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Book Review

As name suggest this book offers tips on migration, planning, and implementation guide to Desktop Linux from Microsoft windows.

The goal of this IBM Redbook is to provide a technical planning reference for IT organizations large or small that are now considering a migration to Linux-based personal computers. For Linux, there is a tremendous amount of "how to" information available online that addresses specific and very technical operating system configuration issues, platform-specific installation methods, user interface customizations, etc. This book includes some technical "how to" as well, but the overall focus of the content in this book is to walk the reader through some of the important considerations and planning issues you could encounter during a migration project. Within the context of a pre-existing Microsoft Windows-based environment, we attempt to present a more holistic, end-to-end view of the technical challenges and methods necessary to complete a successful migration to Linux-based clients.

Some key areas that focused on included the following:

  • Greater emphasis on illustrating the technical details of the Linux client operating system stack, and understanding how to best leverage those differences in a migration scenario from Microsoft Windows
  • The tremendous amount of flexibility that Linux gives you to design custom client operating system images
  • Deployment models: understanding how Linux's flexibility allows for new, innovative, and cost effective approaches to deploying and managing desktop operating systems
  • In larger IT environments, the importance of automating capture and migration of end user's client-side personalization data

Table of Contents

Part 1 Choosing Linux
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. The case for migration

Part 2 Planning the pilot migration
Chapter 3. Organizational and human factors planning
Chapter 4. Technical planning
Chapter 5. Linux architecture & technical differences

Part 3 Performing the pilot migration
Chapter 6. Migration best practices
Chapter 7. Client deployment models
Chapter 8. Client migration scenario
Chapter 9. Integration how-tos

Part 4 Appendixes
Appendix A. Linux glossary for Windows users
Appendix B. Using enterprise management tools
Appendix C. Automating desktop migration - Versora Progression Desktop
Appendix D. Multi-station computing deep dive - Using Userful Desktop Multiplier
Appendix E. Client personalization
Appendix F. Desktop automation and scripting
Appendix G. Application porting

=> Download link

Book review: Secrets of the PlayStation Portable

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PlayStation Portable (PSP) is a handheld game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment. The PSP offers games, video, music, photos, as well as world wild internet (RSS readers) functionality. It is one of the fastest selling game consoles in history.

Usually I only read UNIX / Linux books. However, I love my games and gadgets, so I picked up this book.

The book Secrets of the PlayStation Portable offers advice (or tips) about how to get most out of PSP. It covers gaming, movies, multimedia, surfing web, setting up a Wireless Lan, tips & tricks and much more.

This is your ultimate guide to the Sony PlayStation Portable. The entire book divided into 14 chapters.

Chapter 1: Presenting the PlayStation Portable
This is chapter introduce you to PSP and takes you on a tour of your PSP. It introduces you to the almost all features of PSP such as Games, Movies, Music, Wifi etc. It is always fun to play games over wifi with your friends or partner. Most of us aware of all of these features but book takes you one-step ahead and introduce you to
=> Homebrew
=> Hacking a PSP
=> And detailed PSP tech specs etc

Chapter 2: What the Manual Doesn't Tell You
PSP manual does have good information like how to insert UMD and so on. But the language is quite technical (author describes it as manual have been written by robots for robots ... heh).

Surprisingly this chapter well tells you few things you will not find in the manual such as podcatching software, WLAN networking, types (Infrastructure networks and Ad-hoc networks), gathering information from wireless routers, connecting to computers, updating PSP fireware, homebrew, tips on how to increase battery time etc

Chapter 3: Caring for Your PSP
You will learn how to keep your PSP clean, tips on care taking for PSP media and headphones and most important how to avoid breaking it.

Chapter 4: Gaming on the PSP
Most people buy PSP for games only. Trust me this is one of the biggest reasons. This chapter starts with, how to get games and tips for purchasing games online (I prefer to purchase used games it saves money, but make sure store offers some sort of 48-72 hours replacement guaranty). It also covers memory management tips, backing up your games profile/data and hints on game control.

Finally, it has tutorial of a typical play session with a mew game (good for absolute new PSP users).

Chapter 5: UMD Movies on the PSP
Games are core of PSP but movies is one of the extra feature offered on the PSP. Because of the UMD's large storage capacity and the PlayStation Portable's large display screen, you will find films/movies in the UMD format. This chapter explains how and where to get UMD movies. It also explains how to play and control movies.

Chapter 6: Introducing Your PSP to Your PC
At some time, you will want to connect PSP to PC or Mac. This chapter explains how to connect your PSP to a Windows PC. It explains which file formats supported by your PSP and later how to manipulate files on a Memory Stick Duo.

Chapter 7, 8 and 9 offers tips on other cool features of PSP. Now you know how to hook up PSP to your PC. It is time to turn your PSP into entertainment zone.

Chapter 7: Playing Videos on the PSP
Learn how to organize video files on a memory stick duo and later play those files on the PSP.

Chapter 8: Playing Audio on the PSP
Learn how to organize your audio files and later play those files on the PSP

Chapter 9: Viewing Images on the PSP
Learn how to organize and optimize your image files for your PSP

Chapter 10: Web Connectivity and Your PSP
The PSP can connect to a wireless network through Wi-Fi, which allows it to surf the Internet or connect to other PSP for multiplayer gaming anywhere in the world.

After reading this chapter, you will end up setting up a WLAN. It also offers solution to common connection problems. This is a good troubleshooting guide for new users.

Chapter 11: Surfing the Web with Your PSP
Now you know how to configure and hook PSP to internet via Wi-Fi. It is time to surf the net using built-in web browser. You will also learn how to use RSS feeds so that you can read your favorite blog or news site.

Chapter 12: The Dark Side of the PSP
Homebrew is considered as the dark side of the PSP. Homebrew is nothing but the process of executing unsigned code (read as application not approved or licensed by Sony) on the PlayStation Portable. Usually geek people (or people with UNIX background) use term hacking for this kind of work.

This chapter offers some explanation - why people try to extent the capability provided by PSP.

Chapter 13: The Logistics of Homebrew
Now you know homebrew, it is time to use your knowledge. This chapter is for advanced users. You will learn more about PSP firmware-versions, eloader and where to get latest news on web for homebrew. Finally, you will learn how to use homebrew.

Chapter 14: Twelve Cool Homebrew Programs
This chapter offers list of applications and games you can find online.

You will also find two appendixes:

Appendix A. Nine Nifty PSP Accessories - Headphones, External Speakers and Other Awesome Accessories

Appendix B. Format Conversion Made Easy - Learn how to convert media format to PSP format - Converting Video/Audio/Images to PSP Format

Summary

When I picked up the book, I had only one question in mind - What unique feature does this book offers or what secret does it covers?

Advanced user will not find much information. Horeover, it is good buy for all new PSP owners (for example, my friend who is not a technocrat finds books quite easy to follow...):
=> Topics are explained very well
=> Graphic diagrams to understand concepts such as WLAN and USB connectivity etc
=> Overall author Joel Durham Jr. has done a good job explaining the PSP for novice PSP users.

  • Author: Joel Durham
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press
  • Pub Date: August 7, 2006
  • ISBN: 0321464362
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Level of experience needed: None
  • Who will find useful: PSP Owners
  • Additional goodies included (such as CDROM) : No
  • Purchase online at Amazon
SpamAssassin - A Practical Guide to Integration and Configuration

Spam is unsolicited emails with advertisements, which costs money. According to one survey spam costs up to $1000 per employee per year. Spam is send without the permission of the recipients. According to wikipedia, in June 2006 55 billion spam emails send per day (see MAAWG Issues First Global Email Spam Report for more information).

Computer users can avoid e-mail spam in several ways like end user use e-mail filtering and email server administrators run special software such as SpamAssassin to trap e-mail spam at the mail server level itself.

The book SpamAssassin is a practical guide to configure and install one of the most popular open source effective spam filter software.
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Email is one the killer application of Internet. It is the easy method of composing, sending, storing, and receiving messages over electronic communication systems. Leading free web based email providers such as Gmail , Yahoo or your own ISP uses UNIX / Linux based email servers.

However many new sysadmin finds it difficult to setup and maintain an email server system. This book is aimed at all new sysadmin who wish to learn the basis of mail server, setup & configuration issues, and advanced topics such as spam/virus protection. This book gives you just what you need to know to set up and maintain an email server:

  1. Configure and run your own industry strength Postfix mail server
  2. Provide and configure POP3 and IMAP services
  3. Configure Anti virus and anti spam protection for your mail server
  4. Security and optimization of an email server
  5. Other mail server related admin issues such as Backup, Recovery and tips.
Setup and Run a Small Office Email Server

The entire book is divided into ten chapters.

Chapter 1: Linux and Email Basics

This chapter explains the fundamental concepts related to Email such as software/hardware requirements to run an email server, mail server protocols (SMTP, POP, IMAP etc) and their overview etc. It also explains role of a DNS server in e-mailing.
[click to continue…]

MySQL Administrator's Guide and Language Reference

MySQL is a multithreaded, multi-user, SQL Database Management System (DBMS). Used by millions of web site everyday. It is known for its speed, high reliability, and ease of use. MySQL is rapidly becoming a low-cost alternative to high priced databases. With such a large user base, this book comes on right time.

This book is written by the creators of MySQL and edited by one of the most highly respected MySQL authors, the MySQL Administrator's Guide and Language Reference is the official guide to installing MySQL, to setting up and administering MySQL databases, and to storing and retrieving data in these databases.

This is the ultimate reference from the MySQL AB itself. This book offers extensive advice on installing and administering MySQL that you always wanted to know.

Chapter 1: General Information

This chapter starts with an overview of MySQL AB, the company behind the MySQL product. It explains the MySQL core values, overview of MySQL database management system, history of MySQL, the main features of MySQL, overview of MaxDB etc. To be frank you can skip this chapter if you just wanted to get started with MySQL.

Chapter 2: Installing and Upgrading MySQL

This chapter explains how to get and install MySQL Don’t skip this chapter as it offers detailed installation instructions, desired installation directory structure and much more. In-depth coverage has been given for MySQL installation under various oses:
Linux
Mac OS X
MS Windows
Other UNIX like oses

Chapter 3: Using MySQL Programs

This is the most important chapter for new MySQL admin as it provides a brief overview of the command-line programs. How to use MySQL GUI and client tools for connecting MySQL server. How to pass options to MySQL programs etc. It also covers configuration file syntax and basic usage. Overall, this chapter helps you to understand the basic usages of MySQL programs.

Chapter 4: Database Administration

The core database administration is covered in this chapter such as
Configuring the server
User accounts management
Making backups
Understanding the server log files
And the most important the query cache which is extremely useful in an environment where you have tables that do not change very often and for which the server receives many identical queries.

Chapter 5: Replication

Data replication helps you to make backup copy of data. However, replication offers other benfits too such as speed, robustness, load-balancing etc. This is extremely important chapter. It introduces you to replication concepts, shows how to set up replication servers, and serves as a reference to the available replication options. It also provides a list of frequently asked questions (with answers), and troubleshooting advice for solving replication problems.

Chapter 6: Optimization

Now you know how to setup MySQL and replication to your clients. It is time to take your understanding to next level. Optimization helps you to make sure you get hightest performance from same computer h/w and software. However, optimization is a complex task because ultimately it requires understanding of the entire system to be optimized.
This chapter tries to explain and give some examples of different ways to optimize MySQL.

Chapter 7: Client and Utility Programs

MySQL comes with tons of client and utility programs. These programs are used for database administrative tasks or client programs that connect to the server to access databases. This chapter provides a brief overview of these programs along with syntax and examples.

Chapter 8: Storage Engines and Table Types

MySQL use different storage engines and table types to store your data. Understanding of storage engines and table types enhances your admin skills. MySQL storage engines include both those that handle transaction-safe tables and those that handle non-transaction-safe tables. This chapter gives you a brief introduction on MySQL storage engines.

Chapter 9: MySQL Cluster

High availability is a system design protocol and associated implementation that ensures the availability of service. For example, Google or Yahoo search engine almost available everyday using High availability techniques.

MySQL High-availability clusters are computer clusters that are implemented primarily for improving the availability of databases (data) which the cluster provides. MySQL uses the NDB Cluster storage engine for clustering.

This chapter covers basic MySQL cluster concepts and a How-To that describes the basics for how to plan, install, configure, and run a MySQL Cluster.

Summary

Overall, a great book that touches all administrative aspects of MySQL database server management. This book is highly recommended to all new MySQL administrators:

  • It saves time - No more hunting using google to find out one tiny command or concept
  • Ease of understanding - The Language is plain and natural. The book carries a good number of examples to make concept clear.
  • Book title: MySQL Administrator's Guide and Language Reference
  • Author: MySQL AB
  • Publisher: MySQL Press
  • Pub Date: April, 2006
  • ISBN: 0672328704
  • Pages: 888
  • Level of experience needed: Beginners/Intermediate sys admin
  • Who will find useful: MySQL admin
  • Additional goodies included (such as CDROM) : No
  • Purchase online @ Amazon

This is a new book for people coming from Windows background. This book covers Novell Suse Linux.

The Easiest Linux Guide You'll Ever Read - an introduction to Linux for Windows users. When I was first learning Linux, I got so lost so fast in so many areas, it was hugely overwhelming for me. I was impressed that I was able to download Linux, burn it onto CDs, and get it installed. But once I got that far, I was excited, but my excitement was short-lived. I had no idea what to do next, how to install software, or what software even to install for what I needed. I didn't understand the concept of Open Source software. I didn't know where to go for help. I most assuredly did not know a thing about the command line. 10 years of using Windows was of very little help. I felt that though I was a fairly able computer user, I had stepped into a situation where such experience did me little good.

Read more at SUSE Linux Rants

Book review Extending and Embedding PHP

Slashdot has published Book review - Extending and Embedding PHP book.

FTA, "...PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development. The interpreter that executes programs written in the PHP programming language has been designed from the ground up to be easily embeddable (for instance into the Apache Web Server) and extendable. This extensibility is one of the reasons why PHP became the favourite "glue" of the Web: functionality from existing third-party libraries (database clients or image manipulation toolkits, for instance) can be made available through PHP with the ease of use you expect from a scripting language..."

Read the rest of Sebastian's review at Slashdot.