Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ah Beautiful Brain - a Haiku

Ah, beautiful brain:
Where have you been all my life?
And where are you going?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Who Knew That I Knew So Much?

I don't know what I would do without LinkedIn.

Before this amazing website came along, I was pretty sure that my software skills could be described as:

1. Oracle PL/SQL: excellent
2. SQL: just OK
3. Database Design: well, sort of
4. HTML: dangerous
5. XML: really dangerous
6. Java: pitiful
7. Everything else: nothing going on

See, I am probably the most narrowly specialized high-tech "expert". I know PL/SQL and that's really about it.

At least, that's what I thought I knew. According to my endorsements on LinkedIn, however, well....I will let them speak for themselves:

Now all LinkedIn has to provide is a tool that takes these endorsements and constructs an iResume.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Win a Copy of the New Oracle Multimedia Book!

My good friend, Marcelle Kratochvil, is the Oracle ACE Director for (as she put it to me) "all data/any data." She's been working with Oracle since V4 and specializes in Oracle Multimedia. She has been a beta tester for this product since Oracle8i and runs a SIG on multimedia and unstructured data. Check out her blog at:

Marcelle is a great speaker and able to communicate clearly how to work with complex data in Oracle. I first met and worked with Marcelle when she flew up from Australia to speak at my first Oracle PL/SQL Programming conference in November 2005). And now she's written her first book!
Managing Multimedia and Unstructured Data in the Oracle Database has just been released by PackT and covers everything a person will need to know to get them working in multimedia. And Marcelle should know; as CTO of Piction, she works with customers all around the world including major museums and universities. She performs database administration on multi-terabyte Unix and Windows environments as well as doing serious development work with PL/SQL. She has designed and built a multimedia search engine, e-commerce system, security system, reporting engine, shipping system and her own XML parser and language specifically to handle the workflow needs of managing multimedia.

The book, according to Marcelle, provides an introduction to multimedia, how to search on it, how to manage it and how integrate it into your current environment. With lots of PL/SQL examples and schema setup scripts, Marcelle promises that this book will get you loading and using unstructured data in no time at all.

Best of all (to me), Marcelle is a strong advocate of PL/SQL and recommends it for anyone to use for building web based applications and for working with multimedia. My kind of Oracle technologist. J

To encourage us to check out her book, Marcelle is offering a chance to win a copy. All you have to do is choose from the most relevant section below, and send your answer to the question to Marcelle at Marcelle tells me that "The best, most creative and accurate answer will win a copy of the book." You must submit your answer by 31 May, 2013.

1. Open Category (open to everyone): Name three key advantages for storing multimedia in a database.

2. Museum/Gallery/Print Media (open to anyone in these industries): What is the biggest issue you face when digitizing and managing any multimedia in your organization?

3. Oracle (open to any Oracle employee):  Name five Oracle products that are tightly integrated with Securefiles and Oracle Multimedia.

 4. Oracle ACE Program (open to any Oracle ACE or ACE Director):  Which Oracle development tool or product is best designed for working with unstructured data (including multimedia)?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

How to Get 32 Scrabble Points with SEEN

Back in mid-March, I wrote:

A week ago, I played a game of Scabble with Veva and scored 32 points by placing the word "SEEN" on the board. Now, every letter in "SEEN" is worth 1 point, making it very difficult to get to 32 points. But I attached "SEEN" to a word on the board (of course!) and I got my 32 points by using a total of 8 letters, two of which were worth 3 points and the other 6 were worth 1 point each.

[Note: I must note a correction. I actually wrote earlier that I had scored 36 points, but I now realize that was an exaggeration, an honest mistake. Honest! It was only 32 points. I would be mortally embarrassed, but please know that when my wife and I play Scrabble, we don't keep score.]

I thought I'd see if anyone could figure out how to do it. It clearly wasn't a very compelling challenge, since no one answered. OK, so now I will reveal the secret!

On my previous turn, I had put down a seven letter word as follows:

That was a whole lot of points, right there, of course. But you expect that with a seven letter word.

On my next turn, however, I put down "SEEN" and now I expect you can figure out how I did it....

What I Look Like When Shaving Stops

Haven't shaved for two weeks. Decided to give my skin a break, and I also wondered: what do I really look like? Shaving my head is, I have come to accept, the "main vain" thing I do in my life (well, that and painting flamboyan flowers on my toenails).

How much gray and white is there? Answer: Lots.

How much is left on top? Answer: Not very much.

Can't please everyone, I suppose

Back in April 2010, I started up the PL/SQL Challenge ( to provide quizzes on PL/SQL, SQL, logic and Oracle Application Express.

Hundreds of people take these quizzes each day. Since that time, over 670,000 answers have been submitted by thousands of Oracle technologists.

But you can't please everyone. I received this outraged message yesterday regarding the PL/SQL Challenge.:

This was the utmost bad joke on me. Would you be so kind to make clear your statement? My experience on the site was out of the limits of the common sense. No question but a popup nightmare required. Kindly please do something. This site is BAD, BAD, BAD. The worst I have ever seen in overall behavior!

I try not to take such criticism personally, though this did seem a bit harsh.

Well, I asked for clarification. I suggested that maybe the problem lies somewhere in his computer or network.


Let's see what he says, if he replies.