Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Crashing in public...

I saw this and found it amusing.  It reminded me of my first really big presentation.  I was scared to death, pacing like crazy before.  It was the first session of the first day of IOUG in Florida way back in 1994.  I wrote about it once before,  but will recap it here.  I did a demo, the demo GPF’ed on a huge screen behind me – real slowly it GPF’ed, about one pixel per second it was drawing on the screen.  Nothing like a huge screen with an error message on it behind you.

This is why I have a “no demo” clause in my contract these days.  Well, I’ll demonstrate with Sqlplus but that is about it.  Funny, I have taking to running my demo databases like production systems.  I travel with my backups on different storage devices – just in case.  Call me paranoid.  The only time I had a demo mess up big time was when I answered an asktom question but used my “production” instance to do it.  I changed something that messed up one of my scripts.  I will never do that again (they are my production instances and as such I have no right to be using them to answer questions on the fly, that is for TEST).

True story – I staged a small demo in the asktom database one day, one you could run from the site.  It included in it the fatal words “CREATE VIEW V AS …”.  Anyone care to comment on what a view named V might do to an HTMLDB (Oracle Application Express) application?  Anyone care to comment on how long it might take to figure out what you’ve done (not long).  Never use production to ad-hoc something, the smallest of changes can have unintended side effects.

Another new blog to add to the lists.  I edited one of Eric’s papers (learned a thing or two, but that went both ways) recently and suggested he started blogging on topics like that as the technical content was “high” but understandable.  Check it out, interesting investigations using redo to see what Oracle does.


Blogger Doug Burns said....


Now you get to see the *real thing* - the 'Tom Kyte Effect' ;-)

I agree with you Tom. Eric's stuff is pretty technical but understandable all the same.



Wed Feb 22, 02:21:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Tom, Have been thinking to ask for a while now.

What is your job description?

Wed Feb 22, 02:33:00 PM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

what is your job description?

Wed Feb 22, 02:44:00 PM EST  

Anonymous joao said....


Since we are on the subject, how many 'external' seminars do you give in a given year? For example, the ones always listed on your Ask Tom page.

How many do you accept? How many do you decline?

Does your manager specify how many seminar/trips you may do in a have a 'time' budget you have to follow?



Wed Feb 22, 03:04:00 PM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I try to jam a bunch of them in at once. I'll do 2 or 3 of them in a week for two weeks (out of country). Maybe once a quarter, although I'm finding that to be too much.

Too much being too far away.
Too much time wise.
Too hard on the feet and back :)

In fact, I am not accepting anymore out of country talks until 2007. Anything else I accept will be in North America - my territory.

I have a series coming up end of april, then end of september, then a brief one in november to coincide with the UKOUG.

Wed Feb 22, 03:13:00 PM EST  

Blogger Eric S. Emrick said....


Thanks again for editing my recent paper The Oracle Redo Generation. Over the years I have learned countless things from your books, seminars and Ask Tom posts. Your edit provided yet another installment of your knowledge.

The fact that you “learned a thing or two” from my paper is, without a doubt, an honor. Thank you for taking/finding the time to provide the edit and suggest I start a blog. I am really enjoying it!



Wed Feb 22, 03:43:00 PM EST  

Blogger shrek said....

*sigh* another one to add to my RSS feeds. getting so the list is longer than can be displayed on one screen without scrolling down.;-) and i can't get rid of any because i keep learning from them.;-)

Wed Feb 22, 04:46:00 PM EST  

Blogger shrek said....

and a demo question... i run XP home on my laptop. can i use XE? or am i going to have to upgrade to XP pro?

Wed Feb 22, 04:50:00 PM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I've heard of people installing it on xp home, isn't tested or anything on that (I don't have any xp home's to try with)

Wed Feb 22, 05:15:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Mr. Ed said....

World's largest BSOD.

Wed Feb 22, 09:05:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I was told by a previous boss it was ok to code against production as long as i didn't screw up. We had 12,000 users and it was being deployed to all 30,000 users of a Fortune 500 bank.

I was writing code for publishing data. We had to automatically drop the previous days tablespace. One mistake and we were out of service.

i asked repeatedly for a development box and was told it was too expensive.

I didn't screw up, but it was nerve wracking. Took me 2-3 weeks longer to finish than they wanted and they got mad. I went slow to keep from taking an entire bank out of service.

Wed Feb 22, 10:49:00 PM EST  

Blogger Scott said....

True story – I staged a small demo in the asktom database one day, one you could run from the site. It included in it the fatal words “CREATE VIEW V AS …”. Anyone care to comment on what a view named V might do to an HTMLDB (Oracle Application Express) application?

Bad things - REALLY bad things. The 'v' function in ApEx is used to determine the value of an item. Creating a VIEW "V" would be as bad as creating a function "F"...

- Scott -

Wed Feb 22, 10:54:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Rich Janson said....

Wow, thanks for the link Tom. Another great site to add to the list. I love the detailed test cases provided.(even though I am struggling to digest some of it)

As a relative newcomer to the Oracle DBA world, it's both daunting and invigorating to see just how much power and control we have over our databases. Like you say, it's not just a black box. If only I didn't feel pulled in so many directions trying to get a grasp on it all...

Any chance of you doing a seminar in the Los Angeles area any time soon?

Thu Feb 23, 12:02:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Keith Jamieson said....

I run Oracle XE on Windows XP Home Edition without any problems.

As far as I am aware the only real difference between XP Home and XP Professional is that XP Professional has more networking support. I have successfully been able to call an XP application from a browser on another networked machine.

Thu Feb 23, 04:34:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Hi Tom, your first presentation story brought back mine to mind sharply. I was asked to do a demo/presentation when working at Oracle in Bracknell. The presentation was to be on Oracle Webserver, and at the time you were probably the only other person showing an interest in it at the time (other than me!)...yes, we are talking the OLD product. It was at Novell in Bracknell and for some reason they gave me an auditorium...I mean come on...I only had 5 or 6 people attending. I nearly had to seek medical help after that. Thankfully the event went well as far as the presentation, but no demo due to Novell not supplying me a network (true story) that day. Many lessons learnt.
Chris B

Thu Feb 23, 08:36:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

In terms of presentation disasters...all I can say is:

Never, never ever leave your bikni babe screen saver enabled when giving a presentation.

You only ever make that mistake once

Thu Feb 23, 08:50:00 AM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Never, never ever leave your bikni babe screen saver enabled when giving a presentation

And don't forget to turn off your instant messaging software or anything else that can "pop up" :)

I was at a customer site once, they were presenting to us, to describe their problem.

The person talking was looking at us, not at the screen - up pops an IM (apparently the guy speaking didn't really want to be there and had been chatting about how he was stuck in a conference room he didn't want to be in with people he didn't want to be with). Anyway, his manager had to say "umm bob, can you clear the screen".

I vowed that would *never* happen to me - I check 5 times to make sure nothing but powerpoint, my browser, and vmware is running *before* projecting.

Thu Feb 23, 09:08:00 AM EST  

Blogger Rjamya said....

That crash reminds me of this link, talk about a contrast.

Behind the magic curtain, a good read.


Thu Feb 23, 09:46:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Tom have you forgotten to turn your cell phone yet? That would definately be something I would fear. I can see a hypothetical scenario where I would be interrupted by a Family Guy ringer tone....

Fortunately I don't have to worry about anything like that for awhile since I'm about 10,000 light years away from being knowledgeable enough to present anything.


Thu Feb 23, 11:47:00 AM EST  

Blogger Peter Lewis said....

My memorable embarrassment was presenting at UKOUG in 2004. After running through the presentation and networked demo over and over again in the speakers' lounge - and with the networked demo bits all working - the demo completely failed during the talk because the halls at Birmingham ICC are on a different network with different firewalls and proxies. Unimpressive.

Thu Feb 23, 06:11:00 PM EST  

Blogger Roderick said....

Pre-presentation checklist:
1. make sure demo can run standalone
2. turn off IM, cell, pagers, etc.
3. drink a glass of water
and most importantly,
4. check zipper BEFORE walking onstage

1. thank the audience
2. turn off microphone
3. remove microphone

Thu Feb 23, 09:32:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Roderick >>

4. check zipper BEFORE walking onstage

Nice emphasis :)))

Fri Feb 24, 04:00:00 AM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Roderick said...

#4, laughing out loud - thanks.

#1 is one I do as well. If I can have a network, I use it but I have everything I need locally.

I work without nets ;) I've seen way too many people having to say "Now, if I could get on the network - what you would be seeing now would be....."

Fri Feb 24, 07:11:00 AM EST  

Blogger Connor McDonald said....

Funny story from a Jonathan Lewis presentation. Jonathan commences by asking people to turn off mobile phones... 10 seconds later that awful mobile phone interference sound (der-da-der-da-der-da) comes out Jonathan's lapel microphone. He's left HIS phone turned on inside his jacket pocket.

David Kurtz from the front row tries to get his attention to no avail. So David rings Jonathan's mobile. Jonathan then proceeds to tell the audience (more sternly) that he's just asked them to turn off their phones, so whoever's phone is ringing should sort it out right now.

David finally writes down something on a piece of paper and slides it to the front of the stage where Jonathan picks it up, reads it, goes a funny reddish colour, and then turns his mobile off...

Fri Feb 24, 08:20:00 AM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Connor McDonald said...

That's a good one. Have you ever had someone actually not only

o leave the mobile on ring
o but answer it
o and then SIT THERE
o and in that extra loud mobile phone voice actually have a conversation? (why is it that people on mobile phones talk REALLY loud?)
o and then hang up as if nothing happened.

I just stopped and watched them. No shame. Everyone was looking at them. No clue.

I don't mind the vibrate, the hushed "just a second" while they are running to the door - sometimes you have to take the call - but LEAVE (and whisper "just a second", don't start the conversation until you are out the door - people will wait for you on the other end of the phone)

Fri Feb 24, 08:27:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Happens to the best !

A few years ago I watched Larry Ellison give a presentation with demos. One by one the demos failed miserably.

The net result though was that the audience warmed to him greatly. He came across as human as opposed to some robotic billionare and his jokes and witty comments about things going wrong were brilliant.

If things had gone well, I probably would have forgotten that presentation by now !

Fri Feb 24, 08:45:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Holger Schweichler said....

Tom, I just picked up this week you will be in Munich/Germany on May 2/3 for a 2-day seminar - looking forward to see you there (I instantly registered :-)).


Fri Feb 24, 09:18:00 AM EST  

Blogger melanie caffrey said....

You could try the Connor McDonald trick of staging someone to sit in the front row with a toy cell phone that goes off.

Connor politely asks that everyone please silence their cell phones.

While he is mid-sentence, the phone goes off.

Connor remarks, "Oh! Speak of the devil " (or some such) "... may I see that, please?"

When the owner of the cell phone complies, Connor places the cell phone under his foot and stomps. Hard. Smashing the phone to bits.

Many people scramble within their inside pockets and laptop bags after watching that.

Fantastic. :)

Fri Feb 24, 11:03:00 AM EST  


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