Wednesday’s word is Epicaricacy, meaning to take joy in the misfortune of others. Yes, this is the (admittedly rare) English word that doesn’t exist, causing an outbreak of German in otherwise sane sentence.

It’s interesting that taking pleasure from others misfortune as a single ‘concept’; Schadenfreude, skadeglädje, leedvermaak, skadefryd, skadeglädje and vahingonilo, are all Northern European words (being German, Swedish, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish respectively). Us North Europeans seem to like little more that a good laugh at someone in pain.

Perhaps we should all be a little more Buddhist, and enjoy Muditā, the joy at another persons well being, unadulterated by self interest.

More on Epicaricacy in another post later this week, about JOINs. 🙂



Wednesday’s word is Gambrinous, meaning full of beer, allegedly named after a Flemish King who is said to have invented beer.
Use: It was difficult to determine the most gambrinous group. Oakies, ACED, or Oakies ∩ ACED. However, it was not Oakies ∩ ACED ∩ BARBIGEROUS individuals, who tend to stick to cider.


Fridays word is ultracrepidarianism: the habit of giving opinions or advice outside ones sphere of knowledge or competence.

Use: today I shall be wading through a sea of ultracrepidarianism, just like yesterday, but today I shall have a collective noun to use. And a few less opinions to give.

Doing it properly?

When giving a presentation last year about how much a DBA should do to get to the bottom of a problem; in a discussion between Martin Widlake, myself, and the audience we amusingly concluded that we probably shouldn’t be doing things quite right first time.


What do I mean by this? Well, we should be doing things right-enough. We don’t want anything to fail. We want the project you are working on to succeed. BUT, where is the mileage in doing everything right first time? NOBODY got commended by their management for implementing a really efficient IOT in the original schema design over and above a Heap. How many people will ooh and aah, and give you a really big bonus, over than nifty single table hash cluster that makes the system just Zing? Or the really, really clever statistics design. Nobody ever notices when the implementation is just right.


That said, even when you have plenty of influence over the design, spend ages getting it right, ensuring all the right bits are partitioned in the right way, the right services on the more appropriate nodes, seriously exceed the required number of transaction per seconds as they gave you a much bigger set of servers and SAN resources than you asked for, and then the Developers go and use an ORM like Hibernate and mess the whole thing up:

– Can you just change the query to work like this…. No.
– You query appears to be mixing ANSI-standard SQL with Oracle-syntax SQL. Can you please be consistent as this isn’t a good idea… No.
– You want me to write a trigger to audit when a new record has a different value in a column because you don’t know how to write a join, and you have no idea what a Windowing function is in SQL. Oh, you don’t actually understand SQL at all!

Some days it’s just not worth chewing through the straps.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow updated – you all know somebody who believes this. If you don’t, it’s probably you 🙂 :


For those of you who are unaware of Maslow

Outside Interests – not work!

So, what do you do that isn’t work. Sure, you work hard in the office. You might even do work when you get home at night on your own “lab” setup – VM’s make that so easy these days. Even an old desktop can spin up a couple of VM’s if you stick some extra memory in it. I just bought 12GB for £25, so that’s pretty cheap and easy to do.

You might have read some technical books on your commute to and from the office, or listened to technical podcasts on the way there and back if you drive.

When you stop working, or learning, or “playing” with technology, what do you do to unwind? Well, next week I have decided to drive from my home in London to Naples as part of a 100-strong banger rally. You can read more about it on the Team Monkey Wrench blog. I love cars (even this dreadful one), and it’s a pretty good adventure.

So, what do you do to relax? Jump out of a plane? Play chess against your kids? Drink yourself senseless in a bar? We all need a break from technology now and again. Go out into the world a do something fun.

Oh my God, it’s full of stars

About 1,000,000,000 of them in this amazing composite photograph of the Milky Way. Taking 10 years to make and using 2 telescopes (to get a view from North and South hemispheres) it combines the UKIDSS/GPS sky survey acquired by the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii with the VVV survey data acquired by the Vista telescope in Chile.

This zoomable image is truly magnificent; to get an idea of scale of the number of visible stars, if you count them at a rate of 1 per second it will take you well over 30 years to count them all.

Happy Counting!