For the past few months I have been thinking about the value of podcasting in relation to promoting technical books. Last week at CASCON the idea came up again, so I'd like to get your opinion on the idea.
My goal would be to put the preface of new books into podcast format. The preface of the book should answer the question, do I need this book? My vision is to have a podcast that is only a few minutes in length, for each book.
As a new book is published, a podcast would be made available. This would work well as a subscription series in that it would help people stay on top of the newest releases as they are made available.
Most book prefaces are written in a conversational manner, so I believe that this would make for an easy and interesting way to learn about the need for the book.
Whose voice should do the podcast? I'd prefer to have the author of the preface do the recording, but would do it myself if necessary.
Let me know what you think. I may go ahead and do a pilot of one of the books and post it on this site. The next book in my realm that will publish is Apache Derby -- Off to the Races : Includes Details of IBM Cloudscape http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0131855255/102-8524566-1932154?v=glance&n=283155&s=books&v=glance.
Keep on Learning
The great buzz around the book Self-Service Linux : Mastering the Art of Problem Determination continues:
"This is definitely my choice for best book of the year. Yes, I know we have a few months to go, but I can't see this getting beat out. Buy this today; you will not regret it. "
The book is available on amazon.com for a discount of 34%. If you have read the book, add your review as well
The latest edition of certmag.com has an article about using advanced certifications to advance your career:
After reading this article, I checked our database to see the how many people have been certifed at our Advanced DBA level (you need to pass Exam 704 after achieving a DBA cert): http://www.ibm.com/certify/certs/dbdvud81.shtml.
Although I can't tell you how many certifications have been achieved, I can tell you that only 7% of those who have earned a IBM Certified Database Administrator - DB2 UDB V8.1 for Linux, UNIX and Windows have also earned the Advanced DBA certification.
I really believe that anyone who has passed Exam 701 also has a good chance of passing Exam 704. If you are one of these people, take the challenge and try Exam 704.
Exam 704 contains a total of 57 questions. Candidates are required to score 56% or better to pass the exam and will have 75 minutes to complete the exam.
Section 1 - Advanced Administration (32%)
Ability to design table spaces
Ability to create table spaces
Ability to manage table spaces
Ability to design buffer pools
Ability to create buffer pools
Ability to manage buffer pools
Ability to exploit intra-parallelism
Ability to exploit inter- parallelism
Ability to design and configure federated database access
Ability to manage distributed unit of work
Section 2 - High Availability (19%)
Ability to develop a logging strategy
Ability to use advanced backup features
Ability to use advanced recovery features
Ability to implement a standby database (log shipping, replication, failover, fault monitor)
Section 3 - Performance and Scalability (37%)
Identify and use configuration parameters that affect database system performance
Identify and use DB2 registry variables that affect database system performance
Knowledge of query optimizer concepts
Ability to manage and tune memory and I/O
Ability to analyze performance problems
Ability to manage a large number of users and connections
Ability to partition large amounts of data for performance
Ability to manage the number of partitions in a database
Ability to create and manage multi-dimensional clustered tables
Ability to determine the more appropriate index
Section 4 - Networking & Security (12%)
Ability to configure a partitioned database on multiple servers
Ability to manage connections to host systems
Ability to identify and resolve connection problems
Knowledge of external authentication mechanisms
Ability to implement data encryption
The best way to prepare for this exam is a combination of EXPERIENCE and STUDY. The only book that was written for this exam is:
Advanced DBA Certification Guide and Reference for DB2 UDB v8 for Linux, Unix and Windows
by Dwaine Snow and Thomas Phan
Notice that this book has received 12 customer comments on amazon: all 5 stars, except one 4 star.
One of the features of this book that I want to make you aware of is that there are excellent sample study questions in the book. Each chapter contains several questions that are similar to the questions that you'll see on the certification exam. The authors then tell you which answer is correct, and why. Dwaine was on the exam development team and helped create many of the questions that are on the certification exam, so make sure you benefit from his knowledge by reading this book!
Sam Poon dropped by today to take a certification exam and reminded me about a recent article that he and Cindy Wong had published on developerworks, called:
"Recommended reading list: DB2 UDB for Linux, UNIX, and Windows database administration"
This reading list covers primarily articles that you will be able to find on dworks, as well as a couple of websites and redbooks. I'd like to add a few additional resources to the list for your awareness.
1) Website: DBA Central - Resources for IBM Information Management database administrators
Bookmark this page to keep up to date with all the latest information that a DBA will find essential.
2) Webcast: The Future of the DBA, November 1.
Join Evan Bauer as he discusses the value of a DBA to the IT organization in these days of new initiatives that lead to the reduction of operational and admistrative costs. Register for the webcast, listen to it, and perhaps you'll be one of the people who is awarded a free IBM Press book. You can register for the webcast from the DBA Central: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/db2/zones/dba/.
3) Retail books:
High Availability Guide for DB2
by Chris Eaton and Enzo Cialini
Start-to-finish guide to delivering high availability with DB2 Universal Database for Linux, UNIX and Windows. Written two of IBM's leading DB2 high availability experts,
thoroughly reviews options related to both the database engine and the underlying platform, and addresses the entire lifecycle, from planning and architecture through day-to-day administration.
DB2 Universal Database V8 Handbook for Windows, UNIX, and Linux
by Phil Gunning
Written by a leading database consultant to help the DBA on the front line. The real-world examples make it easy to learn how to leverage the powerful features of DB2 UDB V8.
DB2 Universal Database V8.1 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Database Administration Certification Guide, 5/e
by George Baklarz and Bill Wong
Straight from IBM, the ultimate guide for running DB2 V8 and preparing for the IBM DB2 UDB Database Administration Exam! This definitive reference and self-study guide covers every aspect of deploying and managing DB2 Universal Database V8, including best practices for DB2 database design and development; day-to-day administration and backup; and much more.
Whether you're a DBA, a developer, a DB2 certification candidate, or all three, DB2 Universal Database v8 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Database Administration Certification Guide is the one book you can't afford to be without.
Advanced DBA Certification Guide and Reference for DB2 Universal Database v8 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows, 1/e
by Dwaine Snow / Tom Phan
Whether you're a long-time DB2 UDB professional or an experienced DBA who's migrated from another database platform, there one sure way to demonstrate the highest level of skills in DB2 UDB database administration: pass the challenging IBM DB2 UDB Advanced Database Administration Exam.
This book is a guide to administering the advanced features of DB2 Universal Database Version 8. The book will discuss how to build a database in order to ensure optimal performance. It will discuss the manner in which to build table spaces and assign bufferpools based on the system usage and underlying disks system. The book will discuss the functionality built into DB2 to ensure system availability and will clustering and fail over discuss configuration options. The book will also discuss how to monitor a DB2 UDB system to determine if any bottle necks exist
All of these books can be found at the DB2 Bookstore: http://www.ibm.com/software/data/education/bookstore/ref.html
Happy Reading![Read More]
Apache Derby -- Off to the Races : Includes Details of IBM Cloudscape by Paul Zikopoulos, Dan Scott, and George Baklarz publishes tomorrow, Nov 2, 2005.
Details about the book:
Apache Derby is the world's only open source, pure Java, fully transactional relational database. It's small enough to be embedded directly into your Java applications, providing a local data store that requires no DBA support. Powerful enough to support a wide range of traditional applications, this database ships as the default database for WebSphere Application Server and more than fifty other IBM software products. Apache Derby is built on the mature IBM Cloudscape code base IBM recently contributed to the open source community. The IBM Cloudscape code was nominated and won Developer.com's Product of the Year 2005 award.
Paul, Dan, and George have written a comprehensive guide to making the most of Apache Derbynd its commercial counterpart, IBM Cloudscapein any development or production environment. This book systematically introduces the Apache Derby/IBM Cloudscape technology: where it fits and how to install and configure itnd how to build robust business applications and Web services with it, one step at a time.
Buy it from amazon.com and get a 34% discount on the regular price of $39.99 USD.
IBM developerWorks Peer Advisors Network
IBM developerWorks has created a new program for people who enjoy sharing their opinions and experiences. The first initiative is centered on using and advising others regarding IBM Cloudscape v10.1, a commercially supported release of Apache Derby.
For more information about peer collaboration, see http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/newsletter/devcom/email/eng/20051031_dW_Peer_Advisory_DB2_webversion.html
Developerworks also has a Cloudscape portal that you may wish to check out: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/db2/zones/cloudscape/
For our book of the month, we've been able to get an electronic coupon and free shipping for buyers in the US:
Save 35% on Apache Derby -- Off to the Races and preview a sample chapter! Visit http://ibmpressbooks.com/title/0131855255 and enter case-sensitive coupon code CLOUDSCAPE at Step #3 during checkout to redeem.
While you're on the IBM Press site, sign up for the newsletter to keep on top of all the new releases (I will typically only tell you about the data ones) and become a member to qualify for a 30% discount on all IBM Press books.
What technical books have you read this year that have been well-written, helpful, and worth the money?
I'm putting together a list of the best books of the year and would like to have your input. Put a comment in or send me an email, but I'd really like to hear from you.
Also, I'm planning for the books that will be published next year, so if you feel that there is a gap of information on a topic, let me know and I'll see what I can do!
CertMag's 2005 Salary Survey: Monitoring Your Net Worth
Overall, certified professionals this year enjoyed an average 16.4 percent pay increase from 2004, up significantly from last year's reported increase of 14.1 percent. The global survey clearly showed the value of qualified IT experts, with 23.4 percent of the respondents earning 25 percent or more in salary than they did in 2004.
CertMag editors surveyed 35,167 IT professionals in 170 countries around the globe. With 95.4 percent of those professionals holding technical certificationshe average respondent has 3.29 certifications. CertMag's 2005 Salary Survey was conducted over a six-week period from Aug. 19 to Oct. 3, 2005.
CertMag's 2005 Salary Survey asked respondents to evaluate and rank the training and study methods they used, as well as the quality of their primary certification's program. The survey showed, like previous surveys have, that on-the-job training, self-study books and practice exams are used and considered valuable among respondents. Seventy-three percent of respondents found on-the-job training very valuable or extremely valuable. Self-study books were ranked the second-most-valued preparation material by respondents at 71.1 percent, and practice exams were valued at 70.6 percent.
The highest-paid IT professionals in the survey this year live in Switzerland, with an average salary of $83,420, followed by those in Denmark and the United States, with $70,590 and $68,890, respectively. The United Kingdom, whose IT professionals were the fourth highest-paid in 2004, fell to the seventh position, while Japanese IT workers jumped from 10th place to fifth, with a surprising $14,300 increase in average IT salary.
Read it online, at http://www.certmag.com/articles//anmviewer.asp?a=1524&z=224.[Read More]
Yesterday Ambuj Goyal, the new General Manager for Information Management came to visit the employees of the Toronto Lab. Although I met Ambuj in Orlando and have attended some of his webcasts, this was the first time I heard him speak to a group.
Most of the talk was in regards to Information as a Service and what it means to our customers and what it means to those of us working on DB2.
Here is an external site that links to radio broadcasts, brochures, and webcasts, and more resources if you would like to do some research:
The definition on this website is:
Ensuring that information is available on demand calls for a new information strategy. Information On Demand transforms captive data into openly available information as a new service layer throughout the enterprise.
When I think of "on demand", I think of two recent changes in the certification area that were significant:
1) We used to use a test delivery software that required an administrator to enter demographic data for the test candidate and to run a program that would make the chosen test available for that candidate. When we were giving tests at a conference, the program ran very slowly and we were sometimes required to ask the candidate to come back the next day to take their exam. Occasionally an error was made and the candidate would show up only to find that the wrong exam was made available. This caused us to make the change, re-run the program, and of course, make the test candidate wait! Painful.
Now we use a test delivery software that I call "Exams on Demand". We log into a secure internet server, the candidate enters their own demographic information (less chance of typos) and then the proctor types in a secret code to start the exam of choice. If the wrong exam is selected, no worries... the proctor just enters another code and the right exam appears. Using this system has allowed us to give more than 1000 exams to candidates at a conference in 4 days. With the previous software, we could maybe give 500 exams and there was much grief, as you can imagine.
2) Certification certificates used to be snail-mailed to candidates who passed all the required exams. If you lived in the United States, you could get your certificate within 2 weeks, assuming that the address that was entered into the system when you registered for the exam was entered correctly! For some people in other countries, China, India, and even Canada! some certificates were taking 8-12 weeks to arrive in the hands of the candidate! Who knows why.... but we changed our model to deliver electronic certificates. Now, within a week of passing the exam and meeting the requirements to earn a certificate, we send you an email telling you the website where you can download a pdf version of your certificate. Once you get it, you can print it locally. If you don't want to print it immediately, you can always go back to the website to re-access it, any time you want.
These are not the examples that Ambuj is making to executives that he meets, but for those of us involved in the certification testing area, these are real improvements in the ability to access information when needed.
If you've taken an exam, but haven't received your certificate yet, log into our new "Member Site" internet application for certification candidates. At the Member Site, you can update your own contact information, including email, postal address and company name, as well as:
* View your certifications and successful exams
* Check the fulfillment status of your certifications
* Request softcopy or hardcopy certificates
* Request merges of multiple testing IDs
* Download the IBM Certification marks (logos)
To register for the site, visit: https://www.ibm.com/certify/members
A few months ago I mentioned that our IBM Press books were available in Books24x7 and Safari... today I saw that Developerworks has set up a special offer for people to try reading and searching retail books online through Safari. Give it a try:
Sign up for a complimentary trial of Safari Books Online e-reference library
Safari Bookshelf is an electronic reference library that perfectly complements dW broad portfolio of tools for developers. Unlike an online bookstore, Safari is a fully-searchable virtual library that houses thousands of technical books from industry leading publishers as well as hundreds of articles from developerWorks! Check out Safari today and register for a complimentary test-drive of the service! http://ibm.com/developerworks/ecma/campaign/er.jsp?id=119960
Note, if you are an IBM employee, you already have access to these books through Books24x7. See the link posted on the right hand side of this page.
To all my American friends: I hope you have a fun and safe Thanksgiving! (Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving on Oct 10.)