Blog

Translucence

A Little About Optics

According to Wikipedia, “Reflection is the change in direction of a wavefront at an interface between two different media so that the wavefront returns into the medium from which it originated”. In simple English, reflection happens when a wave hits a medium and bounces back at an angle. In the case of light, a ray hits a mirror and returns to the air from which it came. On the other hand, “Refraction is the change in direction of wave propagation due to a change in its transmission medium “. An object which allows refraction is said to be translucent, it allows light pass through it.

The Sun and The Moon

We have been taught that the moon reflects the light of the Sun. The Sun is the true source of light and the moon only appears to have light emanating from it. The moon appears to be a source of light. Some people attempt to describe our relationship with God as one between the Sun and the Moon, we being reflectors of the light emanating from God but I think there can be a more accurate description: Light passing through us.

Light Passing Through Us

Light passing through us implies that we are the first recipients of the effect of the Light before we have it directed at others. It implies that we are conditioned in a certain way, as translucent objects with respect to God’s light. It implies that we absorb some of that light before it ends up hitting another object. I think I would be more comfortable thinking about God’s light passing through me that simply bouncing off me. 

20 “according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)

Priests and Human Appetites

Earlier this week an over 800-page report was released in the United States detailing cases of child abuse bordering on pedophilia and sodomy among priests of the Catholic church. These cases were reported to number over 1000 spanning decades. The worrying part is that there are claims that the institution itself did whatever it had to to cover up these cases up to and including giving offending priests an opportunity to work somewhere else such as clerical roles in other locations or, in a certain case, in Disneyland.

Whatever we call ourselves: priests, presidents, parents, public servants and so forth, we find that our greed, perversion, hate and other features of our human condition still show up and show up so strongly and in such a pervasive manner that leaders within the institutions which are supposed to uphold the highest moral and ethical standards simply allow the humanity to prevail. It is the shameful reality of the human condition.

One reason for governance at any level is to contain the horrific tendencies of individual humans. We feel that if we could somehow curtail one another with rules and councils, we can create a better human race. Alas, it is the very same humans that make the laws, break them, modify them, ignore them, just to somehow keep satisfying the cravings of this fallen human nature. One case in point is a number of TedEx videos I saw recently advocating pedophilia as an acceptable sexual orientation. Some have accepted homosexuality and bestiality, why not pedophilia? Freedom of speech at it’s worst! We cannot escape our own selves.

You see, I believe that when there is no absolute reference point as to what is right and wrong, we can only go deeper and deeper into the quagmire of the depravity of the human condition. Without God as the absolute reference point, the possibilities of evil in our nature are endless and we will keep being less and less surprised at the unveiling of evil as the years go by. 

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:16-21

10000 Hours

Repetition can be considered the tool for deep and lasting impression. When you were in nursery school for instance, you learnt the rhyme Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and you have not forgotten it since then. Why? Because you sang it so many times it rang in your head. You recited the ‘Times Table’ several times a week now you do not need to think too hard to answer the mathematical equation (2×3)x(4+5).

There is a theory that an expert is someone that has spent a minimum of 10000 hours on a specific subject area or skill. This theory of experts surprisingly does not refer to the age of the expert but to the time spent on the subject. A child as young as two is already theoretically capable of reaching the 10000 hour mark. The key is talent and repetition.

Have you ever tried practicing the concept of repetition in more advanced academic tasks than your regular Multiplication Table? Do you realize that if you are studying mathematics in the university and your decide to solve the same quadratic equation 20 times you will discover things that will impress the technique on your brain; the very same equation.

As a literary student, if you read the same book 20 times over, at some point you will be able to tell the story without looking at the book. That is what has happened with certain religions that make it a practice for their children to memorize their scriptures at a very early age. The indoctrination effects of this practice can only be broken by the Almighty.

In the workplace, it is the same effect. The Human Resource question concerning your years of experience simply refers to how much time you have spent on a particular role. This means how many hours you have spent doing a set of similar tasks. Generally, people gain experience involuntarily but the effects of experience gained over years on a particular skill can be deliberately reproduced by focusing on that task not for years, but for hours. 10000 hours.

Omagh, 20 Years Ago

This morning I listened to the account of an aging man who lost his  21-year-old son on the Omagh bombing of 1998. Omagh is a town in Northern Ireland, a little of 100km west of Belfast, known for it’s interesting tourist attractions typically consisting of rich Irish heritage. The man I listened to this morning was heavily opinionated about the entire saga with thoughts such as why the Real Irish Republican Army chose 3:00 PM on a Saturday afternoon as a good day to make a political statement targeted at commercial damage. This result of this intent was 29 deaths and over 200 injured people. Commercial intents turned out to be fatal.

As the news spreads today, I cannot help but wonder at how the perpetrators of this and similar attacks feel decades after the impact of their actions are being talked about. I cannot help but wonder how their children and grand children manage to fit into society. For example, who are Hitler’s descendants? Where are they now and what are they up to? How will descendants of the leaders of ISIS live in the future Arab Peninsula when the history their ancestors’ deeds are repeated in history classes? I guess it should not be too difficult because the descendants of Slave Traders are right here with us and everyone is happy living together.

The Omagh bombing killed a large number of people from a variety of backgrounds, mostly women and children shopping for clothing. The subject of the long standing conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland were probably not affected by this dastardly act and today, most people have little or no interests in those interests that once got people killed: slavery, religion, caste systems and the likes of them. Such vanity. The key point all this terrorist ranting is about is the need to determine the kind of legacy we want to leave, what we really want to live for, what is really important to fight about at whatever scale we find ourselves involved in life.

Vision: Learning from Musk

A Book About Elon Musk

I recently read a book about Elon Musk written by a certain Andrew Knight. I was strongly impressed and inspired by Musk’s sense of vision and purpose. I could very well summarize Elon Musk’s life vision as “Sustainability and the survival of the human race”. Everything he is said to have accomplished borders on ensuring we are using renewable sources of energy, protecting the human race or making plans for where we are going to live next (which planet). His plans are always bold, always all-inclusive, always in millions or billions of dollars. Andrew Knight kept emphasizing that Elon Musk is not so much much driven by the quest for profit yet because he is delivering value, some way or the other is is making so much more profit that many people out there who are fighting tooth and nail to make as much money as they can.

Vision: A Leader’s Mark

I think that one of the  key characteristics of a sound leader is vision. Vision does not always mean having a vision statement, people see clearly your direction in life if you have one and are clearly following one. People willingly follow a leader whose direction or vision is clear. People are more interested in being part of something grand than simply pursuing money. Do not get me wrong, people will do what they need to do for money but what they really want to do is something that gives their lives meaning.

Vision Vs. Money

Many people would become elated at the promise of a million dollars if they were to play some lottery or sow some seed in churchh but if we probe deeply, we find that many people who talk about a million dollars have no idea what to do with a million dollars if it is suddenly made available to them. Having a lot of money may not be useful if a person has no vision, or if a person does not have a vision that matches the money.

Peter & Paul: Open Rebuke

“You Hypocrite!” Galatians 2:1-16

Paul the Apostle describes in Galatians 2 a certain occasion when he had to rebuke Peter, one of the first apostles the Lord Jesus called in public. It is very important to understand the background of these two apostles. Peter was called by the Lord Jesus quite early in His ministry, Peter spent three and half years of his life following Jesus and even identified Jesus as the Messiah long before Paul even accepted the Lord. Paul had persecuted Christians for years before he encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians. Yet, he had the effrontery to rebuke Apostle Peter? What?

“You Apostle!” II Peter 3:14-16

On the other hand, in Peter’s second letter to the church, had acknowledged Paul as a genuine apostle with profound revelation in the Gospel and a God-sent message for the Gentiles. I find this very interesting. This means that Peter had accepted Paul’s public rebuke in good fate and did not feel superior to Paul. He did not feel that Paul had insulted him or his “anointing”. He did not stop speaking to Paul and he did not ask his own disciples to stop listening to Paul because Paul had rebuked him openly. He must have realised that Paul had told him the truth.

Dear Believer,

It is very important to pick up the lessons from the relationship between Peter and Paul highlighted in this piece. Neither felt superior to the other, both felt accountable to God and to each other (as well as other believers). I believe that every christian who really wants to please God should surround himself or herself with others who can call him or her to order when the flesh shows up. If everyone in your circles thinks you are the “Only Wise Most High”, you are in trouble. be very deliberate in you effort to make yourself open to criticism, rebuke and correction (the Word of God is a tool for this) especially in this day and age where tiles and positions are more important to most believers that accountability to God. Your sycophants may revere you but “God is no respecter of persons”

Untrusted Domain

Just yesterday I got a call from a colleague about his inability to connect to a SQL Server 2016 instance from the application interface. The error being returned was “Test failed. Login failed. The login is from an untrusted domain and cannot be used with Windows Authentication”

In my past experience this error would happen under one of the following scenarios:

  1. The client machine is not joined to the same Active Directory Domain as the database server

  2. The user is trying to use an SQL Login for an instance configured for Windows Auth ONLY

  3. There is a mismatch between the the supported NTLM version on the client and the database computers. (See Server Manager > Tools Local Security Policy > Security Options > Network Security: LAN Manager Authentication Level)

In this particular case everything seemed OK. The problem simply went away when the password for the account being used to connect was reset. Any ideas on the cause are welcome.

REF:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/security-policy-settings/network-security-lan-manager-authentication-level

 

Doing Nothing

In the fast-paced world of the 21st century in which we find ourselves, there is the temptation to believe that one is lagging behind if one is not consistently doing something, going somewhere, expending some energy in some way. This ideology has consumed us so much that we fail to take stock at intervals to examine whether our never-ending series of activities are actually yielding the desired results. It is almost like the case of a child in a funny video who began running in the opposite direction with all his might as soon as the baton was passed to him in a relay race. He spent a lot of energy losing the race.

“The Sabbath was made for man…”. The concept of the Sabbath beyond being conceived as an item in the Law of Moses should be seen as an idea of God, teaching us to spend certain periods in the cycles of our lives simply doing NOTHING. Doing nothing for a short period can prepare us for a much more meaningful course of action the next time we do step out and take action. This week, find time to do simply NOTHING. It will be worth the effort.

Oracle | Virtual Circuit Waits

SCENARIO

Database BRANCH is running at a remote site and communicates with Database HOST and HOSTDR (Two-Node Oracle RACs) via a database link. The TNS entry was recently change to a format intended to ensure that when a Dataguard Switch is performance between HOST and HOSTDR, it would not be necessary to update the TNS entry on BRANCH (Connect Time Failover)

HOSTDB =
(DESCRIPTION =
(ADDRESS_LIST =
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = <SCAN IP of LIVE SITE>)(PORT = 1521))
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = <SCAN IP of DR SITE>)(PORT = 1521))
(LOAD_BALANCE = yes)
)
(CONNECT_DATA =
(SERVICE_NAME = SRVHOST)
)
)

PROBLEM

Following the change we found where was an abundance of Virtual Circuit Waits on the BRANCH database. Sessions would wait up to 30 seconds on this wait event and user experience was poor. An AWR difference report showed clearly that this problem was related to the change.

RESOLUTION

After much troubleshooting, we used the VIPs of the HOST and HOSTDR clusters respectively rather than the SCAN IPs. Virtual Circuit Waits dissappeared.

HOSTDB =
(DESCRIPTION =
(ADDRESS_LIST =
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = <VIP of LIVE SITE>)(PORT = 1521))
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = <VIP of DR SITE>)(PORT = 1521))
(LOAD_BALANCE = yes)
)
(CONNECT_DATA =
(SERVICE_NAME = SRVHOST)
)
)

REFERENCES

High Virtual Circuit Wait in Database (Doc ID 1225943.1)

Troubleshooting: Virtual Circuit Waits (Doc ID 1415999.1)

Reporting Services | Unable to Establish Connection to the Database Engine

 

So we were trying to create a data source configured on Reporting Services 2016.

On entering the credentials we found that we kept getting the error below.

On doing a trace using SQL Profiler, we discovered the authentication attempt was not getting to the database engine. It so happened that we need to add the desired principal as a privileged user on the OS of the server hosting reporting services.