As the last post indicated, I’ve done with Dizwell and will not be maintaining content here any longer.

Meanwhile, I am paying for hosting Dizwell, regardless of its relevance -which I’ve been happy to do for the past three months. I’ll even be happy to pay for it for another couple of months. But I can’t in all conscience pay indefinitely for something I’m not actually using (TOH won’t wear it, basically!)

Therefore, we cut to the chase: I shall be shutting down the Dizwell server in a few months.

If someone wants to take on Churchill or Atlas (or, indeed, any other content on these pages), please get in touch at [email protected].

I’ll be shutting the site down on 1st June. This isn’t, either, an invitation for the unscrupulous to just scrape all content and host it as their own: I’ll protect my intellectual property rights regardless. But I am definitely in the market for someone to pick up where I’ve left off and to curate the content in a way that continues to provide useful help to others.

If I don’t hear from anyone by the end of May… the plug gets pulled. My ego can cope!

Best regards, HJR

Checking Out…

Last year was the year I decided to quit Australia (after 23 happy years there) in order to move back to the UK (which doesn’t require flying for 22 hours before you get somewhere more interesting!) It was a big move and resulted in us buying a nice 1930s house in Nottingham -and then spending the next six months renovating it and taking it back to its full Art Deco glory. That project took much longer (and much, much more cash) than we’d planned, but it’s now all looking pretty fine and the builders are -finally!!- gone for good.

So, as the year turns, I find myself happily bedded down in my new home and wondering about what direction my life will take in this newest of New Years. At which point, it occurs to me that this year is the nineteenth I’ve been working with Oracle databases in one way or another… and I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s at least one year too many. It’s time to change perspective, just as I changed countries, and look for different things to get interested in.

There are many consequences that flow from that thought -and the main one, from this website’s perspective at any rate, is that I don’t want to maintain the Dizwell website any longer. It’s time to move on and check out…

Practically, this means that the website content that is here today will remain here for the foreseeable future. The site is not disappearing. But there won’t be any new content and the existing content won’t be maintained or kept relevant. In particular, this means that Atlas gets frozen at the point it has reached (and thus is doomed to eventual irrelevance as distros keep on churning out fresh versions that break Oracle installations in interesting new ways!) I’m sorry about that, but maybe someone will offer to take on Atlas and keep it relevant in a different context?

Of course, this is just a New Year’s resolution and is therefore subject to the same pitfalls that all such resolutions face; namely, that people don’t tend to keep them for long! But on this occasion, I really wouldn’t hold your breath: as best as I can tell, I’m permanently done here.

I have enjoyed the ride (on the whole) and like to think the Dizwell site, in all its many forms, did a little good for some, somewhere along the way… but for now, I wish my long-suffering readers all the best for 2018 and trust their Linux and Oracle adventures go well without me. Bye…


I am not entirely certain what possessed ToH to suggest that it would be OK if I bought the Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears autographs that you see to the left.

But the suggestion was, for some reason, made… and swiftly acted upon. 😀

In consequence of which, yours truly got an early Christmas Present (I am told it’s also my January 2018 birthday present, plus Christmas 2018’s gift and also Birthday 2019’s… and probably ad infinitum thereafter!)

In fact, it didn’t cost the Earth (though a slightly smaller planetary body probably covers it); but framing it turned out to be surprisingly expensive -UV-protective, non-reflective glass doesn’t come cheap, apparently.

But at last Britten’s autograph now takes pride of place in my study …next to those of Nixon and Maria Callas.

Which makes me very happy.

In case I don’t write again this year, therefore: equal happiness and joy to all my readers as the Christmas season approaches!!

Catch Up Delayed…

Sadly, my uncle died on Easter Sunday, at the (for our family!) grand age of 82. My aunt is not taking it particularly well which, given they were married for 59 years, is not entirely surprising.

I will say that getting 12cR2 installed on Ubuntu-based distros is not just a question of altering the gcc version in use, as I had hoped in my last post: I tried that without success. Meaning that we are still without 12cR2 working on any Ubuntu-based distro and with no obvious, simple fixes.

And, I’m afraid, given the need to organise family stuff and deal with funeral attendance etc., it’s unlikely I’m going to get much further with Ubuntu and 12cR2 for some weeks to come.

I’ll get back to it when I can. Meantime, please forgive and understand the posting silence that will now ensue for some time.

Catch Up

Well, it’s been a rather longer break than I had expected, but I now found myself living in my new 1930s house in sunny Nottingham. The sale finally completed on March 24th; I moved in on April 1st; the furniture from Australia doesn’t get here until early June. In the meantime, I have one sofa bed, 2 plates, 2 cups, 3 pairs of knives and forks and a kettle to live with. A comfortable transition it is not!

But I have proper Internet (50Mb/sec seems like luxury to me, anyway) and the cats arrived safely from Down Under just in time for Easter. They seem to have survived the journey without mishap and don’t appear to be too put out about it. Finding an English cat food they actually like is taking time and many trips to different supermarkets, however!

Short version: private life is still a bit on-hold and will be until at least June, after which we can think of renovating the place properly and turning it into the Art Deco palace we think it could be.

But back to techie stuff: there are two major items of interest that require some catching up, I think. The first is the fact that Ubuntu 17.04 was released on 13th April. Does Atlas work with that as it did for 16.10?

Secondly, and much more substantially: does Atlas work with the new Oracle 12c Release 2 version, for any or all of the distros that it was working with for 12cR1?

This being Day 2 of having a functioning Internet, and all my servers still in a cargo ship’s container somewhere between Sydney and Suez, it’s going to take a while before I can definitively address these issues. But I am at least back on the job… whenever the cats will get off my keyboard, at least.

A lick of paint…

Careful readers will note that I’ve re-jigged the look and feel of the place!

I am not entirely sure I like the results as yet, but it’s certainly a bit slicker and (I think) more functional.

If you spot any visual ‘anomalies’ arising, let me know in the comments… and if you can’t stand the new look (or feel it’s the best thing since sliced bread), let me know there, too. These things can always be reversed or tweaked 🙂

We interrupt our broadcast…

…to announce that we’ve just sold our house. So it’s bye-bye wallabies and kangas. 🙁

The plan is now to rent a small-ish apartment somewhere nearer the city for a while. In the longer term, we’re planning to buy a house back in the UK: our days in Oz are numbered (simply because we want to travel more -and whereas 8 hours in the air from Heathrow gets you to most of Europe and lots of North America, 8 hours in the air from Sydney gets you to about the edge of Australian airspace).

Moving house is never fun. So expect the blog upkeep to suffer in the meantime. But I’ll do my best to keep things ticking over.

You can’t kick this around anymore…

nixonscan-finalRichard Nixon is the US president I admire the most, I think. He had a grasp of strategic thinking that few have matched. My admiration is often a source of amusement (and embarrassment) to my American friends, though, because that grasp of strategy failed him spectacularly during the Watergate affair, resulting in his resignation and disgrace.

But from my father, I sought, and was granted, special permission to watch his resignation speech, live, at 2AM London time in August 1974. I was a pretty committed 10 year-old! I also strongly suspect that without Nixon, none of us might be here today: the Cold War could have got very hot and very nasty on numerous occasions, until Nixon’s policy of détente made us all a lot safer.

Anyway, my fascination with the man lead me, several years ago now, to look to obtain his autograph (as one does with heroes). But they were (and are) not cheap, and ToH would not permit money-siphoning to take place on such a grand scale, despite my entreaties that a great man warrants grand money-wastage! Cheaper ones can be found if you look long enough, though-but I wasn’t that diligent back then, so everything seemed awfully pricey.

And then I happened to stumble across an auction on Ebay, for a letter allegedly signed by Nixon whilst he was serving as Vice President -so back in 1960. The asking price was about US$89, and no international shipping.

Well, at that price, it couldn’t be genuine, could it?! But the lady selling it said it had been sent to her father for some reason, he had died recently, she had no use for it and therefore wasn’t asking the world for it either. However, she couldn’t substantiate it more than that and knew nothing about its authenticity. But she would ship it to me in Australia if I paid some token sum or other (maybe an extra US$25).

And that is how I came to acquire my Nixon autograph for the piffling price of about US$115. It eventually arrived safely in the post -and this was my first chance to actually look and touch what I’d paid for. Well: I wasn’t disappointed. It certainly looked genuine (the signature is strong and definitely from a fountain pen). It also felt genuine: the paper is definitely old, the typewriting is definitely from a real typewriter.

Looks can be deceptive, of course! Nevertheless, the thing was framed and put in a place of honour on my study wall, where it has remained to this day.

But was it genuine??! It would bug me occasionally.

So early this week, I finally decided to do something about it: I sent the scanned copy of it you can see at the top of this piece to the Nixon Presidential Library, in Yorba Linda, California. I asked them if they had any records proving that, as the letter claimed, Nixon had been in Akron, Ohio on October 1st 1960 -and whether they could tell me anything about the addressee, Mr. Giampetro.

Their website is not the best! They don’t appear to know how to get https certificates to work, either! So I wasn’t hugely hopeful… but efficiency lurks in other corners of the library, it would seem, because this evening, not two days after I emailed, I received a very nice email from their archivist, one Dorissa Martinez, saying (and I quote):

According to our Pre-Presidential Materials (Laguna Niguel) Appearances (Series 207) finding aid, Vice President Nixon attended a rally at Memorial Hall in Akron, Ohio on October 1, 1960.

After searching through the Pre-Presidential Materials (Laguna Niguel) General Correspondence (Series 320) collection and Campaign 1960: PPS 57: Election. 1960. Post Election Correspondence, Acknowledgments, and Thank You’s, box 5, folder Thank you Letters Completed – Nationwide, I was unable to locate materials relating to Frank Giampetro.

I’m not sure I made entire sense of either sentence! But the general gist of it is that if you poke around the Pre-Presidential Materials long enough, you can indeed find evidence that Nixon was in Akron, Ohio on the date the letter claims he was. It doesn’t prove my letter is genuine… but it goes a long way to reassuring me on the point anyway.

It’s a shame there weren’t records that Frank Giampetro was, for example, a Republican Party hired driver, routinely used to transport any bigwigs that came by Ohio… so that part of the mystery remains. I’d certainly like to find out more about him (but the letter stays with me, come what may!)

Anyhow: I don’t think it would have mattered to me either way, but it’s nice to have my own little bit of near-confirmed Nixon-alia in front of me as I type. Let’s just hope greatness rubs off and shady dealings don’t!

Happy Christmas and New Year!

It’s been a fairly quiet year for the blog, and I’ve felt less inclination than usual to keep adding to it. But my inbox is testimony to the fact that there’s a cadre of faithful readers nonetheless, and so to them especially, I send festive greetings and wishes for a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year.

As my turkey slowly defrosts in time for the mega-roast tomorrow, I reflect genially on a year in which I finally got married; the two rescue cats finally became friendly; and I discovered the music of Vaughan Williams properly for the first time as a result of finally getting my music metadata into good order. Work plodded on as usual and I didn’t have to save a database from almost-total destruction due to System Admin mis-configuration for once. Windows went, and came back again… with a vengeance. RAC finally worked on Hyper-V (must write that one up sometime soon-ish). And I got to upgrade a lot of my hardware. We nearly moved house, and then decided not to, just in time.

It’s been a good year, if quieter than normal (or maybe I’m just getting older!). Looking forward to 2016, and hope all my readers feel similarly. See you in the New Year…

If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute…

Yeah. Turns out that we are as made up in our minds about moving as the British weather is constant (i.e., not very). The property has been withdrawn from the market: we’re staying put. A particularly lovely spring day with the glorious scent of wattles and the humming of bees in the canopies of gum trees made our minds up for us.

We may still buy a near-city apartment, but it won’t be for us to live in. Honestly: our house is considered small at a mere “27 squares” (which I think means 2700 square feet in the archaic language of Australian property assessment), but I recoiled in horror at the thought of having to live in “9.8 squares”, which was a “good-sized apartment” according to the blurb. I suppose if I really looked around, I could just about squeeze my life into a third of its present existence, but I just don’t fancy having to do so. Space is a pain, because it needs cleaning; but I need room to kick around in. I think my current computer desk is about “0.5 squares” all on its own… no thanks!