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Day Camp 4 Developers

Dear Reader,

I have a new project, Day Camp 4 Developers!

The pitch

My self, the lovely and talented Kathy and 5 of our friends are all getting together on Saturday November 6th, 2010 to talk about skills that developers won’t usually think about but are important to their careers..

DPC Wrap-up

Dear Reader,

I’m sitting in Schipol airport with Rob Allen waiting for my flight. (Rob is reviewing his photos) Thinking back over the past few days, the word that comes to mind is fantastic. DPC10 was fantastic.

For those that don’t know me, I have a personal interest in DPC as last year I worked at Ibuildings and hosted it. It’s always difficult to hand off something that means so much to you but I am happy to report that Lorna Jane took it and made it her own. It was everything I had hoped it would be.


tek09 Roundup

Dear Reader,

It’s been a while since I’ve done a conference roundup and even when I did them, I don’t think I posted them here. So, let’s correct both oversights at once and do a php|tek 09 roundup.

Unlike other roundups, I’m not going to describe in detail all the cool sessions I attended. In all honestly, I only attended 2 sessions start to finish, and they were both mine. I did manage to slip into Sara Golemon’s PHP 5.3:Hot or Not session and really enjoyed it. So of the sessions I wanted to go to but didn’t get to, which ones would I have attended? All of them! The schedule was packed with topics I wanted to learn more about. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked on some other things and didn’t get as much session time as I would have liked.

Using Twitter for a Competitive Advantage

Dear Reader,

Over at the Small Business Idea Forum, Staci asked about twitter and I replied. This, along with a couple of other things today are pointing me towards a blog post and possible a podcast this weekend.

Twitter has gone from WTH to ZOMG to “Hey, I can use this for my benefit!” I like any tool that hits that last stage.

Three things have come together today to prompt me to write this post.

First, my friend and editor Elizabeth Naramore tweeted today:

someone explain to me the reasoning behind a company “following me” on twitter; are they just hoping I follow them too?

She’s not the first person that has noticed this trend, just the latest. The trend of following everyone on twitter because a lot of people automatically follow you back is growing. The obvious benefit is if you follow 10,000 people on twitter and 10% follow you back because they don’t know any better, when you post, 1,000 people see your post. So as a side note to this blog let me jsut advise any twitter user out there, don’t auto-follow. When you get a twitter “follow” notice, check out who it is. If it’s not someone you know then it’s twitter spam. Don’t bother to follow them. (You don’t have to block them though, let them artificially inflate your follower number.)

Then I saw this post from Michal Arrington. (Whom I do not follow because I do not know and usually don’t care to hear what he has to say outside of It was an A-Ha! moment for me. I do a lot of scanning with Google Alerts but his point is very important.

Twitter is the place where conversations are exploding well before they even make it to mainstream blogs.

It’s not enough these days to just monitor the web via Google alerts or some paid clipping service. Blogs are a trailing indicator these days. To be on top of your brand you have got to take it to the next level. lets you do just that.

Finally, a forum post over at the Small Business Idea Forum again mentioned twitter and my reply there got me thinking.

Twitter started as a way to connect friends but is fast becoming a powerful marketing and business intelligence tool. I cover the former briefly in my forum post and on Sixty Second Tech but it’s the latter that I really want to talk about. is just what you think it is, a search engine for twitter. Yes, Google indexes twitter but these days that just not fast enough. Thankfully the guys and gals behind tweetscan solve that problem for us. It looks like they database and index the public feed. I don’t know where they get their resources but I hope to god they stay alive because this is something that twitter really needs.

If you have looked at their page by now and can’t figure out how to use it, please turn in your Internet secret decoder ring and shut off your modem. If you did figure it out, bully for you, you are as smart as a fifth grader! A couple of notes. If you read their blog and wiki (these people are on the web 2.0 ball!) then you know that they support OR and “-” operators. This makes life ever so much more interesting. GO ahead, play with a few queries like cats OR dogs. Hopefully they will add AND and NOT in there soon.

So, you can scan for topics. That’s kind of cool but other than replacing google egosurfing with twitter egosurfing what’s the pint, right? Here’s the point. Search for your brand! In my case I have searches for “Cal Evans”, Zend and ZF. All fine and good, as Arrington points out, I can now see things before they happen as twitter is a leading indicator. But who wants to go visit their page every so often and execute a series of searches?


Thankfully, the people behind tweetscan are fully Web 2.0 compliant and they provide me with a custom feed for each search I execute. This means I can plug the RSS feed of the above search for “Cal Evans”, into ANY feed reader and voila, instant ego surfing!

Now, I use Google Reader as my primary feed reader and it does a wonderful job. However, these feeds (I’ve got 8 now) are much more important to me than anything I have in Google Reader. I almost need them to be push. The next best thing to push is pull in a program I already use. I did NOT want to have to install yet another piece of software to make this whole thing work. (Que Attensa to enter stage right) I used to use this Outlook plugin back when I was at Jupiter Hosting. It’s a great way to add RSS feeds into Outlook. It’s made some progress since 2005 and now is very unobtrusive.

Wrap It Up

So, to summarize; + Attensa’s outlook plugin = quick and easy business intelligence. Don’t forget to add feeds for your major competitors brands as well!

Until next time,

Book is Available, Support Site is Live

Dear Reader,

Well, my first book, php|architect’s Guide to Programming with Zend Framework has officially been released in PDF format. You can order it now or pre-order the dead-tree edition. (Cal is a happy camper)

I would be remiss if I did not say thank you once again to Marco, Elizabeth and Matthew for their help and guidance. Also, a huge thank you to Laura Thomson for writing the forward.

On a related note, the support site for the book, is now live. Currently, the only thing there are links to the source code examples but I have plans for posting any errata, discussing different parts of the book and eventually releasing a series of tutorials called “The Missing Chapters”. (because there was a lot I just didn’t get to cover)

Until next time,