Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 A review of the year as an ACED

As 2014 draws to a close I working on finishing off a number of tasks and projects. One of these tasks is an annual one for me. The task is to list all the things I've done as an Oracle ACE Director. If has been a very busy year, not just with ACE activities but also work wise too. That will explain why I have been a bit quiet on the blogging side of things in recent months.

In 2014 I one major highlight. It was the publication of my book Predictive Analytics using Oracle Data Miner by Oracle Press. Many thanks for everyone involved in writing this book, especially my family and the people in Oracle Press who gave me the opportunity.

Here is my summary.


  • January : BIWA Summit : 2 presentations (San Francisco, USA) **

  • March : OUG Ireland Conference (Dublin, Ireland)

  • April : OUG Norway : 2 presentations (Oslo, Norway) **

  • June : OUG Finland : 2 presentations (Helsinki, Finland) **

  • June : Oracle EMEA Data Warehousing Global Leaders Forum (Dublin, Ireland)

  • August : OUG Panama : 2 presentations (Panama City, Panama) **

  • August : OUG Costa Rica : 3 presentations (San Jose, Costa Rica) **

  • August : OUG Mexico : 2 presentations (Mexico City, Mexico) **

  • September : Oracle Open World (San Francisco, USA) **

  • December : UKOUG Tech15 : 2 presentations (Liverpool, UK)

  • December : UKOUG Apps15 (Liverpool, UK)

That is 19 hours of presenting this year.

** Many thanks to the Oracle ACE Director programme for funding the flights and hotels for these conferences. All other expenses and conferences I paid for out of my own pocket.

My ODM Book

On the 8th August my book titled Predictive Analytics using Oracle Data Miner, was published by Oracle Press. It all began 12 months and 2 weeks previously. I had the book written and the technical edits done by the middle of February (2014). Between March and June the Copy edits and layouts where completed. The book is ideal for any data scientist, Oracle developer, Oracle architect and Oracle DBA, who want to use the in-databse data mining functionality. That way they can use and build upon their existing SQL and PL/SQL skills to perform predictive analytics.

The book is available on Amazon and comes in Print and eBook formats

Book Cover

Oracle Open World

This year I got to go to my second ACE Director briefing. This is held on the Thursday and Friday before OOW. At the briefing we get lots of Very senior people coming in to tell us what is happening with the products in their area and what the plans are over the next 12 to 18 months. Lots of what we are told is all under NDA. My favourite part of this briefing is when Thomas Kurian comes in and talks for about 90 minutes. No slides, no notes. The first 15 minutes is him telling us what Larry & Co are going to announce at OOW, that are the main product directions etc. Then he opens to the floor for questions. You can ask him anything about the set of Oracle products (>3000) and he will explain in detail what is happen. He even commented on the plans for the Oracle Games Console this year!!!

This year I had the opportunity to present at OOW again. It was a joint presentation with Roel Hartman and we had the pleasure of being one of the first presentations at OOW at 8:30am on the Sunday morning. Despite the early start we have really good turn out for our presentation.

Then I got to enjoy OOW with all the various activities, presentations, entertainment and hanging out at the OTN lounge with the other ACEs and ACEDs.

Blog Posts

One of the things I really like doing is playing with various features of Oracle and then writing some blog posts about them. Most of what I blog about evolves around the SQL & PL/SQL Statistics functions and the Advanced Analytics Option, comprising Oracle Data Mining and Oracle R Enterprise. In addition to these blog posts I also have posts relating to various Oracle User Group activities. So there is a good mixture of material on the blog.

In 2014 I have written 60 blog posts (including this one). This number is a little be less than previous years and perhaps the main reason for that is due to me being extremely busy with various project work this year.

OTN Articles

OTN has accepted three articles from me in 2014. I was delighted about these acceptances and I'm looking forward to writing some more articles in 2015 for them.

  • Sentiment Analysis using Oracle Data Miner
  • ROracle : How to get Started and Commands you need to Know
  • Predictive Queries in 12c

I have a few more ideas for articles and I will be writing these in 2015. We will have to wait and see if OTN will accept them.

My Oracle Magazine Collection & Reviews

You may or may not be aware that I've been collecting Oracle Magazine for over 20 years now. I have nearly the entire collection of Oracle Magazine going back to the very first edition. Check out the collection here. You will see that I'm missing a few and these are highlighted by the grey boxes. If you do have any of these and you would like to donate to my collection then please get in touch.

One of the things I like to blog about is on some of these old Oracle Magazines. If you go to my Oracle Magazine collection page you will see the past editions that I have writing a review of. Click on the links to view the blog post review an edition.

In 2014 I have written reviews of the following:

OUG Activities

The Oracle User Group in Ireland (OUG Ireland) has continued to grow this year in membership but also with the number of attendees at our events. In March of each year we have our flagship event which is our annual conference. This year we have almost 300 people and unfortunately people had to turned away at the door because we had headed the maximum limit on the number of attendees for the event. Planing has already commenced for 2015 and the call for presentations is now open. Hopefully 2015 will be bigger and better that 2014. We had a second day at the conference this year where we had Tom Kyte give a full day seminar. Again this was fully booked out for weeks/months before hand. In March 2015 we will be having a second day of the conference with Maria Colgan giving a one day workshop/seminar on the In-Memory option and the Optimiser. You cannot book your place on this seminar yet but then it does open make sure to book your place quick as I'm sure it will book out very quickly.

We also had a number of TECH and BI SIGs and the number of attendees has significantly grown over the past few years. This is fantastic and hopefully this will continue. If it does then maybe we might be able to put on more SIG events.

In the editor of Oracle Scene Magazine which is published by the UKOUG. This was my first full year as editor after spending many years as deputy editor. In 2014 we have published three editions of Oracle Scene and I would like to thanks everyone who has submitted an article. You have helped grow the quality of the contents and also grow the readership numbers. The calls for articles for the Spring edition is now open.

My Oracle Data Science newsletter & My Oracle User Group Weekly newsletter

A couple of years ago I set up a news aggregator based on Twitter feeds and on updates from certain websites. I've divided these into two different newsletters. The first is My Oracle Data Science News and as you might guess it is focused on the worlds of Data Science, Predictive Analytics and related developments with a bit of a focus towards the Oracle world. This newsletter gets published each day.

My second newsletter is focused on Oracle User Group activities around the World and is again based on the various Twitter handles of the Oracle User Groups. I'm include over 40 OUG Twitter handles in the aggregator so I should be picking up almost everyone. If you discover your OUG is not being included then drop me an email and I'll add you to the list. This newsletter goes out every Friday.

Plans for 2015 so far

The start of 2015 is already very busy and I'm already booked for 3 conferences BIWA Summit (CA, USA), OUG Norway and OUG Ireland.

Planing for OUG Ireland is under ways and we are hoping to build on the successes we have had over the past few years.

So as editor of Oracle Scene magazine we are planning for our first issue in 2015, the call for articles is open and we have been busy recruiting authors of articles on specifics.

I'm sure I've forgotten a few things, I usually do.

It has been a fun year. I've made lots of friends around the World and I look forward to meeting you all at some conference in 2015.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ODMr 4.1 EA1 Repository Upgrade

If you are downloading the EA1 of SQL Developer that includes Oracle Data Miner (ODMr), and you intend to use Oracle Data Miner then you will need to update the ODMr Repository.

You could do it the hard way and run the upgrade repository sql scripts that are located in the ...\sqldeveloper-\sqldeveloper\dataminer\scripts directory.

Or you could do it the easy way and let the inbuilt functionality in Oracle Data Miner do it for you.

To do it the easy way all you need to do is to open the ODMr Connections window and the double click on one of your ODM connections.

ODMr will check the version of the repository you have installed and if needed it will prompt you about upgrading the repository. Select Yes and you will be prompted to enter the SYS password. So talk kindly with your DBA for them to enter the password for you. Then click on the Start button. They will lick off the OMDr Repository Upgrade scripts.

NB: Make sure you have a backup of your workflows before you do this. A little think happened to me during the SQL Dev / ODMr 4.0 upgrade back in September 2013 where all my workflows disappeared. You can imagine how happy I was about that. Since then the ODMr team have added some functionality to ensure something like this doesn't happen again. But you never know.

To backup your ODMr workflows use the Export Workflow option.

When the repository upgrade has finished you will get a 'Task Complete Successfully' message in the upgrade window. Click on the close button and away you go with this updated version.

Check out this blog post for details of what is new in ODMr 4.1.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Oracle Data Miner (SQL Dev) 4.1 EA1

A few days ago the first Early Adaptor release of SQL Developer 4.1 (EA1) was made available. You can go ahead and download it from here and make sure to check out the blog post by Jeff Smith on some install and setup that is required around the latest version of Java.

I've been using SQL Developer since its very first release, so getting my hands on a new release is very exciting. There are lots and lots of new features in the tool. Again check out the blog posts by Jeff Smith and Kris Rice on some of these new features. I really like the new DBA screens :-) But this screen really needs some scroll bars and not everything fits on my screen. So Jeff and Kris if you are reading this, can you add some scroll bars.

Sqldev4 1

In addition they have been working on "new" SQL*Plus that is called SDSQL. This is a new command line tool that is supposed to be bigger and better than SQL*Plus but still gives us a command line tool to run our scripts and demos. To download and install the tool go to here.

As you know I'm a bit of an Oracle Data Miner/Mining fan. There are now new in-database features, but there are a lot of new features in the GUI tool (aka ODMr) along with some improvements and bug fixes. Here is a list of the ODMr 4.1 EA1 new and updated features (taken from the ODMr Help in SQL Dev)

JSON Data Support for Oracle Database and above

In response to the growing popularity of JSON data and its use in Big Data configurations, Data Miner now provides an easy to use JSON Query node. The JSON Query node allows you to select and aggregate JSON data without entering any SQL commands. The JSON Query node opens up using all of the existing Data Miner features with JSON data. The enhancements include:

Data Source Node

Automatically identifies columns containing JSON data by identifying those with the IS_JSON constraint.

Generates JSON schema for any selected column that contain JSON data.

Imports a JSON schema for a given column.

JSON schema viewer.

Create Table Node

Ability to select a column to be typed as JSON.

Generates JSON schema in the same manner as the Data Source node.

JSON Data Type

Columns can be specifically typed as JSON data.

JSON Query Node

Ability to utilize any of the selection and aggregation features without having to enter SQL commands.

Ability to select data from a graphical layout of the JSON schema, making data selection as easy as it is with scalar relational data columns.

Ability to partially select JSON data as standard relational scalar data while leaving other parts of the same JSON document as JSON data.

Ability to aggregate JSON data in combination with relational data. Includes the Sub-Group By option, used to generate nested data that can be passed into mining model build nodes.

General Improvements

Improved database session management resulting in less database sessions being generated and a more responsive user interface.

Filter Columns Node

Combined primary Editor and associated advanced panel to improve usability.

Explore Data Node

Allows multiple row selection to provide group chart display.

Classification Build Node

Automatically filters out rows where the Target column contains NULLs or all Spaces. Also, issues a warning to user but continues with Model build.


Enhanced workflows to ensure that Loading, Reloading, Stopping, Saving operations no longer block the UI.

Online Help

Revised the Online Help to adhere to topic-based framework.

Selected Bug Fixes (does not include 4.0 patch release fixes)

GLM Model Algorithm Settings: Added GLM feature identification sampling option (Oracle Database 12.1 and above).

Filter Rows Node: Custom Expression Editor not showing all possible available columns.

WebEx Display Issues: Fixed problems affecting the display of the Data Miner UI through WebEx conferencing.

Denny Wong of the ODM team in Oracle has made available a tutorial on importing JSON data for use with ODMr. Check it out here.

I've been told there will be a couple of tutorials on the new features coming out (from the ODMr team) over the next few weeks. So keep an eye out of these.

Check out my blog post on what you need to do to get started/using ODMr 4.1 EA1.

Friday, December 5, 2014

UKOUG 2015 Conferences

The UKOUG annual conferences commence on Sunday 7th December and run until Wednesday 10th.

Like previous years there are two conferences, one called TECH15 and the other is called APPS15. You might guess what each conference is about!!.

This year these conferences are being held at the same time and in the same venue. But they are separate conferences!.

This year I've been very lucky (or very unlucky) to have 3 presentations at these conferences. Two of these will on part of the TECH15 conference and one will be part of the APPS15 conference.

Just in case you interested in what I'm presenting about and you might want to attend them, here is the list with the room numbers.


10:30-11:20 : Oracle Advanced Analytics in Oracle Fusion Apps & Beyond (Apps) (Room : Ex1)

11:30-12:20 : Predictive Queries in Oracle 12c (TECH) (Room : Hall 6)


11:30-12:20 : What are they thinking? With APEX and Oracle Data Miner. (TECH) (Room : Ex4)

(this is a joint presentation with Roel Hartman)

Yes on the Monday I have 2 back-to-back presentation with a 10 minute gap to get from one side of the conference centre to the other side :-( I'm not looking forward to that transition, but I'm sure it will be fine.

Friday, November 14, 2014

OUG Ireland 2015 : Now open for Submissions

OUG Ireland Call for submissions is now open.

The closing date for submissions is 5th January, 2015.

and the submission webpage can be found here.

Ougire15 hp cfp v2

The OUG Ireland conference will be on Thursday 19th March. Yes it is only a one day conference :-( but we will be 5 or 6 or more streams. So there will be something for everyone and plenty of choice.

On Friday 20th March we will have Maria Colgan, formally the Optimizer Lady and now the In-Memory Queen (or something like that), giving a full day workshop on the In-Database option and the Optimizer. She will also be about for the main conference on the 19th, so you can expect a presentation or two from her on the Thursday.

Agenda selection day is the 8th January, 2015. So hopefully you will be getting the acceptance emails soon after that or during week of 12th January.

There is a committee of about 10 people who are involved in selecting presentations and setting the agenda. If it was up to me then I would accept everything/everyone. So if your presentation is not accepted this time, please don't blame me :-) I said YES to your presentation, I really, really did. I fought so hard to have your presentation included. If your presentation is not accepted then the blame is down to the other committee members :-)

The conference will be held in Croke Park, and is a 15-20 minute taxi ride from the Airport.

You can follow the Conference and other OUG Ireland events using the twitter tag #oug_ire

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Approximate Count Distinct ( new feature)

With the release of the Oracle Database there was a number of new features and options. Most of the publicity has been around the in-Memory option. But there was lots of other features for the DBA and a few for the developer.

One of the new SQL functions is the APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT(). This function is different to the tradition count distinct, COUNT(DISTINCT expression), in that is performs an approximate count distinct. The theory is that this approximate count is a lot more efficient than performing the full count distinct.

The APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT() function is really only suitable when you are processing very large volumes of data and when the data set contains a large number of distinct values.

The general syntax of the function is:

... APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT(expression) ...

and returns a Number.

The function returns the approximate number of records that contain distinct value for the expression.

SELECT approx_count_distinct(cust_id)

FROM mining_data_build_v;

The APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT() function ignores records that contain a null value for the expression. Plus is performs less work on the sorting and aggregations. Just run and Explain Plan and you can see the differences.

In some of the material from Oracle the APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT() function can be 5x to 50x++ times faster. But it depends on the number of distinct values and the complexity of the SQL query.

As the result / returned value from the function may not be 100% accurate, Oracle says that the functions has an accuracy of >97% (with 95% confidence).

The function cannot be used on the following data types: BFILE, BLOB, CLOB, LONG, LONG RAW and NCLOB

Friday, November 7, 2014

ODMr : Graph Node: Zooming in on Graphs

When Oracle Data Miner (ODMr) 4.0 (which is part of SQL Developer) came out back in late 2013 there was a number of new features added to the tool. One of these was a Graph node that allows us to create various graphs and charts that include Line, Scatter, Bar, Histogram and Box plot.

I've been using this node recently to produce graphs and particularly scatter plots. I've been using the scatter plots to graph the Actual values in a data set against the Predicted values that was generated by ODMr. In this scenario I had a separate data set for training my ODM data mining models and another testing data set for, well testing how well the model performed against an unseen data set.

In general the graphs produced by the Graph node look good and gives you the information that you need. But what I found was that as you increased the size of the data set, the scatter plot can look a messy. This was in part due to the size of the square used to represent a data point. As the volume of data increased then your scatter plot could just look like a coloured in area of blue squares. This is illustrated in the following image.

Graph node 1

What I discovered today is that you can zoom in on this graph to explore different regions and data point on it. This do this you need to select an data that is within the x-axis and y-axis area. When you do this you will see a box form on your graph that selects the area that you indicate by moving your mouse. After you have finished selecting the area, the Graph Node will zooms into this part of the graph and shows the data points. For example if I select the area from about 1000 on the x-axis and 1000 on the y-axis, I will get the following.

Graph node 2

Again if I select a similar are area of 350 on the x-axis and 400 on the y-axis I get the following zoomed area.

Graph node 3

You can keep zooming in on various areas.

At some point you will have finished zooming in and you will want to return to the original graph. To zoom back outward all you need to do in the graph is to click on it. When you do this you will go back to the previous step or image of the graph. You can keep doing this until you get back to the original graph. Alternatively you can zoom in and out on various parts of the graph.

Hopefully you will find this feature useful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Something new in 12c: FETCH FIRST x ROWS

In this post I want to show some example of using a new feature in 12c for selecting the first X number of records from the results set of a query.

See the bottom of this post for the background and some of the reasons for this post.

Before we had the 12c Database if we only wanted to see a subset or the initial set of records from the results of a query we could add something like the following to our query



The could use the pseudo column ROWNUM to restrict the number of records that would be displayed. This was particularly useful when the results many 10s, 100s, or millions of records. It allowed us to quickly see a subset and to see if the results where what we expected.

In my book (Predictive Analytics Using Oracle Data Miner) I had lots of examples of using ROWNUM.

What I wasn't aware of when I was writing my book was that there was a new way of doing this in 12c. We now have something like the following:



There is an example:

SELECT * FROM mining_data_build_v


Fetch first 1

There are a number of different ways you can use the row limiting feature. Here is the syntax for it:

[ OFFSET offset { ROW | ROWS } ]

[ FETCH { FIRST | NEXT } [ { rowcount | percent PERCENT } ]


In most cases you will probably use the number of rows. But there many be cases where you might what to use the PERCENT. In previous versions of the database you would have used SAMPLE to bring back a certain percentage of records.

select CUST_GENDER from mining_data_build_v


This will set the first 2 percent of the records.

You can also decide from what point in the result set you want the records to be displayed from. In the previous examples above the results displayed will befing with the first records. In the following example the results set will be processed to record 60 and then the first 5 records will be selected and displayed. This will be records 61, 62, 63, 64 and 65. So the first record processed will be the OFFSET record + 1.

select CUST_GENDER from mining_data_build_v


Similar to the PERCENT example above you can use the OFFSET value, for example.

select CUST_GENDER from mining_data_build_v


This query will go to records 61 and return the next 2 percent of the records.

The background to this post

There are a number of reasons that I really love attending Oracle User Group conferences. One of the challenges I set myself is to go to presentations on topics that I think I know or know very well. I can list many, many reasons for this but there are 2 main points. The first is that you are getting someone elses perspective on the topic and hence you might learn something new or understand it better. The second is that you might actually learn something new, like some new command, parameter setting or something else like that.

At Oracle Open World recently I attended the EMEA 12 things about 12c set of presentations that Debra Lilly arranged during the User Group Forum on the Sunday. During these session Alex Nuijten gave an overview of some 12c new SQL features. One of these was the command FETCH FIRST x ROWS. This blog post illustrates some of the different ways of using this command.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Installing Oracle on Windows 64bit

The following steps are what I did for installing on Windows.

1. Download the Oracle installation ZIP files from the Oracle Downloads page.

DB Install 15

2. Unzip the two 12c downloads files into the same directory.

3. Go to the newly created directory (it is probably called 'database') and you will find a file called setup.exe. Double click on this file.

DB Install 1

After a couple of seconds you will see the Oracle Database 12c splash screen.

DB Install 2

4. Step 1 : Configure Security Updates : Un-tick the tick-box and click the Next button. A warning message will appear. You can click on the Yes button to proceed.

DB Install 3

5. Step 2 : Installation Options : select the Create and Configure a Database option and then click the Next button.

DB Install 4

6. Step 3 : System Class : Select the Server Class option and then click the Next button.

DB Install 5

7. Step 4 : Grid Installation Options : Select the Single Instance Database Installation option and then click the next button.

DB Install 6

8. Step 5 : Select Install Type : Select the Typical install option and then click the Next button.

DB Install 7

9. Step 6 : Oracle Home User Selection : Select the Use Windows Built-in Account option and then click the Next button. A warning message appears. Click the Yes button.

DB Install 8

10. Step 7 : Typical Install Configuration : Set Global Database Name to cdb12c for the container database name. Set the Administrative password for the container database. Set the name of the pluggable database that will be created. Set this to pdb12c. Or you can accept the default names. Then click the Next button. If you get a warning message saying the password does not conform to the recommended standards, you can click the Yes button to ignore this warning and proceed.

DB Install 9

11. Step 8 : Prerequisite Checks : the install will check to see that you have enough space and necessary permissions etc.

12. Step 9 : Summary : When the prerequisite checks (like checking you have enough space and privileges) are finished you will get a window like the following.

DB Install 10

13. Step 10 : Install : You are now ready to start the install process. To do this click on the Install button in the Summary screen.

DB Install 11

You can now sit back, relax and watch the installation of (with the in-memory option) complete.

You may get some Windows Security Alert windows pop up. Just click on the Allow Access button.

Then the Database Configuration Assistant will start. This step might take a while to complete.

DB Install 12

When everything is done you will get something like the following.

DB Install 13

Congratulations you now have Oracle Database installed.

But you are not finished yet!!!

14. Add entry to TNSNAMES.ORA : you will need to add an entry to your tnsnames.ora file for the pluggable database. There is be an entry for the container DB but not for the pluggable. Here is what I added to my tnsnames.ora.

DB Install 14

The last step you need to do is to tell the container database to start up the pluggables when you reboot the server/laptop/PC/VM. To do this you will need to create the following trigger in the container DB.

sqlplus / as sysdba


    after startup

    on database


    execute immediate 'alter pluggable database all open';

END open_all_pdbs;

Restart your database or machine and you plug gage DB 'pdb12c' will no automatically start.

You are all finished now :-)

Enjoy :-)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

People from Ireland Presenting at OOW14

Oracle Open World is coming up in a few days time. This is a huge event that also incorporates Jave One and various other smaller conferences that are for specific product areas and for partners.

I will be presenting at Oracle Open World this year and I'll also be taking part in a number of other sessions/events including the Oracle ACE Directors briefing. Check out my blog post that list these sessions/events.

In addition to myself presenting at OOW14 there are a few other people from Ireland who are presenting. The following lists there sessions (including mine for a full list). If you are attending OOW14 then do try to drop along to these sessions.

Sunday 28th September 9:00-9:45

   Brendan Tierney & Roel Hartman

   Moscone South Room 304

   What are they Thinking? With Oracle Application Express and Oracle Data Miner.

   Debra Lilley 14:30-15:15

   Moscone South Room 304

   2 Looks at Oracle Database 12c: EOUC Short Talks [UGF8949]

   Debra Lilley 15:30-16:15

   Moscone South Room 304

   12 Looks at Oracle Database 12c: EOUC Short Talks, Part 2 [UGF9221]

Tuesday 30th September 17:00-17:45

   Mina Sagha Zadesh (Oracle Ireland)

   Intercontinential - Grand Ballroom A

   [CON4259] Unique Advantages of Oracle Solaris for Oracle Database Systems.

Wednesday 1st October 10:15-11:00

   Simon Holt (ESB)

   Marriott Marquis - Golden Gate C1/C2

   [CON5388] An Oracle SuperCluster Engineered System for Oracle Utilities Network Management System.

   Debra Lilley

   Moscone West - 3018

   Deliver Business Innovation while Reducing Upgrades’ Risk [CON8534].

Wednesday 1st October 11:30-12:45

   Kevin Callanan (AIB)

   Moscone South Room 301

   [CON8247] DBA's New Best Friend for Mistake Free Administration: Oracle Real Application Testing.

I'll be at these sessions to support my fellow Irish. I hope to see you there too :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Analytics Hands on Labs at OOW 14

I had an previous blog post listing the various Oracle Advanced Analytics sessions/presentation at Oracle Open World 2014.

After trawling through the list of Hands-on-Labs it was disappointing to see that there was no Oracle Data Mining or Oracle R Enterprise hands-on-labs this year.

But there is a hands on lab that looks are how to use the new SQL for Big Data feature (announced over the summer).

Here is the abstract for the session.

Data warehouses contain the critical data required for managing and running organizations. Increasingly, Hadoop and NoSQL databases are capturing additional information—such as web logs, social media, and weather data that can augment the warehouse—enabling users to uncover new insights and opportunities. This hands-on lab illustrates how Oracle Big Data SQL is used to unify these environments. First you will learn how to securely access these big data sources from Oracle Database 12c. Then you will utilize Oracle’s analytical SQL across all your data, regardless of where it resides. Welcome to Oracle’s new big data management system!

There will be a lab session each day for this session and I will certainly be doing my best to get to one of these.

DateTimeLocationHands-on-Lab Session Title
Monday 29th Sept.11:45-12:45Hotel Nikko - PeninsulaOracle Big Data SQL: Unified SQL Analysis Across the Big Data Platform [HOL9348]
Tuesday 30th Sept.15:45-16:45Hotel Nikko - Peninsula
Wednesday 1st Oct.13:15-14:15Hotel Nikko - Peninsula
Thursday 2nd Oct.11:30-12:30Hotel Nikko - Peninsula

If any new hands-on-labs appear that are related to the Big Data and Advanced Analytics areas/options I will update the above table.

Some other Hands-on-Labs that you might be interested in include:

DateTimeLocationHands-on-Lab Session Title
Monday 29th Sept.17:45-18:45Hotel Nikko - PeninsulaOracle NoSQL Database for Application Developers [HOL9349]
Tuesday 30th Sept.10:15-11:10Hotel Nikko - PeninsulaOracle NoSQL Database for Application Developers [HOL9349]
Tuesday 30th Sept.15:45-16:45Hotel Nikko - Nikko Ballroom IIIOracle Data Integrator 12c New Features Deep Dive [HOL9439]
Tuesday 30th Sept.17:15-18:15Hotel Nikko - Nikko Ballroom IIIOracle Data Integrator for Big Data [HOL9414]
Wednesday 1st Oct.13:15-14:15Hotel Nikko - Mendocino I/IISet Up a Hadoop 2 Cluster with Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle Solaris ZFS, and Unified Archive [HOL2086]
Wednesday 1st Oct.14:45-15:45Hotel Nikko - PeninsulaOracle NoSQL Database for Administrators [HOL9327]
Thursday 2nd Oct.14:30-15:30Hotel Nikko - PeninsulaOracle NoSQL Database for Administrators [HOL9327]

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oracle Advanced Analytics sessions at OOW14

With Oracle Open World just a few days away now, I was going through the list of presentations that are focused on using the Oracle Advanced Analytics Option. These will cover Oracle Data Miner and Oracle R Enterprise.

So I've decided to share this list with you :-) and hopefully I will get to see you are some or all of these sessions.

DateTimeLocationPresentation Title
Sunday 28th Sept.9:00-9:45Moscone South Room 304What Are They Thinking? With Oracle Application Express and Oracle Data Miner [UGF2861]. (This is my presentation with Roel Hartman.)
Tuesday 30th Sept.17:00-17:45Intercontinental - Grand Ballroom CAdvanced Predictive Analytics for Database Developers on Oracle [CON7977]
Tuesday 30th Sept.18:00-18:45Moscone South - 303Oracle’s Big Data Management System [MTE9350]
Wednesday 1st Oct.10:15-11:00Moscone South - 301Big Data and Predictive Analytics: Fiserv Data Mining Case Study [CON8631]
Wednesday 1st Oct.10:30-10:50Big Data Theater, Moscone South, Big Data ShowcaseBig Data: Maximize the Business Impact with Oracle Advanced Analytics [THT10395]
Wednesday 1st Oct.11:30-12:15Moscone South - 300A Perfect Storm: Oracle Big Data Science for Enterprise R and SAS Users [CON8331]
Wednesday 1st Oct.12:45-13:30Moscone West - 3002Predictive Analytics with Oracle Data Mining [CON8596]
Wednesday 1st Oct.14:00-14:45Moscone South - 308Developing Relevant Dining Visits with Oracle Advanced Analytics at Olive Garden [CON2898]

If I have missed any sessions then do please let me know and I can update the list above.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


We have all been in the position of trying to find the name of a command in a language, particularly if you are not totally sure of the full command name.

I've been working with R a lot recently and in particular Oracle R Enterprise. I was always trying to remember what the full command name was. Then I found the apropos function. The apropos function allows you to search R for commands based on a part or partial name. You can use regular expression syntax to define what part of the function name you are looking for.

What I ended up using most often was the following command. This function call looks for all functions being with 'ore'.

> apropos("^ore")


To find out more about how to use the apropos command check out the R help.

> help(apropos)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ORE now available for Multitenant (PDB) version of 12c

Oracle has released an update to their Oracle R Enterprise software. We now have ORE 1.4.1 and this seems to have been released on the past day or so.

Here are the links to the important stuff:

ORE 1.4.1 Release Note

ORE 1.4.1 User Guide

ORE 1.4.1 Installation Guide

ORE 1.4.1 Download page

One of the main features of this new release is that it now supports the multi tenant option of the 12c database. Up to now if you wanted to use ORE and 12c then you needed to do a traditional install of the database. That means you would be just installing a single instance of the 12c database with no CDB or PDB.

With ORE 1.4.1 you can now install ORE into a PDB. It needs to be one of your current PDBs and should not be installed into the root PDB, otherwise it will not work. Check out the installation instructions using the links above.

As with all new releases there are a lot of bug fixes and perhaps some new ones too :-)

Friday, September 5, 2014

OUG Ireland Super SIG Day : Sept. 24 2014

The next set of Ireland Oracle User Group SIG meetings will be on Wednesday 24th September. This will be a super SIG event with the following SIGs being run in parallel and all in one venue (Jurys Inn, Customs House, Dublin).

OUG Ireland BI & EPM SIG Meeting

OUG Ireland Technology SIG Meeting

OUG Ireland HCM SIG Meeting

Click on the links above for each SIG to get the details of agenda. There is a great line up of presentations for each SIG with some true experts.

From what I've been hearing that has been a lot of registrations already for these events. So if you are interested in attending then sign up now to reserve your place. Click on the SIG you want to attend and there will be a registration button on the webpage, just below the agenda.

Unfortunately I won't be at these event :-( The 24th September is the day that I travel out to Oracle Open World. Yes I know OOW doesn't start until the 29th, but I will be attending the Oracle ACE Director briefing at Oracle HQ in Redwood Shores on the 25th and 26th.

Hopefully there will be lots of twitter action during these SIGs and don't forget to use the OUG Ireland twitter hash tag of #oug_ire That way I and others can follow what is happening during the day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

me at Oracle Open World 2014

This day 3 weeks time (on the 24th Sept) I will be heading out to San Francisco for Oracle Open World. Over the course on 9 days I will be taking part in the Oracle ACE Director briefing and in Oracle Open World. The following outlines my main activities, sessions that I'm presenting at and sessions that I have been asked to attend.

25th-26th Sept. I will be at the Oracle ACE Director briefing. This will be my second briefing as it is a fantastic event where most of the SVPs and various VPs come in to tell us what plans Oracle has for the next few months and what announcements will be made at OOW. We even get Thomas Kurian in to talk to us for about 90 minutes.

Sunday 28th Sept. 9:00-9:45. I will be presenting with Roel Hartman on how to integrate Oracle Data Mining into APEX. The demonstration will involve how you can built BI dashboards in APEX and how by using Oracle Data Mining you can monitor customer sentiment over time. If we get time we home to show you how you can also use this customer sentiment (using Oracle Data Mining) to build some workflows in APEX. The presentation is part of the User Group Sunday Forum and will be in room 304 in the Moscone West building.

Monday 29 Sept. 18:30-20:00. Steven Feuerstein and Tom Kyte are hosting a special event that is a Celebration of SQL and Pl/SQL. Oracle Press has asked me and a few other authors to be at this event and this might have some copies of out books available. I was going to this event anyway as it is a great way to celebrate something that we us on a daily basis and for me for the past 21+ years.

Tuesday 30th Sept. 8:30-12:00. I will be at a Oracle Publishers Seminar. This is a special event arranged for people who have published books on Oracle with the main book publishers. I've been invited to this by Oracle Press.

Wednesday 1st Oct. is going to be a busy day between sessions, the Oracle Press book signing and the bloggers meet up.

10:15-11:00 (Moscone South 301) Fiserv will be presenting their case study on how they used Oracle Data Mining to combat fraud in online payments. Charlie Berger, the product manager for ODM, will be co-presenting. He has said he will be giving my book a plug and will point to me in the audience if anyone would like to talk to me about it.

13:00-13:00 Oracle Press has arranged a meet the authors / Book signing session. So during this time you will find me at the Oracle Press store at OOW. If you buy my book I will be on hand to sign it for you or if you have already bought the book then bring it along and I can sign it for you.

18:00-20:00 Every year at OOW this is a bloggers meet-up sponsored by OTN and Phytian. This is where us independent bloggers from around the world get to meet each other face-to-face and get to bond over a drink. As must of us blogger communicate in the virtual world this is a great event for us to put faces to names and to talk about our blogs. This will be in Jullian's beside the Moscone centre.

There are lots of other sessions and events on during OOW. I hope to get to as many as possible during the week. But the sessions above are the ones (at the time of writing this) that you will definitely find me at.

A big thank you has to go out to Oracle and OTN who are sponsoring my flights and hotel during this trip. This is part of the Oracle ACE Director programme. Also for many of the other events that go on during the week (and a bit) of OOW. Also a thank you to DIT for giving me the time to go to OOW.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Oracle Magazine-January/February 2001

The headline articles of Oracle Magazine for January/February 2001 were on how the current set of Oracle products supported the development and deployment of mobile and internet applications.

Ora mag 2001 jan feb

Other articles included:

  • Oracle and HP form an alliance to develop and delivery CRM solutions aimed at helping companies keep up with customers in a world where rapid change is common place.
  • In Tom Kyte's regular article he look at and gives examples of using function based indexes, automatically calculating percentages in queries, password protecting the Listener functions, making user lists and securing your data using DBMS_OBFUSCATION_TOOLKIT.
  • Oracle announces the release of and Oracle Portal Studio.
  • Over the past few months Oracle has gone about renaming a number of their products. A full page id give over to this list that maps the old product name to the new product name.
  • There was a number of small announcements of collaborations between Oracle and Sun. The start of a beautiful friendship that eventually ended in a marriage.
  • Steven Feuerstein had an article on Dynamic Approaches to Multirow Queries. Based on the native dynamic SQL introduced in Oralce 8i he shows us how to handle multiple row results either individually or as a collection.
  • In the article on Net8 examples are given showing how net service names are resolved and using LDAP.
  • The Oracle 8i Database has components that allow you to take advantage of XML technology. These include XSQL pages, how to install XSQL Servlet, registering the xsql file, processing dynamic xml documents from SQL queries and supporting XSLT tags.

To view the cover page and the table of contents click on the image at the top of this post or click here.

My Oracle Magazine Collection can be found here. You will find links to my blog posts on previous editions and a PDF for the very first Oracle Magazine from June 1987.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

Yes I was nominated by Ronald Vargas in Costa Rica to take up the challenge.

Here is the video.

My nominees are Mark Rittman, Heli Helskyaho and Chet Justice (aka Oracle Nerd)

You have 24 hours to take up the challenge and to post a video for all to see :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OUG Mexico

We (Gorcan, Glen, Debra and I) arrived into Mexico around 10pm and had a few minutes wait for our local user group contact to meet us. They had arranged transportation to our hotel.
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The next morning (Friday) was the day of the OUG Mexico conference. We were collected from the hotel and taken to the conference venue. Our transport had to made a number of trips to/from the conference venue to cater for all the speakers, so some of us arrived in the middle of the opening keynote by Noel Portugal from Oracle.
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After lunch we had a group photo of all the speakers.
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My 2 sessions were on in the afternoon so I got to relax a bit and hang out with some of the other speakers. My first session was on Oracle Data Mine and my second session was on Oracle R Enterprise. Just like in Costa Rica I had a good attendance and again they seemed to enjoy the presentations as they were laughing along at my attempts at jokes :-)
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The Mexico conference was on Friday the 8th August and this was an important day as my book was officially available that day. Just like in my previous countries I had a copy of my book to give away. Here is a photo of me with the winner.
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I had the last session of the day. Some of the sessions before this had over ran and I was under a bit of pressure to finish up my last presentation by 5pm. So apologies if this presentation seemed rushed.
Also many thanks to everyone who came up to me afterwards for a chat, to have your photo taken with me and to get my autograph! :-)
Then it was time to catch a taxi to my next hotel in Mexico city centre. This would be my 6th hotel in 6 days :-(
After checking into the hotel it was time to go for dinner. Renne Antunez had invited some of the speakers to his house for dinner. These was a very enjoyable evening and for me marked the end of my OTN tour. Many of the other speakers were going to over countries over the next week.
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Many thanks to Renne and his wife for hosting this dinner, especially as it was Renne's wife birthday. I hope he bought her a good present.
The next morning (Saturday) I was up at 5am to get a taxi to the airport and my long long travels home, from Mexico to Newark to Dublin getting home on Sunday morning at 8am.
A big thank you to the organisers of the OTN Tour and to each of the countries that invited me to present at their conference. I really enjoyed the experiences and hopefully I can join in another OTN tour sometime soon. Also a special thank you to Vikki in OTN for sorting out all the funding and everything else.
The finals thank you goes out to my travel companions for the tour, Gorcan, Debra and Glen. Without your companionship throughout the week it wouldn't have been as much fun.

Monday, August 18, 2014

OUG Costa Rica

After the OUG Panama conference we arrived later that night in San Jose the capitol of Costa Rica. The whole emigration, luggage pick up and customs was the smoothest experiences I have ever experienced at an airport. All was done in a matter of minutes. All the booths for emigration and customs was open and staffed. When was the last time you have ever seen this before. It was a very positive start to our short couple of days in Costa Rica. We had arranged for our hotel to have a taxi pick us up and sure enough the driver was there with a good clear sign. From time of landing to being in my hotel room, which was a 20 minute drive, took no more than 1 hour.

The next morning (Tuesday) we (Debra, Glenn, Gurcan and I) headed out to do some exploring of San Jose on foot. Our first task was to get some breakfast but none of us had any local currency. Debra volunteered to use one of the enclosed ATM machines to get some money. But there was some issue with the machine and she got locked into the cubical. At the same time she got a phone call from her bank in the UK. Her ATM transaction was flagged as a potential fraudulent transaction. I most say Debra's bank was very quick to contact her and to make all the necessary changes so that she could withdraw some money. After which we had a local breakfast.

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Then we sent the next 3 hours walking around San Jose.

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Then it was back to the hotel in the early afternoon as the local Oracle User Group had arranged a mini bus to take us up to a hotel that was near the conference location in San Carlos. We had been told that the journey would take 2 hours. Well after 2 hours of driving up hill we were told we were only just over half ways there. It was a long long journey but the views were really beautiful. We had a 10 minute break at little village with a nice church and a really cool garden in front of it.

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After anther hour we arrived at the hotel, checked in, and we met up with some other presenters for some dinner. Then it was time for bed as we were being collected at 7:30am.

On Wednesday morning we got collected and taken to the conference venue which happened to be a local university. The User Group had proved a bus service from San Jose to the conference venue and there was a sizeable number of industry people mixed in with some of the university students.

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My first presentation was in the auditorium just after the opening keynote. This has to be one of finest rooms I've seen and presented in. Even better we had a HD projector. This has to be a first, so I had no resolution issues with running my VMs. I had a really good turn out for my presentation and the photo below shows only some of those who attended.

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In the after noon I had my 2nd and 3rd presentations. For my last presentation all the seats were taken and there was even some people standing. There was a lot of people who came to all my presentations which I was delighted with.

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After my last presentation I had a raffle for a copy of my book. There seemed to be a lot of interest in this :-). Here is a photo of me with the winner of the book and someone else who was having a read of it afterwards.

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This was a very enjoyable conference and the attendees at my sessions were laughing at some of my jokes or maybe they were laughing at me. Anyway I took it that they were enjoying my presentations. For the first time, I had people come up to me after my presentations to have their photography taken with me and to ask me for my autograph.

Here is a picture of the Oracle ACE Directors who presented at the OUG Costa Rica conference.

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We were told that our bus journey the day before was the scenic route so that is why it took 3 hours. As soon as the conference was finished we got back on the mini bus to be taken back to our hotel in San Jose. Theoretically it should have been a much quick journey as we were going back the quickest route. This time it took 2 hours 40 minutes.

On Thursday at 2:45am we were woken by a 4.7M earth quake. The room was shaking and everything was shaking in it including me. After breakfast on the Thursday morning, Debra had arranged for us to go on a tour of a Coffee plantation and factory. This coffee tour was hilarious and the best tours I have ever been on. Our tour guides were a comedy double act :-)

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After the tour it was back to the hotel and to get our taxi out to the airport. Did I mention how well operated the airport was. How often have you gone through security when all of the scanners were in operation and fully staffed. This meant that there was almost no queue and I was through security in no time at all. From check in to the departure gate took about 2 minutes.

Our (Glen, Debra, Gorcan and I) next stop was Mexico