2008 wishlist

Been a while, folks. Basically, a holiday trip with the family back to old Portugal, with a jaunt to Rome and Singapore on the way back.

Of course while I was gone, all sorts of things happened:

1- HJR has once again demolished his site. It's a pity that such a great resource is now gone. Ah well: HJ is a grown-up and has his strong reasons. We should all respect them, even if we do not agree.

2- Sun has bought MySQL. (cough, splutter!)
WTH for? Dunno? Me neither. Yeah, I know: I read the comments. Dvorak's was funny, but IMHO not quite there. The whole thing is a wreck of an idea...

3- The good folks at Miracle spent some time with a funny video about how easy it is to install Oracle. This apparently , to counteract some IBM campaign about how hard Oracle is to install.
They need not have bothered: everyone knows the Oracle install is easy. What is hard is figuring out what to install, in what sequence and with which patches, to make whatever app you want to run work properly and safely: the darn thing requires so many fixes even for Oracle's own app software, it's not even funny.

The problem is not the install, folks...

4- Another hands-up "sample" by the OAUG folks in Melbourne shows that no-one is interested in using ".net" technology with Oracle in Australia, contrary to what I said many times during 2007.

Problem of course is that no one who is doing anything useful in this country wastes any time with the OAUG. Otherwise, how could it be that Oracle Mag's 2007 DBA of the Year was won by the site who runs one of the largest RAC + Visual Basic/.net installations in the world, right here in Australia: the Commonwealth Bank?

I have the dubious past of having been involved in 1996 in a pilot project that resulted in the Commonwealth Bank selecting that technology for their future development. Apparently, we were all wrong, they are all wrong and we all have to believe fusion is the thing for everyone.



But, I digress.

Let me indulge in a bit of a new year's wish list.

Of course, I'd like some of the above fixed in 2008. But failing that, and before we get inundated with another bunch of un-asked for features in Oracle release 12, how about something really simple?

For example: sparse object allocation.

"What's he on about now", I hear you say?

Well, picture this:

Peoplesoft dumps 25000 tables and 32000 indexes in your db in a standard, vanilla install. SAP is much, much worse. Now, if you use just the standard HCM part of Peoplesoft's application suite, you probably have real data in about 500 of these tables. And their indexes. Let's say, 750 of them.

That leaves 24500 tables and 31250 indexes quite empty.

So, what is the problem?

Well, the problem is that empty tables and indexes in Oracle are not exactly empty: there are at least 6 blocks per table and 6 or so per index, minimal allocation.

So if you use 8K block size, that's 2.7GB of "empty" space right there. Now, multiply that by half a dozen instances for testing and development plus production, one for EPM and another for HCM, and things start to add up fast. Then if you go for a 16K block size like so many recommend nowadays, suddenly we're talking BIG numbers. In our case, that's about 20 or so GB wasted with "empty" objects.

Yes, I know: disk is cheap. But "empty" space in that disk is not, if you don't mind. Particularly when that space is carved out of "cheap" Raid-10 platinum disks in a very "cheap" SAN.

Yes, I know: you can tweak empty object allocation. Try to do that on these numbers of objects, please? And still be covered by the application maker's warranty?

No? OK, enough silly suggestions then, please.

Catch my drift?

So, please mr Oracle: before the next round of blatant idiocy about how relevant and great fusion is gonna be for the small to mid-size IT shop out there:


As in: no space allocated until the first row needs to be stored, period?

That would indeed be useful.

Anyways, on to more interesting things:

When I was a small kid, owls used to live in this chimney. My father was born here, 85 years ago. Nice place. My cousin still lives here.

This is "Baby". A TrĂ¡s-os-Montes Shepherd dog, a newly recognized breed. These dogs have double canine fangs, used to fight off wolves trying to get at the sheep, in the mountains of NW Portugal. Amazing animals. And they are HUGE: Baby is still very young, but already over 70 kilos in weight and as high as my belt.

A lonesome seagul in a cold and foggy Winter day, resting at Hell's Mouth near Lisbon.

This is Rua Augusta, smack bang in the middle of Lisbon. It's now closed to vehicles, thank the Gods. Lovely place, great shopping, superb little restaurants all over the place. I'll definitely be back here, some stage.

Speaking of being back: 40 years ago I threw some money at this fountain, over my shoulder. Finally, I made it back. It's of course Fontana di Trevi, in eternal Rome.

PS: almost missed it. Doug Burns tagged me for one of those 8-things-about-you blog entries. Funny enough, I had just been tagged a while ago in my photo show site: more than you ever wanted to know about me!

Cathyalata, folks!


Blogger Joel Garry said...

Thanks for the 8 things, does this company you work for own Plaza Camino Real in Carlsbad, CA? Used to take the kids there to be fascinated by a great piece of kinetic art.

My 11-year old now has a digital photography unit in his digital arts class - would you have any recommendations for sites appropriate for him? They're using 7.1 Megapixel Olympus, learning the basics.

word: drkcc

Sunday, February 03, 2008 2:15:00 pm  
Blogger Alex Gorbachev said...

Should I saw welcome back to the island? ;)
Btw, teeth of this baby look scary already.

Sunday, February 03, 2008 2:52:00 pm  
Blogger Noons said...


Yup, that would be one of ours. Go here:
and you can search which ones we have in the US.

There are quite a few sites to go through, for both digital processing technique and photography itself. Drop me a line in wizofoz2k@yahoo.com.au and I'll send you my "Photo Technique" bookmarks, best way to pass them to your kid.


Yeah, thanks, mate! :)
I missed the old island.

You should see "Code", a Rafeiro do Alentejo who lives with Baby: he's even bigger and meaner. I'll put their photos up somewhere and send you the pointer, you'll enjoy seeing them.

They are huge, scary looking animals. But mostly total sooks who are incapable of unprovoked harming.

Still: they are so big that we have to be careful with kids. Code once turned the head fast and brushed his teeth on a kid who was pulling his ears: 12 stitches...
He now stays on a leash most of the time, but he's still a big sook!

Another one we had in there, Macaca, a Castro Laboreiro sheepdog, kept insisting on rounding us up, thinking we were a stray flock!
Good fun. :)

Sunday, February 03, 2008 8:44:00 pm  
Blogger Eric said...

Since when is the tower of a church called a chimney? At least that is what I see when looking at the first photograph. Or is it my less than fluent command of the Australian language?

Thursday, February 07, 2008 12:03:00 am  
Blogger Noons said...


I wish it was a church spire: then we could sell the place for a lot more!

Narh, it's simply an old style kitchen chimney. Very common in this area of Portugal. Most of the farm houses here are over 400 years old and back then this was commonplace.

I'm not sure when this one was built. I know the main house on the right is 400 years old and the wall you see covered in greenery is part of the adjacent covered wine pressing yard which dates back to 1370.

Thursday, February 07, 2008 12:07:00 pm  

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