On the Topic of Technology… 7

26 09 2014

September 26, 2014

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As I was walking from the back of the facility where I work to my office just recently, I started repeatedly saying to myself as I approached the office door, “that huge computer was not here when I started calling my office a second home“.  I guess that I have worked at the same place for so long that I became blind to the interesting technology gadgets (if you can call multi-million dollar computers simply just gadgets) that surround me on a daily basis.

A couple of years ago BlackBerry released a small 8″ tablet, and Motorola released a 10″ Xoom tablet (I think that Motorola sold out their Mobility division to Google, who then sold that division to a farmer to use as fertilizer).  At the time the Xoom and BlackBerry tablets were released, my boss was really excited about the Apple iPads, but he did not care to spend $500 or more of his own money for a toy to use at home.  He had a Windows computer at home, but he seemed to always view that computer as excessively slow (mostly when viewing websites), even though he spent close to $3,000 on the computer six years earlier.  I am not much of an Apple fan, so I decided to have a little fun with my boss’ situation.

On the day that the Xoom tablet became available on Amazon, I placed an order for the tablet.  When it arrived, I brought it into work and showed the boss how quickly it could pull up web pages, along with its support of Adobe Flash playback (the iPad never supported Adobe Flash).  Yet, he continued to go on about the iPad, even showing me newspaper articles written by tech gurus that boasted about the fantastic features of the iPad.  A year earlier I had bought a small Windows netbook with a 10” display, trying to convince him that such a netbook was even better than an iPad, so obviously that prior attempt failed.

When the BlackBerry tablet was released, I made a special trip to Best Buy just to grab the tablet.  I set the tablet up to work with the BlackBerry phone that I had at the time.  Oh neat, I am able to look at the company emails that I receive on the phone using the tablet – certainly, that will convince the boss that something is better than the iPad.  I showed my boss, who was also using a BlackBerry phone at the time, the neat BlackBerry tablet that could not only quickly pull up web pages (along with showing Adobe Flash contents), but could also show company emails and use the phone as a mobile hotspot for viewing web pages.  He spent a couple of minutes looking over the BlackBerry tablet before handing it back to me.  I found a couple more newspaper articles about the iPad on my desk in the weeks that followed.

On a Sunday afternoon, I decided to do some video testing with the two tablets, in a final attempt to convince the boss that something other than an iPad is ideal for his use at home.  I took the two tablets to my second home (that’s the place where my office, and all of those huge computers are located), and decided to do a head to head video test with the two tablets.  I planned to show the best looking video from the two tablets to the boss, and finally win him over.  I held the two tablets side-by-side as I walked down the isles of the huge computers.  As I walked, I wondered what that 40,000 pound part was doing in the big pit that was dug for one of the computers that was expected to arrive in another month or two.  No matter, I continued with my video testing, holding the tablets at head level as I walked.  I received some strange looks from the other employees as I walked about – I simply reassured the other employees that I was just trying to impress the boss.  I took the tablets home and processed the video from the tablets to eliminate meaningless portions of the video.  It seems that both tablets produced 720P video at either 29 or 30 frames per second that was virtually identical in video quality, but the BlackBerry video would playback directly in the Windows Media Player, while the Xoom video required conversion to a compatible format.  I showed the boss the resulting video, that not only could the BlackBerry tablet quickly pull up web pages (along with showing Adobe Flash contents), show company emails and use the phone as a mobile hotspot for viewing web pages, but also record 720P video that easily plays back on your Windows computer at home.  The boss thought for a minute or two, and then said, “did you have a chance to read Walt Mossberg’s latest Wall Street Journal article, there is a new iPad out now.”

Ah, fond memories.

I recently found the video clips that I recorded using the tablets back in 2011, and after reviewing the videos, I still can’t see much difference between the videos captured by either tablet.  The video looks nice when playing back, but pausing either video to take a screen capture results in a blurry single-frame mess 90% of the time.  The video showed the big pit that was dug for the large computer – yep, that pit now contains a multi-million dollar computer, and the wall that had been next to the pit was removed during a later expansion project.

In the nearly five years since I created the first article on this blog, I really have not said much about the company where I work.  I have posted a lot of Oracle Database book reviews on Amazon, as well as several reviews of security cameras.  Some readers on Amazon were convinced that I worked for a couple of book publishing companies, writing fake book reviews to promote the publishers books; people who actually read the book reviews should know better than that – the reviews are brutally honest.  Some other customers on Amazon thought that I was working for a security camera company and/or living in California; no, not the case.  As a result, I put together an article that shows some of the interesting technology and multi-million dollar computers that are located just feet from my office at work.  In the article, I included some still frames from the video that I captured in the walk through with the tablets in 2011.

Below are three pictures from the article that I recently posted.  I am still trying to come up with good captions for the last two pictures, captions such as “taking a break” and “breaking in a new truck” seem to come in mind.

Cincinnati CL-707 Laser Burner Slicing Through 1In the Deep EndNeed a Bigger TRuck


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5 responses

26 09 2014
jgarry

In the spirit of thereifixedit.com “There, I parked it.”

27 09 2014
Charles Hooper

Joel,
That is a pretty good caption for the last picture. Some others that I had in mind:
* Damn speed bump, first they put them in the malls, now on gravel roads too.
* Take 1 of a Ford F-350 commercial: The Ford F-350 is designed to handle your really big jobs. Watch carefully as the Ford F-350 lifts this 150 ton dump truck off the ground.
* How to fail a parallel parking test with style.
* Spelling lesson #1: The difference between brake and break
* Spelling lesson #2: The difference between getting a raise at work, and razing at work.

Anyone else with a witty caption for the picture.

23 10 2014
Dird

You don’t allow comments on the book reviews? 😮
Will you be doing one of Expert Oracle RAC Performance Diagnostics and Tuning? http://www.apress.com/9781430267096
I guess you’re eagerly awaiting Transactions and Locking Revealed? 😛 http://www.apress.com/9781484207611

23 10 2014
Charles Hooper

Hi Dird,
That is correct that I do not permit comments on the book review articles. I post as much as possible of the book review on Amazon’s product page for the book, and try to provide a link to the Amazon page (or the location where I bought the book) at the start of the book review, were comments may be attached to the book review. There are three primary reasons for restricting comments this way:
1. Comments left on the Amazon reviews will have better visibility to potential book customers, with no chance that someone could claim that I have deleted comments that either agree or disagree with the position that I took in the book review (I do NOT delete comments that disagree with me, but there are people out there that will make unsubstantiated claims).

2. There is a chance that few people will agree with what I write in a book review. There have been some books written by Darl Kuhn (or co-written by him), for instance, that I have given a two out of five rating. The Amazon review system allows people to posts book reviews for the same book that give it a five out of five rating, a rating which may or may not be justifiable based on the contents of that person’s review. All of the reviews are there on the same product page so that people may post agreeing or disagreeing comments to some or all of the reviews, where those comments are also available for other people to comment upon. This hopefully avoids a one-sided bashing of a book that may or may not be justified.

3. Some people simply cannot separate an article’s content from the comments left by people reading the article – the comments left by a person who reads one of my book reviews and further (correctly) bashes the book could be intentionally misconstrued as having been written (or approved) by me. If you have followed this blog for a while, you might remember a false DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice that was filed by a book author, which then held one of my articles hostage for a two week time period. In the DMCA notice that author claimed that I copied a SQL statement that was posted by a visitor to an Internet forum that the author runs, and under penalty of perjury that he was the copyright holder of that SQL statement. I did state in the article that the SQL statement was a reformatted version of a SQL statement posted to that forum (and posted a link to the forum thread), and then went on to analyze the SQL statement to help the OP in that forum thread understand why the SQL statement was running slowly (something that the owner of that forum failed to accomplish). As it turns out, the SQL statement that the person posted to the forum originated in a fairly well known performance monitoring solution that was NOT owned by the owner of the forum (and thus not the property of the book author). I contested the false DMCA notice and won, with the help of comments that were posted on the article that was held hostage by the DMCA takedown notice. Ironically, I had reviewed this author’s Oracle performance tuning book a couple of months earlier, and had found that the author published in the book at least one of the Oracle copyrighted scripts that is distributed with Oracle Database, replacing the Oracle copyright notice with his own copyright notice (do a search, you will find the book review and the false DMCA takedown). The same book also contained content that appeared to originate from Oracle’s Metalink (renamed My Oracle Support) site, as well as books that were published by the same publishing company as his book.

I still have not found the time to finish the review of the “Troubleshooting Oracle Performance, Second Edition” book. A couple of years ago I bought the book “Expert Oracle Exadata” by Kerry Osborne, Randy Johnson, and Tanel Poder, but have not managed to do much other than skim through the book. I bought another book at the same time on the topic of PL/SQL – I started reviewing that book, found that I was identifying a few too many issues, and decided to spend my time on other tasks. The “Expert Oracle RAC Performance Diagnostics and Tuning” book was not even a consideration – and will not be at least until I have the time to properly read the “Expert Oracle Exadata” book. Every book written by Tom Kyte that I read has been extremely good; I have had mixed results with Darl Kuhn’s books (my review of one of his books seemed to be almost as long as the book itself!). The two authors are co-authoring the “Transactions and Locking Revealed” book – I am NOT planning to buy this book. I am hopeful that someone else will write a proper review for those two books, in a style that is similar to my reviews.

My next review will likely be for a Synology DiskStation DS415+ NAS. A bit over a year ago I reviewed a Synology DiskStation DS1813+, and could have written reviews for the DS412+, DS212+, DS214+, DS112j, and maybe one other unit that I am forgetting. If you want to read the review of the DS1813+ written in the same style as my Oracle book reviews, you will find that review here: http://www.amazon.com/Synology-DiskStation-Diskless-Attached-DS1813/dp/B00CRB53CU/

31 10 2014
Charles Hooper

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