It’s Tuesday morning, and later today delegates will be starting to arrive in Brighton for the 5th Annual Rittman Mead BI Forum, running again at the Hotel Seattle down at Brighton Marina. Around seventy of Europe’s most experienced OBIEE, ODI and Essbase developers will be getting together to discuss techniques, share tips and take part in sessions led by some of the OBIEE world’s best speakers, all in our home town of Brighton. We’re also very pleased to be joined by several of the OBIEE and ODI product team members, as well as our special guest speaker, Toby Potter from Datasift. In this posting I’ll be setting out the detailed agenda for the three days, and don’t forget places are still (just) available for the Atlanta event, running the week after at the Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center.
Registration for the Brighton BI Forum officially opens at 5pm on Wednesday evening, but before that we’re running an optional one-day Oracle Data Integration Masterclass at the hotel venue led by myself, Stewart Bryson and Michael Rainey. The masterclass will start at 10am and go through until about 4.30pm, with the following estimated timings:
Day 1 : Optional Oracle Data Integration Masterclass, followed by Registration, Drinks and Keynote/Meal
10.00 – 11.00 : Welcome, and Introduction to Oracle Data Integrator 11g (Stewart Bryson)
11.00 – 11.15 : Morning Coffee
11.15 – 11.45 : ODI and the Oracle Reference Architecture for Information Management (Stewart Bryson)
11.45 – 12.45 : ODI and GoldenGate – A Perfect Match… (Michael Rainey)
12.45 – 13.30 : Lunch
13.30 – 14.30 : ODI and Hadoop, MapReduce and Big Data Sources (Mark Rittman)
14.30 – 15.30 : The Three R’s of ODI Fault Tolerance : Resuming, Restarting and Restoring (Stewart Bryson)
15.30 – 16.30 : Scripting and Automating ODI using Groovy and the ODI SDK (Michael Rainey)
Registration will then open at 5pm (17.00), with a drinks reception in the hotel bar between 6pm and 7pm (18.00 – 19.00), followed by the Oracle keynote and opening night meal in the hotel restaurant.
The main conference then opens at 8.45am on the Thursday morning, with the agenda for the first day looking like this:
Day 2 : Main Conference Sessions, Guest Speaker and Gala Meal
08.45 – 09.00 : Opening Remarks Mark Rittman, Rittman Mead
09.00 – 10.00 : “OBIEE SampleApp 184.108.40.206 functional highlights” (Philippe Lions, Oracle Corporation)
10.00 – 10.30 : Morning Coffee
10.30 – 11.30 : “OBI Performance Tuning – Real Customer Success Stories” (Antony Heljula, Peak Indicators Ltd)
11.30 – 12.30 : “Secrets of OBIEE implementation at LGI” (Marco Klaassens, Liberty Global)
12.30 – 13.15 : Lunch
13.15 – 13.30 : TED Session 1: ”Why I want to be working with Business Intelligence in 5 years time” (Jon Mead, Rittman Mead)
13.30 – 13.45 : TED Session 2 : “HA, DR, CFC, WTF?” (Mike Durran, Oracle Corporation)
13.45 – 14.00 : TED Session 3 : “Incrementally loading Exalytics using Notepad” (Antony Heljula, Peak Indicators Ltd)
14.15 – 15.15 : “Oracle Data Integrator 11g Best Practices. Busting your performance, deployment, and scheduling headaches.” (Uli Bethke/Maciek Kocon, Independent)
15.15 – 15.45 : Afternoon Tea/Coffee/Beers
15.45 – 16.45 : “New Developments in BI Multi-tenancy and Cloud” (Adam Bloom, Oracle Corporation)
After the first day’s presentations we’ll take a short break, and then convene again back in the conference room for our special guest speaker session, this year being provided by Toby Potter from Datasift, who’ll talk to us about social media and how it can be used within BI and analytic applications. Then, we’ll be picked-up by coach from outside the Hotel Seattle and taken to the venue for our gala meal, The Ginger Pig pub and restaurant in Hove, just down the road from where Jon and I live (though don’t all expect to come back afterwards, whatever Borkur and Ragnar tell you when you leave the pub.)
18:00 – 18.45 Guest Keynote Toby Potter, Datasift – “Social Data and Business Intelligence”
19:00 – 19.30 Depart for Restaurant
20:00 – 22:00 Gala Meal : The Ginger Pig, Hove
Don’t go too crazy on Thursday evening though, as we’re starting again early on Friday with sessions starting at 9am, going through until around 4.45 when we’ll close. Here’s Friday’s agenda:
Day 3 : Main Conference Sessions, and Close
9.00 – 10.00 : “The magic of aggregates” (Michael Wilcke, sumIT AG)
10.00 – 10.30 : Morning Coffee
10.30 – 11.30 : “Update on BI Metadata Modeler and Metadata Architecture” (Philippe Lions, Oracle)
11.30 – 12.30 : “Integrating Oracle BI, BPM and BAM 11g: The complete cycle of information” (Edelweiss Kammermann, Awen Consulting)
12.30 – 13.15 : Lunch
13.15 – 14.15 : Debate “Big Data – Hype, or the Future or Oracle BI/DW?”
14.15 – 15.15 : “Endeca – Looking beyond the general demos” (Adam Seed, Rittman Mead)
15.15 – 15.30 : Afternoon Tea/Coffee/Beers
15.30 – 16.30 : “Virtualizing Exalytics” (Mike Durran, Oracle Corporation)
16.30 – 16.45 : Closing Remarks (Mark Rittman)
You’ll notice we’ve brought back the popular “debate” section this year, with this year’s topic being “Big Data – Hype, or the Future of BI/DW?”. I’ll be looking for volunteers to argue the case for either of the two sides in the debate, so if you’ve got a view on whether big data is going to be the salvation of BI, whether it’ll turn us in to the COBOL programmers of the future, or whether its just a load of hot air (or you just like having an argument), let me know when you arrive and we’ll pull the debating teams together.
Other than that – have a safe journey over, bring something warm and waterproof as the weather is typically England in May, and see at least some of you in Brighton today and tomorrow!
Author, she is CTO and co-founder of Piction, an Oracle PL/SQL based app that allows for the delivery of Images on the internet. Marcelle has been working in the IT industry for 20 years. In this time she has presented over 40 papers in Australia and the United States. Marcelle is both a DBA and Developer and has had experience using Oracle on MVS, VMS, Unix and Windows. She has worked on ultra-small databases to multi-terabyte sized ones. Marcelle has been using Oracle Multimedia since Oracle8, and has been using Oracle as a DBA and Developer since Oracle4. She also specialises in PL/SQL, Java, Gateways, Very Large Databases, Security and Database tuning. Her current focus is on Digital Imaging, Audio, Video, Spatial and all other types of binary object.As author wrote in a book , the aim of this book is to try and give a basic understanding to a lot of concepts involving unstructured data. Particular focus is given to multimedia (smart media or rich media). So, readers will get idea about Unstructured Data, Digital Objects, and many things. Anyway, if you are interested in increasing your knowledge and understanding more for multimedia, how to manage unstructured data and why you should use Oracle Database with unstructured data. This book fits for you, you are supposed to read it.
This book has 10 chapters. You will learn.
- Discover a whole new world beyond relational databases
- Understand what is involved in selling a digital image
- Learn about the different types of multimedia warehouses
- Uncover the truth behind searching for digital objects
- Understand the complete picture for tuning an Oracle database with multimedia
- Get to grips with all the issues in setting up a digital asset e-commerce system
- Understand what multimedia and unstructured data really is
- Realise how the Oracle database can work with multimedia
- Get to grips with digital image processing and transformation techniques
- Expand your database knowledge to include complex data
- Add credibility to your resume by adopting this new and visually exciting technological direction
Note: Appendix E, Loading and Reading, is not present in the book but is available for download at the following link: http://www.packtpub.com/sites/default/files/downloads/AppendixE_loading_and_reading.pdf
What do I think? Easy to read and clearly about digital data. Give good idea to manage unstructured data, show idea why there uses Oracle Database and learn from good examples. This book will give benefit for some people who are interested in managing multimedia and Unstructured data in the Oracle Database or increasing knowledge about Data Digital. This book covers about database tuning as well. This chapter helps DBAs learn new concepts, skills, and techniques that are required to manage very large multimedia databases. You also get idea to understand the limitations of oracle database with unstructured data.Written By: Surachart Opun http://surachartopun.com
What they didn't know (cause apparently it hasn't been communicated well) is that Hyperion 11.1.1.x support drops from Premier Support to Sustaining Support in July of 2013 (only two months from the time I'm writing this). For anyone who doesn't know, Sustaining Support is equivalent to life support. While Oracle's Lifetime Support Policy does say that you can stay on versions of Oracle's products indefinitely, they don't agree to fully support them.
At the Premier Support level (the one all products start on), you get all the support you'd expect. When you call in, the support people help you find the bug, they patch it in the next release, you install it, and life goes on happily. Also, as new versions of supporting products come out like new versions of Office, Windows, or your web browser, Premier Support will make sure the Oracle products work with these new versions.
Extended Support (if offered at all for your Oracle product) comes about 5 years after a product is released. At this point, Oracle will still let you do all the Premier Support things, they'll just charge you a premium for doing so. Extended Support will not be offered on Hyperion 11.1.1.x (there aren't enough customers to warrant it).
Sustaining Support (AKA "life support") allows you to call in to ask for support. Oracle will help you with questions, look up your problems in their knowledgebase, and help you troubleshoot. They won't patch anything, make versions available that are compatible with new releases of Windows, Office, etc., and in general do anything beyond the bare minimum required. From Oracle's Lifetime Support Policy document from March 2013, here's what Sustaining Support doesn't do:
- New updates, fixes, security alerts, data fixes, and critical patch updates
- New tax, legal, and regulatory updates
- New upgrade scripts
- Certification with new third-party products/versions
- Certification with new Oracle products
If you want to read the sunset dates (the dates they drop to Sustaining Support) for all the current releases, visit Oracle.com for the current Lifetime Support Policy. Here's the one from March 2013 (scroll to page 22) for the Hyperion products:
Live, Learn and Share is the signature from a friend that I used to work with – Chau Vu
Today, I learned something new because I was shared something by a colleague – Jing Han
If you know part of filename for what you are looking for but don’t know where it resides, then you can use locate to find it.
$ uname -an Linux lax.localdomain 2.6.39-200.24.1.el6uek.x86_64 #1 SMP Sat Jun 23 02:39:07 EDT 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux [oracle@lax:db01]/home/oracle $ ll /u01/app/oracle/diag/rdbms/lax_db01/db01/trace/alert_db01.log -rw-r----- 1 oracle oinstall 29046 May 6 20:14 /u01/app/oracle/diag/rdbms/lax_db01/db01/trace/alert_db01.log [oracle@lax:db01]/home/oracle $ locate alert_db01.log /u01/app/oracle/diag/rdbms/lax_db01/db01/trace/alert_db01.log [oracle@lax:db01]/home/oracle $ locate alert /home/oracle/rda/modules/DBalert.def /home/oracle/rda/modules/TSTalert.cfg /home/oracle/rda/modules/TSTalert.def /u01/app/oracle/diag/rdbms/lax_db01/db01/alert /u01/app/oracle/diag/rdbms/lax_db01/db01/alert/log.xml /u01/app/oracle/diag/rdbms/lax_db01/db01/trace/alert_db01.log /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/apex/images/alert.gif /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/apex/images/alert_error.gif /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/apex/images/alert_info.gif /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/apex/images/alert_warning.gif /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/apex/images/htmldb/icons/alert_warning.gif /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/ecm/patch/cpf/remedies_alerts.jspf /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/ecm/patch/cpf/lov/alertLov.jsp /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/ip/render/elem/alertsParam.jsp /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/ip/render/elem/webapps/summary/alertParam.jsp /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/monitoring/alertAcknowledgeConfirm.jsp /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/monitoring/alertClearConfirm.uix /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/monitoring/alertDetails.uix /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/monitoring/em2go/alertDetails.uix /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert/alert_help.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert/alert_help_ja.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_de.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_es.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_fr.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_it.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_ja.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_ko.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_pt_BR.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_zh_CN.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_zh_TW.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/sdk/alertsInclude.jsp /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/sdk/em2go/alertsInclude.jsp /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/sdk/em2go/webappalertsInclude.jsp /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/sdk/em2go/webapprelatedalertsInclude.jsp /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/j2ee/OC4J_EM/applications/em/em/target/groups/alerts.jsp /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/database/instance/alertlog /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/database/instance/alertlog/archivepurge /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/database/instance/alertlog/archivepurge/netUtil.js /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/database/monitoring/alertLogContent.uix /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/database/monitoring/alertLogEntries.uix /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/monitoring/alertClearConfirm.uix /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/monitoring/alertDetails.uix /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert/alert_help.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert/alert_help_ja.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_de.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_es.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_fr.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_it.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_ja.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_ko.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_pt_BR.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_zh_CN.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/oc4j/j2ee/oc4j_applications/applications/em/em/online_help/alert_cs/alert_cs_help_zh_TW.jar /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/owb/wf/demo/wfalertb.sql /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/owb/wf/demo/wfalertd.sql /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/owb/wf/demo/wfalerts.sql /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/owb/wf/java/oracle/apps/fnd/wf/icons/alert.gif /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/sysman/admin/emdrep/sql/core/10.2.0.4/severity/alert_schema_upgrade.sql /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/sysman/admin/scripts/alertlog.pl /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/sysman/admin/scripts/alertlogAdr.pl /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/sysman/admin/scripts/alertlogAdrViewer.pl /u01/app/oracle/product/18.104.22.168/db_1/sysman/admin/scripts/alertlogAdr_util.pl /u01/app/oracle/product/22.214.171.124/db_1/sysman/admin/scripts/alertlogViewer.pl /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/db_1/sysman/admin/scripts/alertlog_find.pl /u01/app/oracle/product/188.8.131.52/db_1/sysman/admin/scripts/alertlog_util.pl /u01/app/oracle/product/184.108.40.206/db_1/sysman/admin/scripts/archivealertlog.pl /u01/app/oracle/product/220.127.116.11/db_1/sysman/admin/scripts/purgealertlog.pl /usr/share/icons/gnome/16x16/status/weather-severe-alert.png /usr/share/icons/gnome/22x22/status/weather-severe-alert.png /usr/share/icons/gnome/24x24/status/weather-severe-alert.png /usr/share/icons/gnome/32x32/status/weather-severe-alert.png /usr/share/icons/gnome/scalable/status/weather-severe-alert.svg /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/bark.ogg /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/drip.ogg /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/glass.ogg /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/sonar.ogg [oracle@lax:db01]/home/oracle $
Go Live, Learn and Share
OpenERP release 7.0, which just came out, shows some real advantages in terms of accessibility. By refining the website, OpenERP wants to prove that the new release is not merely an update but a new product with a new mind-set.
The new features
Indeed, the ERP’s web interface is now purified and simplified to match the fashions. Today’s user interfaces are intended to be as simple and as designed as possible. The new web interface displays only the needed information, it loads fast, it navigates fast and it only encompasses the modules that you have chosen. If you want a new functionality, you just have to install the right module by pressing one button.
OpenERP was built as a container and is extensible thanks to the modules. It now states this desire by providing a real Apps container. Modules are now considered as applications that you can plug to your ERP to extend its behaviour and functionalities. Some new applications are emerging such as Social Network, which facilitates the internal communications by providing a messaging tool for chatting and allowing user authentication thanks to Google and Facebook accounts.
But unlike these questionable utility applications, some of them can become business critical such as the redesigned Point of Sale module that provides a new useful interface. A lot of partner projects are emerging around this feature; I guess this is the most wanted module for this release.
It is meant to facilitate and speed up business processes. In the same registry, the contract management has been enhanced to facilitate usage and to improve functionalities and possibilities:
- Manage the validity of the contract (duration, maximum number of hour/tickets, terms and conditions)
- Handle the invoicing spread in time (fixed price, on time/materials basis, invoice by phases)
- Cover the contract’s price (price by hour by user, conditions according to quantities)
- Forecast of invoices, define budgets and analyse costs and revenues
- Link contracts to analytic accounts (costs and revenues) and projects (manage related tasks, timesheets or issues)
- Follow up (once a week, alerts for contracts renewals are sent automatically to a salesperson with the indication of what to do for each contract)
Some other interesting applications are explained in the release note available on the website.
Migrating to the new release
As told before, the new release is not just a minor update - a lot of things have changed: from the user interface point of view and from developers point of view.
First, the traditional web server is merged to the main server; you no longer have two servers to start - and that’s good news.
Secondly, the internal model is changing. For example partners are now considered as contacts. And users have a contact profile created automatically. In addition, internal objects may change (such as osv.osv becoming osv.Model) and behaviour too (such as the need to store a calculated field if you want it to be shown in a graph).
So the migration of a module from version 6.x to 7.0 might be difficult; as such OpenERP proposes to handle your migration for fees, but note that an audit is made to ensure the migration is possible.
The support on version 6.x is coming to the end, obliging companies to migrate. OpenERP wants to show that the new release is a new departure and we are excited to work with this kind of software. But I hope new major updates will not come too fast since we can’t rebuild modules every month!
This way, OpenERP shows that they want to provide a stable and professional open source ERP to make it accessible for companies with a small infrastructure and to provide an alternative to huge, abstract and costly ERPs.
This blog has been around for six years, and given how varied and banal a lot of what I write is, I’m stunned it’s lasted that long.
While at Collaborate in April, John (@jpiwowar) mentioned something about the blog that resonated with me. He said he appreciated that I replied to his comments. That struck me as a bit odd, because from my perspective, I’m glad anyone reads at all, and comments are gravy.
Plus, if you take the time to comment, I should take the time to reply, even if the comments are negative. Actually, those can be fun.
John was attempting to elaborate on a nice comment from Pythian’s head honcho, Paul Vallée (@paulvallee) about this space and its community. Community is a funny word, especially when comparing this little space to an entity as large as Pythian, but over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you IRL, which, I suppose makes us a community.
Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting. As long as you do those things, I’ll probably keep writing.
And if we ever happen to occupy the same meatspace, say hi to me.
As always, find the comments, and I’ll reply.
Edit: I forgot to thank all you silent readers, who read, but don’t comment. I’ve met a few of you IRL too, always a pleasure, and no worries, I know you’re out there.Possibly Related Posts:
- Now with Video Comments
- I’m Smart, I Don’t Read or Write Anymore
- Are Blog Comments Obsolete?
- Reply-All RIFF’ed
- Don’t Miss the Blogger Meetup at OpenWorld
Collaborate brought Fishbowl Solutions to Denver, Colorado this year. Overall, it was another well-coordinated and well-attended event. Special kudos go to Al Hoof and Dave Chaffee of the WebCenter SIG for IOUG (Independent Oracle Users Group). They spend a lot of time scheduling the WebCenter sessions, scanning the attendees who go to those sessions, and providing a friendly face each morning. Thanks again guys.
Here are some themes and hot topics that I picked up on this year. Some of these were discussed last year as well, but based on session attendance and booth traffic this year, these topics seemed to stand out even more and attendees dug deeper into benefits and ROI.
User Experience – Portals and Intranets
Some customers that deployed the initial versions of WebCenter Portal 11g struggled to roll it out on a large scale. Additionally, user feedback was pretty negative. Overall performance was poor and usability was marginal. Since those initial versions or patch sets, specifically PS2 and PS3, WebCenter Portal has become much more stable and usable. Customers have seen this as well, and they are now looking to evolve their initial deployments and create that next-generation intranet or portal.
One of the key considerations moving forward though is user experience. They want their portals and intranets to provide the flash or sizzle that make them inviting, but they also want the navigation to be intuitive and the contribution capabilities to be open yet governed. They are also looking for the overall user experience to be personalized, so that users have similar yet different experiences that help them to keep coming back. Lastly, they want their portals and intranets to be that true, one-stop shot that has always been the goal but has been hard to achieve. This means that they want to integrate data from other business applications, such as customer purchase history from PeopleSoft or JDEdwards, or employee expenses from E-Business Suite. The customers we talked to really stressed not only getting internal or external users to visit the intranet or portal, but also stay to consume or share information, and keep coming back. Again, the goal that customers are trying to achieve is to provide one view into the business processes or information that users need daily from one site – instead of having to jump between or open multiple applications to complete tasks or connect with others.
It was good timing for Fishbowl Solutions to be able to talk about portal and intranet use cases, and how those use cases could be further enabled or extended using our Intranet In A Box solution. WebCenter Customers are no different than other enterprise application customers – they all would like a starting point and “accelerator” to begin using the system. Fishbowl’s Intranet In A Box, as detailed in American Axle’s Collaborate presentation and white paper, helps them do just that. It also incorporates and enables user experience capabilities and application integrations, providing that portal or intranet jumpstart to build an enterprise system.
Mobile Content Management
No surprise that, once again, mobility and mobile content management were popular topics at Collaborate. In fact, they have been popular topics for many years now. I remember back to Collaborate 2010, which took place around the same time that the Apple iPad was released. Fishbowl Solutions announced its mobile strategy – extending WebCenter Content to smartphones – at this event as well, and it seems the excitement for mobile ECM has been building ever since.
2013 finds Oracle, and more specifically WebCenter, customers thinking about or planning their mobile strategy as it applies to content management. This seems to be the next evolutionary step for most organizations, which is being driven in party by the rise of the tablet and other mobile devices in the workplace. See our recent Mobile Tablet Application webinar for more details on tablet usage in the workplace. What used to be more of a pull from employees – I have a tablet, where are my business-enabled mobile applications and content? – is turning into a push from the business with governance and use case policies being put into place for mobile technologies. The reality is the mobile-enabled employee is the more productive employee, so organizations are providing this enablement but doing so with proper control and oversight.
This applies to extending high-value sales and marketing collateral, stored in Oracle WebCenter Content, to mobile devices as well. Customers that we talked to at Collaborate were aware of Oracle’s Application Developer Framework (ADF) Mobile, which Oracle announced in October of last year. We received questions on what the differences are between that solution and our Mobile ECM offerings, including our tablet and phone apps. The easy answer is that while Oracle ADF Mobile can be used to create feature-rich, powerful mobile applications, if WebCenter customers want to consume, share and interact with WebCenter assets from their mobile devices, they would have to build such an application themselves – pretty much fro scratch. Fishbowl offers packaged mobile offerings for iOS and Android, and we have customers in production with Applie iPads and Android tablets – including Banner Engineering (Collaborate preso and white paper).
Document Imaging – ROI
The last topic I would like to mention is document imaging. I’m not sure how many document imaging sessions there were at Collaborate, but I know the two I attended were packed. Document imaging and capture technologies continue to represent sure-fire ways to reduce business process costs. The most popular process where these technologies have been applied is invoice processing. Fishbowl Solutions was fortunate to partner with Land O’ Lakes for a presentation – here is their white paper as well – on their document imaging use case, and what really resonated in their presentation was the amount of manual invoice steps they were able to eliminate with document capture and imaging.
What stood out to me most from conversations at Collaborate was how hungry WebCenter customers were to realize ROI. Having made significant investments in the WebCenter stack over the years, they were looking for projects that would produce hard-dollar, measurable ROI. That isn’t to discredit how WebCenter is being used for websites, portals, or records management, but many times these use cases represent overhead that are much harder to measure. Document Imaging, and specifically Oracle’s end-to-end invoice processing system, helps organizations reduce invoice processing costs by reducing labor costs and late fees, while also making it possible for organizations to realize early pay discounts. For these reasons, I expect to see more WebCenter customers ramp up imaging projects over the next few years.
Collaborate returns to Las Vegas next year and will be held at the Venetian. Until then, good luck with your WebCenter projects, and feel free to contact Fishbowl if you need any assistance.
One of the aspects I like about my newish team, Applications User Experience, is access to real research. Through eye-tracking, the usability labs, ethnographic research, focus groups and a host of other tools, AUX collects data from real users to help us understand how to build better software.
This is perfect for me, since I’ve always been an anecdotal designer, relying on relatively small data sets and what I observe from those around me. Now, I have access to a wealth of data to balance what I see on my own.
Of course, the users around me most often are my family members, so I do a fair amount of observation and experimentation on them.
For me, this is a side benefit of being the family’s technical support.
My family presents a nice mix of personas too. My wife is a savvy user, whose technical knowledge has grown as I add gadgets. She also hates to rely on me for support, which is awesome, because a) I don’t have to do as much and b) I get to observe how she approaches and adapts to new gadgets.
My parents came to computing and the interwebs relatively recently. So, with them, I see the challenges faced by inexperienced users. They too have experienced technology creep, slowly adding new gadgets to their home, and they also prefer to rely on their own wits vs. calling me for support. Another win.
I now have a new user in the family, my daughter, and watching her absorb technology is fascinating. She got a Leap Pad for Christmas, one with a stylus, and it’s amazing how immersed she gets. Using the stylus is a learned behavior, and it was interesting to watch her default to touching everything, even the drawing apps, which you’d think are better with a stylus.
At some point, we tried to get her using a laptop, but the keyboard and mouse presented too big a challenge. She kept trying to touch the screen, and the mouse was nothing more than a toy, unrelated to the actions on the screen.
A couple weeks ago, I decided to wipe my OG iPad for her. It’s forever stuck on iOS 5, and I’ve replaced all its uses with Android tablets, the Xoom and Nexus 7. So, why not put it good use?
We had already bought a few apps for children, so we had content for her. Ironically, the App Store is super buggy on iOS5, so all the time I wasted trying to find more good apps for her was completely wasted.
Not that it mattered, because as soon as we identified the device as hers, she wouldn’t let me use it without complaining. Toddlers exist to possess.
The biggest observation for me is how natural touch UI is for humans. As much as it limits me personally, it’s hard to argue that touch makes more sense than keyboard and mouse.
Back to my wife, a week ago, I asked her to use Facebook Home on my Nexus 7, since she’s a heavier Facebook user than I am. She played with it for about ten minutes with no direction from me, and when I asked her about it, she said, it’s pretty much the same as on her iPad.
Turns out she immediately touched the notifications displayed on Home, which went directly into the Facebook app, bypassing the browsing capabilities of Home.
I explained the launcher concept, and she browsed some updates. She liked what she saw, but it’s clear that Facebook Home is targeted at heavy browsing of the News Feed and drive-by liking. In fact, the up-front nature of notifications actually detract from Facebook Home usage.
A Single Thread
Whether I’m asking my family to test something, supporting their usage or just observing them use technology, there’s a recurrent theme, frustration. Technology creates frustration in two big ways, first by breaking (or not working as designed) and second by creating work.
My recent focus has been on the latter. Over the past decade, Wintel dominance has been replaced by siloed ecosystems, thanks in large part to Apple’s devices and cloud services. These ecosystems tend to create inefficiencies for consumers. Simple stuff like sharing pictures is now dictated by who uses which service and who else uses that service. By who else, I mean privacy concerns.
I don’t see these ecosystems going away, but as they expand to offer as much as possible to everyone, we’ll probably see another dominant platform emerge in the next decade. That should eliminate some of the work, but there will always be frustration.
Thoughts? Find the comments.Possibly Related Posts:
- Are You a Keyboard Wizard?
- Stoked for Windows 8
- Brake for Geeks
- Touch Interfaces Create a Usability Nightmare
- Pushing Everyone to Touch Computing
As enterprises rapidly develop initiatives for a cloud transition, experts agree that remote database support is needed for secure, effective deployment of these technologies. While businesses are eager to leverage these technologies to optimize efficiency, a strategic approach is critical.
According to Silicon Angle, JD Sherry, global director of technology solutions at Trend Micro, recently discussed how cloud security concerns remain at the forefront of business' minds at the AWS 2013 Summit. He noted that while many cloud providers have made a concerted effort to offer built-in security capabilities for cloud solutions, there is still a shared responsibility for protecting assets. He warned against a too-rapid migration that fails to take into account new risks that might arise in the transition process.
"We can get caught up in how quickly we can move, especially legacy businesses," he claimed, Silicon Angle reported.
Sherry explained that strategic cloud deployment demands a cost-benefit analysis. This aids a company in deciding what data to move to the cloud, as well as in determining what preparations and solutions are needed to secure that information. He pointed to a shifting approach to cloud adoption, as more businesses move away from relying on in-house IT to outsourcing for data center support in the cloud.
Taking accountability in migration
Computerworld contributor Steve Pate asserted that small businesses in particular are aggressively pursuing cloud computing to address rapid growth. The scalability that comes with cloud services has become attractive to these firms, which are required to maximize small budgets and spin up servers as needed. Unfortunately, in addition to limited resources small companies often also lack adequate staffing, according to Pate. Without a team of security experts dedicated to data protection, cloud computing can potentially open up new vulnerabilities.
Conversely, Pate noted that larger companies typically invest more heavily in datacenters to support operations along with a well-trained staff to run these technologies. In order to meet new security demands, Pate predicted that enterprises will look to incorporate new security features to fully address data protection and compliance requirements. Still, he expects that cloud breaches will increase unless firms take these matters more seriously.
Cloud adoption shows no signs of slowing down, but successful migration demands database experts to identify and mitigate security risks while optimizing and customizing the features of these solutions to fit unique objectives.
RDX offers a full suite of cloud migration and administrative services that can be tailored to meet any customer's needs. To learn more our full suite of cloud migration and support services, please visit our Cloud DBA Service page or contact us.
Martin D’Souza:Logger is a PL/SQL logging and debugging framework. It’s used in many organizations to instrument code in their Oracle applications. Tyler Muth created Logger a few years ago and has since released several upgrades, the last being 1.4.0. After some great feedback, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve just launched Logger 2.0.0 Beta.
Instrumentation, logging and debugging utilities are essential in any PL/SQL development project.
I wrote about not using DAY OF MONTH and DAY OF WEEK simultanously in how to cron
The correct method is to use
15 14 15 05 * /tmp/run-my-job
But… I wrote this five years ago. Hmmm ! Not that correct then since it would run every year
Ok, periodically I check for jobs are scheduled to run a specific date only
$ crontab -l|awk '$1!~/#/&&$3*$4' 15 14 15 05 * /tmp/run-my-job
I have 9 more days to remove this before it runs for the fifth time
As the Oracle Database 12c is not out yet at the time of writing, note that things might be different in the final product.
The Oracle Database 12c is a major release in Oracle history, as it contains a complete redesign of the underlying architecture. Two things will come back a lot when you read about Oracle DB 12c; the Container Database (CDB) and the Pluggable Database (PDB).
The below image shows how it works; you have a container database which the memory and processes are attached at, and then you can have multiple other databases that you can just plugin.
You find more information about this architecture here.
So what does Oracle DB 12c mean for APEX?
Oracle DB 12c comes with APEX 4.2.0. You can either install APEX in the CDB or in the PDB. APEX 4.2.0 is the minimum version you can install in Oracle DB 12c.
The advantage of running APEX in the CDB is that when you upgrade APEX, all database plugged into that CDB will have the latest version of APEX.
The advantage of installing APEX in the PDB is that you can run different versions of APEX in the different databases. If APEX is installed in the CDB, you can't remove APEX from CDB$Root anymore.
But one of the first things I would do is either upgrade APEX 4.2.0 to 4.2.2 or install APEX 4.2.2 from scratch depending which option you went with.
When you upgrade from DB 11g with APEX to 12c PDB here's a screenshot of the steps to take:
When you install APEX in the Oracle database 12c, some new options will become available in APEX, build on top of some new Oracle database 12c features.
The 12c database parameter - max_string_size will allow you to upgrade your VARCHAR2 from 4k (standard) to 32K (extended).
If you look in your APEX installation you will find /core/collection_member_resize.sql. Running that script will change the APEX collection VARCHAR2 columns from 4K to 32K.
In 12c there's also a new column type that is basically an "auto numbering field", something you would typically do with a sequence and trigger. In 12c the column type is called "Identity column" and it can have following values: ALWAYS - which means a Sequence number is always used, DEFAULT set value, DEFAULT ON NULL use seq nr if null.
When you run APEX in a 12c database, SQL Workshop will allow to specify an identity column in the create table wizards. Also the Create Form/Report wizard will create the correct item type (display only).
Another new column type in 12c database is the "Invisible Column": SELECT * from
will not display invisible columns. INSERT into will not insert into invisible columns. To insert into the invisible column you must explicitly set it.
In APEX - SQL Workshop - Object browser; the column will not show up.
Data Redaction, to mask your application data dynamically, is also a new feature in Oracle 12c. Before you had to setup VPD policies and do FGAC (Fine Grained Access Control), now it becomes more native in 12c. APEX will just show you what you are allowed to see following your policy. For example depending your policy you will see a credit card number like 4541 **** **** **** or null. You can read more about data redaction and masking in a blog post of Lewis Cunningham.
WebCenter Partners Near and Far:
The Oracle ecosystem of partners and alliances is vast and wide on a global scale. Within our WebCenter family, we have a rich diversity of partners offering additional value to help our customers get the most from their technology investments. As we all know - there is so much more beyond just the technology acquisition that leads to success for each implementation.
With this in mind, we've decided to spend this coming week taking a deeper look at a handful of our WebCenter partners. In the realm of blog-time, a five day period is relatively short - so if your favorite partner isn't featured this week - don't give them grief about it - this is really only a subset of our larger partner community that responded to a quick ping for participation. If you are a partner reading this and have something interesting to add to the conversation for a future feature - please contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org and we can add you to a future partner-focused week on WebCenter Social channels.TekStream Solutions
TekStream Solutions is an Atlanta-based technology solutions company that specializes in addressing the company-wide IT problems faced by enterprise businesses, such as consolidating and streamlining disparate content and application delivery systems and the market challenges to create “anytime, anywhere access” to data for employees, partners and customers. TekStream’s IT consulting solutions combined with its specialized IT recruiting expertise helps businesses increase efficiencies, streamline costs and remain competitive in an extremely fast-changing market. We are an Oracle Gold Partner specializing in the sales, deployment, resourcing and service of the Oracle WebCenter suite. Our mission is to use our extensive IT experience to deliver tangible business results enabling our clients to profit from the advanced use of technology. We strive to build long-term client relationships based on a shared vision for success and a relentless focus on quality delivery to exceed our client’s expectations.
As we adapt to customer demand and solve the most valuable challenges Oracle customers face, we are happy to officially announce the launch of our new services aimed at improving the customer experience by leveraging the most complete portfolio of portal, web experience management, content, social, and collaboration technologies: Oracle WebCenter
TekStream’s experts discuss the complex, and extremely rewarding, next generation Oracle Cloud solutions. Learn how TekStream’s proven methodology quickly and efficiently provides cloud-based solutions for the Oracle WebCenter Content, Imaging, Sites, and Portal family of products. Based on a world-class hosting service, CloudStream provides customers with turnkey content and information solutions delivering intelligent performance, ease of use and ease of management, and a rapid return on investment. Dig into the details and learn the top 5 value-added tips and tricks on how to significantly reduce your innovation debt while giving your company the tools and time it needs to scale. Imagine a world where your data migrations, managed services, upgrade implementations, and hosting services work in perfect harmony. That’s the best WebCenter experience at the lowest cost. That’s CloudStream.
2) TekStream University:
Customers engaging with TekStream University can be assured that they will receive professional and effective instruction on the Oracle WebCenter stack of products while having access to consultants who have hands-on best practices to supplement our training agenda. Available onsite, at a National training facility, or in the Virtual classroom, our consultants/trainers average over 10 years of experience in their given product expertise and are eager to share that wealth of knowledge with TekStream clients. TekStream’s experience, complemented with TekStream University’s streamlined standard training materials (including a course manual, PowerPoint presentations, and hands-on labs), ensures that students receive practical instruction that can be directly applied to their own environments.
TekStream University Datasheet
3) WebCenter Content Connector
Oracle customers seeking to deploy WebCenter Portal (WCP) and Spaces utilizing WebCenter Content (WCC) as the foundation for easily accessing content have been faced with the dilemma of using an older version of Contribution Folders aka Folders_g, from WCC. FrameWork Folders is a long-awaited upgrade to Folders_g, providing scalability and new features. As of the current release of WCP/Spaces and WCC, there is no out-of-the-box support for WCP/Spaces to utilize the FrameWork Folders’ capabilities. TekStream has created a connector application which now allows WCP/Spaces environments to maximize the potential of content integrations with WCC utilizing FrameWork Folders.
WebCenter Content Connector Datasheet
4) WebCenter Imaging Upgrade
Customers currently deployed on Optika, Stellent, or Oracle Imaging and Process Management (I/PM) solutions are quickly coming to terms that their existing applications have become outdated. Optika/Stellent/Oracle I/PM customers should look to enhance and expand their I/PM solutions by upgrading to Oracle WebCenter Imaging 11g, which has been updated to include mission-critical features that improve usability and functionality. TekStream provides Stellent and Oracle UCM customers with an upgrade path designed to limit the risks of data loss, loss of functionality, and reduce the overall impact to the organization that comes from large-scale upgrades.
WebCenter Imaging Upgrade Datasheet
Our client is a leading North America human services and support provider, serving more than a million people each year, at over 1,000 locations across the country. They provide residential, therapeutic, job training and educational support to people with developmental and other disabilities. Our client also provides these services to seniors who need in-home assistance, to youth with specials needs, and to adults who are experiencing barriers to employment. Our client’s business has continued to grow through organic growth and acquisition and now has annual revenue over $2B and operating their services on a national level.
TekStream resources led the requirements, design, development, testing, deployment, and post-implementation effort to streamline the high-volume invoice handling process through the automation of paper and email-based input channels, leveraging Oracle’s WebCenter Imaging, Document Capture, Forms Recognition, and EBusiness Suite Accelerator. These enterprise level tools provide an integrated solution for customers using Oracle’s EBusiness Suite solution to eliminate paper-based routing and storage, enable automated and electronic workflow approvals, reduce manual data entry of invoice information and provide visibility into the overall Accounts Payable process. In addition, this solution is capable of being used for other business processes and is supporting our client in automating their Oracle iExpense solution be providing electronic imaging for expense report receipts and in the automation of their Capital Expense approval process by automating the imaging, routing and approval of multiple documents associated with approving large scale projects.
ResCare Case Study
Oracle WebCenter Content (WCC) provides industry-leading document management and records management services designed to support the most demanding enterprise. In today’s environments, organizations have multiple content management systems deployed. Most of these were purchased to support specific department needs while others are older systems that are no longer supported. WCC provides a robust content management platform that can support organizations down to the department level while providing the enterprise consistency needed to drive business at a macro level. TekStream provides strategic Services to assist companies in streamlining their content management consolidation, migration, and upgrade efforts to Oracle WCC 11g.
WCC 11g Upgrade Datasheet
QuickStream is a four to six week service engagement aligning business stakeholders and IT organizations before a project begins; the insight provided helps organization avoid the negative business outcomes of IT project failures due to unmet quality, cost, and time expectations. QuickStream provides organizations with the tools and materials necessary for successful implementations, including:
• Prioritized Requirements
• High-level Technical Design, including Hardware/Software Architecture
• Phase 1 Detailed Project Plan including Resource, Cost, and Time Estimate
QuickStream saves you the time and hassle of doing the work yourself, and gives your resources the room they need to focus on growing your business. Rest assured that TekStream offers committed and professional resources to see your project to completion and achieve excellent results.
Datasheet: TekStream Company Datasheet
“TekStream - Service, Support, Software, & Sourcing”
As Premier Support services come to an end for AquaLogic Interaction (ALUI) and WebCenter Interaction (WCI), now is the time to plan your migration from these legacy platforms to the WebCenter Portal platform. While ALUI and WCI platforms have provided a long-standing portal solution over the past decade, they can no longer be considered modern portal platforms; and often leave behind an infrastructure that is heavily dependent on their feature set and functionality. Planning a migration from these systems to Oracle's WebCenter Portal and/or WebCenter Spaces requires a proven methodology that leverages experience with both sides of the equation: this is neither the time nor the project to learn on one's feet. In this webcast, learn how to approach and what to expect from a WCI to WebCenter Portal or Spaces migration from the TekStream Solutions migration team. Learn More: http://marketing.tekstream.com/wci_wcp_webinar
If you’re interested in learning how TekStream is perfectly positioned to help you achieve your goals, contact us at Info@TekStream.com or at www.tekstream.com.
I guess it’s a British thing to not blow our own trumpet (does that translate the same over in the US?), but something I’m particularly proud about with the upcoming Rittman Mead BI Forum 2013 events is our Oracle Data Integration Masterclass, running on the Wednesday before each event properly starts, and put together by myself, Stewart Bryson and Michael Rainey. Although the main theme for the BI Forum is OBIEE, virtually every BI system that we all work with has a data warehouse of some sort underneath it, and most OBIEE professionals to one extent or another have to understand data warehousing principles, and how Oracle’s data integration tools work. So this year, we thought we’d take a deep-dive into Oracle Data Integrator and the wider Oracle Data Integration Suite, and in this preview positing I’ll be giving you a bit of a preview of what’s coming in the session – and places are still available for the US BI Forum event, and for the masterclass itself if you’ve only registered for just the main conference event.
The masterclass is made up of six sections, delivered by myself, Stewart and Michael, assumes a basic understanding of data warehousing and ETL tools but otherwise gets down into the detail of what we’ve found works well “in the field”. Stewart Bryson, Oracle ACE and Managing Director for Rittman Mead America, will open the session with an overview of ODI and the Oracle Data Integration Suite, taking a look at the product history and walking the audience through the major elements of the ODI product architecture. If you’ve ever wondered what agents do within ODI, why there are two repositories and where WebLogic comes into it, Stewart’s session will make everything clear before we get into the rest of the details.
Then, after coffee, Stewart will carry on and talk about what’s called the Oracle Information Management Reference Architecture, Oracle’s next-generation blueprint for data warehousing and information management that combines the best of Kimball and Inmon with new thinking around “big data” and “data discovery”. ODI and Oracle Data Integration Suite is the enabling technology for this new framework. At Rittman Mead, we use this framework for the majority of our DW customer engagements and we’ll be talking later on in the masterclass about how big data sources, for example, can be leveraged by ODI and brought into your BI environment in the same way as any other regular, relational datasource.
The third section of the masterclass sees Michael Rainey take over the stage and talk to us about ODI’s integration with Oracle GoldenGate, Oracle’s data integration product for real-time analysis and data loading. Michael has taken part in several ODI & GoldenGate customer engagements over in the States, and has worked with Stewart in producing a number of custom ODI knowledge modules to better make use of this powerful new data integration tool. If you’ve read through any of Michael’s blog posts on ODI and Golden Gate and are interested in hearing a bit more detail on how it all works, as well as some real-world practical tips and tricks, this will be an invaluable session for you.
So far I’ve got away with just making the tea, but straight-after Michael is my session, where I’ll be talking about ODI and its new integration with Hadoop, NoSQL and the wider “big data” technology area. I’ve been covering ODI and Hadoop in some blog posts over the past week, but there’s only so much that I can get into a blog post and this session will be the first airing of this new material, where I’ll be demoing all the main integration points and talking about what works well, and where the main value is, with this very interesting new feature.
Then it’s back to Stewart again, where he’ll be talking about creating highly-resilient ETL code that’s also resumable, using features such as ODI 11g’s load plans and the Oracle Database’s resumable space allocation feature. Stewart and I were particularly keen to put together this session as it brings together work Stewart did a few years ago on fault-tolerant ETL in the Oracle Database, with some blog posts I put together over the 2012 Christmas break around highly-resilient ETL with ODI11g. What this session does is explain the background to the ETL resilience features in the Oracle Database, and ODI’s use of WebLogic JEE agents, and demonstrates through some custom knowledge modules how they can be brought together for your project.
Finally, Michael concludes the masterclass with a look at a feature you’re probably vaguely aware of, intend to learn something about, but sounds a bit complex; Groovy scripting and the ODI SDK. In fact, like WLST scripting for OBIEE, learning Groovy and the SDK is the key to automating tedious tasks such as mass-importing and reverse-engineering tables and files, as well as making it possible to add functionality to ODI or integrate it with other standards-based products. In a session almost entirely made-up of live demos, Michael will take us through the basics of Groovy and the SDK, and show us a few examples of where this could add value to your data integration projects.
So there we have it – Brighton is now fully-booked up, but if you’ve already registered for the main event but want to come to the masterclass now too, you can log back into the registration site and update your booking to include the additional masterclass fee. Atlanta is running a week later and so still has a few main event passes left, and again if you’ve already registered for the main conference, use the link in your registration confirmation to go back in and add the masterclass to your booking. And – hopefully we’ll see you all in Brighton or Atlanta for the Rittman Mead BI Forum 2013 in the next two weeks!
Knewton CEO Jose Ferriera has an interesting and revealing blog post up about “the coming adaptive world.” In part, it is a response to a report on adaptive learning by Education Growth Advisors. Jose writes, “Despite our constant protestations to the contrary, observers often confuse Knewton with the many adaptive learning app makers who are now popping up. Or they confuse app makers with platforms. Or they think we’re all competitors.” It’s a bit of a red herring, since the report does distinguish between platform and publisher business models. That said, the meaning of the distinction between these two categories isn’t drawn terribly clearly, and it’s fair for Knewton to try to clarify its market positioning. But in doing so, Jose reveals what appears to be a shift in their thinking about the market for a platform like theirs which tells us something important about the ed tech market in general.
Knewton has always been a platform play. They don’t design educational products. They provide an analytics engine that can be used to make educational products. So they are business-to-business. They sell to other education companies. The value proposition they offer is that they have invested in data science talent and infrastructure that is more powerful and sophisticated than most education companies can manage. It’s a bit like Amazon saying, “Hey, you’re never going to have even a tiny fraction of the experience that we have running unbelievably massive systems that can never go down. Why don’t you just leave that part of things to us by using Amazon Web Services and focus your attention on building the parts of your product that are specific to you?” This is a reasonable pitch for a company like Knewton to make, in my view. The issue that I have had with the company’s public marketing is that there has been a little too much “WHEEEEEEE!” in it:
I think there is a certain ethical responsibility to demystify these technologies in order to help educators and students alike understand when and how they can be helpful. I also think that demystification makes good business sense from Knewton’s perspective. The company simply isn’t going to get good results (and therefore repeat engagements) by hooking up random customer content to their analytics engine. They need content that has been designed for analytics in some real sense in order to produce meaningful insights. They need customers to come to them having some idea of what capabilities they want to design into the product from the beginning.
And that’s where Jose’s post gets interesting. He writes,
Sure — it’s straightforward enough to wire up a simple, self-contained adaptive app, based on a pre-determined, limited decision-tree. But how much better would that app be if it contained an effectively unlimited amount of back-end content? If all of its assessment items had been algorithmically “normed” so that they resulted in exact concept proficiency data for each student? Or if the app pre-acted to the learning modalities of each student? Or if it “started hot” so that from Day 1 of a student taking a new course, all her prior concept proficiencies and learning styles had been preloaded?
Knewton makes possible all these things and more. Today, Knewton functionality includes pinpoint student proficiency measurement, content efficacy measurement (yes, we can tell you how effective your content is), student engagement optimization, atomic-concept adaptive learning, and concept-level analytics. Next year we’re adding “adaptive tutoring,” which combines the wisdom of crowds with Knewton’s network to find the perfect people online right now to give you real-time help.
Hmm. Assessment items being “algorithmically ‘normed’ so that they resulted in exact concept proficiency data for each student?” “Pinpoint student proficiency measurement?” Gee, that sounds suspiciously like Item Response Theory. And if you can find your way past Knewton’s marketing to their tech blog, you will find out that, in fact, Item Response Theory is exactly what Knewton uses for this. Still missing is a straightforward explanation of what ITR can and cannot do well as well as the kind of content design investment that Knewton’s customers would have to make to take advantage of this capability. It’s not as simple as sprinkling a little machine learning fairy dust on your content. Customers that come to Knewton without that understanding of the investment they will need to make are going to end up spending a lot more time and money than they anticipated. But the larger point is that framing specific capabilities that Knewton customers can think about in advance is a start toward positioning themselves as a real infrastructure platform company. Likewise, “adaptive tutoring,” which appears to be a whizzy name for expertise recommendation, is a specific function that app designers can think about when they are building out new services, whether it is math tutoring or college counseling or career counseling. This positioning begins to enable app developers to think about what they can do with learning analytics services. Jose writes, “Until recently, only large learning companies and university systems could use the Knewton platform. But now our enterprise API is flexible enough for a much wider audience. We’re happy to partner with anybody — even so-called ‘competitors.’ We can’t quite say “yes” to everyone who wants to work with us yet, but our capacity is growing by leaps and bounds every day.”
And there is the pivot. Up until now, Knewton has been focusing on the big publishers—particularly Pearson, with whom it has a big partnership deal. One reason for that certainly could be that their APIs were not ready for smaller players before now. But I suspect another driver is the huge growth in ed tech startups in general and companies claiming to have some sort of adaptive learning products in particular. Arguably, a market exists today where one didn’t exist a couple of years ago. I say “arguably” because it remains to be seen whether this onslaught of small companies is just the result of an investment bubble or a sustainable trend. Most of these companies are never destined for IPO, and it’s not clear what the long-term appetite is for acquisition in this sort of volume or, lacking that appetite, how many of these companies are geared up to be small but self-sustaining businesses for the rest of their natural lives. (The fact that so many of them are looking for venture money is not a good sign.) In any event, an analytics infrastructure like Knewton absolutely could make many of these small companies potentially interesting and sustainable on significantly less startup cash by providing them with infrastructure, in the same way that AWS makes it easier and cheaper for all sorts of internet startups to form. But in order to become that sort of trusted backbone, they have to stop talking like magicians and start talking like infrastructure partners.
Tom is not not a fan of public synonyms, here is why:
- public synonyms pollute the namespace.
- public synonyms can lead to security issues.
- public synonyms can lead to a maintenance headache.
- public synonyms are public – no one owns them.
So, instead of public synonyms… Continue reading...
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