Coding Horror rips PHP a new one:
The great crime of PHP is its utter banality.
The problem is that banality isn’t a crime, it’s a virtue. Banality is predictability. Predictability is ease of understanding. PHP is a good tool because it’s easy to visualize what your program is doing.
Programming is about programmer’s heads. Tools are there to assist with cognition. PHP does that well.
Personally I’m moving on to Node.js these days, because it doesn’t make sense to use different languages on the server and client. That way I can keep my head in a single language regardless of where my code runs. My goal is to increase the banality of my language. The problem isn’t that PHP is banal, it’s that PHP isn’t banal enough.
I really like Google+ Hangouts as a replacement for phone calls. There are a lot of drawbacks but overall they are much better than any alternative.
Better than Skype:
You can easily set up a video conference call. Skype makes this hard because they want to charge you, and the payment process is too slow to be worth it.
No client install needed. There’s a rumor that Skype is going to WebRTC to get a browser implementation, and that’s very nice from a web standards perspective, but Hangouts work great right now.
Not very broken. There are lots of malfeatures but no more than Skype.
Better than plain old telephone:
More reliable than over a cell phone. Voice calls over cells have a lot of problems.
Video+voice is higher bandwidth than voice alone. Video calls are richer and more effective communication.
Integrated IM is necessary for pasting in links, Wikipedia references, images, videos – things that expand the potential range of communication.
Integrated screen sharing enables showing slides/ doing presentations, which is often incredibly useful.