My Dell laptop lives again…

I’ve been having a little trouble with my Dell Inspiron 9400 laptop. Every few minutes the screen would go really dim, like it was in power save mode. Switching it to standby and back or remote desktoping to it would kick it back into gear, but that’s not exactly helpful.

Yesterday I rang Dell to see how much a fix would be (it’s out of warranty by 5 months). It’s a 17 inch 1900×1200 screen, so I knew it wouldn’t be cheap. The answer was £210 to get the screen fixed, or £120 to buy extended warranty for 3 years. I paid for extended warranty and the nice Dell engineer came this morning and replaced my laptop screen. So far, all is well.

Now the cynic in me says the screen shouldn’t have broken within 17 months of purchase, but on a positive note, it’s cool of Dell to let me buy extended warranty on a broken laptop and save £90 straight away, not to mention the cost of fixing anything else that might go wrong in the next three years. Pretty cool and it saves me having to buy a new laptop.



The Dark Knight…

I feel a certain dread at posting this because I suspect I’m going to get numerous comments from haters, but I wasn’t all that impressed with The Dark Knight. It was overly long, a bit whiny and moralistic and definitely took itself too seriously. A movie should be more than the sum of it’s parts and The Dark Knight isn’t. In fact, I would say it’s less.

Heath Ledger plays the Joker well, but posthumous Oscar? Give me a break. Nutter in makeup doesn’t equal Oscar in my book. I think people are too wrapped up in the fact he’s dead to judge his performance realistically. It’s good, but it’s not great.

Everyone else did their jobs well and some of the scenes were OK, but it just didn’t bring anything new to the table as far as I was concerned. For want of a better term, it didn’t push the envelope. It’s probably the best of the Batman films, but that’s not exactly hard.

Of course, the massive box office success and frenzied reviews mean the franchise will continue, but I won’t be clamoring to get to the next installment.

On a positive note, it reminded me just how good Iron Man was.

Remember, it’s only my opinion. You don’t have to agree. 🙂



Scheduler Enhancements in 11g…

The latest article in my OCP revision notes has surfaced:

The detached and lightweight jobs look fine, but I’m not totally happy with the remote external jobs. I don’t think they quite live up to their promise, and they seem like a security issue waiting to happen. I assume Oracle don’t expect you to use remote external jobs if you have grid control, or you will end up with a couple of agents on some servers. 🙂

Quite a glaring omission is the lack of integration of the new features into Enterprise Manager. For many people, if it’s not in Enterprise Manager, it doesn’t exist.

I’m hoping a few loose ends will get tied up in 11g Release 2.




WALL-E is probably one of the most impressive CGI films I’ve ever seen. The first thing that struck me was how realistic everything looked. At times you could be fooled into thinking it was live action with a computer generated character superimposed. That’s Pixar Animation Studios for you. The second half of the film looks less real, but that’s due to the nature of the scenery, not the quality of the animation.

The story isn’t too bad. It’s quite funny at times, but overly mushy in my opinion. I’m not totally sure what the target audience is for this film. It’s a “U” rating, but I can’t see my nephews being happy watching it. At the start there are long periods where it’s visually interesting, but not entertaining as such, so I don’t think it would hold their attention. The cinema was deathly quiet for most of the film, so I guess the adult audience were hooked. The second half of the film becomes more like your standard kids cartoon. I guess you could say it feels like a film of two halves.



More Server Builds and Presenting…

Server Builds

My room is full of servers again. I’m still rebuilding loads of kit to send to the new site. Yesterday I installed RHEL4 on two servers ready for 10gR2 installations, and RHEL3 on three servers ready for AS10g (9.0.4) installations. The versions, especially App Server, may sound strange, but this is to duplicate the current environment, so my hands are tied. 🙂

The three application servers are all going to be installed as 1 node clusters, so we can configure and test them before releasing the remaining nodes. Just trying to reduce the impact of the move.

Hopefully, by the end of today we will have at least one node for every layer in the new production and test environments.

It’s not long until I leave this company, so I’m really keen to get everything moved and bulletproof.


OpenWorld: Booked, and I’m ready to go.

AUSOUG: I’ve just received confirmation of my conference presentations in Australia. I’m presenting two papers at both the Perth and Gold Coast events.

NZOUG: I’ve been confirmed for the New Zealand conference in Rotorua, but I don’t know how many papers I’m presenting yet.

One of my friends is trying to sort out a presentation at a local user group in New Zealand after the main conference is over. Seems a shame to go all that way and not do as much as possible.

So it looks like the world tour is back on. 🙂

By the end of the year I will have been to Austria, Denmark, Estonia, America, Australia and New Zealand. I guess this seems a little tame for some of the consultants out there, but for a regular Joe DBA / Developer from Birmingham it seems a bit crazy.