Short and sweet: What do you think of when you hear “Republicans?”

Oddly this was a discussion topic on Amazon. Most of it was vitriol from folks who have been schooled to hate Republicans. As a Republican, I know we get a bad rap and often our predominant touted feature is a confusion that we are against stated goals rather than being against the stated means of attempting to achieve those goals.

So here is my answer: What do you think of when you hear “Republicans?”

Folks who want to efficiently create a safe and prosperous society who end up spending all their time trying to stop the Democrats from pursuing stupid, hateful, and wasteful policies that would never work to achieve the laudable goals they claim the policies pursue. Unfortunately the Republicans are then cast as being against those goals, most of which they also support.

Posted in politics, Thinking Clearly | Tagged | 2 Comments

What’s more sexist: Time’s question or Sandberg’s response?

So I was reading Time’s September 22, 2014 edition and came across 10 questions for Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg when I reached this absolute gem:

Why do you think women are so afraid of making mistakes?

WOW. So in the question women are defined as being afraid of making mistakes. Now I don’t know whether this comes from Charlotte Alter (the by line for the 10 questions) out of whole cloth or whether it was inspired by something Sheryl Sandberg wrote or said previously of which I’m not aware.

In my book attributing qualitative faults (like fearing making a mistake) to one sex as opposed to another is pretty much the definition of sexism. I’m not saying the sexes cannot be compared. On average men are taller than women. More women have wombs than men. Calling out objective differences of fact is not sexist in and of itself.

So the question itself as posed seems to me a pretty bad thing. Maybe we should excuse Sheryl Sandberg for her completely sexist response (as printed by Time – she should sue if they got that wrong):

“When men make mistakes, they don’t internalize it is their fault, so it doesn’t hurt them as much. Because gender makes us over-estimate male performance and underestimate female performance, we have more tolerance for men’s mistakes.”

Holy cow! Did I miss a memo? Has a study been done that men don’t internalize mistakes as their own fault as a whole gender? Even as a tendency for the gender?

But what might be worse is the illogic, at least as I see it: My tolerance for mistakes IS related to my estimation of what a person is capable of. So if I am in fact over-estimating male performance then a mistake is going to be regarded more harshly as something they should not have let happen. Under Sandberg’s apparent vision of reality, men should be more afraid of making mistakes.

So I call on all y’all to reject these sexist notions. The correct response to mistakes is some amount of disappointment relative to the individual’s capabilities, current run of overwork and personal distractions, and the difficulty of the task at hand. Often the correct response is: “Sorry I put you in that tough of a spot.”

Over the long haul you learn which individuals you can trust with what and gender should play no role, even with physical tasks, because you work with individuals, not gender averages.

Uncharacteristic mistakes are worthy of examination because you need to know whether something was an aberrant loss of focus rather than some problem, acute or chronic, that has developed. Then comes the far tougher question of whether or not any problem is your business.

But questions like Time’s and answers like Sandberg’s have no place in the workplace.

Posted in Thinking Clearly | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Oracle CEOs “Hurd ‘n’ Catz”: This should be great

“Hurd’n’Catz” – I’ve always liked Larry, and especially in the old unscripted public discussions of technology. The best one I was at was at the Fairmont in 1994, but I’m biased because I was the MC. Larry and Ron Wohl were on hand for a general question and answer session instead of having a keynote talk at a particularly robust OAUG conference. After a few questions from the audience it turned into a snappy debate between Ron and Larry about how the future of some pretty doggone important things to the entire audience were going to go. I barely had to egg them on. It was real and it was useful. I think Larry was genuinely disappointed we had to stop when it was time for the vendor sponsored cocktail reception. I wish Larry well and I would not begrudge him for a second letting go of pain in the butt day to day control. I would also not underestimate the value of Larry just having fun taking a look at the technology base he controls. And he’ll still be in charge of the overall strategy – just not stuck with the day to day pain in the butt execution details. This all seems perfect to me. Mark Hurd and Safra Catz run their portfolios like well-oiled machines. By giving up being CEO Larry can be the Chairman of the Board and still runs the hardware and software development pieces he’ll have fun with. I’m surprised the stock didn’t go up! And Larry, if you ever want me to moderate a talk like that again I’m pretty sure I can clear up my dance card. All the best!

Posted in Oracle | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Back to technology: Is it effective to place Oracle REDO on SSD?

Ever since I was asked to improve the throughput of an actual general ledger posting job involving Oracle in December 1993 on some hardware where solid state disk (SSD) was available (at high cost relative to “spinning rust” or hard disk drives [HDD]), I have been trying to explain the overall advantage of placing different types of the different Oracle storage selectively on SSD.

When FLASH SSD arrived on the scene, studies quickly arose that writing to FLASH SSD is often not as fast as writing to disk drives dedicated to receiving those writes.

Today I’ll try to explain why I don’t care.

While there was some advantage to writing to SSD in my tests (which were to RAM based SSD on a VAX), the write speed to online REDO was not a significant part of the advantage of placing online REDO on SSD.

As Kevin Closson has repeatedly and carefully explained,  the write speed of online REDO is rarely the problem: logging-lgwr-io-is-simple-but-not-lgwr-processing/

There are two things about moving online REDO to SSD (even the relatively slower FLASH kind) that are a big performance and cost advantage most of the time:

1) Mostly writes to online REDO are small and frequent. This generates a constant stream of seeks to find the correct place to write. On HDD that means either you have dedicated a chunk of HDD (usually two, four, or eight whole trays, because we stripe and duplex by tray in actual big systems and many folks insist on both hardware duplexing and multiple members of each REDO log group on storage that fails separately and you might need to Ping-Pong your REDO log groups so that REDO is written on distinct drives from where ARCH reads REDO) or you degrade the performance of the HDD containing the online redo for other purposes because you pester it with constant seeks away from the other work it is supporting.

2) Reads from online REDO are big drinks by ARCH which demands bandwidth. On HDD that means you either dedicate a chunk of HDD (as above, usually an expensive chunk) to the online REDO or you consume some of the read bandwidth from that HDD that would otherwise be available to all the oracle readers whenever ARCH is running.

Normally the required amount of storage acreage required for online REDO is modest.

Thus, the cost calculation for deploying online REDO on SSD should be for the size of SSD big enough to do the job (times two or four, perhaps for duplexing and multiple members, but never times eight because of seek irrelevancy on SSD) versus the cost of deploying the online REDO on isolated chunks of HDD if overall performance is an issue.

The central value of putting online REDO on SSD is to de-heat the rest of the disk farm.

Unless you are in a rare situation where writing to online REDO is your pacing resource and it is the pacing resource due to the write speed of the media (not available CPU or dimm channel speed and availability), the relative reduced speed to writing some kinds of SSD over writing to dedicated HDD presumably waiting to swallow the write at the correct seek location is of zero concern. (IF you are in that situation, it is probably time to invest in a small amount of RAM based SSD  [or you are doing a laboratory test just driving REDO, which is an interesting test not directly related to production throughput of most real systems.])

Let’s review: If your actual problem is the speed of writing to online REDO log or log file sync, you are not likely to solve that problem by moving online REDO to slower SSD. (There is some possibility that the concomitant de-heating of the disk farm may have that net effect, but you could also achieve that by isolating online REDO on independently operating HDD.)

On the other hand, if you have a hot disk farm that is the pacing resource to your throughput and you can remove a lot of the heat for a modest investment in SSD,  that is an effective use SSD.

The leap to the conclusion that moving online REDO to SSD is for the purpose of speeding up log writing or log file sync makes it seem like a laboratory test showing writing to some kinds of SSD being slower means putting online REDO on SSD is wrong.

I hope today I have helped explain why it is often a good investment to place online REDO on SSD.

Posted in Oracle, Thinking Clearly | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The primary election is over. Sadly, I did not win.

Either the power of social networking is not yet up to the task of overcoming television ads and the visual and other pollution of yard signs EVERYWHERE, or New Hampshire is not ready for the #SAFE_DEAL and to #IMPOVERISH_DRUG_LORDS. (Or, I suppose, they just didn’t like me. Quickly figuring my likely exposure, though, I believe a large percentage of folks who heard my message actually voted for me. So maybe I just need to get better and spreading the word at low cost. I do find it ironic that MAYDAY pac endorsed a candidate who did spend money on the grounds he pledged to fight against large campaign media budgets in the future, while I operated on a minimal media budget. Notice that is not a criticism of the candidate they did endorse.)

Anyway, completely cribbed from WMUR-TV’s site, here are the apparent 99% returns:

Brown, Scott 58,635    50%  Rubens, Jim   27,048 23%  Smith, Bob     26,483 23%

Kelly, Walter    1,376      1% Heghmann, Bob  823   1%  Farnham, Mark   733    1%

Martin, Andy      717       1% Beloin, Gerard     500   0%  Dziedzic, Miro    499     0%

D’Arcy, Robert  415        0%

While of course it is painful that less than 1,000 voters rushed to support me when I really thought my policies were best and that I had the best chance to not only win the general election but forcefully guide the country in a better direction by winning with a minimal expenditure, I also find it interesting that Robert D’arcy finished dead last. Now I only met Robert at the Franklin Pierce debates, so I have not thoroughly vetted him. But with the exception of one of his ideas that I completely disagree with, I thought he had a set of ideas and proposals in the top two of a field that contained a lot of folks who would serve us well. Being left off the NHPR interviews and the WMUR-TV debates, Robert also apparently had trouble getting his message out. After the debate at Franklin Pierce it WAS reported that he had a detailed 10 point plan. But his actual plans were not reported. (At least not widely.) I faced a similar, though possibly even more damaging (though completely accurate as far as it went) result of reporters words: Unless you took the trouble to read my positions on this blog (as about 800 did, which I can see from the site tracking, and which compares very favorably with getting 733 votes) all you knew from the newspaper (if anything at all) was that I wanted to subsidize the poor and make drugs legal. Without an explanation of how and why, those are pretty unlikely positions to inspire my fiscal conservative, be kind to your brother, social libertarian base. Oh well. I really cannot blame anyone else; instead of waiting to publish my ideas lest they be grabbed by several campaigns, I should have published my programs and policies last fall and started a long slow push. Live and learn. I don’t think it would be useful to undertake a write-in campaign in the general election. But if you’re thinking of voting for Shaheen, go ahead.

In a few days I’ll put up a poll regarding whether I should form a non-candidate oriented pac to promote my ideas. I still think it is shameful we spend enough on welfare to have no one legally here in poverty, yet over 12 million often go to sleep involuntarily under the stars and hungry. And I still think the best way to put money and power in the hands of criminals is to make something popular illegal. We just got to end this drug war. The war on drugs makes the problems worse, not better.

All the best!

Mark W. Farnham

Posted in Book Review, politics, Thinking Clearly, US Senate Primary | 1 Comment

Farnham for US Senate: Please remember to vote

I hope you vote for me. I’ll do my best for both the country and New Hampshire if I am elected. Most of my recent entries on this blog explain my views and how I will try to solve problems. The somewhat dated “Justify Laws” I hope provides a framework for understanding how I think the government should operate.

But regardless of whether you plan to vote for me, please get out there and vote every chance you have (except for my friends from Chicago, who I ask to vote only at each legal opportunity).

God bless!

Mark W. Farnham

Posted in politics, religion, Thinking Clearly, US Senate Primary | Leave a comment

Dear “Pro-life”: I am against abortion. But I am not against choice

If you run for office, you’ll get loaded questionnaires that essentially insist you sign up to overturn Roe v Wade. (And from the other side that you’ll sign up against things like the Hobby Lobby ruling, when the real issue is that individuals or families, not corporations, should control their own health care insurance choices.)

And let’s decode a little bit, since even the names of the movements are a lie: “Pro-life” means “I want to make abortion illegal.”

“Pro-choice” means I want the government to routinely fund abortion and make it a popular choice. I’m aligned with clinics that provide abortions and we tout the advantages to your life style of not having a child to raise or going through the inconvenience of carrying a child to term to be adopted.

Well I’ll have none of it. Here is the way I see it: The government does not get to make this choice. Having the threat of the government becoming involved in the choice probably causes additional actual abortions to take place and under worse conditions than are really necessary.

Essentially this is an issue of religious freedom and your definition of when life begins.

But I AM against abortion. If I am privileged to be in the circle of trust from whom some woman facing this choice seeks guidance, my advice will be for life.

Now let’s be specific: If the life of the mother is endangered I agree it is a slippery slope between the always present risk of mortality and the near certain death some pregnancies pose. I do not believe even Solomon could make a general call on what to do in every case. I would probably tend to side with saving the mother in the hopes of a chance for a more normal pregnancy later. But that is only advice and only hypothetical. The choice, after being fully informed and free of coercion in either direction, belongs to the mother.

What about rape? If the mother’s life is not in special jeopardy, MY counsel is for life. Half of that DNA is yours. Probably you will love this child beyond all reason. If you are convinced you will not, there is always adoption. But once again, that is only advice and advice only given to a specific pregnant woman if I’m invited to give my opinion by HER.

So that’s it. I’m against abortion. I’m against laws against abortion. I’m against corporations being involved in health care decisions, and that means they should not be involved in funding health care. (It was a stupid artifact of wage controls in world war II that got that whole business started, and that is too long a story for this entry.) I’m quite certain my “score” will be near zero with both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” forces. I don’t care. My goal is different: I want both personal freedom AND the fewest possible actual abortions.


Posted in politics, Thinking Clearly, US Senate Primary | 4 Comments