The Long Road to Red Hat Certified Engineer

Linux Pocket GuideIn 1999 I purchased my first PC from a local trade show where small vendors built the PC according to a printed spec sheet where the consumer would check off components that would comprise the final product. It reminded me a lot of ordering sushi.

My friend Ken Sugino, a computational neuroscientist student at Brandeis University, encouraged me to install Linux on it. I had never heard very much of Linux back then, but since Ken and I ordered identical PCs, both lacking an operating system, he recommended we install Red Hat Linux 5. Thus began my fondness for the fine grained control over an operating system and its applications that I never before witnessed on any Windows 98 or Mac OS 7, 8, or 9 system.

I recall that the state of Linux was still pretty raw back then and out of the box support for new hardware was often lacking. For example, when Ken finished examining the motherboard spec sheet and tuned all the jumper switches to provide a custom hardware setup, we moved on to searching the web for a solution to overcome a problem where X would not start -- X is the windowing or graphical interface for Linux -- and soon we found an esoteric hack for the video card chipset settings that did the trick. Much of my early experience with Linux was like that. It was the Wild West of operating systems.

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Your rights to take photographs in public places

Wired Magazine published a short article regarding privacy concerns and your rights as an amateur photographer, titled Stalker or Shutterbug. Its a helpful article that explains some tricky situations, but generally speaking within the United States you are pretty much free to take a picture of any place that is viewable from a public space, whether the subject be a person, a home, a building, an event, or any other public scene.

Earlier this year I was angrily confronted for having posted a picture of a beach house in North Carolina. Although the location was anonymous in the sense that there was no address, signs, or other identifier in the image, some clever people must have figured out the exact location based on the context of the other images in the photo gallery.

Moreover, those clever individuals must have gone one step further and researched the home's address and owner contact information since the complaint I received was from the home owner demanding (IN CAPS) that I immediately take down the photo within 48 hours or he'll sick his lawyers on me. You see, random people were apparently calling him to rent the beach house after seeing my anonymous photo. It was then that I decided to investigate what my rights were and all the articles I found tracked back to Bert Krages, an Attorney At Law specializing in photography cases.

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Completed Certificate of Java Development at Boston University

This week marks my completion of the Boston University training program for the Certificate of Java Development. This is the first half of a Master of Java and J2EE Certificate Program. The Java program alone consists of three courses at the Introduction, Intermediate, and Advanced levels. Each course ran 3 hours on two nights a week for four or five weeks. This totals about 85 hours of lecture over three and a half months. Here are some key thoughts about my experience in the BUTrain Java Certificate program:

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Science Podcasts from Science Friday, but wait, there's more!

This must be the year for science podcasts. Scientific American began publishing weekly podcasts of current news in science, and I've just learned that one of my old favorite radio programs is also available by podcast, Science Friday. The Science Friday podcasts are derived from the weekly science news hour and published as a single podcast of each topic discussed in that hour. I used to listen to Science Friday each week while working the lab, and I hope they consider publishing an archive of the most interesting interviews from way back. One of my favorites was an interview with Carl Sagan from 1996.

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Neuroscientist Eric Kandel on The Charlie Rose Show

Eric Kandel is a living legend in Neuroscience. A pioneer in the field and author of several of my textbooks on the subject. I recall the comments I used to get on the subway when lugging around his massive 1400 page text on Principles of Neural Science. That text is the Neuroscience bible, and I still have it sitting on my desk at this moment. I'm very excited to watch this video, but I'll have to wait until this weekend.

Set your Tivo to record today's repeat broadcast of this Charlie Rose episode on your local PBS station(s) or watch it online on Google video,

DR. ERIC KANDEL
Neurobiologist / Nobel Laureate
Columbia University / Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Author, "In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind"

IT Conversations Podcast on Understanding Linux

I recommend this 40 minute podcast of Peter van der Linden on the topic of getting started with Linux to any Linux novice or any Windows user a change to considering Linux. Peter describes the history and culture of Linux, with comparisons to Windows, as well as how to understand what makes a Linux distribution and how to choose one to suit your needs.

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Kurzweil Keynotes Bio-IT World; Interview in CIO Mag; Using Text-to-Speech

The Bio-IT World fifth annual Life Sciences Conference and Expo on Biotechnology and Bioinformatics is to be held in Boston the week of April 3, 2006 (which coincidentally happens to be at the same time and location as the Linux World Expo). The conference will begin with a keynote lecture "Reprogramming Biology" by Ray Kurzweil, one of my favorite technology luminaries whose ideas constantly fascinate and inspire me.

"Reprogramming Biology" is the title of noted inventor Ray Kurzweil's opening keynote address. Kurzweil will expound upon themes in his latest book, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, in which he predicts the next few decades will see the merging of human biology with the staggering achievements of "GNR" - genetics, nanotechnology and robotics - to create a species of extraordinarily high intelligence, comprehension, and memory.


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BlogFusion by Jake McKee,... Today!

At noon today (US/EST) Jake McKee will provide an overview of his ColdFusion-based blog (and photoblog) software, BlogFusion. BlogFusion is a powerful, un-encrypted, easy to install, easy to use blog functionality. If you would like to set up a ColdFusion based blog in a matter of minutes, this one's for you. This event is hosted by the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group.

BlogFusion by Jake McKee
Please RSVP here for the meeting and to get the Breeze Meeting URL.
(The Breeze Meeting URL is the link under more information on the RSVP page)


This is a free event at 12:00 noon US/Eastern time today. For time-zone assistance see Time-Zone Converter.

To join the meeting, first RSVP, then open a browser at the meeting time and date and go to the URL shown below under more information of the RSVP page. When Breeze Meeting starts, click the button on the right to enter as a guest, where you will be prompted to enter a name. (ignore the pair of text fields on the left for username and password, just use the Guest login to the right).

Please enter your name when logging in to the meeting if you wish to be eligible to win a giveaway at the end of the meeting. The giveaways will be a BlogFusion license and a book on an Adobe product. Users with unidentifiable nicknames such as "fozzy" or "aaa" will not eligible, and you must send me the link to your member profile on the OCFMG website.

If you've never used Macromedia Breeze, get a quick overview.

The meeting has just been recorded for public viewing later. You can watch this presentation at any time with the following URL:

Archived: BlogFusion 5 by Jake McKee. Approximate running time is 1 hour.

Scandal at NASA - Censorship of Scientific Research by Bush Appointee

According to the New York Times, a 24 year old Presidential appointee to the press office at NASA, George Deutsch, resigned this week when it was reported that Deutsch not only faked his resume but more importantly had been censoring scientific publications produced at NASA by applying a religious Creationist rewrite of technical research. This corruption included changing all references to The Big Bang to be replaced by Big Bang Theory (where theory is intended in the vernacular, as in "oh, its just a theory", rather than a scientific framework which best explains the facts and observations); moreover, according to the New York Times this requirement was enforced by Deutsch in a memo that said:

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion. It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator. This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most"


NASA's Administrator Michael D. Griffin has since called for "scientific openness" in this quote from the New York Times:
"It is not the job of public-affairs officers," Dr. Griffin wrote in an e-mail message to the agency's 19,000 employees, "to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical staff."


Read the full article in the February 4, 2006 New York Times.

Additional Information:

See also:

Doug Hughes on the Alagad Image and Captcha Components

Doug Hughes generously donated his time to the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group on Thursday of last week to present two projects, the Alagad Image Component and the Alagad Captcha Component. Doug actually presented the same talk the day before as part of the Macromedia User Group Tech Wednesday program. For the Online CF Meetup Group, Doug gave away two free licenses, one for each of the components, and I gave away a copy of the Macromedia Flash Professional 8 training book (Its in the mail Dave!).

Recording URLs are available below so feel free to watch again and again!

Doug Hughes on the Alagad Image and Captcha Components

Online ColdFusion User Group
http://adobe.breezecentral.com/p98616096/

Macromedia User Group Tech Wednesday
http://mmchats.breezecentral.com/p13991042/


On Thursday of this week, Doug will present again on his new project Reactor. I will be giving away one copy of ColdFusion MX 7 Standard Edition or an Adobe software product of equal or lesser value per request of the winner. Please RSVP to attend.

If you have a ColdFusion related topic or product that you'd like to share with the developer community, let me know and I'll work with you to hold your own Breeze Meeting. I'm looking for speakers for the next few months, so don't be shy :)

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