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January 2016

WordPress 4.4.1

WordPress 4.4.1 has been released.

You can see the list of fixes here. Your site will probably auto-update soon if you can’t be bothered to give it a nudge before.

There is also an update to the Twenty Sixteen theme, which you will have to trigger manually, if you are using it of course. :)

Happy blogging.



NLS Mess

The Oracle database has all sorts of little details built into it to help it deal with multi-national companies, but since they’re not commonly used you can find all sorts of odd “buggy” bits of behaviour when you start to look closely. I have to put “buggy” in quotes because some of the reported oddities are the inevitable consequences of (for example) how multi-byte character sets have to work; but some of the oddities look as if they simply wouldn’t be there if the programmer writing the relevant bit of code had remembered that they also had to cater for some NLS feature.

FREE webinar about Advanced #Oracle Database Administration

On behalf of Oracle University, I will be delivering a free webinar, Tuesday 26th January 2016:

Expect live demonstrations as the major content – I promise to keep the marketing part to a minimum :-)

ANSI bug

In almost all cases the SQL you write using the ANSI standard syntax is tranformed into a statement using Oracle’s original syntax before being optimised – and there are still odd cases where the translation is not ideal.  This can result in poor performance, it can result in wrong results. The following examples arrived in my in-tray a couple of weeks ago:

Video Tutorial: XPLAN_ASH Active Session History - Part 7

#333333; font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 16.9px;">The next part of the video tutorial explaining the XPLAN_ASH Active Session History functionality continuing the actual walk-through of the script output.

#333333; font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 16.9px;" />#333333; font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 16.9px;">More parts to follow.
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Resolutions for 2016

I remember at one of the first Mathematics lectures I attended at University, the lecturer demonstrated some principle (which I don’t recall, and certainly wouldn’t even comprehend now Smile ), and then turned and said to the class: “Now THAT is a pretty exciting result”.

Being fresh out of high school, and like most teenagers, thinking we were all so cool and hip, most of the class laughed.

New Years Resolution–test cases

If the following email came across your desk

“I have two tables EMP(EMPNO,ENAME,JOB,MGR,HIREDATE,SAL,COMM,DEPTNO) and DEPT(DEPTNO,DNAME,LOCATION).  When I join them I’m getting multiple rows for the same employee”

my question would be – how would you proceed ? What is the first thing you need to do to even begin to assist ?

You need data.  And before you can have data, you need to have tables in which to store that data. 

But there’s a problem:

SP2-0734: unknown command beginning "EMP(EMPNO,..." - rest of line ignored.

Nope…that doesn’t work. Let’s try CREATE TABLE in front of it


I was sent the following email a few years ago. It’s a question that comes up fairly frequently and there’s no good answer to it but, unusually, I made an attempt to produce a response; and I’ve decided that I’d start this year by presenting the question and quoting the answer I gave so here, with no editing is the question:

I’m disturbing you for some help about becoming an Oracle master expert. Probably you are getting this kind of emails a lot but I would be appreciate if you give a small answer to me at least.

Happy New Year 2016!

New-Year-Eve-2016Happy New Year to everyone! Yes, even you!

I’m not big on new years resolutions, since I always end up breaking them on the first visit to the 24 hour Tesco store down the street! So in a similar vein to a post I wrote in 2012, here is my mission statement for the year!


Border Lines

Underscore hovers are a fun way to add color and dynamism to your Squarespace site. Just a line or two of CSS are all you need to spice up your site's menu with an underscore hover effect that tracks the cursor and engages the viewer's attention as s/he sweeps across your available menu items.

An Example in the Native Template

Figure 1 shows an example in the Native template. The example is generated with default settings that are straight from creating a new site. There's no hover effect yet. My cursor is on the middle menu item, and the only visual indication is a slight "dimming" of that item.