adhd ocd dba

Possibly random thoughts of a oddly organized dba with a very short attention span

8.25.2011

We'll miss you Steve

As Steve Jobs resigns his role at Apple, perhaps the most appropriate send off is remembering another innovator/inventor who changed our lives, while we recognize that delivering on an acknowledged need isn't innovation.

In the words of Henry Ford:

'If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.'

If Jobs had asked you what you wanted in Y2K, what would you have told him? Could you have even imagined a MacBook, an iPhone, iPod or iTunes back in 1999? Can you imagine where technology would be if Jobs had listened to only the consumer, and ignored what he thought might be was possible?

Agile development may be the best option we've got, but if it has a shortcoming, it is this: consumer led design will always be flawed as giving a customer something they already know they need will never lead to innovation.

Visionaries see both the need AND the solutions most of us never dreamed of. Steve Jobs was a visionary, and whether you like his vision or not, his influence can be felt throughout the technological world. I only hope that not all our best and brightest are spending their gifts on Facebook-y silliness and other marketing crap trying to get consumers to click on some annoying bit of advertising. We need more visionaries, and a lot less marketeers .... *

Thank you Mr. Jobs, get well and godspeed for all your future endeavors.


* on of the advantages of writing a very infrequent blog - you can say all sorts of things that might tick someone off :)

12.02.2010

UKOUG-TEBS and lots of snow ...

Hello Readers … that is, if I still have any readers out left out there. I have few topics that have been on my mind lately and they will become posts in the near future. After all, this blog does have a purpose other than re-broadcasting my favorite xkcd's.

First order of business is to let you know what I've been up to lately. As you may have already learned from other blogs and adverts, there is a new book coming soon: Oracle Pro SQL. Karen Morton is the lead author and Kerry Osbourne, RS, Jared Still and I all contributed a couple of chapters to the effort. I have to say this is going to be an excellent book and the primary reason for that is Karen Morton. I don't intend to detract from the other authors at all. I've previewed many of the chapters and there is great content across the board but Karen is one of the top 5 Oracle educators out there. (and I'm thinking Jonathan Lewis, Cary Millsap, Tom Kyte level, plus I'm leaving one 'get out of jail free' card just in case I forgot someone important.) Karen has a talent for taking a complex concept and explaining it in a way that makes is immediately understandable and accessible to her audience. What is even more impressive is that she can do this in her writing as well, and it's actually enjoyable to read her work. And while enjoyable reading may be common on the best seller list, but let's face the facts, it's exceptionally rare in technical book section.


Next on the list is that I gave two presentations at UKOUG this year:

The topics are:

'On the Importance of a Good Data Model'

As you might have guessed, this topic resulted from my blog previous posts lamenting the lack of data modeling in Agile environments, and the very insightful comments from several readers. In the presentation, I'll talk about why the data model (data-at-rest version) is overlooked many development projects and why skipping it is a fatal flaw in any project. I'll also talk a bit about what I really like about Agile methods because - believe it or not - I do think Agile is a very good thing.

'Using Instrumentation to Ensure Performance'

One of the chapters I contributed to Karen's book was on Testing and Quality. As part of that chapter, I cover instrumenting your code and this second session will focus on how to instrument your code and why it's a good thing to do. I'll include some of the specific code changes I've made, the data points I choose to store and how that data can be used in conjunction with Oracle's performance tool to troubleshoot problems. I'll also show how you can use that instrumentation to measure performance and capacity testing before the code is released so you can fix any issues before the customer bumps into them.

If you missed the presentations at UKOUG, I will be giving these same presentations at RMOUG in February. With me, catching a later showing tends to pay off as I modify the presentation after each I give it to fix anything that wasn't clear, or to address questions from attendees. Unfortunately, about the time I get it right, I get bored with the slides and file them away. Character flaw, I know but I am working on it :)

I'm still in Birmingham, enjoying the snow and hoping that my train to Manchester and the subsequent flight home will be uneventful. The conference was excellent as always and it was great to see so many friends again. I took my annual walk through the Christmas Market today through a steady snowfall and it was absolutely lovely. I really love the UK and would be perfectly happy to just stay here :)

cheers everyone

10.26.2010

Manifesto for Half-Arsed Agile Software Development

Rather than send the usual email or IM, I stopped by to see one of our developers this morning and discuss his testing needs for a set of code changes in the database. He wasn't there, but a copy of the


was hanging just outside the entrance to his cubicle.

The perfect concise description of the phenomenon I have been trying to describe: the Agile environment that becomes decidedly less agile than the waterfall approach simply because it's a hybrid of the two. And it's the attempt to use Agile software development while not being ready to let go of the old security blankets that is resulting in the horror stories we all read about.

I've learned two valuable lessons already this morning:

1. I am not alone in my frustration in dealing with hybrid software development methods.

2. Meeting with your coworkers face to face is a valuable thing ... even when you don't manage to see them.


8.09.2010

undeniable ...

from xkcd:


I tried to resist but just couldn't ....

(and btw ... my mother was from Louisville. thank god for my Nordic relatives)

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The views expressed on this page are mine and do not reflect the opinions of my employer, former employers, other associates or the opinions I may hold 3 days from now.