Becoming Steven Feuerstein…

Boneist just informed me that links from my site to my Oracle ACE profile were linking through to Steven Feuerstein’s profile. 🙂

Here’s the link I’ve always used for this profile. It’s been on my blog, website and forum for years and worked just fine when I’ve clicked the links in the past.

If you click that link you’ll see it’s now Steven Feuerstein.

I did a new search on my profile and the URL is now this.

The key component is the two digit number at the end. Seems I used to be 43, but now I’m 41. Freaky. 🙂

I wonder how long that has been happening. 🙂



Let me search the Oracle documentation for you!

You sometimes get questions that are easily answered by a Google search, so you give people a link to, like this.

As a homage to I’ve created a documentation search.

If you specify your search it gives you a URL you can pass to others. When they use the URL it shows them what they could have done rather than bug you. 🙂

Update: It now uses TinyURL, like this

It’s a little basic to look at, but it made me laugh. 🙂



Apple iPad… I just don’t get it…

I’ve been using a Mac for a while now and I’m still waiting for it to change my life. It’s no different for me than any Windows or Linux box. Just a box to run a browser and SSH sessions from. The only thing that distinguishes it from the other stuff out there is the box is really pretty. The content is no big deal. I don’t find it easier or harder to use than anything else. Tastes vary, but the OS is not particularly prettier or uglier than anything else I’ve used. Added to that, I believe the iPhone is just another smart phone, not a lifestyle. Now you know where I stand, here are my first impressions of the iPad.

The iPad looks like a really nice way to view information, but I just don’t see how it fits into my life. Of course my lack of understanding is explained by this quote from the advertising blurb.

“Exceeds your ability to understand”

I see. I’m just not clever enough to understand that I need it. I better not announce to the world that I don’t understand or I’ll prove I’m stupid. Isn’t that like The Emporer’s New Clothes? Well I for one don’t understand…

Here are some of the things I’m confused about:

  • No phone functionality? So I have to carry my phone and this around, but if I have an iPhone I can do most of this stuff anyway (but with a smaller screen), so what’s the point of having both?
  • No keyboard? I just don’t see it as practical to do any of the non-work stuff I do without a real keyboard. Of course I’ve not tried this screen, but typing on touch screens sucks. I need physical feedback to type at any speed. If I have to use a separate keyboard to feel comfortable, what’s the point? If you are predominantly a viewer of information, fine, but if you have to produce anything I can’t see this working.
  • No lid? How long is that screen going to stay unscratched? I can see those who have Compulsive iPhone Polishing Disorder going mad with this thing. Of course it’s great for the manufacturers of accessories who will no doubt produce a multitude of covers and lids.

So what does it do well?

  • It looks really neat for viewing existing content. Browsing, reading, casually information retrieval.
  • If you are a big traveller, it looks like an improvement over the Kindle for reading.
  • For travellers also, it beats watching films on an iPhone, but I’m not sure it is better than a laptop. Why? Well a laptop is free standing on the fold down table. I’ve got to hold this thing or rest it against something and risk dropping it if I fall asleep it’s going to annoy me. I see an opportunity for a iPad stand for plane tables. 🙂

My biggest stumbling block is many people I know would still need a phone and laptop if they bought an iPad, so what’s the point?

I’m torn between thinking it is cool and wanting one, but ultimately knowing it is pointless. I would consider having one in the living room, lying around so I can casually look something up on the net, or quickly check my emails, but that’s about it. The problem is it’s not as portable as a phone and not as flexible as a laptop. This middle ground always confuses me. I’m sure this will be a natural fit for some people, and this years accessory for others, but I just don’t get it…



Update: This is funny Next from Apple: The Pocket iPad.

A Prophet…

A Prophet is not an easy film to watch. Kid goes to prison and gets involved in organized crime. Sounds kinda simple, but it can be hard work. For a start, the film is in French and subtitled, but the lead character speaks French, Arabic and later some bits of Corsican. Now if you are a French speaker, you will probably recognize some of the language changes and therefore understand which people in the room understand each other and which people do not. As I was just reading the subtitles, a couple of times I was thinking, “Why is he saying that to person X when person Y is in the same room?”, only to realize that person Y didn’t understand that language. 🙂

Added to that the film is very violent. We are not talking Hollywood pretty violence or Tarrantino designer violence. It is dirty, grimey sickening violence. There is no attempt to make it palatable or glamorous. It’s horrible, like it would be in real life.

That all sounds pretty damning, but it the story is interesting and I think it is worthy, it’s just not wholesome family viewing.



“Your browsers are bad and you should feel bad”

I had a little rant about IE and Flash yesterday. Later in the day I was at a friends house and he pointed me at this Early Look at IE9 for Developers blog post.

The interesting point is the feedback way outstrips the blog content and it’s a lot of it is negative. The fact Microsoft’s browser market share is dropping means that more than ever they must start listening to feedback. If not they will lose the war that they’ve been winning for so long.

As for the title of this post, that’s my friends favorite comment on the blog.

re: An Early Look At IE9 for Developers

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 1:30 PM by Justin

Your browsers are bad and you should feel bad.



When is 49 minutes not 49 minutes?

Answer: When you are doing the Snow Leopard upgrade on your MacBook Pro.

To be fair, once the progress bar started to move it did take about 49 minutes, but it took about 60 minutes for the progress bar to start moving. 🙂

Once the upgrade was done I had to download about 650M of updates, which I assume are things that have changed since Snow Leopard was released.

It’s now all done and dusted. I’m hoping for an easy ride, but time will tell.



Flash and IE… I hate them…

I’ve just had a morning of dealing with a handfull of websites that either contain loads of flash or don’t display correctly in Firefox. Last time I checked Firefox was claiming 25% of the market (and 400M of memory). Chrome market share is creeping up as well. What the hell are companies doing still writing web pages that only work on IE. When the revolution comes these companies will be first against the wall… 🙂



Red Hat heading for Oracle buyout?

I know it’s been said before, but I read this and thought, once Red Hat’s market value starts to drop Oracle could get a really good deal.

I thought the reference to the quality of Red Hat’s support was quite comical. I’ve always found their support to be terrible. To be more specific, you raise a service request and never get a response. If that is quality support I obviously have very different standards to the CIOs surveyed.



Real DBAs use Grid Control…

Hopefully the title got your attention. Of course it could have read, “Real Linux Sysadmins use Cobbler and Puppet…”, or any number of comparable statements and products. The point being, there is a gradual evolution in the way we approach tasks and if we don’t move with them we marginalize ourselves to the point where we are so unproductive we cease to be of use.

A few years ago I was doing a lot of Linux installations and I got sick of running around with CDs, so started doing network installations to save time. I’ve been doing loads of installs on VMs at home recently, so I started doing PXE Network Installations, which saved me even more time. As a result of the article I wrote about that, Frits Hoogland pointed me in the direction of Cobbler, which makes PXE installations real easy (once you get to grips with it). I’m not a sysadmin, so why do I care? Even when I’m installing and running a handful of VMs at home I can see productivity gains by using some of these tools. Imagine the impact in a data-center!

So back to Grid Control. Does anyone remember the days when you kept a “tail -f” on your alert log? At one site I used to have a CDE workspace on an X station just running tails. Then the number of instances got too big, so I used to scan through the alert logs each day to look for issues. The next step was to use shell scripts to check for errors and mail me. This was a pain at one site where I was using Solaris, HP-UX and Windows, which meant I needed three solutions. Then the Oracle 9i Enterprise Manager with the Management Server came into my life. All of a sudden it could manage my alert logs and I could assume everything was fine ( 🙂 ) unless I got a notification email. This feature alone sold me on the 9i management server.

Back then, being a DBA and admitting using Enterprise Manager was a little like announcing to the world you were into cross dressing. 🙂 Time has moved on, the product name has changed and so has its functionality, but essentially it’s still doing the same thing, which is reducing the effort needed to manage databases (and other things). The difference is that rather than managing 40 instances, teams are now managing thousands of instances.

Of course, none of this is new. I guess it’s just been brought into focus by a few things that have happened to me recently, like the PXE/Cobbler thing, the recent demise of my Grid Control VM at home and the constant talk of cloud computing and SaaS etc.

Specialists and performance consultants have the time to obsess over minute detail. The day-to-day DBAs and sysadmins have to churn through work at a pace, with reliable and reproducible results. Failing to embrace tools, whatever they are, to aid this is career suicide.