PHP scalar type hinting takes a massive blow

One of the biggest criticisms of PHP (aside from syntax) is the lack of any sort of scalar typing, weak, strong, doesn't really matter, it simply doesn't exist. A push in the right direction was the call for "scalar type hinting," which was laid out in this PHP RFC:

https://wiki.php.net/rfc/scalar_type_hints

This topic, believe it or not, is a sensitive one, with some people being so against it that… well, I can't really think of an analogy, I don't know why the hell you'd be against it. Though some were against it just because they didn't like how this specific RFC defined how the PHP interpreter would know whether or not to do the actual type hinting.

Yes, they wanted to sink the idea because of a slightly related syntactical issue, instead of dealing with it later and implementing a very important thing.

The issue apparently caused so much grief that the major promoter, @AndreaFaulds has left PHP*:

http://news.php.net/php.internals/82750

This really sucks, and I find it to be truly disappointing. I think if we want to have PHP be taken more seriously by the broader programming world, we need to implement things that more "serious" languages have. I'm even more disappointed because I honestly thought that if this RFC did not pass, it may be years before anything close to type hinting on scalars is implemented in PHP, because it would create an untouchable issue like other things.

So, in the unlikelihood that other PHP developers are reading this, please keep pushing for scalar type hinting or something at least approaching that, and if you're a developer in PHP, keep asking for it, I know I will.

If no RFC is submitted for scalar typing in PHP 7, I'm probably going to switch languages, maybe Go or something, I don't know. I've been using PHP since 2002, and I've been waiting too damn long.

*Furthermore I think Andrea Faulds leaving PHP is sad because she promoted really good fucking ideas and defined them very well in her RFCs. I think this is a language set back, but there are still a lot of great people on the PHP team, but I have to be honest and say I was really wanting to see all of her recent RFCs pass, they were all things I was also heavily interested in.

How Evan Doorbell Become a Phone Phreak

A semi-well known early phreaker known as Evan Doorbell, who is so well known in the normal world he doesn't even have a Wikipedia article, made a series of recordings (podcasts as the kids say) about how he became a phreaker.

These recordings don't just contain his personal history, but are full of great records of old busy signals, rings, phone company error recordings, and tons of insight into how a lot of the old stuff worked. They're extremely well edited as well, making them even more entertaining.

If you're interested in this kind of thing, I suggest you these out (mp3s taken from Phone Trips to save their bandwidth):

Episode 1 [ mp3 (00:25:24) @ 128kbps ]

Evan recounts how he first began getting curious with phones due to, what he felt, was an error message given in a slightly sexy manner. He reviews different error messages and error codes, and goes into how he speculated what different error codes meant. I think the most interesting aspect is how he talks about dialing special codes such as 660 (a "party line" out of Long Island, New York), figuring out how tones were different between the phones and phone company equipment, and some other insights.

Episode 2 [ mp3 (00:27:00) @ 128kbps ]

This begins in the summer of 1970 and how he's at summer camp and begins to broader his experimentation with the phone network. Including: how dialing 1 before an area code did not work where he lived, yet the phone company said to do this way; how the phone company changed their dial tone in 1965 (in his city); test circuits; and getting into figuring out how all of these things had to do with the type of switching equipment. And also, exploring phone prefixes, phone intercepts, and more.

Episode 3 [ mp3 (00:20:00) @ 128kbps ]

In this one Evan goes down to Atlanta, Georgia on a family trip and discovers more differences between Atlanta and Long Island.

Episode 4 [ mp3 (00:30:25) @ 128kbps ]

Interesting codes (prefixes, half numbers, etc) out of Long Island, NY in the late summer of 1970.

Episode 5 [ mp3 (00:32:42) @ 128kbps ]

Evan gets his own phone line as a teenager on a new prefix and tons of new things open up.

Episode 6 [ mp3 (00:34:50) @ 128kbps ]

An overview of the old billing "message" units, as used in the New York area in the 1970s. Even more recordings and information into party lines, phone switches, etc.

Phone Phreaking and Party Lines (Incomplete)

When talking about phreaking and party lines, sometimes there's slight confusion when it comes to younger people or non-phreaks, because there's the official term Party Line, which you can read about on Wikipedia, and the more colloquial term used among phone phreaks also just regular people screwing around on the phone in the 1970s.

Party Lines are basically like conference calls and phone companies had official ways of doing them, mostly through special dial ins and things like that. Everyone would dial a special phone number and all be connected together (one manner), and you can read more about that on Wikipedia.

At other times when people referred to party lines (especially in the phreaking community) what they were referring to were things such as:

  • Dialing test circuits, which would play a constant 500Hz tone, then flash the phone (fast hang up on old telephones), which would stop the tone, but keep you on the line.  These old test circuits no longer exist, instead have been replaced with ring-backs.
  • On many switches years ago, error messages such as a phone being disconnected would be played from one place, so if people made the same "mistake" in dialing, they would be able to speak to each other.

Among others, if you have another way this was done, please detail it in a comment and I'll add it.