Monday 20 June 2011

A mash of Oracle related thoughts

It's been almost a month since my last confession. I have plenty I want to say!

Australian Oracle User Group
As usual, there is various activity going on around the country.

July 14 2011 there is a one day Northern Region Conference at Jupiters Townsville. Kudos to Mark Lancaster et al for that one. It's a shame I can't be there.

August 16-17 2011 is this year's InSync conference. My paper has been accepted so I look forward to seeing & meeting old & new members of the Oracle community from around Australia and the world. This will be the largest Oracle event I've been to so far.

August 18 2011 there will be a Day or Real World Performance with Tom Kyte, Andrew Holdsworth & Graham Norwood. This has recently been announced and looks very attractive. I'll be looking out for more details on this - a similar event was recently at UK-OUG.

November 3-4 2011 will be my hometown's conference - Oracle with 20:20 Foresight, of which this year I have taken the reigns from Penny Cookson as the Program Chair. It will be an interesting and challenging task, and I look forward to what should be an even better event than last year. The call for papers is now open, so get your submissions in by August 10th.

In between all these events will be the regular branch meetings where you can catch a local presenter talking about anything Oracle. Aussie Oracle technologists - get in there!

And if you're not from Australia, I hope this isn't the only sort of plane that will get you here (think volcanic ash...)

So when you sit down to write or update your presentation, keep an eye out for tips such as these to create something outside the square.

Keep Yourself in the Loop
Oh so tempting to throw a PL/SQL pun in there, but I'll leave this the exception.
Steven Feuerstein and his team have been doing such a great job moving forward with the PL/SQL Challenge website, it's now in version 2.0.
In addition to a daily PL/SQL quiz, Steven has now launched a weekly SQL quiz and a weekly Apex quiz.

Now you don't have to play competitively or publicly rank yourself amongst the few thousand active players - but it is a great place to spend 5-10 minutes every day testing yourself on your general knowledge of Oracle technology. When I was first learning Oracle I spent a fair bit of time at, this is another location you should bookmark and visit regularly. And on top of all this, Steven has given away almost US$30k in prizes - and it's not just for the winners. Granted, US$30K just isn't the same as AUD$30k these days, but it's worth the effort ;-)

And more kudos to Aussies Gary Myers and Jeff Kemp for ranking highly in the recent quarterly playoffs.

Oracle Training
What has been keeping my working life busy recently - in between the regular consulting - has been the influx of training request around the country. I only hope that planes will be flying regularly once the volcanic ash has settled down, otherwise I might have some disappointed customers!

It's end of financial year time, and it's great that so many companies out there want to keep their team skilled. I've been keeping our Apex notes up to date with all things Apex 4.0; our own Oracle Ace Director Chris Muir has been hitting it hard with numerous JDeveloper ADF workshops; plus we have our regular SQL training to keep your queries sharp, amongst our other courses.

If you're on the lookout for exceptional Oracle training, hit up Sage's website.

My Blog Layout
While nothing has changed yet, I plan to give this site a little revamp and bring it into 2011. I've learnt a few things along the blogging path, so keep an eye out for additions such as Google +1. It's such an interesting concept, and I'll be keeping an eye out to see where it goes down the rabbit hole. I read an interesting analysis at Phandroid, and webmasters can learn more about it at Google.
I also want to make it a little less clunky & boring and perhaps show that I have some of my sister's graphic design genes.

I'm even tempted to go Apex.

Around the Oracle Community
There have been a number of great posts by Oracle bloggers recently that I'd like to share if you haven't seen them already, or in case you missed them.
  • Eddie Awad shared a short video by Tom Kyte talking about Oracle. It's good to see the occasional video instead of faceless text - it's just a shame our Australian networks just don't make it easy to see this content smoothly on our smartphones.
  • Speaking of mobiles, Peter Raganitsch has been talking about theming on Apex for mobile devices.
  • Apex 4.1 is moving forward, and one of the features I'm looking forward to working with is the Error Handling Improvements. If you haven't upgraded from Apex 3.x, why not?!
  • Plug-ins is one area that I really need to catch up on, experts like Dan McGhan are doing all sorts of crazy work with Apex Plug-ins, demonstrating Apex as the flexible tool it is.
  • And if you haven't heard or have forgotten, Oracle XE 11g has been released in beta. The world keeps on spinning
An Apex Book Everyone Must Have
And I simply can't go by without mentioning the latest Apress book Expert Oracle Application Express.
I had the wonderful opportunity of being a technical reviewer for this book, and it's simply stunning. You might see my ugly mug somewhere in the first few pages.
Not only that, as you've probably heard, proceeds of this book help support the families of Carl Backstom and Scott Spadafore.
Keep an eye out for other Apress books that are in the works, too. I have a feeling there are a few other good ones on the way ;-)

Now, back to the business of real(ish) work. I should be back to more regular postings from July.