August 1st, 2008


GiSTEQ PhotoTracker, so far my experiece is negative

I just bought a GisTEQ Phototracker Pro from ThinkGeek.

So far, I've been extremely disappointed.

It's a USB device, but instead of doing the smart thing and making it look like a USB storage device full of NMEA files, or even a serial device speaking the standard GPS seria NMEA protocol, it speaks a proprietary protocol. That's annoying.

It does come with a baroque and ugly Windows app that tries to be all-in-one photo album and slideshow app, that also does the geotagging. But I run a Mac or Linux. That's annoying, twice over.

But it does come with Mac software to download. Which I have downloaded and am running. Again, it tries to be an all-in-one photo album and slideshow app, that also does the geotagging. Again annoying.

Except that it doesn't actually work. When I try to use it to talk to the device, it fails. FAIL

All I want is something small I can carry around for a weekend, and then grab a NMEA track files from whenever I want, using whatever OS and machine I want.

I'm swapping emails with their support people, and am trying to be charitable and say that their clueless and incomprehension to a language barrier. Maybe they can get it to work for me.

Followup: all those megabytes of bloatware GUI apps are replaced by and outperformed by 2kLOC of perl scripts here, thanks to one Hartmut Schimmel. And it works on Linux and Mac. Most of the docs deal with configuring older Linux systems, and/or figuring out how it all works. But with just a few tweaks, it Just Works. Now I can get NMEA and GPX files from a small device I just keep near my camera.

In response to "The open-source job shortage"

Over in CNET, Matt Asay has posted an article The open-source job shortage, talking about large enterprises' need for developers with deep MySQL experience.

While he is correct about the need for talent with that skillset, there are plenty of effective solutions.

A number of months ago, Harper Reed asked me where he could hire MySQL talent, and I told him to take his existing staff, and run them thru MySQL training. That seems to have worked for him. That's now my stock answer when people ask where they can hire MySQL talent.

When you need to go up to the next level, get and read the book High Performance MySQL, Second Edition. The book is basically several of the very best MySQL people in the world, reduced to readable book form. If your staff will read that book, they will become people with "deep MySQL experience".

If training up your own staff is not on the roadmap, and you need someone to come in for a week to analyze and design a new system, or to do performance fixes to an existing system, you have many choices. There is, of course, Sun MySQL Professional Services. Or you can go to folks like 42SQL, or Proven Scaling, or Percona, or Open Query.

Or say you want operational ongoing DBAs, or have a panic situation and you need a DBA right now, there are outfits like Pythian and Blue Gecko. And if you are a hybrid shop, these two companies do both MySQL and Oracle.

In short, "using MySQL is risky because we can't find the talent!" is a solved problem.

Now, you might not want to pay the talent, but that's a different problem.

(Disclaimer and disclosure: I work for Sun MySQL Professional Services.)