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Linode SSD vs. DigitalOcean

Time for another installment of my Linode vs. DigitalOcean series. The most notable improvement this go around is on Linode’s end by offering SSD Linux servers exclusively. This had been the pain point for many as DigitalOcean has been offering this since day one and Chris Aker had made it […]

How to Setup a LEMP Stack on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Last week I covered setting up a LAMP server on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS but for my money, it’s all about LEMP stacks. The “E” actually stands for Nginx (pronouced Engine X) and it’s an altnerative to the Apache web server that is built for speed and has a very low […]

The pros and cons of being accessible to your users

How accessible I am to my site’s users is something that I’ve went back and forth with over the last few years. When I say “accessible” I don’t mean venturing into offline interactions or anything like that, just in regard to how I interact with the users. I tend to […]

How to Setup a LAMP Stack on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

The newest long term support release of Ubuntu (Trusty Tahr) is finally here! I just spun up a droplet over on DigitalOcean to walk through setting up a LAMP stack for this post. I also recommend making sure that your system is completely up to date. At the time of […]

Reducing Redis used memory by moving back to MySQL

If you know me then you know I fucking adore Redis. Over the last few years it’s slowly worked it’s way into the majority of the things I have built. Unfortunately, recently I ran into a problem that Redis could easily accomplish but would require more RAM than I have […]

Compressing and uncompressing a string with PHP

Today I went on a mission to find a PHP function that I’ve never used before and knew nothing about. The mission was such a success that I have two functions to discuss and honestly, I’m pretty sure I’ll never use them. That being said, if the need ever arises […]

PHP's /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead

I’ve discussed the use of preg_replace_callback in the past in regard to passing variables to anonymous functions but never touched on how to use preg_replace_callback or the fact that the /e modifier has been deprecated in PHP 5.5+. Even though /e still works in PHP 5.5 in the near future […]

Migrating from WP Engine to GitHub Pages

After giving it nearly a full calendar year, I have decided to migrate my PHP blog (PHP Avenue) off of WordPress via WP Engine and on to GitHub Pages. The decision ultimately boiled down to WordPress having way more available functionality than I was actually using and me not seeing […]

Transactions with PHP Data Objects (PDO)

PHP Data Objects (PDO) is arguably the best database abstraction layer available in PHP. It provides a consistent interface across multiple datasources (MySQL, PostgreSQL, et cetera) and helps boost your site’s security by way of prepared statements. It even supports transactions which we’ll be taking a look at here. Database […]

The dirtiest thing you wear

Not only is it the dirtiest thing you wear, it’s quite possibly the dirtiest thing you own and it’s fucking disgusting. What is it, you ask? It’s your belt, your dirty disgusting belt. Why is your belt so disgusting? Because it’s something that you don’t launder. Not only do I […]

The importance of code editor proficiency

Hi, my name is Josh and I am a Vim addict. I have been for quite a while now, nearly 15 years by my estimates. I love everything about it but in all honesty, I have only really started to get “good” with it in the last couple of years. […]

How to zero fill a number with PHP

Zero filling (or zero padding) is when you pad a value on the left side to a specific length. This is something you will commonly see in database schemas for integer columns. But what if we’re not working with data that’s already zero filled by a database? All we have […]

How to get keys from an associative array in PHP

One of PHP’s most powerful features are arrays and the multitude of functions available to interact with and manipulate them. Arrays can be indexed by integers as well as string, known as an associative array. Instead of looping through the array with foreach and assigning the key to another array, […]

Dynamic page titles with GitHub Pages

Ran into a bit of an issue today when deploying some changes to my blog. The home page, which was working just fine locally, was being treated as if it were a blog post page. What keyed me off to this was the title of the page which was “joshtronic […]

Passing variables to anonymous PHP functions

The other day I ran into a situation (first time, it seems) where I needed to access a variable inside of an anonymous function inside of preg_replace_callback(). My first thought, even though it went against my better judgement was to simply define the variables as global inside of the function. […]

Opt-out responsive design using LESS

I liked Chris Coyier’s post Opt-Out Responsive Design? but really didn’t like the idea of having to qualify all of my selectors with a parent class to indicate that we should be using the responsive version of the site. I do favor serving the user a single stylesheet instead of […]

Using list() with foreach() in PHP

Continuing my showcasing of all of the awesomeness in PHP 5.5 that I am discovering since my upgrade from 5.3, let’s discuss using the the list() function inside of a foreach() block. Have you ever had a situation where you are looping through a multi-dimensional array and the array is […]

Linode is my favorite DNS hosting provider

There, I said it. Even though I’ve moved my day to day server needs to bare metal, I still keep a 1GB Linode instance spun up so that I can take advantage of what I consider to be one of the best DNS hosting providers out there. I know you’re […]

Upgrade from PHP 5.3 to PHP 5.4 on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

I’ve previously posted about upgrading to PHP 5.5.x on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS but what about my friends still on the even older Ubuntu Long Term Service release that’s still supported, 10.04 LTS. That particular version’s server release will remain supported until April 2015, with more than a year left at […]

“Failed to open page” on Windows Phone 8

I ran into an issue a few days ago after pushing some hand rolled “infinite scroll” logic to my sites. One of my users reported getting the “Failed to open page” error on her Windows Phone 8 using UC Browser, some aftermarket browser I had never heard of. The rest […]

Using Keyring Access on the OSX Command-line

If you’re like me, you probably have a private dotfiles that supplements your public dotfiles repository. It contains private values like API keys and [hopefully not] plaintext passwords. There’s even a good chance you’re using git submodules or a setup script to manage the inclusion of the private stuff. Well […]

How to use Generators in PHP

Support for generators (via the yield keyword) has been added to PHP 5.5 and allows you to create simple iterators without the use of the Iterator interface. What’s this all mean? It boils down to overhead, generators use less memory than an implementation of the Iterator interface or simply creating […]

Warning: Network TCP port is being used by /usr/sbin/php5-fpm. Possible rootkit

Imagine my surprise to see this warning during my morning review of the rootkit checkers that run nightly on my boxes. The thing is, there were no other anomalies on the box aside from /usr/sbin/php5-fpm being bound to a port that was suspected of belonging to a rootkit. The fact […]

String dereferencing or How to extract a single character from a string with PHP

String dereferencing allows you direct access to individual characters. The dereferencing syntax is just like accessing an array element by it’s index: $string = 'This is my awesome string!'; echo 'First Character: ' . $string[0] . "\n"; echo 'Tenth Character: ' . $string[9] . "\n"; echo 'Last Character: ' . […]

Easily identify duplicate properties in your CSS files

As of late I’ve been very adamant about DRY CSS principles. Not so much the descriptive ID and class selectors that some folks wrap their other selectors in, but the focus on not repeating the properties and grouping like selectors. I’ve even taken it a step further and have been […]