Friday, May 06, 2005


You have it all figured out, haven't you! Here, I have an answer: It's 42. What's the question. Like they ask in beauty pageants, 'If you were given the opportunity to meet one person in history, who would that be and why?' Let's make it better. Dead or alive. Who are the people whom you have wanted to meet?

If I had it all figured out -- well, I sure don't yet.

I've got to get to that movie, the hitchhiker. Last year I got the unabridged version of Doug Adams hitchhiker series to reread. Been doing that with alot of series I read years ago. This time I'm keeping the books (getting some of the Asimov books took some looking). My son just finished reading the hitchhiker series. Getting to that movie is on the top of the list of things to do.

Who would I like to meet. That is a strange one. I think it would be fun to have lunch with Woody Allen (just read a book about him, he is an interesting individual). John F. Kennedy always interested me for some reason.

But I think an interesting lunch table would be just an average person from every 50 year slice for the last couple hundred years. 1900-1950, 1850-1900 and so on - say back to the 1600's. Just to sit around and measure the pace of change, to see if it is as exponential as it feels to me now - or if for the last 400 years it has always felt exponential to the people living in that time. Did the people at the turn of the last century feel things were changing as fast we do now. We look back and it all looks "quaint" to us - but to them it was new age. We can list all of the new things and it feels like it is moving really fast, but did it feel that way to them as well.

Think about air conditioning and life before and after. Perhaps that was the biggest life changing event for many people - totally changed the way you lived in a very broad way. Much of our technology changes things in little ways - but air conditioning? Every time I get in an airplane to fly across the country - I think about the people that walked. The airplane -- big time change, very broad. So are our incremental technology changes really that "big"? The advent of networking to the degree it is now is probably a really big change. I can work at home as easily as the office -- that could really change things. Just a decade ago, going on travel typically meant "no work" -- dialup was shaky (and really really slow), laptops couldn't do very much. Going to Europe for me back then was like going into oblivion as I lost the network entirely and had no phone. Today, I get off the plane, have wireless networking and my phone rings.

But I'd really like to fill out the table with people from the next 200/300 years too - now that would be interesting. I want to know where it is all going. How "quaint" will we look to them.

So it is not so much individuals, as just a curiosity about the people. I love coffee table books with old pictures of places I know today - to see how they changed. The only thing that is missing is the thoughts of the people in the picture.


Blogger Connor McDonald said....

Given the cyclic nature of IT, I suspect the person of 2150 will be saying...

"You used the internet ? That's dead technology man, don't you know that client/server is the future"


"Java? What's Java? We use COBOL here"

Fri May 06, 09:20:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Kalita said....

I find it surprising that you are not interested in having lunch with people with more than 30 years of DBA experience ;-)

Fri May 06, 09:33:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Given the cyclic nature of IT

I think its all about consolidation and fewer big databases myself...

Ever notice how when Enterprise pulls up to a planet in the star trek series -- they *never* do a distributed join! They always download the database and take off...

Maybe Ada will come back too.

Fri May 06, 09:33:00 AM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

Oracle needs one of them voice interface things ..

Picard: "Computer, tell me what are the top five salaries in this star system".

Computer: "Well, by "top five" do you mean the five highest distinct salaries, ..."

Fri May 06, 10:04:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Christopher Beck said....

I think its all about consolidation and fewer big databases myself...

That is very Borg-like thinking of you. "You WILL be assimilated, resistance is futile." :-)

Maybe Ada will come back too.

I can only hope so. Generics and Tasks were cool.

and I'm lol'ing at connor, david and kalita :-D

Fri May 06, 10:24:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Kalita said....

< and I'm lol'ing at connor, david and kalita >

Should lol'ing not be l'ing ol :-)

Fri May 06, 10:42:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous denni50 said.... you I'd give anything to see what this world is like in 3005.
(heck I'd even sell my soul to the devil).

But looking back in time(more recent that is)...Ben Franklin, George Washington..those that really shaped the history and evolution of this country as it stands today.
Imagine having lunch with the great minds that wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. In today's time...hey I'd like lunch with Bill Gates(only if he foot's the bill). Gotta give Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak credit too...wouldn't mind a lunch chat with them.

And lastly...going way,way back...would have love to have had lunch with all those dinosaurs.

Fri May 06, 11:59:00 AM EDT  

Blogger DaPi said....

"And lastly...going way,way back...would have love to have had lunch with all those dinosaurs."

Well, you could buy *me* lunch :)

Fri May 06, 12:34:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I think you and your children will like the movie. Alan Rickman is the voice of Marvin the robot.(perfect casting on the voice) My boys loved it.(ages 7 and 11)

It would be fasinating to have lunch with Galeleo.

Fri May 06, 01:50:00 PM EDT  

Blogger melanie caffrey said....

I agree that it would be fun to have lunch with Woody Allen. If you're ever in NYC on a Monday evening, you should go to see him play clarinet at the Carlyle. He's one heck of a jazz musician.

You might also be interested in checking out three of his collections of short stories: "Side Effects", "Without Feathers" and "Getting Even".

IMHO, "Side Effects" is the best of the collections.

Quick anecdote (which may or may not be urban legend) about Woody Allen.

In the late 70's he was in Elaine's restaurant in NYC and a young woman approached him and said "If you're who I think you are, I'm going to have to kiss you."

Woody Allen stares at the woman for a moment, glances around, then asks "Who do you think I am?"


Fri May 06, 02:08:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

My choices are all ancient folk:
Aristotle (esp when teaching Alexander)
Vitruvius (Augustus' chief engineer)
Juvenal (hilarious)

Fri May 06, 07:33:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous va said....


Unrelated to this topic, how does one go about asking you a question that you publish on this blog? Is there a different site for that or does one just send you email?


Fri May 06, 08:34:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Unrelated to this topic

you just put it here, the questions have so far been from other comments. when I see something "interesting", I put it in my to do list

Fri May 06, 09:30:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Karthick said....

In a professional life, for one to grow i.e. to mover from one level to a next one should have a proper replacement at his level. If an organization could not identify a replacement for you what you will do?

Sat May 07, 01:01:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Tom, What's your take on open source...

Sat May 07, 03:02:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Shivaswamy said....

Or.. If OpenSource on OS is good why not OpenSource of databases?

Sat May 07, 06:54:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

In a professional life,

It is important to not be irreplaceable if you would like to be table to move within the same organization, yes.

You should be grooming someone to be your legacy -- which means those who were mentored in the past need to they themselves become mentors.

If the organization has no one to fill that slot, and the need to move on/over/up is strong, you may have to move to another organization after a period of time. Management should be willing to help in such a case -- given that you let them know. They might not be able to react immediately, but they should be able to over the course of 6-12 months.

Me, I'd rather have someone from my group working in a different group, rather than feeling forced to go across the street to work for someone else.

Sat May 07, 09:20:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

On opensource, why not?

But remember - opensource is not free, cheap, infinitely flexible. That seems to be what people think. The 'opensource' that people use to run business with is bought and paid for and supported just like any other piece of software.

Our linux servers come out of a shrink wrapped box, with a support license, with maintenance, with everything that comes from being a packaged piece of software. If we want a new feature, we work with RedHat or whomever to get it in.

At the end of the day, it doesn't look very much different from any other piece of software you buy off of the shelf.

Sat May 07, 09:22:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I go to asktom.tom daily ,almost it is ritual for me..sometime i go there in state of panik too ...and most time i return from there with a piece of mind..I read this blog..have been following up on you since quite some years ..Still I have one question -- what makes you so eager , so consistent and so life.There are lots and lot of oracle experts..some of they may be better than you ..I'm talking about those geeks at Oracle Corps..but no one has that kind of intrest and and don;t know what to say -- that urgency to help/answer the quries (sometime they are pretty bad too ,sometime they are too naive ) ...But hey it has been 16 yrs with oracle for you and I feel like you are keep going more strongly...
So tell us ..what makes you so special..and so kind (if i may say so).I want to know about that motivation ...and that mission which you show in answering our queries..

Thank You

Sun May 08, 08:30:00 AM EDT  

Blogger R Menon said....

Hi Tom
you just put it here, the questions have so far been from other comments.
Here is one question (unrelated to this topic) I have for you. I know that in the
world of Oracle you are well
known for your attitude for
asking for proof or demonstrating
using proofs. Has this attitude
spilled over into or affected other parts
of your life? In today's interconnected world, most of us are
specialized and need to trust
other experts (doctors, financial
advisors, car mechanic etc.)
on their word. As is true in
Oracle, there must be many
"experts" in these fields as well
who are making up things (hopefully
not doctors!)...So do you feel
uncomfortable trusting other
experts where you can not find
a proof or perhaps ask for a proof
for various reasons?
Just the other day, I went to
a car mechanic who told me that
my car needed to replace CV boots
(that is what it sounded like, I am
completely "car blind"!).
He basically told me that it will
require around $1,000. Just because
it was a somewhat large amount, I did some enquiries, and found another mechanic who told me it
will take around $500. I then
went to the second mechanic who,
after examining the car told
me that there is nothing to be
replaced in my car!:)
So, how do we go about trusting
people whose expertise we have no
real way of evaluating? I had
been with the first car mechanic
for almost 8 years - of course
I dont go to him any more...

I guess the only sane answer
is to do due diligence (word
of mouth, reading up etc.)
but many of us, I am sure,
do not do this.

Another example - I was in a
financial planning class and
the guy (who seemed fairly
knowledgeable) basically told
us that do nt trust wall street
and other financial papers.
He told us to learn it yourself
(at least on things such as 401K/
ROTH IRA etc.) He reminded me
of your attitude and also about
the problem I posed earlier...

Sun May 08, 11:25:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

talk about trust...(lack thereof)

I don't trust my doctor,dentist,car mechanic,car dealership,financial institution,
the food I eat, the water I drink, the news I watch and least of all what my government tells me.

Mon May 09, 04:10:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

I thought the Hitchhiker movie was pretty disappointing. The book presentation itself looked like a bad Portal demo. The TV show was better.

Mon May 09, 06:41:00 PM EDT  


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