Video : Analytic Functions Groups Clause in Oracle Database 21c

In today’s video we’ll demonstrate the analytic functions groups clause, introduced in Oracle database 21c.

The video is based on the following article.

You might also find these useful.

The star of today’s video is a certain well known virus, knitted by the wife (Debra Lilley). This is what social isolation has done to her. πŸ™‚



Bringing new life to an old MacBook Pro

I’ve got an old MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009) that sits next to my bed. I use it for watching films and streaming rain sounds while I sleep. It stopped getting OS updates a while ago, and more recently it doesn’t want to play Prime videos, so I figured it was time to take action.

It’s got a Core 2 Duo processor, 8G RAM and a 500G SSD, so it’s not great, but it’s more than capable of doing what I need it to do…

I would like to say I did a lot of research to decide the best OS for it, but that would be a lie. I figured I wanted Ubuntu, and I wanted to run a simple window manager, so I picked Ubuntu Mate.

  • I downloaded the ISO to my Windows 11 desktop.
  • Used the Portable Apps version of Rufus to burn it onto a USB stick.
  • Put the USB stick into my old MBP.
  • Restarted the MBP and held down the “alt” key to give me the boot menu, and picked the USB stick.
  • The live version of Ubuntu Mate started and I clicked the install icon.
  • A few questions later and I had a running Ubuntu Mate installation.

The first problem was I didn’t have wifi access, so I had to plug directly into my router to get internet access. I installed a suitable driver for my wifi card, did an update and I was ready to go. If I had read the installer pages properly, I could have loaded the proprietary drivers as part of the install, but randomly clicking the “Continue” button without reading is the way I roll. πŸ™‚

I installed KeePassXC and DropBox to get access to my passwords, and that’s about it. It’s working really well, and saved me having to think about what to replace the old laptop with.

So my current operating system landscape looks like this:

  • My main workstation is a Dell XPS laptop running Windows 11.
  • I also have a MacBook Pro 15-inch on my desk running macOS Big Sur, which I use to stream films while I work, and test my Vagrant builds on macOS.
  • I have a server running Oracle Linux 7, which I tend not to use much these days as my XPS laptop has more than enough power to do most things I want to do in VirtualBox VMs.
  • I have the old MacBook Pro 13-inch next to my bed running Ubuntu Mate.

I believe in operating system diversity… πŸ™‚

I know people become fanboys/fangirls/fanpeople of their operating system of choice, but I really can’t be bothered with all that anymore. I used Red Hat Linux, then Fedora as my main desktop for 10+ years. I spent a few years with macOS as my daily driver. Now I’m happily using Windows. I’m not even that partisan about my Linux distros these days. I use Oracle Linux for all my Oracle software, but I’ll use any Linux distro for non-Oracle stuff. It’s all the same but different… πŸ˜‰



Video : Analytic Function Window Clause in Oracle Database 21c

In today’s video we’ll demonstrate the analytic functions window clause, introduced in Oracle database 21c.

The video is based on the following article.

You might also find these useful.

The star of today’s video is Peter Scott, who took time out of his life of luxury in France to say “.com” for this video. πŸ™‚



Video : Gradual Database Password Rollover Time

In today’s video we demonstrate gradual database password rollover time, introduced in Oracle database 21c, and backported to 19c.

The video is based on this article.

This is a small, but really useful quality of life feature!

The stars of today’s video are the offspring of Jeff Smith. It was cold, dark and miserable when I recorded the video, and this is one of my favourite clips, so I included it to bring a touch a summer! πŸ™‚



Stagnation : Population Me!

This is a bit of a life update. As you will have seen from the title, I’m living in a town called stagnation at the moment…


When I read Accelerate there were several mentions of bringing joy to developers. I’m not sure I had thought about it before, but I realised my job does not bring me joy. In fact, it’s the polar opposite of joy. One of the problems with being capable is you get dragged into all sorts of stuff that you don’t really care about. You end up spending loads of time doing things that you are crap at, because your “crap” is better than other people’s “good”…

What’s worse, you have so little time to do things you are good at, you end up doing a crap job of those things, which is really frustrating. It doesn’t matter what people think, when you know you are capable of more it’s depressing. There is no joy here!

So why don’t I just leave? I don’t even need to work, so the sensible option is to just walk away, but that comes with its own set of issues. As with everything in life there is a balance. Clearly at the moment the balance is in favour of not walking out, or I would have done it already, but I’m not sure how much longer things will remain that way.

The biggest issue is I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I can do pretty much anything, but what? If I knew what I wanted to do, I would do it.

As a result of this, I’m permanently set to “Angry Mode”, which isn’t really good for me or anyone else.

I guess the only positive is I’m working from home, so I can scream and swear at the wall, rather than doing it to people’s faces!

Website, Blog and YouTube

The website is business as usual. I write what I want to write, when I want to write. Similar with videos on YouTube. I’ve dropped back to one video every two weeks, because I’m running short on inspiration, so I’m rationing the topics I have in the pipeline to keep somewhat of a regular schedule.

The blog has been relatively quiet of late. There hasn’t been a lot I’ve been willing to say publicly. I don’t want to keep dumping out negativity, so I’ve chosen to stay silent most of the time. I’m sure if my mood changes, there will be an uptick in positive thoughts and the content will flow again. Blogging is more about headspace than anything, and I’m not in the right headspace at the moment.


I don’t. I’m not sure if this is a permanent situation or not. Currently I’m turning down all offers. If I change my mind, so be it. If I don’t, that is good too.


As you know, I have no life, so I guess it’s same old, same old…



Video : Oracle Data Pump 21c and Cloud Object Stores

In today’s video we’ll use Oracle Data Pump 21c to export to, and import from, a cloud object store.

The video is based on this article.

You might find the following articles useful as part of the setup.

The star of today’s video is Markus Michalewicz, the Vice President of Product Management; Database High Availability, Scalability, MAA & Cloud Migration at Oracle. That’s a bit of a mouthful. πŸ™‚



APEX 21.2 : Vagrant and Docker Builds

Unless you live under a rock, you’ll have seen APEX 21.2 was released yesterday. Being the worlds worst APEX developer, I’m not going to speak about the new release, as I’ll just embarrass myself, but I did want to give a heads-up of what I’ve been doing since the release.

Vagrant Builds

A number of my Vagrant database builds include APEX. Those that do have been updated to use APEX 21.2. You can find them here.

They had already been updated to use the latest versions of Java, Tomcat, ORDS and SQLcl where appropriate, so the APEX upgrade was a small change.

You can read my beginner’s guide to Vagrant here.

Docker/Container Builds

I have some ORDS containers that include the APEX images, so those image builds have been updated to use the APEX 21.2 images now. You can find them here.

As with the Vagrant builds, these had already been updated to use the latest versions of Java, Tomcat, ORDS and SQLcl where appropriate.

You can read my Docker/Container articles here.


It’s taken a long time for us to roll out APEX 21.1 at work. Most of that delay is because of competing priorities. We’ve been pushing the Oracle 19c database upgrades hard, and it’s not left much space to focus on APEX. The last of our production systems will be upgraded to APEX 21.1 next week, so I’m not sure how eager people will be when I start pushing 21.2. πŸ™‚ I’ll try, but it might have to wait until next quarter’s security patching. We’ll see.

Despite that, APEX 21.1 is now dead to me. Long live APEX 21.2. πŸ™‚



Windows 11 : My first few days…

I’ve been using Windows 11 for a few days now and I thought I would give my impressions so far.


I picked the upgrade from my Windows Update screen and it just worked. I didn’t have any dramas from the upgrade. After the upgrade I had two or three rounds of Windows Updates that needed reboots, but I kind-of expected that.

I’m sure people with older kit will have some different experiences, but on this Dell XPS 15″ with an i9 (6 cores), 32G RAM and a NVME M.2 drive things went fine.

First Impressions

I have macOS now… πŸ™‚

The most striking thing is the change to the taskbar. It’s reminiscent of the macOS dock when it is idle. All the items are centralised, but you can move them to the left if you prefer that. When you compare Windows 11 to macOS Big Sur they look nothing like each other, but you get the vibe Microsoft were “inspired” by that look.

When you click the Windows button/key you get a much more streamlined start menu, which was a bit of a shock at first, but I think I prefer it. One gripe is all the stuff I had pinned to the start menu was lost after the upgrade, and replaced with bullshit I don’t care about. It only took a few minutes to sort that though.

Once you start using the OS it feels like Windows 10, but with rounded corners. There is a lot more consistency with the “design language” of the interface. Many of the common dialogs have been reworked to be consistent with the new look and feel, but there are still a bunch of things that never seem to change. Open up “Computer Management” and it feels kind-of jarring. It doesn’t follow the theme and it feels like you’ve switched back several versions of Windows. It’s not a problem, as most of the common dialogs are fine, but it is a little disappointing.

Unlike the super-glassy finish of Windows Vista, there is some transparency on certain menus in Windows 11, but it is very subtle.


I had a few hiccups along the way. They were all quite minor really.

  • The upgrade killed the VPN client I use for work. I had to uninstall it and install it again. The solution was pretty simple, but I was kind-of tense for a while.
  • The upgrade uninstalled “Teams for Work and School” and replaced it with the consumer version of Teams. That meant I couldn’t connect with anyone from work. I downloaded and installed “Teams for Work and School” and it was all good.
  • As I mentioned before, all the things I had pinned to the start menu were lost and I had to remove a load of crap and re-pin things.

None of these things were drama, but if you were under a time constraint you may find yourself swearing at the computer!

Heavy Usage

Minecraft works! πŸ™‚

Most of my heavy use revolves around VirtualBox, Vagrant and Packer. I’ve built some new Vagrant boxes using Packer, and used those boxes for Vagrant builds of VirtualBox VMs, and I haven’t run into any problems yet.

I record and edit videos using Camtasia, and it seems happy running on Windows 11.

Most of my life is not spent doing process heavy things. I spend most of my time in a browser or a shell prompt. I connect to Linux boxes at home and at work using MobaXTerm. I’ve had no dramas with this day-to-day stuff.

I had a look on the interwebs and a few gamers have been complaining about Windows 11, so if you are a PC gamer, now might not be a good time to make the switch from Windows 10.

Overall Impressions

It’s the same, but different. The safe approach is to stick with Windows 10 for a few more years. I don’t think you are missing out on anything by doing that. If you fancy the jump to Windows 11 and you have reasonably new kit, go for it.



A conversation with me. The Spoken Nerd podcast…

If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen me retweeting the last three episodes of The Spoken Nerd podcast by Connor McDonald, because it’s a three part series with me. πŸ™‚

Connor McDonald

If you’ve got some spare time, you might want to listen to us chatting about a variety of subjects including the Oracle community, how we got started in content creation, YouTube and our attitude to Oracle 21c.

You can get the podcast on a variety of platforms. Just search for “The Spoken Nerd”. Here are links to Spotify and Apple Podcasts.