Myspace Vs Facebook

July 6, 2007

I’ve been doing a fair bit of playing with Facebook lately. It seems pretty good. A nice Web 2.0 application, which shits all over the myspace UI design. Okay, you can’t customize style sheets, but personally, I’m more than happy with that. The number of disgusting myspace pages out there absolutely offends my sense of UI design. People who use the CSS to make their pages unreadable should not be allowed accounts. In my opinion, that level of customization shouldn’t be allowed by people who have no idea of how CSS works, and good design knowledge. So that’s where Facebook really kicks butt. No user CSS customization. At least within the UI. You can, however, add a (real) user style sheet to Facebook. There are a number of predesigned Firefox extensions that let you do this, and that’s how user CSS should be used in my opinion. Let me decide how to format and colour your page. Don’t make me see your appalling attempt at it. It’ll just make me think you’re an idiot.

I also love the drag and click model of the UI widgets. Why has myspace been so slow in adopting this, when Facebook does it so easily?

I think there are some very childish and useless widgets on Facebook though. That bloody Zombie widget that’s taking over at the moment, and the number of different Wall widgets seems a bit silly. Perhaps the Facebook team could spend a bit more time vetting what’s made available. Perhaps even commission the good ones, and dump the dodgy ones. I also like the model of making a few dollars by writing a decent widget that costs pennies to the user, but can reap huge rewards for the developer. I’m considering writing one myself to practice my Web2.0 and PHP skills. I’m about to go read the developer doc and see how it all works. Might be a fun little project. Perhaps a customizable style sheet? Argh!

So far I’ve managed to intergrate my flickr site with Facebook, and I’m about to figure out how I can link in my blogs other than just using links. If you know, please feel free to post a comment and let me know. Any other Facebook hints would be handy too.


Installing PEAR on Linux

June 13, 2007

I recently had to install PEAR into a PHP environment on a Linux machine, and as I did the install I wrote it up. This information is pretty easy to find, but I like to write these things up so I don’t forget them in future and have to keep going round in circles trying to find information. I thought it might be useful for others, so here it is.

Installing PEAR into a PHP/Apache install

Download the go-pear.php script from

Open a command line shell and run the script:

php go-pear.php
Welcome to go-pear!
Go-pear will install the 'pear' command and all the files needed by
it. This command is your tool for PEAR installation and maintenance.
Go-pear also lets you download and install the PEAR packages bundled
with PHP: MDB2.
If you wish to abort, press Control-C now, or press Enter to continue:
HTTP proxy (, or Enter for none::
Below is a suggested file layout for your new PEAR installation.  To
change individual locations, type the number in front of the
directory.  Type 'all' to change all of them or simply press Enter to
accept these locations.
 1. Installation prefix           : /usr
 2. Binaries directory            : $prefix/bin
 3. PHP code directory ($php_dir) : $prefix/share/pear
 4. Documentation base directory  : $php_dir/docs
 5. Data base directory           : $php_dir/data
 6. Tests base directory          : $php_dir/tests
 7. Temporary files directory     : $prefix/temp
1-7, 'all' or Enter to continue:
The following PEAR packages are bundled with PHP: MDB2.
Would you like to install these as well? [Y/n] : Y
Loading zlib: ok
Downloading package: PEAR-stable......ok
Downloading package: Archive_Tar-stable....ok
Downloading package: Console_Getopt-stable....ok
Downloading package: Structures_Graph-stable....ok
Bootstrapping: PEAR...................(remote) ok
Bootstrapping: Archive_Tar............(remote) ok
Bootstrapping: Console_Getopt.........(remote) ok
Downloading package: MDB2.............ok
Extracting installer..................ok
warning: pear/PEAR requires package "pear/Archive_Tar" (version >= 1.3.1)
warning: pear/PEAR requires package "pear/Console_Getopt" (version >= 1.2)
warning: pear/PEAR requires package "pear/Structures_Graph" (version >= 1.0.2)
pear/PEAR can optionally use package "pear/XML_RPC" (version >= 1.4.0)
pear/PEAR can optionally use package "pear/PEAR_Frontend_Web" (version >= 0.5.0)pear/PEAR can optionally use package "pear/PEAR_Frontend_Gtk" (version >= 0.4.0)install ok: channel://
install ok: channel://
install ok: channel://
install ok: channel://
install ok: channel://
MDB2: Optional feature fbsql available (Frontbase SQL driver for MDB2)
MDB2: Optional feature ibase available (Interbase/Firebird driver for MDB2)
MDB2: Optional feature mysql available (MySQL driver for MDB2)
MDB2: Optional feature mysqli available (MySQLi driver for MDB2)
MDB2: Optional feature mssql available (MS SQL Server driver for MDB2)
MDB2: Optional feature oci8 available (Oracle driver for MDB2)
MDB2: Optional feature pgsql available (PostgreSQL driver for MDB2)
MDB2: Optional feature querysim available (Querysim driver for MDB2)
MDB2: Optional feature sqlite available (SQLite2 driver for MDB2)
To install use "pear install pear/MDB2#featurename"
The 'pear' command is now at your service at /usr/bin/pear

You can now use PEAR to install PHP extensions. See