Monday, January 29, 2007

SQL> startup force;

Yes, after a couple of weeks away - I'm back.  Took some needed downtime.  Disconnected, just worked a day here or there for a bit. 

It was nice.  Something I plan on doing every now and then in the future.  Yeah, I did email - worked a couple of days (a vacation without going anywhere in particular).  But I haven't written a SQL query in days, if not weeks :)

Read a lot, visited people, hung out with my kids.  Did not get on a single plane. 

Even stayed away from asktom - went away for the weekend around the 11th of this month and just never got back on.  If I'm not careful - I could be on that site 24 hours a day.  It seems the more I answer, the more there is to answer.  I'm going to get back on it probably today.

Saved up a bunch of things I found interesting.  Yesterday I read this "Revenge of the Calculators" post.  I immediately related to it (even down to the Chuck E. Cheese reference) and it reminded me of an obscure story by Isaac Asimov - "The Feeling Of Power".  I liked that story when I first read it - reminded me of the "command line versus GUI" discussions I'm often part of.  The gist is in the future - people forget how to do simple math and rely on calculators for it all.  The ending of the story is funny - it becomes of strategic importance to be able to think/compute on our own again instead of relying on the machine.  A short story worth reading.

These next two articles go together.  One is about "developing patience".  Many people presume I'm fairly patient - and to a degree I am/can be.  When helping someone learn a concept or technology - sure.  But day to day - not so much.  For example, the first thing they list as an attribute of "patience" is:

Sit back and wait for an expected outcome without experiencing anxiety, tension, or frustration.

Nope, not me ;) Something to work on.  The related article I found interesting was "5 Ideas for Stressful Living".  I liked it as it was tongue in cheek "worst practices" for living. 

All in all - two articles that if taken together provide some good information.

A friend of mine recently said to me words to the effect of "if people could put their problems in a box and everyone put their box on a table - at the end of the day, after looking at every else's problems, we would chose to take our own problems back".  I believe that to be fundamentally true in most cases.  For example, if you are dissatisfied with your current job - you could see something like this exit interview - and instantly feel a bit better about your situation.  You should read that one - it is hilarious.

Ever wonder what would happen if you flew a fighter jet into a concrete bunker?  Now you know...

Have you ever wanted to link to a specific bit of a page - like say THIS BIT RIGHT HERE - to send to someone or post on a message board?  You know, instead of saying "go to this URL and then hit ctl-f and look for this text '......'".  I have - and now we can, thank you citebite.  I used that here to create the THIS BIT RIGHT HERE link above.  It not only jumps to the text, it hilites it too - pretty cool.

Anyway, we now resume normal programming here on the blog as well as asktom.

Lastly, this was a fitting thing to stumble upon as I begin in earnest the new book :)



Anonymous Anonymous said....

Welcome back, we missed you. But you look much more relaxed in the picture than you used to. (grin)

Mon Jan 29, 04:02:00 PM EST  

Blogger Bill S. said....

It is good to -ahem- "see" you again. Hope you were able to fully recharge. Welcome back.

Bill S.

Mon Jan 29, 04:07:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Doug Burns said....

Yes, after a couple of weeks away - I'm back.

Where you away? I didn't notice!


Welcome back - I'm sure the break from this will have done you the world of good.

Mon Jan 29, 04:15:00 PM EST  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

I really don't like Charles Fromage (as we call it when we don't want the kids to get excited), but they recently remodelled our local ones... and have brand-new Missile Command/Centipede games! Woo-Hoo! The big track ball and 3 launch buttons make all the difference...

The Phantom hitting the wall reminds me of how we used to throw fluorescent bulbs into trash cans - they would look like they were accordioning if you got the angle right.

Patience is going the way of IBM Selectrics.

Mon Jan 29, 04:57:00 PM EST  

Anonymous a reader said....


1. You are back.
2. I resigned ( Reason: I need a 3 months vacation )
3. Preparing for Honeymoon Travel
4. Ordered 'Effective Oracle by Design' from amazon.

Mon Jan 29, 05:58:00 PM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

to "a reader"

suggestion: do not take #4 on #3 :)

Mon Jan 29, 06:03:00 PM EST  

Blogger Noons said....

But Tom: you were supposed to stay AWAY from computers. Not surf the web?


"Sit back and wait for an expected outcome without experiencing anxiety, tension, or frustration"

Can't relate to it?
One word: fishing

Mon Jan 29, 07:27:00 PM EST  

Anonymous David Aldridge said....

"Revenge of the Calculators" reminded me of the movie "Idiocracy", which you should immediately watch. As a bonus you will be unable to enter a Starbucks again without thinking of a "Gentlemen's Latte".

>> suggestion: do not take #4 on #3 :)

Unless you are going somewhere dangerous where #4 could help stop a bullet.

Welcome back, Tom.

Mon Jan 29, 08:34:00 PM EST  

Blogger Noons said....

"Unless you are going somewhere dangerous where #4 could help stop a bullet"

or a spider?...

Tue Jan 30, 12:04:00 AM EST  

Blogger Sidhu said....

Hi Tom

welcome back...that verizon exit interview is awesome ;)

anybody may use the ideas ;)


Tue Jan 30, 01:38:00 AM EST  

Anonymous MVE said....

Re: ...

Just be careful what content you "citebite" because you are effectively creating a copy of the original page on their server causing duplicate content being possibly indexed by the search engine and possibly effecting the SERP for the original site.

In fact if you read the citebite's TOS you'll find that:

"Abstract Factory does not claim or infer any ownership rights to the Content. You represent and warrant that (i) all Content is either wholly original to you, or all third party rights therein have been fully cleared for use as contemplated by this Agreement; (ii) the Content and the posting thereof on the Service does and will not, in any way, violate or breach any of the terms of this Agreement or violate or infringe upon the rights of any third party"



Scraper Site:

Tue Jan 30, 02:57:00 AM EST  

Blogger Dimitri Gielis said....

It's nice to read something from you again, Tom.

I wondered if it was easy for you to "disconnect" from the computer/internet.

For me, it usually takes some days to just get relaxed and don't think about Oracle/work/internet and even then it's hard to not touch my pc or read my mail.

Tue Jan 30, 04:01:00 AM EST  

Blogger Q u a d r o said....

"SQL> startup force;"

Shouldn't that be an "alter system resume"?

Hope you don't really need any crash recovery :)

Tue Jan 30, 08:40:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

"revenge of the calculators"
it's like relying too much on asktom and then few weeks without it, we're lost ;-))

welcome back!

Tue Jan 30, 11:07:00 AM EST  

Blogger Aman Sharma said....

Hi sir,
Welcome back!
Best regards

Wed Jan 31, 09:02:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Ntwiga said....

Nice post and the link to Asimov's story was a great bonus.

Thank you.

Funnily enough, I was listening to a story on CBC radio today (yes, people up here in the white north can access the internets and have radio) on Sherry Mantyka, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland who thinks that the basic math skills problem you blogged about is a result of poor curriculum choices by North American educational systems.

Basically, the argument she makes is that these systems shifted the math focus in grade school from drills and exercises before 1990 to logic and problem solving supported by electronic tools today. She wrote a great book about it called the Math Plague dealing with this.

Wed Jan 31, 10:27:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Mark Brady said....


you seem to be on a "rules to live by" kick lately. Ever use this one?


Wed Jan 31, 11:56:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

The "F-4 into wall test" was sponsored in part by the then-Electric Power Research Institue and the nuclear power operators' group (whose name escapes me at the moment) who wanted to verify that nuclear power plant containment structures could handle external damage.

This test has always seemed convincing to me ;-)


Wed Jan 31, 12:07:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Patty C. said....

"Sit back and wait for an expected outcome without experiencing anxiety, tension, or frustration." So that is what you were trying to teach us over the past few weeks during your absence - patience? We were patient but it is good to have you back!

Wed Jan 31, 02:48:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Thom is good you got away for awhile I am always happy when I open up your page I always find interesting reading. So lemme take this oppurtunity to say welcome back .
R James

Wed Jan 31, 06:04:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

>>startup force??

I think its more like "alter system UNQUIESCE;" as we know you were monitoring the site ,but its just that you preferred to take it light for some more time..

Its very important that people like you take such good breaks because target audience (like me) would only benefit more when you are back refreshed and back in high spirits to deliver more..

Thanks for coming back and resuming valued service..

Thu Feb 01, 12:28:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Steve F said....

I qualified as a Maths teacher about 15 years ago (I work in IT - never actually worked as a teacher) and the basic tenet of our course was that didactic teaching is bad and encouraging kids to discover things for themselves is the only way.

Utter rubbish. I know how confused I would have been by this as a kid and I was always really good at Maths. Maybe with highly-motivated kids and a top class teacher, this method can be effective but for the vast majority I just can't see it.

Tut. Started ranting again :-)

Ps Welcome back Tom.

Thu Feb 01, 06:06:00 AM EST  

Anonymous David Weigel said....

"Submit a Question", says the front page of AskTom to me this morning.

How come when the stars align every three months and I have that treasured opportunity to ask a question, I can't think of one?


Thu Feb 01, 09:23:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I want to hear more about preparing to honeymoon destinations!

Sat Nov 10, 06:27:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Very good article. This article makes some interesting points. You made a good point, reading your article is a kind of enjoyment. Thank you.
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Mon Jun 23, 03:33:00 AM EDT  


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