OK.. I'm getting a bit carried away here.
I saw a bit of code in PHP like ..
$contents = @file_get_contents($filename);
But what is the @ before the function call?? As bad as I am with googling I was not able to get some good docs on this. The best info I got was from meeting notes which says that its called the shut-up operator.
So then I backtracked to the PHP manual and found Error Control Operators. The doc says..
"PHP supports one error control operator: the at sign (@). When prepended to an expression in PHP, any error messages that might be generated by that expression will be ignored."
Yet another example of a lazy programmer trying to code before reading docs