Stephan Miller's blog


On the topic of crickets, you know those crickets that live in your basement that look like they were crossed with a spider on some alien planet, well... they weren't but they are a special species that prefer basements. But I digress. But really not so much. The fact that I wondered about that for about a decade off and on and before the internet, it would have been one of those things that just stuck in the back of my head. But the other day, after cleaning my basement out after a flood, I just had to know and I found that out. They are also cannibals.

Using Display Suite View Mode Switcher

Well, I happened to be looking at Display Suite Extras and found something I thought I might be able to use for a project I am working on. It creates a switch between view modes for a node and loads the changes via Ajax.


Bear with me while I try to make this thing rise from the dust. After spending the time to convert it from Wordpress to Drupal, I sort of let it sit stagnant, with broken links, broken pages, lots of broken stuff. Anyways, Drupal is up to date, in version 7 at least. I currently have Xenu attempting a DOS attack on the place while searching for broken links. I will then look through the report and fix what I can. 

And then, there's the comments. About 200,000 to be moderated, which I am guessing about 199,990 of them to be spam. This happened while I attempt to get Mollum to work as a replacement for Akismet multiple times and gave up. Turns out that API's get really pissed off if your time is off by more than 5 minutes. I have run into that twice now. First in the middle of a hackathon. Now again here. I now have my box making sure that the time stays up to date.

So I Wrote a Book on the Phalcon Framework

I have to admit I change my mind a lot. I started out rolling my own sites in PHP and MySql. Then I spent a lot of time with Wordpress and various Ecommerce platforms. For a while it seemed quicker to do things that way. A when sites became a little more complex, I started using Drupal, which this site runs on. And now I'm using frameworks. I spent a little time with Lithium, a lot of time with Zend because my job required it and then I found Phalcon. Although I hate the bulkiness of the Zend framework, it is the time I spent developing in it that I learned the value of using a framework for PHP.

Instant E-Commerce with Magento: Build a Shop

Magento is a complex piece of software designed to do just about anything you might want to do with an online shopping cart. And while it is possible to customize Magento without code, just using the backend, that doesn't mean it's simple. But who wants to read a 200 page manual to learn how to use a website. But 52 pages is more manageable. If you need to set up a Magento store, Instant E-Commerce with Magento: Build a Shop by Branko Ajzele will take you from installation to a live store and covers the following topics in only 52 pages:

Instant Magento Performance Optimization How-to

My first suggestion when installing Magento for a live site is get a big dedicated server or use Amazon so you can scale quickly and easily. I mean, you are planning to make money right? So you might as well spend a little more. Magento is a beast. It consists of lots of code and a heavy database. But the best server won't do everything. There is still a lot you can do after you have installed Magento on your server to speed it up.

It's Alive

Well kind of at least. Just switched from Wordpress to Drupal. Got tired of using plugins I needed but never could trust to be safe and for the last 8 months or so, I have been working full time mainly building Drupal sites at VML. And for all of you out there spamming the shit out of this thing with comments: until I get Mollom working on this blog to replace Akismet, I run one MySql command every few days that deletes all unapproved comments, so have fun wasting your time.

Mastering Magento - A Magento User's Manual

It takes a while after learning to develop with Magento to even consider picking up any random Magento job that comes along. I have learned that every site has an issue and every site owner has one idea that is just that close to impossible. If you are a PHP developer thinking of working on a Magento site and you have never seen Java, you may try a few things at first, but eventually just wish had any clue what is going one in all those files. But I do happen to pick up jobs now and then where other advanced PHP but newbie Magento developers are pulling their hair out and I just see the fix right away. Just because I once spent 3 days trying to do something similar.

How Stole My Idea for SEO Software and Gave Me Press Access to the Theft

I was actually writing code to integrate Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools when Google just added the ability to mash them together. Long before that, when websites had less colors and were boxy, I wrote software to analyze gaps in supply and demand in Ebay's auction site right before someone came along and wrote something better. I thought I was over my paranoia and then...

I got an email from Scott Krager over at and a three month, free ride press pass. Yes, I thought a new toy. And I added a few sites, authorized Google and then added a few hundred keywords I was targeting. And then I starting playing around with what it can do... hey wait a minute. More on that later.

For My Kids and Myself

I'm Back Baby!