Tim Hall

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Oracle related rants (and lots of off-topic stuff)...
Updated: 1 month 1 day ago

Video : Ranking using RANK, DENSE_RANK and ROW_NUMBER : Problem Solving using Analytic Functions

Mon, 2019-06-17 02:36

Today’s video is a run through ranking data using the RANK, DENSE_RANK and ROW_NUMBER analytic functions.

There is more information about these and other analytic functions in the following articles.

The star of today’s video is Chris Saxon, who is one of the folks keeping the masses up to speed at AskTom.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Ranking using RANK, DENSE_RANK and ROW_NUMBER : Problem Solving using Analytic Functions was first posted on June 17, 2019 at 8:36 am.
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Dbvisit Standby 9 Installation on Linux (and Vagrant)

Tue, 2019-06-11 03:45

The folks at Dbvisit recently released version 9 of their Dbvisit standby product.

It’s been a while since I last played with the product, so I downloaded the free trial and gave it a whirl.

I have to admit I forgot just how easy it is to work with. It feels pretty much like “unzip and go”. The result of my playtime was this article.

I also knocked up a Vagrant build, so I can easily recreate it. You can find that here.

I stuck to a basic configuration of a single instance primary (node1) and standby (node2), with the console on a separate VM (console). If you want to try something more exotic, or you are using Windows, you can get more information from the Installing Dbvisit Standby documentation.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. This isn’t a sponsored post. I’ve known the folks at Dbvisit for years so I keep an eye on what they are doing.

Dbvisit Standby 9 Installation on Linux (and Vagrant) was first posted on June 11, 2019 at 9:45 am.
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Cloud : Who are the gatekeepers now?

Wed, 2019-05-29 01:17

There’s something you might consider sinister lurking in the cloud, and it might cause a big disruption in who are considered the gatekeepers of your company’s services. I’ve mentioned governance in passing before, but maybe it’s time for me to do some thinking out loud to get this straight in my own head.

In the on-prem world the IT departments tend to be the gatekeepers, because they are responsible for provisioning, developing and maintaining the systems. If you want some new infrastructure or a new application, you have to go and ask IT, so it’s pretty easy for them to keep a handle on what is going on and stay in control.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The initial move to the cloud didn’t really change this. Most people who proudly proclaimed they had moved to the cloud were using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and were really just using the cloud provider as a basic hosting company. I’ve never really considered this cloud. Yes, you get some flexibility in resource allocation, but it’s pretty much what we’ve always done with hosting companies. It’s just “other people’s servers”. As far as IaaS goes, the gatekeepers are still the same, because you need all/most of the same skills to plan, setup and maintain such systems.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

When we start talking about Platform as a Service (PaaS), things start to get a little bit trickier. The early days of PaaS weren’t a great deal different to IaaS, as some of the PaaS services weren’t what I would call platforms. They were glorified IaaS, with pre-installed software you had to manage yourself. With the emergence of proper platforms, which automate much of the day-to-day drudgery, things started to shift. A developer could request a database without having to speak to the DBAs, sysadmins, virtualisation and network folks. You can of course question the logic of that, but it’s an option and there is the beginning of a power shift.

When we start talking about IoT and Serverless platforms things change big-time. The chances are the gatekeeper will be the budget holder, since you will be charged on a per request basis, and probably have to set a maximum spend per unit time to keep things under control. Depending on how your company manages departmental budgets, the gatekeeper could be whoever has some spare cash this quarter…

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) possibly presents the biggest challenge for traditional on-prem IT departments, as the business can literally go out and pick the product they want, without so much of a thought for what IT think about it. Once they’ve spent the money, they will probably come to IT and expect them to magic up all the data integrations to make things work as expected. Also, once that money has been spent, good luck trying to persuade people they backed the wrong horse. SaaS puts the business users directly in the driving seat.

Conclusion

It would be naive to think any movement to the cloud (IaaS, PaaS or SaaS) could be done independently of an existing IT department, but the tide is turning.

The IT world has changed. The traditional power bases are eroding, and you’ve got to adapt to survive. Every time you say “No”, without offering an alternative solution, you’re helping to make yourself redundant. Every time you say, “We will need to investigate it”, as a delaying tactic, you’re helping to make yourself redundant. Every time you ignore new development and delivery pipelines and platforms, you are sending yourself to an early retirement. I’m not saying jump on every bandwagon, but you need to be aware of them, and why they may or may not be useful to you and your company.

Recently I heard someone utter the phrase, “you’re not the only hotel in town”. I love that, and it should be a wake-up call for any traditional IT departments and clouds deniers.

It’s natural selection baby! Adapt or die!

Cheers

Tim…

Cloud : Who are the gatekeepers now? was first posted on May 29, 2019 at 7:17 am.
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The problem with Googling for solutions

Fri, 2019-05-24 05:35

I started to write a post, then realised I’ve already written it several times before, with the most coherent of them here.

So instead I’m going to change it up a little and tell a story.

I’m a generalist, and as you will know it’s really hard to be good at everything, so clearly there are some things I’m “not so good at”. Like most people, I use Google a lot, and my Google-fu is strong.

A couple of weeks ago we did a security scan of an existing system, which revealed some security flaws. It was a non-Oracle product, so I didn’t have a recipe to follow and I started Googling for solutions. The product in question is very popular, and there were lots of responses to my Google search, with most of the top results coming from Stack Exchange (Stack Overflow). Happy days I thought, as the Stack Exchange sites is effectively peer-reviewed, in that the correct answers are usually up-voted.

I looked at the first few different threads and people were saying the same thing. The highest up-voted answer on each thread gave a very direct and simple parameter value to solve the issue I had, so I was happy…

I followed the advice, set the parameter, restarted the service and tested. It didn’t do what everyone claimed it would. Armed with the parameter name, I searched the product documentation, and clearly the parameter didn’t do what the Stack Exchange answers said it did.

That seemed very odd, so I assumed these must be answers that were correct for an old version of the product. I checked the docs for previous versions. Same result. After reading the docs I found the real answer, implemented it, tested it and it worked.

What is really worrying about this is the answers on several threads on Stack Exchange were wrong. Those incorrect answers had been up-voted by lots of people, which suggests they agreed with the answer, even though these solutions could *never* have worked. So this seems to indicate one of two things to me.

  • People read the answer, it sounded plausible, which it did, so they up-voted it without trying it.
  • People had actually used this solution, thought it was the right solution and up-voted it, but clearly never tested their system or they would have seen it didn’t work and they still have the same security flaw.

One of the things I say in that post linked above is.

“Remember, even when you have built up a list of trusted sources, you should still constantly test what they say. Everyone can make mistakes.”

That’s really important because the internet is full of great information, but it’s also full of bullshit. Being able to tell the difference is really important, and the only way to do that is to test it, or do further research if it’s something you can’t test for yourself…

Cheers

Tim…

The problem with Googling for solutions was first posted on May 24, 2019 at 11:35 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

VirtualBox 6.0.6

Wed, 2019-04-17 02:33

VirtualBox 6.0.6 was released last night.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

So far I’ve only had a chance to install it on my Windows 10 laptop at home and my Windows 10 laptop at work. No dramas on either. I’ll probably do the installations on macOS Mojave and Oracle Linux 7 hosts tonight. I’ll add an update here to say how they’ve gone.

With all the other Oracle updates that have just come out, I’ll be doing loads of Vagrant and Docker builds over the next couple of evenings, so this should get a reasonable workout.

Cheers

Tim…

Update: The installations on macOS Mojave and Oracle Linux 7 hosts worked fine too.

VirtualBox 6.0.6 was first posted on April 17, 2019 at 8:33 am.
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The Art of Miscommunication : About that thing from last week…

Tue, 2019-04-16 03:25

One of the things I get all the time is an apparent continuation of a conversation I was in some time ago, and I’m meant to pick up the thread without any explanation or context.

Depending on the people you are dealing with, this can be quite an easy trap to fall into. As a DBA that looks after many instances of multiple database engines, middle tier technologies and load balancers, I tend to get pulled into loads of conversations. For the person in question, let’s say a developer working on one project, they see this interaction as a one-to-one relationship between them and me, but for me it’s a one-to-many, as I’m dealing with many such conversations at the same time.

When I’m in that position I’ve stopped trying to figure it out, and now the conversation goes something like this.

  • Person : You know that thing we were talking about last week?
  • Me : No.
  • Person : You know, that thing…
  • Me : I literally have no idea. Please explain…

In some situations, it turns out it wasn’t even me they had the conversation with, or I wasn’t copied into the emails. A fact that only becomes evident when they take the time to order their thoughts…

I’m generally pretty happy to help people out, but I’m not going to go through hypnotherapy to pull back distant memories in order to continue a conversation you think I should remember. As you saw from my previous post on this subject, I expect each interaction to be self-contained. If there is any context necessary, it should be in the interaction itself. I shouldn’t need the skills of Professor X to pull it out of your head…

So before you pick up the phone, start typing on chat, or begin an email, take a second to plan the conversation in your own mind.

  • What introduction is necessary to get people up to speed?
  • Is there any prior knowledge I’m assuming, that I probably shouldn’t?
  • What is the main purpose of this interaction?
  • What are the outcomes I’m looking for?

It will only take a couple of seconds to figure this out. I’m not asking you to spend an hour preparing for a five minute chat, but don’t just launch into a stream of consciousness and expect everyone else to jump back in at exactly the same spot they left.

Cheers

Tim…

The Art of Miscommunication : About that thing from last week… was first posted on April 16, 2019 at 9:25 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

Video : JSON_MERGEPATCH Function in Oracle Database 19c

Mon, 2019-04-08 05:25

Today’s video is a run through the JSON_MERGEPATCH function, which was introduced in Oracle 19c.

For those that don’t do video, this was based on the following article.

The star of today’s video is Rene Antunez.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : JSON_MERGEPATCH Function in Oracle Database 19c was first posted on April 8, 2019 at 11:25 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

Oracle Help Center of the Future: Reimagining Documentation (COLLABORATE 19)

Sat, 2019-04-06 03:13

If you follow me on Twitter you will know I recently had a conference call with the Oracle Documentation folks. We were discussing a number of points, some of which were related to a blog post of mine here.

Following that Roland Mcleod from the team mentioned they would be at Collaborate 19. This is an ideal opportunity for people to give their feedback directly to the team, and help shape the future of the documentation. Please go and speak to them, and give some constructive feedback about the documentation for whatever Oracle products you work with. Let them know what you like, dislike and how things would work better for you! It’s important they understand how you like to consume information, if you want the documentation to improve.

It’s also important that a variety of people get involved. Young, old, experienced and fresh to the game. We all like to consume information in a different way, and it’s important the documentation works for everybody.

I also said I would give their Collaborate 19 sessions a shout out, so here is what Roland sent me.

Can you reimagine Oracle Documentation and Help?

The Oracle Help Center is undergoing a complete redesign. We need all customers, partners and consultants to help us make it work for you.

Please attend one of our sessions and come by to see us at the Oracle Exhibit Area: Oracle Help Center Ambassadors!

Session ID: 112040
Oracle Help Center of the Future: Reimagining Documentation
10:30 AM–11:30 AM Apr 8, 2019
CC 2ND FL 225B

Oracle Help Center of the Future: Reimagining Documentation
3:15 PM–4:15 PM Apr 8, 2019
CC 2ND FL 225B

Session Abstract: In this interactive session; you’ll have an opportunity to provide your feedback about the current and future Oracle Help Center (docs.oracle.com). You will be invited to share how you use documentation in your role and at your organization. This session includes a brief preview of the future Oracle Help Center experience.

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Help Center of the Future: Reimagining Documentation (COLLABORATE 19) was first posted on April 6, 2019 at 9:13 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

OUG Ireland 2019 : It’s a wrap for me!

Fri, 2019-04-05 03:10

This is going to be a really short post, because the event was really short for me.

It was an early start, which meant a lack of sleep. As usual, this made me feel terrible. I never sleep well, so when something interferes with my already terrible routine I really can’t handle these days. The flight across was fine, and I got to the hotel at the correct time. Unfortunately, I had made a reservation for the wrong month. They had free rooms, so I paid for a room for about twice the price of the original room I booked. I got a shower and sat down to think. I then booked a new flight home for that evening.

I had a couple of DMs from concerned folks who had seen my tweets. Debra came across to chat to me, as she was flying out after lunch, and I had decided I was only turning up for my own session.

My session was a “Multitenant : What’s new in Oracle Database 18c & 12c Release 2” at 15:10. I did the session and went back to my room to wait for my flight home. When the time came, I flew home. Everything was fine.

I’m sure the conference was great, because it always is. Sorry for not being present for most of it.

Cheers

Tim…

OUG Ireland 2019 : It’s a wrap for me! was first posted on April 5, 2019 at 9:10 am.
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Video : SQL/JSON : Generate JSON from SQL

Mon, 2019-03-04 01:38

Today’s video is a quick run through some of the SQL/JSON functionality introduced in Oracle database 12.2.

For those people that want a lot more information, including copy/paste examples, check out the article it’s based upon, and all the other JSON stuff I’ve written here.

The star of today’s video is Roel Hartman of APEX fame!

Cheers

Tim…

Video : SQL/JSON : Generate JSON from SQL was first posted on March 4, 2019 at 8:38 am.
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OBUG Tech Days Belgium 2019

Tue, 2019-02-05 02:40

The BOUG Tech Days 2019 conference is happening on the 7th-8th February, which is Thursday and Friday this week. I see from the Twitter-verse that some people are already there and checking out the city.

I’ll be flying out on Thursday morning, and flying back Friday night, so it’s an overnight stay for me.

The list of speakers is pretty impressive, so it looks like it’s going to be a good one.

See you there!

Cheers

Tim…

OBUG Tech Days Belgium 2019 was first posted on February 5, 2019 at 9:40 am.
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VirtualBox 6.0.4

Tue, 2019-01-29 05:40

VirtualBox 6.0.4 has been released. Hot on the heels of version 6.0.2, we got this new release last night (UK time).

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve installed it on my Windows 10 laptop at work. I’ll do my personal Windows 10 laptop, old MBP and OL7 server when I get home, and post an update here to say how I got on.

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Everything went fine with the installation on my Windows 10 laptop, MBP running macOS Mojave and server running Oracle Linux 7.

VirtualBox 6.0.4 was first posted on January 29, 2019 at 12:40 pm.
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Video : JSON Data Guide

Mon, 2019-01-28 04:17

Today’s video is an overview of the JSON Data Guide functionality introduced in Oracle 12.2.

If videos aren’t your thing, you can read the articles instead. This video focuses on the main features that were introduced in 12.2, but there are some nice additions in 18c also.

The cameo in today’s video is Toon Koppelaars of #SMartDB fame.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Video : JSON Data Guide was first posted on January 28, 2019 at 11:17 am.
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Oracle 19c Released : How does that make you feel?

Sat, 2019-01-19 08:04

Back in 2017 I wrote a post about the move to the yearly release cycle for Oracle software. It’s over 18 months since that post and we’ve had 18c and now 19c released (on LiveSQL), so I thought I would reflect on some of the pros and cons I mentioned in that original post. If you want to know what I originally said about these points, go back to the original post.

Pros
  • Quicker release of features : It’s becoming clear to me that some of the 18c features were actually 12cR2 features that didn’t make it into the documentation, even though they were present in the product. I’m not sure if these were present in the initial release of 12.2.0.1, or got introduced in the proactive bundle patches later. I have no problem with this, but it feels like the documentation is not keeping up with the new features added in the release updates. Where 18c is concerned we’ve had 18.1, 18.2, 18.3, 18.4 and now 18.5, but I don’t see a change in the documentation. Now a drop of the documentation once a year that includes the latest changes is better than the once every 4 years, but it still feels odd that we’re getting new functionality added, but no way to see that except for scouring MOS notes. I wonder if this situation will continue in 19c release.
  • Predictable release cycles : Yes. Nice.
  • Stability : This was originally one of my cons, but I’m going to move it to the pros section. I was worried the quicker release cycle might lead to a lack of stability, rather than the improved stability. I don’t know how other people feel, but 12.2 and 18c have been pretty good for me. I try and apply the proactive bundle patches (BP), now Release Updates (RUs), so I’m going all-in and things have been good. We are a “middle of the bell curve” company, so I probably won’t experience some of the edge cases you might, but that’s what I feel about it. I hope 19c continues this trend, as I see it.
Cons
  • Upgrade/Patch burnout : I’m currently upgrading some databases to 18c, but part of me is thinking, “What’s the point?” Let’s say the on-prem 19c drops in April, and we will wait for the first RU after that which might be July. I’m potentially only 6 months from having a viable 19c upgrade path, which is after all the Long Term Support (LTS) release. Should I bother with 18c now? I can understand if some people say no. I’m still going to move forward, as this solves some other issues for me, including the conversion to Multitenant of some 11.2 instances, which will make future upgrades easier. Having said that, mentally it is a downer and I can feel an element of this burnout I predicted.
  • Product Support/Certification : Yep. As predicted, many companies don’t seem to recognise that 18c even exists, let alone support their products on it. If I were charitable I would say they are waiting for 19c as it’s a LTS release, but in reality they are still struggling to check that 12.2 PDBs work for their products. I hope vendors get their act together to provide support for these new versions more quickly. That includes Oracle too.
Unsure
  • Learning : This still concerns me. I got access to 18c straight away on Oracle Cloud and LiveSQL, so really I’ve had nearly a year of 18c. For those people that first experienced it after the on-prem release, they’ve had about 6 months experience and the 19c hype train has started. Now it will still be a year from one on-prem release to the next, but it just kind-of feels like it’s only a 6 month release, if you know what I mean. I’m currently still writing about 18c features, but part of me is thinking, “What’s the point?” My mind is looking forward to 19c. As we move forward I realise each release will be smaller, so working through the new features will not be so heavy, but I’m still worried people (and I really mean me) will disconnect.
  • Certification : I just checked today and they are still pushing the 12cR2 certification. Now this is still relevant, as 18c and 19c are effectively 12.2.0.2 and 12.2.0.3 respectively, but it just sounds bad. Hey, 19c has just been released and I’m working for the 12cR2 certification? I get the distinct feeling certification is dead to me now. Let’s see what Oracle Education do with this. Maybe I’ll change my mind.

Of course, it’s still early days so we will see how the cookie crumbles over the coming releases. I suspect I may be forced to cherry-pick a little.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. A Twitter comment from Frits Hoogland made me feel I should add something. If you are happy with what you have and don’t feel the need to upgrade often, that’s cool. Constantly chasing an upgrade can be problematic because of the instabilities it can cause. The new release cycle is allegedly meant to reduce that by drip-feeding change in smaller, manageable chunks…

Although a DBA may like some of the new features, they affect comparatively few people in the company. I feel development new features are a bigger draw for getting people to buy into the upgrade cycle. Just this week a project started on an existing 11.2 instance, but involved a bunch of JSON functionality, so it was moved across to an 18c instance. The developers only know this functionality is in 12.2 and 18c because I’ve actively promoted it. If I had not done this, they would have stuck with 11.2 and wasted a bunch of time manually coding stuff.

I’m a fan of keeping up with the latest versions, both personally and in the companies I work. In my experience avoiding upgrades and patches tends to cause more problems than keeping relatively up to date. Just my opinion though…

Oracle 19c Released : How does that make you feel? was first posted on January 19, 2019 at 3:04 pm.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

VirtualBox 6.0.2

Wed, 2019-01-16 08:22

VirtualBox 6.0.2 has been released.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve installed it on my Windows 10 laptop at work, which I use with Vagrant for testing of Oracle, WebLogic, Tomcat server builds, as well as Docker builds. I’ll do my personal Windows 10 laptop, old MBP and OL7 server when I get home.

Update: I’ve done an install on my Windows 10 laptop, MackBook Pro running macOS Mojave and a server running Oracle Linux 7. The installations of VirtualBox 6.0.2 on all hosts worked fine. I rebuilt a bunch of VMs using Vagrant 2.2.3 and everything looks good.

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 6.0.2 was first posted on January 16, 2019 at 3:22 pm.
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KeePass 2.41

Wed, 2019-01-16 02:31

I just noticed KeePass 2.41 was released about a week ago.

Downloads and Changelog available from the usual places.

You can read about how I use KeePass and KeePassXC on my Windows, Mac and Android devices here.

Cheers

Tim…

KeePass 2.41 was first posted on January 16, 2019 at 9:31 am.
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2018 : A Year in Review

Mon, 2018-12-31 10:53

What a strange year this has been for me from a technology perspective!

The Good

Lots of good things have happened over the year.

  • I did presentations at 15 separate tech events, as well as a talk to students at a local university. I do some talks at work too, but you can’t really count that. Even though I had some drama at some of the conferences, the presentations went well for the most part.
  • I was one of a group of people named as an “Oracle Code One Star” at Oracle Code One 2018, based on the speaker evaluations from last year’s Java One conference.
  • I got a Lifetime Achievement Award at UKOUG Tech18. This sounds a bit like being put out to pasture, but it’s just another speaker award based on the speaker evaluations from UKOUG Tech 17. You can only win three awards, so your third is called a lifetime achievement award, and you aren’t allowed in the race in following years.
  • I wrote over 150 blog posts, which averages at about one every 2.5 days. That sounds like a lot, considering I feel like I’ve not had much time to write this year.
  • I wrote over 90 articles for the website, which is more than one every 4 days. That also sounds like a lot. I just checked and in the last 18.5 years I’ve averaged more than one article a week. Crazy.
  • I’ve been putting a bunch of stuff on GitHub. It’s all stuff I’m messing with, as opposed to “real projects”, but it feels nice.
The Bad and the Ugly

Followers of the blog know this has been a tough year for me, because I keep moaning about it in posts like this.

When I’m travelling I pretty much write a daily diary on the blog, which reads like, “Which country did Tim puke in today?” I can’t have another year like this year.

Work has been hard this year, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. I feel like I’m trapped in an abusive relationship with work. There are some big projects happening over the coming year and cruising is not an option. I’m not really sure how I’m going to cope. Time will tell I guess.

Next Year

Not resolutions as such, but some things I am thinking about for next year.

  • I’ve got to sort out my crappy lifestyle a bit. I’ve let everything just go to wrack and ruin this year and it shows both mentally and physically. I’m convinced it’s a big factor in the way this year has gone. I’m not going to make any rash promises, because I know me, but if I can just tune in again things might get better.
  • I’ve turned down a few conferences already for 2019. I will still be doing some, but I’m not sure how many. My confidence has hit rock-bottom and I just need something to dig me out of this funk. I tried to muscle through it this year, and it’s caused more harm than good.
  • It would be nice to do some YouTube videos again. I keep meaning to, but similar to the conference presentations, I’ve lost my mojo. I have no goals as far as numbers are concerned, but it would be nice to think this time next year I can say I’ve done some. At the moment, I’m enjoying putting together Fortnite game play videos for nephew #2 and nephew #1 has started to use my GoPro to record his downhill mountain biking, so I’ve done the first of what might be many of those for him.
  • As far as the website goes, it’s more of the same. Having some time over Christmas has allowed me to do some more learning and writing and I just feel more positive about things. It feels like getting back to my roots.
  • Work? It’s the classic case of you can work hard, or you can work long, but you can’t do both. Like a number of other people the days are getting longer and longer, but the backlog is not getting any shorter. I’ve just got to push the keyboard away and leave. It will all be there in the morning and I’ll be in a better position to deal with it.

Happy New Year everyone!

Cheers

Tim…

2018 : A Year in Review was first posted on December 31, 2018 at 5:53 pm.
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Visibility vs Results

Sat, 2018-12-22 03:23

If you speak to my colleagues you will know one of my regular topics of conversation at meetings is the “judgement of worth” within the company. I get quite annoyed when I see people who I believe are adding value, but always seem to get ignored, while others who talk a great talk, but ultimately can’t walk the walk, seem to catch all the breaks. It seems visibility is more important than getting results these days.

One of my colleagues sent me a link to this article and it really sums up what I keep saying.

I’ve spent the last 18 years telling the internet what I think, so I couldn’t deny a tendency for self-promotion, but I like to think I can actually deliver, not just talk about it! Of course, you will never really know unless you work with me, and that’s the point. It certainly seems people believe what they are told, regardless of whether there is any factual basis to it.

So what should you do? Well in my opinion, maybe this is a start.

  1. Actually learn your subject in the first place. I hope your aim isn’t to be one of these creeps. I hope your aim is to continuously improve and deserve any good breaks you get.
  2. Learn to speak about your subject in a clear, concise and professional manner. Don’t sit there silently, then blame the world for being unfair. The world is unfair! Deal with it! Make a positive change! If you need some pointers, I’ve written some public speaking tips here.
  3. Learn to write in a clear, concise and professional manner. If you write unintelligible emails, people are going to assume you are dumb. I happen to think blogging is a good way to improve your writing skills. I’ve written some pointers about blogging here. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you get there, but you must be able to make yourself understood.
  4. Don’t let other people take the credit for what you do. I’m not suggesting you write an email to the CEO every time you deploy an application, but by the same token, don’t let someone else stand up and take the credit you deserve, especially if it’s because you are too scared to actually stand up and speak for yourself, and instead rely on others to present your work.
  5. For the bosses out there, try to start judging people by actual results, rather than by what they say they can/have done.

I realise I sound kind-of narky in this post, but I think it’s really important. It really gets on my nerves when I see people taking the credit for other people’s work, and I’m equally annoyed when I see other people letting it happen.

I’m not suggesting you bully the perpetrators, or make a big show of the situation. Just don’t give them the opportunity to steal your moment in the sun!

Good luck folks!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. The wife said something in a Facebook comment that reminded me of something I wanted to say. I regularly get accused of name dropping, because I say things like, “I was chatting with X, and they said…”. This isn’t me trying to brag about all the “famous” people I know. It’s because I don’t want to come over as having these ideas for myself. I’m going to name-check people, even if you think it makes me look like I’m bragging, because they deserve the credit for their work and their ideas. If they tell me the origin of their idea, I’ll say, “I spoke to X, who said they heard Y say…”. Sorry if this annoys you personally, or you want to make a negative judgement about why I do it, but I think it matters…

Visibility vs Results was first posted on December 22, 2018 at 10:23 am.
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Why Automation Matters : The Series

Sat, 2018-11-24 04:20

A few months ago I decided to write a post about the lost time associated with the hand-offs between teams. It was relevant to a conversation I wanted to have, and I wanted to order my thoughts before I went into that conversation. That post accidentally became a series of posts, which I’ve listed below.

I’m not an expert at automation and I’m far from being an expert at DevOps. Theses were just a useful exercise for me, so I thought they might be of interest to other people.

I’m not sure if I’ll write any more, but if I do, I’ll add them to this page.

I’ve added an Automation category to the blog, which I’ve been using to categorise these posts, and other things like my posts about Docker and Vagrant.

Cheers

Tim…

Why Automation Matters : The Series was first posted on November 24, 2018 at 11:20 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

Why Automation Matters : Technical Debt

Fri, 2018-11-23 05:11

I was going to include Technical Debt in yesterday’s post about Unplanned Work, but I thought it deserved a post of its own.

What is it? You can read a definition here, but essentially it comes down to a short-termism approach to solving problems. It can be applied to many situations, but here are two.

  • You have a bunch of applications written in Oracle Forms 6i. A new requirement comes in, and rather than biting the bullet and writing the new application in something more up to date, you write it in Forms 6i and ship it.
  • You have to build a new server, which involves manual processes for building the VM, OS and other software (app server, DB etc.). You go ahead and do it the way you always have, rather than using this as an opportunity to take a step back and start working on automation first.

In both these cases, it might actually be the correct decision to just move forward, as you may not have the necessary time and skills yet to do something “better”. It’s not the specific decision that matters as much as the recognition of the implications of that decision. By moving forward with this, you have to recognise you’ve added to your technical debt.

In the case of the development example it’s quite obvious. You now have yet another application that will have to be upgraded/rewritten in the future. You’ve added to your future workload.

In the case of the server it may be less obvious. If everything were done properly, with no human errors, you may have a beautifully consistent and perfect server, but the reality is that isn’t going to happen and you’ve just added another “non-standard” server to your organisation, that will probably result in more unplanned work later, and should immediately go on the list of things that needs replacing, once an automated and standardised approach is created.

Technical debt is insidious because it’s so easy to justify that you made the right decision, and turn a blind eye to the problems down the road.

What’s this got to do with automation? In this case it’s about removing obstacles. Improving your delivery of infrastructure and application delivery pipeline makes it far easier to make changes in the future, and one thing we know about working in technology is everything is constantly changing. I see automation as an enabler of change, which can help you make decisions that won’t add to your technical debt.

Cheers

Tim…

Why Automation Matters : Technical Debt was first posted on November 23, 2018 at 12:11 pm.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

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