MythTV Chapter Ready: The Easy Way: Installing MythBuntu

The The Easy Way: Installing MythBuntu chapter is now ready. This chapter provides an overview of a basic MythBuntu installation, which is something which wasn’t covered at all in Practical MythTV, as MythBuntu wasn’t ready at the time. MythBuntu provides a simple installation and configuration option for those people who want to build a new MythTV system from scratch, and want to hide the normal Ubuntu install.

Thanks to Michael Carden and Jost Stewart for their reviews of this chapter, as well as Paul Wayper for his comments.

MythTV Chapter Ready: Selecting Hardware

The Selecting Hardware chapter is now ready. This chapter details the benefits of starting small, how to select the right hardware for a MythTV system if you’re building one from scratch, and what the authors use for their MythTV systems.

This chapter was originally written by Stewart Smith, and this version was reviewed by Josh Stewart. Thanks as well to Julien Goodwin and Michael Carden for their helpful comments.

MythTV Chapter Ready: Introduction

The Introduction chapter of the online MythTV book is now ready. This chapter covers the definition of a personal video recorder (PVR), the components of such a system, the various alternatives that are available, why MythTV might be the right choice, and briefly explains the MythTV version number scheme.

Thanks to Michael Carden for doing a review on this chapter.

ImageMagick book – Chapter 4: Other ImageMagick Tools

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these chapter summaries here, and the reason for that is that I’ve been busy writing chapters, attending conferences, caring for a sick wife, and stuff like that. The book is still pretty much on track (I’m currently running about a week behind on the chapter deadlines, but I think I can have the whole thing done by the overall deadline).

Chapter 4 is an interesting one as it discusses all the tools which aren’t going to be covered elsewhere in the book. The reality of ImageMagick is that 95% of the functionality is exposed in the convert command, so you can discuss most things there. There are however some cool things which happen in commands of their own, and those are the things discussed in this chapter. The chapter is so early on in the book because I don’t want to give the impression that ImageMagick is a one trick pony, and because any book claiming to be a complete coverage of ImageMagick really does have to discuss them.

I wont go into a blow by blow account of what commands are covered, as that would be quite dull to read. Let’s just leave it as “the rest”.

Working on review comments for Chapters 2, 3 and 4 tonight

Michael Carden asks in a comment to my previous post to the book if I had considered making draft chapters available for public comment before printing. To be completely honest it hadn’t occurred to me until Michael suggested it, and it does fit well with all the open source stuff I have done over the years. It’s a hard call though, because there is already a review team of four or five, and there isn’t much spare time in the process because we really want the book published in time for Christmas.

This is why I’m going to say no this time to the offer of a more public review, and I’ll do my best to take that on board next time when I know more about how long this sort of thing can take (I’m actually only about two days over schedule at the moment, but I really don’t want to slip any further).

Sorry Michael.

Anyways, I’m working on review comments for three chapters tonight, which is one of the things that made me think about this more. I’m really rather surprised about how positive the review comments have been so far given how I feel about the manuscript (I’ve always viewed myself as a bit of a perfectionist, and it’s always possible to improve something, so it’s really hard to turn the chapters in on time, because that means letting go).

I have independently decided that I want to include more in chapters three and four though, and the review team without my prompting suggested more content for chapter four, so it’s now a case of sitting down and making that happen. Well, back to work.

ImageMagick book – Chapter 2: Basic Image Manipulation

I’m meant to be writing the rest of chapter seven tonight, but I thought I would warm up by continuing with my promised series of posts about the content of the book. The next chapter in the list is chapter two, which covers simple image manipulations. The idea was to get the stuff which everyone wants to do and cover it as soon as possible so that people can get some runs on the board (so to speak). In chapter two you will find an introduction to the bits of imaging theory that we need for the book (rasters, vectors, bitmaps, pixels, you get the idea).

Then I move on to talk about ways to change the size of images. This includes resizing, sampling cropping, scaling, thumb-nailing and so forth. We also discuss some interesting transformations like trim. Then we move onto making an image larger, before finishing up with how to process many images at once with ImageMagick.

It’s an interesting chapter in that it’s immediately useful, and goes through some interesting theory matters. It also sets the stage for the later coverage of all the other cool stuff you can do with ImageMagick. As a point of interest, this is also the chapter I wrote to determine how long it takes to write a chapter, which was an interesting experience.

Anyways, on with chapter seven me thinks.

ImageMagick book – Chapter 1: Installation and Configuration

I want to talk about the chapter I’m currently writing, but in order to do that in a way which makes sense, I really need to mention the chapters which are already written. Well, it makes sense to me at least, and this is my site, so I guess I get to do that if I want.

Chapter 1 of the book covers installation and configuration of ImageMagick on a variety of platforms including various Linux distributions, FreeBSD, and Windows. I didn’t cover MacOS, as I figured that most people who care will know how to use Fink, and I don’t have access to a Macintosh to write anything on.

I’ll write a summary of the other chapters I’ve already finished writing soon.