Laravel SNS-SQS Queue

'connections' => [
   'sns-sqs' => [
      'driver' => 'sns-sqs',
      'key' => env('AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID'),
      'secret' => env('AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY'),
      'region' => env('AWS_DEFAULT_REGION', 'us-east-1'),
      'prefix' => env('SQS_PREFIX', ''),
      'queue' => env('SQS_QUEUE', 'default'),
      'suffix' => env('SQS_SUFFIX'),
      'after_commit' => false,
      'endpoint' => env('AWS_ENDPOINT'),
      'sns_topic_arn' => env('SNS_TOPIC_ARN', 'arn:aws:sns:us-east-1:your-account-id:topic'),

Laravel News Links

Dark Forces Remastered makes a classic Star Wars shooter feel fast and fluid×380.png

Player holding a gun inside an Alliance base in Dark Forces.

Enlarge / Do you ever wonder why no contractor has been able to deliver to the Empire a standardized blaster rifle that shoots right where the crosshairs are aiming? Is this covered in the "Legends" extended universe?

Nightdive Studios/LucasFilm

I remember Dark Forces, or Star Wars: Doom, as a slog. Running a demo of the 1995 game on a Gateway system with an Intel 486DX at 33 MHz, I trudged through seemingly endless gray hallways. I shot at a steady trickle of Stormtroopers with one their own (intentionally) semi-accurate blaster rifles. After a while, I would ask myself a pertinent, era-specific question: Why was I playing this low-energy nostalgia trip instead of actual Doom?

Dark Forces moved first-person shooters forward in a number of ways. It could lean on Star Wars for familiar sounds and enemies and tech, and a plot with a bit more complexity than "They’re demons, they gotta go." It let the player look up and down, jump, and crouch, which were big steps for the time. And its level design went beyond "find the blue key for the blue door," with some clever environmental puzzles and challenges.

Not that key cards don’t show up. This game is from 1995, so there are key cards, there are hidden wall-doors, and there are auto-spawning enemies. It’s not like the Dark Forces designers could entirely ignore Doom. Nobody could.

Having played through some enjoyable hours of Dark Forces Remaster, I’ve come around quite a bit on this Doom-era game’s worthiness. In 2024, I can joyfully rip through research facilities, foundries, sewers, and space stations at a breakneck clip, stuffing bad guys full of laser blasts from every angle and distance. The grenades (err, thermal detonators) actually feel viable and fun to use. The levels, and the game as a whole, are higher resolution and easier to appreciate at this faster, more frenetic pace.

  • Now you’re all in big, big trouble (because this gun shoots relatively straight).

    Nightdive Studios/LucasFilm

  • A close-up of a gray rock, gray walls, and a gray blaster in Dark Forces.

    Nightdive Studios/LucasFilm

  • You forget that Star Wars has an infinite number of worlds it can put its characters into, besides Tatooine.

    Nightdive Studios/LucasFilm

  • Alright, that does it—we’re heading to Florida.

    Nightdive Studios/LucasFilm

  • Okay, he doesn’t live in Florida, but it’s still pretty swampy.

    Nightdive Studios/LucasFilm

Nightdive Studios continues its streak of providing spiffed-up but eminently faithful remasters of classic titles with Dark Forces Remastered. The studio’s leaders told Ars last year that their goal was games that "play the way you remember them playing. Not the way they actually did on your 486 [computer], but in an evocative manner." For me, Dark Forces Remastered feels far, far better than I remember, and so I’ve gotten a chance to absorb a lot more of the world it’s trying to evoke.

Nightdive Studios/LucasFilm

An elegant shooter full of clumsy blasters

A quick primer on Dark Forces: You are mercenary Kyle Katarn, working for the Rebellion around the time of Episode IV (the first Death Star one), helping the rebels investigate and halt the development of Dark Troopers. Dark Troopers are essentially Stormtroopers with big shoulder pauldrons and the ability to deflect blaster fire. You can use all kinds of found weapons, including blasters, land mines, and rocket launchers. But you will not become a Jedi, because that happens in the next game.

Due either to thematic or technical restrictions of the time, you’re not typically fighting huge arenas of baddies. You are meant to sneak through hallways and turn corners, popping a few at a time. Unless you’re me, that is, liberated by playing at 4K at 120 frames per second (and, sometimes, cheat codes), wantonly wrecking dudes who didn’t get the memo about my arrival.

The little voice stings—"Stop!" "You’re not authorized!"—were a delight, if often cut short by the quick dispatching of their speaker. For the first few levels, I felt like the Rebellion could have destroyed five Death Stars in just two movies if they had a few more Kyles like me. But Dark Forces does ramp up as you go on.

All the same cheat codes from the original game work—Nightdive even gives you places to type them in and then activate them in menus—and I had to lean on a couple level skips and resupplies to get through the first seven levels. The objectives get far twistier and "What did flipping that switch do?" as you roll on. Some of the battery-powered devices, like infrared goggles and gas masks, are all but essential at times, and the long levels with their repeating wall textures can have you wasting them. It’s never quite unfair, but you realize how tough this must have been at a far lower frame rate and walking speed. And without such easy access to online walk-throughs, of course.

There are new lighting effects, much nicer menus and options, gamepad support (including rumble), and polished cutscenes, in addition to the gameplay that now tilts a bit more toward Motörhead than Rush in speed and feel. But, really, what sells Dark Forces Remastered is the game beneath the upgrades. If you have any interest in hopping on Jabba the Hutt’s barge again, this is the way to do it.

Listing image by Nightdive/LucasFilm

Ars Technica – All content

Six Essential Plugins for Visual Studio Code

Six Essential Plugins for Visual Studio Code

We’ve created a collection of essential plugins for Visual Studio Code that will supercharge your coding experience. I’ve gathered my favorite extensions to make you a more productive PHP developer and even threw in my favorite theme for VS Code.

Let’s dive in!

Laravel Blade Formatter

The Laravel Blade formatter is an opinionated Blade file formatter for VS Code. This extension uses the shufo/blade-formatter NPM package that you can use to format Blade template files programmatically.

Another alternative is the shufo/prettier-plugin-blade if you’d rather use the Prettier formatter instead. VS Code has a Prettier plugin that you can use to incorporate this workflow on save. The VSCode section of the readme has setup instructions if you want to go this route.

Codeium: AI Autocomplete and Chat

Codeium is a free AI Code Completion and Chat tool comparable to GitHub copilot. It offers autocomplete and is available for several editors, including Visual Studio Code. It supports 70+ programming languages, including JavaScript, TypeScript, PHP, and more. You can also use the IDE-integrated chat to avoid leaving VS Code to ask questions or explain things.

You can grab this plugin for VS Code on the Visual Studio Code Marketplace.

Monokai Pro Theme

The Monokai Pro theme is my favorite theme for Visual Studio code. While you can freely evaluate it (with occasional popups), it requires a paid license for €12.5 ($13.53 USD at the time of writing), which is well worth the effort that went into designing these themes.

Monokai Pro includes six theme variations (Octagon is my favorite), has stylish file icons, contains various configuration options, and should fit almost any style you prefer in a dark theme.

You can grab a license on the Monokai Pro website, and the extension is available on the Visual Studio Marketplace.

PHP Intelephense

The PHP Intelephense extension gives you code intelligence for PHP in Visual Studio Code. If you are a newcomer to PHP or Laravel or a seasoned PHP developer jumping into VS Code for the first time, I recommend installing this extension. It includes code intelligence, symbol searching, go-to definition, documentation help, and a host of other features.

Intelephense offers a premium license that you can grab on that unlocks features like code renaming, code folding, "find all" implementations, "go to type definitions," and more.

Better PHPUnit

Better PHPUnit is a test runner for Visual Studio Code that supports running tests from your editor in the embedded terminal. This extension also supports Running Pest Tests, which gives you one test runner to support any PHP testing workflow.

You can install this extension within VS Code or grab it from the Visual Studio Marketplace.

Tailwind CSS IntelliSense

The Tailwind CSS IntelliSense extension gives you intelligent Tailwind CSS tooling for VS Code. This extension makes you more productive with Tailwind by providing advanced features such as autocomplete, syntax highlighting, and linting. You can also quickly see the complete CSS for a Tailwind class name by hovering over it:

You can find this extension by searching for “Tailwind CSS IntelliSense” or getting it directly from the Visual Studio Marketplace.

That’s a wrap on our essential plugins for VS Code users. I hope you’ve found something useful to improve your VS Code development! We can’t share every single extension, so let us know your favorite VS Code extension or theme!

The post Six Essential Plugins for Visual Studio Code appeared first on Laravel News.

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Laravel News

Good Guys with Guns Stop Crime in Ohio×282.jpg

We always hear the gun-grabbers say, “More gun restrictions will reduce crime.” We remind them that the exact opposite is true. The truth is when more good people are prevented from defending themselves due to restrictive and unconstitutional gun laws; it puts them in a vulnerable position.

Not only are good people put in a vulnerable position because they can’t defend themselves and their families, but criminals are also given the upper hand. Bad guys who want to do harm are emboldened by the fact that their potential victims can no longer defend themselves. This is why gun-free zones are the most popular spot for violent attacks.

A new study by the Center for Justice Research determined that in the year following Ohio’s constitutional carry going into effect, crime involving firearms dropped by as much as 22%. How could that be? The anti-gunners are always telling us that we need more gun laws to reduce violent crime.

The study focused on firearms-related crimes from June 2021 to June 2023. This included the year before and after the constitutional carry law went into effect. As it turns out, Cleveland, Akron, Columbus, Parma, Canton, and Toledo became much safer when residents were not restricted from protecting themselves in public with guns. This study corresponds with the Kleck / Gertz: Armed Resistance to Crime study that showed us there are up to 2.5m defensive gun uses (DGU) per year in America. It also reminds us that just because there are guns in the hands of good people and crime is stopped, as a result, it does not mean bad guys are getting killed. Because of the extensive work John Lott and others have done in this area, we now know that in approximately 95% of DGUs, a trigger is never pulled; Just the mere presence of a good gun is enough to stop a bad guy.

The rise in public safety due to responsible citizens carrying firearms led to such a notable improvement in Ohio that the State’s Attorney General officially announced this positive development on X.

Despite this study and many others like it, groups like Mom’s Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, and the Gifford’s group continue to spread, anti-gun propaganda in support of more gun restrictions. It would seem they are much more interested in gun control for political purposes than actually saving lives.

About Dan Wos, Author – Good Gun Bad Guy

Dan Wos is available for Press Commentary. For more information contact PR HERE

Dan Wos is a nationally recognized 2nd Amendment advocate, Host of The Loaded Mic and Author of the “GOOD GUN BAD GUY” book series. He speaks at events, is a contributing writer for many publications, and can be found on radio stations across the country. Dan has been a guest on Newsmax, the Sean Hannity Show, Real America’s Voice, and several others. Speaking on behalf of gun-rights, Dan exposes the strategies of the anti-gun crowd and explains their mission to disarm law-abiding American gun-owners.

Dan Wos
Dan Wos

AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

Ever Wonder Why Your Car’s Shifter Goes P-R-N-D? Here’s the Reason

For starters, the US government says so.

fd prnd gear patrol lead fullAudi

If your car has an automatic transmission, the different positions you can shift into follow a specific pattern: P-R-N-D, usually followed by either a couple of lower gear options or the chance to shift it into a manual control mode. In case you’ve never driven (or, somehow, only driven cars with manual transmissions, in which place, god bless you), those four letters stand for Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive — or, in layman’s terms, Stopped, Backwards, Free-Rolling and Forwards.

You’ve probably shifted from Park to Drive a hundred thousand times, and from Drive to Reverse nearly as many. But in all those times, have you ever stopped to wonder: Gee, why is it that every car’s shifter seems to go from Reverse to Neutral to Drive?

Well, there’s actually a very good reason: the United States government says so.

Editor’s Note: This story is part of “Further Details,” a series dedicated to ubiquitous but overlooked elements hidden on your favorite products.

Older shifters used a P-N-D-L-R arraingement

When the automatic transmission was young, carmakers would often set up their own shifters however they damn well felt like it. One common layout, found in General Motors and Chrysler models, among others, placed Reverse at the far end of the shifter, past Neutral, Drive and the lower gears. In one sense, it made sense; after all, you want Reverse to be easy to find, so why not put it at the very end of the shifter?

The problem that arose, however, was one of user error: people attempting to shift into a low forward gear would wind up overshooting into Reverse without realizing it, or vice versa. Given the mass of, say, a ’59 Eldorado, traveling suddenly in the wrong direction could result in very unpleasant consequences for any persons, animals or objects that happened to be in the way.

Ralph Nader noted that the old P-N-D-L-R arrangement was unsafe

It took none other than noted safety advocate Ralph Nader to help bring the problems with this arrangement to light. In the second chapter of his seminal book Unsafe at Any Speed, Nader raised five ripped-from-the-headlines examples of death, injury and destruction caused by the poor design of this P-N-D-L-R shift arrangement.

“It takes no science and little foresight to accurately condemn a particularly dangerous transmission shift pattern — the P N D L R quadrant common to Cadillacs, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Studebakers and Ramblers over the past ten years,” he wrote. “The driver is forced to look at the shift lever for confirmation of the gear in use. The driver has to lift the lever to go into reverse. Should he not lift it enough, the car will remain in forward low while the driver is looking backwards and expecting the car to move in that direction.”

Some modern push-button automatics, like the Lincoln Navigator pictured here, have done away with the selection lever — but if anything, it’s even harder to accidentally mis-select a mode.

Placing Neutral between Drive and Reverse was safer

Sticking neutral between forward and reverse, Nader said, was a commonly-accepted trait of mechanical design in things like mechanical tools. But the design of the Hydra-matic transmission used in these models made it cheaper to put reverse next to the forward cogs, according to an automotive transmission engineer Nader cited; while that obstacle was gone by 1956, GM reportedly stood by it — using the rather circular reasoning that, in effect, there were already too many cars on the road using the P-N-D-L-R setup to stop using it now.

As with encouraging the adoption of safety belts, Nader’s outspoken advocacy wound up getting results. While America’s domestic carmakers all came around to the superior design of putting neutral between Reverse and Drive by 1966, by 1971, it had become part of federal law in the form of U.S. Department of Transportation Standard No. 102: “Location of transmission shift positions on passenger cars. A neutral position shall be located between forward drive and reverse drive positions.”

P-R-N-D has lingered even as mechanical gear shifters are going away

The recent return of pushbutton transmission selectors and the arrival of electronic gearshifts means that carmakers have a tad more flexibility than they once did, in terms of control layouts. Honda and Lincoln’s pushbutton shifters arranges its choices vertically; GMC’s stretches them out horizontally; Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Hyundai and Ford, among others, make Park a separate button to seek out. But the heart of the rule remains in effect: if you want to shift from Drive to Reverse or vice versa, you have to make a stop in Neutral.

Now, some exotic cars with single-clutch and dual-clutch automated manual transmissions, like Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren, arrange things even more differently — but that seems to be because they do without a “Park” or, in some cases, even a “Drive.” (Ferraris, for example, only offer buttons for reverse and manual modes; neutral is obtained by pulling both paddle shifters at once, and Park occurs automatically when the car is turned off.) But again, the spirit of the law remains in play: it’s very hard to accidentally shift into Reverse when you mean to go forward.

Gear Patrol

Jantz Knife Supply: Providing Everything Required To Make Knives

Jantz Knife Supply: Providing Everything Required To Make Knives
Based in Davis, Oklahoma, Jantz has been in the knifemaking supply business for 58 years.

Jantz is a crucial source for many who fashion knives.

For 58 years Jantz Knife Supply has met the needs of cutlery craftsmen of all stripes, from green behind the ears to on up in years, with everything needed to make knives. This includes specialty steels, handle components, sheath materials, hand tools and sanding supplies, as well as the heavy equipment for knifemaking.

What started as a small mom-and-pop gun supply outfit founded by Ken and Venice Jantz in 1966 is no less than a U.S.-based juggernaut in today’s cutlery industry. The Jantzes haven’t left their humble beginnings behind, though, so no customer job is too small for the venerable knifemaking supply company in the heartland of America, Davis, Oklahoma.

Ken Jantz
Company co-founder Ken Jantz works on a prototype for a new hollow-grinding fixture at the company facility.

Shanna Kemp oversees the marketing, financial and human resources for Jantz. She probably knows as well as anyone about the many specialty and other items available to the company’s legion of customers.
“Our goal is to provide everything knifemakers could need for their project,” she begins, “whether you’re a beginner looking for a new hobby or a custom knifemaker stocking your shop to get ready for the BLADE Show. One thing we really love is creating fixtures and tools to make knifemaking more accessible for every skill level.”

One of the company’s most popular new fixtures is the PDJ Knife Vise. “It’s handy for all levels of knifemakers as it allows you to drill perfectly perpendicular holes through your handle material” regardless of the material’s texture or unevenness, Shanna explains.
Jantz stocks an abundance of parts for assembling and enhancing knives of all types. “Our most popular products are our Corby rivets, Loveless bolts and metal round and bar stock,” Shanna enumerates. “Our customers love the quality of our materials as we source directly from reputable mills with consistent quality and do our cutting and machining in house. One of our other popular products is our handcrafted mosaic pins. Each pin design is meticulously hand assembled right here in Davis, Oklahoma.”

Jantz Steel Stock

JS750 perpendicular vise with drill press
Jantz offers a range of knifemaking equipment. An example is the JS750 perpendicular vise with drill press.

An outstanding blade is the heart of any knife and Jantz offers all kinds of stainless and high carbon steels. “We carry a variety of knifemaking steels to suit both forging and stock removal,” she states. “1095 and 80CrV2 are very popular carbon steels and CPM 154 is our most popular stainless steel.” She added that the damascus forged by Brad Vice’s Alabama Damascus is very popular because of the quality and solid price point for the company’s patterned-welded steel.

“For Jantz, steel and other metals have always had a long lead time since we source from a variety of mills in the U.S., Germany, Sweden, Brazil and others,” Shanna observes. “We have strong relationships with our suppliers, and they have worked with us to keep material moving forward even when lead times began to exceed a year.”

Jantz Knife Supply warehouse
No matter the material, component or tool for knifemaking, Jantz probably has it somewhere in one of its well-stocked aisles.

Fixed blades will never go out of style, Shanna opines, and the Jantz business model caters to the mindset that drives the knives’ popularity. “We find that fixed-blade makers tend to use both stock removal and forging in their blade design and development,” she states. “The television series Forged in Fire certainly increased the popularity of forging, but we still see about the same divide between stock removal and forging. Fixed blades designed for hunting and survival are top sellers for our custom knifemakers as well as our hobbyists. There’s something special about using a knife in the field during hunting season that you made yourself that really resonates with the knifemaking crowd.”

When it comes to heat-treating ovens, Jantz recommends Paragon kilns above all others. “Not only do they make a quality oven,” Shanna assesses, “but they have a variety of ovens designed for beginners to pros. Their customer service is top notch and Burt Flanagan, who represents Paragon’s knifemaking ovens, is a custom knifemaker, so he truly understands what knifemakers need.”

Jantz-Made Blades

Knife assembly kit
Knife assembly kits such as the Caballero are a great way to learn the ins-and-outs of folding knives. Jantz offers over a dozen knife genres, from traditional slip joints to modern tactical fare.

For those wanting to get their feet wet in the cutlery world, Jantz offers a cornucopia of pre-made blades for virtually any niche of the market, including household cutlery. According to Shanna, many custom makers order beautiful stainless damascus in various patterns from Damasteel for their kitchen knives. “Our Jantz-made line of household cutlery is especially popular with customers,” she adds. “Our santoku, cook’s and paring blades are favorites of makers using pre-shaped blades for project knifemaking. All the Jantz-made blades are manufactured in our facility.”

Jantz offers an abundance of both knife blades and knife kits. These are designed not only for the novice and hobbyist, but for those who want to tailor special knives for sale. The Jantz website offers links aplenty to a wide range of genres in both folders and fixed blades. Need a fixed-blade hunter in damascus? No problem. Like a kit to learn the ins-and-outs of folding knives? There are over a dozen styles available, from traditional slip joints to modern tactical fare.

JS500 for slip joints
Providing fixtures such as the JS500 for slip joints that make knifemaking more accessible to hobbyists and makers of all levels is a specialty at Jantz Supply.

If there is an innovation on the horizon, Jantz Supply will be on top of it. “One of the many things we love about the knifemaking community is how open and sharing makers are with each other,” Shanna observes. “Want to learn something [another knifemaker] is doing? Just ask. You will rarely find someone not willing to share.”

That spirit and willingness to help is what has made Jantz an important part of the cutlery industry for going on six decades now.

More On Knifemaking:

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BLADE’s annual Knife Guide Issue features the newest knives and sharpeners, plus knife and axe reviews, knife sheaths, kit knives and a Knife Industry Directory.

Get your FREE digital PDF instant download of the annual Knife Guide. No, really!

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BLADE Magazine

Doing DNS and DHCP for your LAN the old way—the way that works×380.jpg

All shall tremble before your fully functional forward and reverse lookups!

Enlarge / All shall tremble before your fully functional forward and reverse lookups!

Aurich Lawson | Getty Images

Here’s a short summary of the next 7,000-ish words for folks who hate the thing recipe sites do where the authors babble about their personal lives for pages and pages before getting to the cooking: This article is about how to install bind and dhcpd and tie them together into a functional dynamic DNS setup for your LAN so that DHCP clients self-register with DNS, and you always have working forward and reverse DNS lookups. This article is intended to be part one of a two-part series, and in part two, we’ll combine our bind DNS instance with an ACME-enabled LAN certificate authority and set up LetsEncrypt-style auto-renewing certificates for LAN services.

If that sounds like a fun couple of weekend projects, you’re in the right place! If you want to fast-forward to where we start installing stuff, skip down a couple of subheds to the tutorial-y bits. Now, excuse me while I babble about my personal life.

My name is Lee, and I have a problem

(Hi, Lee.)

I am a tinkering homelab sysadmin forever chasing the enterprise dragon. My understanding of what "normal" means, in terms of the things I should be able to do in any minimally functioning networking environment, was formed in the days just before and just after 9/11, when I was a fledgling admin fresh out of college, working at an enormous company that made planes starting with the number "7." I tutored at the knees of a whole bunch of different mentor sysadmins, who ranged on the graybeard scale from "fairly normal, just writes his own custom GURPS campaigns" to "lives in a Unabomber cabin in the woods and will only communicate via GPG." If there was one consistent refrain throughout my formative years marinating in that enterprise IT soup, it was that forward and reverse DNS should always work. Why? Because just like a clean bathroom is generally a sign of a nice restaurant, having good, functional DNS (forward and reverse) is a sign that your IT team knows what it’s doing.

Just look at what the masses have to contend with outside of the datacenter, where madness reigns. Look at the state of the average user’s LAN—is there even a search domain configured? Do reverse queries on dynamic hosts work? Do forward queries on dynamic hosts even work? How can anyone live like this?!

I decided long ago that I didn’t have to, so I’ve maintained a linked bind and dhcpd setup on my LAN for more than ten years. Also, I have control issues, and I like my home LAN to function like the well-run enterprise LANs I used to spend my days administering. It’s kind of like how car people think: If you’re not driving a stick shift, you’re not really driving. I have the same kind of dumb hang-up, but for network services.

Honestly, though, running your LAN with bind and dhcpd isn’t even that much work—those two applications underpin a huge part of the modern Internet. The packaged versions that come with most modern Linux distros are ready to go out of the box. They certainly beat the pants off of the minimal DNS/DHCP services offered by most SOHO NAT routers. Once you have bind and dhcpd configured, they’re bulletproof. The only time I interact with my setup is if I need to add a new static DHCP mapping for a host I want to always grab the same IP address.

So, hey, if the idea of having perfect forward and reverse DNS lookups on your LAN sounds exciting—and, come on, who doesn’t want that?!—then pull up your terminal and strap in because we’re going make it happen.

(Note that I’m relying a bit on Past Lee and this old blog entry for some of the explanations in this piece, so if any of the three people who read my blog notice any similarities in some of the text, it’s because Past Lee wrote it first and I am absolutely stealing from him.)

But wait, there’s more!

This piece is intended to be part one of two. If the idea of having one’s own bind and dhcpd servers sounds a little silly (and it’s not—it’s awesome), it’s actually a prerequisite for an additional future project with serious practical implications: our own fully functioning local ACME-enabled certificate authority capable of answering DNS-01 challenges so we can issue our own certificates to LAN services and not have to deal with TLS warnings like plebes.

("But Lee," you say, "why not just use actual-for-real LetsEncrypt with a real domain on my LAN?" Because that’s considerably more complicated to implement if one does it the right way, and it means potentially dealing with split-horizon DNS and hairpinning if you also need to use that domain for any Internet-accessible stuff. Split-horizon DNS is handy and useful if you have requirements that demand it, but if you’re a home user, you probably don’t. We’ll keep this as simple as possible and use LAN-specific DNS zones rather than real public domain names.)

We’ll tackle all the certificate stuff in part two—because we have a ways to go before we can get there.

Ars Technica – All content

Your Nonstick Pan Deserves Better. Stop Making These Mistakes

Treat your non-stick pans with respect and they’ll continue to work wonders in the kitchen.

fried eggs are fried in a black skilletPhoto by Maryna Terletska

Like cast-iron pans, non-stick pans come with their own set of rules to ensure long-lasting longevity. If you want to keep getting those perfectly rolled French omelets and smooth, unblemished pancakes, then you’re going to have to make sure your non-stick pans stay in perfect, working condition.

Sadly, that means a little more work than just washing them between uses. As you might have noticed, your nonstick pans probably came with a user manual. Well, it turns out the info inside is actually pretty important. But don’t worry if you tossed it out with the packaging, even if you didn’t read it at all, because we’ve got you covered. Make sure you’re not making any of these following 10 mistakes and you’ll ensure your non-stick pans last for as long as possible.

Even metal tongs can scratch the surface of your pans when using them to pick up food. Opt for a silicon option instead, as seen on the left.
Photo by Sean Tirman

Using Metal Utensils

Arguably the most important, immediate rule to remember is to not use metal utensils on your non-stick pan. The last thing you want to do is to scrape off the non-stick coating that keeps everything, well, non-stick. And unfortunately, metal is very hard and abrasive to surfaces, especially those with a coating (like nonstick). Instead, opt for wooden utensils or those made out of silicone or nylon.

Preheating While Empty

When you heat an empty non-stick pan, the only thing getting heated is the non-stick coating. And that is not good. The non-stick coating will start to deteriorate and release harmful toxins in the air and could even release them into your food, which is definitely something you do not want to be breathing in or eating. Instead, you should put your oil (not cooking spray [more on that later]) into the pan, warm it up and add your ingredients as soon as it’s warm.

Don’t be tempted by the flame — high heat can cause irreparable damage to your nonstick pans.
Photo by Sean Tirman

Taking Things Too Hot

Even after you start cooking, avoid cooking on extra-high heat. Despite having food in the pan, the hotter temperature can still degrade the non-stick coating. Stick with medium-to-low temperatures — while they might not seem hot enough, the pans will heat up plenty. Furthermore, cooking with too-high heat could end up burning your pan — which you might think is staining from your food, until you try to scrub it off (it’s very difficult or even impossible without also scraping off the nonstick coating). It’s also why you shouldn’t expect to get amazing sears from your non-stick pan — that’s what cast iron is for!

Stacking Your Cookware

That precious non-stick material is very delicate. You may feel the urge to stack your cookware to save some space, but the bottom of other cookware will likely scratch your non-stick pan — much in the same way metal utensils would. Do your best to find ways to store your non-stick pans without stacking, but if it’s absolutely necessary to stack because of storage restrictions, keep something soft — like some sort of fabric (some major cookware brands even make pot protectors, like these from All-Clad) — between the cookware to avoid rubbing and abrasion.

Using It After the Coating Tears

We told you all the ways to avoid scratching your non-stick pan, but now it’s happened: the non-stick coating has started to tear away. Once you can see the non-stick coating lifting away, it’s time to throw away the pan. Parts of the pan will start to end up in your food, and you do not want to eat whatever it is that coats your non-stick pan. While it might not make you sick, per se, it’s definitely not going to be good for you (as Delish points out) — especially if its an older pan and/or made outside the USA (this may increase the likelihood of dangerous chemicals making it into your food).

Spending Too Much

Unfortunately, non-stick pans won’t last forever. After all, once it gets even a tiny scratch, the pan is practically done for. However, you don’t have to dump your bank account every time you need a new pan. You can find a great non-stick pan for around $20 (T-fal makes a pretty excellent one), so no need to shell out a few bills for something with a short shelf life.

Stick with Oil and Butter (and Never Cooking Spray)

After you realize you shouldn’t be heating up a non-stick pan without anything in it, it’s important to realize that non-stick still needs a little help being non-stick. Add some fat —whether it’s oil or butter — to your pan so things slide right out once they’re done cooking. Just don’t use cooking sprays, which are notoriously hard to clean off and will start to accumulate on your pan’s surface, creating a nasty, sticky residue and potentially ruining it in the process.

a pan being washed in a sink with a running faucet
Wait for your pans to cool before washing them off, and dry them with a cloth right after you’re done washing.
Photo by Sean Tirman

Throwing a Hot Pan Under Cool Water

This applies to pretty much all cookware, but the quick transition from hot to cold can warp a pan rendering it close to useless. Worse, with enough of a temperature shock, the pan could even chip or crack entirely, rendering it completely broken. Let that hot pan cool before washing it to avoid ruining it for good. And dry it off with a towel or other fabric once you’re done washing — you don’t want water sitting on/in it for too long.

You Use the Dishwasher

Dishwashers feel like a godsend, but they’re the exact opposite when it comes to non-stick pans. From the cleaning solutions to the stark temperature fluctuations, a dishwasher can easily warp and distort your non-stick pan. And even though some non-stick pans say they’re safe to put in the dishwasher, it’s really not that hard to hand wash. After all, that non-stick coating should come in handy or swiping out all the leftover grime in the pan.

Putting in Too Much Elbow Grease

Since you’re (hopefully) hand-washing your non-stick pan now, it’s a good time to tell you to take it easy with the scrubbing. Definitely don’t scrub your pan with an abrasive cleaner — including both gritty soaps and tools, like steel wool — and avoid scrubbing so hard that the coating rubs off. Some nonstick pans come with a microabrasion scrubber, which should be fine when used properly — just make sure to check that user manual for proper instructions.

Gear Patrol

DuckDuckGo’s Browser Adds Encrypted, Privacy-Minded Syncing and Backup

DuckDuckGo keeps adding new features to its browser; and while these features are common in other browsers, DuckDuckGo is giving them a privacy-minded twist. The latest is a private, end-to-end encrypted syncing service. There’s no account needed, no sign-in, and the company says it never sees what you’re syncing. From a report: Using QR codes and shortcodes, and a lengthy backup code you store somewhere safe, DuckDuckGo’s browser can keep your bookmarks, passwords, "favorites" (i.e., new tab page shortcuts), and settings for its email protection service synced between devices and browsers. DuckDuckGo points to Google’s privacy policy for using its signed-in sync service on Chrome, which uses "aggregated and anonymized synchronized browsing data to improve other Google products and services." DuckDuckGo states that the encryption key for browser sync is stored only locally on your devices and that it lacks any access to your passwords or other data.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Conditional query in Laravel Eloquent

Laravel Eloquent is very powerful and we can use it in many cases to get or filer data. One very common situation is to build query according to some statements and conditionals. The most common way to achieve that is to build id step by step: 

$onlyUnread = $request->only_unread ?? null;

$query = Article::query()->where('active', true);
if ($onlyUnread) {
    $query->where('unread', true);

$articles = $query->get();

Last time I checked some old documentation and found different method – when. It allows us to simplify that process a lot and include are conditionals and additional query steps in just one command: 

$articles = Article::query()->where('active', true)
    ->when($onlyUnread, function (Builder $query): Builder {
        return $query->where('unread', true);

It’s much cleaner than build step by step, and because we still use Builder object, we can do exactly the same things like on higher level. Of course, it may be necessary to use some additional params – of course it is not a problem, we only must send them to function inside:

$articles = Article::query()->where('active', true)
    ->when($myCondition, function (Builder $query) use ($param1, $param2): Builder {
        return $query->where('unread', true)
            ->orWhere('param1', $param1)
            ->orWhere('param2', $param2);

It is also possible to use when more than once – if you need set some steps with separate conditions, no problem. I do not know, why this is not present in current documentation, but when method is available in current Laravel version and can be used without additional steps.  

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