Zend Server 5 / PHP 5.3.1 released

Today Zend announced the release of Zend Server 5.0, which also includes PHP 5.3.1.

I have performed an apt-get update/upgrade on my servers which worked without issue, however the GUI seams to be a bit buggy following the upgrade. Firstly it looks like some of the styles and images are wrong/missing and secondly the restart button doesn’t seam to work.

For full downloads visit the Zend website:


Star Trek Online

Here are a few screenshots of the very early stages of STO. They are all from the space part of the game, but this is by far the best bit! This is one of the most fun MMO games for a long time, probably since Star Wars Galaxies (I’m not a fan of World of Borecraft and the various ‘clones’ that have dominated the genre for the last few years). Admittedly the ground game is kinda boring, but the space game is awesome. The missions (episodes) in the game feel just like an eposide of Star Trek, it’s certainly true to it’s name.

The UK from space
Borg Cube
Space Fight


Jedward now officially as good as Joe Mcelderry

Apparently their debut single went into the charts at number 2 last week, making them on par with Joe Mcelderry.
I’m a bit slow on the uptake here as this happened almost a week ago, but that may be because I don’t care much for the pop charts.
This of course also means that Rage Against The Machine are better than both Joe Mcelderry and Jedward. 🙂


PHP 5.3 on Ubuntu – Configuration

I’ve been testing PHP 5.3 on various Ubuntu machines for the last few months (since around the time of my first post). I’m now running it on a production server for 1 site.

I noticed I have been getting a lot of hits on my previous post, mainly from others looking for ways to install PHP 5.3 on Ubuntu so I thought it was about time for a follow up.

I’m using PHP 5.3.0 as this is the latest release for Zend Server, the only 5.3.1 release I’m aware of is the DotDeb packages. I try to stay clear of DotDeb, mainly because the packages are built for Debian which often causes issues and conflicts. (Ubuntu is based on Debian unstable so can potentially have a completely different version of every package than the Debian stable branch, as well as changes/tweaks/updates from the Ubuntu team.)

Here are the tweaks I have made to enable PHP to run smoothly, it’s generally quicker to use the Zend web GUI, but these changes can also be done by editing php.ini or adding/removing symbolic links to extensions:

Config changes:

  • Set the default timezone. This seams to be a requirement for PHP 5.3 to have the local timezone set, otherwise we are spammed with about 20 deprecated message when PHP starts. There are a number of ways to do this, the easiest of which is to set the date.timezone config parameter.
  • Set the full path to sendmail. The PHP mail() command will fail unless this is done, this is due to a bug in either PHP or Zend Server (which of them, I’m not sure). Set the sendmail_path config parameter to do this.
  • [Optional] By default the maximum file size you can upload is around 8Mb, if you are likely be using larger files than this, video uploads for example, this change becomes essential. There are 2 options for this setting, both post_max_size and upload_max_filesize should be set.
  • [Optional] By default session timeouts are very short (only about 20 mins), I find it’s usualy a good idea to make it longer.

Extension changes:

  • By default Zend Server comes with tonnes of database extensions, MySQL, PostGreSQL, MSSQL, ODBC, OCI8, SQLite plus PDO versions of most of the above. There is no point having extensions in there we don’t need, pick the extension(s) you need and disable the rest.
  • Disable pcntl on web server environments, as it is apparently not supposed to be used in this way.

This is really all is need to get things up and running, shouldn’t take more than a minute to do.


BT finally sorted everything out, all it took was a letter to the CEO!

I received a phone call this afternoon from Sandra at BT.
She informed me that they had investigated my complaint and found that I had indeed cancelled the order, however it had not been cancelled correctly on all their systems.
She also said that she would be issuing a credit to my account for the full amount and would be informing the collection agency that the debt had been cancelled.
She failed to mention how ‘early termination charges’ for a £30/month broadband account amounted to this obscene sum of money.


BT respond once more

A fairly uninformative update, however nice to see that this is being dealt with properly.

Subject: FW: ****** ************* *** – Reference **/********/**
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 15:32:11 -0000
From: Sandra Toal
To: Phil Bayfield

Dear Mr Bayfield,

I am just sending you an email to confirm I am still investigating your complaint and will be in touch with you as soon as I can with my findings.


Sandra Toal
BT Business Executive Level Complaints


Considering suicide?

There are plenty of ways to do it that you may wish to consider…

Jumping from a window…
Drug overdose…
Cutting yourself…

In fact there is even a Wikipedia page which you can read through:

However the 1000’s of London commuters ask that you show them a little consideration and DON’T JUMP IN FRONT OF TRAINS (and the tube), especially during rush hour. It just leaves a bloody mess all over the tracks and some poor bastards have to pick up the pieces (of you) and it just holds everyone up. We get up really early and spend 3 hours a day travelling to and from work, these kind of hold ups are very frustrating for us. So if it’s the last thing you do, show some consideration for others.

Read this? Still feel like jumping in front of a train?

Yes I know your probably thinking the survival rate of 10% is pretty good odds however I have to ask… Please make sure it is not my train, feel free to contact me via the contact page of my website to find out which trains I will be travelling on and when.


BT respond again

I received a second email from BT, this time from someone in the ‘BT Business Executive Level Complaints’ department.

Subject: ****** ************** *** – Reference **/********/**
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 15:56:04 -0000
From: Sandra Toal
To: Phil Bayfield

Dear Mr Bayfield,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of the email sent on 30th January to Mr Ian Livingston.

Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience caused to you in this matter. I will be investigating this complaint on behalf of Mr Livingston and will be in contact with you as soon as I have completed my investigation.


Sandra Toal
BT Business Executive Level Complaints