Ad Blocking. Is it right?

I’m having a bit of a moral dilema about ad blocking.

On the one hand I’m totally sick of seeing sites where the whole page is full of flashing ads. It’s a waste of my bandwidth and I don’t like having to scroll down before I can see the subject of the page. On the other hand I place google ads on my site to help me pay for the hosting costs.

Now recently I saw what I thought was a drop in my site (ORACLE-BASE) hitrates, basing this assumption on the stats that were provided by google. When I checked my real site stats (I don’t do that very often these days) I noticed that infact my page hits were through the roof. What does this mean? Either google are telling me porky pies (lies) or people are blocking the ads.

For me this is no major issue as I’m still covering my costs, but it does have a bigger impact. I like being able to access loads of content for free on the net. For alot of the individuals and companies supplying this content the only payback is advertising revenue. If the trend for ad blocking continues this will have one of two affects for alot of people. Either they will start to charge for content or they will stop providing content altogether. Either way this is bad.

I suppose another question is, do we have a contractual obligation not to block the ads? I read something recently about this but I didn’t bookmark the link. Also, there is a big debate in the UK over Tivo which allows you to record programs off TV and remove the adverts. Great for the viewer, bad for commercial TV which pays for it’s programming via advertising.

Personally I’ve decided not to use ad blockers. I think it would be hypocritical of me to place ads on my own site then block them on others. I guess it’s up to each one of us to make that choice.

Of course, if site owners had been a bit more sensible about the adverts they displayed we may not have got to this point.

I’m interested to know what other people think about this. Do you think ad blocking is good or bad?

Maybe a more popular blog might pick up this theme to get some real input on the matter…



Windows not ready for the desktop!

I’m constantly reading that Linux is not ready for the desktop, yet today I’m being forced to use WindowsXP on my desktop and I’m spending most of my time running Firefox, Thunderbird, SQL*Plus and OpenOffice. Now I’m thinking to myself, “Aren’t those the same applications I use on my Linux boxes?” Now all I need to do is invent a Bluecurve theme for XP and I’ll feel perfectly at home. So does all this mean that WindowsXP is not ready for the desktop?

I’m currently downloading Fedora Core 4 and it’s killing me. I foolishly left my disks at work and I don’t think they will appreciate me pulling the ISOs across the VPN. I’ve been using the FC4 Test 3 version of Fedora at home so I’m not expecting anything that different with the full version, but it will allow me to check that my Oracle 10g install guide still works OK.

Whilst I remember, I noticed a few interesting things about Thunderbird including:

  • You can use Thunderbird with your Hotmail, Yahoo and Lycos webmail accounts by using the extensions from this site
  • It allows you to subscribe to RSS and blog feeds.
  • It’s got a built in spam filter that seems to work OK.

The first point is pretty handy. It beats paying Microsoft for the privilege of using Outlook Express to read your hotmail accounts. I installed it for one of my friends who uses dialup. He can now use his Hotmail account without having to make cups of tea between every button click.



Calm and Contented…

I’m a little calmer today.

It’s amazing how your mood changes after 2 hours of bending yourself into silly shapes followed by a quick visit to a pub … or two.

My open TARs are all up to date. The questions on my forum are all answered and so far all seems quiet.

Hopefully today we will start to move all our backups from an assortment of disk and tape devices to HP Data Protector. What’s more, we might actually get some backups of things that have never been backed up before (*). All the testing went well so what could possibly go wrong…



(*) Yes. I understand the gravity of this statement. As I’ve said before, you can lead a horse to water…

Integration of Oracle products…

OK. I know I’ve posted lots of stuff today, but this is a new blog so I’m venting my spleen. Hopefully over time it will become a little more positive. I love Oracle. I really do, but…

When will Oracle get all their product certifications up to the same level?

Our plan was to have a single production RAC and application server cluster for all our systems, but we use one RAC for our main application, along with clustered 10g application servers with their own Cold Failover Clustered infrastructure. Sounds fine!

Trouble is we also run OCS. Now that needs an infrastructure and application server(s), but it can’t run on the same ones as our production applications. What’s more, it’s not certified against the 10g database, so it has to have a separate database.

We also run Oracle Payroll. Guess what? It doesn’t use standard application servers so it needs to be run on separate servers. Also, it’s not certified on 10g so it needs it’s own database instances.

We tried running grid control. Needs it’s own DB instance and is made up of 9iAS components by the look of it…

We’ve got two third party applications that are certified against various versions of Oracle, two more DB instances (OK, this isn’t Oracle’s fault).

I could go on, but I’m starting to bore myself and I guess by now you get the idea.

Now I know that all the products are produced by independent teams and there is a real “time to market” pressure on them, but how Larry Ellison can talk about product integration and keep a straight face is beyond me.

As a result of attempting to use a single vendor we are using about 3 times the hardware we should be, and all those boxes require Oracle licenses. I think we are single-handedly keeping Oracle UK in profit…

I’m off to Yoga to chill out 😉



Does anyone use Oracle Enterprise Manger and Gird Control?

I’ve been running Oracle 10g RAC in production since it was released, but in all that time I’ve probably had the DB Control running for about 10 minutes. Now admitedly we’re talking about an Oracle product on Tru46, but I can not believe how much memory it takes up. If I leave it on for more than a few minutes it grabs about 450M of memory. I don’t know about you but I can think of much better uses for that memory.

I foolishly decided to give grid control a go. Now the agents on database nodes were fine. They didn’t take up too much memory or CPU, but on the app servers they went berserk. We’re talking 500M of memory and 20-40% of the CPU. The crux of it is, in order to monitor the performance of your box you have to kill the performance of your box. I suppose the plus side of it is that it sends you an email to tell you that the agent processes are killing the box.

Needless to say, the whole OEM and grid control thing is not what I expected. Of course the TAR I raised about the problem resulted in a generic platform bug report that now claims it has been fixed in the next version of Grid Control, which I guess will come out soon after 10g Release 2.

So back to the question that is the title of this post, has anybody got this stuff to work without a massive investment in hardware just to run the agents?



Old fart of Oracle in the making…

My company has just bought several PL/SQL Developer licenses and it’s a pretty good tool, but every time I edit a source file I keep accidentally using my beloved UltraEdit (a posh text editor). I then compile the code using SQL*Plus.

Now I know that PL/SQL Developer is designed for the job, but I have everything I need with UltraEdit. I don’t need a code beautifier because I know how to indent code. I don’t need a debugger as I instrument my modular code. I’ve had syntax highlighting for years in UltraEdit.

I’m seriously starting to think I’m becoming an old fart.

Please, somebody validate me. Tell me it’s OK not to use posh IDEs…



PS. I’m thinking of switching from FireFox to Lynx as my main browser. Those new fangled graphical browsers will never catch on…

Debugging the debugger…

I’m having an intermittent problem with a Java Stored Procedure. I raised a TAR with Metalink who asked me to run oradebug against the process to pull out errorstacks. Doing this not only killed the session, but brought down the whole instance and OS!

Next I started to get errorstacks out using dbms_system.set_ev. This seemed to work, but it produced truncated errorstacks.

Now I’m debugging the errorstack production in order to allow me to debug the original Java issue.

The joys of running Oracle on Tru64…

Oracle supporting multiple platforms???

Oracle support their products on a ridiculously large number of operating system platforms. It’s a statement of fact, but in reality what does this mean. Over the last coupe of years I’ve come to believe that Oracle “port” to many platforms, but they can only effectively “support” a limited range of those platforms.

These are my thoughts on the relevance of several operating systems on a per-product basis…

Oracle 10g Database:

Linux – Works very fast and is extremely reliable, provided you are VERY careful about what OS packages you update.

Solaris – I like Solaris, but I question using expensive Sparc hardware when Linux on x86 runs faster. Never used Solaris on x86, but then why would I? That’s what Linux is for 😉

HP-UX – Works well, but it’s a dead platform. Ask anyone within HP and you will know that Tru64 and HP-UX are not long for this world. HP-UX on x86? Yeah, right!

Tru64 – Contact Oracle support for help on Tru64 and you will soon find out they don’t have access to Tru64 instances to test anything worth doing. It’s a great platform but it’s already been end-of-lifed by HP so don’t even go there!

Windows – Oracle works well on Windows, but it’s not as fast as running it on top of Linux, so why put money into Bill’s pocket for lower performance?

Oracle 10g Application Server:

It’s a Linux product. Running it on any other operating system is a waste of time and money.

Please don’t try and run it on Tru64. You’ll spend months fighting it and eventually get HP to replace your Alpha kit with x86 kit for free. It happened to me 😉

Oracle Collaboration Suite:

It’s a messy and overcomplicated product built on 9iAS components. In my opinion 9iAS was a total abortion, and I’m not too fond of OCS.

Anyway, it’s a Linux product. To paraphrase a conversation with Oracle consultants, “It’s supported on a number of platforms but it’s a Linux product.” Enough said.

Oracle E-Business Suite:

See AS10g and OCS.

From this post you might conclude one of two things:

  • I’m a rabid Linux fan.
  • I’ve used Oracle on many platforms and always found the best way to get support is to use the latest version of a product on the platform Oracle prefer and Oracle currently have a love affair with Linux.

I like to think it’s the latter, but I do find myself foaming at the mouth in the presence of penguins…