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I’m Alex Lightstone and this is how I work February 16, 2015

Posted by Duncan in How I work, TW.

First up in the ‘How I work‘ series for 2015 is Alex Lightstone. For those in the UK PeopleSoft marketplace Alex should need no introduction, for everyone else though here’s a brief bio:

Alex spent the 2000’s at Oracle, initially supporting, and then as Product Support Manager for PeopleSoft Global Payroll. When he left Oracle in 2010 there was a battle for his services and we’re very grateful that he selected Cedar where he forms part of our ‘trinity of UK-based GP gurus’ – alongside Bill and Gary. Alex can be frequently found sharing his knowledge at Cedar events, and UKOUG conferences and SIGS. His skills aren’t confined to GP however, and he’s already fixed a few bits of code that I’ve left half-completed (including the Field Watermarks).


Name: Alex Lightstone

Occupation: Lead Consultant at Cedar Consulting
Location: When not on client site, either home or the Cedar Office (Kings Cross, London)
Current computer: Dell Latitude E6430
Current mobile devices: HTC One (M7), Alcatel 4G USB Dongle
I work: best when I understand exactly what everyone else is doing so I can see the whole picture

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
As long as I have an internet connection I’m happy. I regularly change my browser but am reliant on Microsoft Office applications (yes, even Outlook). I’ve recently discovered Microsoft One Note and now wonder how I ever managed without it. Of course, App Designer, Data Mover and SQL Developer are a big part of my day to day work, as are Citrix, Remote Desktop and various flavours of VPN software when working remotely as needed to connect to client sites. Smartphones are useful but when space and battery power permit I’d rather be hooked up to my laptop with my 4G mobile broadband. Notepad and Paint are useful pieces of software in my opinion – I know there are alternatives but I like to keep it simple. And last but not least … Spotify.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Sat Nav is an absolute but is included with most smartphones these days. I’m happy with my phone and laptop. A smart-watch would be nice but I haven’t bought one yet.

What’s your workspace like?
They say “small is beautiful”, which is just as well in my case. Since the birth of my second child, my workspace has been relegated to a corner of my bedroom.


What do you listen to while you work?
I have somewhat eclectic tastes when it comes to music. I often listen to music via Google Music or Spotify. Anything goes … rock, classical, dance – it’s all on my playlists.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
I use App Designer, SQL Developer and Notepad (for SQR and COBOL). I occasionally use Firebug or the Chrome Developer Tools to resolve HTML issues. PeopleBooks are useful for reference.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
Global Payroll is just a programming language where you don’t write code. Approach it as a programmer and it will make a lot more sense.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
Working in the world of payroll, I spend a lot of time querying the payroll results tables (GP_RSLT_XXXX).

SELECT PIN_NUM FROM PS_GP_PIN WHERE PIN_NM=<Element Name> is SQL that I use a lot.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Better error handling – there are too many generic error messages where your only option is to delve into the code to determine the reason for the error.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Teaching myself – it’s how I learnt most of what I know.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“The PeopleSoft world is a small place, don’t upset people, you will have to work with them again” – Anonymous



1. Edwin Lightstone - February 17, 2015

Well I know Alex rather well as you might expect being his father, so I guess that makes me biased, but all the same I’m so very proud to know he is so respected. Thank you for these comments I’m sure they are well deserved.

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