Medical Updates…

A couple of medical related bits of news. The only reason I’m writing about these in the blog is it means I don’t have to contact friends individually to tell them…

First, while I was at OpenWorld last year my sister-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A couple of operations and a few months of chemotherapy followed, all of which ended a couple of weeks ago. In the last few days she had a bunch of blood test and a full body scan and it looks like everything is fine now. No signs of cancer, which is great news. So now it’s a 6-monthly checkup for the next 5 years before she’s given the final OK. Fingers crossed.

I’ve been having my own minor medical issue over the last few months regarding my left hand. I just got back from seeing a surgeon today and it looks like I’ll be going under the knife in the next few weeks. The nerve damage I’ve already sustained is permanent and I need the operation to prevent it getting worse. Of course, one of the possible side effects is that they totally bugger up two or three of the fingers on my left hand. It’s not particularly nice being caught between a rock and a hard place.

It looks like I’ll have a scar between 4-6 inches long going across the elbow. I kinda like scars, so it will be fun making up stories about how I got it. At the moment I’m toying with the idea of telling people it was a snowboarding accident, since that sounds cool, but a shark bite is also in the running. It depends how messy the scar looks. I might ask them to make it look a bit Frankenstein’s monster, to add to the drama. πŸ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

A Hat Full of Sky and Going Postal…

The recent traveling as given me a chance to read some more Discworld books.

A Hat Full of Sky – Another mission for the new witch Tiffany Aching. A nice story, but like the other Young Adult Discworld books, it lacks a little edge.

Going Postal – Against his will, a conman called Moist von Lipwig becomes Ankh-Morpork’s latest postmaster. So does he make a go of it, use it to continue his life of crime, or make a run for it? I’m always hesitant when a new character is introduced, but this one works really well.

Cheers

Tim…

BGOUG Day 2 and 3…

I started day 2 a little later than the previous two days. After two late nights it was pretty difficult to drag myself out of bed. The presentation seemed to go down well. I managed to talk a little slower this time. πŸ™‚ I spent a some time after talking with some of the attendees, about some topics raised in the presentation, which is always good.

In the evening we went out to dinner were I was educated in the intricacies of the Bulgarian language as well as some of the marriage customs. You never know when this type of information will come in handy.

Day 3 started with a little surprise… Snow…

So I got to see summer and winter in one visit. Cool! πŸ™‚

I would like to say a big thank you to Milena and the rest of the BGOUG team for inviting me and running such a great event. It was a lot of fun and felt more like a family get together (without the fights) than a conference. I’d also like to thank Sve and Maria who helped me every step of the way, acting as driver, translators, tour guides etc.

I’m in Frankfurt airport now on my way home. It will be nice to get back to normal for a week, before my OU course in Slovakia, but I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll visit Bulgaria.

Cheers

Tim…

BGOUG Day 1

I got a message from JohnΒ  Duncan the day before yesterday telling me I had goofed up with my FTP package. Turns out I had uploaded the correct package body, but still had the old package spec. I tried to correct this 5 minutes before we went out the restaurant and managed to lose every copy of the package spec. I frantically tryed to recreate it, but had to leave with that half done. πŸ™

We went out the a traditional Bulgarian restaurant and stayed until a little after midnight. When I got back to the hotel I spent about an hour sorting out the FTP package and I think it’s now back in working order. There are two morals to this story:

  1. Don’t make changes to the website the day before you leave the country.
  2. Don’t try and fix stuff on the fly when you only have 5 minutes. It’s gonna end in tears. πŸ™‚

So I guess I went to bed at about 01:00, which meant I felt pretty rough all day yesterday. We had an early start because we had to drive about 200 kilometres to the conference. My first presentation was after lunch. I think it went OK, but I still need to speak a little slower. πŸ™‚

In the evening we had some food in the hotel restaurant, then the lights were dimmed and a DJ played a combination of traditional Bulgarian music and modern tracks. Lots of people got up to dance, but I was firmly planted to my seat. Eventually I was persauded to join in with a traditional dance, which was fun, if a little embaressing. Just as I thought I was getting the hang of it the music started to speed up, then I was lost again. A number of people said I did OK, but I think they were just being charitable. πŸ™‚

So day 1 of the conference went well. It was a long day, but it was good fun.

Cheers

Tim…

BGOUG Day -1

I’m now in the hotel in Sofia, the day before the Bulgarian Oracle User Group (BGOUG) Spring conference.

The flight from Birmingham to Dusseldorf took a little over an hour and ended with the smoothest landing I think I’ve ever experienced. Makes a change from the sort of the landings I’ve experienced recently, most of which felt like marginally controlled crashes. πŸ™‚

The flight from Dusseldorf to Sofia was smooth until just before the landing. The plane started to rock just as we were going to touch down and I thought it was going to get messy, but the pilot pulled it out of the bag and it was a pretty good landing again. Two flights in a row with no problems. Looks like the trip home is going to be a nightmare to make up for it. πŸ™‚

First impressions of Sofia are very good. The city looks very green from overhead, with lots of trees and parks. There are also some big and interesting looking buildings. I had just under 2 hours to take a look round before I had to get back to the hotel so I did a very quick pass of the city centre. I got some photos which I will post later if they look OK.

The city is swarming with police as there is a big energy summit on at the moment. Makes you feel extremely safe seeing lots of the police around. πŸ™‚

I got a numpty tourist injury already. I was walking along looking at some building and didn’t notice the curb. I tripped and twisted my left ankle. Hopefully it amused the locals. πŸ™‚

Off out for some food now…

Cheers

Tim…

FTP from PL/SQL: An Update…

I’ve put a new version of my PL/SQL FTP API (ftp.pks, ftp.pkb) live today. The changes are also reflected in the associated article.

Over the years a number of people have contributed suggestions and actual code for it. Where possible their names are reflected in the amendment history.

Cheers

Tim…

VMware ESX Server 4.0 Released…

I guess the Oracle-Sun news makes everything else seem pretty small scale, so the launch of VMware ESX Server 4.0 will probably go largely unnoticed.

I’ve used many of the VMware offerings (Workstation, Server, GSX Server, ESX Server, ESXi, Intrastructure etc.) and seen the demos of the advanced features and they are impressive, but I have to keep asking myself, what do the majority of people actually want out of virtualization? The answer always seems to be “basic virtualization”. I love all the management tools and extra features VMware offer, but do I need them at the staggering price they cost? No. Actually, all the functionality I need comes in the VMware ESXi hypervisor product. It’s a free bare-metal hypervisor that does the job and everything else is just bells and whistles. So if I were going the VMware route I would take the free option and use ESXi. πŸ™‚

Of course, there is another option. Without trying to sound like an Oracle fanboy (which I am), I can’t imagine running production virtualization with any product other than Oracle VM. Why? Because it does the job it’s meant to do (bare-metal virtualization) and it’s free. In that sense it is neck-and-neck with VMware ESXi. If you are planning to run Oracle software on your vurtual machines the support issue is much clearer on Oracle VM than ESXi, so the decision is really a no-brainer.

I’m sure there are companies that will need the additional functionality the VMware product set offer, but for many the latest iteration of the VMware products will be feature-creep gone too far. It will be interesting to see how this latest release pans out for them.

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Buy Sun Microsystems…

So Oracle have put in a bid for Sun… I suppose the next step is to release Exadata on their own hardware, but I’m sure HP have got some tight exclusivity contracts around this for a while at least.

I guess this purchase makes a lot of sense for Oracle due to their heavy investment in Java. Even though it’s Open Source, being the controlling force behind Java is good for them. The community gave Sun a rough ride over the control of Java. I wonder how they will treat Oracle.

If Oracle buy Red Hat, rather than just clone their product, they can have the full set now.

Can you imagine what OpenWorld will look like in the future? πŸ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Comments locked due to the horrendous amount of spam targeted to this post.

CLOUG – Final Thoughts…

So I’m back home and I have to adjust to normal life again. The CLOUG event was great fun and I hope to visit Chile again soon.

A big thank you to all those involved and all the attendees for turning up. πŸ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

CLOUG Day 2

The sessions I attended today were:

  • DB Time Based Performance Tuning – Graham Wood
  • A panel session about the Oracle ACE program. I was sitting in the audience for a while before I realized I should be on stage. You gotta laugh.
  • Creating a Technical Disaster Implementation Plan – Arjen Visser
  • Using Oracle Locator and Spatial with Application Express – Hans Forbrich
  • Advanced RMAN – Robert Freeman
  • My session πŸ™‚

The whole event seemed to go down really well with the attendees and the speakers alike. This is the first CLOUG event of its kind in Chile and Francisco did a great job of getting it off the ground, so I would like to send a big thank you to him. Everyone I’ve spoken too is looking forward to the next event in Chile.

A special thank you also to Lillian Buziak from Oracle who paid all of her own expenses to be at this event to represent OTN on their stand and in the ACE panel session. If anyone at Oracle is listening, you really should reemburse her expenses.

So now I’ve got a day off before I have to suffer the 2 flights to get home.

Cheers

Tim…