April 16, 2014

The worst database developers in the world?

If the makers of MMO RPGs (Massive Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games) aren’t quite the worst database application developers in the world, they’re at least on the short list for consideration. The makers of Guild Wars didn’t even try to have decent database functionality. A decade later, when they introduced Guild Wars 2, the database-oriented functionality (auction house, real-money store, etc.) would crash for days at a time. Lord of the Rings Online evidently had multiple issues with database functionality. Now I’m playing Elder Scrolls Online, which on the whole is a great game, but which may have the most database screw-ups of all.

ESO has been live for less than 3 weeks, and in that time:

1. There’s been a major bug in which players’ “banks” shrank, losing items and so on. Days later, the data still hasn’t been recovered. After a patch, the problem if anything worsened.

2. Guild functionality has at times been taken down while the rest of the game functioned.

3. Those problems aside, bank and guild bank functionality are broken, via what might be considered performance bugs. Problems I repeatedly encounter include:

In general, it seems like that what should be a collection of database records is really just a list, parsed each time an update occurs, periodically flushed in its entirety to disk, with all the performance problems you’d expect from that kind of choice.

Read more

November 11, 2013

Cautionary tales

Before the advent of cheap computing power, statistics was a rather dismal subject. David Lax scared me off from studying much of it by saying that 90% of statistics was done on sets of measure 0.

The following cautionary tale also dates to that era. Other light verse below.  Read more

November 2, 2012

Three old jokes

Modern analytics described in three old jokes.

The drunk under the lamppost

A man is on his hands and knees, looking for something under a lamppost and obviously not finding it. The neighborhood policeman asks what he is doing.

“I’m looking for my keys.”

“Did you lose them around here?”
“Not exactly; I think they fell out of my pocket down the street a bit.”

“Then why aren’t you looking for them down the street?”
“The light is better over here.”

But seriously

Some people use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamppost — more for support than for illumination.

Seek and …

A family that’s looking to start organic gardening has a large pile of manure dumped into their backyard. Their daughter grabs a shovel and digs in excitedly, shouting:

“Look at all this … stuff! There must be a pony in here somewhere!!”

March 21, 2012

Comments on Oracle’s third quarter 2012 earnings call

Various reporters have asked me about Oracle’s third quarter 2012 earnings conference call. Specific Q&A includes:

What did Oracle do to have its earnings beat Wall Street’s estimates?

Have a bad second quarter and then set Wall Street’s expectations too low for Q3. This isn’t about strong results; it’s about modest expectations.

Can Oracle be a leader in both hardware and software?

Beyond that, please see below.

What about Oracle in the cloud?

MySQL is an important cloud supplier. But Oracle overall hasn’t demonstrated much understanding of what cloud technology and business are all about. An expensive SaaS acquisition here or there could indeed help somewhat, but it seems as if Oracle still has a very long way to go.

Other comments

Other comments on the call, whose transcript is available, include: Read more

June 15, 2011

Metaphors amok

It all started when I disputed James Kobielus’ blogged claim that Hadoop is the nucleus of the next-generation cloud EDW. Jim posted again to reiterate the claim, only this time he wrote that all EDW vendors [will soon] bring Hadoop into their heart of their architectures. (All emphasis mine.)

That did it. I tweeted, in succession:

*Woody Allen said in Sleeper that the brain was his second-favorite organ.

Of course, that body of work was quickly challenged. Responses included:  Read more

April 1, 2011

The client that was confused about security

The competition for April Fool’s Day humor is brisk, as I documented in 2010 with two lists of excellent pranks. So I went against the grain that year, offering a collection of strange-but-true stories — such as how I came to have heartthrob James Marsters autograph a shirtless picture of himself, why I regretted that graduating athletic powerhouse Ohio State University at age 16 cost me my NCAA eligibility, and the sore butt I got from spending an afternoon with Bill Gates’ girlfriend, herself a well-known industry figure.

That post seemed to go over well, even if I’m a little disappointed at how few people joined in with stories of their own. So I’m opting for strange-but-true this year also, just more aligned with the usual subjects of my blogging. And thus, without further ado, here’s the story of

The client that was confused about security

Read more

October 3, 2010

Notes and links October 3 2010

Some notes, follow-up, and links before I head out to California:  Read more

July 23, 2010

Some interesting links

In no particular order:  Read more

July 6, 2010

The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay

I often write of Bottleneck Whack-A-Mole, an engineering approach that ensues when parts of a system are out of balance. Well, the flip side of that is the One-Hoss Shay, as in Oliver Wendell Holmes’ marvelous poem. (Here’s a version with Howard Pyle illustrations.)  Read more

April 1, 2010

Netezza nails April Fool’s Day

Netezza has nailed April Fool’s Day this year. :) (Their site will revert to normal after April 1, so I may later edit this post accordingly.)

Related links

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