Thursday Mar 20, 2014

Packt Publishing Buy One Get One Free Offer

Packt Publishing celebrates their 2000th title with a Buy One Get One Free Offer

Great time to get those Packt books you’ve been thinking of buying, like the SOA Suite 11g Developers Guide or the SOA Suite 11g Developers Cookbook.

Thursday Dec 19, 2013

$5 eBook Bonanza

Packt eBooks $5 Offer

Packt Publishing just told me about their Christmas offer, get eBooks for $5.

From December 19th, customers will be able to get any eBook or Video from Packt for just $5. This offer covers a myriad of titles in the 1700+ range where customers will be able to grab as many as they like until January 3rd 2014 – more information is available at

If you haven’t bought the SOA Developers Cookbook then now is a great time to do so!

Monday Mar 12, 2012

My Hiring Approach

Hiring Engineers

I recently had the privilege of performing the technical interviews to evaluate potential new hires into Oracles support organization.  As my approach is different from many interview processes I thought I would share it with you.  It is basically a three step process.

Step 1 – What Do You Know?

We ask them technical questions about what they said they have done on their resume.  Very common to get responses like, oh I didn't do very much with that.  In that case we mark them down, if you you put it on the resume then we will ask you detailed questions, for example if they have "worked" with enterprise Java then we ask about the meaning of EJB transaction settings ("what is the different between Required and Mandatory") and get them to explain the JSP->Servlet lifecycle ("a jsp is deployed as a mixture of HTML and Java source, how does it become executable code").  This is really just an honesty and level setting phase where we see if what they said on the resume is accurate and they understand what they said they understand.

Step 2 – Can You Extrapolate Your Knowledge?

After testing if they know what thy said they know we ask them questions a little outside their area of knowledge to see if they can extrapolate from what they know.  We encourage them to guess an answer, we want to see if they understand principles and can come up with a reasonable response, the response doesn't have to be correct, we are looking for a plausible, but possibly wrong, solution.  If they won't guess we mark them down, if they guess wrong but have good reasons we mark them the same as if they got it right.  This puts them in to the typical support area of trying to solve a customers problem where you have to make informed guesses and be able to justify to the customer why you want them to do this.

Step 3 – Can You Solve Problems

Then we ask them to troubleshoot a specific problem.  For example "yesterday you deployed a new application and it worked fine for users, today they are reporting they get errors saying database unavailable".  We want to see if they can take a big picture and narrow down the problem area in a sensible way.  We are really looking for them to grasp the big picture of which components are being used and then to describe how they would isolate the problem (test if database is running, test network connectivity, check can log in to db from app server etc.).  Again this is directly relevant to the support job and we want them to demonstrate that they know how to troubleshoot - just saying I would look in the logs will get them marked down.


Sadly it seems a lot of people are better resume writers than engineers, but this process tends to weed out those individuals.  We were able to hire some excellent engineers based on the above process and shortly after joining Oracle they were making great contributions to the company so it seemed to work.  Of course a technical interview is only part of the process.  It is also important that engineers fit into the culture of the company.  So an engineer might pass the technical interview but still fail because the interviewer felt they wouldn’t fit into the Oracle culture.  So the above is a process to help in evaluating technical skills but there is more to hiring than just that.

Monday Oct 10, 2011

Fixing OEL 6 & VirtualBox

Fixing OEL 6 & VirtualBox

Just upgraded the kernel on my VirtualBox image of OEL6 and the VirtualBox Additions failed to build.  The problem was that the latest OEL6 kernel is now kernel-uek.

$ uname -a

Linux 2.6.32-200.20.1.el6uek.x86_64 #1 SMP Fri Oct 7 01:50:00 EDT 2011 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

This seems to confuse the dkms rebuild of VBox Additions.  See Virtual Box Ticket #9332 clipboard support broken – OEL 5.6, OEL 6.1.

To fix it I followed the suggestions in the ticket above:

  • Choose "Install Guest Additions"
  • Run a root shell and execute following commands:
    • export MAKE='/usr/bin/gmake –i'
    • cd /media/VBOX*
      • Current latest VBox Additions is VBOXADDITIONS_4.1.4_74291
    • ./
  • Restart guest

Voila now my OEL 6.1 works great with VirtualBox again!

Wednesday Feb 16, 2011

A Virtual Dilemma

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Monday Oct 12, 2009

All Change & Open World

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Tuesday Jul 14, 2009

SOA at the Top of the UK

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Thursday May 14, 2009

Raising Money for the NSPCC

[Read More]

Friday Feb 27, 2009

Let the Dummy Solve It

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Wednesday Dec 03, 2008

Limits to Scalability

[Read More]

Tuesday Dec 02, 2008


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Monday Nov 10, 2008

SaaS for Techies

[Read More]

Monday Jul 21, 2008

Student SOA Survey

[Read More]

Tuesday Apr 08, 2008

Pairing Off in XSLT

[Read More]

Tuesday Dec 04, 2007

Back to the Future with Web 2.0

[Read More]

Musings on Fusion Middleware and SOA Picture of Antony Antony works with customers across the US and Canada in implementing SOA and other Fusion Middleware solutions. Antony is the co-author of the SOA Suite 11g Developers Cookbook, the SOA Suite 11g Developers Guide and the SOA Suite Developers Guide.


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