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Showing posts from October, 2005

Bad Customer Service, Part II

It happened again. Poor customer service is the norm these days, but I feel that I have to take a moment to mention exceptionally poor customer service.

Some quick background: A few months back, I bought a file cabinet. The bottoms of the drawers were made of a cardboard-like material that could support about 1 or 2 pounds for a few weeks before buckling and splitting in two. Having this knowledge in hand, I proceeded to put about 10 or 15 pounds in each drawer and hope for the best.

Well, this weekend, the proverbial straw finally broke the camel’s back and my drawer's bottom. I was sort of expecting this, so I knew that when the time came, I'd simply go to Home Depot, get some sort of panel board, and re-build the bottoms of the drawers. So off to the Depot I went, thinking this would be a simple, uncomplicated trip. Wrong, wrong, wrong…

Upon entering the store, I make my way over to the wood section, gawking that they already have Christmas trees on display! I quickly …

Game Reset

Fans of NCAA Basketball will understand what I mean by a "Game Reset". For the benefit of those who don’t, let me take a moment to explain: As the game proceeds on into the 2nd half, the last few minutes typically take longer than the rest of the half. This allows the corporate sponsors ample opportunities to remind us which SUV(s) we should have, why Miller Lite tastes better than Bud Lite or vice versa, and why we should refinance our house for the 4th time this year.

Since the networks are sensitive to these breaks, and we have such short attention spans these days, when they come back from commercial, they will typically put up a graphic entitled "Game Reset". This graphic will show the current score, time remaining, number of fouls, and any other relevant statistic (such as 3 players with 4 fouls). It basically allows the viewer to become reacquainted with the game that they left for 60 seconds or less.

I like this concept, as sometimes you’re not always pa…

AJAX Select List Code Generator

Carl Backstrom has provided some truly amazing HTML DB AJAX & DHTML examples on his demo page on Most of them are documented, but they assume that you have more of a technical background than not.

With Carl’s blessings, I took one of his examples – AJAX Process on Demand – and created a working example of an AJAX-based Select List. The example is quite simple: select an Employee Name, and the Job field will automatically be populated with the corresponding Job from the EMP table. This is a common behavior in Oracle Forms (when a user select one thing, another field is auto-populated) and will make the transition for those coming from a Forms environment a bit easier.

To take it one step further, I created an AJAX code generator of sorts. Give it the required six fields, and it will automatically generate the PL/SQL Application Process, the JavaScript Event and the JavaScript function. Now you can harness the power of AJAX (or at least this one simple example) wit…

MAOP Tech Talk: Oracle HTML DB

I'll be presenting at the first MAOP (Mid-Atlantic Association of Oracle Professionals) TechTalk on Friday, October 21st, at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC at 1pm. My topic will be: Oracle HTML DB: Where Does it Fit?

In my presentation - which is my first public speaking engagement since leaving Oracle - I will be discussing all of the places that I have seen HTML DB used by a wide variety of customers - from Federal Government to Commercial, and everything and anything in between. I'll also spend some time going over what's new in Release 2.0.

If you're going to be in the DC area that Friday, please feel free to attend. NOTE: If you do plan on attending, please RSVP to in advance, otherwise you will not be allowed into the buidling.

Generate PDF files from HTML DB w/out Java!

The question: How do I print PDF documents with HTML DB?

The answer (maybe): PL/PDF

Looks like the folks at PL/PDF have some instructions on how to set it up in an HTML DB environment. For only $300, it seems like a good deal. It's not WYSIWYG, but the code for a complex master-detail report, which contains page breaks and headings on each page, is not that bad.

If you host your HTML DB site with Revion, PL/PDF is even included as a part of their package.

I have not tested this out yet, but am anxious to do so, as I'm sure it will come in handy!

Manipulating Images with the... Database?

A recent thread on the OTN HTML DB Forum asked about how to determine the width & height of an image stored as a BLOB in an Oracle table. I mentioned in that thread that I have some code to manipulate an image stored in a BLOB column. This is particularly useful if you’re going to let users upload images, and you want to re-size them to display as a thumbnail.

Thanks to Oracle interMedia, it is trivial to manipulate the width, height, and other attributes of images stored in an Oracle table. I’ve created a sample application here which demonstrates Oracle interMedia and HTML DB in action. Feel free to have a look. You can download this application from HTML DB Studio as well.

Basically, this application allows you to upload images and perform an operation on the image as it is inserted into the PHOTO_CATALOG table. There are two places where some PL/SQL code is required: an After Submit process on page 2, and a procedure to display the images.

Here is the PL/SQL for the After Submi…

Forming an LLC

DISCLAIMER:I am not an attorney, nor have I sought the advice of one for creating an LLC. The steps which I outline below may be incomplete, erroneous, or just plain wrong. They are meant for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a guide in any way.

A few days and $100 later, the first of several steps required to start an LLC in the Commonwealth of Virginia is complete:

I have officially filed with the State Corporation Commission of the Commonwealth of Virginia – which ironically, I have demoed several Oracle products to. I can say with almost 100% certainty that this is not one of them.

Once I hear back from the SCC, it’s off to to get an EIN. After that, I have to fill out a form for the Virginia Department of Taxation, check with my county & town governments, and then I’m officially in business!

I also ordered QuickBooks Pro so that I can keep my own books. This is not something that I’m 100% comfortable with, but I have used Intuit’s TurboTax before, and…