Monthly Archives: February 2009

Application Express Training in Manchester

After our highly successful Utrecht and London Application Express Training Days (not to mention our original Brussels Training), Apex Evangelists have just opened registration for our 4th Application Express 3-Day training course.

So, what are these training days? Well, we host a lot of on-site training for clients, however we also hold ‘open training’ days, where anyone can sign up, come along and get training by people who know the product inside-out. We believe that our training provides the highest quality training for superb value for money.

The current agenda (subject to change) covers a variety of topics, but it doesn’t just stop there. We don’t believe in just a 9-5 training schedule and one of our core beliefs with these training events is to provide an open format where you can also raise any other (APEX related!) problems/questions you might have, particularly during some of our ‘out of hours’ relaxed sessions.

If you have been on one our our previous training events then you’ll notice the Agenda has changed and even if the topic description might look the same the contents may have been modified, so if you’ve been to a previous event there is still value in attending this one (we’re proud to say that on every course so far we have always had someone who attended a previous event!).

Application Express Training in Manchester

Following the previous training, we expect interest to be high (and places are strictly limited, so please don’t delay to register).

You can find more information on exact location, pricing and signing up at

UK Application Express SIG – Followup

On friday (12th February), the first UK Application Express Special Interest Group meeting was held. I previously blogged about the planned content, theme etc here.

I’m very pleased to say that the event exceeded many peoples expectations in terms of attendance, with around 55 or so people (and I believe around 20 people on the ‘waiting list’, it’s a shame we couldn’t have got a bigger room!). It was also a very nice surprise to see that Jonathan Lewis was sitting in on the event.

There were some interesting presentations on the day, David Peake gave us some sneak insights into APEX 4.0 and the roadmap ahead.


Dimitri then gave us a presentation on Advanced Charting in APEX.

Matt Nolan & Vincent Migue then told us how they were using APEX internally inside their company (with some nice AJAX and Web 2.0 functionality).


Then finally it was my turn to Dispel Myths about APEX (sorry no pictures of myself this time).

Finally we had a panel session where the floor was open for any question (I must apologise to my fellow presenters if I took too much share of answering the questions, but there’s always that split second timing where you try to gauge if anyone else is going to answer and if not you just dive in).

My gut feeling is that the day was a good success, there were lots of interesting questions outside of the presentations (during breaks/lunch etc) and I find that this is usually one of the highlights of events like this since many people are not comfortable asking questions in a big group but in a 1-2-1 situation you get the chance to ask anythign you like

After the event many of us went to nearby bar (my wife even joined us later) and whiled away the hours discussing all things APEX and non-APEX.

I do want to stress one thing though, if you attended the SIG meeting, please *please* make sure you give your feedback to the UKOUG, since without this feedback they will be unable to gauge the response to the event and determine any future plans for it.

I really do hope another event is arranged soon, as I see APEX growing in popularity and usage every day, so there is definitely a need for events like this. Special thanks to Justin Hudd for finally pulling this all together!

I lost a good friend

Firstly forgive the ‘indulgent’ nature of this post, the friend I’m referring to was our cat LC (Lucy Cat, or more correctly Lucy Scott Cat).

Non-pet owners might be surprised at (or quite not comprehend) the amount of love you can give and receive from a pet. Or as my sister said, they’re not just pets they are members of the family.

Lucy was (like most cats) a unique little personality, with her own quirks and ways which made her all the more loved by us.

A rare moment of awakedness

She was only 6 years old (around 40 in human years), so she should have had plenty more summers lazing out in the garden ahead of her. However unfortunately on friday after she was struck down with arterial thromboembolism, it was so quick it was shocking.

Fortunately I was at home at the time and saw it happen before my eyes. I got her to the vet in record time, however on the journey there was a point where I’d stopped at a set of traffic lights and I looked across at her, in her basket on the passenger seat. It might sound overly dramatic but our eyes were locked for about 20 seconds or so, I really believe that deep down she knew she wasn’t coming home again.

Lucy Cat - At my feet

The vet put her on a cocktail of blood-clot busting drugs and she was very brave, trying to fight that damn silly blood clot that had robbed her of the use of her back legs.

However after 48 hours at the vet, she was showing no sign of improvement and since the prognosis for recovery was just too bad after this long without the use of her legs, we had to make the difficult decision to let her go.

It’s the first cat we’ve ever had in our lives (I won’t say ‘owned’ as I don’t think you can ever ‘own’ a cat, you just share you life with one), so it’s the first time we have had to make a decision like this.

We spent about 10 minutes or so with her and she seemed almost (but not quite) back to her normal self (she was fully conscious, her eyes were shiny etc), but you could just tell that she couldn’t come back from this.

You just reach a point where you think, ok the time has come. Pamela and I gave her some last few strokes, told her how brave she was and then we told her it was ‘bedtime Lucy’ (whenever we told her that she would almost without fail race to her bed, although that wasn’t possible this time, we wanted her to know she was going to have some peace).

It is a very quick, painless and dignified way to go, she felt no pain and just seemed to literally go to sleep right infront of our eyes in a few seconds. (I later told my wife, when my time comes, sign me up for one of those injections!).

At the risk of being even more indulgent (please forgive me, normal blog-service will be resumed at some point), there are a couple of quotes I want to include.

Firstly, when I was writing Pro Oracle Application Express (bear with me, I’m not trying to squeeze in some emotional-advertising here), Lucy lay next to me while I wrote practically every word of it, so much so that she even gets a mention in the Acknowledgement –

(p.s. it was always intended to be an ‘in-joke’ but anywhere in that book you see the name ‘Lucy Scott’ in the demo examples, that’s a reference to our cat).

Oh, and also, a final mention of our cat. Without her sleeping by my feet each day when I was writing the book, the days would have seemed so much longer and less furry.

The other quote is from my sister-in-law, who showed us the Epilogue in a Kinky Friedman novel, I won’t include the full Epilogue since it’s quite long, however the most relevant part I think is a quotation from Irving Townshend which I think sums it all up.

We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle…

Lucy Cat - loves her sleeping spots

Thank you for sharing your all too brief life with us Lucy, we will miss you.