Ben Ramsey

Will Encryption Catch on With Keybase?

"Day 161 - Keys" by Iain Watson

Email is not secure. Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Just because I use Gmail, and I’m using it over HTTPS does not mean that the email I send or receive is encrypted while being transmitted outside of Google’s network. Inside Google’s network, even, the contents are not encrypted.1 So, why do we keep sending sensitive information through email, and why do our banks and mortgage brokers and HR departments keep asking for us to send our Social Security number, bank accounts, and other private details through email?

Is it because we are oblivious, naïve, or do we just not care? I suspect it’s a little of all three, but mainly it’s because encryption is hard, and the difficulty barrier keeps us from adopting it.

The alpha launch of Keybase has got me excited. It uses the public-key cryptography (a.k.a. PGP/GnuPG) model to identify yourself, prove your identity, and allow others to vouch for your identity. I hope it paves the way to making encryption easier for us all, from the technologically-skilled to the technologically-challenged.

Dates Are Hard

"Astronomical Clock Detail" by Tim Bocek

No, I’m not talking about a meeting with a lover or potential lover. While those can be stressful, the calendar math used to determine the precise date and time on which such a meeting might occur is infinitely more difficult to perform. To software programmers, this isn’t news, but I recently encountered an issue when calculating the time for an RFC 4122 UUID that had me questioning the accuracy of our modern, accepted calendars, especially with regard to the days of the week on which our dates fall.

The Fall of PEAR and the Rise of Composer

These four things have been revolutionary for PHP: phpUnit, github, Composer and Travis CI

Palms sweaty, stomach aflutter with butterflies, I stood before my first audience as a technical speaker. It was a time of many firsts for me—my first PHP conference, my first time in Europe, my first technical presentation. I had been accepted to speak at the 2005 International PHP Conference Spring Edition in Amsterdam. I was nervous, jet-lagged, and tired from an all nighter working on slides. My talk was entitled “Framing the Frameworks: What Are They and Do I Need One?” The room was jammed-packed, standing-room only. The recently-coined term rasmussed was being tossed around. I certainly didn’t deserve that level of attention.

Wild Garlic

We were finishing up lunch at ZendCon in 2008, when I became the infamous Wild Garlic.

Contributing to PHP Core

I’ve been accepted to speak at ZendCon this year. One of the three talks I’ll be presenting is a new one: “Contributing to Core: My Journey to Add array_column() to the PHP Core.” While PHP conferences sometimes include talks or tutorials on creating PHP extensions or the intricacies of the PHP internals, I’ve never seen a talk about one’s personal experiences contributing to core, from start to finish, and how one would go about getting started. That’s what this talk is about.