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05 July 2010

What I learned in ODTUG Kaleidoscope Summer Camp

Oh, you missed a good one

I think I’ve finally recovered from 2010’s Kaleidoscope conference.  That is one fun conference. 

Why weren’t you there?  Oh, you were?  How does it feel to be, oh, 30% smarter because of 4.5 days of conference?  Pretty awesome for what is a small amount of money and time.  You know where you should direct your effort and career for at least the next year?  Yup, it’s hard to believe the content is all done by volunteers.

Let’s review it by days.


Volunteer time at the Ronald H. Brown Middle School.  I find it revealing that ODTUG sponsors a volunteer activity.  Think about who your fellow ODTUGers (ODTUGians?  ODTUGanese?  ODTUGs?  You choose, and please let me know.) are – they’re people who freely share their knowledge, expertise, and experience so that others may benefit.  This philosophy of giving carries beyond the boundaries of Oracle. 

I thought I would be “clever” and do the inside library work instead of painting outside.  Note to all – when it’s stiflingly hot, fresh air might be better than stale air.   Next time…


Did you go to the Symposium on Sunday?  The one with all of the cool stuff that I’m not allowed to blog about?  Yeah, me too.  For the rest of you – what, are you crazy?  Show up next year.  You too will then have The Knowledge.

I will write three things that (hopefully) won’t get me in trouble.
1) Essbase is going to be at the heart of a *lot* of Oracle products.  It’s kind of scary to see how valuable good old Essbase is and will be.  Think that hoary old film, Red Dawn, but instead of knocking off foreign invaders and yelling, “Wolverines”, yell “Essbase!”  The name of this company ain’t Hyperion Solutions, that’s for sure.
2) In the not too distant future, I will actually want to drop the Classic add-in.
3) Essbase Fan, Toufic is looking for you.  He’s not so crazy about ScaryView.

And one thing that I won’t get into trouble for writing – Oracle EPM 11.1.2 is here, and it’s got lots of new features and functions.  Check it out – it’s coming to an installation near you.  The Planning features and ASO procedural calculations alone ought to occupy my spare time for the next six months or so.



There was sort of a theme to Monday – can you spot it?

ASO – Glenn Schwartzberg’s Practical Coding Examples.  Gary Crisci, president of the ODTUG Hyperion SIG, was unable to attend, so I drove whilst Glenn talked.  Gary would have been better but Glenn ran over anyway.  Hmm, maybe Gary would have cracked the whip and kept Glenn on schedule.  :)  Regardless, it was an honor to click for Glenn.

ASO – Gary Crisci’s Essbase ASO:  The Best Thing Since Sliced Data – I believe this was given by an Oracle employee, Dave Collins.  If I have that wrong, someone please drop me a line.  It was an excellent presentation.

ASO – Edward Roske gave his always popular ASO Tuning and Optimization presentation.  I didn’t attend this, but instead attended a Leveraging Essbase Data Types class given by Mike Nader.

ASO – Buland Chowdhury of Orcale gave a presentation on implementing efficient ASO databases.  I have no idea where I was – my notes (and brain) are blank.  I think I had ASO spilling out of my ears because my brain was full so I went back to my room to obsessively rehearse my presentation.  Fun times, fun times.

Midnight (but not actually at midnight) Monday Madness

You know, for someone who has never actually watched an entire episode of Jeopardy, I think I did okay on the answers (I submitted 40+, saw five that I recognized) and being a judge was fun.  Someone (Glenn?) made the comment I was a tough judge.  Happily for the contestants, I didn’t wear a funny looking wig and robe and get to say things like “You shall be taken to the place from whence you came, and from there be taken…” 


A slightly more diverse day than Monday (hey, you have your interests, I have mine).  I checked out the ever-entertaining Tim Tow with his Dodeca presentation (Why doesn’t everyone just use this product?  It’s so obviously the best of the best.  Yes, there are many questions in life I never get satisfactory answers to.) 

My long time friend and colleague Dave Farnsworth gave a presentation on hacking Planning tables.  There have been unofficial and Hyperion-only guides (I saw one, once) that explain the schemas, but little direct documentation of what the tables do, and how to pull information you can actually use out of them.  Go check out his whitepaper if you didn’t download it during the conference.  For those of us who use Planning, this alone was worth the price of conference admission.

I attended two of the training courses – both Studio related.  I’ve had training on Studio before, so I was hoping these would be a quick refresher.  Unfortunately, there was so much material to cover that the training went at double the legal speed limit, and if there was a problem you (that would be me, actually) were lost.  I sat and watched so it wasn’t completely lost on me.


I didn’t attend the ODI 11g presentation so I could be the ambassador to Matthew Holt’s Dodeca presentation.  His was a really interesting session because although it focused on Dodeca the lessons learnt that he related were germane to any technology center of excellence.

Then ASO again, with Glenn Schwartzberg, this time Studio tips and tricks.  He was excellent as always.

I went to a really interesting MDX presentation, but it was sort of counter intuitive.  Dan Pressman introduced a methodology for analyzing the ASO cache so that MDX is not used, or at least is used as little as possible.  I’m sure one day I’ll be smart enough to understand it.  I hope.  :)

HAL is dead, DIM is dying, ODI is rudely healthy

Finally, my ODI presentation with Markus Shipley.  I have to say that I work myself up into way too much of a lather over this stuff.  This presentation was recorded, and I have the recording on my laptop; I am listening to it as I type.  I have figured out who I sound like.  William Holden?  I wish.  Cary Grant?  It seems incredibly unlikely.  Jimmy Stewart?  Getting closer.  Ira Glass of NPR’s This American Life?  I sound and look like him.  Ouch.

ODTUG will soon post this and other presentations for you all to hear.  Enjoy the moments when I say things like “Right here” and “As you can see”.  Were you in the room, such comments might even make sense as you would be able to see my ever dancing hands.  The lack of this visual aid will add an air of mystery to the presentation when webcast.  I think it’s good to have intrigue in one’s daily humdrum life.

I then attended my co-presenter, Markus Shipley’s, Calc Manager session.  When I’ve used Calc Manager in the past I’ve just copied and pasted in Essbase calc script code.  Next time I’ll actually give the graphical approach a try.

Finally, I saw my ex-colleague Tracy McMullen do her always outstanding best with Charles Chew re figuring out if EAS, EIS, or Studio is the right choice.  It was an interesting exercise in product feature comparison.

Just a side note about two of Wednesday’s sessions – both the Dodeca and the EAS, EIS, or Studio presentations were ostensibly about their specific technologies.  Not entirely true.  Both presentations were really a lot more valuable than that because they addressed wider ideas such as what it takes to successfully set up a technology center of excellence and how does a company go through the technology selection process.  I’m not sure how we (that would be ODTUG) should highlight presentations that have this kind of scope but this is the sort of stuff that management consulting companies charge big bucks for.  We (that would be the Kaleidoscope attendees) got it for free along with the tool specific content.  That’s extraordinary value for money and another reason why Kaleidoscope is so awesome.


Awww, I was getting sad, the conference was rolling to an end. 

Matt Milella kicked off with 11.1.2’s SmartView Extensions.  Oracle put a lot of work into SmartView to make it less painful in Excel.  Just keep going guys till you reach the nirvana Toufic demoed on Sunday.  I’m waiting with fingers crossed.

I then didn’t leave the room (so convenient) and sat in on Robert Gideon’s SmartView VBA automation session.  Gads, I love sessions with code samples.  I am sad, but there it is.

And the last was like the first, Glenn again, with his Load Rules Advanced To Basic session.  I was his ambassador (it’s just a chance to mock the person you’re introducing, and you get these cool pins for your conference badge) and led the room in a round of applause of appreciation.  Glenn has given so much to ODTUG, even though he’s not on any board.  I am really looking forward to working with him this year on the Hyperion SIG board.

The End, until next year

And that was it.  All that hard work (okay, all I did was help review presentations, but I have a little sweat equity) by ODTUG, and Your Conference Connection really paid off.  I have been and remain incredibly impressed by the time, energy, and enthusiasm everyone brought to the conference.  It showed in the high caliber of the presentations, the roadmaps from Oracle, the training sessions, and the buzz amongst the attendees.  If you can’t tell, I loved it.

Remember, except for YCC who run the business side of the conference, everyone who participates in Kaleidoscope does so voluntarily.  The ODTUG board members and the Kaleidoscope Conference Co-Chairs (hello, Edward, 2011 Conference Supremo) spent countless hours making sure that this conference delivers value.  They have my heartfelt thanks for doing such a great job.  I can’t wait till next year.  You will be there in Long Beach, won’t you?


GlennS said...

The ASO tuning for mere mortals was done by me instead of Edward. He got called away to meet with the ODTUG committee to talk about next year. As typical I ran out of time to cover the 1000s of slides Edward gave me. In the future I need to sort through them and decide what to talk about

Guillermo said...

About Smartview 11.1.2 I have noticed that if you open a Planning webform and in one cell you write the formula as example
=10 and after you decide to write a value directily, you can't and the value in the cell is still =10