Frankfurt to San Francisco…

I posted yesterday about the start of my trip to OpenWorld. I arrived late, so I never got around to posting about the second half of my trip so here goes…

Frankfurt to San Francisco

I was in a pretty bad mood when it came to boarding. We were 4+ hours late and the boarding process was a complete disaster. Nobody could hear the announcements, so we were all in queues to ask what the hell was going on. Even so, nobody on the desk thought to just come and shout out what to do. As a result, boarding was like a rugby scrum, with people from all classes, seating zones and people who had not cleared security all thrown together. I don’t remember ever taking so long to board. Sigh.

I got on the plane and was instantly more miserable. It was one of those planes where you all have to watch the same films on shared screens. Sigh. I watched:

  • The Back-up Plan: Nauseating romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez.
  • Iron Man 2: In my opinion it wasn’t as good as Iron Man 1, but it was still pretty cool.
  • Just Wright: Chick-Flick. Would have hated it, except I had used up all my hate on the Jennifer Lopez film.

The food came along and guess what? I wasn’t on the list of vegetarians. Sigh. Luckily, they had extra so it wasn’t a big deal, just another thing to “brighten” my day.

I was seated next to the galley so I got to hear a lot of the gossip from the cabin crew. They do talk rather loud. 🙂 One woman seemed to be hitting the assistance button continually, which was getting on their nerves (and mine because I could hear the dinging). It seems the maintenance crew had left one of the internal panels off, which was mentioned by a passenger 2 hours before landing. HELLO! Don’t you think you might want to mention that to someone before you take off ? You are sitting next to a ruddy great hole on an 11+ hour flight! The cabin attendant told the woman to keep her seat belt on. 🙂 I’m sure it was just a cosmetic thing.

All in all, the flight was ok. The cabin crew were pretty good, which offset most of my gripes.

In the update to yesterdays post I mentioned Hajo Normann and Andrejus Baranovskis were on an later flight from Frankfurt. I think it was scheduled to leave about 3 hours after mine. Their flight wasn’t delayed, so they actually left over an hour before me. When I landed at SFO I saw Hajo in the customs queue. It turns out they were in a holding pattern for over an hour so we landed at about the same time. 🙂

It has been mentioned several times by friends and family that I never seem to have a straight forward trip anywhere. My response is, this is the reality of international travel. There is no enjoyment involved. It’s a matter of endurance and anger management. Can someone hurry up and invent a teleport system already!



Birmingham to Frankfurt…

Birmingham Airport

Whilst people watching in Birmingham Airport I discovered a new category of traveller I had never noticed before, namely the “control freak”.

The person in question was an older gentleman having a bit of a tizzy because he didn’t think the allocated 25 minutes boarding time was enough to get everyone on the plane. During the next few minutes, the sky was apparently falling in because of this disastrous planning by the airport. I can only conclude that:

  • His life is timetabled down to the last second.
  • He probably uses MS Project to track the slippage caused when the kettle takes 30 seconds longer to boil than he planned for.
  • He probably reads the Daily Mail. Did you know if there are more than two teenagers together they are probably planning to murder you?
  • Things were much better in his day!

Birmingham to Frankfurt

We boarded in plenty of time. It seems 25 minutes was actually more than enough. The cabin doors were shut, then the captain announced that flights to Frankfurt were delayed because of the wind. Frankfurt was apparently down to 2/3 capacity, so that meant a 60 minute wait on the ground in Birmingham. Sigh. Of course, 60 minutes became 70 minutes before we took off. This meant we would land at the same time as boarding was planned to start for my connection to San Francisco.

I arrived in Frankfurt to the good news I hadn’t missed my flight. Joy quickly turned to misery when I was told my flight had been delayed by 4 hours. 🙁 On the plus side I did get a €10 food voucher, which I accidentally spent on loads of diet coke and chocolate. In my defence, the lady in the shop wasn’t too happy about me spending less than €10, so she kept telling me to pick up more items. For the sake of international relations my only option was to take her advice and fill my bag with chocolate.

I’ve been collared by security twice in Frankfurt Airport. The first time focused mainly on my sachets of Lemsip. I’m not sure if they were hoping to confiscate my cold cure, thereby saving themselves about £5 at the pharmacy, or whether they thought it was something naughty. The second encounter was random check to see if I was carrying weapons. I’m not sure quite how I could manage that after going through security in Birmingham and Frankfurt, but I would rather they tried too hard, than not hard enough. I wasn’t sure if they vast quantity of chocolate I was carrying qualified as a deadly weapon or not. It’s certainly going to kill me if I don’t give it up.

It’s a couple more hours until I fly…



Update: Just bumped into Hajo Normann and Andrejus Baranovskis. They were just about to board their flight to SFO that was running on time. I’m still waiting for mine, even though it was meant to leave 3 hours before theirs. 🙁

The disappearing patch set…

Last week there was a little episode where the patchset was released, as noted here:

Many of us started downloading it. Some (like me) got a full download, while others got cut off part way through when the patch was pulled from MOS. Someone on twitter mentioned the patch is scheduled for an October release (can’t find the tweet now), so I guess it was put live by accident. Who knows what changes, if any, will happen between now and then, so I would suggest that anyone who managed to get hold of the patch redownload it when it is eventually released, just in case they miss something important. Having said that, the OUI now checks for updates, so it is probably safe.

Even though the patch set is not on general release at the moment, there is plenty of information available to get yourself ready for it.



The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest…

I was reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest for most of yesterday. At midnight I decided I needed to know how it ended and decided to stay awake until I had finished it. At about 08:00 this morning I finished it, had an emotional moment, had a quick bath and drove out to watch my nephew play football.

Perhaps missing out on a nights sleep was not the most sensible idea, but it shows my feeling about this series of books. They are fantastic. The pace of the three books are quite different, but each is brilliant in its own way. Such a shame there will be no more.



Resident Evil: Afterlife…

With the exception of Shaun of the Dead, what makes a truly great zombie film?

Resident Evil: Afterlife had all of these classic elements, and it starred Milla Jovovich.

If you like Milla Jovovich and the Resident Evil franchise you will like this film. If you don’t like Milla Jovovich, you should really learn to love Milla Jovovich.

By the way, it starred Milla Jovovich.



Founder member of the, “We like predictable zombie movies when they star Milla Jovovich society”.

The patching nightmares are over (…

One of the things that continually annoys me is that to get the latest version of the database you have to install the base release and then instantly patch it to the latest patch set. Not any more.

“Starting with the patch set, Oracle Database patch sets are full installations of the Oracle Database software. This means that you do not need to install Oracle Database 11g Release 2 ( before installing Oracle Database 11g Release 2 (”

You don’t understand how happy this makes me. In addition, the installer also downloads and applies madatory patches, so even when you’re mid-way through the lifecycle of a patchset, your new installations are still up to date. 🙂

There is a bunch of new functionality already listed in the new features manual:

Happy downloading and upgrading.


  • Read the patch notes before you start downloading. You probably don’t need all the zip files (4.8G). 🙂
  • Out-of-place patching (new ORACLE_HOME) is the recommended method now, so there is no real difference between patch sets and upgrades. Grid infrastructure *must* be patches out-of-place.
  • I guess OFA directories should now include the first 4 digits of the version (11.2.0 -> as those directories will only ever contain that patch set.



The Girl Who Played with Fire…

Wow! The Girl Who Played with Fire is awesome. I reall enjoyed the first book, but I think this one is even better. It’s just relentless. I was lying in bed reading it last night, desperate to finish it, but also not wanting it to end.

The book ends rather abruptly, making you desperate to start book 3 to see what happens next. Sure enough, book 3 continues on from where book 2 ends. It took me about 30 pages before I felt in a position to put it down and go to sleep. Can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. 🙂



Advert: Asia Pacific PL/SQL Masterclasses…

It’s a little over a month before I start a run of four PL/SQL Masterclasses in the Asia Pacific region.

  • Singapore (14-15 October)
  • Syndey (18-19 October)
  • Melbourne (21-22 October)
  • Hong Kong (25-26 October)

If you are interested, contact Oracle and get booked on. The details are here: APAC Seminars.



How not to ask a question… Again…

When asking me for help, which of the following approaches should you take? (pick 1):

  1. Insult me, then ask me to help you by answering your question.
  2. Ask a question and suggest it might be nice if I included the answer to that question in an article I had written on the subject.
  3. Just ask your question.

I’m kinda expecting most people to pick option 2 or 3, but it seems some people think option 1 is the best route to getting my assistance. Bizarre.

I am aware that English is not the first language for everyone on the internet, so maybe it’s a language thing or maybe I’m just a bit sensitive. If so, please ignore this post. Of course, if you would like me to provide support that includes dealing with your abuse I am willing to do it for a fee. What about 20% of the list price of your Oracle software on a yearly basis. I guess I would then feel obliged then no matter how much of a jerk you are.

As I’ve said many times before, if you like reading my stuff, fine. If you don’t, just go elsewhere. If you see a problem with something I’ve written I would like to hear about it so I can correct it, but if you just want to throw insults I suggest you direct them to /dev/null.