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.

Linux Made Easy, Rickford Grant

Linux Made Easy by Rickford Grant is a companion to his original Linux for Non-geeks. Where the two differ is that this book is about how easy Linux can be for performing a myriad of tasks using a simple, skill-based approach. In this book, Rickford describes how to use Linux to do what you need to do: web browsing, sending email, basic document creation and using external peripherals like your printer, USB flash drive and scanner. In short, this book is about using Linux, from the perspective of ‘Your Average Joe’.The book covers, and indeed includes, Xandros Open Circulation Edition, a Debian based distribution that just happens to include a number of key components for the target market, including OpenOffice, a key part of the toolkit required by many users to provide word processing and spreadsheet facilities.

The contentsIn consideration of the target audience the book is a meaty, but not imposing, 450 pages making it look both substantial enough to keep potential readers interested and yet not so large as to make them think twice about buying a ‘professional’ book.

From Bash to Z Shell by Oliver Kiddle, Jerry Peek and Peter Stephenson

Note: This review was originally published in Free Software Magazine

If you use a free software operating system or environment, chances are one of your key interfaces will be through some kind of shell. Most people assume the bulk of the power of shells comes from the commands available within them, but some shells are actually powerful in their own right. Many of the more recent releases being more like a command line programming environment than a command line interface. “From Bash to Z Shell” published by Apress, provides a guide to using various aspects of the shell. From the basic command line interaction through to the more complex processes of programming, it touches on file pattern matching and command line completion along the way.The contentsShells are complicated – how do you start describing working with a shell without first describing how the shell works, and don’t you show them how to use it by doing so? The book neatly covers this problem in the first chapter with what must be the best description of a shell and how the interaction works that I’ve ever read.

Linux in a Windows World by Roderick Smith

Note: This review was originally published in Free Software Magazine

Linux in Windows World aims to solve the problems experienced by many system administrators when it comes to using Linux servers (and to a lesser extent clients) within an existing Windows environment. Overall the book is meaty and a quick flick through shows an amazing amount of information has been crammed between the covers. There are though some immediately obvious omissions, given the books title and description, but I’m hoping this won’t detract from the rest of the content.The contentsThe book starts off with a look at where Linux fits into a Windows network, covering its use both as a server and desktop platform. Roderick makes some salient points and arguments here, primarily for, rather than against, Linux but he’s not afraid to point out the limitations either. This first section leads on to a more in depth discussion of deploying a Linux system into your network, promoting Linux in a series of target areas – email serving, databases and so on – as well as some strategies for migrating existing Windows desktops to Linux.

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 🙂

Knoppix Hacks

Knoppix is not just another Linux distribution. Unlike many Linux alternatives, Knoppix doesn’t need to be installed; everything runs from a CD (called a ‘Live CD’ distribution). While Live CDs aren’t unique to Knoppix, it is the way the Knoppix CD is packaged that makes the difference. Knoppix includes intelligent hardware detection – it can automatically identify nearly everything on your machine and then make the bet of it – and the CD includes a wide selection of programs, from typical Linux applications through to repair utilities and tools.

Speed Download 3 Review

Speed Download 3 is a download manager that not only manages the gigabytes of files you download, it also simplyfies the process of filing and finding them, and can act as an upload and file sharing platform too. My review, over at The Apple Blog, covers the specifics. Here’s an extract:

I’ve talked before about what I see as the strange approach made by the browser developers removing much of the useful functionality from the download manager. It still pains me to think that the best download manager built into any browser right now on the Mac platform is the one included with Internet Explorer.Since I’ve covered the basics of what a download manager can do in my review of Download Wizard I won’t repeat myself here. Speed Download 3 (SD3) offers the same basic functionality – you can queue items up and control the number of simultaneous downloads and pause and organize the order the files that are downloaded. Speed Download 3 Main WindowNone of this should be a surprise in a download manager. Where SD3 scores some additional points is in some of the extended functionality and features that make downloads easier and simpler, especially for large volume downloaders like me.

Read on for the full article.