Category Archives: General

Synology backup with CrashPlan 4.3.0

I recently upgraded to CrashPlan 4.3.0 which I use to backup my Synology to a remote location.

On Synology, you can only use CrashPlan in a headless manner, so I am running “the head”, the client, from my MacBook.
After the update to CrashPlan 4.3.0, I was unable to connect to the engine running on my Synology. And that is a pain, as I cannot control the CrashPlan setup anymore, which I needed, to do some setup-changes.
I thought to write it down as it is the combination of to pieces of forum-information with a small alteration.

Here’s how I got to fix it (I took the rigorous way as I feel a clean start is the best start & CrashPlan keeps all your settings with you account anyway):
1) remove CrashPlan from Synology (using the package manager)
2) remove CrashPlan from my MacBook
3) install CrashPlan on Synology (using the package manager)
4) install CrashPlan on my MacBook from the CrashPlan website
5) change the client to include serviceHost=<your NAS name / IP>
6) change .ui_info on the Synology NAS (and this was the missing bit):

Synology (server) side of things:
– Edit my.service.xml, mine was located in /volume1/@appstore/CrashPlan/conf/my.service.xml. Changed from <serviceHost>localhost</serviceHost> to <serviceHost></serviceHost>. Please keep the default port <servicePort>4243</servicePort>
– Get the server user id information, check your path… You could use the command cat /Library/Application\ Support/CrashPlan/.ui_info  ; echo

MacBook (client) side of things:
– Making a backup of the client .ui_info file just in case… sudo cp /Library/Application\ Support/CrashPlan/.ui_info /Library/Application\ Support/CrashPlan/.ui_info.backup
Substituting original client .ui_info content with .ui_info coming from server: sudo vi /Library/Application\ Support/CrashPlan/.ui_info

And, presto, this is what did it for me and my Synology!

Oracle Standard Edition 2, a bright new future

Okay, it is not very much more than smoke, since Ludovico Caldara found MOS note 2027072.1 about the support of Standard Edition and blogged and tweeted about it.

Despite Ludovico’s disclaimer, there is, nevertheless, some smoke… And Twitter quite quickly filled up (at least the early where I take interest). Dominic Giles stated: “More to come soon!” And Ann Sjökvist urged calmness by saying: “let’s wait for facts!” And of course she is right.

Why then this blogpost?

As one of the founders of the Oracle Standard Edition Round Table (#orclSERT), this interests me. Standard Edition One comprises the most cost effective software stack around. For a deeper dive on that statement, please visit an orclSERT session at an Oracle Usergroup event near you, or drop me a line.
Obviously some kind of news of this category has been long expected as the development of “ever more cores per socket” kept increasing. We have been eagerly awaiting this for a few years actually, hesitant to speak about it… For obvious reasons 😉

Where there is smoke, there is fire, especially when PM’s speak. And as the note states that the release of SE2 is foreseen for Q3 of 2015 (which coincidently is THIS quarter) I would like to prepare myself…

This is what we have to go by for now:

Beginning with the release of Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 (SE2), Standard Edition (SE) and Standard Edition One (SE1) are replaced by Standard Edition 2. SE2 will run on systems with up to 2 sockets and will have the ability to support a two node RAC cluster. was the final edition that we will produce for SE and SE1. Customers running SE or SE1 will need to migrate their licenses to SE2 to be able to upgrade to

1. SE2 will run on systems with up to 2 sockets.
– This is not different from the current SE1 rule;
– This means that a 4 socket SE installation will have to be revised, either migrate up to EE or revamp to 2 sockets;

2. SE2 will have the ability to run a 2 node cluster.
– RAC will become available across the board in the Standard Edition realm.
– How many sockets will a full SE2 cluster be able to support? 2 sockets, if you would follow current rules, 4 sockets if the license would be optimal!

And it is always good to speculate about price… And mind you, this is smoke! The best educated guess so far, 3/4 between SE1 and SE, which could (hopefully) bring the price to round about 10k euro per socket, but… who knows? Perhaps, as Ludovico also stated, socket licensing could become history?

The great news is, Oracle Standard Edition will remain available as the alternative to the Enterprise Edition installations. For more information we will just have to hold our breath a little longer.
But, be assured, during the next session of #orclSERT we will be able to tell you (much) more!

Meanwhile I will keep preparing (and talking about it), for this change will have some impact yet…

Using a terminal emulator on Mac

Dumb title for a blog post? No, not really I guess…

ZOC Terminal emulatorI have been using a terminal emulator, basically ever since I got away from the VT100 terminal:

  • ICE.TCP Pro
  • Reflection ‘X’

And a few other obscure applications that I cannot even recall anymore.
Currently, and over the last 6 to 8 years, I have been using ZOC.

The background of this story is: In the beginning these were the first DOS PC’s and later some Windows based machines that needed to interface with (in my case) VAX VMS, and later with the other UNIXes.

But why use a terminal emulator on MAC, for crying out loud? I hear you think… OS X is a Unix, so it should be all native, right?
Wrong! Well, kind of…

There are so many small (and bigger) differences when using various systems that it pays off to have a program that allows you to tune into these differences. Nothing more annoying than a backspace key that does not work or key-combinations that act different than you would expect.
This is even more true when you work with a mix of different operating systems, Solaris, HP UX, Oracle Linux, perhaps even some IBM OS’s.
And for when you would like to have further tune-ability of you toolkit, ranging from colors, to sizes, from fonts to layout.  Frivolities? Perhaps, but if you spent a lot of your time everyday in such a  tool, it does make a difference.

Printer terminal, also a terminal emulatorMore importantly are configurable logging, for documentation and troubleshooting. You can regard this as the modern variation to the old school print terminal (who can remember those?)
Configuring transfer types, modem and commutation settings and keeping these organized. As well as password storage and administrative support.

Well, basically, this is why I use a terminal emulator on my MAC!
And I think I found a valid tool in ZOC, by Markus Schmidt. Please check it out ZOC

Well, I hope you get to enjoy your terminal work as much as I do!

Complex UI’s versus Simple UI’s

A few days ago I attended the AMIS UX & UI event.

During this interesting event, Niels Mansveld from AMIS presented about UX Frameworks. And he started off his presentation with an illustration about how user interfaces can create an “experience”, so to say. This illustration was a movie clip by Pixar, taken from the movie “Lifted”. It was so funny and, if you would watch it, you immediately know what Niels meant!

lifted uiThe day after I thought to show this movie at home and I found the YouTube link ( When I watched the clip, I realized that there was a second part to the preview, which Niels had left out, probably because of time concerns.
What struck me is actually the following…

I have seen quite a few views on user interfaces lately… Most of them talk about having clean and intuitive layouts and that it is important to think thoroughly about this. Shakeeb Rahman and Ultan O’broin are names that pop into my mind when thinking about this, and these gentleman are very clear about this!
Clean, intuitive UI’s make the Enterprise thrive!

Okay, but, as said, the clip went on for a little bit!TOAD saves

The second half tells the story of the Toad saving the situation, by using this same ultra intricate interface! By knowing what knob did which function, he was super-quick in saving the day!
Now, what would that mean?

Having a clean and intuitive layout may not be the ultimate solution in any situation, regardless! Having an application with a learning curve (not immediately judging the steepness of this learning curve is not always bad. If this interface helps the professional do his/her job in just a fraction of the time, because he/she knows what button to push, I think it’s a good thing.
I have to admit, there were one or two remarks about this in the flashing demo by Paco van der Linden… Bit I guess it is too little emphasized.

cockpitThere are several applications where these, more complicated interfaces do a superb job in helping the task at hand. And, as with anything, don’t blindly follow “best practices”, also in designing user interfaces!
Step back and think what would work best in your situation!

Hope this helps!

Updating SQL Developer to use newer Java version

I was being teased by SQL Developer.

Everytime I started it came nagging about that it was being forced to live in an old Java version called jdk1.7.0_45 and that is was not feeling happy about it.
So, I should remedy this, I thought to myself.

First visit was, inspired by some search-work on the WWW, a file called product.conf. Which offered two possiblities:


SetJavaHome to some logical location
SetJavaHome to nothing, and then SQL Developer would kindly ask me to point it to somwhere to live.

Well… no. My SQL Developer refused it all and just started with this jdk 1.7.

Same hack done in another file on another location, a file called sqldeveloper.conf.
Same result.

Freshly downloaded SQL Developer, put in place… No help!


drwxr-xr-x  3 root  wheel  102 Jan  6  2014 jdk1.7.0_45.jdk
in /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines
drwxr-xr-x  3 root  wheel  102 Jan  6  2014 xxx-jdk1.7.0_45.jdk

Nope! Still the same nagging…

What now?

In the end, I wound up with one of Jeff Smits’s helpers.
This guy aksed me to “start SQL Developer from the commandline”. Right, but how?

So I finally found:

And that did start SQL Developer from the command-line…

But… wait… an .sh-file!! Interesting!!

And, behold… in this .sh-file lies the answer:sqldev_startup1

So the file reads:
export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.7`
Which I hacked to:
export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.8`

And, presto, error-message gone and SQL Developer now happily lives in Java 8.

Hope this helps somebody out!!

Setting up SQL Instant Client on MAC

In doing more work directly from my Macbook Air, I ran into a situation where native connectivity to an Oracle environment was needed.Connectivity over Oracle Instant Client
From experience I have always been a big fan of the Full Oracle client, just because it comes with a lot of tools and utilities for troubleshooting, which makes the actual experience a bit more pleasant.
Looking & asking around, though, I learned fairly quickly that this client is just not available for Mac OSX… Thanks to Osama Mustafa for confirming.

So, a fact, although quite a number of IT pro’s are working with Mac!

This leaves no other choise than to divert to the Oracle Instant Client 11, which then, indeed, is just an 11g Instant Client (!
It would humor me if Oracle were to bring out a 12c Full Client for Mac, as well as an instant client, if someone would so desire.
To have some more tooling around the client, I downloaded all the packages including at least SQL*Plus.

Though the install process is relatively straight forward (download the archives and unzip them in place) getting SQL*Plus to actually run is a somewhat different ballgame!
As usual, when you start a tool, you’re bombarded by messages about unfound dynamic libraries. This set me (very briefly) on a path to place these files where they were expected on my Mac.

In a place like:


for instance, you would need to place a number of these libraries.
This leaves you with the option to populate your system with all these specific libraries, which is of course just fine, but not my choice (think of the mess in ever having to clean up) and especially not when it can be avoided.

A quick search pointed me to this excellent blogpost by Casey Lucas about this exact same issue. With a tool called ‘otool’* applied as suggested, I am now able to run SQL*Plus natively on my Mac without error messages.

* otool – object file displaying tool
If you need it, call it from the command line. It will install this and other development tools on your Mac.

That is nice, but it’s just only over halfway there.

manneke stopt de stekker erin


Now I want something where I can just run:
sqlplus <username>@<database>
without intricate connect-strings.



This leaves one minor “hack”, or rather “edit” required, your .bash_profile needs a bit of a path addition and an environment setting:
alias ll="ls -l"
export TNS_ADMIN=/Applications/instantclient_11_2
export PATH=/Applications/instantclient_11_2:$PATH

Note: the alias was already in there 😉

To top it off, I created a small tnsnames.ora in the directory with the instant client (keeping all related files neatly tucked away together)

xesource =
(PORT = 1521)
(SID = xe)

And voila, goal acquired.

sqlplus usera@xesource
Never specify the password on the command line. Not only will it be shown, it will also be sent (most probably) unencrypted over SQL*Net

OUGN15, The “boat conference” revisited

Jan at shipsport
Reflections on OUGN

Sometimes things in life can change quickly! It is only two years ago that I came to Oslo for the first time to join the Scandinavian Oracle crew on a boat trip to Kiel.
At that time I had never actually participated in this kind of experience and I wasn’t into presenting either. Together with my good friend Philippe Fierens I discovered a whole new world back then. You could have read about these experiences in some blogpost, but this was lost in the move to my own site, sorry!

And this trip couldn’t have been more different though! With three presentations accepted the two days at sea will be a reunion with the friends I made over the last years, as well as a way to contribute to one of the most tight knit tech communities I know. And this will be in a scene that I remember vividly from being a newbie… And this is somewhat strange, believe me

After a quick and pleasant flight I touched down in Oslo, flying from Amsterdam with a decent sized crew of Dutch Oracle enthusiasts, including my good friends Patrick Barel and Alex Nuijten. Waiting in the Oslo airport for Luís Marques, I catches up with Gurcan Orhan, which was a great surprise.
Later that day we found ourselves in the Oslo harbor for the speakers dinner. You can imagine the collective amount of Oracle knowledge packed into that one restaurant!

Enkitek’s Frits Hoogland on Ansible

After a somewhat restless night we arrived, on Thursday morning, at the ship Color Fantasy with the Heli Helskyaho-company, just in time for the keynotes. It was good to see Mark Rittman and James Morle made it on board too. Especially as James was up for the delivery of version 2.0 of his vibrant keynote! Next we proceeded to bring our luggage to our cabins and grab a spot of lunch on the exhibition floor down in the belly of the ship. The setup of the exhibition was quite nice and gave a good opportunity to mix and mingle.
The afternoon was spent on sessions, where I visited Frits Hoogland with the Ansible talk, and preparation for my own session at 18:00. This is the last run of this APEX presentation, as I have retired it after OUGN15. The slides will be archived here.
After finalizing the preparation for the third edition of the Standard Edition Round Table (aka “slide polishing”) with the #orclSERT team, comprising of Ann Sjökvist, Philippe and myself, it was time for the souree and for diner in the grand restaurant on board. It has been a good first day!

Dinner with the international crew on board the Color Fantasy.
Warm reception at Kiel port.

The second day of OUGN15 started with a multitude of sessions including the third edition of the Oracle Standard Edition Round Table, which was actually quite busy and interactive. We had some good discussions, and that at 09:00, so thank you, everybody.
Of course, as was declared a tradition, Björn Rost was present in the Kiel harbor. With the famous “Basil smash Gin & tonic” and sandwiches we were welcomed on German soil.
My afternoon comprised 3 sessions, starting with my own called “Okay, and now my database server crashed…” which was quite nicely received. Next Alex Nuijten on 12c new features for developer, topped off with Tim Gorman who taught us to be CSI people, in finding issues in the database.
After an enjoyable evening in the various bars and discotheques of the ship we retired the official part of the Oracle User Group Norway Vårseminar 2015, thanking the board and of course especial Øyvind Isene, for their hard work.

If you want to catch up further on the unconference communications surrounding this event, please do checkout the Twitter hashtag #OUGN15. This will also include a great set of snapshots and pictures taken along the way…

Oslo, until the next time!

Oracle on OpenVMS – revival

Can it be true?

Will there be Oracle on OpenVMS again? Meaning the “regular” (sorry) Oracle (12c) RDBMS on a revived VMS?

As many who have ever lived on OpenVMS have always known:

OpenVMS will never die!

OpenVMS can never die, becOpenVMSause it is still running way to many hidden, hyper-mission-critical environments.
The fact that these environments are hidden, combined with the fact nobody ever spent any marketing budget on OpenVMS at all, created a super solution nobody knows about. And you cannot love what you don’t know.

A lot has been happening around this tormented operating system. OpenVMS is indefinitely bound to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) which was acquired by Compaq in June of 1998 and then merged into Hewlett Packard in May 2002.

Personally I have lost access to OpenVMS, and Oracle op OpenVMS, around 1995, when these systems were replace by HP Unix. I never fully recovered 😉

Until a few years ago I was introduced to a Alpha emulator, which creates a virtual machine with (obviously) an Alpha processor, which allows you to run OpenVMS. This was one step closer (back) to Oracle on OpenVMS.

Recently (like the day before yesterday, recently) I learned a number of new things! One is that the ongoing development OpenVMS will be take up by VMS Software Inc. (VSI).
But, more importantly, they will be creating new versions for mainstream hardware (such as x86)!! Wilm Boerhout of VX Company wrote an announcement about this not too long ago (article in Dutch)!

And now these rumors…

A porting of Oracle on OpenVMS!

Will we once again see the day that systems just won’t go down? Oracle environments with an uptime with like a dozen or two ‘nines’ behind the decimal-mark? Wouldn’t that be something?
Your own VMS server running an Oracle database with Oracle Application Express (APEX)? Wouldn’t that be something else? High time to clear some of your calendar and get (re)acquainted with this super OS!

A very special “thank you” goes to my dear friend Gerrit WoertmanOpenVMS Ambassador, who never seized to remain a link to the VMS World!!

If you are from The Netherlands, please also join Interexperience, to stay close to the game.

Live free or die

Share your passion

What I have encountered over the past few years, as I got  more and more involved in the Oracle User Community, is the passion to share.
As I have stated in previous posts, it is unbelievable how many smart people are willing to invest private time AND money to travel the world and to share knowledge and experience they have accumulated over the years.

Typically, the annual Oracle User Group events are the place to be to learn from these people. And most often many will submit abstracts of their stories to be elected to be part of these events.

Only, to be able to submit these abstracts, you need to know:
– when these events are
– when the so-called CFP (Call for Papers)
is open.

As all Oracle User Groups tend to be independent, this information is hard to come by if you’re not part of the in-crowd, which if, of course, a pity!!
My goal is to collect this data and make it centrally (well, as central as this website is, then) available to whomever is searching for it.

I have made a start.

It’s a small start yet, so:

  • If there are errors, correct me!
  • If information is missing, tell me!

Hope this helps!!

My Oracle 2014, what a blast…

Twenty-fourteen… What a year!

As the year draws to a close, I just wanted to take a few minutes to look back at the passed crazy 12 months… Crazy from a personal as well as a professional point of view!

ougfIn June things took off for the Oracle stuff with a visit to OUGF14. My second real talk after starting to speak in UKOUG-Tech13. Plus the bonus, the first ever Round Table on Oracle Standard Edition, together with my friend Philippe Fierens and the support of Ann Sjökvist. Always imagined, never experienced, the way technology binds people. For all the events happening in Haltia, Finland, please read this post.
OUFG14 was also where I met Gurcan Orhan for the first time. My partner in (hard) rockin’ Oracle stuff!! Together with my international peers, we have quite a team and this makes me super proud.

I owe an apology to the Scotts! I should have been in Linlithgow presenting. I was honored to be selected to travel to the beautiful city of Edinburgh in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, but there were to many things going on, so I had to cancel. I am so sorry!!Scotland

The next stop on the agenda was Oracle Open World. But before I could pack my bags, up and leave, there was A LOT of work to be done at VIR e-Care Solutions coordinating and rolling out a brand new Oracle infrastructure to all of their clients.
And not alone that, there was a trip to Hamburg for Dbvisit with a presentation at the DOAG Data Replication SIG meeting, organized by Johannes Ahrends. Of course, also Björn Rost was present, plus a number of the other representatives of the data replication scene in Germany.

Oracle Open World was not the high-point of 2014, which was somewhat surprising, actually… I cannot really put my finger on it, because the days were packed with good stuff, unexpected encounters and many more goodies… But somehow, the second time around, and with a lot more OUG-experience, it didn’t crack up to be event Numero Uno of 2014! I can safely say, looking back, that national Oracle User Group events are more interesting. You get to have more quality time with the people you just get to meet a few times a year.
Still, with all the content and with everything that happened… And especially the lunch with Martin NStretchedLimoash in the sun at the CCM as well as the unparalleled drive by Stretched Limo to Treasure Island, hosted by Portrix (Henning and Björn) with Yuri Velikanov, Ilmar Kerm and others. I am not complaining!!

Coming back from America there was a huge surprise and honor for me.

ACEAssociateNominated by my peers, Oracle Corp. saw it fit to award my efforts for the Oracle Community with the Oracle ACE Associate recognition. I had never thought or expected this to be a possibility for me, so this was a complete surprise which started a chain of events, ending at the end of this post.

The final event for 2014 was the DOAG Jahreskonferenz in Nuremberg. I guess the biggest event in Europe and the biggest even for me by means of contributions. I had my “Pre-APEX” talk, there was the second edition of the Standard Edition Round Table, co-hosted by Philippe and chaired by Johannes Ahrends!! What a shock 😉 There was the Data Replication forum and Dbvisit #RepAttack!
DOAG also, and again, brought a sheer endless list of new and re-encounters with Oracle Hero’s. My good friend Peter Raganitsch was also there…

At the end of the year, you would think that you would be “home free”, right?

Well 2014 had a last trick up it’s sleeve! The year ended with me saying goodbye at VIR e-Care Solutions BV. After 16 years we had to decide to break up. It’s like tearing off a band-aid. You do it quick and it hurts less, but still…

So, I am a free man!

With this last development, set in the light of everything I had the chance of doing this year, it has been a great deal to handle. The first visit to Oracle Open World, back in 2010 has started a chain of events that has invoked some quite unforeseen twists and turns. It all looks and feels like it has been worth it, but it has indeed taken it’s toll.
Currently I am enjoying some well deserved but also much needed time off with my wife and family and I will start thinking about new ventures in a bit.
Please take a look here and here for some more information!!

Rest assured, there are some new ideas and they are EXCITING!!!
One of them being that  I will be speaking at #OUGN15, better known as the boat conference, with a brand new talk.
But hey, we’re looking back here and I wouldn’t want to spoil too much of the surprise.

Stay tuned…