Saturday, March 31, 2012

April SQL Quizzes at the PL/SQL Challenge by AMIS

I am very pleased to announce that the SQL quizzes at the PL/SQL Challenge for the month of April are provided by Lucas Jellema and Patrick Barel of AMIS (you will find at the end of this post a description of AMIS). Patrick is a longtime player at the PL/SQL Challenge, and also both reviews and authors SQL quizzes. Lucas is Chief Technology Officer of AMIS and a well-known and highly-regarded presenter at numerous Oracle conferences.

I hope that you enjoy their SQL quizzes. My deepest thanks to AMIS for supporting the Oracle community through the PL/SQL Challenge site.

About AMIS

AMIS is an Oracle, Java and SOA Specialist from The Netherlands, founded in 1991. Consistently active as frontrunner with the latest Oracle technology, AMIS is well known around the world for its community contributions, through presentations on conferences, Master Classes, articles in developer magazines, books and its Technology Blog ( AMIS has 5 Oracle ACEs and ACE Directors among its staff.

AMIS provides consultancy services around Oracle technology, including Database Development (SQL, PL/SQL, APEX); User Interface development using Java/JEE,ADF and WebCenter; SOA & BPM using SOA Suite, BPM Suite and OSB; BI using ODI, OBI EE; Security, Performance, Scalability, Availability and Administration of run time infrastructures including Database, Middleware and VMs. These services are rendered locally in The Netherlands, but also to customers in other countries and continents. Note that the Oracle Database, SQL and PL/SQL have always been crucial in the activities of AMIS.

AMIS is probably best known for its advanced knowledge, experiences and specialists. Knowledge transfer in various forms - training, coaching, reviews, "education permanente" - is a key element of what the company does. AMIS for example can deliver masterclasses and trainings on site (or through webinars) and also offers self-study materials.

The latest initiative from AMIS is the 'further' training program, targeted at experienced Oracle professionals, who are somewhat stuck in traditional tools and technology and perhaps yesterday's versions or ways of working, and who are now ready and eager to 'further' their knowledge and career. This program is offered to individual developers as well as to organizations who have teams to propel in this fashion. The program is provided in various ways and through various channels.

More information about AMIS can be found at the corporate web site, the Twitter account - @AMIS_Services, its technology blog, and through email to

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good Deeds - It's All Relative

A "news analysis" piece in the Sunday New York Times, titled "Text to Driver: That’s My Space," that explores a growing phenomenon of "parking rage." That's when you sit in your car in your parking spot and do some texting or emailing or twittering or facebooking or....anything that involves having your head bent over a small smartphone device and moving your thumbs, rather than driving away and letting someone else use the parking spot.

This anecdote caught my attention:

On weekends, said Mr. Mercuri, he drives to the suburbs to do errands at stores like Costco, where parking lots can get packed. He said that if he finds himself using his phone in his car after he shops and sees someone who needs his spot, he’ll pull into a fire lane. But on the weekdays, he said, he’s under too much pressure to give up a parking space. Monday to Friday, you have to have that hard edge,” he said. “On the weekends, I try to find small ways to do good to balance it out.” 

I must admit, I am not envious of Mr. Mercuri. He is under so much pressure that the "hard edge" critical to succeed includes ignoring the needs of the parking public. 

Now that is a man in need of edge, wherever he can get it and as hard as he can get it. 

Here's hoping his weekend charitable activities are enough to refill his cosmic karmic account.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Ohio and New York High Performance PL/SQL Trainings

I will be doing one day trainings on high performance PL/SQL and Oracle Database 11g new features in Columbus and Manhattan (NY) in April:

April 16 - Columbus more info
April 18 - Manhattan more info

These are one day, whirlwind explorations of the many ways you can get those PL/SQL programs running faster, including:
  • DETERMINISTIC functions
  • Function Result Cache
  • Pipelined Table Functions
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Recursive Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome

The Republican primary contest has offered many examples of the well-known Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome, whereby candidates say things that cause them, at a minimum, some embarrassment and, even worse for them, lost votes.

Today while reading the Chicago Tribune, I discovered a rare variation of the syndrome, Recursive Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome (RFIM), in which a candidate, while explaining why his foot was planted firmly in his mouth, plants a foot within that foot.

I can understand why you might be thinking that this candidate must be Newt Gingrich, who seems adept at converting massive contributions by extreme-right, arch-Zionists like Sheldon Adelson into massive losses in the polls. But, no, the master practitioner of RFIM is Rick Santorum.

So, let's the last week or so he called President Obama a "snob" for (supposedly) demanding that everyone attend college (he didn't). And then Santorum took on the most popular president in U.S. history, saying that JFK's speech on the separate of religion and government made him "throw up."

Two big feet in one really big mouth. Not, however, recursive.

But then on Friday, Santorum told his devotees in Chillicothe, Ohio: "I know sometimes I can get a little wound up. You see, I don't often use a teleprompter. The worse that come out of my mouth are my own. They are not written by some poll-tested speechwriter."

So he attempts to explain away his gaffes by insisting that these are his own words, not provided by anyone else.

How does that in any way mitigate the stupidity, banality and maliciousness of those comments? Not one bit. Nope, he's just layering one foot on top of (or within) another.

Recursive Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome. Perhaps one day that will serve as yet another definition of santorum.