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

10 Things About Computer Programming You May Not Agree With

Are you a computer programmer? Here is what Half Sigma thinks about your profession:

  1. Computer programming is a low prestige profession.
  2. As you get older, your desire to completely relearn everything decreases, so you are likely to succumb to the temptation of staying with the familiar technology for too long.
  3. Whatever your position is, as a Computer Science person, you are socially classified as a geek.
  4. The computer programming industry within the United States is an industry with a shrinking number of jobs (because of outsourcing).
  5. Computer programming and IT in general is now seen as the foreigner’s industry and not a proper profession for upwardly mobile white Americans.
  6. Computer programmers face the need to move up to management or likely wind up as underemployed fifty-year-olds, only suitable for lower paying IT jobs.
  7. This trend, in which people without computer programming experience manage computer programming projects, is a result of the low prestige of computer programming.
  8. If you look forward to one day having your own private office, then computer programming sure isn’t the way to go.
  9. Computer programmers are cubicle employees, not considered important enough to be given nice workspaces.
  10. If you can’t get into a Top 14 law school or a top graduate business school, then public accounting probably provides a better career path than computer programming.

So, if you are a computer programmer, maybe you should change your career and become a database administrator. After all, database administration is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States.

I believe that no matter what your profession is, keeping up to date with the “what’s new” in your industry/technology is very essential to career development.

39 Comments | Filed in Interesting, Technology | Tags:

Ubuntu on Microsoft Virtual PC Works Like a Charm

I have installed and been using Windows Vista Ultimate on my laptop for a few weeks. I have had no major problems with Vista. In fact, I like it.

However, this post is not about Windows Vista. I just want to share with you my success in running Ubuntu as a guest OS on Vista. No, I did not use VMware. I used (the free) Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. I also successfully installed Oracle Database 10g Express Edition on Ubuntu.

The following pages were very helpful:

18 Comments | Filed in Technology | Tags: , , ,

You Don’t Have to Use an Aggregator to Keep Track of Your Favorite Topic

With the increase in the number of blogs aggregated by OraNA, the idea of categorizing blogs into smaller groups, each with its own theme and its own feed may be a good idea (for me, I still want to keep track of everything).

For example, there are aggregators that aggregate blogs about JDeveloper and others that aggregate blogs about Oracle E-Business Suite. But, is this the best way to keep track of your favorite topic? Well, the keyword here is topic. Aggregators aggregate blogs not topics. A blogger who writes about Java and has a Java related blog for example, may also write about other topics that have nothing to do with Java.

So, is there a better way to keep track of your favorite (Oracle specific) topics? The answer is yes. You use the OraNA feed and ZapTXT.

ZapTXT is a free service that lets you keep track of RSS enabled web sites in real time. Just tell ZapTXT what topic (by keywords) you’re interested in and which feed(s) you’d like to monitor, and ZapTXT will notify you by email, instant messenger or mobile device whenever your keywords appear in the feed(s). You will even get a unique RSS feed for your notifications.

Once you have created an account with ZapTXT, you are all set to create “ZapTasks”. A ZapTask is a set of keywords you enter to monitor a given RSS or Atom feed that you specify. You can add your own feed, select one from a list of tags or create an OPML file to monitor keyword(s) across multiple feeds. You can specify multiple keywords separated by boolean operators like AND and OR. You can also enter a phrase in the keywords field and enclose it in quotation marks to perform an exact match.

Once you have created a ZapTask,

  • You can view all of your alerts online.
  • You can modify your delivery preferences or deactivate your alerts at any time.
  • You can install ZapTXT Mobile Widget to access your ZapTXT data from your mobile phone.

For example, you can create a ZapTask to monitor the OraNA feed for any occurrence of “jdeveloper OR jdev OR adf”. As soon as your keyword appears in the feed you get a notification.

And here is an example of an e-mail notification:

ZapTask: name of your search
Title: Title of the blog where your keyword was found

A snippet of the blog post where your keyword was found

Link to full posting: URL
To see past alert results go to:

ZapTXT is a very useful service that helps you stay up to date and focused on your favorite topics.

3 Comments | Filed in Interesting, Oracle, Technology, Tips | Tags: ,

A Sneak Preview of The New OTN Special Edition Web Site

Back in early October, Justin blogged about a new project called “OTN, Special Edition”. He also mentioned that it might be called “MyOTN – Beta Edition”.

…Imagine a completely RSS-based version of OTN that allows you to filter your view based on tag (topic) or contributor, for Website content as well as discussion forum threads… Think of it as an “interactive” search process, with the relevant keywords being supplied to you, instead of the other way around.

That’s how Justin described the new project. As a teaser, he posted three low resolution screenshots and did not provide a link to the new OTN site.

Well, I was lucky enough to stumble upon the “OTN, Special Edition” demo URL. I will not publish the URL because it is not hosted on and it will most likely change when OTN goes public with its Special Edition. But, I have recorded a screencast of the new OTN site. I have also taken a few high resolution screenshots. All I can say is that it is really cool.

otnse-sshot-0.png otnse-sshot-1.png otnse-sshot-11.png otnse-sshot-3.png otnse-sshot-4.png

Click on a thumbnail to view a larger size screenshot

2 Comments | Filed in Oracle, Technology | Tags: , ,

Where Are You Women Bloggers?

Here is an interesting fact: Out of the 174 bloggers aggregated by OraNA, only 7 are female bloggers. That’s a poor 4% of the total Oracle blogsphere. I believe that this is a reflection of the IT industry in general. For example, I work in a team of 10 application developers, all males except one.

Commenting on the coverage of the blogHer conference, Kathy Sierra wrote:

I am “one who blogs” (among many other things). I happen to be a woman. But I am NOT a blogHer, and my male co-author is not a blogHim.

I write code. But I am NOT a programmHer.

I write tech books. But I am NOT a writeHer.

I ride horses. But I am NOT a rideHer. (sounds vaguely sexual… never mind)

I am NOT a skiHer or a skateboardHer or a runHer.

I work on ecological causes, but I am NOT an enviHERmental activist.

And I am NOT typing this on my computeHer (even if it is, I must say, a sexy-yet-adorable black MacBook)

I think that what Kathy is trying to say is that him and her, male and female, woman and man should be equal. I agree, however, this is not about gender equality. No matter what your gender is, you have the same opportunity to enter and prosper in the IT field, as well as any other field, at least here in the USA.

But, let’s face it, no matter how many sexy IT calendars they make, women are a minority in the technology field and there must be a reason for that. What is that reason?

5 Comments | Filed in Oracle, Technology | Tags:

Google Code Search is Live

Google Code Search is live as of a few minutes ago. From the FAQs: Google Code Search helps you find function definitions and sample code by giving you one place to search publicly accessible source code hosted on the Internet. With Google Code Search, you can:

  • Use regular expressions to search more precisely
  • Restrict your search by language, license or filename
  • View the source file with links back to the entire package and the webpage where it came from

Here is an example query.

Code search is not something new. Here are the other code search engines that I have known about for a while:


Comments Off on Google Code Search is Live | Filed in Technology | Tags: , ,

Browse 188+ Feeds The Grazr Way

I used Grazr to build the following nifty little widget to display a “live” list of all the blogs and news sources that are aggregated by OraNA.

In addition to its really cool AJAX look and feel, this Grazr OPML viewer/reader has some nice features like:

  • Different viewing options: three pane view, a slider view and a single pane view.
  • Option to open the viewer in a new window.
  • Keyboard controls to let you move around from one level to another.
  • A sharing feature that lets you easily customize your own display and modify the code snippet for placement in many blogging platforms.

But the feature that is also very interesting is the ability to automatically include and view comment feeds for each post (if supported by the blogging software). For example, to see this feature in action, click on “David Aldridge” in the list, then click on the comment feed at the and of each post to read the comments (if they exist of course).

Oh! The wonders of Javascript! Continue reading…

2 Comments | Filed in Oracle, Technology | Tags: ,

Screencasts: Cracking WEP, Tunneling Exploits and More

I stumbled upon this website which has the following interesting screencasts demonstrating the use of a penetration testing tool for Linux:

(IE may not display the screencasts correctly. Best viewed in Firefox)

It also has this interesting, and rather disturbing, animated GIF image:

click to see it in action

And finally, a web page that crashes your system, especially if you open it up in an outdated web browser:

_____ DO NOT CLICK HERE _____

If you are still curious about what that web page does, here is the HTML code (may still crash your system if using IE – open it at your own risk).

Here is what I think, in order to fully protect your system from all of these exploits and attacks you have got to learn all of these hacking techniques and tools. To outsmart “bad” hackers, you have to be a “good” hacker yourself.

Comments Off on Screencasts: Cracking WEP, Tunneling Exploits and More | Filed in Interesting, Technology | Tags: ,

Quick Tip: Add More Destinations to the “Send To” in Windows

In Windows, there is this handy “Send To” option when you right click on a file or folder in Windows Explorer. In case you do not know, you can add more “places” to the list of where you can send a file or a folder to. Here is how you can do that. Continue reading…

1 Comment | Filed in Technology, Tips | Tags:

The Awaggregator

Tom asks: What sites like digg/reddit/techmeme do you use that you find truly useful and pleasant to use?

If you like digg, reddit and techmeme, you will most likely find the following useful and pleasant to use:

popurls is the dashboard for the latest web-buzz, a single page that encapsulates up-to-the-minute headlines from the most popular sites on the internet.

The main purpose of the site is to provide a quick glance on what’s happening without using your desktop/web RSS reader. New headlines (since your last cookied visit) come in pretty red, visited ones are grey.

Original Signal currently aggregates the 15 most popular sites in each of the following categories: Web 2.0, Tech, Gadgets, Jobs and Buzz. They even have a Most Popular page, and a very nicely aggregated Digg page.

I like these sites, they give you an instant overview of what’s buzzing on the net right now. It’s even very easy to create one of your own.

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