Monday, July 27, 2009


I really want to finish up the PL/SQL stuff for Active Directory authentication. But I'm just whipped. Not sure why; worry, most likely. One of our oldest cats, Sam, had to have eye surgery today. The trouble wasn't the eye so much as the anaesthetic. At 17, the usual risks for having anaesthetic are a bit higher, although Sam is a tough old guy in pretty good shape.

He got through it well enough; he looks a bit like he shoved half his face under a running lawnmower, but that's not hard to live with. At least it isn't for us. I am sure Sam might have something to say about that.

It's hard to make decisions about quality of life or whether a procedure is worth the risk. In this particular instance, Sam had what's called a Sequester, which is sort of like a scab that won't fall off. What happens instead, if it is not removed, is it begins to rot, which can cause all sorts of terrible things to ensue. The other option is to give him drops 4 times a day for 10 or 11 months. The drops solution (no pun intended) has less of a success rate; in fact, most senior cats like Sam have to have the drops. Sam has been fortunate that he has had good medical care and good food all his life, so for a 17 year old he's in excellent shape. He's a bit creaky as he's a big boy (17+ lbs for the last 13 years at least) and his vertical jumping has been reduced to the odd hop. Otherwise he's pretty spry and still plays with his toy mice etc.

I've wandered off topic rather seriously here... back to the life-decisions stuff. Do you have the surgery and risk life, or do you interfere with the cat 4 times a day for 300 days? I guess you have to know your cat. Sam is a good-hearted guy, and loves his pets and scratches, and over the years he has helped me in his immutable way through some tough times. I remember my first serious bout of depression; Sammy spent the whole time by my side, purring mostly. In fact, he and his brother were instrumental in getting me up and around again. They won't clean their own litter boxes, and I wouldn't let them drive to the vets to get their own food, so it was up to me. And even though it was very difficult to do so, I got myself out of bed and back into a semblance of a life. Shortly after that, I went to a hockey game, and that pulled me out of my funk even more. The presciption drugs finally started to kick in, and within about 3 weeks I was ready to tackle the world.

I've made a fairly simplistic view of my whole depressive episode I must admit. I had quit a job to return to school (which wasn't starting for 3 1/2 weeks) and I had broken up with my girlfriend. And it was January. And everything was really complicated at that time... but within a couple months I had a new girlfriend and a better outlook. Back in school and enjoying it, I felt like all my decisions had finally born fruit.

I don't need to mention that it all collapsed again about 2 years later, but this time I didn't retreat to bed. I just kept on, and eventually landed a good job; in fact, it's been 13 years since my serious depressive episode and I've never been back. I medicate daily of course, like pretty well every other intelligent person I know, but it's a small price to pay.

Back to Sam - I keep wandering away from the topic of Sam, but I suppose that's because I can only talk about what he's meant to me and how he has helped me so many times in my life. I guess I've returned the favour by keeping him in the best shape I can for the last 17 years.

Sam took to my wife the first time they met. He took one look and said, 'Yeah she's the one' and promptly went back to sleep. Sly, his brother, sat between us on the couch. My wife says he was protecting me; I say, 'No, he was accepting you. If he didn't like you he would have said 'Your own your own, douche-bag!'. He would have run off had he not approved.'

Sam is sort of like a real live teddy bear except he has not one single quality of a bear aside from immense girth. Sam, when properly activated, is capable of shattering China with his purr. His purr, which sadly is never heard by the vet, is astonishing. He is loud, so loud he is squeaky. It's hard to explain, but if you heard it you would agree.

I think I'd better sign off and check on the old lump (another nickname for Sam - he has several - but lump stuck because, well, he has a lump on his tail (been there for about 10 years) and he is sort of lumpish - Sam will get up, walk 6 strides, then have a 2 hour nap).

More PL/SQL APEX Active Directory Stuff

In my continued effort to get my LDAP authentication stuff out there, I am putting in an link to the login PL/SQL I use. I just changed the code associated with the Login process. I am also posting the PL/SQL for checking to see if the logged in user has the appropriate Active Directory group.

Here is the LOGIN script:

Here is the Check Group Membership script:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bermuda Day VI

I didn't get around to finishing the Bermuda blog posts. It was kind of a strange week. We had to move from one location to another due to the excessive rain causing mold and mustiness. Bermuda is known for being so humid you have to heat your closets to keep your clothes from rotting, but in recent weeks they have been getting an unusual amount of rainfall. The mold and mustiness factors were through the roof; my wife had a great deal of difficulty breathing in our original accomodations, so we had to move to newer accomodations right along the harbour front.

We didn't get to do much outdoor stuff, either, as it rained pretty much every day. We did make it to the dock yards on the 1st of July, but it rained constantly and I was in a pretty foul mood. I hate being out in the rain. However, there were some very interesting things to see at the the dock yards, and it would have been even better if we could have strolled about without squelching with every step. To get to the dock yards (at the opposite end of the island from St. George, where we were staying) we took the Express Ferry. I don`t do well on boats, but it`s a double-hull ferry, so the ride was pretty smooth. The best part of the Express Ferry is that it didn`t breach 5 knots. It was the most wonderfully slow Express ride I`ve ever had. Too bad it rained the whole way and we had to stay under cover with the windows closed. At all events, we were soaked, and I was snarky, but it was still worth the effort.

We took a bus from the docks to `town`, or Hamilton. That was a treat. You get to see so much more by bus, and nothing is particularily far from anything else, so bus travel is practical. It can be a bit unnerving if you aren`t used to 2-lane roads, twisty hills and valleys, and left-hand drive. One driver we had was very competent, but seemed more eager in terms of speed than other drivers. It was a bit harrowing at times, but we just aren`t used to it. Overall you can`t beat the bus system in Bermuda - they are all air-conditioned, everyone is of course polite, and it`s cheap.

We met up with my cousin and his girlfiend in Hamilton; he has been fortunate enough to work in Bermuda for 14 years. We dined in an Italian restaurant; the food was fantastic, the service was excellent, even though the place was jammed. One thing they do in Bermuda is incorporate a gratuity directly on your bill, so in effect you have already tipped by paying the amount due. There is room for additional tipping on the receipt, if you are so inclined. I am not inclined, usually.

Bermuda is a destination we will reach again, despite being rained on all week and not making it to a single beach. I am not a beach person, but you don`t go to Bermuda without at leasting going to one beach; they are the most beautiful beaches in the world. Next time we`ll hope for better weather and get to the beaches. We`ll also rent `bikes`(motorscooters) from one of the many `Liveries`.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bermuda Day I

Well we finally made it to Bermuda. What happens after being here less than 6 hours? Check this out...

It is really amazingly astonishingly humid here. Like I have never experienced before - but it's not like the mugginess we get in Southwestern Ontario. It's a fresh, clean sort of humidity, like being a dryer with bounce sheets. It's still uncomfortable though we we are pretty well accustomed to A/C 24/7 back home. On the other hand, it is so quiet, there are practically no vehicles, the locals are friendly, and the availability of goods is excellent. I have my Coke 0, my wife has her 10% cream for her coffee (which she brought from home - we never take chances with her coffee).

Tomorrow we might get a scooter or a bus pass, or maybe both. I am not sure about a scooter yet, even though I think it's a great idea. I haven't ridden a motorcycle in years, and they drive on the left-hand side here, as in Britain, and a great deal of the rest of the world, come to think of it. Not sure if my brain can handle all that at once.

Monday, June 22, 2009

IE 8.0

I think it's strange.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

apex LDAP, Part II

As promised, part II is here. This is the Package Body.

Friday, June 19, 2009

apex LDAP part I

It's finally done and working, and even in a package format for ease of use! Here is the package specification. Part II will have the package body, and Part III will tie it all together in an APEX application.

DAP Spec:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

apex and active directory and pl/sql and...

I think I may go mad.

I am on a steep learning curve these days, trying to learn Oracle PL/SQL while trying to develop applications in Apex. Part of the problem is that I have bitten off a rather complicated piece to chew on, and I have not had much luck finding others who have blazed a trail before me into this territory. I apologise for the mixed metaphors.

I still intend on publishing my final working code / solution to using AD groups to manage access to an Applications Express application. It just might be posthumous...