Downloading Files in PHP for Fun and Profit

I recently had to setup a page where users could download files. You’d think such a task would hold few secrets for someone who architected a download site. Well, that’s how much you know.

Like many programming tasks, you meet it head-on, on the field of battle; you grab it by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. Victorious, you move on, and quickly forget the finer nuances which thrilled your sense of challenge and elegance. Luckily for you, I’ve started documenting these little trysts in this blog. Continue reading

“Blast! I lost my job. Now what?”

My friend Hugh was recently let go from his job supporting IBM Java, WebSphere and DB2 technology. He’s looking at this as an opportunity to reorient his career, and turned to me to help him get familiar with the latest social media trends. It occurred to me that others may be interested in heading in that direction; so here’s what I told him. Continue reading

Migrating Contacts From Palm Pilot to Gmail

Once he finds someting that works for him, my father sticks with it. Which is why, until very recently, he was still using his Palm Pilot Vx. But all things come to an end, and now that he and Mom got His and Her’s Samsung Galaxy S‘s, it was time to get his contacts migrated from the Pilot to Gmail, so they could get picked up by the Android.

This turned out to be less straight-forward and more challenging than anticipated. So, although I don’t expect many will need to run through this, I’m posting for the few who might. This’ll save you a couple of days of heartache.
Continue reading

Testing Web Sites With IE on OSX Using Parallels

This is the big drawback of developing websites on a Mac: you can’t test with Microsoft Internet Explorer. This is unfortunate, as IE is still one of the most used browsers around. It’s not THE most used browser, of course; that honour rests with Chrome as of May 2012. So, no-can-do on OSX, but you can run IE in a virtual machine, on a Mac. Continue reading

Denver DrupalCon – Day 0

So, yesterday was Day 0 for the Denver DrupalCon. After meeting Dries and getting Druplicon gloriously emblazoned in my scalp, Michael Keara (That Web Advocate Guy, and my roomie while in Denver) and I made our way to the convention center across the street.

Michael Keara in front of the convention center

I was surprised by the number of booths. Our first stop, of course, was the Myplanet booth, to meet our peeps.

photo of Myplanet booth and peeps

I hung out at the booth for a bit, but conference swag was calling, and I started moseying around the conference floor. I met very nice people from many companies, many of whom gave me t-shirts and tchotchkes.

At one point I ran into Jeff Robbins, who I’ve been watching on and other Lullabot vids. So, of course, I asked to take a pic.

photo of Jeff Robbins

Along the way he saw my Druplicon, and pointed it out to a friend. So everyone in the group started taking pictures. Turns out the friend was Jay Batson, co-founder of Acquia. He was good enough to tweet the pic with a link to this blog. Thanks Jay!

On the way back to the hotel, had to take this pic of the big, inflatable Druplicon.


All (or most) of the Myplaneteers met up in the hotel lobby for a debriefing, when Angie Byron (aka WebChick) happened by, and she insisted on having her picture taken with us.

Angie Byron and the Myplaneteers

There was the obligatory photographing of the Hairy Druplicon.

obligatory photographing of the Hairy Druplicon

Which Angie was good enough to tweet. And then a pic of Angie and I.

Notorious Webmaster and WebChick

Then we all went over to the Lucky Strike Lounge and Bowling Alley (no, seriously. Only in America.) to celebrate Darko‘s birthday. Jon Peck was good enough to take about a million pictures.

Myplaneteers at play

All this high altitude work and play makes Alfred a drowsy boy. So that was it for Day 0.

In Denver – For DrupalCon 2012

So Myplanet Digital, my new employers as of Nov 2011, have sent me, and a small platoon of Myplaneteers, to Denver, the mile high city, for DrupalCon 2012. This is my first DrupalCon; but hopefully not my last.

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past few days poring over the 3 day schedule, trying to decide what sessions I want to attend.

First impressions of DrupalCon

Well, the website is very good. They list everything you could possibly hope to find about the sessions. PLUS: you can even put the sessions in your “shopping cart” to construct your own schedule. Then you can view your own schedule. Unfortunately, they don’t have a Print Schedule view. But hey, Denver wasn’t built in a day.

I had breakfast with our BizDev in Chief, Dustin Walper. I was busy telling him about my attempts at losing weight and getting into shape (Dustin is something of a Greek god), when he jumps out of his seat and says he’ll be right back. After about 10 minutes it became evident he *wasn’t* going to be right back. So I paid the cheque, and went exploring the lobby in search of Dustin. I found him with a bunch of Acquia folk, including (gasp) Dries Buytaert.

OK, I’ll admit it, I was a little star-struck. In my defense, I’ve been working my hind-most parts off for the past 5 months trying to get my head around Drupal. And here was the guy who started it all. In his dorm room. A whole industry. (Did I mention there were going to be 3000 attendees at DrupalCon this year?)

So I had the temerity to ask for a picture. Dries was very accommodating, and even suggested we take a few. A real mensch.


Also, today, I decided to show my commitment to Drupal:


More to come.

Alfred’s Notes: Drupal

I’ve started studying Drupal, the open source content management system (CMS). I’ll use this page to gather interesting links to documentation and articles on the subject. Who knows? I may even sort and organize them some day.

Ajax in Drupal using jQuery

Introduction to AHAH Forms in Drupal (handbook)

Creating Drupal style tables

AHAH in Drupal: may it one day live up to its acronym

Using default views in your module
Where to put your exported Views in code, direct from Earl Miles, aka merlinofchaos, author of Views, among other essential parts of Drupal.

Describing tables to Views
To someone who already knows SQL, and is very comfortable with it, Views is like trying to fiddle with very small dials while wearing large mitts of cotton batting. The main problem is Views doesn’t necessarily know the ins and outs of your data model. Here’s how to tell Views about those ins and outs. And remove at least some of the batting.

Android Startup Kit

My friend Ian just purchased a Nexus S phone from Wind Mobile. So I thought I’d put together a list of useful apps to get him started on the joy of Android.

There are thousands of apps for the Android platform; so, as if it needed to be said, this is just a personal compilation of apps I find useful and/or fun. I hope you’ll find in it, one or two apps you didn’t know about before, which you decide you can’t live without.

Oh yeah, also should note that these are all free. Continue reading