Friday, October 26, 2007

Second Best Leopard Feature

As I was about to call it a night, I noticed that Leopard had automatically created an icon for "oracle's remote desktop" in the Finder.  Double-clicking on it yielded nothing, so I almost just gave up and went to bed.  I figured that I'd check the console of my Windows box just in case it was asking for something.  

Turns out that the icon is a link to start a VNC session with the Linux VM running on that Windows box.  Tweaking the VNC server settings just a spot to allow access without a prompt was all I needed to do.  Next time I double-clicked on it, a new window containing the desktop of my Oracle Enterprise Linux VM appeared:

Sure, you can go and configure all of this manually, but it's nice to see this type of "techie" tool seamlessly bundled into a product that is also aimed at complete tech novices.

Best Leopard Feature

I received my copy of Leopard today, and promptly installed it.  Aside from having to dig up some serial numbers, it went off without much hassle.

While most of the media is focusing on features such as Time Machine, Spaces and the new UI, I found one lesser-known one that is sure to put a smile on any Mac user's face.

Not only did Leopard seek out and find potential Windows shares, it has a very, shall I say, "appropriate icon" to represent them:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Alpha Version of checkpwd cracks APEX passwords

At least it's supposed to. As Pete Finnegan points out, the Alpha release of Red Database Security's checkpwd has a new feature which attempts to crack APEX passwords.

I downloaded and installed it, and got the same ORA-12154 error that Pete did. Bypassing the TNSNAMES.ora file seemed to do the trick, and checkpwd was able to run against a local APEX 3.0 instance of Oracle XE.

However, based on these results:

I get the feeling that the APEX portion is not quite working... I will cut them some slack, as this is after all an Alpha release.

As far as I know, this is the first tool of its kind for APEX passwords. It's definitely a good thing, as the only way weak passwords can be fixed is if they can be identified. I look forward to seeing more stable and complete releases of this useful tool.

- Scott -

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oracle CPU for October 2007

Oracle's Critical Patch Update for October was just released, and it looks like APEX has no known vulnerabilities! Oracle HTTP server also made the list of unaffected products.

Of course this doesn't mean that any APEX application developed will be 100% secure, but it is nice to know that at least the overall framework of APEX is quite secure, making an excellent platform to develop on... :)

- Scott -

Friday, October 12, 2007

Eat your own dog food

When I was at Oracle, there was a big push to use Oracle software for everything and anything we did. It was commonly referred to as "eating your own dog food", which is just gross. As nasty as that may sound, the concept did make a lot of sense: if Oracle built software products that were supposed to be so good, then why were they not being used internally? And even better - if the products didn't live up to their promises, then we had no one to blame but ourselves, and we could actually fix the issues.

I've decided to adopt that concept of eating my own, er, well, showcasing the product which we specialize in. Starting today, I'm happy to announce that sumnertech.com is now running on APEX!

Why did it take so long? Two years ago, when I started Sumner Technologies, I didn't have a lot of time or resources to set up my own instance of APEX to host my web site on. Thus, I took the path of least resistance: static HTML. Also, time was (and still is) scarce. Client work had to come first, and with a new baby, that left little time for extra-curricular projects.

It's still very much a version 1.0 site, as there are a number of new features that we will be adding over time, such as the ability to sign up for public classes (coming in early 2008!), a tips & tricks section, and an entire view into our internal system for clients.

Please let me know what you think and if you have any ideas that you'd like to see.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

APEX 3.0 Podcast on OTN

Recently, I spoke with Jeff Erickson, senior editor of Oracle Magazine, about the benefits of APEX 3.0. The interview highlights some of the key benefits of APEX for all sizes of businesses, with a focus on SMBs.

I'm sure to get some flack about my comment on who spoke English first; us of those from the UK. :)

You can listen to the Podcast - which is about 10 minutes - here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cool JavaScript Ideas

I came across this link this morning, which looks like it holds a wealth of hints for using and optimizing JavaScript.

Some of the things it mentions, such as compressing JavaScript, may make it a bit more difficult to debug your code. Other things, such as putting your JavaScript libraries at the end of the page, are no-brainers and can easily be implemented in APEX with little risk of breaking anything.

Finally, the article mentions using GZIP to compress all HTTP traffic, which will in turn make your site load faster. apex.oracle.com has been using this trick for as long as I can remember. It only takes a few minutes to configure and will increase the performance of almost any site - static or dynamic.