Tim Hall

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Oracle related rants (and lots of off-topic stuff)...
Updated: 8 hours 59 min ago

Bulgarian Oracle User Group (BGOUG) 2016 : Pravets to Birmingham

Mon, 2016-11-14 13:05

bgougA group of us were being picked up by a minibus at 09:50 for the trip back to the airport. Timo Raitalaakso and Gianni Ceresa were on the same flight as me for the first leg. We said our goodbyes to everyone in the hotel lobby, then it was off to Sofia airport.

The airport was very quiet when we arrived. We checked in and dropped off our bags, then walked straight through security. It really doesn’t get easier than that. Timo, Gianni and myself then sat and chatted until the it was time to board.

The flight to Munich was listed as a two hour flight, but I have no idea how long it actually took. I was reading a novel written by one of my friends during the trip. The guy a couple of seats along was snoring so loud it kept making me laugh. I’m not sure how anyone could sleep in the same house as him!

We arrived at Munich, where I said goodby to Timo and Gianni, before trudging around for quite some time trying to find my gate. It was a 1:40 layover for me, so it wasn’t a rush.

The flight from Munich to Birmingham was another two hour flight. I spent the journey reading again, so I didn’t really notice much about the flight.

Back in Birmingham, I got my case and took a taxi home, while continuing to read my book. By the time I got home I was feeling quite drained, so I went to bed early, ready to start the working week!

That marked the end of my last international event of the year and I’m looking forward to spending some time at home in a single timezone. The last few months have been a killer!

Cheers

Tim…

Bulgarian Oracle User Group (BGOUG) 2016 : Pravets to Birmingham was first posted on November 14, 2016 at 8:05 pm.
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Protecting Your Empire and Shortermism

Sat, 2016-10-22 07:06

bookshelf-29811_640Followers of the blog know that I’m far from being an expert at APEX, but I recently did an APEX presentation at work. As a follow-up I sent out an email with a bunch of links to online tutorials, YouTube playlists and documentation etc. One of my colleagues replied saying,

“It’s really wonderful having someone so knowledgeable who actually shares knowledge here as well as at these conferences !!!”

I was thinking about that comment this morning and it raised two questions in my mind.

  1. Do any people contribute to the online community and present at conferences, but not do knowledge spreading in their company?
  2. Does anyone still believe that withholding information for the purposes of protecting your own little empire is a successful strategy these days?

Regarding the first question, I think it would be pretty sad if people are doing knowledge spreading in the community, but not giving their colleagues the benefit of their experience. At minimum they could be pointing their colleagues to their community work, but it would be better if they could personalise it for their colleagues. In the case of my recent presentation, I used applications from work in my demos that I would never show at a conference. I think that helps put things into context.

The answer to the second question interests me a lot more. When I started in IT the internet as we know now didn’t exist. The only way to learn anything was using the manuals (typically out of date paper copies) or asking a colleague. At that point it was possible for people to protect their empire by hiding information, which I saw happen many times. Typically the people who did this were despised. What’s more, at the first opportunity they would be cut out of the mix for future projects, for fear of them expanding their empire of secrecy.

Fast forward to today and I can Google just about anything. The only thing you could possibly try to hide from me is company-specific information, but if your company allows you to do this they are fools.

Trying to protect your empire by hiding information stinks of shortermism. You may be successful in the short term, fooling people into believing you are indispensable, but in the long term they will realise what you are doing and you will fail. I’ve never been in a position where knowledge spreading and being open with information has lead to a negative result. Theoretically it makes you easier to replace, but in practice that is not the case. It allows people to see what you are doing, what else you are capable of doing and that you are not the sort of dick that will try to hold the company to ransom in the future.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Please don’t ask me questions about APEX. I’m rubbish at it and I’m just going to point you to the OTN APEX Forum where the real experts play.

Protecting Your Empire and Shortermism was first posted on October 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm.
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Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c Release 2 (13cR2) Installation/Upgrade

Tue, 2016-10-18 02:51

em13cOracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c Release 2 (13cR2) was released a couple of weeks ago. In a previous post I mentioned we were going to stop our rollout of 13cR1 agents to production and upgrade from 13cR1 to 13cR2 before we resumed.

I don’t like doing anything at work that I haven’t already tried at home, so the first step in that process was for me to do some clean installs and practice upgrades. After a busy weekend and a late night last night I think I’m happy with the process. That resulted in these articles.

If you’ve done a 13cR1 installation, the clean 13cR2 installation will come as no surprise. They now have multitenant and non-CDB repository templates to choose from. I used the multitenant template in this example. The installation was fine on both OL6 and OL7, so nothing out of the ordinary to report there.

The upgrade process was similar to previous point release upgrades too. We used the non-CDB template, the only one available at the time, to build our 13cR1 installation, so not surprisingly I practised the upgrade using that as a starting point. The upgrade process went fine, but I got a lot of warning messages during the process. It was all working fine at the end though…

I guess we will start rolling this bad-boy out once I get back from the APAC Tour and Bulgaria (BGOUG).

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c Release 2 (13cR2) Installation/Upgrade was first posted on October 18, 2016 at 8:51 am.
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macOS Sierra (OS X 10.12)

Sat, 2016-10-08 08:15

In the 80s and 90s the Sierra was an incredibly popular, but boring saloon car from Ford. Today I upgraded to macOS Sierra, which will eventually be an incredibly popular (for Mac owners), but boring operating system from Apple.

So what’s new? You get Siri! Oh yes, you also get Siri! There is also Siri! And finally, for good measure you get Siri!

If you own multiple devices, there is some fluff, like shared clipboard, but I don’t own multiple Apple devices, so basically this OS is what I had before with a sprinkling of Siri.

What was the experience of upgrading like? An absolute nightmare! It said it was going to take about 18 minutes, but it seemed to hang for a couple of hours. I ended up doing about 5 hard reboots before it actually came up. After all that hassle and wasted time, I got El Crapitan + Siri. Amazing. Way to innovate Apple!

Of course, Apple fanboys will love it and it will change their lives… Whatever!

Cheers

Tim…

macOS Sierra (OS X 10.12) was first posted on October 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm.
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Stupid Stuff I’ve Done : The Clone Wars

Wed, 2016-10-05 13:29

stormtrooper-1343772_640Following on from the theme of yesterday’s confession about my screw-ups with pluggable databases comes one about cloning.

For some systems we use cloning (RMAN DUPLICATE) as a method of refreshing Dev and Test environments from Live. The process of doing a backup-based or active duplicate is not that complicated and typically you do it once, script it and you don’t have to worry too much about it again.

Yesterday we had to refresh a test environment from live, so we used our trusty clone script, but it failed with the following message.

RMAN-06054: media recovery requesting unknown archived log for thread 1 with sequence ???? and starting SCN of ????

Strange! The message is pretty clear. It is expecting an archived redo log that doesn’t exist. If this were a backup-based clone I would suspect one of the archived redo logs had not been copied across, but this was an active duplicate, so it automatically transports everything from the target to the auxiliary instance. How could it lose something?

I knew I had seen this before, but no matter how much I searched my website, private work notes, MOS or using Uncle Google I couldn’t find the solution. Everything pointed to a missing archived redo log, but that couldn’t be happening on an active duplicate right? Wrong!

After much denial, wailing and gnashing of teeth I remembered the archived redo log backups! During the clone operation an archived redo log backup had kicked in on the target database and deleted all the logs that had been backed up. By the time the active duplicate tried to grab them they were gone and hence the error…

Notes to self:

  • When you see something like this happen, write a note about it! Don’t think you will remember it next time. You won’t, or you will waste loads of time before you do remember it! How many times do you have to tell yourself, “If it’s not written down it doesn’t exist!”
  • The error message is trying to tell you the answer. Don’t try and intellectualise your way round it. It’s probably not a bug that is causing some spurious misreporting of the “real problem”. You probably don’t know better than the error trapping. Think less about why the error message might be wrong and think more about what could have caused the situation that resulted in the error, as it is reported.
  • Don’t write a blog post confessing how rubbish you are at your job or people will find out and… Doh!

Cheers

Tim…

Stupid Stuff I’ve Done : The Clone Wars was first posted on October 5, 2016 at 7:29 pm.
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Oracle ACE Director Briefing – Day 2

Fri, 2016-09-16 22:58

ace-directorToday was Day 2 of the Oracle ACE Director Briefing.

As with yesterday’s post, we had a number of speakers coming in to talk about specific areas of the Oracle stack and Oracle Cloud. Once again, I’m not going to mention any details.

There were a few areas that were super-relevant to what’s going on with me at work, so it was good to make some more contacts in those areas.

The shear volume of stuff going on at Oracle at the moment is actually quite scary. I’m sitting in the sessions wondering how I’m going to do my job, learn all the new regular Oracle stuff and learn all the new Oracle Cloud stuff as well. It’s quite daunting…

Thanks to the folks at the Oracle ACE Program for making this event happen. This last two days has been like a full-on conference, complete with multiple tracks. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. Thanks to all the speakers too. I know we sometimes give you a hard time, but we do appreciate you taking the time to come and speak to us!

I’ve got tomorrow off, then the crazy world of Oracle OpenWorld 2016 starts!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle ACE Director Briefing – Day 2 was first posted on September 17, 2016 at 4:58 am.
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It’s the little things that really matter!

Wed, 2016-09-14 15:57

Companies keep adding features to their products. Some features are really sexy and will get a lot of press. Some features are not so sexy, but are really useful during the day-to-day grind.

I remember when Oracle added the ability to drop columns from a table. At the time I was writing loads of scripts to recreate tables in order to drop columns. Adding this feature changed my life!

You can see another example of this in MySQL 8. If you look at the new features list you will see a section called Account Management, that links to Using Roles. OMG! This is massive for me! I don’t really care about a bunch of the sexy stuff. The presence of roles is a game changer for me!

mysql-8-role-meme

It’s interesting how sometimes it’s the little things that really matter!

Check out Giuseppe Maxia‘s post on MySQL 8.0 first impressions.

Cheers

Tim…

It’s the little things that really matter! was first posted on September 14, 2016 at 9:57 pm.
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VirtualBox 5.1.6

Tue, 2016-09-13 17:12

VirtualBox 5.1.6 has been born.

Downloads and changelog are in the usual places. It’s a maintenance release, so there are a bunch of bug fixes in there.

I’ve installed it on my Mac with no problems. It might be a couple of weeks before I do the install on my work PC or my Linux servers.

Happy upgrading!

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 5.1.6 was first posted on September 13, 2016 at 11:12 pm.
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Accuracy Matters

Thu, 2016-08-25 13:15

angry-1300616_640One of the annoying things about our industry is the volume of acronyms and very specific terminology used on a day-to-day basis. If you know the lingo you are fine. If not, life can be quite problematic.

In some cases, this is just a smoke screen to hide a lack of true understanding, say enough buzzwords you read in a Gartner report and people will eventually stop asking you to define them, but in other cases it is necessary to be able to communicate *accurately* about complex issues at a reasonable pace.

Some people are completely anal about everything, demanding an incredibly high degree of precision and exact terminology. Deviate from their prescribed ideal and you are in a world of hurt. Others, like myself, allow a lot more slack, knowing that every person is on a different part of the spectrum where this is concerned.

The problem with letting people get away with loose terminology and a lack of accuracy is it can sometimes come back to bite you on the ass. It’s all too easy to let them walk away with an unrealistic view of the situation, that becomes the new office myth, and travels with them through every company they ever work in…

  • Person: So Oracle does this right?
  • Me: Not really. It’s a lot more complicated than that. It’s more accurate to say it does …
  • Person: Yes, but it amounts to the same thing. It basically ends up doing this right?
  • Me: No. It really doesn’t. I can see how it appears that way in this case, but that’s too simplistic a view.
  • Person: Yeah, yeah. I know, but for the sake of argument, we will say it does this, which results in …
  • Me: Fine. That’s wrong, but lets leave that aside and move on…

… One week later …

I’m sure you’ve all been there at some point. It can be a really fine line between getting something across properly and being a total douche. Too far one side of the line and people are walking around believing rubbish. Too far the other way and you end up excluding people and sounding like an elitist prick.

It’s a journey babe!

Cheers

Tim…

Accuracy Matters was first posted on August 25, 2016 at 7:15 pm.
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Community and the “Hive Mind”

Sun, 2016-08-21 04:56

A really great thing about being part of the Oracle community is the networking and access to information it gives you. In my current job I have to do a number of things that are not really my forte. I know how to learn new stuff, but it’s always nice to get some feedback from people who know more than you. Over the last few years there have been a number of specific cases that spring to mind.

  • When I started getting involved in WebLogic administration I reached out to Simon Haslam, Jacco Landlust, Chris Muir and Marcus Eisele for some advice. I had RTFMed and I kind-of knew what I was doing, but I just wanted someone with more experience to validate my approach. Their feedback was, and still is, really valuable.
  • On the Nordic Tour a couple of years ago I spent some time speaking to Lonneke Dikmans about SOA. Our company were starting down the path of SOA and although I was not directly involved in the project, I wanted to know more about the issues we might encounter. Lonnikke was the perfect person for me to speak to.
  • As I started to take on more MySQL work, including some upgrades from early releases of 4.x to 5.6, I reached out to Ronald Bradford and Sheeri Cabral for advice. In some cases they confirmed what I already knew. In other cases they completely altered what I had planned.
  • Our company have recently signed a deal to move to Oracle Cloud Apps. I know almost nothing about them, but fortunately the ball-and-chain does. I’m not directly involved in our Oracle Cloud Apps migration project, but as I said before I like to know what problems may come my way during the process, and Debra is a great source of information.
  • Even when I’m dealing with database stuff, which I think I’m pretty good at, it’s always nice to have access to other opinions. The number of people I’ve had help from in the database world is to long to list. Just a few days ago I reached out to Richard Harrison about a problem I was having and in one email exchange he solved it for me. That probably saved me hours of messing about.

This is not about expecting help. This is not about trying to offload my responsibilities onto others. It’s mostly about getting a second opinion and the odd bit of advice. More importantly, the other people in the community need to know that you’ve got their back too. This has to be a two-way street!

Access to the community “Hive Mind” is a wonderful thing and will make your life so much easier! Get involved!

Cheers

Tim…

Community and the “Hive Mind” was first posted on August 21, 2016 at 10:56 am.
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VirtualBox 5.1.4

Wed, 2016-08-17 09:04

VirtualBox 5.1.4 has been released.

Downloads and changelog in the usual places.

I’ve upgraded on my Windows 7 office PC. I’ll give it a go on El Craptian and Oracle Linux 6 when I get home.

Cheers

Tim…

Update. Just done the upgrade on my Mac and Linux server. Worked fine.

VirtualBox 5.1.4 was first posted on August 17, 2016 at 3:04 pm.
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VirtualBox 5.1.2

Fri, 2016-07-22 07:31

You know a major new release is going to be rapidly followed by a bunch of fixes, so about 9 days after the release of VirtualBox 5.1 we now have VirtualBox 5.1.2.

I have got it running on my Windows 7 desktop and work and it seems fine. I’ll try OSX El Crapitan and Oracle Linux 6 hosts when I get home.

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Works fine on Mac (El Craptian) and Oracle Linux 6 hosts too.

VirtualBox 5.1.2 was first posted on July 22, 2016 at 1:31 pm.
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VirtualBox 5.0.26

Tue, 2016-07-19 07:28

If you’ve not taken the plunge and upgraded to VirtualBox 5.1, you might be interested to know that VirtualBox 5.0.26 has been released.

Downloads and changelog are now listed under the old builds.

In case you are wondering, I’ve been running VirtualBox 5.1 on Mac, Windows 7 and Oracle Linux 6 hosts since its release. As yet, not problems.

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 5.0.26 was first posted on July 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm.
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APEX 5.0.4

Thu, 2016-07-14 10:24

You may have noticed people taking about the APEX 5.0.4 release over the last couple of days. I started rolling it out to our databases straight away and it’s now on all the production environments too.

The install/upgrade and patching procedures are the same as normal.

  • Clean install or major version upgrade here.
  • Patch existing 5.0 installation here.

Remember, you can kick the tyres of APEX 5.1 Early Adopter here.

Cheers

Tim…

APEX 5.0.4 was first posted on July 14, 2016 at 4:24 pm.
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VirtualBox 5.1

Wed, 2016-07-13 07:16

VirtualBox 5.1 has been released!

Downloads and changelog in the usual places.

I’ve only done the installation on my Windows 7 desktop so far. It seems to be working fine at the moment. I’ll do the Mac and Linux ones when I get home tonight.

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Worked fine on “El Crapitan” too. Still haven’t tried a Linux host.

VirtualBox 5.1 was first posted on July 13, 2016 at 1:16 pm.
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Oracle Midlands : Event #16

Thu, 2016-06-30 06:15

Don’t forget Oracle Midlands Event #15 next week!

om16

It’ll be interesting to see what this new kid on the block Jonathan Lewis has to say for himself!

Please show your support and come along. It’s free thanks to the sponsorship by RedStackTech.

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Midlands : Event #16 was first posted on June 30, 2016 at 12:15 pm.
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VirtualBox 5.0.24 Released

Wed, 2016-06-29 07:54

Less than two weeks since the last release, yesterday saw the appearance of VirtualBox 5.0.24.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve only done the installation on Windows at this point, but it seemed to go fine. I’ll probably do the Mac and Linux installs when I get home tonight.

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 5.0.24 Released was first posted on June 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm.
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Fedora 24 and Oracle 12c

Mon, 2016-06-27 05:40

fedoraFedora 24 was released a few days ago. As usual I had a play around with it and tried installing Oracle on it.

First comes the warnings, because people keep misunderstand why I do this. Do not install Oracle on Fedora before reading this!

With that out of the way, here’s what I did.

No real drama here. It was pretty much the same as Fedora 23 in that respect.

It’s kind-of hard to get excited about a new version of Fedora since I switched my desktop from Fedora to Mac. One thing that was interesting is the change to the upgrade process. In previous releases I used “fedup” to do it. Now it’s pretty much done using DNF (YUM). If you are interested, you can read about it here.

Cheers

Tim…

Fedora 24 and Oracle 12c was first posted on June 27, 2016 at 11:40 am.
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EU Referendum : Oh Hell No!

Fri, 2016-06-24 02:45

If you care, you’ve probably heard the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) yesterday. Suffice to say I’m gutted!

I’ve just deleted most of the content this post because it contained a lot of inflammatory and negative comments. I could question the motives of the leavers, but what good would that do now. IMHO this is a dark day for the UK.

For all my friends around the world, I would just like you to know I wanted to remain part of something bigger than this little island…

Cheers

Tim…

PS. If anyone has got an EU passport going spare it could come in really handy!

PPS. One of my colleagues just described what I’m going through as the 5 stages of grief. I think he is correct.

 

EU Referendum : Oh Hell No! was first posted on June 24, 2016 at 8:45 am.
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WordPress 4.5.3 Released

Tue, 2016-06-21 15:20

If you have a WordPress blog, by the time you read this you will probably already be running WordPress 4.5.3.

It’s a maintenance release that fixes a bunch of nasty things. If your site hasn’t already auto-updated, you should probably log on and give it a nudge. I’ve got 5 different installations and all auto-updated successfully.

Cheers

Tim…

WordPress 4.5.3 Released was first posted on June 21, 2016 at 9:20 pm.
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