So………you may have noticed that it’s been a while since my last newsletter. It’s been a loooong while. And, technically, the last newsletter was just a “hey, I’m going to start doing newsletters again”, so the last real newsletter was even longer ago. Hmmm…as you may know, I’m pretty crazy busy these days, and some things just aren’t getting done (despite the fact that I’m working 7 days a week, ugh). But let’s not dwell on the past, but rather revel in this, a new newsletter!

In this edition, I wanted to share some of the resources that I like to use for learning about new things. Safe to say that my (this) newsletter is rather personal and different (and more inconsistent!) than most. I gather people do find my newsletter to be useful, which is good, considering the effort I actually put into it. But if you’d like to broaden your horizons, to get information from other sources, these other newsletters are worth considering, too. Truth be told, then tend to stack up in my email until I have time to review them like once a month. And then I have to bookmark the articles I’m interested in for later reading, but still…worth considering and subscribing to. (They’re all free, by the way.)

Looking ahead, I have tentative newsletters scheduled on: the business of freelancing; attending and speaking at conferences; and on writing and publishing. I’m going to try to do better about getting these newsletters out more regularly, like every month-ish. As I’ll address later in this newsletter, the first version of “The Yii Book” is winding down, and I’ll be completing it and the version for Yii 2 this summer, so I’m hoping that my life becomes a lot more maintainable in the near future.

Returning to this newsletter, if you have any resources that you value that I didn’t mention, please let me know and I’ll include it in a follow-up. As always, questions, comments, and all feedback are much appreciated. And thanks for your interest in what I have to say and do!

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In my php[tek] keynote, “How to Get There”, I make several references to books, cognitive psychology, TED talks, dead Austro-Hungarian writers, and 1980′s television dramas. For those interested in pursuing any of these (especially “L.A. Law”), and to give due credit to my influences, here are the things I named.

(Separately, you can see the slides at SpeakerDeck. The video was recorded, but I’m not sure when that will be posted.)

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My goal today is to finish the rough draft of the two presentations I’ll be giving at php[tek] in Chicago next week:
How to Get There (keynote)
Faster Web Development with Yii 2 (technical)
In trying to finish up these presentations today–a full 10 and 11 days before I give each presentation (respectively), I’m reminded of the myriad benefits of finishing the presentations you’re giving way, way, WAY earlier than you’re probably used to.

I’ve been to conferences where there’s a dedicated speaker room, and there’s undoubtedly many presenters in there, actively working on completing their presentation, even up until the time the presentation is given. At other conferences, I’ve seen presenters in the hallways, or in the backs of other presentation rooms, working away. Frankly, if you’re still working on your presentation while at the conference, you’re doing it wrong. Here’s why you should have your presentations finished way, way, WAY earlier than you’re probably already doing it…

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Approximately 1,000 years ago (or 5 months), I promised to give away copies of my “Effortless E-commerce with PHP and MySQL (2nd Edition)” book to those people that have purchased “The Yii Book”. The only problem is I had to create the code to do that. Which I now have. And it may even work.

If you’re interested in possibly winning a copy, log into your account. Then click the “Giveaway” link that appears in the navigation sidebar. If you can’t recall your password, use the reset link.

Pesky details of this giveaway…

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On Sunday night I posted Chapter 20, “Working with Third-Party Libraries,” of “The Yii Book”. The chapter is 39 pages long as a PDF, with the following contents:

Accessing Library Classes
Working with Composer
Using Symfony
Using Swift Mailer
Using Elasticsearch
Most of the chapter covers Elasticsearch, creating the shell of a search engine. This rules out the need for Chapter 24, “Implementing a Search Engine,” in my opinion. So, by my count, after this, there are 4 chapters left.

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