Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Between the various wars in Europe, they had been at a nearly continuous state of war for over 300 years or longer when World War II ended. Let’s start with the middle ages with the various wars, crusades and revolutions, then the Napoleonic wars, then World War I, then World War II. In each of these conflicts hundreds of thousands of the most aggressive of the men (and women) were killed off, usually before they could breed much. Add into this the constant drain of the most aggressive types out to the colonies and various explorations going on during the same period. Soon the majority of people left behind are those that are easily led and want the government, no matter how poor the government is, to take care of them, call it a serf mentality. Yes, I realize there are exceptions, but most of them are due to artificial suppression of hostilities by an outside force, otherwise the aggression would have worked its way out in many cases.
Now look at places like USA, South America and Australia. Most of these countries are areas that were settled by aggressive types or outcasts, people looking for a new life and willing to do anything to get it, folks who wanted to govern themselves and say stuff-it to their current governments. Now while we have participated in some of the wars, we haven’t had nearly the body counts that the European countries racked up, so many of our aggressive types returned to breed and reinforce the bloodlines. In addition, those that tired of the yoke of the government big enough to give them everything and big enough to take everything away fled to…yep…places like USA, South America and Australia re-introducing the aggressive genes and behaviors at every step of the way.
So is it some magic thing the governments have done in places like The UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, etc? No! Will the way they govern work without a high ratio of people who want to be taken care of? No! They have less aggressive, independent people naturally, due to years of selective breeding and killing off or eliminating the aggressive types through war and encouraging them to go elsewhere. I hate to say it but the ratios of the people type known as Sheep to the type known as Sheepdogs and Sheep to the type known as Wolves are much higher in Europe than in the USA or other ex-colonies.
Of course what happens when the predators are eliminated in any ecology? The grazers over populate and soon you have a reduced quality of life. In human society when all that is left is the “sheep” social programs are soon overburdened and collapse just like ecologies where there are no predators to balance the grazer populations. Without the “gadflies” to constantly poke and prod and invent and create, society soon stagnates.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Let's see, cut COL increases for retirees, cause further cutbacks in a medical system that will see significant decrease in services already due to Obamacare (or is that Obamanation?), kill the housing market completely. Sounds like a plan to me! What planet are these idiots from?
I have paid into social security since 1973. I have paid the maximum into it each year since around 1990 and now they say they may cut what I get back out of it if I am considered "well off" whatever that means. Also they are talking of raising the retirement age to those born after 1960 to 69 or 70. This coming from folks who get full retirement after 4-6 years of "public service".
Remember all this in 2012.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Interesting as this analogy is I don’t believe it goes far enough. In the ranks of the sheep are actually wolves that act like sheep and in the wolves are many sheep. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on circumstance) the true natures of these changelings often come to the surface in time of stress. What do I mean? Let me explain.
First let us take the case of the wolves who act like sheep. How many times have we heard “He/she was such a nice person, I can’t believe they did this!” these are examples of wolves who did their best to be sheep but one day it all came crashing down and they revert to wolf ways, eating their young and generally attacking anything within striking distance.
On the other side are the sheep who act like wolves, but usually only in a pack setting. Many gang and sect members fall into this category. As long as they are safely surrounded by the rest of their pack they act like wolves, isolate them and they quickly turn tail (metaphorically speaking) and bleat out the rest of the pack to save their own sheep hide. The real wolves get great pleasure and many laughs over leading sheep astray, of course they usually fall on these sheep and eat them (literally or figuratively) by getting them to do such things as the ultimate passive aggressive act such as wearing a vest packed with explosives and setting it off in a flock of sheep.
Of course we also have sheep with rabies and wolves with rabies that attack everyone around them whether they are sheep, wolves or some other unknown subspecies…
Of course we also have sheep who try to be sheepdogs and wolves who think they are sheepdogs. Generally the sheep who try to be sheepdogs are weeded out and placed in desk jobs, or the cemetery. The ones who get desk jobs take it out on the rest of the sheep for their own lack of sheepdogedness. The wolves who try to be sheepdogs usually do very well for a while, but eventually, unless they go out in a blaze of glory or reveal their wolfness in some manner, they end up preying on the sheep in a more virtual manner than the wolves who act like wolves, in the form of graft, corruption, police brutality and other behaviors unbecoming to sheepdogs.
Sometimes a sheepdog falls into wolflike behvior and both the wolves and the sheepdogs tear them to peices.
Finally we have the stealth sheepdogs, they submerge into the flock and act sheeplike until they are needed, unfortunately unless they are prepared like the full sheepdogs, they usually get the sheep dip kicked out of them once they do act. However, many times they do actually help and prevent sheep from falling prey to the weaker wolves.
So where do you fall? Sheep, sheepdog or wolf? Or are you a pretender?
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Then, out of the blue I get an email from Noel Lucas showing me his finished custom rifle (and a very nice one it is too!) We exchanged a few emails (in which he included some game camera shots of the deer on his families property) and to make a long story short, he invited me down to Talbot County near Baughville, GA to hunt with him on opening day.
Of course Baughville, GA is about 127 miles from where I live near Atlanta so I had to be up by 3:30 am to meet Noel at 6 am. After only a few bad turns I made it by 6:15 and met Noel at the BP in Ellerslie, Ga and from there we drove to his families land to begin the hunt. Noel took me to a nice two-man stand and he went to try a new spot with his climber. The two-man stand was overlooking the exact spot from where the game camera shots had been taken. I attached the safety line to my rifle and wearing my backpack climbed up the stand's ladder. Once safely in the stand I pulled the rifle up, loaded it, and was ready for a days hunt.
It was a little crisp at 44 degrees but with my 200 gram long john bottoms I used for diving with drysuits, heavy jeans, a long sleeved tee-shirt, regular shirt, coat and camo-overalls I was actually getting toasty by the time the sun came up. I ended up eventually removing the coat and shirt and just hunting in the long-sleeve tee-shirt on top.
Unfortunately, other than a great many birds and squirrels the morning hunt was fruitless without even a sighting of a flashing white tail through the trees. However, it was peaceful, no phones, no TV and no Oracle and even a poor day hunting is better than one at the office! We came down out of the stands about 10:30am and met up with Noels dad Doug and his Aunt to go into Waverly for lunch at the Cathead Restaurant (Its a southern thing). It looked like a camo-clothing convention in the restaurant with all the hunters in there, in fact the waitress commented when we left that she was already sick of seeing camo.
After lunch we reviewed the game camera footage and determined that the best time was between 5-7pm to be on the stands, so of course we got back on them at about 2pm. We figured that with all the hunters in the woods the deer might be a bit restive and off schedule a bit. We were wrong.
So I spent another 4 and half hours watching the birds and squirrels and listening to the distant, and not-so-distant sounds of gunfire indicating other hunters were having a lucky day (or just shooting their guns so they could tell their friends they missed a really big one...) Finally, at about 6:30 pm I heard the sounds of something pushing through the bush that was obviously not a bird or squirrel. I scanned the game trails I could see from my perch and soon was rewarded with the sight of two deer, a medium size and small size doe. I waited a bit to see if there was a buck following them but since the rut is still a few weeks off it was not to be. In Georgia you are allowed ten"antlerless" deer and 2 bucks a season. In the northern counties there are special either-sex days and hunts, but in the southern counties like Talbot, the entire season is either-sex due to the large proliferation of deer in recent years. I put my eye to the scope and centered on the largest doe's chest, just behind the front shoulder. This would tell if all the weeks of work on the rifle and several trips to the shooting range to zero in the scope would pay off.
I squeezed the 3 pound trigger, and was surprised when the gun went off (not surprised that it went off, just when, which is the sign of a proper trigger pull) and the doe leaped up like a stallion. When the deer does a leap up on the hind legs like a stallion does, it is a sign of a fatal (usually heart, lung or both) hit. She stumbled off with the smaller doe following.
I had just lowered my rifle and was glassing the area where the deer had exited when my cell phone buzzed, it was Noel. "Did you get one?"
"Yep, they came in just like on the camera"
"I'll be there shortly so we can track it down!"
I cycled the bolt on the 8 mm rifle and left it with an empty chamber, recorded the deer on my tag, then packed my hunting backpack and using the line provided, lowered them both to the ground. I then climbed down the ladder and went over to check the kill zone. Just as I located the blood spore I heard Noel drive up in his red Chevy pickup. Together we followed the heavy bright red blood spoor about 50 yards to where the doe lay dead. Grabbing the hind legs I pulled her out to the truck and we put her in the back. I went over and got my rifle and pack and put them into the back seat of the king cab and we headed back to the house.
It was just turning dark when we started to field dress, skin and quarter the doe. We hoisted her up on a sturdy branch of a huge old Oak. With Noel providing light I finished up at about 8 pm and packed the quarters into the cooler. At the same BP we had met at that morning I filled up on gas and got some ice to pack the cooler with, a diet Mountain Dew and some snacks and headed for home. A great end to a great day! I can't wait to go back down and hunt with Noel during November and the rut season. Hopefully I can bag a nice 10 point buck or better!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I took both of my 8 mm rifles, the original one that I had converted 29 years ago from a model 98 Mauser and my most recent Yugoslavian Mauser conversion, to the range in Alto, Georgia to check the sight-in on my original rifle and do the initial sigth-in on the new one. The original rifle has a Nikon Prostaff 3-9X40mm scope with bullet drop compensation (BDC). On the new rifle I decided to try a brand of scope I hadn’t used before, a Leapers 5th Generation 3-9X40 Full Size A.O. Range Estimating Mil-Dot Side Wheel Red/Green Illuminated Zero Locking/Resetting Scope SCP-394AOMDLTS. The first rifle only needed minor adjustments to throw 1 inch groups at 100 yards. The new rifle I could only get adjusted to paper at 4 inches to the right, but at that point it was giving a 1.5 inch group. I decided I would need to get a windage adjustable set of scope rings to get a full zero.
I ordered a set of windage adjustable scope rings and then had to leave for a business trip. When I got home a couple of days later, the new rings were waiting so I switched out the rings and after some tweaking was able to get a laser bore sight zero on the scope. I thought I was home free, little did I know the horror that awaited me!
This weekend Susan and I were helping watch Doc so Mary could get some time off (Doc is my Father-in-law and has Alzheimer’s) and that shortened the drive to the rifle range to only about 45 minutes. I decided to finish up the sight-in on Saturday. I got up nice and early and showed up at the range and was assigned a bench. I waited for the range master to give the all clear and set up a target at about 40 yards to do the initial shooting. After a few shots I tweaked in the laser bore sight to dead on, and during the next clear time, I ran a set of targets out to 85 yards, I couldn’t wait to try out the scope at full range.
I fired one shot and it was a bit high and to the right, so I tweaked the scope and fired a second round. When I checked my placement I wasn’t even on the paper! I looked again through the scope and noticed things looked a little blurry, rather like some of the times way back in the Navy when I had lifted a few too many at the Back Aft tavern… I tried one more shot and something really horrible happened.
As you can see, the main lens group came completely un-mounted and was now free floating in the barrel of the scope. Needless to say that ended my shooting with the new 8mm! I submerged my disappointment by shooting 100 rounds through my .40 SW pistol. On the way home I stopped by the Bass Proshop Warehouse store and picked up a second Nikon Prostaff 3-9 40mm BDC scope (they were on sale for $169.99 and had a $30 rebate! I guess it was meant to be!) When I got back to doc’s I removed the dead Leapers and installed the new Nikon. Needless to say on Monday the Leaper’s goes back for a full refund of its $69.99 price!
I used a rear fence to laser bore sight the rifle on Saturday night. On Sunday the range is open from 12-5pm so I headed over after lunch the next day. It was like night and day! At 50 yards I was off about 4 inches to the left and about 2 inches high, I did the needed adjustment and then moved the target out to 85 yards.
I use a bipod and rest my right elbow on a folded gun case which gives a very stable platform. At 85 yards what my first group looked like is shown below.
I tweaked the windage 4 clicks to the left and then shot the group shown below.
Since I am not trying to save hostages from kidnappers or shoot antelope at 300 yards and this was well within 1 degree of deer, I figured it was good enough. Yes, the top hole is from 2 shots. You can see some of my known outliers, there was a fellow next to me shooting off a .30-06 who had the habit of shooting just as I started to pull off a round.
So now I have two deer rifles that shoot consistent 1 inch groups at near 100 yards. What are the take-aways?
1. Don’t buy Leaper’s scopes for anything other than air or paintball rifles. The shock from high caliber rounds such as an 8mm completely debonded the main lens group in spite of its claim to be for high powered rifles. Stick to known performers such as Nikon, Leopold, Burris, BSA and of course the higher cost scopes.
2. Do a good laser sight-in first, then one at 50 yards and then at 100.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I took the rifle out and did some test shooting with the original rings dialed in as good as I could get and found that at 100 yards I had to hold about 4 inches to the right to get a bullseye, this is what prompted me to get the new scope rings. With the new rings I was able to adjust enough to get about 16 clicks (4 inches) of additional adjustment room with the scope zeroed, and, they aren't as high as the sight-through rings I was originally using so the rifle fits better in its case.
At the range I got several nice comments on the rifle and after posting the before and after shots on POTN (a Canon photography site) one fellow lamented that I wasn't closer to him so I could do one for him. Of course once he could see the price tag he might sing a different tune!
Anyway, here is a before and after shot with the original rings. I will post some target shooting results once I can get back out to the range now that I can pull a proper zero using the laser-bore sight.
For a complete description of everything I did, look here:
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I chose a Yugo M27/47 Mauser, 8mm, from Samco Global Arms it is a short action Mauser and relatively cheap to get in good quality. Seems there was this Yugoslavian Mauser factory that turned out thousands of them before WWII and put them in storage, before they could be used, the Germans overran the factory and since they had plenty of Mausers already, just left the guns in storage. Then of course the war ended and possession returned to the Yugoslavians who have been dutifully cleaning, relubricating and putting these guns back into storage every 5-10 years since then! At least that is the story. Now they have been released for sale and I got me one.
Now military Mausers aren't ready for mounting hunting scopes and with their nearly full length stocks and hand guards over the top of the barrel tend to be a bit weighty for using for hunting. Also, they aren't as collectible as the true Germain Mausers so folks don't much care what you do to them. The first thing you do is replace the stock with one more suited for carrying about the woods. IN this case I choose a nice walnut stock from Boydes. I wanted my stock a bit more custom than just a simple walnut stock so I added an Ebony forearm tip, a buffalo horn pistol rig cap and a recoil pad. Here is a before and after shot.
Next I will checker the forearm and pistol grip area, here is a shot of a forearm of a practice stock I did the other night. I thought it best to do a practice stock first since I have never done checkering before. I used the old military stock that came with the Mauser.
Today I am glass bedding the action. Glass bedding is where you remove some of the wood that supports key parts of the action and receiver and replace the wood with epoxy resin. The resin gives a more uniform "fit" and makes sure the action and barrel don't move between shots. It always makes me nervous when I do glass bedding (this is the 4th rifle I have done) because if you don't get enough release compound on the action you end up epoxying your rifle together!
After the glass bedding, I will turn the action and barrel over to a gunsmith who will remove the old front and rear sights and re-crown the barrel. The crown is the area of the barrel at the tip of the muzzle where the bullet comes out. Along with the bullet comes an explosion of hot gas that propels the bullet. If the crown isn't near perfect it can shift the bullets trajectory or cause it to tumble in the worst case which can play Hobbs with your accuracy!
While the action and barrel are off getting trimmed, I will put the finish on the stock. First a final sanding then a good rub down with steel wool and an application of stain to darken the wood a little. Then a rub down with fine sandpaper and steel wool, then stock sealer. At this point I will apply the checkering to the forearm and pistol grip areas. After the checkering is done, a little of the finish (a Tung oil derivative) to the checkered areas. Then another sanding (not on the checkered areas) and an application of the finish. I am using an oil based finish similar to Tung oil. After that dries, repeat the steel wool rubdown, then another coat, repeat until satisfied with finish.
Hopefully by the time I finish the stock, the gunsmith will be done with the action. I will then re-blue any areas where the bluing has been damaged or is missing, like under the rear sight. After the action is re-blued, a final cleaning and lubrication and I mount the drill-less scope mount (it wraps around the action and uses a barrel clamp, which may require a bit of inletting to fit) then the rifle is reassembled.
After reassembly I need to check that the barrel, from the 2 inch area after the receiver where it is glass bedded out to the end of the stock is free floating. Then after mounting the scope, it is off to the rifle range to zero it in!
So it appears I will be a bit busy in the evenings right up to mid-September when I leave for OOW and vacation.
I will be publishing a full description of everything done with pictures on www.scribd.com when I finish, kind a poor man's guide to customizing a Mauser.
Monday, July 19, 2010
In October not much other than my grandson Mikie's birthday. Then in November comes the German Oracle users group, DOAG, in Nuremberg, Germany, which looks like I will be attending. I haven't heard about my presentations there yet, but will let you all know as soon as I do!
I haven't heard about my nominations for Oracle Ace yet, I know I got several recommendations from other Oracle Aces on it but sometimes things take a while.
Other than that we just spent a weekend diving at Loch Low-Minn Quarry, a PADI dive resort just outside Athens, Tennessee, I blogged about it here.
AS plans tighten up (Oracle Ace status, DOAG) I will blog more about it! Oh, did I mention I am going to be a grandfather for the third time? I should know more about that (like the sex of the baby) later this month as well.
Enough rambling I guess! Talk to you all later!
Thursday, July 01, 2010
On Wednesday night they had a stand-up comic. I felt kind of sorry for him as his jokes were more miss than hit. I am afraid that getting comics for tech conferences tends to be a risky venture. Let me tell you why I think that is the case.
Most comics are aiming their humor at the average person. Unfortunately the average person has an IQ around 100 or less and is generally pretty near the stereotype for their gender. From what I have observed most techies (at least in the Oracle field) tend to be well above average intelligence (110-120 IQ) and are not stereotypical. Most women I have met in the Oracle field are driven, goal oriented and usually not vain, object driven clothes horses. Most men in the Oracle world seem to be more “metrosexual” in their way of life, cooking, cleaning and generally not being slobs with little focus outside of jobs, sports and other male dominated pursuits. Given this misqueue between what most comics are setting their humor for and what the average Oracle nerd really is like you can see why much of the stereotype driven humor falls on deaf ears.
Anyway, overall the conference seemed successful with most people I asked saying they enjoyed the talks and got value from the presentations, even if the show on Wednesday left many of us not laughing.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
After the typical continental breakfast the rest of the attendees and I settled down into the auditorium for the keynote which was given by my friend Steven Feuerstein on the golden rules for PL/SQL developers. As usual Steven gave an excellent presentation. After Steven finished I gave my presentation on “Holistic Oracle Tuning” with many good questions and only over the time by 15 minutes or so. Then he, Peter Koletzke and I gave a panel presentation in which I got the most questions, probably because DBAs outnumbered developers.
I met an old friend of Susan and I and she made me promise to give Susan a hug and kiss for her and to be sure to tell her next time we were in town so we could come to dinner for some good (I am sure great) Russian cooking. I look forward to it.
After the conference I decided to hang around the city and have a birthday dinner at The Grill Room in the World Financial Center. I sat in one of the rear rooms with a view over the river. I watched the clouds roll in and the rain began as the ferries brought people to and from the various parts of New York and New Jersey into the Big Apple. The sheets of rain washed the colors form the buildings across the river, leaving them all in shades of gray. I started with a single Sapphire Gin and Tonic. Then I enjoyed my lamb chops, broccoli with hollandaise and artesian breads along with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio. To finish my solitary birthday celebration I ended with a chocolate mousse and glass of 15 year old port. Meanwhile the rain had intensified, sometimes blocking the view of the buildings across the river entirely.
Waiting for the rain to slack off, I paid and then sat in the atrium area watching the boat masts sway to and fro in the wind and rain and called Susan. We talked about the trivia of the day and important Mother-Father talk about our grown daughters and I was reminded that being alone on your birthday sucks.
When the rain finally slackened, I made my way back to the PATH depot and rode the train back to Jersey City. I waited in the wind and the rain for the hotel shuttle for 15 minutes, it was nice to be warm and dry. So now I am back in the hotel trying to decide whether to buy a movie or just work. A middle aged man alone in a hotel room.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
In that line of thought I have just one question, why didn't they do the simplest things first? Putting the whole profit thing aside, the best thing to do was cap the well, kill it if needs be, to stop the oil. They have shown they have the technology to snap those huge pipes like twigs if they wish using huge hydraulic shears. SO obviously they have the technology to crimp them as well. Look at the following simple diagram:
Why didn't they do a progressive large set of crimps leading to the end of the pipe where they completely close the pipe? Then they could have gone back with the top-kill process and plugged the well with concrete. Face-it, had they broken the pipe trying it, we would not have been any worse off than we are now. As far as the smaller leaks in the pipe, there has been a wonderful technology used in damage control kits on Navy ships for years called band-it clamps. Essentially it is a large steel frame, sized to fit the pipe, that uses steel backed rubber mats and toggle bolts to allow you to place the clamp around the pipe, lock the toggle bolts in place and then slide the clamp over the leak and then tighten the bolts. A simple elegant and fast way to stop pipe leaks. It seems that this type of procedure could have been done in days, not weeks.
As far as this top-hat, funnel, whatever contraption, why not add some type of rubber skirt and band-clamp at the bottom to allow making a tighter seal to the sheared off pipe when they get it in place? And why do they think a pipe that is (at least it looks to be) only a quarter of the diameter of the leaking pipe going to handle all of the flow? I guess that falls into the category of things that make you say what?
What about good old fashioned gate or ball valves to close off the pipe every couple of hundred feet? Especially one right on top of the blow-out preventor? How about some good old low-tech to back up the often-failing high-tech?
As far as the top-kill: You would think all those brilliant chemists would have come up with something better than concrete. How about a high density foam that reacts with either water or oil (or both!) to form a fast, leak-tight plug?
Anyway, I guess I have arm-chair quarterbacked enough for now.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I am not an expert in oil drilling, capping wells or cleanup, so to tell you the truth I have no clue what should be done, but common sense seems to dictate a few things:
1. If pumping drilling mud into the hole prevents the oil form coming out or reduces it significantly and the mud used is the least toxic, water and bentonite clay based mud, they should be required to keep pumping the mud in until the leak is stopped.
2. The relief wells should be required to be in place before the well can be brought into production.
3. The blow-out preventers and other safety gear should be required to be tested on at least a quarterly basis with a full well shutdown required as a part of the test.
4. Each platform should be required to have in place a floating dam that would contain the projected flow of the well should a blowout occur for a specified minimum amount of time both above and below the water.
5. A main and backup flow preventer (i.e. shutoff device) should be in place before the well is allowed to be in production.
6. All of these requirements should be required to be retrofitted on all existing platforms.
7. The required skimmer and vacuum ships should be on standby within hours of the platforms.
8. The oil companies should be required to provide funding for an independent group of clean-up engineers who will take over a well when an accident occurs who will give priority to stopping the well, not profit.
Will all the above be expensive? Yes! However, it will be less expensive than another disaster of the size we are currently seeing.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I assume at least in the Oracle space that folks have heard my name, seen my books or heard me speak at a conference or on a webcast. Usually this is true, in the Oracle space I have a bit of a shadow, not as much as Tom Kyte or Jonathan Lewis or several others I can think of, but at least many folks in the Oracle Database realm know who I am. But what about in other areas?
I am a fiction writer (of course some would argue that they knew this from my Oracle writings, but let's not go there!) and have three books out there right now, you can see links on the link list on this blog. I also do photography, there is a link off of my website showing some of my work. And, last but not least, I have begun to dabble in handmade jewelry, I also have a link form my website as well as one over on the links list. So I am not just an Oracle person, I have other interests! Unfortunately most people don't realize my other interests exist because of my lack of ability at self tooting....
I guess I need to start tooting a bit more, so if you are reading this you have been officially tooted about my other activities (so if my wife asks please tell her!) Anyway, enjoy the numerous articles, recipes, short stories and such that I have published along with the photographs I have taken while you are gazing i rapture at the jewelry I create (was that a bit over the top?) Anyway, now you know, I am not just a one trick pony...
Friday, May 14, 2010
Well this week I did something that I have always wanted to do. It is probably one of those things which require the greatest leap of faith of anything a person can do. It involves trusting, totally at least 2-3 other people who you probably have never met before. One has a very technical and arguably the most critical of the jobs, one literally has your life in their hands and the third (if needed) has both the second persons and your life in their hands.
Let me explain. The first person I am referring to above is an airplane pilot responsible for getting you and the second person off the ground and to an altitude of 14,000 feet. The second is the jump master or instructor who is responsible for making sure you have the harness on correctly and that you are properly attached to their harness. In addition they may (and usually do) pack their own chute, so they can become the third person, the person who packs the most vital part of the equipment, the parachute, so it opens properly.
Yep, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at 14,000 feet, then fell for 9,000 feet (over a mile and a half) and then glided down to a not so soft, but definitely safe landing, in short, I had my first tandem skydive. A tandem skydive is when you are attached to an instructor and they do the chute release and guide the chute once it is open. For more money and more training you can do a solo jump which of course means you are responsible for the opening of the chute and the guiding.
Remember that feeling you get in a dream when you fall? That is exactly the sensation you get when you jump out of the door of the plane. Only instead of lasting only a second it lasts several as you reach terminal velocity of between 120-130 MPH and fall to your release height, generally around 5,000 feet. The chute was a slow opening model so rather than jerking you harshly it was more like a quick stopping elevator as it caught the air and allowed us to fly. By the time you are done, your adrenal glands are running on empty.
We swooped and turned and pirouetted in the air as we came down to a “butt” landing. Yep, we landed sitting down with only a small bounce or two. No bruises (at least that I can see) and nothing broken. It was a great experience.
The sky had numerous small white fluffy clouds at about 8,000-9,000 feet so we literally were above the clouds at 14,000 feet when we lept from the plane and drifted down past them. Unfortunately we didn’t go through one but just realizing I was free of any constraints and above the clouds was quite a heady experience.
I don’t know if I will ever do it again, but it was definitely worth doing. Of course now my daughter is saying she would love to do it, so I may have to take her. Of course, that will have to wait a couple of months as she is about 3 months along with my third grand child.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
This week I am teaching 1/2 days (09:30-13:30) on Oracle11g new Features for DBAs including release 1 and release 2. It has been interesting as I try to demo live the new features to a class over Webex. So far no one has thrown any virtual tomatoes so I guess it is going great. The class is participating and asking questions. I do feel bad that because of some equipment issues they aren't able to do the labs as planned, but you take what you are given and do the best you can!
After this week I have some down time until 4/18 and Collaborate in Las Vegas. Of course that time includes jury duty and several minor meetings. I hope the weather clears up so I can do a couple of tune-up scuba dives. I am planning on going to Alabama Blue Water for DUI-DOG days again this year weekend after next, and maybe if things work out, take Susan along for her first drysuit adventure. Of course then I will probably have to get her one...
Doing some playing with dbms_resource_manager.calibrate_io if I get something interesting I'll post the results on my TMS blog.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
I usually try to get to the airport when I travel at least 1, if not 2, hours before I actually need to worry about setting foot on the plane. This allows for problems getting to the airport, problems at the airport and if not problems occur, allows me time to get my traditional travel meal at Houlihans: Buffalo Chicken Strips and a Killian Red, while I wait. However this time this was not to be.
First, I try to travel outside of rush hour, but since this trip was set to leave out at 6:55 pm, I was stuck right in the middle of Atlanta's rush hour. Scratch the chicken and beer. I still arrived at the airport with plenty of time to make the flight, especially since I was not checking luggage. I get to the gate only to be told that the plane was going to be 20-30 minutes late. I grab a Burger King Grilled Chicken and a Sprite as a consolation prize and sit down to wait. 30 minutes comes and goes, however, the representative assures me that I will still make my connection in Denver as "There are only 40 people on the flight, we can board quickly and get there in plenty of time". Famous last words.
Flight time comes and goes and finally the plane arrives. The representative has a sheen of sweat on her forehead but still assures me I can make my connection, then the kicker, mechanical problems. Seems there is an issue with the radio and they need to get a mechanic over to take a look before they can board. Now it is 40+ minutes past the time for boarding and they are already telling many folks that they aren't going to make their connections and offering hotels either in Atlanta or for brave souls, Denver. Seems they still think I may be able to make my connection, but I get in line anyway. A second rep says the flight out of Denver to San Jose has been delayed 20 minutes, I might just make it. Of course then I think about what happens if I get to Denver, rush to the plane only to wave to it as it takes off and I am stuck in Denver overnight. The earliest flight puts me into San Jose at 10:30 the next morning...30 minutes into my presentation time.
I finally make it to the desk. They say maybe I could make it...just as they announce they are ready to board. I am afraid maybe isn't good enough. I ask if they can book me on their partner who has a flight direct to San Francisco Airport with no stops. After a thoughtful glance the representative says "Sure". End of adventure? Not quite!
It seems to do this for some reason she has to print out a copy of my old ticket before the system will allow her to print me a boarding pass for the new flight. She spends 10 minutes looking for ticket stock, then another 30 minutes trying to get the printer to print. Finally I say "Have you tried cycling the printer on and off?" (sometimes you need to rest them on the network if they haven't been used in a while.) She gives me a dubious look like that is just to simple, after all, she has been banging on it, reloading it, and I am sure saying a few sub-vocal swear words that would have curled my hair, and I am an ex-sailor. Anyway, it worked, she prints the old pass and then finally the ticket for the other flight. Now the kicker...she can't find the gate.
Down the way is a representative from the partner airline, I trot on down and she gives the bad news...it is on another concourse, so it is the seemingly mile sprint up the concourse, take the escalator into the bowels of the Earth, get on the train and then reverse the process in the new concourse.
Anyway, they have just started boarding the new flight when I get there. I go up and check in and a miracle, I can upgrade to business class for free! Excellent. I board the flight and relax. A couple of drinks and a relaxing flight later I am in San Francisco. As we taxi in I try to get a hold of the rental car agency to switch my San Jose reservation to a one-way from San Francisco to San Jose. After traversing several menus, it disconnects without me talking to anyone. Fine, I'll just go to the counter. Believe it or not, at the counter everything went fine and I was soon hurtling down 101 towards San Jose. I finally got into my room at 0030 am local time (3:30 my time). After a quick review of the next days presentation I finally fell into bed at about 1 am pacific time.
Who says there isn't anymore adventure?
Monday, March 01, 2010
I will be presenting on Oracle IO, RamSans and everything in between and will be available for questions, other folks form TMS will be there and present as well so it will be a one-stop place to be for everything you ever wanted to know about RamSan technology!
Well, I have a presentation to complete so I have to go for now. I will post about the Road Show in the TMS event blog tomorrow.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
So, after 1:45 Susan and I jump back in the car for the 4 hour drive back to Alpharetta. We'll be swinging by Susan's folks and picking up the signed books for Dr. Kuntz (he purchased 10 of my father-in-law's books) and dropping them off on the way home. If anyone is interested in the book, it is called a"A Kick in Your Caduceus" and can be found here. 50% of all proceeds for the book go to Alzheimer's research.
The next stop for conferences and shows is the TMS Roadshow in San Jose. Hope to see you there!
Friday, February 19, 2010
Why am I so enthusiastic about this new architecture? In tests, by only switching on this architecture in an existing structure we were able to achieve a 9-10 times performance improvement. Time to execute a test run of 2,000,000 SQL statements dropped from 12 minutes to 1.3 minutes. Latency dropped from 13 ms to less than 1 ms. Here is a link to the entire paper describing this architecture:
While the paper describes an Oracle based architecture, the concepts it describes could be used for any read-intensive application with the use of a disk management system that allows preferred-read mirrors to be utilized.
of course the beauty of this architecture is that it makes use of and accelerates your existing IO subsystem without any changes to the tables and indexes or your application.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Of course in this more generic version of the paper I have reworked the OPERA acronym into "Oracle Performance Enhancing Reliable Architecture" an removed specific references to the RamSan-620 (other than in the pictures) to be able to give this great presentation and not come across as an advertisement which of course is a no-no at almost all Oracle conferences unless you are doing an allowed and sanctioned product presentation. Fear not, whether the paper uses RamSan or SSD the architecture it espouses is just as valid and performance enhancing!
In speaking with some of my contacts here I found out something interesting for you MySQL folks out there. MySQL as it sits right now can only properly utilize about 4 CPUs before not so good things start happening. Well, there should be a new release soon that will properly handle up to 32 CPUs. Looks like Oracle is keeping their word not to interfer with the further advancement of MySQL in the OpenSource environemnt.
Well, I have to pack and then do the normal morning duties so I can meet Lee Miles for breakfast at 6:50 (the showroom floor opens at 07:30) so that is all for now.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
My first presentation "Going Solid: Determining What in Oracle to Put on Tier Zero" came off without a hitch with lots of interest and great questions. We've seen lots of activity at the booth with many people very curious about the benefits of SSD technology in their environment.
Well, it is off to lunch, I will try to post more later in the day after I see a few presentations.
Monday, February 15, 2010
So...I published Doc's book, a collection or anecdotes from his 47 years as a country doctor. It started as a roughly printed manuscript that lingered for 10 years in the back of a closet. I scanned it in to my computer and used OCR (optical character recognition) software to recover as much of the text as I could then spent several nights correcting, editing and typing in hand written changes and additions that didn't make it in to a final printing the first time. Doc also painted, scenes for his life, scenes for day to day living. I then added pictures of Doc's paintings where I could find some that were at least tangential to the story being told.
2 years ago Doc was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Luckily it isn't a severe form...yet. He still recognizes us but his memory stops short of his second great-grandchild, Hannah Marie, my grand daughter. Anyway, to try and do my bit for helping to eliminate this brain stealing disease, half the royalties will be donated to Alzheimer's research and the other half to help cover Doc's future medical and care costs in the future.
Doc wasn't aware (neither was Mary) that I was doing this, Susan, Marie (my oldest daughter) and I did a real good job of keeping it secret. We gave a proof copy to Doc on Valentines day. At first he didn't know what it was, until he recognized his drawing on the cover and saw his name as author! His eyes lit up and he spent then next several minutes paging through, reading here and there and remembering. Mary (his wife of over 50 years) got wide eyed and I think she was about to cry, if you could know Mary you know how much that is saying. Anyway, they both gave their support to making it publicly available.
Here is the books website, have a look!
Friday, February 05, 2010
Now using RAC and going with multiple instances I was able to increase that number as a factor of the number of nodes. However that seems to be a very complex method.
So, anyone out there have some good tips for loading data quickly into Oracle? Currently I am going from a memory cache (filesystem) using external tables directly into an internal table, use of APPEND made no difference since the table is new.
Eventually I would use the table to do a partition swap as soon as the table reaches a specific size and start a new table loading. For right now I just have to maximize the load speed going from an external table to an internal one.
Anyway, I will post more information as I find more.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Of course , real life is seldom if ever reflected in movies or fiction, otherwise these things would be called reality. Criticality is a required state for the nuclear reactor to reach a state of self-sustaining reaction. Essentially it means that the reactor core on average is producing more nuetrons, a little bit over 2 generally, per fission which allows for losses during the fission process (absorption of the nuetrons that doesn't produce fission, or leakage of the neutrons from the core.) A reactor can be sub-critical, where there simply aren't enough nuetrons to sustain a self-perpetuating reaction, critical, where the neutrons produced are just enough to make up for losses, and super critical where the reactor is producing more neutrons than needed to sustain a reaction. The term most of the writers are looking for when they want to portray a problem with a nuclear reaction should be "Oh no! The reator is super-critical!".
So what, you are probably saying, what does this bit of nuclear trivia have to do with regular life? Well, each reaction, if it is to be self sustaining, must reach a critical state. What this critical state for reactions of course varies for the type of reaction. For example, let's say someone sends out a spam email about rutabagas. Rutabagas are not very interesting vegatables, but, if you can get off enough emails to enough people who are interested in rutabagas the email will continue to circulate and take on a life of its own, essentially going critical in the espace.
This notion of critical mass for a successful email campaign of course also carries over to other forms of publicity and all PR shops hope for their campaigns to reach a critical mass of interest where they takes off on their own. Usually once a successful formula for reaching a critical mass in an ad campaign is found, with minor tweaks it can be applied to others. This also known as "going viral".
So, why have I been thinking about this? Well, of course there is my professional life where we hope each new RamSan SSD we launch will reach a critical mass in the storage world, where essentailly word of mouth does our work in selling it for us. Then there is my personal life.
If you have been following my recent posts you know I have been dabbling in self-publishing. Of course anyone who publishes anything wants it to reach a critical mass in its publishing domain, whether it is my technical, Oracle books, or my self-published fiction books, I want them to reach a level of popularity that generates its own publicity and of course, sales!
Well, enough lunch time musings. Be safe and enjoy life!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Just so everything is in one place here are the links for the various Kindle and Paperback versions:
Quest of the Rune Sword:
Ransom of the Phoenix:
Seeds of Wonder:
This journey into self publishing has been enlightening. Some things you need to watch for:
1. Avoid self publishing offerings (SPO) (for the most part) that only have one or two expensive options where they want a load of money up front for formatting, editing and such.
2. Avoid SPO where they want some long period (for example, 7 years) where they own your content. It usually seems these correspond to ones that fall into item 1.
3. Do make sure your content is fully editted, proper spelling, grammer and usage. The first step is no red or green underlinings in WORD then read for word usage.
4. Watch were and where, lose and loose, threw and through, etc.
5. Quote properly
6. Don't publish anything you don't own or have permission on unless you know the fair usage laws and fall well within them.
I could go on, but I believe you get the gist of it.
The ones I have heard good things about are: Createspace, dtp.amazon.com, xlibris, iUniverse and LuLu. I am sure there are more quality ones but this will get you started!
Anyway, take a look at my offerings and enjoy!
Friday, January 15, 2010
However, since I have been cutting back (yes I know, many have asked when the next Oracle book will be out) I am beginning to get the writing bug again. In addition, I have recently published another book with Texas Memory Systems about the use of SSD technology with Oracle, check it out on the TMS website: RamSan book.
Of course I also used to write fiction as well as technical and I have ground out a couple of short stories and polished off a couple of novels I had sitting around. While I was doing this I found my pile of rejection slips. When someone asks me how to be successful as a writer I tell them to collect enough rejection slips to use as wall paper for a regular size bathroom. Of course some would use them for a different type of bathroom paper.
As you can tell from my previous blog on the 13th, I have gotten tired of rejection and the add of insult to injury of having to wait (sometimes months) for the privilege of being rejected without the benefit of even having been read at times. I have had several times been rejected with letters that used the wrong title for the book, wrong author name and with the manuscript returned in the same box, same rubber band around it and in absolutely pristine condition. Now I didn't check for fingerprints but my guess was it sat in someones read pile for X days and they simply sent it back without a read. Until the invent of print on demand (POD) and ebooks this was the fate of most submissions to mortar and brick publishers.
So I decided to give self publishing a whorl. Looking over many POD publishers most seemed more designed for vanity (oh let me buy 10 copies for friends and relatives and I don't care if it is never marketed) than for actual get it out there publishing. Then I stumbled on CreateSpace and DTP from Amazon. I know you all know what Amazon is, well, they partnered with CreateSpace to provide POD publishing that is actually a real attempt at true publishing. Hence I decided to use both the POD and digital publishing services from Amazon.
Justr as with my foray into jewelry making where I had a bowl of sharks teeth on my desk so I decided to do something with them, I had a collection of short stories (several published in magazines and in two anthologies) and two novel length books just sitting on my hard drive so these have been sacrificed to the POD and ebook effort.
To date the three have made it online to Amazons Kindle store:
Ransom of the Phoenix an action adventure about theft of Nuclear fuel.
Seeds of Wonder a collection of short stories
Quest of the Rune Sword an epic fantasy
Anyway, I'll see how they do. The actual softcover books will be available (with any luck!) sometime next week.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Anyway, thought I had better post something! (Thanks for the nudge Nigel)
Believe it or not I do have time for other things (other than Oracle and scuba diving) I also do wire wrapped jewelry (radidjewelry.etsy.com), write fiction (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0033WSZH2,http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0033WSW7U) and do photography (http://s159.photobucket.com/home/mikerault) as well as play with my grandchildren (2 and counting).
However, I shall endeavor to do a better job keeping up this blog. Once I wrap up my load testing with Oracle I will see what tidbits I can write about.
So thanks loyal readers and whatever you do, don't pay the ransom...I escaped.