Thursday, June 12, 2014

Oracle on Windows, troubleshooting suggestions

1.  Check the status of the Oracle services.  Are they started?

2.  From a command prompt, sqlplus / as sysdba, then enter startup.  Are there error messages?

3.  In the last instance I had to troubleshoot, the client had entered non-functional values into the Oracle config.  This meant the spfile was toast.  To recover from this:

  • sqlplus / as sysdba
  • create pfile='c:\temp\initorcl.ora' from spfile;
  • exit
  • Use notepad or your preferred text editor and clean up the bad values in the pfile you just created.  Save the file.
  • sqlplus / as sysdba
  • startup pfile='c:\temp\initorcl.ora'
  • create spfile from pfile='c:\temp\initorcl.ora';
  • shutdown immediate
  • startup
4.  To restart your database without rebooting the server, you have several options.
  • Restart the Oracle service.  You only need to restart the one for the instance.  Assuming your SID is named orcl, you just need to restart the OracleServiceORCL.
  • My preferred way is to do this from the command prompt.  It's a lot easier to catch any problems this way.
    • sqlplus / as sysdba
    • shutdown immediate;
    • startup;
5.  I also had a client with listener issues.  Again, the command prompt is your friend.
  • lsnrctl status - shows the status of the listener.
  • lsnrctl services - shows what services the listener knows about.
  • lsnrctl stop - yep, stops it.
  • lsnrctl start - you guessed it, starts it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Content Filtering with OpenDNS

I recently upgraded our home wi-fi connection.  The old one tended to overheat and simply stop working.  As part of the new router installation, it asked me if I wanted to enable parental controls.  I'm all for that, so I answered yes.  And this led me to learn about  This has been awesome, and has allowed me to have tighter controls at home.  Is it fool proof?  Well, of course not.  But it certainly helps keep the filth down and helps me protect my family.

I found a great article on the web about OpenDNS (  He really does a great job of explaining how it works and what it can provide.

To add to what Mr. Deem wrote, I'd add the following warning / suggestions.

  1. Any smart phone user can bypass these controls by using the cellular network.
  2. If the smart phone has the ability to be a wi-fi hotspot, then this can allow other devices, such as laptops, tablets and game consoles, to also bypass the controls.
  3. Social networking sites, in particular Twitter and Vine, can also let filth in.
  4. Poor password management can allow the controls to be turned off.
  5. A careless neighbor with a non secure wi-fi broadcasting can also be used to bypass your filters.
  6. Email is often used for the sharing of files.
  7. File sharing sites are not only sources of objectionable material, but can also be used to distribute illegal software.
  8. Don't forget most modern game consoles, TVs and DVD players can access the internet
Bottom line?  As society continues to degrade around us, the last and best line of defense is an open communication between all family members.  It's not only acceptable, but good practice, to simply take any device in the home, at any time, and audit what it has been doing.  It is our duty to talk to each other, to protect each other and to shield each other.  Have strategies for what do when, not if, something objectionable worms its way into your home.  It will happen.  But instead of teaching our family to feel ashamed, to feel defeated or to feel like they have done something wrong, teach them to immediately bring up what happened.  You can learn from these experiences and further fortify your home.  If a website comes up that you find questionable, you can block it yourself!  You can inform OpenDNS, and they can inspect it.  You can talk about the circumstances that brought it up.  Was it during a web search?  Continue to learn and to fortify!  Keep the dialog open!