UoK? Better Believe It

Nov 30, 2011 / By Michael Abbey

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A mere 1 week until one of the treats of the year … off to Birmingham for the UKOUG show Monday the 5th through the 7th. My third time at this show and it was quite a treat each time. Brighton 1992 was my first voyage to the Mother Land and I was fascinated. I especially appreciated the painting on the crosswalks that reminded one to look right too before leaving the curb.  We stayed at the Metropole which was beside the Grand. There were small remnants visible in the front of the concrete that made up the facade of the Grand … October 12 1984 and thankfully Maggie (aka The Iron Lady) was ok after a bomb went off. October 1984 I was just getting started with Oracle (yes I first saw it when I was 8 :)).

My first venture into Europe was followed by a bevvy of trips into the continent in 1993, 1994, and 1995, ending up at the EOUG in Florence Italy where I gave a handful of papers. My presentations in Vienna in 1994 were a real eye-opener. Never before did I realize how quickly I speak and how poorly I tend to enunciate. Not until I had the opportunity to present to non English-language native attendees did I realize I had to slow down, speak clearly, and avoid idioms and colloquialisms.

As the mid 1990’s gave way to the soon-to-be new century, the Oracle tech space was teeming with techies and I had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with early gurus such as Lewis (yes JL … none other), Niemiec, Millsap, Shallahamer, and Ellis. You could not go to the corner store without bumping into one of these techs. I have had the pleasure of giving more than 100 presentations over the past 22 years and keynoting for a handful of user group events in North America.

One of my first adventures into keynoting was a closing session at user group day which happens Sunday before Oracle Open World starts. I discussed little known facts about Oracle, the software we have come to know and love; for example:

  1. There was once a time when Oracle had 2 versions of their server offering … one for the VAX cluster and the other for all other platforms. In early 1990’s, the version of the former was at 6.2 whereas the latter still at 6.0. Around the time 6.0.34 was released, Oracle “married” the 2 versions into something like 6.0.36. Thus the VAX cluster install base got the pleasure of upgrading from 6.2 to 6.0.
  2. The terminal release of a very popular SQL*Forms 2 was called 2.3. A while after 2.3 came out, there was a major new release called 3.0. The user community was informed that they should upgrade to 3.0 as soon as possible as 2.3 was the terminal release. Quite some time after 2.3 was discontinued, the Applications customers noticed they were running an as-of-yet unheard of release called 2.4.
  3. Oracle V6 was released in 1988 and had an add-on called TPO (transaction processing option). It contained, amongst other things, a procedural extension called PL/SQL. A few years after V6 hit the streets, Oracle realized Pl/SQL was the answer to the implementation of stored objects that appeared with Oracle7. TPO was retired and PL/SQL bundled with Orace7 at no extra charge.
  4. The foundation of the PL/SQL implementation was (and still may be) for many yearsa handful of packages called PIDL, DIUTIL, STANDARD, and DIANA. Ok, who was Diana? As it turns out it was an acronym, of which the first “A” stood for “Ada”. Ada was used primarily by the US Department of Defence DoD), an extension of Pascal and a plethora of other languages used by DoD.
  5. SCOTT/TIGER? Bruce Scott, an early developer at Oracle had a cat named Tiger.

I anticipate seeing people from all over the continent at UKOUG. The attendance over the past few years has been growing and nothing short of astounding. I am giving two papers at the show … one on a dear friend of us all called rman and the other on a close second … the physical standby. For me, even in the midst of emerging technology solutions, there’s still nothing like the old-fashioned Oracle CORE database arena.

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