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Giving D2L Credit Where Credit Is Due

Michael Feldstein - Thu, 2015-07-23 21:20

By Phil HillMore Posts (343)

Michael and I have made several specific criticisms of D2L’s marketing claims lately culminating in this blog post about examples based on work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and California State University at Long Beach (CSULB).

I understand that other ed tech vendors make marketing claims that cannot always be tied to reality, but these examples cross a line. They misuse and misrepresent academic outcomes data – whether public research-based on internal research – and essentially take credit for their technology “delivering results”.

This week brought welcome updates from D2L that go a long way towards addressing the issues we raised. As of Monday, I noticed that the ‘Why Brightspace? Results’ page now has links to supporting material for each claim, and the UWM claim has been reworded. Today, D2L released a blog post explaining these changes and admitting the mistakes. D2L even changed the web page to allow text selection for copy / paste. From the blog post:

Everyone wants more from education and training programs—so it’s critical that our customers are part of the process of measurement and constant improvement.

At Fusion, our customers came together to share new ideas and practices to push education forward. They like to hear about the amazing results, like U-Pace, which we post on our website. In our excitement to share the great results our customers are seeing through their programs, we didn’t always provide the details around the results. When we make mistakes, it’s our job to fix it—as we are doing now.

U-Pace is the specific program at UWM (course redesign from large lecture to self-paced / mastery approach), and D2L now links to a documented case study and quotes this case study in the blog post.

We have a Customer Success Program in place where approvals from our clients are acquired before we post anything about them. Stories are revisited every six months to make sure that they’re still valid and accurate. However, a recent customer success story was mistakenly posted on our website without their permission or knowledge. We will be doubling down on our efforts to help ensure that this doesn’t happen again, and we will work harder to provide citations for all the facts.

This “without their permission or knowledge” paragraph refers to a claim about CSULB.

Make no mistake, we’re extremely proud of what our clients are accomplishing. Our customers’ innovation, dedication, and just plain awesomeness is making a huge difference—and we’re proud to be a part of it. We will continue to measure and improve our offerings, listen to our community for suggestions, and when warranted, share their results. Here’s to them!

Kudos to D2L for these admissions and changes. Well done.

Notes and Caveats

While the overall change is very positive, I do have a few additional notes and caveats to consider.

  • The blog post today should have come from Renny Monaghan (Chief Marketing Officer) or John Baker (CEO). The blog post was written by Barry Dahl[1], and unless I misunderstand he is their lead for community engagement – building a user community that is mostly behind-login and not public-facing. The “mistakes” were made in official marketing and company communications. The leader of the department in charge of official messaging (Renny) or the company leader (John) should have taken ownership of what happened in the past and the corrections they are making.
  • In the blog post section describing the U-Pace program at the UWM, I would have included the description of moving from large lecture to self-paced / mastery approach. That change should not be embedded as one of “many factors that came together for UWM to achieve the results that they did, and that the increases in student success are not all attributed to their use of Brightspace.” That change to self-paced / mastery was the intervention, and all other factors are secondary. The case study describes the program quite well, but such an omission in the blog post is misleading.
  • The blog post only references UWM and CSULB examples, yet the ‘Why Brightspace? Results’ page added links to all claims. Changing them all was the right move.
  • Apparently, specific criticisms do not carry a CC-BY license.

These are welcome changes.

  1. For what it’s worth, Barry does great work for the company

The post Giving D2L Credit Where Credit Is Due appeared first on e-Literate.

Oracle Priority Support Infogram for 23-JUL-2015

Oracle Infogram - Thu, 2015-07-23 12:08

ORA-54033 and the Hidden Virtual Column Mystery, from All Things SQL.
Oracle Database In-Memory Bundle Patch 10 Released, from Oracle Database In-Memory.
Oracle 12 and latches, part 2, from Frits Hoogland Weblog.
Oracle VM 3.3.3 Officially Released!!!!, from the Simon Coter Blog.
SQL Developer
Search and Replace in Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler, from that JEFF SMITH.
WebLogic Partner Community Newsletter July 2015, from WebLogic Partner Community EMEA.
Performance Study – REST vs SOAP for Mobile Applications, from SOA & BPM Partner Community Blog.
And from the same source: 
Purging and partitioned schemas
Auto Refresh for ADF BC Cached LOV, from Andrejus Baranovskis Blog.
How to Build a Hadoop Cluster Using OpenStack, from The art of virtualization.
Patch Set Update: Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management, from SOA & BPM Partner Community Blog.
And another update announcement:
Patch Set Update: Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management, from Business Analytics - Proactive Support.
New Knowledge Article: OBIEE 11g: Problem invoking WLST - Traceback' when Installing OBIEE on Windows 2012 R2, from Business Analytics - Proactive Support.
Ops Center
Kernel Zones support in 12.3, from the Ops Center blog.
What's New With Oracle Certification This Week?, from Oracle Certification.
From the Oracle E-Business Suite Support blog:
Oracle E-Business Suite Releases 11i & 12 Critical Patch Update
Have you Discovered the Power of the iProcurement Change Request Analyzer?
Keep Those Sales Orders Flowing
How to run the new XML version of the APList Invoice Data Collection Diagnostic
July 2015 WEBCAST – BI Publisher Overview
From the Oracle E-Business Suite Technology blog:
Can You Use IE 11 Enterprise Mode or Compatibility View With EBS?
Oracle Internet Directory 11gR1 Certified with E-Business Suite
Oracle Access Manager Certified with E-Business Suite

…And Finally
Two really interesting items this week. For those of you who always wanted to have a tricorder, the first iteration is on its way to your phone. It starts out at $249, but I’m betting this will be a standard item on smart phones in not too long. Then you can analyze your pizza for alien life forms: Pocket Spectrometer is the Star Trek Tricorder you Always Wanted, from Epic Times.
And another article fraught with Star Trek implications (data crystals here we come): Scientists have finally discovered massless particles, and they could revolutionise electronics, from ScienceAlert.

Best Practices for Using My Oracle Support to Find the Patches You Need

Joshua Solomin - Thu, 2015-07-23 11:46

Benefits Overview:

  • Help save time and improve your effectiveness in finding patches that you need.
  • Learn about product specific best practices for patching and upgrading.
  • Avoid issues by staying current on your Oracle products and applying critical fixes.

1. Review Oracle Support Lifecycle Advisors for patching and upgrading best practices
View Oracle Support Lifecycle Advisors (Document ID 250.2) to learn about best practices for patching and upgrading the Oracle products you own.

2. Use the Patch Simple Search when you know the Patch ID

3. Use the Patch Advanced Search to search based on a product and release
Include additional filters to find Oracle recommended patches and to filter by platform or other attributes.

4. Use the Patch Related Activity region to find recently viewed or downloaded patches

5. Download the latest Critical Patch Updates and Security Alerts

  • Oracle strongly recommends staying current with the latest Critical Patch Updates and Security Alerts.
  • Critical Patch Updates are collections of security fixes for Oracle products and are released quarterly.
  • Security Alerts are issued for vulnerability fixes deemed too critical to wait for distribution in the next Critical Patch Update.
  • The latest information is always available from the "Critical Patch Updates and Security Alerts" link on the Patching Quick Links region.

6. For more information on searching for patches

Planet Hard Drive? Muddled nonsense from Scientific American

FeuerThoughts - Thu, 2015-07-23 07:59
In the August 2015 issue of Scientific American, I came across an article titled "Planet Hard Drive", a "thought experiment" arguing that we can think of Earth as a kind of "hard drive" and "although Earth has an enormous capacity to store information, order is still rare....but the growth of order on Earth also stems from the production of cultural information."

The article is behind a paywall, so I cannot reproduce it here, but if you are a subscriber, here you go.

I find it generally hard to read SciAm these days, as well as many other scientific sources, because of the pervasive species-ism (humans unique, more important than all others) found sadly among scientists.

But this article was, I thought, a real disappointment, coming from SciAm. I sent this letter to the author:

Professor Hidalgo, 
I read your SciAm article with the above title, and I found it scientifically sloppy and offensively tone deaf, given the state of our planet today (specifically the threat of climate change and human-cause extinctions and species degradation). 
You might not read past that initial paragraph but if you do:
Scientifically Sloppy
I am all for interesting “thought experiments”, but it should have a reasonable amount of logical consistency. I think your experiment fails in this regard. 
Specifically, you talk about the growth of order on earth from production of cultural information.
This implies a clear net positive change in order due to our intensely “ordered” products. 
Yet previously, you recognized that there is order (lots of it) in living things. 
And that's where I see a very deep (specie-ist-driven) fallacy: to create our products humans destroy a vast amount of living things and therefore wipe out corresponding enormous amounts of order. 
Vast parts of the rainforest, extinction of entire species, degradation of the ocean, etc., etc., etc. - do you really think that if you even attempted to conceptualize the volume of order sacrificed to build iPhones, you could come out with a net positive growth in order?
I suppose it might be remotely possible - but you don’t even address this trade-off, making your argument incomplete and sloppy. I am very surprised that SciAm did not insist on a more rigorous treatment.
Sdaly, you seem to blithely accept that destruction of life on our planet in order to manifest our culture-as-thought as products. 
Which that brings me to…
Offensively Tone Deaf
Your insistence to see the entire world through a human filter and impose human paradigms onto the rest of the natural world is shocking, giving the growing awareness (especially among the most rational of us, like many scientists).“A tree, for example, is a computer”
“Objects of this kind [manufactured products] are particularly special.”
“Biological cells are finite computers”
“People are also limited, and we transcend our finite compuational capacities by forming social and professional networks.”“Special” “Transcend”
You use words that impute relentlessly positive values to human activity. 
Yet if you do not place humans “above” all others, you could at least say (my changes in bold):
“People are also limited, and we augment our finite compuational capacities by forming social and professional networks. A necessary consequence of this agumentation is the destruction of the computational capacities of billions of other living creatures.
At the very end of your muddled thought experiment, you finally hint at a bigger picture:“The resulting hyperconnected society will present our species with some of the most challenging ethical problems in human history.”Ah, ethics! Finally! Professor Hidalgo will now point out the grave price paid by our planet and co-inhabitants for human's desire for comfort and convenience, but....
No, no. For you, like way too many other humans, all that matters is the human species.“We could lose aspects of our humanity that some of us consider essential: for example, we might cheat death.”Now that would be a real ethical disaster (cheating death) - precisely because it mean accelerated devastation of our planet and non-humans.
But that doesn’t seem to even register in your thinking.
Categories: Development

Mobilizing Siebel CRM Documents with Documents Cloud Service

WebCenter Team - Thu, 2015-07-23 07:24

As you know, Oracle Documents Cloud Service is not just an Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) solution in the Cloud but more than that, it offers a cloud platform for documents management, storage and collaboration to drive business processes hooked to business applications.

Today we are going to look at how Siebel CRM users can extend their documents, embed attachments and drive collaboration in the Cloud using Oracle Documents Cloud Service.

Integration between Documents Cloud and Siebel CRM allows Siebel users to store file attachments in the cloud dynamically allowing you to share this content with your team, both internally and externally by defining granular permission privileges. Storing it in the Cloud also means the content is available to you anytime, anywhere and on any device - on the web, desktop or even your mobile devices giving mobility to your content like never before. With inherent granular security controls, leveraging Oracle Documents Cloud for document storage, access and sharing also means security assurance with your information protected at rest, in motion and at access points. Your documents are available to you 24 X 7, in context and are always up to date. Once you have setup Documents Cloud Service with Siebel, you can simply access your relevant files seamlessly from within your application like so:

What's more, Documents Cloud gives you the ability to share these documents amongst other Oracle Cloud solutions such as Sales Cloud and in the future Service Cloud and Oracle Social Network, etc. so that you have a seamless work experience through the business process and that contextual documents are available for your use anytime from within your application of choice. Version control ensures there are not multiple versions floating around leading to erroneous decision making.

A simple drag and drop interface make document collaboration easy to use and intuitive. You can store attachments for any Siebel entity using Documents Cloud. With the scalable, trusted Oracle Cloud architecture, you significantly reduce your CapEx as well as maintenance and upgrade costs down the line. The service is available as soon as you "switch it on" giving your documents the mobility you need and even offline access.

Implementing the solution into a Siebel CRM deployment is easy with step by step instructions listed in this whitepaper. Leveraging Oracle Documents Cloud with Oracle Siebel means lower TCO, proven integration model, same foundational architecture and one solution partner.

Here's a brief video explaining it all. Take a look and make your Siebel documents mobile with Documents Cloud Service today.

Have some questions? Our colleagues, John Bedford on the Siebel side along with the Documents Cloud product management team, have compiled this FAQ for you. For additional questions and follow up, please do leave us a comment here or contact your Oracle account manager.

NetBeans 8.1 Remote Debugging with WebLogic

Steve Button - Thu, 2015-07-23 06:39
Need to debug your application?  With NetBeans 8.1 (dev) and WebLogic it's very easy to do.

First start your WebLogic server in debug mode.  The startup scripts generated for a domain provide an option to start the server in debug mode. 

To run in debug mode, set the environment variable "debugFlag" to a value of "true" and  start the server.

$ export debugFlag="true"
$ ./

 This launches the server with a command line such as that shown below, which sets the standard Java debug properties:
Starting WLS with line:
/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_40.jdk/Contents/Home/bin/java -server -Xdebug -Xnoagent -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,address=8453,server=y,suspend=n -Djava.compiler=NONE  -Xmx512m -Dweblogic.Name=myserver  -Xverify:none -Djava.endorsed.dirs=/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_40.jdk/Contents/Home/jre/lib/endorsed:/tmp/dev_update2/wls12130/wlserver/../oracle_common/modules/endorsed  -ea -da:com.bea... -da:javelin... -da:weblogic... -ea:com.bea.wli... -ea:com.bea.sbconsole... -Dwls.home=/tmp/dev_update2/wls12130/wlserver/server -Dweblogic.home=/tmp/dev_update2/wls12130/wlserver/server -Dweblogic.utils.cmm.lowertier.ServiceDisabled=true weblogic.Server
The console will display a message confirming the debug Java VM is using:
Listening for transport dt_socket at address: 8453

Now on the NetBeans side, create a new Server entry for your WebLogic instance using the new Remote Domain option:

Check the Server debug mode enabled option and specify the port (8453 by default):

Now specify the new server as the destination to use to run the application:

Now to debug your application, simply set a break point in your code and select the Debug option for the project:

This will build and deploy the application to the WebLogic remotely then open the Debugger in the IDE and connect it automatically to the WebLogic debug port. 

From here you can use all the standard debug facilities to step through your code, view stacks, instance data and so forth.

Debug away!

WordPress 4.2.3 : Hurry up and … let it fix itself…

Tim Hall - Thu, 2015-07-23 06:28

WordPress 4.2.3wordpress has been released.

It contains fixes for some pretty nasty stuff. Usually, the updates have to be manually triggered for a day or so before the auto-update feature picks them up. I was on the blog this morning and there were no “manually triggered auto-updates” available, so it looks like this one has been pushed straight out, which probably makes sense.

By the time you’ve read this you are probably up to date already, but if not, get on your blog and give it a nudge. :)

You can see the changelog here.



WordPress 4.2.3 : Hurry up and … let it fix itself… was first posted on July 23, 2015 at 1:28 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.

Emergency Monitoring, Real-Time ADDM, Compare Period ADDM, and Active Session History (ASH) Analytics

Tim Hall - Thu, 2015-07-23 05:00

My recent dalliance with YouTube (141 subscribers and growing! :) ) has left the blog feeling a little bit unloved of late, but then why write when you can waffle in the car? :)

Anyway, the 12c learning train keeps on rolling. I’ve recently put the following articles live.

These are all listed as 12c new features in the 1Z0-060 “Upgrade to Oracle Database 12c” OCP upgrade exam, which I find a bit odd. Two of them are EM12c features, not database features. The other two are existing EM12c features that are now available directly from the database, but I can’t see myself ever using them on the server when it is much easier to do it from Cloud Control. Whatever! :)

Getting close to the end of the OCP syllabus now… I’ll soon have to consider sitting the exam…



Emergency Monitoring, Real-Time ADDM, Compare Period ADDM, and Active Session History (ASH) Analytics was first posted on July 23, 2015 at 12:00 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.

Unizin Updates on Florida State System and Acquisition of Courseload

Michael Feldstein - Wed, 2015-07-22 19:29

By Phil HillMore Posts (343)

I’m not sure when e-Literate was awarded the exclusive rights for non-PR Unizin coverage, but there were two announcements this week to cover.

State University System of Florida Joins

The first announcement is an update and confirmation of my recent post about the new associate membership option. If a member institution (one of the 11 members paying $1.050 million) sponsors their statewide system, that system can join Unizin as “associate members” for $100 thousand per year but without retaining a board seat and vote on product direction. The week the State University System of Florida (SUSFL) announced they are joining Unizin.

Building on its growing record of collaboration, the State University System of Florida, comprised of Florida’s 12 public universities, has joined Unizin, a group with a mission to have more control and influence over the digital learning ecosystem.

The decision helps secure Florida’s leadership in the realm of digital learning and gives access to tools under development, including a Digital Objects Repository and Learning Analytics. Florida is the first State University System to join the collaborative organization, which is a consortium of major research universities. The University of Florida is a founding member, alongside other top universities such as Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University and the University of Michigan.The organization is a not-for-profit service operation and its membership is by invitation only.

It is not clear which of the 12 public universities beyond the University of Florida are actually planning to participate in Unizin. If you want details on the SUSFL plans and what associate membership means, go read the earlier post.

Courseload Acquisition And Content Relay

The second update is that Unizin acquired the IP, trademark, and remains of Courseload, a provider of e-reader platform for digital textbooks. From the announcement:

Unizin announced the acquisition of the Courseload software today. Courseload includes an eText reader platform and collaborative learning tools for the delivery of digital learning materials including Open Educational Resources, faculty-authored course packs, and publisher content. The addition of Courseload is a vital component for connecting content to learners in Unizin’s digital learning ecosystem.

This move now determines the second component of Unizin, as the plan is for the acquired Courseload employees will modify and develop a portion of their software to become the basis for the Content Relay. Previously Unizin had been planning to license or contract another organization to provide the Content Relay.

This acquisition means that Unizin will now be in the software development business and not just to integrate various products. This approach changes what had previously been the plans to not develop product, as Unizin co-founder and co-chairman of the board Brad Wheeler shared with me last year.

Unizin is not a Community Source effort in the way that I understand Community Source as we started applying the label 10+ years ago. Unizin is better understood, as you have reported, as a cloud-scale service operator somewhat like I2 [Internet2]. It does not plan to do lots of software development other than as needed for integrations. No biggie, just a nuanced observation from the end of the story.

When I asked Brad if this means that Unizin is ruling out product development, he replied:

Unizin is working on its roadmap for each area. If we do need to head down some development approach that is more than integration, we’ll give thought to the full range of options for best achieving that, but there is no plan to begin an open/community source effort at this time.

Courseload is based in Indianapolis, IN while Unizin is based in Austin, TX. This creates an interesting situation where a new organization will be managing a remote development team that likely outnumbers the pre-existing Unizin employees.

Common Origins

The Chronicle described the origins of Courseload in 2010.

Courseload, the e-book broker, started in 2000, when a co-founder, Mickey Levitan, a former Apple employee inspired by the company’s transformative role in the music industry, devised the idea and teamed up with a professor at Indiana University at Bloomington to try it. But the company failed to find enough takers, and it all but shut down after a brief run.

Then last year an official at Indiana, Bradley C. Wheeler, called Mr. Levitan and talked him into trying again.

Update (7/23): The following paragraph has been revised based on private communication from source which pointed out that Crunchbase data is wrong in this case.

Based on that company revival, in 2012 Courseload raised $1.6 million from IU’s Innovate Indiana fund according to Crunchbase. In 2012 the Innovate Indiana Fund, an organization that represents Indiana University’s push for economic development, joined other investment groups in helping to fund the new Courseload. The IIF investment was in the lower single digit % of the total raised. The The tight relationship with IU was further described in the Innovate Indiana end-of-year 2012 report.

In 2000, Mickey Levitan and IU Professor Alan Dennis had an idea that was ahead of its time. Through Courseload, the start-up learning platform company they cofounded, the two endeavored to make college course materials accessible online.

A decade later, Indiana University became the first customer, implementing the Courseload platform across all its campuses. Now with 50 clients and 32 employees, Courseload is leading the online course text revolution—lowering costs for students and providing capabilities that can improve educational outcomes, while offering professors the discretion to use the platform on a course-by-course basis. [snip]

Levitan is grateful for the company’s broad-reaching partnership with IU. Early support from [VP of IT Brad] Wheeler was critical to the company’s success, Levitan says. “He’s a wonderful partner and an extraordinary leader—a visionary who is ready to go out and shape the
world rather than be shaped by it.”

Levitan is also grateful for the company’s early and ongoing relationship with the IU Research and Technology Corporation (IURTC). Tony Armstrong, president and CEO of the IURTC, identified an early funding opportunity for Courseload through the Innovate Indiana Fund. Kenneth Green, manager of the Innovate Indiana Fund, sits on Courseload’s board of directors.

This Inside Higher Ed article from 2012 highlights the common origins of both Unizin and Courseload – both in terms of founder, Internet2, and common justification. As a reminder, Unizin is technically operates as part of Internet2.

In a session at the 2011 Educause conference in October, Bradley Wheeler, the chief information officer at Indiana University, issued a challenge to his colleagues. Unless universities assert their power as customers, the vendors that sell them products and services will continue squeezing those institutions for cash while dictating the terms under which they go digital.

That conversation revolved around expensive, institution-level investments such as learning-management platforms and enterprise resource planning software. Now Wheeler and his colleagues are looking to apply the same principles of “aggregated demand” to help students save money on electronic textbooks.

Internet2, a consortium of 221 colleges and universities, which last year brokered landmark deals with and Hewlett-Packard that gave its members discounts on cloud computing services, announced today that it had entered into a contract with McGraw-Hill, a major textbook publisher, aimed at creating similar discounts for students on digital course materials.

Moving Ahead

Unizin is now up to 11 full member institutions and 1 state-wide system associate member. Despite or because of the tangled paths of Unizin and Courseload, we finally have some clarity on the second component (the Content Relay) of the consortium’s services. It’s not what I would have guessed ahead of time, but I have to admit that seems to be a willing list of schools ready to join.

The post Unizin Updates on Florida State System and Acquisition of Courseload appeared first on e-Literate.

MORE Readiness Content for Oracle Applications Cloud Release 10

Linda Fishman Hoyle - Wed, 2015-07-22 13:08

A Guest Post by Senior Director Louvaine Thomson, (pictured left), Product Management, Oracle Cloud Applications

Last month we announced these Release 10 preview materials:

Spotlight Videos: Hosted by senior development staff, these webcast-delivered presentations highlight top level messages and product themes, and are reinforced with a product demo
Release Content Documents (RCDs): This content includes a summary level description of each new feature and product

We are now pleased to announce the next significant wave of readiness content. Specifically, the following content types are now available on the Release 10 Readiness page:

  • What's New: Learn about what's new in the upcoming release by reviewing expanded discussions of each new feature and product, including capability overviews, business benefits, setup considerations, usage tips, and more
  • Release Training: Created by product management, these self-paced, interactive training sessions are deep dives into key new enhancements and products. Also referred to as Transfers of Information (TOIs)
  • Product Documentation: Oracle's online documentation includes detailed product guides and training tutorials to ensure your successful implementation and use of the Oracle Applications Cloud

 Access is simple: From the Cloud Site: Click on Resources > Release Readiness to access the Release Readiness page.

Access is simple:
1. From the Cloud Site: Click on Resources > Release Readiness to access the Release Readiness page, or

Four Weeks with Nothing on My Wrist

Oracle AppsLab - Wed, 2015-07-22 12:06

After wearing the Fitbit Surge for seven weeks, I developed an ugly skin rash. So, I took a break and let my skin breathe for a while.

I’m all better now, thanks for asking.

For most of the year, I’ve been test-driving various fitness bands and super watches and journaling my impressions here as one man’s research. After all, wearables are, and have been, a thing for a while now. So, I need to know as much as possible.

First came three weeks with the Nike+ Fuelband, then four with the Basis Peak, then four and a day with the Jawbone UP24, followed by seven with the Fitbit Surge.

If you’re scoring at home, that’s 18 weeks with something on my wrist, a lot for me after 23 years, give or take, of nothing on my wrist; I’m not really a watch guy.

Here's a random picture of chairs congregating outside Building 200

Here’s a random picture of chairs congregating outside Building 200. Enjoy.

Physical bands aside, I was also tracking and quantifying myself, my fitness and general activity data and my sleep data. I’m a fan of the quantified self and better living through statistics and math. Looking at raw numbers forces introspection that can be very revealing, in good and bad ways.

If you read here, you’ll recall Thao (@thaobnguyen) and Ben both attended QS15, and Ben has an interest quantified self devices, like Automatic. So, I’m not alone on the team.

Anyway, before I put on another device, I decided to capture the pros and cons of not wearing one, at least in terms of what was missing when I had a naked wrist.

The Pros

Not having something on my wrist all the time is pro enough. I generally don’t like encumbrances, and having my wrist free again is nice.

Typing on a keyboard is another plus. I still don’t know how people with watches do it. A guy I used to work with wore a watch, and his Macbook Pro showed the scratch damage it did to the unibody aluminum.

Being free of data collection is liberating, but it cuts both ways. On the plus side, I don’t obsess about my step count. Wearing a fitness tracker has made it painfully obvious that my life is dangerously sedentary.

If it weren’t for running on a treadmill, there are many days when I wouldn’t reach the 10,000 steps magic number.

Why is this a pro? Now that I know, I can adjust accordingly, without a tracker, and I have a general idea of how much activity generates 10,000 steps.

Taking a break from testing has given me time to reflect on the four devices I’ve used without being too close to the one I’m currently testing. When I finish this research experiment, I should take a similar break to reflect.

The Cons

On the downside, I really got used to having the time on my wrist, which is something I missed when I wore the Jawbone UP24 as well.

Even though I did find myself checking the time as a nervous habit, the utility outweighed the nervous tick.

I really miss the phone and text notifications that the two super watches, the Basis Peak and Fitbit Surge provide.

On the data collection side, I find myself needing to be pushed by numbers. It’s weird, I know; I’ll recognize something that generates more activity, like walking vs. driving, but I need the extra push to do it.

I also miss my morning data review. It became routine for me to review my night’s sleep and browse through my data each morning, my own a personal, daily report.

Now that Google has Your Timeline for Maps, you can begin to see the value of aggregating data summaries; yes, it’s creepy, especially the implications of kismet or whatever the opposite of that is, but I remain in the optimistic camp that hopes to correlate and improve based on personal data sets.

Anyway, figured since I’d been sharing my wearables observations, I might as well share my lack of wearable observations.

Sometime in the next few weeks, I’ll get started on a new one. Stay tuned.Possibly Related Posts:


Jonathan Lewis - Wed, 2015-07-22 05:45

Someone who attended my sessions at the Bucharest Oracle Summit earlier on this year sent me an example of a quirky little bug, possibly related to the newer “fine-grained” invalidation mechanisms, possibly related to ANSI syntax SQL, that’s very easy to reproduce. (That’s always nice for Oracle support – a perfect test case.)

All it takes is two tables and a packaged procedure that queries those tables. The package is coded to do something that should not be allowed in production code; but “should not” and “is not” are very different things. For anyone who wants to play with the example, here’s the script to create the necessary objects:

drop package pkg_test;
drop table t2 purge;
drop table t1 purge;

create table t1 (id1 number, val1 varchar2(10));
create table t2 (id2 number, val2 varchar2(10));

insert into t1 values(1,rpad('x',10,'x'));
insert into t2 values(1,rpad('x',10,'x'));

execute dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'t1')
execute dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'t2')

create or replace package pkg_test is
   procedure pr_call;
end pkg_test;

create or replace package body pkg_test as

   procedure pr_call is

      cursor cur_ids is
         select *                   -- Naughty !
           from t1
           join t2
             on t2.id2 = t1.id1

      rec_id cur_ids%rowtype := null;

      open cur_ids;
      fetch cur_ids into rec_id;
      close cur_ids;
      dbms_output.put_line(rec_id.val1 || '-' || rec_id.val2);

      when others then
         if cur_ids%isopen then
            close cur_ids;
         end if;

   end pr_call;

end pkg_test;

Having created the procedure I’m now going to call it – and then add a column to table t1. What’s that going to do to a packaged procedure with a “select *”?

Pause for thought …

Here’s some SQL to run the test.

set serveroutput on

prompt   *** Make a first call to the procedure: no error ***
execute  pkg_test.pr_call

prompt   *** add a column to one of the tables
alter table t1 add col_test varchar2(20);

prompt   *** Make two more calls to the procedure: ouch! ***
execute  pkg_test.pr_call
execute  pkg_test.pr_call

prompt  *** Recompile before a third call ***
execute  dbms_ddl.alter_compile('package body', user, 'pkg_test')
execute  pkg_test.pr_call

Unless I’ve managed to cut-n-paste the wrong bits of code, you would have got the following error for the 2nd and 3rd calls to the package:

ERROR at line 1:
ORA-00932: inconsistent datatypes: expected - got -
ORA-06512: at "TEST_USER.PKG_TEST", line 25
ORA-06512: at line 2

The package body should (I believe) have invalidated and recompiled itself for the second execution, and even if it failed on the first attempt surely it should have invalidated itself on the ORA-932 and recompiled itself and succeeded on the third execution.  (If you remove the exception clause you’ll find that the error is intially raised at the fetch, by the way).

If we change the “select *” to explicitly name the columns we want, viz:“select t1.id1, t1.val1, t2.id2, t2.val2″ we don’t get the ORA-00932 errors (just as we would probably expect). What we might not expect is that the errors also disappear if we leave the “select *” in place but change the query from ANSI syntax to traditional Oracle syntax.


Obviously you shouldn’t use the lazy “*” notation in any production code – it can cause several different problems (including the dangers of “whoops, I didn’t mean to make that one invisible”) – but if you do you may find that you end up with packaged procedures that crash for no apparent reason until you recompile them. Perhaps ORA-00932 is the only possible error message, but maybe it’s possible to cause other errors to appear. Even worse, though I haven’t tried to force it yet, you may find that you can construct cases where the package reports no error but modifies the wrong data.

I’ve tested this code on versions and and see the same results on both.

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