Priceless: “The Issuer Certificate Is Unknown”

Firefox: " uses an invalid security certificate"

Another example of the all-so-frightening invalid HTTPS certificate warning in Firefox 3.0. I just found this one to be a bit ironic :)

BTW The Mossad website is mostly for recruiting purposes, they don’t really let you search their archives on-line or anything… to bad, that could have been interesting :P

(and one more thing: yes, it’s “The Mossad” and not just “Mossad” as it’s frequently mis-translated in foreign media. “Mossad” literally means “Institute” or maybe in a less literal translation, “Agency”. There are many institutes and agencies, but there is only one “The Institute”)

Seven Things – Tagged by Ivo Jansch

“I was hopping along, minding my own business, when all of a sudden, up he comes…Cures me! One minute I’m a leper with a trade, next minute my livelihood’s gone!”

So apparently I was tagged by non other than the mighty Ivo Jansch, thus forced into some silly chain-blogging game. After managing to teach everyone in my life including the tech-clueless to never forward any chain mail to me (except for my grandma – I did get her to stop but then she sometimes forgets not to do it), I get bitten by the most tech-savvy people I might know :P

Well, I can’t say no – especially after being titled “Product Manager and Smart Guy at Zend” (for a short period of time that was almost my official title BTW). Of course I’ll play along! It’s also interesting to see how far this goes :)

So here are seven things about me you might or might not know:

  • I never went to university – I’ve noticed some people state what their major was etc. – so, I never went to university. I never got the chance. While everyone else was in university, I was busy doing other things like learning to write PHP :) I always tell myself I’ll go in a year or to – but now that I’ve gotten into a position everyone assume I have at least a BSc, I don’t want to spoil that :) .
  • I never took any official CS training – I’ve frequently found it boring the way it was taught in school. Don’t get me wrong – I love CS and I sometimes find it exciting – but I enjoy it much more when I get to teach myself. I also tend to believe CS is nice but it’s a tool – not really a “wisdom” I’d like to learn in university. I consider other fields like philosophy, history, biology or even mathematics to be far more worth studying. BTW I did take a couple of CS university courses during high-school – I flunked one of them ;)
  • I started programming when I was 7 or 8 – in BASIC. Well, it was nothing impressive but this is how I started. I then went through some Pascal and some C but never got to any level worth talking about. Then in high-school there was the web, and I started playing with it, first with HTML and then with Perl writing CGI stuff. Pretty much at the same time I started experimenting with Linux.
  • I did that while majoring in Cinematography. Yes – the only thing I did learn professionally was making movies, and I still have a lot of passion for it. I especially enjoyed directing, filming and editing. I did try working for some time on several junior technical positions in the local film industry (2nd assistant camera operator etc.) and did get my name in the credits of some movies (who were major in Israel – so there you have it Ivo ;) ) but working for the “industry” so to speak was not so great, and I decided to drop it.
  • Just like most male citizens of Israel I did my military service after highschool – and didn’t get to touch a programmable computer for 3 years (I did get to touch some computers but they were not the kind you want to mess around with). I even almost became an officer (which means I could have spend more than those 3 years in the army) but I didn’t run fast enough. I still spend a few days every year in reserve training, but sometimes they let me off the hook when I have to go to some PHP conference :)
  • When I got out of the army and back into the real world, Perl was gone and all of a sudden there was PHP everywhere. I found out I could write the same app I wrote in Perl in a month in about a week in PHP, and the rest is history. Back at the time I wrote my first PHP app – a web site which is still running today. I looked at the code a few months ago and almost puked.
  • Before working for Zend, I worked for a local ISP which as managed by the biggest Linux geek I’ve met (no wonder it’s out of business by now) – that was a lot of fun. Before that, I did all sorts of things – I herded goats, I picked cherries and I grew long curly hair. I got to Zend by pure chance – I didn’t even knew they were an Israeli company until I met a cousin of mine who told me he was working there!

So… those are my seven things!

And now, who to tag? I have very few candidates left – I hardly have any blogging friends who haven’t already been tagged… So here are my people, hopefully they’ll forgive me:

  • Nir Yariv – friend, family member, and one of the smartest (infrequent) bloggers I know (he’s also the guy who got me into Zend).
  • Christer Edvartsen – fellow PHP coder, ZF contributor, and occasional (one a year or so) drinking buddy
  • John Coggeshall – Ex-Zender, Current CTO at ACS, PHP author, and well, another occasional drinking buddy
  • Stas Malyshev – PHP Internals Guru and Zend’s 1st employee
  • Boaz Rymland- Another ex-colleague, Drupal expert and a certified social worker
  • Andi Gutmans – Fellow Zender and, wel… you all know him don’t you?
  • Zeev Suraski – Well you know him too don’t you?

Well… that’s my list – let’s see how many of them step up to the plate!

Oh – and here are the rules for any bloggers who decide to follow up:

  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post – some random, some wierd.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.

Attending Adobe Max next week

As part of my job at Zend, I was invited by Adobe to Adobe Max in San Francisco – how cool is that? It’s a huge conference (thousands of participants – nothing like any PHP conference I know!) with so many presentations to sit in it’s just hard to choose.

Of course, I am no designer and tend to stick to the server side – so for me choosing was easier, but still confusing.

In any case if you are there, or in down town San Francisco, come and say hi!

Reminder: Open-source is great!

From time to time I get reminders to why I love open source so much, and why I see it as having little to do with software and a lot to do with promoting a culture of sharing and of openness.

A few days ago I released my first C open source app – Glista. It was a little tool I wrote to scratch an itch and to sharpen my hardly-existing C skills. Deciding to release it was natural, but I didn’t expect much attention from such a simple tool competing in a category where many alternatives exist.

However, it did get noticed and I had several people e-mailing suggestions, reporting bugs and generally commenting on it, giving mostly positive and useful feedback. I was able to fix several bugs in the last few days and I did learn a few things on creating better build scripts, which I was clueless about before.

And the best thing is that at less than a week after it’s initial release, Glista was ported to run on an iPaq PDA using the OpenEmbedded cross-compiler. I even got some screenshots to show off:

Glista on iPaq     Glista on iPaq

How cool is that?

This is done using the unstable branch of OpenEmbedded so there are no official builds yet – but the author, Dmitry, has attached a recipe file to this bug report in the OpenEmbedded tracker if you want to try it.

Travel Plans

After what is probably the longest period of being at home without flying anywhere (since November!) in the last 3 years, I am actually quite excited to be flying again.

After a quick visit to Zend‘s Cupertino office, I will be attending two conferences in may: I’ll be visiting the last couple of days (May 22nd – 23rd) of php|tek in Chicago – in which I will not be presenting, but will probably hang around with the Zend guys and go to some lectures.

After spending the weekend with friends in New York City, I’m flying to Germany to attend DLW Europe – a first-year conference dedicated to dynamic languages (PHP, Ruby, Python, Perl etc.). There’s quite a lot of known PHPers attending and speaking, and it looks like it’s going to be a blast. Personally I will be giving a talk I call “Non-framework Zend Framework Components” (working title) – which will showcase some of the more useful components of Zend Framework for those who do not want to base their entire application on it – but rather just need to preform tasks and want to reuse the high-quality components of ZF in order to do that.

So it looks like quite a road trip: Tel Aviv -> San Francisco -> Chicago -> New York -> Karlsruhe -> Tel Aviv – by the end of it I might be able to buy a MacBook Pro using frequent flyer miles only ;)

If you’re in either conferences – come over and say hi!

Security By Obscurity – “Not to Stand Up”

I am giving a security lecture at the local PHP users group tomorrow, and one of the topics is, ahm, security by obscurity. In fact, it’s not really a topic – I just mention it and say that it’s not really an approach to security, and should generally only be used as an extra measure and should not to be relied on.

This got me thinking about one of my old-time favorite Monty Python sketches:

The first rule of not being seen: not to stand up!

Hyderabad, India

It’s been a week since I got to Hyderabad, India – but today was the first day I actually got to hang around a little bit and not only work. So first of all, I’ve posted some pictures to my flickr page – check them out! They’re not incredible – it turns out I was overexposing most of my pictures today until I noticed I had a crazy shutter set… Still getting used to the new camera.

Anyway my colleague and friend Massi and I are here for some work (I’ll stay a week and a half more, and Massi leaves in a few days). Everything here is amazing – the culture is nothing like anywhere else I have been of course. I’ll probably be posting some more photos and write some more about it in the next days. The food, the clothes, the people – it’s all incredible.

Dirty, polluted – that’s true, but also incredible. It’s all very contrast in many ways.

Zend Conference POST-Mortum

Zend/PHP Conference 2007 is over – it was lots of fun and lots of work, and I enjoyed it even more than last year’s ZendCon. San Francisco was as beautiful as always, meeting colleagues from all over the world (some of whom I get to see only once a year) was fun, and of course, you get to learn from the smartest people of the PHP world, and also get drunk with them!
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In California for ZendCon07

My colleague Massi and I landed here in San Francisco yesterday after an exhausting 15 or so hours in the air (Tel-Aviv -> Frankfurt -> San Francisco). Trying to minimize the effects of jet lag (is that actually possible?) we did our best to not go to sleep and spend another 8 hours or so doing some sightseeing and just hanging around with some friends from the team (Zenders from Israel, Germany, France and the US). We also watched the Blue Angels air show that was on yesterday – it was nice, but not too exciting (after all, growing up in northern Israel I got to see enough real fighter jet action…).

Today we’ll do some more sight seeing (it’s my second time in SF, I have some family here and I really love the city). I’m staying at the conference hotel – so if you’re around, come and say hi.

Denmark, Day II

My never ending journeys brought me to yet another country I’ve never been to – and this time, it’s Denmark.

I’m not in Copenhagen, but in a smaller city named Aarhus. I haven’t seen much of it yet, but hopefully I’ll at least get to hang around in the city a bit, despite not having too much time.

The only remarkable thing I’ve noticed so far was yesterday’s weather – it was frigging 23 degrees or so, and I was standing outside with short sleeves, sweating. Tel Aviv (!!) was cooler the day before I came here, and it felt really strange. As my manager described it, “something is definitely fucked up with Europe” – or maybe, as someone else put it, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”.