Sometimes when an attendee describes me some totally weird problem during a seminar, I am immediately able to answer something like “Hey this looks like a bug related to this Oracle configuration and can be influenced by xyz”.
And then people ask me “How the hell do you know all this stuff?”
Well, I haven’t been bitten by all of these bugs myself, but I have been doing something for many years, almost every day… reading my email!
Oh, and additionally I have configured Metalink to send me daily updates about new/updated notes, forum articles and… bug descriptions!
The last part is very important. Bug descriptions tell you something about new bugs found (and old bugs rediscovered) and sometimes their details tell you an interesting piece or two about Oracle internals related to them.
And if these descriptions come to your mailbox every day, you catch a detail or two every day. Of course this assumes you are interested enough learning this stuff and take the time to actually open and read the bug descriptions you see interesting enough.
And if you do this for months or years, you will slowly start putting all these details together in your brain (without even noticing it yourself). Things will start to make sense to you over time, thanks to learning a little detail here and there every day. That way you also learn from other people’s experiences and when this bug (or something similar) happens to you, you can recognize it more easily.
I’m not saying here that all you need to do is read Metalink, but keeping an eye of the current bugs + their internal explanations by support people provides icing on the cake. Note that the bug descriptions often contain interesting information which you don’t see documented elsewhere, such some function names and their meanings, undocumented x$ table information and of course new undocumented parameters (which I don’t set anywhere, but do further research on).
I’ve had the habit of reading the bug descriptions for so much time so I haven’t even remembered to mention this to anyone if people ask where to learn internals. But Dominic Brooks and Coskan Gundogar have recently written about this so I thought I should share this with my blog audience too!
You can configure this by going to Settings page in Metalink and configuring the “Headlines/Hot topics via E-Mail” setting.