Is Raptor a TOAD-eater?

Oracle has released Project Raptor to Early Adopters.

I typically use TOAD when I need to do Oracle-specific DB tasks, like editing PL/SQL, running explain plans, etc. TOAD is a nice tool and has been around forever. But the full version of TOAD is far from being free, and the “free” version that they do offer is limited and annoying to download every couple months.

Raptor seems pretty feature-rich, with lots of built in “reports”, export options, and access to physical storage operations. Performance isn’t bad for a Swing app, either ;-P.

All-in-all, Raptor is pretty appealing, especially now that Oracle has released a free “Express” edition for smaller applications (an obvious attempt to lure in those projects that would otherwise be using MySQL or PostgreSQL).

BTW: Squirrel-SQL is a great tool for multiple database access (using JDBC drivers).

Ruby on an iPAQ Pocket PC

  1. Download SymbolicTools PocketConsole here.
  2. Download SymbolicTools PocketCMD here.
  3. Install PocketConsole and PocketCMD. Cradle the iPAQ. When install is complete, reboot/reset the device.
  4. Confirm that you have an operational command prompt by clicking the PocketCMD program icon:

  5. Download Ruby for wince binary here.
  6. Extract the ruby-mswince archive to a directory on your desktop PC.
  7. Create a root-level directory named ‘\ruby’ on the iPAQ.
  8. Copy the contents of the arm-ppc-wince directory (from the extracted archive) to the \ruby directory on the iPAQ.
  9. in PocketCMD, set the PATH environment variable to include \ruby\bin:

  10. Verify that Ruby works:

  11. Try to take over the world!

Million Dollar Idea?

The Million Dollar Home Page has been all over the news for the past few days.

I’m not sure if this idea is brilliant or just a flash-in-the-pan gimmick. Then again, how can it be a bad idea if it netted him almost $1 million so far.

The site says that it will be up for 5 years (guaranteed!), but I wonder what the T&Cs actually are. What happens if the site goes down or ir the host goes belly-up? Can pixel “owners” request refunds? Did the student pre-pay for the 5 years of hosting (at least $9.95/mo for 65,000 MB txfr times 5 years = $597, not including additional bandwidth, if needed)? Maybe the hosting provider gave him a deal: I’m sure this has given them a decent amount of publicity, too.

How many copy cat sites already exist?

Alas, poor sod: he’s gonna have a hefty income tax bill this year. Too bad he can’t spread it out over the 5 years.

Blog Template Changes

In anticipation of the New Year…
I’ve made some changes to my Blogger template. I was using a prefab template with some modifications.

Now, I’ve cleaned it up a bit, made some layout changes (e.g., no more rounded corner images), and moved the CSS rules to a separate file to reduce page load time.

Ruby, Java, Monkeys, and Bananas

This whole Ruby v. Java, humane v. minimalist monkey knife fight reminds me of the debate over the correct way to peel a banana.

For the uninitiated: you can peel from the end with the stem (this is the traditional way to do it), or you can peel from the end without the stem (this is the way most monkeys do it).

The stem end is appealing (pun not intended, but I’ll take it anyway), because there is a convenient handle/lever to use. Just bend it down to break the “seal” and peel away. This works pretty well for a ripe banana, but not so well for a green one (you end up with banana mash).

Peeling from the non-stem end is probably the faster way to do it, on average (in case you’re ever in a banana-peeling contest). I haven’t tested it, but I’m more inclined to think that monkeys have come up with the more efficient approach.

There are problems with peeling from the non-stem end: that’s the end that typically gets “bruised”. So what do you do with the yucky brown part of the banana? If you had only peeled from the other end, you could have just aborted consumption and disposed of the unappetizing remnant with the peel.

So… what is the correct way to peel a banana? Maybe it depends on the individual banana. Maybe green bananas should be peeled from the non-stem end (do green bananas have fewer bruises?) and ripe bananas using the stem.

I’m accustomed to using the stem, but I’m not opposed to experimenting with new technologies :-).

I don’t want to draw too many parallels between banana peeling methods and humane v. minimalist programming languages. I will say that knowing that there is more than one way to peel a banana and that each method can provide a useful banana experience has enriched my life immensely.

I wonder if there is yet another undiscovered banana-peeling method…

UPDATE 29-Dec-2005: and once you’ve decided how to peel your banana look here.

French v. American School Lunches

A somewhat old post at Idle Words that speaks volumes about American values.

I checked the American school menu for this month and little has changed. The American ultra-processed food industry has it’s brands (and its greasy fingerprints) all over the thing…

The menu for the French school remains just as interesting (though one could argue that “Steak haché pur bœuf et ketchup” will always be more interesting than “Ground beef and ketchup”… meatloaf, anyone?)

Americans tend to view food as a means to an end: satisfy hunger, regardless of nutritional value.

I wonder what the children would think if the menus were suddenly reversed. Would the French students revolt? Or would American students actually learn about moderation and a balanced diet?

AJAX in Pocket IE?

According to the IEMobile Team Weblog, the answer is Yes! [Thanks Ajaxian Ben & Dion]

They have some sample code and an example page. Also, they point out:

  1. On Smartphone/PocketPC 2003
    • innerText and innerHTML Properties are only supported on div and span elements
    • Form elements are scriptable as well
  2. On Windows Mobile 5
    • innerText and innerHTML Properties are supported on all elements
    • In addition there is support for document.all and the style object

I had noted some limitations of Pocket IE DOM manipulation in a previous post.

Why [Not] Ruby?

I’ve recently been playing around with Ruby (yes, and Rails).

Though there are still some language issues that need to be sorted out (like variable scoping), Ruby seems to be a very elegant language, with an intuitive syntax (and by intuitive I don’t mean to imply similarity to C/C++/Java). I particularly enjoy it’s poetic terseness: Ruby code is actually readable (for the most part, anyway).

FWIW: I don’t think Ruby will ever be a 100% replacement for Java — and I hope the priests of the Java cathedral are extremely circumspect when it comes to attempts to push Ruby-like features into the language (we could end up with something even more disastrous than Generics!).