Retraction and an apology for my article in the January/February 2009 issue of the ISUG Technical Journal

The article I submitted (migration to Oracle from Sybase and surviving in the workplace) was so very different as to the article that was published.  My piece was too controversial for ISUG to release (Sybase to Oracle) so it was changed, not be me and not by the editor.  It became a weird Unix to Windows rant.  Yup, I agreed to the revised article but was trying to calm a screaming toddler and pamper a pregnant lady… not excuses just explaining where my brain was when I agreed to it.  ugh what a mess.

Ultimately, the publication of the article was my fault.  So please, just ignore my article in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of the ISUG Technical Journal.

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Sybase Workspace 2.1: Do NOT update Data Tools Platform (DTP) from Eclipse’s website!

Sybase Workspace


is an Eclipse distribution that uses highly customized Data Tools Platform (DTP) plugins.  Updating the Sybase version of DTP with the standard DTP release from Eclipse will break Sybase’s Workspace.

Last night I updated Workspace’s DTP with the standard DTP release from Eclipse’s website.  Several oddities started showing up when accessing the DTP releases:

Configuring the db connection
Configuring the db connection

Testing the connection worked fine but when you open the database connection to a Sybase ASE database errors are reported:

Multiple errors have occurred
Multiple errors have occurred


Connection errors
Connection errors

If you run into this issue, you will need to uninstall Sybase’s Workspace (delete the %SYBASE%/Workspace directory after the uninstall is complete) to resolve it.

I’ve created feature request CR 565285 with Sybase:

Workspace’s DTP (data tools platform) should be updated with the DTP current release from Eclipse. This will allow developers that work in a mixed environment to use Workspace with non-Sybase DBMS’s (view stored procedures, triggers, etc).

If you believe that this feature request is desired, please let Sybase know.

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Earth Core
Earth Core

I’ve been listening to the free audio book, Earth Core, by Scott Sigler on

The premise is when a mysterious double sided platinum blade is found in a cave,  the largest deposit of platinum (multi billion $$$) on the planet is discovered three miles under a mountain.  A mining company, called Earth Core, needs not only to stake a claim but find a way to extract the platinum.   The miners have their hands full when the platinum ‘deposit’ fights back.

From the super ex-CIA agent to the spelunking uber-geologist, the story is a wild one.  I’m very impressed with Mr. Sigler’s ability to make the characters and the scenario seem very real.

If you are into adventure stories and a little gore won’t phase you, treat yourself to a good time by reading or listening to Earth Core.  You won’t forget it. 🙂

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How to upgrade the Acer Aspire One (model 110) BIOS using a USB thumb drive

Note that upgrading the BIOS using an USB thumb drive is NOT needed if you have Windows XP or Windows Vista installed on your Acer Aspire One netbook.

Prepare the USB thumb drive (need 64MB or larger):

  1. Install FreeDOS on your USB thumbdrive by using Unetbootin.
  2. Download the latest (currently 3309) BIOS from Acer’s ftp server
  3. Extract all the files in the zip file onto your USB thumb drive

On the Acer Aspire One machine:

  1. Insert the prepared USB thumb drive into an USB port on the Aspire One
  2. Reboot
  3. Hit the “F12” button every second or so until the boot drive menu appears
  4. Choose the option for USB HD or similar
  5. Hit enter when presented with a PC Linux boot screen (it will boot into FreeDOS)
  6. When the FreeDOS boot menu shows up, choose “safe mode” (no drivers loaded)
  7. From the dos prompt, change to the c drive by typing “C:” and enter
  8. Type “dir *.bat”, you should see 3309.bat (if you downloaded the 3309 BIOS).  Run that by typing “3309.bat”
  9. If all goes well, reboot

Above is a variant of the instructions found on Macles website.

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First official release of Flickr::Simple2 to Perl’s CPAN repository :)


Flickr::Simple2 is an XML::Simple based Perl API to communicate with Flickr.  It is in the early phases of development… comments are welcome :)

You will need to supply your own Flickr API key.

I released version 0.02 to Perl’s CPAN repository this morning after several delays related to the birth of my son a week ago.  As always, comments and constructive critism are welcome.

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Introducing QweryBuilder, a Developer GUI for Sybase ASE, SQL Anywhere, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle 10g/11g

qwerybuilder_reflectedimageQweryBuilder uses innovative ideas to provide developers with the ability to easily insert, extract and modify data from a variety of databases.

The goal of QweryBuilder is to increase a database developer’s productivity. It contains many time saving features.

SQL Editor

QweryBuilder - SQL Editor
QweryBuilder - SQL Editor
  • Script auto complete
  • Custom auto complete lists
  • Code Templates
  • Display column list for tables and views in editor
  • Display procedure parameters in editor
  • Keyboard shortcut to open procedures
  • Generate and insert new GUIDs
  • Syntax folding
  • Auto indenting

Criteria Query

QweryBuilder - Criteria Query
QweryBuilder - Criteria Query
  • Form view criteria screen for easy data retrieval
  • Updateable result set
    • Insert nulls, GUID’s, and computed values into results
    • Insert, delete and update data rows
    • Generate insert statements from results
    • Create graphs from result data

Graphic Query

QweryBuilder - Graphic Query
QweryBuilder - Graphic Query
  • Create queries graphically
  • Cross table querying without writing SQL

Other Features

  • Support for Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase ASE, SQL Anywhere and Oracle
  • DDL Browser
  • Database Search
  • Visual Difference
  • Code Formatter
  • Getting Started Window
    • Displays last used connections, files and database objects
    • Easily navigate to the last thing you were working on
  • Clipboard Saver
  • File Browser
  • Object Browser
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Linux Journal 2009 Archive cdrom is now available :)

Linux Journal Archive 2008 CDROM
Linux Journal Archive 2008 CDROM

The Linux Journal has just made their yearly Archive CDROM available for purchase.  It includes EVERY Linux Journal  article from March 1994 to December 2008.  At $32 USD, it is a real bargain!

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A Service Announcement From My Daughter Miriam

(12:31:22 PM) Rebecca: rcxgygtyooooooooooo77ody76
(12:31:33 PM) Rebecca: oro6ro66tddd’z4w/l;.dslp;/drs/
(12:31:34 PM) Rebecca: .l;xçΩl;./dfl./
(12:31:44 PM) jason_froebe: LMAO
(12:31:49 PM) Rebecca: guess who?
(12:31:51 PM) jason_froebe: Hi Miriam
(12:32:40 PM) Rebecca: v bhv h9h9 9h ytdd g/t6
(12:33:00 PM) Rebecca: ;.///ttttttt979./79./79po7l./679l./97/…….79l7lop./l7o./.7u.ldftigk.d
(12:33:02 PM) Rebecca: ./;;;;;.0
(12:33:03 PM) Rebecca: 0;
(12:33:03 PM) Rebecca: /0.;
(12:33:04 PM) Rebecca: /0-;./;0-./
(12:33:53 PM) Rebecca: -0/0-/-0688.86…68.
(12:34:17 PM) Rebecca: “i iioo i/g /’……………………………………………………………………………………………………….999j
(12:34:24 PM) Rebecca: 0.0/.0//sw;’o;/////
(12:34:33 PM) Rebecca: +///II
(12:34:34 PM) Rebecca: I
(12:34:50 PM) Rebecca: I.////////9.9/.906
(12:34:51 PM) Rebecca:
(12:36:01 PM) Rebecca: sorry about that
(12:36:19 PM) Rebecca: i distracted her with cookies
(12:38:38 PM) jason_froebe: lol

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FW: Full Circle Magazine issue 22 is out!

The folks over at Full Circle Magazine have release yet another issue 🙂

  • Full Circle Magazine Issue 22
    Full Circle Magazine Issue 22

    Command and Conquer – Resizing Images With FFMPEG.

  • How-To : Program in C – Part 6, Web Development – Part 3,
  • Installing CrunchEEE To The EEE PC, and Spreading Ubuntu.
  • My Story – Making The Switch
  • Book Review – Ubuntu For Non-Geeks 3rd Edition
  • MOTU Interview – Emanuele Gentili
  • Top 5 – DVD Rippers
  • PLUS: all the usual goodness…
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Peter Thawley: Creating a RAM disk for Sybase’s ASE DBMS

International Sybase User Group
International Sybase User Group

Over on ISUG‘s SIG-ASE mailing list, Peter Thawley wrote up the following reply that I think everyone using Sybase ASE and is thinking of using a RAM disk should be aware of.  When I asked Peter if I could repost his message on my blog he agreed 🙂

Creating a RAM Disk

Peter Thawley
Peter Thawley

Joe and Shane are spot-on about a task context switching off the engine on an i/o to a RAM-disk based device … and yes Joe, there is nothing you can do about this right now. Normally, one would think of this as a good thing … and it is for that specific user since they get to consume more cpu/engine time thereby getting better response time for their request.

Now, to throw a wrench into this! In these cases where some or all of the database is cached, one does have to be aware of the potential for other user tasks to experience some amount of starvation. Image a bunch of tasks, each consuming a full time slice (100ms by default) before yielding. For systems doing pure OLTP (short) transactions with users getting on an engine and getting off reasonably quickly … little risk of a problem. For mixed workload applications with some OLTP and some DSS/reporting, the potential for starvation is quite real and nearly guaranteed for environments with fully cached DBs. I’ve seen some trading systems in tier 1 investment banks brought to their knees by an innocent IT person deciding to buy a lot of memory to cache the entire DB only to wonder why performance started going to hell. [Of course, it was Sybase’s fault … ( – ; )]

In these cases, be thinking about execution classes/engine groups to segregate OLTP and DSS users onto their own disjoint set of engines using dynamic listeners to keep execution engines and network engines aligned within the same engine groups. You may also want to consider reducing “clock tick length” to keep a timeslice period lower than 100ms … I’ve seen some sites successfully using 50ms and even less … there seems to be little downside since most systems do the async disk io and net io checks a lot more frequently than 100 ms due to the “io polling process count” param.

Just trying to present a balanced view here …. This is going to be important for more people to consider as in-memory database techniques and/or features / products become more prevalent.


Peter Thawley
Senior Director / Architect
CTO Group, WMO
Sybase, Inc.

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