Ai Weiwei – Evidence

I was fortunate enough to have some free time earlier today evening, and headed over to the Martin-Gropius-Bau to catch the Ai Weiwei (@aiww)exhibition titled Evidence. This is the first time I’ve seen Ai Weiwei’s work as I missed it at the Tate Modern in London a while back.

He is a modern artists. Playing around with a lot of different materials to come up with his artwork. And he makes use of the Web. I guess his claim to fame is that he’s all for freedom of speech & expression (something that’s hard to do in China – a dissident he is, if you must), and the fact that he’s a documenter of modern happenings (everyone is interested at the amazing pace of growth in China – he shows that by video recordings of highways, or driving around and recording his journey as an example).

For me, I was really moved by Zodiac Heads (Circle of Animals). I would so grab the rat, tiger and dog as examples! 

China in ten years (I first went to Beijing in 2004 – it has changed a lot in a decade) has become a lot more materialistic. The car of choice used to be the Audi; it still is, but you find a lot of other luxury vehicles on the roads nowadays in Beijing. So the Han Dynasty vases painted with metallic paint from BMW & Mercedes was great for cultural insight. Culturally, the want of antiques is also high and the Table & Chest with stripped chairs was also interesting – remove 1mm sheen from Ming Dynasty furniture and they look like new. What is the purpose of antiques again?

I enjoyed his Study of Perspectives (a selection at moma) as well. He goes to famous landmarks and takes a photo with his left middle finger.

He portrays the disputed islands (between China & Japan). I loved the stools because they each tell a story (6,000 of them). I enjoyed his re-enactment of how he was held captive by the Chinese authorities for some time. It’s shocking to see how you would sleep with a light on, always be watched by security guards and have everything covered up – where you have to do your own laundry and the only thing you get are 6 hangers. Its sad to see that his studio in Shanghai was demolished at a moment’s notice – but he made artwork out of it. He showed the evidence that was confiscated (lots of laptops/video recorders/PCs).

A protest pre-demolition involved river crabs (he xie). Guess that’s the beauty of the Chinese language :)

If you get the chance to check Ai Weiwei’s work out, its well worth it and will take you a good 2 hours (read a review in The Economist). You can’t take photos inside, but you will leave with a lot of memories. If you can’t see this one in Berlin, check out a video: Ai Weiwei – Dumbass. At five minutes long, it makes my video of the week.

Korean MySQL Power User Group

If you are a MySQL power user in Korea, its well worth joining the Korean MySQL Power User Group. This is a group led by senior DBAs at many Korean companies. From what I gather, there is experience there using MySQL, MariaDB, Percona Server and Galera Cluster (many on various 5.5, some on 5.6, and quite a few testing 10.0). No one is using WebScaleSQL (yet?). The discussion group is rather active, and I’ve got a profile there (I get questions translated for me).

BBQ starters for tonight's DBA dinner in SeoulThis is just a natural evolution of the DBA Dinners that were held once every quarter. Organised by OSS Korea, and sometimes funded by SkySQL, people would eat & drink, while hearing a short message about updates in the MySQL world (usually by me, but we’ve had special guests like Werner Vogels, CTO Amazon; recently we’ve seen appearances by Monty, Patrik Sallner, Michael Carney where mostly all we do then is eat & drink).

So from meetups to getting information online, in a quick fashion. Much hunger for open source in Korea, very smart people working there on services feeding the population (where some even make it outside of the local market). The future of open source in Korea is definitely very bright.

Amazon EC2 Linux AMIs

If you use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), you are always given choices of AMIs (by default; there are plenty of other AMIs available for your base-os): Amazon Linux AMI, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Server and Ubuntu. In terms of cost, the Amazon Linux AMI is the cheapest, followed by SUSE then RHEL. 

I use EC2 a lot for testing, and recently had to pay a “RHEL tax” as I needed to run a RHEL environment. For most uses I’m sure you can be satisfied by the Amazon Linux AMI. The last numbers suggest Amazon Linux is #2 in terms of usage on EC2.

Anyway, recently Amazon Linux AMI came out with the 2014.03 release (see release notes). You can install MySQL 5.1.73 or MySQL 5.5.36 (the latter makes the most sense today) easily without additional repositories.

The most interesting part of the release notes though? When the 2014.09 release comes out, it would mark 3 years since they’ve gone GA with the Amazon Linux AMI. They are likely to remove MySQL 5.1 (its old and deprecated upstream). And:

We are considering switching from MySQL to MariaDB.

This should be interesting going forward. MariaDB in the EC2 AMI would be a welcome addition naturally. I do wonder if the choice will be offered in RDS too. I will be watching the forums closely

An encounter with Thierry Noir

Artist Thierry Noir with his first exhibition after a 30-year careerWhile looking for a coffee, at about 7.50pm, we popped into the Howard Griffin Gallery in Shoreditch. Looked at a lot of amazing work from Thierry Noir. Headed downstairs and saw some more interesting work, and then an unassuming man asked me if I liked the work. I said I did. He said thank you. I then asked him if he was the artist itself — he said yes! 

Here I was talking to Thierry Noir! I had seen his work years ago when I visited Berlin with my family (his paintings are still on the Berlin Wall, at the East Side Gallery). We chatted, he was very down to earth, and we talked about his favourite works. This is his first solo exhibition in this thirty year career! I picked up a book, he graciously autographed it in a way only he can.

He lives in Berlin normally, and funnily enough my next stop was to be Berlin :) Many useful resources are listed below, but if you happen to be in London, check out the Howard Griffin Gallery, 04 April – 5 May 2014.

Gallery closes at 8pm, we left shortly thereafter. Still amazed how chance sometimes just works out.

In other news, Richard Howard-Griffin, director of the gallery, is immensely young, probably discovered street artist John Dolan (wiki), had an exhibition earlier for George the dog John the artist (John is always seen with his dog George; now has a book deal, life’s changed tremendously for him), and now hooks up artists to do collaborations (John Dolan x Thierry Noir coming up soon). Wish I picked up some of Dolan’s works and it is amazing what Howard-Griffin has achieved.

Avatar update

I just updated my Twitter avatar to a caricature, created entirely on an iPad, in about five minutes, at the Percona Live Santa Clara expo hall, at the MariaDB/SkySQL booth. It was done by Doug Shannon, the owner of EventToons. I’ve seen him before at the SkySQL booths, but never did get a chance to get a caricature done by him. Kinda glad that I just got one. Let’s see how this works and for how long this lasts.

Colin

Book in Korean: Real MariaDB

Real MariaDBFor some months now, there have been some back & forth emails with Matt, one of the senior DBAs behind the popular messaging service, KakaoTalk (yes, they are powered by MariaDB). Today I got some positive information: the book published entirely in the Korean language, titled Real MariaDB is now available.

It covers MariaDB 10.0. Where appropriate, there are also notes on MySQL 5.6 (especially with regards to differences). This is Matt’s fourth MySQL-related book, and there’s a community around it as well. The foreword is written by Monty and I.

If you’re reading the Korean language, this is the manual to read. It should push MariaDB further in this market, and the content is relatively quite advanced covering a lot of optimization explanations, configuration options, etc. At 628 pages, it is much, much better than the Korean translation of the Knowledge base!


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