If you are looking for the epic motorcycle journey blog that I've written, please see the Miles By Motorcycle site I put together. 
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  • PHP 5.0.3 and 4.3.10 mystery solved.
    03/06/2005 2:32PM
    See the article over at formvista.com.

    It turns out that if you have a function that returns a reference there are two things you have to keep in mind:

    function &someFunc()
    return( $var )

    is incorrect PHP as the ()'s after the return indicate that it's returning an expression and expressions cannot evaluate to references. Apparently up through PHP 5.0.2 there was a bug that allowed this construct to work most of the time. However, it did introduce some instability in the parser apparently causing all these weird crash/symbol table corruption bugs I've been reporting.

    Another thing to note is that functions that returns references cannot return NULL, so:

    function &someFunc()
    return NULL;

    is incorrect and under PHP 5 will generate a warning when you have E_STRICT warnings turned on php.ini. (NOTE, E_ALL in php.ini does /NOT/ include E_STRICT).

    The "correct" approach is to:

    function &someFunc()
    $nullVar = NULL;
    return $nullvar;

    It's been reported that there is a bug that will cause a segfault using this construct, but I'm told this is valid PHP.

    Of course, both cases IMHO should just work. Expressions should be able to evaluate to references and a function returning a reference should be able to return NULL. And in either case incorrectly calling return with an expression should not cause PHP to dump core or trash the symbol table.

    Additionally, IMHO the case of returning a reference in an expression should generate an error; not just a warning when you turn on E_STRICT.

    Just my $0.02.

  • Minor update MOBIE installed.
    03/04/2005 3:26PM
    I've upgraded YML.COM to the release of MOBIE. There are just a few minor fixes including some stylesheet changes.  If you notice any problems or have any suggestions please post them to the bug list; the bug tracker, primitive though it may be, is working out quite well.

    Moving forward I will add email notifications to the bug tracker so you be kept up to date when activity happens on a bug or feature request that you report.

    I've also finally put up the beginnings of the mobie.biz and formvista.com sites.

    Moving forward I'm going to be posting anything AMP (Apache, Mysql, PHP) related to the formvista clog (which will be up shortly).

    formVista is a component framework that I've built which makes building MOBIE and all of these features alot easier. Think of formVista like GTK for the web.

  • A Hint of Patent Sanity?
    03/03/2005 1:23PM
    Today an appeals court threw out the "embedded program object" patent infringement judgement against Microsoft.

    Normally, you wouldn't see me cheering for Microsoft, but this obviously has larger implications.

  • YML.COM Upgraded to MOBIE
    03/01/2005 4:49PM
    I've finished putting together MOBIE which I've now installed on YML.COM. For the CLOG and FORUMS it's currently using a skin Ryan developed for the new personalstockstreamer.com site we're working on. The green components will soon be reskinned back into the default YML.COM look look.

    This release fixes quite a few bugs and hopefullly improves the usability a bit. Improvements include:

    1. new Post Article links directly above the CLOG article list.
    2. convenient links in the forums to the forum preferences and account settings.
    3. fixes for the vast majority of bugs that were posted in the forums.
    4. a new trouble ticketing system.
    If you notice any problems with the system please use the Bugs link in the navigation menu. It will be much easier for me to keep track of bugs and feature requests that way. The current version of the bug tracker is a bit primitive; no email alerts, etc but it's a start.

  • Star Wars Galaxies in-game Memorial Service.
    02/28/2005 12:19AM
    A few weeks ago a friend of mine from highschool passed away. In the note he left he asked that someone log into his Star Wars Galaxies account and tell his online friends the news.
    The family heard that I know a bit about software and asked if I would do it. I agreed despite having never played, let alone looked at, an MMORPG.
    How would I find those who knew him, if they existed? Would they believe me? Would anyone care? ....

    (click Read More for the rest ...)

    The memorial service photo album is located here:

    Mazi in-game Memorial Service

    I couldn't figure out how to find anyone who knew him. What servers were they on? What planet? What city? So, having his login and password, I entered his account at about 2AM not knowing what I would find. Within seconds the chat window screamed

    "MAAZZZII!! We were so worried about you! Welcome back! I'm so glad you're ok!"

    It was heartbreaking; something I hadn't anticipated. I was being addressed by a character named Safia. Not knowing what to say, I told her the news ... she believed me. A few moments later, after having called others who knew Craig (in-game "Mazi") several more were online to hear the news; mind you this was 3AM in the morning. This group of people surprised me. They clearly cared a great deal about their missing friend. Say what you will, what I witnessed were real bonds; a real sense of loss and an overwhelming amount of compassion.
    After some more conversation, the question came that always comes. Could we have known? Could we have done anything? Were there any signs?
    The group dispersed and searched the various rooms of the "house" where Mazi's character lived. In it they did in fact find something; a cryptic one liner that in light of what happened was clearly a message. (see the first screenshot in the photo album).

    Schwendo, over the next week and a half, took it upon himself to organize a touching and frankly very well done in-game memorial service which I've cataloged in the attached photo album.

    From what I've observed, these MMORPG's, at least as demonstrated by this group of people, are less games and more the moral equivalent of the corner pub or social club. They are a place where people gather to socalize, goof off, exchange ideas and do the various things that people do.