An Oracle April Fools trick

If anyone is looking for a trick for April Fools' Day, try

alter session set nls_date_format = 'fm';

The result will be an simple TO_CHAR on a date, or implicit conversion of a date to a string, will return NULL. You could try that with an ALTER SYSTEM too.

If (more...)

Out with the old, in with the new

Uncategorized
| Feb 4, 2013
The good news is that I've successfully got my picture being flagged up with my blog articles in Google Search. 

The bad news is that sometimes (mostly ?) it has the picture from my deprecated 'domain' GPlus account rather than my primary one. I suspect I need to take more drastic steps to eliminate the old profile. 


Folks, we have an Image Problem

Uncategorized
| Feb 1, 2013
Firstly the Daily WTF
"The forums have strong feelings about Oracle. Not a single one of those feelings is positive." 
This was actually a post in their "I hate Oracle" forum so it may be a bit biased. But the fact that the Dailt WTF have opened a forum just for Oracle with that name, well I get the hint.


It doesn't help that the only time Oracle hits the big news is when there's another major hole in Java. It's the only installer that comes with a revolving door as standard. Oh, and the Ask.com (more...)

Big BLOBs being greedy in TEMP tablespace

Uncategorized
| Jan 27, 2013

I work in a small team. There are just five of us at the 'coalface' for the application, responsible for both development and production. One of the five acts as the 'DBA/Sysadmin' (as well as doing programming and acting team as leader when the actual team leader is on leave and filling in a couple of other roles). And he was on leave on Friday when we got the plaintive email with the subject "The application is broken".

We could log in and out, so it wasn't 'catastrophic'. The application is mostly APEX, so my next step was to check (more...)

Engaging with Google+

Uncategorized
| Jan 26, 2013
In the pub after the Sydney Oracle Meetup ('SQL Developer for DBAs, featuring a guest recorded appearance by the one and only +Jeff Smith ), Google+ got a mention. Okay, it was me who mentioned it, and it was closely followed by a remark by another attendee that he didn't know anyone else who used it.

It is getting some traction, apparently overtaking Twitter in active members ( I don't know how the figures are calculated. Twitter is more high profile still, possibly because practically every tweet is public).

Google+... grew in terms of active usage by 27% to 343m (more...)

Greatest, Least and NULLs

Uncategorized
| Jan 10, 2013
The functions greatest and least are amongst the special ones which can take lots of arguments. They are a bit similar to min and max for columns rather than rows. But they have one difference to the aggregate functions that meant I avoided them for a long time.

Unlike aggregate functions, which ignore null values,  greatest and least will return a null if any of the supplied columns (or expressions) are null. If that isn't what you want (and it often isn't) it means putting NVLs around everything and with substitution values that don't break the logic.

For example, 


create table (more...)