News, views, tips and tricks on Oracle and other fun stuff

Never a Year Like ’09

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Welcome 2010! Happy New Year!

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White, White Everywhere!

We are having a white pre-Christmas here in Oregon. The Portland metro area has been hit by a major snow storm. It is the biggest storm I have seen since I moved here ten years ago.

So, I wanted to capture a quick snapshot of what it was like around my neighborhood after the storm ended earlier today. I also wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

By the way, I shot the above video using my new Flip MinoHD Camcorder. I love it.

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A Quick Update

I owe you, my dear reader, a quick update. If you have been following me on Twitter, you already know that on April 23 I started a new job with a new employer. In the last three weeks, I have been adapting myself to the new environment. This is not easy to do after being in the same job and the same employer for 9 years.

My new position is still “Oracle Developer” and I’m still based in Portland, Oregon USA. I will be doing SQL and PL/SQL development, Fusion Middleware development like Portal, OID, Business Intelligence and SOA/BPEL, in addition to E-Business Suite. I will be exposed to a broader and different set of Oracle technologies compared to my previous job. As always, I will share my new experiences with you through my blog.

One thing I will not continue doing is ColdFusion. Even though I have not blogged about it for a while, now I know for sure that I will not be using nor blogging about ColdFusion at all. As a result, I have changed the title of this blog to: News, views, tips and tricks on Oracle and other fun stuff. No more ColdFusion.

Because of this transition, my blogging activities have dropped recently. There is a lot of useful stuff I want to blog about. I promise I’ll find the time to write and hit the publish button. However, somehow I always find the time to Twitter. Hey, how much time does it take to write a 140 character blog post?! You can always follow me there.

Thank you for being a loyal reader.

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I am a Spammer and so Are You if You Played The Tag Game

There is at least one person who is not happy with Jake’s old-fashioned game of blog tag. Howard Rogers has shut down his website in protest against this latest blog tag craze. Right now, it’s a madhouse I want no part of, Howard writes on his, now one page, site. He also expressed his frustration about flooding OraNA with 8 things you didn’t know about me posts here, here, here and here.

Personally, I think it is not spam, or at least it is not bad spam. The tagged posts show that there is a real person behind every Oracle blog, each with a different personal story to tell. However, OraNA is indeed flooded with the 8 things posts, so I do understand Howard’s frustration, even though his reaction was a bit extreme.

Do you think that the time has come to stop tagging?

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8 Things You May Not Know About This Blogger

Jake Kuramoto has tagged me to write eight things about myself in an effort to “learn more about the people you interact with using New Web”. Without further ado, here I am personally telling you 8 secrets about my personal life:

Now, the next tagged victims are: Tom Kyte, Doug Burns, Mark Rittman, Ameed Taylor, Alex Gorbachev, Laurent Schneider, Pawe? Barut, and Steve Karam.

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Oracle Flying, The Movie

For the first time since I moved to Oregon about 8 years ago, I attended the yearly Oregon International Airshow at the Hillsboro airport with my son George last Saturday. I was happily surprised that Sean Tucker and Team Oracle were going to perform in the show.

In case you do not know, Sean D. Tucker is the famous aerobatic pilot of the Oracle Challenger Plane. I managed to take a video of him preparing for his Power Aerobatic routine:

George and I had a great time.

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Running on a Virtual Private Server and a Couple of Pictures

If you are one of the lucky people who was greeted by the following dreaded error page when you visited my blog, or in the past few weeks, I have good news for you (and me). Obviously, the shared hosting account that I had with could not handle the load of three websites (my fourth domain is forwarded to my Tumblr blog). I have not had any issues with BlueHost until recently when my account was “exceeding its CPU quota” several times a week. This was not good. I had to do something.

Account Exceeded

Sean Corfield recently wrote about his move from a shared hosting account to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) at So, I decided to do the same. I completed the move of the three domains from BlueHost to a Linux VPS on HostMySite last weekend. Like Sean, I am very impressed with the excellent support at HostMySite and so far the sites are in a very good health.

On another personal note, I took Thursday and Friday off to spend some time with my family. The weather in the Portland (Oregon) area has been warm and sunny for the last few days. On Friday, we toured a couple of places a few miles east of Portland. Here are a couple of pictures:


This is me holding my 9 month old daughter Julie


… and with my 6 year old son George

Can you guess the places where these pictures were taken? Here is another hint from my car’s GPS, the red arrow represents the car:


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You Have Egg on Your Chin

Jonathan wrote that “keep pouring cold water on everything” may not translate well because of the colloquialisms. This got me thinking about when I first arrived in the United States back in 1998. I thought I knew the English language very well. After all, I graduated from a well respected American university in Lebanon. Little did I know that in order to master the English language, or at least understand the spoken English, one should also master, or at least be familiar with, common slang language. For example, I did not know that almost everyone in the southern United States automatically uses the word “y’all.”, like “Hi y’all”, “What y’all doing?”.

Each area in the world has its own slang. You have American slang, English slang, Australian slang, Canadian slang, Scottish slang, Arabic slang, … I believe that the best way to learn slang is to live with people who speak it and learn as you converse with them on a daily basis.

While reading the book Google Hacks, I came across the following list of slang related dictionary web sites. For example, these sites may come in handy when someone tells you that you have egg on your chin:

  • The Probert Encyclopedia. This site is browseable by first letter or searchable by keyword. The slang presented here is from all over the world.

  • A Dictionary of Slang. This site focuses on slang heard in the United Kingdom, and also from other places. It’s browseable by letter or via a search engine. Words from outside the UK are marked with their place of origin in brackets.

  • Surfing for Slang. This site has a good meta-list of English and Scandinavian slang resources. You will find interesting things like words Americans should avoid saying to Australians and New Zealanders.

  • Urban Dictionary. You can browse this collaborative dictionary by word and find dozens or hundreds of definitions for each word. The definitions are added by site visitors, and each definition is open to votes from other visitors. The most widely accepted definitions for each word bubble up to the top.

Later mate 🙂

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What You Should Not Blog About

Here is an interesting post about things you should avoid blogging about. I could not agree more with the following:

…There’s no real point to those “I can’t blog ’cause I’m too busy” posts other than giving a cop-out for not keeping up with your blog. People come to your blog to read your content, not your excuses for not producing your content…

What also puzzles me is why some bloggers apologize for not blogging as frequently as they think they should or as frequently as they used to. They usually start their posts with: “I’m sorry for not blogging recently. I have been busy doing bla bla bla”. I do not see the need for an apology here, do you?

So, I’m not going to apologize for not blogging as frequently as I used to recently, I just felt that I wanted to take a short break.

I also have my parents visiting from Lebanon. My mom is a great cook, I have been enjoying her delicious Lebanese dishes everyday, and gaining more weight everyday :(. Moreover, my soon-to-be three month old baby Julie is keeping us really busy. Oops! did I say busy?!

Finally, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

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A Thank You and a Couple of Pictures

Just a quick note to thank you all for your warm comments to my previous post: World Population = World Population + 1. I feel like you are my extended family online.

I now have a little bit of time to stay up-to-date about all the news that I missed during the past few days, and even write a few posts.

Here are a couple of pictures from the operation room (Jasmine had a cesarean section):

Due to the shortage of female Oracle developers, I will feed Julie not only milk, but also Oracle knowledge, hoping that someday we will have (female) Oracle developers = (female) Oracle developers + 1 🙂

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