open life blog

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Explaining Freedom (and Leningrad Cowboys) to a 5 year old

As we were driving the 9 hour trip to visit our parents, the childrens grandparents, for New Years, my wife at some point decided we had enough of childrens songs and inserted daddy's favorite CD: the live recording of Leningrad Cowboys Total Balaika Show in Helsinki, 1993. This historical and amazingly weird outdoor concert is perhaps best explained by you simply watching a few Youtube videos from the concert, but it brought together a Finnish punk band turned Soviet Union parody and the actual, very much official Red Army choir aka Alexandrov Ensemble. Wikipedia has more details, but just to underscore the historical backdrop: in 1994 they also performed in Berlin, while the last Russian troups were leaving Eastern Germany.

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MySQL learning resources

There are a few interesting learning resources recently created by activists in the MySQL community. I just wanted to link to them to spread the word. They are free and if you've been looking for a way to learn more about MySQL, you should have a look at these.

MySQL Marinate

This is something I haven't really seen done before (for MySQL): a virtual self study group. It is based on the idea of everyone reading the same book, and I assume Sheeri will then facilitate some commentary on what your read. Sheeri mentioned this in a blog post earlier, but yesterday I went to check the signup page and wow - there are already 117 (or 76, depending on whether you look to the left or to the right) students registered!

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Slides from Percona Live UK posted

Percona Live UK took place this week. It was the second year in a row and once again a great conference. Thank you Percona for bringing the show to Europe, it means a lot for the European MySQL community - many people who don't visit the Santa Clara conference were present in London. It's kind of funny, I even meet more Finnish MySQL users in London than I do at home!

I gave 2 talks. Slides are now posted on Slideshare:

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Blogging at codership.com

As a few LinkedIn friends already noticed, I have started working together with the Galera team at Codership. It is a part time "advisor" position and I still continue my full time work at Nokia, supporting various databases behind the new HERE.com portal.

We get a lot of requests for more blogs and better documentation to explain in-depth how Galera work. That's an area I will work on a lot. The first "deliverable" is out today: the first Galera white paper.

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Percona Live UK, Santa Clara 2013, Fosdem and other conferences

The Winter season for conferences is catching up speed.

DOAG

As I write this the DOAG conference in Germany is happening. It is one of the biggest (or the biggest?) Oracle user group conferences outside of USA. Many of my European friends in the MySQL space are talking there. As you know I have been a big fan of Galera Cluster for MySQL for over a year now, but I was perhaps a bit of an early adopter. Lo-and-behold, I was surprised to see the DOAG related press-release from SkySQL puts the creators of Galera first in their headline: Codership, SkySQL und weitere Top-Experten rund um das Thema ‘MySQL Datenbanken” in Nürnberg versammelt. Talk about crossing the chasm! Ralf Gebhardt, my other mentor from MySQL AB times, is speaking on MySQL HA solutions. Seppo, Erkan and Oli and people from Oracle are talking too.

Percona Live UK, Dec 2-3

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Requirements for secure voting

In my previous blog posts about Solon I have mostly focused on the high-level interaction between Solon and Liquid Feedback. Now it is time to dive into the good stuff: the cryptographic e-voting algorithms that scientists have been developing since the 80's. But first, we need to understand our requirements. What does it mean to develop a secure e-voting algorithm?

Most academic articles on e-voting algorithms will begin with a recital of requirements for a secure election or secure voting. The list is quite long, so sometimes an article may omit some of these, but there is a well established consensus that what I will write about in this post is what a secure election is about. I have taken this list from a really well written overview of different e-voting algorithms: "A framework and taxonomy for comparison of electronic voting schemes" by K Sampigethaya, R Poovendran, Computers & Security, Elsevier 2006. I recommend you read it if you want a deeper understanding on this topic.

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MySQL Conference & Expo Call for Papers - tips on submitting a great proposal

It's the time of the year again: You have 2 more weeks to submit a great proposal to the biggest and baddest MySQL Conference: Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo 2013 (Santa Clara). Like many things in the MySQL community, this conference has also gone through a transformation over the past 3 years. But last year the growing pains and uncertainty ended with Percona putting up a great show. Attendance was up again (over 1000) and there was a sense of energy and excitement for the future of MySQL. If you are like me and like to dwell in nostalgia (so that you can get into the right mood for submitting great proposals) my coverage of last year's conference is found here: part 1, part 2. (If you don't care about the nostalgia, remember that speakers get into the conference for free!)

Over the years many blog posts have been written about how to submit a great proposal for the MySQL Conference. By myself, Giuseppe, Baron, Shlomi, just to name a few.

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How to hook Solon secure voting into Liquid Feedback

In my previous blog post I explained the concept of delegated voting and how to make it work together with cryptographically secure e-voting algorithms. In this post I want to describe actual data flows of Liquid Feedback, and how a secure e-voting system like Solon could be hooked into it. For those of you potentially interested in contributing to Solon, I hope this gives a high level idea of the design.

Everything explained here already exists. The liquid_feedback_patch/ creates these hooks into Liquid Feedback Core and alters the calculation procedure so that it counts the externally provided results. The 0.1 version of Solon is able to support this data flow and gives you a simple UI to cast votes via Solon. The small detail missing is the actual "secure" part, the current version is just a mockup demonstrating the idea. After this post I intend to write more about the Acquisti e-voting algorithm that I intend to implement as part of Solon.

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