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God rest ye merry gentlemen ...

Unbelievable ... it's already been two weeks since I returned from UKOUG. I enjoyed this year's conference even more than last year, in part because I paced myself better. I was reunited with many wonderful friends and made some new ones too. Add to that a week of top notch presentations, some excellent dinners with good company and it was absolutely perfect.So here are a few of the

Teaching a horse not to eat

My friend Ole told me this story many moons ago - and many times since:

A man decided to teach his horse not to eat anymore. Gradually he reduced the amount of food the horse got each day, and the programme worked really well.

Unfortunately, just as he had finally taught the horse not to eat at all something unforeseen and tragic happened to the horse and it died suddenly.

I was reminded of the story the other day when I was studying this article in my beloved The Economist (I've subscribed non-stop since 1983):

Stopping in a hurry

Dec 11th 2008
From The Economist print edition

Cars are getting better at avoiding collisions. Before long they may be communicating with each other to make roads safer

.... and somewhere in the article this is stated:

"Jan Ivarsson, head of safety at Volvo, believes it should be possible to build a car in which people will not be killed or injured."

On the other hand I can read in various newspapers that Volvo is not doing too well, and may in fact soon be either sold or closed, just like Saab. Or maybe Sweden will try to put those two together and create a small (by international standards) entity that might survive with state funding and what have you.

So you have this carmaker - Volvo - who has been making cars safer and safer and safer over the last several decades, and JUST as they're sensing the possibility of making the perfectly safe car - in which people will not get killed - the carmaker Volvo unfortunately died. Like the horse.

In my own, little world I have also been witnessing how perfect the databases are getting, how much they can do, how much stuff you can put into them in order to save on the application coding and development side - and how coders, developers and programmers have stopped using them. Just as databases were getting damn near perfect ... people stopped using them.

I have for several years now claimed that any computer technology that reached a state of perfection, a plateau of predictability & stability and a high level of usefulness ... will be replaced with something more chaotic and hence much less productive. I have seen no exceptions.

I now realise it is connected: Technology reaching maturty, car safety reaching its logical conclusion - and feeding of horses.

Introduction to advanced queuing

A high-level tutorial on Oracle's Advanced Queuing. July 2005

Miracle's fight for intellectual property rights in China

Here's a conversation I've been having over the last several weeks. Hope you enjoy it... Debra Lilley told me to put it on this blog. I always do what she tells me to do. Mogens.

Dear CEO,

We are EUWIN Network Service Co., Ltd in China, which is responsible for the registration of internet trademark and domain name of global enterprises overseas. Today we received an formal application that an international company named "Robe GmbH" wants to apply to register "miracleas" as its own Internet Trademark and Asia domain name in China. According to registration process, we will do a check to their application, and during the process, our computer database displays that the name is being used by you.
Because the final registration relates to the copyright of the name, to avoid unnecessary disputes of intellectual property rights, so we want to confirm your opinion. Looking forward to your quick reply. If you have any questions, please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible.

Karen Feng
Principal of Checking Department
Overseas Registration Organization
Tel:+(86)731-8187 719
Fax:+(86)731-8187 739

Mobile:+(86)158 7339 0351
Skype:internetbrand
web:www.euwin.com.cn

==============================================
Hello China-business-girl,

How much for Miracle.China.Com? Very interesting CEO happy day.

Moans Longballs Nogood.
==============================================

Dear CEO,

Thank you for your reply. In order to deal the matter better, I will tell you the price now:the com.cn domain name is 30EUR per year, the aisa domain name is 40EUR per year, and the internet trademark is 100EUR per year.

During our checking period, the owner of the name has the priority to register "miracleas" internet trademark and com.cn domain name. If you want to register it, according to our dispute registration principle, please provide written document(business licence or trademark certificate registered in the local place)to prove you are the owner of "miracleas". We will keep the priority for you during the checking period.

Look forward your early reply. Thank you for your cooperation.

==============================================

But how much for Miracle.China.Com??? Please email in written statement for good happyness here and everywhere for you!

Also, with respect to your irrevocable demands and undisputed popularity will we pay in Icelandic Kroner cheap cheap?
==============================================

Dear Moans Longballs Nogood,

Thank you for your reply. The Miracle.China.Com is 20EUR per year. Meanwhile as the procedure of register:

.I will send a application form to you, please find the attachment.

2.Please choose the domain name and internet trademark whice you wan t to register, then fill in and fax to me as soon as possible.

Please contact with me if you have any problem, It my pleasure to help you. Look forward your early reply!

==============================================

Dear Karen Fang-SAN,

Thank you much. This also will good for Miracle Japan, no?

I have question 100 Euro for Miracle China and 20 Euro for Miracle China is good, yes?

My pleasure your pleasure. It is very early in Dinamarca now, so very early reply! You should go home and eat your children, no?

Happy eating!

Moans Longballes Nogood.

==============================================

Dear Moans Longballes Nogood,

Thank you for your reply, I am terribly sorry to bother you so early. In fact: register the internet trademark and china.com is very good and necessary for your company. You can protect your intellectul property right by it!

I hope you can fax the application to me early, so I can help you to deal the matter better. Wish you have a good rest. And now it is 9:40a.m in China. Ask a question:what the means of "eat your children"? My English is not very good, sorry!

Thank you for your cooperation. Look forward your reply.

==============================================
Dear Karen Euwin Feng,

My Mother's name was Longballs, not Longballes. But OK. I am very tired now, but register is very important, so I must not sheep. I know I must protect intelletual property night and day, no!

You are very helpful and good with deal the matter. Thank you so much! It is now 03.42 in Denmark and I am sleepy. We do not eat children here, what it means is that we must protect children in Darfour, yes! They get killed by Chinese weapons, but guns don't kill bullets do. I understand. We all friends.

Chinese love.

Moans.
==============================================

Dear Moans Longballs Nogood,

Thank you for your reply. I am sorry for my mistake. Register is very important, but the rest is important too. Rest good in order to work well, yes? You can raply me when you in the office, and you can have a rest now.

About the children get killed by chinese weapons, I do not know the matter at all, and I feel very sorry about it, sorry!!! Of course we all friends.

Thank you for your cooperation. Look forward your reply.

==============================================

Dear Karen-SAN,

Rest is neccessary to work good, you are right. Thank you for letting me sheep.

We must both rest now with the children. I have big time thank you for your help.

==============================================

Dear Moans Longballs Nogood,

In order to deal the matter better, could you tell me whether yo have received the application form from me?

If you have received it, please fill in and fax to me as soon as possible, and I ca help you to register the domian name and internet trademark better.

Thank you for your cooperation, look forward your early reply!
==============================================

Dear Karin Feng -

Yes, many applications here in Danmark. CRM, ERP, backend, frontend, office, retail - MANY MANY applications! They must all protected for property now?! This is very serious. I will contact rest of Danmark NOW.

It is now 06.20 here, so early reply.

PS: My real name is Magnus Ling Ming. My father big King Ling Ming Chinese come from Greenland 42 years ago. You know him?

Moans.

Also sell mail and femail stones if interest. You have MANY stones in China, no?
==============================================

Dear Moans,

Thank you for your early reply. I am sorry I do not know how to call you. I think the property's protect is become more and more important,

and we should strengthen our awareness of protecting our right, otherwise it will effect the development. I hope you can make decision early,

so I can help you to deal the matter better. Do you received the application form?

I am sorry I don't know your father, maybe I'm too ignorant, but if you tell more details maybe I can know better. Stones? yes, there are many

stones in China.

Look forward your early decision. Thank you for your time. Wish you have a good weekend!

PS:I'm sorry to bother your so early many times.

Karen Feng
==============================================


My very dear happy Karen,

I am much pleased. My father was belonged to Muslim minority in China (the Han Muslim Minority in Beijing Province he told me many times over and over again when he talked about his home country China).

He is famous! I have photo of my father in front of BIG BIG unhappy tank in Tianenmen Square! That was my father! Reason for my middlename Longballs when the tank hit him!

I think he died later, but not sure. My mother is no big talker.

But I am very proud and happy of him and I smile with happiness when I visit his unknown grave. It has good karma. Big man! I think some things on my body are big because of him, so very very happy.

So how much money for the intellectual rights again? I have not received any papers! Must be very urgent now. Can you fax them? Or send a letter? My country blocks all emails with documents from China. Why I don't know yet.

Just send letter to:

Moans Longballs Nogood
C/O Miracle ASS
Borupvang 2C
2750 Ballerup
Dänemark

and I think I will receive it. Can you send it hurry hurry urgent with jetplane, no?

Love,

Moans

PS: I am in love with you! You are very clever!
==============================================

Dear Moans,

Thank you for your reply. I'm very you can tell me so many details about your father, thanks! The Miracle.China.Com is 20EUR per year, the internet trademark is 100EUR per year. I have send a application form to you, but very pity you didn't receive it. I'll send it again, I hope you can receive it this time. If you can't receive, or I will fax to you later, please give me a early reply! Thank you!

Best regards!

Karen

==============================================
Dear Karen-san,

It is with love I finally write you and your all family (I hope for happiness for all and good luck for the rest! Always!).

I have been very busy in these days. I have a goat that was ill, so I have slept with it for three nights now, and it is better now (love is good healer, no?). I cannot afford to lose goat again. My father always told me to be careful with goats and chicks and not have too many babies. Hahaha. But he is not here anymore, so I do what I must do many more times.

So sorry for not talking to your many four or five emails to me so kind and so loveful.

My mother is a small talker. She say I MUST check on http://www.cnnic.cn/en/index/index.htm to find you and so you are not fake and trying to steal fortune and luck from me!

My mother not understand that I trust and love you, Karen-san, so I must ask you to tell her that it is OK that you are not offical company for me and my many wives?!

My mother's name Karin Ming, just like yours! But she is OK just not big talker. Very very secret woman.

I must protect my company!

I love you more and more and much.

Moans.
==============================================

Dear Moans,

How are you? We have keep the priority for you for a long time, but I don't get any reply from you about the registration.

And today our management give us the last notice, after we tell you once again five days, if we

don't get your any reply, then we will consider that you give up the owner of name "milanplast", meanwhile, we

will obey the registration principles:first application, first possession to accept the Robe company's application,
I hope you can understand our position. In our auditing period, if you have any suspect about their application,

please contact us directly both by email and by phone. Thank you.
Wish you have a nice day.

Karen Feng

==============================================

My Loving Dearest Karen,

I have been very very very busy digging big holes, so no answer you in long days and nights. Sorry, sorry. You forgive me?

My love goat died suddenly. Perhaps the pressure from sleeping with many of my friends? So BIG hole for it in my garden. Big hole! It is Winter here, so ground is frozen. Very very hard work to put goat to the ground.

But also my dear mother died! Same day! She never was big talker, but now she never talks again. She small woman! So not so big hole in frozen garden this time. I decide to let her stand up in hole instead of lying flat on stomach. Much better. And smaller hole.

I am very sorry about ownership MilanPlast. I think perhaps only Miracle register, yes? Now also MilanPlast and Robe company? I'm do not like this. Can I why not just register everything in China and we can all sleep together? Not cheap-cheap, perhaps, but very easy and good for future business, yes no?

Your Moans, My Moans

PS: I travel to Taiwan with my mother and make big hole for her there so we can meet and have dinner-sleep?
==============================================

Dear Moans,
Thank you for your reply. I'm very sorry I have make a mistake, I means the ownership of Miracle but not MilanPlast,
sorry about it. If you want to register domain name and internet trademark, please fill in and fax the application form
to me as soon as possible, so I can help you to register it timely.
Look forward your early reply, thank you for your cooperation.
I'm sorry to hear that your mother was dead, don't be too sad.
Best regards!
Karen Feng
==============================================
Dear Moans Longballs Nogood,
Hope you enjoy your day. I'm very sorry to bother you again, because my management hasten me to deal with the matter earlier. I'm afraid I can't keep the priority for you for any more. So if you want to register the domain name and internet trademark, please give me a reply as soon as possible. Otherwise we'll obey the registration principle to accept the third party's application, help they to register the domain name and internet trademark. Please understand.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Wish you have a good weekend!
Karen Feng
==============================================

Picture of Yes We Can shirt....


I just transferred the picture from my digital camera. I have no idea how to turn it. But if you put your screen/laptop on its right-hand side you should be able to get a rough idea of the shirt layout.

Let me know if anyone wants one. I'll take care of it. I think they were about 15 dollars for a normal T-shirt. Viktors shirt was bought in haste by his mother in a near-by shop because the shirt guy didn't have very small sizes.

Mine is just a plain T-shirt in black with the YWC motif.

Yes We Can

So when I first saw this speech and the hair on my arms did funny things (the relevant stuff starts 10.28 minutes into it):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe751kMBwms

... I thought: He'll win. He's the first presidential candidate EVER to use the creed of Bob the Builder (Bygge-Bob in Danish, which is exactly what my son Viktor, three years of age, calls my friend and employee CarpenterTorben, by the way).

So he won. Of course.

Then I told Dan Morgan of PSOUG the story last Sunday. He went home and found out that the Obama campaign had used the Bob the Builder figure at a rally or two. It was no coincidence.

Which might explain why McCain invented a false plumber named Joe.

So last week in Seattle (at the SQL Server PASS conference) Anette stumbled on a shirt shop that had a T-shirt with a picture of Obama and the words 'Yes we can' on it.

We talked to the guy, told him the story, and then he promply went into some Adobe product on the laptop on his desk and replaced Obama with Bob the Builder carrying multiple tools, put Obama's campaign logo on his hardhat, and made his skin colour slightly brownished...

The result was perfect, and I think he is now displaying shirts with that motive in his window in a small mall in Seattle.

Viktor was overjoyed (size four years). Dan Morgan, too (3XL) - he might even wear it in Birmingham for the presentation he's doing for Jeremiah (who can't come) at the UKOUG conference next week.... I'll certainly bring mine (2XL).

And for those of you who don't know Bob the Builder: Whenever Bob and his friends (machines and a few humans alike) are going to do some heavy stuff together, like digging a hole in Mrs. Petersen's garden, Bob will ask them all:

"Can we do it?"

and they will answer with gusto, enthusiasm and unbound energy:

"Yes, we can!"

In Danish it's:

"Kan vi gøre det?"

and the answer is:

"Ja, dét kan vi!"

Just so you know.

My sincere thanks to Viktor and Bob the Builder for helping me re-learn a few fundamental things about human capacity, and the power of optimism.

Carl Backstrom

A very quick note – there’s a very long one on Streams coming, with real code and everything, to say that Carl Backstrom’s family have updated his blog with details of how to give in memoriam to this most excellent technologist and evangelist. Go here and donate appropriately please.

Oracle-Validated RPM on OEL 4.5

This is officially my first post on this blog.. finally after weeks of

procrastination ..So here it goes..

Last August 29, 2008 on one of the RSS feeds of OTN TechBlog Sergio Leunissen posted a blog about Oracle Validated being available outside ULN which is very nice to hear.. then after 2 months (October), Alejandro Vargas posted a blog on how to do the Oracle-Validated installation on OEL5..

which then made me want to try it on OEL4, and is just in time because I want to shift to 64bit RAC on Linux (test environment on VMware)..

The whole installation is documented here: Oracle-Validated installation on OEL 4.5

Below are some Metalink Notes about Oracle Validated:

Linux OS Installation with Reduced Set of Packages for Running Oracle Database Server
Doc ID: Note:728346.1

Linux OS Installation with Reduced Set of Packages for Running Oracle Database Server without ULN/RHN
Doc ID: Note:579101.1

Defining a “default RPMs” installation of the Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) OS
Doc ID: Note:401167.1

Defining a “default RPMs” installation of the RHEL OS
Doc ID: Note:376183.1

Defining a “default RPMs” installation of the SLES OS
Doc ID: Note:386391.1

The ‘oracle-validated’ RPM Package for Installation Prerequisities
Doc ID: Note:437743.1

Below is the summary of the document:

  • The environment is a virtual machine with 1GB of RAM and two CPUs; the total time for the installation which includes media check, setting up networking, and additional RPMs was 30 minutes <br />
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    	  	<div class=

About Clear Communications

Like everyone else I like to rant once in a while. I rant about the shortcomings in Oracle software, the tools and technologies I work with. But this time I want to rant about a decisively non-technical topic. Arguably it is something that everyone must have felt - at least once. It's about communicating clearly. Why don't people do it? Why don't they articulate whatever they are trying to say. Instead they spit out incoherently with thoughts coming across as sloppily slapped together expecting the other person to somehow put it all together. I am not talking about children; these are responsible adults who supposedly make up policies and act as thought leaders. Unclear thoughts and communication not only frustrates people; but is dangerous. It misdirects efforts leading to wastage and often utter failure.

Today I had on the receiving end of such a travesty. Earlier, a manager of an application team wrote to me this email (reproduced verbatim) about a requirement:

We are having a shortage of capabilities on the servers. So we want to increase the capabilities somehow. What do you recommend?

I was scratching my head. How can I comment or influence the capabilities of their applications? Perhaps they are asking about some limitations which might be solved by some Oracle technology features. So, I called them for a quick chat. After half hour I still wasn't clear about what limitations they are trying to solve.

And then, after one hour, I got it: they are talking about capacity; not capability! And not only that it's about the database server; not the app server. [Trying to pull my hair out at this time]

My recommendation would have been to send them to an English school; but, being occasionally wise, I kept it to myself.

OK; let's move on. I promised to have a DBA look at the capacity issue.

And a DBA did. Sme days went by and it apprently reached a boiling point. I was told nothing has been done by the DBA and, well, that's not acceptable. so, I intervened. I asked the DBA for her side of the story. It was pretty simple - the CPU, I/O are all normal, way below utilization. The growth projections were eight times. Yes, eight times. So, the DBA made a request for the increase in capacity and that's where the friction has started. No one anticipated the eight fold increase; so there is simply no room. Stalemate!

As the head of database architecture, I question any growth projections, especially ones that go up 8 times. And I did. Here was the response "we are running on 2 legs and we will run on 16 legs in the near future".

2 legs?!!! What is that? What is a leg?

As it turns out, the application is running 2 java virtual machines. the app architects are recommending to run 16 JVMs to add redundancy and distribute local processing. From the database perspective, that means 2 clients now will become 16; but the overall processing will *not* go up.

Instead of saying that in plain English, the App manager coined a term "leg" to describe the issue in apprently in some technical way. This was communiated to his management chain, which in turn interpreted it as 8 fold increase in processing and demanded that we create 7 more databases. They approved the new "databases" and allocated the budget. But since the friction came with a member of my team, I became involved. As I always do, I questioned the decision and that's how the truth came out, which in turn also cleared the mystery behind the "capability" story described above.

All these hoopla about people not communicating in a clear manner. Adding 16 more clients should have simple enough to connvery even to the mail guy; calling it "legs" confused every one, wasted time and increased frustration. If I hadn't questioned it, it would have been implemented too. 7 more databases doing nothing to solve the issues present.

Communication is all about articulation and presentation of thoughts. The key is empathy - put yourself in the recipient's shoes and try to look at what you are saying from that persepctive. It's not about English (or whatever the language used); it's about the clarity of thought process. Granted not everyone will be able to present the thought process equally coherently while speaking; but what about writing? There is no excuse for not writing coherently, is there? The only reason for being incoherent is just a I-don't-care attitude. Of course, there are other things - unfamilairity with the language used, lack of time, environment (typing on the blackberry with one finger while cooking with the other hand), state of mind (typing out the report while waiting for the third drink to arrive at the bar); but most of the time it's just plain lack of empathy. If you don't have that, you just don't communicate; at least not effectively. And when you don't communicate, you fail, regardless of your professional stature.

As Karen Morton once said during a HotSos Symposium, and a mantra I took to heart and live by the lines everyday:

Knowledge and Experience Makes you Credible
Ability to Communicate Effectively makes you Useful

Useful - that's what I and you want to be; not just credible. Thank you, Karen.

Scottish Oracle Conference

I recently spent a rather pleasant day at the scottish conference of the ukoug. This was held at the Radisson SAS Hotel just by the central rail station and split into a number of streams, from management through to dba. The organisation of the event was excellent, particularly given the fact that some of the [...]