3 small questions

Hi folks :cap: ,

I have 3 small questions about php scripts.

Nr 1…
I want to show the first x characters of a certain field of a table for example “this blablablablabla” and show only the 10 first characters “this blabl”. How to do this?

Nr 2…
How to create a ABCDEFGH… menu. For example, when the person clicks B, you see all records that start with B from a certain column. I would like to create my page like this page.php?character=B , i suppose its kind of same code like question 1?

Nr 3…
I would like to create a “birthday” reminder. For example. I have a friends database and i put the date of birth in the column “date” (2009/05/26) and i would like that the systems warns me next year 5 days before with a text message. Or a counter that says “10 days before birthday”

Any solutions are welcome!