I will be available on 19 January, 2015. Essbase assessments forever! Or something like that. Contact me on LinkedIn if you're interested.

17 January 2015

Kickoff to Kscope15

Starting off with an apology

I have an old smart phone.  Like five years old.  And it’s breaking apart, piece by piece.  Droid2s are no longer thick on the ground, and once you see the fairly horrible pictures of a really nice hotel and convention center, you’ll understand what I mean.  

Where oh where oh where are you?

I’m glad you asked as I am at one of the two ODTUG board of directors in-person meetings.  ODTUG does this twice a year – once in January and again before Kscope.  

At the January meeting, we get to see for the first time (unless a director is on the conference location committee) where the upcoming Kscope will be held.

Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood, Florida

This place is, in a word, spectacular.  I don’t believe Kscope has ever been in such a nice place.  

Unfortunately, what you are about to see really, really, really doesn’t do the place justice.

Here’s the lobby.  Take the almost-impressionist snapshot and multiple it’s awesomeness by 1000%.

Mary Cassatt, eat your heart out.

Continuing the o-m-g what is theme, here’s the gym.  They like blue.  It is pretty amazing looking.

And lastly, something that is actually relevant to you, oh potential Kscope attendee – a breakout room.  They’re really nicely laid out.  Hopefully not so laid out that you stare at the walls or ceiling in an architecturally induced stupor of delight.  That’s what the speaker is supposed to do with his presentation.


South Florida meetup/ODTUG kickoff


The South Florida meetup, led by Kris Callabro and Jessica Cordova, combined their second meetup with our kickoff to Kscope15.  Thank you all for coming.

From the left, you see Natalie Delemar as moderator, yr. obt. svt., Tim Tow, ODTUG President Monty Latiolas, Mike Riley, and Mia Urman.  David Schleis is not visible but he too moderated.

I think we answered some questions right.  Maybe.

The end and a question

It really is a spectacular resort and it will be a really spectacular conference.  I hope to see you there.

And now a question:  given that I own a smartphone old enough to be powered by coal and steam driven, what kind of phone would you recommend.  My only qualification is that it must be available for purchase in the States.

Be seeing you.

12 January 2015

This was the year that was, 2014

And what a year it was

It’s really all a bit amazing – you, Gentle Reader, saw fit to read this blog almost 80,000 times in 2014, and viewed over 100,000 pages.  I never, ever, ever thought when I started this blog way back in 2008 that I’d ever attract this many people.  Really, I had no idea what to expect other than I hoped someone would read it.  I guess there must be value here, somewhere, for these numbers.  Perhaps it’s me hitting the F5 key again and again and again or perhaps it’s every evil robot spambot trawling the site?  I prefer to think that it really does come down to you find this blog useful.  Thank you.

And now, thanks to the pretty awesome Google Analytics dashboard, let’s dissect what those numbers mean.

Jeepers creepers, where’d you get those peepers?

Good grief, there were a lot of you, and the numbers got higher through the year before they took their inevitable plunge over the Christmas holidays.


And look at the growth over last year – traffic basically doubled.  

Where oh where oh where did you come from?

Where you came from in the US of A


And where did you come from, last year?
The distribution isn’t all that different – I am chuffed that I managed to hit every state.  I can’t believe there are many Essbase hackers in Wyoming, but there must be at least one.

California continues to be the number one state for readers.  Given its size, population, and tech industry focus, this is hardly surprising.  

The skew towards Pensylvania is probably me writing this blog.  Okay, maybe not all of it, but a good deal of it.

Is there really more to the world than the States?  Yes.

The US is the largest site but that’s not a huge surprise given our population.  The distribution doesn’t change much.  I still have the goal of reaching Greenland if it’s broken out separately from Denmark.
The largest percentage change is Germany, followed by India, and then Brazil.  That’s three continents.  I should note that I don’t speak German, any of the dialects and languages of India, or Portuguese.

I have been to Germany on holiday, and when I was a young child I lived in South America (Guyana, and no, not as a member of a cult but when my father was on a USAID project to design and build bridges).

Origins

No, not the origin of man (way too controversial and besides you don’t read this blog to get my take on this), nor the origin of Cameron – ask my parents how that happened ‘cos I’m pretty sure it was either a stork or the cabbage patch, but where you come from.

If you discount service providers, the number one reader of this blog is Oracle.  Personally, I think they read it for a chuckle as they spot the mistakes in my wild surmises and guesses but perhaps they really do find value in it.  Or humor.

What is your lingua franca?

Although American is your first language, the second place winner is the British Empire (yes, I wanted to be a history professor, and yes, it would have been on labor in the British Empire, and yes, I find imperial history, particularly South Africa, Rhodesia, and South West Africa, “The Cape to Cairo”, Cecil Rhodes, Joe Chamberlin, Victoria Falls, Spion Kop (Boer War battleground, I’ve been there and it’s absolutely haunting), and any number of other places in southern Africa to be fascinating, and yes, I had a fellowship for a doctorate and ran away from it, and yes, I used the imperial names, and no, I have no idea why this interests me other than I had relatives there).  Whew, that’s way more than you wanted to know about me, isn’t it?  I expect Commonwealth countries to now boycott this blog.

It’s the 21st century, so you’re mobile.  Not that I am.

It looks like the iPad is the winner.  One of these days I have to spend more than 5 minutes with one.   It still seems like a crippleware version of a laptop.  I may be in the minority with this opinion.

Browsing the web

Alas and alack, my Very Favorite Browser in the Whole Wide World, Firefox, is in number three.  I just can’t warm up to Chrome and I only use IE when I absolutely have to.

Who referred me?

Google but a huge margin.  I guess Googling “Cameron + Essbase” really works.

Celvin Kattookaran is right after the premier search engine.  Celvin is my younger brother from different parents that I love to torture, although I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s smarter and more talented than I.

I find it interesting that Edward Roske, my former employer, is still in the top ten given that it’s mostly a moribund site.  Edward, I’m looking at you – you could beat Google if you posted more often.  Personally, I miss your industry insider comments.
What interests you?
Data export, Calculation Manager, death, death, death to Load Rules, How Cameron is the Worst Infrastructure Consultant in the World, Financial Reports, block creation, backups, and Hybrid Essbase.

If I ever finish my Special Project That I Have Only Hinted About, I have posts on Calc Manager, yet another Stupid Load Rule rant, and block creation all queued up, at least in my mind.  Someday, and hopefully soon.

Going strong, and still going

Would you believe that I broke the 200 mark for posts?  I find that amazing.  Perhaps it reflects my stubbornness, or my big fat mouth, or my desire to share my limited knowledge, or hubris, or maybe something else that I haven’t quite figured out.

What does matter, to me at least, is that you find this blog valuable as evinced by the numbers above.  I wouldn’t bother writing this all down if I didn’t think there was an audience.  And there, somewhat to my continuing surprise, is.

Thank you for putting up with my sometimes completely out there (c’mon, I’ll bet very, very, very few have ever heard the slogan “Cape to Cairo” and even less of you care) references and what is hopefully somewhat relevant Essbase and EPM content.

Thank you again for believing in me.  I’ll do my best in 2015 to keep the good stuff coming.

Be seeing you.

29 December 2014

Getting close

Here I am again, doing the same old thing

Yes, another blog post on The Book.  And yes, another tease post.  Once we (note how I am not saying who “we” are) get all of our drafts to the editor and the copy editing process begins, I’ll spill the beans on what this is all about.

I finished my draft at 1:43 am this morning and sent it over to Tim German for his contribution.  It should be a really good chapter all about the subject of this blog.

In the meantime, thank your lucky stars you aren’t doing this, happily this time without cats:

That’s the same dining room, only marginally less messy, and me again working on a paper draft.  I do lots of editing in Word, but that final review has to be on paper.

In addition to my literary output, there is a jar of what promises to be delicious sauerkraut next to me.  I’m not totally sure why that is on the dining room table and not the pantry but in my current state of sleeplessness anything is possible.

For the record, I’m at 14,599 words for the first chapter and 13,948 words for the one I just finished.  That’s novella length.  I am trying not to think about how many hours I, and a bunch of other talented-yet-stupid-for-doing-this people have put into the project.  I reckon I’ve invested 500 to 700 hours – after a while, who bothers counting?

What’s next?

Sleep?  Probably not.

As far as this blog is concerned, I’ll be doing a This Was The Year That Was review sometime next week.  This has been a banner year for the blog although of necessity my posts have diminished with all of the writing I’ve been doing.  

Be seeing you in the new year.

14 December 2014

A plea for Hybrid Essbase help

A plea for help

As some of you know, Tim German and I are writing a chapter in the OMG-I-must-be-nuts-to-do-this-again Special Project.  Given the agony I and the gaggle of august geeks I have roped into this project (one would think they would know better, but they didn’t) are going through getting this all done on time for publication, I’d have to say they are in that cloud cuckooland category as well.  But it’s all fun, sort of.  We think.  On to the subject of this post know that I’ve (not Tim, he is made of sterner stuff) had my chance to whine.

You may ask (maybe you don’t, pity that as it’s the whole point of this post), Cameron and Tim, just exactly what chapter are you writing?  And why is this a plea for help?  We’re ever so glad you asked that question, as this post’s raison d'ĂȘtre is to tell you why and what and then to ask for your help.  In short, we’re writing a chapter on Hybrid Essbase and we need your help figuring out the likely future direction of Essbase.  Momentous enough for you?

Just in case you don’t know

Hybrid Essbase is the future of Essbase.  Yes, really.  It isn’t BSO and it isn’t ASO – it’s both all in one delicious package.  Oracle have stated as much in public settings – we’re not breaking any NDAs or confidences..  We are beyond happy to hear this because it means that Essbase has a future, Essbase development is ongoing, and thus we can continue our Essbase blogs and incidentally continue our so-called careers.  What’s not to like?

What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

Here’s the deal – We know what’s in Hybrid today.  We don’t know what will be in Hybrid tomorrow.  But we can guess at what is needed, we think.  What do you think Hybrid must have to become the de facto replacement for BSO and ASO?  Here’s our list – what’s on yours?

BSO

  • DTS
  • Time Balance
  • Cross dimensional operators
  • Data load to upper and lower intersections
  • Theoretical database size limit = ASO
  • Hybrid calc scripts
  • All BSO calc script functions
  • BSO functions that mimic MDX, e.g., ???
  • Attributes in Hybrid
  • TWOPASS
  • DATAEXPORT and Essbase report scripts in Hybrid
  • TOPDOWN member formulas
  • Partitions to BSO

ASO

  • Compression dimension
  • Solve order
  • Optional MDX grammar
  • Paged outline file (IIF there are larger databases)
  • Materialized aggregations
    • Query hints
    • Persistent tablespaces

Futures

  • Database statistics that report both BSO and ASO statistics
  • Documentation that explains:  
    • Internals of the database
      • Have you ever heard Tom Kyte talk about the Oracle db?  I’ve been to one or two of his presentations (NZOUG and GLOC) and I think I understood the first 60 seconds of his speech (mostly the bit where he said, “Hello, my name is Tom Kyte”) but I was able to suss out that he talked about the internals of the database and how to best tune for performance.  The Oracle db is the heart of Oracle – if there ever was a competitive advantage re internals confidentiality, this product would be the one to exercise that.  But Oracle don’t do that.
      • So why can’t Essbase geeks have that same transparency?  We do have it for BSO, mostly, but ASO’s internals are barely discussed in the DBAG and the best explanation extant is Dan Pressman’s chapter in Developing Essbase Applications:  Advanced Techniques for Finance and IT Professionals.  Why can’t Oracle provide this for Hybrid?  Please.  Rant over.
    • How to tune Hybrid databases for best performance
    • Database statistics that merge ASO and BSO statistics
  • Death to load rules.  Please?  Pretty please?  Pretty please with sugar on top?  Pretty please with sugar on top and whipped cream?  Pretty please with sugar on top, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce?  Pretty please with sugar on top, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and a cherry on top?  Please?

Again, the plea for help

Send your comments care of this blog’s comment section below, or to my email (if you have it), or to this Twitter thread.  We’ll thank the Best and Brightest for their help in the Acknowledgements section if we use your suggestions.  Think of it – immortality in print and all the more reason to buy copies of the book (hopefully in the hundreds if not thousands) so I can continue my royalty income of 32¢ per copy (yes, really,that’s my share).

Thanks and be seeing you.

02 December 2014

Stay tuned to this station for important information

The first hurdle passed

For those of you wondering why I seemed to have dropped off the face of the social media earth, I have been busy, busy, busy.

What have I been busy at?  Another book.  And it’s not about geeks and cats, the pictures in this post notwithstanding.  Nope, it’s the follow up volume to Developing Essbase Applications.

I’m going to leave the details a mystery (but yes, it is a group project to end all group projects, again, and yes we have a publisher and a contract and all of those wonderful things so it’s all for real)  as there’s still much to do and I don’t want to jinx the project.  For those of you who follow me on Twitter (I know for a fact that you do not, cf. my past blog post on blog readership so why don’t you get with it and read my even more frequently updated drivel and inanity), will have seen my tweet last night which ought to give you a hint as to what one of my chapters is about.
No, it is not a book Karl Malden, although I do encourage everyone to watch The Streets of San Francisco as it is an excellent police procedural.  And all of the cars are from FoMoCo.  And it is a Quinn Martin Production, so it has to be good.

In any case, that’s the scultpure that inspired the name Dodeca.  If that isn’t enough hints, I don’t know what is.

In any case, I thought you might like to see yr. obt. svt. at work so you can all thank your lucky stars you don’t do something as stupid as writing a book.  Fwiw, my royalty share on Developing Essbase Applications is 32¢ a copy.  It sure ain’t a road to riches.

So what am I doing?  Below you see my cats helping me out as I edit my first draft.  That’s Peanut sitting on the chapter, perhaps providing editorial comment by sticking her rear end on half of the chapter.  In the front Is Adam, looking incredibly bored, so perhaps yet another editorial comment.

I apologize for the mess.  This is the dining room and my maelstrom of stuff has hit this room.  All I can say is you should see my office.  Eeek.  I had to leave the untidiness behind me and ruin another room.  

Yet another picture – OMG, I have to clean.  And get Peanut off my manuscript.  Cats are such stinkers.

I feel sort of bad wasting your time with cat pictures but isn’t the internet all about watching cat videos? I’m just joining the club.  And they’re great cats.  Both are rescues from the mean streets of Philadelphia.  Adam, the older of the two, was rescued in Fitler Square where I used to live, and Peanut from under a truck in Chinatown.  I will spare you my rant about strays and unthinking owners.

So what’s next?

Cleaning my house?  Definitely.  After that, the editing process, getting the other chapters in, all of the fun legal stuff with Oracle (yes, they vet the whole thing, give us permissions to show screen shots on an image by image basis, etc. but don’t worry, it’s our content).

After all of the chapters are complete and we’re actually in the process of the second draft, I’ll share some detail about the book.  I’m very excited (and relieved that I got this chapter done, only ½ of another one to  go) about our work and I think it will be valuable to world+dog.

Be seeing you.

23 November 2014

9,000 + 5,700 + 12,000 = wow

Short and sweet, for once

This post is going to be short and sweet because I am in the middle of Yet Another Really Big Project That Pays Bupkis.  You would think I would learn, but then you (and I) would be wrong.  Unfortunately.  Stay tuned to this blog for a Big Announcement in the next month or so.

What I should have, but don’t

I do have 80% of a really interesting (ahem) post on tap but you know how that last 20% goes and I don’t have the time.

I have another really interesting blog post on Calculation Manager that I have, at least in my head, about 50% written but that too is going to take time.

And I just don’t have any.  Bummer.

What I do have

I better not let too much time go by before I add new content, or this will be the last time I see numbers like this:

This blog has finally attracted more than 9,000 sessions, more than 5,700 users, and more than 12,000 pageviews in a 30 day period!  Small beer to many, but big news for me.

The blog has been just shy of 9,000 sessions for the last two or three months and it got to be kind of agonizing to see if it would ever break through.  It has.

According to Google Analytics, audience is defined in the following ways:
  • Sessions – An instance of a user actively engaged on this blog
  • Users – Users that have at least one session.
  • Pageviews – The total number of pages viewed

You’ve engaged with this blog over 9,000 times in the last (as of Friday) 30 days.  That means that globally there were 9,000 instances of of people saying, “I wonder what that idiot Cameron has come up with this week.”

And here we are.

Btw, those statistics are not because I sat in front of my computer hitting F5 on http://camerons-blog-for-essbase-hackers.blogspot.com/ again and again and again till I got really good numbers although that thought did cross my mind.

Instead this reach is because of you.  You’re the ones that read this blog, find value (in theory), and come back for more.

It sort of amazes me that anyone, other than my mother, reads this thing.  And I have to prod her sometimes with comments like, “Mum, didn’t you see my mention of:  you/strange love of Faygo red pop/desire to visit the Henry Ford Museum again, yes, again/need to drink Tim Horton’s coffee/various strange references to (un)popular culture?”  Invariably, she has not.  So that’s at least one person who doesn’t pick up what I’m laying down but you, Gentle Reader, are.

Thank you

There really isn’t much to say other than thank you for finding so much value in this blog.  I’m going to do a year-end review of this blog by the numbers but breaking through this particularly statistic (and honestly, I don’t know why 9,000 became a goal, but it did) just tickled me pink.

Thanks again.

Be seeing you.