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I’m Brad Carlson and this is how I work July 4, 2018

Posted by Duncan in How I work.
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This week we’re featuring another of the mainstays from the PSAdmin.io slack community  – Brad Carlson. He is a regular in the community and another member of the seemingly endless ‘PeopleSoft Minnesota Mafia’. Brad is a frequent guest on their PodCast talking about his IB Monitor tool and discussing the highly efficient application of CPU patches. I’m thrilled that he has added his profile to our ‘How I Work‘ series.

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Name: Brad Carlson

Occupation: Oracle DBA/PeopleSoft Admin
Location: Lino Lakes, MN
Current computer:
At work:
Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD with 24” and 17” Dell Monitors

At home:
Macbook Air 13”, Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, and
AMD Ryzen 1600x, 8GB RAM, 256GB/4TB (Media PC)

Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy s5. Yes, it’s old, but it still works.
I work: Intently

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

  • TOAD and SQLDeveloper for sure.  Each has their strengths.
  • UltraEdit/UltraCompare
  • Visio
  • PowerPoint

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Probably our Keurig.

What’s your workspace like?
It’s nothing fancy, but it works for me. I’ve got a space for my Surface, a 24” Dell monitor as my primary screen, and a 10+ year old 17” Dell monitor to the side which hasn’t been turned on in a very long time. My cube walls are plastered with pictures of my wife and son, along with various artwork my son has produced over the years (DD: plus a picture of Bill Murray, it seems!). It’s a bit cluttered at times, but I try not to let it get too out of hand before I straighten things up.

work

 

What do you listen to while you work?
Almost anything, except Country. I have playlists that range from Bach to Fleetwood Mac to Slayer, sometimes even in that order. You’ll find lots of Metal (Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Linkin Park, etc) and Industrial (Ministry, NIN, etc) bands in my music collection, and I find those keep me energized at work.

I’m also a big fan of Rob Scallon’s unique covers, and will stream some of those from YouTube periodically.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
Honestly, I am not in App Designer much anymore. I still use Change Assistant and Data Mover occasionally.

Most of my admin work would be more on the server side, so psadmin is a frequent tool. When I wear my DBA hat, I spend most of my time in TOAD, SQLDeveloper, and OEM.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?

PS SQL:
Do not ignore Set ID
Or Business Unit.

Sorry… I guess a Haiku is 3 lines.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
It might sound crazy, but I love tuning SQL. If we have performance issues with code, I’m usually game for taking a look.

I enjoy writing SQL/scripts to automate common tasks. We’re really into automation here at the University of Minnesota. A personal favorite was building a process to refresh a full PeopleSoft environment by issuing a single command.

I also try to find time to build tools, like the IB Monitor, to help the teams here. I tend to gravitate to Java for those.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Even though I don’t use the tools much anymore, I’ve been wondering why PeopleSoft hasn’t moved the Application Designer functions into the online application.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Being me. Hands down. It’s not as easy as it might look.

How do you keep yourself healthy and happy?
I still play hockey twice a week (all year) as a goalie.

I also enjoy bowhunting and going to the archery range with my son. In fact, it’s that passion which led to my writing an application for hunters (GameTracker: The Hunting App on Android and iOS). Developing that was a fun learning experience.

Travel with my wife and son also keeps me pretty happy. We typically do a vacation each year, and it usually involves the outdoors/hiking.

At home, we have a koi pond in our back yard. The sound of the waterfall, and the tranquillity of the pond are very relaxing.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My dad always told me, “Work with your brain, not your back”.

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I’m Charlie Sinks and this is how I work May 30, 2018

Posted by Duncan in How I work.
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This week we’re featuring another of the mainstays from the PSAdmin.io slack community  – Charlie Sinks. He is a regular in the community and a frequent guest on their PodCast giving UMRUG recaps and discussing automation. He also presented at the inaugural PSAdmin.conf on Implementing Rundeck with PeopleSoft (the recording is available here and is well worth an hour of your time). I’m thrilled that he has added his profile to our ‘How I Work‘ series.

charlie 2

Name: Charlie Sinks

Occupation: Sr. Software Engineer and PeopleSoft Admin at Andersen Windows
Location: Oak Park Heights, MN
Current computer:
At work: Dell Latitude E7470 laptop running Windows 10.
At home: a PC that I built from bits and pieces currently running Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux
Current mobile devices: Motorola Moto G4 Plus and a cheap Timex wristwatch
I work: Fervently

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

  • PeopleSoft Deployment Packages (DPKs) and Puppet – I can’t even imagine deploying PeopleSoft environments and maintenance the old way anymore. It’s easy to get hung on the things we wish the DPK did better, but it really opened the door to automation in the PS Admin world for those of us who weren’t already using Puppet, Ansible, etc.
  • Rundeck – the ability to execute tasks – from simple commands to complex orchestration – on any number of remote servers has helped us go a long way towards automation. For example: single-click CPU patching on all of our non-Production servers at the same time. Even for simple service restarts, it’s so much easier to do it from a dashboard in Rundeck.
  • BeyondCompare – It’s crazy how many file formats this thing can compare. Best compare utility I’ve come across.
  • Password Safe – Way better than remembering a hundred passwords, and way WAY better than keeping them all in a spreadsheet. Also, using a password manager encourages me to use very long, complex passwords since I’ll never have to remember or retype them. Password Safe is great at storing passwords for all kinds of accounts, but doesn’t have good web browser integration for website accounts. So for that I use…
  • Dashlane – password manager with great browser integration for website accounts. Not as great for any other type of account. For that, see above.
  • Notepad++ / Visual Studio Code – For years I swore by Notepad++ because of its great plugins, macros, and language support. I still think it’s great, but I just discovered Visual Studio Code. That has everything I like about NP++ plus more. Much more streamlined extension and language support, themes, and its integration with Git is phenomenal. And it lets me turn on Vim keymapping with a single keystroke! I have a new favorite now.
  • MobaXterm – a nice upgrade from using a terminal like PuTTY for administering Linux servers. I haven’t begun to use all of the features this tool has, but I was quick to discover that it comes with a suite of simple games. I’m not really sure why… but it’s best not to question some things.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
My coffee-maker. I use an Aeropress at home, and a French press at work. I always have a coffee mug in my hand. I may have a problem.

What’s your workspace like?
If I’m being honest, a bit messy with Post-It notes all over the place and the occasional coffee-mug ring décor. I write Post-It notes to remind myself of all sorts of things and try to put them in obnoxious places where I can’t ignore them. Yet I still manage to ignore most of them… I guess I’m so good at tuning things out that I can’t even trick myself.

workstation2 2

What do you listen to while you work?
Blues, jazz, electronica, old-school hip-hop, skiffle – it really depends on my mood and what type of work I’m doing. A lot of Tom Waits lately.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
Change Assistant (for our internal releases in addition to the rest of it), DPKs, and puppet. I also like the Chrome extensions PS Utilities and PSChrome.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
When you’re developing or testing, instead of clearing your cache hit Ctrl+Shift+N in Chrome to open Incognito mode.

That was one line, can I do another one? If you’re newly upgrading to PeopleSoft 9.2, take some time to build out some navigation collections and homepage tiles. It’s really easy, will make your life easier, and will impress your end-users. It’ll also limit how often you have to use the new Nav menu… ick.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
Effective Date joins. Amiright?

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Open-source development! At least for the DPKs. Come on, Oracle. Let us fix the things we complain about so we can stop bothering you about it.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
No matter how good you are at something, there’s always somebody who’s better at it… so this is hard to answer. I do have a really high tolerance for eating extremely spicy food.

How do you keep yourself healthy and happy?
Spending time with my wife and three kids, reading, and getting out in nature.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Treat others as you would like to be treated, and always consider the other person’s point of view. Along those lines is my favorite Jack Handey quote: “Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you’ll be a mile from them, and you’ll have their shoes.”

I’m Wayne Fuller and this is how I work May 2, 2018

Posted by Duncan in How I work.
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This week we’re featuring another of the ‘leading lights’ from the PSAdmin.io slack community  – Wayne Fuller. He is a regular in the community and a frequent guest on their PodCast discussing running large scale PeopleSoft while at Wells Fargo (amongst other places). He also presented at the inaugural PSAdmin.conf on The Future of PeopleSoft Administration (the recording is available and is well worth 30 minutes of your time). I’m thrilled that he has added his profile to our ‘How I Work‘ series.

Name: Wayne Fuller

Occupation: Application Engineer
Location: Minneapolis
Current computer: HP EliteBook
Current mobile devices: Nexus 5X
I work: Proactively

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Any app that I can learn quickly that saves me time, i.e. Beyond Compare etc.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
My refrigerator.  It keeps the beer cold.  Also my Kindle because you have to have something to read while you are sipping a beer.

What’s your workspace like?
Just a small open cube when I actually go into work. Since I am part time I don’t have a permanent workspace. When I work from home I sit at the kitchen counter.

What do you listen to while you work?
Other people whine.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
Is Change Assistant a productivity app? How about the images? Integration Broker? I know, event mapping.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
MOS actually can answer questions. Sometimes you just have to read between the lines.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
Code to query PeopleTools tables to discover where and how some of the new objects are stored. Useful for behind the scenes compares.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
A guarantee of longevity.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Pretending that I am good at troubleshooting by using Google search.

How do you keep yourself healthy and happy?
I work 2 days a week and don’t think about work when I am at home.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never be afraid to give your opinion on something you are expert in. You likely know better than your boss as you are the one who works with the stuff daily. He should value, nay require your opinion on things that you do.

I’m Jason Fletcher and this is how I work March 6, 2018

Posted by Duncan in How I work.
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To anyone who frequents the PSAdmin.io slack community (and that’s almost 500 people) the name Jason Fletcher (or fl3tchr) will be one that’s instantly familiar. He is not only seemingly ever-present, but also dishes out rapid-fire PeopleSoft advice, humour, gifs and good-natured sarcasm in more-or-less equal measure. I’m thrilled that he has added his profile to our ‘How I Work‘ series.

Name: Jason Fletcher

Occupation: It breaks, I fix. (AKA administrator for the City of Albuqerque)
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Current computer: My workstation is a HP ZBook 15″
Current mobile devices: iPhone 6s Plus (gotta have the larger screen for when I have to RDP into work)
I work: Humorously

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
1) Beyond Compare – So much better than Compare Reports.  So much.

2) EditPad Pro – It’s been my text editor for over a decade.  Handles gig sized files without much issue.

3) OneNote (Office version, not MS Store) – a great way to track notes on various projects.  A notebook for a project, a tab for a milestone, and pages for individual tasks.  The MS Office version has the ability to drag and drop text anywhere on the page, which is great for floating notes.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
None.  I’ve been accused of loving my computer more than my wife.

What’s your workspace like?
Workstation is an i7 with 8 GB RAM and docked to 2×24” monitors. Yes, it is a nice view.

What do you listen to while you work?
Depends on the intensity of the concentration.  Routine work is subject to podcasts (a large amount of the TWiT network & Tom Merritt) followed by rock and instrumental music.  Concentration requires instrumental or even white noise. (SimplyRain is a great app for rain noise.  Which I don’t hear much of in the high desert.)

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
1) Slack – psadmin.io.  It’s like a responsive MOS.

2) SQL Developer is my go-to SQL client.

3) Oracle Enterprise Manager for troubleshooting database performance.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
I’ve put this one in psadmin’s slack: in Windows Explorer, typing cmd (or powershell) in the address bar opens a command prompt at that location.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
A lot of effdt/seq SQL or SQL that joins psoprdefn & psroleuser.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
git or some other integrated versioning system.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Beats me.

How do you keep yourself healthy and happy?
I’m currently a 1 gup in taekwondo (red belt with black stripe), which is the first rank below a 1st degree black belt. The outdoors are great in New Mexico most of the year so I do quite a bit of hiking. At nights I spend a lot of time playing Overwatch.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Love the Lord God with all your heart and soul and love your neighbour as yourself.

I’m Colton Fischer and this is how I work December 12, 2016

Posted by Duncan in How I work.
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The next profile in our ‘How I Work‘ series is Colton Fischer. Colton is one of the crop of new PeopleSoft bloggers bursting on the scene during 2016. His PeopleSoft Mods blog is a treasure trove of great content and if you’ve not been there before it’s worth scrolling back through Colton’s historical posts – as he doesn’t just look at existing delivered functionality but extends PeopleSoft in ways that it’s clear to see the business benefit, frequently explaining how you can get the same results.

colton_fischer

Name: Colton Fischer

Occupation: Application Developer at the University of Houston
Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Current computer: My desktop is a Dell Optiplex 9020 and my laptop is a Dell Precision 3510
Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S5
I work: Eagerly

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Snipping Tool – Helpful tool for when I need a quick screenshot to document or demonstrate something
VPN Client and Remote Desktop – I don’t work from home too much, but this is a lifesaver when I forget some files on my machine at the office
YouTube Mobile App – I am more of a visual learner, so I enjoy watching educational YouTube videos on my phone when I have some down time
ESPN Mobile App – Allows me keep up with collegiate and professional sports

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I’d have to say my coffee maker. That thing gets me through each morning because I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my coffee.

What’s your workspace like?
I would say that my workspace is pretty basic. I will admit that it is not normally as clean as it is in this picture. Most of the work I do happens on my desktop computer. I use my laptop for running personal demo systems to do “experimental” development on. I also use the systems on my laptop when I do development that requires constant app and web server bounces so that I don’t bother anyone else.

desk

What do you listen to while you work?
I enjoy most all genres of music, but what I listen to while I work relies heavily on the type of work that I am doing. If I am doing something that requires me to think hard, I listen to soft acoustic guitar songs. If I don’t need to think too hard, then I mostly find myself listening to metal rock, punk rock, and occasionally dubstep.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
I have App Designer, SQL Developer, and Chrome windows open at all times. I like to use Chrome add-ons or other web-based productivity apps. I use Advanced REST client for Chrome when I need to work with web services. When I need to quickly view some unformatted XML, I use an online XML viewer to format it for me. I often work with base64 encoded values, so I use an online base64 decoder to obtain the decoded values. I also use the Chrome DevTools to view the source behind fields on PeopleSoft pages.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
I am not sure how well-known this is, but I recently discovered that meta-HTML can be used in the message catalog. Using meta-HTML (or even regular HTML) in messages can allow for some cool configuration-based functionality.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I usually write queries on the security tables that deal with roles and permission lists. However, here lately I have been writing some queries on the PSACCESSLOG and PSPTLOGINAUDIT tables. There is some really interesting information in these tables from a security perspective.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
I would like to see some built-in functionality to make it easier to identify sensitive data (bank account numbers, SSNs, etc.) fields in PeopleSoft.  It would be nice if the field definitions that are used to store\display sensitive data would have a setting to distinguish the level of sensitivity.  Having this information stored in the meta-data tables would allow for the ability to easily write queries to determine where in the application sensitive data is being exposed.  This would, in- turn allow for PeopleSoft security administrators to more effectively secure their PeopleSoft applications.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I am not sure if I am better than anyone at this, but I am good at time management and not procrastinating.

How do you keep yourself healthy and happy?
I enjoy playing golf and tennis when I have someone available to play with. When I am solo and I want to do something physical, I usually go skateboarding. Something else that keeps me happy (but not so healthy) is playing Xbox.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve received is to start each day fresh and with a clean slate regardless of how the previous day went.  It’s easy to carry struggles and frustrations with us from day to day, but it only hinders your productivity and outlook.

I’m Logesh Balasubramaniam and this is how I work August 18, 2016

Posted by Duncan in How I work, TW.
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The next profile in our ‘How I Work‘ series is Logesh Balasubramaniam. Logesh is one of the newer bloggers – posting on his LeanIT Designs site – however he provides great content and is usually one of the first to tackle new functionality. He has sometimes even managed to blog about new features before Oracle’s official post.

If you’re a fan of Logesh’s work it looks like he’s been selected to present at OOW this year, alongside his colleague Chamanthi Weerasinghe, on “Bang for Your Buck: A Practical Approach to Optimize Your Selective Adoption”.

Logesh

Name: Logesh Balasubramaniam

Occupation: PeopleSoft Consultant at Presence Of IT, Australia.
Location: Auckland, New Zealand.
Current computer: Lenovo Thinkpad T440s
Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S3 & iPad Mini 2
I work: To achieve best possible outcome in the realms of Scope, Time & Cost

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Apps – Kindle, linkedin, Keeper(Passwords), doubleTwist
Desktop essentials: MS office, Outlook, Notepad++, Snipping Tool

What’s your workspace like?
I am minimalist by nature and my workplace will reflect it. I don’t tend to carry any baggage(both hard & soft) and have a compulsion to get rid of anything after its purpose.

desk

What do you listen to while you work?
Silence, help me to focus. Leave my windows open and let in everything that my surroundings offer.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
Browsers: Chrome & Firefox, Developer tools in both browsers, Extensions – Wizdler for chrome, HTTPFox for Firefox
PeopleTools – Whole suite of development tools and occasionally administration utilities
SOAPUI – Everything integration related
SQL Developer and SQL Server management studio

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
I find ‘My Oracle Support Community (MOSC)’ to be very active and useful in PeopleSoft application space. Especially for those working on new features in recent product versions, post your queries and you will get immediate help with Oracle specialists. I also find Red Papers released on various topics by Oracle to be a very valuable resource to design solutions especially in integration, security and performance areas.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
Having spent most of my time in HCM application, subquery to get MAX(EFFDT), tops my list.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Support/implement SAML based identity federation.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Starting every day with the same eagerness, desire and will I had on my first day at work.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Nothing specific from a person, but an elementary quote that I find most relevant in our profession is “A stitch in time save nine”. As remote work culture and diverse work teams become ubiquitous, proactive communication is key to successful collaboration.

I’m Sasank Vemana and this is how I work March 9, 2016

Posted by Duncan in How I work, TW.
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The next profile in our ‘How I Work‘ series is Sasank Vemana. Sasank burst onto the PeopleSoft blogging scene in 2014 with his Sasank’s PeopleSoft Log site, and has been adding entries at a ferocious pace since. He is probably best known for his series of posts on altering the PeopleSoft branding to make it match a corporate palette, as well as configuration and code changes related to UI/UX.

I met Sasank at OOW15 and he’s a lovely chap. He has given some great responses to the questions. I’d love to know how he persuaded his employer to give him 4 monitors and about his use of dual mice!

Name: Sasank Vemana

Occupation: PeopleSoft/Enterprise Technology
Location: Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Current computer:
Desktop: Dell Optiplex 9020 (Windows 7, Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM)
Laptop: Dell LATITUDE | E6530 (Windows 7, Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM)
Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S4. Yes – That reminds me I need an upgrade!
I work: To solve problems.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Google is my friend and my portal to everything. I try not to overload myself with information, which I know I can find. Google search helps me find what I am looking for. On a side note, I use Whatsapp and FaceBook to keep in touch with my family and friends who are scattered in different parts of the world. I also use S Health app to keep track of my physical activities and monitor my health.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Not a big gadget fan! I can live without them as long as I have a good internet connection, which seems to be the most important thing for me these days. With that, I can do my reading, research and also remote to any of my computers (if needed) regardless of the device. Same goes with entertainment – Netflix, Spotify, etc.

What’s your workspace like?
Over the past year and a half, I have been using a standing desk at work, thanks to my current employers who were kind enough to allow me to rearrange my workspace. When I am at work and not in meetings, I try to stand as much as possible and use a bar stool when I tend to get tired. Occasionally, I also just sit down with my laptop wherever I find space. The four monitor desktop setup helps tremendously when I have multiple applications running. I also have two mice and try to switch between my left and right hand. I am ambidextrous so it works for me (I will not recommend this otherwise!).

Sasank Vemana - How I Work - Picture 1

Standing desk, 4 monitors and dual mice

Sasank Vemana - How I Work - Picture 2

What do you listen to while you work?
Usually, I am zoned into whatever I am doing and mostly oblivious to events around me. I don’t listen to music while I am at work these days. At times, I listen to live cricket or tennis commentary if anything I care about is going on. A set of Bose noise canceling headphones has long been on my wish list (in case Santa is reading!).

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
Oracle Virtual Box/PUM Images – My savior for evaluation, experimentation and proof of concept purposes.
Web Services: SoapUI, Postman (Chrome Add-On)
Web Development: Browser based Developer Tools (Chrome/Firefox/IE), DOM/StyleSheets/JavaScripts Explorers, Device Emulators, etc., Fiddler, Live HTTP Headers (Firefox Add-On)
Text Editors/Journals: Notepad++, Programmer’s File Editor (PFE), WinMerge, Evernote
DB Tools: Golden (for the most part since it is light weight and does not hog resources), SQL Developer (for some activities), OEM – Oracle Enterprise Manager
Screen Capture/Recording: SnagIt and Jing (short videos) are great for communication

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
Tracing tip: Use PeopleCode – 2048 (Show Each), SQL – 3 (Statement, Bind). This gives us every line of code and SQL that executed in sequence without all the other clutter which is not always useful especially when we are just trying to understand the logic.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
Generally speaking, queries on PeopleTools metadata tables. E.g.: PSAUTHITEM (security related queries), PSPRSMDEFN (portal navigation queries), etc.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
I would add/implement a log aggregation and mining utility. I have spent many hours combing through log files distributed across different servers. It would be great to see something that aggregates all server logs and provides mining capabilities (regex and/or free-form search). After attending Oracle OpenWorld 2015, I understand that PeopleTools 8.55 has some new features – as part of Health Center – that might assist with logs. I look forward to evaluating this functionality!

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Probably exploring! Although, I would be careful not to say that I am better at it than others. I just find myself doing that a lot without worrying about getting lost. It might seem like a wasteful effort at times but it is a natural way of learning for me.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
These are not really advice received from someone but some of my favorite quotes that I can think of right now:
– Learn to profit from your losses.
– Don’t make decisions during a storm.
– A manager gets work done through people whereas a leader inspires people to meet shared goals.
– And miles to go before I sleep.

I’m Dan Iverson and this is how I work January 26, 2016

Posted by Duncan in How I work, TW.
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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!

Dan_Profile

 

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.

For Windows:

  • 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.

Dan_Workspace

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?
Lately,
select * from PS_PTSF_DEPLOY_OBJ;
followed by
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.

I’m Wade ‘Smart Panda’ Coombs and this is how I work October 20, 2015

Posted by Duncan in How I work, TW.
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Next up in our ‘How I Work‘ series is Wade ‘Smart Panda’ Coombs. Wade is one of the most prolific bloggers currently sharing their PeopleSoft knowledge. He writes at his thesmartpanda.com website and has a lot of great content – particularly focusing on SSL certs, Change Assistant, server admin, SES and Weblogic. Wade also has a ‘Smart Thinking’ newsletter (this is the current issue, including a sign-up link).

Wade

Name: Wade Coombs (a.k.a The Smart Panda)

Occupation: Owner at The Smart Panda
Location: St Thomas, Ontario, Canada.
Current computer: HP Envy & Eurocom X3
Current mobile devices: iPhone 5 & iPad Air 2
I work: To help clients make their systems work for them, there should be no pain when operating an Enterprise system. Seriously it shouldn’t be painful – no really!

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

  • Software: UltraEdit, Beyond Compare, Bitvise SSH Client, Notepad (I know)
  • SQL, VPN & Mobile Hotspots
  • My Private Cloud Servers

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I do love my iPhone’s GPS system, but one of my favourite tools I have is my WebEx account.

What’s your workspace like?
I tend to get stuck on my computer for long periods of time so I typically change every day where I am working from, some days I don’t even get out of bed and some days I don’t get to bed, but any place that can hold my coffee and computer – I am good to go.

FullSizeRender

What do you listen to while you work?
I have a huge musical collection that covers 60’s country to Opera to the soundtracks of Disney (yes I have a daughter) to all the latest music trends. However most days all I hear are my daughter singing and/or my son playing Minecraft.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?

  • PeopleTools: Change Assistant, App Designer, Data Mover
  • SQL Tools: SQL Developer & SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio)
  • Browsers: Firefox & Chrome
  • Microsoft Office: Excel, Word & Visio
  • SSL tools: Portecle, openSSL, keytool

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
When it comes to PeopleSoft – experience is worth its weight in gold. There is a lot of assumed knowledge and unless you have worked with it, you will go down some dark roads.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I have an entire script for refreshing a database, but I often find myself doing updates to PSOPRDEFN & PSACCESSPRFL and:

  • grant select on PSOPRDEFN to people;
  • grant select on PSACCESSPRFL to people;
  • grant select on PSTATUS to people;

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
If anything, I would remove some of the crazy unnecessary stuff like: COBOL, nVision, Crystal (actually finally going away). The PeopleTools are extremely well written and work very well, so having all these crazy 3rd party programs makes it hard to be knowledgeable in all the areas. I believe in the KISS methodology.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
In 20 years of PeopleSoft and 30 years of database work, I have seen just about everything. I have a unique ability in taking that knowledge and applying it to the next latest and greatest thing and achieving amazing results for my clients.  Today, we focus on hosting environments for clients with SmartHosting or with client hardware either way we have found the complexity of PeopleSoft has increased to such a level that it is more cost and time effective to outsource to experts that can deliver the results clients demand.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be Authentic. People have an amazing ability to smell bulls*$t, so do what you say you are going to do and do it to the best of your ability.

I’m Graham Smith and this is how I work August 31, 2015

Posted by Duncan in How I work, TW.
comments closed

I’m genuinely delighted that Graham Smith has added his profile to our ‘How I Work‘ series. Not just because he’s one of the World’s best known PeopleSoft experts, or just because he’s recently joined Cedar’s family of PeopleSoft consultants, but mainly because I was sure he’d give some really interesting answers.

For those who don’t know Graham, he led the PeopleSoft Technical Team at Oxfam for longer than he’d want me to reveal, before his recent move to Cedar where many more customers can now benefit from his talents. He’s also an Oracle ACE Director, Chair of the UKOUG PeopleSoft Tech Committee, multi-occasion OOW speaker (including this year), runs a well-known PeopleSoft blog and is a thoroughly nice chap.

Graham Smith

Name: Graham Smith

Occupation: I work for Cedar Consulting specialising in PeopleSoft.  I get involved in design, development, infrastructure, integration, project management and dreaming up new ideas and solutions.
Location: I live and work in the wonderful, university city of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
Current computer: Dell E5550 but a lot of my work is done on cloud based machines.
Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S6 running Android Lollipop (5.0.2) and a Moto G – Android (5.0.2)
I work: Enthusiastically

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
1) ClipCache – This is my number 1 application and I’ve come to rely heavily on it. This simple PC tool remembers EVERYTHING I copy into the Windows clipboard. I can search and organise every clip that’s ever hit my clipboard.

2) Beyond Compare – One of the best folder and file compare tools around. Since v3, Beyond Compare has supported 3 way compare. Great for comparing old-demo with new-patched-demo alongside your customised code. Also indispensable for keeping web, app and batch server file systems in synch.

3) UltraEdit – Simply the best text editor I know. Has a PeopleCode and SQR syntax highlighter and can be easily programmed to be aware of app and batch server cfg files. There are free editors (like Notepad++) but none of them come close to this superbly engineered editor.

4) SQL formatter – For those monster SQL statements.

5) soapUI – Superb web service testing tool.

6) Fiddler – http proxy to help discover what your browser is sending and receiving.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I don’t need gadgets… unless you include my glasses (can’t read without them).

What’s your workspace like?
When I’m working at home my office is an old converted shed at the bottom of my garden. This is my commute to work:

My desk is a £20 refurb from Emmaus and has on it the following items….. a toy train, a model of an ancient cedar tree from Lebanon, an old PeopleSoft clock, a ruler from the 1980’s that can measure dots-per-inch, a Hot-Wheels car, a copy of Jim Marion’s PeopleTools: Tips & Techniques, an OTN members badge, a signed copy of PeopleSoft for the Oracle DBA by Dave Kurtz, a photo of my wife and kids, 2 bags of Fair Trade coffee, a fan and a Netgear hub. I hear every train that passes by as the main line to London is only 20 metres away.

What do you listen to while you work?
Quite happy with silence…. but I often switch on Radio 2 or UCB Radio later in the day. When I worked at Oxfam I sat opposite my friend Steve who has an alarming 120db sneeze although the Class 43 diesels doing 125mph close to my home office are a good substitute.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
1) I write and debug a lot of SQL and find SQL Pretty Printer from Gudu Software very helpful. There’s a standalone version that works with SQL from most platforms and one that’s very nicely integrated into Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio. Essential for navigating long complex statements.

2) I also think the Google Chrome PS Utilities extension from Uffe Graakjae is a useful tool for developers and analysts.

3) The Application Designer Debugger is a very useful tool, often overlooked and underused. Don’t wait until you need this before you set up the infrastructure to support it.

4) TraceMagic from Oracle Support Team is very useful for navigating heavily nested code in trace files.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
My tip is more of an observation.  “All system failures are caused by the things that we put in place to protect us from system failures”.  Test this …. and you’ll find it’s true – most of the time.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I find myself querying PeopleTools meta-data most often.  This is at the heart of what makes PeopleSoft applications so successful, agile and extensible.  Genius software engineering!

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Code completion for PeopleCode in Application Designer.  It’s partially there in 8.54 it just needs to support Application Package Classes and Methods. Also, how about adding a visual object explorer into Application Designer for delivered and custom objects and app packages.  At a glance, you could see what methods, properties, functions, variables were defined in a code window.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Oh my. Hard question. I can balance on one leg on an empty coke can.  Does that count?

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Love the Lord God with all your heart and soul and love your neighbour as yourself.