Why is VoIP cheaper than a standard telephone line?

Networking, Random 10 Comments »

Yesterday, Comcast came by to install their digital voice package at my apartment. Comcast has a special deal going on now: $24.95/month for 6 months, unlimited long distance. Skype’s even cheaper — $3/month for outgoing calls and $5/month for incoming (when they’re up). But here’s what I’m wondering: why’s it so cheap? Why is VoIP cheaper than a traditional plain old telephone service (POTS) line? Or, put another way, why is a POTS line more expensive than a VoIP line? Read the rest of this entry »

5 tools every PHP programmer should know about

Lists, Web Development 70 Comments »

PHP ToolsAfter working on several large scale PHP projects, and writing a lot of PHP code, I’ve discovered a number of tools that improve code quality, streamline rollouts, and generally make life as a PHP developer a whole lot easier. Many of these tools probably deserve a post of their own. But, since some people aren’t even aware that these tools exist, I figured I’d start there. So, without further ado, here’s my list of tools that every PHP programmer should know about. Read the rest of this entry »

Database Design: Choosing a Primary Key

Database, Tutorials, Web Development 19 Comments »

Entity-Relationship DiagramA good model and a proper database design form the foundation of an information system. Building the data layer is often the first critical step towards implementing a new system, and getting it right requires attention to detail and a whole lot of careful planning. A database, like any computer system, is a model of a small piece of the real world. And, like any model, it’s a narrow representation that disregards much of the complexity of the real thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Scaling WordPress

Blogging, Web Development 15 Comments »

WordPress vs. DiggWordPress seems to have a bad reputation when it comes to scalability. Maybe it’s deserved, since a default WordPress installation doesn’t really scale well. But making WordPress scale isn’t hard. I recently hit the Digg home page and got roughly 70,000 pageviews in under 12 hours. Another post hit the home page later the same day, and another 10,000 clickthroughs followed. As a result, I’ve been asked by a few people how I managed to keep my site up under that sort of stress. Honestly, I haven’t done anything that fancy. But for future reference I figured I’d document my configuration, and let people in on one trick that saved my butt. Read the rest of this entry »

SCO Doesn’t Own UNIX

Linux 1 Comment »

Following nearly five years of FUD and barratry, Judge Dale Kimball has issued a 102-page ruling [via Groklaw] concluding that “Novell is the owner of the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights.” Furthermore, the court found that SCO owes Novell quite a bit of money — “[B]ecause a portion of SCO’s 2003 Sun and Microsoft Agreements indisputably licenses SVRX products… SCO is obligated… to account for and pass through to Novell the appropriate portion relating to the license of SVRX products.” Read the rest of this entry »

DNS Rebinding Revisited

Security, Web Development 1 Comment »

I wrote last week about how DNS rebinding can bypass browser same origin policies. Since then I found a paper titled Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks that describes rebinding attacks in greater detail. It turns out that there are several varieties of rebinding attacks, and a couple of proof-of-concept DNS rebinding demonstrations already exist. Read the rest of this entry »

Site Redesign

Blogging, Random 5 Comments »

I’ve had “redesign blog” on my to-do list for more than a month now. Over the weekend I finally got around to doing something about it [screenshot]. The stock WordPress theme I’ve been using since I launched my blog is great, but I’ve noticed it showing up on more and more sites and I wanted something unique. The changes I made are evolutionary, not revolutionary. And I’m the first to admit that I’m not the best designer around, but I think it’ll do for now. Read the rest of this entry »

Single line of HTML crashes IE 6

Web Development 196 Comments »

A Japanese blogger who goes by the name Hamachiya2 has discovered a single line of HTML and CSS that crashes IE 6. The line is:

<style>*{position:relative}</style><table><input></table>

If you’re brave, you can click here to try it out. The code is rendered correctly in Firefox, Safari and Opera (didn’t get a chance to try any other browsers, but presumably they work too). But in IE 6 it raises a fatal error in mshtml.dll.

Password free remote login and other SSH tips

Linux, Security 7 Comments »

I typically have four or five terminal windows open, and I’m almost always logged in to at least three servers (my dev box, production box, and database server). It’s a huge pain to log back into all these sessions whenever my connection is dropped. To keep myself sane, I use a couple of tricks to keep timeouts from occurring, and to streamline the login process when they do. Read the rest of this entry »

Threads vs. Processes: They’re not the same thing!

Linux, Programming 8 Comments »

Process vs. ThreadI read a lot of tech-related blogs and other tech-news, and I’ve caught a number of very talented programmers and intelligent technologists using the terms thread and process interchangibly. Forgive me for being pedantic, but they’re not the same thing! It’s true that threads and processes are very similar: they’re both methods of parallelizing an application. But the similarities pretty much stop there. Read the rest of this entry »

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