RE: standards

  • From: "Ellis R. Miller" <sartre1@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <oracle-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 02:54:44 -0600

Very good point. However, and I am not being facetious, I am fairly certain
documenting alleged IT standards is not the means but the end.

According to my illustrious mentor, Mr. Bill Mitchell of America West, one
of the forefathers of IT who first hacked by leveraging
the now well-documented security flaw in Internet Explorer "View/Source"
(subversively and magically invoking Notepad) we were on the James Martin
(pre-Death) methodology, which at the time was slightly less fashionable
than proudly exclaiming to be on the "Jenny Craig" plan. When our Oracle rep
later indicated he was not familiar with the standard Bill asked if any of
the old schoolers still awake/alive at that late afternoon (past 10am)
JDeveloper presentation could offer an explanation. Many an old schooler
stared at their orthopedic shoes that day wondering if the prescription had
expired and hoping the awkward silence would soon pass...or their Medtronic
defibrillator would suddenly kick-in as the seven shocks it administers
before assuming one has gone to meet James would have been less painful than
the shame (a first and last for everything).

Weeks later, like a Special Olympian on performance-hampering drugs Bill
came shambling after me all sideways and twisted with documented proof of
James Martin and the standard for America West in hand, which, like a driver
license, was all that was required to validate the enterprise standards of
the typical IT department under the wise ruling of the typical IT Manager.

Your point is extremely valid yet, statistically, it is safe to assume the
point is to bury the IT standards document in the collective IT time capsule
to be dug up by angry auditors in the year 2075 when humans are, once again,
allowed to return to the APS IT Superfund site.

In short, never underestimate the power and practicality of seemingly
pointless IT documentation. Consider the excerpt (below) from the following
link [and if any of you live nearby wake up the wife and kids and tell them
the good news about the family moving to Las Vegas on the way there]:

INPO found that recurring problems--such as dirty cooling water or broken
control-panel lights--were not going away, despite the hundreds of proposals
and recommendations that APS management would produce to explain how the
plant was going to solve its problems.

"That's what they do," says Linda Mitchell, a former plant engineer and
whistle-blower who won a judgment against the utility after she was harassed
for reporting safety problems to the NRC. "They can write 5,000 pieces of
paper about anything, but they never fix a fricking thing."

INPO was not alone in its harsh assessment of the plant.


PS Would you like to make more money? Sure, we all would. Then why not train
to be a Nuclear Engineer, an IT Manager, or even a CIO? Working with
computers and stuff ain't much different than working with radiation.
Besides, plant practically runs itself. You gots your standards here and
over here you got your documentation. Now, the documentation is mostly for
the Federal boys but every now and then your gonna need to know where it's
at and fetch it right quick. Otherwise, that Federal tit is gonna run dry
and that ain't no good for doughnuts nor nothin' else.

-----Original Message-----
From: oracle-l-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:oracle-l-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Markoen Meijerink
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 12:39 AM
To: oracle-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: standards


This sounds like the application of the ideas of Karl Popper: It is often
easier for Homo Sapiens to know
and to make a decision based on what you don't want. Karl has written about
more things than the
importance of falsification in science.

But being witty is not the point here:

Whether it is about database and infrastructure-standards (OFA) or about
(e.g. CDM):

a good standard is nothing more than a useless, 'dead' book in the closet if
you do not perform
any active checking. If you do nothing about enforcing the standards, you
can almost save you
the effort.

So if you want your oracle files being placed in
/unn/oradata/bla...bla...something then schedule a check
that checks if it is so.
And if you still want to have all your foreign keys to have an index, then
schedule a check to monitor
whether this is so.
I can give many examples of useful, sanitary checks that you should perform
at the schema, instance or
database level.
And also should keep on doing. Maybe you created the initial 10 users
correctly with the right
settings, but the 11-th user is created with e.g. "that nice feature in the
application to
'create user john identified by john' " at some later time without your
If this user ever gets resource privs you 'll know where the objects will

The work is not the writing of the standard, the work is in the programming
of the active checking!
Find a complete standard combined with a complete tool to implement this
notion (we use one of course).
You will be far better off.

Markoen Meijerink

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mogens Nørgaard" <mln@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <oracle-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 1:51 AM
Subject: Re: standards

> Splendid.
> And it brings me back to the very valid point Cary made to me some years
> ago when we were in Honolulu together for the OAUG - remember the one
> where Oracle pulled all financial support two weeks before the start of
> the conference?
> That was the beginning of the Mark Jarvis Master Plan (MJMP) to kill off
> user groups and get some real messages out to customers instead :).
> Anyway, Cary's point was (I think) to focus on worst practices instead
> of best practices. When you constantly look for best practices you will
> always be falling behind reality, and there will be no impetus for
> moving the bar up. If you look for worst practices (things not to do),
> then you'll learn and grow and become smarter and you can steadily add
> to the list... or just move the bar up, up and away.
> Mogens
> david wendelken wrote:
> > How about:
> >
> > PL/SQL Programmers who use exception blocks like this will be flogged,
then fired from their job.
> >
> >      NULL;
> > END;
> >
> > :)
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: David <thump@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> > Sent: Aug 4, 2004 3:45 PM
> > To: oracle-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> > Subject: standards
> >
> > I ahve been asked to write the standards for the company in terms of
> > Oracle databases.
> > I have never done anythign like that before...
> > Anyone have any pointers or skeletons or examples I could review?
> > Cheers
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
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