Build a PHP app that uses GPS data from an IoT device

Are you a PHP developer who is interested in building IoT applications?
It can be difficult to get started. This tutorial will help you get started by
taking you step-by-step through the process of building a PHP-powered, IBM
Bluemix IoT application that subscribes to location data that connected
devices send to the Internet of Things Foundation service. The app then
converts that data into map images by using the Google Maps API.

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GitHub CFO Vlado Herman Is No Longer At The Company

vlado herman We’re hearing from sources that GitHub CFO Vlado Herman, who joined in December 2012, is no longer at the company. Herman was a high-profile hire at the time — and prior to GitHub, he was the CFO of Yelp. To be sure, as a company matures, executive departures can and often do happen. He had been at the company for around three years. We’re also hearing that David McJannet,… Read More

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EC2 Dedicated Hosts

Last month, I announced that we would soon be making EC2 Dedicated Hosts available. As I wrote at the time, this model allows you to control the mapping of EC2 instances to the underlying physical servers. Dedicated Hosts allow you to:

Available Now
I am happy to be able to announced the Dedicated Hosts are available now and that you can start using them today. You can launch them from the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell, or via code that makes calls to the AWS SDKs.

Let’s provision a Dedicated Host and then launch some EC2 instances on it via the Console! I simply open up the EC2 Console, select Dedicated Hosts in the left-side navigation bar, and click on Allocate a Host.

I choose the instance type (Dedicated hosts for M3, M4, C3, C4, G2, R3, D2, and I2  instances are available), the Availability Zone, and the quantity (each Dedicated Host can accommodate one or more instances of a particular type, all of which must be the same size).

If I choose to allow instance auto-placement, subsequent launches of the designed instance type in the chosen Availability Zone are eligible for automatic placement on the Dedicated Host, and will be placed there if instance capacity is available on the host and the launch specifies a tenancy of Host without specifying a particular one. If I do not allow auto-placement, I must specifically target this Dedicated Host when I launch an instance.

When  I click Allocate host, I’ll receive confirmation that it was allocated:

Billing for the Dedicated Host begins at this point. The size and number of instances are running on it does not have an impact on the cost.

I can see all of my Dedicated Hosts at a glance. Selecting one displays detailed information about it:

As you can see, my Dedicated Host has 2 sockets and 24 cores. It can host up to 22 m4.large instances, but is currently not hosting any. The next step is run some instances on my Dedicated Host. I click on Actions and choose Launch Instance(s) onto Host (I can also use the existing EC2 launch wizard):

Then I pick an AMI. Some AMIs (currently RHEL, SUSE Linux, and those which include Windows licenses) cannot be used with Dedicated Hosts, and cannot be selected in the screen below or from the AWS Marketplace:

The instance type is already selected:

Instances launched on a Dedicated Host must always reside within a VPC. A single Dedicated Host can accommodate instances that run in more than one VPC.

The remainder of the instance launch process proceeds in the usual way and I have access to the options that make sense when running on a Dedicated Host. You cannot, for example, run Spot instances on a Dedicated Host.

I can also choose to target one of my Dedicated Hosts when I launch an EC2 instance in the traditional way. I simply set the Tenancy option to Dedicated host and choose one of my Dedicated Hosts (I can also leave it set to No preference and have AWS make the choice for me):

If I select Affinity, a persistent relationship will be created between the Dedicated Host and the instance. This gives you confidence that the instance will restart on the same Host, and minimizes the possibility that you will inadvertently run licensed software on the wrong Host. If you import a Windows Server image (to pick one that we expect to be popular), you can keep it assigned to a particular physical server for at least 90 days, in accordance with the terms of the license.

I can return to the Dedicated Hosts section of the Console, select one of my Hosts, and learn more about the instances that are running on it:

Using & Tracking Licensed Software
You can use your existing software licenses on Dedicated Hosts. Verify that the terms allow the software to be used in a virtualized environment, and use VM Import/Export to bring your existing machine images into the cloud. To learn more, read about Bring Your Own License in the EC2 Documentation. To learn more about Windows licensing options as they relate to AWS, read about Microsoft Licensing on AWS and our detailed Windows BYOL Licensing FAQ.

You can use AWS Config to record configuration changes for your Dedicated Hosts and the instances that are launched, stopped, or terminated on them. This information will prove useful for license reporting. You can use the Edit Config Recording button in the Console to change the settings (hovering your mouse over the button will display the current status):

To learn more, read about Using AWS Config.

Some Important Details
As I mentioned earlier, billing begins when you allocate a Dedicated Host. For more information about pricing, visit the Dedicated Host Pricing page.

EC2 automatically monitors the health of each of your Dedicated Hosts and communicates it to you via the Console. The state is normally available; it switches to under-assessment if we are exploring a possible issue with the Dedicated Host.

Instances launched on Dedicated Hosts must always reside within a VPC, but cannot make use of Placement Groups. Auto Scaling is not supported, and neither is RDS.

Dedicated Hosts are available in the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), US West (Northern California), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Frankfurt), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), and South America (Brazil) regions.  You can allocate up to 2 Dedicated Hosts per instance family (M4, C4, and so forth) per region; if you need more, just ask.


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Docker 1.9 runs production-ready workloads, solves containers adoption challenges

Docker 1.9 marks a milestone in containers tech. The platform is production-ready and can run complex containerized applications and microservices.

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Drupal 8.0.0 released

Today we released Drupal 8.0.0, the first fully supported release of Drupal 8! This is the biggest update ever to Drupal, our open source content management platform. Here are just a few of the hundreds of improvements in Drupal 8:

  • In-context, what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editing and previews
  • Comprehensive content modeling out of the box with entities, fields, and views
  • Customization of content pages and even forms and administrative pages via the administrative interface
  • Full translatability and localization out of the box
  • Reliable configuration management for safe and straightforward deployment of changes between environments
  • Mobile-first, responsive, HTML5 output
  • REST-first native web services
  • Enhanced accessibility and WAI-ARIA compliance
  • Modern PHP standards and practices, with integration of popular libraries such as Composer, Symfony2, Guzzle, and Twig
  • Significantly improved front-end performance out of the box
  • Enhanced caching and best-of-class integration with CDNs and reverse proxies
  • Full compatibility with PHP7, and the PostgreSQL and SQLite databases
  • …And much more!

Screenshot of the Drupal 8 Quick Edit feature
Drupal 8 in action

With key modules like Views and Entity Reference fully included in Drupal 8 core, and many contributed projects already available for Drupal 8, you can start building new Drupal 8 sites right now, today. You can also use the crowd-sourced Drupal 8 Contrib Porting Tracker to get updates on the status of your favorite modules and themes, or read how you can help.

How do I upgrade my current site?

If you have a Drupal 6 or 7 site you want to upgrade, install or update the Upgrade Status module to get a customized, up-to-date report on the status of your modules and themes in Drupal 8. Once you are ready, Drupal 8 core also includes the Migrate module to update existing Drupal 7 and 6 sites to Drupal 8 directly. Migrate is marked “experimental” in Drupal 8.0.0, but will be fully supported in an upcoming release. Read more about how you can migrate from Drupal 6 or 7.

The DrupalCon Asia team cheering with Druplicon
Photo credit: pdjohnson

What about other versions of Drupal?

Drupal 8.0.0 marks several changes for Drupal releases. We will add new features to Drupal 8 every six months in minor releases, with bug fix and security release windows every month. The next bugfix release window is December 2, 2015, and next scheduled minor release (Drupal 8.1.0) is planned for mid-April 2016.

The release of Drupal 8 also means that it’s time to say a fond farewell to Drupal 6 after eight great years. Drupal 6 will reach its end-of-life (EOL) on February 24, 2016, meaning that it will no longer receive official community support and you should plan to update Drupal 6 sites soon. Refer to the Drupal 6 end-of-life announcement for more information.

Drupal 7 is still fully supported and will remain so for several more years. Read more about the Drupal core release cycle.

Found a bug?

With your help, we can find and fix bugs sooner rather than later. If you find a bug in Drupal 8, search for it in the Drupal 8 issue queue, and if you don’t find an existing bug report, file a new one.

Celebrating the release

Help share and celebrate this milestone for the Drupal community! The Drupal 8 media kit includes the official Drupal 8 press release which has already been translated into many languages. Share this press release with your community, or use the #Drupal8 hashtag to talk about Drupal 8 on social media. Then, join one of over 200 Drupal 8 release parties on six continents.

Map of Drupal 8 release parties around the world

Drupal 8 core is the work of more than 3300 contributors in over 16,000 Drupal core commits during nearly five years of development, and it is by far the best release of Drupal yet. There are already more than 50,000 Drupal 8 installations, so start yours today!

Build something amazing, for anyone.

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Microsoft pulls the Windows 10 November Update [Updated]

Shock horror

Here’s an interesting story for the weekend — it seems as if Microsoft has pulled the recently released November Update (aka Threshold 2) from both the Media Creation Tool and Windows Update.

That means if you don’t currently have the update on your Windows 10 device, you won’t be able to download it directly now.

The Media Creation Tool currently serves up Build 10240, rather than Build 10586 (the build which includes the November Update). A newly added line of text says simply: “These downloads cannot be used to update Windows 10 PCs to the November update (Version 1511)”.

Similarly, if you try and install things via Windows Update you’ll receive the same build.

There’s no word from Microsoft as to why the November Update has been pulled, and with it being a weekend we likely won’t hear anything until Monday.

It could be an error with the build, or a technical problem with the servers. Either way, it’s a very strange situation.

[Update] Microsoft confirms it has removed the November Update from the Media Creation Tool, but says it hasn’t removed it from Windows Update. The full statement is as follows:

The November update was originally available via the MCT (Media Creation Tool), but the company decided that future installs should be through Windows Update. People can still download Windows 10 [Build 10240] using the MCT tool if they wish. The November update will be delivered via Windows Update.

Microsoft has not pulled the Windows 10 November 10 update. The company is rolling out the November update over time — if you don’t see it in Windows Update, you will see it soon.

This is a very odd decision — why would Microsoft force customers wishing to do a clean install to download an old version of Windows 10 rather than the current one? Saying users will need to grab the November Update through Windows Update is all well and good, but many people simply aren’t seeing it. If you do a new upgrade using the currently available build (10240) , you won’t be able to update to latest version for a month anyway, as according to the Windows 10 November update: FAQ:

If it’s been less than 31 days since you upgraded to Windows 10, you won’t get the November update straight away; this will allow you to go back to your previous version of Windows if you choose. After the 31 days have passed, your PC will automatically download the November update.

Photo credit: Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley / Shutterstock

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Netrunner 17 ‘Horizon’ is here — download the Kubuntu-based Linux distro now


About a week ago, the Netrunner team released an update to its rolling release operating system. Based on Arch/Manjaro, I advised Linux beginners to steer clear, and instead opt for the Kubuntu-based variant. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, the Ubuntu community is arguably friendlier and better for newbies — there are a ton of instructions and .deb files available too. More importantly, however, the rolling release could be less stable overall.

Well, the newest version of the Kubuntu-based variant, code-named ‘Horizon’, is now available. Whether you are a Linux expert, or just someone getting started, the beautiful KDE-focused operating system is a smart choice that I highly recommend.

“Netrunner 17 ‘s codename is chosen as an indication of a mature Plasma finally emerging at the horizon with another update of KDE Plasma, Frameworks and Applications. The desktop is now at Plasma 5.4.3 together with KDE Applications 15.08.2 and many more programs and libraries updated to their latest versions. Firefox with built-in Plasma support ships as 42.0.3”, says The Netrunner Team.

The team further says, “the ‘Desktop Configuration’ settings now features two Look’n’Feel Themes called BlackX and BlueX, which makes switching between completely different styles much easier now, while still allowing for customization in full detail. Netrunner 17 also ships a completely fresh set of wallpapers covering a wide range of different colors and styles”.


Don’t worry, the release is not all fluff. The following packages are updated too.

  • Linux Kernel 4.2.0~18
  • Plasma 5.4.3
  • Frameworks 5.15
  • KDE Applications 15.08.2
  • LibreOffice 5
  • Virtualbox 5
  • Kontact 5
  • Firefox 42.0
  • Thunderbird 38.3
  • Gmusicbrowser 1.15.2
  • VLC 2.2.1

If you want to download this amazing operating system, you can grab it here — try and use the Torrent link if possible. Unfortunately, only a 64-bit ISO is available. Netrunner will not be producing a 32-bit ISO for version 17, but is tentatively promising a 32-bit ISO for version 18 in the future. With that said, most people should have 64-bit compatible hardware nowadays, so I doubt many users will be negatively impacted (if any).

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Apache Kafka 0.9 is released

I am pleased to announce the availability of the 0.9 release of Apache Kafka. This release has been in the works for several months with contributions from the community and has many new features that Kafka users have long been waiting for. Around 87 contributors provided bug fixes, improvements, and new features such that in total 523 JIRA issues could be resolved.

Continue reading “Apache Kafka 0.9 is released”

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Do I use Medium?

Hendrik Jeremy Mentz:  “I like how @davewiner uses @medium: short, pithy bursts. See his posts on war and terrorism in particular.”

Reading this was weird because I don’t think of myself as posting to Medium, or that I am using Medium. More accurately, my posts fllow from to Medium through RSS.

Then I thought about it a bit, let it sink in, and realized it appears to others as if I am posting there, so it’s legit. I do use it. They read it there and that’s how they experience my writing.

This is going to take some getting used to. 

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