Friday, November 24, 2006

Log Buffer #20: a Carnival of the Vanities for DBA’s

Welcome to the 20th edition of Log Buffer!

Like me, it appears that there are still a few bloggers out there trying to get back to normal after the UKOUG conference, yet there have still been a lot of posts to get through this week.

Mark Rittman in particular has had to do more ‘recovering’ than others, and we’re not just talking about a lack of sleep!
Luckily, his appeal for a ‘Distributed Recovery’ seems to have worked and people have rallied round to help him out.

As a result, Peter Scott has commented on ‘A sense of Community’, a post about how the blogging network, and the Oracle community as a whole, is a very supportive place to be.

In addition to helping out, there is also a great social element to this community. Judging by some of the photos that Doug Burns has linked to I think there are some people who would have preferred it if cameras had been banned from the event!

If anybody missed the UKOUG conference, then Piet de Visser has a great summary post of the event.

Going back to Doug Burns for a moment, on his UKOUG – Day 4 review he also posts about a strange issue with Oracle licensing around AWR in 10.2. This was talked about a lot at the conference and was also picked up by Jonathan Lewis on his AWR Dilemma post.
It seems that if you’re not licensed to run AWR, then you can quite easily disable it by running a simple procedure call. However, you can’t run the package unless you are licensed to run AWR.
It reminds me of the time in my Java Programming 101 class where I created a loop that wouldn’t end…..

Moving away from the UKOUG conference, it looks like Tom Kyte has been doing some interesting travelling (again!). He left the conference early and has been out and about in Rome. He has some great photos, although it sounds like some of his seminar material may have been lost in translation!

A couple of ITToolbox articles have also caught my eye this week.
The first one is a Confession of an IT Hitman on ‘How to Use Oracle (19) – Intro to indexes’. It’s a good article on how SQL performance tuning is not just about creating as many indexes as possible.

The second article is by Chris Eaton of An Expert’s Guide to DB2 Technology on the MERGE statement, something I learned about on a recent Oracle Warehouse Builder project.

Over on the PostgreSQL Planet blog, we have Robert Treat talking about why usability matters. Since reading it, I’ve discovered that I don’t have any problems with the light switches in my house, however the locations of the plug sockets on the walls leaves a lot to be desired!

Speaking of plugs, Eddie Awad has a useful post on using Oracle search plug-ins (See how I did that?!) Eddie shows how you can install search plugins in either IE7 or Firefox 2 and also how to use Oracle custom search engines powered by Google.

For the MySQL users, on Arjen Lentz’s Blog, there is a call for papers for the MySQL Miniconf 2007 in Sydney, Australia.

Mike Kruckenburg also has a couple of posts on his blog about MySQL. The first is how to use MySQL to generate bar graphs, and the second is on his MySQL Cluster set-up.

If security is your area of interest, then make sure you take a look at Pete Finnigan’s website. This week he expresses some concerns in his post on the intended 0-day exploit for Oracle bugs, a story which is also picked up by Chris Eaton.

For a different viewpoint, go back to the PostgreSQL Planet blog. Here, Magnus Hagander has an Interesting analysis of db security.

On a congratulatory note, I see that Lutz Hartmann has been nominated to receive the Oracle Ace award.

In DBAzine, there are two articles that stand out.
Firstly, Craig Mullins claims that DBA’s out-earn other IT staff positions which is always good to hear!

Secondly, Chris Foot continues his System Triage theme with the first part in the series on Access Path Identification. A detailed article and well worth a read.

And finally, I’ll end with links to two posts, both of which stand out for their entertainment value, rather than technical content!

We all know that Mogens Norgaard is not a man to shy away from controversy.
If you’re sitting comfortably then I suggest you read his latest post in which he recounts Kurt Van Meerbeeck’s presentation story of how the CIA stole Oracle from the Russians and why you should beware of Jonathan Lewis!

Once you’ve done that, then click on over to see Steve Karam, the Oracle Alchemist.
This post will provide you with the lyrics you need to give a rousing rendition of a DBA’s take on a classic Don McLean Song.
Let me know how many of you are still singing it on Monday morning!!

Well, that’s it for this weeks edition of Log Buffer!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

UKOUG Review

It’s Monday night now, and I think I have finally caught up on all of the sleep I missed last week!

As usual, the UKOUG annual conference was an event well worth attending.

I arrived Monday afternoon, and spent most of Monday night catching up with people I hadn’t seen since last year.

The exhibition hall wasn’t open on Tuesday, so that was the only day that I could really attend any presentations, however, I spent most of the day preparing for mine!

The feedback I got on the day was that my presentation went well, however I wasn’t too happy with it as I know I could have done better.
I was incredibly nervous this time and seemed to race through all of the slides and finished early.
Although as this was the second to last presentation of the day I’m sure the attendees didn’t mind too much!
I did get some good advice on how to improve the presentation, so I will be taking that on board and making some changes before I present it again.

It was also very nice to see some friendly faces in the audience to support me.

After my presentation, it was Peter Scott’s turn, and it was his first presentation at conference. Like me Pete was nervous, but he did very well indeed.

Tuesday night was the Blogger’s meet-up and I have to say ‘Thanks and Well Done’ to Mark Rittman for organising it again. The buffet food and networking theme worked much better than last year’s sit-down dinner, although there were so many people there it was difficult to get to talk to everyone!

Wednesday to Friday I spent ‘on-duty’ on the SolStonePlus stand. This was my third year at Conference, but in the past I have been either a delegate or a speaker. Being an exhibitor is extremely hard work and it was very strange to see things from a different perspective.

It was also nice to attend a staff night out with everyone from SolStonePlus. Most of the Consultants are on-site during the week, and when I’m not, I’m up here in Newcastle so it’s always nice to catch up with everyone in the same room!

I’ve added a few photos from the conference here

You can also find more photos at these links:

David Kurtz

Connor McDonald

Mark Rittman

Mark did well to survive the week, following on from his Blog Disaster.

There'll be more on that story on Friday, when I host this weeks Log Buffer so make sure you check in!

Friday, November 10, 2006

UKOUG Countdown

It's almost that that time of year again!

No, not Christmas, it's the UKOUG Annual Conference next week in Birmingham.

I've been crazy busy this last week working on my presentation, but I'm pretty much there now. I just have to make sure that I remember everything I want to say on the day!

It'll be my 3rd time at UKOUG, and my second time presenting.

Last year I gave my 'Help! I'm a Newbie' presentation, which went quite well for my first attempt.

This year's presentation is 'A DBA's Guide to 10g Data Warehousing'.
It's more technical than last year's, so will hopefully show how much progress I've made.

A big thank you though to Mark Rittman, Doug Burns, Jeff Moss and Peter Scott for giving me a few ideas for the presentation and for giving feedback on the draft.

Of course, in addition to the presentations, the highlight of UKOUG is catching up with people that you haven't seen since last year. The Blogger's meetup is usually a good way of doing this - so do come along.