Facebook speeds PHP by crafting a PHP virtual machine

by woodmanadmin

Social networking giant Facebook has taken another step at making the PHP Web programming language run more quickly. The company has developed a PHP Virtual Machine that it says can execute the language as much as nine times as quickly as running PHP natively on large systems.

“Our goal is to make PHP run really, really quickly,” said Joel Pobar, a Facebook engineering manager. Facebook has been using the virtual machine, called the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM), across all of its servers since earlier this year.

Pobar discussed the virtual machine at the O’Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON) being held this week in Portland, Oregon.

Shares its development tools

HHVM is not Facebook’s first foray into customizing PHP for faster use. PHP is aninterpreted language, meaning that the source code is executed by the processor directly. Generally speaking, programs written in interpreted languages such as PHP tend not to run as quickly as languages, such as C or C++, that have been compiled beforehand into machine language byte code. Facebook has remained loyal to PHP because it is widely understood by many of the Web programmers who work for the company.

To keep up with the insatiable user demand, however, Facebook originally devised a compiler, called HipHop, that would translate PHP code into C++, so it then it could be compiled ahead of time for faster performance.

While Facebook enjoyed considerable performance gains of this first version of HipHop for several years, it sought other ways to speed the delivery of the dynamically created Web pages to its billion or so users. “Our performance strategy for that was going to tap out,” Pobar admitted.

HHVM is the next step for Facebook. Under development for about three years, HHVM actually works on the same principle as the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). HHVM has a just-in-time (JIT) compiler that converts the human readable source code into machine-readable byte code when it is needed. (The previous HipHop, renamed HPHPc, has now been retired within Facebook.)

This JIT approach allows the virtual machine to “make smarter decisions at runtime,” Pobar said. For instance, if a call is made to the MySQL database to read a row of data, the HHVM can, on the fly, figure out what type of data it is, such as an integer or a string. It then can generate or call code on the fly that would be best suited for handling this particular type of data.

With the old HipHop, “the best it can do is analyze the entire Facebook codebase, reason about it and then specialize code based on its reasoning. But it can’t get all of the reasoning right. There are parts of the code base that you can not simply infer about or reason about,” Pobar said.

Virtual system speedier

Pobar estimated that HHVM is about twice as fast as HPHPc was, and about nine times as fast as running straight PHP.

Facebook has posted the code for HHVM on GitHub, with the hopes that others will use it to speed their PHP websites as well.

HHVM is optimized for handling very large, and heavily used, PHP codebases. Pobar reckoned that using HHVM for standard sized websites, such as one hosting a WordPress blog, would gain only about a fivefold performance improvement.

“If you take some PHP and run it in on HipHop, the CPU execution time [may] not be the limiting factor for performance. Chances are [the system is] spending too much time talking to the database or spending too time talking to [the] memcache” caching layer, Pobar said.


Yahoo Sports Launches New Fantasy App With Mobile Drafting

by woodmanadmin

Yahoo announced that it has launched its new 2013 Fantasy Sports app today, which brings a new design, and new features to the experience.

One of the big new improvements is that it now features mobile drafting, which many will find tremendously helpful. It’s a lot of pressure to be at a computer during draft time.

 

“Managers can now sign up, draft a team and win their league championship from their iOS and Android device thanks to new technology incorporated by Bignoggins Production, Loki Studios and the Yahoo! Sports mobile team,” a spokesperson for Yahoo tells WebProNews. “The app also now features mock drafting, to help fans prepare and get an edge on the competition.”

Yahoo announced its acquisition of Bignoggins just a few weeks ago. They haven’t wasted any time.

“And starting with football, for the first time ever, all of Yahoo! Sports Fantasy games will live under one mobile roof – the Yahoo! Sports Fantasy app – including basketball, hockey and baseball,” the spokesperson adds.

According to Yahoo, the new app is faster than previous experiences. It also has free notifications.

The app is available for iOS and Android.


Lawyer Plugin for WordPress Promises Legal Resources and Nationwide Attorney Network

by woodmanadmin

After two years of development, Lawyer Plugin (www.lawyerplugin.com) launched their first public version of what promises to be an essential plugin for any lawyer running a WordPress website.

Lawyer Plugin is the first plugin of its kind: it gives law firms access to hundreds of local resources which are automatically added, updated, and synced with Lawyer Plugin’s central servers every 24 hours.

The registration takes care of all settings automatically. For example, a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, Florida, creates his profile with his law firm’s name, address, city, state, and practice area(s). The plugin automatically pulls bankruptcy- and Florida-related resources onto the resource page which is created by the plugin. With that, the firm becomes part of the peer-to-peer legal directory which is then displayed on the websites of every plugin user.

Block Competition

When creating the plugin, the peer-to-peer directory presented a major challenge. A law firm does not want to display competing law firms on their website. To solve this problem, Lawyer Plugin has been designed to filter competitors and only displays non-competing listings on each user’s website.

Here is how the filter works:

Smith & Smith bankruptcy lawyers in Tampa, Florida, install Lawyer Plugin.

Lisa Johnson & Associates, elder law attorneys in Asheville, North Carolina, also installs Lawyer Plugin.

Bradley Baker & James bankruptcy lawyers in Tampa Florida installs Lawyer Plugin.

Foz & Oz Attorneys at Law, bankruptcy lawyers in Los Angeles, California, installs Lawyer Plugin, too.

On the Smith & Smith resources page, Lawyer Plugin will display the listing for Lisa Johnson & Associates, because that firm does not compete in Smith & Smith’s local market. It will also display the listing for bankruptcy attorneys Foz & Oz. Even though they are bankruptcy lawyers, Foz & Oz are in Los Angeles, and therefore not competing with the Tampa, Florida practice.

However, Bradley Baker & James will not be included on Smith & Smith’s website, and Smith & Smith will not be included on Bradley Baker & James website. Lisa Johnson & Associates will display listings for all three of the above firms, because none of them compete with her practice.

A Fun Brand for a Serious Industry

Lawyer Plugin breaks out of the stuffy legal mold. On Lawyerplugin.com, users will not find any bookshelves, gavels, or court house columns. Instead, they are offered an outlet for venting with a “Hate Mail” form and noting in their legal disclaimer that the plugin has not displayed any “violent behavior,” but cautions that the “adolescent years are right around the corner.”

Last year, Lawyer Plugin posted teasers on its Facebook and Twitter profiles as beta testing began. The question was asked: “How awesome will Lawyer Plugin be?” The answers —

Coffee will drink Lawyer Plugin to wake up.

You will never need a flu shot. The flu will need a Lawyer Plugin shot.

The earth will no longer rotate around the sun. The sun will be too busy rotating around Lawyer Plugin.

And it was even predicted that Christmas will begin celebrating Lawyer Plugin.

The Lawyer Plugin’s financial backers plan to keep the plugin free. Lawyer Plugin will continue to receive funding indefinitely as add-ons are developed, and a paid, professional version of Lawyer Plugin is also in the works.

Lawyer Plugin is free and out in the court of public opinion. The developers are thirsty for user feedback and additional ideas for features.


Instagram Surpasses Pede Will Facebook As the World’s Largest

by woodmanadmin

Instagram skyrocketed in popularity as more and share photos via a mobile application. As a start-up which is very expensive purchased by Facebook apparently did not make Instagram lose ambition. Instagram sure will be bigger than Facebook.

Facebook now has 1.1 billion users worldwide making it the largest social networking Worldwide. But they have a problem with the new user to hook a young age began to look at other services. In terms of feeling confident that Instagram can grow large if it is capable of growth right now.

“By definition, if Instagram continues to grow in this position then yes, it would be even greater,” said Kevin Systrom in an interview with Fast Company. “Instagram will be the largest in the world.”

In contrast to the explicitly Kevin so confident, Instagram founder fellow replied diplomatically. “I do not know, but it’s a good question. Basically there is no limit to the number so maybe one day we will match?” Mike Krieger said.

Instagram is currently still far less than Facebook, but the number of users has exceeded Twitter. While the video recording feature that was recently launched is also more popular than Twitter’s Vine has attended first.


Windows 8.1 Uninstall Facebook and Flickr

by woodmanadmin

Washington – One of the selling points of Windows Phone is a powerful social media integration and the ability to download photos from Facebook directly into the photo apps already available on Windows Phone. Microsoft implemented this functionality in Windows 8. But, it seems the company led by Steve Ballmer that will remove some of the functionality in Windows 8.1.
Although the photo in Windows 8.1 application has been improvised with editing functions, the application has been releasing its integration with Facebook and Flickr as well as supporting delete pictures / photos on the network.
Microsoft spokesman said the software manufacturer introduces Facebook and Flickr integration in Windows 8 because when it was only a few similar apps available. “But now there are many applications available and offers the feature to view photos on other services,” he said.
Separation Windows 8.1 integration with Facebook and Flickr in fact reap disappointment. You see, Facebook has recently committed to build specialized applications Windows 8.


Yahoo! to Live Stream Video of Second Quarter 2013 Earnings on Yahoo! Finance

by woodmanadmin

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) will live stream a video broadcast of the company’s second quarter financial results on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, at 2 p.m. Pacific/5 p.m. Eastern. The live stream will be broadcast from Yahoo!’s Sunnyvale studio and will be available exclusively on Yahoo! Finance at finance.yahoo.com.

The video will be archived after the event athttp://investor.yahoo.net and will be available for 90 days following the broadcast.

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! is focused on making the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining. By creating highly personalized experiences for our users, we keep people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the world. In turn, we create value for advertisers by connecting them with the audiences that build their businesses. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has offices located throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC) and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions. For more information, visit the pressroom (pressroom.yahoo.net) or the company’s blog (yahoo.tumblr.com).

Yahoo! is the trademark and/or registered trademark of Yahoo! Inc.


Google Maps Can Detect Traffic Accidents

by woodmanadmin

Jakarta – Google has just updated the Google Maps application with new features. This feature comes reports of traffic accidents and the number of ways to access the various facilities.
Google Maps with accident information can be used on Android and iOS based devices. Overall, this application displays maps and their reliable navigation and traffic information.
Warning about the accident will appear on the map showing traffic flow and road construction. This information is also recommended that these options are not stuck in traffic around the accident site.
Last June, Google bought Waze, the creator of popular apps that inform traffic flow. But Google has not confirmed whether Waze’s data associated with this application or not.
The new application also allows users to find out if the place you want to target viable or not. Features »Explore” display greeting cards enjoy a meal and good night.
Through these features, users can be helped with a variety of information about the place in detail. There is also a rating system that allows users to find somewhere assessment.
Google Maps with navigation devices had previously been released for the Android and iOS platform. Product Manager for Google Maps, Nobuhiro Makida, said the superior feature of this application is the My Location, search, and referrals.
“Through My Location, users can know of its existence through the map, even if the device does not have GPS,” said Makida.
Next is a local search to find a business category. While referrals are the best route to a destination, even if the user is driving, walking, or taking public transportation.
Features can indicate the distance and direction of travel time to get to the destination. The Google Maps Navigation can be run via voice commands.


Facebook rallies 30%, logs best day ever

by woodmanadmin

Facebook shares rallied an impressive 30% Thursday, allowing the stock to book its best one-day gain ever. And while shares remain about 10% below the May 2012 IPO price of $38, analysts are predicting that Facebook is finally on its way to reaching, and even crossing, that threshold.

“Facebook delivered its strongest quarter yet as a public company — results that we think could be thesis-changing for many,” said Doug Anmuth, a JPMorgan analyst who boosted his price target to $44 a share from $35.

Investors and analysts are most impressed by Facebook’s growing strength in mobile advertising — a part of the business they were initially most concerned about since Facebook lacked a clear strategy for mobile advertising despite the rapidly growing number of people using Facebook on their mobile phones and tablets.

“One year into Facebook’s mobile advertising efforts, mobile has increased from zero to 41% of total ad revenue,” Anmuth highlighted in a note to clients.

While the improvements have been gradual, Facebook blew everyone away this past quarter by generating 50% more in mobile ad revenue than what Wall Street was expecting.

Even after that stellar quarter, analysts say growth should remain strong as Facebook continues to shift toward more social ads that will become increasingly valuable to advertisers.

Analysts at JMP Securities, who increased their share price target to $38, said that social media giant’s second-quarter results suggest that “Facebook is increasingly becoming a ‘must buy’ for advertisers.”

Goldman Sachs analysts were also excited by Facebook’s significant improvement in mobile advertising. They put a bullish price target of $46 on Facebook shares.

“We continue to believe Facebook is at the center of the mobile ad revolution and see considerable opportunity for it to drive higher pricing on its ad units as brand and direct marketers alike take advantage of its broad reach and precise targeting,” said Goldman analyst Heather Bellini.

As Facebook (FB) shares surged, a number of investors were getting in on the action. Over 360 million shares of Facebook had exchanged hands Thursday, more than seven times the stock’s average daily trading volume.

The day’s surge pushed the value of Facebook to more than $80 billion, up from just over $60 billion as of Wednesday’s closing bell.

Facebook’s advance was also getting plenty of attention on Twitter.


Apple Developer Website Online Again Following Cyberattack

by woodmanadmin

Apple’s developer website was back online Friday, more than a week after it was targeted by a hacker who reportedly attempted to steal personal information, various media outlets have reported.

According to Bloomberg’s Jordan Robertson, the website used by engineers who write Mac and iOS device applications was said to be active as of 5pm Pacific time on July 26. The attack had forced it offline for a total of eight days.

“Developers use the site for software downloads, documentation and engineering information,” Robertson said. “The maker of iPhones and iPads said this week that it’s ‘completely overhauling’ its developer systems to prevent a security threat from happening again. While some of the website’s information was encrypted, Applesaid it hadn’t been able to rule out whether names, mailing addresses or e-mail addresses may have been accessed.”

The website targeted by the cyberattack is used by the Cupertino, California-based tech giant to communicate with its community of nearly six million software developers, according to Reuters reporter Aman Shah. A UK-based Turkish researcher named Ibrahim Balic has claimed responsibility for the attack, which he says was not malicious in nature, but not everyone buys his story.

“Balic, who describes himself as a security consultant, claimed on Sunday that he had discovered a number of weaknesses in the site at developer.apple.com which allowed him to grab email addresses of registered developers,” Guardian reporter Charles Arthur explained. “In all, Balic said he had been able to grab the details of 100,000 people registered on the site, and that he included 73 of them in a bug report to Apple.

“He claimed that he exploited a cross-site scripting (XSS) bug in the site,” he added. “However XSS attacks generally require the attacker – which in this case would be Balic – to ‘infect’ a page with a malicious piece of Javascript or HTML which would then be used to extract data from a visiting user. If Balic’s claim is correct, he seems to have used the XSS exploits against his own system.”

Arthur said they attempted to contact 29 people whose emails were allegedly extracted by Balic during the hacking, but seven of those emails bounced and none of the remaining 22 responded to requests to state whether or not they are registered Apple developers. Furthermore, none of the names or email addresses could be located online, which the Guardian notes would be unusual for active software developers.

“Many of the names and email addresses either don’t look like they would belong to Apple developers, or appear to have left no footprints anywhere else on the net,” added independent security consultant Graham Cluley. In addition, in reference to ten emails featured in a YouTube video created by the alleged hacker, Cluley said, “It’s almost as though these are long-discarded ghost email addresses from years ago or have been used by Balic in his video for reasons best known to himself.”

In related news, a new phishing scam involving Apple has arisen on the heels of the developer website hacking,according to CNET’s Charlie Osborne. Attempting to capitalize on security concerns raised by the cyberattack, the new phishing scam warns users to click on a link in order to change their passwords.

While the email is short, it may appear legitimate to some users, Osborne said. However, it includes a grammar mistake in the title, fails to capitalize Apple on several locations and includes a link that clearly does not lead to a domain registered or owned by the tech giant.

“Users have taken to Twitter to warn others of the phishing attacks, and security firm Kaspersky Lab has found that Apple-related phishing scams have skyrocketed in the last six months, with scammers focused on stealing login credentials and financial data,” the CNET writer added.


Facebook’s Balancing Act: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

by woodmanadmin

The good news: Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) turned fabulously profitable in the just-reported second quarter thanks to a redesigned ad flow on mobile Facebook apps. Revenues jumped 23% from the first quarter to the second. Last year, the same comparison yielded just an 11% seasonal gain. The year-ago quarter’s net loss turned into a tidy profit.

In response, share prices jumped more than 30% overnight and sit very close to all-time highs that were set during the stock’s IPO.

The bad news: The ad assault is interfering with the user experience. A fresh survey (free registration required) from the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows Facebook dead last among online media sites in terms of user satisfaction. “Facebook users find the numerous changes to the site’s interface taxing,” says the ACSI. Twenty-seven percent of users surveyed complained that ads are ruining their Facebook experience these days.

The ugly news: The good news may not last very long. Facebook had better dial back the ad blitz if it wants those disgruntled users to stick around.

It’s a high-wire balancing act between monetization and user satisfaction. Lean too far in one direction, and you won’t make any money from those billions of page views. Err too far in the other direction, and those profitable page views will melt away as unhappy users find greener pastures.

Don’t think it couldn’t happen. Facebook is not too big to fail. Unless the company strikes that crucial balance before it’s too late, we could very well see another mass exodus from one leading social network to another.

Facebook itself killed MySpace by launching a better service in the same genre. Before that, MySpace trampled all over social pioneer Friendster in much the same way.

And there are Facebook alternatives waiting to crush the current king at the first opportunity, believe it or not.

Chief among these is Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) and its Google+ service, which benefits from tight integration with the world’s most popular search engine as well as with leading video site YouTube.

Twitter sings a somewhat different tune but can fill many of the functions of a Facebook account. LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD  ) is basically Facebook for corporate users and could very well expand into the consumer side of things if it wanted to.

All of these alternatives offer fewer ads and a cleaner experience than Facebook. LinkedIn ties with Facebook at the least satisfied end of the ACSI survey; everyone else runs miles ahead. Yes, even the much-maligned Google+ “ghost town.” And even LinkedIn reports fewer ad-taint complaints than Facebook.

That’s why I’d take this week’s Facebook share-price pop as a temporary boost, and not as a sustainable clean bill of health. The service currently leans far too heavy on the monetization side of the fence and runs a very real risk of finding out that the next era of social networking doesn’t include much Facebooking.

So my bearish CAPScall on Facebook stays in place until Mark Zuckerberg and company adjust their strategy again. If you can’t keep your users happy, the money will very quickly cease to matter.

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