Dig to New Zealand…

It turns out, if I take a short trip to Olvera in Spain and dig a hole straight down I will eventually get to my mates house in New Zealand. This sounds like a much better idea than sitting on the plane for ages, and I expect the travel costs will be much cheaper! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner…

Cheers

Tim…

Peep Show…

I watched an episode of Peep Show on TV a few days ago and became an instant fan. I went out and bought a box set of series 1-3 and watched them straight away. Once series 4 is released it’s on the top of my list.

The camera work is novel because you are always looking through someones eyes, rather than the normal sit-com camera work. There is often an internal dialog of the character narrated over the scene, so you don’t just get what happens, but also what the character is thinking. This adds an extra dimension, especially during interactions with the opposite sex.

I can’t believe I had never noticed this program before now. Better late than never.

Cheers

Tim…

28 Weeks Later…

This weekend turned into a bit of a film and TV fest.

I went to see 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to 28 Days Later, at the cinema. In 28 Days Later the “Rage Virus” as released from a research facility and infected everyone in the UK, turning them in to shrieking, running zombies. I guess the idea was not dissimilar to Resident Evil. Anyway, the sequel starts 28 weeks after the initial outbreak. By this point all the zombies have starved to death and the US army help start the re-population of the UK, stating with the Isle of Dogs in London. Inevitably, it all kicks-off again…

Although the original film was relatively low budget, it was executed well. The sequel followed the same format. It was noticeably a higher budget film, but still looked rather gritty. It did make use of the “shake the camera to add excitement” technique, which is one of my pet hates, but it was used in the appropriate manner, so I can’t complain. It was quite a grisly film, but it worked really well and I enjoyed it.

I’d read a number of reviews that talked about it being a metaphor for the Iraq invasion. I think if you are looking for this sort of thing you are always going to find it. Personally I think it is total trash.

Cheers

Tim….

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End…

I’ve just got back from watching Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. I was expecting to have trouble getting in, as this is the first day of release in the UK, but there were no queues and some empty seats. It’s a bank holiday weekend, so I guess lots of people decided not the brave the first day queues and will go to see it over the next two days.

I must say, I really enjoyed the film. Like most films these days it was overly long, but in this case it wasn’t a major problem. Johnny Depp stole the show once more, but everyone else did a good job. Of course, there’s an opening for future episodes, but it also seems like a pretty good place to finish. I think they could easily dilute what is currently a pretty decent trilogy by trying to drag it out. I guess that decision will rely on the box office takings and the concent of the cast.

Cheers

Tim…

Schema Owners and Application Users…

I was trying to explain to a colleague the concept of using application users, rather than logging directly into the schema owner. Although it’s a very basic point, it seemed worthy of a write-up, especially because it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about Oracle. So here is it:

Schema Owners and Application Users

Cheers

Tim…

Blog Update…

I’ve been struggling for inspiration of late, so I thought I would change the theme of my blog in an attempt to inject some life back into things.

WordPress 2.2 includes “Widgets” which allow simple structural changes of the screen layout using a drag and drop editor.

 

You need a widget compliant template to use this, but making your template widget compliant is pretty simple. Just four lines of code.

Cheers

Tim…

Search Advertising…

Andy C has a nice post about the current Ask.com advertising campaign. I have to agree with him. Most regular folk out there simply need to know there is an alternative to Google, rather than being subjected to poncey advertising campaigns.

His post also reminded me that AltaVista.com used to exist. Of course, it still does exist, but it’s completely off the radar, so it might as well cease to be… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

It’s not simple, so don’t claim it is!

Rant Alert. The following is an unreasoned attack on the IT community in order to vent my frustration. I’m not claiming it makes any sense or it’s factually correct. It’s just how I feel today. Maybe I’ll feel different tomorrow…

I can’t help feeling that companies like Oracle are doing the IT world a major disservice by trying to make out that their products are easy to use. I have a quick newsflash… They are not!

This post is really a response to two things:

  1. My current work situation.
  2. Some of the questions I field on my forum.

From a work perspective, the mass exodus of people from my current company has left me having to deal with bits of technology that aren’t really my bag. It gets doubly annoying when I’m having to use bad support services to help me do really basic tasks. If software and hardware vendors were honest and made customers aware that they would need trained professionals to deal with this crap, perhaps people like me wouldn’t be left fumbling in the dark, trying to pick up the pieces.

From the Oracle forum side of things, I’ve really noticed a shift over the last few years and I’ve written about it before. The same type of questions are being asked as they always were. The difference is that in the past these questions were being asked by people trying to learn the technology. Now they seem to come from people who are employed as DBAs and developers by companies. I don’t believe the intellectual capacities of people have dropped over the years. I just think companies are employing under-skilled people to save money, or expecting people to cover roles they are not qualified to do. You wouldn’t let an electrician fix your plumbing, so why would you let this happen?

I don’t claim to know the answers, but I can see that the constant barrage of “point-and-click”, “intuitive” and “self-tuning” marketing messages are leading people to believe they don’t need qualified staff, and the result is a whole bunch of people asking how to recover their production databases from incomplete backups.

IT is getting more complicated and the range of skills needed in a company is getting bigger by the year. Companies need to be made to understand this or they will constantly be finding themselves in the shit!

Cheers

Tim…