Monthly Archives: March 2006

Poo Fairies

Today while joking around with my work colleagues, I mentioned what I thought was a well known phenomenon known as the poo fairies. I was taken aback when they burst out in laughter and asked me what it was all about.

A formal definition for the uninitiated:

Poo fairy (n):
The little fairy that enters your room at night, while you are sleeping and takes a shit in your mouth. This then causes you to wake up with what is commonly referred to as poo breath.

“Gee, I think the poo fairies visited me last night.”
“My breath smells like poo fairies have had a party in my mouth.”

Now that you have the official definition, it is your mission to spread to good word of the poo fairies as far and wide as possible!

Hello Kitty

Ragdoll Kitten: 12 week old lilac bi-colourPrincess, meet the internet; internet meet Princess! Friday evening saw a new addition to our little family, a 12 week old Ragdoll kitten!

It is Claire’s birthday on the 11th of April and Lucy (Claire’s younger sister) wanted to give something to Claire she knew she would love to death. Claire and I are both big cat fans and over the last 5 years we’ve had two. Our first one Felix (luxurious short thick dark grey hair) was unfortunately hit by a car, while our second one Ebony (jet black Permese) is on a permanent holiday at my parents place in Chinchilla.

Lucy and I have been colluding about the purchase of a new kitten for the last 4-6 weeks. It was my job to quietly work out which breed of kitty Claire really wanted this time; we short listed the Burmese and Ragdoll. After some appropriately timed discussion, the Ragdoll won! I informed Lucy of the choice and she then went about finding breeders in south east Queensland to purchase them from. After chasing a few up, the Braveheart Ragdoll Cattery at Bundaberg got the nod.

The little bundle of fluff came with a swag of other goodies from Lucy as well:

  • a sleeping mat (like sheep skin)
  • very cute food containers
  • toys
  • kitty litter tray and litter
  • food

Needless to say, Claire and I are super excited to have another little kitty in our lives – they rock. A huge thank you to Lucy for organising the whole thing, you’ve made Claire and I extremely happy.

From now on, expect frequent, extra cute photos of Princess appearing on the site!

Oracle Data Provider ( Data Provider Internal Error (-3000/-3001)

During a recent release of a new website, the launch went horribly wrong and required a rollback.


Front of house Back of house
  • Windows 2003 Server Standard
  • IIS6
  • Microsoft .net 1.1
  • Oracle Data Provider v10.1.0.301
  • Redhat Linux Enterprise R4
  • Oracle 10g Enterprise Release 2, clustered using RAC


Whilst the code was in the development environment, we weren’t seeing any issues. Once the code was published to a staging environment and the load on the temporary under powered server increased, we started to see errors creeping in. At the time, it was written off as being a combination of Oracle 10g Release 1 Standard and the server simply not having the resources to handle the load. We had previously seen poorly written legacy code bring a Dual 3.2Ghz Xeon running Oracle 10g Standard Release 1 (dedicated server processes) to its knees with similar style random errors.

Searching online seemed to reveal a common trend; it was an Oracle Data Provider problem. Unfortunately, everything we found was related to the version 9 data provider – while we were already running version 10. After four developers spending a few hours trying to resolve the error, a support request was logged with Oracle via MetaLink. Over the following three hours and a continuous stream of phone and email correspondence with Oracle, one of their technicians informed us of a patch set available for our current Oracle Data Provider.

Patch Information

Patch Number #4355425
Description Oracle ODP.NET Patchset
Product Oracle Data Provider for .NET
Release Oracle
Bugs Addressed
4228597 OracleDataAdapter returning incorrect schema information
4205389 hangs with multiple WHEN clauses on CASE statement
4190650 Direct path INSERT doesn’t work via
4066828 Unmanaged exceptions return -3000 error without further information
4028378 Need attributes/methods on OracleParameter/OracleCommand classes
4020081 -3000 errors under high load
3937454 Calling cancel before command execution causes an error
3930596 Output bind variable initialized with blanks using ParameterDirection.OUTPUT
3897454 Aborting selecting thread fails with internal error -3000
3893458 ODP internal error -3000 in ExecuteReader() method

Out of list of bug fixes, two items should be highlighted:

  1. 4020081: As we were running short of servers during the development phase, we had Oracle 10g Release 1 Standard installed on a standard desktop machine with a single hard drive. Once the application was released to testing, the Linux ‘load’ on this machine was regularly breaking 15-20. As such, this could have been contributing to the Data Provider Internal Error.
  2. 3893458: The legacy version of this application had been running on the v10.1.0.301 of the Oracle Data Provider for nearly a year without any issues. That code base made very limited use of PL/SQL stored procedures, while all new code was being funneled through PL/SQL. Strangely, the legacy code would have been firing the ExecuteReader() method, while the new code was firing ExecuteNonQuery(). If this was the cause directly, you would have expected those to be around the other way. I think it is worth listing here, as the decision to funnel everything through PL/SQL is a fundamental shift in the application architecture.

It should be noted that without the help of the Oracle Technician, we would have never found this patch on MetaLink in a timely fashion; which I would consider a serious shortcoming of the site. However, after downloading and applying the patch manually, the random errors immediately vanished.

There was a lesson learned from this experience, the Oracle Data Provider was discounted as a likely problem early on because we were using a newer version of the provider than that of the error reports we were seeing. Looking back on it, we should have immediately upgraded the Oracle Data Provider to the latest public release, simply to rule out a bug in an older version.

Planning Or The Lack Thereof

A little while ago, I mentioned that Gold Coast City Council have been performing road works across the city and that timing is everything. I was shocked this morning to see a council worker with a jack hammer punching holes through a section of fresh road which hasn’t been in use for more than two weeks! I would have thought it logical to assemble a list of maintenance items in the area to be completed before the new road was built – apparently, they did not.

Brisbane International Motor Show 2006

Pagani Zonda, Brisbane International Motor Show 2006The 2006 annual Brisbane International Motor Show was held from the 3rd March through the 12th March and there was a reasonable showing this year.

All of the obvious show ponies where there, including:

Ford Focus XR5, Brisbane International Motor Show 2006I was happy to see the new Ford Focus XR5 in the flesh after it received such a glowing review from Top Gear in the UK. The new Focus XR5 sports a powerful 166kW/320Nm 2.5-litre turbo charged five cylinder engine partnered to a slick six speed manual gearbox. I can just about hear the aftermarket manufacturers pencils on paper already!

In the cool factor where:

  • Holden Efijy (1, 2)
  • King Pin Choppers’ Croc Chopper (1, 2)

The most exotic of super cars on show was the Pagani Zonda (1, 2), which was an impressive car to see in the flesh after the onslaught of excellent press it has received. I was disappointed not to see the Bugatti Veyron there, however with such a limit supply – I can understand why.