Site Hosting Update : Two Months Down the Line

About two months ago I moved my website between servers within the same hosting company. The old service was being hammered, so I moved to a better dedicated server blah, blah, blah. There was some fallout from this, mostly focussed on lost emails, but I figured it was pretty much over.

Yesterday I received two emails from totally separate people asking why I was blocking their company proxies from accessing my website. I wasn’t. One of the guys got his company to do “something” to their proxy (squid) and they were able to access my site again. The other is waiting for his network folks to check their proxy.

That incident prompted this quick post, just to let people know how things are…

The website is available from these URLs.


If you try to use the following URL, you will get an SSL security warning, but if you accept it, you will be bounced across to the proper HTTPS address.

  •  (bounces to

From a Google indexing perspective, the main (canonical) URL is still “”.

Q1: Do I plan to move over to pure HTTPS?

A1: Not at this time. It’s taken about 2 months to get my page views back to where they were before the move. That’s not super important for me, but if that loss in page views was because people and search engines were having issues with the site, that is not great. As I’ve said many times before, I do the site for me and the fact that other people like it is a bonus. Having said that, I would rather not annoy people by changing stuff every five minutes. :) At some point in the future that move will probably happen, but it should be seamless. Redirects are a wonderful thing…

Q2: Does everything work on the HTTPS address?

A2: Almost. It’s not a super important issue for me at this time. As far as I can see, the main website and forum work fine. Currently, links to the blog fail on HTTPS. WordPress is kind-of anal about the main URL. You have to define the base URL and if you try and access it in any other way it is not happy. I did a quick search for solutions to this, but none were forthcoming. I’m sure it is solvable, but I can’t be bothered to spend any more time on it at this point. :) There will no doubt be lots of internal links that use HTTP, so you might jump back to that by accident. I’ll fix these over time, but like I said, low priority at this time. :)

Q3: Does the site work with IPv6?

A3: Yes. I got an email soon after the move saying that IPv6 access was broken. The web configuration wasn’t the problem, since it was listening on the IPv6 address as well as the IPv4 one. I had simply forgotten to open the IPv6 ports for HTTP and HTTPS. Once that was done, life was good.

So as far as I know, there are no outstanding problems on my side that would prevent anyone accessing the site. If you think there are issues (you probably can’t read this) I would like to know, but I would suggest you check on your side first. By that I mean, check your browser cache and company proxy cache are not the problem.

Anyway, enough of the boring stuff. It’s the company financial year end today, so I have to make sure we don’t blow any tablespaces and do the odd backup… Fun, fun, fun! :)



Learning for yourself!

This subject comes up again and again. See:

In a freaky coincidence, two people asked virtually the same thing of me yesterday and I answered each of them individually, but it paved the way for this post.

In the first case, the person asked me several questions about getting better at Oracle. This is part of my reply.

Q: What is the secret behind your knowledge in oracle?
A: No secret. I’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years and I’m constantly reading and trying to learn.

Q: How have you gained knowledge in oracle and able to answer our questions of your own?
A: I am not on my own. I have the manuals, MOS, and Google.

Q: There should be some tactics with you that how you could able to answer our questions .Please share with us to become like you in future.
A: Every time you have a question, try and answer it for yourself by searching the manuals, MOS and the internet. When you think you have the answer, test it to make sure you are correct. The process of getting the answer for yourself will teach you a lot. You will often stumble across other totally unrelated information, which adds to your total knowledge.

In the second case, I suggested the person start trying to answer questions for themselves, to which they asked what was the benefit of searching for themselves over just asking me. This is part of my response.

1) You are learning how to find answers and research for yourself. This is a very important skill. Do you think all the people answering questions know all of this by heart? We don’t, but we know how to quickly get information. Over time you start to remember stuff, but I rarely rely on my own memory. I nearly always look for a link in the docs to prove I am not mistaken, or remembering how things were in a previous version. It’s important you learn this skill if you want to get good at anything.

2) You might ask me a question when I am away from the keyboard, like when I’m sleeping, and you will wait hours for the answer. If you know how to find the answers for yourself you can work at your own pace.

3) Often, finding the answer for yourself is quicker than asking the question. For example, for that last question, if you had gone to Google and searched for “oracle uninstall” the first four links are:
– 2 document references.
– The OTN forum, where people link to my article as the answer.
– My article.

Chances are, you would have got the answer quicker than the time it takes to write the question to me. It would certainly be quicker than the time it took to receive the answer. :)

4) People on the internet might be wrong. You need to check everything I say anyway, so why not find the information for yourself. Even the manuals are wrong sometimes, so you always need to check. You might be reading an old article etc.

I know people think there is some secret to this, but there really isn’t. When I look at all the people I admire in the Oracle community, they have all put the hours in.



Scottish Independence

Anyone watching the UK news will know we are living in turbulent times. In a few days the people of Scotland will decide if they are going to become independent. I believe the people have the right to decide what happens to them, so if the “Yes” vote comes out on top I wish them well. What does seem interesting is people on either side of the debate making very definitive statements about the success or failure of independence when a couple of very important points are yet to be decided.

  1. Will an independent Scotland be part of the EU? *
  2. What currency will an independent Scotland be using? *

Of course, there are lots of other important questions, but just focussing on these two for a minute, how can anyone make any firm predictions about the success or failure of independence without at least knowing the answer to these questions up front? How can you predict the economic impact of a split without knowing this? This not only affects the internal economy of Scotland, but it seems like it will have a massive impact on import/export side of the economy.

I’m not a politician and I’m not an economist, so I freely admit that I have no clue about this stuff, but it strikes me that everything I’m hearing from both sides sounds like complete bullshit. If I were a Scottish person I would be really confused about which way to go, because there seems to be very little in the way of solid facts.

I really hope the Scottish don’t choose to leave us, but time will tell. It will certainly be a major talking point for quite some time!



* As Jason Arneil pointed out in the comments, both questions have been answered by the pro-independence folks. They say yes to the EU and yes to keeping the pound. My issue is, there does not seem to be a definitive answer based on fact. It’s just propaganda coming from both sides. My understanding is:

  1. There will be no definitive answer to the EU issue until after a successful Yes vote, because negotiations with the EU will not start until after the result is known.
  2. The big 3 parties in the UK currently say they will not accept an independent Scotland using the pound. The Yes camp suggest this is a bluff.

As I’ve said, I’m not an expert in this and both sides are doing a propaganda assault at the moment, so it is hard to know the real truth, but it seems to me there is no consensus on the “real” answers to these questions. If I was a voter in this, I would have no clue what the reality of this situation is.

Altering Hosting Service : The Gift That Keeps Giving

I moved my website to a new dedicated server about 3 weeks ago. As well as the usual DNS nonsense, I found out today that a whole load of emails have been blocked…

I have a mailbox at the hosting company to handle all my email. That all gets sucked into Gmail. That’s the way it has been for ages and life has been good. Since I made the move, the “new” mailbox looked like it was working fine, but I hadn’t noticed the spam filtering was turned on to a really high level and it was blocking loads of good emails. As a result, a lot of really important emails were gathering in the spam folder of my mailbox at the hosting company, something I never check.

I’ve now turned off the spam filtering on that mailbox, so it all gets sucked into Gmail and that handles my spam, the way it always did…

I’ve been working through the emails this evening, but it is highly likely some have fallen by the wayside, so if you were trying to send me something important over the last few weeks and I’ve not replied, it’s possible I’ve not actually received it. :(

This all came to light because people were talking about the ACED OpenWorld emails, which I hadn’t got. :( Thanks to some emails from Debra and Doug (who was mostly at the pub) and some Twitter DM-ing from Vikki, I got the information, registered for OpenWorld and booked my hotel. The deadline was tomorrow. Phew! :) Just got to sort the flights now….




LinkedIn Anniversary Messages

Thank you to everyone who has sent congratulations messages via LinkedIn, but I think LinkedIn might have mislead you somewhat… :)

When I left a previous job I switched my LinkedIn profile to say I was employed by That was in August 2008. I’ve never changed it since then, so now it says I’ve been “employed” by for 6 years, hence the “anniversary”…

I bought my first domain and started putting articles on the net in July 2000. In August 2001 I renamed the site to, so depending on how you look at it, the site is a little over 14 years old, or 13 with the current name…

So to everyone that has sent me a message congratulating me on my 6th anniversary, thinking that’s how long the website has existed, I would just like to point out is it the 14 year anniversary. :)

For those that think I’m employed by, I’d just like to point out I’m not. I’ve got a regular job and I do the website for fun in my spare time. That’s why when you write to me asking for a job at, I always say no. It’s not a company. It doesn’t employ anyone, not even me! :)

Anyway, sorry if LinkedIn has confused you, but thanks for the messages of support anyway. It’s very kind!



Just Don’t Call It Science!

I’ve had two rather frustrating conversations recently with people who have claimed “science” and “proof” where it is totally inappropriate. One was regarding a 3000 year old religious text. The other was a bunch of medical-related blog posts. In both cases, the people were making very valid points and thought they were backing up their stance with “scientific proof”. The problem was, by inappropriately playing the science card, they made themselves and their beliefs sound stupid. Like I said, in both cases they were making very valid points, but their supporting arguments were just plain dumb!

I really do feel most people out there do not have a clue what science and scientific methods actually are. Just to bring this closer to home, I would just like to make this point. Please read this next line and the following explanation before you feel the need to comment…

I don’t think there is an Oracle blogger that I follow that is writing blog posts worthy of being called “science”.

That comment is not meant to shock and offend. I’m not trying to sound elitist, because I certainly rate much lower on the science scale than many other bloggers. The point of that comment is to put things into perspective. The scientific approach to gathering, validating and presenting information is a very formal affair. If you’ve experienced a research-based (not taught) Masters or PhD you will have just scratched the surface of what I’m talking about. If you’ve not experienced science to at least that level, I’m not sure you are really in a position to judge the extent of what people mean when they say “scientific proof”.

At this point I think the audience response will be split amongst these types of reaction.

  • People who saw the word “religious” in the second sentence, instantly jumped to a conclusion about what this post is about and either stopped reading or started to prepare their counter argument.
  • People who have a “favourite blogger” who *they believe* to have a super-scientific approach to Oracle and are desperate to tell me so.
  • People who follow “popular science” and believe the watered down crap they present in those articles and documentaries resembles real science and therefore think they know about science and think I’m talking crap.
  • People who just don’t give a damn and will happily call what they read in blog posts and wikipedia science, regardless of source, scientific approach etc.
  • People who understand what I’m talking about and realise we all just producing useful and informative content, but are not living up to the rigorous standards that would be required to call our tests and content “science” or “scientific proof”.

I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, educated or not, but what I find it really hard to tolerate is when people start playing the science card where it is not appropriate. Do that and I’m gonna call bullshit every time!


Tim… (Not a “Computer Scientist”, “Data Scientist”, “Software Engineer”, “Data Architect” or any of those other bullshit titles that offend the professions they reference)


F5 Load Balancer Training Course

I’m on an F5 Load Balancer training course for the next 3 days.

I have no idea what to expect and to be honest, I really don’t think I should be here. :) With the exception of a bit of fiddling with Apache reverse proxies, I don’t really know anything about this stuff, so I’m not sure if this will go over my head or be intensely slow and boring…

If anything comes out of it worth blogging about I certainly will.

Chertsey is like a seaside town. It’s full of cafes, restaurants and odd little shops. When I was searching for a place to swim Google came up with loads of pool installation and maintenance companies, so I think it’s a pretty rich area. I found a local swimming pool, but I’ve had to remortgage my house to afford to swim there. :) I went this morning at 06:30 and it wasn’t too crowded. It’s unusual to find a private gym with a 25M pool. Most of them in the UK have tiny little things that you can’t swim in. It was a bit on the warm side, but then I guess you have to expect that when it’s not a training pool. Hopefully I won’t be too much of a slob by the time I get home.

I’m thinking I might do a cinema visit every night to play catch-up.



How to ask a question: The optician edition

I’ve just returned from a rather awkward and unpleasant visit to the optician…

Let me start by saying this is the same optician I’ve used for the last four years. I don’t think we would ever be capable of being friends, but I don’t have to like someone to “work with them”. That’s what being professional is all about. It’s only once a year, so before now I’ve never felt the need to go elsewhere. That has probably changed now.

Issue 1:

  • Optician: Look at the black spots. Do they look blacker with or without the lens?
  • Me: Neither. They look the same.
  • Optician: That is impossible.
  • Me: With the lens the spots look bigger and more defined, but the “intensity of the blackness” is the same. Do you mean which look clearer, or do you mean the which actually look “more black”?
  • Optician: Stop overcomplicating it. Do they look more black with or without the lens?
  • Me: Neither. Like I said, the “level of blackness” is the same, but the clarity is different. What are you asking for, the “blackness” or the clarity.
  • Optician: Can you just answer my question?
  • Me: I can’t answer the question unless I understand the question.

Issue 2:

  • Optician: Look at the two sets of stripes. Which look clearer?
  • Me: Where should I be looking? If I look at the vertical stripes they look very clear and the horizontal stripes look burred. If I look at the horizontal stripes, they look clear and the vertical stripes look blurred. If I try to look between the two they look equally clear/blurred. What do you want me to do?
  • Optician: Please just answer my question.

Issue 3:

  • Optician: Look at the “+” symbol. Do the lines above and below line up in the centre of the “+”.
  • Me: The top one does, but the bottom one is kind-of jumping between being in line and being slightly out of line. Also, the bottom one sometimes goes very pale.
  • Optician: Please don’t give extra information. Just answer my question. Do they line up.
  • Me: If the bottom line is moving between sometimes lining up and sometimes not, what answer should I give?
  • Optician: Do they line up or don’t they?
  • Me: Sometimes.

Issue 4:

  • Optician: Can you see the improvement by using this lens when reading 5pt font at this distance.
  • Me: Yes.
  • Optician: That means you should probably consider having your glasses adjusted to allow for that.
  • Me: OK, but I never read something that small at that distance, so does it really matter?
  • Optician: Well, I’m not able to test you for 10 hours straight at your normal resolution to see if it is giving you eye strain.
  • Me: I’m looking at a monitor pretty much from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. If this were an issue, would I feel like I had eye strain?
  • Optician: I’m telling you it’s a issue.
  • Me: I understand that. I’m just trying to get an handle on if my current reading habits are affected by this, or is it only an issue if I want to do something I never do?
  • Optician: Well, you will probably just change the resolution of your screen to counter it.
  • Me: Well, I’ve not changed the resolution of my screen and I am not feeling any noticeable eye strain, so do you think it’s actually an issue?
  • Optician: I’ve just shown you it is an issue. You said the print looked clearer.
  • Me: Yes, but only when I do something I never do. My point is, is this affecting my “normal” life or are we trying to fix a problem that has never and probably never will manifest itself?

Maybe someone will read this and think I was being a complete jerk, but I was genuinely unable to understand some of the things I was asked to do. What’s more, when I asked for clarification it was not forthcoming.

On my way home I was thinking how similar this situation was to things that happen in the IT world. People are generally really bad at asking questions (see here) and very quick to complain when they don’t get the answer to the question they think they have asked…



PS. On a brighter note, swimming went well this morning. I’ve started to incorporate sprints into my sessions.

Site Maintenance Complete!

It looks like the site maintenance is complete and from my perspective the DNS changes have gone through.

If you go to the homepage and see a message called “Site Maintenance” in the “Site News” section, it means you are being directed to the new server. If you don’t see that it means you are still being directed to the old server and you won’t be able to read this. :)

I guess it will take a few hours for the DNS changes to propagate. Last time I moved the site it took a couple of days to complete for everyone.



Planned Maintenance This Weekend!

Just a quick heads-up to you folks…

On Saturday I’ll be transferring my website and blog to a new server. It’s with the same hosting company, so hopefully the DNS changes will not be too drastic.

The site is already in place on the new box and it seems to be working fine, so on Saturday morning I will do a backup of the MySQL databases and transfer them to the new machine, then initiate the DNS change.

The last time I did this, which was between different hosting companies, there were some issues in some geographical regions for a couple of days, but most people were seeing the site as normal within about an hour.

Note. If you happen to post on the forum or comment on a blog post during Saturday, it might be lost depending on the timing. Also, my email address my go wonky for a little while…

Fingers crossed… :)