Oracle Observations

December 9, 2013

UKOUG Oracle Scene

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 12:48 pm

I’ve only just noticed, it is now only the print edition of Oracle Scene that is a UKOUG member benefit.

The electronic edition can be accessed freely.

The latested edition has been announced on their facebook group:

Oracle Scene 51

However older (and special) editions can also be found here:
Oracle scene Issue 54
Oracle scene Issue 53
Oracle scene Issue 52
Oracle scene Issue 12c supliment
Oracle scene Issue 51
Oracle scene Issue 50
Oracle scene Issue 49
Oracle scene Issue 48
Oracle scene Issue 47
Oracle scene Issue 46
Oracle scene Issue 33 – 45

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December 7, 2013

The reveal – who laughed?

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 1:27 pm

first against the wall

Oak table world UK 2013 collateral #otwuk13

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 1:15 pm

I think most people understand the deal with UKOUG:

You do a presentation, you get a free pass.

UKOUG prefers new presentations on new topics that have not been presented before. Then you are expected to provide white papers and presentation slides for uploading to the website.

Oak table world ( is a slightly more informal affair, where presentations will be by Oak Table members and the topics can cover anything from spectrum games programming to the best of core oracle technical presentations.

For those that could make it and for those that couldn’t, but are still interested the following is a list of the presentations and the associated materials that I could locate on the internet.

Monday 2nd December 2013

Calculating Selectivity
09:00-10:00 Jonathan Lewis

I have been unable to locate a download of this presentation, however Johnathan’s blog states: “On Monday from 9:00 to 10:00 I’ll be presenting “Calculating Selectivity” (a shortened version of the presentation I’ll be giving at RMOUG 2014 in February)”
RMOUG have in the past made the presentation slides freely available, so we may need to wait till then for a copy of this presentation.

Hacking session: Advanced profiling of oracle using function calls
10:15-11:00 Frits Hoogland

I am presuming that this is the same presentation as the one he provided at the RMOUG 2013 conference.

Frits has conveniently posted a whitepaper here:

APEX for DBA’s
11:30-12:15 Iloon Ellen-Wolff

I am currently unable locate any handouts from Iloon associated with this session.

Her blog can be located here:

The keys to the kingdom – An Unexpected recovery tale.
12:40-13:25 Niall Litchfield

Niall has posted his presentation on prezi:

Diagnosing ASMlib
14:10-14:55 James Morle

While I have not found an associated download, the following blog post covers the same topic:

Cloudy Reality
15:25-16:10 Doug Burns

I haven’t found a copy of Doug’s presentation, but his blog can be located here:

Oracle 12c Automatic Data Optimization and Heat Map
16:35-17:35 Joel Goodman

Joel works for Oracle in various roles. Often his presentations are based on copyrighted Oracle content and usually no handouts are provided. (If you want access to the original material you can always go on the formal course!)

Joel blogs here:

Tuesday 3rd December 2013

Using Data Guard Broker
09:00-09:45 Marcin Przepiorowski

I haven’t found a copy of Marcin s presentation, but his blog can be located here:

Instant cloning and Data Agility
10:15-11:15 Kyle Hailey and Adam Leventhal

I haven’t found a copy of this presentation, but the respective blogs can be found here:
and here:

The Query Optimizer in Oracle Database 12c – What’s New?
11:30-12:30 Christian Antognini

This appears to be the same presentation form Oracle open world:

And following on from the presentation Christian has produced a bllg post where he answers a question raised during the session:

Securing PL/SQL
12:40-13:25 Pete Finnigan

Pete has provided the presentation here:

Hadoop for Oracle DBAs
14:10-14:55 Alex Gorbachev

I believe that these are the presentation slides for this session:

There is also a youtube podcast/presentation around these or similar slides:

Practical ASH
15:25-16:10 David Kurtz

While David has made the slides available here:
He actually recommends his white paper: on which the presentation was based.

Closing Keynote
16:35-17:35 Moans Nogood (mogens nørgaard)

There were no presentation slides, and I’m not sure if slides could really do justice to the presentation.

Apparently an important announcement was made by Mogens, James and Alex, but I’m sure they will be blogging about that themselves in the near future.

Too early for the big reveal!

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 12:28 am


UKOUG Tech 13, a review (by a non attendee)

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 12:25 am

I hadn’t expected to attend this years conference having given up my membership earlier this year, however due to unforeseen circumstances I was free on Tuesday 3rd December and resolved to pop up and catch up with friends and acquaintances.

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the journey by road, with convenient parking close to both the convention center and my chosen hotel (The Juries Inn).

In lew of finding anyone I already knew, I adopted the first group of delegates I found that were seeking out post educational activities.

It became quickly apparent that there didn’t seem to be anything but upmarket/trendy drinking establishments within easy reach of the conference center and there were few enough of those.

It is with some fondness that I heard tales of the Tap and Spile mentioned and expressions of disappointment at the lack of a similar facility conveniently located close to the convention center.

After sampling both the local hostilities, I imposed myself on another unsuspecting group and moved on to a rather fine Indian restaurant. (‎)

I find it both strange and comforting that having split the bill ten ways an appropriate sum of £42 was required to satisfy the proprietor and providence.

In conclusion, the venue seems to be well supported with practical amenities, but slightly lacking in social ones. Possibly some further research is required of the area slightly father out, however I suspect, should the conference return to this venue, it might prove worthwhile making another appearance, however brief.

October 25, 2013

Networking with Piet and Martin

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 11:26 pm

Spent a very pleasurable evening a couple of nights ago with a couple of Oracle aces.

(Martin Widlake – yet another oracle blog and Piet De Visser – Simple Oracle DBA @ The farm

Much of the time was spent discussing how our careers were evolving and the reasons for that.

I have come late in my life to the skill of networking.

I have tended to concentrate always on my harder technical skills, essentially putting most effort into developing my strengths rather than trying to ameliorate my weaknesses.

However, several years ago, having been in a secure job for several years supporting a legacy application, it became apparent that my job was not as secure as I believed.

It was at that point I started thinking strategically and laterally with regards my career.

My problems included: outdated technical skills, not being a spring chicken in the IT industry, lack of visibility at my current employer and a prejudice against the skill set that I had with my customer. (I might edit this post later to add more problems!)

The lack of visibility at my employer was the result of coming in under TUPE regulations and being based at a site that was convenient for me and my customer, but where there were almost no other employees with a skill set similar to mine. (It was primarily a marketing and training hub.)

I had recently read about exogenous growth theory beloved by Gordon Brown and I established a strategy!

I stopped spending money as far as I could.
I started studying for an OCP qualification.
I bought as expensive new suit.
I joined the UKOUG and tried to attend as many SIGs as possible.
I started networking, primarily by attending university alumni events but also at UKOUG events.
I started this blog.

Of the above, I suspect that it was the OCP certification that has had most value in the initial relaunch of my career. Although I believe that after I was made redundant,  the fact that I spent part of my own redundancy money to pay for the required training to achieve this qualification was as valuable as the qualification itself.

Networking to my knowledge, was the least value and yet I have continued to pursue this even after securing myself a new role.

Ultimately, while networking hasn’t to my knowledge advanced my career, it has proved extremely pleasurable. I have developed new friendships, gained personal insight and met people with completely different experiences to myself. (Say for example, an ex-lifemodel and someone who had seen Oswald Moseley at Birmingham town hall.)

So, this is a post encouraging you to network in spite of the fact that it has to my knowledge not achieved for me the goals that I set for myself when I started.

Ultimately I’ve achieved other goals and enjoyed them vastly along the way.

My time spent with Piet and Martin constitute a small but significant part of that pleasure!

December 10, 2012

ukoug conference report: Dave Ensor

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 9:53 pm

I only became aware of Mr Ensor when I read his chapter in the book: Oracle insights – tales of the Oak table.(


The chapter lists and explains the significance of the major new features in each release of Oracle.

I was at the time working on the support of two oracle based applications, which at the time presented me with baffling architectural eccentricities.

One was a document management system where the client application didn’t access the database directly, but rather made calls to an API implemented on the middle tier that had several daemon processes that would execute the required SQL on your behalf. I suspected that the application had been designed in that manner to better facilitate working with multiple database back ends.

The other held large chunks of PL/SQL in Long columns in the database. It then included an OCI*C daemon process that was passed messages via a DBMS_PIPE would then extract the appropriate PL/SQL code, perform parameter substitution, execute the PL/SQL and return the results via a table. This was again baffling to me, why not use stored procedures?

Both of these architectural mysteries were resolved by Dave Ensors chapter. While both applications ran on Oracle8i, it was apparent that their architecture was much older.

In Oracle 5, due to memory address limitations it was only possible to have 40 concurrent contentions to the database. Thus to support more users, the user SQL had to be multiplexed across a limited number of connections.

Similarly in Oracle 6 PL/SQL was introduced, but without a standard way of storing PL/SQL in the database. (Procedures and functions wouldn’t come till Oracle 7.)

Thus Mr Ensor explained to me the architecture of the applications I was supporting.

Dave Ensor attended last years Oak table Sunday at the UKOUG conference and participated in a panel discussion there. He also visited All bar One afterwords, but only briefly, and I missed my opportunity to thank him for the insight he had given me.

This year he didn’t attend either the conference or the Pre-conference OAK table Sunday event.

However he did visit All bar One and I had my opportunity to thank him for his contribution to TFTOT.

From his recollection, I was the first person to ever thank him for that specific piece of work, he had been asked to produce 20 pages, produced 120 and was then negotiated down to 70ish.

I suppose writing about older versions of Oracle isn’t necessarily sexy and on that basis this commensurate piece of work hasn’t received due recognition however if you support an application with a long history, you may do well by getting hold of a copy of this book and reading his chapter!

NB. the book also includes other excellent contributions and chapters!

November 18, 2012

11g forms error

Filed under: 11g,Oracle forms — bigdaveroberts @ 1:21 pm

After migrating to 11g we encountered the following error in 2 of our forms after migration to 11g:

Error 801 at line 0, line 0
internal error [phd_get_defn:DI_U_NAM_RHS]
Error 908 at line 0, column 0
The stored format of <schema name>.<Procedure name> is not supported by this release.

I believe that the issue related to compiling in form code that called database packages that had dependencies in other databases.

But that isn’t important, there was one hit on the OTN forum that correctly pointed me at the correct Metalink article and patch:

So the problem is described in article 1058803.1 and resolved by 7708340.

So ultimately the problem doesn’t seem to require a blog post.

There was however one anomaly  the patch is a database patch and the read-me implied that the patch needed to be applied to the Weblogic server also the patch was relatively speaking large.

I have to admit I was highly dubious about applying a database patch to the middle tier so I went ahead and applied the patch to my development PC, and to my great surprise, it worked.

It also appears that technically you don’t need to apply it to the middle tier, it simply needs to be applied to the PC on which the forms are compiled, although obviously it would be good practice to keep the development PCs and server environments in sync with the live environment.
So sometimes, however unlikely it sounds, Oracle instructions are sometimes accurate straight out of the tin!

November 17, 2012

Oracle forms 11g, OLE2, Windows 2008 R2 64bit issue. (Possibly.)

Filed under: 11g,OLE,Oracle forms,Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 10:12 pm

For clarity, its definitely a forms issue and It’s definitely an OLE2 issue.

But the rest is speculative.

The application was developed to produce reports as Excel spreadsheets using OLE2 to to populate the cells with data.

This was originally developed under Forms 6i and was successfully migrated to Forms 10g using the middle tier to generate the spreadsheets and then pass it back to the user using the same mechanism (WEB.SHOW_DOCUMENT) as used to pass oracle reports back.

Upon migration to Forms 11g this implementation still worked using 32bit windows server 2003 for the middle tier, but when we moved to 64bit Windows Server 2008 R2 the process failed.

We could see Excel being invoked, but it ran only briefly and then terminated without generating a spreadsheet or logging any form of error that we could find.

I tested using my development environment under windows 7 64 bit and the functionality worked fine.

So, it was back to Sysinternals process monitor ( to try and work out the difference in behavior.

My expectation was that it would be some obscure registry setting that would be the cause, in fact the behavior diverged after an attempt to read the following directory:


Strangely this directory was also missing on my windows 7 PC but it was present on windows server 2003.

I copied the desktop directory and its contents from the windows 2003 server to the windows 2008 server and the problem disappeared.

I then deleted the contents of the desktop directory and the Excel spreadsheet was still successfully generated.

So in conclusion, I guess, that when Oracle implemented it’s forms OLE2 interface, they based it on configuration information that is no longer present on 64 bit Windows Server 2008 R2.

However I am uncertain as to when that directory disappeared.

There is also the issue that on my development machine the problem didn’t manifest itself, indicating that the problem may be more complex than this initial investigation has exposed.

As a last observation, the closest I’ve come to an official document that hints at being related on Metalink is:


Although there is no explicit reference to OLE2 and the bug appears unresolved.

Not quite the conclusive conclusion that I like, but interesting enough for a blog post.


October 9, 2012

Possibly useful information for attendees of UKOUG TEBS 2012. (And Oracle Beer!)

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 4:14 pm

Venue Plans.

When I first attended UKOUG, I did struggle to find my way to some of the halls, especially with regard the fact that some routes have been closed off.

So if this is the first time you are attending you might want to look at the new floor plans on the ICC website located here:



If you are going to park on the street at any time during the conference, note that new zones are now in operation since last year.

The map of the new zones is here:

But in short, some of the roads closest to the ICC now require a ticket on all days (including Sundays) between the hours of 8am to 7:30pm.


While All Bar One and Pitcher and piano in Brindley place ( provide convenient locations for acquiring beer may I suggest that the more adventurous try:


Which actually serves:


Baas? Beer as a service?

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