A different kind of T3DD

I’m back from T3DD15 (for those who don’t know this means TYPO3 Developer Days 2015). This time the event was held in Nuremberg, Germany. The whole thing started a little bit annoying for me as the plane which I supposed to take to Nuremberg from Cluj had some technical issues and was unable to depart. So that meant that we had to wait in the airport for 6 hours until another plane was brought in and took us to our destination. I arrived in this beautiful city around 03.00 AM. Lucky me that i had a good hotel booked for the first night and i could sleep a bit until the event started, then in the morning I went to the place where the whole thing would take place.

The location

The location of the T3DD was chosen this year to be the Nuremberg Youth Hostel. But believe me, this is not your ordinary youth hostel. The hostel is located right besides the Nuremberg Castle and is actually in the building of the old Imperial Stables (Kaiserstallung) which was refurbished and made into a very nice looking  establishment for travelers of all ages (the hostel is pictured below).

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The sessions

T3DD15 adopted a new format in which each block of sessions would be preceded by a round of lightning talks in which presenters would present their session and then the audience would raise their hand if they want to attend. This way the organizers would have a rough idea of how big the room for the session would need to be. However this proved to be a little bit impractical in the first day as rooms were not big enough to accommodate people. On the second day the situation improved because the process was refined a bit.

The sessions covered all kinds of subjects ranging from testing to security and TYPO3 themes to cloud resources. I won’t describe all sessions as i was only attending a few of them. However you can find the list here (together with the slides for some of them).

I will just mention a few of the sessions i participated and really liked

2015-07-17 16.59.07The social events

As you might now there is one main social event at every T3DD. However i like to put the coding night also in the social event category as it is more about social coding. So Friday night it was a Coding Night and Saturday there was the “Main Social Event”. What can i say about it ? You can imagine it if you think at the amount of beer consumed ~1210 liters. Yeah this is for the whole duration of the event not just the social event but i think maybe half of it was consumed during this one. Also this evening we got our own TYPO3 branded beer mug (see it in the picture below) which is really awesome.

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The organization

The event was very well organized, the wireless network worked pretty well – we had high speed internet at all times and for our internal engines (which needed hydration during day because temperatures were around the 34-36 degrees mark) we had free soft drinks and coffee at all times. And yes regarding to the heat i have the single complaint I could have. I really not tolerate well this kind of heat (from a physical perspective) and from what I’ve seen others had this issue too. Some better air conditioning would have been extraordinary. But this is not the organizers fault and please think of it as more like a suggestion for the hostel. Coming back to the organizers and helping hands, a big thank you goes out to you all. You pulled of a big feat with this T3DD and the merit is all yours!

Aftermath

I visited Nuremberg on Sunday afternoon and guess where i ended up ? In the DB Museum ! I felt like a 10 year old child who gets a big Christmas present.

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Shifting focus

I’ve been pretty quiet recently. I changed jobs, I moved to a new home, I’ve changed quite a few things around me. I didn’t really had time to write on this blog. This will change in the coming months as i have lots to say. During the last few months I’ve learned many things, many new things from a technical perspective.

I took a deep dive into Big Data data warehouses and become somewhat familiar with the topic. In the next few months i will be working more with these warehouses and will probably learn lots of wild things. I’ve also learned a new PHP framework (Yii), worked lots more with Linux servers doing admin stuff I never dreamed of doing, like running my own dedicated server (with all the bells and whistles) without any control panel on it and use Puppet automation to deploy stuff. And much more…

So a whole suite of technical articles will follow. There will be one or two dedicated to TYPO3 topics but these will be fewer and fewer from now on as I’m shifting focus from the CMS world to an application development world, where CMS’s have almost no use. TYPO3 Flow still has a place here as i develop now some applications with Flow. But most of the articles will be about technology pieces employed in the architecture of some of the applications i work on. A few of the articles are almost done so check back in the next few weeks to read about some really cool things.

P.S.
Oh … and it’s time for a new theme on this blog. Something more advanced, more up to date, more modern. Don’t you agree ?

Another great T3EE

The TYPO3 East Europe 2014 conference (T3EE14) held in Cluj Napoca (Romania) has ended yesterday evening. This was the second edition of an event that tried to gather together the TYPO3 enthusiasts from Eastern Europe. It had a limited success in attracting people from other eastern european countries except Romania. There were a few people but the majority were still from Romania. However the event had lots of visitors from the west and north of Europe. logo

The first day of the event wasn’t for the general public rather was focused on a workshop for municipalities from Romania. They could learn from people who had the experience of implementing open standards and solutions in the public sectors abroad. The day ended with a dinner at the Mater Corvin restaurant. The second day the conference really started and the participants started to get into the Halloween atmosphere right from the entrance door where a vampire (or maybe Dracula ?) greeted them with something to drink. The presentations were dedicated to topics like TYPO3 Neos, Community Software, How to sell Neos, How to upgrade to TYPO3 6.2 and a panel about the perspectives of the TYPO3 product family.

In the evening everyone went to the Halloween party at Casa Tiff were community members really did their best and came up with some really interesting and scary costumes. Lots of drinks, food, dancing and socializing that lasted until dawn ended the second day. If you want to see some pictures from this party (but also from the whole event) then just check out this twitter stream : https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=t3ee14

The third day brought two session tracks, one in the Dome room and one in the Cupola room. This time the presentation topics were more diverse. I will not list them here as you can find them on the T3EE website.  The event ended with a dinner at the Ursus Brewery and then everyone went either partying either home either at their hotel in anticipation of their morning flight.

Overall the event was great, there were some small glitches but those happen at every event. The organizers did everything in their power to make sure that the attendees have the best possible conditions and i feel they have succeeded. I certainly liked it as i liked seeing again some old friends, old colleagues and TYPO3 community members. I hope the 2015 edition will be even better.

Thank you for everyone involved in the organizing of the event and thank you to all the sponsors of the event: Arxia, PWO, jweiland.net, AOE, sitegeist, Pixelant, hosted solr by dkd and marketing factory.

Other articles about T3EE:

http://simplyadmire.com/blog/t3ee14.html

End of an era

Tomorrow is my last day of work at my current workplace. It was a nice seven years. I learned alot, worked on interesting projects, met many wonderful people and accomplished many things. However there are times in one’s life when he just needs to move on to new challenges. And now there’s such a moment in my life. I must thank Daniel and my colleagues at Arxia for everything we’ve accomplished together.

 

How to permanently disable autoplay for Facebook videos

It’s really simple. Go to this link: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=videos and set the autoplay to off.

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Back from T3DD14 Eindhoven

So, i just came back from Eindhoven, The Netherlands where this years edition of the TYPO3 Developer Days was held. This was the biggest TYPO3 event i ever attended. Met a lot of new people and also some of the people I’ve previously met in Mallorca, Inspiring Conference and of course last years T3EE.

I will not go into too much details about the workshops.I attended mostly those that were of special interest to me. That is the THEMES workshop because of the concept that i was always interested in – creating interchangeable themes for your TYPO3 website. Someone offered even to create an on the fly theme downloader which could directly download the theme into your TYPO3 installation and have a new theme which you can switch with a button. Combine this with Distributions and you will have a killer feature that will be appealing for everyone and especially to those who are not so experienced with TYPO3 or those coming from “other worlds” (like WordPress). I’m already planning to create a theme of my own based on a Bootstrap template.

Themes workshop

Lately I’ve been also working more and more with TYPO3 Flow so I went to the Flow and Neos workshops. Overall the workshops were interesting and you could learn some things. The best thing is that you can ask the developers directly if you have questions about some feature or issue. One thing i didn’t understand exactly is why they are switching issue tracking to Jira, after all being part of the open source community we should embrace open-source and not some proprietary system whenever is possible. However this is their decision and in the end if it helps TYPO3 to advance faster and better then we should embrace it.

Regarding the organizers of the event, I think they did a very good job, I know it’s never easy to organize such an event, especially with so many different people with different backgrounds and different cultures. It was very well organized and the location – the TechniekHuys was excellent with nice and big rooms, some of the screens could have been bigger but it was nothing that we couldn’t live without.

The social event gave me the opportunity to meet some nice people and change opinions about the event, the TYPO3 family of products and last but not least the Netherlands – the host country of this event.

As an added bonus I also did got my hand on some TYPO3 stickers and branded my laptop. I would have loved some orange stickers but they didn’t have that color. Suggestion: events should sell loads of stickers and other TYPO3 branded stuff.

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Too bad of the Sunday early morning plane, we had to leave early and couldn’t stay until the end. I’ve learned on Twitter that next year the T3DD will be in Nuremberg, Germany. I hope I will be there, until then maybe we see each other in Mallorca and T3EE. A big thanks again for the organizers and the sponsors of the T3DD14!

 

 

Meet DuckDuckGo, the best alternative to Google search

I’m going through a process of degooglification these months / years.  I’ve been one of the early adopters of Google and its products in the days when many of my friends didn’t even heard about Google or weren’t using computers at all. And when Yahoo search was powered by Google (poor Yahoo – if they only knew).

But enough is enough. Google become a company that i don’t like anymore, a company which claims to embrace open source but does so just to lock you in in their network where the rules are set by them and from where you will have a hard time leaving. And then later when something doesn’t serve anymore their interest they just shut it down like they did with Google Reader (to force you to use Google+). Also there is the issue of Google starting to fundamentally break the internet by spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) regarding the hyperlink – the fundamental element of what makes the internet work as it does.

Many people claim there’s nothing wrong with that, i will explain maybe in a future post why it’s not a very bright idea to give all your data to one single entity which controls it and uses it as it wishes or as it is told by authorities. Now it’s late and the subject is an other one.

Anyway, my degooglification process is going on for almost a year now and i managed to avoid using most of Google’s products by using alternatives. In a recent move when i’ve upgraded my laptop to Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr i did one of the painful moves by abandoning Google Chrome in favor of Firefox. Another move was that my new Asus Transformer tablet runs on Windows 8.1 instead of Android. I will get rid of my Android phone too when my current contract ends.

But that is nothing compared to abandoning Google Search. That is one hard endeavour. The hardest item in my degooglification process.

DuckDuckGoBut more or less I’m Google Search free for a time now. From time to time i still use Google to cross check results or see differences between search engines. But most of the time my search engine of choice is DuckDuckGo, an independent search engine which uses data from many sources (including Bing, Yandex, Wolfram Alpha and Yahoo).  Yeah, the name might sound funny at first but one gets used to it. It comes from a children’s game named Duck, duck, goose.

There are three important aspects which made me choose this search engine despite its name. First of all it doesn’t track you , secondly it keeps you free of the filter bubble and of course the third is that it’s not Google behind it.

Everything started from a 30 day challenge of mine back in 2012. At first it was hard. The results weren’t always satisfactory. But hey improved over time. These days DuckDuckGo underwent a major overhaul and now there is a lot more information on it and different ways to present information:

It can identify different meanings of a word : https://duckduckgo.com/?q=moon

It can offer information about places: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=cluj+napoca&t=canonical

Or can show a map: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=cluj+napoca+map

Pictures: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=pictures+of+dogs

Videos : https://duckduckgo.com/?q=nightwish+storytime+video

Reciepes: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=house+made+ice+cream+recipe

Weather : https://duckduckgo.com/?q=weather+in+cluj

Currency conversion : https://duckduckgo.com/?q=300+usd+in+eur

And many more: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+far+is+the+moon

Overall i think it matches Google’s accuracy and i can find anything by using just DuckDuckGo.  I suggest anyone to try it out, see the differences between Google’s results and DuckDuckGo’s results and see if you’re trapped in the filter bubble or not.

Enable htmlArea RTE in TYPO3 6.2

I encountered a very odd issue today. After installing TYPO3 6.2 it seems that in the backend the htmlArea RTE is not enabled by default. I don’t remember that I ever had to enable this manually. Usually this worked. However in this case it doesn’t work and I’ve been told that this is a bug in TYPO3 6.2 which will be corrected. However I’ve later installed 6.2.1 and this issue is still there. But don’t panic, there is a solution for this problem.

Go to the menu item “User settings” on the left menu bar and then go to the tab “Edit & Advanced functions”. There you will find the checkbox “Enable Rich Text Editor (if available)”. Check it and you’re done, htmlArea RTE should work in the backend.

 

 

The human cost of electronics

How much an iPhone or any other top of the line smartphone costs you ? 20% of your monthly wage ? 30% ?

The video below is an eye opener for anyone who thinks that he pays too much for electronic devices.

Unfortunately some people pay with their health or worse with their life for having the “privilege” to work in factory producing these smartphones.

There are also more insights on this subject in the articles below :

1.) The Guardian – “Apple urged to stop using harmful chemicals in its factories”
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/12/apple-harmful-chemicals-factories-labour
2.) Fast Company – “A day in the life of an iPhone Factory Worker”
http://www.fastcompany.com/3014988/a-day-in-the-life-of-an-iphone-factory-worker
3.) BBC – “‘Poisoned’ Chinese workers turn to Apple for help”
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-12550429
4.) Upworthy – “Ever Heard Of Benzene Poisoning? Me Neither. But Samsung And Apple Have”
http://www.upworthy.com/ever-heard-of-benzene-poisoning-me-neither-but-samsung-and-apple-have-1112

Tutorial of the week: Installing Redmine on Ubuntu

Redmine is a project management and issue tracking tool. Many people use it for managing software projects all around the world. During my work with various projects i’ve used Redmine and i found that it covers most of the aspects related to software projects having characteristics like: issue tracking, gantt charts, work logs, wiki, documents, versions and what is also pretty neat is that you can connect your code repository (Subversion, Git, etc) to it.

Now after a while for my personal projects i wanted to switch from Mantis to something more elaborate and professional. And Redmine is the solution i have chosen. Unfortunately for many Redmine is not so easy to install as Mantis. It was written in Ruby on Rails and you need quite some dependencies to install it. But doing that on Ubuntu is not that hard. I’ve done it in about 20 minutes (which includes the research also) and thought that i should write a tutorial about it in case someone else needs it.

Because a while ago i decided that this blog will focus more on opinions, news and general articles and that all code examples and tutorials that require code examples will be stored on my wiki, you can find the  small tutorial on how to install Redmine on my wiki.