It’s not all about you!

I want to start with a couple of examples.

A few years ago Oracle released the Exadata Express Cloud Service and I really didn’t get it. I mean I knew what it was, a managed cloud service based on a PDB on an Exadata, but I just couldn’t see it being of any use to me. Of course, big mouth that I am, I said as much. Then other people in the room that weren’t DBAs started showing some interest in the service and I thought to myself, “Oh, it’s not all about you!” 🙂

I had a similar experience about something mentioned during the ACE briefing yesterday. A specific feature that may or may not be discussed at OOW18 was presented to us. Many of the DBAs in the room got super intense about it, and I could feel myself making lists of possible problems and questions I needed to ask, then Simon sitting next to me said something like, that sounds really powerful. Once again I had brought all my baggage with me and couldn’t give things a fair hearing. I was already making judgements before I had even heard all the facts and seen it in action. What’s more, even if I decided it wasn’t for me, that doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone else.

As you may know, Oracle Database 18c XE has been released. The news was greeted by a number of different reactions. Some were excited about the release, while some were concerned about some of the “missing bits”. I understand where they are coming from, because I am often in this position also, but I wrote a tweet that said,

“People who use XE:

– People who want a smallish and functional Oracle DB for free in production.

– People learning, teaching, training. Options would be nice, but not essential.

– Professionals who have access to EE+Options, and want XE to have everything. :)”

I hope people didn’t take offence to that, because as I’ve explained before I also fall into this trap too. I agree there will be use cases that are affected by what is, and is not in this edition, but maybe those are not applicable to everyone?

You will see a bunch of stuff announced at OOW18 and Code One this week. Before you go off the deep end, ask yourself if it is actually intended for a user like you, and if you think there is a section of the market that will welcome it, even if you don’t?

Having said all that, I reserve the right to fly off the handle at stuff and completely ignore my own advice… Do as I say, not as I do. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

PS. It is all about me really! 🙂

Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2018 : Oracle ACE Director Briefing (and 18c XE)

I woke up at 02:00. I tried to got back to sleep, but by a little after 03:00 I gave up and got out of bed. I hit the gym for a while, but felt pretty dreadful.

I mentioned yesterday, I had helped some people with setting up Oracle Cloud. Since I was awake I grabbed some screen shots and wrote a couple of small posts so I could forward them to one of the folks, so they could remember what we did. These along with a couple of other posts I released a few days ago pretty much show how we set up a demo environment in a few minutes..

Pretty soon it was time to go down to the Oracle ACE Director Briefing…

Like yesterday, the meeting was covered by a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), so there isn’t really anything I can say about it, but during the briefing we were told Oracle Database 18c Express Edition (XE) had been released for download. I had previously done an 18c RPM installation on Vagrant, so it was pretty simple to modify it to do the XE installation in a similar way and leave it going while I was watching the sessions. Yay! Go automation! 🙂

I did my thing of not eating again, so I could stay awake during the meeting. By the end of the last session I felt pretty hungry, so I picked up a bag of cheese flavoured popcorn and downed that before heading to Chipotle (again). I think I’m done with Chipotle now. My vegetarian burrito had a huge chunk of meat in it, which I bit into and spat out. If it had been at the start of I would have demanded a new one, but as I had nearly finished I just walked up to the counter and said, “This is a vegetarian burrito and that is meat. Sort yourself out!”, then left in a bad mood.

I got back to the hotel and had about an hour before 19:00, when I was meant to go and meet people at some place about a block down the road. I made the fatal mistake of lying on the bed to watch TV for a bit, and waking up at 04:00 the next day. Sorry folks! 🙁 The fact I slept for about 10 hours, which is extremely rare for me, kind-of shows you were I was at by this point. 🙂

So that’s the first two days of briefings done. Tomorrow (today by the time you read this) is a “day off”, but I do have an event in the middle of the day and a dinner in the evening. I’ve also got to go through my three (and a bit) talks, because once the conference starts, there’s no telling when I will get time…

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I was forced to “disappear” Maria Colgan from the family because she came into the room and didn’t come immediately to say hello to me. If she is really good, and I don’t replace her with someone else, she may be allowed back into the family at some point in the future… 🙂

Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2018 : Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador Briefing

For those that never quite understood what an Oracle Developer Champion was, don’t worry about it because it doesn’t exist anymore. We are now called “Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassadors”. I think I’m allowed to use this logo now. If not, I might not be one for much longer… Doesn’t matter. I’ve got the swag now. 🙂

If you’ve followed my posts in previous years, you’ll know we sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) before we can be part of these briefings. They contain three distinct types of information.

  • Information about products that already exist, which you are allowed to share immediately.
  • Information about products that will be announced/released at OpenWorld and Code One, which you are not allowed to speak about until after the public announcement. Basically, they don’t want us to spoil the surprise about the announcement of the Oracle Games Console #OGC, but they do want to make sure we know what to see and why.
  •  Information about things that won’t be available for some some time, or maybe never. This will often include feedback from us folks to the product managers.

It’s sometimes a bit of a mine field to know what you can and can’t say, so I take the attitude that I’m saying nothing, even the things I think I can share, until I’ve heard someone say something on stage, or seen it in the documentation. I don’t need the stress, just to beat people to the punch by 2 days. After all, until it is generally available (GA) it isn’t real as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

Jen nominated me as Oracle Cloud support guy for the day. 🙂 I was helping a couple of people with their Oracle Cloud trials, and one person with ORDS authentication. Having a bunch of people in the room to share ideas and advice is really cool.

It was a long and busy day, that covered a lot of areas. I’m a generalist, so there are a lot of things that are relevant to me. I know some of the more specialised folks can find it quite difficult to stay engaged. It is what it is. 🙂

I avoided food all day, and drank loads of coffee and diet soda, so the time difference didn’t hit me so hard. At about 17:30 we got the coach from Oracle HQ in Redwood City to San Francisco. I dumped my stuff in the hotel room and went out to grab something quick to eat (Chipotle 🙂 ). Pretty much as soon as the food hit my stomach, my body and brain switched off. I went back to the hotel and crashed.

That was day 1 of the briefings done. Tomorrow (today by the time you read this) is the Oracle ACE Directors Briefing. Fun, fun, fun!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2018 : The Journey Begins

The day started at about 05:00. All I had to do was a quick check of my luggage and laptop bag, get cleaned up and get the taxi to the airport. I was still in the bath when the Taxi arrived. Doh! 🙂

The ride to the airport was fine. There were some problems with the baggage conveyors, which slowed things down at bag drop. The queue through security was quite big, but it moved fast, so there was no drama. I ended up having about 45 minutes spare before my first plane left. I was trying to catch up on emails where I came across one saying,

“Congratulations! Your scores for the session(s) below made you a top speaker at JavaOne 2017. With this honor, you are now considered one of the Oracle Code One Stars.

If you are attending this year’s Code One Conference, we would like you to attend the Oracle Code Keynote onTuesday next week where we will recognize the 2017 winners and have a short photo opportunity on stage.”

That was a surprise. Pressure it one to live up to it now. 🙂

The flight from Birmingham to Dublin took a minute (or 40). After going through Irish security I headed over to the USA pre-clearance security. This took quite a while, but once again no real drama. The security officer asked where I was from and when I replied “Birmingham”, they asked if it was true people from Birmingham are called “Brummies”, and asked if that was an offensive term. 🙂

Once through security I was in the USA, but still in Ireland. 🙂 I met up with Brendan Tierney and Tony Cassidy and we sat chatting until it was time for the flight. I got lucky with the seats and had a space next to me, which meant I could get the laptop out for a while.

During the flight I watched:

  • Solo : A Star Wars Story : I thought it was OK. I really liked a few scenes, especially when Han met Chewie. I don’t think there was a lot in the way of tension. That’s sometimes a problem with prequels, when you know who survives…
  • Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom : It doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, but it was still enjoyable.

Brendan had a row to himself, so I went talked *at* him for about 5 hours. I hope he recovers…

Landing in San Francisco was a lot easier than ever before, because the pre-clearance in Dublin meant I was landing as a domestic flight. No first port of entry security queues to worry about, although technically I had probably spent just as much time doing it in Ireland. Somehow it just felt easier. Standing in a queue at the end of an eleven hour flight is not my idea of fun.

Brendan and I were in the same hotel, so we got an Uber and pretty soon we were at the hotel . We all got together later to have some nibbles and drinks, then it was off to bed to sleep!

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 5.2.20

VirtualBox 5.2.20 was released yesterday USA time.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve only installed it on my Windows 10 PC at work. I’m trying to decide if installing it on my laptop, the day before I leave for OOW18 is a good idea. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Update: I bit the bullet and installed it on my laptop. Seems to work fine there tool.

Stolen Articles : Why do you make such a big deal about it?

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you will know I get pretty uptight about people stealing my stuff. When I point it out I will often get some comeback from people asking why I make such a fuss about it. Here’s why.

Let me start by saying I am not delusional about what I do. I don’t think any one article in isolation is so special compared to all the other stuff out there. There are a lot of people that do what I do. It’s hard to be objective about yourself, but I think I have a few things going for me.

  • I’m pretty good at deciding what not to include in an article. Despite what a lot of people say, the Oracle documentation is good. The problem is there is much more detail than most people need for their day-to-day job. I think what I do pretty well is remove a lot of the extra stuff and make it seem less daunting, whilst giving links to the docs for those that want to dig deeper.
  • I try to include small simple copy/paste examples to demonstrate what I am saying. This is completely down to the influence of people like Tom Kyte. I did not invent this style.
  • I keep revising articles to try to improve them. It is rare something on the website goes live and is never touched again.
  • Other people have come and gone. I’ve consistently invested in my skill set (23+ years) and my website (18+ years).

Every article is what I (Tim Hall) think is important about the feature. Every blog post is my (Tim Hall’s) perspective on the issue. There is a bit of me, for better or for worse, in everything that goes out there. Over the years there have been plenty of people who have offered to write for me. I could easily have, and probably should have, turned this into a site that required almost none of my time, had a bigger scope and probably made a lot of money. Instead it is just me and what I’ve created.

I guess the best analogy would be the difference between someone stealing a car you’ve bought, compared with someone stealing a car you’ve spent years restoring. Both are bad, but the second one is gonna feel a lot worse as it feels personal.

With all that in mind, when someone takes something I’ve spent my time to produce and in a few seconds publishes it on their website I get pretty angry. Despite what you might think, I don’t mention every incident. Most get dealt with in private, but occasionally I go supernova and take to twitter. 🙂

So that’s it. That’s why you sometimes see me go ballistic over someone nicking some crappy article. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

ORDS, SQLcl and SQL Developer 18.3 Updates (VirtualBox, Vagrant, Docker)

A few days ago we got version 18.3 of a bunch of Oracle tools.

Over the weekend I updated some of my VirtualBox and Vagrant builds to include these versions. If you want to play around with them you can see them on GitHub here.

I also updated my ORDS Docker container build, which uses both ORDS and SQLcl. You can find this on GitHub here.

I use this container for live demos of ORDS, as well as a demo for my “DBA Does Docker” talk, which I am doing at Oracle OpenWorld this year.

I put the latest versions of SQL Developer and SQLcl on my laptop. I’m doing an analytic functions talk at Oracle Code One this year. The demos use SQLcl on my laptop connecting to Autonomous Transaction Proccessing (ATP) on Oracle Cloud. I had a little bit of drama with SQLcl on Saturday, which turned out to be PEBCAK. I thought “SET ECHO ON” wasn’t working, but it turned out I had a “login.sql” file in the path that contained “SET TERMOUT OFF”. Once I removed that setting the demos ran fine. 🙂

I’m going to put a freeze on changing my stuff until after OpenWorld and Code One. Honest. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

ODC Appreciation Day 2018 : It’s a Wrap (#ThanksODC)

Yesterday was the Oracle Developer Community ODC Appreciation Day 2018 (#ThanksODC).

Big thanks to everyone who took the time to join in. Here is the list of posts I saw in chronological order. If I missed you out, give me a shout and I’ll add you. 🙂

As always, it was good to see some posts in languages other than English. I’m particularly happy about the “Blog Birthday” celebration for Flora B., who started blogging at last years event! 🙂

There were a few people who forgot to include #ThanksODC in their tweets. I think all got picked up and retweeted including the hashtag by me or someone else. If I missed any, please let me know. I laughed at the inclusion of #ThanksOracleBase in a couple of tweets. 🙂

Once again, thanks everyone for getting involved and of course #ThanksODC! 🙂

Same sort of time next year! Hopefully not so close to OpenWorld. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

ODC Appreciation Day : Effective Evangelism – Staying Positive

I’m coming at this year’s event from a different angle…

If you’ve ever been on the internet, you will have noticed negativity and drama get a lot of clicks. I try to keep the website, blog and my community contributions positive, but occasionally frustration gets the better of me and I launch into a tirade on the blog or on twitter. As soon as I do the hit rate shoots up. Drama draws attention.

In the short term this might feel good as you are getting more attention than you have previously, but it’s short lived and sometimes bridges get burned, leaving you in a worse position than you were before.

If you are in this for the long haul, you are far better trying to take the  positive approach. This doesn’t mean keeping quiet about stuff you don’t like, but the way you frame it can make a big difference. Rather than this.

“Feature X is crap.”

You might be better placed to write.

“Feature X would be better if… “

It’s not always easy, and I have some history of doing the former, but from experience I can tell you constructive criticism goes down a lot better than insults. 🙂

It’s up to you to decide how you want to contribute to the community, but I would suggest you try to build a positive community around you, and distance yourself from those that draw you to the dark side. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Application Express (APEX) 18.2 : Upgrades Complete

A few days ago Joel Kallman announced the release of Oracle Application Express (APEX) 18.2.

In a previous post I mentioned the updates to my Vagrant builds to include this version, as well as updates of Tomcat and Java. I’ve subsequently done the updates for APEX 18.2 on Docker too. If you are interested you can see them here.

In addition to this we’ve rolled APEX 18.2 out at work. We already had some installations of APEX 18.1, but many were stuck on version 5.1.4 because of time constraints. Now everything is up to APEX 18.2. We still have a range of database versions (11.2, 12.1, 12.2 and soon to be 18c) at work, and it’s worked fine on all of them.

I spied a couple of people asking about the upgrade process. There’s no difference to previous versions. In the past, if one of the first two numbers change you do a regular install. If it’s not one of those major version changes you download the patch from MOS and apply it. Since this is a major version number change, I installed it in the normal way and everything was fine. I’m not sure how this will work going forward, as I suspect all releases will start to use the new version format, so does that mean every release from now on will be an “install”, not a “patch”? Someone has probably discussed this already and I missed it. 🙂

I only have one little gripe about the upgrades, which is I have to run an ORDS Validate once it’s complete to make sure ORDS is working fine. It would be really nice if APEX could fix whatever gets broken in ORDS, so I don’t have to do it. It’s just one less step to do… 🙂

Happy upgrading…

Cheers

Tim…