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php[tek] Announces Mental Health Summit
February 13, 2014 @ 12:37:22

As a part of their continuous contributions back to the PHP community, php[architect] (the people behind the php[tek] conference) are hosting a special event one evening during this year's conference. The >Mental Health Summit is a joint effort between them and the work Engine Yard has done in the same area.

We are excited today to announce that, in conjunction with Engine Yard's Prompt initiative we are going to be hosting a mental health summit at php[tek] 2014. Similar to the Mentorship Summit that we hosted last year, this will be an evening event we will be hosting for conference attendees featuring four speakers taking about 15 minutes each to speak together on a central topic. We will provide dinner just before and during the summit, and an open social time afterwards so that the conversation can continue.

The speakers at the summit are Ed Finkler, Greg Baugues, Ben Marks and Paddy Foran. Each will present some of their own experiences and thoughts around mental health, especially when it comes to development communities.

Mental health concerns are serious issues that affect a large percentage of the population and includes our community. It's important that we become aware of the issues that are faced, to bring light to the problems that plague so many, and to perhaps even help those near us who are suffering quietly. Whether they realize it yet or not.
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Link: http://tek.phparch.com/mental-health-summit

Rafael Dohms' Blog:
Problem Solving technique #1 Taking a mental break
February 07, 2011 @ 12:08:44

Rafael Dohms has posted a new tip for developers (and really anyone else that has to concentrate on mentally challenging tasks all day) that could sometime help you break through that wall you've hit in your code - take a mental break.

Developers are modern day artists whose masterpieces are not hung on walls but stretched out thin on web servers all over the world, yes that is very poetic, but I really try to look at developers as artists and puzzle solvers. [...] A different activity, to most its the simple act of going to get coffee or water, taking a stroll outside in the fresh air, some like sports, some like games.. everyone has their escape valve.

He gives an example of a friend (Chester) who, when he hit a mark he just couldn't pass, turned to a set of lego blocks to help clear his mind. The subconscious mind kicks in as you preoccupy the conscious and a lot of times the answer floats up to he top with little or no effort.

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techPortal:
Debugging Development
March 16, 2009 @ 09:33:38

On the techPortal site Ian Barber has posted a new article looking at debugging - not just in the usual technical sense, but also in the environmental and thought process problems that can come up.

Programming, as much as it is about machines, is conducted by humans, and is as susceptible to human error as any process. These bugs can be frustrating, particularly when found by a client, but they can give an insight into underlying problems, and sometime suggest solutions '" or at least ways of catching errors early. This article looks at four different classes of bugs: mechanical, mental, social and environmental, their causes, and some preventative steps.

He has the article broken up into his four categories - mechanical errors, mental errors, social errors and environmental errors. Each section contains a few things that can help thwart those sorts of problems including tools like PHPUnit for unit testing, PHPDoc for documenting your source and things more on the environmental/social side like seige for load testing or a Sun VirtualBox to test multiple environments.

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