A mystery signal….

One of my hobbies is Amateur (HAM) Radio. Recently I’ve started picking up a mystery signal that is interfering with local 2-Meter and Air-Band radio signals. I’m wondering if anyone out there knows what this mystery signal is? Here’s what the signal looks like in SDR# on a RTL Dongle:

And here’s the .wav file of what it sounds like:

Lone Star PHP 2013 – An introduction to the Secure Software Development Lifecycle.

This June I attended Lone Star PHP 2013 in Dallas, Texas, and presented “An Introduction to the Secure Software Development Lifecycle”. The presentation was an introduction to the Secure Software Development Lifecycle, including requirements and design, development, testing, and acceptance. I also covered topics such as implementing ‘Least Privilege’, ‘Policies and Standards’, and ‘Defensive Coding Practices’.  We also discussed operational aspects and risk mitigation.

Here are the presentation slides and sample code.

Insight into getting conference proposals accepted..

Recently in a conversation on Twitter the topic of what a successful conference proposal – one that gets accepted – looks like, came up. I thought I would expand upon the conversation and the “3 key takeaways” advice I gave, by providing the raw submissions I entered, in this case, to PHP Tek 12, as well as some lessons learned and additional commentary.

What it takes to get accepted.

  • Luck – Yes this is a huge factor, and in the case of PHP-Tek, they make a concerted effort to include a percentage of new presenters each year.
  • Exposure – You need to flush out your ideas at your local user groups and online. Build up not only your presentation skills, but hone what you present to your audience.
  • Relevance – Stay recent and don’t be afraid to cross (programming language) boundaries.

What my proposals looked like:

The format for PHP-Tek 2012 consisted of a web-based submission system which allowed you to enter proposals under the following inputs:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Notes (for the organizers)
  • Keywords
  • Talk Type (regular or Training)
  • Difficulty Level (Beginner, Intermediate, Expert)

Here (from the text file I used to gather my thoughts) are my submissions:

Moving in for the kill – how to position yourself for the job market, what to focus on, what to look out for.
desc: Moving in for the kill – how to position yourself for the job market, what to focus on, what to look out for. This will be a talk covering the current state of the job market (with a focus on PHP developers) and a walk-through of how to super-charge you job search, including some tips and tricks, and also what to watch out for. I will also focus on the social networking aspects and working with recruiters.

notes: Discussing some tips and tricks and things to look out for based on my experiences while looking for a job on the market.

keywords: job, recruiter, tips & tricks talk

type: Regular Talk (1hr)

difficulty level: Beginner

Graphing real-time performance with Graphite – http://graphite.wikidot.com/
desc: Graphing real-time performance with Graphite – http://graphite.wikidot.com/ This presentation will take an existing open-source project (done in php) and cover how to integrate performance monitoring to identify areas that could be improved through code refactoring or database tweaks.

notes: Going to take a open source project and show how to integrate graphite to identify performance bottleneck

keywords: performance, graphs, integration

talk type: Regular (1hr) difficulty

level: Beginner

php://memory and streams for scaling
desc: php://memory and streams for scaling This presentation will be an overview of using php://memory to store data during application runtime. We will cover the benefits over traditional methods and also some drawbacks.

notes: Would like to play around with php://memory to show how it can be used to improve performance – just thought this was a neat feature that most folks wouldnt know about.

keywords: php, memory, performance, streams

talk type: Regular (1hr)

difficulty level: Intermediate

Devops: Silver bullet or pending disaster? – What to lookout for.
desc: Devops: Silver bullet or pending disaster? – What to lookout for. DevOps is all the rage in many circles but is this approach a silver bullet or a Titanic failure for your organization? We will cover some of the pros and cons of integrating cross-functional teams and how it can help your employees and your business grow – or fail miserably.

notes: Thought I would take my previous experience from the ops/support side and highlight things to consider when building out teams, how to integrate monitoring and performance, etc.

keywords: performance, monitoring, devops, support

talk type: Regular (1hr)

difficulty level: Beginner


You’ll notice that the details are very high-level. That is for two reasons (In my case):

  • You don’t want to overwhelm the organizers with too much information.
  • In some cases your presentations might be still be in the ‘idea’ stage.

Conference Jitters.

One of the lessons I came away with from this experience was:

  • Have material ready. You can *never* have enough.
  • Be prepared to show up and rework your entire presentation.
  • If you think your presentation is too ‘code’ heavy then have high-level slides ready.
  • If you find yourself coming up with time left over, have code ready.
  • Engage your audience with every slide. Ask questions, take questions.

Feedback and Postmortem.

For me the most inspiring aspect was being “on the other side” of the conference. I’ve always been an attendee and this was my first time presenting. Be prepared to take (critical) feedback and be humbled by it all. Also: Remember, In most cases you are there on the dime of the organizers and the attendees. They came there to see you and others like you. Make sure you are accessible not only to the feedback you give during your presentations, but during the conference as well.

So how do you get accepted?

The best advice I can give is to practice, practice, practice. Get out and present at local user groups, do a screen-cast or online presentation, expand upon an idea. Attend other presentations not only for ideas but for hints on what works and what doesn’t.  Contribute to an open-source project. Blog. Tweet. These are the in-roads to being successful in the (php) community and at conferences.

Presenting at PHP|Tek 2012

The schedule is out for the PHP|Tek conference: #Tek12 and I’m excited to announce that I have been selected to give two talks:  Graphing real-time performance with Graphite and php://memory and streams for scaling .

If past years conferences are any indication, like the past tutorials and sessions, this year will only be eclipsed by the un-conference and after-parties. As I have come to learn, the real magic at conferences like this happens in all the space and time between whats on the schedule!

Make sure to follow @mtacon and the #tek12 hashtag on Twitter. There is also a #phptek channel on FreeNode  up around the time of the conference.

Graphing real-time performance Graphite:

Code Samples: https://github.com/nanderoo/php-graphite-demo

PHP Memory and streams:

Code Samples: https://github.com/nanderoo/php-memory-demo

Notes from ZendCon 2010 #zendcon #zc10

Brain dumping ZendCon 2010..  If you find any broken links or have links to slides/people I wasn’t able to find, please let me know! I’m aware that some presenters are holding back their slide decks. And some folks (mostly from the IBM-i sessions) don’t seem to have blogs or twitter accounts?

Overall Impressions:

This was my first ZendCon, and my overall impression is a positive one. I walked away with a much better understand of the community and Zend’s involvement in it. I also was very fortunate to meet many new people from all over the world and of wide skillset and experience. The networking and conversations that took place outside of the sessions and at restaurants or poolside over drinks is where the real connections are made.

Some Highlights:

I didn’t know what to think:

  • The food (breakfast and lunch) where about what you would expect from a conference of this caliber. I found myself more than once wanting to leave the venue at lunch and seek real food. Of exception is the dinner provided at the receptions in the evenings.
  • The vendor expo / floor. What a sad turnout (although I was told it was on-par with last years). All you had to do was walk by the Cloud Expo hall to catch a glimpse of what a real show looks like. I was also told the prize/swag ratio was higher at last year’s conference.
  • The constant fawning by some vendors to recruit the attendees. It was like watching a Jr. High School dance. I wish I could have worn a “got telecommute?” shirt. That would have started conversations with companies I’d be interested in.

Big Letdowns:

There were two main low points for me at the conference:

  • The scheduling snafu that caused Jonathan Wage’s sessions to get canceled. One of the main reasons I was looking forward to ZendCon was the sessions on Doctrine2. I’m not sure what lead to this, and I would hope it was a fluke.
  • The Keynotes and ‘The Cloud’. I’ve been to a few internet/tech conferences, and I’d like to think I can recognize when a presentation is not reaching it’s target audience. Most of the keynotes at ZendCon were no exception. If they were related to Zend products, I’d guess most of the attendees didn’t learn anything new. If the presentation at any point used “cloud” more than once, it instantly lost credibility with me (and I was not alone as many users in the #zendcon IRC channel chimed in similar skepticism). The CloudExpo conference was next door and I wondered more than once if the speaker had wandered into the wrong hall.

Books to read:

Completely Random:

  • Robotic Vacuum Overlords (via @naderman)
  • The Nikon to Canon Ratio – why do most php developers prefer Nikon? (the ratio was 5-1 at the conference by my count)
  • Need to follow-up with David Abdemoulaie (@hobodave) – Re: Doctrine2 pagination
  • My Tweets from the week of ZendCon.
  • I need to brush up on my German and French, learn Russian.

My joind.in Comments:

Sessions and Slides:

Nov 01, 2010

Nov 02, 2010

Nov 03, 2010

Nov 04, 2010

Uncons, etc..  ping me if you have more info on these or others:

“Geeking On”: How to speed-up your career transition.

Paul Merrill from “How To Geek On” shares tips, advice, and offers services to those who have been laid-off or looking to make a career transition:

  • We prepare you for a focused and efficient transition
  • Identify your skills, goals, and realities
  • Learn how to target companies and network into them
  • Learn how to get your Resume to the top of the stack
  • Mock Interview and Critique

Make sure to sign-up for the free newsletter, and if you are in the area, attend a “Coffee and Helping Each Other Out” session.