Java 7 EE Launch : June 12th & 13th

The Oracle ACE program recently invited members to a teleconference session about the upcoming launch of Java 7 EE. Arun Gupta took us through a preview of the information that will be available to everyone as part of the launch.

If you are interested in getting the low down on this new release, you can register for the launch events here.



BGOUG Spring 2013 : Photos

I was a little bit rubbish and forgot to get photos of the recent BGOUG event. Fortunately, the conference photos have arrived. You can check them out here.

There are a number of photos of an old fat guy that looks a little like me. I don’t remember meeting him though. Weird… I think he needs the toilet in this shot.

By the way, don’t say stuff like, “Bind variables are a waste of time!”, when you are near to Tom Kyte. He will slap you quicker than Debra Lilley after a negative comment about Fusion Apps. 🙂



Star Trek Into Darkness

After yesterday’s visit to see Fast & Furious 6, I went this morning to see Star Trek Into Darkness.

The reviews I read about this pretty much slated it as being extremely self indulgent. Being only an observer of the franchise, rather than a rabid fan, I only noticed a few of the main back references and I didn’t really see them as a bad thing. Instead, I thought they added a little extra dimension to the story.

It’s a full-on action flick more than a sci-fi film really, but worth going to see in my opinion. If they do more of them I will probably go to see them. If they don’t I won’t cry myself to sleep. 🙂

Accent Alert: Will all Scottish people please cover their ears whenever Simon Pegg speaks. I used to go out with a Scottish girl and she would punch the living crap out of me if I did a Scottish accent that bad! Every time he spoke I felt myself twitch as if ducking for cover!



Fast & Furious 6…

Similar to the Resident Evil franchise, you know exactly what you are going to get when you go to see one of the Fast & Furious franchise. Fast & Furious 6 does not disappoint. It contains a liberal mix of car porn, car chase porn and disaster porn, with the odd bit of comedy thrown in for good measure. It is totally ridiculous, but totally fantastic at the same time.

Probably the thing that has grated on me the most in this series is Paul Walker. It’s not that I have something against him. I’m sure one of my colleagues would describe him as “very scenic”. It’s just he doesn’t do the whole “bad boy from da street thang!” very well IMHO. It’s about as believable as me trying to claim I’m posh. 🙂

That minor gripe aside, it’s great. I think this is the best of the lot so far. I can’t wait for No. 7 due out next summer. Hang around at the end to see who the new villain is. 🙂

Random thoughts:

  • The Rock (you will forever be The Rock, because you real name reminds me of Dwayne Dibbley) is MASSIVE! You could feed a family for a week on one of his arms. He’s built like a barn door now. I know he’s done some film about bodybuilding with Mark Wahlberg. I think he may have taken that role a bit too seriously. 🙂
  • Vin Diesel is looking a lot smaller and a lot chubbier than before. I guess things look more exaggerated because of The Rock looking so massive.
  • Michelle Rodrigues is hot. I love it when female characters look like they could kick your ass.



Summer Cold… Again…

As seems to be the norm for me, the weather has taken a turn for the better and I’ve got a cold. 🙁

I’d like to say a quick sorry to a couple of people from the BGOUG conference who are waiting for feedback from me about some questions. I will get round to it, but the return to work and this blasted cold have made life complicated.

I spent Friday at work with my face buried in tissues, between necking Covonia. I spent Friday evening until this morning asleep in bed, with occasional periods of sleep in the bath. It’s amazing what 30+ hours in bed can do to a cold and how much damage it can do to your back!

Today I am being sponsored by Lemsip Max All In ON Cold and Flu Capsules. I must be feeling better as I’m bored and hungry, neither of which I have felt for the last 30+ hours. A couple more days and normal service will be resumed. 🙂



Laptop and Desktop SSD Update…

I recently wrote about installing SSDs in my Laptop and Desktop. I thought I would write a quick follow up post to mention how things are going.

I’m really happy with the changes to the performance of the desktop. As mentioned previously, it is now much quieter and really fast. A lot of my VMs run from the 1TB internal data drive, but the things I use most frequently are now sitting on the SSD. I’m starting to forget what life was like before SSD, except when I go to work and use the slowest PC that was ever built. 🙂

The laptop upgrade was a really good move. Just before my first BGOUG presentation the projector seemed to freak out my MacBook and I was forced to reboot. With the old hard drive I would have been filling while waiting for the thing to start up. As it was, it restarted in a similar time it used to take to come out of hibernation and I was moving. 🙂

Having done the disk swap in the laptop so close to a conference I was a little bit nervous, so in addition to the laptop I had my old 500G external drive, my new 1TB external drive and the oringial internal hard drive in my bag. Unpacking all that, along with my Nexus 7, Nexus 4 and Kindle was very time consuming and a little embarrassing. 🙂

If you were at all in doubt about making the move to SSD, I can definitely recommend it.



PS. I reserve the right to start moaning about it when it wears out after a few weeks. 🙂

The sort of latency heat map you don’t want to see!

We’ve had a couple of short lived, but very inconvenient I/O latency issues recently. I’ve been using the awesome Latency Heat Map Visualization by Luca Canali as one of the tools to investigate this.

I’m guessing this isn’t the type of I/O latency heat map most people would want to see from a production system. 🙂



This is the same system that has been reporting Warning “aiowait timed out x times” in alert.log [ID 222989.1], which only appears if an asynchronous I/O takes longer than 10 minutes…

The pictures look much nicer when things are going wrong! 🙂



Chapterhouse: Dune

Chapterhouse Dune is the last in the Dune series by Frank Herbert.

It’s really hard for me to make a judgement about Chapterhouse: Dune. On the one hand there are some excellent characters and the general story line is great. On the other, there are parts I found really boring. I got a bit sick of the teasers without any explanation. At first is was intriguing, but as they continued I just got a bit fed up with them and decided to stop second guessing the outcome and just let it happen. I think there are two ways an author can play this game:

1) Make the outcome fairly obvious from the start, but make the journey to get there exciting. Kind of like The Dresden Files.
2) Make the outcome a mystery, but subtly lead you in the right direction.

I think this book is trying to do the latter, but is quite clumsy about it. Having said all that, I’m glad I read it. The overall outcome is more than satisfactory.

I’m not going to read the books by Frank Herbert’s son. I’ve been told they are not good, and the brief snippets I’ve read seem to reinforce that.

I guess the end of a series of books like this needs a bit of a summary. I think the first book is a total classic. The rest you can take or leave. There are definitely interesting elements to all of them, but they are not nearly as accomplished as the first.



BGOUG Spring 2013 : Day 2…

How do you want to start the day? I’m guessing it’s not to be called out to the front of the room by a speaker and used as a guinea pig, while they ask you trick questions to make you look stupid. Tom Kyte, you will pay. Oh yes! You will pay!!!

The sessions I attended on day 2 were:

  • Tom Kyte : What’s new in Oracle database application development
  • Tim Hall (me) : A cure for Virtual Insanity : A vendor-neutral introduction to virtualization without the hype
  • Georgi Kodinov : Quick Dive into MySQL
  • Tim Hall (me) : From Zero to Hero : Using an assortment of caching techniques to improve performance of SQL containing PL/SQL calls
  • Husnu Sensoy : ZFS Storage can backup your Exadata
  • Tom Kyte : 5 SQL and PL/SQL things in the Latest Generation of Database Technology

Another very useful day indeed. I had some good feedback and interesting questions about my talks. This sort of feedback is really important when you are presenting regularly as it allows you to continuously refine your material and presenting skills. It can sometimes give you a fresh perspective on a subject, that inspires you to alter the focus of your presentations entirely. I’m very grateful to anyone who takes the time to provide this sort of feedback. Big thanks to Tom Kyte, who has given me some very useful advice over the last couple of days, but then he owes me for making me look stupid in his first session of the day! 🙂

In the evening we went out for dinner at a restaurant just down the road from the hotel. I ate plenty of cheese, so I was in heaven. Not surprisingly, much of the talk ended up being about Oracle. It may seem a little sad to some people, but when I’m surrounded by people with brains the size of a planet, I can’t help myself quizzing them about this stuff. I love it! 🙂

Great big thanks go out to Milena and her gang for organizing this event and inviting me. Thanks also to Stoyan for being my driver again. No offence to other user groups, but BGOUG conferences are my favorite events of the year. I will keep coming back as long as you will have me! Also, a big thank you to the Oracle ACE program for making this possible.



BGOUG Spring 2013 : Day 1 (part 2)…

So Day 1 (part 2) didn’t go to plan because I forgot to take my camera or my phone to the party. 🙂

Suffice to say, lots of food, lots of drink (for those that do) and most importantly lots of dancing. Yes, I once again murdered the traditional dances of Bulgaria, but it’s the takling part that counts right? 🙂

I had good intentions of leaving early, but I ended up chatting about Oracle until about 02:00. Day 2 is going to be tough… 🙂