Dell Inspiron 14 3451Dell Inspiron 3400 Linux laptop
– First Impressions

For years, many of us who wanted to run Linux on reasonably priced hardware had to buy systems with Windows already installed on it, and then wipe the system to put our chosen distro on it. While some manufacturers have offered systems with Linux, they tend to be higher end machines, with a matching higher end price tag. You also had the option to build your own system, but that was time consuming for a lot of us.

Earlier this year, Dell announced two laptop lines with a lower price tag, the Inspiron 14 inch 3400 Ubuntu Edition and Inspiron 15 inch 3500 Ubuntu Edition series. All of them come with a slightly modified Ubuntu 14.04 LTS operating system and with options for Intel Celeron or Pentium processors, 2 or 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. All of the systems are very affordable at $225-$350 dollars.

UPDATE: After some research, I found that the Pentium processor in the 14 inch model does support up to 8GB of RAM. I swapped out the 4GB stick with an 8GB one I had from a ZBOX machine, and I am happy to report that it functions fine with 8GB! 

With that information in hand, I ordered a 14 inch system with the Intel Pentium  N3540 processor and 4 GB of RAM and received it just before the Independence Day holiday. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks poking and prodding it, and putting it through its paces.

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Run services (like MySQL) on demand with Ubuntu 15.04

stopstartThis is a followup to an article I wrote a couple of years ago where I covered how to start the MySQL server daemon on demand in Ubuntu. With version 15.04, the controller for services in Ubuntu has changed to systemd from upstart. Getting services to start when you want them is still fairly simple, though and I’ll illustrate the process by using MySQL as an example. Be careful when disabling services, because you could cause your system to become unstable if you disable the wrong one. For this tutoriaI I assume you have MySQL version 5.6 or higher installed and the server daemon starts up when you boot your system. Continue reading

Start MongoDB on Demand – Ubuntu

mongodbI use my laptop for development and testing on a number of different database platforms. And for a host of reasons, I like to keep programs installed locally rather than having to connect to another box whenever possible. That can present a challenge however because most database platforms want to start up when the computer starts up.  It makes sense (because typically these are server based applications) but I usually don’t want them to startup when I start the laptop up. My machine has enough to contend with when I am working without having to manage the overhead of several database, especially since I don’t always use each platform every day.

Recently, I started a project using MongoDB, and installed it via the Ubuntu Software Center. Because of some incompatibilities between Ubuntu 15.04 and MongoDB 3.0.4, the Software Center installed version 2.6.3. After restarting my laptop the next day, I noticed that Mongo starts when the laptop starts. Not good! So I poked around a bit to figure out how to disable this, and start it only when I want to start it. Continue reading

SQuirreL SQL Client for accessing different databases – Part 2

squirrel2In my last post on using SQuirrel SQL Client (aka Squirrel), I walked through downloading and installing it, and adding a connection to a locally hosted MySQL database. This time, I walk through using Squirrel to manipulate the MySQL database. I’m assuming you have the MySQL test database Sakila installed for this. If not, check out the documentation at the MySQL website.

  1. Open Squirrel, and from the Aliases tab on the left, double click the entry you setup in Part 1, for the MySQL database. The Connect to window will appear. In the URL field, make sure you have specified a database name. For my setup, the URL reads: jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/sakila
  2. Enter your password in the appropriate spot and click Connect at the bottom.
  3. On the main work area in the center of the screen, a new window will appear with A LOT going on. In the upper left portion will be a drop down list labeled Catalog. Currently the list should show “sakila” as the selected entry. (Even though all of the databases you have access to on the server will show up in the Object list, in order to switch to a different database, you’ll need to select the new database from the Catalog drop down list.)catalog
  4. Below the Catalog list you’ll see two tabs (on Mac OS X you-ll see buttons instead of tabs): Objects and SQL. If Objects is not selected, click on it to make it active. Below Objects on the left will be a search field, and then below that will be an object tree, showing the MySQL databases on the server you are connected to, and at the bottom, a USERS entry. To the right you’ll see a set of tabs, a large number of them being reference ones:
    • FUNCTION names for numbers, strings and time/date and
    • KEYWORDS – reserved keywords for the particular database
    • TABLE and DATA TYPES -lists of the various kinds of tables and field types the particular database supports.
  5. Depending on the RDBMS you are connected to you may see system maintenance tabs as well.

    SQuirreL SQL Client connected to MySQL database. Objects tab active.

    Please Note: None of the information displayed in the Objects area is editable by the user. It is read only.

  6. Double click the entry for “sakila” in the tree, to toggle it open and display its sub-tree. The tabs displayed on the right will change and only a few will be shown. The Info tab will give you some very brief Name information about the database. Click on the MySQL Open tables and you will see a list of the tables in the “sakila” database and if the table is in use and/or locked. Click on the MySQL Table Status tab, and you’ll get more information about each table and view in the database (MySQL Engine in use, how many rows in the table, etc).
  7. Double click the entry labeled TABLE under “sakila” to see a list of tables within the database. The window on the right will clear, until you select a table, so click on the first one, labeled “actor”.

    SQuirreL SQL Client connected to MySQL database with table selected

    • The first tab, Info again provides some basic naming information about the table.
    • Click the second tab (Content) and you can see the first 100 records in the table.
    • Row Count shows you how many records are in the table.
    • Columns provides information on the fields in the table.
    • There are several tabs showing information about Primary Keys and Exported and Imported Keys (Foreign Key relationships).
    • Several other tabs are also present, covering various settings and configurations of the database. Depending on the RDBMS you are connected to, what you see may vary.
  8. Below the TABLE entry in the Object list on the left, there is a VIEW entry. Double click that to see the VIEWS that are part of the database. In the “sakila” database there are seven of them, and clicking on each will update the window to the right with information about them. Of special interest is the last tab, labeled Source. Clicking on this will show the query that defines the view (very handy!)
  9. Below the VIEW entry, you will see one labeled PROCEDURE. Double clicking on this will show you the six Stored Procedures in the “sakila” database. Clicking on the name of any of them will provide information to the right on them. As with the VIEW section, you can see the source code for the Stored Procedure.
  10. Finally, below PROCEDURE, you will see an option labeled UDT for User Defined Types. If there are any UDTs defined in your database, they will display here. (Sakila has none).
  11. That’s the Objects side of the display!

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