Linux Bible

Linux Bible 2005 Edition cover

I’ve just begun reading this book, Linux Bible 2005 Edition by Christopher Negus (Wiley, 2005). It claims to help me:

  • Understand what Linux is and where it comes from
  • Sort through the various incarnations of Linux to choose one (or more) that is right for me
  • Try out Linux as a desktop computer, server computer, or programmer’s workstation
  • Become connected to the open-source software movement

Sounds like a good start. For quite a while I’ve wanted to get into Linux (I already own the t-shirt!). Maybe this book will give me the chance to understand what it’s all about, how it compares with Windows, and what I need to do to get started. One of my immediate concerns is regarding dual-booting, that is installing more than one operating system on the same system, in my case Linux with Windows (either 98se or XP, depending on which machine I install it on here). This book, I am certain, will guide me through that process step by step: it does claim to be the Bible after all!

I expect to return from Cellardyke on Friday a fully-trained Linux guru.

Learning PostNuke

PostNuke by Kevin Hatch
I’ve begun reading PostNuke Content Management by Kevin Hatch

(Buy at Amazon.co.uk / Publisher’s website)

Having struggled to learn any Content Management System (CMS) from online tutorials and half-written documentation I was pleased to read that Kevin Hatch also regards much of the available documentation confusing. (He’s not the only one, Jeffrey Veen vents his spleen in this article on his blog.)

I’m hopeful. The book is very readable, and includes a number of real-life practical examples of how to set up PostNuke sites — something that is sorely missing from the online manuals. My hope is that this book will help me get my head around the theory behind how CMSs work, and that it will aid me to get to grips with not only PostNuke, but Drupal and even WordPress, from which this blog is powered. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Take Back Your Life!

Take Back Your Life, by Sally McGhee

This past week I’ve been reading a book about how better to organize my life, and it is fantastic. Take Back Your Life, by Sally McGhee explains how to use Microsoft Outlook, synchronized with a PDA, to keep track of objectives, projects and tasks. And I can honestly say that it works.

One of the first steps, McGhee says, is to work out how many collection points we use. That is, how many locations do you collect information and tasks from? I was amazed to discover that I had 28 different locations. I’ve now reduced this to eight, which is far more manageable.

Next up, download the to-dos that you carry around in your head. I had eighty-one. No wonder I felt stressed, with so much to remember. I now have them typed up in my newly reorganised Tasks list in Outlook.

Thing is, I now have a full In-tray, and a bulging Tasks list because I’ve not reached the chapter on how you actually schedule these into your Calendar to make time to actually do them!

The Church Invisible

The Church Invisible by Nick Page
The Church Invisible by Nick Page

I’m currently reading this novel by Christian writer Nick Page. It brings together a lot of good current thinking and research into why the Church is failing. I included quotations from it in my sermons at both St Salvador’s, Stenhouse and the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield these last couple of weeks.

The challenge is, as the character Lydia says in the novel, not to tell people about the good news about Jesus. We have to be the good news.

Why do people hate America?

Why do people hate America?The latest in my series of political books is about the current climate of hatred towards all things American, brought to the fore especially by the events of September 11, and the subsequent so-called War on Terror, and the very recent, second Gulf War.

So far, I’ve got as far as the end of the Introduction, and so far I am impressed. This is a call for understanding, of the American culture, which seems its darnedest to become the global culture; of Western European culture; and of Middle Eastern, sometimes Muslim, culture. This requires dialogue, communication, open-ness.

I’ve visited the USA more than any other country, outside the UK. During my first visit there in 1989, when I was 17, I was awestruck by its vastness and enormity. During my last-but-one visit in 2001 I was quite disillusioned with America. It didn’t seem to live up to what it had previously promised to be: liberty and justice for all; I could see the cracks in the make-up. This year when I returned I had a more balanced view. As balanced as it can be in (a) California, and (b) living on Pacific Heights in a multi-million dollar complex! Our visit to Seattle I think helped.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this book. It, and Michael Moore’s book, has certainly encouraged me to take a closer interest in politics. Are we too apathetic about politics? or do those in power do their best to make the system so unreadable and untryable that we simply allow them to carry on because it the game is too difficult in which to get involved?