Oracle: Drop Database Command


Oracle introduced a new command in 10g to drop a database. Before that there was a set of procedures to follow in order to get rid of a database which involved deleting all data files from the file system, deleting control files, the parameter files etc. Now after this command everything is deleted by the RDBMS and there is no chance of forgetting any file to delete.

The command is simple, “DROP DATABASE”.

And the procedure to use this command is:

sqlplus / as sysdba

SQL> shutdown immediate
Database closed.
Database dismounted.
ORACLE instance shut down.

SQL> startup mount exclusive restrict
ORACLE instance started.

SQL> exit

rman target /

drop database;

The database has to be started in exclusive restrict mode.

If you are running a RAC you will have to close down all instances and mount the database exclusively on one node only. The parameter file will need to be changed and the parameter “cluster_database” should be set to false. My suggestion is to create another parameter file from spfile and mount the database using that file.

CREATE PFILE=’/home/oracle/anotherpfile.ora’ from SPFILE;

The file can be modified and all RAC/node specific parameters can be removed.


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How to detect a lie


Following is the opinion of some experts about how to detect when someone is lying to you. Technically they sound right but I dare to differ. I don’t think these are the 10 commandments of lie detection. Just use your common sense to analyze your particular situation. I personally like the “extra tip” at the end.


J.J. Newberry was a trained federal agent, skilled in the art of deception detection. So when a witness to a shooting sat in front of him and tried to tell him that when she heard gunshots she didn’t look, she just ran — he knew she was lying.

How did Newberry reach this conclusion? The answer is by recognizing telltale signs that a person isn’t being honest, like inconsistencies in a story, behavior that’s different from a person’s norm, or too much detail in an explanation.

While using these signs to catch a liar takes extensive training and practice, it’s no longer only for authorities like Newberry. Now, the average person can become adept at identifying dishonesty, and it’s not as hard as you might think. Experts tell WebMD the top 10 ways to let the truth be known.

Tip No. 1: Inconsistencies

"When you want to know if someone is lying, look for inconsistencies in what they are saying," says Newberry, who was a federal agent for 30 years and a police officer for five.

When the woman he was questioning said she ran and hid after hearing gunshots — without looking — Newberry saw the inconsistency immediately.

"There was something that just didn’t fit," says Newberry. "She heard gunshots but she didn’t look? I knew that was inconsistent with how a person would respond to a situation like that."

So when she wasn’t paying attention, he banged on the table. She looked right at him.

"When a person hears a noise, it’s a natural reaction to look toward it," Newberry tells WebMD. "I knew she heard those gunshots, looked in the direction from which they came, saw the shooter, and then ran."

Sure enough, he was right.

"Her story was just illogical," says Newberry. "And that’s what you should look for when you’re talking to someone who isn’t being truthful. Are there inconsistencies that just don’t fit?"

Tip No. 2: Ask the Unexpected

"About 4% of people are accomplished liars and they can do it well," says Newberry. "But because there are no Pinocchio responses to a lie, you have to catch them in it."

Sir Walter Scott put it best: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" But how can you a catch a person in his own web of lies?

"Watch them carefully," says Newberry. "And then when they don’t expect it, ask them one question that they are not prepared to answer to trip them up."

Tip No. 3: Gauge Against a Baseline

"One of the most important indicators of dishonesty is changes in behavior," says Maureen O’Sullivan, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco. "You want to pay attention to someone who is generally anxious, but now looks calm. Or, someone who is generally calm but now looks anxious."

The trick, explains O’Sullivan, is to gauge their behavior against a baseline. Is a person’s behavior falling away from how they would normally act? If it is, that could mean that something is up.

Tip No. 4: Look for Insincere Emotions

"Most people can’t fake smile," says O’Sullivan. "The timing will be wrong, it will be held too long, or it will be blended with other things. Maybe it will be a combination of an angry face with a smile; you can tell because their lips are smaller and less full than in a sincere smile."

These fake emotions are a good indicator that something has gone afoul.

Tip No. 5: Pay Attention to Gut Reactions

"People say, ‘Oh, it was a gut reaction or women’s intuition,’ but what I think they are picking up on are the deviations of true emotions," O’Sullivan tells WebMD.

While an average person might not know what it is he’s seeing when he thinks someone isn’t being honest and attribute his suspicion to instinct, a scientist would be able to pinpoint it exactly — which leads us to tip no. 6.

Tip No. 6: Watch for Microexpressions

When Joe Schmo has a gut feeling, Paul Ekman, a renowned expert in lie detection, sees microexpressions.

"A microexpression is a very brief expression, usually about a 25th of a second, that is always a concealed emotion," says Ekman, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco.

So when a person is acting happy, but in actuality is really upset about something, for instance, his true emotion will be revealed in a subconscious flash of anger on his face. Whether the concealed emotion is fear, anger, happiness, or jealousy, that feeling will appear on the face in the blink of an eye. The trick is to see it.

"Almost everyone — 99% of those we’ve tested in about 10,000 people — won’t see them," says Ekman. "But it can be taught."

In fact, in less than an hour, the average person can learn to see microexpressions.

Tip No. 7: Look for Contradictions

"The general rule is anything that a person does with their voice or their gesture that doesn’t fit the words they are saying can indicate a lie," says Ekman. "For example, this is going to sound amazing, but it is true. Sometimes when people are lying and saying, ‘Yes, she’s the one that took the money,’ they will without knowing it make a slight head shake ‘no.’ That’s a gesture and it completely contradicts what they’re saying in words."

These contradictions, explains Ekman, can be between the voice and the words, the gesture and the voice, the gesture and the words, or the face and the words.

"It’s some aspect of demeanor that is contradicting another aspect," Ekman tells WebMD.

Tip No. 8: A Sense of Unease

"When someone isn’t making eye contact and that’s against how they normally act, it can mean they’re not being honest," says Jenn Berman, PhD, a psychologist in private practice. "They look away, they’re sweating, they look uneasy … anything that isn’t normal and indicates anxiety."

Tip No. 9: Too Much Detail

"When you say to someone, ‘Oh, where were you?’ and they say, ‘I went to the store and I needed to get eggs and milk and sugar and I almost hit a dog so I had to go slow,’ and on and on, they’re giving you too much detail," says Berman.

Too much detail could mean they’ve put a lot of thought into how they’re going to get out of a situation and they’ve crafted a complicated lie as a solution.

Tip No. 10: Don’t Ignore the Truth

"It’s more important to recognize when someone is telling the truth than telling a lie because people can look like they’re lying but be telling truth," says Newberry.

While it sounds confusing, finding the truth buried under a lie can sometimes help find the answer to an important question: Why is a person lying?

These 10 truth tips, experts agree, all help detect deception. What they don’t do is tell you why a person is lying and what the lie means.

"Microexpressions don’t tell you the reason," says Ekman. "They just tell you what the concealed emotion is and that there is an emotion being concealed."

When you think someone is lying, you have to either know the person well enough to understand why he or she might lie, or be a people expert.

"You can see a microexpression, but you have to have more social-emotional intelligence on people to use it accurately," says O’Sullivan. "You have to be a good judge of people to understand what it means."

Extra Tip: Be Trusting

"In general we have a choice about which stance we take in life," says Ekman. "If we take a suspicious stance life is not going to be too pleasant, but we won’t get misled very often. If we take a trusting stance, life is going to be a lot more pleasant but sometimes we are going to be taken in. As a parent or a friend, you’re much better off being trusting rather than looking for lies all the time."

By Heather Hatfield / WebMD Feature



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Oracle Parameter File: Order of lookup


Oracle has two type of parameter files for initial parameter configurations: PFILE and SPFILE. The parameter file and the shared parameter file. They are used to specify parameter values at the database startup. The SPFILE is used in a RAC environment and PFILE is used in a stand alone database environment.

The other day I had a problem starting up my RAC and later on it was discovered that the problem was because of these startup files. The recommended way of using an SPFILE in a RAC environment is to specify the (shared) location of your SPFILE in the PFILE. All nodes have their own PFILEs which point to the same SPFILE which is located on a shared storage. I had set it up all right but it was not working. And this was because Oracle searches the configuration files in the specified directory in the following order:

  • spfileSID.ora
  • spfile.ora
  • initSID.ora
  • init.ora

So I had my initSID.ora setup but was not being used because I already had one spfileSID.ora in the same location which always got preference.



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Oracle to buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4 bn


In a news today by CNN, Oracle confirmed it will buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4 bn. This also strengthens the belief that Sun refused IBM because it had a better offer.

Acquisition of Sun will be fabulous for Oracle because it can now enter in the servers market and that with a BANG! Sun’s powerful hardware and trusted Operation System ‘Solaris’ will be a huge plus for Oracle but the future of two most widely used open source relational databases remains uncertain. Sun has bought MySQL a couple of years ago and was supporting PostgreSQL as well. What is the use of MySQL for Oracle? And support for PostgreSQL will most probably be dropped.

Sun was a better buy for IBM anyway.



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Skype Founders want it back


As the New York Times reported, Skype’s founders, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, are in talks with several private equity firms and are amassing their own financial resources to make a bid for the internet phone business. eBay bought Skype from Zennstrom and Friis for around $3.1 billion in 2005. We reported last year that eBay would be willing to sell Skype if the company couldn’t support eBay’s core ecommerce business.

eBay has been having trouble finding ways of using Skype across its other products. eBay removed Skype co-founder and CEO Niklas Zennstrom in October 2007, reportedly due to frustration at the financial performance of Skype. Ebay also negotiated down the huge earnout due to Skype stockholders and took a $936 million one-time loss around the transaction.

As we wrote last spring, a sale was projected to be likely late last year or in the first half of this year. Of course, with the economy in such poor condition, the sale was probably put off momentarily. There was something brewing between Google and Skype last spring, but nothing came of it. Google recently launched its own voice product, Google Voice (formerly Grand Central).

Skype recently launched a nifty iPhone app, which was downloaded 1 million times in the first two days of its release. Skype recently made a move to be a player in the enterprise space, but it wasn’t clear how much of a money-maker the new service would be.

There’s no doubt that Skype brings a lot to the table but eBay was probably just not the right buyer. Skype’s scalable technology and a proven platform in the VOIP, VOIP2POTS and P2P Video is impressive to say the least. The service currently has more than 405 million registered users.

Following their respective departures from Skype, Zennstrom and Friis formed VC firm Atomico and founded online video/TV site Joost.



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SQL: Generating Series of Numbers in Oracle


Generating a series of numbers is a very common practice in SQL environments. The objectives are but not limited to generating testing data and constants to use in SQL statements. Oracle provides a number of ways to accomplish this but the most simple to me is using the CONNECT BY clause.

   2:  CONNECT BY LEVEL <= 20

The statement generates integers starting from 1 to 20. It can be altered in many ways according to the acquirements e.g. adding a WHERE clause to offset the series or applying a mathematical equation at N to generate different types of series. For example:

   1:  SELECT (ROWNUM * 0.02 + 3) "N" FROM dual 
   2:  WHERE LEVEL > 10 
   3:  CONNECT BY LEVEL <= 20

Another objective of series is the requirement of constants in the SQL statements. For example I used constants of week days (1-7) and number of hours in a day (1-24) to generate some statistics by hour by day of week.

   2:       2, ‘MON ‘, 
   3:       3, ‘TUE ‘, 
   4:       4, ‘WED ‘, 
   5:       5, ‘THU ‘, 
   6:       6, ‘FRI ‘, 
   7:       7, ‘SAT ‘, 
   8:       1, ‘SUN ‘) "Day of Week", 
   9:  Hour, 
  10:  (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM tblsupport 
  11:   WHERE tktopendate > SYSDATE – 90 
  12:   AND TO_CHAR(tktopendate, ‘D’) = DN 
  13:   AND TO_CHAR(tktopendate, ‘HH24’) = H) "Ticket Count" 
  14:  FROM 
  16:    CONNECT BY LEVEL <= 7) WeekDays, 
  17:  (SELECT ROWNUM Hour FROM dual
  18:   CONNECT BY LEVEL <= 24) Hours

This statement generates statistics data about number of tickets received during the last 3 months grouped by week day and hour.



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Twitter is Down due to heavy activity


I tried to login to twitter a while ago and it failed to load!

Guess what the error was? It was unavailable due to the extra ordinary load on the servers. I believe that twitter is being bombarded heavily by the Moldovians at the moment who are trying to keep their fellows updated through internet. Keep in mind that there are severe protests going on in the country of Moldova against their government and all the media including TV channels are state controlled.

That looks like the most busiest day for Twitter. Servers going down due to traffic is not a good thing but it is also a success parameter for a web site. Tomorrow they will be able to handle heaps more (they should have anticipated it though).

Read about the contribution of Twitter in Moldova protests:



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