Writing Kindly

It makes me a bit uncomfortable when people say I’m a good person, because sometimes I’m actually a jerk! Thankfully, I’ve found that gentleness is a skill I can learn if I care enough to try, and I’ve gotten better at it over time. I’ve also found that when I’m nice and I focus on the positive, I get better results. Here are some things I’ve learned about how to be a kinder person in my writing.

Bird in Hand

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Forestry, a Static Site CMS

Forestry is a content management system that runs in your browser. On the backend, it integrates with a static site generator such as Hugo, letting you edit your static website in your browser just like any other content management system. I am writing this blog post with it on my iPad, using voice dictation.


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The Ultimate Pen

In The Ultimate Notebook, I reviewed a large list of notebooks I bought in my quest for the perfect one for me. (I’m happy to say that I’ve been using the Quo Vadis Habana in Raspberry exclusively for a while). But what about the perfect pen? Ah, pens. As much a personal matter as notebooks are. I’ve tried a variety of pens. Here’s my review of some of them.


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Making High Performance MySQL's New Website

HPM Cover

I recently updated the High Performance MySQL website to modernize it. I am impressed at how easy it is these days to get a great little brochure site hosted. It used to be a lot more work. I used a variety of tools and services to do this and decided to share this for people who are interested. Hopefully you’ll add comments and point me towards more tools and tips to make these things even easier for me in the future!

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The Ultimate Notebook

If you’re like me, you spend so much time typing on a computer that a good notebook or journal is one of life’s finer pleasures. I’ve kept a diary of my personal life for close to 30 years now, and I have a shelf full of journals. I’ve found a great many that I enjoy writing in, and choosing a different one each time is part of the fun.

TL;DR: The Apica Premium C.D. Notebook is everything. The Quo Vadis Habana is my previous pick, and I love them both.

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What's your opinion of High Performance MySQL?

The second edition of High Performance MySQL has 27 reviews on Amazon, but the third edition only has 5 so far. By this point I assume many of you have a copy and have read it cover to cover. I’d really appreciate your reviews – when purchasing, people look not only at the star rating but at the number of reviews. You can create a review here. And thanks!

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High Performance MySQL 3rd edition now available

The third edition is now available in ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats. Print format should be available early next week.

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What sets O'Reilly apart: attention to detail

O’Reilly isn’t the only excellent tech publisher, but they’re the one whose books most consistently give me pleasure to read. After going through the process of writing two books with them, one of the things that’s struck me is how much they invest into the thankless tasks such as indexing, proofreading, and copyediting their authors’ work. There are probably many steps in the production process – what happens after the author “finishes” the book – that I know nothing about.

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Get a free copy of High Performance MySQL 3rd Edition!

Want a free copy of High Performance MySQL, Third Edition? If you register before the early-bird pricing expires for the MySQL Conference in April, and use the discount code PL-Book, you’ll get to take a free copy home from the conference! VividCortex is the startup I founded in 2012. It’s the easiest way to monitor what your servers are doing in production. It does TCP network traffic analysis. VividCortex offers MySQL performance monitoring and PostgreSQL performance management among many other features.

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High Performance MySQL Third Edition pre-order available

You can pre-order the new edition of High Performance MySQL now on Amazon or via O’Reilly’s website. Eric Bergen called the second edition “the best MySQL book on the planet”. What will the third edition be called? The best in the solar system? This reminds me of a joke, supposed to be a true story: three pizza restaurants next to each other had signs saying “best pizza in town,” “best pizza in the world,” and “best pizza on this block.

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Status update on High Performance MySQL

The third edition is nearly done. I’ve committed first drafts of all chapters, and all but one appendix. I need to do the last appendix and then rewrite the preface, which is a few days of work at my current pace. After that, it’s the usual tech review, copyediting, updates to figures, etc – and then it’s off to production. I’m really pleased with this edition. I was planning on it just being a refresh of the second edition to reflect what’s new in MySQL-land, but it’s almost a complete rewrite.

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Progress on High Performance MySQL 3rd Edition

A few people have asked me how it’s going, so I thought I’d just share it with everyone. Things are going great. I’m writing much more quickly than I thought I would be, and as a result I’m finding I have time to do more changes than I thought I could, which makes me happy. I should be finished drafting the chapters by the end of the year. In particular, the faster than expected pace is giving me a chance to address one of the big weaknesses of the second edition.

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High Performance MySQL, Third Edition

I have just signed the contract for High Performance MySQL, Third Edition. The third edition will include major updates and new content in these areas: Recent performance and reliability advances, particularly in MySQL 5.5 and the InnoDB storage engine. A new chapter on using MySQL in cloud computing environments. Updates on modern hardware, including many CPUs, large memory, and solid-state storage. Improvements in clustering and high availability, including middleware and third-party solutions.

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High Performance MySQL in your language

O’Reilly tells me that translation rights for our book, High Performance MySQL Second Edition have been purchased in the following languages: Korean Russian Portuguese Polish Spanish Czech Some of them were sold quite a while ago, and some are more recent. Portuguese was the first. I’m looking forward to learning all these languages (except for Spanish, which I already sort of know) so I can read the book in them… in my copious spare time!

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Update on High Performance MySQL, 2nd Edition

I just thought I’d drop a line about our book. Sales appear to be doing well still: the book is still at Amazon sales rank 3,213 and seems to hold pretty steady there. A lot of people have discovered it and are recommending it – including members of MySQL’s professional services team. There are several positive reviews on Amazon (though if you like the book, a few more wouldn’t hurt either).

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High Performance MySQL is going to press, again

Apparently High Performance MySQL, 2nd Edition is selling quite well – I’m not sure exactly how well – because we’re preparing for a second printing. This makes me very happy. I don’t think they anticipated going back to the press for quite some time. The book fluctuates between sales rank 1000 and 2000 on Amazon during the day, and has reached as high as 600 or so. This is just phenomenal.

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What if you find errors in High Performance MySQL?

The book is done now, right? What’s next? Don’t tell my wife this, but a book is never done. Right now I’m proofreading the printed copy. I proofread PDF after PDF during production, but some problems will always slip through and make it to paper. I’m finding quite a few little mistakes. For example, at one point we refer to TPC as TCP three times in a row. Oops. These problems will be corrected in the next printing.

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What it's like to write a technical book, continued

My post on what it’s like to write a technical book was a stream-of-consciousness look at the process of writing High Performance MySQL, Second Edition. I got a lot of responses from it and learned some neat things I wouldn’t have learned if I hadn’t written the post. I also got a lot of questions, and my editor wrote a response too. I want to follow up on these things.

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High Performance MySQL is here!

The book, that is. My dog is already studying it. You should buy a few copies for yourself, your family, and all your pets.

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What is it like to write a technical book?

Update, almost a year later: Take this with a grain of salt. I wrote it after an incredible marathon of staying up most of the night for months on end. My take on it now that I have some distance from the project is -- I'd definitely work with Andy Oram and O'Reilly again, and I'd be able to make the process a lot easier for myself the second time.

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