A Year Older, Any Wiser?

30 11 2010

November 30, 2010 (Updated December 1, 2010)

(Forward to the Next Post in the Series)

It feels a bit strange, but this blog went live a year ago today.  What was the motivation for creating the blog?  At the time I was comtemplating creating a publically accessible Oracle Database related blog, I already had a restricted-access Oracle blog, and if I was lucky I had maybe four regular visitors (I might have five regular visitors now, or two that hit the refresh button 2.5 times a day).  Before setting up this blog I made the following comment in the above linked OTN thread:

“Yes, a lot of time is spent putting together the test cases. Even more time would be required to put together blog articles that better describe what appears in the test. I do not know if I am able to justify the time involvement, but I will consider starting a blog. However, there are already a large number of very good Oracle blogs. Maybe if it were used just to preserve some of the test cases?”

I had commented something like this, in a previous OTN thread when someone suggested that I set up a blog:

There are already a large number of fantastic Oracle related blogs on the Internet, and every subtopic seemed to have been previously covered in great detail.  I could not image developing unique material that anyone would care to read.

I guess that I proved myself wrong, yet again.  I can think of five good articles in the last year that I published, although I might be imagining things.  So, for the five regular readers (or the 2 that hit the refresh button 2.5 times daily), what are the five good articles?

Wow, I spent (maybe wasted, had I not learned a lot in the process) a lot of time in the last year creating material for this blog.


Edit: December 1, 2010:

Some of the 400 to 800 non-regular (thus, those who want to know why something is as it is) visitors to this blog who visit daily may be wondering what the symbol means at the top right of my blog, and where I obtained the symbol.  I will leave the meaning of the symbol to your imagination.  So, where did I obtain the symbol?  It was created using a painting/imaging editing program that I created in the late 1990s.  Take a look:

The splash screen, created entirely in the program:

The starting point, not much unusual here:

Let’s use some of those mathematics abilities that the teachers said were so critical to know in life, let’s build a brush using a cosine wave:

Better yet, let’s use sine wave for the brush and change the colors a bit:

Finger painting with the new brush – looking good, except that I keep scratching the canvas, leaving behind black marks:

Let’s play with some more mathematics to transform the picture:

We will use a spiral wave which progressively twists the image the further out from the center you go – using the angular coordinate system and sine and cosine to translate back into X, Y coordinates:

Let’s crank up the twist a bit more and see what it looks like – that certainly looks better than the previous pictures (I fixed the scratches in the canvas first):

But the earlier picture is still too plain, let’s add some lighting effects using, you guessed it, more mathematics:

That lower right corner looks a little boring, let’s roll it up using more mathematics:

Let’s do the same for the top left corner – that’s what mathematics are good for, rolling up the rug:

The last four pictures – pretty neat what can be done with all the mathematics we have worked so hard to forget over the years, too bad I never did anything useful with the painting/image editing program other than to use it as a teaching tool:




10 responses

30 11 2010
Damir Vadas

Hi Charles,
Mine blog is more liek “How to”.

Sometimes solution is deeper and sometimes is not (more like mine internal documentation). Most of them are really easy to follow.

However, I do follow your blog with special interests in a moments when I can be concentrated, because your blog requires the whole person to dig into deep.
Keep on dude (hope this is OK term in your language!?)
Damir Vadas

30 11 2010


Congrats 🙂 . I can proudly say that I was one of those people who really really wanted to see you starting a blog. Thanks so much for giving such a knowledgeable resource to Oracle Community and I hope and it wish, it would keep on going stronger and stronger.


PS: If you would just re-read the thread, you need to come on Twitter as well 😉 . Can we see it happening that too soon 🙂 ?

1 12 2010


Answering to your question: what are the five good articles? – it’s very hard to say since i find ALL of them very good. This is the reason i’m spending 2 hours a day reading your articles and try to understand every test case you do.

Congrat and thank you very much for your time/ effort and passion on sharing this informations.

All the best,

1 12 2010
David Mann

You have covered a lot of territory for a year.

Your indepth explanations are appreciated. I always have something to think about after digging in to your examples.

1 12 2010
Charles Hooper

Thank you for the comment, “requires the whole person to dig into deep.” I was hoping that some of the blog articles would do that – I know that several of the articles are not as clear as those found on a couple other sites, and that is partially by design. I do not have all of the answers; I will occasionally post an article that is not complete so that people will have to formulate their own answer, and hopefully share it with other visitors of this blog. Your “Keep on dude” comment makes complete sense – I will try to keep working on new blog articles.

Yes, you and Hemant K Chitale get the credit for encouraging me starting this blog. Comments on Twitter seem to have too short of a lifespan. I do follow the Twitter feed on http://www.orana.info, that is the extent of my interest. Looking at that OTN thread again, I see that Kamran Agayev A. tried to contact me on LinkedIn – I do not have a LinkedIn account. Good luck with the book that you are writing with Kamran Agayev A.

I am very happy that people are trying to understand the test cases, rather than just believing what I write. Test cases are important to help with understanding why things work, and have been a big help for me. I try to put a little bit of humor into my articles when I have the chance. Sometimes the humor is intentional, and some times it is not intentional, and sometimes it is necessary to read the article 2 or more times to see the humor. For instance, when I wrote: “So, for the five regular readers (or the 2 that hit the refresh button 2.5 times daily)” – it is hard for someone to do something 2.5 times, but not hard for someone to do something an *average* of 2.5 times. A *regular* reader might entirely miss the fact that “average” did not appear in that sentence, while I suspect that most of the *typical* readers of this blog saw that and immediately knew that I was joking. Likewise, when I stated “I can think of five good articles in the last year that I published”, there is a top 5 list of blog articles at the right of the page – I manually update the list weekly to show the top 5 articles for the past 90 days (edit December 1, 2010: this is based on WordPress’ page hit counter for the last quarter). So, yes, it is easy for me to think of 5 good articles because they are at the right side of every page. 🙂

Thanks for the compliment. It seems like there is almost always one more step that I could have performed in a blog article, and I am hoping that people recognize that there is at least one more step to go to fully understand something, or to make something work exactly as it needs to work. Recognizing that there is at least one more step, and then taking that next step is one of the goals of that people should have when reading my articles.

1 12 2010
Iggy Fernandez


Congratulations on the year long sprint. I enjoy reading your posts because you have very original things to say and you say them very well.

Kind regards,


2 12 2010
Charles Hooper


Thank you for the compliments.

2 12 2010
joel garry

You should write a book… 🙂

This blog is what a technical blog should be. Deep dives, well written, and content worth searching for long after the original post.

3 12 2010
Charles Hooper


Thank you for the compliment. In my opinion, for several of my articles it is the comments posted by people who visit the site, that really add the material worth revisiting on occasion.

On a different note, I re-read a couple of the comments that you made in an OTN thread regarding Microsoft Sync in cars. A couple of months ago I bought a custom ordered 2011 car that offered Sync and Navigation. I think that Microsoft has made some improvements in the technology since the 2008 model year. Having said that, I did initially have trouble syncing my BlackBerry to the car. Also, when I went for a long drive in the car (somewhere around 1,800 miles), a week after taking the car home, I used the navigation system to help find my way on the trip. There were more than a couple of times when the car told me to turn left when the map on the screen clearly showed to turn right or continue heading straight. I said a few choice words when that happened, but I think that I forgot to hit the button on the steering wheel first, or the car was too embarrased to offer a reply. 🙂

8 12 2010
joel garry

Since I blab a lot about that, I don’t recall what I said, but in recent months I’ve seen:

Inability to distinguish road and commercial driveway (of course, that can be difficult in the real world, but this example was stupid).

Way off in mountains, on roads dating back to gold rush days. It simply gives up, near major resorts no less.

Solicitation for $200 data upgrade.

Confusion about phone number last received (could be wife’s phone which was replaced under warranty because of this – only to do it again with the new one).

Inability to call out system report if the phone that receives the report is secondary phone in car.

Problems with initial syncing of my LG smartphone.

And I can’t really blame sync, but it does give an annoying “phone disconnected” message when driving away from the house, because my phone is in the other car.

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