LoCA 2006 Keynote

I will be doing the opening keynote presentation for the 2nd International Workshopo on Location and Context-Awareness (LoCA 2006) in Dublin, on May 10th. The focus of the keynote is Google Maps and Google Earth, which of course ties in nicely to my new book, Hacking Google Maps and Google Earth. I’ll be announcing that book properly once it’s all been finalized, at the moment we’re going through the final stages of editing and proofing. There is however a website dedicated to the new book (and mapping technology/Google Maps etc in general) called MCslp Maps. I;ll be posting up the examples and the code from the book over the next two weeks. Back to LoCA 2006, it looks like an interesting workshop, covering issues from Google Maps style location and information through to the identification and location of smaller items, like computers and hardware within offices. Registration is still open, but if you are unable to attend, I’ll probably be posting up the keynote after the conference.

Agile Web Development with Rails

My review of Agile Web Development with Rails (by Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson with Leon Breedt, Mike Clark, Thomas Fuchs, and Andreas Schwarz) has just made it to the the front page of Free Software Magazine. It’s an excellent guide to programming Ruby and Rails and if you want to do any kind of web development and are tiring of the tradtional web programming environments. The full review is readale on line.

Randal Schwartz’s Perls of Wisdom

If you don’t associate Randal Schwartz with Perl then you obviously don’t know how much of an influence Randal has been in spreading the Perl gospel. Randal has been talking about Perl for years, writing articles and contributing to books like the ‘Camel’ (Programming Perl, from O’Reilly). He’s also contributed to the built-in documentation and has worked with the internals of Perl and built various modules and examples. In short, when it comes to Perl, there’s little that Randal either isn’t aware of, or hasn’t already written about. Hia book, Perls of Wisdom, is a collection of the articles that he’s written over the years that look at specific problems or issues that users have asked him to solve with Perl. Mostly, these are reprints of the original article, but sometimes they have been updated. In all cases you get more than just the scrip that solves the problem, you also get the theory behind it, detailed information on the problem and issues being addressed, and some potential ways to extend it. For more details, read the full review of the book at Free Software Magazine.

Degunking Linux

It may seem like this is all I’ve been doing for the past few months, but I have yet another book review that has made it on to the ‘free’ area of Free Software Magazine. This time it is Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith. At its heart, this book is about trying to get the best performance – from CPU speed, to application performance and even disk space – out of your machine by doing some regular maintenance. This includes removing old applications, keeping your system up to date, flushing out the old caches and keeping your system spick and span. This book has a rather interesting layout, in that it not only covers the mechanicss, but also provides multi-step programs for what to do on your machine when you have a few spare minutes right up to days to spend spring cleaning your machine. If you use Linux regularly on your server or desktop, this book is well worth a read.

Linux Server Security

Frequently you will hear about how secure Linux is as an operating system. Although a lot of the security of the OS comes from the many eyes examining the code and the strong developer spirit that means software is frequently updated and improved, it doesn’t automatically mean that Linux is automatically secure out of the box. You still need to ensure some good basic security practices and principles. If you are securing specific applications and services then there are still steps to follow, other software to install and some tricks and traps for the unware. All of this is covered in detail in Linux Server Security, by Michael D Bauer. A review of the book that I did for Free Software Magazine has just reached the Free Software Magazine website.

Regular Expression Recipes, by Nathan Good

I’m a regular expression junkie – I think one of the main reasons I love Perl so much is because it’s just so darn easy to go ahead and regexp either with a substitution or match to get the information I want. It certainly makes certain parts of my job easier. Getting them right though can be difficult, so it’s great to see this book using regular expressions by Nathan Good, which I reviewed recently for Free Software Magazine.The book is excellent and well worth buying if you use regular expressions frquently in your applications. You can read the full review on this link, or simply buy the book on Amazon.com.The review recently made it to the front page of the magazine, and is now free to be read by non-subscribers.

New Book Review Blog

I have a new blog totally dedicated to hosting book reviews and interviews. It takes the place of the books blog I had at LinuxWorld, which is obviously now defunct. The new site, The Writers Perspective will host all the reviews and interviews that conduct each month, as well as links and information on reviews and interviews that I have published elsewhere, such as Free Software Magazine. There are four entries up there now – quite a few interviews are currently pending. Probably best to add the feed to your favourite reader 🙂

Unix Advanced Visual QuickPro, Chris Herborth

Unix Advanced Visual QuickPro is a step-by-step guide to configuring the finer points of your Unix machine from file sharing, Web sites, and e-mail through to virus scanning. I talk to the author and long-time friend, Chris Herborth, about the book and the future of Unix and Linux gaming.Let’s get the important questions out of the way first. Are you a bearded sandal wearing Unix guru?I’d consider myself more of a very advanced user and experienced programmer, although I do have a moustache/goatee (I think that’s called a Van Dyke), and I do love to wear sandals when weather permits. I don’t look anything like rms or esr. 🙂This is your first book, but not the first time you’ve been involved in the process. Could you tell us how you got involved in the project?Read on…

Beginning MySQL Database Design and Optimization

Getting the design of your database right has a huge impact on a number of issues. Primarily performance, but it can also affect other areas like the flexibility of your database and how it integrates with the application-level solution, such as PHP or Perl, that you’re using.Beginning MySQL Database Design and Optimization by Jon Stephens and Chad Russell covers the whole gamut of database design from choosing the right data types to the right database type and index. I talked to the authors about the book, MySQL 5.0, and database design.This book has a slightly different feel to it than other MySQL titles I’ve read recently. Can you tell us what the primary motivation for the title was? Read on…

MCSE Windows Server 2003 Network Passport (Exam 70-293)

Microsoft’s MCSE exams are tough, and you need a guide to help you translate that list of requirements on their exams page into the various areas of the system that you need to know about. In this passport title, I cover (with the help of Chris McCain) exam 70-293, Designing and Implementating a Windows Server 2003 Network. Covering all the material, providing hints and tips for further information and including sample question sets at the end of each chapter, on the CD and the website, this book should get you up to speed on the exam contents as quickly as possible.