Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why do people do this?

Let me ask all of you something.


7 RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR(-20001,'Following Error Occured:'

why??? I don't get it. Is it because

a) you don't want to know what line really caused the error?
b) you get paid by the number of lines of code you write?
c) you want to spend lots of time looking up the actual error code the you just lost?

Why is it that everyone seems to feel "I must catch all exceptions". I cannot understand this, I do not see the point, I only see this doing HARM, never any good. Why take a perfectly good error code/message and totally destroy it?

This goes to people that turn exceptions into "return codes", masking the error, why???

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why recovery is the only thing...

Why recovery is the only thing a DBA is not allowed to get wrong. I've made the claim that a DBA can mess everything else up, but mess up recovery and - well, you cannot call that person a DBA.

Backups are important. I recently pointed to a really nice warning screen - every application should have that.

This recent news article points out why multiple redundant (and distributed) backups are relevant. My favorite quote:

"The lesson to be learned here is that you can't depend on having just one set of records or files and having your employees have access to them. You've got to have some kind of backup," Jefferson said."
That is a lesson you don't want to learn 1 minute after the event... Fortunately for that company they got their stuff back - not via backups (there were none) but by disk forensics (unerase).

I wonder what would have happened when the disk failed? (not if, when). In hindsight their disgruntled employee did them a favor in a way - now they likely have a rock solid recovery plan in place.

I have a 250gb, 320gb external disk. I constantly image my laptop and desktop machines to both. I synchronize my desktop and laptop as well. Always afraid of the drives failing. Only a matter of time. I travel with the 320gb backup device.

Just this week, my daughter spilled a mug of hot chocolate in her laptop. Guess what happened :)

Have you tried a recovery today?

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I was going to read this article...

Until I got to the bottom of the first (rather short) page and found....

It was 13 PAGES LONG and I'd have to click on the next page for each one.

And I asked myself, how can I do that (click through 13 pages - no next button! I'd have to hit the right number!!) and watch my email and the query I'm running and answer a question on asktom and keep up with the instant message chatter and ..........

Gotta love the title though

"The autumn of the multitaskers: neuroscience is confirming what we all suspect: multitasking is dumbing us down and driving us crazy. One man's odyssey through the nightmare of infinite connectivity."

about the length of the average news article today...

Funny, in conjunction with the article - tonight I was playing a game (called evolution - excellent game, Alan(15) and Megan(12) both enjoy it), and I let Alan put his ipod on my amplifier and play the background music. Alan has excellent taste in music (Led Zeppelin, Beatles, U2, etc...). As the music was playing and I was trying to concentrate on the game (it requires thought) I found the music was distracting to the point of "I cannot play".

What does this mean in practice? Consider a recent experiment at UCLA, where researchers asked a group of 20-somethings to sort index cards in two trials, once in silence and once while simultaneously listening for specific tones in a series of randomly presented sounds. The subjects' brains coped with the additional task by shifting responsibility from the hippocampus-which stores and recalls information--to the striatum, which takes care of rote, repetitive activities. Thanks to this switch, the subjects managed to sort the cards just as well with the musical distraction--but they had a much harder time remembering what, exactly, they'd been sorting once the experiment was over.

I know that feeling - very disjointed. I was listening to the music - because I liked it, and trying to play at the same time. Hard.

Unfortunately, my attention span only let me get to page 5... Maybe I'll finish it someday.

Just in case you are wondering.... I agree completely, multitasking is hard - hard to do and hard on you. I work much better doing one thing to completion. Always connected is bad - I've been going offline on the weekends entirely (with great effect!) for a while now.

don't be afraid to be serial.
don't be afraid to disconnect.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A must have feature for all databases...

Wouldn't it be nice if all databases had a screen popup like this one.

As I'm fond of saying - the only thing a DBA has to get right is recovery. In order to do that, they need the backups.

I really liked that screen - very funny.