Mage Titans

If you are a Magento developer, you pretty much know what this post is about. If you were last Saturday (1.Nov.2014) in the Manchester area, you definitely know what this post is going to be about. If you don’t… well.. sorry for you! 🙂

This post is not going to be another review of the event, couldn’t do that even if I wanted to, I think I’m too close (personally) to do that.

Last Saturday, in Manchester, at “The Comedy Store” the first edition of the “Mage Titans” conference took place. I’m proud of being part of this from the beginning, when it was just and idea spinning around the Space 48 offices, ever since we were trying to find a name, to think who to invite as speakers, etc. And, thanks to our amazing team, in partnership with Manchester Digital developed the idea into something that no one was expecting.

You see, the thing with Magento, being the “beast” that it is (especially being an eBay company now), most big conferences around the world (Meet Magento, Magento Live, etc) have a tendency to be a bit more commercial, more business-oriented than a “nerdy developer” would like. No disrespect for anyone, I’m one of those as well. But Mage Titans was exactly the opposite, it was (like Jon, the Space 48 MD said it really well) “for developers, by developers”.

The thing that blew me away (well, one of them anyway) was having the opportunity to be in the same room with guys like Vinai Kopp, Ben Marks, Alistair Stead (to name a few) and to be able to speak with them, exchanging ideas, getting advice, talking about best practices, hearing some really good tips. And after all that, to realise that, at the end of the day, they’re developers, like everyone in the room, that day. There no CEOs, no MDs, just Developers. Even better, Magento Developers.

Me & Ben Marks

I mean, hearing Vinai Kopp with his talk entitled “The Beautiful Magento Module” was a great kickoff for the day. And the day finished with Magento’s own Ben Marks, the “dude” who’s training videos I was watching almost three years ago getting ready for my Magento Certification exam. Not to mention Alistair Stead‘s tips and tricks, dos and don’ts to scale and have your Magento solution highly-available, having your Magento getting closer to the speed of light with HHVM by Daniel Sloof, or loads of information on caching and debugging with our own Space 48 Technical Director, Tony Brown.

By far, the most important part of the day (and I know for sure most of the devs in there agree) was the Panel Discussion, with Ben Marks, Vinai Kopp and Alistair Stead, moderated by Tony Brown, where anyone had the opportunity to ask questions and have not one, but 3 answers. It was both informal and fun, could have stayed there another hour or more 🙂

The Panel!

I won’t post in here links to the speaker’s slides, you can find those online if you do a quick search on Google or if you follow the speakers on Twitter.

I will, however, post a URL with the images I took that day: https://plus.google.com/photos/+GeorgeSchiopu29/albums/6076877709958501345

By the looks of it, I see absolutely no reason why there should’t be a “Mage Titans 2015”, right? Looking forward to it!

 

Cheers,
George

 

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Digital Business of the Year :: Space 48

I’ll start this one with saying what I always say when asked about my work: very proud to be part of the amazing team at Space 48, we’re making digital history there! 🙂

Joke aside now, recently we won a pretty important award in the North-West, an award that doesn’t recognises only one project of ours, but the “overall”, the entire team: Digital Business of the Year, after we were shortlisted in no less than 4 (four!) categories. The awards ceremony was held in Manchester (don’t remember the exact location, its all confusing for me 😛 ), but you can read the entire article in our blog post.

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Mage registry key “_singleton/core/resource” already exists

Ever had the “Mage registry key “_singleton/core/resource” already exists” error in Magento and can’t get rid of it? First of all, if you search this on Google, don’t believe anything you read in the first 2-3 pages of results (pages > 3 don’t matter anyway, that’s a black hole…). Even found a champ claiming to “solve” the issue by clearing the cache in index.php EVERY TIME a page was loaded… What’s the point in having a cache engine then? Especially if you’re using the EE version!

Anyway, check if you have APC installed on the box and tweak the

apc.shm_size

in the apc.ini file.

Hope this helps anyone.

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Holiday, part I

Finally, me and the family are going away for our first holiday this year,  around here, somewhere. From what I hear, its’s supposed to be really nice, hopefully I’ll recharge my batteries.

So no laptops, no sites, no PHP, no nothing. Just enjoying my free time with my family, taking loads of photos and visiting the area (already have an itinerary planned by “The Wifey” 🙂 )

/me off…

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Refresh the checkout success page in Magento

Something useful when working on the “checkout success” page in Magento, whether it’s just styling, implementing some tracking JS codes or whatever open up app/code/core/Mage/Checkout/controllers/OnepageController.php in your favourite editor (mine is PhpStorm, btw) and on line (approx, at least for Magento EE) 275 you’ll find the successAction() method.

In there, comment out lines 278-281 286-291, so the method looks like this:

public function successAction()
{
    $session = $this->getOnepage()->getCheckout();
//        if (!$session->getLastSuccessQuoteId()) {
//            $this->_redirect('checkout/cart');
//            return;
//        }

        $lastQuoteId = $session->getLastQuoteId();
        $lastOrderId = $session->getLastOrderId();
        $lastRecurringProfiles = $session->getLastRecurringProfileIds();
//        if (!$lastQuoteId || (!$lastOrderId && empty($lastRecurringProfiles))) {
//            $this->_redirect('checkout/cart');
//            return;
//        }

//        $session->clear();
        $this->loadLayout();
        $this->_initLayoutMessages('checkout/session');
        Mage::dispatchEvent('checkout_onepage_controller_success_action', array('order_ids' => array($lastOrderId)));
        $this->renderLayout();
}

IMPORTANT: if you’re using a version control system (e.g. GIT), DON’T COMMIT your changes. Actually, don’t EVER change the Magento Core directly. Remember to undo your changes to this file when you’re done testing.

 

Hope someone will find this useful.

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Long weekend off

Cool, so my looooong weekend is here. Due to the Easter Bank holiday (Friday and Monday), took Thursday off as well. And today we’re waiting for some friends to visit us (they live in London) and right after getting them from the train station, we’re off to (re)visit The City of Chester. Really beautiful city, really really beautiful!
For the moment there’s an inner struggle for me, can’t decide if Chester or Edingurgh. Will let you know when I decide, might be a while 🙂

Cheers

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Server change

So, I changed my hosting provider. Again. The previous one was plain bullshit. No idea how they’re doing with bigger clients, but for smaller ones (like myself) they’re really shitty. The processes on the server were dropping for no reason, their customer relations dept. is even worse, no explanations given, etc. Therefore, for whomever may concern – stay away from some dudes called “Edis”, based in Austria.
Found another cheap VPS but this one is based in ‘Merica 🙂 Hence the slow page load if you visit my blog from Europe. Actually… no idea who visita my blog, wtf am I talking about!?!? 🙂

Anyway, that’s the news from me. And it was about f***ing time, since my last post was in October ’13!

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Raspberry Pi Home Media Center

Well, I did it! Finally got my Raspberry Pi to a (very!) good use. Since I got the week off from work, I played (quite a lot) with the new gizmo in town and managed to make it a “home media center”. Which, is AMAZING if I may say so.

The first thing was to install the Raspbmc on the memory card that serves as a hard disk for the RPi, following information found online (Google really helps!) and especially from here. The memory card is not a large one, just an 8GB one, which is quite enough for the OS and whatever plugins/add-ons I may want in the future.

That was the easy part, the real challenge (for me at least, being new to the RPi world) was to add the content (movies, tv shows, etc) to the library. But in the end, it all paid off really well. After a few attempts with an 8GB USB stick, of course I  wanted something that I don’t have to unplug all day from the Pi, copy files on my laptop, plug it back in the Pi and so on. Besides, it was only an 8GB stick, as I said. Pretty lame…

Tried to plug an external USB hdd I had but found out that the RPi doesn’t support USB 3 for one, and second of all didn’t had enough power to “juice” the external drive. Obviously, I needed to power the hdd externally, before plug it into the Pi. Solved that little hiccup by buying a powered USB hub. This way, I can plug the hub in the Pi and the hdd in the hub. Simples! Another thing I forgot to mention is that the Touro Mobile actually has and USB 2/3 interface so it is compatible with the Pi after all. That’s good, otherwise that would have been a good waste of 500GB of space 🙂

Back the the TV screen now. I needed to add films and tv shows to the library. After playing (quite a lot) with the Pi’s settings (and discovered that it had a pretty nice weather add-on already installed), managed to add under the “Video” category some “sources”, and scanned the entire mounted hdd for content. Here’a s tricky one: if you put the films in a directory called “Movies” and the tv shows in a directory called “TV Shows”, the Raspbmc is smart enough to add those files into their specific library. Another thing is that its best to leave the filenames unchanged from wherever you download them, as the Pi connects to the TV Database over the internet and downloads a lot of information about the shows you’re adding to the library: images, plots, cast information, etc. The same for films, only it connects to another internet DB for films.

Of course, after all was in place I needed to control the new “home media center” somehow, and I don’t mean with the mouse or keyboard.

So, to feel more Star-Trek-ish I installed some remote control apps on my iPad, which, let me tell you, are truly amazing! You can only imagine how I felt like when controlling the Media Centre from the iPad!

There are also libraries for adding Music and Pictures, which I didn’t detailed here, but they are great as well. Oh, one more thing – you can also install some add-ons that allows you to listen to Internet Radios, Vimeo or even Youtube! You can even watch live TV on it, but for that you’le need some other external hardware. I’ll give that a try as well at some point, I’m pretty sure 🙂

Below are some images with the setup of my “Home Media Center” on a Raspberry Pi.

_DSC9625 _DSC9623 _DSC9620 _DSC9617 _DSC9616 _DSC9615 _DSC9613 _DSC9611 _DSC9610 _DSC9608

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Ubuntu 13.04 WiFi driver issue

Recently I faced a weird problem at home with my WiFi. Whenever I turned my laptop on, running Ubuntu 13.04, everything else (wireless-wise) stopped working. I tried everything, but with no success. Pretty much only my wife’s laptop was still able to browse the net, but everything else was “dead in the water”: the iPad, our mobiles and our visiting friends’.

Luckly enough, I came across this post that helped me solve the issue, which pretty much sums up to this:

sudo modprobe -r wl && sudo modprobe brcmsmac

Hope this helps someone.

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