Sunday, January 27, 2008

A personal note - A great man has died...

If you have read this blog you have probably figured out that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I also work at the headquarters of my church in Salt Lake City.

The leader of our church for many years has been Gordon B. Hinckley. He is our Prophet, leader and was a man of great character.

President Hinckley died today, at the age 97. It is both a happy event and a sad event.

It is sad that we should loose such a great man. His influence in the church has been immense. Perhaps you have seen an LDS temple while driving somewhere, it's quite likely that it was built during his lifetime and even during his tenure as president. They are magnificent buildings to be sure but even more magnificent is what happens in these buildings.

It is a happy event because we believe that life goes on after death. In our faith, families can be forever through the blessings available in the temple. None of this until death do us part. As such, President Hinckley returns to his wife Marjorie who has been waiting for him to return to her on the other side of the veil.

More information on the life of President Hinckley is available at:


God bless you President Hinckley, we will miss you.

Respectful comments about President Hinckley and the church are most welcome. Negative comments on this topic will not be posted. Thanks!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cloverfield and a special surprise!!

So, I took my boys to go see Cloverfield this weekend. The movie was ok, but it was way to short and the hand cam business is way overdone.

But the BEST part of Cloverfield was this (no spoiler):

One great Star Trek teaser for the new movie! What do you think?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Something for Oracle DBA's to worry about?

So, I do odd things like check the database book best seller lists on different book selling web sites. One thing I've noticed which bothers me a little bit is this....

On Amazon the first Oracle book that shows up on the Database best seller list is number 35. Before that book are 4 books on SQL Server, another 4 books on MS Access (please, get a real database) and 2 on MYSql and an assortment of how to do SQL books.

On Bookpool, the first Oracle book is number 11, with 8, count 'em 8 SQL Server books ahead if it. 4 more SQL Server books sit between the first Oracle book and the next.

What is also interesting is that many of these SQL Server books are certification books.

So, this makes me wonder, is there some momentum behind SQL Server that we Oracle DBA's need to be watching for? Do we need to protect ourselves and our skill sets by becoming SQL Server DBA's? Certainly, to add SQL Server to our set of skills is not a bad thing in and of itself, but is it becoming imperative to long term employability?

What is the implication of the fact that many of the SQL Server books being sold are certification books? Does this mean that there is an increasing demand for SQL Server DBA's?

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

And the results are in... Blog Poll Results

The results are in from our poll and here they are (note, numbers are rounded, so totals will not always be 100%).

1. Which of the following (if any) Oracle DBA conferences do you feel you get the most benefit out of?

Surprising winner was: User conferences? Who has the money? with 18% of the vote! I don't think this is an indication that DBA's don't think there is value there, because User conferences? Who cares? actually did quite badly with 7% of the vote.

Of the conferences listed, the popular ones are (in order):

IOUG - Collaborate with 17% of the vote
HOTSOS and Local User Conferences tied with 13% of the vote each.
Oracle Open World got 11% of the votes.

I should point out that HOTSOS was a late entrant to the poll, so this 13% is a very strong showing!!

2. If a new Oracle book were written now, which topic would you find of the most interest?
The top vote getter was Another Oracle DBA topic of interest not listed here with 28% of the vote. The topics listed in the subsequent question were wide and varied (and a couple I won't repeat here).

Second mention goes to a new book titled: How to move into another non-DBA career and not go broke with 20% of the vote. For some time this was the #1 answer, but it lost steam after a while. Perhaps a sad commentary on being a DBA these days?

Other book ideas:

Deep Dark OEM 18%
Deep dard Oracle networking 17%
Deep dark APEX 9.3%
Book, who needs anymore stinkin' books? trailed with 8% of the vote.

The next question: How many Oracle books did you buy in 2007 for yourself? ended up thusly:

1-2 45%
3-5 42%
5-10 8%
10-15 4%
I just buy way to many books! 2%

SADLY, most of you have not installed Oracle Database 11g yet. Only 41% of you said you have. The rest of you had not. Happily, not one person voted for SQL Server instead!!

You favorite authors in the list? The TOP five were:

1. Lewis
2. Kyte
3. Hart
4. Loney
5. Freeman (thanks!! :-) )

Not everyone voted for every author. The top five Author vote getters were:

1. Kyte
2. Lewis
3. Freeman
4. Burleson
5. Feuerstein

I hoped you liked this poll..... I'll be doing another one soon as it was a blast for me!! :-)

HAPPY 2008!!!!

Oracle Data Pump Hidden Feature

So, I was playing with an 11g new feature one day, trying to figure out how to make it work. The documentation was unclear until I remembered a little salient point that I'd forgotten. Let me share with you what I discovered and at the same time talk about Oracle Data Pump and point out a feature or two you might have forgotten or not realized had existed.

So, did you know that Oracle Data Pump can use one of two methods when exporting and importing objects? One is direct path mode and the other is by using external tables. (There is actually a third, using a direct network link, but let's forget that one for a moment).

Data Pump will try to use the direct path method if possible. There are a number of cases where it will have to use external tables. Which leads me to a hidden feature in Data Pump, the access_method=external_table switch. There are some cases (bugs) where Oracle Data Pump won't be able to load your data unless you have used the external_table method to import the data (I'd bet there are some export bugs too, but I'm not aware of them). The access_method=external_table switch can be used to force Data Pump to use the external table method of loading or unloading data.

THIS leads to an 11g NEW FEATURE which I will discuss in my next 11g related blog posting very very soon. Poll results are coming up in the next couple of days, stay tuned!
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