PHP 5.3.1 Released

If you are a fan of PHP, things are getting better. PHP 5.3.1 was just released containing over 100 bug fixes. From Marc Plotz article:

The most significant and security-conscious addition in PHP 5.3.1 is the inclusion of a max_file_uploads INI directive, making it possible to limit file uploads per request to 20 files by default. This is extremely important in circumventing denial of service (DoS) attacks.

If you have not heard of denial of service attacks, the basic principle is that a website gets pounded with hundreds or even thousands of requests at the same time, thus rendering the server essentially useless because all of its sources are being consumed in serving the attack. Thus, a user having unlimited upload possibilities certainly could bring a production server to its knees by constantly uploading something like one hundred files repeatedly from various machines.

You could in effect have 1000 or more files being uploaded at the same time, and a slow or shared server will not handle that well at all. Even a dedicated server would struggle considerably. So, what max_file_uploads does is make sure that no more than 20 files can be uploaded at a time on that server.

Other bug fixes include missing sanity checks around EXIF (exchangeable image file format) processing, while Rasmus Lerdorf himself fixed a safe_mode bypass in tempnam(). An open_basedir bypass in posix_mkfifo() was also repaired, along with the failing safe_mode_include_dir. You can see the CHANGELOG for more details.

The 3-D Movie Experience

After watching Avatar in 3-D three weeks ago, I can’t possibly go back to the two-dimensional movie experience. From now on, I hereby decree all movies to be in 3-D. Well, just the blockbuster ones. I would have love to have seen any of the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman and Batman series in 3-D. By the way, I still have the 3-D glasses in my car. Souvenirs!

Hidden Watermark

I just read an article about 5 Useful Free Plugins for Gimp. One plugin is called Hidden Watermark with a couple of sample images. If you look at the original image and the watermarked one, you can’t really tell difference, until you open up and verify the image. I thought the purpose of a watermark is two-fold: to copyright your images, and to display credit.

The Hidden Watermark plugin covers the first, but not the second. Without a visible watermark, anyone can unknowingly infringe on your artwork. I rather have a visible watermark. I know I’ve stopped using images because I’ve seen watermarks on them. I’m sure others do the same. All the more reason to leave a visible watermark.

Just a personal preference.

Magic Jack 2.0

I’m not exactly sure what the next version of the Magic Jack will be called, but the latest iteration of the popular phone device has a feature that will make the Magic Jack device work with cell phones. It basically works like a mini cell tower. The Magic Jack device recognizes cell phones within 8 feet. You punch in a special code and it connects your cell phone with the Magic Jack. You can then place unlimited calls via internet for free. The new Magic Jack works with any GSM phone from AT&T and T-Mobile. The bad news is most phones from Verizon and Sprint will not work.

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Difference Between Nikon G and D Lenses

While doing research for a Nikon 50mm lens, I found out that Nikon offers two types of lenses, the G and D. I found this forum discussing in detail the differences between the two types.

Essentially the G is the cheaper one of the two since it’s made of cheaper plastic. The G also doesn’t come with an aperture ring. You’ll have to set the aperture settings in your camera’s body. This means, you can’t use the G on older cameras.

I’ve been interested in acquiring a 50mm prime lens to go with my D90 camera. A 50mm lens, I think, is ideally suited for portraits, low light and bookeh photography. Speaking of forums, Dpreview is still one of my favorites. Although, I’m not a frequent visitor.

WordPress and WordPress Mu Merging

This is not exactly breaking news, and it’s certainly not a secret either, but the word on the street is that WordPress and WordPress Mu are merging, most likely in the next big release of version 3.0. Future versions of WordPress will be capable of holding multiple blogs just like WordPress Mu. Bloggers will no longer have to make that tough decision when starting out whether to go WordPress or WordPress Mu. I’ve done both types of installations. Switching from one to the other is not a cakewalk. Merging both versions is another great move for WordPress. I can’t wait to get the next version.