Notes on Java, Solaris, PHP, LDAP…

April 27, 2008

SUN & MySQL morning briefing

Filed under: Java — negev @ 12:42 pm
Tags: ,

Last Friday 25th April I was at SUN & MySQL morning briefing. Out of 6 talks only 2 were by marketing guys, and even those were highly focused on technology and systems than selling. Saying all that, it was a more business-value and CIO-focused than SUN Tech Days, but still interesting to technology people.

Here is what caught my attention, mixed with my comments. It’s likely I attribute some quotations to a different speaker, as I originally grouped my notes by topic.

Simon Phipps, SUN’s open-source promoter
Simon can nicely describe history of open source, how their communities operate and how open source became adopted by commercial sector and enterprises. But this time, most likely because of high ratio of CIOs in the audience, he went straight to the business language. The old-style SW era was procurement-driven. Vendors proposed a system. They made it for you. You payed, trained for it and migrated to it. Just then you found the limitations, but it was too late. As the cycle took two years or more, the system was already archaic when you eventually used it.

Open source is adoption-led. You find a product and you test it. Only if it suits your needs, you pay for the value: support, extra modules, connectors, training, recently indemnification. It is now a mature main-stream market.

David Axmark, Co-Founder, MySQL
David gave a nice insight into how MySQL started and grew up. I was surprised that MySQL is used at such remote places as Greenland and Pacific islands. His suggestions for success of an open source project:

  • solution to a common problem
  • works in 15 minutes
  • binaries for many systems
  • fast, stable
  • contained – focus on core features
  • public bug database
  • wide audience
  • plugins and their API, plugin-independent data export/import format
  • documentation


  • maximalist thinking
  • lack of adoption focus
  • fear of technical maturity
  • fear of free
  • perception of IP threat
  • procurement control

From comments of David Mitchell, senior analyst at Ovum, on merge of SUN & MySQL and current IT market in general:

  • both SUN and MySQL gain new markets
  • databases and business products are doing about same well and have larger market share than operating systems
  • open source supports financial predictibility
  • software as a service is not a panacea, because it gives up architecture control to the provider. It’s a lock-in no matter what the provider says

The only marketing I caught:

  • £25.000 unlimited MySQL enterprise license, same cost as Oracle on 1 CPU
  • you can evaluate MySQL monitor (or whatever it’s called) for free

April 13, 2008

How much PayPal charges for currency exchange

Filed under: Java — negev @ 12:11 pm

Today I was ordering a wireless finger mouse from Hong Kong to the UK. The only way to pay was by PayPal and the seller ( was billing in US Dollars. I have PayPal account set to use my UK Visa Debit card which is calculated in British Pound. At PayPal checkout page, I’ve noticed following:

Total: $40.98 USD
Visa/Delta/Electron **** £21.33 GBP
PayPal Conversion Rate as of 13 Apr. 2008: 1 British Pound = 1.92135 US Dollars

Other Conversion Options

Just out of couriosity, I clicked at ‘Other Conversion Options’ link. And it gave two options, which basically said:

  • use the above conversion rate set by PayPal. The benefit is that you’re charged in your card’s originating currency, and that amount won’t change and there won’t be any extra fees. Or
  • pay in the currency of the bill, which means that your bank or credit card company can apply its conversion rate and fee(s), plus the conversion rate may change between you place the order and when the bank or card company

So I googled for ‘VISA exchange rate’ and I’ve found There I’ve chosen British Pound GBP to US Dollar USD and my bank fee (which is 0%) and it displayed:

Effective: Apr 13, 2008
1 GBP = 1.97 USD / 1 USD = 0.51 GBP
That means PayPal exchange rate (GBP to USD) was 2.46% above respective VISA exchange rate. And since my building society (non-profit bank) Nationwide doesn’t charge fees for overseas non-cash card payments, I am better off being charged via PayPal in USD than in GBP. Also some UK credit card retailers (PostOffice) don’t charge those fees.
However, most UK banks and credit card companies charge about 2-3.5% fees for overseas non-cash card payments, so then it’s about the same.
The actual rate I got from Nationwide was 1.969, which can be same as the above 1.97 before rounded up.

Wireless Finger Mouse

Filed under: Java — negev @ 11:37 am

While browsing I’ve learned about a Finger Mouse. You attach it to your index finger, and then you use it as a laser mouse. The benefits:

  • you don’t have to move your hand too far from the keyboard
  • the mouse is never away
  • good when using a laptop on your lap, sofa, bed, while traveling – where you don’t have level space for the mouse


  • it looks that the actual ring is a strip made of Velcro. So as your finger sweats, Velcro becomes dirty over time… And I don’t think you can detach the Velcro strip and wash it
  • people reported (I think at hotukdeals) that the ring doesn’t fit thin fingers
  • it has 800dpi resolution and is not sufficient for more advanced mouse operations or high precision

But a real limitation for me: you’d have to disconnect or take the ring down whenever walking out from the laptop. However, there are two wireless alternatives. They are both USB-chargable.

One looks to be the same build but wireless. So I believe that it has the same potential problems with the ring.

The second version uses detachable plastic rings, and

  • therefore you can wash/clean the rings, and
  • there are three rings in different sizes

Its resolution is 1000dpi. The actual device is a little higher in the front, but that won’t matter if it does its job better 🙂 So I’ve ordered one today. I’ve found following websites :

April 9, 2008

How to set PHP values in .htaccess

Filed under: Java — negev @ 4:30 pm
Tags: ,

Sometimes I need to set PHP values in .htaccess. And when I forgot that it’s php_flag statement, then I found nice examples of it at

php_flag display_errors on
# Following disables warning when accessing uninitialized array entries like $_SESSION[‘user_id’]
php_value error_reporting 4097

If I need to disable access to a folder, I add this to .htaccess:
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from al

MySQL local rights

Filed under: Java — negev @ 11:36 am

When you want to create a local MySQL user (account) and you want to use that account on the same host (machine), then you need something like this:
GRANT SELECT , INSERT , UPDATE , DELETE ON my_app. * TO ‘my_app’@’localhost’

Don’t use ‘my_app’@’%’ because that somehow didn’t work – at least not on MySQL 5.0.18 which comes with SUSE Linux SLES 10.

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