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

Oracle News Aggregator OraNA No Longer Powered by Google Reader

OraNA.infoYou probably heard that Google is going to shut down Google Reader (GR) on July 1st, 2013.

There are many theories, speculations and analysis as to why Google took the decision to kill Reader.

To me GR was not just a place I visit several times daily to get my dose of fresh news, it was also the backend feed aggregation engine that has powered since 2006.

With GR going away soon, I have been working over the past several days to detach it from OraNA.

I’m glad to report to you that the migration off of GR is done. OraNA now aggregates all of its syndicated feeds via its own feed aggregation engine.

OraNA has been operating since the beginning of 2006. In the process of updating it, I took the opportunity to do spring cleaning on the blogs that it aggregates.

Blogs that no longer exist have been deleted from the aggregator.

Blogs that still exist but have had no new posts since January 2012 are no longer aggregated by OraNA.

I was surprised at the number of blogs that fell into the two categories above.

The number of aggregated blogs fell from 508 to 323 (plus the feed).

Here is a live list of all the blogs that OraNA aggregates.

I guess the enthusiasm for long form blogging has fizzled out over the years. Lazy bloggers (including yours truly) find it much easier and quicker to “micro” blog using Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

On a personal note, I have moved my daily dose intake of news from GR to Feedly.

2 Comments | Filed in Oracle | Tags: , ,

Oracle People Wiki, Mark Your Spot

Google just announced a new Google Maps feature:

Starting today, Google Maps supports collaborative map-making, so multiple people can edit the same My Map. Just click the “Collaborate” link and enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite. They’ll receive an email invitation with a link to the map. Once they open the map, they should be able to edit it, as long as they are signed into a Google Account that’s associated with that email address. You can also open your map to the world so anyone can edit it by selecting the “Allow anyone to edit this map” checkbox.

So, I went ahead and created the Oracle People map. Go ahead and add yourself to the map. All what you need is a free Google Account, but if you have one, like a Gmail account for example, you’re all good to go.

You can add not only your name and location, but also any other information you like to share with the rest of us. There is even a rich text editor so you can easily add links, images and formatted text.

I can see the map as being a very useful social and networking tool. I’m sure you’ll be surprised how many Oracle People live and work just around your corner.

Click here to add yourself or edit the map. Make sure you’re logged in to your Google Account.

View Larger Map

3 Comments | Filed in Oracle | Tags: , ,

Infinite Scrolling at and New Oracle Bloggers Group

Aggregated by OraNA, the unofficial Oracle news and blogs aggregator, has a new look and cool new features:

  • OraNA now runs on WordPress, which means that, unlike the older version, OraNA is no more limited to showing only the latest 20 posts. It is still a River of News style aggregator, but the river has become as long as the Nile.

  • OraNA now supports infinite scrolling. You scroll and scroll and scroll infinitely. Basically, as soon as you get near the bottom of the page it automatically adds more posts (AJAX is so cool). No more “Next Page” and “Previous Page”, it’s virtually endless. Quick tip: use the space bar to scroll down and shift+space bar to scroll up.

  • OraNA has a cleaner look. Posts are clearly separated and authors are displayed below post titles.

  • OraNA now aggregates more Oracle blogs than ever, over 266 Oracle employee and non-employee blogs as of today.

If your blog is aggregated by you may:

  • add the “Aggregate by OraNA” button to your blog. Just copy the following HTML Code and paste it to your blog’s sidebar:

Google Groups
Subscribe to OraBloggers

The OraBloggers group is not really new. It was created back in January 2006 and currently has a few members. Maybe it’s time to revive it and use it as a public place to discuss the current affairs in the Oracle blogosphere or each others’ posts as Paul suggests, or whatever you like, you decide.

6 Comments | Filed in Oracle, WordPress | Tags: , , ,

Bart’s Punishment For Asking Dumb Questions

I will use Google before asking dumb questions

Using Google to find answers is a good idea, but when it comes to finding answers to technical questions, hitting the documentation first is a very smart move that may save you some humiliation later on.

When you ask “obvious” questions on forums or mailing lists, there is a good chance that the more experienced forum contributors will hit you with an answer like this one: RTFM before asking dumb questions.

Tim Hall has noticed a trend in the Oracle forums:

It feels like most posters these days don’t even bother to open the manuals before asking a question. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked a question, that is answered by the first couple of paragraphs in the manual. It’s just lazy beyond words.

OK, so Tim is predicting the downfall of Oracle forums because posters don’t bother to RTFM first.

Now, with the help of Oracle Blogs Search and Google, let’s see what other bloggers have written about this subject:

RTFM – by Tom Kyte:

I do recommend and point people to the documentation, but I don’t think I give RTFM answers… I will answer with a gentle reminder such as “well, when I typed your subject into the search field, I found these 5 articles, did you see them?”.

How To Be A Good Guru – by Andrew Clarke:

Telling some newbie “RTFM” is an act of pure arrogance. It just feeds the respondent’s ego without helping that questioner learn anything, except maybe not to ask for help in the forum again.

But it’s in the manual! – by Jonathan Lewis:

I’ve just seen a note on the news group advising someone to check the online manual for a piece of code to report which objects are using how much space in the buffer cache. This is the reference and this is the code… There are two flaws with this code – it gets the wrong results, and it’s inefficient.

RTFM, Newbies etc – by Niall Litchfield:

RTFM says “you’re wasting my time and I think you are stupid”. I wouldn’t say that to anyone in one-to-one conversation, I don’t see why it is acceptable in email. (unless you are 14, male and on a video games forum obviously).

Read the ******* Manual – by Andrew Gilfrin:

First let me say I’m not a prude, but neither do I have a mouth like a toilet. But I do find the acronym RTFM incredibly offensive.

How to get users to RTFM – by Kathy Sierra

The “F” in RTFM is the biggest clue that most of us blame the user for not reading the manual… since we can’t force our users to do anything, if we want them to RTFM, we need to make a better FM.

And finally, here is what I say:

  1. Don’t use the acronym RTFM.
  2. Do point people to the documentation.
  3. Don’t blindly trust the documentation.
  4. Do test, test and test, even after you read the documentation.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions. What’s dumb to some, is genius to others.

Feel free to add your own DO or DON’T, or even ask dumb questions, I promise I won’t throw an RTFM on you 🙂

15 Comments | Filed in Oracle, Tips | Tags: , ,

Peek at what others are putting in their Google Notebook

Google Notebook is very useful. It enables you to clip and gather information while you’re browsing the web. It lives in your browser and online. All your web findings are gathered into one organized, easy accessible location that you can access from any computer. In fact, I use Google Notebook to store notes and ideas about things I want to blog about.

Moreover, Google Notebook has a very interesting feature. You can actually publish your notebook to the web, allowing the public to view your notebook’s content. Your public notebook is also included in Google’s search results, and, as a result, searchable. That’s cool. Let’s search the public Google notebooks for “Oracle”:

Interesting. About 447 public Google notebooks have the word “Oracle” in them. Now, if you would please excuse me, I’ll go and poke around these Oracle notebooks, just for curiosity.

Comments Off on Peek at what others are putting in their Google Notebook | Filed in Oracle, Tips | Tags: ,

OraNA What’s New Screencast

Check out this screencast about the latest improvements to OraNA.

The most important new feature is the Oracle blogs search. Using Google custom search, I have created a search engine that lets you search all the blogs aggregated by OraNA. By all I mean more than 136 Oracle related blogs plus all the blogs hosted at Give it a try.

3 Comments | Filed in Oracle | 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: , ,

Google, Googlism and Emoticons

Here are three interesting and fun things I have recently stumbled on:

Google sets:

Google sets is a Google Labs product that automatically creates sets of words from a few keywords. You enter a few keywords from a set of things, and then press “Large Set” or “Small Set” and Google tries to predict similar keywords in the set. For example:


Googlism was created as a fun tool to see what Google “thinks” of certain topics and people. To try it out, I entered my name and got this back: “Sorry, Google doesn’t know enough about eddie awad yet.” Oh well, I’m not famous yet. But when you search for “Tom Kyte”, you get:

  • tom kyte is the vice president
  • tom kyte is a columnist with oracle magazine and is the tom behind the asktom website
  • tom kyte is the author of expert one
  • tom kyte is of a rare breed
  • tom kyte is that rare individual a true technical expert who can communicate clearly and effectively
  • tom kyte is among the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry
  • tom kyte is the respected oracle guru known for his question and answer site
  • tom kyte is also the host of an online forum
  • tom kyte is correct
  • tom kyte is smart
  • tom kyte is an oracle guru
  • tom kyte is that rare individual a true technical expert who can communicate
  • tom kyte is usually right on the money
  • tom kyte is an oracle professional who works with the oracle services industry technology group in reston virginia usa

Emoticons search

Yesterday, introduced the emoticons (aka smileys) and instant messaging shorthand search by simply typing the smiley or the shorthand into the search box. For example:

Now, if you get an email with all this Internet jargon, you know where to go to look it up.

2 Comments | Filed in Technology | Tags: ,

7 Google Search Tips and Facts

If you use Google (and who doesn’t? Oh! well maybe these people don’t), here are a few simple, interesting and useful Google search tips and facts you may have forgotten all about:

  1. The asterisk is a search wildcard. For example, searching for three*mice finds three blind mice, three button mice, etc.

  2. Google search currently has a hard limit of 32 words – that’s keywords and special syntax combined. Search terms after the first 32 words are ignored.

  3. Google’s Boolean default is AND, which means that, if you enter query words without modifiers, Google will search for all of your query words.

  4. The Google synonym operator, the ~ (tilde) character, placed in front of any number of keywords in your query, asks Google to include not only exact matches, but also what it thinks are synonyms for each of the keywords. For example, search for ~legal, you will get results for lawyer, attorney, law, etc.

  5. Google is case insensitive. If you search for Three, three, THREE, even ThrEE, you get the same results.

  6. Numrange searches for results containing numbers in a given range. Just add two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces, into the search box along with your search terms. For example, If you’re looking to spend $800 to $1,000 on a nice 3 to 6 megapixel digital SLR camera, Google for: slr digital camera 3..6 megapixel $800..1000.

  7. Page size in Google results is never going to be more than 101 KB. That’s because Google doesn’t index more than 101 KB worth of a given web page.


6 Comments | Filed in Tips | Tags:

Search Oracle Documentation Google Style

Last month, Oracle removed the authentication requirement from its documentation libraries. Since then, OTN membership is no longer required for accessing the Oracle documentation.

Yesterday, Justin announced that a new way for searching the documentation has just gone live.

For example, to see the new Oracle Docs search in action, here is the search result for “merge”.

Check it out at

To make searching easier:

  • For Firefox users: Install the new Oracle Docs (SES) search plugin.
  • For IE users: Add the new Oracle Docs (SES) custom button to your Google toolbar.
4 Comments | Filed in Firefox, Oracle, Plugins | Tags: , , , ,