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Thursday, February 2, 2006

Efficient Programming Techniques for Youth Programmers

This is a book review prepared by Jason Cheng on this topic.

Prefactoring (by Ken Pugh, O'Reilly Media, Inc., ISBN: 0596008740) is all about making guidelines or outlines of what we’ve learned from our programming experiences. These guidelines will aid us to do only minimal refactoring for our future programs or projects, providing us flexibility on program handling. Technically, this book has taught me lot of things about making a unique program structure that is capable of being reconstructed easily if changes will be required.

The book itself discussed ways on how to develop the prefactoring skills and attitudes required in creating a good guideline. As a young programmer, this book aided my programming skills and I recommend it to every programmer and computer science and information technology students.

Developing these skills early on will help them handle hands-on computer laboratory works, and brainstorm for their own program with the use of their own guidelines. For people who are not familiar with object-oriented programming or anything about programming, the terms and concepts used in the book does not only tackle programming, but also about safe project planning. The approach of the book is also a plus factor.

Ken Pugh, the writer of this book, cooperated with his friends, especially with Sam and Tim. Sam owns the business CD rental, while Tim is a co-developer. Ken explained what are the needs of the business, how the three of them developed their solutions, the different approaches on how they came up to such unique ideas, and finally generalizing these sets of solutions to create a superb system for the CD rental business. Though this book was too focused on this matter, Ken never failed to cite additional examples, wherein all the lessons learned from the CD rental business was also applied.

The book made me get used on the basic foundation they used to create a complex program. My friend was amazed to my new program constructs, and I brag it with laughs saying: “This is how professionals code their programs, my friend.”

Kidding aside, the book was easy for me to understand because they used object-oriented language representation for the examples and UML for the diagrams (classes, sequence and state). They also used pseudocode examples to explain many of the guidelines, and Ken made it generic as much as possible, and not a language guide. The codes in the book can be used for personal use, either for programs and documentation, which expanded my vocabulary on programming and program constructing conventions. Sharing ideas with my colleagues about these gave me more and more ideas branching because of what I’ve learned. All I can say is, prefactoring is a skill that we all must learn now, and I encourage everyone to try out the book.

»10:37 PM    »3 comments (0 )    

Posted by: janette    in: Computing
Monday, January 9, 2006

APC Offers Free Courses with Launch of Data Center University

American Power Conversion (Nasdaq: APCC) (APC), a global provider of end-to-end infrastructure availability solutions, has launched Data Center University, an online educational institution for IT professionals, engineers and people involved in building or operating server rooms and data centers.

Data Center University by APC includes both classroom and Web-based courses.  The initial launch offers 14 foundational courses and six advanced courses in the subject areas of data center design, build and operations.  Courses are available online at www.datacenteruniversity.com.

All courses, which are vendor neutral and do not promote APC products, focus on the critical technologies and best practices that are relevant to leading-edge, scaleable, modular data center infrastructure.  Actual data center executives with decades of combined experience participated in the development of the courses.  Individuals can complete most of the online, on-demand courses in less than one hour.  Data Center University is an educational partner of IEEE.

Data Center University gives IT professionals an unprecedented opportunity to broaden knowledge on a wide variety of topics related to data center design and management, including the latest high density applications that are creating challenging design issues for enterprises. Other popular courses include Fundamentals of Cooling, Fundamentals of Power, and Fundamentals of Physical Security.  From now until March 31, 2006, Data Center University will offer all online courses at no charge.

Beginning April 1st, each online course will cost $79. Web-based education is self-paced and available on-demand via the Customer Education Web site at www.datacenteruniversity.com.  Beginning in the third quarter of 2006, Data Center University will offer live classroom instruction in various locations.  The Web site will list future classroom schedules.  Data Center University also will offer certification paths beginning in the second quarter of 2006.

»4:17 AM    »Write comment    

Posted by: janette    in: Networks
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

PNB SIGNS IBM TO MANAGE ITS HELPDESK AND IT EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE

PNB_IBM_Helpdesk.JPG

The Philippine National Bank (PNB) and IBM have signed an IT services agreement under which IBM will run PNB’s IT Helpdesk operations as well as manage and maintain the bank’s desktop, laptop and printer equipment. As part of this agreement, IBM is committed to enhance PNB's customer experience as well as to deliver improved service flexibility and cost efficiencies to enable PNB to achieve a higher level of business agility and growth. The agreement is part of PNB’s transformation strategy to focus on its core business and aggressively grow marketshare and profitability.

The helpdesk and IT equipment maintenance services agreement will cover software and hardware equipment support over a three-year period. Additionally IBM will supply PNB’s annual desktop requirement of 700 to 800 desktop systems for 2006. This is on top of the 1,072 desktop systems being delivered by IBM as part of PNB's upgrade of the Branch Teller System.

Although this is indeed a good news, I still have to see PNB embrace electronic banking. I have been a depositor of the bank since 1999 and have not seen any concrete moves in such area. I remembered signing up at the branch for their telephone and SMS banking but it never got processed, and thus, not able to use it.

I certainly hope that PNB will shape up and catch up with what the the leading banks are doing. They are the premiere bank that dominates the OFW and diaspora remittance in-flow in the country. Upgrading their services, offering the latest tools, is something that they should have the self-initiated leadership to do as well. Their lack of progress in this area does not give a good impression on how forward looking they are and putting it into action. There's a difference on being conservative and just being too damn slow in making progress.

»3:53 PM    »Write comment    

Posted by: janette    in: Networks

Modified on December 28, 2005 at 4:04 PM
Monday, December 19, 2005

Easy SQL Learning for Students and Newbies

Here's an interesting book review written by Jason Cheng. This is in addition to our initial introduction about this book.

Another book from O’Reilly Media Inc., which they entitled: “A Pain-Free Introduction to SQL for Database Developers & Administrators – Learning SQL” (ISBN: 0596007272, O'Reilly Media Inc., US$34.95, Paperback, 289pp, September 2005) written by Alan Beaulieu, was made to enlighten the readers’ mind that SQL is not as complex as how it looks, but as easy as how the book will explain it you. The book itself described what SQL is all about, its history, the basics, tied up with plenty of exercises and 13 chapters to build up the reader’s knowledge of using SQL at such learning tempo. The contents contain technical examples at the latter chapters, but the first 3 chapters will clearly explain the basics for the readers to go through the contents without any difficulty. Any readers, especially the youth can find the book easily to be understood in such a clear manner.        

The book’s contents have plenty of valuable information about the SQL history. Me and my classmates who had read the book didn’t even know that it was just meant to be pronounced as “Sequel” (We just pronounce it as Es-Q-EL), not some sort of abbreviation nor acronym. There were also stanzas in the preface of the book that clearly expounded the reasons for me to learn from this book, apply the knowledge that I will learn from its contents, and finish it right away.

Here’s one stanza that threw a king-sized rock to my forehead: “If you are going to work with relational database, whether you are writing applications, performing administrative tasks, or generating reports, you will need to know how to interact with the data in your database. Even if you are using a tool that generates SQL for you, such as a reporting tool, there may be times when you need to bypass the automatic generation feature and write your own statements,” as it was expounded in the preface. The book made me realize that relying on an SQL generator (like what I’ve been doing before) might contain statements that we really don’t require. For instance, we want to make a complex database which contains all the details needed for our website. Then we had an idea wherein we wanted to make our own indicator that will search for such value or data inside the complex database structure, problems in searching for that data that we require might occur because of the limited features of that SQL generator. The book covered PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, Sybase Adaptive Server, and especially MySQL. But the ANSI SQL standards were the ones prioritized by the book, since it is used all through out any kind of SQL databases.

As a college student, I had just learned all the details about SQL in just 5 days by reading this book. The book is very cost-effective, because I had hastily understood the basic SQL commands, and became conscious on how did my SQL generator do its stuffs (like creating database tables, sorting the details, correction of the details, making a mark on a specific data in just one-click-of-a-button). These were all explained by the book. Another thing that I’ve learned from this book was the basic commands. I had found out how these commands work, and it’s because of these emphasized details indicated in chapter one. With those significant details, the jigsaw-puzzle like predefined functions, along with its details that I had encountered in the book when I scanned its contents became a little easier for me to identify with. Here’s one example:

CREATE TABLE corporation
(corp_id SMALLINT,
Name VARCHAR(30),
CONSTRAINT pk_corporation PRIMARY KEY (corp_id)
);”

It looks creepy? For people who are greenhorns to SQL, yes. But then, the explanations will immediately catch up right after this code to help us understand how the basic command CREATE TABLE works:

This statement creates a table with two columns, corp_id and name, with the corp_id column identified as the primary key for the table.

The book itself will immediately answer your questions after a confusing sample code. Thus, its brilliant step-by-step system of teaching and explaining provides the basic foundation of its accuracy for making the readers be knowledgeable of the contents with a concrete understanding of each lesson. I know that the example isn’t that much confusing for those who know SQL, but I’m telling you that the way how you’ve understand this simple code will also be the way how the book will explain the complex codes to you. Not only that this book has plenty of bounded and related details which provide clear explanations on how the codes work, but the exercises that I had found at every end of each chapter (Starting from chapter 3 onwards) helped me a lot on applying the knowledge that I had just acquired immediately, and I think that it would be better if I would be able to maximize the book’s valuable contents even more if it has additional optional and complicated exercises (or simply bonus exercises) in each chapter. So that I can have an option to choose from those exercises to completely apply all of the knowledge that can be acquired from this book.

Besides the information about the SQL codes, schemas and other functions, the way he explains the contents gives artistry to his way of pointing out the important details and facts. The title itself fitted its contents, fulfilled my needs, and I recommend this book to every reader who wants to learn SQL in a seamless approach. I did not require any references because there weren’t any perplexities at all.

But is the book way above other SQL learning books? I would say that this book applies to all readers to wants to learn SQL, many of my classmates are interested and I would really wanted to recommend this as a book for teaching us SQL in our campus here at MAPUA Makati, Philippines. And for those who know SQL well, they might want to try out the exercises found in the book. Nevertheless, it’s too impractical to do that though. As for programmers/ application developers, they may want to integrate the seamless database construction of SQL to their applications, if ever they aren’t familiar about SQL. I’m very glad that I can manually make own SQL conditions/functions/statements with ease and integrate these codes into my very own programmed game. So all in all, what’s important for me is that the book did its job, like I really felt that the author was actually teaching me personally because of his brilliant teaching skills.

But is there anything wrong with the book? Hmmm ... As I usually wish, I hope books with this kind of contents are portable (I don’t want to keep this in my locker or else my friends who have a duplicate might get it without my permission). But the book itself is already ok.

»9:41 PM    »Write comment    

Posted by: janette    in: Computing
Saturday, November 5, 2005

Google enables filtering for Creative Commons-licensed content

Creative Commons announced that Google now enables filtering for Creative Commons-licensed content.

Following the example of Yahoo!’s CC-search that was released in March 2004 and then incorporated into Yahoo!’s Advanced Search page, Google has incorporated a new element into its Advanced Search page that allows users to filter their search by “Usage Rights.” By choosing to search for content that “allows some form of reuse” or “can be freely modified, adapted or built upon,” search results with be limited to content that is made available under a Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons CEO & Chairman, Lawrence Lessig (blog) said “Creative Commons is thrilled by Google’s decision to join Yahoo! in enabling the spread of CC-licensed content.  Now two major search engines recognize Creative Commons licenses; this confirms that CC is an important part of the infrastructure of the Internet.

Creative Commons own search page now gives site visitors the ability to search using either Google or Yahoo!.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that provides a flexible copyright licenses for authors and artists

»4:01 PM    »Write comment    

Posted by: janette    in: Internet

Modified on November 5, 2005 at 4:08 PM
Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Bright future for telephony

Internet telephony with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) hasn't yet reached critical mass, but it's poised to. VoIP promises huge cost savings, but its ability to move data, images, and voice traffic over the same connection will undoubtedly cement its place in the future of telecommunications.  That's why so many IT administrators and developers are exploring VoIP-based private telephone switching systems within the enterprise. The efficiency that network users can reach with it is almost mind-boggling. And cheap, if the system is built with open source software PBX like Asterisk.

There are commercial VoIP options out there, but many are expensive systems that run old, complicated code on obsolete hardware. Asterisk runs on Linux and can interoperate with almost all standards-based telephony equipment. Asterisk embraces the concept of standards-compliance, but also gives users the freedom to choose how to implement their systems.

With Asterisk, users are no longer dependent on expensive and inflexible systems that are tuned to the vendor's needs, rather than the end user's. Asterisk's flexibility comes at a price, however: it's not a simple system to learn, and the documentation has hitherto been lacking. Linux pros need to learn a bit about telephony; telecom pros need to learn a bit about Linux.

With "Asterisk: The Future of Telephony (O'Reilly)," the future is no longer unmapped. The book, written by Jim Van Meggelen, Jared Smith (blog), Leif Madsen, will help readers to truly understand the core concepts of Asterisk. This new book offers a complete roadmap for installing, configuring, and integrating Asterisk with existing phone systems. It walks readers through a basic dial plan step by step, and gives them enough working knowledge to set up a simple but complete system. The book outlines all the options, and shows how to set up voicemail services, call conferencing, interactive voice response, call waiting, caller ID, and more. Readers will also learn how Asterisk merges voice and data traffic seamlessly across disparate networks. And they won't need additional hardware: for interconnection with digital and analog telephone equipment, Asterisk supports a number of hardware devices.

The future of telephony is bright--and with "Asterisk: The Future of Telephony," you can be ready for it.

»12:26 AM    »Write comment    

Posted by: janette    in: Networks
Monday, October 31, 2005

SQL will not go away

With only a handful of commands, SQL data statements can look deceptively simple. This, combined with the fact that many database developers discover they can get by with learning just the rudiments of the language, explains why so few SQL users tap into the full power of the language. Alan Beaulieu, author of "Learning SQL" (O'Reilly), wants to go beyond what most books have done.

Those who work with relational databases--whether writing applications, performing administrative tasks, or generating reports--need to understand how to interact with their data. Even those who use a tool that generates SQL for them, such as a reporting tool, may have occasions when they need to bypass the automatic generation feature and write their own SQL statements. SQL can also be fun: it can be exhilarating to take a tricky data manipulation or reporting problem and solve it with a single, well written statement.  "Learning SQL" provides a pain-free introduction that begins with a simple SELECT statement and gently guides readers well on their way to proficiency with the language.

Beaulieu's book is intended for anyone who needs to learn SQL to enhance his or her academic or professional career.  The book shows readers how to collect and return related information from many tables at once, take a set-oriented approach to working with data, embed conditional logic into SQL statements using CASE expressions, write queries within queries, and employ SQL's many built-in functions to transform and reinterpret data.

SQL may be an old language, but it's going to be around for a long time and has a bright future. With "Learning SQL," readers can master this important skill and know that the SQL statements they write are both powerful and correct.

To learn more:
SQL Functions (SQL in a Nutshell)
Introduction to SQL Tuning (SQL Tuning
Query Primer
Hierarchical Queries
(SQL Pocket Guide)

»11:38 PM    »Write comment    

Posted by: janette    in: Computing
Sunday, October 30, 2005

Net Empowers Filipino Animator

Hey all, Mike here. I had the pleasure of meeting young Filipino animator Ramon del Prado cosplaying Tekken's Kazuya at a party yesterday. Turns out while I was on stage at AnimeXplosion 2005, his animated short Egg was competing at the festival.

Good to see he's on leading Flash animation portal Newgrounds. Hope to see more Internet-empowered freelance animators in the Philippines.

»11:31 PM    »Write comment    

Posted by: Mike    in: Internet

Modified on October 30, 2005 at 11:34 PM
Monday, October 24, 2005

Philippine Online Game List Updated

Laibcoms updates his list of Philippine online games -- now up to 28. Check it out at its new location here.

The top earner on the list makes around US$ 1.7 million a month; imagine how much revenue all 28 of them generate. As a Korean game exec opines, the Philippine online game publishing industry is only two years behind Korea's.

Hey, Dondi, when the CICT develops something like the KGDI, you should hire Laibcoms. My recorded gaming hours can't hold a candle to his. ;)

»9:59 PM    »1 comments (0 )    

Posted by: Mike    in: Internet

Modified on October 24, 2005 at 10:55 PM
Monday, October 24, 2005

Palm and Treo Hacks

As one of the first and most popular handheld systems, the Palm OS has come a long way.  From the newest Tungstens and Treos all the way down the family tree, Palms are everywhere, and there's much more to these systems than meets the eye, promises Scott MacHaffie (blog), author of "Palm and Treo Hacks" (O'Reilly).

"Palm and Treo Hacks" gives you tips and tools that show you how to make the most of your Palm. A few minutes spent reading some of the hacks in this book will save you hours of research. You'll learn how to:

  • Get some rest and relaxation with your Palm, whether it's listening to music, playing classic games, or watch videos

  • Find a Better Stylus

  • Find great applications for your Palm and make the most of the ones you're using now

  • Add photos of friends and family to your address book

  • Get super-organized, getting more from the built-in Personal Information Manager and learning how to manage complex projects, from weight loss diaries to big presentations with your Palm

  • Extend the Palm with must-have software and hardware add-ons

  • Run Linux on your Palm

  • Take your Palm online, reading email, surfing the web, and sending instant messages

Written for beginning to expert Palm users, "Palm and Treo Hacks" is full of practical, ingenious tips and tricks you can apply immediately. Whether you're looking to master the built-in applications or you want to trick out your Palm to its fullest extent, this book will show you how to do it.

»2:50 AM    »Write comment    

Posted by: janette    in: Computing

Modified on October 24, 2005 at 2:58 AM
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