The Hobbit: An Expectedly Boring Journey…

I’ve been delaying going to watch The Hobbit for a while because I knew it would leave me bored and with bed sores on my ass.

I was with some friends the other day and they had watched the 3D HFR version and said it was cool. One of the guys said he would like to see it again in 2D because a lot of action sequences were really blurred in 3D HFR. I figured my low expectations might work to my advantage, so I agreed to go along and watch it today. What a mistake…

After an hour I tweeted that I’d been watching it for an hour and nothing had happened. My mate fell asleep, so I woke him up and forced him to watch it, since it was his fault I was there. A bit later my brother phoned, so I got a little break when I went out to speak to him. Unfortunately, I was driving my friend home, so I couldn’t use that as my opportunity to leave. I went back in and watched the second half, with a little surfing the net (on my broken Nexus 4 🙁 ) to relieve the boredom.

If you liked the LOTR Trilogy you are going to love The Hobbit. Just like them there is hours of walking around doing precious little. Also like them, there are very big, but ultimately boring action scenes. Peter Jackson just can’t do fight scenes. He focuses on numbers of enemies, rather than interesting fighting dynamics. It’s just dull seeing a couple of guys easily beat down thousands of orcs or goblins.

I feel like I could have been watching any of the LOTR films. It brought nothing new or interesting to the table. Just like the other films, this one should be watched on DVD with your mates around, so the film can provide some background noise to fill in the gaps in the conversation. In fact, I had a great time watching one of the LOTR films (can’t remember which one because they are all the same) the other day when we spent most of the time talking over it, adding our own bits of dialog etc.

I’m sure it will be a raging success and lots of people will disagree with me, but I think I would rather watch a Twilight film than this. Hating a film is so much more fun that just being bored by it!

Exceptions to the general boredom were provided by Cate Blanchett, who is lovely, and a very amusing scene with Gollum. Although I did enjoy those bits, it just wasn’t enough payback for the rest of the dirge.

I really hope I stick to my convictions and don’t bother with the next two. I’ll just catch them on DVD or something at a later date…



Nexus 4 : Crappy Design…

I had a HTC Wildfire for 2 years without any problems. Now, 2 days after posting about getting a Nexus 4, the glass on the back panel is broken. I hadn’t even taken off the protective sheets yet.

The design of this back panel is a complete pile of shit! Why would you possible want to put unnecessary glass on a mobile device? It’s asking for trouble. It seems I’m not the only one, as seen here and here.

I’m not sure what to do now. I guess I better contact Google and see how I can get it repaired, or cover my hands in plasters to prevent the little shards of glass it is dropping from slicing my fingers to pieces.

What a total pile of crap! LG, you have failed. Google, you have failed.

The moral of this story is one of the following:

  • If you want a Nexus 4, keep it at home in a presentation case or it will break like a crappy piece of shit.
  • If you want a Nexus 4 and feel like taking it out of the house, make sure you wrap it up in cushions and pillows or one of those nasty-ass bumpers that make it look damn ugly, but less breakable.
  • Don’t get a Nexus 4, get a Samsung S3.



Cold Days…

Cold Days is the latest book in The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.

So Harry is alive again and now he’s the Winter Knight. The enforcer for Mab, the crazy queen of the Winter Fairies. Maybe staying dead was the better option. So what’s the first thing Mab orders Harry to do? Kill an immortal, whilst fighting an army of other-worldly beings, all the time trying to keep his friends safe and prevent Chicago from being leveled. Another day in the office for Harry Dresden.

I must admit this was a little struggle for me at first. The characters of Repairman Jack, Felix Castor and Harry Dresden have all merged in my head. Coming back to Harry confused me at times because I expected a different pattern of behavior from him, only to realize I was thinking about how one of the characters from one of the other authors would react. Once I got locked into Harry-mode, it was all guns blazing.

The pattern is very similar to the other books in the series. There are predictable story lines you can see from a mile off, with a number of curve balls thrown in along the way. There were definitely a few OMG moments in this book. Especially towards the end. I’m looking forward to the next book to see how some of this pans out. I can tell you now, Harry is going to have some serious ear-ache from some of his best friends!



Nexus 4…

I accidentally bought a Nexus 4…

I had been thinking about getting a new phone for some time and the talk of the Nexus 4 peaked my interest. Even so, I’m one of those rare people that prefers a small phone and typically uses a mobile phone as just a phone. I always have a computer and tablet with me, so a smart phone is rarely useful to me.

The accident happened when I checked out the Nexus 4 online and it was sold out. I put my name down to be notified when it came back in stock, just for the hell of it. A couple of weeks later I got an email saying it was now available. Before I knew it I frantically opened a browser and placed an order, for fear it would sell out again. Only after I hit submit did I stop to consider whether I actually need a smartphone…

So yesterday it turned up. I chopped up my sim to make it into a micro-sim and put it in the phone. After logging into my Google account, the phone churned away for a few minutes and I was left with a new phone with all the same apps as my Nexus 7. It was at that point I got kinda bored with it.

My apathy is nothing to do with the phone itself. It’s amazing. It’s just I’ve been using the Nexus 7 for a while now and the Nexus 4 is just a smaller tablet that happens to have a phone built in. It’s not exactly new to me, if you see what I mean.

I guess one of two things will happen next. Either I will hardly ever use the device and keep reaching for my Nexus 7, or I will use the Nexus 7 a little less often and use the phone a bit more.

I joked on twitter that I should buy a Nexus 10 and a Chromebook to prove I don’t need those either… 🙂



PS. My next visit to airport security is going to be funny. Laptop, tablet, bit phone, kindle, external hard drive etc.

Happy Holidays

For all those that are in the midst of some form of religious, seasonal or statutory holiday at the moment, I hope it goes well for you. 🙂

I promised myself I would forget about work for the next couple of weeks and just play with technology, but I’ve already logged in to check the backups etc. What a dope. 🙂

Wishing you all a happy holiday and a productive new year!




UKOUG Speaker Evaluations…

This is a bit of a vanity post, so excuse me blowing my own trumpet.

I just took a look at the speaker evaluation feedback from UKOUG 2012 and it was pretty good. Only 4 of the people left “wordy” feedback:

  • Could have done with more time. Just the sort of presentation I came to conference for v.good.
  • Impressive.
  • Brilliant presenter and useful content, could have been twice as long.
  • Very nice presentation.

As far as the rating feedback went, the scores in each area were out of 6. I got just under 5 for the slides and the rest (content, presentation skills and value of presentation) were all above 5, which I think is pretty good. I was particularly happy with the presentation skills result.

I don’t take this stuff too seriously as these ratings are very subjective. Some people are always mega-critical and some people would give you 6/6 if you tripped and fell of the stage, but it is a nice little ego boost.



PS. It kinda makes up for the terrible job I did last year, so I guess my average rating for UKOUG presentations is now about “meh’… 🙂

Debra Lilley’s email disclaimer…

I think I’m going to reply to all of Debra Lilley‘s emails with my own disclaimer that says,

Unless otherwise stated, this email has got nothing to do with Debra Lilley or the massive disclaimer that gets added to every email she sends… Even the iddy-biddy 3 word emails…

That Fujitsu email disclaimer is one serious piece of text!

Heaven forbid you get an out of office reply… 🙂



Why is it easier to get things to work at home?

I’ve been grabbing a few minutes here and there over the last couple of work days trying to get something working with no joy. I this case it is a DAD entry in the “dads.conf” file on the OHS running as part of 11gR2 Forms & Reports Services on WebLogic 11g (10.3.6). I started to think that maybe this functionality is disabled on the installation or something like that, but couldn’t find any reason for that to be the case.

In a fit of desperation I came home tonight, fired up a DB and a F&R installation, defined a DAD and it worked first time. Aaaarrrggghhhh!!!!!

On the plus side, I know there is nothing fundamentally weird about the OHS installation that comes with 11gR2 F&R Services. On the down side, I still have no flippin’ clue why it is not working on the installation at work. Think I need to get in early tomorrow and focus on it for a little while. No doubt it will be something stupid I’ve missed while trying to do a bunch of different things at once.

File this one under:

  • #DoingLotsOfStuffBadly
  • #WeDoNotDoMultitasking
  • #MakingSimpleStuffHard



Update: Fixed it. It was the bloody firewall. 🙂 #DontForgetToCheckTheFirewall

Dbvisit Reporting…

I try to stick close to core Oracle technologies and steer clear of product endorsements, but over the years I’ve bumped into the ladies and gents from Dbvisit a number of times and they have been consistently cool and consistently on the money with their products. At Oracle OpenWorld 2012 I bumped into Arjen Visser who told me about their new product called Dbvisit Reporting, so I asked him to keep nagging me until I tried it out. When we met at UKOUG 2012 I still hadn’t tried it, but he had been too polite to bug me about it. This weekend it made it to the top of my list. 🙂

Dbvisit Reporting is essentially a cut-down version of Dbvisit Replicate, targeted specifically at creating real-time offload reporting databases. I’ve been having a play with it today, which resulted in this.

You can see my previous articles on their other products here.

Like all their products, Dbvisit Reporting delivers exactly what is says it will. The install is quick, so you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to get it working.

Keep up the good work ladies and gents! 🙂



PS. You can now test-drive Dbvisit Standby in the Cloud.