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12 December 2014

Free Oracle on 64-bit Windows

Filed under: JasperReports — Tags: , , — mdahlman @ 22:53

Problem

I want to run Oracle for free on my 64-bit Windows machine.

Background

This is a relatively common problem. Oracle is the most popular database in the world. (By certain revenue measures, that is. Clearly it’s not most popular database by pure installation metrics.) Windows is the most popular OS. Nobody buys new machines with 32-bit Windows.

So the combination of the latest version of Oracle with the latest version of Windows seems tremendously useful.

Well tough luck.

Oracle Express Edition exists expressly for folks that want to get some experience with Oracle without paying. Perfect! But while Oracle 12c Enterprise Edition was released in June 2013, there has been no corresponding release of Express Edition as of January 2014. Express is stuck back at 11g. Maybe 11g is good enough to get started. Great! But it doesn’t support 64-bit Windows. No, seriously. (I have to add that ‘seriously’ comment because… seriously? Cutting out enterprise features makes perfect sense to me. But preventing it from running on current OSes just seems ridiculous.) Lots of folks want Oracle XE on 64-bit Windows. Well tough luck.

I posted one year ago to stackoverflow.com. It seemed time to expand this answer to a more detailed article.

Solutions

Use a VM

  • VirtualBox software
  • VirtualBox VMs with Oracle pre-installed
    “Database App Development VM” is a good choice. Everything is pre-configured, and you can be up and running with Oracle extremely quickly. Oracle is running on Oracle Linux… but it’s running on Oracle Linux on VirtualBox on 64-bit Windows. Bonus benefit: your more fortunate friends and colleagues running Mac OS X are free to run run Oracle on Oracle Linux on VirtualBox on their Macs, so everyone can use the same thing.

Install on 64-bit anyway

I’ll at least say this for Oracle: they don’t prevent you from installing on Windows x64. With sufficient elbow grease you can make Oracle XE work on 64-bit Windows.

Develop Only

If your goal is just to test something out or to get familiar with Oracle, then Oracle Enterprise Edition is your solution. It’s free “only for the purpose of developing, testing, prototyping and demonstrating your application”. In lots of situations this is all that you need. And it’s available with a 64-bit Windows installer.

I’m surprised that Oracle doesn’t make these facts easier to track down.

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20 November 2013

Citi doesn’t get it

Filed under: JasperReports — Tags: , , , — mdahlman @ 22:12

I received an email today with this quote:

Once you register a purchase online with Citi Price Rewind, we will search our database of online merchants for a lower price for 30 days after the purchase date. If we find a price that is at least $25 less than what you paid, you can be eligible for a refund of the difference, up to $250 per item.

This is an email from someone who deeply “doesn’t get it”. Allow me to elaborate.

“Once you register a purchase…” Citi already knows all of my Citi purchases. All of them. They bill me for them, so they have to know them. But they still make me register a purchase. This is a waste of time. It’s silly.

“… search our database of online merchants …” If I buy a $300 mixer at Target, they know. If a million other people buy the same mixer, they know. But they don’t consider these purchases. They only look at online purchases. This is intentionally incomplete.

“… a price that is at least $25 less than what you paid …” They’ll keep it to themselves if I could have gotten the same item for $23 cheaper somewhere else? This is petty and mean. If I could have saved a nickel somewhere else, then they should tell me.

“… you can be eligible for a refund …” Sweet! I’ll get a refund! Oh wait… I’ll be eligible for a refund. What?

Desired situation:
I use my Citi card for purchases. Citicard looks out for me; if they find the item cheaper then they refund me the difference.

Actual situation:
I use my Citi card for purchases. If I think to manually go to “Price Rewind” then…

  • Read 1500 words explaining the fine print of what’s covered.
  • Then provide the details about it:
    How much did it cost?
    When did you buy it?
    Where did you buy it?
    This should surely be a skit on SNL. They want me to tell them the cost of something I just bought using their card? I should tell them the date and location of the transaction that they already know? This is cynical and stupid.
  • Having selected an item and consulted a lawyer … I then …
    wait 30 days.
    Then I receive my refund.
  • Oops, no. I don’t receive a refund. I receive an email indicating that I’m eligible for a refund. I’m then invited to upload a scanned copy of my receipt. I assume you all file all of your receipts  for all purchases by date for future reference and uploading to cynical credit card offers. I do. I photocopy all of them and cross file them by date, merchant, product line, color, and average specific gravity of the products. Who doesn’t?

I appreciate the warm regards from Jud Linville. But his email inspires me to use other credit cards instead of my Citi card.

If they want to inspire me to use their credit card, then they should do something for me. It should require no effort from me. They should call within an hour of my purchase to say, “Item ABC is available for $X cheaper at store XYZ which is within 5 miles of your purchase.” They wouldn’t have to refund me a cent. But they would let me know that I could return my item and buy it cheaper somewhere else. That would be putting big data to a practical use which helps me instead of giving me useless, legalistic, nearly-impossible-to-use delayed benefits.

8 July 2013

Google Docs shortcuts on Mac OS X

Filed under: JasperReports — Tags: , , , , , — mdahlman @ 10:15

Google Docs shortcuts on Mac OS X

I use Google Docs on Mac a lot. I use command + a lot to get to the end of a line. (And I use all the variations on using the arrow keys to get to the beginning of a line or the end of a document, etc.)

I have known for a long time that + doesn’t work correctly in Firefox. It was documented long ago. But it always worked well in Chrome.

Well, today it stopped working in Chrome. Disaster.

In troubleshooting I came across the Google Apps page for Google Docs called “Keyboard shortcuts for Mac“. It was completely unhelpful.

I also came across the Google Apps page for Google Sheets called “Keyboard shortcuts for Mac“. I expected it to be unhelpful because, well, it’s unreasonable to think that the page for Sheets would help with my problem with Documents. But surprisingly, it had a great shortcut I had never heard of: fn + .

That shortcut worked immediately. But I still wanted the standard shortcut to work. Further searching found this OS X shortcut issue. Despite being closed as off topic, it had the answer I needed. Somehow there is a bug in the Dock breaks this shortcut. (Really?) In any event, the advice there to run this solved it completely: killall Dock.

Unsatisfied with a solid workaround and a perfect solution… I thought, “Hey, maybe all of my past pain with Firefox could have been abated by using that cool ‘fn’ shortcut.” I tested with Firefox. The results were better than perfect. Not only did fn +  work well. But  +  worked perfectly as well. I guess somewhere along the line that got fixed. But I had never bothered to go back and try it.

In summary:

  1. The link above to “Can’t go to beginning/end of line in Google Docs documents (Firefox, Mac OS X)” preserves for all time the  false (but formerly true) claim that certain Mac OS X shortcuts don’t work with Google Docs in Firefox.
  2. The OS X Dock can break your keyboard shortcuts in Lion (10.7.5). The link above to “Command-Left/Right Arrow key combo stops working after Lion upgrade [closed]” solves it.

25 May 2013

Wireless Home Networking

Filed under: JasperReports — Tags: , — mdahlman @ 23:34

Problem

My [cheap] wireless router is installed in the back of my house so I can plug old PCs directly into it. I can’t get a good signal in the front of the house. I have an old [cheap] wireless router. But I could never configure them to work together nicely. They had to use different SSIDs, and the old router took forever (sometimes minutes!) to issue IP address.

Solution

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/ConfiguringTwoWirelessRoutersWithOneSSIDNetworkNameAtHomeForFreeRoaming.aspx

I wouldn’t normally write about something like this. But I have wanted to fix my network for a long time, and this article was pretty much perfect. Comments on the article are closed, so I just had to acknowledge the article’s fantasticness somehow.

28 November 2012

Amazon AWS Redshift

Filed under: JasperReports — mdahlman @ 09:49

Amazon puts on quite a show. There are lots of good technical sessions at re:Invent 2012.

The most exciting announcement directly related to Business Intelligence is their Redshift announcement. We were proud to have Jaspersoft included as part of it. Here’s a short demo of Jaspersoft 5.0 running on Redshift.

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