UltraEdit v22.0

UltraEdit v22.0 has been released. You can see the new features here. For such a mature editor, it’s surprising when something new comes out that makes you take a step back. I think they’ve done just that in this release. The document map shows a miniaturized version of the page, making scrolling through large files really simple.


I’m not sure if this is an idea they kicked from another editor, but this is the first time I’ve seen this and it’s really handy! Hopefully it will get added to the Linux and Mac versions soon.



Windows 10 : It’s like totally amazing and junk…

I decided I wanted to play with the newly released Spartan browser on Windows 10. Spartan comes with Windows 10 (build 10049), which does not have an ISO download available at the moment. So instead, I downloaded the x64 ISO image of Windows 10 (build 10041) and installed it on VirtualBox.

To get build 10049 you have to switch the Windows Update settings from “Slow” to “Fast”, which gives you access to the latests builds as soon as they are available.


That done, Windows Update will then download build 10049, which is pretty much a full OS download again. Once rebooted, the OS auto-installs for ages, with a few reboots, but when it is done you are left with the latest Windows 10 build.

It boots to the desktop and feels quite similar to Windows 8.1. If you are interested in the latest start menu, here it is.


If I’m honest, I’ve never seen the Windows 8.1 start menu live. The Windows 8 menu was so bad I installed Classic Shell on the Windows 8 machines for my family. I’ve never removed it since the 8.1 upgrade. As a result, I don’t really know if this Windows 10 start menu is new or like the 8.1 menu. I would probably stick with this menu myself, knowing that Classic Shell is always available if it pisses me off. :)

Most importantly, THIS IS SPARTA(N)!


Not surprisingly, it’s a just a browser and any site that sticks reasonably close to the standards will work fine.

So that was the fun bit. Now I’ve got to look at what this is going to break. I’m guessing Oracle Forms isn’t going to like it. :)



PS. Alex – By “and junk” I was not implying it is junk. Este Uimitor!

Update: Installed Oracle Database 12c on Windows 10 without any problems. Happy days!


Cloud Storage Pricing for Home Use

I’ve just done a quick survey of cloud storage pricing for some of the popular providers. Times have certainly changed since I last looked at this. Depending on what you are looking for, each service has its own sweet spot, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. All the prices are in GBP for a whole year based on today’s exchange rate and rounded up to the nearest pound. Check the pricing in your region, as this stuff varies, as does service availability by region. :)

Provider            Free          100G        1TB       10TB      Unlimited

Google Drive        15G           £16         £78
MS One Drive        15G           £24         £80*
DropBox              2G                       £79
Box                 10G           £84                             £132
Amazon Cloud Drive   5G           £32         £325
Hubic**             25G           £ 9                   £87

* Price based on buying an Office 365 license for a whole year, which comes with 1TB space.
** Thanks to Eric Grancher for pointing out this service.

Things of note.

  • If you just want a straight 1TB of space, then Google Drive comes out ahead.
  • If you are just paying for space, One Drive is way more expensive than Google Drive, but the Office 365 deal makes it look appealing.
  • If you think you need more than 1TB, then Box looks very interesting! Of course, you need to check what they mean by “unlimited”. :)
  • The Hubic prices are amazing! For the 10TB service your data is stored in 3 data centres in France.
  • Microsoft are rolling out unlimited storage for some US customers, but this is not available for me, so I’ve not included it.

As with everything, you have to check the T&Cs for fair use policies, maximum file sizes, bandwidth throttling, data jurisdiction etc.



Update: Someone tweeted this Top 5 comparison.

MobaXterm 7.5

MobaXterm 7.5 has been released. You can find the downloads and changelog in the usual places.

If you are a Windows user, MobaXterm is by far the best tool I’ve ever found for SSH and X Server functionality. It’s much simpler than using Cygwin and Putty individually.



WordPress 4.1 “Dinah”

WordPress 4.1 “Dinah” has been born.

The upgrade will probably happen automatically in a few days, but if you go on to you blog now you can force the update. We will no doubt get a 4.1.1 very soon, as this always seems to happen. :)

There is a list of new features that I think is meant to thrill me, but I’m looking at everything post upgrade and it all seems pretty much the same. I tried the new Twenty Fifteen theme, but I was not really happy with it, so I went back to my ultra-plain theme. :)

I’m sure there are some bug fixes and it always pays to be up to date with this stuff.

Happy upgrading.



Develop against the versions in the Yum repositories!

I saw a tweet by Simon Haslam at the weekend that read,

“I’m v surprised to read that @Atlassian Stash needs newer git than in the latest RHEL/OL6 repos!”

I had a similar experience at the weekend too, but this time with Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) 3.0 EA. According to the documentation, it requires the following version of Tomcat.

“Apache Tomcat Release 7.0.56 or later”

So let’s have a look at what is typically available from the Yum repositories at the time of writing.

  • RHEL6/OL6 : tomcat6-6.0.24-80.el6.x86_64.rpm
  • EPEL 6 : tomcat-7.0.33-4.el6.noarch.rpm
  • RHEL7/OL7 : tomcat-7.0.42-8.el7_0.noarch.rpm

Realistically, nobody is moving to RHEL7/OL7 for Oracle products yet, since the only database version certified is Oracle 12c ( onward), so the vast majority of kit out there will be running RHEL6/OL6. With that in mind, the requirement for “Apache Tomcat Release 7.0.56 or later” represents a bit of a support nightmare. As soon as people require a piece of software on a server that is not available from a default (or similar) Yum repository, the product is outside the typical sys admin patching cycle and someone has to make a specific effort to keep the custom installation up to date. You know what that means right? Yeah, it never gets patched… It’s not that installing this stuff is difficult. It’s just the impact it has on sys admin teams that is the problem.

We all want to use the latest and greatest, but there seems to be a disconnect between what the developers do and what is reasonably supportable out here in the real world. Developing stuff against product versions that are not in Yum repos is a mistake IMHO.

I’m going to play around with ORDS on older versions of Tomcat to see what happens…



Agile Morning

You may have noticed some tweets from me on Friday morning on the subject of Agile methodologies. Work arranged for a couple of speakers to come in to speak to us on the subject.

Our company is made up of three types of people.

  • Those that are fully invested in agile and use it on a day-to-dat basis.
  • Those that think they know agile and perform some bastardised version of it.
  • Those that need a warm up before they can even say the word agile.

If I’m honest, I fit into the last group. :) I understand the approach and know some of the terminology, but I’ve never worked in a truly agile team, just those that play at it. I’ve also seen terms like agile, RAD and extreme programming used as an excuse to avoid doing the job properly, so there is a slightly bitter taste in my mouth.

In the recent office reshuffle, the DBAs have been put into a development team. We are still responsible for all production stuff as well, but we share the office with a development team and as usual, will be involved in a number of projects. As a result, getting involved in the whole agile thing is quite important…

The first speaker up was Kay Johnson from IBM, who has been involved in the rollout of agile throughout IBM. She started off with an overview of agile, then talked about how to scale agile through a company as large as IBM. It’s interesting that even the CICS team at IBM now use agile methodologies. Kay is a really enthusiastic speaker and great at getting the crowd involved. I really enjoyed the session. If you get chance to see her speak, you really should make the effort.

Next up was Gavin Barton from the BBC, who was talking about how the BBC has implemented agile throughout the web team. Gavin was a very relaxed and confident speaker, very open and honest when answering questions. Once again, you should definitely make the effort to go and see him if you get the opportunity to hear him speak. As you would expect, there was a lot of common ground between what he said and what Kay said, but it was good to hear how two sets of people arrived at similar conclusions via different routes, and of course some of the differences between the two.

If I combine a few of the take-home messages from both speakers, it would go something like this:

  • Agile is not an excuse to avoid planning and documentation. If anything it requires more discipline than the traditional waterfall approach. The point is you don’t spend so long planning that the requirement has changed by the time you come to code. Likewise, you don’t spend months producing documentation nobody will ever read. Keep it all direct and to the point.
  • Agile is about being user/business driven. Work with the user/business to give them what they want. Don’t assume you know better.
  • Sprints should be no longer than 2 weeks. Gavin suggested for many things they do, 2-3 days is actually better. As Kay said, there is always a way to break stuff down to something smaller, so even massive projects can be broken down to 2 week chunks.
  • Sprints should produce something that is production ready, even if it hasn’t completed UAT and doesn’t make sense to release it on its own. That means the developer should have confidence in what they have produced. A sprint might be one function or one page that can’t be released on its own, but in itself is production ready.
  • Each sprint should include planning and a retrospective look at how things went so you can learn from previous successes and failures.

I’m going to stop here before I embarrass myself with my total lack of knowledge. :) Suffice to say, it all sounds really great providing you invest in it. Do a half-hearted version of it and it’s going to suck. Kind-of like everything in IT I guess.

It was a great morning. I’d like to personally thank Kay and Gavin for taking the time to come and speak to us and of course Dawn for organising it. Everyone I’ve spoken to about it has come away with a really positive view of the event.

I’m not going to act like I’m Billy-Agile now, but over the coming weeks as I get agiled-up, I will no doubt mention it a little. Especially how it fits in with the DBA role. I think that is something that is not so obvious as it maybe is for the developers. Please bear with me. It’s a learning curve and I will make mistakes, but I’m more than happy for you to call me on them… :)