Support goes on, and on, and on…

Just to set the scene:

04-APR-05 – I opened a TAR because the RACGIMON process was taking 20-40% of the CPU on the cluster root node of our Tru64 production RAC (10.1).

05-SEP-05 – A backport of a fix in 10.1.0.5.0 was produced. Note. 10.1.0.4.0 is still not released for Tru64. The patch failed to install on either the development or test systems, so I didn’t go near the production one.

24-OCT-05 – It was decided that the installation documentation was incorrect and the patch was reissued.

12-NOV-05 – The reissued patch is missing some directories. As a result the installation is impossible. (Update: Not Oracle’s fault. See Setting the record straight…)

Conclusion:

So far it’s been 7 months, during which time we’ve been loosing between one tenth an one fifth of our total processing power on our production system, and still no resolution. Great to know that Oracle are on top of their game… NOT!

Cheers

Tim…

Website Design…

The subject of website design has come up in conversation a few times recently. Whilst searching on the net I came across this site:

http://usability.gov/guidelines/

The nice thing about this site is it bases its statements on research and rates the strength of the research that backs the statements. There’s very little you haven’t already heard, but it seems people are still making the same mistakes after all these years.

The things that stuck out for me were:

  • Planning – Have an idea of what you are aiming for before you start. If you take a random approach to design and development you will get a random result. Make group decisions on the look and feel. Relying on one persons opinion will reduce the chances of have a site with mass appeal.
  • Colours – Basic colour schemes rule. Black text on a white background may seem boring, but it’s easy to read, which is why just about every publication you will see uses it.
  • Navigation – It should be simple and consistent. People need to understand where they are and where they came from!
  • Layout – Use page layouts that are appealing to the eye. Jumbled pages don’t scan well and are generally very annoying.

For anyone still convinced, take a look at all the really big IT company websites and you’ll see most of very plain and simple:

Personally I find the whole design thing very difficult. I’m not very artistic and I don’t have a great eye for colours, but that may be my saving grace 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Search Engine Ordering Extension…

Whilst playing with the search plugins I came across this Firefox extention:

http://www.maltekraus.de/Firefox/Search-Engine-Ordering/

By default the plugins are ordered alphabetically, which can be annoying. This extension allows you for order them any way you want. It also allows you to delete them easily, which is quite handy as different versions of Firefox store the plugins in different locations.

Cheers

Tim…

Firefox Plugin Frenzy…

I decided to create a Firefox search plugin for my website, but I got carried away and replicated all the searches available from my website toolbar. If you are interested you can get them from:

https://oracle-base.com/misc/firefox.php

They’re pretty simple to create, so if you want to make some of your own, follow the Mozilla-Search Plugin Documentation.

Eddie Awad has some search plugins available on his blog. His install page is here:

http://awads.net/firefox/plugins/oradocs.htm

Happy searching…

Cheers

Tim…

First day back at work…

I had last week off work, so today I’m playing catch-up. I had big plans for last week, but I spent most of the week on my bed watching daytime shows like Diagnosis Murder and Quincey. It’s like putting your brain in a blender…

Not long until the Christmas holidays 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

My growing list of favourite blogs…

On the right-hand side of this page you will see a list of favourite blogs. Well, to say that list is out of date is an understatement. The “real” list is getting a little too long to fit on the toolbar so I’m just going to add a link to a page on my website that lists all of them:

https://oracle-base.com/links/NewsAndBlogs.php

Thank heavens for bloglines!

Cheers

Tim…

UK OUG – The freeloaders view…

I’m currently on holiday and I promised myself I would stay away from the UK OUG, except for the bloggers dinner. Well, I’m rubbish at keeping promises so I agreed to meet up with a friend and do a quick tour of the exhibition stands, and I’m glad I did. It was fun, in a geeky way…

The first person I bumped into was Tom Kyte. I didn’t get to speak with him at the bloggers dinner, so it was cool to hook up and have a quick chat. I got to speak to Peter Scott and Mark Rittman again, which was cool.

Whilst walking around the exhibition I noticed the Net 2000 Ltd stand. A few years ago I received an email asking me to add DataBee to the tools page of my website. At the time it was the only product they had and it was free. It also came at a time when I was trying to get referentially intact subsets of data. Bingo! Since then they’ve created DDL Wizard for extracting DDL from export files and Data Masker for sanitizing production data for use in test and development environments. I spoke to Dale Edgar at the stand and he gave me a demo of the DDL Wizard. It’s pretty cool and the real bonus is that it’s free 🙂 The thing I like about this company is that they have specific tools for specific jobs. They’re not throwing out the one-size-fits-all type of stuff that everyone else is doing. Nice ideas, well executed products. I hope they continue to do well and keep coming up with good ideas. I’ve also just noticed that they are based in Bromsgrove, just down the road from me.

There were numerous consultancy companies around, but my friend pointed out that JoraPh Consulting Ltd were based in Shropshire. It turns out they’re based quite close to my home town. For no reason other than that, I had a quick chat with Jane McCulloch, a director of the company. They do performance tuning, remote DBA work and training, amonst other things. A couple of the staff presented at UK OUG, which is a good sign. The UK economy is still very much centered around the south, so midlands-based companies tend to stand out when I notice them. Us midlanders have to show a bit of solidarity. Keep up the good work 🙂

The Quest stand was very slick, and they were giving away some cool freebies, but I didn’t get hold of any 🙁 I was interested to see the new Spotlight on RAC stuff. I nearly bought Spotlight recently, but backed out when I found that alot of the graphs and alerts had not been revised to recognize the renamed wait states in 10g. Not very useful to have a performance monitoring tool that says everything is OK when it’s actually falling apart. This has been rectified in the latest version and the RAC stuff looks really nice. I think I may have to re-demo it.

The funniest thing I saw was a guy walking out with a bean-bag. The registration area was full of black bean-bags for people to sit on and I guess some people decided they were fair game. One lady was carrying three. As I walked out I heard one of the security guards say they weren’t supposed to be taken off site, but it was too much hassle to stop everyone. I guess next year I’ll hire a truck and furnish my house 🙂

I got a free OK OUG bag containing a folder and a notepad. Free notepads are what I live for. If anyone wants a plug, just send me a notepad… Just kidding 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Almost Famous…

Guess what happens when you hang around with a bunch of Oracle geeks?

http://static.flickr.com/25/58719510_e05dddb87b_d.jpg

You become part of Tom Kyte’s keynote speach at UKOUG. I’m the one on the left with the chopsticks. Hopefully this will lead to my first movie roles as, “guy with chopsticks on the left of the action”. You can but hope 🙂 This picture is from Mark Rittman‘s blog.

I went out last night to see two of my friends (Jodie and Mel) who sing backing vocals in a Meat Loaf tribute band called “Maet Loaf” (pronounced “mate” with a black country accent). I’m not a Meat Loaf fan so I thought I wouldn’t know any of the stuff, but I ended singing along to every track. It’s pretty scary how much stuff gets into your head without you knowing it. I guess that’s how advertising works! They were brilliant. The lead singer is awsome. When he sings he sounds just like the records. It wouldn’t surprise me if this guy sounds more like Meat Loaf than Meat Loaf himself, if you know what I mean. The girls did a great job, as did the rest of the band. The whole night went down really well.

Cheers

Tim…

Blogger Dinner and stuff…

I’ve just got back from the blogger dinner in Birmingham. The list of names was like reading a “who’s who” of Oracle. Thanks very much to Mark Rittman for organizing it. Mark, if they don’t give you the money back drop me a line and I’ll send you some cash 🙂

It was like a giant blind date. You know a little bit about the people, and you’ve even emailed some of them, but you don’t really know them. Luckily I recognized Mark Rittman and Peter Scott from their blog pictures, so I knew I was with the correct group of people 🙂

It’s really odd to be recognized by “strangers”. I know this was true for everyone else with a picture on their blog, but it doesn’t make it less strange. I can tell Doug Burns and Peter Scott have been reading because they were both well versed in my list of injuries! I went straight from Karate to the dinner so I had some of the latest bruises on display, my left forearm is a little brown and the right forearm is going to be a mess in a couple of days. Note to self. Shins and forearms don’t go well together!

Anyway, to those I didn’t talk to, I’m really sorry. It would have been nice if we had more time. To those I did talk to, I’m really sorry… 😉

By the way Niall, I forgot to thank you for the book review. Cheers guy!

Great to see everyone, and your secrets are safe with me 🙂

Update: Mark has some pictures of the dinner on his blog. You can quite clearly see my hand, the back of my head and my ear. The joys of being photogenic…

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I watched Saw 2 at the cinema the other day. A few gore-fest bits, but not really scary and not really that interesting. If you liked the first film you’ll probably like this. If not, then don’t bother…

PPS. I watched a Manga (Japanimation) film called AppleSeed on DVD the other day. It’s pretty spectacular as far as the animation is concerned! I’ve been a big fan of Ghost in the Shell (the film and Stand Alone Complex) for some time, but for some reason I’ve only just got round to watching AppleSeed. If you like great animation it, go for it…

Scheduler Enhancements in Oracle 10g Database Release 2…

I’ve just added a new article to the site called Scheduler Enhancements in Oracle 10g Database Release 2.

I discussed several methods of creating job chains in my book, but in 10g R2 this type of functionailty is build directly into the database.

I like the idea of event-based jobs, as this makes decoupling processes alot neater.

Cheers

Tim…