Monthly Archives: January 2008

ADVERT : Agenda European APEX Training Days

A few days ago we released our agenda to the people coming to the AE European Oracle Application Express Training Days.

This training will be held in London in March 18th-20th 2008. It’s not a beginners training, more an advanced one, although “advanced” is difficult to measure.

There are still a few places left, so if you have been looking for some Advanced APEX training by some of the most passionate APEX people around then sign up quickly as places are limited.

Application Express Best Practices

It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I was presenting at UKOUG and I’m already starting to prepare for the next set of conferences.

So far this year I’m going to be presenting at IOUG Collaborate in Denver (April) and also at ODTUG in New Orleans (June).

At both conferences I’m going to be presenting on the same topic:

  • Application Express Hints, Tips & Best Practices.

No, I’m not doing the same one twice because I’m lazy ;), it’s because it’s a topic I hear people mention again and again (coincidentally mentioned only last week on H.Tonguç YILMAZ’s blog)

It can be difficult when you’re starting out in any development environment to know the ‘best’ ways of doing things, so lots of newbies to APEX will hopefully find this topic interesting. For the more seasoned APEX developers, I’m throwing in some hints and tips that not everyone may be aware of (in other words I’m hoping to show something that will be useful to APEX developers of any skill level).

For those of you not attending either the Collaborate or ODTUG events, I am writing a Whitepaper on the topic which I hope to be able to make public.

Of course, the first people to get to see this topic, will be the people attending the APEX Evangelists European Training event in London (March), there are still a few places left so if you’re looking for some advanced APEX training then sign-up here!

8 Things…my turn

Well, the craze at the moment is the whole ‘8 things’ thing and whilst I heartily agree with Howard about the potential this has for making the aggregators work overtime, it would be rude (and very bah-humbug) to not take my turn after being tagged by Tim Hall.

So my turn for 8 things about me –

  • I’m a very keen scuba diver and was taught to scuba dive by a french ex-Special Forces instructor, my first dive-buddy was an ex-KGB agent (seriously).
  • I’ve almost been ‘lost at sea’ twice whilst diving. The first time the dive boat hit some shallow rocks cracking the hull (luckily we made it back to shore before the flooding got too severe), the second time due to strong currents we surfaced well away from the dive boat and spent the next few hours bobbing around aimlessly waiting to be found.
  • As a child I always wanted to be an Airforce Pilot, right up till the first time I saw a computer, the rest is history as they say…
  • I took a year out before going to University and worked on a building site. I loved the job immensely, however working outdoors in Newcastle in winter when the rain is so heavy you can’t see 10 feet ahead has now made me appreciate just how ‘cushy’ working in an office is, despite how much we ‘IT people’ might complain about our jobs, we should be thankful that we can still feel our fingers and toes when it gets cold outside.
  • When I went to University, I was the first ever male to register in the Hall of Residence where I stayed as it was previously an all-female Hall and it was the first year they were allowing men to stay (from memory around 300 women and 18 men).
  • The only food that I absolutely hate is turnip. Can’t stand the stuff, you can’t make me change my mind on that one.
  • I usually can’t watch old films that are in black & white, no matter how good they’re supposed to be.
  • I proposed to my wife (or then fiance) in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles.

As Howard points out this is almost a pyramid scheme blogging craze, so there aren’t that many people for me to nominate as ‘next’, so rather than going for 8 people I’ll just go for two Flavio Casetta and Carl Backstrom it’s your turn!

UKOUG 2007 – Feedback results are in

A nice email popped into my Inbox today to let me know that the feedback results are in for the UKOUG 2007 conference at which I presented Debugging APEX Applications back in December (it seems so long ago now!).

I was in two minds whether to blog about my ‘results’, since on the one hand if the results were good it could be seen as ‘boasting’, on the other hand if the results were bad then it wouldn’t exactly spur anyone on to sign up for our Advanced APEX training in March next year!

However, I noticed that Marco Gralike has also blogged about his results, so at least I’m not the first (or only one!), plus I think it’s nice to nice to compare how you think it went with how the audience thought it went.

So, on with the results –

Main scores are:

  • 1 – Poor
  • 2 – Below Average
  • 3 – Average
  • 4 – Good
  • 5 – Very Good
  • 6 – Excellent

The Length of Session scores are:

  • 1 – Too short
  • 2 – Just right,
  • 3 – Too long.

My Scores:

  • Topic evaluation average: 5.8
  • Content evaluation average: 5.8
  • Presentation Skills evaluation average: 5.8
  • Quality of Slides evaluation average: 5.7
  • Value of Presentation evaluation average: 5.8
  • Length of Session evaluation average: 1.52

I was amazed at the feedback scores, I felt the presentation went well (overall I felt confident doing it and there were no major hiccups during it besides one demo which I hopefully managed to ‘workaround’ without anyone noticing too much!), but it is great to see that the audience felt it went very well too.

I’ve blogged a couple of times before that I find it very difficult to sometimes tell if the material I’m presenting is useful or whether the levels is pitched right for the audience and really feedback forms like this are pretty much the best way to find that out, since people can be much more honest in an ‘anonymous form’ than the sometimes are to your ‘face’ afterwards.

As for the Length of session score (1.52, remember that’s out of 3 not out of 6 unlike the other scores!), I was actually happy to get that too considering that originally this was a 90 minute presentation that I had to chop down to fit into 60 minutes. I had a couple of choices here I could have either left out some of the sub-topics I was covering, or I could have reduced the level of detail I went into for each sub-topic.

In the end I decided that I couldn’t really lose any sections, since I wanted to cover as many different debugging tools and methods that you can use in APEX, but went for the ‘reduce the level of detail slightly’ approach. However I was still being extremely optimistic in trying to fit in all the information in the time allowed. I actually just overran by about 1 minute (which was about 20 minutes less than I thought I’d overrun by!).

Some of the feedback comments were very nice too including –

  • “Loads of useful tips”
  • “Best presentation I have seen all week. Many thanks.”
  • “Fantastic – great debug tips. More, more, more.”
  • “Excellent presentation.”

They weren’t all good though! I’m slightly intrigued by the comment –

  • “Felt that he could have he could have been more forward facing.”

I’m not entirely sure what to take from that one!

So, all in all, I’m extremely pleased with that, now I just need to prepare for the next set of presentations (Collaborate 08 and the APEX Evangelists Advanced APEX Training in March). They come around so quickly!