Monday, February 09, 2009

Missing. The. Point....

I probably buy 80 to 90% of my non-grocery items online.  Furniture, pictures, gifts, TV's, books, kitchen stuff - whatever I can - all online.  I hate the "store" experience.  Before I go into an actual physical store I usually know exactly what I want - buy it and leave.  It took me about 5 minutes to buy shoes this weekend :)

I buy online for the convenience - and the experience is fairly similar regardless where you shop.  You typically have to create "that account" (even if you never intend to shop there again..) and you get that form to opt in or out of mailing.  They almost always default to "opt in" and I invariably set it to "opt out"

I just bought some shelves while sitting here in King of Prussia, PA (I live in VA, another benefit of shopping online, just do it when/where-ever you want)... I received two emails.  Email 1 - my receipt (great).  Email 2, well, it was in response to me opting out:

While registering as a shopper with, you chose not to receive our promotional Email. This is being sent to confirm that will not receive Email from

The decision to receive Email is personal and can be influenced for a variety of reasons. In an attempt to better understand and respond to our customers, we would appreciate it if you would answer a short survey on this topic.

That just strikes me as "missing the point" :)

Can you imagine what my survey comment field might have contained.... The survey did contain

We value your feedback and encourage you to give us candid answers. Are there any comments you would like to make to xxxx? (Note: Response is limited to 250 characters)

250 characters.  I shall have to choose my words carefully...  I should have it written in Kanji to see if they support multi-byte and truly support 250 characters.  Or if it is really 250 bytes.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A SQL Joke

I don't think I've seen one before.  An actual "joke" about SQL

A SQL query walks into a bar and sees two tables. He walks up to them and says 'Can I join you?'

It is about as funny as most of my jokes.  All the more funny to me since I just (as in a couple of minutes ago) wrote:

Joins are what RDBMS's do for a living.

Anyway - you can hit this link to see if it gets any comments...

A couple of links and an advert...


Cary Millsap has recently pointed to a couple of postings and quoted some people on the fine art of instrumentation.  He quoted me (and got it pretty much 100% - dead on) a couple of times as well.  I'll add a quote/story to his list of quotes...

When Oracle 10g first was released - I was out and about talking about new features.  One of the big ones was the ASH/AWR/ADDM set of functionality.  One time, while presenting it an audience member raised their hand and innocently asked:

What is the overhead of this, what performance impact will this have on my system

I paused for a second, thought about it, and said:

Probably at least negative 10 percent or less (meaning more - like negative 1000%, more negative)

The audience now paused and we sort of looked at each other and then I explained.  The addition of this instrumentation/repository will allow your database to perform better than it currently is - any 'overhead' of the additional instrumentation is more than offset by the gain in performance.

Instrumentation, using bind variables correctly, not swallowing exceptions (when others, not followed by RAISE), avoiding triggers (and side effects) and designing your system to perform in the first place - it is a really short list I have but everything on it has profound impact.

It's a small world

As it turns out - both Cary and I were in Utrecht, the Netherlands recently.  He was there one week, I was there the next (just missed each other).  We were both there to deliver seminars and he pointed out that someone who had been to both posted a critique.  It was neat to see how the two sessions seemed to have complimented each other.

And since that is sort of a review of my seminar - that brings me to the


You can see my scheduled on - there is a calendar there showing my public events.  I would like to point out that I'll be doing two day seminars in:

  • Prague, Czech Republic - March 10th-11th
  • Athens, Greece - April 7th-8th
  • Rome, Italy - May 18th-19th

Links to information regarding pricing, location and so on are on the the site.  Also, any and all user groups I'm attending for the next 2-3 months is posted there as well.  Hope to see you at one (or more) of the events.