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CentraLUG: 1-Oct-2007: Michael Kazin shows Nagios

The Central NH Linux User Group returns to the Library after a summer hiatus at the Sybase offices in Concord. The monthly meeting of CentraLUG, the Concord/Central NH GNHLUG chapter, happens the first Monday of most months at the New Hampshire Technical Institute‘s Library, room 146, at 7 PM. Next month’s meeting is on October 1st at 7 PM. Directions and maps are available at Open to the public. Free admission. Tell your friends.

At this meeting, Michael Kazin will be presenting Nagios, the Open Source monitoring service. From, “Nagios® is an Open Source host, service and network monitoring program.” Written in Perl and controlled by text configuration files, Nagios offers the ability to alert administrators to a huge number of possible problems with connectivity, speed, or performance. Nagios offers a web interface for close-to-real-time monitoring, email/pager alerts, the ability to launch other programs, etc.”

Michael is a computer consultant at a well-known consultancy working for well-known companies in the military-industrial complex. He is a member of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group’s Board of Directors. Previously, Michael helped run the Rutgers University Student Linux User Group and gained his experience with Nagios by monitoring hundreds of machines in the Rutgers Data Center.

Future Meetings: Currently, we have a couple interesting meetings coming up: November: Ted Roche on Cascading Style Sheets, December: David Berube on Ruby, January: Bruce Dawson on low-power Linux computers. As always, meetings are subject to change. You are encouraged to join the low-traffic announcement list to get announcement and cancellation information.

DLSLUG Notes, 6-Sept-2007: ATTACK of the Nifties!!!

Bill McGonigle hosted the September meeting the Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee Linux User Group, held as usual on the first Thursday of the month, but at a different location: the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center. Seven members attended.

The night was announced as “Nifties:” short presentations that hope to elicit from the audience just that reaction. Everyone present had something to show off:

I showed the S5 (Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System) developed by Eric Meyer of CSS fame. S5 used standards-compliant CSS, JavaScript and XHTML to generate a slide show with keyboard shortcuts, drop-down slide lists, handout and slideshow formats, additional notes and more. Free as in speech, free as in beer. Nifty!

Bill McGonigle showed off pfSense, following up on a blog entry he had written. pfSense is a spin-off of monowall, the xBSD-based firewall program. Bill talked about how to configure it off a read-only CR, with a small (512 Mb) USB fob holding the configuration file, running diskless on an older computer. The web interface was pretty slick, rich and intuitive, and exposed a huge number of options. Nifty!

Adam showed off some work he had been doing with WebSphere Community Edition (aka Apache Geronimo) and a commercial add-on that provided VT-400 terminal emulation via Java and a browser, to access some legacy machines he needs to maintain. Nifty!

I mentioned that TheOpenCD September 2007 edition was out and available via BitTorrent. We talked about some of the neat software on the disk. PDFCreator seemed most popular, but OpenOffice and WinSCP got good mentions, too. Nifty.

We did NOT mention the OpenEducationCD, a spin-off project, but that got mention at last week’s GNHLUG Board of Director’s meeting.

We talked quite a bit about the OLPC project and I showed off one of the videos available on the RedHat site to great acclaim. Not just “Nifty!” but “I want to work there!!!” There are more videos here, here and here.

Many interesting side discussions, too. Sorry if you missed it; it was a fun night.

Elegant CSS

In the previous issue of A List Apart, Rob Swan presents “Conflicting Absolute Positions,” an article about using CSS to lay out a web page with fixed top panel, left side panel and a floating panel on the right. Here’s the final result for you to admire. View the source: short and to-the-point without a lot of the little inexplicable artifacts with “<!– DO NOT ERASE THIS!!! –>” hints that they play some key if mysterious role. Very nice.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.