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100,000 Hits, Olympic Games and OOW (Golden Years) August 26, 2008

Posted by Richard Foote in Olympics, OOW, Oracle Blog.

Time for a bit of a catchup on things.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was celebrating 10,000 hits. Well over the last day or so, I’ve hit the next significant milestone, 100,000 hits. Considering the somewhat limited appeal of my humble writings (Oracle Indexes doesn’t generally generate the same interest as say Madonna’s new world tour or the world’s best apple pie recipe), it’s a nice little number to reach nonetheless. So a big thank-you to everyone who has contributed over the past 8 months or so and I hope some of those 100,000 hits were worth the effort.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been stuck in front of the TV watching the spectacle that is the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. I’m an Olympic Games tragic and just love watching the best athletes in the world compete and amaze us with their talents while of course watching Australia win medals. One of the happiest and most exciting periods of life was during the whole Sydney 2000 Olympics experience and for example being there poolside as Ian Thorpe won the 400M freestyle gold medal. Magical times indeed.

For the BeiJing 2008 Olympics, my highlights and lowlights were:

Australian Highlight: Toss up between Sally McLennan’s celebration when she won silver in the 100M hurdles and Matthew Mitcham’s amazing last dive to take gold in the 10M platform. To finish 6th overall was another impressive performance for a country of only 20 odd million although beating the poms in 2012 must surely be a national priority 🙂

Overall Highlight: Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals was an incredible achievement that will likely never been repeated but for me the highlight was the performance of Usain Bolt who managed to crush the best in the world and beat world records while playing with the crowd. He would be booked for speeding if he ran that fast in a school zone !!

Biggest Disappointment: The TV coverage dished out by Channel 7 in Australia, it was simply appalling. Featuring more ads than actual coverage, what coverage we had was often delayed and featured repeat after repeat after repeat of the same things. Many sports were simply not shown, including many blue ribbon events like many of the athletic field events. SBS, a second TV station with secondary rights managed to salvage some respectability with their coverage but overall, it was a huge disappointment. Thankfully, Channel 7 no longer have the TV rights for the Olympics, hopefully lessons have been learnt and things will improve in time for London 2012.

I’ve had a number of emails regarding where the hell I’m listed for this year’s Oracle OpenWorld schedule after my presentation was one of the winners in the Oracle Mix “competition”. Firstly a big thank-you to everyone who voted, my “Indexing Secrets” presentation ended up finishing 6th and was selected. Unfortunately, times are somewhat tight at work and I wasn’t able to get my travel costs approved and so will not be able to attend OOW this year. Sorry to all those who were hoping to see me action, maybe next year.

Finally, in the next day or two, I’ll finally get around to answering Brian Tkatch’s question on when partitioning is a better option than just an index. So stayed tuned !!

Most Influencial Person In My Career (I Am…I Said) April 10, 2008

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle Blog, Oracle Opinion, Richard's Musings.

I previously listed four of the people who have probably had the biggest impact on me as a DBA.

However, the single most important person in my career as a DBA, the person who’s had the biggest impact in all my various successes and failures throughout my career, is undoubtedly the one and only Richard Foote.

Congratulations Slater 🙂

Now I’m not suggesting for one minute I’m as capable or knowledgeable as the four previously listed, indeed I can say with some confidence that I’m not, but there’s no question that at the end of the day, I’m ultimately responsible for being the DBA (and indeed the person generally) I am today.

Influences are of course very important, but it’s up to the individual to ensure all influences (good and bad) become positive experiences. It’s entirely up to the individual to take those influences and to find the drive, the energy, the motivation and the enthusiasm to be as successful, as capable, as knowledgeable and as competent as they can be.

Or indeed as “successful” as one ultimately wants to be because all these things are measured and mean something different to each individual. The scale that really matters, the best measurement to determine the level or standard or confidence that one has achieved is ultimately happiness. When you walk into the office each morning, how do you feel about yourself? You really don’t need to be world’s best Oracle expert (or in any subject matter or profession) to feel good about yourself, to feel you’re heading in the right direction and that you’re at a stage in your career, your work-life journey, where you want to be. To feel like you’re a bloody good and successful DBA.

If you’re “happy” with where you are, congratulations, because you’re the one that’s had the biggest impact and influence in your “success”. If you’re not happy, if you’re not satisfied with where you’re at, if you feel you’re behind where you really want to be, if you’re not the Oracle DBA you want to be (or developer, or pilot or porn star, or whatever), the good news, the really exciting and positive news, is that it’s entirely in your own hands to turn things around.

I spend a good portion of my life at work. I probably spend as much time talking to my work colleagues as I do talking to my own family. I certainly spend more time working on Oracle databases than I do working in my garden or playing football or losing at computer games against the kids or watching David Bowie DVDs. Therefore, it’s really important to me that I enjoy what I do at work and that I’m as good at my job as I can reasonably hope to be. How much I enjoy my work is very much related to how confident I feel in my capabilities and in how much I continue to learn and grow in my abilities. Ultimately, I’m directly responsible for it all…

After I do a presentation or talk, people often ask how do I know all that stuff, how come I know so much about bloody indexes, where did I pick up all that 10g/ 11g stuff. It’s no secret, I spend a lot of energy researching, experimenting and investing time into learning more and more about that which I’m responsible for; which is lots of Oracle databases that have lots of important information for lots of people.

The four people I mentioned as influences certainly have had a big impact in how I approach my learning and my work generally, in how I attempt to better myself, in my drive to test things for myself, in how I view what’s possible and what’s important. However, they can’t actually put things in my brain; they can’t force me to spend hours determining how the behaviour of bitmap indexes changed in 10g, or make me spend hours practicing different types of database recoveries with and without RMAN, or make me start this Blog or make me research and write a 2 day index internals seminar, etc.

That’s all up to me.

How I deal with failure, how I learn (or not) from mistakes, how I determine right from wrong (at so many levels) how I handle criticism, how I admit and respond to errors, how I judge and police values and how I actually absorb and turn influences and feedback into positive experiences is also totally and entirely up to me as an individual as well.

The key point I want to make is that when discussing influences and who has contributed and had an impact in your successes and in your career, ultimately the person who has had the biggest impact is you.

April Fools (I Got You Babe) !! April 1, 2008

Posted by Richard Foote in Humour, Oracle Blog, Richard's Musings.

Firstly, thank you for all the comments and emails, I’m very touched !!

Those of you that know me realise I have a naughty little streak in me that likes to get out and have some fun every now and then. April 1st is usually one of those days.

I feel a little guilty in posting my “Announcement” on 31 May GMT, however it was well and truly the morning of April 1 here in sunny Canberra, Australia, Australian Eastern Summer Time. So it’s well within the official April Fools rules of conduct. Time zones are a funny thing.

The first subtle clue that this “Announcement” was not quite what it might appear was in the title, Announcing Finale, as it has the same initials as April Fools. However, the far more obvious clue was within the post itself, with the first letter in every paragraph spelling April Fools. I modified the post to highlight how it was sitting there all along. Hee hee 😉

I must say I had thought the reference to my future career plans in the adult film industry might be stretching things a tad (pun fully intended), that and the fact I must of sounded totally demented, but it seems that many saw this as some kind of confirmation that I was really moving on !! I guess with a name like Dick Foote, anything is possible I guess.

Congratulations to those who picked it and sorry to those of you who I caught in the net 🙂

However, let me clearly state I have absolutely no intention of retiring and that this Blog will be around for quite some time yet.

I guess it only leaves me with one more thing to say, “April Fools” everyone !!

Marcel Kratochvil: New Oracle Multimedia Blog (Good DBA / Bad DBA) March 19, 2008

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle Blog, Oracle General.
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Just wanted to quickly mention an excellent new blog, the Oracle Multimedia Blog, that might be of interest to some of you.

It’s run by fellow Canberra resident, Marcel Kratochvil, a well known Oracle identity, who is almost as well known as myself but nowhere near as good looking 😉

Marcel and I go way back, having worked together at Oracle Corporation in the mid 1990’s. Marcel was also my partner in crime when we won the runner’s up award for best paper at Oracle Openworld in Brisbane in 1999 with our paper / theatre production called “Good DBA / Bad DBA”.  For those who might remember that fateful day, he was the over-acting “Cowboy”, I was the understated and somewhat professional looking “Airline Pilot” 🙂

Marcel is a most knowledgeable and clever fellow who among his many achievements won the Oracle PL/SQL Developer Of the Year award in 2004 and has recently been made an Oracle Ace.

I wish Marcel the very best with his new Blog and encourage everyone to check it out.

10,000 Hits Already !! January 9, 2008

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle Blog, Richard's Musings.

I’ve just noticed that the hits counter has just reached 10,000 hits.

I’m quite excited as I actually saw it displaying the 10000, being one of those weird people who would drive around the block a couple of times just to see the mileometer reading in the car reach some “special” number. I screamed with frustration once when I just missed 12345 scroll past, 123456 just seemed such a long way away ….

I must admit I had absolutely no idea how many people would read this Blog when I started it almost a month ago. Starting a Blog was something that was mentioned and suggested to me a few times when I attended and presented at the Unconference at Oracle OpenWorld last year.

Now I must admit, I don’t really know whether 10,000 visits in less than a month, including the Christmas Holidays, is actually a lot or not, but if someone asked me a month ago how long I thought it would take me to reach 10,000 hits, I would have guessed (and hoped somewhat) in 6 months or so. So it’s certainly a lot more hits than I ever thought I would get at this early stage.

So to have generated so much interest, so many comments, there’s over 150 although lots are mine I know 🙂 and so many emails is really really, umm what’s the right word, I guess “nice”.

So thank you all for your interest and involvement !!

If someone can give me a bit of warning just before 20,000 is reached, I would appreciate it !!

Richard Foote’s Oracle Blog Has Arrived !! December 11, 2007

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle Blog, Richard's Musings, Uncategorized.

Finally decided it might be worth giving this blogging lark a go.

Occasionally, as I come across interesting Oracle Database related issues, I’ll post my thoughts and opinions and who knows what else and perhaps, just maybe, others may find it interesting or useful as well.

However, will try and focus on the specific topic of Oracle Indexes as it’s such a huge and important area in any Oracle database design. It’s also an area in which there is much confusion, more than it’s far share of myths and popular misconceptions and one in which DBAs, Developers, Database Designers and the like all have a key role to play.

Let the fun begin …