RSS 101
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While its surprising to some, there are actually users who aren’t yet familiar with the wonders of RSS and have yet to experience it, and are curious what the icons and links on websites are used for.

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Andreessen: PHP succeeding where Java isn't
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While I’ve been working in Java for the past 7 – 8 years, I definitely do not label myself as a Java -loyalist. I’m an Internet Application loyalist, and I want to do whatever it takes to get the apps done right and done fast. I agree with Andreessen’s statement that Java’s complexity has grown by leaps and bounds. The learning curve has become too steep, and many IT departments are finding it difficult to train an employee in all the technologies needed to go in and make a simple change to a module on their web site. When you have to know Spring, Hibernate, Struts, Tiles, SQL/RDBMS, and make edits within all these technologies in order to add one field per the client, it becomes utterly ridiculous.

It may be fun for us developers, and we love all the separation of the various layers of the application, but it’s no good for the client, and that’s who pays us. So we as Architects, Analysts, Designers, and Developers better come up with something that provides for much faster turnaround time.

Updating Oracle Sequences to the Next Highest Unused ID
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I have six tables that all use one auto incrementing sequence in Oracle. Problem is, every time the database is redeployed, the next value in the sequence is incorrect because it has to be set statically. So I found this sql on the internet which will update your sequence number according to the next unused ID from your table. I modified the sql because my sequence spanned more than one table. So the modified sql uses a temp table to find the next unused id across multiple tables.

It runs only in sqlplus (due to the use of the variables). I run it with this command:
sqlplus user/pass@/path/scriptname

My modified sql.

Original sql.

UPDATE: Thanks to Dan Wilson, Business Analyst where I am currently under contract, for giving me some sql to handle this much better than the sql I had previously found.

SELECT 'DROP SEQUENCE REPORT_LOG_SEQ ; CREATE SEQUENCE REPORT_LOG_SEQ INCREMENT BY 1 START WITH ' || NVL((SELECT TO_CHAR(MAX(LOG_ID)+1) FROM REPORT_LOG),20000) || ' MAXVALUE 1.0E27 MINVALUE 1 NOCYCLE CACHE 20 NOORDER ;' FROM DUAL

This code drops the sequence and then recreates it using the highest id currrently in use in a table, plus one. The only caution about this method, is that, if like my situation, you are using a sequence for multiple tables, then you have to use the table with the highest id in it. So if you are in that situation and you need to automate this process, and you won’t know which table has the highest id, then you may still have to use the previous method I used above. Otherwise, this is much simpler.

Centering with CSS
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I found this helpful for centering some links today. It could be used to center any block on a web page, both vertically and horizontally.

Bicycles and the Segway
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Since the Segway first came out, I’ve been one who has believed the Segway will eventually make much more of an impact than most believe today. Tonight, I was reading to my son about the Wright brothers, and just had to share with you some interesting history, that I think is relevant to the Segway and other inventions that many underestimate upon first glance.

Did you know that the first “bicycle” was invented in 1818? It was a two wheeler, moved by pushing with the feet while sitting. Then in 1839, the first pedals were added, but the wheels were still made out of wood or iron, which made for a very uncomfortable ride. In the 1870s, spokes, steering, brakes and chains were added. Finally in 1888 rubber tires were added, and 40,000 bikes were sold in 1890. Five years later, over a million bicycles were being produced.

I’m sure in 1818, not many ever thought that bicycles would become such a common household item. It took over 70 years before the bicycle became what we now know it as.

Coincidentally, we also watched a show tonight about old cars, and they were showing the steam cars and early gas cars. Very interesting to see a steam car as it moved so silently and much faster than I ever would have guessed. And yet, from what I saw on the show, they look to be quite a lot of work to use. Obviously, cars have changed a lot since then, as did bicycles and airplanes.

If you look at the history of most inventions, they follow a similar pattern, usually beginning with the first step looked upon quite skeptically by the masses. But, perhaps now, that you’ve been reminded of the history behind bicycles, maybe you’ll look at the Segway and other inventions with a slightly different point of view.

Now…go invent something! 😉

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