Monthly Archives: November 2006

Tacking, Gybing and There goes my nose

Well, I had a good weekend learning how to sail (RYA Level 2 Dingy sailing actually), my father-in-law and I signed up for the course way back in June when it seemed like a good idea (i.e. the weather was a LOT warmer). So saturday and sunday were spent sailing around in a little dingy, desperately trying to avoid capsizing because frankly I wasn’t sure my heart was up to the shock of falling into a cold british river in the middle of november.

I’d only had one (introductory) lesson on sailing before (which was way back in June), so there was actually a very steep learning curve, with lots of new ‘lingo’ to learn such as ‘tacking’ and ‘gybing’, as well as all the practical stuff such as actually making the boat go in the direction you want and even more importantly being able to stop the boat once you get where you want to go.

The boats we were sailing were Laser Pico’s, which are fanatastic little boats….that is they’re fantastic if you’re a child or a slim woman. If you’re a 6ft man like me (who could probably do with losing a few pounds) then they’re a disaster waiting to happen, firstly if I sat on the gunnels (edge) then the boat would invariably start to tip over into the icy water, secondly when you’re 6ft tall it’s a lot more difficult to duck your head under the boom as it whips across the boat in a split-second.

I did quite well (I thought) and go into the second day of sailing before the boom caught me square on the nose and almost knocked me out, at this point the sailing instructor was telling me things like “Pull the sheets in”, “tack away”…whilst I was sitting there literally seeing stars and pretty much unable to do anything for the best part of a minute or so (which is a long time when you’re sitting on a 4 foot wide boat which is intent on trying to capsize you). Luckily my nose wasn’t broken, but 2 days later it’s still bruised and blackend (and very sore)…still it’s a lesson learnt (no the lesson isn’t to duck in time, the lesson is to get a boat with a higher boom next time).

So, anyway, I’m now a qualified (RYA Level 2 at least!) sailor, which is a scary thought and what’s even scarier is that I’m trying to find time to go sailing a few more timers again this year before the weather gets even worse!


The voting is now taking place at the APEX SIG for the election of officers. Steve Howard has done a great job of bringing all of this together and I’m confident that there are some great things ahead for the APEX SIG which will definitely benefit every one of us who uses Application Express.

So please, get involved and even if you didn’t put yourself forward for one of the positions, take the time to vote (it only takes a few seconds).

As Steve says –

you will have a voice and your contributions are critical to how successful our APEX development community can be!

Removed all the Redhat references…really?

One of the big announcements at OpenWorld was about the Unbreakable Linux support program, which in a nutshell means that Oracle can now offer the same levels of support for your Operating System (so long as you’re using their own Distribution of Linux) that you get with your database, i.e. no longer will you be bounced between two different companies when you have a support issue that might be related to the OS or the database. The distribution that Oracle is using is basically the Red Hat distribution with the trademarks and lots of the Redhat specific things removed.

So, I thought I’d check out the Enterprise Linux distribution and decided to install it on a spare machine, the installation process went very smoothly and is very straightforward.

Because I’m a bit of a ‘stickler’ for making sure the system clock is set correctly on machines (it really helps when trying to tie up logfile entries on different machines), I usually opt to use an NTP server to keep my system clock accurate, so I was a little surprised to see that the two default NTP servers that I could use were actually Redhats own servers.

NTP settings

Now you could say that anyone who runs a public NTP server (or indeed any public server) on the internet is making it available for anyone, however it could be just seen as just a *little* bit cheeky that the Oracle distribution defaults to using Redhats servers (there are lots of other public NTP servers out there), or perhaps it was just an oversight on Oracle’s part. Either way…I wonder how Redhat feel about all these new Oracle Enterprise Linux customers using Redhats servers to keep their clocks in sync 😉