Posts Tagged ‘package’

Using the PHP PEAR Services_Twitter Package with HTTPS

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

I have a PHP script that runs every few minutes via a cron job that has been running for a few years to send me direct messages on Twitter from a single-purpose Twitter account. The net result is that I can have system alerts sent to me by text message (by having direct messages from this special account subscribed for mobile alerts).

This script stopped working a week or two ago, and I finally got around to figuring out why. On Jan. 14, 2014, Twitter made SSL/TLS mandatory for connections to The announcement / blog post about that is here:

Apparently, and not surprisingly, the PEAR module, Services_Twitter (available here:,  works with, and thus stopped working.

The fix was simple, once I was able to decipher the automated docs…

After this line: $twitter = new Services_Twitter();

I added this line: $twitter->setOption(‘use_ssl’,true);

The placement is probably flexible. But this one line worked. And my phone is now getting all those text message alerts that I dread. Yipee (?)

I wonder if I’m the only person using this library, considering that my Google searches came up surprisingly sparse on this topic…



Stolen FedEx Package?!

Friday, October 28th, 2011

After a long hiatus due to an extremely busy period, it’s time to catch up on some blog posts.

A couple months ago I helped someone return their Gateway netbook to Acer for repairs. Acer repaired the machine and sent it back by FedEx Ground Service.

At the delivery, someone dutifully signed for the package.  There’s only one catch, whoever signed for it, walked off with the machine. Yes, the netbook was stolen. It could have been a neighbour, or one of the contractors at the house next door, or one of the city workers who happened to be working on the street that day. Whoever it was, the FedEx driver let some random person who happened to be near the property sign for the package.

The rest of this story took over a month to play out slot games for android.

Initially, Acer was not very helpful, they told us to deal with FedEx for a claim.  FedEx “ran a trace” to try and find the package.  Eventually, a FedEx loss claim was filed; however, it required Acer to relinquish their rights making their own claim. The whole situation was a mess, and it took several calls to Acer support to keep things moving along. Further, I suspect that FedEx would only pay out the minimum $100 coverage that is included with each delivery.  Acer self-insures (i.e. doesn’t buy insurance) on their shipments (this actually make sense given their shipping volume).

In the end, Acer finally took responsibility and dealt with the FedEx claim and shipped a replacement machine (with arguably better specs).

This isn’t an exclusively FedEx problem.  By coincidence, a couple weeks later, a  UPS delivery person let me sign for a package after I got out of my car and started walking towards the house. And no, the UPS delivery person couldn’t have recognized me, I’m rarely the one to receive deliveries.

I’m surprised that stolen packages don’t happen more often – or maybe they do.

The moral of the story? Avoid shipping items to a residential address. Couriers hate residences – they’re widely spaced out (relative to business districts), and often, no one is home.