Challenge: Most stupid exhibition freebie you can find at OOW2013

I’ve been challenged by Doug Burns to find the most stupid exhibition freebie as a present for Andy Cowling. I am of course going to cheat as much as possible to win this challenge, so if you see something particularly stupid, can you let me know so I can snag one. Needless to say, keep it a secret from Doug too. 🙂

If you are an exhibitor and you happen to have a particularly stupid exhibition freebie, feel free to contact me. Once again, make no attempt to contact Doug Burns… 🙂



PS. Anything really cool, like a free Exadata, might accidentally get kept for myself…


Warning: Problems with 9.2 clients connecting to databases patched to…

I mentioned this a couple of days ago on Twitter, but I’ve only just go round to posting here…

I recently had to back out some patches because the patch seems to cause problems with Oracle 9.2 client connections where worked fine. I’m not sure how widespread the problem is. All I can tell you is we had two separate occasions (services) where this happened, so we’ve put a halt on patching to until we can identify and upgrade the old clients.

Why are there 9.2 clients lurking around? In some cases it’s due to certification of legacy apps. In other cases it’s because the service owner has been working on a, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, basis. I guess now it’s broke, we gotta fix it. 🙂

If you have legacy client installations lurking around, you might want to tread carefully when testing this patch.

Good luck!



PS. At this point I am not sure what patch level the 9.2 clients are, so if you have a later patch level you might be OK. See MOS note 207303.1


Pitch Black was an awesome film. It kind of came out of nowhere and delivered a Terminator meets Alien vibe. The sequel, Chronicles of Riddick, was a completely different style of film. I liked it, but I it wasn’t what I expected. Riddick is the third film in the franchise and it tries to revert to the Pitch Black formula.

Let’s be real about this. You go to a Vin Diesel film to see him be a total bad-ass with swagger. Riddick is the ultimate embodiment of that. He’s a psycho killer anti-hero. If he breaks his leg, he’s gonna reset it himself and pin it together with nails. If he gets stabbed, he’s gonna burn the surface of that wound and carry on fighting like he’s not been touched, regardless of the internal injuries! That’s what he is. That’s what he does. If you can check your brain in at the ticket desk, then you are going to enjoy it. 🙂

If I were looking for fault, I would the pacing of this film was a little off at times and it tried to hard to be Pitch Black, but who cares? Did I happen to mention it’s got Vin Diesel in it and he plays a bad-ass. Nuff said! 🙂

So if you are a fan of Vin Diesel and the whole Riddick thing, you are probably going to like it. If not, then back away slowly and don’t make eye contact!



Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) 2013 : What am I involved in during the conference?

Oracle OpenWord (OOW) 2013 is just around the corner, so things are starting to heat up… My flights and hotel are booked, so I’ve just got to get myself to the airport at 02:00 next Saturday and I’m laughing, or snoring…

I thought I would just take time out to say a few things about my plans for the conference and make a few apologies in advance.

ACED Briefing

Unfortunately I’m not going to make it to the ACED briefing this year. It will be the first one I’ve missed since I joined the program. There seems to be a bit of confusion about why I’m not going to be there. I’m not getting married. I’m not going to a wedding. My colleague just got married and is on honeymoon, so I’m not allowed to take any time off the week before the conference. It’s a pity, bit this stuff happens. It will definitely not happen next year though!!!

I’ll be like everyone else this year, watching ACEDs tweet about stuff they are hearing about, without actually saying what it is because of NDAs… 🙂


I’ve been invited to join in on a panel session on Sunday. Panel sessions are both exciting and scary in equal measures. If you can make it along to this session it would be great to see you there!

Session ID: UGF9801
Session Title: What I wish I knew before I became a DBA (formerly listed as DBA Expert Panel)
Venue / Room: Moscone West – 3014
Date and Time: 9/22/13, 13:00 – 14:00

RAC Attack

After all those years of Karate, I’m now finally a Ninja. Well, a RAC Attack Ninja at least… 🙂

If you are interested in learning more about RAC, maybe installing it on your laptop, or just chatting to link minded people about geeky tech stuff, then you really need to make it along to the RAC Attack sessions during OOW. I love hanging out in the OTN Lounge and speaking to people about this stuff, so RAC Attack is the perfect place to hang out for me. There is a Facebook page for each of the two days.

There is also a Google+ page here.

If you are coming to install RAC, you might want to get a heads-up before you arrive by flicking through this. Hope to see you there!

Demo Grounds

I spent ages on the demo grounds last year. Often you are talking to developers and product managers, so you get some really cool info. Personally I would say you will get more from this than from presentations in many cases. Don’t be shy. Just walk up and ask what you want to know. They will often recommend specific sessions that cover features you are discussing, so that can help .

Conference Sessions

Last year I struggled to find time to make it to any actual sessions. I’ll try to make as many as I can, but I’ve seen so many sessions about 12c, EM12c and PL/SQL over the last couple of years that it might be a struggle to find something I’ve not already seen several times. 🙂

Things I always look out for are:

  • Anything by the Oracle Real World Performance group. I’ve seen some of the stuff a number of times, but it’s quire reassuring to know that you are (still) on the right path, at least some of the time. 🙂
  • Anything by the Oak Table members. It sounds a bit like a mutual appreciation society, but the content is usually spot on and I always come away having learned something!
  • Anything else that catches my eye in a time slot I’ve got free. An OOW lesson I learned very quickly was that plans are made to be broken. Have an idea of what you want to see, but be flexible. When someone makes a recommendation, follow it.


I’ve been invited to a myriad of social events during the week. To turn up to everything I’ve been invited to would require a time machine, so needless to say I’m not going to get to everything. I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been kind enough to invite me to events and I’m sorry if I can’t make it to yours.

I’m at OOW because of Oracle Technology Network (OTN) and the Oracle ACE program. They’ve been very good to me over the last 8 years and this is my opportunity to pay something back by supporting their events. As a result, they come top of my list. If they have an event I will be there supporting it in preference to anything else.

As a close second comes the Oak Table. I’m an Oracle geek, so hanging around listening to some of these uber-geeks talking about Oracle makes me as happy as a pig in sh*t. The fact they are really down to earth and fun is a bonus. If an OTN/ACE event clashes with an Oak Table event, and it has in the past, then sadly I have to give the Oak Table event a miss, but I’m going to do my best to get to anything the Oak Table organise. There are no such clashes this year, so I’ll be there. 🙂

After that, my priority will be people I get on well with. For some people OOW is all about business, but I’m not a business minded person. It’s all about the technology and the people for me. If you’ve invited me for a working breakfast to discuss a possible new business venture, I’m not going to be there. I’ll be hanging around talking geek with my friends, other bloggers and conference attendees. 🙂 There are some companies, like DBVisit, that I do go out of my way to hook up with because they are nice people and I like what they do. It’s not about business for me. It’s purely about the people and the tech.

See you there!



Cloud Control 12c Database Backup Jobs (Continued)

I’ve been rather critical of the way Cloud Control handles database backup jobs, as can be seen in these two previous posts.

Yesterday I found out I schedule database backups in Cloud Control the “wrong way”…

So typically, when I am sorting out a new database, I do something like this:

  • If the host doesn’t already have an agent, push one out the to server.
  • Discover the targets. For existing hosts, this may just be discovering a new database.
  • Tell Cloud Control to used the RMAN catalog for backups. (Oracle Database > Availability > Backup & Recovery > Recovery Catalog Settings)
  • Set the default location for the backups and any other stuff. (Oracle Database > Availability > Backup & Recovery > Backups Settings)
  • Finally schedule the backup. (Oracle Database > Availability > Backup & Recovery > Schedule Backups…)

Notice how all the backup-related things come from the same location (Oracle Database > Availability > Backup & Recovery). Obvious right? Wrong!

So it turns out, if you schedule the backup using the (Oracle Database > Availability > Backup & Recovery > Schedule Backups…) screen, you do schedule a backup job, it works and it is visible in the (Enterprise > Job > Activity) screen, but it is not a “real” Cloud Control job. It is actually created using the job type of “Backup”, which is not a supported job type, rather than the job type “RMANScript”.

If you schedule a backup in this way, you can’t:

  • use the job library.
  • do a create-like of an existing job.
  • edit most of the details about the job after it’s created, including the RMAN script.
  • describe the job using EMCLI.

So what is the solution? Well, you do all the prep in the same way, but you don’t actually schedule the job using the (Oracle Database > Availability > Backup & Recovery > Schedule Backups…) screen. You do it directly from the (Enterprise > Job > Activity) screen. If you do it from here, then you get to pick the “RMANScript” job type and suddenly everything works much better and things seem a lot more consistent. Basically, you’ve created a “real” Cloud Control job.

So in my latest round of [enchancement requests | bug reports] I got the answer back from development that I was doing it wrong, which is good to know, and they want to close the SR. My response to that was, why do you let me do it the “wrong way”? Why does the (Oracle Database > Availability > Backup & Recovery > Schedule Backups…) screen not schedule a “real” Cloud Control job? It seems odd to me that you build a product that lets you do things inconsistently. It’s probably a throw back to the old DBConsole stuff, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

I’m going to recreate all my backup jobs to make them use the “RMANScript” job type, which will solve my EMCLI issues, but I really think this mess should get cleaned up. I wonder how many other people out there are not creating “real” Cloud Control jobs for their database backups?

I’m going add this blog post to my SR and see what the response is…



LAOTN Tour 2003 Interview Videos

During the OTN tour of Latin America, Pablo Ciccarello filmed a number of interviews with the speakers and has recently posted links to them here.

Right at the bottom on the page there is a link to an interview with Dana Singleterry and myself.

If you are interested in listening to our opinions of the tour, drop by and check them out.



Captain Support and Windows 8…

Captain Support was getting pretty sick of supporting the crappy old laptops his brother and mother were using, so he selfishly bought them 2 shiny new laptops to make his own life easier. The only slight flaw in the plan was they came with Windows 8. Although Captain Support had some previous experience of Windows 8 (Developer Preview, Consumer Preview, Windows Blue beta), he was a little nervous about unleashing it on his unsuspecting family members…

A week down the line and Windows 8, along with Classic Shell, seems to have gone down OK. Captain Support just taught his family the mantra, “If in doubt, press the Windows key!”, which in Classic Shell returns you to the desktop. What with that and the boot to desktop, it is just like using Windows 7, which is similar to Vista, which is what they both used before…

Captain Support also mentioned Classic Shell to one of his yoga buddies, whose dad was struggling with Windows 8. His dad was very happy with the result.

So if anyone at Microsoft is listening, now that Steve Ballmer has been kicked out moved on you might want to consider resurrecting the Windows 7 style start menu, not that crappy Windows Blue start button, to save people having to download 3rd party products to make your desktop work properly…


Captain Support…

PS. If you are interested, they were Acer Aspire v3-771 with i5, 6G RAM, 750G HHD, 17″ screen and cost a little under £500 each. They are better than Captain Support’s current MacBook Pro 🙂