[sf-lug] BALE is updated and useful

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri May 2 23:41:03 PDT 2008

Quoting jim (jim at well.com):

> BALE (Bay Area Linux Events) is back. 
> http://linuxmafia.com/bale/ 

There are actually three groups that still need to be added, to make the 
calendar as comprehensive as I currently intend:

CSUEB LUG (Hayward)
Bay Area OpenSolaris UG
SoCoSA (Sonoma County Sysadmins)

Also, the three months currently shown are, so far, strictly generic 
entries from event templates, without (yet) being customised for the
month-specific data like name of speaker, subject of presentation, and
so on.  

To explain, after maintaining BALE for years 100% manually as raw HTML
using vi, I got smart and converted it to a modest PHP-generated page
that draws data from a MySQL database.  The database has three tables

groups:  Decriptive data about each group.  Includes city.
eventtemplate:  Template for each recurring event that any of the 
                groups operates.
events:  Generated events.  See below.

Once per month on the 1st of the month, a system cronjob runs a modest
little Python script (/usr/local/bin/newmonth.py) that runs MySQL
lookups to find each event template and generate, for each month inside
the current 3-month horizon, dated events which then get written to the 
"events" table.[1]

newmonth.py spent quite a long time, until two days ago, being
mysteriously broken.  Turned out, the script was fine when written (for
MySQL 3.x.)  Incrementally upgrading my server over the years eventually
made the MySQL package go from 3.x to 4.x -- and I was unaware that SQL 
INSERT statements that worked just great in 3.x would silently fail in
4.x unless followed by a COMMIT statement.  Grrr.

Anyway, newmonth.py having run, now I have three months of events to 
customise -- making them non-generic.  To be done Real Soon Now, along
with adding the three missing groups and double-checking everything.
(In some cases, I also will probably delete a number of generated events 
manually.  An example would be the Silicon Valley BSD User Group, which
hasn't been having meetings because Jesse Monroy who runs it says
they'll occur only if some other member calls one -- but nobody has Web
site access but him.  I haven't deleted the listing because I need to
discuss the matter with Jesse first, but I'd want in such cases to
either delete the listed event or heavily annotate it to warn that 
you might be the only guy there.)

[1] Also, I add special non-recurring events manually, as I find out
about them.  (Before someone asks, the criterion for inclusion is
utterly and unapologetically subjective:  It's basically a "calendar of
technical-interest events Rick finds interesting and worth listing.")

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