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I’m Jim Marion and this is how I work March 25, 2014

Posted by Tipster in How I work.
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Next up in the ‘How I work‘ series is Jim Marion. I suspect that for most reading this Jim will need no introduction, however as I’ve given everyone else a mini-biog I shall do the same for Jim.

Jim is Oracle’s most publicly-facing techie, and I suspect one of it’s most senior technical brains. Jim’s blog – Jim’s PeopleSoft Journal – is one of the (if not ‘the’) most useful and forward thinking PeopleSoft blog(s), and probably the one that gets the most traffic. Jim is a frequent speaker on the US conference circuit where his ‘PeopleTools Tips & Techniques’ sessions are the first ones in many peoples’ agenda planners. Jim is also a published author, with both PeopleTools Tips & Techniques and PeopleTools Data Management and Upgrade Handbook to his name. To top it off, Jim is also a wonderful mix of unfailingly helpful and pretty much always correct.

IMG_8183_150

Name: Jim Marion

Occupation: PeopleSoft Technology Consultant
Location: Home office, Washington State, USA
Current computer: Dell E6420 (OEL 6.4, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
Current mobile devices: HTC Incredible 2, iPad 2, Verizon Fivespot Wireless Hotspot
I work: even when I’m not working

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
My phone and some sort of internet connection are both very important. As a remote worker, if I have internet and a dial tone, I can work from just about anywhere. When traveling, I really enjoy having a few books in my Safari Books Online iPad book bag. As far as productivity apps, here is a list of what I use daily: vim, gedit, VirtualBox, KRDC (remote desktop), jEdit, SQLDeveloper, AppDesigner, JDeveloper, Eclipse, Fiddler, Wireshark, Pidgin, Thunderbird, Skype, Vonage, and most of all: Google search.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
My phone and laptop are the two most important. My iPad really helps me keep up with book reading. My Verizon 4g hotspot keeps me connected when hotel or airport WIFI are not very good.

What’s your workspace like?
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time working from Marriott hotel desks that look very much like this:

IMAG0379

What do you listen to while you work?
Very occasionally I listen to a playlist on GrooveShark (Toby Mac, Matt Redman, Switchfoot), a message from Andy Stanley, or some instructional presentation by John Resig or another JavaScript icon. Most of the time, however, I find that attempting to listen to something while working is a waste of bandwidth because I am so focused on my work that I don’t seem to hear anything around me.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
For development, I use Application Designer, SQLDeveloper, jEdit, and JSLint. I also spend a lot of time in discovery and analysis. For this portion of my work, I use Fiddler, Firebug, and SoapUI.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
If you use the PeopleSoft database cache option instead of file system cache, you may already know that you can strategically clear segments of the cache. Unfortunately, with database cache, performing a full database cache purge with psadmin can take a very, very long time. Here is the tip: truncate psobjcache before clearing cache with psadmin.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I write a lot of SQL against the portal registry and security tables.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Code assistance in AppDesigner’s PeopleCode editor: auto fill, auto complete, auto… I spend a lot of time in the PeopleCode Language and API reference verifying syntax. It would be really, really beneficial if App Designer just displayed that information like other integrated suites.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Problem identity and resolution. I have an eye for things that are out of place.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A generous man will prosper. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25.

I’m Anton de Weger and this is how I work March 4, 2014

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Next up in the ‘How I work‘ series is Anton de Weger, my first boss in the PeopleSoft world. Anton ran Congruent UK, the consultancy I worked at for 7 great years and I owe much of what I’ve learnt to him. Congruent was – for it’s no longer in existence – full of great consultants, not only in their technical or functional ability, but in a desire to behave ethically for the client – something that came from Anton at the top.

Not only is Anton a great leader, but he’s brilliant technically too. He possesses a ‘Steve Jobs like’ reality distortion field, where all technical tasks somehow seem easier when he’s around. He’s still the only person I’ve ever seen – when there was a network outage – fire up a blank notepad session and write an SQR from scratch.

Anton has since returned to Australia where he’s currently working on a 9.2 upgrade.

anton

Name: Anton de Weger

Occupation: PeopleSoft Consultant / Project Manager
Location: Melbourne Australia
Current computer: Metabox (Win7, 16GB RAM, SSD, Radeon 6900M) third in a line of luggable powerhouses that can warm my lunch as well as run a PeopleSoft VM or two.
Current mobile devices: iPhone 5s
I work: I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with PeopleSoft these days.  I’ve been trying to get away from the application for a while, but it still keeps pulling me back in.  I dislike the lack of development and focus on PeopleSoft from Oracle, and I feel this is limiting the potential for new blood and enthusiasm in the market.  Also, is it just me or are PeopleSoft implementations getting harder? My personal view is that the off-shoring and out-sourcing of the project teams are counteracting the benefits and efficiency of projects. However, in the end I love PeopleTools as a corporate computing platform and I think its flexibility and structure are underappreciated.  I’m driven by solving problems and feeling like I’m making a difference to my customers and if I can link that up with an occasional good technical challenge and a good team then I’m happy.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Snag-It: There is always a need for screen shots, whether you are doing Technical, Functional or Project Management work.
Podcasts: For the commute into work, either educational or humorous.
Notepad++: moving to this as a general text editor from previous preferences for UltraEdit and TextPad.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Now that I’m getting a bit older, I’m not as tied to having the latest gadget and I am quite enjoying challenging myself outside the technology field. This Christmas I was disappointed when I was able to get mobile coverage at our remote hobby farm (home to 13 beef cattle and 220 acres of grass and trees), where I like to go to escape the world.

What’s your workspace like?
Wherever the client wants me, which being a consultant is normally in the corner, or wherever they can find space. At home it looks like this.

anton_desk

What do you listen to while you work?
It depends on my mood, but industrial/gothic is high on the list, as is a bit of Electronica to help speed things along.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
Notepad++, Toad, PeopleBooks, Google Search and 20 years of previous projects, documents and notes pretty much covers me for most eventualities. The Oracle Virtual Machine PeopleSoft installs are also pretty cool, but only rarely used when onsite.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
PeopleSoft Directory, allows you to connect to Active Directory and the PeopleCode behind the Test page can be used to build an Active Directory interface using the Business Interlink.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
Always the effective date/effective sequence joins to JOB.  I really need to sort out a macro for that.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
A bit better vision from Oracle, so that customers didn’t have to beg to get PeopleSoft sold to them.  Preconfigured Global Payroll templates for countries.  OK, that’s two items, but the first is just a gripe.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
At one stage I think I had the largest SQR delivered by PeopleSoft…  I knew it was the largest, as to add an extra line of code, you had to remove one from somewhere else.  I’d probably say I’m reasonably good at working between tech teams, functional teams and the business.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I.T. is not about the software, it’s about the people.  If projects were about the software, you would press a button and it would be done.

I’m Simon Wilson and this is how I work February 26, 2014

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Next up in the ‘How I work‘ series is Simon Wilson, one of my colleagues here at Succeed Consultancy. Simon is an experienced hybrid Technical and Functional Consultant across HCM, Financials, CRM and Portal. As well as sterling on-site consultancy, Simon is the Technical Practice Lead here at Succeed so he looks after all of our Techs. Simon can be found on Twitter here and regularly contributes to the Succeed blog (as well as curating all the other entries).

Simon Wilson 2

Name: Simon Wilson

Occupation: Senior Consultant and Technical Practice Lead at Succeed Consultancy
Location: I live in the historic city of St Albans in the UK, a short drive from Succeed’s Office.
Current computer: I do most of my work on a standard Lenovo laptop supplied by Succeed. For my home computer I recently got tired of the fan noise from my self-built Shuttle-based machine and replaced it with a passively cooled system from Quiet PC. It’s blissfully silent and quite powerful too. Oh yes, and I also have a Raspberry Pi that I play with occasionally.
Current mobile devices: iPhone 5 and 3rd generation iPad.
I work: most happily when I’m learning something new

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I’m becoming very dependent on Dropbox for files that I need to access across different locations and devices. This is a good example of the use of “the Cloud”, which is something that I probably couldn’t live without nowadays. From accessing my files on Dropbox, to using one of the many PeopleSoft environments that Succeed hosts, to viewing my Google calendar, I’m using the Cloud for many hours of every day.

It’s not an understatement to say that using a password manager has changed my working life. I no longer have to remember the usernames, passwords or indeed the URLs that I need in order to access all the different applications and environments I use. I can get the program to generate strong passwords that I don’t ever have to know or even see. All I need to do is remember one strong password and I can ensure I have strong and secure access to everything else I use.

Finally, I think PeopleBooks are an excellent resource, and I find myself referring to them repeatedly every working day.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Phones and tablets are so powerful nowadays that additional gadgets are increasingly being rendered redundant. However, I’m very fond of my new Sonos music system.

What’s your workspace like?
When I’m not on a client’s site or at the Succeed office I’m lucky enough to have a study where I can shut myself away from the rest of the family.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s not usually as tidy as shown in the photo. There’s no standing desk, but I tend to find myself on a lot of conference calls, during which I try to stand.

What do you listen to while you work?
I’ve never found it easy to concentrate when there’s music playing, so I tend to work in silence. Sometimes, however, I need to block out a noisy office, in which case I will go for guitar-based instrumental music that I know quite well and will therefore not demand too much of my attention. Examples are the hypnotic rhythms of Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate, Ry Cooder’s large catalogue of film soundtracks or the Django-esque virtuosity of Joscho Stephan.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
I’ve been doing a lot of work with the Interaction Hub lately and have found browser developer tools to be fantastically productive for debugging JavaScript and iScript-generated HTML. I prefer to use Chrome, but on some clients’ sites I’m limited to using IE’s usable but inferior alternative. Other than that I don’t need much more than a good text editor such as Notepad++ with a PeopleCode plugin for text highlighting.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
Migrating Pagelet-Wizard pages and Pivot Grids between environments is easy – PeopleSoft provides pages that generate the Export and Import DMS files for you under PeopleTools > Pagelet Wizard > Export/Import Pagelets and Reporting Tools > Pivot Grids > Pivot Grid Admininstration respectively. Admittedly, the pages’ usability could be better, but they do save a lot of time.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
It has to be effective date sub-selects. The %EffDtCheck meta-sql has saved me a lot of time in this regard.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
One that springs to mind is the ability to open more than one class in an Application Package at a time, or at least a better way to navigate the Application Class hierarchy. When investigating errors I’ve lost count of the number times I’ve dived into a class’ parent’s parent only to lose my bearings and have to start back at the original call.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Before joining Succeed I was an independent consultant and during the early part of my PeopleSoft career I spent several years as the only technical resource at one particular client. With nobody else to bounce ideas off I had to become good at coming up with solutions to problems independently. They may not have been the most efficient or elegant ways of doing things, but they generally worked. When you’re close to a deadline and the whole team is working flat out, I have found this ability to be self-sufficient invaluable.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I can still remember being told by my boss during the mid-1990s that I ought to get myself trained on “this new thing called PeopleSoft”.

It’s more of an aphorism than a piece of advice, but I think it’s true that you should embrace change because in the IT industry it’s the only thing that’s constant.
Finally, we have a saying within Succeed that “SQL is your friend”, meaning that you can save yourself a lot of time and get quality answers to your questions if you know the data model and can write SQL to extract the information you want. Increasingly nowadays this is being morphed to “Google is your friend”, because someone somewhere in the world is likely to have experienced a similar issue to you and have blogged or raised a question about it.

I’m Chris Malek and this is how I work February 13, 2013

Posted by Tipster in How I work.
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Next up in the ‘How I work‘ series is Chris Malek of Cedar Hills Group. Chris is a Technical Consultant and President/Founder of Cedar Hills Group. He has 12 years experience working on PeopleSoft and is a former PeopleSoft employee. Although some of you may know him from this time, most will have heard his name from the blog he runs – his articles are often featured in the PeopleSoft Weekly.

chris-malek

Name: Chris Malek

Occupation: Independent PeopleSoft Technical Consultant @ Cedar Hills Group, Inc.
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Current computer: My main computer is an Apple MacBook Pro with 15 inch Retina display (16 GB RAM, SSD Drive), 24in Apple iMac (4GB RAM) – I use this iMac as a ‘thin’ client mostly and its large screen.
Current mobile devices: Iphone4 and an Ipad 1st Gen (upgrading to an iPad Mini soon)
I work: to learn something everyday and be mentally challenged.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Snagit – I have been using snagit for years. It makes communication and documentation so much faster. It is super easy to grab a screen-shot, then use the simple but powerful editor to mark it up with text, arrows, call-outs and even pull in other screen-shots. It is worth every penny.

Sublime text 2 – The best text editor I have found. Once you spend the time to learn the subtleties of it and install some plugins (there are hundreds) it is a powerful editor.

PeopleCode PeopleBooks – I write a lot of Peoplecode and I am constantly referencing the PeopleCode API documentation.

Balsamiq – I create a lot of PeopleSoft bolt-ons. I have found that creating low fidelity / pencil drawn UI sketches helps clients understand the proposed application and helps me flush out requirements faster. In general, people do not know what they want until they can see it. So quickly sketching out some UI options in something like Balsamiq helps get better requirements and helps create better applications.

Aperture – I have a large photo library and enjoy photography. Aperture is a great application that is powerful and integrates nicely with the many Apple devices my family has.

Google Reader – I have been a heavy Google Reader user for years. It is a great web app and it allows me to stay up to date on various tech blogs and niche topics I am interested in.

JungleDisk and Amazon S3 – I don’t keep paper and scan all business records to PDF. I backup all my computers to Amazon S3 using JungleDisk. I have piece of mind that if my computer fails or my house catches fire that I can get my records without a problem. It also allows me to do secure syncing with my family computers and I hold the encryption keys which is unlike something like DropBox where they control the encryption keys.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I don’t know if you can call it a gadget but I can’t live without my surfboards. I started surfing when I moved to Southern California about 8 years ago and it has become a passion. It is really fun, keeps me in shape and is a great stress reliever. Staying in shape is a top priority for me and my TRX Trainer is another favorite non-tech gadget. It is light, portable, and versatile. It gives you an exercise combination between Pilates, Yoga, and weight training.

I also love my Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner. As I stated above, I don’t keep any paper records. This little scanner is amazing and it was pivotal in allowing me to go completely paperless about 5 years ago.

What’s your workspace like?
In my home office, I have a desk that can be adjusted for standing. I don’t always stand while working and actually prefer sitting most of the time. However, it is nice to have the options to change postures. I have a white-board on the wall where I can sketch ideas and jot down my daily to do list which helps me stay focused.

chris-malek-home-office

What do you listen to while you work?
I love Pandora. Lately, I have been listening to the “Jazz Essentials” station. Another popular station for work hours is my Massive Attack pandora channel which has a bunch of down-tempo type music. I am also a big fan of anything by Yo-Yo Ma  especially the album titled “The Cello Suites.”

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
1.) Chrome Developer tools to find field names of PeopleSoft fields by inspecting the HMTL.
2.) HTTPFox FireFox plugin and Fiddler to troubleshoot cookie issues, dig into weblibs and spy on javascript Ajax calls.
3.) My DataDumper application class to quickly view buffer states and debug code because I hate looking at trace files. You can view an introduction here.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
If you are viewing any PeopleSoft page in any web browser (except IE), right click on a field and choose “inspect element”.  That will bring up the developer tools and will display the HTML source of the field that you had highlighted. The “id” attribute will have the record and field name in the form of {Record Name}_{Field Name}. This is really useful for dynamic pages where opening up the application designer page definition may not be obvious especially if there are nested sub-pages. This is a good trick to teach analysts that create tech specs as they can easily find the technical names and communicate in the language of the technical staff.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I create and support a lot of electronic signature / approval type customizations. This requires me to log in as many different users throughout the day for testing purposes. Therefore, I do a lot of password resets from the back end. Here is a script I use against my base account where I know the password and reset some target user’s password to match mine so I can login as them.

UPDATE PSOPRDEFN
SET OPERPSWD = (SELECT OPERPSWD
FROM PSOPRDEFN B
WHERE B.OPRID = ‘USER-WITH-KNOWN-PASSWORD’)
WHERE OPRID = ‘USER-I-NEED-TO-LOGIN-AS';

There are some caveats to this trick. This will not trigger an integration broker message since you are updating from the back end. Therefore, this will not sync to other PeopleSoft databases. I have also seen in the 8.53 pre-release notes that the password hashes may be stored with a salt soon so this will probably not work after 8.53 is released.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
If I could not get version control then I would focus some of the following areas of Application Designer:

* Code completion
* Better support for navigating complex Application Class hierarchies
* An option to force PeopleCode variable declarations
* Support for message catalogs on compare reports
* Support for exporting message catalogs to a file with the project

I could go on for hours.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I think I am a very quick learner and have the ability to understand complex problems and break the problem into smaller manageable chunks. I owe this to the Engineering program that I completed in college. The program taught amazing problem solving skills and transformed the way I think.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
When I was in training at PeopleSoft, a veteran consultant told me “Never learn COBOL or you will be stuck as the COBOL guy on a big project and never learn any new technology.” This stuck with me because I love learning new technologies. I took the advice and stayed clear of COBOL and I don’t regret it.

I also recently heard a quote the resonated with me: “It is OK to make mistakes as long as they are new ones.”

I’m Praj Basnet and this is how I work January 30, 2013

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Next up in the How I Work series is Praj Basnet, the talent behind the excellent PeopleSoft Wiki. I don’t know for sure – but judging by the traffic coming in to this blog from elsewhere – I suspect Praj’s site is amongst the most visited PeopleSoft related websites. The traffic he gets is no doubt due to the breadth and depth of the content he’s posted on there.

praj

Name: Praj Basnet

Occupation: Software Engineer and PeopleSoft Consultant
Location: Rockhampton, Australia
Current computer: Mac Book Pro 15″ (16GB RAM, SSD)
Current mobile devices: iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2
I work: largely remotely, and have never been more productive or happy.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
The Google suite (gmail, calendar, reader, drive). Evernote and Wunderlist to manage information. Software that is multi-platform and works/syncs across devices (phone, tablet, laptop etc).

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Turns out with a laptop, and a smartphone that has Internet access, I can pretty much work from anywhere and focus on getting things done. It’s always nice to also have a good cup of coffee and some peace and quiet. So a decent coffee machine and noise cancelling headphones are always a help.

What’s your workspace like?
I recently switched to a make-shift standing desk. The first two weeks were hard work! I found I could only stand for 30 minutes or so at a time. Slowly I’ve built up to standing about 4-5 hours a day with breaks in between. I undock and use my laptop and sit somewhere comfortable when I do need to sit down. If you are thinking about switching to a standing desk, take it easy, and keep at it. It can be hard work in the beginning, but the benefits and increased energy are worth it.

workspace

Other than that, when on the move, I just clear out a workspace and start working. The main thing for me is that it has to be clutter-free. Nothing worse than paper, devices, wires and stuff everywhere.

What do you listen to while you work?
My diverse music collection. Usually it works a treat, but it can be too distracting. Sometimes having the noise cancelling headphones on and nothing else is enough (i.e. white noise). Other times, I get sick of having headphones on and just like silence. It depends.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
On Windows when connecting to Oracle databases, SQLTools++ is a must. Text editors like Sublime Text and NotePad++ are essential. I love the command line and use it as much as I can. One thing I find myself doing a lot is grepping through multiple files/folders to search for a text string (e.g. a PeopleCode export or bunch of configuration files).

There’s a comprehensive list of the tools I’ve used over at the PeopleSoft Wiki, although at the moment it is mainly Windows focused. I need to update it with Mac, iOS and Android apps.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
If you are ever stuck without PIA access to a PeopleSoft site, and need to manage or create users, use the User Profile component interfaces and the Application Designer CI tester to get the job done. See the wiki for details.

Bonus tip, you can restart the PUB/SUB processes on the app server without restarting everything else through the tuxedo tmadmin console using shutdown -g PUBSUB and boot -g PUBSUB. See the wiki for details.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
Effective date logic, it just seems to come up all the time. I cheat sometimes and use app designer and the %EffdtCheck meta-sql to generate some of the SQL for me. But it generally needs tweaking.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Simple, effective version control and change management out of the box. Having all the code in app designer go straight to a git repository or something similar would be great.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I’m not better than anyone else at them, but there are two things I would consider my strengths:

Consistency. When I started the PeopleSoft Wiki, my one and only goal was to be consistent about getting a few articles up there every week. Some weeks would be great, others, not so good, but I think success all came down to putting in an effort every day/week/month and not making excuses.

Willingness to share information. If I learn something interesting, I like to tell others about it. I don’t like keeping things to myself in the hopes of being “smarter than everyone else”. If anything by sharing information you tend to get more respect because people genuinely value your input.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Ideas without execution have very little value. Everyone has great ideas, but few people ever actually get to the stage of “doing” something with them. Even fewer people keep at it when things get tough. The people that do, are the successful ones.

I’m Jiju Vengal and this is how I work January 15, 2013

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Next up in the ‘How I Work’ series is Jiju Vengal of HRoi Consulting. You’ll probably recognise Jiju’s name from his popular PeopleSoft HCM for You blog where he focuses mostly on Time and Labor and Absence Management. He’s probably the most prolific PeopleSoft blogger, averaging almost a post a week in 2012. On top of the blog posts Jiju often experiments with other mediums, most recently podcasts and ERP movies.

Jiju Vengal

Name: Jiju Vengal

Occupation: PeopleSoft HCM Functional Consultant/Chief Consultant at HRoi Consulting
Location: Singapore
Current computer: HP Pavillion (Win7, 8GB RAM)
Current mobile devices: iPhone4, Samsung Galaxy Tab2
I work: better and more productively after regular office hours (when the office is quiet!)

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Internet connection is a definite life line for me. Other than the ever dependable google search and e-mail, I use blogger.com, wikipedia and the RSS aggregator on Outlook frequently. Having access to a sandbox PeopleSoft instance will also be high on the must have list!

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I am not a gadget person. Besides work, I read quite a lot, but prefer to have a physical book in hand rather than an e-reader!

What’s your workspace like?
This is a tricky question as I have been primarily working from different customer sites away from Singapore for some time now – so it really depends on where I am working. But, my work desk in Singapore would have my laptop, a fixed line phone, photos of family and the books in my personal library decked up.

What do you listen to while you work?
I do not listen to music when I work. Unfortunately I need a quiet environment when I am working on important things!

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
I find UPK (User Productivity Kit) to be an extremely useful tool for business process documentation and user training (including documentation of customisations). We have also been using Firebug quite a lot these days.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
The Time and Labor rule set provides the functionality to write and execute SQL statements from PIA (including updates and deletes) – without the need to have access to app designer or even a database editor like SQL Navigator or TOAD.  If used judiciously, this can be a powerful tool to implement certain requirements without heavy customisations – a simple example is the need to have a process to create user defaults in T&L for new hires.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I do not do a lot of dedicated coding these days, but when I have to – they are mostly SQLs on Time and Labor/Absence Management tables for reporting purposes and T&L rule writing.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Improvements to the Time and Attendance product line like native mobile apps for T&A (I know companies like Succeed have worked on this!), country extensions for Time and Labor, better self-service experience in Absence Management etc. I have been trying to advocate this in my blog for some time and I hope the Oracle product team get to hear it.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
There are many consultants who have more experience in PeopleSoft than me, but what has helped me in my career are – a) Ability to see the forest instead of the trees b) Empathise with the customer – provide business oriented solutions rather than purely IT oriented solutions and c) Working harder than the rest.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
It’s foolish competing against others, the only way to move up is to compete against yourself and keep improving yourself.

I’m Matthew Haavisto and this is how I work November 27, 2012

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The honour of being both the first US-based PeopleSoft guru, and the first Oracle employee to be profiled, falls to Matthew Haavisto. Matthew’s official title is “Strategy/Product Manager, PeopleTools” but most will know him either from his conference sessions, his work with customers and partners or from the PeopleSoft Technology Blog. Matthew is heavily involved with the PeopleSoft Tech effort at OpenWorld and can often be found discussing UI or the PeopleSoft Interaction Hub in his laid-back but knowledgeable manner.

Name: Matthew Haavisto

Occupation: Strategy/Product Manager, PeopleTools
Location: Pleasanton, California
Current computer: Dell Laptop (nearing end of life)
Current mobile devices: iPhone
I work: Diligently

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
We’re doing more with collaborative tools these days, so we use Oracle Beehive Workspaces more and more.  Workspaces are more efficient than email and file systems for communication and doc sharing among our project teams.  Sad to say, but my colleagues and I are still bound too much to email, though I’m hoping to reduce that use over time.  Collaborative technology is easy to deploy, but changing ingrained behavior is more difficult.   I produce a lot of external collateral like red/white papers, data sheets, RVPs, and conference presentations, so simple apps like MS Word and Powerpoint still get a lot of use.  These apps are also useful for internal communications like business requirements, specifications, and scoping presentations as well.  I also use Visio for simple modeling, and Balsamiq for low-fi UX mockups.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Despite working in software, I guess I’m a bit of a Luddite.  I don’t go in for a lot of gadgets.  I do most of my work from my office or my home, so I’m connected when I need to be.  When I’m off work and engaged in personal pursuits (sports and music), I don’t want to be connected, so I deliberately cut the cord.

What’s your workspace like?
My workspace at the office is similar to my workspace at home.  Both are pretty simple and efficient.  I have a monitor and docking station so setup is fast.

I like coming into the office to interact personally with colleagues, though I do work from home a fair amount as well.  Since I work with colleagues, partners, and customers around the globe, I’m often on calls/web conferences at odd hours of the morning or night, and in those cases, I take the meetings at home.

What do you listen to while you work?
I’m a big fan of Pandora.  I listen mostly to classical, particularly at work. Favorites are Beethoven, Sibelius, Smetana, and Tchaikovsky.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Since I work for PeopleTools, I have some influence on this.  I’m hoping we can establish better integration with social apps like Oracle Social Network.  We are also doing some really cool stuff for the future UX and mobile, so keep your eyes peeled.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I don’t know that I’m better at one thing than others.  Rather, I’m a bit of a factotum.  I do many things pretty well, and tend to learn things quickly.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Balance your work with the rest of your life.

I’m Nicolas Gasparotto and this is how I work November 14, 2012

Posted by Tipster in How I work.
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Nicolas Gasparotto is one of the longest running PeopleSoft bloggers having started in 2006 (a year before me, the same year as Jim Marion and David Kurtz, and only one year after the Grey Heller guys). His ‘On the PeopleSoft Road‘ blog focuses mainly on installation, infrastructure and DBA activites and is packed with step-by-step walkthroughs of installs. Nicolas is also an Oracle ACE and is often found dishing out helpful advice on the OTN Discussion Forums (since August 2002 he’s made 23,742 posts – an average of 6.5 posts every day, for a decade!).

Name: Nicolas Gasparotto

Occupation: Oracle and PeopleSoft Administrator – contractor
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Current computer: Dell Inspiron 1720 (WinXP Pro, 4GB RAM, 2*250Gb HD). It’s rather old. In fact, it’s nothing but a client to my Dell server PowerEdge 2900III (16GB RAM, 4*500Gb HD in RAID0, Quad core Xeon CPU) and Qnap NAS Server (4*1Tb in RAID5)
Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S, Kindle

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Installed on my own Dell PowerEdge 2900III server, I’m using VMWare vSphere Hypervisor (free) on a daily basis for learning the new PeopleSoft stuff on my own, installing etc. I also had an Oracle VM implementation on a spare desktop, but it has to be renewed.

Regarding the databases side, I can’t live without Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c, especially helpful when managing 50+ databases.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
My Kindle is my best friend in the 3 hours I spend daily on public transportation. I read a lot.

What’s your workspace like?
My home desk is currently “under construction”… my 1.5 year old son makes it a bit more complicated to manage.

What do you listen to while you work?
I already tried it, but at the end of the disc, I was surprised that was finished, I realized I did not hear anything. Since then, I don’t listen music at all when I work.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
If available on client site, OEM is definitely a useful tool. Easy to make performance comprehensive reports, and being able to show it to the Infra manager… for further action.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
I can say the Peoplesoft plugin in Enterprise Manager Cloud Control is a must to have. It gives a lot of information, availability, loading…

It allows to configure a lot of parameters, if not all, on AppServer, Process Scheduler and PIA, start/stop… even though it needs to be improve a lot.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I use a bunch of my own SQL scripts for locks checking, AWR reporting… Somehow, I also have run quite often a DMS script to unlock/change password of users on demo/test environments without SSL.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
It would be nice to have a page in PeopleTools menu dedicated to the Application Server configuration (and Process Scheduler ?), such as something we have for the Web Profile. I’d like to be able to set trace level, change parameter without going somewhere else (actually on the server) and take back the logs. We could then give some permission to the developer’s account for that. Of course, as an administrator, you should keep an eye on the disk space.

And in a dream, be able to work on PeopleSoft without the need of Windows OS. Have App Designer running on a Linux Distro?

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Keeping an eye on the OS and databases heartbeat to be pro-active as much as possible, trying to solve issues quickly before the phone rings, with a good and positive mind.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t postpone until tomorrow what you can do today.

I’m Hakan Biroglu and this is how I work November 7, 2012

Posted by Tipster in How I work.
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I’m very grateful to Hakan Biroglu for agreeing to be the next subject in this series.

Although Hakan has been in the industry a long time (he’s been working on Oracle Apps for 13 years, and Peoplesoft for 10 years) I’d not met him until recently. His blog will be familiar to many and he’s one of the most prolific and helpful experts on the PeopleSoft areas in the OTN forums. Hakan works for Logica (now part of CGI) in the Netherlands. I bumped into him at this year’s OpenWorld where he gave a session on the benefits of upgrading to Tools 8.52.

Name: Hakan Biroglu

Occupation: Software Architect PeopleSoft & Practice Lead Fusion Applications
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Current computer: Toshiba Tecra (Win7, 8GB RAM)
Current mobile devices: Google Galaxy Nexus Phone, iPad

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I would have to start with VMWare Player (Sorry folks, not that of a big fan of VirtualBox). Since my computers kept crashing on me, I decided to run everything in virtual machines and of course having backups of these on external hard disks. Now I have dozens of virtual machines with different versions of PeopleSoft and other content. Whenever needed I just start another virtual machine. Other tools I cannot live without are Google, NotePad++7zipsoapUI and Snagit. And not to forget, My Oracle Support, the OTN Forums and PeopleBooks (after 10 years I still use it on a daily basis). What most people do not know is that there is a great amount of information on iLearningPeopleSoft YouTube Channel and the Advisor Webcasts.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Call me old fashioned, but I do not use gadgets whatsoever. All I need is a flip over board, whiteboard or just a piece of paper and a pen, to visualize and share my thoughts.

What’s your workspace like?


Lately our team has become a big fan of using SCRUM methodology on PeopleSoft projects. So we have our digital SCRUM board on screen and our post-its with the sprint tasks on the wall, to keep us focused on our deliverables and timelines.

What do you listen to while you work?
I actually never listen to music when I work. The reason for this is that when I am concentrating on my work I do not see or hear anything from around me. So if someone else has music on, I do not mind because I won’t hear it when I start working.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
When you create a new component and use the wizard in Application Designer to create a content reference, this gets added nicely in the PeopleSoft menu. When you migrate this new component and content reference to the next environment, using the Copy to Database function in Application Designer, the content reference is nowhere to be found in the next environment. And now the 2-line tip:

Go to PeopleTools > Portal > Structure and Content and click on edit on a higher level content reference, change anything, save, change it back to the original state and save again. Now hit F5 to refresh your browser and the content reference is visible in your menu, without running the Portal Security Sync. It’s like magic …

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I am actually against using/writing SQL in PeopleSoft/PeopleCode, except when used for views. When writing SQL, developers tend to write database specific SQL and not use MetaSQL. Or they tend to write highly complex SQL statements, which contains a lot of the business logic. This is not readable, maintainable or extendable. I am a big fan of using Application Classes and the PeopleCode API’s, especially using the ObjectDoMethod function to write abstract, configurable code.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Code completion would be a nice feature to add to Application Designer.

Another thing. Although PeopleSoft is now fully service enabled, it is not fully service oriented. It would be great if the number of services would be extended (and documented!) and the components would be “dummy” pages calling the services. This way, you could integrate PeopleSoft easier with any other application or middleware.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I think that where others see a problem, I see a challenge.

Most of the time people are focused on answering a question. When you are asked a question and in turn ask why the question is being asked, most of the time you will find out the true question/issue is something else and most likely the answer to the true question is easier to answer.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Recently I read a book on Steve Jobs his way of thinking and working. I could really relate to two principles:

Do What You Love
If you really want to excel at something, do what you are passionate about.

Create Insanely Great Experiences.
Try to live as many different experiences as you can outside your working/living area. This will broaden your vision and the most amazing ideas will emerge from this.

I’m David Kurtz and this is how I work October 30, 2012

Posted by Tipster in How I work.
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I’m very grateful to David Kurtz for agreeing to be the first genuine interviewee in this series.

If there are any people in the PeopleSoft world who haven’t come across David or his work, this is a brief introduction. David started out as an installer/infrastructure expert for PeopleSoft, but is now an independent contractor based in the UK. He has worked for most of the UK’s biggest PeopleSoft implementations, specialising in tuning PeopleSoft on Oracle databases. He is a published author (PeopleSoft for the Oracle DBA), has a blog for PeopleSoft DBAs and is a regular speaker on the conference circuit, having recently spoken at both UKOUG and OpenWorld).

Name: David Kurtz

Occupation: Independent Oracle/PeopleSoft Performance Consultant
Location: Maida Vale, London
Current computer: Toshiba Tecra (Win7, 8GB RAM, SSD)
Current mobile devices: HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy Tab, both running Android

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Google search has been a primary research tool for many years.  There is just so much stuff out there, the challenge is filtering the useful from the useless and the obviously untrustworthy.  After that, I need a sandpit database where I can create test cases and prototype code.  Without customer VPN, life would be very difficult.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Apple iPod, though it is only version 1.  iTunes is the best system I have found to organise classical music.  After that, the Samsung tablet with GPS was bought primarily as a navigational device for the bike, but I have since found another 42 critical uses for it.

What’s your workspace like?
This is office 2.0.  Earlier this year I finally cleared out the 20-year old computer desk and installed this desk and shelving system.  I also treated myself to a new KVM switch and monitor.

What do you listen to while you work?
Quite often I don’t.  When I do, it is often classic music on my PC or www.radioswissclassic.ch.  Of course, when there is cricket: BBC Test Match Special.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
I need to be able to put performance analysis techniques into operation on customer sites, so I need keep things simple and use things that I know will always be in place everywhere.  Trying to installing software in the middle of a performance crisis can just be a distraction.  I use SQL*Plus to run SQL, and Notepad and vi to edit files.  I use Excel as a way of extracting and graphing performance metrics.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
You can embed a SQL query into an Excel spreadsheet, which can then can connect to the database via ODBC, run the query and extract the data directly into the sheet or even a pivot table.  This is a great way to collect and visualise performance metrics using software that everyone will have.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
Queries on the ASH repository, and the conversion between PeopleSoft record name and Oracle table name.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Support for Oracle sequences.  It would mitigate all sorts of locking issues associated with PeopleSoft’s ‘homemade’ table based sequences, especially those affecting scalability of the integration broker.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I know lots of people who know more about the inside of an Oracle database than me, and lots more people who know more about all sorts of aspects of PeopleSoft.  The difference is that I work across both of those disciplines. I am lucky that I get to see more examples of things going wrong, so I have become very adept at analysing performance issues that affect PeopleSoft and/or Oracle.  I like to think that I am quite good at applying ideas from other places to PeopleSoft problems.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Nullius in Verba (Take nobody’s word for it).  You can’t just trust anything simply because somebody, even with the best intentions, says or blogs that it is true.  You have to test for yourself in your circumstances. Consequently the answer to every question begins ‘it depends …’.

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