Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Fixed: Oracle iSetup XML Uploading Error

May 21, 2011 Leave a comment

For the past month at work we have been experimenting with Oracle iSetup as a way to migrate Oracle R12 configurations from instance to instance.  We had been using Rapid Solutions (Rapid e-Suite) in Oracle 11i in the past, but wanted to try something quicker, more robust, and seeded with Oracle.

The iSetup module worked pretty well in our proof of concept testing.  But we ran into a problem when we started migrating our multi organization/business unit configurations. We have multiple business units because we are sharing the instance with another division at our company. Migrating configurations with iSetup brings all the ORGs and sites along with each configuration, however we only wanted our division’s configurations migrated.  To solve the problem, we started editing the exported XML before loading it into the new instance.

Editing XML is relatively time consuming and prone to error when editing in a text editor compared to a program designed to edit XML.  We tried to use the free Microsoft XML Notepad 2007, however, loading the exported files was causing iSetup to fail on upload.  I found the problem and solved it as described below.


  • Oracle iSetup module in Oracle E-Business suite R12
  • XML Documents edited by Microsoft XML Notepad 2007


  • iSetup reports error when uploading edited XML files
  • Log file as seen here:
oracle.xml.parser.v2.XMLParseException: Start of root element expected.
at oracle.xml.parser.v2.XMLError.flushErrors1(
at oracle.xml.parser.v2.NonValidatingParser.parseRootElement(
at oracle.xml.parser.v2.NonValidatingParser.parseDocument(
at oracle.xml.parser.v2.XMLParser.parse(
at oracle.apps.fnd.cp.request.Run.main(


  • Oracle XML files are saved in ASNI text encoding even though the XML header specifies UTF-8
  • Oracle iSetup expects ASNI encoded XML files contained within uploaded ZIP file
  • Microsoft XML Notepad 2007 saves XML files in UTF-8 encoding


  1. Download extraction ZIP file generated by Oracle iSetup
  2. Extract ZIP file to your computer
  3. Edit and save extracted XML file in Microsoft XML Notepad
  4. Open saved file in Notepad (Text Editor)
  5. Save As ASNI encoding
  6. Replace existing file within original ZIP file
    1. ZIP file compression levels and algorithms must reamin intact
    2. 7-ZIP supports replacing files within an existing file using drag and drop functionality
  7. Upload updated ZIP file to Oracle iSetup as a new extraction.
  8. Load extraction into source instance


It may seem like this is backwards, but from few hours of troubleshooting, this is what I concluded, and this is working for us. I may open a TAR with Oracle to get this bug fixed.  Before it is, however, this is how we are proceeding with our iSetup configurations.

Fixed: Parted Magic 6.0 USB Boot Error

My neighbor is having computer problems so I am preparing to clone his hard drive to an external disk.  I realized my version of Parted Magic is quite old, so it was time to upgrade my USB flash drive to the new version.  After downloading the new ISO from and the  UNetbootin program from as the documentation for Parted Magic instructed.  After following the directions and making my bootable USB flash drive, I got an error.  I tried searching the internet and couldn’t find a easy solution.  I finally figured out what was wrong:


A Windows XP Professional machine creating a Parted Magic USB Boot drive.


Booting from the Parted Magic 6.0 USB drive, the following error is displayed:

SYSLINUX 3.85 2010-02-20 EBIOS Copyright (C) 1994-2010 H. Peter Anvin et al
No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found!


It turns out the non-zipped ISO is corrupt.  Use the UNetbootin program to download the iso image or download the ISO zip file from Parted Magic’s website.

H&R Block Confuses Customers

January 4, 2011 5 comments

H&R Block is really frustrating me; do they want me as a customer, or not?

I started doing my tax return with H&R Block online last week.  Upon visiting the site, I clicked on the “Start Now” under the FREE edition.  As returning user, I entered my username and password and clicked log-in.  Suddenly, I was thrown into the Premium service, without warning.   Thirty minutes went by as I tried to search the FAQ, support, and rest of the internet for a way to switch back to the free edition.

Giving up, I called their support phone number.  The gentlemen I spoke to asked for my e-mail address and birth date to verify my account. He verified that I was in a  premium account, but was unable to tell me how I got to the premium section without paying or how to get back to a free account, making sure I did not have to pay later.  It sounded like he was a complete novice.  I must have spent 20 minutes on the phone with H&R Block cycling between representative confusion and hold music.

Frustrated, I asked for the gentleman’s supervisor.  He requested my Social Security Number in order to verify my account.  Why would I be asked for my Social Security Number when requesting a supervisor?  And why now, not before.   That made absolutely no sense to me.  I refused to divulge the information as it served no purpose, and I had already been verified.

I was about to be late to a Fit-Core class at my gym, so I thanked the gentlemen and hung up.

Now, a week later, I am trying once again to start working on my tax return.  I login, and see this message:

H&R Block Online 2010 Screen Capture

H&R Block Online 2010 Screen Capture

What am I supposed to do? Was this proof-read at all?

  • The explanation makes no sense to me
  • There appears to be internal-use-only jargon and/or industry acronyms within the explanation
  • What is this newsletter they are describing?
  • What are the implications, other than price, for switching?
  • Will my tax data be deleted either way?
  • There is a space before a period within the explanation

I think it’s time to file with TurboTax Free edition.


Upon publishing this post, an automated Tweet went out on twitter, and I quickly got a response from H&R Block. I responded with my phone number a and the best time to call which they acknowledged.  Promptly, at the time I specified, I got a call back from H&R Block!  Within ten minutes H&R Block had apologized and solved my problem!

I would have liked to thank H&R Block for their quick response, but it is hard to do that when I had to go through all of this just to solve a problem that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.  Furthermore:  their initial line of support should have been able to solve this just as quick!

MarketWatch: Foxconn’s troubles expose China’s woes

July 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I read an article written by John C. Dvorak posted on MarketWatch about Foxconn;  I thought it was quite interesting and worth a read.

From what friends have told me and from most reports it is “essentially a steel mill on one end and computers come out of the other end.”

Read More: Foxconn’s troubles expose China’s woes

Online Shipping; The Pain it Shouldn’t Be!

April 26, 2010 1 comment

Last Saturday I was trying to print a simple postage label for a package I wanted to ship.  All I wanted was a shipping label.  I thought it would take me five minutes at, but it turns out a pot-roast cooks in less time that it takes to print a shipping label!  After using their sites, I have come to the conclusion that the United States Postal Service (USPS) and United Parcel Service (UPS) go through very little, if any, user acceptance testing.  FedEx isn’t much better; I did get a label in 10 minutes, but their rates are significantly higher than I was willing to pay.  Here are the pains I felt while navigating though the websites of the three major United States shippers.

Read more…

Reviewing Content Before Publishing

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

While navigating my way around the Internet, I come across glaring errors all the time; calculation errors, typos, horrible formatting, etcetera.  Errors are more common that I could imagine.  These errors dilute my trust in a company’s brand and make me think twice before doing business with them.  It is so incredibly vital to review everything before publishing content to the Internet; you never know who could be looking at it.  Below are two examples.

Example 1: The Grocery Game

The Grocery Game is a service that informs their customers on how to combine coupons and promotions, at a variety of grocery stores, in order to get the best deal possible.  They distribute updates on a weekly basis to paying customers.  Here is a screen shot from an E-mail they recently sent me encouraging me to sign up.

Since when does $2 divided by 3 equal $0.55?  I would think their E-mail marketing would go through a more vigorous editorial review then their product.  If their marketing is inaccurate, how accurate is their service I would pay for? Or if this is a screen shot of the actual service, I now know that I would be paying for something that was not correct.  After seeing this, I could never trust the company.

Read more…