Week in review – August 3rd, 2008

Happy Sunday to you!

From 2008-07-26

For those with short attention spans, the funny pictures are at the bottom 🙂

I’ve done little today except sleep or so it seems. This morning I made an excellent pot of chili so that will provide lunch for a week or so (what did we do before freezers?). Whilst I was doing that, Tinto brought in his latest acquisition, a cluster of leaves on something of a twig and by far the most impressive contribution yet. Secretly I think he’s seeing what he can bring through the portal and he obviously has his eye on something large and furry. I suspect a squirrel will be next although I haven’t seen hm actively hunt one yet. Since Curiosity has no claws, his best strategy would be to use her as bait…

Somewhat of a bland week although there were two useful events. The first, an advanced users class I attended for the insulin pump in which I was glad to know I knew pretty much everything and got to use the session to ask/answer a bunch of questions and validate some of my own findings.

The second event, an interview! No, not for me as such, but we are actively hiring for a member of my team and we might have found a candidate. This one has the added advantage of also being a Steve so there will be three Steve’s in my group and one Stephanie. I should explain that our dear Stephanie is presently Cathy but I had a photo ID badge printed for her this week with Stephanie as her name and presented it to her just before the interview. Yes, I found it quite amusing and she took it well (the badge, not necessarily the name change).

Getting a third person in to work on our oncall rotation will be good for all concerned. It gives a decent break between being on the hook for potentially getting up in the night and doing those wonderful adhoc deployments. We (being the two currently doing it) discussed switching from a one week rotation to a two week one. The primary advantage of this is that the off-call rotation then becomes two glorious weeks (now) or four (when we have three people in the rotation). It’s definitely worth more investigation and we are piloting it now because it makes sense and fits nicely into the scheduling.

Future Stuff
Well, nothing I haven’t already published. Claudia leaves for Toronto in just over a week so it will be me and the cats for a while. The Oracle conference in San Francisco for me is still late September and I have mixed feelings about that. The conference should be a lot of fun and as a first time attendee, I am excited to go and just absorb all things Oracle. Sure, sounds enthusiastic, right? Well it is a good opportunity and I plan to pillage all vendors in the exhibit halls for some useful trinkets. I can’t believe that I’ve been doing Oracle since 1992 and have never been…

I did discover some “fun facts” about the conference dating back to 2005:

  • 2,850 network connections
  • At peak demand, the Oracle OpenWorld network handled 45 Mbps
  • 3,423 caffeinated and 816 decaf gallons consumed.
  • 30,000 cookies and 17,000 brownies consumed.
  • 37,000 cans of soda consumed
  • 3,500 Krispy Kreme donuts consumed

That’s an amount of coffee I hope to add to this year. It should be noted however that these are US,not Imperial gallons. Anyway, I digress. San Francisco is a great city however because we waited a few days, our hotel is actually out by the airport so we’ll be using the shuttle to get to the city. Mind you, it is the Hyatt Regency at the airport so it’s a really nice hotel that I’ve stayed in many times from my Oracle days.

Technology battle
So with the San Francisco trip coming up as well as the expedition to Europe at the end of the year, I’ve been going round and round in a cycle of indecision over the camera to take. Current winner is the Canon XSi (12.2MP) which beat out the Nikon D80 although only just. I’ve looked at many offerings including the less well used ones (Olympus, Sony, Pentax) and I think the Canon offers a good mix of performance, size and price. It’s also new so in the next month or so, may drop in price. The issue really though is the lens. I hate the idea of switching lenses on this kind of trip because frankly, it’s a hassle. If I had my druthers, I’d take:

  • 12mm-28mm – something very wide angle for excellent landscapes
  • 28mm – 85mm – good mid-range lens
  • 85mm – 200mm – great for picking detail off buildings, etc

So of course I don’t want to buy three lenses and am left with getting a compromise one. I’m thinking something in the 18mm-135mm or 28mm-200mm range that will provide a decent range with reasonable speed. Of course having narrowed that down, I am torn between a couple of good candidates (Canon and Sigma) that will do the job. Reading more and more online reviews of each, both have flaws. At the ends of the zoom ranges, the edges of the photo on either of these lenses loses detail rapidly but it’s not like I intend selling these. I’m leaning towards the Canon because it’s good optically and is guaranteed to work with the body. Several people have reported issues with the Sigma IS (image stabilization) when mounted on the Canon and the last thing I want is to be stuck in Spain with a $2,000 piece of inoperative plastic.

So Canon it is (28mm – 135mm) and I will have to get over sacrificing what it is I am sacrificing. Again, the point is one lens. I used to do the three lens thing and it was a pain when walking around a city – you’d see something you wanted and you’d have to unzip the bag, change the lens and take the shot, assuming it didn’t move by now. Thankfully in the digital age, you get instant feedback on your pictures and can decide whether to re-take the shot.

Then there’s the battle of the pixel. A camera such as this will be shooting RAW and JPEG formats at the same time. I’m not a sports photographer so the 3.5fps speed isn’t essential. Each image is about 25Mb RAW and 3Mb JPEG so every shot will be about 28Mb in size. Today I use a 2Gb card in a Canon SD550 compact digital camera. That’s good for hundreds of pictures per card. With the new Canon, I’d get (approximately):

  • 1Gb – 36 photos
  • 2Gb – 73 photos
  • 4Gb – 146 photos
  • 8Gb – 292 photos
  • 16Gb – 1,170 photos

So for those of you who are now in a daze, this is almost over 🙂 Anyway, my point is that on a previous trip to Europe, I took 1500 photos and developed every one (I could have sent two people to Europe by air for the price of developing those). Given that we’ll be taking at least one laptop with us, putting the day’s JPEG images on a website will save some time and card space. However I’ll still have probably 2,000 images to process when I get back. So this tells me I probably need to take at least two or three 8Gb cards just to be safe, and also that I will need to have a plan should there be a storage crisis. Again, these are digital. I am not sure how many I will delete before publication but these days I will publish probably 60% of what I take. That’s still 1,200 photos…

Perhaps this will go well and I can quit the day job! (lololololol).

Book Review
Well, the Battle for Spain continues. As I mentioned last week, I am now reading the sequel in the Will Thomas series.

To Kingdom Come
(the above title is a link to the Amazon.com page). This sequel to “Some Danger Involved”, a true British understatement, gets off to a decent enough start. This time the agency is embroiled in a terrorist attack against Scotland Yard and the investigation to find the perpetrators. I am sure it will lead down many a blind alley however just like a constipated mathematician with a pencil, it will all come out fine in the end.

Movie Review
(the above title is a link to the Netflix.com page). This rather offbeat Australian comedy is charming enough and certainly has its moments. Not sure it’s in my top 100 movies though 🙂

The funnies
Ok, so my friend Bill who also shares the same fate of being an Oracle DBA sent me these. I have many more, believe me, but not all are publishable here…


I dedicate this one (Lazy) to my dad who spent many years in work study for the Army and probably saw a lot of this sort of stuff.

Have a wonderful week.

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