Tuesday 20 December 2011

2012 AUSOUG Conference dates

Get your diaries out - the dates and locations for next year's conference series in Australia have been formally announced.

InSync12 Conference and Exhibition
August 21 and 22
The Sebel Conference Centre, Melbourne

This is a short tram ride from the heart of Melbourne, with stunning views of Albert Park - where they host the Grand Prix Formula 1.

Oracle with 20:20 Foresight Conference and Exhibition
October 29 and 30
Hilton Hotel, Perth

This is in the very centre of Perth, walking distance to bus, train, ferry & many other pubs & eateries.

The question is, will we see you in Australia next year?


Wednesday 14 December 2011

Blog re-name & re-design (round 1)

Some of the more astute of you - or those that may have taken notice to the final "slide" of my Apex security presentation at the AUSOUG conference - may have noticed that I registered a new name for my blog.

There were a few reasons for this. Initially it took some time for me to decide on a name when I decided to start blogging, and in hindsight I thought it needed a re-jig. (my personal gmail account could probably do with the same adjustment)

I also thought that after getting into the groove of blogging, it was time to select a name that suited my particular style and removed the blogspot moniker.

So I've chosen the following:


I've updated the about me page to describe this choice a little further. You may also notice I've got some other tabs across the top for common information you might like to view - using bloggers ability to create Pages for this very purpose. Feel free to check them out.

For those of you visiting my actual page as opposed to viewing through an RSS feed or aggregator, you may also notice the blog design has changed dramatically.

I've finally taken advantage of some of the new tools blogger provides. I don't think I've finished yet though. One reason - I'm on the road, it's really late, and I'm using my phone tether to work on the net.
The other reason - I like to sit on things for a while to see how a like it, and see if any other ideas come up. I'm also not quite happy with the colour scheme - I'm a little spoilt for choice and I wasn't quite ready to perform those finer adjustments.

I also think there may be some other ramifications from my template of choice - I notice my favicon has disappeared, and it seems I need to re-apply my syntax highlighting. Ahh, the life of a software developer...

And if you're wondering about the background image in the logo - I took that in my backyard using my smartphone, plus a little trickery - no software involved, except of course adding the text.

I hope you like the adjustments so far. If you have any tips or ideas, feel free to let me know.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

A retrospective

Throughout our contemporary world there are many references to common denominations of time - and they all revolve around the same thing (pardon the pun).

Anniversaries of birthdays and various events are designated by a date in the year. These are also accompanied by decennaries, centennials, etc..

The moon, such an important part of our existence is also used to denote periods of time, albeit sometimes with less exactness.

So I thought why not use another cycle to mark an occasion, and look back over the years... that and I am basically a year late for the decennary.

Our planet experiences a solar cycle of about 11 years. It's still not completely understood why, and the various effects are still being studied - but after an extended dormancy our sun is starting to flare up (another pun!) and instigate various activity here on Earth.

My rambling aside - today marks 11 years since I got my first full-time job thanks to my university degree.

I never pro-actively sought after a job working with the Oracle product - in fact, my first job offer was in Sydney to work on the Collins class submarines using the Ada language - which was the teaching language of choice at ECU at the time.

So with much thought I declined that offer, deciding to stay in Perth - taking a job in a suburb many miles/kilometers from my home... using Oracle, and I hit the ground running.

Fortunately my first employer was often on the bleeding edge when it came to Oracle technology, so I learned a lot in a short amount of time.

With a little hesitation after almost 5 years I left my first employer so I could start exploring other industries (and perhaps work in town, instead of an industrial suburb well out of my way)

Wind forward to today, and I've touched on Forms, Reports, Designer, Portal, Discoverer, EBS, mod plsql, and a seemingly longish gap to Application Express.

I think more importantly, however, I've been active in my local user group. I think when it comes to advancing my career, this has been one of the most important aspects.

Participating in user group events allowed me to meet & greet others in my community, in hindsight allowing me to maintain consistent contact with my future employer (Sage). Ultimately I started presenting papers of my own, rewarding me with a best paper award at this year's AUSOUG conference.

It's also opened a number of other doors, almost like a positive feedback loop. I've reviewed a number of new Oracle books from Packt Publishing; and I've been a technical reviewer in a number of interesting Oracle books from Apress. This is another part of the feedback loop, since I'm learning & reasserting skills while reviewing books I'd want to read anyway.

As for the future? Well, from a technology perspective I think in due time my lovely employer Penny would like me to learn JDeveloper, but in the nearer future I'm more than happy to continue exploring and improving my Oracle Apex skills.

I will certainly be continuing my extra curricular activities. Amongst other tasks, soon I hope to co-author some articles with Penny; I have some more ideas for fresh presentations using the Prezi tool - limiting death by powerpoint!; I hope to finally redesign this blog and "officially" launch the new name, but that may be competing with our yearn to translate our Sage website into Apex - which will offer many new opportunities. I've just got to make sure I don't destroy the wonderful SEO work Chris Muir has put into the static HTML version.

Ultimately, it would be great to start participating in some of the bigger events around the world - UKOUG & ODTUG's Kaleidoscope, for example. It's just a little shame we're here in the most isolated capital city in the world... but it's worth it - I love living here ;-)