Monday Feb 24, 2014

That IOS bug

Alan Coopersmith has done an interesting writeup on compilers and the IOS bug that is worth having a read of.

Monday Mar 11, 2013

Oracle Support Service Request Surveys

This morning I had my manager tell me about a survey that was taken against one of my closed calls, where we had a very unhappy and dissatisfied customer.

On having a look at the survey comments, it looks like the dissatisfaction was with a completely different call, as the comments don't bear any resemblance to anything in that particular call.

I can understand that if you've had a poor experience, that if you get a survey call, you will want to use that opportunity to express your dissatisfaction, but, ...

It's really important that if you want your dissatisfaction to go to the group that needs to hear about it that the information is put against the correct call.

You don't need to wait to see if your call is going to be randomly selected for a survey. By sending email to and mentioning the SR in question after the call has been closed, you can request a survey on that call. In fact, I would encourage folks to do exactly this for any call in which they want to say negative (or positive) things about.

The surveys are important feedback, but expressing your dissatisfaction against the wrong call number does not get the comments to the people who need to see them.

Tuesday Sep 27, 2011

Supportfiles has moved (and it's address has changed)

Over the last couple of hours the physical location of the server changed. The benefit is that the machine is now in the same building as the machines that we use to analyse your uploads, so getting the data onto those machines is now substantially faster.

What do I have to do to take advantage of this?

If you are using the DNS to look it up, then nothing, the DNS has changed over to using the new address. However, if you are using the IP address, you need to start using the new one. We are still uploading from the old server for the moment, but it is a substantially slower link. The new address is

Monday Jun 27, 2011

I have a performance problem

(copied from my wordpress blog).

So start 95% of the performance calls that I receive. They usually continue something like:

I have gathered some *stat data for you (eg the guds tool from Document 1285485.1), can you please root cause our problem?

So, do you think you could?

Neither can I, based on this my answer inevitably has to be "No".

Given this kind of problem statement, I have no idea about the expectations, the boundary conditions, or even the application. The answer may as well be "Performance problems? Consult your local Doctor for Viagra". It's really not a lot to go on.

So, What kind of problem description is going to allow me to start work on the issue that is being seen? I don't doubt that there really is an issue, it just needs to be pinned down somewhat.

What behavior exactly are you expecting to see?

Be specific and use business metrics. For example "run-time", "response-time" and "throughput".

This helps us define exit criterea.

Now, let's look at the system that is having problems.

How is what you are seeing different? Use the same type of metrics.

The answers to these two questions take us a long way towards being able to work a call.

Even more helpful are answers to questions like

Has this system ever worked to expectation?

If so, when did it start exhibiting this behavior?

Is the problem always present, or does it sometimes work to expectation?

If it sometimes works to expectation, when are you seeing the problem? Is there any discernible pattern?

Is the impact of the problem getting better, worse, or remaining constant?

What kind of differences are there between when the system was performing to expectation and when it is not?

Are there other machines where we could expect to see the same issue (eg similar usage and load), but are not? Again, differences?

Once we start to gather information like this we start to build up a much clearer picture of exactly what we need to investigate, and what we need to achieve so that both you and me agree that the problem has been solved.

Please help get that figure of poorly defined problem statements down from it's current 95% value.

Monday Mar 14, 2011

Starting up again

I've decided to start using this blog again as with a year of reflection, it looks like the content falls well within the policy I was concerned about.

However, I've decided that I really like blogging in wordpress at, so while I will do the majority of my blogging here, I'll be doing summaries in here pointing at the main articles.

You may have noticed that I finally finished the series on Migrating from Nevada to OpenSolaris Sun Ray on SPARC . I hope to have a summary done up on a single page here on each of these, pointing to appropriate portions

I've even updated the picture at the top right to actually look something more like I currently do.

Thursday Jan 28, 2010

Migrating this Blog

As appears to be all the rage at the moment, due to a change in Corporate Blogging Policy, I've relocated this blog to That blog will be for all kinds of things either work related or of other interest. I should also mention that I have created a Music specific blog at that I am specifically writing about stuff related to music and the network and things like that.

See you on the other side!

Wednesday Aug 12, 2009

Microsoft forced to stop selling Word over an XML Patent?

I just saw on Cnet an article titled Judge orders Microsoft to stop selling Word. OK it's Microsoft you may say. I'm more concerned over the guts of this one. The lead paragraph is:

Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a permanent injunction that "prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML," according to a statement released by attorneys for the plantiff, i4i.

So if patent 5,787,449 has been used to stop Microsoft from selling such products, what (if anything) does it bode for things like

Tuesday Aug 11, 2009

Who said "Processes are cheap" ?

This is really going back. I've been spending some time searching for where I first heard this comment made with regard to UNIX.

Memory is telling me that it was in the Edition VII days, back around 1979-84ish, and that it was perhaps one of ("Dennis Ritchie", "Ken Thomson", "Brian Kernighan", "P.J. Plauger"), or maybe even Rob Pike or Steve Bourne. I have had no luck with google or any documentation I've got. The statement was in the context of the "UNIX Philosophy".

If anyone can point me at a reference I'd certainly appreciate it.

Tuesday Apr 21, 2009

Oracle buying Sun, who woulda thought

Looks like I get to work just a little closer with some of my VOSJEC colleages (both past and present).

Friday Jan 09, 2009

Catching up

OK, I've been on holidays so I kind of have an excuse for not blogging this time.

Before I go on I have to acknowledge a man who quickly became a good friend in Second Life, who sadly passed on December 30. Chester Capalini was the monarch in the Tiny Empires kingdom (See Dana's blog for more on Tiny Empires) that I was playing in. On the 29th (I think) he was admitted to hospital, very ill. I performed a song and dedicated it to him while performing in Second Life (Running on Faith) and 8 hours later he was gone. Chester had a great heart and lots of people miss him dearly.

I spent New Years Eve in Rockdale with some other Second Life friends who also happen to be musicians. Shan plays bass and Byron is a drummer. We had a great jam for New Years Eve. Had a message from Shan the other day that she managed to seriously jam her fingers in a door, requiring surgery. Fortunately the nerves are still there and the doctors expect her to be able to play again in about three months.

There has to be some lighter news here somewhere :) Oh yes, while this is the last work day that constitutes my holidays, it also happens to be my 44th birthday. Jake and Lucy prepared me some breakfast (A crumpet with promite, a nectarine and a chocolate milkshake) and brought it up to me along with their present. Mum and dad will be down later in the day to take us out to lunch, so there is something else to look forward to. If I can get my act together today, I might try to head out to Brackets and Jam South tonight, and if Dexter is playing at Iguana's tomorrow that might also get a look in.

Thursday Nov 13, 2008

CEC '08 Saturday/Sunday

OK, I've been slack. Not only have I not blogged since September, I've been at CEC2008 since Saturday and also haven't written anything.

The trip out

Caught a shuttle to the airport, grabbed some lunch after clearing customs and caught a United flight to Los Angeles. Unfortunately I was stuck in a window seat at the back of the aircraft for the 13 hours in the air which was less than comfortable, sigh.

As I was near the back of the aircraft I was one of the last off and at the rear of the line to clear US Immigration in Los Angeles. It was great to see the officers actually smiling and laughing with the passengers. Picked up my luggage, cleared customs and rechecked it. Walked out to terminal 7 to get the flight to Las Vegas. Cleared security ok, but unfortunately one of my colleagues was behind someone who they decided to thoroughly check the bags of, and as a result he missed the flight and had to catch another.

I arrived in Las Vegas and went looking for my checked luggage, ...

This is the first time that this has happened to me. Apparently my luggage was still in LA, and might arrive on the next flight. As it turns out it wasn't the next flight, they got it to the Casino after I was asleep about 11:30pm, so I got it the next morning.

Met up with Chris Gerhard on the bus and headed out to the Paris Casino. Quite a few of us joined up for a quiet drink in Napoleon's Piano Bar.


Didn't wake up until around 10:30am and then spent the morning putting finishing touches on my presentation.

I noticed that the certification room was open, so I decided to give the Solaris 10 Security Administrator exam a go. This exam has a pass mark of 52% and the course notes and trial exams did not give me a lot of hope for getting through first go.

Imagine my surprise on scoring 71%! Wonderful I now posses the Admin, Nework and Security Certifications!

Attended the Welcome reception and hit the sack again. More later.

Saturday May 24, 2008

And the Earthquake news only gets worse

I went down to breakfast this morning on my last day in Beijing before flying home this afternoon. When I sat down to read the paper, the following table leapt right off the page.

55,740 killed24,960 missing
292,481 injured11.36m evacuated
$3.55b received in donations

The really distressing thing on top of the number of people killed is that nearly two weeks after the quake, the chances of those still missing cannot be good.

On page 4 of The China Daily brought me to tears.

I won't reproduce the stories here, simply the titles and links.

Maybe it was because I have school age children. Maybe it's because my father is a teacher. These stories are of incredible bravery that ended up saving children but the teachers losing their life.

These teachers were heroes in the highest hounour of the word and I'm glad these stories are being told.

And some poems sent in also published on that page are equally touching.

Monday May 19, 2008

2:28pm today in Beijing

I have just had a unique experience.

At 2:28pm today outside the Beijing Office I am currently in, the city stopped. It was exactly one week since the earthquake.

The streets were filled with people simply standing respectfully.

For three minutes all that could be heard were car horns and sirens, and (I am told later on) an air raid siren also was sounded.

I had known from the paper this morning this was going to happen, but nothing prepared me for just how touching this was. I had shivers running up and down my spine and in remembrance I could feel myself tearing up.

For that three minutes China stopped to pay respect to those lost. You could feel the solemnity.

Tuesday May 13, 2008

China Earthquake: Oh my god!

I'm supposed to be putting the finishin touches on another customer presentation this morning (in the light of one I gave yesterday). I simply had to stop doing that and get my thoughts down as I was finding it hard to focus.

Yesterday I made a comment on a colleague's blog about the earthquake, as I am also travelling in the region. I noted that I was giving a presentation to a customer at the time and actually didn't notice. I had it pointed out to me that we had had a tremor or a 'quake after I finished.

I got back to one of the offices in Beijing that afternoon and had an Australian colleague in a chat session point me at an article in an Australian newspaper about the incident mentioning a loss of life of about a hundred. This in itself was incredibly sobering, as any such loss of life is tragic.

This morning I woke up and flipped on BBC World and was utterly gobsmacked to hear 10,000 dead!

I find myself at a loss to describe my feelings. On one hand I am incredibly grateful for my own safety, but 10,000 people?

Oh my god!

This is beyond tragedy.

The loss of human life on this scale is beyond comprehension.

The China Daily lists the numbers lost in various areas. One in particluar leaps out at me. In comparison to some of the other areas the numbers are small but how can the following not tug on your heart?

Dujiangyan: Over 50 dead in a middle school. Many more are buried beneath rubble.

I almost dread going into the office today as there are certain to be people who either know that they have lost family and friends, or perhaps worse, don't know whether or not they have. My heart goes out to all of these wonderful people who have made me feel so welcome here.

I wish I knew what more to say.


I just called my manager in Sydney to let him know that I was fine. He told me that the Australian news services are reporting on 900 kids in a collapsed school.

I am fearful that the news is only going to get worse!

Thursday May 01, 2008

Jonathan on closed MySQL extensions

I have just been reading some questions and answers with Jonathan from Tim O'Reilly. One that jumped out at me was a question he passed on from Jesse Stay. I'm going to quote both the question and answer below in full. The added emphasis is mine.

JesseStay : does he anticipate a fallout of original MySQL users or fork in the mysql code and how will they handle that if it does happen?
2008-04-25 12:26:30

JonathanSchwartz: I'm not anticipating a fork - Marten Mickos (SVP, Database Group at Sun, former CEO, MySQL) made some comments saying he was considering making available certain MySQL add-ons to MySQL Enterprise subscribers only - and as I said on stage, leaders at Sun have the autonomy to do what they think is right to maximize their business value - so long as they remember their responsibility to the corporation and all of its communities (from shareholders to developers). Not just their silo.

I think Marten got some fairly direct and immediate feedback saying the idea was a bad one - and we have no plans whatever of "hiding the ball," of keeping any technology from the community. Everything Sun delivers will be freely available, via a free and open license (either GPL, LGPL or Mozilla/CDDL), to the community.


No exception.

I think puts things pretty much into black and white. I wonder if we will see some egg on face retractions from those who tried to pin keeping some bits proprietary on the Sun purchase, as it looks like the opposite is actually the case. That is, the Sun purchase is what is going to ensure that these extensions are open. You know, I'm not holding my breath for any "Oops I got it wrong" type comments.

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* - Solaris and Network Domain, Technical Support Centre

Alan is a kernel and performance engineer based in Australia who tends to have the nasty calls gravitate towards him


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