How to Install PHP Apps on Ubuntu with Nginx, in 20 Steps

  1. provision hosting instance
  2. point domains
  3. guess package names for your package installer
  4. clone a bunch of git repositories
  5. try to figure out where everything you installed actually went
  6. install the packages you missed
  7. employ arcane magic and half-written tutorials to write an nginx config
  8. let i = 1
  9. nginx -t
  10. service nginx restart
  11. check app
  12. change one line of nginx config
  13. let i = i + 1
  14. if i < 5000 goto 9
  15. post on StackOverflow
  16. find config option that “works”
  17. get white screen of death
  18. curse person who decided web apps should now require a compiler
  19. question your intelligence and self-worth
  20. delete hosting instance
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“High Performance” versus Listening to Employees

Like you needed another reason to think Uber was a hot mess you should avoid at all costs, but for other reasons, you should read this account from Susan Fowler regarding her year working at Uber and the rather horrible treatment she received at the hands of HR and some of her colleagues there:

When I joined Uber, the organization I was part of was over 25% women. By the time I was trying to transfer to another eng organization, this number had dropped down to less than 6%. Women were transferring out of the organization, and those who couldn’t transfer were quitting or preparing to quit. There were two major reasons for this: there was the organizational chaos, and there was also the sexism within the organization. When I asked our director at an org all-hands about what was being done about the dwindling numbers of women in the org compared to the rest of the company, his reply was, in a nutshell, that the women of Uber just needed to step up and be better engineers.

It includes a story regarding a case of sexual harassment that happened almost immediately after she was hired:

When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man’s first offense, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to. Upper management told me that he “was a high performer” (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.

I hear from people from time to time that HR departments in general are not hired to do what is best for employees, but what is best for the company.

Don’t let your company decide that “high performance” is more valuable to you than a safe and inclusive place to work that treats other people with respect. A workplace that respects everyone who works there will generate a better company long-term.

(By the way, this also has some parallels to similar things that have happened within the fighting game community. Just because people are top players or have only committed their “first offense” does not mean we should go easy on them for violating decency and harassing others.)

Stranded at O’Hare: The Liveblog

Welp.

I arrived at Chicago O’Hare airport this morning as my layover only to find that my flight home to St. Louis was cancelled. So instead, I’ll be sitting here trying to fly standby on every flight for the rest of the day. (The first guaranteed seat I have isn’t until tomorrow morning.)

So let’s test Liveblog!

Want to ask me a question about basically whatever? WordPress? WordPress imports? Life? Work? Fighting games? Other games? Send me a tweet or a comment on my Facebook post and I’ll try to answer your question here.

Otherwise, you get whatever I want to talk about. Good luck.

Our Community Chased wundergeek Out, And Perhaps That Bears Reflection

(title borrowed contextually from this tweet)

I’m really sad about this. wundergeek is closing up her blog Go Make Me a Sandwich, from which I have learned quite a lot over the years about how the gaming (both video and traditional) industry treats women both in depictions and in (lack of) inclusiveness.

She writes:

Before Origins, I ended up crying in a bathroom as I chatted with friends online about the vitriolic response to a thing that I’d written. It made me doubt myself so much that I actually wondered if it would be worthwhile going to Origins. Would I even be welcome there? (Spoiler alert: I was.) Fast forward two months to a different crisis before a different convention, which saw me crying for more than a week in the runup to that convention. Truth is, I’ve done a lot of crying about my blog in the past year. But I didn’t let myself think about that, because I had to keep moving forward. I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I had to keep my head above water and just. Keep. Fighting.

Or at least that’s how I was approaching things until several weeks ago, when the final straw happened. As is the way with such things, it was so small. Such a quiet thing those most community insiders, even, probably missed. Really, it doesn’t even matter what the event was. What matters is that it represented a tipping point – the moment in which I finally had to confront the fact that I haven’t felt passionate about what I do here for a long, long time. And for most of this year, I’ve felt only resentment. That this stupid blog has cost me so much, and I feel trapped by it. A victim of my own success – forever tarnished by my connection to it, and yet dependent on the income it provides, that I require because of the damage it’s done to my reputation. (See what a vicious cycle that is?) The final straw made me realize that I don’t want to do this anymore, and indeed, that I was rapidly approaching a point where I couldn’t do it anymore.

Of course, this is made harder by the fact that I hate losing. And there will be people who will celebrate, people who call this a victory, which only intensifies my feelings of defeat. My feelings of weakness. I feel like I’m giving up, and it kills me because I’m competitive! I’m contrary! Telling me not to do a thing is enough to make me want to do the thing. I don’t give up on things and I hate losing. But in this situation, I have to accept that there is no winning play. No win condition. I’m one person at war with an entire culture, and there just aren’t enough people who give a damn, and I’m not willing to continue sacrificing my health and well-being on the altar of moral obligation. If this fight is so important, then let someone else fight it for a while.

There’s a lot more on the original post, which you should read, because it underlines in very stark detail what the problem is and how pervasive it is within gaming culture.

I could share a bunch here about how I’ve read it over the years, how it helped bring these things to my attention, or how proud I always was that it was on WordPress.com (NB: I work for the company that runs WordPress.com). But I won’t.

Nor will I say that she needs to keep going, keep fighting, because at the least she has realized that doing so is not a healthy option and is choosing to cut it out of her life to move forward in other things. We should support that.

What I will say is that as a community, we need to take a look at this, realize that people within our community have chased off yet another person who stepped up and said hey, something is wrong with what we are doing and how we treat people, and realize that when we see that kind of crap behavior, we need to call it out and condemn it for what it is.

Because the more this happens, the greater the chilling effect that stops other people from raising their voices and bringing unique viewpoints to the table.

And that harms us all.

The State of the St. Louis FGC in Two Pictures

This week was the scheduled week for SFV at the St. Louis FGC weekly. For the last two SFV  nights, they have not been able to field an 8-person tournament.

So tonight, they announced Smash 4 doubles for the first time (to replace SFV in the future).

The not-Smash side of the room:


The Smash side of the room:


And there is a Smash singles tournament going on elsewhere in St. Louis at the same time. 

Twitched

I’ve lost count of how many nights I’ve done this to myself, including tonight:

  • mid-day: “You know what would be great? Doing some streaming tonight! That sounds like it would be fun and relaxing.”
  • late afternoon: “Today has been really busy; I’d still like to stream some later.”
  • evening: “I still have things to do; maybe I can still sneak in like an hour or so of streaming.”
  • late evening (say, 10 or 11): “I can’t stay up much later; guess I’ll stream tomorrow instead.”

I did actually manage to stream some when playing Burnout Paradise with my son this past Friday, but that’s become the exception rather than the rule. (And it was cut short when my Xbox 360 power supply decided it hates life.)

Streaming is something I often want to do, but getting the motivation up to just sit down and get started has been pretty difficult for whatever reason. I suppose it’s the classic dilemma: when I do it, no one watches, so I have a hard time mustering up the desire to turn everything on and start playing.

For instance, when it launched, I played Tokyo Mirage Sessions on stream for several days straight, and (I’m serious) I never rose above one viewer from what I could tell, and anyone who started watching didn’t stick around for longer than about ten minutes. I stopped after a few days, and even stopped playing the game completely. (I never finished it.)

It then leads to a weird litany of criticizing myself, such as:

  • I’m not very good at this game; why would anyone want to watch me play it
  • This game is something I’m pretty sure only I am interested in; why would anyone want to watch me play it
  • I can’t keep anyone who drops in engaged; clearly I’m not very good at presenting what I’m doing or I’m just not an interesting personality (or the worse bit – do I talk to myself when no one is watching? not talk at all? what do I do?)
  • Is there something I’m doing wrong? Layout? Sound? Stream quality?
  • I have so much work to do and want to spend time with my family in the evening; I’m too exhausted to do this

Those of you I have spoken to in the past regarding impostor syndrome and my trouble with that over the years may notice common themes here.

I’m not sure what the key is here. Do I need a gimmick of some kind? Do I just play a bunch of stuff and not care about what happens or whether I pull in anyone at all? (My motivation for games in their current state makes even this interesting, but that’s another post.)

My annual Extra Life fundraiser stream is coming up in around a month, and I’ll be hoping to meet or beat last year’s donation total. At some point, I can’t depend on the people I work with to make all the donations like they have in the past. I’d like to have at least some people who watch otherwise and would be interested in tuning in to the marathon when I pretty much drive myself insane for a weekend to try to raise money for a good cause.

But every year, I do this with the best of intentions: I do the Extra Life stream, and I tell myself that I’m going to try to build off that, and then there’s a business trip, or something comes up in my schedule, or whatever—and I drop the combo.

Here’s a question for you – and you can answer it where/when you please – when you have something you really want to do, but have trouble getting the motivation up to do it, what do you find that helps you to do that thing?

MY FIGHT MONEY

With Street Fighter V patch 1.04 came the removal of the concept of Zenny and the full opening of content in the in-game store. With more content in place and a better idea of the in-game currency-to-real-money equivalents, the Capcom DLC plan is a lot more obvious now.

If I were to ask you which fighting game has been the most egregious with pricing DLC content, you’d probably come back to me and say “Dead or Alive 5: Last Round,” which up until today is exactly the same answer I would give myself. They have a lot of DLC and collecting it all costs a lot of money.

If you thought that was crazy, though? Buckle up.

DOA5LR

Let’s just get down to numbers and what you get for the money. We’ll assume:

  • You didn’t go with the Core Fighters stuff but instead bought the full game. And you bought it at release for $40.
  • You aren’t buying any DLC on sale.
  • You want everything you can get.
  • You are buying bundles whenever you can (we’ll talk about the SFV season pass later) because I don’t have the time to track all this DLC down individually.

Also, almost all costumes are available separately for $2. (Some of the packs, specifically ones that were pre-order DLC, are only available in sets.)

There are 35 characters in the base game.

Here’s the breakdown:

Add everything up:

  • Game is $40.
  • All DLC together is $531.
  • If you buy everything, you get 633 costumes and 1 character.
  • Purchasing in packs, this comes out to less than $1 a costume.

SFV

OK; pay attention, friends.

Assumptions:

  • You bought the season pass (which you should; it’s a 50% savings on the DLC characters + battle costumes).
  • You are paying full price – no sales.
  • You are not using Fight Money to buy anything. (Right now, there is a limited supply of it, especially if you don’t want to grind Survival.)
  • You want everything because maybe you are creating a setup for a tournament and you want people to be that extra bit happy.
  • You are assuming the end-of-2016 character count, which is going to be 22.

Note that other than the Season Pass, none of the content is available in bundles or packs. It’s all a la carte.

We’ll group the content together to make it easier to figure out.

  • Street Fighter V: $60
  • SFV 2016 Season Pass: $30
    • 6 characters.
    • 6 Battle Costumes.
    • 1 stage. (Guile)
  • Story Mode costumes: $44 ($2 each)
    • 22 costumes.
  • Battle Costumes: $64 ($4 each)
    • 16 costumes. (assumes you did not pre-order and get the one included for doing so but you do have the six from the Season Pass)
  • Summer Costumes: $4 ($4 each)
    • 1 costume. (so far – Karin; data mining has shown at least four more are coming)
  • Stages: $12 ($4 each)
    • 3 additional stages (assumes you have Guile stage from Season Pass)
  • Stage Variations: $6 ($2 each)
    • 3 stage recolors

Data mining has also shown at least one more series of costumes is on the way.

Add everything up:

  • Game is $60.
  • All DLC together is $160.
  • If you buy everything available, you get 6 characters, 45 costumes, 3 stages, and 3 stage recolors.
  • The average cost per costume is closer to $3 (and should edge closer to $4 over time because only Story costumes are $2).

To give you an idea, if we assume the game will have four sets of premium costumes for just the 22 characters we have now, you’d be looking at $350+ worth of DLC – and that’s before more characters show up. And it’s certain more characters are coming. And they might end up charging for colors 3-10. (We should have been more careful when we said we’d pay to unlock those.)

I might go into the Fight Money economics at some point just for fun; we’ll see. But this is a good picture of the DLC situation for SFV as it stands right now, and it stands to be expensive.

“Real Support”

If you have talked with me, my skepticism with regards to Avyd and what they are doing should not be much of a surprise at this point. (I hesitate to talk about it much because there are good people I respect who are doing business at and with Avyd and I am of course always worried about causing hurt.)

I need to say something about this, though.

Today, they are talking about the support they’ll offer as part of their service:

This reminded me of the job posting they’d put up a couple of weeks ago, about which I’d intended to say something more directly.

The listing is here, but I’m assuming that it will expire at some point, so I’ll put the pertinent bits below:

Responsibilities

  • Customer Service Representatives are responsible for handling our Client’s highest level of service issues to ensure customer issues are resolved in an efficient and timely manner. Agents provide knowledge and expertise to all online customers to effectively resolve any service-related, while balancing both the needs of the customer and the business.
  • Use empathy with the customer; allow them to vent frustrations, while staying in control of the conversation and maintaining focus.
  • Must be able to multi task
  • Follow up with customers to ensure issue has been resolved
  • Will be answering customer support tickets, inbound calls, and support chats.

Successful Candidates will have:

  • Previous Customer Service experience
  • Proficient in typing and computer skills
  • Energetic and motivated personality
  • Gaming knowledge
  • Available to work nights and weekends as needed
  • Be fluent in English
  • Team player
  • High School Diploma or equivalent

What We Offer:

  • Unparalleled work environment
  • Unlimited growth from within
  • Paid training
  • Continued development beyond entry level
  • Travel opportunities
  • Career advancement into management

On its own, that’s mostly fine. It’s a lot of attention-splitting, and the bit about nights and weekends without specifically stating what that means is a little concerning.

And then you get to the stuff about “growth” from the support position. It’s so much of a focus that it’s literally half of the bullet points in the list of “What We Offer.” It’s a red flag, especially when you hit this part:

Job Type: Part-time

Salary: $10.00 /hour

I don’t suppose I need to state that this is in an office and not remote, because the job posting should lead you in that direction on its own.

This is troubling because it doesn’t see support as a worthwhile career in and of itself. I am growing to understand that my current employer is somewhat unique in this, but I want to see the idea and the respect for support professionals continue to grow.

User support has been my full-time, salaried and benefited career for the last six years. It supports my entire household. I have had different responsibilities and been on different teams, but through the whole thing, I have been well-appreciated and been given the ability to build my career on having pride in the fact that I make our customers’ and clients’ lives easier, and that the ability to do so in an exceptional way is deserving of being a full-time employee.

The wage and (lack of) benefits in this Avyd job posting is sadly reflective of how a lot of tech sees support. Support is a place where you go to wage slave until you earn yourself a place as a supervisor, when you make a bit more and maybe get full-time, and then after even more time you might end up in charge of support for something and possibly get a salary and benefits. Or you have the (often just a) pipe dream of learning another skill and changing job responsibilities, which is seen as a promotion simply because you aren’t doing support.

I’m proud to work somewhere that prides itself on seeing professional support as a career, helping people build that career by supporting them and helping them develop, and giving those people good compensation, good opportunities, and good resources with which they can make the services we provide amazing experiences for the customers who pay for them. We make all employees who don’t work in support do a rotation in support every year, and every new hire regardless of position does front-line support for the first three weeks.

User support and respect for the people who work it is foundational to the culture here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. No matter your industry, I encourage you to consider making it just as important to your company as well.

And yes; we are hiring.

You Do What the Mouse Says

This is crazy, but I suppose I should not be surprised.

Joe Mullin for Ars:

The Walt Disney Company has a reputation for lobbying hard on copyright issues. 

[…]

This year, the company is turning to its employees to fund some of that battle. Disney CEO Bob Iger has sent a letter to the company’s employees, asking for them to open their hearts—and their wallets—to the company’s political action committee, DisneyPAC.

In the letter, which was provided to Ars by a Disney employee, Iger tells workers about his company’s recent intellectual property victories, including stronger IP protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Supreme Court victory that destroyed Aereo, and continued vigilance about the “state of copyright law in the digital environment.” It also mentions that Disney is seeking an opening to lower the corporate tax rate.

Yup. “Please give to our political lobbying machine, so we can take that money and use it to influence politicians so they weaken your freedoms.” At least no one falls for this one, right?

According to a MapLight analysis of the data, Disney employees contributed a total of $4.03 million in all election cycles since 2002.

Oh.

About [40002]

Dear Capcom,

When I am playing Street Fighter V and I am trying to get placed into a ranked match, and while trying to sync up with my matchmade opponent I get this:

12716281_10154159230724384_5562893748186238334_o.jpg

Do not take me here:

12768408_10154159230719384_9021864172842546029_o.jpg

I NEVER WANT TO GO THERE.

Just take me here instead:

12719340_10154159230654384_2784261058652081788_o.jpg

And put me in the hopper for another match.

 

Sincerely,

Someone who is kind of tired of suffering through bizarre UI decisions