This blog is intended to primarily be about Oracle techie type subjects, although I may occasionally wonder off into some other area that interests me.
A brief synopsis of my background is probably in order here. I started my career in 1982 as a starving student who got a part time job as a FORTRAN programmer for a large oil company. The company had a copy of Oracle (version 2) and when I graduated a year later with a Geology and Math degree, they hired me as a “Computer Geologist”.
My first assignment was to upgrade Oracle to V3. I was mostly a programmer my first several years doing OCI with FORTRAN and C, then the Pre-compilers, then Forms when it came out. It was a pretty cool job. We were doing some pretty neat stuff – spatial with lat/long data and lots of graphics for mapping etc… This was back in the hey day of the oil business when it was like printing money (kind of like it is again these days). Anyway we had 2 of everything. Most of our production systems were VAX clusters but we had a couple of Crays and some of the first Unix boxes on the market (I remember a big Convex machine that no one used but me – just to play around with). Over time I became more interested in the system side of things and as often happens I started having little run ins with the system administrators and so talked my boss into sending me to class to learn how to be a system administrator on VAX/VMS. That was a huge help to me in my career. I firmly believe that a strong systems background gives DBAs a huge advantage – both in their understanding of how the database operates but also in their abilities to deal with sys admins.
Sadly the oil business crashed hard in the mid 80’s and so I went to work for a software development company that sold their products to hospitals. They had an IBM mainframe running Oracle. That was weird – IBM didn’t even have a C compiler at the time so we had to “borrow” one from Oracle. I wrote a bunch of stuff in Pro*C for them. Unfortunately that was too “cutting edge” for hospitals so I had to re-write it in Pro*COBOL, yuk! After about a year I went to work for an oil and gas software development company. While working for them I got to write a mixed language Pro*FORTRAN and Pro*C program that ran on a PC. This was back in the mid 80’s still so 640K limit – using memory mapping utilities to get an extra couple of hundred K – with Oracle running on the box as well. I used to have to do demos for potential customers and I’d cross my fingers every time I hit the enter key hoping that I wouldn’t get a stack dump. …some fun…
Meanwhile people are calling me for Oracle help and so I start doing after hours “consulting”. Pretty soon it’s more than I can keep up with and so I get a couple of buddies that are between jobs to help out and before you know it we have a real company. Database Consultants was incorporated in 1987 or thereabouts.
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In 2004, Wade Nicolas and I started Enkitec. It’s an Oracle focused consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas. Our very good friends at Hotsos, Cary Millsap (now at Method-R) and Gary Goodman, did the incubator thing for us, allowing us to share office space with them and throwing some work our way. I got to do some of the coolest gigs of my career under the Hotsos banner. They even let me speak at the Hotsos Symposium. I am forever in their debt for their support.