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Saturday 13 November, 2014
Rarely do I find myself admiring the name of a consulting company

but there is no question in my mind that Chad Wappes at NZOUG

wins the 2014 award with little serious competition.

And for those of you that need a little direction:
\`whoop 'ass\ n.

A dangerous substance, usually found packaged inside cans. When released, can cause major damage to the person it is intended for, and is often used as a weapon of destruction. More often the user warns the recipient of an imminent opening of a can, if the recipient does not act as desired by the opener.
Saturday 22 November, 2014
I've had a few minutes of down time and found what may be the single most brilliant undocumented feature in database DBMS_REPORT.GET_SNAP_ID. This little piece of undocumented functionality in an undocumented built-in package returns the AWR SNAP_ID closest to the date-time provided: So much simpler than querying DBA_HIST_SNAPSHOT and trying to figure out it manually.

One of these days I'll understand the difference between what Oracle chooses to document and not: Today isn't that day. But check out the Library page on this package and you'll find my demo.
Thursday 19 November, 2014
A British hotel in Blackpool UK has punished a customer for leaving a negative review ... we as a technology community must keep the internet free and protect our freedom of speech.

I therefore encourage everyone to NOT go to the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool and to advise friends and family to not do so either. Our power is the power of the purse and we must exercise that power or lose it.

To learn more about what happened read this article at Ars Technica.
Wednesday 05 November, 2014
Remember remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
Guy Fawkes Guy
Stick him up on high
Hang him on a lamp post
And there let him die.

Monday 15 September, 2014
Found a directory with a few old pics ... here are a few of them
with Hans Forbrich at OpenWorld with James Morle someplace on planet earth
A little rock thrown out by Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 Mogens at OakTable World aka Oracle ClosedWorld
Francisco Alvarez Presenting  
Thursday 11 September, 2014
"You could stand me up at the gates of hell But I won't back down" ... September 11, 2014 ... thank you, Tom Petty, for the perfect words
Tuesday 12 August, 2014

My location

Nothing more need be said.
Saturday 05 July, 2014
Sentence of the month
The status of the quantum state is perhaps the most controversial issue in the foundations of quantum theory.
Is it an epistemic state (state of knowledge) or an ontic state (state of reality)?
M.S. Leifer - arXiv:1401.7996v3
Monday 09 June, 2014
Quotations: It is time to start collecting some quotations here in the blog. Not sure how many are real and not contrived. Not sure how many have correct attributions. If you find something you disagree with please let me know. Otherwise there are worth the time it takes to read them and perhaps much more.

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich:
"Foote, I have often wondered what catastrophe would bring you to your end;
but I think, that you must either die of the pox, or the halter."

Samuel Foote (often misattributed to Benjamin Disraeli)
"My lord, that will depend upon one of two contingencies;
-- whether I embrace your lordship's mistress, or your lordship's principles."
Lady Astor:
"If you were my husband I'd give you poison."

Winston Churchill
"If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

Clarence Darrow
"I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices
with great satisfaction."
Andrew Lang
"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... For support rather than illumination."

Oscar Wilde
"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.."
Abraham Lincoln
"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know."

Forrest Tucker
"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
Oscar Wilde
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."
Monday 12 May, 2014
If you need this explained you are probably at the wrong URL
Friday 2 May, 2014
We at the Library are thrilled to announce that we have finally completed a project begun in July of 2013: To migrate all of our built-in PL/SQL packages demos from 11gR2 to 12cR1 and include a number of new 12c packages as well. We certainly have a lot of new packages for which we will be writing demos in the future ... we hope to complete at least 15 or 20 before year's end. But all of the packages that existed prior to 12c in the Library are now fully updated.
Thursday 24 April, 2014
It has been too long since I've visited my own blog and this morning's foray into discourse is prompted by learning something new ... the derivation of a phrase I use from time-to-time. So here is a presentation of two different razors. I you know of more please send them my way.
Occam's Razor (William of Occam, 1287-1347)

"Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily"
Hanlon's Razor (Robert J Hanlon)

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

likely derived from quotation credited to Napolean:
"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence"

Monday 10 March, 2014
My intention here is not to be cruel but if anyone is still wondering just how dysfunctional and brain-dead recruiting is in the United States this unedited email to me is my entry in the competition for the "Clueless of the Year" award. Consider, in particular, the passages I have highlighted.

I mean come on ... everyone with a few spare synapses knows DBAs should never be the first point of contact with the public
Nana Akyaa via Monster
11:28 AM (1 hour ago)
to me

Hello Daniel,

I came across your resume on Monster and I think you would be a great match for our opening a Mall Kiosk Marketing/Sales Rep- located in your local mall in Tanforan Mall in San Bruno, CA.

As Kiosk Marketing/Sales Rep, is a trusted advisor for Sears and non-Sears customers. As the first point of contact (Greeter) to potential customers, the Advisor must be courteous and professional and maintain that high level of customer service at all times. The Advisors main purpose is to generate a quality lead by encouraging homeowners in the malls (not Sears stores), who have a genuine interest in our home improvement products, to sign up for a no cost, no obligation estimate. The Advisor enhances the customer experience by being knowledgeable of stores, food courts, restaurants and restrooms. Has a general knowledge of the Mall layout in order to direct customers to specific stores, food courts, restaurants and restrooms.

We can offer you:
$14.00- $16.00 per hour (pay rate includes base PLUS bonus)
Flexible hours (up to 29) hours per week (part time)
• Pleasant retail environment, work inside your local Sears Store
• A great Company and a rewarding place to work!

To apply to this position, please click on the link below:

**If the link states that the position is closed or filled, please try to copy/ paste into a new browser and the correct link will show.**

Nana Akyaa, Recruiter
Sears Home Improvement Products
Direct: 407.551.5545
If anyone else would like to apply for this job feel free to do so ... you won't hurt my feelings one bit. But don't use my name as a reference ... I doubt I'm the flavour of the month after the reply I sent. And who can't live on a pre-tax income of $464 per week without health insurance, sick leave, or other benefits? That is so ... what is the word I'm looking for ... GENEROUS of them. I mean it is almost 73% of an unemployment check.

Last near Sears reported gross profits of US$10,514,000,000 from their 2,400 stores. Obviously the company can't afford the extra cost of letting their greeters work a full 40 hours a week. This level of greed is obscene.
Saturday 1 March, 2014
Just a small reminder that civilization still exists in a small corner of our world.

 ~ Bubbles, Schiphol Airport, approaching C Gates
And so does a sense of humor.

While this is likely a foreign concept for some ... work and fun do mix.
Tuesday 18 February, 2014
I hadn't realized just how valuable Cisco UCS could be to my career. Not my knowledge so I could implement it ... rather my knowledge so I could use Cisco's own published documentation, juxtaposed against Oracle's RAC "best practice" docs to demonstrate why it should be avoided like the plague that it is.

They say the best learning comes from one's own mistakes: Mark this exhibit "A."

Anyone looking at implementing Oracle RAC on UCS ... it is time to go to MyOracleSupport and read Oracle's carefully written documentation on network virtualization. After you've done so look at what Cisco and H/P are claiming you should use to host your critically important applications requiring high availability.

Start with support docs 220970.1 ("The Cluster Interconnect must be on a non-routed IP subnet") and 563566.1 (#6 on "Interconnect LAN non-dedicated). How do you do a dedicated non-routable connection when all cluster interconnect packets are, by definition, routed along with all other traffic. You can make the interconnect IP address technically non-routable but it will still route the packets because once it muxes everything it can't tell the difference. But then neither can the diagnostic tools so don't expect to do a switch dump should one be required.

Anyone from Cisco taking offense to these words is invited to stand up and name a single company achieving 99.99% availability with Cisco UCS and Oracle RAC. If they can do so I'll publish an apology provided that company is not one of the following three (Cisco, EMC, H/P) which are not "customers" and provided the system is in use in actual full-scale production not a test system with a handful of users.
Tuesday 12 February, 2014
As a few of you may be aware I am currently between engagements and looking for some place to land that will not bore me to tear in minutes or hours.

For the first time in a very long time I decided to post my CV on the web just to see what would happen: It did with a thud.

I am being flooded with offers and offers that seem to, and I am generalizing here, demonstrate the lack of intelligence in those contacting me. In fact such a dramatic lack of intelligence I suspect there really are no human beings behind the contacts ... just algorithms that read key words. So far I have been offered jobs doing:
  • BI Development
  • Java Development
  • SQL Server Administration
  • Teradata Administration
  • EMC VMax Storage Administration
  • WebSphere Administration
not one of which I can do much more than spell which any human being would clearly see if they read the CV. Of course I have a lot of experience with EMC VMax storage arrays. I've built and tuned databases on them for years. But the fact that the key word VMAX appears in my CV doesn't mean I have any idea how to cluster them, carve out virtualized LUNs, or produce a heat map. Have American standards fallen so low that they would actually contact me for the position? Apparently YES!

I suspect that the recruiting industry has turned into a spam machine that works something like this:
  • Crawl CVs on the web
  • Examine the CVs with an algorithm that looks for key words
  • Match the keywords found against job opening also posted on the web that were previously crawled
  • See if you can make a buck because the candidate responds and the company with the opening is willing to answer their phone
This is really disgusting. And please would someone tell me how all these people phoning me got into the US? From accent strength clearly none of them were born or attended school here, and none got in due to valid technical qualifications as they clearly, based on my phone calls with them, don't have any. And how do I know they are crawling the CVs on the web and not downloading them? Because to a person they ask me to email them a current copy of my CV indicating that they don't have a copy and have never seen one personally: These appear to be boiler room operations..

I've no problem with the US allowing in person's born in South Asia but there should be some qualifying requirement beyond they breathe air and have a passport. I was on the phone today with a guy reading me the "qualifications" for a DBA position. He got as far as Identity Management and Websphere before I had to stop him to avoid a catastrophe. Oh and for an entire $45/hr on a 1099 you can have the job if you want it.
Monday 3 February, 2014
For all of the prejorative terms we, and that is the inclusive "we" use to describe the Lazy B I have a new found appreciation for what they do well.

The Library has been recently updated with some new content as well as 12c upgrades for previously existing pages. Check out the new content from January which includes DBMS_FILE_GROUP_EXP_INTERNAL, DBMS_QOPATCH (new with 12c), the undocumented packages DBMS_SQLTUNE_UTIL0, UTIL1, and UTL2, two undocumented Streams related packages DBMS_STREAMS_MC and STREAMS_MC_INV, and two supported packages DBMS_XDB_CONFIG and DBMS_XDB_CONSTANTS. Then a new library page on kernel subsystems which should prove of value when reading trace file outputs. And a bunch of other stuff too numerous to list.

I'm heading for the airport: Enjoy!
Saturday 1 February, 2014
We need to talk about RAC Clusters ... and more than that we need to talk about an extraordinarily bad way to build them ... with Cisco UCS.

The first thing you need to know about Cisco UCS is that it is the creation of an association of losers in a vain attempt to fend off those who are expanding and consolidating their place in the enterprise technology stack.

Now I know some will think this consolidation is a bad thing ... I mean why would we not want healthy competition, like for example Airbus vs Boeing. And who doesn't fondly recall hours and days wasted in vendor finger-pointing exercises when the hardware vendor pointed at the O/S vendor, the O/S vendor pointed at the database vendor who pointed in turn to the network vendor ... ad nauseum. So while consolidation does mean fewer choices it also means better, more reliable, choices. And when things go terribly wrong, and they will from time-to-time, one neck to choke.

So along come three tech stack losers ... Cisco, EMC, and H/P and what do they do? They decide to compete by inventing a new product and then trying to convince the IT marketplace they are offering a serious competitor to a tried-and-tested tech stack: Which be great except they don't have one. UCS may work perfectly well for some applications such as web and application servers, maybe even for stand-alone databases, but when it comes to enterprise databases running enterprise level applications, with Oracle RAC, it is out of its league.

Yes I know Cisco UCS is certified. If that impresses anyone they might consider what else has been, and currently is, "certified". If you are doing serious enterprise computing you may be certifiable if you think "certified" has any quantifiable value.

In the future, as time is available, I am going to post more and more on this subject and explain why Cisco UCS can not complete with Oracle ODA, OVN or OVCA much less with Oracle Exadata or IBM P and Z Series servers.

So if you want to follow the drama you might want to read up on UCS so you are familiar with what I am going to bury in the back yard.
Thursday 16 January, 2014
I'm sure all of my readers are familiar with the oft-stated, but technically incorrect: "A million monkeys banging on a million typewritters will eventually produce the entire works of Shakespeare."

Well I'm watching one of the Cloud industries "name" players prove, once again, that they are more than a few monkeys short of a million. In fact I'm quite willing to bet that if you put them in a head-to-head competition with those monkeys the monkey's would produce Hamlet, complete including punctuation, before this bunch reproduced a sonnet. If it weren't for NDA's I'd write a rant that would produce as much heat as the sun at high noon on June 21st at the equator. (and just in case anyone here needs a vector included in this post ... no I am not talking about Oracle Corp. or any of its divisions). If the Cloud business is going to grow and prosper it is going to need bad actors to go away before they spoil the soup.
Saturday 4 January, 2014
The blog is going to turn a bit political, or perhaps more political, here in 2014 because it is time to return to a bit of my roots. Get over it!

The following is addressed to a theoretical person, named Anne, who is, for purposes of this missive hypothetically approaching her 30th birthday this year.

Dear Anne,

No one will ever accuse my generation of being "the greatest generation:" That was your grandmother's generation. My generation has taken all of multitude of cards handed to it, peace, education, antibiotics, a verdant planet, and diligently worked to squander them. The very same people I went to high school with, those "sons and daughters of American democracy" the very people that thought it was cool to go out Friday night and get drunk while it was uncool to study math and science in school are now all of voting age and voting their life-long wilfull ignorance. What I wonder is for how long you are going to sit back, watching TV and playing video games, before you consider what we are doing to your legacy and that of your children?
Friday 3 January, 2014
Today one of my customers succeeded in taking down an entire data center ... and they did so without benefit of earthquake, tsunami, fire, hurricane or thermonuclear war. How you might ask? ... A single core firewall through which all traffic passes ... no redundancy ... no written configuration management, and no alarming or monitoring to indicate a problem existed until the customers started complaining.

Welcome to how a Tier 1 enterprise does everything wrong. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan ... "Network engineers trust but verify."

In other news the Library continues to be updated with 12cR1 as well as new pages on legacy functionality. Since the first of the year new pages have been added for the ORDSYS packages ORDERROR, ORDIMAGEEXCEPTIONS, and ORDUTIL_PRV.
Thursday 2 January, 2014
My Christmas present this year ... a few heavenly days with Helen in Napa
Wednesday 1 January, 2014

"Happy New Year ... Best wishes for the new year and beyond."

January 1 of 2013 I wrote the above sentence.

I'm not impressed by what 2013 delivered to me or the planet. I am, however, cautiously optimistic that 2014 will do a better job of meeting expectations. And if, by April, the new year is failing I'm heading to Bangkok for Songkran 2014.

Also a little note to some of you in the United States of America because it is about time someone told you this:

"There are other people living on this planet, they live differently than you do, and many of them are really happy that way. In fact many of them are a hell of a lot happier than you are.

They live in countries that are more democratic, they have more personal freedom, they will, on average, live longer healthier lives than you will, and they have good reasons to be optimistic about their future.

If you are in hell or Texas and feel some overwhelming need to carry a gun they don't mind because they aren't planning on stealing your angst.

Neither am I.