I’m Dan Iverson and this is how I work January 26, 2016Posted by Duncan in How I work, TW.
Next up in our ‘How I Work‘ series is Dan Iverson. Dan – together with partner-in-crime Kyle – runs the PSAdmin.io blog. If you’re a PeopleSoft administrator and connected to the Internet then there’s no doubt that you’ll have heard of their blog as they’re really prolific and have posted some great content. Clearly blogging wasn’t enough however, and there is now the PeopleSoft Administrator PodCast which is ~45 minutes of topical awesomeness. I didn’t think it was possible to have an entertaining PodCast on PeopleSoft Administration, but Dan and Kyle manage it!
Name: Dan Iverson
Occupation: Independent PeopleSoft Consultant, co-host of The PeopleSoft Administrator Podcast, and Staff Sergeant/Team Leader with the 147th Army Band.
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Current computer: When I’m at home, my primary machine is a 27” iMac with a second 27” monitor attached. I recently upgraded to 32GB of RAM and can now run 3-4 VM’s at once. When I’m not at my desk, I use a MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM. Both machines have VMWare Fusion to run Windows (when I have to).
Current mobile devices: iPhone 6, iPad Mini, Apple Watch
I work: Because I enjoy challenges and enterprise software is full of them! I love to help people get through those challenges and want to leave a client better off than when I arrived.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I’m a Mac guy but PeopleTools doesn’t support Mac OS X so I have to live in the Windows world too. (There was an internal build of App Designer that ran on Mac OS 9, but it never shipped). These are my favorite apps for Windows, OS X and iOS.
- Beyond Compare – it saves so much time when working with patches, finding file differences, moving configuration between files, etc. It’s easily the first software I install on a new machine.
- Remote Desktop Connection Manager – working as an admin in a Windows shop means remoting into lots of servers that don’t support SSH. RDCM makes it easier to jump between sessions and save passwords and other settings. It’s a Microsoft product that’s a free download and I’m surprised it’s not included with the Admin tools.
- Sublime Text – my go-to text editor for Windows and Mac. Sublime Text has a large plug-in community that makes the editor great for all languages. We use Markdown for our wiki at work, and for the blog, so I do most of my writing in Sublime Text because it has great Markdown plug-ins.
- Password Safe – the only password I need to remember is our master password. There is no need to remember passwords anymore since we keep everything locked down in our safe.
- SQL Developer – I started using SQL Developer because it was cheaper than Toad, but it has become my favorite Oracle SQL client.
- Instiki – this is our wiki at work where we document anything PS Admin related. I keep my daily log in the wiki too, so I can reference articles as I document what I work on each day. Instiki is a simple Ruby on Rails-based wiki. It has very few features, but that’s what I like about it.
- Synergy – a network KVM. It’s cross platform too, so I can use my iMac to control my Macbook Pro and any client laptops I might need all from the iMac’s keyboard and mouse.
For Mac OS X:
- OmniFocus – I track all of my projects (work and home), tasks, to-do lists, and even passing thoughts in OmniFocus. I (kind of) follow the Getting Things Done methodology (GTD) for managing my daily work, and OmniFocus was built to support GTD. There is a great iPhone app for OmniFocus too. Anytime I have a thought I write it down and deal with it in OmniFocus.
- iTerm – my default terminal on the Mac. I have a shortcut (Cntl-Optn-Space) mapped to the window so I can open a command line window anywhere I’m working.
- VMWare Fusion – my main VM platform on my Macs. I use VMWare to run all my Windows VM’s and love it. I also use VirtualBox, but only when I run a PUM Image. With PeopleTools 8.55, Oracle will support other VM platforms for the Images so I plan on moving those to VMWare Fusion in the future.
- Evernote – any non-client documentation, files, notes, etc are logged in Evernote. We use a shared Evernote notebook to plan the podcast episodes.
- Dropbox – it just works. Any files that I want stored on more than 1 computer are put in Dropbox. Simple as that.
- Slack – great for communicating with a team. For me, it has replaced Lync/Skype for IM but also has great team chat capabilities.
- Sublime Text – same as the Windows app. It’s a great text editor.
- Synergy – it’s worth mentioning twice.
For my iPhone:
- OmniFocus and Evernote – synced with my Macs
- TweetBot – a great Twitter client
- Overcast – for listening to podcasts
- Apple Music – made the switch from Spotify, but both services have a great selection of music
- Instapaper – to read articles that I find but don’t have time to read during the day
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
A pair of headphones. I listen to music when I’m working and podcasts when I’m driving, mowing the yard or working out. When I’m at my desk, I have a set of Bose QC15’s. They are comfortable, have good sound and I like the noise cancellation. When I’m not at my desk, I use JayBird BlueBuds X wireless bluetooth headphones.
What’s your workspace like?
Currently, I am working from home (love it) and have a nice view of the yard from the office. I have an iMac and 2nd monitor on the desk. I run my Windows VM on the right monitor (an OS X workspace) and use the left monitor for Mac apps. I use the workspaces features on OS X to keep my apps logically organized. For example, Evernote and OmniFocus share a workspace, Mail and Slack in a workspace, and Safari or Chome in a 3rd.
I had a treadmill desk and absolutely loved it, but we recently moved and haven’t set it up yet. It took about a day to get used to walking (about 1.2-1.5 miles per hour) and typing/mousing. Now that I’m working from home again it’s probably time to set it up. When I used the treadmill desk daily, I felt great and lost 20 pounds!
Working from home has so many advantages, but there are challenges. Staying in communication with coworkers is the biggest challenge; you have to work hard at communicating. The tech team adopted Slack during the last upgrade. Slack became our “water cooler” for everyone. All of our conversations happened on Slack. And since Slack saves past conversations, you could go back and catch up on the day’s discussions so you didn’t feel out of the loop. Even when people were in the office we’d still use Slack instead of popping into people’s cubes.
What do you listen to while you work?
I like most musical styles (except for country). I really enjoy the Interstellar, Dark Knight, and other Hans Zimmer soundtracks. Movie and video game soundtracks are great for helping me focus. I might listen to Emimen if I’m working late, and you can also catch me listening to Sonny Rollins or Maynard Ferguson too.
What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
These are my favorites:
- TraceMagic – it helps you dig into trace files and is free from Oracle
- Trace2SQL – it takes a trace file with SQL and creates a runnable .sql file with the parameters populated from the trace
- SQL Developer
- Password Safe
I keep a larger list updated on psadmin.io.
Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”. It’s okay to not have an answer, but use that opportunity to learn something new and come back with an answer.
What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
select * from PS_PTSF_DEPLOY_OBJ;
delete from PS_PTSF_DEPLOY_OBJ where …;
(That’s SQL to find and delete deployed objects in the Search Framework tables.)
What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Puppet support is coming to 8.55, so that takes care of one wish list item. The next change I’d like to see is an easier way to share code and projects. Currently, you have to copy/paste code to sites like GitHub. It’s hard to share projects/code using the current project format without manual intervention.
I would also love to see an option to export PeopleCode to a text file and use a YAML-type file to define component, record, AE, et al, objects. That would still describe the structure of PeopleTools objects but support common version control tools like Git and Mercurial (and GitHub too). There are many opportunities to share common modifications or bolt-on’s and using sites like GitHub to share the code would only benefit the PeopleSoft development community.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I can solve a Rubik’s Cube under 2 minutes while holding a conversation. I also play the trombone in a US Army Band.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Focus on doing good work and everything else will follow.