Brian Turner's articles

Book review: Using Moodle Teaching with the Popular Open Source Course Management by Jason Cole, Helen Foster

The book "Using Moodle Teaching with the Popular Open Source Course Management", by Jason Cole, Helen Foster, is a much needed reference book for Moodle.

Moodle is an open source Course Management System that allows you to organize and deliver information online in a structured and controlled format. Moodle also supports the creation of forums, chats, quizzes, assignments and the recording of grades.

The authors have the experience required to cover both the technology and the educational aspects of this unique tool. Jason Cole has been involved with universities moving to Moodle and has worked directly with teachers in the classrooms. He knows what works and what doesn't. Helen Foster is the Moodle documentation steward and facilitates the "Using Moodle" course on She has also spent time teaching in a classroom and has implemented Moodle in various schools.

Book review: Official Damn Small Linux Book by by Robert Shingledecker, John Andrews and Christopher Negus

Damn Small Linux (DSL) is my favourite GNU/Linux distribution. It's not the one I use the most, but to me it represents everything good in the Linux world. It's small enough to run on any old PC, powerful enough to solve most any problem. This is the distribution to use when proving just how useful GNU/Linux can be.

Book review: Security PowerTools by Nicolas Beauchesne et al

Security has always been a concern when using a computer. First, we thought physical security was enough. After all, if the computer is in the house, how could anyone else get to it? But in today’s world, many of us live with our computers on-line twenty-four/seven. Security is not just loading up the latest protection software, but being aware of how the “bad guys” attack. Good security also requires vigilant testing and, since no one wants to simply issue a challenge to the “bad guys” and see what happens—they don’t typically fill out trouble tickets—we need to use tools that can simulate these attacks.

Book review: Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-World Network Problems by Chris Sanders

Knowing what information is traveling across your network is what keeps you out of trouble. Are there unknown hosts chatting away with each other? Is my machine talking to strangers? You need a packet sniffer to really find the answers to these questions. Wireshark is one of the best tools to do this job and this book is one of the best ways to learn about that tool. Chris Sanders, the author of this handy book, brings you the information cleanly and clearly. His style is to show you—to walk you through exactly what to do. This method works well and the book is quite readable.

Book review: Ubuntu Hacks by Jonathan Oxer, Kyle Rankin and Bill Childers

I want to tell you a little story. One that involves: love, greed, selfishness, guilt, shame and finally—confession. A torrid little story this is. It revolves around a geek and his love for free software. Not just free as in freedom, we’re talking free as in “keep my cash in my wallet” free! I’ll be playing the part of the geek, Ubuntu will play the part of free software.

Book review: SELinux by Example: Using Security Enhanced Linux by Frank Mayer, Karl MacMillan and David Caplan

Security is one of the important reasons GNU/Linux is chosen over MS Windows. Many folks will claim that GNU/Linux just isn’t targeted as often. Could be—but it could also be that it isn’t targeted as often due to its design. SELinux takes this concept one step further. Not just satisfied with the inherent security, SELinux has been developed by a team of concerned professionals and is now included by default in the 2.6 kernel. Yes, you may have SELinux already and didn’t even know it.

Book review: The Official Ubuntu Book by Benjamin Mako Hill, et al

The quality publishing around Ubuntu these days cannot be ignored. Another excellent book sits here beside me now, pages flagged with many points of interest. I wasn’t anticipating doing so much detailed reading with this one. After all, I just reviewed another Ubuntu book before this one. How much new information could be in there?

Book review: Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks by Rickford Grant

Sometimes I wonder what separates the geeks from the non-geeks. I’ve always assumed I fell into the geek category based on my job and the hours spent with computers on my own time. But, after reading Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks, I must not be much of a geek because I found this book to be quite interesting!

Book review: Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing

When you develop an open source work or use an open source work, it is important that you understand the license. A well written license protects both you and the user. According to the information found on the O’Reilly website, “Andrew M. St. Laurent is an experienced lawyer with a long-time interest in intellectual property, particularly software licensing”. Rest assured, after reading this book you will have a new appreciation for those who work daily with licensing issues.

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Book review: Regular Expression Pocket Reference by Tony Stubblebine

This wonderful little book contains the most common and useful information on Regular Expressions you will need for Perl, C, PHP, Python, Java, .NET, vi Editor, and shell tools. The author, Tony Stubblebine, credits another O’Reilly book, Mastering Regular Expressions, as being the definitive work. Fortunately though, this book is sized a little smaller for quicker references. Sometimes you just need a quick reminder on syntax and don’t need a definitive work.

Book review: Learning Perl by Randal L Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, and brian d foy

The book Learning Perl will teach the reader how to begin writing code using the Perl language. The authors are not new to this subject matter. Randal L. Schwartz wrote Programming Perl with Larry Wall in 1991. Larry Wall being the father of Perl. Tom Phoenix has worked for years as a lead trainer on this subject; brian d foy is referred to as a fellow instructor and the lead writer for this fourth edition of the book. It would be hard to find a more qualified group to learn from. O’Reilly publishes this work in their familiar style and format.

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