Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's been busy and $700 billion bail-out

Hi there,
It's been busy. I couldn't even made it to OOW this year (even though I was given the approval to attend). I looked at the various draft post that I have had (never did get a chance to finish) over the last 12 months, it has been horrendous. Anyhow, just wanted to put in a couple of points re: $700b bailout asked by the Bush Administration. Wow! $700b! That's more than the GDP (Gross Domestic Products) of a whole of countries! Quick wikipedia search showed that $700b is about No. 17 on the list!

The other comment is why didn't they break the $700b out into chunks of what they could do instead of having Congress reject the full $700b package? Could Congress have approved a portion of the money asked? I'm not familiar with the process but usually, in Government, we tend to ask for an amount but do break it into "managable" pieces so that we still are able to get some money allocated for certain things instead of having the Executives toss out the whole submission.

That's one and I did this post almost in one go! (Had to stop to deal with other stuff) ;)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Randy Pausch's passing

I read in my newspaper that Randy Pausch has passed away yesterday from pancreatic cancer which he has been battling for many months. He was a Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon University and in Sept 2007, he gave a "final lecture" to over 400 students at the University.

A "Final Lecture" is an academic traditional which say that if you know that you have a few months to live (hypothetically), what would you say? Unfortunately, in Professor Pausch's case, he was diagnosed with cancer before giving the lecture but after being selected to present the lecture.

His inspirational lecture has been downloaded lot of times and he has written a book with a co-author (who does most of the penning), called "The Last Lecture".

Professor Randy Pausch, thank you and God bless for a gift (although you wrote it for your children, it's something that everyone of can use) that reminds us of what's important in life.

The Legacy of Professor Randy Pausch.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I can't believe it! It's been 6 months!

Wow! Time flies. It's been six months since I last posted. I had no intention of leaving the blogging world that long but the days, weeks and months sure went by fast. We are now heading into the later part of the year and OOW is only less than 3 months away with its early bird dateline of July 18th.

It has been a very busy six months for me with numerous challenges in the new position. Our Order Management module went live 6 months ago and we are still in the process of stabilizing the environment. My folks have done tons of overtime to ensure that outages/problems have minimal impact to the business (and they have done a fabulous job) but it is challenging as the technology is new to most of the folks in my area and we are introducing new technologies to the organization at a furious pace leaving little time for the folks to take a breather. The plan is to slow the pace down in the third quarter of the year where we can finally look at the various enhancements that are requested by the business and what needed to be modified.

The organization is maturing at a faster pace and I think this is good but it sure takes a toll as everyday is a challenge. We have reorganized the IT department but still have a few tweaks to fine-tune and will see additional changes to the folks and their environments. We just recently did some strategy and planning sessions and our budget planning is fast approaching so all in all, it will be another hectic few months before we head into our self-imposed slow-down.

To give you an idea of how fast we have headed into "new technologies", about three/four years ago, we were just utilizing Oracle databases, PeopleSoft HR, Financials & Payroll with your normal client/server technologies and today we are utilizing Oracle E-Business Suite with BPEL Process Manager for integration, Java, SSO and others. The folks are being re-tooled with training and skills for the new environments and this is probably the most challenging portion of the whole thing as nothing provide experience other than time.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's here and live!

It's Day 3 of our Order Management implementation (Oracle E-Business Suite) weekend. The team started on Friday and we expect to have the business folks in this afternoon to do validation and verification. There is a whole bunch of IT, business and of course, our implementation partner working really, really hard to ensure that the implementation goes well. It is complicated by the fact that we already have Oracle Financials running in Production so it is reasonable to be able to run the "new" system in parallel with the old one.

We ran into some issues/problems but none that would be considered showstoppers so that is good in itself. I would be worried if we don't have issues/problems as it probably meant that we have missed some stuff. The "new" system is complex and involves "new" technologies for us as an organization so there is obviously concerns about sustainment and ongoing support. We are looking at getting our folks up to speed as quickly as possible but also doing it intelligently so that the knowledge obtained is retained.

It's now Day 4 and everything is going well with some minor issues but an Executive Decision was made at 3pm today to go live with the implementation and start turning on the taps to allow our retail stores and wholesale customers go ahead and release that orders to our warehouse to start picking and shipping!

We should by the 6pm PST be live with the new system and we have numerous IT support folks on-site to ensure that the various business processes are working properly and to fix issues where necessary.

Good work, team!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Oracle Blog Tag is dead (or should be pretty soon)

So, the recent Blog Tag should be almost over by now and the debate over whether one should or should not participate is over. It's interesting to see how a simple thing like this can become such a sticky point for a number of folks. Jake K obviously didn't expect such a reaction to starting the blog tag.

For me, it's an exercise in team building. I find that folks tend to work and get along better when there is a personal touch to the work relationship BUT (and there is always buts) there are folks who can and want to keep their work and personal relationships separate and never shall those two intertwine. There are a few of those at my current place of employment and one has to learn to accept that as being part of the person's personality. I used to have an employee who spent five years here and does not have a friend or built a non-work relationship in the workplace. Truly sad (I think) but that was the choice made by that employee.

The idea of providing some personal information is to make that connection. For example, knowing a little more of your co-workers can help with understanding why your co-worker reacts to certain situations and thus help you with enriching the work relationship. For example, if you are a team with folks that you have not worked with previously, a common technique used by the team lead will to do a bit of introduction and provide some background information. This could include why s/he decides to take on the role or why s/he was qualified to take on the role, etc. I think most people will quickly realize that all in all, we are all not that different from each other but we are unique (based on our background, culture, upbringing and experiences) which is the true value that we bring to our community that makes it so enriching and interesting.

Here's to each and everyone of you to take some time to celebrate your differences and also your similarities which allows each one of us build and make that connection with each other.

Update - Jan 18th: I've made a correction as per Dan Norris' comment and my apologies to Jake (I did look it up to verify and for whatever reason, my entry didn't reflect that - probably one of the downside of not finishing the blog entry in one go).

Thursday, January 10, 2008

So I've been tagged...

Apparently the blog tagging thing is still going strong. Doug Burns tagged me early this week. Thanks Doug, now I got two problems: a) figure out 8 things that people don't generally know about me and b) figure 8 other bloggers to tag. You can see Howard Rogers' comments to this blog tagging at the above mentioned Doug Burns' blog entry. I don't agree with Howard's comments but he has every right to them and yes, it does clog up the OraNA aggregator with non-Oracle related entries but the common theme is the Oracle bloggers although I don't think I truly qualify as an Oracle blogger (no technical content).

1. I was born and raised in a small Islamic nation called Brunei Darussalam. A wonderful place where I spent the first 17 years of my life.

2. I will be 45 years old this year and gosh, I still feel like I'm 29!

3. I took almost all IT-related courses in university from digital logic to artificial intelligence EXCEPT for databases and I ended working in that area for a very good portion of my career.

4. I love comics. I used to collect them until my first daughter came along (needed the money for diapers). Darn, they killed off Steve Rogers (Captain America) last year (2007).

5. My first job as an IT professional (right out of university) was with a consulting firm in the UK where I started working with Oracle v3.0

6. I got interested in computers and decided on it as a career choice in the early 70's from a television show, the Six Million Dollar Man.

7. Growing up, one of my first jobs was to be a caddy for golfers which I gave up pretty quickly as I couldn't stand the attitude of the golfers (maybe why I dislike the game so much).

and finally,

8. I used to be able to play for hours on a single quarter (25 cents) the arcade game, Robotron 2084.

Now I got to figure out which bloggers haven't been tagged yet and found that I have to look through a bit of postings to identify who has or who hasn't been tagged so I'm going to pass and just tag the following bloggers (my apologies for dragging you into this):
- Lewis Cunningham
- Jeff Hunter
- Herod T
- Steven Chan
- Robert Vollman
- Andrew Clarke
- Steve Karam
- Dave Aldridge

I am guessing that this "tagging" would allow one to follow and visit various blogs that one might not visit just to see what 8 things that bloggers are revealing about themselves. Have fun.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

I hoped that 2007 has been good to you all both in your professional and personal lives. 2007 has been eventful and lots of stuff happening. We are now almost just 2 years away from the 2010 Olympics (Feb 2010) and construction of the various venues and transportation systems are chugging along full steam. In my own suburb, Richmond, we have the Canada Line (a light rail system linking the airport with downtown Vancouver) and the Speed Skating Oval being constructed and both are scheduled for completion in 2009.

Some of my memories of 2007 includes:
  • We had a light airplane crashed into a highrise right in downtown Richmond in early October dregging up memories of 9/11.
  • Attending Gartner IT Symposium in Orlando, Florida instead of Oracle Open World in San Francisco
  • Purchasing a new vehicle replacing my old 14 year Honda Accord
  • Taser death of a newly arrived Polish immigrant to Canada at the Vancouver airport captured on video
  • Guilty verdict and life penalty of Canada's most prolific serial murderer
  • Gang wars with a number of shootings in restuarants, on the streets, in vehicles, etc. resulting in a creation of a joint task force from various law enforcement agencies.
  • An acquintance who got his face and story pasted front and center in Business 2.0 citing his net worth of $300 million dollar in the domain name industry.
  • A friend's child being discriminated against in trying to play in a youth soccer league because she was handicapped. Thankfully the news media picked up on the story and she now has her own league to play in and got to meet David Beckham personally when he came up to play with the LA Galaxy team against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
  • My second daughter in her first Nutcracker role as one of the kids in the first party scene and her ballet scholarship award.
  • Oracle Open World inviting selected bloggers to the event as "press".
I am sure that there are more but that was all that I could think of right off the top of my head. Moving to 2008, here are some of the things that I am looking forward to:

  • my youngest daughter starting pre-school this coming September.
  • more plays/concerts for my second daughter. She really loves doing ballet.
  • our Order Management system going live (end of the month) with our web storefront following two weeks later.
  • getting the team adjusted and transitioned to the new approach to supporting the business & organization.
  • hopefully attending Oracle Open World again although there are talks to attending the IOUG Colloborate event instead.
Here's to a successful 2008 for you and your family and I look forward to another year of good health and fun. Salute!