Thursday 30 July 2015

Thursday Thought: Boredom

Do you ever get bored? I do.

What do you do when you're bored? I eat. I think. I watch.

Sometimes I play on my phone. I whip it out, play some quizzes, read some feeds, send a text.

What I prefer to do is watch the world. There's plenty going on, I walk through a nearby bush regularly and sometimes it's almost like I'm absorbing pleasantness, contentment.

I saw a commercial a few months ago that made me sigh a little. I can't find a link, but it was basically a person at a bus stop, waiting for the bus but had nothing to do. The alternate was to "beat boredom" by getting connected, so he grabbed his phone, dropped his head and played. That was the slogan: beat boredom.

I think boredom is something we should all have and experience. Some of the best ideas probably came out of a state of boredom. It helps us think, helps our brains consolidate information, and rest.

Today I saw another advert, this one for the Apple watch. I don't see it in this list, but it was essentially the same thing. Beat boredom by having a device that's always attached to your arm that at any moment in time you can simply lift your arm up and see a computer screen.

Aren't we all consciously fighting that impulse with our smartphones?

At least the videos in the link show the device in mostly functional uses, though it's a big commitment, and to then not have it - though realistically, anything a watch can do, a phone can do, better.

And I also hear that, not surprisingly, Android gear and software are ahead of the game, not that I'm interested.

I remember giving up wearing a watch not long after I started my professional career, not that I was a big wearer anyway. I love the wrist freedom, in the same way I'm not looking forward to ever wearing glasses. I love not knowing the time, a fact further engrained after experiencing martial arts.

I think I'll wait a few generations until the wearable is much less intrusive, offering real gain.

All that being said, I'm sure there's niche markets to be filled, such as the medical industry where monitoring patients from a distance can free many hospital beds. I'm sure there's a few million dollar ideas to be had.

Maybe try walking amongst the trees.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Perth - Free 1/2 day Education Event

Thanks to Sage Computing Services, AUSOUG are hosting a free 1/2 day education event for it's members.

Join us Wednesday 19th August, 2015 at the Duxton Hotel from 2:30pm to be regaled with tales of tuning, APEX, SQL and PL/SQL.

  • Penny - Practical Tuning Tips for Developers
  • Kylie - Snazzy SQL: Titbits to advance your code
  • Katie - PL/SQL: Are you making the most of it?
  • Scott - APEX 5 isn't just a sexy new IDE 

Full details here, but we'll make sure it's a fun afternoon :)

Tuesday 14 July 2015

My Kscope15 sessions

My Kscope15 sessions are now available on my presentations page.

I linked to the Prezi version as they don't translate well to PDF, as those of you who tried downloading off the Kscope mobile app may have found.

The supporting code from my deep dive demos can be downloaded here:

Thank you to all those who attended, and cheers for all the great feedback, I sincerely appreciate it. I wish I had more time when I was there to talk for longer with more people.

It was so awesome to meet a bunch of bloggers I've only known online, fun at times to match live faces to minute avatars. In addition of course to the plethora of other community participants I met and chatted with.

It was spun out to hear how many people were aware of my blog and were waiting to meet me, how flattering! I do what I can with my geo-isolation ;p

For those looking for other sessions from Kscope15, try Oracle's APEX collateral pages or check through recent uploads on slideshare, or become an ODTUG member for access to all the sessions plus much more.

I'll be back, not sure when, or for which conference, but I'll be back for sure.


Podcast recommendation: SGU

Another item on my backlog is getting up to date on my favourite podcasts. I've got a post drafted that lists my recommendations, but if you're looking for a fun, well produced science podcast then go no further than The Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

They are generally 90 mins an episode and if you're not into podcasts already that may seem daunting. To me they fill my commute with fun but thought provoking stuff in lieu of commercial radio, which I'm sure causes ear cancer.

The episode I linked in particular (517) would be a great starter for software developers - some of the early topics might pique your interest. For many they get hooked in and start listening to the back catalogue... I did.

Soon we may even get a special Pluto episode treated perhaps with a guest commentator like Phil Plait.


Exploring dynamic pivot options

In looking for information on pivoting variable number of columns, I stumbled across a question I once managed to AskTom, many moons ago.

Adrian Billington has an interesting lead into an XML solution with pivot, but would need more digging to finalise conversation of XML data for APEX to use.

Then I found Tom's answer using easy to understand dynamic SQL (properly asserted, no less)

Then I found this gem, courtesy of Anton Scheffer, via Lucas Jellema

The link to Anton's blog post no longer works, but the relevant sql zip is still available in the resources.

It accepts queries like this, which solves my current problem:
select * from table( pivot(  'select deptno,  job, count(*) c from scott.emp group by deptno, job' ) )

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
        30                     1          1                     4
        20          2          2          1                      
        10                     1          1          1           

What an awesome solution.

For anyone receiving this error:
ORA-29913: error in executing ODCITABLEDESCRIBE callout
check you have direct SELECT privilege on table, similar to resolving PLS-201 error.

Now to work it into an APEX region, which seems like will be a little wild when applying PPR on report with generic number of columns.

Back to work, post Kscope15

After landing late Wednesday night I'm officially back to work on Monday morning, greeted with this:

It's good to be back. There is an APEX 5 instance sitting on 12c ready for app regression testing once it has data, but work before play - got a small backlog of tasks but even those are turning out interesting.

The backlog extends to finishing this book I'm writing. Kscope kinda bit hard into the schedule so we're probably going to enlist the help of a new conference buddy to get it done in time.

I have a bunch of notes from the second half of the conference that I want to re-affirm and blog about, plus some more general lessons I learned at Kscope, plus some thoughts from other US states we visited. I also promised ensuring my session links and supporting files where available.

Perth residents & AUSOUG members, we have a Sage Technology half-day event coming up, Wed 19th August - save the date.

All that, and I've had an awesome idea that I need to foster, involving APEX.

Enthusiasm, huh?