For anyone in the area of Raleigh, North Carolina this week I will be presenting at the North Carolina Oracle User Group’s fall meeting. I will be giving a presentation on Oracle Shell Scripting which includes several tips and scripts from my book by the same title.

Don Burleson will also be presenting on Oracle 11g new features. The meeting runs from 12:30 to 4:30 this Friday, October 5th. More details are available on the NCOUG site.

oracle, dba, database, database administrator, 11g, unix, linux

I’m always amazed how much traffic some of my articles on the Oracle date datatype get, but dealing with dates in SQL can be as daunting for beginners as it is tedious for the experts.

Well, here’s another resource to help you sort out those pesky dates. This one focuses on the to_char function and how it can be used to get dates to output in the format you want.

This article from Don Burleson offers a couple handy examples of the to_char function, but more importantly has a table listing the options for output of the date format.

For more reading on the Oracle date format check out my other Oracle stories.

oracle, sql, pl/sql, dba, database, database administration

Love Tester ProjectFor those of you who are interested I have now posted the complete Bloc-Troic manual in my gallery!

From cover to cover (well, not really, the back cover was blank so I didn’t scan it.) the manual contains 163 electronic experiments. Each experiment illustrates the block layout for the kit and also includes a standard schematic for those who want to breadboard or permanently build any of the projects.

The experiments span from a simple conductor/insulator tester to a sound level meter to a basic radio with microphone mixing. While the Bloc-Tronic set was designed for children completing every, or even most projects in this book would be quite an accomplishment!

Unfortunately I have not transcribed the text from these pages to make them searchable. Perhaps someday I’ll get around to that, or better yet, maybe some fan of the set will volunteer to do part or all of them for me. (It took me a year to even get the images up, so don’t hold your breath on my account.)

If you’re having trouble making out something in the images notice that you can switch to a high-res version. The shadows in the image are the experiment on the back of each page bleeding through which should give you an idea of the quality of paper used in this manual. I have made it available because it seems to be orphaned. It is no longer made or distributed, the company named on the manual and box seems to have disappeared and there isn’t a copyright to be found anywhere in the materials.

I hope some others can find this useful with either the set or for building experiments on a breadboard.

electronic, toy, project, make, build, build your own, electronics kit

So I finally took the plunge and bought a new 20″ Apple iMac. I’ve got to say I love the machine in all its glass and aluminum glory, but I can’t let this transition pass without paying a little homage to my 400MHz Mac G4 tower that has served me so well for so long.

Macintosh G4I bought this machine in January of 2000 (my senior year of college.) It has run essentially nonstop since then at any time carrying out some or all of the following duties at any given time:

  • Ethernet router
  • Wirless router
  • Web server (with dynamic DNS)
  • UNIX development machine
  • MIDI workstation
  • Editing short movies
  • Rendering of POV-Ray images for Tom
  • Countless MAME games

The system came with a 10GB hard drive which I immediately upgraded to 36GB. The initial 128MB of RAM was removed to make way for a couple 512MB chips giving the system a full gigabyte of RAM. Though this mac originally came with Mac OS 9 I was able to upgrade it to OS X, even 10.4 without any problems. Now I don’t mean it ran part of 10.4 or it was in any way crippled. This 7+ year old machine runs the latest OS just fine.

The decision to replace the machine came for two reasons. One, I wanted a machine I could hook up to my TV. Two, when working with large files (high resolution movies and pics from my 7 MP camera) things really slowed down. It was also time for a bit more hard drive space.

So with over 7 years of runtime with, by the way, no maintenance required I can happily retire this old G4 and honestly say it owes me nothing. I only hope the new iMac does just as well.

mac, macintosh, os x, imac, g4, mac vs pc, computer, apple, apple inc, apple computer

In the spring I wrote about a great list of the best local TV commercials, but we have a new contender!

From Appalachian State University (in North Carolina) this commercial is over two minutes long!

All I can say is this commercial is HOT! HOT! HOT!

Really though, you can’t beat a good sing-along. I can only guess this went around with recruiters.

funny, fun, commercial, college

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