Tuesday, July 26, 2011

AppArmor and Server Security

I was tasked recently at work to create a new instance of MySQL in a server where there were two (2) instances already existing and running. This task should have been a breeze and done in no time. Unfortunately, I was working on a GNU/Linux distribution, okay Ubuntu, with AppArmor activated with security profile for MySQL, and I figuratively banged my head on the wall for almost a week why the steps I follow doesn't work, I already stripped the config file to the minimum and the setup still won't work. Turns out AppArmor is in my way in it's objective to secure the system it runs on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

History of Number Systems, Civilisation and Our Digital Future

What does Jef Raskin (father of the Apple Macintosh, whom I proposed should be a saint in a previous article), Daniel J. Bernstein (author of qmail and djbdns), Edgar F. Codd (inventor of relational database management systems), Donald Knuth (father of algorithm analysis) and Google's Sergey Brin have in common? Aside from being some of the luminaries in the computer industry, they are also mathematicians, earning degree in mathematics either initially, solely or alongside computer-related courses.
Mathematics is probably the most dreaded subject by almost anyone who became a student. I've had my brief episodes of sleepless nights over some of math's specific branch (don't get me started with calculus!), but as this blog I read summarily points out:

You don’t need math skills to be a good developer but you do need them to be a great one.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Walk Through Dead Tech Lane

The computing industry has come a long way, but it seems parallel to human evolution, there's no end in sight, just continuous change for the better. Computers and their related technologies were ironically devices for the purpose of World War 2 that found more productive use in the academe and on the consumer's hands.

Even the internet as we know it was designed for the US military requirement of a network that automatically re-routes network packets when a network node was unreachable (could have been obliterated by a nuclear bomb attack, seriously this is the idea behind TCP/IP). Worse than the body count of war atrocities, there were many computer technologies that were left for dead or put aside considered obsolete but whose contribution to the advancement of our computing user experience deserve revisiting.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The OpenVPN Odd-venture

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is Local Area Network (LAN) on steroids powered by the internet, and also more complex to setup. I was tasked at work to setup an OpenVPN server to a client that already has an existing connection to another OpenVPN server, so my task is to add this other server to the client while ensuring the current VPN connection won't be disrupted.

Thanks to this blog, the OpenVPN documentation, and this blog (albeit focused on OpenBSD), I was able to figure out how to setup the VPN, but not without some trial and error adventure along the way.

Monday, July 4, 2011

What You Should Learn About Database Systems

If IT meant Information Technology, then arguably and syntactically having relevant information is first and more important than the technology that delivers it. Information may be stored in a text file, a word processor document, a spreadsheet, a presentation, or an XML file, but for easier, faster and reliable search and retrieval, the database management system rules.

Unfortunately, I have observed that most books available in local stores in my so-called third world country tragically lack the fundamentals that should be learned to maximize the beneficial use of database management systems or (DBMS). Worse, many are tied to proprietary systems like Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server, which are usually tied to particular (and usually expensive) platforms (i.e. Windows or Solaris only), will almost cost you your soul to put into hands on practiality, and worst, subject to whimsical changes and features that the vendor may deem important to differentiate their product from the rest; resulting to obsolete skills for outdated systems.

Michael Jordan didn't become the greatest basketball player by just going straight for the hoop and shoot the second he has the ball on hand. By the same principle, what should you learn about database systems?