Working at Amazon on data performance monitoring and visualization.
Interested wine, photography and Maui.
Member of the Oaktable since 2002
Oracle Ace since 2010
Oracle Ace Director since 2015
NoCOUG board member since 2012 (on sabbatical since 2016)
Data Visualization and Performance Monitoring
Interview for ODTUG
Interview for All About Oracle
Interview appears in www.oracle-class.com:
1- Why did you choose to specialize in Oracle databases?
I wanted to live in San Francisco and Oracle was the only company in 1989 recruiting on campus at Cornell from San Francisco. Living in San Francisco was my goal and Oracle got me there. At the time I thought databases were boring having majored in physics and mathematics. I had wanted to work on numerical models of trading systems and arbitrage calculations.
2- What made you specialize in Oracle Performance Tuning?
I like finding patterns in quantitative data whether it’s the stock market or databases. Oracle performance tuning has given me this opportunity.
3- Do you still remember the first day in your first job?
Not really. I do remember though starting in support and thinking how crazy it was answering customer phone calls acting like I was an expert and I’d never used Oracle!
4- Is there anybody you have regarded as role model at the beginning of your career?
Funny enough I went to high school with Micheal Dell, but I’d hardly say he was an inspiration. I was also in the computer science building at Cornell when Robert Morris released the first major internet worm in 1988, but that wasn’t much of an inspiration either, though we did go over his computer attacks in my operating system class the next day!
I’ve found several people inspirational. I met two of my biggest inspiration at the same time and place which was the Europecar Oracle 7.0 parallel server site in 1994. The two people were Roger Saunders from Oracle and Jan Simon Pendry from Sequent.
Roger had written and was using code to attach to the SGA and collect information much similar to active session history and this was almost a decade before Oracle did it officially. Roger was years ahead of the curve and his work blew me away and inspired me.
Jan Simon had never worked with Oracle before Europecar but with in a week he’d figured out the Oracle trace files, how to parse them and had created a stress test benchmarking system based on the trace files. On top of that, he wrote the first graphic monitoring tool I’d ever seen which led to my beginning to write graphic performance tools. Both Roger and Jan Simon changed my career.
5- What are the resources that you consult regularly to keep up-to-date with Oracle topics?
Oaktable email list and the Oaktable blog roll.
6- 3 Books that you would recommend reading to every Oracle professional?
Trouble Shooting Oracle Performance – Cristian Antognini
– best overall Oracle performance book
Oracle Wait Interface – Richmond Shee, Kirtikumar Deshpande and K. Gopalakrishnan
– best book on Oracle wait interface which is crucial to Oracle performance tuning
Practical Oracle 8i- Jonathan Lewis
– old book but one of the best for understanding how Oracle works, what the important features are and most importantly for understanding how to boundary test new features to see if the will meet your needs or break before investing time and becoming dependent on a feature that might not be sufficient.
7- What was the biggest technical challenge in your career so far?
By far my biggest challenge has been and still is selling my ideas to people. My ideas have been successful but there has been a lot missed opportunities. I offered my ideas for performance tuning to Quest who turned them down, but Oracle picked them up in OEM 10g and it was a great success. At Oracle I had many more ideas that were turned down but then Embarcadero picked them up and they were successful in DB Optimizer. At Embarcadero I had more ideas that were turned down and now Delphix is picking them up. I wish I could just create a Steve Jobs reality distortion field and enroll people into my ideas. It would be more fun, efficient and stable!
8- How do you disconnect from work in your spare time?
That’s tough. I think about work too much. Connecting with my little boy is the best way.
9- What advise would you give to somebody who just started studying computer science?
Tough to say. I wish I had majored in computer science but that was 25 years ago. Now I’m not sure I’d still want to major in computer science. Computer usage is becoming ubiquitous. I’d focus more on current problems such as how to mine data and visualize data. Actually if I was in school now I’d be more interested entrepreneurship or possibly biotech and nanotech.
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
Joy and woe are woven fine
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro‘ the world we safely go.
God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.
Auguries of Innocence
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom
He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence
He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star
A dead body revenges not injuries
Excess of sorrow laughs.
Excess of joy weeps
You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough
The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat – Oliver Sachs
Steppenwolf – Hermann Hesse
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
Illusions – Richard Bach
The Mysterious Island – Jules Verne
Dune – Frank Herbert
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Witching Hour – Anne Rice
Tipping Point – Malcom Gladwell
Visual Display of Quantitative Information – Edward Tufte
Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexander Dumas
The Bible (yes, I read it, all of it, pretty profound when framed against western society)
The Perfume – Patrick Suskind
Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
Storming Heaven – Jay Stevens
It’s not about technology. It’s about people and stories. – Dean Kamen
A friend recently ask what are the best Ted Talks, and I thought “what an awesome questions.” Why? Because Ted talks are some of the most engaging, cutting edge and insightful lectures I know of and they are free. The talks dive into new data that is changing the way we perceive and interact with our world from technology to morality. For example some talks show how the changes happening in biotech will eclipse the revolution of the computer and other talks show how the way we makes decisions is flawed from choosing dating partners to investing money, as well as other talks on topics which may sound trite or hackneyed but may be more profound such as how most religions are based upon the golden rule and not upon converting the world. Speaking of religion and spirituality, these talks are my idea of a perfect Sunday morning sermon because there are so many deep and profound ideas that could change our world for the better.
But if these talks are so good where should one start? There are over 600 talks! I’m not the first person to wonder. Some one actually tried to rate the talks. The results are in a spreadsheet here.
Another place to start is of course the Ted talks web site, here.
How did I start? I started with a few recommendations from friends and then I downloaded all the audio recordings I could and listened to them on the drive to work. Here is a list just the audio tracks. (or here )
Of the talks I’ve listened to the, the following pop into my mind as my favorite (followed by rating # from above spreadsheet) :
Religion , Morality and Humanity
- Karen Armstrong : Charter for Compassion #320
- Richard Dawkins on Atheism #107
- Sarah Jones: Global Village #393
- Jonathan Haidt: moral roots of liberals and conservatives #179
- Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions #14
- Michael Specter: The danger of science denial
A kid born in New Delhi today can expect to live as long as the richest man in the world did 100 years ago
How we think, reason, see
- Dan Pink: Science of Motivation #1 candle problem, incentives work against creativity
- Dan Ariely: Are we in control of our own decisions #18
- Dan Ariely: our buggy moral code #93
- Michael Shermer: The pattern behind self-deception #177 patterns gone astray, ghosts, UFOs , etc
- Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory #64 happy in the now or in the memory of it
- Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice #73 choice makes us unhappy
- Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy? #69 paraplegic or lotto winner, we make happiness
- Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight #27
- Sebastian Seung: I am my connectome #?
- Angela Belcher: Using nature to grow batteries #? bio-nanotech creations
- Joe DeRisi solves medical mysteries – DNA matching chips
- Juan Enriquez shares mindboggling science – species reboot
- David Pogue says “Simplicity sells”
Yes, I’ve seen Hans Rosling, but the above resonates much more with me
Marketing and Product design
- Don Norman on 3 ways good design makes you happy beauty matters
- Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
- Seth Godin on standing out – best thing since sliced bread
A few words about the favorite talks listed above.
Section 1, Religion , Morality and Humanity: The first talk I’ve listed is the most important. Though science and technology may be the most exciting, the majority of the world is religious and and thus the way religions are organized, operate and ask us the think may be the most important area to examine in humanities daily lives. The first talk by Karen Armstrong beautifully clarifies that the worlds major religions are founded upon one teaching : for us to love one another. The second talk from Richard Dawkins on “militant atheism” might sound a bit confrontational but I highly recommend it. The lecture is an erudite, sharp, scathing and funny treatise which puts religion in perspective. The third talk is wonderful on audio – it has some fun turns of perspective and is a rollick through human perspectives that makes humanity easier to love and encourages tolerance. Finally the fourth talk on the roots of liberals and conservatives again encourages tolerance and shows the benefits of boths sides : liberalism which fights for justice and independence and conservatism which builds community and safety. (speaking of safety and security there is a good talk on that as well )
Section 2, How we think, reason, see: The first 7 talks give surprising evidence that the way we reason is often not in our best interest with specific ramifications that are detrimental for the way business and wall street is run and are the roots of the recent financial crises. The last two, Jill Botle and Sebastian Seung, share fascinating insights to the way our brain works.
Sectionn 3, Biotech: Biotech is quick becoming the revolution to change all revolutions and Angela Belcher’s talk gives us an inkling why.
While on the subject of awesome audio lectures, here are some other good sources:
These lectures are geared to startups and entrepreneurship. One of my favorite which dovetails with Ted biotech talks is
These talks are give a personal view on experiences with humanity, American in particular. For a place to start with, a couple of good ones that dovetails with the above Ted talks on religion are
One good trick to know with This American Life is that the mp3′s are available at
see another trick to downloading episodes at
good source of interesting intellectual lectures. A good place to start with the Santa Fe Institute is
another interesting resource I’ve yet to check out from Google: http://www.zeitgeistminds.com/
Follow Up: many more ideas on the best Ted talks at Quora: http://www.quora.com/TED-Talks/What-are-some-must-see-TED-talks
More Ted talk suggestions: http://blog.hubspot.com/15-phenomenal-ted-talks
Latour vs Lafite blind vertical
The year before I left France to move back to the US I went to a number of awesome wine tasting events hosted by a fellow who had inherited the wine. An amazing collection. Wish I had taken more notes. The following wines have since skyrocketed in price and I’m glad to have had the chance to know what they are like.
Jun 09, 1998 at 16:49:17
Last night I had the great chance of doing a side by
side horizontal of Lafite and Latour for 1994,1990,1985,1983 and 1978.
As an interesting twist the tasting was served blind but we were told the year except for 1985 which was served without knowing the year and as the last wine. I don’t consider myself very good at identifing wines but the 94,90,83,78 it seemed fairly obvious which was latour and lafite except for 85 at first whiff I correctly identified but as I tasted and and studied the wines I became less and less sure until I actually ended up guessing the wrong way around.
Latour was unanimously the prefered wine of the night. I think 1 out of 15 prefered Lafite. It was the Latour 83 that was the favorite wine of the night with positive notes for the 90 and 94 and the Lafite 90.
Latour – was always rounder and riper (except 85) than Lafite – the fact that it is closer to St Julien actual help me in identifying it.
Lafite – usually fresher, more tight nit with more light perfumy notes. The fact that it is closer to St Estephe made since to me especially in the years like 94.
Lafite The color was a little more violete than the Latour. It was suprisingly St Estephish for me. Maybe its the fact that this is 100% Cab.. The nose closed in little unripe, violete, black cherry, tabaco, leather,reglise,chocholate. On the palete ther was alot of “matiere” – material, concentraited, tabaco,cassis, bit bitter
Latour Slightly more carmine color than Lafite. Very apparent wood. Nice open jammy woody nose. Cassise, plum, cakespice, vanilla, oaky chocholate, reglisse, ripe. On the palete round rich chocholate cassis with nice integreted supporting tanins. Hmmm
Lafite – more towards the typical paullaic nose for me, closed in, tabaco, floral, eligant, blackberry, unripe banana (sounds strange maybe but it works for me), reglise. On the palette lots going on. Concentrated, strong tanins integrated into blackbery, strong fruit, dense long. My favorite Lafite for the evening and closest rival to Latour for me. Just to snub all the hype for the Latour 90, I’m tempted to say I prefer Lafite 90 – wonderful concentration, integration and elegance – I think this will be an amaizing wine in the years to come.
Latour Color slightly more evolved than the Lafite. Nose more cakespicey, st Julian, ripe, vanilla, more apparent wood. On the palete round eligant long balance good volumne, hmm, blended in with good soft but strong tannins, nice long and balanced. More aprochable than the lafite maybe but less density.
This year was served blind – ie we didn’t know the year, plus it was served last. This was the only year I guess wrong as to the identity of the chateaux and the only year I even question as to which was which. At first whiff I wrote down the correct chateaux but then after studying the wines I was less and less sure and finally changed my answers the other way around. Not to mentioned the chateaux, I of course got the year wrong. It just seemed like a week year compared to the other years. I figured a harsher weaker year like 77. The sad part is I have already had the 85 Latour before and found it very powerful but closed in. On the other hand I had a 85 Les Forts that was beautifully evolved nice round ripe cherries,tabaco,vanilla etc.
Lafite Nose round,cherries,mint,leather. Palete round fruit but falls short, good bit of freshness.
Latour Color is slightly denser. Nose is a bit fresher with ripe cherries and tabaco. On the palete it is parfume, a bit tart and fresh with a little fruit that falls quickly to a bit of acidity and dry tanins.
Lafite Color identical. Nice perfumy nose, a bit earthy, orange jam, mint, little unripe, blackberry current, fresh. On the palete nice start of chocolate and cassis put falls of quicly to a bit of acid and dry tanins at the end. This was evidently typical of vines that were attacked by a certain malidy like Comtesse this year 83 with the intermitted rain at the end of the season.
LatourNose nice round ripe cassis truffle cherry ceder cigare box. On the palete, hmmmm! round melted tanins, sweet, lots of volume, cherry vanilla, good integration with a tanic backbone – long nice finish
Lafiteslightly browner and a little lighter color. On the nose cassis, chocolate. On the palete, nice eligant fresh, bit of concentration, some melted tanins, overall somewhat soft and of medium length
LatourSoft nose of cassis, truffles and ripe cherries.On the palete, tabaco, cigare box, truffle cassis, some melted tanins, little bit of bitterness, fair bit of volume and medium lenght.
another set of online tasting notes
- Ch Branaire vert 53,88-96
- St Emelion 1958-94 Figeac, Ausone, Cheval Blanc etc
- Syrah: Chave,Guigal,Jaboulet,Moulinier etc
25 Things About Me
1. Conceived in Marin – makes me wonder if souls are localized
2. Born in Houston – I hated Houston. It was a cultural waste land in the 70s.
3. Raised Christian Scientist – the ones who don’t believe in doctors not the Tom Cruise people – that’s scientology.
4. Never vaccinated nor went to a doctor until I was in high school.
5. Didn’t do photography for most of my life because my brother was a photographer and he was rabid about beating me at anything and everything.
6. I don’t like competition (probably because of the above)
7. Sent to a Baptist school at 10 where I was told for the next 5 years that I would burn in hell for eternity because I was in a cult (ie Christian Scientist – no this is not Scientology)
8. Before the Baptist school I was super talkative but then “learned” that the more I said the more I got picked on so I the “learned” not to say anything, which I didn’t really start unlearning till College – I’m still super quiet – ask my wife and talking is often a non-spontaneous academic endeavor for me
9. Started delivering the daily paper at 10 and earning money which was life changing, and led me to start biking each day , which led to bike racing and bike trips. I’ve biked from upstate NY to Nashville, from New Orleans to Nashville, as well as from Adelaide to Melbourne, through parts of Europe and over 3000 miles in Argentina and Chile.
10. Delivered George Bush seniors daily newspaper before he was even Governor of Texas (so close to changing history)
11. Went to high school with Michael Dell (Dell Computers) when he was selling computer parts out of his car in the parking lot – so close to becoming seriously wealthy
12. Took my paper route savings ($3000) and spend it all on publishing a magazine “Qua Brot” and doubled my money. You can find references to it on google.
13. Read the bible through sophomore year – what a trip. Not sure how long after that I became an atheist, but that didn’t last long … I now believe there’s tons going on that I really have no clue about … much more of a sense of wonder
14. Yearned to get out of Houston and volunteered to build latrines in the Dominica Republic my Junior year of high school. I had to fund raise all the expenses – and no, none of it came from my relatives.
15. I went to Cornell University which was the farthest away from Houston of anywhere I was accepted. So happy to get out of Houston. Yes, this was paid for by relatives –my grandfather left a trust for education. He was the owner of the Southwestern Publishing Company which he obtained ownership of when he bought out the market on paper and ink during World War 1 and offered it to the publishing company after no supplies were available in exchange for controlling interest. This grandfather first made his money by reselling sugar to his father’s general store when his father ran out of sugar months after the harvest and none was available on the market. He’d bought the sugar with his pennies he earned selling rabbit pelts (penny each) and bought sugar which my great grandfather (his father) charged him to store at the general store, but when my great grandfather ran out of sugar several months later, his son made a handsome profit selling it back to his father. There’s still at tree that my grandfather planted at at 10 years old at our oldest family house outside of Nashville. (The house dates back before the Revolution. My mother’s family the Henderson’s, were in the revolution). My great grandfather told his son that the tree would never grow in the rocky soil. It’s still there and is huge. My grandfather’s family name was Henderson. Henderson comes from Mckenzie which is where we came up with the name of Mckenna for our baby (not from Terrance Mckenna, though that is sort of funny)
16. At Cornell moved into a residential college called Risley -sort of burningman in a dorm and all that entails.
17. Got a trip around the world at 20 when my family moved to Austraila and the company paid for me to come live with them. Took their ticket and exchanged it for one that went to Hong Kong, Thailand, India and England – slept on the side walk in Paris at one point because didn’t a have much money
18. After college I had the desire to travel some where far far away. Ended up borrowing money to mountain bike by myself on along the Andes in Patagonia for 3 months
19. Came back broke and in debt wanting to move to San Francisco and not knowing how I’d get there. Then I got a call out of the blue from Oracle who I’d interviewed with at university 6 months before. They flew me out to San Francisco and hired me.
20. I’ve been a serious Oracle database geek ever since for better or worse. Google Oracle and Kyle Hailey.
21. I quit my job at Oracle 2 years after starting, bought a ticket to France, and gave up my rental place in San Francisco. Before I even made it to Paris I had a job doing computer support … in French – I didn’t speak French. I’m now fluent in French. I spent the next 6 years in France
22. I came back to SF and was a bit lost until I went to my first burn in 2003. Life has never been the same since.
23. I met my wife Trish at Raindance’s Chinese New Years 2004, she almost slap me that night when she realized I was straight (and fresh) and not going to be her new best gay friend to go shoe shopping with
24. Twenty five things is just too many to take seriously
Movies that made and impact
- Total Recall
- Gone with the Wind
- Blade Runner
- The Piano
- Almost Famous
- Jacob’s Ladder
- The Fountain
- Cloud Atlas
- Requim for a Dream
- 12 Monkeys
- Vanilla Sky
- Star Wars
- The Matrix
- Groundhog Day
- Hiroshima Mon Amour
“Think of the things that change a persons life.
You fall in love.
You get married.
You have kids.
A parent or sibling dies.
You get a divorce.
You take …
And for some people they never see the world again exactly the same way.
Why can a molecule do that?”
– Dr David Nichols
“To me, the spark of that (the 60’s) was that there was something beyond sort-of what you see everyday. There is something going on here in life beyond just a job and a family and two cars in the garage and a career. There is something more going on, there’s another side of the coin that we don’t talk about much”
– Steve Jobs
I love Provence. I spent a lot of time in Provence but Provence is so cliche. I could point out some awesome unknown places such as abandoned towns, fields of sage in pink bloom that smell like grapefruit, gregorian chants in old abbeys but they aren’t as haunting or as intriguing as some of the south west.
a very cool tiny walled ancient town in southern France la Couvertoirade
other interesting towns,
Interactive map of Les Plus Beaux Village de France
This is cool, google maps lets me mark the towns I went to and the path, what little I can remember
which also has the cool paths cut into the limestone cliff sides