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Linux Journal July 2015, #255

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Issue #255, July 2015

Infinite Portal to the Universe, 12-Hour Battery Life

A few months back, I accidentally left my phone on the nightstand, and spent an entire day without my cell phone. It was a terrible experience. Don't get me wrong, I fully understand the concept of taking a vacation from technology. I also realize there are times when using a mobile device is inappropriate. The terrible part was that although I functioned perfectly fine, being disconnected was incredibly inconvenient. It wasn't until that day that I finally realized just how much more I can accomplish simply by being connected. As technologists, we all celebrate the awesome world of mobile computing, and this month, we devote Linux Journal to the concept as well.

Reuven M. Lerner and I both tackle databases this month. Reuven describes how to handle table relationships inside Django. If you're a Python programmer, Django is an incredibly powerful Web framework, and most Web apps rely on databases for their back-end data storage. My article is far less developer-centric, as I discuss how to interact with a MySQL database directly from the command line. Programs like PHPMyadmin and Adminer are great, but it's important for a system administrator to know how the command-line interface works as well.

Dave Taylor goes back to the basics with shell scripting this month and explains how to take advantage of functions. Separating parts of code into reusable functions is a very efficient way to program in any language, and with shell scripting, it also makes the code much easier to read and understand. Instead of focusing on software, in this issue, Kyle Rankin focuses on hardware. Specifically, he talks about the current 3D printing hardware in part two of his four-part series on 3D printing. Whether you've been fiddling with 3D printing since it became mainstream a few years ago or are just getting into the game now, Kyle's series will bring you up to date in no time.

Although many folks still think "Bluetooth" is the name of the wireless earpieces often seen on folks in power suits, we all know that it's actually just the wireless communication technology. Almost all mobile devices and computers have Bluetooth built in nowadays, and Alexander Tolstoy discusses how to take advantage of that availability. He shows a handful of hacks you can do to make use of that personal area network space with such a funny name.

Andrey Katsman takes a deep look at, well, everything. Specifically he discusses The Internet of Things, or how our entire world is beginning to join in a giant network. Andrey talks about microcontrollers, connectivity and how Linux is playing a vital role in not really taking over the world, but rather becoming what "the world" means. If you enjoy living in the future as much as I do, you don't want to miss his article.

Finally, Michael Pozhidaev dives into an important and fascinating topic. How do you best create a user interface for a computer that is effective and useful for the blind? So much of how we design interfaces is based on visual layouts, non-visual functionality often takes a big hit. Michael introduces us to Luwrain this month, which is a Linux distribution designed to forget about eye candy and focus on usability for those who can't see the eye candy anyway. By designing interfaces that are useful and effective for sensory input and output other than visual, ideally we can come up with better user interfaces in general.

Mobile technology is a buzzword that might be starting to lose its meaning in modern culture. We're getting to the point where most technology is mobile, and soon we'll either be wearing or holding in our hands all the technology we interact with on a daily basis. As I write this on a desktop computer, however, I realize we're not quite there. This issue explores a lot of mobile-related topics, and it also contains tech tips, product announcements, and many other useful items that all continue to blur the line between mobile and non-mobile. We hope you enjoy this issue, which you probably are reading on a mobile device! (As long as you remembered to charge it, that is.)

97 pages.

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