Alan Berg's articles

Event review: Sakai day Europe

Hello world, Sakai a well-known learning management system and framework for tool building has had its first European Congress in the beautiful town of Lübeck in Germany. A relatively small campus town Leubeck is well known for its churches and marzipan and related confectionary. I personally enjoyed looking at the two main churches back lit from outside in the dark with good beer and solid traditionally German food inside my nicely warmed stomach.

Book review: Pro MySQL by Michael Kruckenberg and Jay Pipes

MySQL is a significant atom of a LAMP server. This amazingly fast database system is synonymous with PHP applications. Understanding the potentially complex details of views, stored procedures, merge tables, clustering, to name a few, can give your organization a competitive advantage. Pro Mysql, written by Micheal Kruckenberg and Jay Pipes and published by Apress, is a highly detailed account of the more advanced features of MySQL 5.0. A book well worth reading for those of you that want to become experts in this ever-evolving field.

Book review: Java 6 Platform Revealed by John Zukowski

Java SE 6 otherwise known as Mustang is coming and probably much sooner than many 1.4 programmers think. As a programmer or an Architect, do you really know the details of the differences between 1.5 and 1.6? Java 6 Platform Revealed by John Zukowski is the first book I have read on this subject area. The book is short, clear and to the point.

The book’s cover The book’s cover

Towards a universal online library of learning material

How much material has been lost through the years? Now the question is of course what do I mean by material. For example, do I mean the trivial stuff such as typed office memorandums or the less trivial—the missing live broadcasts of the early Dr Who. No, let me focus on what I consider to be the most important material of all, that which may have a positive effect on the next generation— the historical and educational material that helps our children form sophisticated models of the Universe around us.

Curry ridden turbulence and the night of the living dead

My younger son likes tractors; big machines and anything that can lift large objects up and throw them great distances. You know the sort of thing, The Hulk, Superman, Terminator III, my wife and sometimes my boss. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to you that I spend time sitting behind this computer trawling archive.org, an excellent repository of historical content for the correct media to present.

Now is the golden age of armchair cosmology

The big questions are being answered. Now is the golden age of cosmology. Astronomy, astrophysics, particle physics and the rest of the outward facing sciences are moving forward in leaps and bounds of credible theorizing and searching. Yes, a massive shift towards a truly profound understanding of how things work in this Universe. It comes as no surprise that with so much knowledge and data flowing that the elite temples of understanding such as Universities we risk submergence under the velocity of model change and data storage requirements.

Book review: The Linux® Kernel Primer: A Top-Down Approach for x86 and PowerPC Architectures

The Linux Kernel Primer is a top down, C biased, project orientated story of how the Linux kernel works. With a little knowledge of C and a rough understanding of Linux basics, this book will lead you to a clear understanding of the kernel.

Patentable business antipatterns

I am a great believer in karma. If you are generally nice then generally nice are the events that you get back. Being the school bully is only short-term fun. As you get older and your bones become more fragile then others will take over your role and trample on your head. This is also true in business. Sure you have to be hungry and competitive, but not at the cost of losing your native support along the way. Let this blog be a warning to you... wag, wag my finger is wagging.

Book review: Linux® Debugging and Performance Tuning: Tips and Techniques by Steve Best

Debugging and tuning of Linux, though not a romantic subject, is a necessary one for the health of any well-run free software biased network. A slight change here and a nudge there in the background can make the difference between user discomfort and a quiet Sunday afternoon for the poor old administrator. Linux Debugging and Performance Tuning as written by Steve Best is an excellent zoom in on this complex and detailed subject area.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Book review: Linux® Troubleshooting for System Administrators and Power Users by David Carmichael, et al

Imagine, if you dare, the deep seated nightmare of any decent law abiding Linux system administrator. It is late at night and the wind is howling mightily outside, the network is down due to a maintenance slot and your beloved enterprise wide system X, Y or Z fails to reboot after patching the kernel. What do you do next? Well, one might consider grabbing a troubleshooting book off a near to hand shelf. Linux® Troubleshooting for System Administrators and Power Users may fulfill this primordial fear abating function.

I’ve been browsing: Sakai 2.2 released and new distros to try

Released Thursday was Sakai 2.2. With a growing community of Educational establishments using this product as their online presence or a significant part thereof; it is only a matter of time before Sakai breaks into the mainstream conscious. If you have a spare five minutes and a reasonably fast connection then I would say it is a fun product to try. The quick demo gives you an idea of the products potential. And it’s just a simple matter of unpacking and running a startup script.

Book review: Code Quality: The Open Source Perspective by Diomidis Spinellis

Code Quality: The Open Source Perspective is aimed at the very heart and soul of the open source movement. Without code quality Open Source would be a muddied named that no one would value or deploy. This book by Diomidis Spinellis is a well written, well focused and to a high degree an eternal description of the varying types and issues that can be found in programming languages such as Java and C.

Never a crossword solver

Old news, the European Union is punishing Microsoft for abusing their monopoly position and in the process sucking a fine of 1-2% of the daily local profit out of the corporate wallet. The media is dancing and interested parties posturing. A high stakes festive party. One of the issues that is to the fore is that of documentation and openness. Microsoft say they have, the neutral third party arbitrating has said they have not. Reality is perhaps a little cloudy and no doubt, tactics and last minute plays will change our collective perceptions during the course of time.

Lazy good ODF again

Okay I admit it I am lazy. Well, I work four days a week as a developer and another two days writing. I am also good at pretending to be a father and a family man. However, in principle, in another life, in a parallel Universe, where elegance wins over brawn, I simply totally and utterly want to be lazy. When a lazy person, my hero, invented the wheel, the invention was not for the purpose of carrying heavy objects. The purpose was rather to avoid carrying heavy objects.

Always look on the bright side of life

Hi all, well it has been a long tiring week. Everyone has those weeks occasionally, the sort of week where the traffic lights are against you. You need to send editors the same documents a couple of times, yes even the mail server is against me and the coffee machine is broken just as you reached the point of no return. Therefore, rather than rave against the world and all its contents. I prefer to look on the bright side and then go get some sleep.

Mythical beast Abiword

I am a simple man. Well, if you define simple as someone who acts as a servant to two young men, occasionally his wife and has the ability to belch well watching football, then I am pretty simple. Anyway, I am a simple man with simple tastes. Not being imbued with complex potentials and the need to analyse every trivial detail before moving my chess pieces, I tend to know immediately what I like and act quickly.

Vulgar in the open

Over the last week or so, I have been watching the World Cup with growing pleasure. Seeing such teams as the US, the Ivory Coast and Trinidad and Tobago fighting hard and not giving an inch to supposedly superior teams, pricks at the very essence of committed sportsmanship. This positive energy makes you wonder why in a fair universe that these small town heroes do not win their allotted matches.

Premature synchronicity

I have noticed in life when you have issues that often a solution appears from the same environment at the same moment. Synchronicity challenges you to move to the next level of efficiency and quality. Problems force you to reroute and grow in new ways and directions. Once the fields have burnt the wheat may grow. Of course I would love to be able to pick my problems, hum, I mean potential solutions and have them pitched at only a slightly higher level than that of the background noise. This week I was lucky to find myself in such a mild training situation.

Vistarization

I have always wanted to invent a new word. Not any old word, but a word that would gets used even in the deepest, darkest corners of coffee shops in Amsterdam. Not that I would ever get to hear the word used. I don't like coffee! So let's try vistarization. The process of a sensible, definitely obvious idea degenerating into a heavy weight project that takes many extra years to complete. I have images of small spacecraft trying to divert asteroids that are going to hit the Earth.

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