X Power Tools

The X Window System has been around for over twenty years and is the display system for an incredibly wide range of operating systems. With the number of Linux users growing, there are more people working with X than ever before. Most modern desktop environments provide user friendly interfaces that make modifying X rather simple. There is not so much need to dig into config files and settings as in the past but for those environments without such tools or for the user who loves to dig deep into their environment this book can be a simple way to understanding how X works and how to tweak it in any number of ways. If you want things that ‘just work’ and have no interest in digging around below the surface this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you think the best thing to do with a shiny new tool is to take it apart, well “X Power Tools” by Chris Tyler may be just for you.

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Posted under Linux, Networking, Unix Tags: , , ,

The Android’s Dream

In 1988 Infocom put out a book called “Planetfall.” It was based on the interactive fiction game of the same name. The game was a huge success for infocom. The book, not so much. But what does this have to do with modern day and John Scalzi? Well, I remember reading “Planetfall” and really enjoying some parts. At the same time I felt like there was a lot of potential that was missed. It wasn’t as funny or as exciting as it could have been. Going for just funny – say something like what Douglas Adams could do with such genius would have been cool. But “Planetfall” was shooting for some action and adventure along with the laughs. (Unfortunately there were not enough of either.) Well with “The Android’s Dream”, Scalzi has show that it can be done. An incredible action/adventure sci-fi book with an incredible sense of humor. Sometimes crass, other times dark and twisted, but never boring or disappointing.

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Windows Vista Annoyances

It has been well documented that the reception for Microsoft’s Windows Vista has not been all that warm. Yet, visiting the web site of many PC manufacturers or visiting a retail outlet selling computers will show that most new hardware is being offered with Vista as the primary if not only option. O’Reilly’s newest in their Annoyances series, “Windows Vista Annoyances”, by David A. Karp, seeks to alleviate some of the pain for new Vista users. For the Vista owner who is able to put the book’s suggestion into place, the edge should be taken off. For the individual considering a purchase of Vista and wondering if it can really be that bad, this book seems to indicate that yes, it is that bad.

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Digital Astrophotography

Digital Astrophotography Cover
In the 80’s there were a series of commercials for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups that revolved around the theme of accidental meetings between chocolate and peanut butter. The individuals would realize that the two tastes that they loved separately were even better together. Two great loves for many card carrying geeks are digital photography and astronomy. “Digital Astrophotography” by Stefan Seip is a great guide to bringing these two wonderful pursuits together.
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The Linux Networking Cookbook

linux networking cookbook cover
As a dba, I’m constantly looking to learn more about networking and system administration. Both can have quite an impact on the performance of my piece of the puzzle. A welcome addition to the materials to help me learn about networking is Carla Schroder’s “Linux Networking Cookbook“. This book is just right for the person like myself who enjoys learning by getting hands-on experience with the technology. The scope is wide and so someone with a great depth of networking experience may find that the treatments of each is a bit shallow. On the other hand, that wide scope means this book may hold something new, even for someone with some level of experience.
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