Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Cupcake Wars at NoCOUG Spring Conference


Cupcake Wars at NoCOUG Spring Conference on May 15 at UCSC Extension Silicon Valley

SILICON VALLEY (APRIL 1, 2014) – In a bold experiment aimed at increasing attendance at its awesome educational conferences, the Northern California Oracle Users Group (NoCOUG) is considering changing the format of its spring conference to that of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”

Distinguished Oracle Product Manager Bryn Llewellyn will lead the PL/SQL team, OraPub founder Craig Shallahamer will lead the DBA team, Hadoop maven Gwen Shapira will lead the Big Data team, and Database Specialists Director of Managed Services Terry Sutton will lead the RAC team. NoCOUG president Hanan Hit will stride from one room to another shouting “TEN MINUTES, BAKERS! YOU HAVE TEN MINUTES LEFT!

“NoCOUG has been serving the Oracle community for 28 years but our conferences are best known for their awesome educational content. We want our conferences to also be a place where people can come together on a social level” said NoCOUG president Hanan Hit when asked for comment.

Registration for the spring conference is now open. Click here to view the complete agenda and register.

Also in today’s news:

  • Want to make easy money? “Airbrb,” based on the apartment-renting app Airbnb, lets you rent out your office desk while you hang out at the water cooler or take a bio break.
  • Convert any website into emoticon characters: Google now lets you emojify the web.

Oracle 12c Gives Fresh Life to the Relational Database Movement

Explosive Revelations about Dr. Edgar (Ted) Codd rock the NoSQL World

Secret of Oracle Database Performance Found in 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalog

Solve the Oracle Database murder mystery and win a free ticket for yourself and a friend to the NoCOUG conference‏

You may remember this children’s song from kindergarten or you can listen to this YouTube video:

“Ten green bottles hanging on the wall
Ten green bottles hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle should accidentally fall
There’ll be nine green bottles hanging on the wall.”

In this Oracle Database murder mystery, there were no green bottles left hanging on the wall after the first bottle fell. Send your solution to and receive a free ticket for yourself and a friend to the NoCOUG conference on Thursday, August 15 featuring performance guru Craig Shallahamer, a full track of Oracle Database 12c presentations, and alternative technology presentations on MySQL, NoSQL, and Big Data. Click here to review the detailed agenda.

It was a beautiful spring day. Popcorn was popping on the apricot tree. What does this have to do with databases? Nothing, but I’m trying to write a novel!

As I said, it was a beautiful Wednesday morning in spring. The time was exactly 9:12:00 AM PST. A database user noticed that her favorite database was down and called her favorite DBA—let’s call him Jack—for help.

For the record, I am not related to Jack.

Young Jack jumped to it and restarted the database lickety-split. Then disaster struck! The nine other databases on that database server—a Linux box with NetApp storage—crashed like bowling pins!

An unseen hand restarted all the databases immediately but the damage was done. Jack was dragged to the DBA interrogation chamber—the DBA manager’s office—and made to sit on the hot seat.

It was a sunny day and the sun was streaming in through the plate glass windows, which explains why the seat was so hot. Besides, the air-conditioning was not working that day.

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE,” bellowed the furious DBA manager. “I was only trying to help,” said poor Jack.

“HELP!? DO YOU CALL THAT HELPING!?” bellowed the furious DBA manager. The database alert logs were examined. The first database log showed that someone had used the command “STARTUP FORCE” at precisely 9:12:00 AM PST.

“DID YOU DO THAT!? DID YOU DO THAT!?” bellowed the furious DBA manager. “Yes, I did that,” said poor Jack, “but I was only trying to help.”

A single tear slowly streamed down young Jack’s cheek.

“HELP!? DO YOU CALL THAT HELPING!?” bellowed the furious DBA manager, unmoved by Jack’s obvious distress. The remaining database alert logs were examined. Each of them showed that someone had used the command “SHUTDOWN IMMEDIATE” followed by “STARTUP” right after the first database was restarted by Jack. “DID YOU DO THAT!? DID YOU DO THAT!?” bellowed the furious DBA manager.

“I didn’t do any of that,” said poor Jack.

If you believe Jack’s protestations of innocence, figure out how and why nine databases were mysteriously stopped and restarted. Send your solution to and receive a free ticket for yourself and your friend to the summer conference on Thursday, August 15 at Chevron in San Ramon. RSVP here.

Happy sleuthing!

P.S. For more than 25 years, NoCOUG has helped Oracle professionals like you continuously improve and enhance your skill sets through our conferences and Journal. Our conferences are held on the third Thursday of February (winter conference), May (spring conference), August (summer conference), and November (fall conference) and are filled with practical and cutting-edge content for application developers as well as database administrators. Please help spread the word about NoCOUG by forwarding this message to your friends and colleagues. They can join our email list at

C J Date

This colleague of Dr. Edgar “Ted” Codd was featured in the latest NoCOUG Journal

Categories: Announcements, DBA, Humor, NoCOUG

Ten more reasons not to attend the NoCOUG summer conference‏ on August 15

You’ve already read the “Top 12 reasons why you should not attend a NoCOUG conference.” Here are ten more to keep you away from the summer conference on Thursday, August 15 at Chevron in San Ramon.

#10 August 15 is a sacred day to you, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, a day to wind up the old gramophone again. (Yes, we know, Woodstock!)

#9 Sometimes you don’t want to go where everybody knows your name. (Sorry for being friendly, Oscar; we’ll scram now)

#8 You’re mad that whenever something reaches a state of perfection like Oracle Database 11gLarry immediately replaces it.

#7 You want to spite Larry and what better way than to avoid NoCOUG conferences? (We’re speechless)

#6 You’re amaxophobic and it’s too far to walk or bike (Try a pony next time)

#5 You’re still using Oracle 7 and loving it. (Ignorance is bliss, brother man)

#4 The more people you meet, the more you like your dog. (Anthropophobes of the world, unite!)

#3 You’ll scream if you hear “pluggable database” being plugged one more time. (Oops, we did it again)

#2 You agree with C. J. Date’s most excellent article in the latest NoCOUG Journal “No! to SQL and No! to NoCOUG.” (You actually read the NoCOUG Journal?)

But the #1 reason not to attend the NoCOUG conference on August 15 is:

#1 You blew your gas money on a big bet that Kate would have a baby girl!

Kindest regards,

The volunteers of your favorite Oracle user group

P.S. If you still want to attend the summer conference, please review the agenda and register at

Craig Shallahamer

One of the star cast of speakers at the summer conference. Click on the picture to find out who.

Categories: Announcements, DBA, NoCOUG, Oracle

Top 12 reasons why you should NOT attend the next NoCOUG conference

May 21, 2013 6 comments

#12 All NoCOUG emails automatically go to your spam folder, including this one. You rely on Outlook for career guidance.

#11 They won’t send a stretch limousine to pick you up and take you back.

#10 They talked up SQL for 25 years but now, they’re all, like, “No SQL.” I mean, really!

#9 You’re wayyyyy too busy working to learn anything new. (A very good problem to have!)

#8 Your head is exploding with knowledge already. (An even better problem to have!)

#7 It’s always the same people there, like Iggy and Kamran. (We totally understand but we can’t tell Iggy and Kamran to stop coming, can we?)

Iggy and Kamran

#6 You were there the day NoCOUG webmaster Eric Hutchinson sang the theme song from Cheers “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” You don’t ever want to hear Eric sing again. Ever!

#5 The food is just too good. You eat to live, not live to eat. (Good for you!)

Fabulous Food

#4 You don’t appreciate being bribed with free raffle prizes like iPads, Oracle Press teddy bears, and Oracle Press books. (The world needs more upright and honest people!)

Lucky Winners

#3 You’ve been going for 25 years already; it’s time for a change. You’re going to AARP meetings now (American Association of Retired Persons).

#2 You’ve finally converted your company to Excel spreadsheets. So much cheaper and easier to use!

But the #1 reason not to attend the NoCOUG conference tomorrow is:

#1  You thought that NoCOUG was the North Carolina Oracle Users Group on the East coast!

The golden rule of NOT tuning SQL

February 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Dear NoCOUG members and friends,

The golden rule of not tuning SQL is “operate with as little information as possible.” Not only will this increase your chances of failure but it will make it difficult for others to help you.

Every exercise in problem solving – no matter how little – has exactly six stages: Problem, Observation, Implication, Solution, Execution, and Documentation. I use the acronym POISED to remember the six stages. If you strive to operate with as little information as possible, you increase the chances that you will not progress beyond the Observation stage.

I recently saw a request for SQL tuning help ( The poster had provided the EXPLAIN PLAN output. You probably know that EXPLAIN PLAN output is not of much use in SQL tuning. He was asked to add the GATHER_PLAN_STATISTICS hint and provide the output of DBMS_XPLAN.DISPLAY_CURSOR (,7). The rowsource execution statistics in the DISPLAY_CURSOR output showed that hundreds of thousands of rows were being retrieved and then discarded. There was enough information to deduce the right joining order (,9) but not enough to explain why the query optimizer was not finding the right order.

The best tool for tuning SQL is SQLTXPLAIN because it collects all the information that is required for tuning SQL. The author of this tool is Carlos Sierra. He will be conducting a two-day SQL tuning master class at the CarrAmerica conference center in Pleasanton on February 19 and 20. He will also speak at our winter conference at the Oracle conference center in Redwood Shores on February 21. I hope that you can attend at least one event.

Kindest regards,

Iggy Fernandez
NoCOUG Journal editor

Categories: Announcements, DBA, NoCOUG, Oracle, SQL

Attention Looney Tuners and SQL Sinners everywhere

December 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Do you write or tune SQL statements in your job? Are you a Looney Tuner? A SQL Sinner? Do you yearn to learn the secrets of SQL performance? Are you looking for a guru to dispel the clouds of confusion? Who better than the guy who created the tools used by Oracle Support to tune troublesome SQL? You’re right, we’re talking about the one, the only Carlos Sierra, the author of SQLTXPLAIN, TRCA (aka “TKPROF On Steroids”), and SQLHC (SQL Health Check).

On February 19, Carlos Sierra will deplane at NoCOUG to conduct an intensive two-day SQL tuning class featuring all his awesome tools. Did I mention that these are the same tools that are used by Oracle Support to tune troublesome SQL? If you think that you might possibly be interested in attending this master class, please send a message to so that we can inform you once all the details are finalized and registration is opened.

Categories: Announcements, NoCOUG, Oracle, SQL

Spectacular front cover picture (and articles) in the NoCOUG Journal‏

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

The front cover of the November issue of the NoCOUG Journal features a spectacular picture of a Bigleaf Maple in blue and purple fall colors taken by NoCOUG member Dave Abercrombie. Who knew that fall colors could be blue and purple? Dave swears that he did not Photoshop this picture.

But the inside of the Journal is just as spectacular as the outside. A very special treat is a reprint of the first chapter (Overview and Architecture) of Mark Rittman’s best-selling book on Oracle Business Intelligence published by McGraw Hill. Mark started writing the book in 2006 so it’s only taken him seven years to finish it. But it’s been well worth the wait as you’ll definitely agree after this excerpt.

Another very special treat is the results of the Third International NoCOUG Challenge. This time master sorcerer Lukasz Pluta (Poland) wows us with a wonderful Es-Cue-El spell to help the Wicked Witch of the West decide whom to invite to the Third Annual Witching and Wizarding Ball at Pythian Academy of Es-Cue-El and No-Es-Cue-El. Lukasz Pluta becomes the fifth knight of the August Order of the Wooden Pretzel, following in the footsteps of Alberto Dell’Era (Italy), Andre Araujo (Australia), Rob van Wijk (Netherlands), and Ilya Chuhnakov (Russia).

But I’m keeping you from reading the November issue. Click here to download it.

Categories: Announcements, NoCOUG, Oracle, SQL

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