SQL Expert is number one again

SQL Expert book at number one on Amazon's Orace booklist

Some friends have drawn my attention to the fact that my 2009 book OCA Oracle Database SQL Certified Expert Exam Guide (Exam 1Z0-047) has been back at number one in Amazon’s “Oracle” books list.

I’ve observed that Amazon’s best-seller lists appear to be updated as often as hourly.  So it might be at number one as I type this, but elsewhere – such as 4th or 7th – later in the day.  This latest book of mine has been bouncing around in the top 10 of all Oracle books for a few months now.  Every now and then it will show up as number one, perhaps about once every few days in my observation.  Now – if I had privileges to query Amazon’s database, I could produce an accurate and comprehensive report.  If you’re a reader of my book, you could create such a query too!

On the book’s main page, Amazon displays a “Best Seller!” flag when it hits number one, with a link to the list.

I’m sure the interest in the book is largely driven by the exam itself, of course, which is a fantastic professional credential for anyone to get.  When you can add a blurb to your resume with the keywords “Oracle” and “expert” together, you’re doing treat.  That being said, I’ve also received plenty of email from readers who are just honing their skills and filling in gaps in their knowledge, with or without plans to take the exam.  The book is uniquely useful for that as well.

So – a huge “thank you” to all my readers!  You’re the reason this is all happening, and I thank you.

Majestic at Ritchie Coliseum, circa 1979? 1980?

One of the best experiences in my life were the four years I had the privilege to be a part of Majestic, an established rock band in the Washington, DC music scene in the late 1970’s.  In 1978 I got a phone call from Jon Naugle who said the group had an opening for a rhythm guitarist and that my guitar instructor Tom Kreuzberg had recommended me to them.  I had been with another band that had just dissolved, so I jumped at the chance to join Majestic, consisting at the time of Jon on lead guitar, Billy Slezak on lead vocals and bass, and John Davis on drums, the original founding members.  We played throughout the DC / Baltimore area, and a little at various other locations, such as Manhattan.  I was the youngest guy in the group by two years, and I always appreciated the patience each of these guys had with me, and the leadership they all exhibited in a variety of ways.   I learned a lot from them about music, business, and life in general, this was a quality group of guys and I was forever changed for the better because of my time with them.   And I had a great time – it was a lot of work, but we laughed a lot and it was a total blast.

And the group grew – we added Steve Hoffman later on keyboard and vocals.  We added an excellent sound man named Mike Collins who introduced me to the entire New Wave music movement before I know of anyone else who was into it, and we added a great road crew of Jeffrey Moran and Jimmy McGuire.  Eventually Dexter Dunn joined us when Jon moved on to other things.  We eventually broke up in 1983.

This video is from the earlier years I was with them. It’s a cover we did of Jackson Browne’s “Redneck Friend”, the second song in a show at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum in College Park, Maryland.  It’s from an earlier time; a year or two later we were dramatically more energetic on stage, in my humble opinion.  But I still love this video.

One interesting tidbit:  Tom Kreuzberg actually filmed this show, he worked the camera and he is the only reason I have this recording.  We didn’t ask him to do it, he actually phoned me and asked if it would be OK if he came to one of our shows and filmed it, and I said uh – well yeah, duh, of course.  I really don’t have much in the way of video recordings of the band, so I cherish this particular recording, the full video is about two hours or more.  I’m eternally grateful to Tom for this.  (Earlier in this blog I wrote about Tom’s recent passing.)

P.S. It’s worth noting that about a year or two after this show, I got a chance to see another young band perform at the same place – Ritchie Coliseum.  That was a rock band named U2.  They were on their “War” tour and I got a chance to hang out with The Edge after the show for about 20 minutes, we had a fascinating conversation.  He signed my ticket that, so I have proof!  U2 went on to become a bit more well known that Majestic.  We could’ve done the same thing, we just chose not too.  Yeah, that’s it.

King of the Nerds is reaching out to MENSA

I happen to be a member of MENSA, and recently, we Mensans received a casting call of all things, for a TV show called “King of the Nerds” from Turner Broadcasting Network.  TBS sent a flyer through the organization to members asking members to “showcase your skills and personality for a chance to win $100,000 … casting intellectual and competitive men and women. Whether you’re passionate in academics, science, robotics, fandoms, cos-play, comics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, sci-fi or anime … Apply Today!”

So there you go! Stay tuned for King of the Nerds, could be interesting.

New app reads your mind

A new application for the cutting edge Google Glass platform will read your mind.  The app can sense when your brain waves indicate you’re focusing on an image.  When you focus, the app will snap a picture of whatever you’re looking at through the eye glasses and upload the image to Twitter.

It’s called MindRDR and TechCrunch wrote about it here.  To read your brainwaves, it uses a third party device called the Neurosky EEG biosensor, which integrates with your eye glasses.

What do you think?  Would you use it?

Frank Russo and the MARS 4Tet

Legendary drummer Frank Russo and the MARS 4Tet will perform a rare and unusual free concert this Thursday, July 10, 2014, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Whitmore Park at Calvert and Clay streets in Uptown Annapolis, MD. Also appearing will be special guest Amy Shook. Feel free to bring a chair, a blanket, and a cooler, and get more info at (410) 295-6691.

Spider-Man – “Peter Palmer”

Don’t ask me why I was reading The Amazing Spider-Man issue # 1 last week, but I discovered that in that first historic issue, published in 1963, there is a classic mistake in which Spider-Man’s alter ego Peter Parker is incorrectly referred to as “Peter Palmer“.   This isn’t just a typo, it’s the way he’s referred to multiple times in the second full story of that now-legendary first issue.

This first issue of Spider-Man is not the first-ever published comic book about Spider-Man, it’s the second.   The first comic book featuring Spider-Man was Amazing Fantasy # 15, the final issue of that series, and it introduced the character for the first time.  Marvel was the publisher, and they chose to move the next appearance of the new character to a book devoted to just Spider-Man, that’s issue # 1.

Furthermore, issue # 1 features two separate stories about Spider-Man.  The first story refers to “Peter Parker” several times, that’s the name of the teenager who became Spider-Man, and that’s the name that everyone who follows the series or has seen the movies recognizes.  It’s the second story in that issue where you find Spider-Man’s alter ego referred to as “Peter Palmer”.

As a kid, I grew up reading Spider-Man comic books.  My first issue I read was issue #50, given to me by a neighbor, and I got hooked, and just as the name suggested, it was amazing!  The “Peter Parker” character has become iconic to many of the millions of fans the line developed over the years.

So it was a surprise to me last week to read about “Peter Palmer” in the second story of The Amazing Spider-Man issue #1.

Am I the only one who missed this up until now?  After all these years I have never once seen any reference to this mistake, but it’s unquestionably there.