There was a show a few years back called, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. The premise of the show was to find families who needed their houses overhauled, but couldn't afford to do it on their own. Generally, those chosen had sacrificed for others rather than spend time and money on themselves. Then the show would completely redo their houses, making it so nice the happy families no longer could afford the taxes, and they'd soon be homeless. I might have missed the point of the show, but the idea of improving on outdated infrastructure certainly rings true for IT folks. This month, we look at improving our lives by improving on the tech we depend on every day.
Reuven M. Lerner starts out by teaching how to create Skynet and turn civilization over to robotic overlords. More specifically, he discusses machine learning. Thankfully, it's not all laser guns and extermination, but rather a great way to get computers to make smart decisions instead of just crunching numbers. The notion of machine learning doesn't have to be science-fiction dystopia, and Reuven shows how it can be a huge benefit. Dave Taylor follows with part two of his Mars landing simulation. I assume it's a coincidence that Dave is teaching how to colonize another planet the same month Reuven is teaching how to make thinking machines. Either way, both columns are very educational!
Kyle Rankin explores how to defend against attack by hardening your servers. The idea of server hardening has been around for so long, much of the information on the internet is outdated. Kyle walks through some simple, practical procedures for making sure your servers are as secure as possible. If you have any servers exposed to the internet, or even an untrusted intranet, you owe it to yourself and your company to read Kyle's column this month. As for me on the other hand, I couldn't decide what to write about, so I just wrote about all the various topics that I couldn't decide between. My day-to-day life is pretty nerdy, so hopefully some of my stream-of-consciousness mashup will be of use. I tend to get excited about the things I love, and I sure do love technology!
NTP is a service that has been around for a long time, and most of us just install it without thinking twice. Eric S. Raymond covers NTPsec this month, which is a huge overhaul to the NTP system we know so well. If your experience with NTP ends with sudo apt-get install ntp, you should really read his article and consider NTPsec. Charles Fisher follows Eric with a look at encryption—specifically, OpenSSL and GPG encryption with flat files. The concept of encrypting files isn't new, but Charles will force you to look at the idea in a different light. Plus, he includes lots of code examples, which always helps me understand things.
Whether you want to improve your old technology with new or just improve your existing tech, this issue should be fun. We have all the features you've come to expect, including product reviews, announcements, tech tips and so on. The best part about improving your infrastructure with Linux is that unlike “Extreme Makeover”, it will save you problems in the future instead of causing more! So without further ado, “Driver, Move That Bus!”