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February 22, 2006

Spell Checking the MySQL Tools Vocabulary

I was sending an email to a co-worker today and noticed two funny spelling suggestions as replacements for MySQL tools I was writing about in the email. It prompted me to stick the entire list of MySQL tools into the email and see what else the spell checker comes up with. Here goes:

mysqldump - dumplings
mysqlhotcopy - photocopy
myisamcheck - checkmates
mysqlaccess - inaccessiblity
mysqladmin - maladministration
myisamlog - mythologist
mysqlimport - importantly
mysqlbug - mealybugs
mysqlmanager - managerially
mysqlshow - showgirls

Showgirls is pretty funny, but my favorite is the replacement for mysqladmin. Maladministration is defined as:

To administer or manage inefficiently or dishonestly. (dictionary.com)

I think this could be the framework for a great presentation on MySQL, perhaps the outline for a keynote to MySQL techies. If not, I'm sure there's a use for it somewhere.

Oh, and I wouldn't want to forget the mealybugs.

Posted by mike at 1:32 PM

February 21, 2006

Cleaning up CVS Editors

Today I decided one thing I need to clean up before it's too late is the CVS editors list.

If you're not familiar with this, you can use CVS for versioning with watching enabled for explicit control over file editing. This means you're files are superficially protected (can override with chmod) as read only until a user issues a cvs edit command. With watching enabled CVS can be configured to alert you when multiple folks are attempting to edit the same file. When a user is done with the file and commits the changes, or issues an unedit command the file goes back to being read-only.

With watching enabled, you can also issue a cvs editors command to see who's editing what at any given moment. In our case, there are some files that were worked on years ago and never committed or unedited. These entries in the cvs editors list are from years ago, when CVS was on a different server. In a few cases the user who's "editing" the file doesn't even have an account on our machine.

So a cleanup is in order. For active users on the system with existing sandboxes, cleaning up the editors list is as simple as making commits or unediting files. For entries that are more historical in nature, CVS keeps track of the watchers and editors in the CVS directories in your CVSROOT tree in the fileattr file. With some care these can be removed. For our CVS, a snip from the fileattr file in one of the CVS dirs looks like:

Fbinary_data.dtd        _watched=
Fcourse.dtd     _watched=
Fdbcontent.dtd  _watched=;_editors=user01>Mon Mar 17 20:57:08 2003 GMT+alfred+/home/user01/HSDB/HSCML/Rules;_watchers=user01>tedit+tunedit+tcommit
Fdtdlist.xsl    _watched=
Fentities.dtd   _watched= 

Yes, user01 (name changed) hasn't worked in our system for nearing three years, and was working on a machine named alfred that's been out of existence for almost as long. I haven't read anything official, but was wiling to take the risk that if I removed that editing information and changed the entry for that file to match the others we'd be safe.

Fbinary_data.dtd        _watched=
Fcourse.dtd     _watched=
Fdbcontent.dtd  _watched=
Fdtdlist.xsl    _watched=
Fentities.dtd   _watched= 

After making the edits the dbcontent.dtd file no longer appears on the editors list and can be checked in/out just as expected.

There were only a handful of entries to clean up. It didn't warrant scripting something, but I can imagine if there's regular cleanup one might want to write something to automate the process.

Posted by mike at 2:55 PM

February 18, 2006

15-minutes is Too Far from the Apple Store

I was talking to a friend from Boston the other day who told me there's a new, flagship Apple store planned for Boston. It's going to be right down in the Back Bay area. Pretty cool, Massachusetts will have 7 stores. That's seems like a lot for a small area like MA. When the new one is built I'll have 4 stores within 30 minutes of my house.

Here's the thing I found funny. My friend was excited because he will be just a few minute walk away from the new store, and won't have to be annoyed at having to take the train 15 minutes up to the Cambridge Apple store. It was funny to me because for so many years there was no Apple store. We bought mainly online or through an authorized Apple dealer. Now it bothers us when the Apple store is further than the nearest shopping center or mall. I also found it funny because I know many people that it's more than an hour drive, and in some cases a plane is the better choice. Funny to complain about having to go 15 minutes when some folks only go to the Apple store when on a trip a good distance away from home.

I guess that's good foresight on Steve Jobs' part. I've been to the Cambridge Apple store many times to find it packed, with long lines of people checking out.

Posted by mike at 1:15 PM

February 17, 2006

The non-Portable iPod Speaker Solution

I spent a few hours in the basement this week doing a bunch of organizing, cleaning etc. It would have been a perfect place to have some portable speakers, but since I'm still deliberating about what to get I had to find another solution.

I wouldn't recommend this for everyone, but I happen to have a decent Fender guitar amp and Peavey bass amp in the basement (neither one is mine, but I'm willing to store them for friends and test them from time to time). A little digging around for a few cables and some fiddling with the EQ on both amps and I've got *very* loud tunes coming off the iPod. I EQd the Fender for upper range and the Peavey for bass only. Pretty good sound, but I had to keep the volume down due to other people in the house.

I would bet that someone else has an even more impressive setup, like an iPod patched into a mixing board at a stadium with several stories of speakers.

Now all I need is a rolling cart, or dolly to get this thing around.

Posted by mike at 1:03 PM

February 15, 2006

New Job, Joining OpenAir in March

Two weeks ago I mentioned I was leaving my job at Tufts University at the end of February. Starting March 1st I'll be joining the folks over at OpenAir. OpenAir is an ASP that provides Professional Services Automation (PSA). I'll be joining the team as a Principal Software Engineer, primarily to design and build software to help customers solve problems, but I'll likely be doing some systems architecture and administration. The server farm at OpenAir is much larger than what I've built at Tufts.

Some details on the job search and the reason for moving from Tufts to OpenAir . . .

Why Switch Jobs?

As I interviewed at various places I was usually asked why I'd want to leave Tufts, a good question. The primary reason was that I want to broaden my experience with open source software. I've been in academia for many years now creating software for education. OpenAir is in a different sector, and they are solving different problems using the open source stack. I'm excited to get experience in a different area, and I think that will be a big benefit down the road.

What I was looking for

The most obvious thing I was looking for was a position working with a team of talented folks where I would feel comfortable and stretched using my personal and tech skills. As I looked around for a good fit for me I also wanted to find someone that could offer flexibility in the work schedule and would be excited and supportive of my participation in the open source community.

OpenAir is all of these. I had great conversation in my interviews with the small team of developers, Technical Director and CTO. The position is a great fit for my existing skills, but will give me a chance to expand them in new ways. For flexibility, I'll be working from my home office for most of the week except when attending meetings in the office (usually grouped into a single weekday). OpenAir will also allow me freedom to participate in open source projects, to continue writing, and to attend and present at the MySQL Users Conference and OSCON.

The Job Market, Interviews and People

As I started looking around I was delighted to find that the job market for folks using open source tools was very active and alive. Monster, Dice, jobs.perl.org and many others seemed to have a constant flow of new postings. Over the course of just a few weeks I talked to many, many people. All of the time I spent meeting with folks was good. I had some great conversations/interviews that may not have led to me filling a position but gave me a good sense of what I wanted and where I stood in the range of open source professionals. There were positions that looked awesome but the employer didn't see me as a good fit, and there were positions where the employer thought I was perfect but I wasn't so sure.

In the end there were a handful of opportunities that all seemed like a good fit and looked exciting. This made made the decision process difficult, but good. All said, OpenAir was the best fit for me (and the family) right now. I am delighted that the process has opened many doors that still remain open as I go into this new position.

I do want to thank everyone who was a part of the process, I met a lot of great folks and had many good conversations that I think were bigger than the current job hunt.

About OpenAir

While OpenAir has been around since the early 90s, and has been profitable for many years, it's a small, relatively flat organization. I'm excited to be in a place where an employee can have a big impact on the success of the organization. I'm sure I'll be less revealing about the specifics of the work I'm doing. At Tufts it was always a good thing to publish details about software development or systems architecture. Probably not the case anymore.

More to come . . . less than two weeks until my first day.

Posted by mike at 7:10 AM

February 14, 2006

Speaking on MySQL Cluster at PHP Quebec

Looks like I'm headed to Montreal for PHP Quebec in the end of March, giving a session on setting up and managng MySQL Cluster (I believe details are coming to the PHP Quebec site soon). There is quite a lineup of speakers and sessions, I'm looking forward to them. As a person who does a lot of Perl in the day and PHP only at night it will be nice to spend some time focused on PHP and around PHP folks. The conference has presentations on a few different databases. Looking forward to them as well, getting a look at how it feels to use something other than MySQL.

The conference is a mix of French and English speaking sessions, as I do not speak any French mine will be in English (Bostonian english).

If you'll be there drop me a line, or will just see you there.

Update: The session details have been posted.

Posted by mike at 10:27 PM

What's New with the MySQL Users Conference

Having completed my travel/lodging arrangements for the MySQL Users Conference I decided to poke around and see how things are shaping up. I am pretty excited about what's been put on the presentation list since I last looked. A few items I'm looking forward to seeing (hoping they don't all stack up on the same time slot):

Sorry to not provide direct links, all these sessions are a part of a larger list that you should look over for yourself.

That is going to be a great week in Santa Clara.

Posted by mike at 12:04 AM

February 13, 2006

OSCON Proposals Submitted

Although I've had a few ideas brewing for some time, things finally came together tonight for my O'Reilly Open Source Convention talk proposals. I just finished putting the last of three in:

I was going to submit the What do you mean there's no backup? that Jay and I are presenting at the MySQL user's conference, but it just didn't feel right. Perhaps because it makes more sense at a conference where everyone is a MySQL user (or potential user).

So now we'll just have to wait and see. I'm always curious to see if what I've proposed will be of any interest to OSCON attendees. Looks like I'll have to be patience until at least March 27th.

Posted by mike at 11:05 PM

February 10, 2006

iPod Speakers: Bose SoundDock vs Klipsch iGroove

A few months back I decided it was time to get a nice set of speakers for my iPod. I put it on the birthday wish-list with a few links to the various options. Heidi came back saying she had looked around and decided it was better that I just order what I want. Good move, I'm pretty picky about this kind of stuff.

Back then I thought I'd want to get separate speakers, but I've realized that to have speakers for my iPod means I want some portability. I don't need it to be so portable that I can take them on the road, but I'd like to be able to move it around the house without any major problems. This means not having various cords, and separate speakers to carry around.

After tons of looking around (there are dozens of speakers built with iPod docking), reading a lot of reviews, and listening to a few it appears that the choice will be between the Bose SoundDock and the Klipsch iGroove. I've been tempted several times to grab the SoundDock but it doesn't have accessory input, so unless I hack it or someone comes up with an adaptor, I can only use it with the iPod. This is the primary deterrent. The Klipsch comes with an adaptor to allow 1/8" jack input, so you could hook it up to a portable CD player or other MP3 device. As far as sound quality, these two seem to stand above the rest. I've listened to the SoundDock at our local BJs many times and am impressed with the sound.

Last night I went as far as driving over to Best Buy, determined to purchase the iGroove. Unfortunately it was positioned right next to the Bose SoundDock which sent me into more thought about it. I much prefer the form-factor of the Bose.

If portability wasn't so much a concern I'd probably be leaning more toward the Klipsch ProMedia 2.0 speakers, and get a dock from Apple. Perhaps I'll come around.

I wish it was easier to make these kinds of decisions, it's always so hard to choose.

Posted by mike at 4:05 PM

Meet Saul

This past Wednesday, February 8th (which just happens to also be my birthday), Heidi gave birth to a son, who is now known as Saul Adams Kruckenberg. It all happened very quickly. At 8:30am Heidi and I walked the 2 older kids to school, Heidi started feeling like we'd better go in. After gathering a few things we were on the road to the Cambridge Birth Center, arriving at 10:30am. Saul was born at 11:25am, less than an hour after we arrived. Close call. Heidi and Saul are doing great.

We are loving having Saul around. He's a mellow little guy so far. Yes he is a little mixed up about being awake at night and sleeping during the day, but we're working on getting that straightened out.

Thanks to everyone who's sent (or thought) congratulations.

Posted by mike at 3:28 PM

February 4, 2006

Leaving Tufts

At the end of February I will be leaving Tufts University. This past Thursday I sat down with my manager and gave my notice. It was a good conversation. Of course I was nervous going in but she was so respectful of my decision and understanding that people have to move on. Yes, Friday morning there seemed to be a bit of panic in the office (when I told the dev team), but I've been pretty active about making sure others were up to speed on things.

Tufts is a great place to work, the people I've worked with over the past five years are some of the brightest folks I know. I have accomplished a lot during that time, but more importantly I've learned a ton about software development, systems architecture, data modelling, database administration, using open source tools, working with folks from varied backgrounds to come to unified conclusions, managing developers, leadership, and the list goes on. It's only five years ago, but I feel like I hardly knew anything then compared to what I'm leaving with.

I'm glad to be leaving on good terms, and look forward to keeping in touch with folks. My new office is just a few stops on the train, and a healthy walk on a nice day (although most of my work will be from the home office). I hope that means lunches from time to time.

It's hard to imagine life without an active tie to Tufts, I'm sure I'll feel an empty spot for a long time. More to come about where I'm headed, and the cool experience of finding a place and position that's a good fit for me now.

Posted by mike at 11:04 PM