Mayday, mayday! We are blinking!


For some time now, we at Mayflower can have slack time on every second friday. All colleagues who do not have urgent projects for our customers can choose to improve their knowledge, do some opensource development or just try out something cool and nerdy.

The Idea


First, we ordered some Raspberry Pis to test out their capabilities. Since we developed the new Steinigke webshop, we have a good source at hand for light and sound equipment. So we settled for some DMX experiments together with our customer.


Connectivity for the (occasional) road warrior

When you have a virtual machine that connects both to the host directly and to the network via bridging, you can run into troubles with DNS resolution if you use DHCP on both network interfaces. Since the solution is somewhat cryptically hidden in the DHCP client manual, here’s a walkthrough.

Was SOLR für Ihren Shop tun kann

Kostenlose und kostenpflichtige Shop-Software für verschiedene Anwendungsszenarien ist im Internet zahlreich vorhanden. Die etablierten Anbieter haben eine Vielzahl von Lösungen für Standardprobleme im Gepäck. Viele Interessenten die ihren Bedarf für außergewöhnlich halten, waren schon überrascht, wenn wir ihnen erklären konnten, dass ihre Bedürfnisse zu großen Teilen bereits von der Shop-Software abgedeckt waren.

Umgekehrt gibt es aber auch den Fall, dass die Anbieter Lösungen im Gepäck haben, die im Einzelfall effizienter durch eine spezielle Software erledigt werden kann. Ein häufiges Beispiel ist die Shopsuche, die im Standardfall mit der Shopdatenbank betrieben wird.

Unsere Kunden stellen dann (zu Recht) oft dieselben Fragen, wenn wir empfehlen, die Suche durch eine Lösung auf Basis von Apache SOLR zu ersetzen:


Supplementing your Online Shop with Apache SOLR

Nowadays, if you want to have an online shop, you have a choice between a number of software solutions, from small and slim to large and comprehensive. Oxid eShop, Shopware, Magento, XT-Commerce are a couple of the more well-known solutions. Every vendor tries to provide the best experience for their target audience, so a couple of compromises is made to cover all use cases. All have in common a web-frontend with an underlying database. The latter is one such compromise. A database in itself is a compromise between storage and retrieval. Since all shopping systems come with a built-in search facility based on the database, searching is subject to a compromise.

To cater all but the most basic needs with a search facility, it needs to be tuned to find the right data, be fast at it and present the results in a meaningful manner. That is where Apache SOLR comes into play. Its main focus is on being a search engine, it does not suffer from the drawbacks that databases have.


To Protect and Surf

Slashdot reports, that CSS History Sniffing is back – this time utilizing the latency that your browser shows when you have visited a site already. The time a browser takes to respond differs when the resource that is linked in a page is already in the browser cache. Of course that only works when you actually fetch the resources. As i described earlier, there is a Firefox extension that protects you: Request Policy. This extension lets you choose which sites may refer to which other sites. It’s a bit tedious to get started, but it protects you not only from the ever-watching eye of social networks that load „like“ buttons everywhere, but also from this renewed threat.

Tracking Menaces for Your Privacy

A lot of people are talking about a particular research paper featured by Wired of late. That paper describes, how users can be, and are, tracked against their express wish. Even deleting cookies does not solve the tracking problem. A lot of folks talk about how unethical, probably unlawful and unfair it is.

So far, although, I have not seen a site that gives more than hints how to prevent being tracked. Firefox users have a couple of tools at hand that can easily circumvent most, if not all, attack vectors. Using these measures comes at the cost of comfort, though.


Mayflower LDAP at Barcamp

At the Barcamp 2009 Alex, Michele, Michel, Markus, Sven and I continued a project that had already begun at the Barcamp 2008 – Creating an LDAP structure for internal Mayflower use and implementing a basic tool set for the administration.

A new LDAP scheme was created, a maintenance tool based on Zend Framework and Dojo was created and the tool was embedded as addon in the current PHProjekt 5