Repairman Jack : Bloodline

Bloodline is the eleventh book in the Repairman Jack series by F. Paul Wilson.

After taking a break from doing fix-its, Jack takes on a simple case for Christy Pickering. She is looking for dirt on her daughter’s boyfriend, who is twice her daughters age. Not Jack’s normal work, but it sounds simple enough, until the first guy Christy hired for the job turns up dead. As usual, nothing is ever simple for Jack…

There is some very dodgy stuff going on in this book. I’m not going to go into it because it will be a spoiler and I don’t want the subject matter to appear on this blog. It’s not the sort of thing you want appearing when someone does a search on you or your blog. 🙂

At this point in the story it is less than a year away from the armageddon that keeps being foretold…



Discovering More Work-Related Windows Apps…

I know it’s a little sad, but I’m kinda enjoying discovering new little apps for Windows to do all those things that come out-of-the-box on Linux. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not loving Windows, but enjoying the discovery process itself.

X Server

On a Linux desktop you don’t need to worry about this, as your desktop is already using one. To get GUIs on the remote server to run on the local desktop, you just need connect to the remote server using “ssh -X”

On Windows you need some additional software. There are plenty of paid for options, like Exceed, but there are also some free options. Many moons ago I used to use Cygwin. It’s still around and still does the job just fine. Remember to install the Cygwin/X libraries. Once it’s installed, do the following:

  • Start a Cygwin terminal.
  • Type “startx” and return.
  • In the resulting X windows interface, connect to your server of interest using “ssh -Y”
  • In some cases I still had to manually run “export” on the remote server.

It works OK, but the process feels a little clumsy.

Whilst Googling for alternatives I came across MobaXterm, which is very neat. It’s a self contained executable, like Putty.exe, and comes with a whole host of connectivity options, including automatically starting a local X Server for all SSH connections. No configuration required. No messing. Just start a GUI in the remote machine via SSH and it appears on your PC screen. Cool. I’ve now replaced Putty.exe (and PuttyCM), Cygwin and the occasional WinSCP with MobaXterm. Give it a try. I think you’ll like it.

A nice side benefit of Cygwin and MobaXterm is they give you access to lots of UNIX/Linux commands on Windows. 🙂


On Linux it’s real easy. You just call it from the command line. See “man scp”.

On Windows, I started to use WinSCP, which is OK, but it feels very clumsy. Since trying MobaXterm I don’t bother with WinSCP anymore, because connections to a machine using SSH automatically start an SFTP panel. Very handy.


There’s no getting away from vi on Linux, and I’m happy to use it to edit odd files, but I’m not enough of a fan to do anything large with it. Followers of the blog know I’m an UltraEdit fan. As far as free Windows editors go, Notepad++ is a pretty neat editor. Having said that, MobaXterm includes quite a good editor, especially useful for editing large files on remote systems.


I guess a special mention should go out to PortableApps, which helped me through the first few days at work while I was struggling to get stuff installed on my PC. There’s some really cool stuff there.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve bounced between a number of different Windows apps and things are finally starting to settle. I’d still prefer to be using Linux, but at least I’m functional now. 🙂 Any suggestions for cool work-related apps welcome.



Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control: Managing Data Center Chaos

If you are interested in finding out more about Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control, Porus Homi Havewala‘s new book called Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control: Managing Data Center Chaos, will be available in printed and electronic formats in September 2012. If you are super-keen, it’s available for pre-order now. 🙂



Fedora 17 : My upgrade hell…

It’s been a few days since the final release of Fedora 17. I’ve been running it on VMs since the alpha release, but the day after the final release I decided to upgrade a real Fedora 16 machine. That’s where all the fun started…

I’ve now attempted Fedora 16 -> 17 upgrades on two physical servers and both have been destroyed by the process. In both cases, I had to do a fresh install, which worked cleanly and left a fully functioning installation. Perhaps I’m just very unlucky, but with a record of 0 for 2, my conclusion is that the upgrade process on Fedora 17 sucks so much ass it’s untrue.

As followers of the blog know, I try to keep my host machines pretty clean and do anything of significance in VirtualBox VMs. As a result, the recovery of both systems has been fine, if a little slow. In both cases, I did a clean install, then copied back all the VMs and that was pretty much it.

In conclusion, if you are planning on doing an upgrade to Fedora 17, rather than a clean install, I would think very carefully!

As for  Fedora 17 itself, it feels like Fedora 16 with a different background.



My return to the rat race…

I mentioned on Twitter recently that I’d started a new job, which was greeted with some amusement. Some of my friends in the Oracle community have spent the last 4 years ribbing me about being “unemployed”. For those that don’t know the story, I was never unemployed. I am an employee of my own company, which paid me for the last 4 years. I spent that time representing the Oracle ACE Director program at conferences around the world, doing some teaching for Oracle University, but most of the time was spent at home, on my computers playing with Oracle technology , writing about it and answering questions about it. I had no serious intention of joining the rat race again in the foreseeable future, but at the same time I would never say never…

Over the last few weeks a number of completely unrelated events occurred that all seemed to be nudging me in the same direction. I’m not going to go into them, because it starts to sound a bit like The Celestine Prophecy, but it culminated in me agreeing to go to the job interview I blogged about recently. A few days later I was offered the job. A week after that I started. Believe me, I was as surprised about the whole thing as everyone else appears to be…

So I’ve just finished week 1 and here are some thoughts:

  • Windows Desktop: Like most companies, Windows is the standard desktop. Over the last 4 years I’ve spent the majority of time with Linux as my desktop, with the occasional bit of OS X on my laptop. I always say it doesn’t bother me what I use for a desktop, but I forgot how unproductive Windows is. It took about 3 days to get to the point where I felt I had a reasonable environment. I was using PortableApps and SQL Developer off a memory stick for the first couple of days. 🙂
  • TOAD: Sorry to all the cool people I know who work for Quest, but TOAD is horrible. It’s installed on my PC, but I’m not going to use it. I have SQL*Developer, which I use a bit, but most of the time I’m on SQL*Plus in an SSH session.
  • Grid Control: What a nice surprise to have grid control already in place. Even nicer when I found out we have the Diagnostics and Tuning pack licensed on all databases. Sweet!
  • I’ve really enjoyed being in an office environment again. I was a little worried I would find it restrictive, but I slotted straight back in. Of course, it’s early days so I might not feel the same in a few weeks. 🙂
  • I’ve forgotten a lot about AS10g. I had to do a bit of configuration on an AS10g server running forms services and I was surprised how crap I was. I need to brush up on my OAS and WebLogic stuff. As a DBA it’s not a big part of my job, but on the occasion when I have to get involved I would like it to feel a bit less like a voyage of discovery. 🙂
  • I really do suck at remembering people’s names. At one point I got an email and asked the guys near me to point me in the direction of the person who sent it. He was right next to me. 🙂 I’ve now got a print out of the company organisation chart on my wall. Every time someone says a name I look at it and try and associate the name with the face.

So far so good. 🙂




Let me start by saying, I’m a big fan of all the Alien films, even Alien 3, which seems to be the least liked. Having said that, if someone said I had to pick one it would always be Alien. I watch that film several times a month. 🙂 Ridley Scott is renowned for being uncompromising, so I went into Prometheus with some seriously high expectations, which always worries me as it kinda sets you up for a fall…

The opening sequence of Prometheus is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen on film. As I watched it I thought it was probably worth the £6 just to see that on a big screen…

If you’ve seen the trailer, you know what’s going to happen. A star map found on ancient ruins all over the earth is seen as an invitation to visit some alien world, whose inhabitants may be the key to the origins of life on earth. We go to visit and things may not be as they seem…

One of the really annoying things about the first Alien film is we are introduced to the Space Jockey, the big alien on the bridge of the space ship they find, but we never know who they are or why they are there. Prometheus is a prequel to the the Alien films, but focuses almost exclusively on the Space Jockey aliens, so at last we know something about them…

I won’t say too much about what happens, because I think it will spoil the ride, but suffice to say it answers a lot of questions about the Space Jockey aliens and the origin of the aliens from the Alien and AvP films. I think it is a fantastic addition to collection and as soon as it is released on DVD is will buy it. Hopefully I will see it again next week when I go to the cinema with some mates.

Noomi Rapace is unusual, in that her face looks completely different from every angle it is viewed from. She was great in the original Swedish versions of (The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl Who Played with FireThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest) and I think she works well here. She is in fantastic shape in this film. She looks so strong and athletic. She is very much the Ellen Ripley style character of this film.

Michael Fassbender is incredible as the android/synthetic/artifical person on this mission. He gives me the creeps. There is a great introduction video to the “David 8” model here. It’s not a spoiler, but it gives you a feel for the spookiness of the David 8 character.

The rest of the characters are fine, but as far as I’m concerned, the film is really about these two characters.

So in summary, Prometheus more than lived up to my expectations. If you are a fan of the Alien films I would be surprised if you don’t love it.



Update: You might want to check out Peter Weyland’s 2023 TED talk here. No spoiler. Just a viral advert.