Sunday, August 26, 2007

Check out my latest Quick and Useful code offerings!

I am now posting most of my PL/SQL-specific content over at my ToadWorld blog. In fact, Quest Software has now put together a really nice on-line home for me at:

So I thought I might offer a quick reminder here of what you can find there.

My latest blog entry:

Undocumented (but supported) Oracle11g Feature! Reference Fields Of Records In A FORALL Statement!

My latest Quick and Useful offerings:

Quseful #6 - Generate collections of random values
Quseful #5 - Does that string contain a valid number?

And here is a cute little package I wrote to make it easy to put in some insurance against infiinite loops in your code: the loop killer package.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Back from Puerto Rico, finding zaniness in the Chicago Tribune

I am just back from a two week "holiday" in Puerto Rico (in quotes, because I spent much of that time working very hard - but manual labor, working the earth...more on that soon) and as I was going through the Chicago Tribune today, pieces of it just seemed, well, weird. Was it because I was out of it for a while? Who knows? Here are the items that caught my eye and twisted my brain:

Tribune fined in worker's death

"The federal government has fined the Chicago Tribune $7,000 -- the maximum allowable penalty -- for a serious safety violation at its printing plant, where a worker was killed in May when he became entangled in a conveyor belt."

This is a fine demonstration of how corporations trump citizens in our democracy. Maximum allowable penalty for killing your worker is $7000. That doesn't present much of a deterrence to companies that want to cut corners to save money, or to simply aren't inclined to proactively protect their workers effectively. Now, why would our government (of the people, by the people, for the people) set up laws that so poorly protect "the people" and so nicely benefit the company? Hmmmm.....

Poll: White youths happier than others

NEW YORK - Young white Americans are happier with life than their minority counterparts, a poll has found.

According to an extensive survey of 1,280 people ages 13-24 by The Associated Press and MTV, 72 percent of whites say they are happy with life in general, compared with 51 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of blacks.

Twenty-eight percent of minorities believe race will hurt them in the quest for a better life. Among whites, 20 percent feel their race will help.

This is a great example of the numerous polls, surveys, studies I come across that makes me think: "You need to organize a study to figure that out?" This country is still so divided racially -- and that divide (or those many divides) certainly extends into the economic sphere. And let's face it, it's hard to be happy when you work a crappy job for little bits of money, or can get no job at all.

But really, the solution is clear: "minority" youth simply need to stop believing that "race will hurt them in a quest for a better life." Think positive or whatever that latest ridiculous fad-book tells you to do: just think different and your life becomes different.

That's what's wrong with your "minority" "youth" today.

Yes, I am back in Chicago, with lots of evidence of the world crumbling to pieces around me.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Democratic Party control of House gives us what?

So in November 2006, a sizeable number of the American middle class finally got disgusted with the Bush Administration and his lackeys in the Republican Party, and handed control of the House of Representatives to the Democratic Party.

Fantabulous Day! Perhaps now there would be a voice of sanity to counter the Bush Administration's botched invasion of Iraq and its ongoing attack on our freedoms.

I guess not. The House voted to continue funding the war and this morning I woke up to a Sunday Chicago Tribune article (from AP) titled:

House Approves Foreign Wiretap Bill

WASHINGTON - The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government's abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States. Full article...

Yes, folks, the Democrats also caved when it came to our fundamental civil liberties. Here's how one US rep described this bill:

"This bill would grant the attorney general the ability to wiretap anybody, any place, any time without court review, without any checks and balances," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., during the debate preceding the vote. "I think this unwarranted, unprecedented measure would simply eviscerate the 4th Amendment," which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

But this is not to say that the Democractic Party did not put up a fight. Oh, no. As the article tells us, "Congressional Democrats won a few concessions in negotiations earlier in the week. New wiretaps must be approved by the director of national intelligence and the attorney general, not just the attorney general."

Oh yeah. This is good stuff. They don't trust the current Attorney General (Gonzalez) and well they should not. He is a crony through and through, but at least historically the position of the Attorney General has implied some level of distance from the White House itself. How do they fix this problem of trust by pretending that the director of national intelligence, another person appointed by the President and without any semblance of independence, is any sort of check-or-balance? Ridiculous!

You can almost see the Democratic Party writing laws today with the hope or expectation that they will win the Presidency this next time. step closer to a police state we come.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Want to help me regression test the PL/SQL language?

As I hope many readers of my blog know, I have gotten rather obsessed with helping PL/SQL developers test their programs more effectively.

Back in 2000, I released utPLSQL, the Junit analogue for PL/SQL. It was (and is) a big advance over 100% hand-coding tests, but it still requires you to write hundreds, even thousands of lines of code. That fact will always greatly limit who will use that open source utility.

So in 2005, I decided to try again and with the help of many at Quest, we have produced Quest Code Tester for Oracle, a truly amazing automated testing tool that generates almost all of your test code.

Well, I had a brainstorm rumbling around in my head when I woke up this morning:

Wouldn't it be cool beyond cool to build a regression test in Code Tester for the built-ins of the PL/SQL language themselves?

Sure, Oracle has their own extensive regression tests, but we could all have our own! Want to ensure that SUBSTR really does all it is supposed to do? Run the test. Want to make sure that a new version of PL/SQL doesn't have any obvious or critical bugs? Run the test.

I have already "thrown together" a PL/SQL package that will work as a pass through to the programs in STANDARD. We can use Quest Code Tester to specify tests against this API, which will in turn exercise the underlying PL/SQL code.

Well....I am just turning this idea over in my head for now, but thought I would share it with the world....I certainly couldn't do this by myself, but as a community, hundreds of PL/SQL developers certainly could pull this off.

It would be like SETI@home. We could call it testPLSQL@home.

So what do you think? Interested in participating? Feel free to drop me a note and let me know: