Thursday, January 29, 2009

eZ winter conference

Today I went to the eZ International Winter Conference here in Barcelona. Mainly because it was local, free and I quite liked the last PHP conference I went to. The location was the old centre of commerce near the Estacion Francia. It is a beautiful location and I am glad I was able to see it from the inside once. The conference room was certainly fit for the G7 or signing of peace treaties. (I will try to find some pictures on flickr later).

I first have to say that I have not used eZ publish or the eZ components, but I have heard of both and was especially interested in the components.

At the company where I work we are currently looking for a new content management system. We are using typo3 for most of our projects and some are done in cakephp for the ease of development. Ideally we would like something which provides an easier way to develop, a CMS which can be used by our customers but has still enough features to be flexible.

The talk about the eZ components was very good and I like the bottom up approach to the MVC support. The talk was by Derick Rethans, who also did the xdebug talk at the php conference last year. There was also a good talk about the eZ Find extension, which allows full text search implemented with Solr.

The last talk focused on the future direction of eZ publish, especially version 5.0. This version will be a refactoring of version 4.x and they want to move to a more micro kernel with extensions approach instead of the monolithic one they have at the moment. This version should also use more of the eZ components and the MVC features. The 4.x branch will be maintained in parallel until version 5 is established.

To anyone who follows the typo3 development, this might sound familiar. typo3 also has a version 5 in the works, which is a complete rewrite (not refactored), uses a MVC framework, will be developed in parallel to the 4.x branch and nobody knows when it will be finished.

The difference is the development model. While typo3 is developed in the open by individuals from multiple companies or private individuals, eZ is produced in house by a business with a clear focus to make money. From what I have seen so far I like the eZ product more, because it is developed with a clear use case in mind and with the knowledge that you have to stay with your feet on the ground. typo3 tries to use every design pattern and development method on the planet, it seems to be more like a way for the developers to show their knowledge instead of thinking of the end user or developer.

Both CMS frameworks also make the mistake of reinventing the wheel. PHP already provides nice libraries for database abstraction, template systems and other things which are implemented again by both frameworks. eZ seems a bit better in this regard by just providing wrappers for existing libraries.

I will have a closer look at the eZ components and will suggest evaluating eZ publish in our company. So overall a success for eZ I would say.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snowboarding Laax

Yesterday Cat and I returned from our week long snowboard trip to Laax.

First we flew to Stuttgart and visited Marion and Bernd in Balingen, where we met up with the other guys who took us by car and van to Laax. The weather on the way looked a bit disappointing, with not much snow until the last corner to Laax.

We were staying at the same hostel as last time, it is the Mountain Hostel Laax. It is situated in the middle of the ski area at the first stop of the cable car. The accommodation and food is basic, but you don't really need much more anyway. This time we had a two bed room, which was a lot nicer than the sharing with four people of last year. The room could have done with more changes of towels or linnen though.

But the main disappointment of the holiday was also related to the Hostel, because there was a very relaxed attitude to property rights. During our stay my iPod Classic 160GB and a Sony digital camera got stolen out of our rooms and a pair of new snowboard boots from the hallway. For the iPod and camera I suspect the cleaners, because they vanished on the day brought new towels and the rooms were locked all the time. The boots got stolen during the night, so it must have been one of the employees or hostel guests, as nobody else can come or go at night time.

But now to the good bits. The weather turned out to be brilliant, the first few days we had non stop snowfall. This meant the visibility was not that good, but the snow was perfect and I discovered how much more I love deep snow and freeriding compared to prepared slopes. During the week there also no queues at the lifts which are perfect conditions for stressless fun. At one day there was also a lot of fog, which reduced the visibility to about 10 meters, but even that was fun.

I used the week to work on my snowboarding and I am a lot quicker now. I also learned turning 360 degrees while riding, riding backwards and 180 while riding slow. Cat also found a little kicker to do small jumps just off the slope. Cat is still quicker than me, but I can always blame the age difference. And I didn't break anything this time - brilliant!

I would love to go boarding again this year, but I am to broke to afford another week. And now I also need to replace the iPod and my own broken Sony camera.

Cat and Rafael have put some pictures on facebook, so check there.

I also managed to read some books while on holiday:
  • Unzipped by Courney Weaver - which was not very good, a bit like Sex in the City with more sex and less shoes. I read the German version, which probably made it even worse.
  • Head First Design Patterns - an illustrated introduction to design patterns, which I borrowed from work. The concept of the book is a bit strange, with lots of pictures and comic style text balloons. But it explains the same patterns as the Gang of Four book and with good Java examples. I certainly learned some stuff.
  • The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin- I am not finished with this one, but Darwin was proper adventurer and explorer. It is amazing how much things he saw and how he was able to explain the smallest details of all the plants, animals and humans he saw on his travel.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weired conversations

Strange conversation on yahoo messenger. I used Eliza for the replies, but the guy gave up too quickly.

(1:58:24 PM) hidden: I'm really sorry that I said those things, honey, but I just lost control of myself. You know as well as I do that I have struggled with anger since my childhood, when my mom died and my dad started to abuse me. I just want you to know that I'm sorry, and that you should take me back. And if your answer is no, then you're a giant bitch.
(2:01:23 PM) cdamian: Do you wish that my answer is no then your're a giant bitch?
(2:01:50 PM) hidden: porn
(2:02:06 PM) cdamian: Please go on.
(2:02:34 PM) hidden: no
(2:02:47 PM) cdamian: You are being a bit negative.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Year's resolutions (Part 2)

I forgot one:

Take more advantage of Barcelona
I did not spend enough time in the Zoo and the Park or the Beach this year. And I did not use the Chiringuitos, museums or open air cinema. There is a lot of stuff to do and I don't want it to be like London where I did everything in the last two months.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year's resolutions

One of the traditions of celebrating the New Year (besides getting drunk and making a fool of yourself) are of course the resolutions for the next twelve months. So here are mine:

loose weight
as a rule this always have to come first and I don't want to be the one breaking it. As I think I am eating healthy enough and I am probably not going to be able to change much of it this has to be achieved with more exercise, so more cycling and the gym. I will also reduce the amount of alcohol I consume.

use my motorcycle more
I haven't used it at all in 2008, which is a pity. Every time I do use it I get a smile on my face. It also means that it will be better maintained and keep the traffic wardens happy, which towed Cats scooter because it was not moved for eight days. It doesn't make much sense to use it in Barcelona though, so I will have to do some weekend trips.

sort out my music collection
I already started deleting all my mp3s where I don't know the origin and started ripping all my CDs again. Next step will be the organising the mp3s I got through podcasts or from mix bootlegs. And the last will be digitizing my audio tapes, which will probably take the rest of the year.

travel somewhere new
Two trips are already planned to Laax and Amsterdam, but these are old favourites and I want to see some new places. Maybe a motorcycle trip to the south of France or Italy or a city break to somewhere else in Europe.

do more programming
As with the motorcycle this always brings a smile to my face and I just don't do it enough. I have started some small projects at home now and I am trying to get more in Fedora, though my first simple package submission is going extremely slow. I also have to spend more time on Python to learn faster.

I think five resolutions are probably enough, maybe one last one: I should use this blog more often.