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Ubuntu 14.04, Wubi, ATI, and How to Keep Sane

2015-06-22T17:46:30Z

So I have wasted spent a few hours on getting Ubuntu14.04 LTS installed on a Windows multi-boot system using the Wubi installer, and encountered a few issues along the way. I could solve all of them, but it required some research. Hopefully, I can save some of you this time. 1 - Getting Wubi The Ubuntu downlod page does not link to the Windows Ubuntu installer ("Wubi") since a few versions. It's a very convenient tool in making Ubuntu easy to install from Windows, and also to remove it later. However the system does have issues with Windows 8+ systems (UEFI—nuff said). However I had a Windows 7 system where I wanted to boot into Ubuntu, so Wubi sounded like a good idea. There is no separate download, but the ISO of the desktop version of Ubuntu does contain wubi.exe, which is the installer. Just extract this file from the ISO, and run it directly. After setting some options, the system will reboot directly into the Ubuntu installer. 2 - Mounting / and /tmp Now when installation has completed, the Windows boot loaded will have an entry for Ubuntu. At least in my case, booting into the OS did not work, but showed this frightening error message instead: Serious errors were found while checking the disk drive for /. There were three options: press [I] to ignore, press [S] to skip mounting and press [M] to mount manually. Ignoring this did not really work, since the next error message mentioned that /tmp could not be mounted. What the eff?! I eventually found this SO article with several solutions. The most straight forward one was to press e in the Ubuntu boot menu / Grub2 (not the Windows one!). This opens up the boot entry with the associated options. Somewhere in there, there is the actual command that boots up Linux and also mounts the disk— in ro (read-only) mode! Change that to rw, and press Ctrl+X or F10 to resume booting with the changed parameters. And we are in and need to make sure that this change is permanent. For this to happen, I (sudo) edited the /etc/grub.d/10_lupin file and was looking for " ro " (including the blanks, that limited the number of options to 1). I then changed that to rw, saved the file, and updated my Grub2 entries: sudo update-grub Time to be happy! Or maybe not. 3 - Blank Screen Previous versions of Ubuntu have had their issues with some ATI graphics chips: upon boot, the screen went just blank. Unfortunately, this still seems to be the case with 14.04. I do not want to go into the discussion whether it's Ubuntu's fault or ATI/AMD's. What's important is how to fix that situation. Once again the trick is to open the Linux boot options from the Grub2 window by pressing e. You will find quiet splash somewhere in there. Just prepend or append nomodeset, like this: nomodeset quiet splash. Then, the system should finally boot up. This article on askubuntu.com gives some more details, including pointers on how to make that change permanent. However in my case, running the system updater once I was into Ubuntu was good enough to make reboots work, too. I my case, I had to do step 3 before step 2. However I hope that other graphics chips do not have this issue, so step 2 should be good enough. Good luck! And yes, I am also flabbergasted that I actually had to do this. [...]



20 Years of PHP!

2015-06-09T05:29:31Z

So Ben suggested we'd all post our history with PHP to celebrate it's 20th birthday, so I am happy to oblige, although I am one day late. In 1998 I started freelancing for a web agency in Munich, doing mostly ASP work. I was very fond of ASP, since it was probably the last technology I could master without looking anything up—not a surprise if you only have 36 properties and methods. As you might imagine, I quickly hit the limitations of the technology, so I started looking around and found out about PHP. In mid-1999, in a very bold move, I convinced the CTO to buy the only German PHP book at that time and to try out this technology for certain customers. The main customer back then was Compaq, and we even managed to sneak some PHP into their ASP-based web site, but that's a different story, and completely unrelated to HP buying Compaq later on PHP proved to be very well suited for what we needed, the only issue was that many of the developers used Windows, and as such were considered lower beings by part of the PHP core team then. Every time I meet Frank M. Kromann I buy him a drink, since the PHP project never released a Windows version of version 3.0.18. I had issues compiling it, so he helped me out and sent me a binary he built. I still can't believe that I put a binary from an external source on a critical web server, but at least the release fixed something we needed. I started speaking at around 2000, first on ASP, but then moved to PHP which I was doing more and more for work. After doing some German conferences I applied for PHPCon in Milbrae in fall of 2002 and, shockingly, was accepted. I had written a book for SAMS Publishing that was due to come out a few weeks after the conference, so I stopped by the SAMS booth (they were sponsoring) and introduced myself. This made me part of a few days that all that were there will never forget, including an over-the-top dinner, and a visit to Puppetry of the Penis. I met Rasmus (Lerdorf), John (Coggeshall), and Shane (Caraveo) there for the first time, and Luke (Welling), Laura (Thomson), and Andrei (Zmievski) at the next PHPCon in the spring of 2003 in New York City (where we all wanted to get a tattoo—another story). Looking back it's just amazing for how long we have known each other, and how many of us are still part of the same family, the PHP community. I started speaking more and more, including two OSCONs and several ApacheCons. Of all the conferences of that time my favorite one was probably ApacheCon in December of 2005 in San Diego. Two weeks before Christmas, warm temperatures, and Java. Lots of it. Chris Shiflett even dubbed the conference "Javapachecon". The only exception—the Gallic village, so to speak—was a set of PHP-related sessions by Adam (Trachtenberg), Andrei, Chris, Rasmus, Theo (Schlossnagle—probably not on PHP ), and myself. We were all coming to each others sessions just to make sure there are a few attendees, and had so much fun on these few days (and probably the most disappointing Mexican dinner ever—Chris' choice). Another memorable event was ZendCon 2009 where we snuck into the Microsoft Windows 7 release party in San Francisco. For those who were there: party bus, the kilt, MC Hammer. Unforgettable! I still think very fondly of those days. Thanks to my PHPCon credits I also successfully applied for the first ZendCon, and have been to each single one (in the US) since then, not planning to quit before Zeev buys dinner for me and Matthew (Weier O'Phinney) as he promised at the 2013 show. I hope to continue my streak when the conference moves to fabulous Las Vegas this fall! Back at OSCON 2004, I passed the Zend PHP 4 Certification. John, Luke, Laura and I promised each other only to talk about this if we all passed (which we eventually did). I was elected as one of the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for the PHP 5 edition of the certification, also worked on the PHP 5.3 one and was the lead author of the current 5.5 edition. Very proud to see the ongoing demand fo[...]



Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VHD if Windows 8 Developer Preview is Already Present

2012-03-03T23:47:49Z

Earlier this week I wanted to install the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my machine. I already had the Windows 8 Developer Preview installed on a VHD - I believe I get a better performance out of the system than using virtualization software. So at first I tried to launch the installation from within Windows 8 Developer Preview, but I failed.

I then went to Scott Hanselman's blog post on installing Windows 8 on VHD, but he also ducked the topic by simply writing "Updating from Developer Preview? Delete and start over!". The steps he then describes to install the new version (delete the VHD, remove the boot entry, setup a new VHD, configure the system to boot from the VHD, install) are very useful and easy to follow, however I would like to provide an alternative approach which I found to be even easier. This method does not provide an approach to upgrade the system, but it does not require any configuration regarding the system boot at all, given that your system already boots from a Windows 8VHD.

Continue reading "Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VHD if Windows 8 Developer Preview is Already Present"



Web Application Security with ASP.NET at DevConnections, Oct 31-Nov 3 in Las Vegas

2011-10-15T12:04:00Z

Once again I'll be speaking at DevConnections this fall. One of my talks will tackle one of my main topics: web application security. I'll cover common (and some uncommon) attacks against web sites, discuss countermeasures and have a close look which safeguards ASP.NET offers, and where developers need to add some security code on their own.

As usual I plan to show a number of code demos, so I thought it would be a nice addition to present a list of important resources for topics I am covering in this session. The list tries to focus only on major sources for each topic, but feel free to use the comments to suggest additional websites.

See you in Las Vegas!




Introduction to jQuery Plugin Development at DevConnections, Oct 31-Nov 3 in Las Vegas

2011-09-30T09:59:00Z

Once again I'll be speaking at DevConnections this fall. One of my talks will provide an introduction into jQuery plugin authoring. One of the main features of jQuery is the huge amount of available plugins. Writing such a plugin is not that hard, but there are some common patterns that help you getting started.

I plan on covering a variety of topics, so this posting just gives you a glimpse what's about to come. Be ready to get started with jQuery plugin development in less than a minute!

Here we will develop a trivial plugin that provides information about a hyperlink when the user hovers over it with the mouse. We do this by setting the link's title attribute to a text containing the target URL and, if available, the target frame/window.

First of all we create a new file, jquery.linkinfo. This follows the usual pattern for jQuery plugins. In this file, we include our code. The base structure makes sure that we can access $ from our code, that the code is executed immediately (which in turn defines the method we are writing) and that no global variables remain:


(function ($) {

})(jQuery);


Within this block, we define our extensions method. This is done by adding an entry to the $.fn hashtable, like this:


$.fn.linkInfo = function () {

}


Most jQuery methods support chaining, so they need to return a list of the current elements (in form of the usual jQuery "object"). A common approach to ensure this is the following code:


return $(this).each(function () {

});


We are almost done! Within the each() block, we first access the current element via $(this) - later this will be a link. Then, we set the element's title attribute to text containing of the URL (href attribute) and, if applicable, the target (target attribute).


var el = $(this);
el.attr("title", "URL: " + el.attr("href") + "; target: " + (el.attr("target") || ""));


Using this plugin in our code is quite easy: We first load jQuery itself, then the plugin. Finally, a script block accesses all links on the page and executes the linkinfo() method:


$(function () {
  $("a").linkInfo();
});


More on these (and related) topics in Las Vegas - hope to see you there!

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jQuery for ASP.NET Developers at DevConnections, Oct 31-Nov 3 in Las Vegas

2011-09-18T15:34:35Z

Once again I'll be speaking at DevConnections this fall. One of my talks will provide a concise introduction to jQuery for ASP.NET developers. Since Microsoft has embraced jQuery and is shipping it with their Visual Studio templates, a solid understanding of how jQuery works is fundamental for many modern ASP.NET web applications.
I plan on covering a variety of topics, which includes (but is certainly not limited to) the following list.

  1. Loading jQuery
    jQuery can be easily obtained from jquery.com and be included using a standard