Friday, April 28, 2006

C is for cookie...

C is for cookie, like V is for Vendetta. I think Natalie Portman is better looking than Elmo but that is just me. Silly but amusing (if you have seen the movie or the trailer for it)…

Sears Wishbook...

Sears Wishbook. I remember as a kid reading the Sears Wishbook – especially around Christmas – to circle the toys/gadgets of interest (just to help Santa out of course).

Someone has scanned some of the old ones and put them on flickr. They have the 1983, 1975, and 1979 editions online. I peeked at the 1975 one, I was about as old as these guys at that time:



And yes, I had some clothes that looked a lot like that – ouch. Lots of plaid back then. Peeking around the other pages, you can find some real bargains – like these fancy “Solid State” digital electronic watches for men:



They cost only $50 back then (if you adjust for inflation – that would be over $130 today). Or how about a calculator for $40 (over $100 today) – that can basically add, subtract, multiply and divide (and was quite huge):



A blast from the past – the clothes are quite frightening as you look through them. I just wonder if in 30 years the stuff we wear today will look as bad.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Around London...

Around London. Yesterday was a travel day for me – got up at 4:30am Finnish time in order to catch my flight from Helsinki to London. Since there is a two hour time difference between the two cities, I got into London rather early – 9am, but it took so long to clear passport control it was well into lunchtime before I got to the hotel. Since I had a free afternoon after checking email and clearing out the queue on asktom – I met up with my friend (and ex-book editor, since he left Apress) Tony Davis:

Tony

He took me around town for some sites. We started at St Paul’s Cathedral:

Cathederal

Which we proceeded to climb to the top of. That was my exercise for the day – 530 steps up winding staircases. It was worth the climb for the 360 degree views of London from way up:

ViewFromTopOfCathedral

We were able to spy our next target, the London Eye - the large Ferris Wheel, across the water from the top of the cathedral:

LondonEye

As well as the millennium bridge we would walk across to get there:

MilleniumBridge

Once in the London Eye, you get about a 20 minute ride up and down with again some excellent views, such as this of parliament, which of course reminded me of the movie V is For Vendetta where the building is featured:

ViewFromLondonEye

While up there – I noticed this sign on the door of the “capsule” you ride in:

Sign

I liked that the “do not” is underlined for emphasis. As if I would actually even consider leaning against glass doors that bow out and would open to a considerable drop. No one went near them for the duration of the ride.

After that (and much walking/climbing) we went off to a local pub for a beer before dinner. Tony smokes in pubs and I laughed when he set his cigarettes on the table:

smokes

That would be motivation to think about quitting wouldn’t it. If every time you pulled out your smokes you had to read that big label.

But – it is back to real work today. Another two day seminar. On Monday and Tuesday I did it for a small crowd in Helsinki – about 25 people. Today however, the last I heard, over 120 people had signed up here in London. It’ll be a very different experience. The most people I’ve ever had in a technical seminar was 250 once. It gets a bit hard to take questions from the audience as the size goes up – as the questions can keep coming and coming (and coming) preventing you from finishing the material laid out. But even with 250 people – I was able to field questions and finish on time.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Four Things...

I have a navigation system in my car – but I don’t think I would do this. I’ve seen the commercial where the navigation system tells the driver to turn left – right into a restaurant. I cannot imagine believing a navigation system (computer system) over my own eyes/feeling anytime soon. Maybe that comes from working with computer systems (note: I did not say computers, they don’t make mistakes – just the software running on them) as much as I do.

I do rely heavily on my navigation system these days however. If I have a customer visit in say – Philadelphia – I plug their address in and point the car towards Philadelphia. As I get near the city (about 2-3 hours away, I know how to get there, just not sure where I’m going once there), I turn the screen on and left it guide me into the location I need to be. Very handy. I’ll use it anytime I’m going somewhere unfamiliar – and even when I know where I’m going. It can answer the kids undying question “how much longer” – as it tries to guess that answer for us. (for some reason when the navigation system says “2 hours 22 minutes” – they are OK with it, if we say it – then it is way too long…)

This page has some funny sayings on it – (warning: not 100% kid friendly, you are warned) “Stuff that annoys me”. Number one made me laugh, Number two made me say “so what’s wrong with that?”. They were all fairly amusing.

Here is a self help page. Looks like sound advice to me.

On an entirely serious note – “I’m OK, You’re Biased”. I liked that – it is so true. What we know, what we feel – whether we are willing to admit it or not – drives what we think, what we do. I liked this part of the testing (edited for brevity, full text available at the link above):

Two psychologists told subjects that they were being tested for a dangerous enzyme deficiency. Subjects placed a drop of saliva on a test strip and waited to see if it turned green. Some subjects were told that the strip would turn green if they had the deficiency, and others were told that the strip would turn green if they did not. In fact, the strip was just an ordinary piece of paper that never changed color.

So how long did subjects stare at the strip before accepting its conclusion? Those who were hoping to see the strip turn green waited a lot longer than those who were hoping not to. Good news may travel slowly, but people are willing to wait for it to arrive.

Indeed, I’d be willing to stare at a piece of paper for a long time under those conditions. Page two of the article was especially interesting to me. The conclusion:

In short, doctors, judges, consultants and vice presidents strive for truth more often than we realize, and miss that mark more often than they realize. Because the brain cannot see itself fooling itself, the only reliable method for avoiding bias is to avoid the situations that produce it.

Meaning – we are all jaded, in both directions.

...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Letter W...

Interesting. I cannot imagine what would have to take place to add a new letter to the American-English alphabet. I cannot even imagine it happening. (I called it the American-English alphabet because the UK-English one doesn’t seem to pay any attention to the fact that the letter Z exists and adds all kinds of U’s where they don’t belong and so on…)

But the Swedish have gone and done just that. They added “W”. I cannot imagine someone changing the alphabet. Imagine the work that goes on behind that.

Shifting time...

Shifting time.  Friday started at the normal time – up at 6am east coast US time.  Worked at home for a bit till the kids got off to school since I was getting driven to work.  I’m going away for two weeks – and I wasn’t going to leave my car in the parking lot (I cannot see paying well over $200 just to let my car sit there).   After a full day at the office – I left for the airport.  My flight was at 8pm – taking off to Munich for a connection to Helsinki.  That was a long day.  Got into the hotel yesterday at 5pm local time.  Just over 14 hours of travel time (just one hour longer than it took me to get from Washington Dulles to Omaha earlier this month!)

Unfortunately I was flying not on my normal airline but a partner airline.  That limited my ability to upgrade and I refuse to pay for the upgrade.  The price is just way too high (it was something like $4,000 difference for the trip).  Call me cheap I guess – even with other peoples money.  Fortunately, since I am a 1K member, they at least give me decent seats in coach.  I had a bulkhead seat with infinite leg room – so it was not horrible (actually, it was pretty good).  Although the beginning of the flight was a bit scary as a family was in the middle set of seats – the plane was a 2-5-2 configuration (hint: always go for the window seat on an overnight flight – that way you might step over someone, but you won’t have someone constantly trying to step over you all night long).  There were 2 parents and 3 kids – small kids – very young kids.  Kids that scream and cry.  In my row.  And screaming and crying they were… Until the plane took off.  And then they slept the entire flight.  That worked out nicely.

Anyway – now I am 7 hours off my time zone, trying to get adjusted for the week.  Monday and Tuesday in Helsinki – fly to London on Wednesday (get 2 hours back) and then fly to Munich for next week (lose an hour again).  My plan involved walking a lot today (done), eating relatively early and trying to get to sleep before 10pm local time.  I just hope that what happened to me in December doesn’t happen again.  In December I was in Oslo and Zurich for a week.  The first half went great sleep wise – then on Wednesday and Thursday – I woke up at 2am in the morning.  Not just “woke up”, but totally “woke up”.  Sitting in bed and reading “woke up”.  Made the rest of the day very long.

One thing I do like about being in Europe is that when I finish my email in the morning – it stays finished, sometimes for hours.  That never happens at home – many times by the time I’ve plowed through my email in the morning – I’ve gotten more email.  It is nice to have it “done” and have it stay done for a while.

Really looking forward to Munich next weekend.  Monday is a holiday so I’ll get an extra day to poke around.  Thanks much for the suggestions on what to see, I’ll be using them.  Definitely looking forward to the Beer and Sausage (love good sausages).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Looking for some feedback...

Looking for some feedback.

The Oracle Database XE Product Marketing Team would like to hear from you if you are using XE. If you are trying out Oracle Database XE or have some real applications running on it and would like to share your experiences – I’d encourage you to post them to the online forum (see this link for details on getting to the forum and downloading the software).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My next generation...

We are training the next generation well. My daughter just got a new shirt that she loves:
The next generation
The only song she really knows is “Another Brick in the Wall” by them – and that is because that is the chorus her teachers would spout off in school as she wore the shirt (you know “We don’t need no education” – perfect).

But she really does like it (no “ham” about her)
As happy as a pig
The fact is, she has the shirt because she loves pigs – she has no idea what this “Pink Floyd” stuff is all about – still have a way to go on that subject with her. She loves pigs so much – she decided one day years ago to not eat pork – and has stuck with it.

She is a pretty good kid over all though – the athletic one, into soccer:
Megan Corner Kick
horseback riding:
IMG_1032
and basketball (she made the shot – all net):
She makes the shot

Spam spam spam...

Spam spam spam. I get a fair amount of spam in my email – not too much, we have some pretty good filters here at Oracle. But some slips through. My favorite spam’s are the ones I simply cannot read a single word of – because you have to make up the words to go with the pictures. At least once a week I get a spam that looks like this one:

spam

I have no clue what it is saying – but it could be fun to make up a story to go with it. I see the archer’s crossbows there and just imagine the reasons I might want one – what would make a good marketing spiel to go with them. Some of the pictures I get in these foreign language spams are pretty funny (and many of them you will never see on this particular blog as they are not “family friendly”).

Of course, in the US they would not be crossbows, but high powered automatic rifles or something…

updated a short time later

Ok, just got another one. I stared at the picture and I cannot imagine what it is. It looks like it might plug into a cigarette lighter in a car:

something

but I'm not sure. If you click on the this link, you can see the image full size.

What should everyone know?

What should everyone know? This is something I’ve thought about in the past – many times, when speaking I assume “everyone of course knows this fact, they have to – everyone knows”. I think we all have that idea – the idea that there are just some things that “of course, everyone knows this”.

I bring this up because of a “quiz” I took over the weekend. A quiz on what some Nobel Prize winning scientists thought “every high school graduate should be able to answer”. I was happy to see that I would have gotten an 85% on it approximately. I thought some of the questions were pretty complex – I gave myself an 85% because of question 8 – only got half of it. Question 9 – I had no clue.

I didn’t like question 9 – not because I didn’t know (well, there was that…) but because it required such a precise answer – a factoid type of answer. I’m not sure that one should have made the list personally. Something that needs a very precise answer like that, it just seems to specific, too “factoid”. Sort of like knowing the exact release when Advanced Replication was introduced (7.1.6), or when bitmap indexes where first production (7.3.3 – there were beta in 7.3.2 and could be enabled via an event). Factoids like that are things I remember – but don’t expect anyone else to have memorized.

Anyway, that quiz just got me thinking about how what we think everyone must surely know probably affects how we talk and interact with them. Have you ever had a conversation where the other person just didn’t seem to “get it” and then figured out that they didn’t have a crucial piece of information you assumed “everyone knows”. I’ve had lots of those – mostly surrounding Oracle the database of course. When someone would say “Yeah, I’m an Oracle developer” – I used to assume a certain level set of knowledge. I no longer do that. A favorite example of this happened way back in 1994 or 1995. A sales person I worked with at Oracle asked me to have a conference call with their customer and go over the newly introduced Advanced Replication feature. No problem – I did it and they sat in on the call. Many times while talking to the DBA’s and Developers on the other end of the phone during this call – I made a reference to ROWID (used heavily way back when in replication). After the call ended – my coworker looked at me and said – “this ROWID thing, what is that, is that a new feature of the database?”. Sound of jaw dropping. I was still relatively new at Oracle back then and sort of assumed “everyone would know certain things about the database, regardless”. That just drove home the point that just because something seems “second nature” to you – it might be completely new to someone else.

So, what is the point – just to point out that we shouldn’t assume a level set of knowledge for anyone on anything – not until we get to know them of course. You have to be careful of course – some people might feel insulted, but they shouldn’t (I don’t, not anymore at least – maybe when I was more of a newbie and thought I knew more than I did). I take the conversation up or down a level after trying to figure out what people really know (or not). That is why I really want questions during my technical session – that is the only barometer I have to judge the audiences “level”. Am I speaking too high or too low, their questions help me figure that out.

Just to close up on a fun note – check out this flow chart (warning, yes, there is certain language on it – and now you know that before you click on it). I really liked the infinite loop in it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Question about Munich...

Question about Munich Germany.  Ok, say you were going to Munich and would be there for a Saturday night, and all day Sunday and Monday (holiday on May 1st).  

What would be your must see, must do agenda?  Whatever I choose, I’ll be writing about it later.  Just getting ready to go to Helsinki, London and Munich for the last week of April/ first week of May.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy anniversary...

Happy anniversary

ops$tkyte@ORA10GR2> select to_date( '17-apr-2006')
2 -to_date('17-apr-2005') "Days I've been doing this"
3 from dual
4 /

Days I've been doing this
-------------------------
365

It is one year ago today that I decided to start this. I distinctly remember the day – I was so looking for anything to do other than write my book – even writing a blog (which is – well – still writing after all) was more appealing at that point.

So, here we are – some 256 posts later. An amazing 4,500 plus comments (amazing to me) later. Here we are.

I thought I would list my favorite entries from the last year. These are my favorites based on content – not comments (but the number of comments on each are about average). In no order (well, ordered by date actually)


It was hard to pick – I was going to do the “top 5” but it just didn’t fit. There are lots of others I will enjoy later – recollections of trips and other things like that, but those are the most “meaningful” ones for me. Entries that say something of general use.

Now for the obligatory statistics. As I write this (Sunday April 16th 2006, I usually do them in advance), I have had a grand total of 897,976 pages loads. This is “low” because I didn’t start tracking hits until the afternoon of the 22nd of April last year and I’ve noticed that every now and then statcounter “doesn’t work”. So, say it is about 900k and that is about right.

Here is a graph of blog hits by day for the last year:
blog_hits
The peak was almost 7,000 in a single day during Oracle Open World in September. The average during the week is somewhere between 2,500 and 3,500 – weekends drop down to 700-1,000.

It has been fun, a different way to interact. It hasn’t taken an enormous amount of time – which likely differs from other bloggers experience. For me – this is the hobby, I’m not researching a problem, providing a solution. Just talking. Asktom – that takes time, this is for fun.

And as long as it is fun, I’ll keep on doing it. Even if no one reads it. That is the point I think, this should be fun – not a task, not a job. I recently took a short hiatus in March where I didn’t post for almost two weeks (except to say “yes, I realize I’m not posting, thanks”). It didn’t bother me that I didn’t post, I wasn’t on a deadline, I didn’t have a schedule or commitment. I just do it when the mood strikes.

And so should you…

V for Vendetta...

V for Vendetta – just saw that movie last night. I thought it was simply awesome. There was one scene at the end that was a bit gratuitous with the blood – but other than that, I really enjoyed it. Bits of Benny Hill, lots of sarcasm, and a ton of well done symbolism (lots and lots of symbolism).

I really liked that the protagonist from 1984 (the victim in that movie) played the major symbol of the antagonist in this movie (John Hurt). I thought that was a nice touch given the underlying “big brother” and “big government” themes between the two.

The movie was a bit dark – through and through dark – but well done. I agree with the one comment on imdb – “uniquely brilliant”. It has become what I would currently answer the question “so what’s your favorite movie” with.

The ending was really well done (won’t give it away). And that the credits rolled with Street Fighting Man was just icing on the cake.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The year was 1902...

If you like peeking at things from the past (as I do), you might like this blog that just started.  Very cool – looking forward to future installments.

Feeling old sometimes...

Feeling old sometimes.  Was reminded of that by this posting by Howard about trying to find a real PS/2 mouse (not a USB mouse with an adapter).  Made me think about some of the keyboards in a box I have that have the old “huge”  (on the left in the picture) AT style adapter.  How long has it been since I’ve had a computer that could use one of those (but I still hesitate to throw them away..)

I like to use analogies and not long ago – I was talking with two technical people and used what I thought was a perfect analogy.  It involved how extended memory (XMS) versus expanded memory (EMM) used to work in the olden days (back when 640k was standard, big even).  I remember how the EMM used a “window” and you could page your data into this window in 4-16k chunks.  It wasn’t easy to use in a program, but it could be done.  And the flat memory addressing of XMS versus the paging memory of EMM worked great for the analogy.

Anyway, one of the people I was talking with had sort of a quizzical look on their face – the other was nodding their head in agreement.  Then, the one that was agreeing laughed out loud after looking at their co-worker and said something to the effect “you do know that George here is 23 and has never heard of nor worked with any of this stuff you are talking about”.  I didn’t even think about that.  I remember spending many hours with Quarterdecks QEMM and their loadhi/devicehi tools to figure out the best way to pack my TSR’s (terminate and stay resident) programs and devices – without causing the machine to become highly unstable (moderately unstable I could live with).  Ah, the good old days.

Also, last night sitting in the Red Carpet club in Seattle waiting for my redeye back home, I read this post.  Too funny – I found myself wondering if I was sitting in the same chair as the guy that wrote it (he too was in the Seattle airport – but about 12 hours in front of me).  Really laughed at the two of everything comment in there – I do have two of everything so I never forget my toothbrush, razor, whatever.

But today, I am remembering why I never take redeyes.  If I just flew home in the morning – I’d be getting in just about now, and since I am just starting to feel normal again right now, it wasn’t necessarily worth getting home earlier.  

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Just to continue...

Just to continue the bad joke run I’m on… Here is a new take on “undo”. No idea why that amused me. Just did.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

This too is amusing...

This too is amusing. An interesting twist on the USB drive. Living where I do, we see ticks all of the time – always getting them off of the dogs. Now we have a tick for the computer. Interesting idea.

Just for fun...

Just for fun.  Stumbled upon a website full of jokes – if you need a laugh, you’ll probably find this site amusing.

In particular, I found four pages that resonated with me.  The first was “In-Flight Humor”.  Probably because I already have 45,000 miles on 40 segments this year (well, they say 38 but only because they missed recording two of my flights – I now know to keep those boarding passes…).  The quips supposedly made by the flight crew (I actually don’t doubt them – sometimes the flight crew can be quite amusing) might make you chuckle out loud.  My favorite:

"Welcome aboard Southwest Flight XXX to YYY. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt and if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now which one you love more."

I really liked the seatbelt part – it is so true.  

Then there was “The World’s SHORTEST Books”.  A tongue in cheek list of fictitious titles that would result in really really short books.  Some of them were good for a grin, such as:
  • The Difference between Reality and Dilbert

  • Fast & Efficient Windows Programs

  • Things I Can't Afford - by Bill Gates

I’m sure you get the gist by now.

Next there was “Things I have Learned from Children”.  I really liked all of the ceiling fan ones.  Some of my favorite ones from that page:
  • The fire department in my town has a 5 minute response time.

  • The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

  • The spin cycle on the washing machine does make cats dizzy, however.

  • Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

Lastly, this one on “Bad Resumes” hit close to home.  I’ve seen some bad, really bad, and really really bad resumes in the past – I’m pretty sure these quotes are not made up.

  • The company made me a scapegoat - just like my three previous employers.

  • I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0, computor and spreadsheat progroms.

  • At the age of twelve, I began hustling newspapers like many other great Americans had done. The only difference was that they became great.

  • Suspected to graduate early next year.

Anyway, now you all know how bad my sense of humor is… (or how little it takes to actually amuse me).  Any others out there?

Monday, April 10, 2006

I have just joined the 21st century...

I have just joined the 21st century.  Woo-Hoo, the T1 is installed, configured, and operational.

After 3 months of waiting (I ordered this on December 26th, 2005), and surviving the totally free installation (that only took – oh – two weeks) – it is done.  

Funniest lines uttered during the totally free installation:

Them: What color is the light?
Me: Green, there is a Green light on the CU, there is an amber light on the AL
Them: That cannot be right.
Me: No, it is really green.
Them: If it was green, it would be working.
Me: Well, I do have this AMBER light to compare to – as far as I know this light on the CU could be a) Green, b) Amber or c) not on.  It is not at all like the amber light next to it – and it is on.  That rules out b) and c) – it appears very green.

Now my wife was suggesting we take a picture of it on the camera phone and email it

Them: No, it cannot be green, there must be something wrong.
Me: It is very green.  If I unplug the cable – it goes OFF.  When I plug the cable in it goes very green.
Them: We’ll have to call you back.

When they call back then confirmed that in fact the line was very green.  But the router was misconfigured (they needed to fix that on their end) and the rest of the configuration on their end was “botched”.

But – it works, it works faster than anything I’ve had in the house yet (two satellite providers, dial up, Verizon aircards…).  

I’ve joined the 21st century networking wise.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Mogens is back...

Mogens is back writing after a short hiatus. The guy known to wear a kilt from time to time (he is in the middle, I am still wondering what Mark A. Williams on the left is thinking in this picture, the kilt does seem to attract the women…)
IMG_2359
but he is mostly harmless. (Stress: mostly.).

He is asking for some debate – Windows vs Linux – what would you suggest. My response is already documented here. But – what might you have to say about it?

Identity Matters?

I thought this was a good article on anonymity. Well thought out.

Some random links...

Some random links. I found this interesting graphic the other day. Made me laugh out loud. I can really relate to it – for sometimes I explain something and think “it is crystal clear now”, but later given a follow up question on the same topic I can see my explanation missed the mark by a mile. You can see on that page how the student could really have come to the conclusion they did – without proper understanding of the symbols and what the notation really meant.

Then there was this Dave Barry page. His humor (along with Scott Adams – his blog is simply awesome. Required reading with coffee in the morning) resonates with me. His point number 8 reminds me of this character from “The Office”. I like how Dave Barry mixes “real” (#6) with “funny” (#1). Although, #1 is undoubtedly true as well.

Lastly, there was this page. At first I thought it was tongue in cheek – but apparently it was “real”. I guess if that list is “true and accurate” – things have really changed. Point number one about doing development on a really fast computer. Ok – I can buy that (I want the fastest one I can get my hands on for selfish reasons) – but not for the reason given. The author seems to be saying “don’t think in advance about how the code will work – just type something in and run it and see how it behaves”. That is just so wrong. Point number 4 – “Don’t learn APIs too well”. That is the one that had me convinced I was looking at an Aprils fools post or a tongue in cheek sarcastic article. But no – the author was serious. Don’t learn the APIs well, hmm. Interesting. Worst one of all – point 9 – Don’t ask people for advice. Oh no, you shouldn’t do that – you might learn from their mistakes or something disastrous like that. That would be really bad. Unfortunately these points were all mixed with some acceptable advice.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Smallish sort of world...

The first half of this week I'm in Omaha, Nebraska speaking at a conference and doing some customer visits. Jonathan Lewis was traveling to the same conference as well. Got an email from his wife on Sunday morning - there was a good chance Jonathan would not be able to make the conference as he was at Heathrow scrambling for a ticket. Turns out due to something strange on the web site he used to buy the tickets (something about the back button resetting some dates and he didn't notice) - his plane tickets were for some 4 days ago, not this weekend.

He got lucky and ended up getting a flight over. So, I set out on my trip. Left the house about 12:00 noon on Sunday. Ended up in Chicago for my connection. Got there at 3:30pm, connection at 4:55pm - so far, so go. Get to gate (long walk) to find out the 4:55 is now 7:21. No problem, still getting in at a decent hour. So I go to the local Chilis and get some food.

My phone rings - it is Jonathan. Worried about not making it the next day. His connection was canceled and he is now stuck in Chicago! We didn't know we were at the same airport. I mention my airline has flights out tonight and he arranged to get on the flight after me. We'd both be there.

But, as luck would have it, 9 minutes before boarding - my flight was cancelled. I got rolled onto the same flight with Jonathan. My 4:55 flight was now 10:43. Walked over to the other gate (which ironically was right next to the gate I landed at before!) and met up with Jonathan. Fortunately, that gate was directly across from the Red Carpet club, so we went in for a beer and whiskey... We finally did get to the hotel in Omaha at about 1:15am (tired = true today, had to get up at 6am...)

Now, Jonathan has what I call a blog - but it isn't a proper blog - in that, there is no RSS feed. So we got to talking about some of his recent articles. This one made me laugh. What is so funny about that one you ask? Just that I worked through the problem with Vikas at the same exact time and came to the same exact answer as Jonathan. That is what I call the "machine gun approach". Email as many people as possible, post to as many forums as you can - and see what you get back. Happens all of the time.

Then there was the 2+2=5 posting. That one is a good one in combination with the MV non-bug one I referenced above. The existence (or lack thereof) of a test case to demonstrate what you mean is crucial. For example, Vikas believed that Fast refresh doesn’t work if we swap the values in a column of a unique key. Both Jonathan and I said "yes it does, but how about a test case from you showing what you really mean". With test case in hand - it was easy to see what the problem was - immediately easy. Without the test case - impossible to comment. That is the problem with the 2+2=5 posting as Jonathan points out. The other author makes some claims that just don't fit in with what others observe. However, it is impossible to say why the author makes the claims, since we cannot really see what they are based on. We just have their word that "it doesn't work". Without a little test case however, it is really hard to say what that person may or may not be observing. I like the way Jonathan goes over it bit by bit however.

In general, I hit Jonathans "misc" once a week or so - really wish he would turn it into a real blog so we could get RSS feeds! Lots of good articles there.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Well, that was fun...

Thanks for playing - the Aprils 1st tongue in cheek blog was fairly successful!

More than twice the average hits for a Saturday:

SQL> select avg("Page Loads"),
2 min("Page Loads"),
3 max("Page Loads")
4 from t
5 where to_char(dt,'dy') = 'sat'
6 and "Page Loads" > 0
7 /

AVG("PAGELOADS") MIN("PAGELOADS") MAX("PAGELOADS")
---------------- ---------------- ----------------
958.76 530 2092


the 2,092 was from yesterday.

It was fun - but hopefully no one actually believed it for even a nano-second. That is one thing that would never happen.

(Had my mom fooled for a minute... She instant messaged my wife last night and she "He didn't - did he". Laughing out loud... And gullible has been removed from the dictionary as well.)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Interesting Events...

Last night was poker night at my friend Sean Dillons house. (Make sure to read this all of the way through, some big news to announce!)

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All of the usual suspects were there, including Mark Piermarini (frequent contributor to asktom with answers to things Java related, as you can see - he was doing pretty good in the beginning of the evening)


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And Tyler Muth (frequent contributor of htmldb - also known as APEX - answers on asktom)


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There were a few people who used to be "Oracle" but are now Microsoft employees - such as Colin Nurse (don't people just get Evil looking when they convert like that?)


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Anyway, I was not doing nearly as well as Mark was (he looks pretty smug about it too doesn't he)


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And ran out of money pretty early (about 1am... We finished up at 3am or there abouts) It was at that point, after losing the money, my watch and other assorted items of financial worth (you can see my money sitting right here, in front of Sean)


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That they (the evil MS people) came up with what seemed to be a good idea at the time. "All or nothing" - I bet my job for the pot. If I won, I stay at Oracle and I get the pot. If I lost the hand, I had to quit and convert.

I think this picture says it all. I'll be moving across the street on Monday to become a SQLServer developer:

Tom accepts a job with Microsoft.

It cannot be that much different from Oracle - and the view from the window will be about the same - it is literally across the street. How different could it be.