Category: Other

Personal Blacklist for Google Search Results

Using Chrome? Sick of certain sites-I-won’t-name-here cluttering the search results when you google for technical issues?

Installed. Already blocked a few sites. Beautiful.

Plus, they assure us that the aggregated results blacklisted domains may well be used to improve Google’s page ranking algorithm in the future…

btw – Read JoerT’s comment on the extension :)

EDIT: just noticed it doesn’t work in conjunction with AdBlock – if I enable AdBlock, the blacklist stops working.

AUSOUG Perth 2010 – Day 2

First off the mark this morning was Mark Lancaster on “Building Advanced APEX 4.0 UIs with Ext JS”, which was an eye-popping demo of some wonderful things you can do when you combine the power of Ext JS with Apex.

Tom Kyte presented via Webinar his “The Best Way – Things You Know” presentation, which I had already enjoyed in Melbourne but it’s always worth revisiting these things – helps to counter the constant wave of opposite sentiment from the other side of the spectrum.

Some years ago I had a quick look at REST, as an alternative to SOAP – but never really got the hang of it. So I was interested in being introduced properly by Chris Muir in his talk “A Change is as Good as a REST – JDeveloper 11g’s REST Web Services”. This double-length presentation was worth attending, he started with an excellent definition of web services, their history and REST’s heritage; explained the power and simplicity of REST, compared and contrasted it with its complex and comprehensive cousin, SOAP; and demonstrated how easy it is to create and expose simple REST web services using JDeveloper.

After lunch, we were entertained by Guy Harrison‘s keynote address, “Technology Trends that have the potential to make big impacts both in our everyday life and as Oracle professionals”. They had to close down all the other conference rooms just to make room for the presentation title in the programme :) But it was a fun talk speculating about the kinds of technology our kids and our kids’ kids will probably be all blasé about.

Connor McDonald fired us all up with “A Better Way of Managing Optimizer Statistics”. He claims that we should stop collecting statistics and stop creating histograms :) – I suspect a number of DBAs are now wondering why they wasted so much of their time (and so much server time) for so long…

I finished the day with Frank Bommarito‘s “Outlines, Profiles, and SQL Plan Baselines” which was a good introduction to the subject and for me was a good overview of some new features I haven’t used.

AUSOUG Perth 2010 – Day 1

After a leisurely sleep-in (after a weekend away at the parents’-in-law farm) I made my way to Burswood for the first day of the AUSOUG Perth Conference 2010.

After Roland Slee’s keynote (“consolidate consolidate consolidate!”), I headed upstairs for Steven Feuerstein’s “Golden Rules for Developers” – webinar edition. Unfortunately due to technical issues it started late (no fault of Steven’s) but I think he got the important points across.

Following that was Penny Cookson with “Meet the CBO in Version 11g”. She explained a number of improvements in the Cost-Based Optimizer that came with 11g, including a detailed demonstration of adaptive cursor sharing.

After lunch I decided to take in a DBA session – Guy Harrison spoke about how Oracle runs on VMware, which had some very interesting info about the difference between Full Virtualisation, Paravirtualisation, and Hardware-Assisted Virtualisation. A lot of it went over my head but I got a slightly better picture of what’s going on when I run an OS in a VM, as well as how proper memory and CPU allocation can make a huge difference to the performance of Oracle in a virtual environment.

I lost count of how many great tips Scott Wesley gave in his “‘n’ Methods to Improve Apex Performance” presentation – but there were a lot of great ideas, many that are simple and easy to implement, which can make a big difference to the performance of your Apex applications.

It was great to see the level of interest in Apex Themes and Templates – if you’d like to look through the bits that I skipped over, feel free to download my presentation from here.

Oracle OpenAustralia

The draft programme is out for the AUSOUG National Conference 2010.

If you’ll be in Perth in November I recommend you register and attend – a number of excellent papers will be presented, some of which I had the privilege of hearing when I was in Melbourne – you’ll learn new things, relearn old things you’d forgotten, and meet some giants in the Oracle world who will have travelled great distances to get here.

Some highlights, in no particular order:

  • Steven Feuerstein“Golden Rules for Developers”
  • Penny Cookson“Meet the CBO in Version 11g”
  • Guy Harrison“Optimizing Oracle databases on VMware”
  • Mogens Nørgaard“Licensing – Tales from the Trenches and other thoughts on Oracle”
  • Tom Kyte“The Best Way”
  • Frank Bommarito – “Outlines, Profiles and SQL Plan Baselines”
  • Connor McDonald“A Better Way of Managing Optimizer Statistics”
  • Mark Lancaster“Building Advanced APEX 4.0 UIs with ExtJS”

I’ll be presenting my “Apex Themes and Templates” paper, which I presented in Melbourne last month – however it will be updated with a few additional bits and pieces that I’ve learned since then.

InSync10 Day 2

Another good day in Melbourne. Heard Richard Foote talk about Indexing New Features in Oracle 11g release 1 and 2. One thing he demonstrated was the creation of an index on only part of a table – normally I’d use a function-based index for this sort of thing, but his technique results in an index that is useful without adding strange predicates to all relevant queries in the application; it involves creating a globally partitioned index, in an UNUSABLE state, then rebuilding only selected partitions. This could be very useful for customers who have the partitioning option.

Of interest to me was Discovering the Power to Save the Planet, presented by Robin Eckermann (Smart Grid Australia) – having worked for a short time at Western Power, it was interesting to hear his perspective on the future of the generation and distribution of power. He compared the state of the art in power to broadband, as it was 15 years ago – and asserts that the smart grid will enable all sorts of new applications for customers to regulate their demand intelligently, and is essential for the coming wave of electric cars.

After that was Steven Feuerstein‘s second talk, “Golden Rules for Developers“, which was well worth a good listen. I recommend you download and read the powerpoint if you missed it. If you take even just one of his recommendations (e.g. Don’t Repeat Anything, Don’t Take Shortcuts, Build On A Foundation, Don’t Code Alone), I think you will improve the quality of your code, reduce the cost of maintenance for your employer/client, and be much more satisfied with your work. I certainly intend to – I’ve been guilty of “starting from scratch” many times – I do carry around a portable hard drive with a large collection of bits and pieces I’ve collected along the way, but nothing I can just plug in and use with confidence. Steven also gave another PL/SQL talk at the end of the day, this time for DBAs, and that was interesting to me (as a developer). If you’re a DBA, but think that you have no need for PL/SQL, think again.

After that, during lunch, Steven announced the winners of the previous day’s quiz – and wouldn’t you know it, I won :)