I’ve had a Waterstones gift token knocking around since my birthday, so I ventured into town yesterday to see if there were any technical books I could spend my pennies on. There’s a pretty big Waterstones in Birmingham, so I thought I was in with a shot at finding something worthwhile in there. How wrong I was…
The place was full of “… For Dummies” books for old versions of Windows and Office, along with a vast collection of really old reference books. If anyone needs a “Teach yourself VB 5.0” manual, you know where to go!
When it’s my money I’m spending I almost always buy from Amazon. Part of me wants to support real world book stores, but the truth of the matter is they are really crappy for anything other than the latest bestseller novels, which are still typically more expensive than the equivalent from Amazon.
In the end I bought Ghost Story, the new Jim Butcher book from The Dresden Files series. I’ll see if I can spend the rest of the cash on the Waterstones online store. Must tell family that if they want to waste money on birthday presents for me, they should do it on Amazon gift certificates. 🙂
A number of things to report on the fitness front…
I’ve switched some of my cardio sessions on the elliptical from regular interval training to Tabata Protocol. A little over 2 months ago Dominic Brooks pointed this out to me. I gave it a try then, but I wasn’t fit enough to cope with it. Now it is just a complete nightmare, rather than impossible. 🙂 So general fitness is going really well. There are the obvious ups and downs, but I feel really good about things and I don’t find the gym daunting now. I know I’m going to survive.
I’ve backed off the weight training a bit. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I was putting on too much muscle. I used to do weights as a kid and I guess the whole muscle memory thing is true. The tubby meat-head thing is not a look I’m interested in. Second, shifting a lot of weight was starting to aggravate my joints. I’ve had operations on my left elbow and knee and both of them have been playing up for a couple of days after doing heavy lifting. Those two factors combined seemed like pretty clear signals that weight training is no longer the right thing for me.
To replace the absent weight training I’ve been doing some circuit training, mostly using functional training exercises. It feels pretty good and isn’t freaking out my joints so far. I’m not a gym-class type of guy, but I figured I need some technique coaching, so yesterday evening I went to a kettlebells class. The bruises on my arms and shoulders this morning would suggest my technique is not quite right, but I’ve already learned a bunch of stuff, so that’s good. Two visits to the gym yesterday was not a great idea, but I’m glad I got off my ass and made it to the kettlebells class. It would have been very easy to leave it for next week. 🙂
As part of the functional training I’ve also started to do handstands again. I used to be pretty good at them, thanks to the yoga, but as I got heavier they got a bit scary and my center of gravity shifted somewhat. Now I’m hitting them pretty well and walking on my hands pretty comfortably. I can even pull out a few half-handstand-pushups on a good day. I was in the dance studio practicing handstands and someone asked me if I was a gymnast, which cracked me up. Is there a gymnastics for fatties competition I can enter?
I’ll be in Australia next month and I feel the need to manage some people’s (Chris Muir and Connor McDonald) expectations.
- If you last saw me about 5 months ago, I will look like I’ve lost quite a bit of weight.
- If you last saw me about 2 year ago, you will think I look about the same.
- If you last saw me 3+ years ago, you will probably think I’ve gained some weight.
Based on that, you should not be expecting to see “the new svelte” version of me Connor. 🙂
Still another 30 years and 30 pounds to go… 🙂
Jay Weinshenker has written a couple of good posts in response to my recent post on Oracle Linux vs. RHEL.
I don’t agree 100% with his all his points, but I always think it’s good to hear different sides of the story and I certainly enjoyed reading them.
My 9 year old nephew was making a Powerpoint slideshow today. I watched him regularly saving his slideshow using the menu and asked why he was not using the Save button, to which he replied, “Which one is it?”.
I looked at the toolbar and saw a button with a picture of a floppy disk. I don’t think he has ever seen a floppy disk in his life. I’m not surprised he didn’t associate this button with saving his slideshow.
I’ve seen articles suggesting that buttons with icons are not good for new users. This is especially true if the icons reference old technology they have never encountered.
There was an interesting thread on the OakTable mailing list the other day regarding the choice of Linux distros for Oracle installations. It was started by one member (the name has been withheld to protect the innocent :)) who said,
“I cannot imagine (but want to understand) why anyone would pick RHEL5.6 for Oracle as opposed to the vastly superior OEL with the UEK.”
I must admit I’ve kinda forgotten that any distro apart from Oracle Linux (OL) exists as far as production installations of Oracle software are concerned.
Some of the reasons cited for people not to pick OL include:
- The customer has a long relationship with Red Hat and doesn’t want to jump ship.
- RHEL is the market leading enterprise Linux distro, so why switch to Oracle?
- The customer doesn’t want to be too dependent on Oracle.
- The customer has lots of non-Oracle servers running RHEL and doesn’t want a mix of RHEL and OL as it would complicate administration.
- The customer uses some software that is certified against RHEL, but not OL.
- The customer prefers Red Hat support over Oracle support. Wait. Red Hat and support in the same sentence. Give me a minute to stop laughing…
- The customer is using VMware for Virtualization and the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) is not supported on VMware.
I guess every company and individual will have differing justifications for their choice of distro.
So why would you pick OL and Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) for Oracle installations?
- You can run it for free if you don’t want OS support. Using OL without support doesn’t affect the support status of the products (DB, App Servers etc.) running on top of it.
- It’s what Oracle use to write the Linux version of the products.
- It’s what Exadata uses.
- Oracle products are now certified against the OL + UEK before they are certified against the RHEL kernel.
- UEK is typically a much more up to date version of the kernel than that shipped by RHEL and includes all the patches vital for optimum Oracle performance.
- Single vendor, so no finger pointing over support issues (from Google+ comment).
- It is the only enterprise Linux distro that supports kernel patching without reboots thanks to Oracle’s newly aquired Ksplice.
For more information you might want to read this whitepaper or watch this webcast.
If you are looking at things from a purely technical perspective, I guess you are going to pick OL and UEK. Of course, many of us don’t work in a world where technology is picked purely on its merits. 🙂
Update: Check out this post by Jay Weinshenker for a different angle on this issue.
Hot on the heels of the VirtualBox 4.0.12 maintenance release, shipped a few days ago, comes VirtualBox 4.1. It contains loads of new features, explained here and in the changelog.
The upgrade went smoothly on my MacBook Pro, but on my Fedora 15 servers I had to uninstall the old version manually before installing the new version. None of my settings were lost so everything was easy enough.
It certainly seems applying VirtualBox upgrades is becoming a fulltime job. Of course, the quick release cycle is a lot better than getting no updates, like VMware Server. 🙂
You open a ticket and wait… When you do get a reply it tells you to send information you’ve already posted, or suggests you try some workarounds you’ve already listed in the ticket as having not worked for you. You get frustrated and write a blog post ranting about how terrible the support service is etc. I guess this could be a story about just about any internet support service I’ve had to use over the years.
Do you remember in the old days, before the internet was popular, when you phoned support lines? Do you remember how quickly some of these annoying issues were resolved by simply saying, “I’ve already sent that!”, to a real person at the end of the line? OK. I’ve conveniently forgotten to mention being put on hold for hours, but this is my blog and I’m allowed to have a totally biased opinion about things… 🙂
Maybe elements of the good old days are coming back thanks to social media. Check out this article where Michael Dell proposes using Google+ Hangouts as a way of connecting to Dell service and sales.
Imagine the joy of being able to rant directly at a real person again. 🙂
VirtualBox 4.0.12 has arrived. It’s another maintenance released with a bunch of bug fixes. You can see what’s changed here. Happy upgrading. 🙂
The Oracle ACE Program approved my travel for InSync11, so all systems are go for my trip down under.
My current schedule looks a little hectic, but it’s great to be able to pack so much into such a short time:
- InSync11 – August 16th-17th : Presenting two papers.
- Sydney Oracle Meetup – August 16th : On a panel with loads of other people. Should be fun.
- ACTOUG – August 19th : Presenting at a DBA/Developer day in Canberra with Chris Muir.
I was in Australia last year teaching some Oracle University classes, but it’s been a couple of years since my last conference there, so I’m really looking forward to getting back and meeting everyone again.
It’s going to be a very short, crazily busy visit. I think about 50% of my time away from will be spent on planes. 🙂
Big thanks to InSync11 for inviting me and a very big thanks to The Oracle ACE Program, who have made it possible for me to go!
It’s not very often you see Oracle looking like the cheap option, but Oracle VM has always been pretty attractive on that score. 🙂
The latest information about VMware vSphere 5.0 pricing sounds like the perfect cue for Oracle to start another big push on the virtualization front, as I’m sure a lot of VMware customers will be swallowing hard as they read the new pricing model. It certainly makes Oracle VM sound even more attractive than it did before.
If Oracle could just get Oracle VM 3.0 out of the door, it might be able to make some serious inroads into the to VMware user base.