Archive for the ‘Oracle’ Category

Have you ever battled with the Oracle Optimizer?  If you answered yes to that question have no fear because Maria Colgan is there to help you along the way.  She is a principal product manager at Oracle Corporation and her core responsibilities are data warehouse best practices and the Oracle Optimizer.  She stopped by the Social Media Lounge at Kscope11 and was interviewed by ODTUG Board Member Barbara Morris.

You can meet Maria and learn some tips and tricks on using the Oracle Optimizer at Kscope 12!  She has two presentations:  SQL Tuning in a Data Warehouse Environment and Best Practices for Understand and Managing Optimizer Statistics.

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Last year, at the end of Kscope11, I had the privilege of talking with longtime ODTUG friend, Sue Harper, who at the time was the product manager for SQL Developer and SQL Developer Data Modeler. While Sue no longer works at Oracle, she remains active in the software development community, working for Microgen (http://www.microgen.com/uk-en/) in London in their Aptitude Solutions Division. Sue still maintains a blog here: http://sueharper.blogspot.com/.

One of my fondest memories of Sue dealt not with Oracle, but rather one night at a reception in one of the ODTUG rooms at a conference hotel (pardon my faulty memory for not remembering which one). Sue took the time to relate about one of her trips to work on a clinic in Delhi, India, and shared many of her experiences and photographs of this trip. It was a great way to spend part of my evening learning about Sue’s endeavors outside of Oracle. You can check out her Delhi blog here: http://delhiminimission.blogspot.com/.

Take a quick trip down memory lane as we talk about Kscope11 with Sue Harper.

Sue can be found on Twitter (@sueharps) here: http://twitter.com/#!/SueHarps.

Sue, your ODTUG family will miss you at Kscope12! Cheers!  http://www.kscope12.com.

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There are a couple of surveys that I’d like to make sure that you know about.


But prior to that…if you haven’t registered for KScope12 yet, you’d better hurry! If you register before June 9, you will save $300.00 off of the final onsite price for the conference registration. Here is where you can go to register – http://kscope12.com/registration. However, I’d suggest that you register as soon as possible. We have two hotels that we have contracted with. Our headquarters hotel, the JW Marriott in San Antonio, is practically full. In addition, we have a limited number of rooms available at the Marriott San Antonio Rivercenter. Downtown San Antonio is a wonderful location to stay, as you will be in the heart of the River Walk area, and the Alamo will be within walking distance.


Oracle Corporation, specifically its Global Customer Programs Team, is looking for your feedback and participation in a survey. They are looking for your honest opinion on various Oracle products and services. The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete, and the ODTUG responses in previous surveys have been fantastic! This is one way where your association with ODTUG pays big dividends. The results demonstrate the collective input of those associated with ODTUG (member or not), and while Oracle takes individual opinions seriously, when the collective ODTUG opinion is voiced, Oracle does listen. To see more information about the survey, and to find the link to take the survey, visit http://www.odtug.com/apex/f?p=500:235:0::::P235_NEWS_ID:4042.


Another survey, again sponsored by Oracle Corporation, but this time for OTN (Oracle Technology Network), is a very brief survey, one that asks 5 questions about the Oracle Discussion Forums Upgrade Project. Fellow ODTUG Board Member Cameron Lackpour wrote about the survey over on his blog, and provides the link as well here – http://camerons-blog-for-essbase-hackers.blogspot.com/2012/05/oracle-wants-you-to-help-make-otn.html. While you are over on his site, take a look around. Cameron has a tremendous sense of humor, and absolutely provides a lot of valuable information out on his blog, certainly more focused on EPM topics. Check it out!

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ODTUG Board Member Martin D’Souza encourages you to enter the Application Express Plug-In Competition.  Watch the video for more information and check out the prizes listed below.

Plug-ins must be submitted by May 14, 2012


  • Grand Prize: Kscope13 pass + 1 year free ODTUG membership
    • Kscope13 pass + 1 year free ODTUG membership – Estimated value of $1500 (Non-transferable, non-refundable pass)
    • Plaque
    • 1 year ODTUG membership
    • Copy of Expert Oracle Application Express Plugins
  • Runner up:
    • Jawbone Jambox
    • 1 year free ODTUG membership
    • Copy of Expert Oracle Application Express Plugins
  • As previously mentioned, contestants that are known experts will be put into a special category. They are not eligible for any of the prizes listed above, but will be provided with a special prize of their own, as well as bragging rights for best Expert’s Plug-in!

Plug-ins must be submitted by May 14, 2012 – http://www.odtug.com/apex/f?p=500:450:0

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The week was hectic and productive. During my two previous posts, I was fighting with a horrible internet connection at the Marriott Marquis, so some of the information that I wanted to post didn’t quite make it. So, I’ll add to some to my previous thoughts, and bring you a few items from the rest of the week.

Larry’s Sunday Keynote and the rest of Sunday evening –

Sunday evening, Larry Ellison kicked off the conference with an opening keynote. The topic, Oracle Exalytics. The Exa family at Oracle continues to grow. See a couple of my friends blogs, Glenn Schwartzberg and Mark Rittman, for some more details on what this announcement means.

After the keynote, I got the privilege of attending the annual ACE/ACE Director dinner at OpenWorld. This year, at the Sens restaurant, we had some drinks and good food, but once again, great networking. These folks are the best of the best in the Oracle world, and it is a wonderful time for all. Thanks to the organizers and leaders of this program, Vikki Lira, Lillian Buziak, and Justin Kestelyn for their hard work to make this program really a feather in the cap for Oracle!

Speaking of the ACE Directors, they hold an annual two day briefing before the conference. If you follow them on Twitter, you could tell that this year was going to be very special and exciting here at OpenWorld. I suggest that if you are interested, find out the Ace Directors that are active on Twitter, and start following them. Here is where you can find out more information about the ACE Director program.

Tuesday, I participated in some media interviews. These are fast moving interviews with various members of the media. Think speed dating only you are talking about technology, Oracle OpenWorld, and my favorite topic, ODTUG. Here are links to a couple of the interviews that I did: Application Development Trends and The Server Side.

Wednesday, there were a few items of particular interest that I was able to participate in. In the early morning, members of Fusion Nation gathered in the tents outside of Moscone North. Fusion Nation represented the early adopters of Fusion Applications as well as user group advocates of Fusion Applications and Fusion Technology. I was one of the 25 user group leaders selected to participate in this venture. We got to wear our red vests (apologies to Stanley, the original) all week (as long as we did not become overheated). This program was created to raise awareness of Fusion Applications, and I think with 500 of us wearing these vests, it worked.

Also on Wednesday, about 10 user group leaders got a private meeting with Oracle President, Mark Hurd. Mark is a no-nonsense type of guy, very personable, and willing to listen as well as be heard. We had submitted some questions beforehand for Mark, and he answered those as well as inviting further questions. I believe that Mark thinks the user groups are a very valuable piece of the Oracle ecosystem, and that both Oracle and the user community benefit from user groups.

Larry’s keynote on Wednesday announced the general availability of Fusion Applications. He joked that he had signalled that the release was coming during a couple of other keynotes, and that this took a little longer than anyone anticipated. Also announced was the Oracle Public Cloud, priced with fixed monthly rates as a subscription service. Last, and one that Larry actually demoed, was the Oracle Social Network, allowing collaborative work from a team through real time conversations.

Wednesday evening, Oracle held its signature celebration Appreciation Event, once again hosted on Treasure Island. Instead of multiple stages, as has been the case in the past, there was one stage for the entertainment. Sting started off the night, performing many of his and the Police’s hits. Sting recently celebrated his 60th birthday, but his voice is still golden. Sting was followed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Tom Petty also still has “it”. Many of his hits, including “Free Falling”, had the crowd singing along. Unfortunately, I was exhausted at this point in the evening, and decided to call it a night, missing a repreat appearance by Dave Wakeling and the English Beat. Oracle knows how to throw a party, with many food choices available as well during the night (as well as many drink choices!).

Thursday, I had an early flight out of SFO, so I missed the final day of the show. Honestly, with everything that I had already experienced during the week, I’m not sure that I had enough energy to make it through the rest of the day anyway.

Hope you’ve gotten a little flavor of OpenWorld through this series of posts. It’s not KScope, by any stretch of the imagination.

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ODTUG at OpenWorld 2011

Mike Riley, ODTUG President at the ODTUG booth at OpenWorld

As a part of my responsibilities on the ODTUG Board of Directors, I am asked to represent ODTUG at Oracle OpenWorld, held annually in San Francisco. Here are some of the things that I have gotten to experience through the first couple of days:

My trip started on Saturday, as the North American User Group Presidents held a meeting Saturday afternoon with representatives from HEUG, Java leaders, IOUG, OAUG, OHUG, and Quest (see iouc.org for more information on these groups). This is a chance for us to network with these other leaders, and hear from Oracle on future plans for the community.

Sunday, the conference really kicks off with the User Group Forum. All of the user groups are allowed to hold SIG meetings and provide technical content of their own choice. We had five rooms of content in the afternoon – Symposiums on Web Architecture, Business Intelligence, Application Express, Data Warehousing, and Hyperion were held. Our rooms were pretty full, as usual, drawing 200 participants or more. These are great opportunities to ask questions and learn from the top Oracle users.  I anticipate more learning, networking, and lots of fun as the week continues.

If you’re at OpenWorld don’t forget to stop by our booth in the User Groups Pavilion – Level 2 Lobby Moscone West.

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Guest Blogger: Kent Graziano

Kent Graziano, ODTUG BI/DW SIG Co-Chair and Oracle ACE

It’s hard to believe but Oracle OpenWorld 2011 is less than 2 weeks away (October 2-6, 2011)!  It’s an exciting time as Oracle devotees from around the world make their annual fall migration to the Moscone Center in beautiful San Francisco, California.

As we have since the dawn of time (the first OOW in 1996 that is), ODTUG will be there to bring you the best of the best in technical content from our pantheon of Oracle development gurus (including many Oracle ACEs and ACE Directors).  You can hear from the likes of Steven Feuerstein, Mark Rittman, Edward Roske, Tim Gorman, Peter Koletzke, Lonneke Dikmans, and Dr. Pal Dorsey (just to name a few).

During the Sunday User Forums we bring you over 25 sessions packed with information you can use. This year we have put together five tracks for you to choose from:  Business Intelligence (led by Mark Rittman), APEX (led by Scott Spendolini), Web  Architecture (led by Paul Dorsey), EPM/Hyperion (led by Edward Roske), and  Data Warehouse Performance (led by Jerry Ireland). These sessions start at Noon on Sunday October 2nd and are free to all registered OOW attendees. Check out ODTUG’s Website or the online content catalog to see the abstracts, times, and room assignments (all in Moscone West).  Be sure to select “User Group Forum” in the Type filter.

ODTUG at Oracle OpenWorld

Search for ODTUG to see our full list of presentations

Continuing on throughout the week ODTUG gurus are presenting another 20 sessions for your edification.  There are sessions covering database development, Hyperion, business intelligence, data warehousing, middleware, and SOA.  Here is a list of sessions and titles being presented by our members:

02240 Angels in the Architecture: An Oracle Application Development Framework Architectural Blueprint
02500 High-Performance PL/SQL
03120 Oracle Application Express 4.0 Charts Inside Out
03122 Oracle Application Express and Locator/Spatial Features: A Success Story
03340 Dell’s Multichannel Implementation of Oracle Real-Time Decisions
04460 Agile BI with Oracle Exadata and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g
05923 Introduction to Data Vault Modeling
06782 Instrumentation: Why You Should Care
06788 Thinking Clearly About Skew
07624 Best Practices: Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management at General Dynamics
08620 Push to the Limit: Rich and Proactive User Interfaces with Oracle ADF
08623 Instant Agility in Oracle Fusion Middleware Through Design Time @ Runtime
08625 Reaching Out from PL/SQL
09480 Oracle ADF On-Ramp: What You Need to Know to Use the Oracle ADF Technology Stack
09491 Oracle WebLogic Server Application Security: Implementing the Superstition in Oracle JDeveloper
09568 Oracle Essbase Studio Release How It Can Reduce Your Stress
09576 Oracle Application Express Behind the Scenes
09700 Building Oracle Systems in the Developing World
09718 Achieving Great Web Application Performance with Only SQL and PL/SQL
10019 Taking  Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition to the Next Level of Performance

You can get times and locations again by going to the online content catalog and entering the session number into the keyword search field at the top. Alternatively you can find all the ODTUG sessions by entering “ODTUG” into the keyword search.

Myself, I will present a session “Why Data Vault?”  and be part of a data warehouse expert panel on Sunday afternoon as part of the ODTUG Sunday User Group Forum. Then on Thursday October 6, at 3 PM, I will present “Introduction to Data Vault Data Modeling” where I will discuss all the basics you need to get started modeling your EDW using the Data Vault Modeling technique.

Again this year, you can meet with board members and ODTUG staff at the user group pavilion in Lobby Level 2 in Moscone West.  Be sure to drop by the ODTUG booth to get the latest news about KScope 12 or maybe to join or renew your membership.

Hopefully, you have already registered, but if not, do it NOW:


Don’t miss your chance to meet, greet and learn from the best. See you in San Francisco!

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Guest Post: Cameron Lackpour, ODTUG Board Member, Director

ODTUG Board of Directors


Why oh why oh why would anyone run for the ODTUG board of directors?

The not so serious reasons you run for the ODTUG board

Perhaps the candidate has:

  • An obsessive fascination with committees
  • Way too much free time and the desire to fill it
  • A love of board conference calls on Sunday nights

The real reasons you run for the ODTUG board

I kid, I kid, those aren’t the real reasons.  I think the below is a much more likely set of motivations:

  • Gratitude – You have been given much by ODTUG in the form of knowledge, networking, and exposure, and you want to show your appreciation.
  • Vision – You want to influence where ODTUG goes in the future.
  • Service – You want to serve the ODTUG membership through dedicated thought and action.

And now the detail

If knowledge is power, and in our business, it’s all about what you know, reflect on how ODTUG has given you deep technical knowledge through conferences, webinars, the technical journal, and the resource library.  Don’t forget the unparalleled opportunity the various conferences and events give you a chance to meet your peers and exchange ideas.  Think about how little you paid for it.  It’s a pretty compelling ROI.  Serving on the board is one way to give thanks for all that ODTUG has given.

ODTUG is made up of smart people with lots good ideas.  If you want to see those ideas made concrete, getting onto the board is the surest way to see Your Brilliant Idea come to life.

The ODTUG board of directors is a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, nationalities, technologies, and outlooks, but we’re not a shambolic gaggle of geeks because at our core we’re all there to help ODTUG serve its members to the best of everyone’s abilities.  That concept of service, and the concomitant sacrifice that it will entail (see the semi-humorous bullet points above), is what drives all of us.  It’s inspiring and humbling all at the same time.  I know that has spurred me into different directions than I would have taken otherwise.

So was I joking?  Only a little.

Committees (the tool for getting things done), demands on time (the execution of the committees’ decisions), and those ever-popular Sunday conference calls (you try scheduling international conference calls – it’s harder than you think):  all true, and all part of being on the ODTUG board.  Don’t let it scare you away, but know that all of that and more is there.  It’s not too bad, I promise.  🙂

Should you run for the board?

If you’ve read this far, absolutely.  You’re obviously:  a person who wants to give back to an organization that has given much to you, are a far sighted individual who wants to direct ODTUG in new and exciting directions, and you have a deep desire to serve the ODTUG community.  I can’t wait to work with you.

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With the ODTUG Board of Directors nomination period now open (Nomination Guidelines here), I think it is appropriate to talk about some of the reasons why I first decided to run for the Board.

First, I wanted to give back to the organization that I felt I had received so much from. My introduction to ODTUG was done by the then President, Kent Graziano. I had seen Kent at a conference, and when a project my company was working on needed some expertise and mentoring about Oracle Designer, Kent’s name was the first that came to mind. Kent spent a week or so onsite with us, and some time during the next few months on the phone working with us. During this time, Kent asked if I had ever heard of ODTUG. At that time, the answer was ‘No’. Well, Kent remedied that situation. The very next year was my first ODTUG experience. And I’ve been hooked ever since. Thanks Kent!

Throughout those early ODTUG years, I made many friends, several for life, and leaned on the experts to help me become a better professional. I hope that I helped some folks along the way as well, just by talking through common problems and trying to come up with some uncommon solutions.

Second, I wanted to help the organization grow stronger. I first came on the Board in 2007, and the conference that year was in Daytona Beach. While I was proud of the efforts of the organization at that time, I knew that we could do better. Everyone on the Board felt the same way that I did. From some of the long-term Board Members, to those that had joined at the same time as me, there was one thing that we all had in common. We could do better, and we would do better. Since that time, the conference has grown each and every year. We have become a more diverse organization. I am proud of our progress to this point. But we aren’t done yet.

Third, and possibly most importantly, I felt that being on the Board of Directors would give me a unique opportunity to further my Oracle education. Board Members have the advantage of almost unprecedented access to Oracle product management, the Oracle development teams, and other industry experts. One example that comes to the forefront was in 2008, when I was conference chair of Kaleidoscope in New Orleans. While I was not able to take in as many presentations as I might have liked, there was one in particular on Oracle Application Express that I regretted missing. Afterwards, I ran into David Peake and convinced him to spend a little one on one time with me to talk about the subject of his presentation. While I know David is very giving of his time, and strives to help all Oracle customers, I can’t help but think he was a little more accommodating because of the outstanding relationship that the Board enjoys with all of Oracle product management.

Being on the Board of Directors has been, and continues to be, a privilege, an honor, a huge committment, and a wonderful learning opportunity. I respect the position that I am in, and take the responsibility very seriously. When decisions need to be made regarding the organization, the guiding force must be what is best for its members and the long-term health of the organization.

Is being an ODTUG Board Member for you? That is something that you will have to answer for yourself. I encourage you if you are interested to click on the link above to find out more information. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, September 28, at 5:00 PM EDT.

If you are one of the five that will be elected by the members to serve on the Board for a two year term starting January 1, 2012, I look forward to serving the rest of my term with you!

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Time is running out on Early Bird Registration! Don’t count on Early Bird Registration being extended this year, as you may be making a very costly mistake. The Early Bird Registration ends March 25th.

I hope you’re getting a sense at how much people get out of Kscope conferences, and the value that is provided. Also, you have a great circle of friends that you make at the conference, ones that you can count on for answers and support when you get home from the conference.

This blog post focuses on Dan McGhan. Dan is an APEX aficionado, and a great presenter. Dan was also recently named an Oracle ACE, and is well deserving of this honor. Make sure you introduce yourself to Dan at the conference. You might even see him at a local cigar bar in Long Beach.

Dan McGhan

MR: What’s the best thing about Kscope conferences?

DM: “There’s always an air of excitement at Kscope that’s hard to narrow down to a single “best thing”. I think it all starts with the people. Meeting new people and seeing distant friends and colleagues is always a real treat. The content is another important element. Attendees are bombarded with so much good content, it’s nearly impossible to walk away without some new ideas and inspiration. Then there’s the location, the food, I could go on and on…”

MR: Who do you most look forward to seeing a presentation from at Kscope and why?

DM: “I’m really looking forward to seeing the APEX team present at the Application Express Symposium. With APEX 4.1 on the horizon, it’s great to get a chance to see what’s coming from those that are actually doing the development.”

MR: Why Kscope and not somewhere else?

DM: “Some conferences are too big, others are too small. Kscope seems to have that perfect balance where you feel you’re a part of something big but not so big it inhibits one of the main reasons for attending – knowledge transfer.”

MR: Have you ever been to Long Beach or visited the Queen Mary?

DM: “No, neither, but I absolutely love what I’ve seen of California thus far so I’m really excited to go. I’ve fallen into a tradition with a few cohorts where we find a really great place to enjoy a good cigar. Certainly not everybody’s cup of tea, but it is something I really look forward to. Perhaps we’ll find a spot on the Queen Mary this year!”

MR: Your all time favorite Kscope moment is…

DM: “…my first Kaleidoscope which was 2008 in New Orleans. I had been using APEX at that point for a number of years and formed many online friendships with fellow aficionados. Getting to meet so many at once was something I’ll never forget – I can honestly say it was a life changing event for me.”

Thanks Dan!

Dan has his own blog located here:  http://www.danielmcghan.us/ Dan can also be found on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/dmcghan

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