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[marsee@oreilly.com: Newsletter from O'Reilly UG Program, December 8]

----- Forwarded message from Marsee Henon <marsee@oreilly.com> -----

From: Marsee Henon <marsee@oreilly.com>
To: waltman@pobox.com
Subject: Newsletter from O'Reilly UG Program, December 8
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 12:38:46 -0800

O'Reilly News for User Group Members
December 8, 2004
Book News
-PC Hardware Annoyances
-Mac Annoyances
-Windows XP Personal Trainer
-Excel 2003 Personal Trainer
-PowerPoint 2003 Personal Trainer
-Managing Projects with GNU make, 3rd Edition
-Mind Hacks: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain
-A Theory of Fun for Game Design
-Flash Out of the Box
-Oracle SQL*Plus Pocket Reference, 3rd Edition
Upcoming Events
-Gordon Meyer ("Smart Home Hacks"), DigitalGuru,  Sunnyvale, CA--
  December 15
-Kyle Rankin, ("Knoppix Hacks"), at LUGOD, Davis, CA--January 4
-Cary Millsap ("Optimizing Oracle Performance"),  COUG, 
  Calgary, Alberta--January 5
-O'Reilly (Booth #2225) at Macworld Conference  & Expo, 
  San Francisco--January 10-14
-Free Exhibit Hall Pass for Macworld
Conference News
-Registration is Open for O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, 
  San Diego, CA--March 14-17, 2005
-David Pogue's "CBS News Sunday Morning" Wins an Emmy
-Paying Attention (or Not) to the Flickr Daily Zeitgeist
-New Titles on Safari
-Lawrence Lessig on Blogs and the Law
-Author IMterview: "Smart Home Hacks"
-True Stories of Knoppix Rescues
-Choosing a Language for Interactive Fiction
-Inside EuroBSDCon 2004
-Gifts, Gadgets, and Software for Mac Geeks
-Reclaiming Hacks
-Five Favorite Annoyances
-How To Start Hacking Your PC
-Using the SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services
-Automate Windows Installations
-Learning Lab: .NET Certificate $200 Instant Rebate
-Simple Object Persistence with the db4o Object Database
-Juggle Your Java with JDistro
-Reeking Havok with the Experience Music Project
-Greg Kessler: Rock and Roll Shooter

Book News
Did you know you can request a free book to review for your
group? Ask your group leader for more information.

For book review writing tips and suggestions, go to:

Don't forget, you can receive 20% off any O'Reilly, No Starch, 
Paraglyph, Pragmatic Bookshelf, SitePoint, or Syngress book you 
purchase directly from O'Reilly.
Just use code DSUG when ordering online or by phone 800-998-9938.

***Free ground shipping is available for online orders of at 
least $29.95 that go to a single U.S. address. This offer 
applies to U.S. delivery addresses in the 50 states and Puerto Rico.
For more details, go to:

New Releases
***PC Hardware Annoyances
Publisher: O'Reilly
ISBN: 0596007159
Through the use of snappy, entertaining, and practical solutions, this
book aims to optimize peripheral hardware devices by offering easy fixes
to their most annoying traits. Designed for PC users of all levels, this
concise guide offers straightforward, easy-to-understand troubleshooting
solutions. For maximum ease of use, "PC Hardware Annoyances" is divided
into several broad hardware categories, including desktops, laptops and
PDAs, graphics, sound, hard drives, CD/DVD drives, network, and printers
and scanners. 

A sample excerpt on "Desktop Annoyances, " is available online:

***Mac Annoyances
Publisher: O'Reilly
ISBN: 059600723X
"Mac Annoyances" is written for the individual who can't live without a
Mac yet can't deal with its fickle temperament. The book provides
solutions to scores of common problems faced by Mac owners. Hassles
associated with Mac OS X, iLife, Mac hardware, Microsoft Office, and more
are all addressed in sharp detail with tips, tricks, and workarounds
designed to drastically improve specific problem-solving capabilities.
"Mac Annoyances" will save you time and enhance your overall user

Chapter 6, "iPod Annoyances," is available online:

***Windows XP Personal Trainer
Publisher: O'Reilly
ISBN: 0596008627
Tired of being an XP lightweight? Start with the basics or build on your
existing strengths as you master working with programs, managing files and
folders, customizing windows, optimizing and maintaining your computer,
exploring the Internet, using digital cameras and audio, and networking
with Windows XP. You can quickly navigate to the topics you want to learn,
and the hands-on guided simulations reinforce what you read, to offer a
total learning experience.

***Excel 2003 Personal Trainer
Publisher: O'Reilly
ISBN: 0596008538
Beginners and experts alike can become Excel black belts, quickly and
easily--no marathon training exercises required.  You'll master
spreadsheet basics, editing and formatting worksheets, working with
formulas, creating charts and graphs, automating tasks with macros, and
working with other programs and the Internet. Then, when you're ready to
push the envelope, you'll move on to advanced topics like data analysis
and pivot tables--and you don't even need a copy of Excel to learn!

***PowerPoint 2003 Personal Trainer
ISBN: 0596008554
Publisher: O'Reilly
Focus on each of the key PowerPoint muscle groups as you develop your
strength in the basics, editing and formatting a presentation, drawing and
working with graphics, working with multimedia, using PowerPoint with
other programs and the Internet, and then on to advanced topics. These
bite-sized, pain-free workouts will get your PowerPoint skills pumped in a

***Managing Projects with GNU make, 3rd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
ISBN: 0596006101
"Managing Projects with GNU make, 3rd Edition" provides guidelines on
meeting the needs of large, modern projects. This edition focuses on the
GNU version of make, which has deservedly become the industry standard.
GNU's powerful extensions are explored in this book, including a number of
interesting advanced topics such as portability, parallelism, and use with
Java. Learn how to get your builds to be as efficient as possible, reduce
maintenance, avoid errors, and thoroughly understand what make is doing.

Chapter 12, "Debugging Makefiles," is available online:

***Mind Hacks: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain
Publisher: O'Reilly
ISBN: 0596007795
This exploration into the moment-by-moment workings of the brain uses
cognitive neuroscience to present experiments, tricks, and tips related to
vision, motor skills, attention, cognition, and subliminal perception.
Each "hack" examines specific operations of the brain. By seeing how the
brain responds, we pick up clues about the architecture and design of the
brain, learning a little bit more about how it's put together. Find out
what's going on in your head.

Sample hacks are available online:

***A Theory of Fun for Game Design
Publisher: Paraglyph Press
ISBN: 1932111972
Never before has a guide so succinctly put together the essence of what it
means to design for the elusive but highly important element of fun. And
the pursuit of fun in interactive media like games is never ending. It's
not so easy to articulate what fun is (try it sometime and you'll see) but
leading interactive designer Raph Koster has developed a theory of fun
that he cleverly presents in his groundbreaking book. Not only game
designers, but all designers will treasure this insightful and challenging
exploration of how to step out of the box and create designs that really

***Flash Out of the Box
Publisher: O'Reilly
ISBN: 0596006918
Flash is all about creating unparalleled user experiences and applications
for the Web, and this book is all about helping you think outside of the
box to get there. "Flash Out of the Box" gets you animating, working with
video, loading external assets, drawing, masking, modularizing, and more
for developing the foundation you need to move out of the box and into
more advanced techniques. This user-centric book makes learning Flash MX
2004 intuitive, logical, and fun.

Chapter 3, "Your First Animation," is available online:

***Oracle SQL*Plus Pocket Reference, 3rd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
ISBN: 0596008856
This portable, quick-reference guide is a must-have for developers and
DBAs looking to maximize the effectiveness of SQL*Plus. The new, third
edition includes updated syntax and format options for both SQL and
SQL*Plus for Oracle Database 10g, Oracle's latest database release. It
also describes both command-line and browser-based SQL*Plus, and provides
information on new SQL features. This pocket reference serves as an ideal
companion to the bestselling "Oracle SQL*Plus: The Definitive Guide."

Sample excerpts are available online:

Upcoming Events
***For more events, please see:

***Gordon Meyer ("Smart Home Hacks"), DigitalGuru, Sunnyvale, CA--
  December 15
Gordon makes an appearance at the DigitalGuru Computer Bookshop starting
at 12:30pm. DigitalGuru will be offering a 40% discount on Gordon's book
that day.  (If you can't make it December 15, be sure to stop by
DigitalGuru before December 31 to take advantage of a special sale: up to
40% off ALL O'Reilly books, as well as books by our publishing partners.)
DigitalGuru is located at 546-3 Lawrence Expressway in Sunnyvale, CA.

***Kyle Rankin, ("Knoppix Hacks"), at LUGOD, Davis, CA--January 4
Author Kyle Rankin is a featured speaker at the first Linux Users Group of
Davis meeting of the new year. He'll discuss the many uses of Knoppix,
such as demonstrating Linux to new users, making Linux easier to install,
using Knoppix as a rescue disc for both Linux and Windows, as a tool for
system administrators, and more.

***Cary Millsap ("Optimizing Oracle Performance"), COUG, 
  Calgary, Alberta--January 5 
Cary will be presenting to Calgary Oracle User Group at 6:30pm.
Location TBA
Please check their web site for more information:

***O'Reilly (Booth #2225) at Macworld Conference & Expo, 
  San Francisco--January 10-14
In addition to all of our fabulous new Mac titles, we'll feature author
appearances at our booth and special promotional fun.

David Pogue, Missing Manual Series author and editor and "State of the
Art" columnist for The "New York Times," hosts Macworld Live! on January
12 from 9:30am to 10:30am. Tune in for news of the day, exciting guests,
David's famous song parodies, and plenty of surprises.

While you're there, be sure to catch actor and author Wil Wheaton's
special feature presentation entitled "Just a Geek" on January 13 at
9:30am There will be a book signing after his presentation. Wil is the
author of "Just a Geek" and "Dancing Barefoot."
Moscone Convention Center, Booth #2225, San Francisco, CA

***Free Exhibit Hall Pass for Macworld, San Francisco, CA--
  January 11-14 2005
Make sure you register online with priority code N0220 (use zeros) before
December 10.

A PDF version of the Macworld Pass is available online:

Conference News
***Registration is Open for 2005 O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference,
  San Diego, CA--March 14-17, 2005
Early Bird registration for ETech has just opened. This year's conference
theme is "Remix," which infuses ETech's roll-up-your-sleeves tutorials,
to-the-point plenary presentations, and real world focused breakout
sessions. Come to ETech and discover how applications and hardware are
being deconstructed and recombined in unexpected ways. Learn how users and
customers are influencing new interfaces, devices, business models, and
services.  For all scoop on tutorials, featured speakers, and conference
events, check out:

User Group members who register before January 31, 2005 get a double
discount. Use code DSUG when you register, and receive 20% off the
"Early Bird" price.

To register for the conference, go to:

News From O'Reilly & Beyond
General News
***David Pogue's "CBS News Sunday Morning" Wins an Emmy
The National Television Academy has announced the winners of the Annual
Emmy Awards for Business and Financial Reporting. In the category of
"Outstanding Interpretation and/or Analysis of a Business News
Story--Regularly Scheduled Newscast," David Pogue's "CBS News Sunday
Morning" won the Emmy: "David Pogue takes complex technological
applications such as Google or Spam and makes them comprehensible to the
ordinary, non-technophile viewer." David is the creator of the Missing
Manuals Series.

You can read the press release here:

***Paying Attention (or Not) to the Flickr Daily Zeitgeist 
Perhaps the most complex operating system in the world is the human brain.
In "Mind Hacks," authors Matt Webb and Tom Stafford use cognitive
neuroscience to present experiments, tricks, and tips related to vision,
motor skills, attention, cognition, and subliminal perception. In this
article, they explore how elements of web pages attract attention and
influence reading. They then apply some of the ideas from their book in
the examination of one such element, an animated photo-sharing widget, the
Flickr Daily Zeitgeist.

***New Titles on Safari
Search, annotate, read, and download chapters from your favorite technical
books through Safari Bookshelf. New titles from O'Reilly include: "Java
Network Programming, 3rd Edition;" "Securing Windows Server 2003;" "Unit
Test Frameworks;" "Word Hacks;" "Managing Projects with GNU make, 3rd
Edition;" "High Performance Linux Clusters;" "Oracle SQL*Plus: The
Definitive Guide;" and "Windows XP Power Hound." If you haven't gone on
Safari yet, get a free trial.

***Lawrence Lessig on Blogs and the Law
In this IT Conversations interview, Lawrence Lessig talks about the growth
of law-related blogs and their impact on the practice of law, and some of
the problems with current copyright law.

Lessig will be speaking at O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference.

***Author IMterview: "Smart Home Hacks"
Gizmodo editor Joel Johnson talks to author Gordon Meyer about home
automation and some of the reasons X10 is still a good choice for home
hackers. After the IMterview, you'll find a hack on how to forward your
phone calls without using the phone company's services, excerpted from
Gordon's new book "Smart Home Hacks."

Open Source
***True Stories of Knoppix Rescues
A battle-hardened sysadmin shares his near-death tales of Knoppix rescue.
Kyle Rankin is a true Knoppix veteran with endless stories of broken
systems and machines in distress. In this article, he shares a few of his
favorites, complete with outcomes and weapons of choice. Not for the faint
of heart. Kyle is the author of "Knoppix Hacks."

***Choosing a Language for Interactive Fiction 
Retro gaming is hot, and what could be more retro than interactive
fiction? If you pine for the days of white mailboxes, twisty little
passages, and Babelfish all in your mind, perhaps you long to create your
own interactive fiction world. Liza Daly starts down that path by
explaining how to choose the right IF language.

***Inside EuroBSDCon 2004 
European BSD fans recently had the opportunity to meet and talk during
EuroBSDCon 2004. Federico Biancuzzi was there. Here are his thoughts from
the conference and ideas on how to improve conferences for the rest of the
European BSD community.

***Gifts, Gadgets, and Software for Mac Geeks 
This year's gift guide shows you the coolest gadgets and often includes
clever software to accompany them. Suggestions start as cheap as $15 and
most are less than $80. And the best part--everything works beautifully
with Mac OS X.

***Reclaiming Hacks
The O'Reilly Hacks series has stirred a controversy that usually extends
no further than the front cover of a book. The hacking spirit, not the
promotion of illegal activities, is being reclaimed through each one of
these books. The curious nature of the hacker ethic, whether prompted by a
sheer spark of genius or the urge of an annoyance, celebrates rolling up
the sleeves and taking action. Hadley Stern, author of "iPod and iTunes
Hacks," takes a stab at clarification and discusses the issues he faced
while writing his book.

***Five Favorite Annoyances
As much as we love our Macs, we've got to admit that sometimes they annoy
the patience out of us. John Rizzo, author of "Mac Annoyances," picks five
of his favorite Mac annoyances to share. Better yet, he offers a fix for
every problem. Don't get mad, get clever.

***How To Start Hacking Your PC 
Want to get under the hood of your PC and start hacking? Jim Aspinwall,
author of "PC Hacks," literally wrote the book on it. In this first part
of a two-part article, he teaches you everything you need to know to get

***Using the SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services 
Microsoft has finally added reporting capabilities to its flagship
database server, SQL Server 2000. In this article, Wei-Meng Lee walks you
through the basics of creating a simple report using the SQL Server 2000
Reporting Services.

***Automate Windows Installations 
Answer files can automate Windows installations, saving time and
simplifying deployment. Mitch Tulloch, author of "Windows Server Hacks,"
offers tips and tricks for making better use of them.

***Learning Lab: .NET Certificate $200 Instant Rebate
Learn .NET programming skills and earn a .NET Programming Certificate from
the University of Illinois. The .NET Certificate Series from the O'Reilly
Learning Lab is comprised of three courses that give you the foundation
you need to do .NET programming well: Learn XML; Learn Object-Oriented
Programming Using Java; and Learn C#. Only in December, receive a $200
instant rebate when you enroll in all three courses.

***Simple Object Persistence with the db4o Object Database 
Mapping Java objects to relational databases is a difficult task, fraught
with perils and gotchas. db4o dodges the issue entirely by providing an
object-oriented persistence mechanism that is small, lightweight, and
efficient. Jim Paterson shows how it works.

***Juggle Your Java with JDistro 
Typically, one Java application will live in its own virtual machine, but
this is neither required nor necessarily desirable. JDistro, a
multitasking Java application, makes it possible to run applications,
applets, and more, all inside of one process. Howard Wen interviewed
creators Guillaume Desnoix and Gerard Collin to find out how it works.

Digital Media
***Reeking Havok with the Experience Music Project
High-tech drummer Reek Havok develops interactive music technology for
Seattleâ??s Experience Music Project museum. In this interview, he takes
you behind the scenes and shares his software groove secrets.

***Greg Kessler: Rock and Roll Shooter
Greg Kessler has photographed plenty of well known artists in the music
industry, including the likes of Phish, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones,
String Cheese Incident, and Of A Revolution (O.A.R.). In this portfolio,
he not only presents the captivating images, Greg also includes anecdotes
about the subjects themselves.

From Your Peers
Don't forget to check out the O'Reilly UG wiki to see what user groups
across the globe are up to:

Until next time--


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