DV8: Can we talk about this?

One of my friends is a drama teacher, so every once in a while I get invited to see productions that are touring locally. Last night I went to see some physical theatre by a company called DV8. The show was called “Can we talk about this?” and was about “freedom of speech, censorship and Islam”. I’m not a political or religious person, so the subject matter was not something I’m really into. Actually, I didn’t even know what the production was about before it started. If I had I would probably have thought, “sounds too heavy”, and avoided it. Added to that, I’m not really an arty kind of guy, so I guess these facts make me about the worst possible person to sit in a show like this. So what did I think?

The human body is totally amazing. The way some of the performers move is quite bizarre and the level of fitness they have is incredible. To put it into context, it’s like doing a conference presentation while taking part in a circuits class and not having to stop for breath or water breaks. Flipping amazing!

I can’t say I could totally appreciate all the aspects of the production. I’m just not that into it, but it is good to take yourself out of your comfort zone occasionally.

Hopefully I’ll be back to reviewing crappy movies soon… ๐Ÿ™‚



Browser Stats…

Website stats are an odd thing. If you look at them too often and you start to think they matter, which is why I avoid looking at them for months on end. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve seen a couple of browser share articles recently, so I decided to check out the spread for my website (oracle-base.com). The top 3 were a little predictable.

On the 14th March 2011, the numbers were:

  • Internet Explorer: 42.32%
  • Firefox: 38.68%
  • Chrome: 15.19%

So IE and Firefox are declining while Chrome is on the rise.

The breakdown for IE is a little scary.

So there are about 9% of techies still using IE 6. ๐Ÿ™

Look away from the stats… Look away from the stats…



Update: For Frits Hoogland, here is the Broswer-OS breakdown.

Fedora 16 and Oracle…

Fedora 16 came out yesterday and since it’s my main server OS it’s been upgrade crazy round here. All new installs and upgrades were straight forward. No real dramas at all (touch wood).

As usual, I’ve done the OS installation and Oracle installation articles.

Remember, installing Oracle on Fedora is just for fun. There is no real need to do it because you can use Oracle Linux for free and the latest version of VirtualBox has a Fedora 16 rpm, so there is no reason not to use Oracle Linux.



Film: In Time…

If you mixed up little bits of Logan’s Run, Bonnie and Clyde,ย A life Less Ordinaryย andย Robin Hood, you would probably end up with something like In Time. I don’t mean to suggest it is a ripoff, because it is one of the most original films I’ve seen in a long time. Just that little pieces looked familiar. I guess it’s correct that nothing is truly original. ๐Ÿ™‚

Justin Timberlake is quite good, with the exception of when he tries to cry. He’s certainly less annoying than when he is singing and dancing. I findย Amanda Seyfried‘s face really interesting. She turned the mediocreย Red Riding Hoodย into something almost interesting.

Can’t really say too much without spoiling it, so I will just say I enjoyed it and think it is worth a go.



PS. Nearly time for the next Twilight film. I really hope it is as crappy as all the others. I can’t wait to see it so I can slag it off. ๐Ÿ™‚


AUSOUG 2011: Perth Day 1 & 2…

Day 1:

The first presentation of the day was Debra Lilley speaking about 42 real life examples of Fusion Middleware with applications. When you see the markeing bumf it’s easy to believe Fusion Middleware is only for massive projects that use all its functionality. Debra’s presentation highlighted how Fusion Middleware is being used out in the real world. It’s not all about mega-projects.

Next was my Edition-Based Redefinition talk. I think it went pretty well and I got a whole bunch of questions at the end. The speakers receive a bottle of wine as a thank you for presenting. I donated mine to the lady who asked the last question of the session. Talk about shamelessly buying friends… ๐Ÿ™‚

I started to chat to a few people and somehow managed miss the next two sessions. People should have learned by now that once you start me off there is no stopping me. ๐Ÿ™‚

The last session of the day was Graham Wood’s on Oracle’s hidden features. This was a mixed bag of neat little features, some of them I knew, some of them were new to me and some were things I remember reading about in the past, but had forgotten they existed. These presentations are always pretty humbling when you realize how much stuff has passed you by over the last few years. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the evening a few of us went out for a quick drink, then it was off to bed (not together ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

Day 2:

Day 2 started off with Scott Wesley talking about APEX 4.1 security. I like APEX, but I don’t use it enough. The content was cool and the presentation style was pretty neat. He used Prezi rather than PowerPoint, which made a nice change. It would make senese to download this presentation and make a checklist of things you need to consider before putting any APEX app live.

Next up was Craig Shallahamer speaking about SQL elapsed time analysis. I think the OTN APAC Tour is taking its toll on Craig’s voice. He’s starting to sound like Barry White. ๐Ÿ™‚ Craig is a very dynamic presenter. I tend to waddle around the stage a bit. Craig is more like Superman. It’s really good to watch and the content is great too.

Then it was off to present my Clonedb session. The turnout was pretty good, but the room was massive, so it felt a little like a wasteland. ๐Ÿ™‚ Once again, lots of questions, so it was pretty cool. Lots of comment after the session as well. It seems the Clonedb feature has got a few people really excited.

Next was the panel session on our experiences of presenting. I like it when panels have strict control. Without it, it’s impossible to stop me from talking. I enjoyed being part of the panel, so I hope it was useful for the audience. The more people that can get into presenting, the better conferences will be.

Chris Muir‘s session on angels in the architecture was pretty neat. I’m not an ADF guy, so it’s not exactly my thing, but he presents well and had some cool photos of buildings to go along with his metaphor for the session.

Finally, it was Connor McDonald‘s session on a year in purgatory – diary of an 11.2 RAC upgrade. Connor is a great presenter and I think this is a presentation that many DBAs really need to hear. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Oracle RAC is not easy. Yes, you can install it on VirtualBox and have it running in no time, but that is far from using it in a high-octane live environment that *must not fail* and having deadlines to meet while patching etc. When you see the history of what Connor went through, you could understand lesser DBAs just jacking it all in and going off to grow carrots.

That was the end of a very successful AUSOUG conference, so a few of us went out to eat, then I got my plane home…

I was a little nervous about the flight home. I was awake from 04:30 and my plane was not until 22:30, so I had been awake about 18 hours before I even got on the plane. I don’t sleep on planes, so I was expecting another 21+ hours of being awake before I got home. I managed to cope quite well and I got into my house at about 14:00 and went straight to the gym, trying to delay going to bed until a more normal time in the UK. I ended up in bed about 18:00, so I had been awake for over 45 hours. I’m going to be in an “altered state”for a few days, but no major dramas, which is good.

Big thanks to the ACE Program for allowing me to go on the OTN APAC Tour. Also a big thank you to everyone involved in the organization of their respective events.



Gmail New Look: Trying not to be a hater…

The Gmail new look was rolled out while I was on the road, so it’s taken until now for me to really take a good look at it. Let me start by saying I’m not a total hater, but there are some things that do not seem like an improvement to me.

  • The contrast is very poor on the default theme. On a good screen (MacBook Pro or iPad) this is not so big an issue, but on my screen at home it does look very washed out, leading me to squint a little. I’m trying out some of the other themes, but not found anything I like yet.
  • The dynamic menu on the left and dynamic toolbar on the top are a little distracting. When I’m moving my mouse around, things change position, which feels like a design flaw to me. If you are not using labels, you may not see an issue with the side bar, but it freaks me out. I think I preferred the more static nature of the old interface. With a few pulls and tweaks I can reduce the annoyance a little.
  • I was previously using the “Preview Dense” theme, as the “Preview” theme was too bloated with white space. When I switched to the new look it had similar spacing issues as the “Preview” theme. I looked for an equivalent of the “Dense” theme and couldn’t find it. This made viewing on my 13″ MacBook Pro and iPad a little annoying. As soon as I got back home I had a proper look at the interface I noticed the “Settings” cog near the top-right of the screen that gives the Comfortable, Cozy and Compact options for display density. This solved the spacing issue immediately. So the default spacing is definitely a problem for me, but the adjustment using the display density option makes it better than the old interface for me.
  • The top toolbar, as well as dynamically changing mentioned previously, has switched from buttons with words to buttons with icons. I find this a little annoying as I am still having to hover over them to decide which one I should click. In a couple more days I will get used to this, but I think many users (like my mom) will struggle for a lot longer. Although I hate the Microsoft Ribbon interface, for the non-power-user, words make a lot more sense than icons.

If I had taken the time to read this post some of my issues would never have been issues in the first place. ๐Ÿ™‚

So the change is not the total disaster for me that some people have suggested it is for them, but it’s not all perfect out of the box either. I’ve posted my feedback to Google.



OTN APAC Tour: NZOUG Day 1 & 2

The evening before the NZOUG conference was a bit chaotic. There was still no resolution to the Qantas fiasco and I was starting to believe I would have to cancel my sessions in Perth and try to fly home from Auckland. I tried to switch my flights, but everything was sold out.

By the next morning the Qantas strike seemed to be over, but there were reports of delays and disruption, so I was still not sure if I would make it to Perth.

NZOUG Day 1:

I was just about to start my first session (Clonedb) when there was a fire alarm. Fortunately it was resolved pretty quickly and I was able to get things back on track. From there is was straight on to do my second session (Edition-Based Redefinition), with no fire alarms this time. Both my sessions seemed to go down well. I got some good questions in each session, which is always cool, and some more later in the day and at the evening event.

I spent a little time chatting to some of the guys on the Quest stand and the guys from the DBVisit stand.

My first session of the day as an attendee was Graham Wood’s Exadata session. I saw this session for the first time a few years ago when it was known as the “Terabyte Hour”. With the hardware refreshes and a few software tweaks that have happened since then it now only takes about 18 minutes to complete the demo, so the name has changed. ๐Ÿ™‚ My comment to Graham at the end of the session was, “Much as I hate to admit it, it’s really impressive.”

That pretty much took me to the end of the presentations on the first day.

Chris Muir told me to check my emails as my flights had been sorted out. Sure enough, when I checked Lillian Buziak from the OTN team had contacted Oracle Travel and fixed everything for me. She is a total miracle worker. If I was younger and more attractive (and she wasn’t already married) she would be mine, oh yes, she would be mine…

In the evening we all went to the conference dinner. The theme was “Murder Mystery”, which involved a few poor souls getting selected to be made a fool of in front to the rest of the audience. Unfortunately, I was one of the fools in question, along with Chris Muir, Debra Lilley, Bambi and a couple of guys. The compere and the ghost of the victim (my wife, murdered on her wedding day) lead us through various “role playing scenarios” to determine who was the murderer. The final decision for the murderer came down to me (the husband) and the chef, with the chef being voted the winner/loser/murderer. It was all very confusing, fun and embaressing, all roled in to one. ๐Ÿ™‚

The whole event seemed to go down really well with the audience, who had plenty of comments (and photos). I have a feeling this is going to haunt (no punn intended) me for a long time.

NZOUG Day 2:

This was cut very short for me. My new Perth flight was arranged for 14:10, so I had to leave the conference at 11:00. I still got time to chat to a few people, mostly about the previous evenings events, and check out Ronald Bradford‘s session on the top 9 issues people have with mySQL databases. I’ve been a casual user of mySQL for years, but never really spent much time looking at it in any depth. I learned quite a bit from this session. Maybe I’ll spend a little more time playing with it in future.

Assuming the rest of the conference carried on the way it started, I would say it was a big success.


The flight to Perth was pretty straight forward and I got to the apartment with no dramas. I took a walk over to the conference venue, which is significantly further than I thought. It took be about 60 minutes to walk it at a pace, with no bag in the (relatively speaking) cool evening air. I’m not sure what it will be like in the summer sun.

At 06:00 this morning I went out for a run along the river, then made myself look like a freak by doing sprints on the way back. Nothing like the sight of a fat sweaty bloke panting like a dog to turn heads. The locals were out in force, walking, running and doing boot camps on the banks of the river. Even at that time is was very sunny. I think it would be damn near lethal to try it at midday. The flies and mossies were out in force. If nothing else the swatting and endless ticks you develop when they fly round your face and ears helps you burn more calories. ๐Ÿ™‚