Of course I have a backup!

Random blobs of wisdom about software development

About Me

I'm Norbert Kéri, a web developer/fullstack engineer/growth hacker/current trendy buzzword, living in Budapest, Hungary Oslo, Norway. In 2006 I had the choice of starting to work as a PHP developer, or staying at the university, and I figured I can come back to finish my studies any time I wanted, but landing my first job, without any work experience, would be much harder. I took the job, and it turned out to be one of the best choices in my life.

My work mostly involved hacking together various informal sites, 90% of which were CRUD operations, but being the most inexperienced guy at the workplace, I had the advantage of absorbing a lot of knowledge from others around me, and I had an early start at getting used to an 8 hour work schedule, office politics, the pressure of deadlines, and unpaid overtimes. Getting familiar with these things were of a much higher value to me, than learning about complex numbers, learning how to calculate in N dimensional matrices, and also having a salary to buy stuff you want is awesome.

I don't have any "war veteran" stories with C or ASM, my greatest tales start with "Back in PHP4 we relied on magic quotes", but I still feel I have come a long way. I can safely say that I'm now proficient in PHP, sitebuilding, JavaScript, have a SOLID grasp on object oriented concepts, my linux knowledge doesn't stop at "aptitude install apache2 php5", and among a lot of other things, I know what the root of all evil is.

The blog

The name of the blog comes from a little accident. I had to deploy new features to one of our sites, and the guy who was in contact with the client was impatiently standing behind me, continously looking over my shoulder, in the most middle manager like way possible. "Is it done already?" "How long will it take?" "We can't just take the site offline for hours!". I put up a basic auth on the site while the deploy was in progress, so in case I screw up something, nobody will see it.

And boy, did I screw up. When I transferred the files, I was greeted by the common PHP white screen of nothing, and no errors in the logs. Our production server was managed by a third-party, I had no SSH or anything to get into the system diagnose it. The contact guy behind me caught up with the silence, and asked if there was a problem.

Me: "Well..., yes, the site works on my local machine, but dies on the live server, and I can't figure out the problem"
CG: "I'm going to call the sysadmin, so we can resolve this faster"
Me: "Ok, I'll transfer back the old site from the backup, so at least we will have the old version back"
CG: "Oh, you have a backup?"
Me: "Of course I have a backup!"

So, I navigated to my ~/backups folder, and opened the archive, here is the picture of the backup:

What could be a better name for a blog than that? Yeah, the backup script was messed up, and created empty archives.

The motivation behind the blog mostly comes from the hacker community, and people in general who share their experiences through blogs, slides, and talks with the world. It's really inspiring to see people to see people contribute so much to the world, without expecting anything in return. I like to concentrate on the content, so there are no tweet it, like it, share it buttons, and who knows what else social media has come up with by now, and there are no ads. If you find something interesting, or the solution to your problem by ending up here from Google, do drop a comment.


A few things that I'm proud of. As of early 2014 2016, I have 4k 6.8k reputation on StackOverflow, which puts me in the top 9% 5%. I'm also in the top 10% percent in PHP, Doctrine2, CSS, in the top 20% in MySQL, and top 30% in Symfony2. I have contributed to a few open source projects on GitHub: I have added the ability to specify static methods as constructors for the Alice library (a fixture generator for PHP), and have done a few bug reports for Symfony2 (one of them resulted in an immediate release of a new version), Doctrine2, the r.js compiler, and a few Symfony2 bundles.


You can contact me by dropping a comment on any of the articles.