Hack, Tweet, Repeat

Three peers on the tools and techniques that are making their lives easier.

By Blair Campbell

January/February 2011

Chet Justice Headshot
Chet Justice
Peer Specs

Company: BI Wizards, a business intelligence and application development consultancy

Job title/description: Consultant, responsible primarily for metadata development

Location: Tampa, Florida

Length of time using Oracle products: More than 8 years

Oracle ACE Oracle ACE
How did you get started in IT? I was working as a data entry clerk for a university that sent out thank-you notes to donors, and when I noticed the same names and addresses coming through over and over, I created a Microsoft Access database to store much of the information. I then hooked that database up with Microsoft Word templates to make my job even easier. Pretty soon I was managing our five department databases, and I began taking programming classes at the local community college.

What advice do you have about how to get into application development? Download software and start playing with it. This is one of my absolute favorite things about Oracle: the ability to download enterprise-class software and use it on your own machine.

How are you using social media in your work today? Thanks to Twitter and my blog, I’ve been able to have technical conversations with some industry heavyweights: Cary Millsap, Christian Berg, Alex Gorbachev, Eddie Awad, Chen Shapira, Jake Kuramoto, Matt Topper, Lewis Cunningham, John Scott, Dimitri Gielis . . . I could go on and on. I encourage other Oracle people to add these tools to their repertoire.

Oded Raz Headshot
Oded Raz
Peer Specs

Company: Brillix, a database consulting company

Job title/description: CEO and founder, responsible for business development and research and serving as lead consultant on Oracle Database and Oracle security projects

Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Length of time using Oracle products: 8 years

Oracle ACE Director Oracle ACE Director
What are your favorite processes or techniques on the job? Troubleshooting—the ability to understand a problem and isolate its origin. I’m also interested in hacking techniques—investigating and finding holes in application and database implementations using techniques such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and impersonation.

Which new features in Oracle Database are you currently finding most valuable? One feature I find highly valuable is Oracle Database Vault. Until now, strong users such as DBAs and those with a SELECT ANY TABLE role had no limitations to seeing all the data inside the database. Oracle Database Vault introduced a new security admin feature that can prevent other users—even those in a DBA role—from seeing sensitive data and manipulating it or its base objects. Now organizations can safely protect sensitive data from strong users without compromising their ability to perform their jobs.

How are you using cloud computing in your work today? We’re using Google apps for our central mail and calendar system, and we’re using cloud-based applications for customer relationship management and time sheets.

Simon Haslam Headshot
Simon Haslam
Peer Specs

Company: Veriton, a specialist consultancy in Oracle middleware and end-to-end application performance tuning

Job title/description: Principal consultant and founder, responsible for designing architectures and troubleshooting as necessary

Location: Sherborne, Dorset, England

Length of time using Oracle products: 16 years
What’s your favorite tool or technique on the job? Even now with multitiered systems, most performance problems tend to be a result of how an application is using—or abusing—the database. The Active Session History feature introduced in Oracle Database 10g helps identify rogue statements and track down where the application is going wrong.

Which new features in Oracle Fusion Middleware are you finding most valuable? A recent discovery has been Oracle JRockit’s new Flight Recorder tool. It’s a circular diagnostics buffer, which in the event of a serious JVM [Java Virtual Machine] problem allows you to replay recent method calls and help diagnose what went wrong.

If you were going to the International Space Station for six months and could only take one Oracle reference book, what would it be? As a bit of an Oracle polymath, I’d want to cover all bases. So I’d take e-books, including Professional Oracle WebLogic Server [Wrox, 2009], Oracle JRockit: The Definitive Guide [Packt Publishing, 2010], Oracle Fusion Developer Guide [McGraw-Hill Osborne Media, 2009], and Pro Oracle Database 11g RAC on Linux [Apress, 2010].

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