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Odud (1047)

Odud
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Journal of Odud (1047)

Thursday January 24, 2002
04:49 AM

At last, technology put to a good use

Computer Weekly has a snippet describing a watch developed at Bristol University that uses GPS to provide the wearer with a description of, and directions to, the nearest pub.

Monday January 21, 2002
03:55 PM

MARC-ONIX-???

EDItEUR (http://www.editeur.org) coordinate the development of standards for
electronic commerce for the book trade. They have created a standard called
ONIX which is closer to what I want than MARC but is still a bit too complex.
Also the terms of use seem to go against the usual free software licence in
that it seems that you can't modify it for your own use without their
permission. So in the end I've come up with my own way and what I have is
something like:

<book>
        <contributor type="03">Falkus, Christopher</contributor>
        <contributor type="01">Woodhouse, P. G.</contributor>
        <title type="01">Short Stories</title>
        <category>Fiction</category>
        <location>Folio Bookcase</location>
        <publisher>The Folio Society</publisher>
</book>

The type attribute for contributor is to distinguish between author and editor
etc. And for title it lets subtitles etc. be shown. This looks o.k. to me (in
that it lets me do the sort of searching and cataloguing that I'm interested
in) and because it is not too deep it should be easy to process with a SAX
parser.

All I need to do now is to work out how to store the XML in the database.....
Wednesday January 16, 2002
09:28 AM

MAchine Readable Cataloguing

MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloguing?) is old, comprehensive, and there are CPAN modules for it - including conversion to and from XML. It seems to record everything that a library could need for all types of holding. However it is way too complicated for what I need and not very easy to understand (at least for me) as the codes describing the types of records are numeric, e.g. 100 indicates the author and 245 indicates the title.

Back to googling then....
 

Tuesday January 15, 2002
04:23 PM

New Year's Revolution

Oh well, as everybody seems to be making resolutions to use the journal system more so I think I'll join in. One objective this year is to finish off something that I've been playing with for years now. What I want to do is create something that will let me catalogue all my books/CDs/etc. I first started trying to do this in the dim and distant MS days with Access but I never got it to the point where it either worked o.k. or I was happy with what it did. So this year I'm going to do it using Perl/XML/PostgreSQL or similar.

User requirements:

Add new books as I acquire them
Search by title, author
Print pretty catalogues
Produce simple lists that can be downloaded to the Palm

Other requirements:

Have fun doing it.
Learn more about XML.
Learn more about DBI.
Make it extensible.
Make it future proof.

Seems reasonable?

Thursday December 06, 2001
08:39 AM

CPAN classification for new versions

I've been putting some thoughts together at work about how we apply operating system patches - for the HP-UX systems for example you can do some clever things:

1. Get the current patch state and ftp it to HP
2. Go onto their site and analyse what patches you are missing (and any dependencies etc)
3. Collect all these patches together and download them to your server
4. Apply them all in one go

Of course you can specify what sort of patches you are interested in. For example 'CRITICAL' patches are those that can cause data loss or system failures - and these are the ones we are most interested in.

Of course in the perl world CPAN does something similar - you can get a report showing, for all the packages you have installed, if there is a newer version available. But if you want to go further you have to start looking at the README/CHANGES for each individual package (and hope that what the author wrote makes some sense to enable you to decide whether to upgrade or not). And this can be a lot of work if you haven't upgraded for a long time. (And we try to minimise change frequency for our production systems.)

I started wondering if something could be done for CPAN to enable new version to be classified so that you can see if you need to install them - everything from releases that fix serious bugs through minor bugs to added functionality releases.

Friday September 07, 2001
04:52 AM

Security::Test

[ #772 ]
I have mixed feelings about this sort of thing. There's an element of trust needed for CPAN to be effective - and I think this sort of activity misuses that trust.
Yes you shouldn't install as root, yes you shouldn't install anything without knowing what it does, yes you shouldn't install without checking the source for backdoors etc. (But how many people checked through every line of the source of 5.6.1 to make sure that it wasn't ftping /etc/passwd somewhere? - how many people installed KDE 2.2 from binaries because they couldn't/wouldn't compile the sources)
I don't like information being collected/transmitted without warning/my permission - even if it may be for good reasons.