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Eight days to go – Who are you voting for in the NH Republican Senatorial Primary?

SLOB Patch 2014.09.01 – AWR Post-Processing Script ( Fix.

The SLOB kit comes with a little script that extracts interesting information from the awr.txt file produced at the end of a SLOB test. This is just a quick blog entry to point folks to a patched version of that works properly with all Oracle Database 11g releases as well as Oracle Database 12c.

Oracle changed AWR format in the and 12c releases so the old script (in the publicly available SLOB kit) has been faulty for some time now.

I have a release of SLOB in the works that will include this as well as improved data loader and improvements to the driver script ( that includes optional, tunable think time between iterations of the SLOB work loop in slob.sql. For the time being please get a copy of the patched version.

New Output

This version of also gleans and outputs logical read (SGA buffer pool cached block accesses) data.

The following screen shot shows the patched generating proper output for awr.txt files collected by SLOB databases running out of the, and 12c releases.

The following picture is what Microsoft Excel looks like when I cut and paste the output of I’ve highlighted the new column for logical reads.


Exadata Cell Single Block Physical Reads?

Yes, the above picture does show AWR output from a run where the top wait event was cell single block physical read. Exadata? Yes! That’s because SLOB users often share their testing results from the Exadata platform. There are a lot of us that prefer knowing the facts about Exadata physical I/O characteristics as opposed to the marketing exaggerations presented in the highest majority of Exadata-related literature. However, I do not get enough Exadata AWR reports to work through all of the issues related to Exadata. To that end, latency information is not calculated and presented as is the case with db file sequential read. For what it’s worth this particular AWR report shows Exadata single block reads serviced with average latencies of 507 microseconds ( 7233/14256602).

Where To Get The Patch?

The following is a link to my syncplicity share with the README for this patch: Click here for the patch README.
Finally, the patched version of is available here:  Click here for the latest script.

Filed under: oracle

Why we should eliminate corporate INCOME taxes.

Another message from “Farnham for US Senate”

Lately, there has been a lot of news about “corporate inversion.” Essentially a large US based corporation essentially buys a foreign company based in a country with lower corporate income tax rates, but designates that the acquisition is now actually the top of the corporate structure. With this stroke of paperwork (producing nothing), the net income after taxes is improved for the stockholders. Aside from the public relations (which might be costly, especially in consumer products), this is what management should do: Maximize the returns to stockholders.

This is just a new wrinkle in the idiocy and waste that is taxing corporations on income.

Since customers pay corporate income taxes anyway, how about we take away the corporate incentive to lobby to complicate the tax code by eliminating the corporate income tax altogether. Now of course they should pay fees for services, such as property tax to pay for police and fire coverage and taxes on gasoline an diesel fuel to build roads and mass transit. But all manner of evil and waste are eliminated at no necessary revenue decrease by ending corporate income taxes. So what happens? Well, first off, the first country to eliminate the corporate income tax wins. (New Hampshire, with no personal income tax, might become a corporate headquarters darling, but that is parochial.) Now, instead of “inversion” acquisitions, companies will race to bring their headquarters and highest paid executives to the US. Sweet. They also will only need one set of books, so “tax accounting” and all the associated distortions and unproductive waste (that currently is very beneficial to the bottom line without producing anything) goes “poof.” Companies will save a (Burger) King’s ransom by not having to do all manner of accounting adjustments to minimize tax. Operations and cost accounting will drive corporate behavior and they will be out of the income tax credit business.

Prices will drop. Profits and dividends will rise. Individuals will get increased income from investments and they will pay tax on that. Everyone wins except the lobbyists and legislators who lobbyists pamper and fund to win favor.

Ending corporate income tax eliminates waste and improper influence by economic force.

Some folks are STILL trying to justify violence on religious grounds. Very sad.

Christ was very clear “Love your neighbor and your enemy as yourself.” You can SAY you’re Christian and do hateful things all the time, and none of us is perfect (Methodists like to say we’re trying to keep on a walk toward perfection, knowing that is not a walk we will complete), but you really are not a Christian if you are preaching hatred of … any … one … most especially and saying this hatred comes with God’s approval. Sigh. Oh – and the bit about which prophesy is being fulfilled and when – don’t bother. He’s coming back like a thief in the night and no one will know the day or time of His Coming until it happens. Anyone who thinks they can decode specifics out of Revelations is just wrong, from Christ’s own mouth. As for extracting literal rules out of the old testament, that would be a neat trick if anyone could do it figuring translations, symbols, arcana of math and all that, but the new covenant tempered all those things with the rule of Love anyway. So even if you buy as literal the old testament based on Emperor Constantine’s wishes of what it was useful for the Roman empire to include, you have to re-interpret all that in light of the new testament. Christ and Mohammed both ultimately proclaimed the rules of love and peace. So a great cartoon would be Mohammed down in the dumps and Jesus walks by and asks Mo “why so sad Mo?” And Mo replies: “Some people who claim to follow Islam are wantonly killing innocents and it is happening all the time.” Tsk, Tsk, Mo. You gave them some pretty tough rules. Imagine how I feel. I told them to Love One Another and Love their neighbor as themselves, and still I get people killing people in My Name. I did said go and make disciples in all nations. I never said “At the point of a sword!”

So yeah. Even though I’m a published scientist (thanks for the co-author status, Andy. Maybe, as you said, I did earn it – but it was still kind) and I think that if you want to make predictions about what is going to happen on this physical plane you devise theories and methods to test the theories and use the theory that is most likely (given the confidence levels of those test results) to produce a correct result for the situation you face… Even though, that, I think we can improve the world by thinking in term’s of Christ’s Love. Give it a try. You do not have to stop making rational decisions. Now I’ll leave you with a verse, and many of you will probably hum the tune: “Lord I want to be a Christian, In my heart, In me he-art. Lord I want to be a Christian, In my hear.

And seriously, if you’re moved to violence by something, no way you get to claim it was for God.

Book Review: Oracle PL/SQL Performance Tuning Tips & Techniques

“Oracle PL/SQL Performance Tuning Tips & Techniques” by Michael Rosenblum and Dr. Paul Dorsey is a book you should read soon. A quote from Oracle’s Bryn Llwellyn in the book’s forward says it all “Every professional PL/SQL programmer should study this book and act upon its teachings.”
Misha and Paul take the scientific route to performance, providing readers the how-and-why of effective performance. The first chapter sets the tone showing how performance is an aggregate typically of nine-steps from execution of code on the client side, through middleware, to server, and back again to the client. Learn how PL/SQL works from two of the best whose shared stories of actual issues underline the importance of performance planning and thinking.
Oracle database professionals rely upon PL/SQL to accomplish many important tasks. This book presents numerous opportunities to improve PL/SQL performance offering more than just code suggestions. Perhaps most importantly, each unit steps the reader through how to test and prove if an actual improvement has been made. Code examples include explanations of how to test results so that you know the impact of your actions. For each topic highlighted, the authors provide discussions of the tradeoffs being made; for instance, did CPU improve at the expense of I/O or vice-versa? Performance-related Oracle tools and instrumentation are explained and demonstrated clearly to illustrate and confirm results.
You can read this book straight through as I did, or, pick a specific topic like caching and skip around. However you choose to read this book you’re sure to learn lots about PL/SQL performance and how you can improve your systems.

Windows 7 error “key not valid for use in specified state”

When you see that error upon trying to install or upgrade something on your Windows 7 64-bit machine, chances are that it is caused by a Windows Security update that you need to uninstall. There is probably no point in messing around with the registry or the application that you want to upgrade. Instead, remove the Windows update KB2918614 like this:

Open the control panel, then click  Windows Update

Windows 7 control panelClick Update History and then Installed Updates:

Update HistoryScroll down to Microsoft Windows and look for KB2918614 (I have removed it already before I took the screenshot):

Uninstall KB2918614Finally, hide that update so you don’t get it installed later on again:

Hide KB2918614I’m using a corporate notebook with automatic Windows security updates coming from time to time and encountered that problem while trying to upgrade VirtualBox to version 4.3.12. It is not a VirtualBox issue, though, other installs or upgrades may fail for the same reason. For me, this was a serious problem, because I rely on virtual machines for many demonstrations. Kudos to the forums! They helped me resolve that problem within a day. Thank you once again, guys! :-)

Tagged: #KB2918614

SLOB Failing To Generate AWR Reports? Red Hat Bug 919793!

This is a quick blog post to help folks that are testing with SLOB at high user (session) counts. The situation may arise where you are testing SLOB on a large configuration, with or without SQL*Net, and the SLOB driver ( is failing to produce Automatic Workload Repository (a.k.a AWR) reports.

This problem will generally be seen on RHEL 6 variants that implement the much maligned /etc/security/limits.d/90-nproc.conf method of preventing fork bombs. For more information on this configuration file please refer to Red Hat bug 919793.

If you are not getting AWR reports under the condition I describe then the problem is most likely due to 90-nproc.conf short circuiting the ulimit(3) tuning you’ve established.

As an example remedy, please consider the following settings I recommended to my colleagues at VCE for performance testing of the vBlock Specialized System for High Performance Databases:




Filed under: oracle

XtremIO @ Tech Field Day 2014


As scientists, interested in what’s happening in platform technology, readers of my blog will find my colleague Itzik Reich’s recent blog on EMC XtremIO to be very informative. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Itzikr's Blog:



during the week of VMworld 2014, we had the pleasure of presenting in front of the audience of the tech field day delegates.

attached below are the links to the session Josh Goldstein delivered, enjoy!

EMC XtremIO Introduction

EMC XtremIO Architecture – Consistent and Predictable Performance

EMC XtremIO Data Services

View original

Filed under: oracle

Coloring Page Sections in Squarespace

A useful technique in web design is the application of distinctive background colors to provide visual separation between sections in a page. Figure 1 shows an example of the technique in the Bedford template on the Squarespace platform. You can implement such a page with just a few lines of CSS. 

Figure 1. Bedford page divided into sections by different background colors

Figure 1. Bedford page divided into sections by different background colors

I use the Bedford template for my example in this post. Bedford makes it particularly easy to colorize different sections a page. It's easy to omit the hero images that are the page headers, and Bedford's ability to "stack" many pages and present them as one makes the technique in Figure 1 easily achievable to Squarespace customers choosing to use that template.. 

Creating the Sections

Begin by creating an index page. Then create a sub-page within the index for each section of your planned final page as you want it to appear to your site's visitors. Figure 2 shows the structure for my example page -- named Rainbow -- as it appears in my site configuration. 

Figure 2. Sub-pages corresponding to the sections in Figure 1

Figure 2. Sub-pages corresponding to the sections in Figure 1

Figures 3, 4 , and 5 show the design views of the sub-pages. Each page corresponds to a colored section. Lay out each page as you want its corresponding section to appear in the final result. 

Figure 3. First colored secton

Figure 3. First colored secton

Figure 4. Second colored section

Figure 4. Second colored section

Figure 5. Third colored section

Figure 5. Third colored section

The function of an index page in the Bedford template is to "stack" all the sub-pages and present the result to the viewer as one, often long page. What you see in Figure 1 is a result of this concatenating of sub-pages into a single index page.

Coloring the Sections

Stacking the pages won't give color to the backgrounds. All three pages will be on white, or on whatever other color you may have specified for the page background using the Style Editor. Here is were CSS comes to play. Bedford's designer has made it as simple and easy as I've ever seen to target the individual sections on the combined page.

Write three rules like those in Listing 1. Wrap them in a

tag sequence. Then go to Settings for your index page, to the Advanced tab, and place the code into the Page Header Code Injection field as shown in Figure 6.

Listing 1. Colorization rules

  #first-page {background-color: #FAFAD2;}
  #second-page {background-color: #F5DEB3;}
  #third-page {background-color: #87CEEB;}

Figure 6. Style rules in their place 

Figure 6. Style rules in their place 

The style rules target

elements corresponding to the page sections. The naming convention is easy: Just take each sub-page's name and write it in lowercase with hyphens between the words. Put a number-sign at the front to denote an HTML identifier. First Page becomes #first-page, Second Page becomes #second-page, and so on. The pattern is easy. 

Listing 2 shows the three

elements for my example page. You can see how the ID attribute values correspond to the names given in my CSS rules. 

Listing 2. Section ID attributes corresponding to sub-page names

<div id="first-page" class="index-section"...>
<div id="second-page" class="index-section"...>
<div id="third-page" class="index-section"...>

You can verify your page identifiers by viewing your index page and then invoking your browser's View Source function. See my post CSS and Squarespace: Getting Started for help on doing that. 

Figure 7 shows the same

elements as seen through a browser's Developer Tools pane. Typically you can arrive at that view by right-clicking in a section and selecting Inspect Element. 

Figure 7. The three section divs as seen from a browser's HTML inspector

Figure 7. The three section divs as seen from a browser's HTML inspector

Be sure to apply the rules to the index page, and not by mistake to any of your sub-pages. Select the index page in your site configuration. Then click the Settings button and move to the Advanced tab. It is the settings for the index page that matter when the combined page is built and displayed.

Note: It is possible and sometimes useful to design a site so that a given sub-page is viewed as part of an index page, and also as a stand-alone page. I do this with my page promoting my book. That sub-page appears as a section lower down on my home page, but I also give out the stand-alone URL to promote my book. In such a case you may want separate style rules in the Page Header Code Injection field for each sub-page that you also want viewed stand-alone. 

Removing the Top Menu

Here's an optional modification to consider: You can inhibit the redisplay of the site menu when a viewer scrolls down your index page. Compare Figure 8 and Figure 9. 

Figure 8. Bedford's default menu behavior

Figure 8. Bedford's default menu behavior

Figure 9. A simple-to-achieve, optional look

Figure 9. A simple-to-achieve, optional look

Figure 8 shows Bedford's normal behavior, which is to redisplay the site menu when a viewer scrolls the first sub-page off the top of the screen. Figure 9 shows a different result that you can obtain by adding just one, simple line to your

tag sequence, along with the other rules. 

The show rule works because there is JavaScript running in the Bedford template to add a class named show to the HTML tag enclosing the site menu when the page is scrolled. The show class is designed to make visible the page element to which it is added. The above one-liner rule reverses the effect, and now the show class makes its target element invisible. The effect is to provide a clean scroll of the page without the reappearance of the site menu.

Caution: Think carefully about preventing the reappearance of the site menu. Index pages can become rather long, and it's quite convenient for viewers to see the site menu again in case they want to go elsewhere on your site. Balance your desire for an artistic look and feel against your visitor's need for a convenient and pleasant navigation experience while visiting your site.


You can see how easily Bedford lets you achieve the multi-colored sections look in Figure 1. Sections on an index page can be visually separated by color, and with just a few lines of CSS.

You can apply fundamentally the same technique to other templates supporting the use of index pages. My book Learn CSS for Squarespace shows at least one example targeting sections in a Marquee index page. My book also helps you learn to investigate page structure and create solutions in CSS on your own.

Tip: Do you want a header image at the top of the combined page? Just add a thumbnail image to your first sub-page in the index, in my case to the page named First Page.


Learn CSS for Squarespace


Learn CSS for Squarespace is a short, seven-chapter introduction to working with CSS on the Squarespace platform. The book is delivered as a mobi file that is readable from the Kindle Fire HDX or similar devices. A complimentary sample chapter is available. Try before you buy.

Add To Cart

Webinar Followup (Aug. 27): In Search of Plan Stability - Part 1

Thanks to everyone who attended my August 27th webinar entitled In Search of Plan Stability - Part 1. You can download the presentation materials from these links:

Presentation PDF

I'll update this post to provide a link to the recording shortly.

Come back in November for Part 2. Hope to see you then!