Life Update : Dude, what’s wrong with your face?

I just thought I would give people a quick update on what has been happening to my face recently. If you’re eating, you might want to save this post for later…

My family has skin that is very sensitive to sun damage. My mom used to have a darker complexion, but the rest of us are/were really pale skinned. My mom had skin cancer when I was a teenager, so from that point onward I’ve been pretty careful about my sun exposure. Since then every member of the family has had some sort of skin cancer. There are several types of skin cancer. Some are bad. Some are not so bad. My mom had the bad sort, recovered, then later got the not so bad sort. She’s still fine. My sister died of the bad sort. Both my brother and dad had treatments for skin cancer, but with no major drama.

Since my sister’s death in 2011 I go to get checked pretty regularly. It’s good to find this stuff early. Towards the end of last year I went for a check up and was told I’ve joined the family tradition. Luckily it’s not the life threatening sort of skin cancer. 🙂

Procedure 1

In December I had the first procedure to remove some skin from the right side of my face and get a biopsy on the left side, which wasn’t so well defined. The biopsy came back positive, so at the start of the new year I had the second procedure to remove some skin from the left side of my face. The second procedure was a bit more complicated, but it actually ended up with less scaring. Happy days…

Procedure 2

After that I had to wait a couple of months for things to heal, then it was on to the final procedure, which was effectively a skin peel. You put chemo therapy cream on your face twice a day for 4 weeks, and anything that is cancerous or pre-cancerous gets burnt off. The pictures below were from a couple of days before I finished the treatment. You can see there wasn’t a lot of good skin left on my face after the 4 weeks. 🙂

Procedure 3 : after 4 weeks

It’s about two weeks since the treatment finished, so things are starting to calm down a bit. For the first week most of my face had a really fine scab on it, that kept flaking off and being replaced. It felt a bit like really bad sunburn. By the end of the second week the scabs had gone, but I still have some peeling from time to time. The skin looks OK now, but it’s still a bit red and I’m having to moisturize like it’s going out of fashion. I’m so pale so I think it’s going to take a few weeks to look totally normal again.

Procedure 3 : after 4 weeks

A few people in the community already know what has been going on. I turned down some online conference spots, and I felt obliged to explain why.

I don’t go out a lot anyway, so it hasn’t been that much of a problem. It’s a bit embarrassing going out food shopping with a hat, mask and my collar up to cover my neck. I look like I’m going in to rob the place. 🙂

Procedure 3 : after 4 weeks

Anyway, that’s my little bit of drama. By the time any of you see me in public my skin should look normal again, and I’m guessing you probably won’t even notice the scars from the bits that have been chopped off. If you do, I’ll probably say it was from a fight with a crocodile or something cool like that…



Update: It’s nearly 2 months later and I’ve just had another consultation. I’m all clear now, so I don’t have to go back to see them for a couple of years. There is still some discolouration, but only because my skin is so pale. That will fade over the coming months. Happy days. 🙂

Video : Data Pump Checksums in Oracle Database 21c

In today’s video we demonstrate the use of Data Pump checksums in Oracle Database 21c.

The video is based on part of this article.

The star of today’s video is Franck Pachot, who is checking out his escape routes. 🙂



Video : RANK and DENSE_RANK Aggregate Functions : Making Ranking Predictions

In today’s video we demonstrate the RANK and DENSE_RANK aggregate functions, using them to make ranking predictions.

The video is based on part of this analytic functions article.

RANK and DENSE_RANK Analytic Functions

You might find these useful.

The star of today’s video is Kim Berg Hansen, who is an all round SQL and PL/SQL good guy, as well as a tireless contributor to the Dev Gym.



What architecture are you using for your production Oracle databases? (Poll Results Discussed)

I was having an email discussion with the folks from DBmarlin, and the question came up about the adoption of the multitenant architecture. Were people using the multitenant architecture, or sticking with the non-CDB architecture for now?

Followers of the blog know I threw my hat in with the multitenant architecture from Oracle onward. We use Oracle 19c for everything of value now (there are a couple of dead projects still on 11.2) and all but one of those projects use PDBs. Suspecting I was not the norm here, I asked some questions on Twitter.

As usual I’m going to start with some caveats. The sample size is small. People who interact about tech on social media my not be a diverse sample. I’m going to act like these results are representative of the wider scene, but they may not be.

Here is the first question.

What architecture are you using for your production Oracle databases?

The fact that only 33% were on non-CDB only was a positive sign in my view. The introduction of the multitenant architecture made a lot of people nervous, and it was not without its problems in the early days. Even so, the combined total of only non-CDB and mostly non-CDB is still 50% of respondents. When you consider Oracle 21c makes the multitenant architecture mandatory, and the next long term release is 23c, there is a lot of work for people to do when they make the switch to 23c. The conversion is simple enough. It’s the testing resource that could hurt people.

Having 50% of people using mostly PDBs or all PDBs is a really good sign, and will make life much easier for them when they come to upgrade to the next long term release.

To dig a little deeper I asked this question.

Are you provisioning new production Oracle databases as PDBs?

So just over 65% of people said they are provisioning new Oracle databases as PDBs. That’s very positive, and makes a lot of sense going forward. Why would 35% of people stick with the non-CDB architecture for new databases? Some things I can think of include.

  • They are using an older versions of the database, and don’t have the option of using the multitenant architecture.
  • They want a one-size-fits-all approach to the database, and will convert everything when they are forced to.
  • Vendors don’t support the multitenant architecture. I have one project where I suspect the vendor doesn’t even know the multitenant architecture exists, let alone supports it.
  • Internal development teams haven’t caught up with the database version. From my experience, the only thing that was really affected by our move to PBDs was CRON jobs using OS authentication. We switched to using secure external password stores and everything was fine. I wrote an article on possible solutions to the OS authentication issue here.

If I was not working at my company, I don’t believe they would have been running on 19c with PDBs. I’ve been pushing for many years to improve the attitudes to upgrades and patching. The easy path is to do nothing…

Finally I wondered how many people were purchasing the multitenant option. Remember, from 19c onward you can run up to 3 user-defined PDBs without having to buy the multitenant option.

For those people using PDBs for production Oracle databases, have you bought the Multitenant Option?

At 35%, I’m actually surprised how many people have purchased the multitenant option. I expected it to be a lot lower. Don’t get me wrong, I think the multitenant architecture is fine. I’ve been advocating for people to switch to it and use lone-pdb since it was introduced on Oracle 12.1. I would like to use more than 3 PDBs per 19c instance, but I can’t justify the cost for a feature that I could argue should be free in all editions.

So there you have it. A quick snapshot of what my followers are saying.

Remember, the multitenant architecture is mandatory from Oracle 21c onward, with Oracle 23c being the next long term support release, so you are going to have to get comfortable with this stuff if you want to remain in support long term.

If you want any help getting to grips with the multitenant architecture I have a load of articles and videos.



Video : SQLcl : Data Pump (Part 2)

In today’s video we demonstrate table-level export and imports using the integration between SQLcl and Data Pump.

This video builds on the first video, so it makes sense to watch that first.

Both these videos are based on this article.

I have a few articles on other SQLcl features, which you can find here.

The star of today’s video is Craig Shallahamer. Craig is the only person I know who defies the first law of thermodynamics, as he’s able to produce more energy than he consumes. If you’ve seen him teach or present, you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t, you really should! 🙂