Running PHP Scripts with Cron

Lots of programmers like PHP for its ability to code and develop web applications fast. Well, this programming language was built for web. We have recently did post on caching with php to make your web sites faster. Today we want to cover another topic many developers are puzzled about, “How to run PHP Scripts with crontab?”

Cron is normally available on all Unix and Linux distributions; if you cannot access it, contact your root or server administrator. It is a daemon which allows you to schedule a program or script for a specific time of execution. If you want to learn more about cron, click here or type “man crontab” at your command prompt.

I have found myself in the need to run PHP scripts at specific times. For example, to update the content of a website, to remove expired articles, to send out e-mails on a given date and a lot more. While some may think that this is were PHP is doomed, I will show you how it’s done.

A Manual crontab?

The first solution that came to my mind was to run the script directly from my browser (e.g. entering into the web browser).

Since I need to run my script on a regular basis, I squashed that idea. My goodness, all the extra hassle is ridiculous.

Avoiding SQL Injection with PHP

This is a very quick tutorial to help people avoid SQL injection with their PHP scripts. It seems all too common that people are writing PHP scripts without considering the fact that someone could easily inject some malicious SQL code that could wreak havoc on an entire Web site.

To put it very simply, for those of you that don’t know what SQL injection is; it’s basically sending SQL code through a script that causes the query to execute unintended commands. Some very good examples of SQL injection can be found in the Wikipedia article.

Here are a few very quick tips to help you avoid SQL injection. Of course, nothing is foolproof, but this should take you a long way.

What I’d Like To See – A Partnership Between DirecTV and MS

Okay, so if the world happened to be an ideal place; here is what I would like to see. I would like to see Microsoft strike a deal with DirecTV, that would allow Zune owners to hook their Zunes directly into their DirecTV DVRs and transfer recorded programs onto their Zune.

I realize that I’m reaching here, which is why I said that it would have to be an ideal world. It’s not that far of a stretch, though, to imagine some company trying to compete with the iPod striking a deal with Dish Network, DirecTV, Comcast or some other major player in the pay-TV world. If the companies were somehow able to work out the legal implications, imagine how great it would be to be able to hook up your digital media player and download the latest episode of Heroes or Doctor Who (or whatever your favorite TV shows are). That USB jack on the front (and, in my case, at least, on the back, too) should be made useful for something eventually.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this something you’d like to see? I know that Apple already introduced Apple TV, which seems to be a similar concept; but I can honestly imagine a company like Microsoft partnering with DirecTV or Comcast or someone, and allowing you to associate a Zune with your DVR.

I’m sure it’s just wishful thinking, but I’ll keep on wishing.

Hotlink Protection with PHP

What is Hotlinking?

Hotlinking is when another website links directly to one or more of your images or multimedia files and includes it on their web page. Not only is this theft of your intellectual property, but further more, you are paying for the bandwidth used by that site. Which can result in a problem with your budget.
The most common way to prevent others from hotlinking your content is Apache’s mod_rewrite. While this a solution that free available to use, there are a couple drawbacks. One being, that Apache has to be configured to use mod_rewrite (–enable-rewrite). Another one being, that for a lot of people writing regular expressions is not the most easiest thing to do.

New Facebook Platform Unveiled

Facebook has unveiled a new look. The color scheme and basic design are still basically the same, but the layout is actually drastically different. Comparison screen shots after the break.

CCleaner – Keeping Your Computer Optimized

A few months ago, I was introduced to a great utility called CCleaner. CCleaner is a freeware application for Windows that helps you keep your computer running in its best condition. Following is a quick summary of the features offered by CCleaner.

Clean up

The main feature of CCleaner is to clean all of the unnecessary and temporary files from your computer. It analyzes all of your temporary directories, your cookies, your recycle bin, etc. and finds all of the files you no longer need.

The first time I ran the tool, it found somewhere around 10 gigs of temporary files on my computer at work.

Registry cleaning

CCleaner is also capable of backing up and cleaning up your Windows registry. Every time I run CCleaner, it seems to find unused file extensions, incorrect links, etc. in my registry, so I try to use it at least once a month.

Startup management

CCleaner also offers the ability to manage your startup processes. As we all know, all computers are prone to enabling rogue startup programs that can really slow down your computer. CCleaner allows you to remove any entries you no longer want automatically running every time you boot your computer.

In the old days, it was really easy to manage this, as all startup programs were added to your “startup” folder in the start menu. However, now it’s extremely rare that any of your startup programs actually show up in that folder. Some of them show up in the adminstrator’s startup folder and most of them are actually added to your registry.

With CCleaner, you don’t need to worry about where they’re stored, as you can view and remove all of them within this one utility.


As if the features mentioned above weren’t enough, CCleaner also offers you the ability to manage all of the programs you have installed on your computer from one interface.

Windows has been trying to do this for years, with the “Add/Remove Programs” utility in the control panel (in Vista, it’s called “Programs and Features”, but it’s the same thing). For the most part, it’s been successful. Unfortunately, though, Windows only seems to include those utilities that come with their own uninstallers. I’ve had quite a few experiences where Windows didn’t give me the option to uninstall some software I had installed.

Back when I was using Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, I actually bought a program called “Window Cleaner”, which was built specifically for uninstalling applications. With Windows 98 and my old copies of Windows XP, I purchased and ran Norton SystemWorks, which offered the same features. Now, though, I don’t any of those commercial applications. CCleaner does a better job of recognizing installed applications and uninstalling them.


CCleaner is a fantastic utility. Honestly, I don’t see any reason why any Windows user would not download and install the application. The functionality offered within CCleaner is on par or above most commercial applications available on the market; and it’s completely free.

Last year, I purchased a subscription to Norton 360 for my antivirus and optimizaton needs. This year, however, with CCleaner installed, I have no need for all of the bloat that comes with Norton. I can get antivirus functionality from many sources (including a version of Symantec I get for free from work), and I no longer have a need for all of the optimization features built into Norton.

I give this utility a 5 out of 5, and would absolutely recommend it to anyone.

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