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Taking Off One of my Community Hats – Oracle Scene

For the last couple of years I’ve been involved in “Oracle Scene”, the UKOUG magazine about all things Oracle. Click the link to see the current edition, which is free to view to everyone, member of the UKOUG or not.

The Book.

I’ve just added a picture to the right side of this site. It is for a book about SQL and PL/SQL. If you look at the image of the front cover, at the bottom is a list of authors and, near the end, is my name. It’s all finished and at the printers, but it is not out yet – It should be published in the next few weeks.

The British part of me wants to mumble and say “oh, yes, hmmm, I did contribute to a book… but I think you should concentrate on the chapters by the other chaps, they are proper experts, very clever gentleman and lady… I was just involved in a couple of lesser chapters…”

The part of me that spent weeks and months of late nights and long weekends writing it wants to scream “Look! LOOK! I damn well got it done! And it was way more painful than any of my author friends told me it would be as, despite their best efforts, I did not get How Hard Writing A Book Is!
I BLED FOR THAT BOOK!”

Friday Philosophy – Tech Writing Is Like Religious Art

I’m putting together an article for Oracle Scene at the moment – I’ve delayed it for a couple of issues as we wanted the space for other tech articles, but my time has come. And I’m finding it very hard going. Why?

I’m not an expert on religious art (or religion… or art) but one thing I know is that with religious artifacts, especially things like sculpture, furniture, and plaques, they often differ from non-religious art in that the back of them is as well done as the front. I.e. if there is an ornate plaque to be created and put on the wall of a secular building, all the effort goes into the front. The back is likely to be simple or even rough. With a religious plaque, the chances are that the back will be just as well crafted as the front.

A Book of Friday Philosophies?

It has been suggested to me by a friend (not a publisher!) that I should do a book of my “Friday Philosophy” posts. I’m not sure. I’d like to know what people think.

If you read my blog but “Friday Philosophy” has somehow passed you by (how could they, most of my posts now are Friday Philosophies!) they are usually posted at the end of the week and deal with the non-technical side of working in IT. They are my thoughts and experiences on management, development paradigms, things that seem to still be wrong after 2 generations of programmers have painfully learnt the same lessons. Some have nothing to do with IT. The occasional one is about my life. Nearly all have an element of humour in them (even if it is only when I am laughing at myself and my own stupidity).

I’ve never really meant them to be more than a bit of light relief for people to read at the end of the week, but also to make people think.

Friday Philosophy – Content, Copying, Copyright &Theft

There have been a couple of things this week that have made me think about the stuff that some of us write and what other people do with it.

Friday Philosophy – Publishing rather than Presenting

Have you ever considered writing articles on Oracle subjects? Unlike presenting, there is no need to stand up in front of a scary crowd, remember what it was you wanted to say and risk someone calling you out from the crowd & accusing you of being an idiot {NB people worry a lot about that last one, but I have only seen it happen once – and no one much liked the person doing the calling}. Presenting is not for everyone. But it is not the only way to engage with people or share your knowledge. When you write an article you get to take your time, ensure you are saying what you want to say and you can correct it over time. You can also ask friends to check it over for glaring mistakes or badly written prose before you submit it. I do.

New Guitar

I turned in the first draft of my last chapter in Expert Oracle Exadata last weekend. Tanel and Randy are working on their last chapters so we should be done with the basic material in a matter of days. We’ll still have a fair amount of editing work to do, but that’s a lot easier than coming up with the first pass at the material (which feels a little like giving birth). So as a reward to myself I bought a new guitar.


The picture’s a little dark, but check out the awesome paisley case in the background. I chickened out and didn’t play it on Sunday at my church gig. (takes a little while to get used to a new guitar don’t you know) Maybe next week. ;)

I’ve Updated the White Papers/Presentation Page

I finally took a little time to update the page with some of the presentations I’ve done over the last couple of years. You can get there via the menu bar above or by clicking here: White Papers/Presentations

Maybe some day I’ll have time to organize all the scripts.

Expert Oracle Exadata Book Available as Part of Apress Alpha Program

I’ve had several inquiries about whether our upcoming Exadata book is part of the “Alpha” program at Apress. Honestly, I wasn’t even familiar with the program so I asked our editor, Jonathan Gennick, and found out that our book is part of the program. Tanel already did a post explaining how it works here:

I just wanted to follow up with a quick post since I’d had a few questions about it already. It’s actually pretty cool if you are anxious to get your hands on the material. It’s also interesting because you can see how the book writing process goes. You basically have access to draft versions of chapters as the authors turn them in – warts and all. Then you’ll get emails when the chapters are updated as they go through the reviewing and editing process. Here’s a link to the Apress page where you can see all the details:

So welcome to the future where everyone can see everything you’re doing. Next thing you know we’ll all be wearing jet packs.