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An Open Twitter-like Network, Powered by Email.

There’s been a few articles lately about what an open twitter-like network would be. A while back I was thinking about the same problem and how it could be implemented, so I wanted to throw my 2 cents in on the subject. My solution is super simple, does not require any new technology to be deployed, all it would take is a clear message standard, and clients to be created for a few popular platforms.

So here’s my rambling thoughts on what I’ll codename OpenTweet. I wanted to put these down on paper so they stop rattling about in my head, and maybe someone would like to point out some issues with what I’m proposing too or add their own thoughts. Feedback invited.

Firstly though, let me just say, what Twitter have created, the idea of a short, timely, but ultimately throw-away, 1-to-many unidirectional message is a powerful invention. The problem is that invention is held entirely by them and with the closing of API’s lately it’s becoming apparent that they intend to tightly control the access to it. That makes me uneasy.
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Magento SSL Offloading with Amazon ELB

I’ve had a fun & games sort of day working through this Magento SSL offload on Amazon’s ELB and I thought it’d be worth documenting what’s involved, in the process I’ll give some steps to get it working and explain what the new (since version 1.6.2) Offloader header config option is for and how it helps.

Background

Firstly, a bit of background – if you just want the quick fix, skip right to it. The Internet can beam magically onto your computer screen one of two ways: http and https. http means the things you see everyone else can see too, the content is unencrypted and sent from the server to your computer. If you’re at a wifi hotspot, what you do online is being broadcast to everyone around you. Conversely, an https connection means the content is securely encrypted, and the endpoint server you are connecting to, is probably who they say they are. So we want https in public places, or when financial or personal information is involved – and if we’re paranoid, we want it all the time.
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Opening (and closing) jQuery Mobile Collapsible sections programatically

We use jQuery Mobile for OrderPipe, it’s a fantastic framework and I have a lot of love for it. One thing that has bugged me about the way our settings section works though is after making a change within a collapsible section (like inviting a user for example) the section would be closed afterwards. It was surprisingly easy to fix that and this blog post will run through a quick example of allowing URL’s to map to open sections quickly and easily. It assumes Spring MVC on the server side, but you could do it with any server side technology.

Firstly on the server side, you could do this with query parameters, or URL paths (or cookies if you really wanted I guess) – we use paths, because I think it looks cleaner.
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Using Git submodules and @import with Modman for Magento

After chatting to Colin about his excellent modman project at Magento Imagine earlier this year I’d been meaning to swap our internal stores onto a git submodules + modman @import setupfinally got around to it only two months late!

In this post I’ll walk through importing the git submodule, and then using it in the context of a larger modman project, and lastly I’ll brain dump some useful/relevant git submodule commands while they’re fresh in my head. For a worked introduction to modman, see my earlier article and if you’re not using modman, this article summarizes some modman benefits, with pictures.

Throughout this example I’ll use my SMTP Pro Magento extension on Github as an example.
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