Notes from DLSLUG, 2-April-2009: Nifties!

“Nifties!” are the name for the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Linux User Group meeting nights when a featured speaker can’t be found: the Users of the Group make short presentations to each other, hopefully eliciting the “Nifty!” response.

I spoke on my work with Nick Plante and Brian Turnbull starting a business to host a coworking site in Portsmouth, NH with several of the folks there before the meeting started. We had some insightful discussions on the terminology of commercial space leasing, and the intricacies and politics of finding the right spot to start a business.

Rich Brown of Dartware talked about Dojo, the javascript library, and a book he borrowed from the DLSLUG library. (see below for more)

Lloyd Kvam presented his book report on the Google Apps books. Google Apps allows a small business or group to buy a domain, register it with Google Apps. We shared experiences of setting up domains in Google Apps.

Then we realized the meeting was actually next door in L02 rather than L01, not the first time we’ve gotten the wrong room, so we moved over and caught the end of a presentation. Then Bill McGonigle showed how ejabberd was set up with Red Hat – family user accounts (Pluggable Authentication Module – PAM) to which he contributed some code.

Richard Brittain (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~richard) showed a ksh script to kill a subprocess after a specified timout and another script that would check a path (checkpath.ksh) and remove all the cruft that builds up as software is added and removed, machines appear and disappear, etc.

Rich Brown of Dartware presented his Dojo report again. Rich needed a simple web page that would let his clients enter in several key pieces of information in a form and from that data generate a configuration file in a specific format. Eventually, he realized a prebuilt library of JavaScript could do a better job, he worked with Dojo and realized he needed a reference. He borrowed the Dojo book from the DLSLUG library. While there were a few frustrations, overall he was pleased with the content of the book, it’s organization, clean examples and good indexing. The book didn’t have a good description of how the CDN supplied JS libraries can be downloaded over the web quicker and in the correct forms and versions; he ran into a race condition that took a while to debug. The Dojo book covers 1.1 while he was working with 1.2, may even be up to 1.3 by now, always a problem with letting the ink dry.

Parker (I didn’t catch his last name) posted a Madebyparker.com blog entry that was spurred on by trying to make a copy of document, but the machine was eating dollars, so scanned to his email address and sent it to himself: nine pdfs in nine pages. The Dartmouth facilities wisely try to minimize the waste of paper with something called “GreenPrint” but the implementation leaves something to be desired, especially for folks running Linux. He searched around and found a command line to concatenate the documents together into one PDF for faster printing and management.

Ten folks made it to the meeting, and I have no doubt everyone learned something; a great result!

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