The hardworking community of developers and users of open-source geographic information systems (GISes) is sorely underserved, so it's fortunate to see the new Manning publication PostGIS in Action by Regina Obe and Leo Hsu. PostGIS in Action is the first book devoted entirely to PostGIS, a freely available open-source spatial database extender, which can answer questions beyond those possible with a mere relational database. PostGIS' feature set equals or surpasses proprietary alternatives, allowing for the creation of location-aware queries and features with just a few lines of SQL code. Readers with experience in relational databases will find a background in vector-based GIS that enables quick ramp-up to analyzing, viewing and mapping data. The advanced will learn how to optimize queries for maximum speed, simplify geometries for greater efficiency and create custom functions suited specifically to their applications.
The advent of the digital camera has truly transformed photography and made it more accessible to all, especially us geeks. Although we geeks might be good at manipulating images with The GIMP and organizing them with digiKam, we may not be proficient at the mechanics of good exposure, a requirement that has not changed with digital photography. Enter the new book Capture: Digital Photography Essentials, written by Glenn Rand, Chris Broughton and Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler. The text addresses both the opportunities and limitations of digital photography, and how to work with those opportunities and around the limitations. Readers will learn to maximize the potential of their images through an understanding of the core principles and more advanced aspects of the digital photographic process.
One of your more direct routes to the cloud is by hopping a ride onto Cloud.com's CloudStack open-source cloud computing platform, now in version 2.2. CloudStack, says Cloud.com, is a comprehensive, open-source software solution that accelerates the deployment, management and configuration of highly scalable, public or private infrastructure as a service clouds. Data-center operators can build cloud services within their existing infrastructure to offer on-demand, elastic cloud services. Version 2.2 of CloudStack offers features such as improved hypervisor support (VMware vSphere 4, Citrix XenServer 5.6 and KVM), advanced networking configuration, an AJAX Web interface and borderless scalability. The federation of managed and hosted availability zones can be managed within a single CloudStack deployment. The new CloudBridge feature enables applications to interoperate with other cloud solutions including Amazon EC2 and S3 APIs, as well as the upcoming OpenStack API. CloudStack is available for immediate download.
Keeping our heads in the clouds, let's take note of another cloud-based platform, the Logicalis Enterprise Power Cloud for IBM Power 770 Systems. The solution is for IBM users who require more than Windows and Linux support. It provides a “data center in the sky” with all the capabilities found in on-premises data centers and more. Key benefits include support for AIX and i5/OS, enterprise-class management skills for legacy systems, flexible computing capacity, lower infrastructure and maintenance costs, elasticity to respond to changing business needs, 24x7 monitoring and management, and reduced carbon footprint and energy consumption.
Libelium is moving the transparently networked world forward with its newly released Meshlium Xtreme multiprotocol wireless router—a global first according to the company. Meshlium Xtreme uniquely supports five wireless standards, namely Wi-Fi, ZigBee, GPRS, Bluetooth, GPS and wireline Ethernet, giving a wide choice of methods for connecting wireless sensor networks to the Internet. The product also supports the storage of the sensor data in its internal database system as well as with external Internet servers. Novel features include dynamic Wi-Fi frequency switching, a “discover and store” application for Bluetooth, an aluminum IP67 waterproof enclosure for harsh environments, special holders for attaching to oddly shaped locations and an optional solar panel kit for locations without a power source. The management interface is open source, and the product runs on Debian Linux.
The motto for Red Hat's JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform, newly updated to version 5.1, is “turn the data you have into information customers can use”. New in version 5.1 is JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform 5.1, an open-source data virtualization and integration platform that includes tools to create data services out of multiple data stores with different formats, presenting information to applications and business processes in an easy-to-use service. JBoss' net benefit, notes Red Hat, is that “data services become reusable assets across the enterprise and value chain, increasing return on data assets, enabling faster time-to-solution, and driving better business execution”. JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1 includes Apache CXF Web services stack, JBoss Developer Studio 4.0, a technology preview of WS-BPEL, a technology preview of Apache Camel Gateway and updated certifications (Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Windows 2008, IBM, JDK and more).
France's Dassault Systèmes says that the demand for its 2-D CAD software DraftSight to move to the Linux platform “has been overwhelming”, which made the latest release on Linux inevitable. This new version of the no-cost DraftSight, which now runs on Linux, Mac OS and Windows, allows users to create, edit and view DWG files. DraftSight features a light footprint, a dynamic community-support site, professional support and education-oriented packages. The program is available for download from Dassault Systèmes' Web site.
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