The cover of SQL in a Nutshell sports a chameleon, the little lizard well known for its ability to blend in just about anywhere. This is a great choice for the Structured Query Language. SQL has been around since the seventies, helping developers interact with the ubiquitous relational database management system. Thirty some years later, SQL grinds away in the background of just about any interactive web site and nameless other technologies. New alternatives are popping up constantly but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that SQL is going to be around for a long time. Anyone interacting with an RDBMS is in all likelihood going to need to use SQL at some point. For those that do, who also want a handy desktop reference available, SQL in a Nutshell has been there for the last 9 years. The SQL language itself has not stood still over those years, and neither have the products that use SQL, and so now the book has is available in a third edition.
I’ve held jobs with small businesses and large enterprises. There are a few things that I’ve observed about small businesses that are probably true for many of them. The first would be that often wages for technical positions are lower than at the bigger shops, but so is the bar to entry. That often means employees have less experience. At the same time, in a smaller shop, people are often called upon to wear many hats. I spent about 5 years with one company where I was lead developer, the only DBA and the system administrator for all our Linux servers. Our team was small and all of us had complete access to pretty much everything. It was a great opportunity to learn. The one thing I never did get into too deeply was networking, things had to be pretty bad for them to pull me in on a problem in that area. When we needed to make changes to our Cisco routers we brought in a guy from outside. I wish Cisco Routers for the Small Business had been around then. I think we’d have been able to save quite a bit of money and I’d have learned quite a bit more about networking.
In 1953 John Myers brought his friend Gary Wolf a book he had just read, Space Hawk by Anthony Gilmore. The two were already avid readers but this would be their introduction to an entire genre, Science Fiction. They both say that it was Space Hawk that sparked a life long love of all things Sci-Fi. According to both of them, they had an opportunity to re-read Space Hawk as adults and found that it had not weathered the years well. They decided they would write their own science fiction adventure in the same style, but do a better job. The result is their book Space Vulture. (more…)