Tim Hall

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Oracle related rants (and lots of off-topic stuff)...
Updated: 12 hours 2 min ago

VirtualBox 5.1.26

Fri, 2017-07-28 08:14

VirtualBox 5.1.26 has been released.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve done an installation on my work PC (Windows 7) and it worked fine. I probably won’t get to do it on macOS Sierra and Oracle Linux hosts until the weekend. Update: Worked fine on macOS Sierra and Oracle Linux 7 hosts too.

I’ve had some odd behaviour from a couple of VMs recently and I can’t tell if it’s a problem with the OS, VirtualBox, me or the combination of the three… I was secretly hoping this release would magically fix the issues, but it didn’t, so I guess I’m going to have to spend some time bottoming them out…

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 5.1.26 was first posted on July 28, 2017 at 2:14 pm.
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VirtualBox 5.1.24

Tue, 2017-07-18 08:20

VirtualBox 5.1.24 has been released.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve done an installation on my laptop (macOS Sierra) and it worked fine. I probably won’t get to do it on Windows and Oracle Linux hosts until the weekend.

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 5.1.24 was first posted on July 18, 2017 at 2:20 pm.
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Learning New Things : Networking and Community

Fri, 2017-06-30 03:04

I’ve mentioned networking and community a number of times over the years. Most recently in a post called Community and the Hive Mind, where I talk about the impact of community on learning.

I think it’s important that you become as self sufficient as possible, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore what’s going on around you. Why would I bang my head against a brick wall for days if I can reach out on Twitter and get a response in minutes from someone who is better than me? As I said in that linked post

“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!”

Networking and getting involved in the community is a great way to increase your access to information, which makes learning much easier.

From a selfish perspective, the more you contribute, the more opportunities seem to come your way. It kind-of feels like I’m living a charmed life at times, but all these opportunities come from being actively involved and putting yourself out there. To quote Samuel Goldwyn,

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

If you want to start getting involved in the community you might want to consider reading my posts on writing tips and public speaking.

Check out the rest of this series here.

Cheers

Tim…

Learning New Things : Networking and Community was first posted on June 30, 2017 at 9:04 am.
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OGh Tech Experience 2017 : Day 1 – Rumours of my demise

Thu, 2017-06-15 12:39

For those that missed me, I did actually turn up to the event today. I arrived at about 11:00, got my badge, sat down in the speaker room for a bout 2 minutes, then left and came back to the hotel.

I was ill most of last week and I thought I was a lot better, but the flight yesterday and the heat since I’ve been here have really put me back. My sinuses feel like they are going to explode and I have zero energy.

I seem to be jinxed where the Netherlands are concerned. Last year I got ill between the AMIS and OGh events. This time it’s come slap bang on the OGh event.

Unless something changes drastically overnight, my plan for tomorrow is to arrive late, do my two presentations, then leave and get back to bed. I fly home the following morning.

Cheers

Tim…

OGh Tech Experience 2017 : Day 1 – Rumours of my demise was first posted on June 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm.
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KeePass 2.36

Mon, 2017-06-12 03:12

KeePass 2.36 was released a few days ago. You can download it here.

You can read about how I use KeePass and KeePassX2 on my Mac, Windows and Android devices here.

Cheers

Tim…

KeePass 2.36 was first posted on June 12, 2017 at 9:12 am.
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Enterprise Linux Upgrade : It’s a Sorry State!

Tue, 2017-05-30 01:54

It’s 2017 and it’s still not possible to reliably upgrade an Enterprise Linux distribution between major versions!

At this point you are scrolling down to the comments to “educate me” about the redhat-upgrade-tool, because you read about it somewhere and you once heard someone successfully upgraded an installation on a lab machine. Unless you have an ultra vanilla starting point, you are going to end up with a mess that probably won’t boot. By the time you come to upgrade a “real server”, there have been years of changes and it is unlikely to resemble some pristine minimal installation.

I know your next comment is going to be something about the architectural changes brought in by project X and version Y in RHEL7, which is why it is all so hard. Stop now! You are boring me already! Is it an enterprise distribution or isn’t it? If it is, you should be able to upgrade it reliably!

Next up comes, “But you have to reinstall when you get new hardware!” I present to you virtual machines. Physical hardware upgrades with no need to reinstall the OS on the VM.

I can’t believe I’ve been using Linux for about 19 years and this is where we are at.

Cheers

Tim…

Enterprise Linux Upgrade : It’s a Sorry State! was first posted on May 30, 2017 at 7:54 am.
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VirtualBox 5.1.20

Wed, 2017-04-19 10:56

VirtualBox 5.1.20 has been released!

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

The installation on macOS Sierra and Oracle Linux 6 hosts went well and all seems to be working OK there.

I’m not 100% sure about the Windows 7 host though. The installation itself went fine, as did the installation of guest additions on a Linux VM running inside it. After a restart of the VM I attempted to do a yum update and the VM just seems to have died now. I can’t get more than a couple of commands out of it before it becomes unresponsive and has to be restarted. I think I’m going to have to remove and rebuild it. I don’t know if this was something I did, or something weird with VirtualBox.

That’s on my work PC and I’m not at work this week, so I was doing it over TeamViewer. I probably won’t have time to look at this again until next week. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has issues on Windows.

Happy upgrading.

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 5.1.20 was first posted on April 19, 2017 at 4:56 pm.
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Oracle Code : See you there!

Fri, 2017-04-07 01:30

You may have seen a lot of tweets (#OracleCode) recently about the Oracle Code events around the world.

The content of the events is rather different to the typical Oracle events I go to, so it will be a good opportunity for me to learn some new stuff.

I’ll be speaking at two of the European events this year.

They are Oracle events, so there is bound to be an Oracle spin on things, but I think it’s a welcome change of tack for Oracle to acknowledge that they are not always the centre of the universe in the minds of developers. If there is an event near you, check it out and see what is happening in the development world these days.

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Code : See you there! was first posted on April 7, 2017 at 7:30 am.
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MobaXterm 10.2

Tue, 2017-03-21 05:36

MobaXterm 10.2 has just been released.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

The previous version (10.0) was pulled as it was getting false positives with some AV software. I’m glad to report this one doesn’t get flagged and installs fine!

Happy upgrading!

Cheers

Tim…

MobaXterm 10.2 was first posted on March 21, 2017 at 11:36 am.
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Website Broken Links (Mostly Not Oracle-Related)

Wed, 2017-02-22 14:57

In a recent twitter exchange someone asked if I scan for broken links, oh if you only knew, and the answer is yes. I don’t do it all the time as the results can be rather depressing, and I am OCD enough to force myself to fix them. I also get people notifying me of them, which is very welcome, so I am always trying to keep on top of this stuff. Based on that exchange I thought it was about time, so I logged on the sitecrawl.net and started a new scan.

As usual, the number of internal broken links were low. I had a couple of typos in links that are now corrected.

Typically I am greeted by hundreds of broken links to Oracle documentation, but thankfully this time that was pretty good. Only about 30, many of which were to ORDS docs.

Probably the biggest offenders this time were:

  • Google : They dropped the Picassa URLs, so lots of blog posts had to be amended.
  • Twitter. Now it’s not actually Twitter’s fault, but there were a lot of twitter accounts in the blog comments that no longer exist. I’m not even talking about those that are obvious people trying to promote their brand, but regular users too. I didn’t realise ditching your Twitter account was such a big thing.
  • URL Shortners : Either the URL shortener reference no longer exists, the thing it points to no longer exists, or a retweet has chopped off the URL, so it is just junk.

I’ve been pretty merciless with some of this stuff. Rather than wasting a whole weekend, it’s only taken about 2 hours to get things ship-shape.

Cheers

Tim…

Website Broken Links (Mostly Not Oracle-Related) was first posted on February 22, 2017 at 9:57 pm.
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MobaXterm 10.0

Mon, 2017-02-20 01:39

See Updates!

MobaXterm 10.0 was released a couple of days ago. As well as the usual bug fixes there are a number of enhancements and a new flatter look and feel.

Downloads and changelog in the usual places.

Happy upgrading!

Cheers

Tim…

Update: McAfee is listing this as containing the “Artemis!10A4D2BC47D8” trojan. I’ve backed out to 9.4 and contacted Mobatek, who tell me it’s a false positive. I’ve spoken to others who say their AV lists it as good. I’m going to try and contact McAfee to get them to sort their listing.

Update 2: My company have filed a potential false-positive with McAfee.

Update 3: Mobatek have pulled this version until they can work out this false positive with McAfee, then reissue it later.

MobaXterm 10.0 was first posted on February 20, 2017 at 8:39 am.
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The Great Wall

Sat, 2017-02-18 04:34

I went to see The Great Wall last night.

 

The critics gave it a hard time. The reviews aren’t great. It’s a really cool film!

OK, it doesn’t have the best story. The character development isn’t great. The progression of Matt Damon’s character is quite clumsy. I see the flaws in all that, but my gosh what visuals!

If you are going to watch this film I would suggest watching it on the biggest screen you can find. I watched it on an IMAX 3D and it was amazing. The use of colour was out of this world. Visually it was like all the best bits of House of Flying Daggers and Hero, mixed with a bit of video game feel and a real-life version of animation. It was just spectacular.

As I mentioned, Matt Damon’s character was not my favourite. In a way I would have preferred him not to be in it. I know what he was meant to represent in the film, but I found it a distraction. The real lead character was Tian Jing (Commander Lin Mae), who is fearless, beautiful and totally kick-ass as leader of the Crane Corps. Watching the Crane Corps on a big screen, especially on 3D, is enough to make you lose your dinner! According to IMDB she is in the new Kong film too. I hope they’ve given her a decent role, not just some crappy love interest.

China has some seriously spectacular scenery. If you’ve watched any of the Chinese epics that have been released over the last 15 years you will know what I mean.

So disconnect your brain, sit back and bask in all visual glory!

Cheers

Tim…

The Great Wall was first posted on February 18, 2017 at 11:34 am.
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Oracle : Sad Times

Thu, 2017-02-09 01:56

During my Oracle’s Cloud Licensing Change : Be Warned! post I said, “It’s getting really hard to remain an Oracle fanboy these days!”

Since then I’ve heard a number of stories of customers being contacted and told they need to double their licensing for systems on the cloud. This is for existing systems that were “fully licensed” before 23rd January 2017. I’ve also heard of a number of big companies that have now made policy changes to avoid Oracle in future. One person contacted me to say their company has now declared Oracle a “Sunset Platform”.

  • I like playing with Oracle tech. I’ve spent the last 21+ years doing it.
  • I like learning new stuff and writing about it.
  • I like interacting with the Oracle community and helping people.
  • I like interacting with the techies in Oracle, as I think their hearts are in the right place.
  • I can’t understand why the business side of Oracle are constantly sabotaging themselves. Every time you oversell a product/service that doesn’t live up to the hype, people believe you less the next time. Every time you piss off your existing customers, they start looking for alternatives, of which there are plenty these days! It’s not like new customers are flooding in, so why turn away your existing customers?

I’ve turned off comments as this is not a call to arms. It’s just how I’ve been feeling over the last few days, having read through your messages that typically begin with, “Please don’t mention my name!”, or, “Please don’t mention my company name!” It’s a really sad time!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Once again, I’m *not* saying a policy update overrides your contract. I’m just mentioning how I feel about the contents in the private messages I’m receiving from people!

Oracle : Sad Times was first posted on February 9, 2017 at 8:56 am.
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Multitenant Enhancements in Oracle Database 12.2 (The Next Batch)

Sat, 2017-01-14 09:36

I’ve continued playing with some of the new multitenant functionality in Oracle Database 12c Release 2 (12.2).

Here’s the latest batch of articles.

This article is not a multitenant article as such, but you can use the functionality in a PDB.

I’ve added these to the list of all my multitenant articles here.

Cheers

Tim…

Multitenant Enhancements in Oracle Database 12.2 (The Next Batch) was first posted on January 14, 2017 at 4:36 pm.
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KeePass 2.35

Tue, 2017-01-10 09:46

I just noticed KeePass 2.35 was released yesterday. You can download it here.

You can read about how I use KeePass and KeePassX2 on my Mac, Windows and Android devices here.

Cheers

Tim…

KeePass 2.35 was first posted on January 10, 2017 at 4:46 pm.
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Happy New Year 2017!

Sun, 2017-01-01 06:04

So here we are. Another year done and a new one beginning.

I failed abysmally at most of last year’s plans (see here), so I’m not going to make any for this year.

I hope things work out for you all this next year. There will obviously be ups and downs, but let’s hope at the end of the year everything lands on the up side.

Happy New Year!

Cheers

Tim…

Happy New Year 2017! was first posted on January 1, 2017 at 1:04 pm.
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Oracle Linux 12cR2 Preinstall Package

Thu, 2016-12-29 07:21

I was doing some clean Oracle Linux 6 and 7 installs today and look what I noticed in the yum repository for OL6.

Available Packages
oracle-database-server-12cR2-preinstall.x86_64 1.0-1.el6 public_ol6_latest
oracle-rdbms-server-11gR2-preinstall.x86_64 1.0-13.el6 public_ol6_latest
oracle-rdbms-server-12cR1-preinstall.x86_64 1.0-14.el6 public_ol6_latest

And for OL7.

Available Packages
oracle-database-server-12cR2-preinstall.x86_64 1.0-2.el7 ol7_latest
oracle-rdbms-server-11gR2-preinstall.x86_64 1.0-4.el7 ol7_latest
oracle-rdbms-server-12cR1-preinstall.x86_64 1.0-5.el7 ol7_latest

A quick look at the repos and it first turned up in September. I’m surprised I’ve not noticed it before now…

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Linux 12cR2 Preinstall Package was first posted on December 29, 2016 at 2:21 pm.
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PL/SQL Objects for JSON in Oracle 12cR2

Mon, 2016-12-26 13:37

I’ve been playing around with some more of the new JSON features in Oracle Database 12c Release 2 (12.2).

The first thing I tried was the new PL/SQL support for the JSON functions and conditions that were introduced for SQL in 12.1. That was all pretty obvious.

Next I moved on to the new PL/SQL objects for JSON. These are essentially a replacement for APEX_JSON as far as generation and parsing of JSON data are concerned. If I’m honest I was kind-of confused by this stuff at first for a couple of reasons.

  • If you are coming to it with an APEX_JSON mindset it’s easy to miss the point. Once you “empty your cup” it’s pretty straight forward.
  • The documentation is pretty terrible at the moment. There are lots of mistakes. I tweeted about this the other day and some folks from the Oracle documentation team got back to me about it. I gave them some examples of the problems, so hopefully it will get cleaned up soon!

I was originally intending to write a single article covering both these JSON new features, but it got clumsy, so I separated them.

The second one isn’t much more than a glorified links page at the moment, but as I cover the remaining functionality it will either expand or contain more links depending on the nature of the new material. Big stuff will go in a separate article. Small stuff will be included in this one.

I also added a new section to this recent ORDS article, giving an example of handling the JSON payload using the new object types.

I’ve only scratched the surface of this stuff, so I’ll probably revisit the articles several times as I become more confident with it.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Remember, you can practice a lot of this 12.2 stuff for free at https://livesql.oracle.com .

PL/SQL Objects for JSON in Oracle 12cR2 was first posted on December 26, 2016 at 8:37 pm.
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UKOUG Tech16 : I’m Speaking

Wed, 2016-11-23 01:38

tech16_300wI originally thought the BGOUG event was my last speaking event of the year, but as it happens I am now presenting at UKOUG Tech 16 in a few days time.

If you fancy coming along to my session, it’s on Wednesday 11:30 – 12:20 and it’s called Put Your Feet Up & Have a REST. Take a Tour of JSON Support in the Oracle Database.

We might be celebrating my nephew’s birthday on the Saturday this year. If that’s the case I will be able to come to the Sunday event for the first time ever.

As for the week days, I will be in on Wednesday just to present, then I will be going back to work. One of my colleagues wants to do Wednesday, so I have to be in the office to provide cover. I will be doing one of the other two days (Monday or Tuesday), but I don’t know which yet.

See you there!

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech16 : I’m Speaking was first posted on November 23, 2016 at 8:38 am.
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Arrival

Sat, 2016-11-19 07:29

Imagine someone watched Independence Day and thought, “What a complete sack of shite! I’m going to make something completely the opposite of that!” What you would probably get is Arrival.

It is absolutely not your typical alien action film. It focusses on how we would communicate with visiting aliens who experience everything in a completely different way to us. I can’t really say much more than that or it will ruin things for you.

I really enjoyed it. It’s well worth seeing in my opinion!

Cheers

Tim…

Arrival was first posted on November 19, 2016 at 2:29 pm.
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