Talking Laravel

If you know me, you know I am a sucker for a good framework. Doesn't matter the language I am using, I will typically look for the hottest framework on the platform when I start a project.

In my primary development world of PHP, that framework had been cakePHP for a very long time. I had tried several others, but none of them stuck with me like cake did, that was up until a few years ago when a friend with our San Diego PHP User Group started pushing another framework on me called Laravel.

In that time, I've taken the Laravel framework further that I have any other including starting a development group that specializes in the framework. As typical, when I do something I like to submerge myself totally in it, and it wasn't too long before I found myself running a User Group for the Laravel framework.

During that time, I've had the opportunity to speak with a few of the key members of the Laravel community. The following two videos are interviews I did with Taylor Otwell (@taylorotwell) who is the creator of the Laravel Framework. The second video in my interview with Jeffrey Way (@jeffrey_way) who I consider the head educator for Laravel. Enjoyed talking with both these guys. They were super friendly and very, very accommodating.


First up is Taylor Otwell, the creator of Laravel. Great discussion with him.

This is Jeffrey Way's video, we had some major auto problems this night, sorry about that. We were able to mute everything when Jeffrey speaks. Also, the video should start at about the 15-minute mark. Everything before that is just some typical User Group meeting stuff.

My PHPStorm Gotham Theme

Inspired by one of my favorite Vim colorscheme vim-gotham, I created a very dark color theme for PHPStorm. You can download it here. Screenshot here.

To install just place the ICLS file in your PHPStorm directory with your other color themes. On my Mac that that location is ~/Library/Preferences/WebIde80/colors.

PHPStorm Gotham Theme

My Favorite PHP User Group Logos

User groups, or UG for short, are awesome. People passionate about some sort of speciality who get together to share and learn from each other. I personally belong to several UGs but there is one that gets more of my attention than the others and that is our local PHP UG. There are several reasons for this, I am passionate about PHP but more importantly I am one of the organizers of this group which just goes by SDPHP.

One fun thing to check out with other UGs is to see what they came up with for a logo. This sounds simple but coming up with a good meaningful logo is tough. These are some examples of my favorite logos from various PHP User Groups. This is by no means a complete list and I may find myself adding to it over the next couple months but if you happen to have a PHP UG Logo you like, feel free to reference it in the comment section.

Now in no particular order, ok expect for the first one, here are some of my favorite PHP UG Logos.

Right off the bat I am going to do some shameless self promotion of my group SDPHP. I designed this logo and we've been using it for a couple years now and I am still not tired of it.


Next on my list is the San Francisco PHP UG, SFPHP. It's very creative and you can tell they put some time into this one.


Like SFPHP, Seattle PHP User Group managed to work the PHP ElePHPant into their logo which is not something I was able to do.

Utah PHP and Minnesota PHP User Group both use nice circular logos. They look like they would make a great patches.


Orange County PHP kind of speaks for itself. Simple and representative of their local.


Southbay PHP User Group is one of the newer and more creative logos I've seen.


From our friends across the pond we have Belfast PHP User Group


Since LEGO made movies are all the rage right now, why not make a LEGO movie explain the philosophies…

Since LEGO made movies are all the rage right now, why not make a LEGO movie explain the philosophies behind Open Source. Seems to make sense. 

This is actually not a bad introduction to Open Source for those of us that struggle making it easy and non-technical to understand. 

Git things done

git-logo-cc-by-300x300Been meaning to post this for a while. I've been using Git for a number of years now and my last two jobs had me using it heavily. I love git and honestly have managed to block the memories of what my life was like when I tried to manage my version control life with Subversion.

We've also been discussing Git a lot in our SDPHP Group.  I am not going to get into a long post about the coolness of Git and why you should be using it, that is kind of an old discussion at this point. If you are not using Git nowadays I will assume you (a) Don't want to use Git, (b) Don't have a good enough understanding of Git, (c) Don't know what Git is. If you are in category (c) you are probably not a developer and this will be of no interest to you. If you are in category (a), well then I am sure you have your reasons and they are valid. If you are in category (b) then let me share a few things with you. First are some links to some great resources on how to use Git. These groups know what they are talking about and do a fantastic job explaining things, way better than I could ever do.

Helpful links

I also have a couple of presentations I can share with you. The first one was by John Congdon (@johncongdon) and was presented to the SDPHP Group at our monthly meetup Downtown back on Sept 11

I also did a smaller presentation to the SDPHP Study Group earlier on Aug 26

I hope you find some of this information helpful and/or useful.

SDPHP – Google App Engine PHP

My presentation from tonight's SDPHP Meetup. Some great discussions. Was happy to see so much interest in Google App Engines PHP offering. I think we could have been there all night talking about this.

Thanks to Invisible Children for hosting. Also thanks to La Touraine, Inc for sponsoring the food.

A couple of people asked me what presentation software I was using, pretty basic actually. It's was Google Drives Presentation with the "Light Gradient" theme. Happy everyone enjoyed them.

Download Presentation Here

Keeping It Simple

simpleI have long since abandoned "The Bank". This is not to say I squirrel away my paychecks under my mattress at home, trust me you don't want to see what is there, but I don't use Banks to hold my money instead opting to use Credit Unions. To be completely honest with you, the first Credit Union I used I don't think I even differentiated between a Bank and a Credit Union. At the time it was more of "who has the lowest fees" approach. Since then, I've worked for and opened accounts with other Credit Unions and the difference is very clear to me now and I doubt I would ever go back to a traditional Bank, at least not as my primary fulltime account.

But this post isn't about the pros of Credit Unions or the cons on the Bank industry. Instead this is a post about my experience , to date, and opinion of a new form of banking and a new service called "Simple".  Simple is not a traditional Bank and in fact is a new approach to Banking. For starters, Simple is a completely virtual bank, with no physical locations. Simple is currently by invitation only and I was just invited sometime back. As of today, my account is still not fully enabled but I will get back to that in a little while.

My primary Credit Union is pretty aggressive and stays on top of a lot of the new offerings. They have a very verbose web site that allows me to do a lot with my account, tons of free ATMs, and features such as mobile check deposit. But Simple promises to take managing you money one step further. It's been described as a blend of  a Bank and Allowing you to closely track and graph how you are spending money and what you are spending money on. It also allows you to do things like set goals and contribute money to those goal, in essence creating what seem to be small virtual savings accounts.

Being the Geek I am, this platform appealed to me hence why I signed up for an invite. Not sure how long ago I had requested and account and I had honestly forgotten about it when I got the email giving me access.  Once I got the invite it took me a couple of days to pull the trigger and deposit some money into the account. I just really didn't have a good reason to create another account with another financial institution. However one thing that has always bugged me with the my current accounts is the fragmentation. To a degree this is self-imposed, I would take a car loan with one because of a better rate, then open a credit card with another for the same reason. We have accounts for our daughters and I have yet another account for my business. Moving money between the various account at the various institutions has proven to be somewhat of a challenge. Bouncing money between different accounts within the same Credit Union is simple and happen instantaneously but I long for being able to move my money around like that between different Credit Unions. I kind of hoped Simple would offer something like this.

To date I don't know if they will or how efficient it will be, one reason for this is because my account as I mentioned earlier is still not 100% enabled. Signing up was  a little challenging. Security is obviously important to Simple and unfortunately security is not historically user-friendly. You also need to make an initial deposit and then your ID needs to be confirmed. It seems this took a couple days to process, but once completed then I needed to create my log in information to my account. Once  you have a log in you still don't have any money in your account because that initial deposit in kind of in limbo until all this effort is completed and have you signed off and acknowledged all their agreements and disclaimers.

This is where I am today, I have an account and my initial deposit is still pending. So far my impression are pretty simple (see what I did there). After creating my account I did experience a day where I had issues logging into the account when Simple kept saying I was using the wrong username and password. As a long time user of LastPass I knew that wasn't correct and the problem did seem to clear itself up the next day. I still don't have any money in my account that I can do anything with, it's still in a pending state. There are a lot of ways to get money into your account but I have yet to see many ways of getting money out however this may be a limitation to my account right now because the account is essentially empty.

Moving forward, I am going to track my money in this account very closely. The main things I am going to look for a fees, see where they are and how much they are. Also how easy is it to get access to my money, and how easily can I use to pay bills or move to other accounts.  If you are interested in some particular aspect of Simple, leave a comment below and if it something I can check out for you I will.


New SDPHP Mentoring Program

I am helping organize a mentoring program for the San Diego PHP User group. We officially announced the program at last nights meeting.

The SDPHP Group is always looking for what it can do to better strengthen the PHP community in San Diego. It is in this spirit we are launching a project to help facilitate PHP Mentorship. The purpose of this project is to give individuals looking for guidance and personal development with PHP related topics a clear avenue to find people willing to help them. As well as to help organize individuals who are willing to offer guidance and a support, by giving them network to allow them to give the best help possible.

Feel free to check out the full posting, especially if you are interested in getting involved with the project >> SDPHP Mentoring Program

SCALE 11x Interview: Philip Ballew

I got the opportunity to do another Scale11x interview, this time with Philip Ballew. Philip was a real pleasure to talk to and I even got the opportunity to meet with him in person since he is a San Diegan. Philip is a great guy, very passionate about Open Source.  I am looking forward to catching his talks up in L.A. later this week at Scale.

Video Interview: Philip Ballew | SCALE 11x.

SCALE 11x Interview: Mark Hinkle

This is my latest interview for SCALE11x which is coming up of Feb 22nd. This interview is with Mark Hinkle from Citrix.

Mark Hinkle works for Citrix as the Senior Director of Cloud Computing and will be speaking a couple times at SCALE11X. We had some time to talk to Mark about his talk at SCALE11X, Open Source, and Cloud.

This was just a Q&A over email so no video. You can read the full interview on the SCALE11x web site >> Interview: Mark Hinkle | SCALE 11x.

Scale11x Interview: Jorge Castro – Juju

I was asked if I would be interested in conducting some interviews of speakers who are going to speak at The Eleventh Annual Southern California Linux Expo (Scale11x) February 22-24, 2013 Hilton Los Angeles International Airport and needless to say I jumped at the opportunity.

This is my first interview with Jorge Castro of Canonical and we discuss Juju, MaaS, Ubuntu Cloud, and his upcoming presentations and workshop.

You can catch Jorge and learn more about Juju at the Eleventh Annual Southern California Linux Expo, February 22-24,