php rant

RE: PHP Sucks

An article hit hackernews today with the title “PHP Sucks“.  The reasons for it sucking are as follows:

  • There is a lot of old code out there that’s shitty
  • There is a bad stigma for PHP developers
  • You may get paid less as a PHP developer compared to other languages (Proof?)

I’m not sure if you can get paid less to be a PHP developer, but it’s important to be a full stack engineer and learn as much as possible about the stack you are on.

One of my favorite quotes from the article

Sometimes people are more straightforward and will just respond with “Oh, I’m sorry about that”. Recently I talked to a CEO who more carefully said “Ah, that’s pretty old school right?”. Developers who more-so live in the Java-dominant corporate bubble will likely silently dismiss me as a incompetent programmer.

I find this to be pretty funny.  If you care about what other people think about the language you choose then you’re worried about the wrong stuff.

If you told me that I should switch away from the LAMP stack because it’s slow, then I am all for that.  Speed would be my #1 reason to move away from PHP.

You want to swap out Apache for nginx?  Sure thing. Why? Because nginx is much faster and uses less RAM.  (Though it’s not a drop in replacement in most instances)

If you want to swap out MySQL for MariaDB then I would not be opposed since most say that it’s 100% compatible and slightly faster.

The problem, or lackthereof, is that PHP is among the fastest languages out there. If you switch from PHP to Rails then you would be bummed to find out how slow Rails is compared to PHP7. Cool, hip programming language, but much slower. Hmm, decisions decisions.

Do you want a fast app or do you want to worry about what other people think?

If you care more about what others think than making sure your application runs as fast as possible, then I feel sorry for you. If I cared what people say I’d be working for some 9 to 5 job as just-another-developer being underappreciated and underpaid and listening to a CEO who almost knew what the fuck he was talking about.

I run the LAMP stack for FantasySP and give zero fucks. When I finally migrate to PHP7, then I’ll hopefully have around double the speed. My apps average response time is 120ms. I reckon I can get that to around 60-90 ms with PHP7. What’s not to like?


Your Hate for Google is Misguided

I read the announcement today that Google Checkout has been discontinued.  It was also featured on HackerNews.

The most popular comment right now is by ChrisNorstrom:

“Google is making the same mistakes Microsoft made. Trying to enter into every industry it can thinking it can use it’s monopoly power to take over the world. Reality: Doing 20 things mediocrely is not as profitable of doing 2 things very very well.”

The comments vary, but I tend to see this line of thinking quite often nowadays.

Why exactly can’t Google try new things and then discontinue them if they don’t gain enough traction?  Why is trying new services out a bad thing? Are they supposed to be perfect?

Here are a few Google experiments off the top of my head that turned out alright:

  • gmail
  • chrome
  • google reader
  • google maps
  • google fiber
  • google glass
  • google drive
  • google docs
  • google news
  • google play
  • google music
  • Android
  • Chromebook
  • google trends
  • google+
  • google voice
  • Nexus 7

I don’t think people realize how many products Google has at any given time.  Not every product that google makes is going to be successful.  

So just because they won’t be successful every time means that they should not try because it makes them look bad to fail?  

Do you really think that is a healthy thought process? How will anyone ever innovate with that state of mind?  Google is a massive company and they still act like a startup.  It’s absolutely incredible and takes a lot of guts to start products like Google+ so late in the game.

Did they ram Google+ down our throats?  Absolutely.  But you know what?  They are making waves by innovating the space.

Is the consumer going to lose faith in Google because they discontinued one of their free services like Google Reader?  People want Google to spend resources and money on developing tools for them to use for free or for a low cost.  Then be the first ones to complain when it’s discontinued.  It’s ridiculous.  

Google is the ONE company that you should want to invade a new market and try to innovate.  They are the ONE company that has the resources to decide one day to get into X Market and you should be excited at the thought.  They are the one company that can invest millions of dollars in a new endeavor and make billion dollar companies take notice.  (Think Google Fiber).

Would you rather still be using MapQuest than Google Maps for navigation?

What is it, exactly, that makes you want to hate a company like Google, Facebook, or Yahoo so much?

Why is it, that when Facebook bought Instagram it’s the worst thing to ever happen.  Why is it that when Google unified its terms of service it was inherently evil.  I don’t hear anyone complaining about Google Now?

I get it, everyone wants to hate the biggest companies because it’s the cool thing to do. I could make an argument that Google has done more for the web in the past 5 years than any company.

Again, I’m not saying they are perfect.  What I am saying is that they seem to be one of the few that has the balls to innovate and don’t care if they fail.

Do you?

Google rant

Your idea of privacy is dead

I hear a lot about privacy these days.  More often than not, it’s about Facebook or Google and their disregard of privacy.  I think part of the problem is that privacy means different things to different people.

I know for a fact that how I view privacy online is different than other people.  I accept that the internet is changing rapidly and the idea of privacy that existed are long gone.  Online handles are a thing of the past (though there are still exceptions, hi Reddit).

I hear things like…

Ditch Google and use DuckDuckGo because they don’t track users.  Don’t use gmail because they read your email.  Ditch Facebook because Zuckerberg said privacy is dead.

In fact, the most recent knock against them is that Facebook Home can take over your phone and offers all kinds of potential privacy violations.  Reading that story led me to write this blog post.

Let’s face facts here.  The modern web and your personal data are intertwined.  There is no going back.

When Google announced their unified privacy, it was actually a great leap forward.  Those people who complained four years ago that Google was reading their email love Google Now.

Gmail will see that you booked plane tickets or had a packaged shipped and will personalize your Google Now experience.  This was not possible five years ago.  Google Glass was not even possible a year ago.

Will these companies use this data to show advertisements and make money?  Yes, of course.  As it turns out, they are companies that need to make a profit.

A privacy breach will happen time to time with the modern web.  I expect the modern web to be responsible and use SSL and OAuth to securely share my data.  When they are careless and screw things up then they deserve the bad press.  But a story about Facebook Home saying that it “destroys any notion of privacy” is complete and utter bullshit.

I’m not saying that I want to sign up for a service with my email address and phone number and they can turn around and sell this information to a third party.  I don’t want them to publish my phone number without my consent.  Those are violations of my privacy and not something I would agree to.

However, if I sign up for Facebook and they decide to use the fact that I liked ESPN in a personal advertisement, then so be it.  I understand the tradeoffs of the modern web.

I find it funny that we get bombarded with credit card offers and flyers from ten different companies in the mail and no one seems to mind.  We accept those privacy violations offline, even though they offer us nothing in return.  Yet companies online who are innovating and using private data in new ways get so much grief.

No one said you had to join Facebook, use Google, or Twitter.  If you want to pretend its 2002, then that’s fine.  The rest of us are moving forward.  We don’t need you to come along.

This is progress people.  Sit back, relax, and stop your whining.






The best start-ups are companies you’ve never heard of

I will keep this short and to the point.  A lot of news I see on tech blogs all revolve around the same type of start-up.  A start-up gets X amount of seed money, or X amount of additional round of funding, or takes on SUPER CEO Joey Wallnuts, or has some outrageous claim about growth, and how using Node.js makes their work desks levitate.

In many cases, these places are not profitable, and in some cases, never intended to be.  Their main goal is likely to flip the start-up and sell it off at the peak of it’s valuation before the shit hits the fan.  Before people realize that what they are building is a pile of shit.

So what do they do?  The CEO and investors pump up the start-up by feeding tech blogs heaps of bullshit that they can write about as if they are facts.   Before you know it, the bullshit keeps mounting and the start-up has a very high valuation in a year or two.  The pump and dump is complete and the investors make their money and move on to the next victim.

Another successful start-up saves the internets yet again!

The problem?  These are not real companies.  They should not be refereed to as real companies. The real start-ups out there are ones you’ve never heard of.  In fact, it’s an insult to call them start-ups.  They are internet companies, whose main goal is profitability and longevity.

The average bootstrapped company’s story is boring.   It often includes keeping costs down with slow but consistent growth over several years.  The stack the company is built on is nothing special, either Rails or PHP.  They failed to get funding or tech press.  The problems they solve are often terribly boring, possibly highly technical, employs a handful of people, and worse yet, no one gets rich overnight.  They tend to put their head down, plug away, and grow something out of nothing with hard-work instead of smoke and mirrors.

Talk about a snoozefest. These may not be interesting, but they are the companies you should root for and aspire to be a part of.

This post is for you.

rant SEO

SEO When Panda Met Pengiun

September and October have been eyebrow raising months for the SEO community and the blogs are going nuts.  As you know a bunch of algorithm updates have occurred that may affect many sites and search queries.  They make it seem like the SEO-Apocalypse is upon us. But should you be nervous when these updates come out? I think not.

…Panda update that impacts 2.4% of English search queries and is still rolling out

Holy shitballs that sounds scary.  Will my site be impacted negatively?  Should I hire an SEO consultant tomorrow to prevent the impending doom?  All signs point to no, (unless you want to hire me of course).

All websites are designed for the end user.  The end user should be able to find everything easily and access your content easily.  Google has made it abundantly clear that SEO is about merging the end user experience with a machine readable experience.  Google tries it’s best to mimic the end user experience in algorithms.  Chances are that if your end user is having a lovely time on your site then Google also agrees.

Of course we are talking general terms here.  It goes without saying that you should also make sure meta descriptions are present, you are using the proper HTML markup, etc etc.  Just about all SEO related changes you can make for a website is to help Google understand what the user experience is all about.  If you have lots of incoming links from quality sites, then guess what, the end user experience must be great at your site.  If you tend to write articles about hot topics and include keyword friendly titles then chances are you will get more traffic. (Hint: This article’s title is both amusing and SEO friendly)

So why all the doom and gloom from SEO blogs?  Fear of the SEO-Apocalypse brings pageviews, so blogs about SEO will write about them in nauseating detail.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to be in the know when an algorithm update hits and you should be aware as well.  But as it turns out, there are a lot of websites out there doing shady shit.  Those websites will lose their traffic and then complain on SEO blogs as if they are innocent victims.    If you are buying links (It’s not hard to understand that this is a paid article), exchanging links with crappy sites, light on content and heavy on ads, or trying to game Google then your site will be hit by these updates.  There are a lot of terrible sites out there and Google will (hopefully) eventually weed them all out.

That is why we should look forward to a major Google update because chances are that it will help you rank higher.  If you run a respectable site and follow the rules and concentrate on the end user experience then you have nothing to worry about.  Occasionally a respected site is hit negatively by an SEO update and those are usually rectified. Nobody’s perfect.

Now, are there gray areas in terms of an algorithm update?  Of course.  Does Google just so happen to release updates that seem to favor their own properties and lead to more revenue?  Probably.  Does Google violate it’s own best practices by cramming 5 ads above the fold for many searches?  You bet.

But the truth is that none of that should matter to you.  Stick to the user experience.  Stick to producing good content.  Stick to making sure Google is able to properly crawl and present content in search results and you will be fine.

facebook rant

My Thoughts on Facebook as a Public Company

The past two weeks have been filled with opinions from experts on Facebook and its IPO.  I would say about 66% lean towards the negative side and say to avoid them at all costs.  Why?  Because GM pulled their ads.  Because a survey said 40% of their users will never click on an ad.  Because experts on TV, who don’t even understand the web, feel that they are overvalued.

I’m not an expert when it comes to stocks or IPOs.  I’m not going to write about P/E ratios, shares outstanding, or their market cap.  I am going to write about their product and its influence over the web.

Pages Per Visit & Reach

Facebook has roughly the same amount of pageviews as Google per day according to Alexa.  They are the 2nd most visited website on the web, just behind Google.

According to Alexa, Facebook is estimated to have 12.24 pages/visit .  For comparison, Reddit is listed as having 10.6 pages/visit.  So how accurate is this metric?  Reddit’s blog post from January shows 13.00 pages/visit.

This means that Alexa likely undervalues by almost 2.5 pages/visit and Facebook could be closer to 15 pages/visit.  As someone who runs a website and is a web developer, I assure you that 15 pages per visit is absolutely insanely good.  Their users are addicted and love Facebook. Few sites or companies can pull off these kind of metrics.

Social is a Fad

Many experts believe that social media is a fad and/or Facebook could easily be replaced.  I strongly disagree.  Remember when web portals were going to be a thing of the past?

Yes, its true that Facebook is not the first social website.  Friendster and MySpace came way before Facebook.  Unfortunately, their websites lacked innovation and sophistication that their user base was desperately craving.  Facebook forced the social platform to grow up and users graduated from MySpace/Friendster to Facebook.

Keep in mind that when you see commercials, Facebook and Twitter pages are often shown.  Facebook does not pay these companies for the advertising.  They are actually WILLING to showcase these two social networks because that is how important they are to advertising and reaching your customer base.

Today social websites are as important to the web as search engines.  Speaking of search engines…


If Google has taught us anything, it’s that being the first to the market means nothing.  It’s about who innovates and pushes the platform to the next level.  Facebook did that with social and Google did that with search.  Altavista = Friendster.  Excite = MySpace.

The experts did not believe in Google when it IPO’d either:

To see a market capitalization valuing Google as a mature company is assuming a best-case scenario which isn’t a for-sure outcome. It still has a long way to go to justify growing into that kind of market value,” said Michael Cohen, director of research with Pacific American Securities.

Cohen added that in addition to Yahoo!, Google will face increased pressure from Microsoft, which has been stepping up its research and development efforts in its MSN Internet business.

Potential Growth

Does anyone realize how Google makes money?  They make most of their revenue from advertisements.  Guess what other companies makes most of their revenue from advertisements?  Facebook.  Some of my points here piggyback Venture Beat’s awesome article.

Charts here show revenue growth compared to similar IPOs.  Their opinion is that Year over Year growth is going down, not up.  This is obviously a bad sign, however the graph also indicates that Zynga’s growth year over year is better than Facebook.  It’s amazing what you can make a graph do.  That tells me absolutely nothing because Zynga would not exist without Facebook.  Meanwhile LinkedIn has perhaps 1/10th the amount of pageviews of Facebook.  So how much weight should we really put behind something like this?

The truth is that Facebook’s growth potential is insanely high.  They haven’t entered China and their mobile platform is still in its infancy.  Facebook realizes this and already is taking courses of action to correct this, namely by buying Instagram.

Their current revenue numbers could change drastically once they figure out mobile and their platform continues to mature.


What I wrote about here are taken from a web developer perspective.  I honestly don’t care about an investor’s expert opinion when he may have a hard time understanding the product.  He is looking at the revenue numbers and makes a judgement compared to the industry giants.  What he sees on paper simply doesn’t add up to the hype or the valuation.  That is completely understandable.  Software and the scope of the web is not a tangible thing that people can easily wrap their head around.

As I said, I am not a stock expert. I don’t dwell on P/E ratios or shares outstanding.  I don’t know what their stock is going to be at in 6 or 12 months, but I do know that Facebook, as a product, will be as popular as ever.  And that, by itself, has to be worth something on the open market.



facebook rant

My Thoughts on Facebook Instagram Backlash

Before I get to my specific opinion, let me voice my opinion of the two companies as separate entities.  Facebook, by itself is a fine service for the average Joe.  I personally don’t use Facebook because I think it’s a waste of my time. Instagram is similar to Facebook, and it pretty much invented the sharing photos game in the mobile space.  They are also popular for their over-the-top styling of photos that makes anyone think they have talent.

So in summary, both services are fine but not for me.  Clearly Facebook is lacking in the mobile department and Instagram is meant for mobile with no desktop penetration.  Sounds like a good fit to me?  Facebook’s mobile app might turn into something pretty awesome after this.  Instagram are going to have a lot more users in their grasp and probably have a vision where they want to take the company.  Being acquired by Facebook was an offer they could not refuse and it’s shocking to see some of these comments:



And finally:

One of my personal favorites is a story entitled: “Apple should have acquired Instagram” saying:

I would more likely wanted Apple to acquire Instagram. Apple actually needed Instagram much more than Facebook and Google. With a few Apple’s failed attempts to go social(remember Ping), that could actually worked. Instagram has 29M iPhone users. Most of them are very engaged with the application. The combination of Photo Stream + Instagram could be super powerful. I can see myself using it(a lot). Also, by purchasing Instagram Apple could have keept it iOS-only. That would be much appreciated by current iPhone users and for some people might be a reason to switch to iPhone.

Yes, that’s just what we need.  Apple to acquire Instagram, convert it to a pay only app. Charge $2.99 for the iPhone version and $9.99 for the iPad enhanced version. Perhaps throw in a subscription in there someplace for cloud syncing.  Not to mention keep it iOS only because that sounds pretty exclusive and cool.

My brain might explode. . .


As the web gets smarter, your privacy will continue to decrease over time

Here goes another rant, but this time about privacy.

Everyone worries about what is collected about them from big companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook.  Back when I first started using the internet, it was a time where you NEVER used your last name for anything.  In fact, few even knew my first name (hello xpose).  The last thing I wanted was someone to know my full name, let alone anything else about me.

Well, times have changed.

Many people use social websites that you sign up for and intentionally post your thoughts, photos, job status, and other personal information.  You think nothing of this, as its the norm nowadays.  Yet you complain when Google bases advertisements or customized search results on your browsing habits.

So what?  What are you afraid of?  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  Are they amasing a database with the entire population in hopes to one day sell your data and steal your identity?  Hardly.  You’re not that important.

Zuckerberg was right when he said the age of privacy is over.

People care, but I don’t think they know why exactly.  I am not giving these companies a pass for collecting data and not telling its users.  What I am saying is that you shouldn’t be surprised.  If you want your information to remain private then stop using these sites. In-fact, unplug your ethernet cable and turn off your wireless.  You aren’t going to find many places to visit that respect your standards on privacy.

As the web gets smarter, your privacy will continue to decrease over time.

But something tells me you won’t.  You’d rather still use these services, complain about their irresponsibility, then check-in to foursquare.


The internet is our playground. We are its users.

Don’t look now, but the internet user has an increasing amount of influence over how or what is consumed online. Early on, only the geeks held some influence, but it is quickly moving towards the masses.

Geeks Force Legal Issues to Forefront

Roll the clock back to around 1997, way before the technological wonders of today’s world.  The mp3 was invented a few years earlier and the distribution of mp3s slowly began underground on places like IRC. (I’m sure elsewhere as well, but that was my primary method)  I never thought mp3s would ever make it to the average user, but boy was I wrong.  We didn’t know it at the time, but music would never be the same again.  At first the music industry was scared of something they did not understand.  Fast forward to today and mp3s outsell physical disc copies.

Also in the late 90s, the DVD was created to consume movies in a digital format.  Soon, a way to circumvent protection schemes on the DVDs, called DeCSS, was created.  Fair Use? Freedom of Speech?  The source code was printed on tvshirts and spread across the internet.  Geeks came in-defense of one of its authors and the internet was actively backing one of its own.

Fast forward a few years to the advent of HD-DVDs and the HD-DVD key fiasco on Digg.  I was a part of that, and we actually got Kevin Rose and Digg to change their stance and it felt pretty remarkable.  I thought this is about as big as it could get by having a voice online.  Boy was I wrong.

The Masses Get Involved

As the internet user base continued to grow, the average user became much more knowledgeable about the internet world around them.  Privacy started to become a key issue online and what is or is not appropriate.  Google had one of their first blunders when it came to Google Buzz and privacy.  Facebook too had their run in with privacy concerns (facebook beacon anyone?) again and again and forced some real change when the FTC got involved.

Average users also influence how websites evolve over time.  Twitter is a great example of this, as the hashtag was invented by one of its users.  Now we can see the hashtag across multiple websites and platforms that are incorporated in various ways.


Never before has an online following or action resulted in a pre-emptive strike against legislation until SOPA happened this month.  The blackout on Jan 18th was a great idea and major players across the internet were leading the charge.  Everyone should be proud of what was accomplished.  My prior examples have had their fair share of change and influence, but this is the first time I think that Congress has actually realized that we have power too.

Continue to be proactive.  Learn about the services you use online and the media you consume.  Learn about how the internet works and appreciate the work and sacrifice geeks did to transform the internet into what it is today.  In 25 years, don’t be surprised if high schools across America make the history of the internet mandatory curriculum.

The internet is our playground. We are its users.

(For more discussion, head over to hacker news)


5 reasons why the Internet Sales Tax Bill is bullshit

I just heard that there is a bill in the senate that will force all online retailers to pay sales tax, regardless if they operate in that state.  This is wrong for a few reasons:

  1. Online retailers are at a disadvantage to traditional stores because of shipping fees.  Local stores usually do not have to worry about these added fees during a purchase.
  2. Online retailers sell items tend to be cheaper than local stores.  Part of of the reasons might be that in order to compensate for the time it takes to receive your purchase, the buyer has to be enticed to save a few bucks in the process.  Otherwise, you might as well go to the store, right?
  3. Local stores play the game of increasing prices on personal items that consumers NEED to have.  For example, shaving blades.  You either don’t shave for 3 days, or you bite the bullet and buy it in the store even though it costs more.
  4. Local stores, such as Best Buy, mark-up prices for HDMI cables to $50+ dollars so uninformed consumers overpay for something that can be bought online for $5 dollars.  You expect me to feel sorry for local chains when they behave like this?  Then they offer extended warranties on TVs that are meaningless?  I don’t think so.
  5. And finally, the online sales tax “loophole” as some people have described it, is the ONLY loophole that us common folk can use.  Members of Congress and other big corporations use many tax loopholes so they end up paying less taxes or no taxes than people making $50,000.  These will never be closed because it benefits them.  I smell hypocracy.

    Before you start taxing all online retailers, you might want to look at forcing ALL companies that operate in the United States to pay corporate taxes.  Or should the 99% continue to be screwed over?