Upgrading to APEX 4.1 on XE 11g

It’s that time of year. Slay bells ringing, children singing…and the UKOUG Conference.
This year, I was lucky to get along to attend the last day in the company of my good friend Alan.

I love going to the Conference. You get the chance to see lots of great presentations about all sorts of things in the Oracle world.
Takeaways from this year? Well, apart from the stress-ball and the cuddly Rhino ( yes, we did have a wander through the exhibition hall as well), I learned quite a bit about Application Express.

Just in case they’re struggling for an angle for APEX in the Oracle marketing department, how about :
“Application Express – Forms 3.0 for the Internet Age”

I suppose I’d better do some explaining fairly quickly before I am taken to task by any APEX aficionados who happen to be reading.

Back in the good old days, when I still had hair, Forms 3 was the character based interface for the Oracle database. A major advance on Forms 2.3, you were able to code actual PL/SQL right into the triggers. Of course, everything ran on the server back then. Forms, the database ( we don’t talk about SQL*Reportwriter…ever !)

APEX has certain similarities to it’s ancestor. The code is stored in the database itself and you can write PL/SQL in it. Of course, it is also “web-aware”. It could easily be thought of as a UI for SQL and PL/SQL…without all that mucking about with Java.

Enough of this Oracle Tech naval gazing. The point of this post is that, if you’ve downloaded Oracle 11g XE, you will have APEX4.0 included. Due to the tiresome reluctance of software vendors to use major release numbers, you may have been under the misapprehension that APEX 4.1 was just a minor tweak. The truth is a rather different.

APEX is maturing rapidly. So, if you’re running XE 11g on a Debian OS ( or even 10g XE), you may very well be interested in getting the latest version of APEX to have a play with…

NOTE – I ran this installation on 11g XE running on Mint.
I’ve tried to highlight any differences you may get when installing on 10gXE, but I haven’t actually done the installation on this database version. Continue reading

Installing Oracle 11gXE on Mint and Ubuntu

Things have been a bit hectic lately. What with putting in a new kitchen, being insanely busy at work, and trying not to come out with embarrassing sheep jokes, I’ve ended up with quite a long list of things to do blog-wise.
Top of the list, until now, was installing the long-awaited Oracle 11gXE Release 2 onto one of my Linux machines.
Yes, the free version of Oracle’s RDBMS has finally had an upgrade from 10g and I really want to get my hands on it and have a good nose around.
As well as being based on the latest release of the RDBMS, the Express Edition has had one or two other improvements added. Maybe the most significant of these is that the limit for the amount of user data that XE can hold has been increased from 4GB to 11GB.
What I’m going to do here is :

  • Go through the package conversion process
  • Install the database using steps applicable both to Mint and Ubuntu ( and any other Debian based distro)
  • Apply some finishing touches so that the menu items work as intended

Along the way, we’ll find out just why Oracle can’t speak English (and lots of other languages), where Mint has hidden the .bashrc, and how Aliens can be friendly.

Because I’m trying to cover both distros in this post, the installation process will be done entirely on the command line. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

But first…a small morsel of Linux history. Debian, the distro upon which both Mint and Ubuntu are based, was named after a Deb. I had to mention that as this will cause my beloved to think that I’m writing about her ( again), and thus give me enough time to finish writing this !

What are we waiting for then ? Let’s get going. Continue reading

Converting ogg file to mp3 format with Sound Converter

It’s the holiday season. The English summer rain serves only to sharpen the anticipation of the foreign sun that you will be enjoying in the not too distant future.
There is only one problem. How do you take your music collection with you when it’s all in ogg format and you don’t have a handy Android device to transfer it onto.

Step forward Sound Converter – another in the seemingly endless supply of really useful open source utilities for Linux.

NOTE – I’ve tried this on both Ubuntu and Mint and, as you’d expect, the steps are the same. The screenshots in this post are taken from Mint because the novelty still hasn’t worn off yet :-) Continue reading

Minty Freshness

“Oohh, you’re all minty”, is just the sort of thing I’d like Deb to say to me just after I’ve brushed my teeth in the morning. Most of the time though, I have to content myself with some muffled threats and demands for coffee. My beloved is definitely not a morning person.

I’m typing this in a shiny new version of Libre Office and my eyes are slowly becoming accustomed to the lack of brown and purple and the preponderance of green on the desktop.

Yes, I’ve decided to give Linux Mint a try… Continue reading

Oracle XE – Speeding up Startup and getting Nofications on the Desktop in Ubuntu

Oh the tension. 2-0 up at half-time. Visions of last-day drama and an eleventh-hour escape floating tantilisingly before my eyes. Then, grim reality. A second-half collapse and the prize is snatched away once more. So, this is what it must be like to be an Arsenal fan.
I know that they say misery loves company, but it’s not really any consolation. Yes, my beloved West Ham have been relegated from the Premiership.

In an effort to rouse myself from the resultant depression, I decided to have a look at addressing one of those minor annoyances that I’m always intending to get around to but somehow never quite do. In this case, it’s how to get confirmation that my Oracle XE database has started before trying to connect to it ( and that it’s shut down before I turn off my computer). Continue reading

Android Phone as a Wireless Hot-Spot

I have finally got around to having a proper play with my new(ish) Android Phone.
In doing so, I’ve discovered that :

  • it can read music files in ogg format ( good old Linux)
  • yes, Angry Birds IS addictive
  • it works very nicely as a Wireless Hot-Spot.

A quick tour through the toys I’m using for this particular exercise.
The Emachines E350 netbook running good old Ubuntu 10.04.2 is the computer. Yes, this should work on Windows as well, if your that way inclined.
The phone in question is an HTC Desire S running Android 2.3.3
Continue reading

Installing Ubuntu on an EMachines E350 netbook

I am now the proud owner of an EMachines E350 netbook. Well, proud is probably overstating it. It’s about the same spec as most of the other netbooks out there and it was cheap.
This particular model boasts 1GB RAM, a 160GB HDD, and an Intel Atom N450 processor.
It also comes with Windows 7 Starter as the OS. Hmmm, not sure about that last bit.

My purpose in obtaining this machine is to replace the venerable Laptop I’ve been carting around on the train for the last several months. Like the Emachines, it also has 1GB RAM. Unlike the netbook, it’s running Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS.
So, all I need to do now is to wipe away Windows and install Ubuntu. Oh, and make sure the wireless network card still works ( which has often been a problem with this kind of exercise).

So, what follows is the steps taken to install and configure Ubuntu on my netbook, with all the mistakes and associated cursing removed so I can pretend I really do know what I’m doing.

If you want to follow along, you will need :

  • a machine to experiment on ( or your new netbook)
  • a machine running Ubuntu already
  • a wired network connection
  • a USB stick with at least 2GB capacity
  • a bit of time (such as a Bank Holiday)

By the way, I’m going to ruin the suspense here and say that I’ve typed this on and posted it from the netbook in question, using OpenOffice Writer and a wireless connection. You can probably tell by the fact the typing is a bit slower and there are probably some amusing spelling mistakes. I put this down to getting used to the new keyboard.

A word of warning here – apart from the wireless card, I’m really not too bothered about the other peripherals on this machine. So, I’m not worried about the web cam, for example and have not covered this here. Continue reading