I’m so bleeding edge…

I forgot to mention the really big news from this last week at work. I have been upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7! I feel so bleeding edge now. I switched to classic theme, so it feels like XP. 🙂

I’ve also been switched from Office XP to Office 2010, so I now have that ribbon thing. I think I need a bigger monitor now that ribbon takes most of my screen. 🙂

Joking aside, the transition has been really easy and things seem to be working fine. Not sure how long it will take before the first official installations of Windows 8 hit our place. I’ll happily stay behind the bleeding edge on that one. 🙂



How can we make Oracle Database 12cR2 the best release ever?

Oracle will be releasing Oracle Database 12cR1 at some point this year. Many companies will avoid this release, opting to wait for 12cR2, their reasoning being it will be more stable and, as a terminal release, will have a longer support life-cycle. Since 12cR2 is what most businesses care about, what can we do to make it as good as it can possibly be? Here are a few thoughts…

  • For a start, you’ve got to use 12cR1 in your organization to understand what it does well and what is a bit crappy about it. If you don’t figure this out during 12cR1, chances are your wishlist will not be ticked off in 12cR2. I’m not saying launch straight into production, but don’t just place your head in the sand either.
  • Report every bug you find, even those that already have resolutions in MOS. Lots of people, including myself, complain about how buggy the Oracle database has become as the functionality has expanded. Workload in any organization has to be prioritized. Chances are, the things that people shout about the most are the things that Oracle will get done. If we all make our feelings known by logging every bug that affects us and explain why/how it is impacting on us, it can only help the cause.
  • Report bugs in the documentation. The Oracle docs have improved a lot over the years, but there is always room for improvements. In the old days you had to report faults in the documentation as SRs. Now, you just need to add comments directly in the documentation, which is a lot quicker and easier. When you see a problem, report it. If you think something is missing, ask for it. Once again, if enough people shout about something, it may affect the priority.
  • File enhancement requests. You often come across things that almost solve your problem, but not quite. If that’s the case, file an enhancement request on MOS. If enough people ask for stuff it will probably get added. Even better if you have an example of how cool that feature is in another DB engine. 🙂
  • Get involved in beta programs. This is not always as easy as it sounds. I would love to have been involved in the 12cR1 beta program, but I was not considered worthy. 🙂 If your company can get involved in beta programs it’s a good way to help improve and shape the product. The more issues logged during the beta testing period, the more likely the final product will live up to your expectations.
  • Make sure Oracle salespeople know and understand your priorities. At the end of the day, Oracle exist to make money. In most commercial companies the sales department have a disproportionate influence on the direction of the products. At every opportunity, make it know what *your* priorities are. I love the new and geeky stuff, but to be honest, most of the work I see people doing requires little more than what was available in Oracle 7. If bug fixes and stability are more important to you than new functionality, make it known.

I have no knowledge of the internal workings of Oracle as a company, so I can’t guarantee these suggestions will have any impact, but I think of this the same way as I do about voting in elections. If you don’t voice your opinions, you don’t really have any right to complain. If Oracle know exactly what their customers want and don’t deliver, they only have themselves to blame if everything goes wrong. If we as customers don’t make our opinions known, we shouldn’t be surprised if Oracle keep chasing the next buzzword, rather than doing what matters to us.



My current love/hate relationship with working in IT…

I wrote the following tweet the other day.

I love technology, but hate working in IT. The politics and bullshit drag you down… 🙁 #baddayatwork

— Tim Hall (@oraclebase) February 28, 2013

I’ve been known to say on numerous occasions,

“Sometimes, a bad decision is better than no decision at all!”

I’m currently reading God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert and I just read this passage, which is a conversation between Leto (The God Emperor) and an Ixian Ambassador.

“The difference between a good administrator and a bad one is about five heartbeats. Good administrators make immediate choices”

“Acceptable choices?”

“They usually can be made to work. A bad administrator, on the other hand, hesitates, diddles around, asks for committees, for research and reports. Eventually, he acts in ways which create serious problems.”

“But don’t they sometimes need more information to make…”

“A bad administrator is more concerned with reports than with decisions. He wants the hard record which he can display as an excuse for his errors.”

“And good administrators?”

“Oh, they depend on verbal orders. They never lie about what they’ve done if their verbal orders cause problems, and they surround themselves with people able to act wisely on the basis of verbal orders. Often, the most important piece of information is that something has gone wrong. Bad administrators hide their mistakes until it’s too late to make corrections.”

I feel like making giant posters of this quote and pinning them in every room at work.

In IT, most of the good stuff you come across is done by small groups of focused people. Once they get some measure of success the layers of management build up, as do the number of less focused hangers-on, until you end up with a company that is paralyzed by committees and becomes totally stagnant. You see this cycle again and again.