Tim Hall

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Oracle related rants (and lots of off-topic stuff)...
Updated: 1 month 1 week ago

VirtualBox 6.1 : No compatible version of Vagrant yet! (or is there?)

Wed, 2020-01-01 06:10

VirtualBox 6.1 was released on the 11th of December and I totally missed it.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I spotted it this morning, downloaded it and installed in straight away. I had no installation dramas on Windows 10, macoS Catalina and Oracle Linux 7 hosts.

The problem *for me* was the current version of Vagrant (2.2.6) doesn’t support VirtualBox 6.1 yet. I can’t live without Vagrant these days, so I installed VirtualBOx 6.0.14 again and normal life resumed. See Update.

I’m sure there will be a new release of Vagrant soon that supports VirtualBox 6.1, but for now if you use Vagrant, don’t upgrade to VirtualBox 6.1 yet. I’m sure you won’t have to wait long… See Update.

Cheers

Tim…

Update 1 : A couple of people Peter Wahl and Andrea Cremonesi pointed me at this post by Simon Coter, which contains config changes to allow Vagrant 2.2.6 to run with VirtualBox 6.1.

Update 2 : I’ve followed Simon’s post and it worked fine. If you are using Windows 10 as the host and have done a default installation of Vagrant, the files he’s discussing are in these directories.

C:\HashiCorp\Vagrant\embedded\gems\2.2.6\gems\vagrant-2.2.6\plugins\providers\virtualbox\driver\

C:\HashiCorp\Vagrant\embedded\gems\2.2.6\gems\vagrant-2.2.6\plugins\providers\virtualbox\

Update 3 : I updated by work PC also. It required a couple of reboots to get things working. I think it may be something to do with the way we do security here. It’s working fine now.

VirtualBox 6.1 : No compatible version of Vagrant yet! (or is there?) was first posted on January 1, 2020 at 1:10 pm.
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Video : SQLcl and Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS)

Mon, 2019-12-02 02:41

In today’s video we’ll demonstrate the ORDS functionality built into Oracle SQLcl.

This is based on this article.

There are loads of other ORDS articles here.

The star of today’s video is Arman Sharma, captured at Sangam 2015. Seems like yesterday.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : SQLcl and Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) was first posted on December 2, 2019 at 9:41 am.
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Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : OAuth Implicit

Mon, 2019-11-25 02:21

In today’s video we look at the OAuth Implicit flow for Oracle REST Data Services.

This goes together with a previous video about first-party authentication here.

Both videos are based on parts of this article.

There are loads of other ORDS articles here.

The star of today’s video is Bob Rhubart, who amongst other things is the host of the Oracle Groundbreakers Podcast.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : OAuth Implicit was first posted on November 25, 2019 at 9:21 am.
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Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : OAuth Authorization Code

Mon, 2019-11-18 02:27

In today’s video we look at the OAuth Authorization Code flow for Oracle REST Data Services.

This goes together with a previous video about first-party authentication here.

Both videos are based on parts of this article.

There are loads of other ORDS articles here.

The star of today’s video is Atul Kumar, who has done on bunch of video’s on his YouTube channel.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : OAuth Authorization Code was first posted on November 18, 2019 at 9:27 am.
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Docker Birmingham – November 2019

Thu, 2019-11-07 01:58

Yesterday evening I went to the Docker Birmingham meetup, sponsored by Black Cat Technology Solutions.

This event was a single longer session by Matt Todd called “Make Data Science Great Again (Part 2)” I didn’t see part 1, but he gave a summary, so that wasn’t too much of a problem.

Matt started off by introducing the scientific method and discussed reducing variables when testing, so you know the impact of a change. The suggestion being that development and data science should be the same. What better way to reduce variables than to package up a data science lab to make sure everyone is working on the same thing, so there is no/less variability between researchers, and they can focus on their work, not piecing together the kit.

He then went on to discuss Cloud Native Application Bundles (CNAB), and how they can be used to more reliably package multi-container applications, guaranteeing dependencies to a level greater than that possible by using Docker Compose alone. As an example he demoed his Digital Scientists Lab, which is a CNAB bundle containing a bunch of common kit used by data scientists (Jupyter, Spark, Flink, Kafka, RabbitMQ, Nifi, Elastic Stack etc.), which he could in theory give to several people to run experiments. It’s just his playground, but it gives you an idea of what’s possible. Using Nifi to link stuff together looked cool!

I started to make a few mental connections when he discussed the relationship to experimental data, because I look after the infrastructure for a research publishing system, and being able to keep not only the published research, but also the experimental data and potentially a way to reproduce the research findings is pretty important. It keeps those academics honest, if you know what I mean. It’s funny how just a few links to something you know a little bit about, and other stuff starts falling into place.

It was all a bit mind-blowing, but in a good way. I’m still only scratching the surface of this stuff, but it’s really good to see what else is going on in this space. I’ve added a few more things to my list of things to play around with.

It’s a couple of months until the next event, but there’s a CNCF event next month, so watch out for that!

Thanks to the folks at Black Cat Technology Solutions for sponsoring and organising the event, and to the Matt Todd for doing a great session. See you soon!

Cheers

Tim…

Docker Birmingham – November 2019 was first posted on November 7, 2019 at 8:58 am.
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In Defence of Best Practices

Fri, 2019-10-18 03:38

The subject of “Best Practices” came up again yesterday in a thread on Twitter. This is a subject that rears its head every so often.

I understand all the arguments against the term “Best Practices”. There isn’t one correct way to do things. If there were it would be the only way, or automatic etc. It’s all situational etc. I really do understand all that. I’ve been in this conversation so many times over the years you wouldn’t believe it. I’ve heard all the various sentences and terms people would prefer to use rather than “Best Practice”, but here’s my answer to all that.

“Best practices are fine. Get over yourself and shut up!”

Tim Hall : 18th October 2019

I’ve said this more politely in many other conversations, including endless email chains etc.

When it comes down to it, people need guidance. A good best practice will give some context to suggest it is a starting point, and will give people directions for further information/investigation, but it’s targeted at people who don’t know enough about what they are doing and need help. Without a best practice they will do something really bad, and when shit happens they will blame the product. A good best practice can be the start of a journey for people.

I agree that the “Always do this because ‘just bloody do it!'” style of best practice is bad, but we all know that…

I just find the whole conversation so elitist. I spend half of my life Googling solutions (mostly non-Oracle stuff) and reading best practices and some of them are really good. Some of them have definitely improved my understanding, and left me in a position where I have a working production system that would otherwise not be working.

I’m sure this post will get a lot of reactions where people try and “explain to me” why I am wrong, and what I’m not understanding about the problems with best practices. As mentioned before, I really do know all that and I think you are wrong, and so do the vast majority of people outside your elitist echo chamber. Want to test that? Try these…

  • Write a post called “Best Practices for {insert subject of your choice}”. It will get more hits than anything else you’ve ever written.
  • Submit a conference session called “Best Practices for {insert subject of your choice}”. Assuming it gets through the paper selection, you will have more bums on seats than you’ve ever had before for that same subject.

Rather than wasting your life arguing about how flawed the term “Best Practices” is, why don’t you just write some good best practices? Show the world how they should be done, and start people on a positive journey. It’s just a term. Seriously. Get over yourself!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I hope people from yesterday’s tweets don’t think this is directed at them. It’s really not. It’s the subject matter! This really is a subject I’ve revisited so many times over the years…

Updates

Due to repeatedly having to explain myself, here come some points people have raised and my reactions. I’m sure this list will grow as people insist on “educating me” about why I’m wrong.

I prefer “standard” or “normal” to “best”. As I said at the start of the post, I’ve heard just about every potential variation of this, and I just don’t care. They are all the same thing. They are all best practices. It’s just words. Yes, I know what “best” means, but that’s irrelevant. This is a commonly used term in tech and you aren’t getting rid of it, so own it!

I’ve seen people weaponize best practices. OK. So are you saying they won’t weaponize “standard practices” or “normal practices”? They won’t ever say, “So are you telling me you went against normal practices?”. Of course they will. Stupid people/companies will do stupid things regardless of the name.

But it’s not the “best”! Did you even read my post? I’m so tired of this. It’s a best practice to never use hints in SQL. I think that’s pretty solid advice. I do use hints in some SQL, but I always include a comment to explain why. I have deviated from best practice, but documented the reason why. If a person/company wants no deviation from best practice, they can remove it and have shit performance. That’s their choice. I’ve been transparent and explained my deviation. If this is not the way you work, you are wrong, not the best practice.

Most vendor best practice documents are crap. I have some sympathy for this, but I raise tickets against bad documentation, including best practices, and generally the reception to these has been good. The last one was a couple of weeks ago and the company (not Oracle) changed the docs the same day. I always recommend raising an SR/ticket/bug against bad documentation. It doesn’t take much time and you are improving things for yourself and everyone else. I feel like you can’t complain about the quality of the docs if you never point out the faults.

In Defence of Best Practices was first posted on October 18, 2019 at 9:38 am.
©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.

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : AutoREST

Mon, 2019-10-07 02:05

Today’s video is a demonstration of the AutoREST feature of Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS).

This is based on the following article.

I also have a bunch of other articles here.

The star of today’s video is Connor McDonald of “600 slides in 45 minutes” fame, and more recently AskTom

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : AutoREST was first posted on October 7, 2019 at 8:05 am.
©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.

MOS Auto Responses : What’s my problem with them?

Wed, 2019-10-02 02:54

A couple of days ago I took to Twitter with a rather “incendiary” tweet caused by my frustration with MOS. It’s not about the specific SR or issue itself. It’s more a frustration with MOS generally and the way they handle some requests, specifically the automatic responses. I’ll explain.

The Moaning
  • I had an issue.
  • I Googled and didn’t find too much in the way of help.
  • I opened a SR about the issue, including an image to help explain my issue.
  • During that process it suggested some other stuff I might want to look at, one of which was quite interesting, but none of which were actually relevant. No problems I thought. At least I’ve learned something…
  • Next thing I get some emails about updates to my call. I logged in to find these 4 responses.
Response 1 Response 2 Response 3 Response 4
  • I was really angry about the auto-responses, and unloaded on Twitter using some rather “choice language”…

I totally understand a request for more information. The response of, “Please upload the RDA/TFA/AHF file”, is common and understandable on many occasions. It does annoy me more than a little when you are asking a general question, that is not specific to your software version, but you still have to upload it. Whatever…

So why did I lose the plot this time?

  • There are 4 messages, instead of one consolidated message. I hate that. It’s annoying. I just know that someone is running a report saying, “Look, we’ve done 1 gazillion responses this month”, but it’s all generated crap! This should have been one concise and clear request for additional information.
  • Just look at that second response. Are you kidding me? Loads of rubbish I don’t need to know and repetition of the first message. If I sent this sort of message to my users I’d be marched out of the building. If you think this is acceptable, please quit your job now! You have no place in a role that is even remotely user-facing.
  • How do you think people are going to respond to this? It makes me angry and I kind-of know what I’m doing. How do you expect some junior member of staff to respond to this? I’ll tell you how. They will ignore it, never fix the issue and think “Oracle is crap”. Thanks! Just what we need. I asked a colleague to look at it and their response was, “It’s like they don’t want you to continue with the request”. See?
  • People pay a lot of money for support, and this is what you are presented with? Really?

I’ve now deleted the tweet. I was *not* asked to delete it, and if I had been I definitely would not have, but I decided to because it was gathering too much momentum, such is the general feeling about Oracle Support, and it was not meant to be me grandstanding. It was just genuine frustration with a service my company is paying money for!

I’m a fan of automation. I understand wanting to streamline the SR process, and if automation can help, that’s great, but this is not the way to do it!

What should it look like?

It’s just my opinion, but I think something like this would be reasonable.

We need more information to continue. Please run the following Trace File Analyzer (TFA) commands and upload the files.

1) Run this command on the Agent target machine and answer the questions when prompted.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emtbsmetric

2) Enable debug on the OMS server using this command.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emdebugon

Repeat the actions in EM that you are trying to diagnose, then disable debug on the OMS server using this command.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emdebugoff

If you need more information about TFA or manual file collection for this issue, check out DOC ID 2279135.1.

If you would like to read more about the My Oracle Support automatic troubleshooting, check out Doc ID 1929376.1.

A single message that asks for the relevant information, and gives links if you need something more. That gets the job done, isn’t scary to new people and isn’t going to cause me to lose it on Twitter.

Feedback from Oracle

You may have noticed this post in my feed for a couple of days, but when you clicked on it, it was password protected. That’s because I wrote the post to provide some better feedback than my initial tweet, but delayed the publication while I waited for some feedback from Oracle. I was put in contact with the Vice President, Global Customer Support and the Sr. Director, DB-EM Proactive Support. Their respective responses were as follows. I’ve left out their names as not all folks like being name-checked.

“Hi Tim, Just reviewed your blog post and agree that the auto-responses are verbose. Adding our DB proactive lead who will follow up with you directly on planned next steps.”

Vice President, Global Customer Support

“Hi Tim, I have reviewed your blog regarding your experiences with SR automation. I want to thank you for providing this feedback. Direct feedback from users of SR automation is extremely important and valuable. We take the effectiveness of our SR automation very seriously. Our intention is to provide a streamlined support experience which allows us to identify information, up front in the SR, that will result in the shortest resolution time. There is a balance between casting a wide net to ensure we receive all diagnostic data required vs. the ease of consuming/executing the request to get that data. Admittedly, we don’t always strike the correct balance.   

Regarding the case described in your blog, I agree that our diagnostic messaging should be more concise and consumable. I also appreciate your thoughts on using collectors, such as TFA, to simplify the instructions. We have a plan to address this specific automation flow to eliminate superfluous information and provide a clear message around what is required and how to obtain that information. Additionally, I will incorporate your feedback into our review process, which is conducted on an on-going basis for our automation flows. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other feedback or suggestions. As I said, this kind of feedback is appreciated and always welcomed.”

Sr. Director, DB-EM Proactive Support

The whole Twitter episode wasn’t my finest moment, but if nothing else I’m glad the message got through to the correct people. Of course, all of this is just words unless something substantial happens. Please don’t let us down!

To everyone else out there, please continue to add your own constructive feedback on all things (in life). There’s no point complaining about a problem, if you’ve never actually raised it. I think of it like voting. If you didn’t bother to vote, I don’t really think you are entitled to moan about the outcome.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Comments are disabled.

MOS Auto Responses : What’s my problem with them? was first posted on October 2, 2019 at 8:54 am.
©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.

MobaXterm 12.2

Wed, 2019-09-25 02:06

In another “the rest of the world ceases to exist in the lead up to OpenWorld” moment, I missed the release of MobaxTerm 12.2.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

For Windows users who, like me, spend most of the day connecting to machines via SSH, this is the best tool I’ve found.

Cheers

Tim…

MobaXterm 12.2 was first posted on September 25, 2019 at 8:06 am.
©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.

OpenWorld and Code One 2019 : The Journey Home

Fri, 2019-09-20 09:06

I got up at a reasonable time and got caught up with blog posts, then it was time to check out and get the BART to the airport. Bag drop was empty, because the rest of the planet was waiting at security. After what felt like an eternity I was through security and sat down and waited for my plane…

We boarded the flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam on time and didn’t have a significant wait for the departure slot, so the captain said we would arrive early. No luck with a spare seat on this flight. The guy next to me was about my size, but wasn’t making an effort to stay in his space. There was some serious man-spreading going on. I ended up spending most of the flight leaning into the aisle and pulling my arm across my body, so my left elbow feels knackered now. Doing that for 11 hours is not fun. I managed to watch the following films.

  • The Shape of Water – I love this film. I’ve seen it a load of times.
  • Rocketman – I wasn’t feeling this at the start. I’m not big on musicals, and I didn’t like the stuff when he was a kid. Once Taron Egerton started playing him it was cool. I kind-of forgot he wasn’t Elton John. If you can get past the start, it’s worth a go!
  • The Accountant – I liked it. Ben Affleck doing deadpan and expressionless is the perfect role for him.
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – I got up to the final sequence, so I’m not sure how it ends. Pretty much the same as the previous films, which I liked. Just crazy fight scenes with loads of guns.

There was one bit of the flight that was odd. The in-flight entertainment died, then we hit some turbulence. Queue me deciding it was linked and we were all going to die… Pretty soon the turbulence stopped, then after about 10 minutes the screens rebooted…

I had quite a long wait at Schiphol. About 3 hours. That was pretty dull, but what are you going to do?

The flight from Amsterdam to Birmingham was delayed by a few minutes, then the was the issue of people trying to board with 15 pieces of hand luggage and a donkey. I had my bag on my feet. Luckily it was only an hour flight.

II was originally planning to get the train home, but I was so tired I got a taxi. The driver was a nice guy and we had a chat about his kids and future plans, which is a lot nicer than listening to me drone on…

I’m now home and started doing the washing…

I’ll do a wrap-up post tomorrow, with some thoughts about the event…

Cheers

Tim…

OpenWorld and Code One 2019 : The Journey Home was first posted on September 20, 2019 at 3:06 pm.
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VirtualBox 6.0.12

Tue, 2019-09-17 11:35

I know I’ve been distracted with the lead up to OpenWorld and Code One 2019, but how did I miss this release? VirtualBox 6.0.12 arrived two weeks ago.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

Being a reckless type, I downloaded it and installed it on my Windows 10m laptop this morning. I’ve got a live demo in 2 hours!

The install was fine and my Vagrant VMs start with no problems. More extensive testing and installations on Oracle Linux and macOS hosts will happen when I get home, but so far so good!

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 6.0.12 was first posted on September 17, 2019 at 5:35 pm.
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Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2019

Fri, 2019-09-06 02:40

It’s nearly time for the madness to start again. This will be my 14th trip to San Francisco for OpenWorld, and however many it is since Java One and Code One got wrapped up into this…

  • Flights booked : ✔
  • Hotel booked : ✔
  • ESTA approved : ✔
  • Irrational fear of flying and general anxiety : ✔
  • 80 lbs weight loss : ❌
  • Talk complete : ❌
  • Denial : ✔

At the moment the scheduled stuff looks like this.

Friday :

  • 03:00 UK time : Start the trip over to SF. I know I said I would never do this again, and I know what the consequences will be…
  • Evening SF time : Groundbreaker Ambassador Dinner

Saturday : Day : ACE Director Briefing

Sunday :

  • Day : Groundbreaker Ambassador Briefing
  • Evening : Oracle ACE Dinner

Tuesday :

Session ID: DEV1314
The Seven Deadly Sins of SQL
Date: 17th Sept 2019
Time: 11:30 – 12:15

Wednesday :

Session ID: DEV6013
Embracing Constant Technical Innovation in Our Daily Life
Date: 18th Sept 2019
Time: 16:00 – 16:45
Panel: Gustavo Gonzalez, Sven Bernhardt, Debra Lilley, Francisco Munoz Alvarez, Me

Thursday : Fly home.

Friday : Arrive home, have a post-conference breakdown and promise myself I’ll never do it again…

In addition to those I have to schedule in the following:

  • A shift on the Groundbreakers Hub, but I’m not sure what day or what demo yet. I’ll probably hang around there a lot anyway.
  • Meet a photographer to get some photos done. I’ve told them they’ve got to be tasteful and “only above the waist”.
  • Spend some time annoying everyone on the demo grounds. I know Kris and Jeff are desperate to see me. It’s the highlight of their year!
  • Stalk Wim Coekaerts, whilst maintaining an air of ambivalence, so as not to give the game away. Can anyone else hear Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath My Wings”? No? Just me?

There’s a whole bunch of other stuff too, but I’ve not got through all my emails yet. Just looking at this is giving me the fear. So much for my year off conferences…

See you there!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2019 was first posted on September 6, 2019 at 8:40 am.
©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.

Video : Vagrant : Oracle Database Build (19c on OL8)

Mon, 2019-08-12 02:18

Today’s video is an example of using Vagrant to perform an Oracle database build.

In this example I was using Oracle 19c on Oracle Linux 8. It also installs APEX 19.1, ORDS 19.2, SQLcl 19.2, with ORDS running on Tomcat 9 and OpenJDK 12.

If you’re new to Vagrant, there is an introduction video here. There’s also an article if you prefer to read that.

If you want to play around with some of my other Vagrant builds, you can find them here.

If you want to read about some of the individual pieces that make up this build, you can find them here.

The star of today’s video is Noel Portugal. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen you dude!

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Vagrant : Oracle Database Build (19c on OL8) was first posted on August 12, 2019 at 8:18 am.
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Driving vs. Being Driven : The reason you fail to get good at anything!

Wed, 2019-07-31 01:38

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve gone somewhere. I only know the route when I’ve driven there myself. Everything makes sense when you see someone else do it. You don’t realise how distracted you are, and how much you’ve missed until you have to do it for yourself.

When we have consultants on site to help us with something new, I assume I’m going to drive and they are going to give directions. I make notes as necessary, but the main thing is *I’ve done it*, not them. If I’m told I have to “observe and make notes”, I say I’m not willing to support it, as experience tells me there will be important stuff that gets missed as the consultant rushes through it. Once again, it’s the difference between driving and being driven.

I’ve written a lot about Learning New Things, and I think it always starts with learning to learn for yourself. If you are always relying on other people to lead the way, they are driving and you are being driven. They are getting better and you are just drifting.

I suppose the obvious retort to this is,

“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

Otto von Bismark

There is some truth in that, but the import thing in the second sentence is the wise person *learns* from the mistakes of others. There is still something active going on here. You are learning, not just being passive and waiting to be told what to do.

Standing on the shoulders of giants requires you to climb up on to the shoulders in the first place!

Cheers

Tim…

Driving vs. Being Driven : The reason you fail to get good at anything! was first posted on July 31, 2019 at 7:38 am.
©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.

MobaXterm & KeePass Updates

Tue, 2019-07-30 02:52

Yesterday I noticed some updates to a couple of tools I use all the time.

MobaXterm 12.0

Followers of the blog know I’ve had a long term love affair with MobaXterm. If you are using Windows and connect to servers using SSH, this is the best tool I’ve come across.

Downloads and Changelog are in the usual places.

KeePass 2.42.1

I use KeePass as my password manager.

Downloads and Changelog are in the usual places.

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

Cheers

Tim…

MobaXterm & KeePass Updates was first posted on July 30, 2019 at 8:52 am.
©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.

Docker : New Builds Using Oracle Linux 8 (oraclelinux:8-slim)

Tue, 2019-07-30 00:41

Yesterday I noticed the oraclelinux section on Docker Hub included “oraclelinux:8-slim”, so when I got home a did a quick run through some builds using it.

  • ol8_ords : This build is based on “oraclelinux:8-slim” and includes OpenJDK 12, Tomcat 9, ORDS 19, SQLcl 19 and the APEX 19 images.
  • ol8_19 : This build is based on “oraclelinux:8-slim” and includes the 19c database and APEX 19.
  • ol8_183 : This build is based on “oraclelinux:8-slim” and includes the 18c database and APEX 19.

There are also some new compose files, so I could test database and ORDS containers working together.

Everything worked fine, but here come the inevitable warnings and comments.

  • The Oracle database is not certified on Oracle Linux 8 yet, so the database builds are just for playing around, not a recommendation.
  • The database preinstall packages don’t exist yet, so I installed the main required packages with DNF, but I didn’t do some of the additional manual setup I would normally do, so it’s not a perfect example of an installation. I assume the preinstall packages will eventually be released, and I will substitute them in.
  • The ORDS build is not subject to the same certification restrictions as the database, so as far as I know, I could consider using this, although the build I use for work differs a little to this and is still using Oracle JDK 8 and Tomcat 8.5.

If you are interested in playing around with Docker, you can find my articles on it here, and my public builds here.

Cheers

Tim…

Docker : New Builds Using Oracle Linux 8 (oraclelinux:8-slim) was first posted on July 30, 2019 at 6:41 am.
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Video : Ranking using RANK, DENSE_RANK and ROW_NUMBER : Problem Solving using Analytic Functions

Mon, 2019-06-17 02:36

Today’s video is a run through ranking data using the RANK, DENSE_RANK and ROW_NUMBER analytic functions.

There is more information about these and other analytic functions in the following articles.

The star of today’s video is Chris Saxon, who is one of the folks keeping the masses up to speed at AskTom.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Ranking using RANK, DENSE_RANK and ROW_NUMBER : Problem Solving using Analytic Functions was first posted on June 17, 2019 at 8:36 am.
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Dbvisit Standby 9 Installation on Linux (and Vagrant)

Tue, 2019-06-11 03:45

The folks at Dbvisit recently released version 9 of their Dbvisit standby product.

It’s been a while since I last played with the product, so I downloaded the free trial and gave it a whirl.

I have to admit I forgot just how easy it is to work with. It feels pretty much like “unzip and go”. The result of my playtime was this article.

I also knocked up a Vagrant build, so I can easily recreate it. You can find that here.

I stuck to a basic configuration of a single instance primary (node1) and standby (node2), with the console on a separate VM (console). If you want to try something more exotic, or you are using Windows, you can get more information from the Installing Dbvisit Standby documentation.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. This isn’t a sponsored post. I’ve known the folks at Dbvisit for years so I keep an eye on what they are doing.

Dbvisit Standby 9 Installation on Linux (and Vagrant) was first posted on June 11, 2019 at 9:45 am.
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Cloud : Who are the gatekeepers now?

Wed, 2019-05-29 01:17

There’s something you might consider sinister lurking in the cloud, and it might cause a big disruption in who are considered the gatekeepers of your company’s services. I’ve mentioned governance in passing before, but maybe it’s time for me to do some thinking out loud to get this straight in my own head.

In the on-prem world the IT departments tend to be the gatekeepers, because they are responsible for provisioning, developing and maintaining the systems. If you want some new infrastructure or a new application, you have to go and ask IT, so it’s pretty easy for them to keep a handle on what is going on and stay in control.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The initial move to the cloud didn’t really change this. Most people who proudly proclaimed they had moved to the cloud were using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and were really just using the cloud provider as a basic hosting company. I’ve never really considered this cloud. Yes, you get some flexibility in resource allocation, but it’s pretty much what we’ve always done with hosting companies. It’s just “other people’s servers”. As far as IaaS goes, the gatekeepers are still the same, because you need all/most of the same skills to plan, setup and maintain such systems.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

When we start talking about Platform as a Service (PaaS), things start to get a little bit trickier. The early days of PaaS weren’t a great deal different to IaaS, as some of the PaaS services weren’t what I would call platforms. They were glorified IaaS, with pre-installed software you had to manage yourself. With the emergence of proper platforms, which automate much of the day-to-day drudgery, things started to shift. A developer could request a database without having to speak to the DBAs, sysadmins, virtualisation and network folks. You can of course question the logic of that, but it’s an option and there is the beginning of a power shift.

When we start talking about IoT and Serverless platforms things change big-time. The chances are the gatekeeper will be the budget holder, since you will be charged on a per request basis, and probably have to set a maximum spend per unit time to keep things under control. Depending on how your company manages departmental budgets, the gatekeeper could be whoever has some spare cash this quarter…

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) possibly presents the biggest challenge for traditional on-prem IT departments, as the business can literally go out and pick the product they want, without so much of a thought for what IT think about it. Once they’ve spent the money, they will probably come to IT and expect them to magic up all the data integrations to make things work as expected. Also, once that money has been spent, good luck trying to persuade people they backed the wrong horse. SaaS puts the business users directly in the driving seat.

Conclusion

It would be naive to think any movement to the cloud (IaaS, PaaS or SaaS) could be done independently of an existing IT department, but the tide is turning.

The IT world has changed. The traditional power bases are eroding, and you’ve got to adapt to survive. Every time you say “No”, without offering an alternative solution, you’re helping to make yourself redundant. Every time you say, “We will need to investigate it”, as a delaying tactic, you’re helping to make yourself redundant. Every time you ignore new development and delivery pipelines and platforms, you are sending yourself to an early retirement. I’m not saying jump on every bandwagon, but you need to be aware of them, and why they may or may not be useful to you and your company.

Recently I heard someone utter the phrase, “you’re not the only hotel in town”. I love that, and it should be a wake-up call for any traditional IT departments and clouds deniers.

It’s natural selection baby! Adapt or die!

Cheers

Tim…

Cloud : Who are the gatekeepers now? was first posted on May 29, 2019 at 7:17 am.
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The problem with Googling for solutions

Fri, 2019-05-24 05:35

I started to write a post, then realised I’ve already written it several times before, with the most coherent of them here.

So instead I’m going to change it up a little and tell a story.

I’m a generalist, and as you will know it’s really hard to be good at everything, so clearly there are some things I’m “not so good at”. Like most people, I use Google a lot, and my Google-fu is strong.

A couple of weeks ago we did a security scan of an existing system, which revealed some security flaws. It was a non-Oracle product, so I didn’t have a recipe to follow and I started Googling for solutions. The product in question is very popular, and there were lots of responses to my Google search, with most of the top results coming from Stack Exchange (Stack Overflow). Happy days I thought, as the Stack Exchange sites is effectively peer-reviewed, in that the correct answers are usually up-voted.

I looked at the first few different threads and people were saying the same thing. The highest up-voted answer on each thread gave a very direct and simple parameter value to solve the issue I had, so I was happy…

I followed the advice, set the parameter, restarted the service and tested. It didn’t do what everyone claimed it would. Armed with the parameter name, I searched the product documentation, and clearly the parameter didn’t do what the Stack Exchange answers said it did.

That seemed very odd, so I assumed these must be answers that were correct for an old version of the product. I checked the docs for previous versions. Same result. After reading the docs I found the real answer, implemented it, tested it and it worked.

What is really worrying about this is the answers on several threads on Stack Exchange were wrong. Those incorrect answers had been up-voted by lots of people, which suggests they agreed with the answer, even though these solutions could *never* have worked. So this seems to indicate one of two things to me.

  • People read the answer, it sounded plausible, which it did, so they up-voted it without trying it.
  • People had actually used this solution, thought it was the right solution and up-voted it, but clearly never tested their system or they would have seen it didn’t work and they still have the same security flaw.

One of the things I say in that post linked above is.

“Remember, even when you have built up a list of trusted sources, you should still constantly test what they say. Everyone can make mistakes.”

That’s really important because the internet is full of great information, but it’s also full of bullshit. Being able to tell the difference is really important, and the only way to do that is to test it, or do further research if it’s something you can’t test for yourself…

Cheers

Tim…

The problem with Googling for solutions was first posted on May 24, 2019 at 11:35 am.
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