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Dear Reader,

Welp, here I are staring at June 2021 on the calendar and know that one of my favorite PHP community events, The Dutch PHP Conference, is yet again going virtual. Yup, Yet Another Online Conference. (YAOC) Just another day of YAOC Shaving in a polo shirt and my pajama bottoms.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand and applaud their commitment to the safety and health of the attendees. But come on, there’s only so many times I can get excited about seeing some of these people present again via Zoom. I mean a few of “the regulars” will put you to sleep in an in-person presentation. Give me Zoom and a comfy chair to sit in and you had better end every presentation with an alarm clock going off.

You know my favorite part of on-line conferences though? The afterparty. I don’t have to watch how much I drink lest there be yet another “Cal’s Drunk” story going around. (Ask Joe Ferguson, last I heard he was collecting them all for a book. It will no doubt be masterfully edited by his much more talented better half.) Most of all though, I am the life of a virtual afterparty! (because it’s basically just me anyhow) :)

Still, given the circumstances, YAOC is better than NCAL. (No Conference At All)

It still gives me a day to set aside to hang out with the PHP community. A day I turn off everything else and sit and learn. A day I hang out in slack and make bad jokes. A day I get to catch up with old friends I’ve not seen in more than a year, and make new friends that I can look forward to meeting in person next year.

So yeah, YAOC. But the way I look at it it’s not YET Another Online Conference, it’s YEA! Another Online Conference. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve known the organizers of this event for more than 10m years and I know that virtual or IRL, they know how to throw a conference.

So if you aren’t doing anything on June 17th and 18th, come hang out with me. The slack channel is free an open to everyone. Yes, they don’t charge you a dime to watch me tell bad jokes.

This year, like last, the main conference day is free too. So get a ticket, block off the time in your calendar, brush up on YOUR bad joke or “Cal’s drunk again” story, and come hang with us at DPC21-YAOC.

I look forward to talking to you.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

I am seeking a new opportunity.

Dear Reader,

The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.
     — Isaac Asimov

That is how I started a blog post to my Ibuildings friends yesterday announcing that I will be leaving the company in December. It has been a great time for me – and I hope for them as well – but my time there is drawing to a close.

techPortal is ALIVE!

Dear Reader,

Thanks to a lot of hard work from several Ibuildings developers our new developer blog, techPortal, is now live.

Drop by, give us a look. To kick things off we’ve got a good article on memcached written by my good friend Lorna.

Make sure you at least click the link and view my “Welcome to techPortal” while you are there. (Yes, I’m trying to do a little click stuffing, help a brother out.”)

Until next time,

Change is in the air…

Dear Reader,

Wow, what a day today was!

I’m going to cover a lot of ground in this post so unless you are friend or family, you may just want to read the next summary and skip the rest.

For those in a hurry

For those who have not heard, yes, I will soon be leaving Zend and moving to Ibuildings. Yes, that means I am also leaving Nashville, TN-US for Utrecht, Netherlands. No, the lovely and talented Kathy will not be going with me immediately but will be joining me after my son graduates high school. Yes we are both very excited about it.


The first question most people ask me is why? I mean a lot of people asked me that. As I’ve said to just about anyone who would listen, I have a great job! Zend is a great company to work for, they provide for their people, and I have absolutely no complaints about my time at Zend. This will come as a surprise to a few Zenders as all they have ever seen me do is complain. I’ve been allowed to create my role at Zend and that is a rare thing at any company.

I was originally hired at Zend to be an editor for DevZone and I was just supposed to write articles and code. (those of you who have seen my spelling and grammar gaffes can stop laughing now) Over the course of 2.5 years, Mark de Visser, with the backing of Andi, Harold and the rest of this awesome company, put up with my antics. They paid me to work with the PHP community. I got to travel to conferences, hang out in IRC, they even let me be the Master of Ceremonies of ZendCon. This truly is a dream job. It is so great that in the 2.5 years, I’ve turned down most offers to interview and the few serious offers that came my way. This was were I felt at home.

So back to the question, why leave a dream job at a great company? The only answer I have is “opportunity“. Most of you have never read my article “Nerd Herding” (and I don’t recommend you bother now) but in it I talk about the fact that for developers, interesting projects are just as important as a good salary. While I still love what I do at Zend, the opportunity offered to me by Ibuildings was just too great to pass up. So that is why, after over a month of thinking about it and discussing it with the lovely and talented Kathy, we decided that this was a chance I couldn’t pass up.

/me <3 PHPC

One of the great things about my job, both at Zend and at Ibuildings is that I get paid to work with the PHP community. I told someone this at ZendCon but it bears repeating here.

PHP is my fifth programming language, that means I’ve been a part of 5 programming communities. None of those communities have come close to being as vibrant, fun and welcoming as the PHP community. PHP developers should not take this community for granted, it is something special.

It is to this awesome group of mixed nuts that we call the PHP community, that I give a big hug and say thank you. Thank you for all the tweets, blog posts, IMs and irc well wishes today. Thank you for your friendship. Thanks you for welcoming me in even when you didn’t have to. You guys and gals are teh awesome and I wish I could call each of you by name and say thank you. (if I tried, we’d be here a while an even then, I know I’d leave someone out so I’m not going to try) It has been a blast working with you while at Zend and I look forward to working with you at Ibuildings!

Looking Forward

I’ve talked a lot about Zend in this post but I can’t close without saying a big hello to my new Ibuildings family. Thank you for welcoming me in such a warm fashion. I’ve never had this much attention paid to me coming to a new company. Honestly, it humbles me to think that I’m moving to a new company and country and yet I already have good friends in both. I am looking forward to working with each of you!

I am positive that Zend will be hiring someone to take over DevZone and my other duties. I know that phpc will embrace them as you did me. (because again, you guys and gals rock!) DevZone has become a regular daily stop of a lot of PHP developers and I am sure it will only get better.

As for me? well, I’m not going anywhere. (figuratively speaking) I’ll still be hanging around on Skype, IRC and IM. If you need to contact me, my contact info is always on my EPK. I encourage you to ping me if I can help you.

It’s been an awesome 2.5 years at Zend and I look forward to a number of awesome years at Ibuildings!

Until next time,

Amsterdam Wrap-up: The Directors Cut

A good chunk of this blog post was posted over at DevZone. However, this one contains more personal observations and general nuttiness.

I’ve just returned from my second trip to the Netherlands and, as with the first one, I had a wonderful time. This time, I was honored to speak at the PHP Business Seminar put on as a joint project by my good friends Ibuildings and my new friends Sogeti.


Amsterdam is a beautiful city and I always love when I get to travel there. The weather was beautiful and I was lucky enough to have a couple of hours to myself. Last time I was there I was so jet lagged that I got a whopping 30 minutes in the Van Gogh museum. This time I got there in the morning and spent about 2.5 hours wandering and admiring his art.

Shopping Mall?Obligatory Tourist PhotoHotel Sint Nicholas

Also, there was a street fair happening in one of the city squares (I believe it’s called Waterloosplain but I am probably wrong.) It was really fun, not because it was big or because I paid 3EU to rinde rides, it was fun because all the music was old 70’s tunes that had been re-mixed into techno dance tunes. One part of the fair was this wheel on the long arm of a pendulum that would swing back and forth as the wheel rotated. People sat in the wheel. This thin had to come within 20 feed of the Madam Tussauds building and at it’s apogee lined up with the big glass window on the 4th (?) from of Madam Tussauds.

Dinner With Friends

Monday evening Ivo Jansch, CTO of Ibuildings stopped by the hotel and picked my up for dinner.
Me and my PHP Homies!
Ivo and I joined Stefan Koopmanschap, Michelangelo van Dam and Remi Woler for dinner and drinks (and one fine Cuban Cigar provided by Michelangelo, dude, seriously, you rock!) It was great catching up with old friends and as one would expect from that group, the conversation never strayed far from PHP. We ate and drank way to late. Remi blogged about dinner here and posted a picture that Stefan took.



Tuesday morning, the day of the conference, came way too early after a late night with friends. Lucky for me, the conference was in the afternoon and evening. Ivo Jansch, CTO of Ibuildings, drove me out into the beautiful Holland countryside to a great hotel where the conference was being held. There I met 70+ people, both management and developers, all gathered to talk about PHP.

To be honest, I did not pay attention to any of the sessions; in my defense, they were all in Dutch. I did, however, manage to catch a few of the phrases like “Zend Platform” and “Zend Studio” and eventually figured out that “Pey-Ah-Pey” meant PHP. My cue to start paying attention was when the host for the day started speaking in English. At that point, I was pretty sure it was for my benefit only.

My Presentation

Presenting my session was fun, ok it was fun for me; I hope it was fun for the audience. The slides can be found on SlideShare, it’s my slideshow called Gardeners, Not Gate Keepers but honestly, there are only 14 of them including the vanity slide and if you weren’t there for the conference, they won’t make much sense. I talked about the fact that thanks to things like RIAs, Mashups, APIs and cool tools like IBM’s Mashup Hub (built on “Zend Framework”: and WS02’s Mashup Server, our roles in IT were changing. We no longer need to be the Gate keepers to the infrastructure but we need to be gardeners of the application. We need to provide the tools for our users and let them participate in the building of the application. (In retrospect, Groundskeepers might have been a better analogy) Anyhow, I tortured the analogy for 45 minutes before it was all over. As I told the audience, my presentation wasn’t a “Do this or else” type of presentation but more of an “Here’s an idea I have, see if you can use some of it where you are” presentation.

The audience was great for the session and afterwards I was asked several good questions and had some great discussions about the session and PHP in general while eating dinner.

One question asked in the evening session was:

“Why would I want to allow users to build mashups inside my application? Won’t I just be creating a mess of single use applications that I then have to mantain?”

My answer to this is, yes, of course you will. However, no more so than you are doing now. It’s really a mindset change. By (as someone put it on twitter today) supplying them with the rakes and showing them how to use them, we are encouraging users to help take control and responsibility for the application. You have to see the whole show to really grasp it because I am certinly not advocating allowing anyone and everyone to start tinkering with code.

This is my current presentation and I’m available for Business Seminars, users groups, kids parties and weddings, so drop me a line if you’d like to talk about me coming to your meeting.

Following dinner, we changed audiences and went at it again. At this point I need to say a big thank you to my friends at Ibuildings for bringing me a RedBull. I’m pretty sure I would not have made it through the second session with out it. (As it was, I managed to shave 10 minutes off my best time with it.) The evening’s audience was almost all developers, the majority of them from Sorgeti and Ibuildings but there were a few from other companies that snuck in for the fun. Peter C. Verhage and Robert van der Linde from Ibuildings and Sogeti respectively both reprised their sessions as did I. I’ll have to say, I had a lot more fun in the evening talking only to developers.


All in all, it was a great, but all-too-short conference. With only 1/2 a day and a hand full of breaks, there was no way I could meet everyone. The people I did meet were all great and I hope to run into them online to continue the friendships that were formed. I would like to say a special thanks again to both Ibuildings and Sogeti for putting forth the effort to put on a conference like this. As PHP’s popularity grows, it’s good for managers to know that companies like Ibuildings, Sogeti, and of course Zend, are there to help them.

So, as my tradition, as the sun was slowly making it’s way across the sky, I mounted my mighty steed of steel donned the battered fedora and headed off to the next conference. (Actually headed back home to recuperate before my road trip to php|tek…but that’s another story!)