Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oh, Frabjous Joy, I Am a Grandfather!

Our very first ever in the whole wide world grandchild - our granddaughter, Loey Lucille - was born at 9:54 this morning, 30 October 2011. Ah, what a glorious feeling! Everyone is doing well, excellently, and Loey Lucille is clearly thriving from the get-go. Her father, my son, Chris, has posted the first three photos of what is sure to be a deluge of multimedia recording of Loey's life at his Facebook page.

But I have to post a photo here as well, so we can all celebrate this beautiful new life right here, right now, no hyperlinking required! And now (a week later), I am happy to announce that you can visit:

Loey Lucille on Flickr

for lots and lots of photos.

Here she is, in all her chubby, puffed-up glory:

Welcome, little Loey!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wanted: Your Ideas for Enhancements to PL/SQL

On November 9, I will be doing the keynote presentation at the 100th member meeting of the Northern California OUG. The day before that I will visit with the PL/SQL development team at Oracle HQ.

It's always great to catch up not just with Bryn Llewellyn, the PL/SQL Product Manager, but also some of the developers themselves (those very special human beings who actually build the programming language at the center of so many of our lives). They'll interrogate me to get a sense of what developers are doing (and not doing) with PL/SQL out there in the "real world." And I'll find out whatever I can about new features in the upcoming release of the language (in this case, 12.1).

I usually take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to also tell them about what I'd love to see added to (or fixed in) PL/SQL. Of course, my ideas are limited to my own experience. So I thought I would ask all of you for your ideas.

What changes in PL/SQL would make the biggest difference for you and your applications?  

Feel free to reply to this post with your thoughts. You can also visit to vote on a set of enhancement ideas, and even submit your own for consideration.

I'll pull together all the ideas I receive and present them to the PL/SQL team. But I must warn you: I don't expect to come out of this meeting with a list of confirmed enhancements planned for future PL/SQLs. That simply isn't the way Oracle plays the game. Instead, you'll just have to hold your breath until some future version of Oracle Database delivers the enhancement you requested.

Thanks in advance for your input!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hurray! Romney getting more Wall Street money than Obama

In the 2008 election campaign, Obama was the #1 recipient of contributions from Wall Street firms and individuals. Employees of Goldman Sachs, alone, contributed $1 million. I don't know about you, but when I heard of this, I was very worried. Is he really going to stand up to the very companies who paved his way to victory? Did he make a "back room" deal to let these robber barons and their underlings avoid prosecution and come out financially whole?

Well, the verdict is in: whether or not he made any sort of deal, Obama did make an enormous mistake in continuing Bush's policy of handing over hundreds of billions of hard-earned tax dollars to a small number of companies and individuals to bail them out from their mistakes. He did not make sure (remember this was when Congress was controlled by Democrats) that these plutocrats accepted reforms to the way they do business to avoid it happening again.

No, it was "Here's all the money you could ever dream of, with no strings attached."\

Amazingly, after everything Obama has done for Wall Street, now that he is making noises about the rich paying their fair share, Wall Street is turning on the President, and showering Mitt Romney with their largess.

Well, I say: GOOD RIDDANCE! We need a Democratic candidate for President who is not beholden to Wall Street and the rich; who is willing to say clearly: "Class warfare? They are the ones waging class warfare against the middle class and poor of the United States."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Smartphones and Hotel Rooms

My friend told me at Oracle Open World in San Francisco how much he likes his new smartphone; he uses it for so many things, the interface is really nice....he is so pleased with it.

And I found myself thinking in response: I like not having a relationship with my phone.

I have a relationship with my laptop, and it's not particularly healthy.

So I am quite content to have my phone be a smallish, squarish lump in my pocket until someone calls or I need to call someone.

Yes, that means that I can't look up instructions to the restaurant at which I am meeting my sister-in-law and her family. That I can't play Angry Birds or a gazillion other game apps, many of them free or costing almost nothing.

I've decided that's OK. I don't really need to have the world at my fingertips. It's much more important to me to be in the world that is just beyond my fingertips and under my feet.

Think about this: when was the last time you experienced the earth - the very world in which your mind and body evolved to finally - in an unmediated fashion? When you were last truly in the world, not walking along a path in a nature preserve, not sitting on a chair in the lawn in your backyard, certainly not sitting in a cubicle working at your computer, but in a part of the earth that was untouched by human development, that simply was?


And while in San Fran (my first business trip this year without any family along, and only my second of the year!), I realized that my favorite part of a hotel room is the latch on the door - which ensures that no one can just stroll into my room. I have privacy and that makes it feel just a little bit like home.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today would have been the 82nd birthday of my father, Sheldon Feuerstein. I miss him lots. He was a man of many talents, sharp intellect, intense devotion to family (above all else), and a deep, gravelly voice that still echoes through my brain.

And he got better as he got older! His temper mellowed, he became more open-minded, willing to challenge long-held beliefs. He got less grumpy, and overall more positive and supportive.

Dad was never terribly satisfied with what he'd accomplished with his life, and constantly wrestled with regrets. That irritated me to no end, since he was so well respected by everyone who crossed his path. He applied his intellect and workaholic tendencies (which I seem to have inherited) to ensuring his family, and most importantly his wife, was and is financially secure.

Sure, he could have done some things differently. But so much of what he did and accomplished required no correction, no regrets at all. I suppose he just set the bar higher for himself, and that does seem like a better thing to do than setting it too low.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

PL/SQL Trainings in Germany and Netherlands in December

I swore over traveling just about a year and overall it's worked out very well. I am in San Francisco for Oracle Open World now, and it is only my second business trip of the year!

But as has usually been the case in past years, the end of the year gets a bit busy, and so I will be traveling twice more before the end of the year:

November 9 - Keynote speech at the 100th Northern California OUG Meeting

And then off to Europe in early December for two trainings:

Best of Oracle PL/SQL Two-Day Training
Sponsored by DOAG (German Oracle User Group)
Berlin on 6-7 December

Best of Oracle PL/SQL, Best Practices and New Features
Sponsored by AMIS
Nieuwegein, Netherlands on 8-9 December

If you live in Germany or the Netherlands or any place close by....please consider attending one of these courses. My trips to Europe will now be few and far in between, so take advantage of my "rare" appearance!