Saturday, June 25, 2005

Where in the world part II

A talk about talks and an opportunity to guess where in the world I was last Friday.

First for the guessing:

Where in the world

You can click on that to see larger images if you like, but can you guess where that windowless building is and what it is used for?  Talk about a special purpose building.  I thought it was interesting.  I had heard of it before I went to this location, and the sales rep that was with me thought I was really smart when I looked at it and said “oh, is that the such and such building that they use to do …”.  He said most people just look at it and say “what the heck is that for, must be the NSA or CIA or something and they don’t want us to see them”.

Anyway, I did a mini seminar yesterday with three of my favorite topics.

Topic 1, Things you know.  I need to update this one and have lots of good ideas for the future.  The main themes of the presentation are

  • Question Authority, especially ones like me that say “I have 17 years of Oracle experience”.  That generally means we still remember how it used to work in version 5.  Not relevant in the year 2005.  Be wary of the “I have decades of experience, just trust me”.  Make us show you.

  • It ain’t so much what you don’t know that hurts you, it is what you know that just ain’t so.  I add to that, it is what you know that just ain’t so, just ain’t always so, or just ain’t so anymore. 

It is sort of a fun presentation, hopefully for the audience as well as me.  The main goal – to make you think, not so much to teach you anything about Oracle, although I do cover a couple of myths, things we know that just ain’t so, ain’t so anymore or ain’t so all of the time.  That is the problem I have with rules of thumb, they just ain’t always so.  And you cannot apply them to a broad category of similar problems.

Consider this rule of thumb: Before you go grocery shopping, you should fill up, eat something.  That will prevent impulse buying of cookies and such.  Sounds like a great rule of thumb.  Let’s generalize that – to the liquor store.  Uh oh.  Not so sure you want to fill up on liquor before going to the liquor store. 

Topic 2, Efficient Schemas.  This one is based on chapter 7 of Effective Oracle by Design.  What I’d like to do someday soon is some a session for each chapter in that book — Effective SQL, Effective PL/SQL, and so on.  Anyway, Efficient Schemas walks through some of the overlooked features of the Oracle database from a physical implementation perspective.  I talk about simple things like using the right data type and why using a string or number to store a date is a horribly bad idea – the optimizer knows that between the DATES 31–Dec-2004 and 01–Jan-2005, there is just “one date”.  But between the string/numbers 20041231 and 20050101 there are lots of other strings or numbers.  It can get very confused.  There are lots of other reasons to use the right types and I talk about them as well.  Data integrity and where it belongs is a focus here as well.  When we get into the physical structures, I don’t hit the obvious like partitioning – but rather the not so used physical structures like hash clusters, index organized tables, clusters in general and the like.  We move on to indexing and in particular function based indexes and some unique uses of them such as selective uniqueness in a table (these columns must be unique when this is true) and indexing a where clause.  Lastly, we take a look compression — index key compression and table compression.

Topic 3, All about Binds (really, I call it “IT’S all about binds”).  Everything you wanted to know about binding.  Why it kills performance not to, uses gobs of memory not to, how your applications stand no chance of scaling without them.  How you can quintuple your throughput by using them in one case (5x the work using the same resources in the data load example I use — 10 users use as much CPU to insert 250,000 rows as 2 users not using bind variables do to insert 50,000 rows).  From there, I move onto the security aspects.  It still surprises me that so many people are not aware of SQL Injection!  It is a huge problem.  Then we look at bind variable peeking, cursor sharing and explore the differences between exact, force and similar.  One of my favorite topics.  I even discuss when not to use binds.  Believe it or not.

Anyway, I gave this session to the developers at ESPN.  Afterwards, they took me on a studio tour.  That was pretty cool.  This is what I would look like as a sportscaster:

Me as a sportscaster

Didn’t see any celebrities – but did get to see the first all digital, totally electronic studio.  No tapes, just bits and bytes.  Gave me some ideas for my desk at home.  Now, if I can just figure out how to get 4 monitors attached to my computer….



Anonymous Scott said....

I am sure that I have seen a picture of that before. I seem to recall that it is an observatory of some sort. Perhaps a solar observatory.

Sat Jun 25, 01:09:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Scott said... I am sure that I have seen a picture

Nope, not a solar observatory nor an observatory of any sort..

Sat Jun 25, 01:11:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

How do we get you to present the company I work at? What is the cost?


Sat Jun 25, 02:06:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous doug c said....

I'm going to say due to the ESPN reference and the flag in front of the building you were in Bristol, CT and that might be radio building 5.

Sat Jun 25, 02:27:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Anonymous said...

How do we get you to present...

Well, I don't do it often (seminars at a customer like that). It is something that happens as part of the sales process generally. I do however speak frequently at user groups, frequently.

When asked "how did they get you to come this such and such's user group meeting" the answer is surprisingly simple: They asked. The user group commitee actually contacted me. It might be months out (I have user groups scheduled out through december 2005) but we can usually work out something.

doug c said...

I'm going to say due to the ESPN reference and the flag

Correct location, but the building has nothing to do with radio's. It was Bristol CT, but I was in the parking lot of the Clarion Hotel - about 1/2 mile from ESPN.

Sat Jun 25, 02:39:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous doug c said....

Otis test tower for elevators

Sat Jun 25, 02:52:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Scott said....

Just a hair too slow. It is the Otis research facility.

A link to another picture:

Sat Jun 25, 03:06:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Thanks for the link, that is the place, I read that page and see they:

... This "testing to failure" ...

reminds of Jonathan Lewis's book "Practical Oracle8i" and "testing to destruction". I'm glad they know the absolute limits of their elevators!

Sat Jun 25, 03:21:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous doug cowles said....

They have another one in Japan.,2241,CLI1_RES1_SCM14900_SCP14911,00.html

It is a little taller.

Sat Jun 25, 03:36:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Jeroen said....

doug c said... Otis test tower for elevators

Definitely a 'No Windows Allowed" building, indeed.
Except maybe for the ultimate test to destruction... :-)

Sat Jun 25, 06:29:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Jeroen said...
Definitely a 'No Windows Allowed"

I wasn't thinking along those lines...

but now that you brought it up :)

Sat Jun 25, 06:47:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Raj from CT said....

Hey Tom,

Last I talked to developers and they were still talking about your presentations. Now I hope they will start putting some of those ideas in parctice.

Sat Jun 25, 07:00:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

"... testing to failure ..." from Scott's picture: I really liked the line:


Randy Roberts, manager of modeling and simulation, says, "Anytime you can predict something and be able to say, 'I expected that to happen,' is a pretty cool thing.

--end quote

Sun Jun 26, 05:39:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....


I thought you worked for Oracle Government. If that's the case, how did you wind up at ESPN? Are you sometimes "on loan" to other divisions to help them close sales?

Sun Jun 26, 12:48:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I thought you worked for Oracle Government.

I work in Oracle Public Sector sales. We are part of a division called NAS, or North American Sales. I can be asked to call on pretty much any customer in North America.

But I have done customer visits world wide (last notable one was Cern in Switzerland).

I also have worked with Oracle University to do seminars in Europe as well.

So, my concentration is on Public Sector, but I'm available company wide when needed.

Sun Jun 26, 01:52:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Another example of how a blanket Rule of Thumb can go awry: "Don't talk to strangers." (Unless you happen to be lost in the Utah wilderness.)

Mon Jun 27, 11:27:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Another example of how a blanket Rule of Thumb can go awry

Nice one, indeed.

Mon Jun 27, 11:34:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous denni50 said....

hey Tom...

they should have sat you between
Terry Bradshaw, James Brown and
Howie Long at the ESPN sportscast
desk...maybe get Mike Tyson to pop in and bite your ear off!!!


Mon Jun 27, 05:04:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

maybe get Mike Tyson

Ouch, that smarts.

Mon Jun 27, 05:13:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Hi Tom,

Can you please tell us why did you choose this camera?

What things did you consider while bying the camera and what else models did you see.


Sun Jan 22, 02:50:00 AM EST  


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