Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ahh, the Power of googling

Many times people ask me what the strangest/funniest question(s) I get are. Well, this morning I got one that made me laugh and it is probably googles fault.

I have been asked about web browser problems "Help, internet explorer cannot connect to this internal site and my help desk cannot figure it out" Amusingly enough, "clear cache" works frequently.

I have been asked how to get MS Word to install (rebooting works wonders on windows).

I have been asked autocad questions. I have been asked how to do things in SQLServer (many times I can answer those, but I’m never sure if I’m telling them the best way).  I’ve been asked to diagnose mysql issues. 

I’m asked career advice a lot.  The only answer I give is “you have to do something that makes you happy, but I’m not going to tell you to be a DBA or Developer, you have to decide that yourself..”.  That is a scary question, way too much pressure on that one (give the wrong answer and ruin someones life).

But this one from this morning made me laugh.  Some of the key words in there that caused me to read this a couple of times: “cursor java code tables”.  Sounds like it might be right for me (well, except for that java bit, but I digress).  Well, I looked at it for a while – trying to figure out what the heck a cursor trail was and then looked at the site they referred to and that little light bulb went off.  CURSOR TRAILS, that thing you can do in javascript to make the mouse perform illogical things on your screen.  It had nothing to do with the database – they wanted to know how to do the javascript to make little mouse trails!!

It was especially funny because my son Alan asked me the same question not too long ago.  He has put together perhaps the most obnoxious web page to look at (purple on black, javascript pop ups, the eyes that follow the mouse – with mouse trails and all). 

Since things happen in threes, I have at least one more mouse trail question in my near future.  I just wonder what that person thought about asktom.   I have a feeling after looking at their website that they might not have ever heard of Oracle before.  The question almost looks like it fits on the site anyway.  Anyway, it’ll make me laugh from time to time today.



Blogger Jeff Hunter said....

You would think that would imply questions about Oracle, but, after all, it's not

Thu Jul 28, 10:00:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Jeff Hunter said....

Wow, three posts in a row I'm the first comment. We're either in sync the last few days or I spend way too much time blogging...

Thu Jul 28, 10:06:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Peter K said....

Hahaha...can't blame the poor girl though 'coz on the AskTom homepage, there is nothing to indicate that questions should only pertain to Oracle technologies. As far as she's concerned, you have taken "taken 171 new questions, read 1,356 followups, and responded to 1,026 of the followups" over the last month.

How about "what is the strangest or funniest Oracle-related question that you have received on AskTom?"

Thu Jul 28, 01:11:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Hahaha...can't blame the poor girl

Oh I don't blame her -- she made my day actually. Her question was more in context than many I get :) If I didn't hate those mouse trails so much, I might have looked it up....

Strangest/funniest -- that is hard, lots of "sad ones" that usually start with:

Our database is not in archive log mode, our backups didn't work, my manager is looking over my shoulder and my company is going to fire me right before they go out of business if I don't get their data back. Please tell me how to recover my data.....

Strangest -- a guy who hates analytics "just because they don't seem relational". And persists in despising them even though they have done the impossible in a very small amount of time.

Or the ones that say "I need to do X but I don't want to use Y to do X". Even though Y was specifically designed to do X, Y is the most efficient way to do X and they have no reason beyond "I don't want to". Those are strange to me too.

Thu Jul 28, 01:34:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Scott said....

I'm still trying to figure out what she fed into google to find you, Tom. Even if I give it cursor trails table I get pages of sites that address javascripting that trick ... but no AskTom.

I'm with Peter: I'd be interested in hearing a story around your most unusual Oracle-related AskTom question.

"Be careful what you ask for ... you might find something else."

Thu Jul 28, 01:35:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

Poor girls bandwidth allocation appears to be exceeded now. She's been tkyted. :-) (for those who don't get the joke, it's a play on slashdotted).

You used to have a page, did that go bye-bye? I was going to suggest adding an unusual story page to that. Is that what is now

Thu Jul 28, 02:47:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Joel Garry said...

Poor girls bandwidth allocation appears to be exceeded now.

Oh my, I did not anticipate that.

but yes, asktom is the hostname formally known as osi which was formally known as govt.

But, I'd rather not ad an "odd story page". I'll say why tomorrow ;)

Thu Jul 28, 03:10:00 PM EDT  

Blogger scubajim said....

Posting a blog and accidently causing a rush to that poor person's web site which uses up her allocated bandwidth reminds me of some of Larry Niven's stories.

In some of Larry Niven's novels he has the concept of teleport booths. Think of them as old fashioned phone booths that allow you to instantly transport yourself to another one. Sounds great. Given the law of unintended consequences things don't always work out so well.

Imagine the ability to transport a large number of people into a small area in a short period of time. You could generate a "flash" crowd or mob. Just like a flash flood except you have people. Of course, the police had to have a way to rate limit the teleportation booths or only allow people to leave and not arrive. (rate limiting on a router)

So with the internet we have tkyted :-O.

Thu Jul 28, 06:02:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

I'll say why tomorrow ;)

"Stay tuned for the next episode of TKSaga, when amazing discoveries will be made about the secret life of the main character.
Only on selected TV channels around the globe.
This commercial has been rated for 'all audiences' by the MPAA."

Thu Jul 28, 06:12:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Rachel said....

Tom said:

Our database is not in archive log mode, our backups didn't work, my manager is looking over my shoulder and my company is going to fire me right before they go out of business if I don't get their data back. Please tell me how to recover my data.....

you stealing from my presentations again? :)

Data UnLoader. I *told* them that I needed the tape drive for backups, they told me their need was more important. 48 hours later, we had a database again. Two weeks later, new hardware, a dedicated DLT, etc etc.... amazing how that works

But, I'd rather not ad an "odd story page". I'll say why tomorrow ;)

Ad? You selling space now? :)
I hate waiting for the good stuff!

Thu Jul 28, 07:14:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous rn said....

Scott said...
I'm still trying to figure out what she fed into google to find you....

I think it could be something like "why my cursor dont work inside my table" and click 'I'm feeling lucky'....

Tom, thanks for posting this... had a good laugh!

Thu Jul 28, 08:36:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I'm still trying to figure out what she fed into google to find you

Not sure it was google, I've been thinking about keeping the referer field in my logs for just such circumstances :)

Guessed it was google or something like it.

Although, you got very close, change two words:

why my cursor wont work inside my tables

and I'm on top of the world :)

Thu Jul 28, 08:52:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Aman Sharma said....

Cursor Trails on :-O
Sir can I ask some of my doubts too?plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
just joking:-)

Thu Jul 28, 11:36:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

But not only is her post not relevant to Oracle, it also uses IM speak (eg "pls if u")

Perhaps you need to add a mandatory query/response on your 'pose a question/post a comment' pages like the checkboxes used for agreeing to End User Licences.

How about :
U is (tick all that apply):
o An unacceptable use of IM/SMS speak for a forum posting
o the letter between T and V in the alphabet
o The DBA who works with M, Q and agent 007 for the Secret Service

Fri Jul 29, 02:48:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Tim... said....

What an interesting young lady!

Tom, I think you're getting too popular :)



Fri Jul 29, 04:09:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Aman Sharma said....

Tim said...

What an interesting young lady!

it was for the last comment of 'breakfast in bed' right?
I was trying to find out somewhere(infact anywhere)"Oracle" or "Database" word written in the profile, but no luck.
still couldnt it at all:-(

Fri Jul 29, 04:31:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Javier Morales said....

...and the best of all is that she (Juliet) scored you 10!!!

I'm sure, she was getting closer to fix her problem with that "butterflies and flower" cursor seekers reading some of the REF CURSOR's stuff above!!

Fri Jul 29, 05:12:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Tim... said....

What an interesting young lady!

Just to keep it in context, Tim was referring to a deleted "spambot" comment from "FlirtinFelicity" that I removed. The post itself wasn't offensive, it read:

... feelin good today.i ate my breakfast in bed with so much love in my about you? nah...just nothin to do or say now..view my real fun things there. ....

it was what it linked to that caused me to "not want it here"

Fri Jul 29, 06:57:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous OracleDoc said....

It's amazing what comes up in Google these days. Not to be political or anything but....(and I'm sure Dave is gonna love this one) go type in "failure" and see what comes up first.

Also, Tom if you want to help your son out with his webpage send him over to they've got some good stuff over there.

Fri Jul 29, 08:11:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

OracleDoc said...

It's amazing what comes up in Google these days.

I sent that failure thing to Alan (he is a die hard "not republican" right now). He pointed out:

(08:41:41) dad: search for
(08:41:42) dad: failure
(08:41:43) dad: on google
(08:42:47) Alan: lol
(08:43:18) Alan: and yet, the word failure is nowhere in the document

Fri Jul 29, 08:45:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Thats why in addition to google, you also need wikipedia !

Fri Jul 29, 09:58:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Riccardo said....

Hi Tom,
thanks to you I'm learned lot of Oracle.
Best wishes for your web site and to you that beyond to being an excellent explainer you are also one good person to time to spend for us.
Thank you Tom!


Fri Jul 29, 12:01:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Scott said....

why my cursor wont work inside my tables ... cromlinitly, it works!

Doh!, I was so close!

Fri Jul 29, 03:57:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Renee said....

The question is, if you were to have a cursor trail, what would it be?

Sat Jul 30, 08:14:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous denni50 said....


on the subject of Google......

was reading the below article about Microsoft and Google's battle for dominance of the Search and internet service markets.

it also stated that Microsoft was successful in retaining a court restraining order preventing a former vice president from performing his new duties and functions at Google, it violated some noncompetitive trade agreement.

as a vice president for Oracle are you bound by any such agreements?...would Oracle
deem it necessary to take similar action towards you if you were to depart(defect) to Microsoft(say Bill Gates made you an offer you couldn't refuse).

given your in-depth knowledge of the Oracle architecture and design one would think Oracle would take whatever measures necessary to protect it's technology amd trade

I can understand a company needing to protect it's product however it sounds like corporate imprisonment,
how can anyone not use and apply knowledge and expertise gained from past employment history.

just curious.

Mon Aug 01, 09:28:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I would think that she was thinking of a site like "Ask Jeeves"... googled "ask cursor" and got Tom

Sat Aug 06, 12:58:00 PM EDT  


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