements and copy-of the results to the output. That way I can see what my XPath is actually producing. Once I’ve got the set I’m looking for, I move it into a key element.

They say you don’t really know something until you can explain it to someone else. I’m not sure if I’ve succeeded in explaining it or not, but I feel like I’m much, much closer than I was when I was presented with this problem a few weeks ago.

My XML input.

My XML output.

My XSLT.

Just a quick note for those experiencing the same issue. After a fresh install of an LTSP server from the Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) alternate CD I was unable to connect from any of the thin clients. I kept getting a TFTP timeout (but DHCP was clearly working).

After checking all the variables mentioned in this article, I discovered that the filename for pxelinux.0 in /etc/ltsp/dhcpd.conf ended in .tmp as in: filename "/ltsp/i386/pxelinux.0.tmp";. I don’t know if this is a bug in the installation program or what, but removing “.tmp” worked like a charm and everything is now up and running, and I’m thrilled!

After 7 years of working as a Web Developer remotely from the island of Gran Canaria (and nearly 20 years in some IT related position), I started teaching IT to high school students here in the Canary Islands. Working with teens has been an eye-opener, to say the least…

More than 50% of my students had never used email and had never heard of Netiquette at the start of the school year. Although the curriculum from prior years included the creation of PowerPoint presentations, writing blogs, and modifying HTML, not one student knew how to set a margin or a tab in a word processing application. I was agahst! How could such gaps in basic IT knowledge be tolerated? Where was the curriculum designer? Who gave all these kids email addresses without making them take (and pass) a test on Netiquette first?

To their credit, what they did learn (creating videos, for example) they learned pretty well. Nevertheless, in the business world (and for the foreseeable future) formal business communication (contracts, proposals) takes place in writing, not video, and via email, not via Tuenti. Furthermore, these students, moreso than those who came before, absoultely MUST master computer mediated communication if they ever hope to succeed in their careers.

For these reasons I decided to conduct a series of interviews with some of my former (and present) clients, co-workers, and related software developers. In these interviews we discuss a variety of aspects of working remotely. Most of the people I spoke with coincided on one thing in particular: being able to express yourself clearly, in writing, is the deciding factor of whether or not to work with you. One of the interviewees put it this way: “I am going to quickly look for ways to eliminate 95% of [the resumes that cross my desk].” Expressing yourself poorly in writing makes you a likely target for elimination and this series of interviews is intended to drive that point home.

Now that I’ve edited down the videos and watched them all myself, I’m surprised how consistently the following themes came up:

  • There must be trust between both parties, but it’s not that hard to achieve.
  • Expressing yourself clearly and effectively in writing is crucial to your success.
  • Most problems that arise are the result of a lack of trust.

The café where I recorded most (but not all) of these interviews was my favorite corner café here in Las Palmas: Coffee Break.

The interviews that follow have been edited down to fit within the 15 minute maximum allowed by YouTube.com, but there was a lot of great stuff left on the cutting room floor… Click the names of each person to watch the video and enjoy!

Following my upgrade to Snow Leopard, Apache started producing segfaults for virtually any request. I tried reinstalling the Entroyp.ch PHP package (which doesn’t work with Snow Leopard), commenting LoadModule php5_module in /etc/apache2/httpd.conf, and a host of other things but the thing that ended up solving the problem for me was:

  1. Be sure to use the PHP that comes with Snow Leopard (leave LoadModule php5_module uncommented – don’t use the entroyp.ch package, sorry Marc!)
  2. Comment out LoadModule dav_svn_module /opt/subversion/lib/svn-apache/mod_dav_svn.so

The bottom line is, any modules that were not built against the current (Snow Leopard) version of Apache will probably cause some sort of segfault.

Since the version of PHP that comes with Snow Leopard may be missing some of your favorite extensions, here’s a link to some instructions on how to include them (untested by me): Making Snow Leopard’s PHP 5.3.0 usable in the real world

I sure hope this saves someone the 3 hours of pointless poking around that I lost this morning!

A new version of the PHP BBEdit Clipping Set is available for download (for free) immediately:

http://tedmasterweb.com/php-bbedit-clipping-set/

HIGHLIGHT: The new set contains more than 9,200 clippings (that’s about 3,000 more than the previous version).

Changes in this version
==================

– all clippings (optionally) conform as closely as possible to the Zend/PEAR style guides

– removed hundreds of duplicate clippings (mostly constants)

– removed “cruft” (primarily from Snippets and Control Structures)

– reorganized clippings into more logical folder structures

– based this set on a very recent version of the manual

– the set now includes more than 9,200 functions, constants, methods, properties, snippets, control structures and more

– added additional “interactive” functionality to some date functions (I could never remember exactly which switches to use when formatting dates)

– the set now includes class methods and properties

– renamed the clipping set to just “PHP.php” (except for the “Loose” version, see page for details)

+++

I hope you enjoy and be sure to let me know if you find any bugs or have any requests for improvement!

Sincerely,

Ted Stresen-Reuter
http://tedmasterweb.com

I’ve heard many stories about people making lots of money via Google’s AdWords and AdSense programs. Most people make this income via AdSense Arbitrage: buying AdWords for less than the income generated by the AdSense ads appearing on your site. You pocket the difference.

I don’t believe 1% of what I hear so I decided to research these claims. While researching I stumbled on Spyfu which offers a list of the most expensive keywords being used in AdWords. The astute reader familiar with Google’s AdWords and AdSense programs will immediately recognize the arbitrage opportunity.

Living in a vacation paradise, having a large selection of potential “stock” photos, knowing something about SEO, and having just received a gift certificate for 50€ in AdWords, I decided to try a little experiment. According to Spyfu.com, “hotels”, “travel”, “flights”, “rental”, “vacations”, “holidays” are among the higher paying keywords that one would associate with my collection of stock photos.

The goal is/was to spend (invest) the 50€ on AdWords at rates lower than what other advertisers are paying to have their ads appear on my site, and then hope that users either buy a license for my photographs or click on an advertisement. This is classic “arbitrage” but avoids breaking Google’s AdSense guidelines because the primary goal is to sell licenses and give users some pretty pictures to look at.

I set up a “stock photography” subsite on tedmasterweb.com with lots of pictures of landscapes here in the islands, in other parts of Europe and one of my dad’s farm outside Chicago. Nothing complicated, but fine tuned for SEO, ease of use, and directed at potential stock photo buyers or anyone who likes to look at pretty pictures of places they are going to visit.

At first the ads appearing on the site were all for financial-related things (like masters degrees and stock trading systems). I changed the subdirectory from “stock” to “stock-photography” and the ads, thankfully, changed to reflect more travel and graphic arts related offers. I also added a AdSense placement on the landing page (rather than just on the enlargement pages). These two changes improved my “conversions”. In just a couple of days I had 3 clicks on ads (whereas prior to the 50€ I went months without a single click!). This great article on another AdSense Arbitrage Experiment corroborates my findings (money can be made, but you’re likely going to lose at first).

In the end, as you might have guessed if you have any experience at all in this field, the experiment proved what any reasonable person would assume: My ROI on this so far is a loss of 48€ (plus the several hours I put in to setting everything up, which I could have billed at 70€/hour for any of my clients).

The next step, of course, will be to improve the quality of the textual content on each page so that it targets holiday travelers more directly and gets them to link to these pictures (and ultimately click on the ads too) and to target my keywords better (so that only very interested people click on my site). I’ll post an update at some point so stay tuned!

But before I go…

I also signed up for Google’s AdSense for domains since I had several domains I’d purchased as part of this same experiment (but a more developed version of it). We’ll see if this provides any additional income. Here are the domains in case you’re curious:

1. Stock holiday pictures (without hyphens)
2. Stock holiday photographs
3. Stock photography royalty free
4. Stock vacation pictures (without hyphens)
5. Stock vacation photographs

We’ll see how all this turns out, but the next time someone tells you they’re bringing in 4,000€/month in AdSense income, tell them you want to see their AdSense account before you’ll believe it.