Sunday, July 25, 2010

Where's Waldo?

The oraclenerd edition.

I think this is the longest stint I have gone without posting since I started, almost 3 weeks now.

It's not that I don't have anything to know better than that. I've actually been super busy.

I've been in Chicago (Rosemont actually) for the past 2 weeks and will be there for the next 4. This follows 8 weeks at home. I guess it all evens out in the end. The client has been awesome in regards to my travel, knowing our situation with Kate, and I'm very appreciative of this...but it's crunch time and I probably should be on-site.

I did 90% of the metadata work, bringing in a colleague late in the game to help offload some of the work. This also means I am at the center of just about every question about the data. I've had a lot of help, especially from some new team members (client side) who came from the DW world. Their research and knowledge of the systems has helped me out tremendously.

Just about any work I do I do at night, when it's quiet. In the office, I am rarely at my desk...which is another reason I have been so quiet here and on Twitter. I do have a cool new phone, the HTC Incredible, but I've hardly learned how to use that thing yet. After lunch on Wednesday...well, actually, during lunch on Wednesday, I was on a conference call on APEX and SSO (yes, outside my current job duties, but I love APEX so want to see it successful) walking back to the office. That led me to hitting up David Peake, the Principal Product Manager for APEX (who lives just 1.5 hours from Chicago) who then pointed me towards Anton Nielsen of C2Consulting for his knowledge in implementing SSO with APEX. I finally passed on Anton's name to the client as I didn't want to be a bottleneck.

The next 3 hours I found myself in meetings or at someone's desk answering questions. I finally sat down at 4. It's fun interacting, but exhausting.

Oh, and the client has definitely learned that they shouldn't let me out of my cage too often. After 8 weeks at home, I was a chatterbox.

Anyway, the initial deployment is on Monday and we will be rolling out fixes shortly after that. Not the ideal of course, but it is what it is.

Hopefully soon, I'll be able to post something informative or at least somewhat interesting. I did finish up my NQQuery.log parser, I just haven't had a chance to do anything with it yet.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


kateYou all know Kate right?

We will sometimes call her Katezilla because she has this penchant of running through her brother's elaborately built battle scenes just like Godzilla. It's a thing of beauty, and one day, I'll get it on tape.

Since we visited the Tridas Center a couple of months ago, we have acquired both a behavioral speech therapist and a behavioral therapist. The plain old behaviorial therapist is in-home treatment, the fancier behavioral speech therapist is at an office.

About that same time, my parents (among others) have offered to help us out financially with Kate's medical bills...that is until they saw them. Doh! Rates that would make most of us contractors and consultants blush in envy.

I had been considering it for awhile, but I finally took the first step. A couple of weeks ago I purchased and I plan on starting a 501c(3) organization so that our family and friends can get something out of any financial help they provide. While I'm at it, T-Shirt sales will go to that same charity (afterall, it was a way to help with costs).

I don't know all the particular rules and regulations just yet, but I'm looking. If you know of anyone (lawyer, accountant) who specializes in charitable organizations that would be willing to volunteer a couple of hours, it would be much appreciated.

What about insurance you ask?

Well, the way Kate was coded, she doesn't qualify for any of these services. Nice huh?

News on the happier front though...I have a friend who works with this guy who has a large, well-connected presence in the Autism community. I asked my friend to ask him if he knew of any resources we could tap. We got a name of someone at USF. I sent the email out around 1 or 2 AM on Friday morning, by the time I woke up, I had a reply. Said person was no longer there, but her boss contacted me. By 11 that morning, Nancy had called me to tell me that Rochelle would be calling us later that afternoon.

Rochelle called around 1...on her day off. She knew and worked with a lot of the summer camps for special needs kids around town providing training and counseling. In fact today, we found an opening at one of those camps.

On Monday, a holiday, we received a phone call from someone else at USF. Another department. That was followed by an email from yet someone else.

Can you say USF rocks?

It's funny, we came from a college town, Gainesville, and we didn't pay much attention to USF. Part of that is probably due to some bad experiences there (at UF). USF has more than made up for that though...all I can say is wow!

We had felt like we stalled there for a little while, now we can barely keep up with the onslaught of USF's help. So nice to be moving forward again...I just hope we can keep up and give back to them half of what they have given to us so far.

As I told the original emailer, we don't mind, "I don't know." Just point us in the direction of someone that might be able to help...USF is pure awesome.

OBIEE: Gotcha #5

Or the CHAR edition.

A report writer asked me why this report isn't returning any rows. So I brought up the report, ran it, then grabbed the SQL, when I saw this:
AND concat( concat( T364349.DEV_CD, ' - ' ), T359839.DEV_DESC ) = 'DLC        -Developer conflict'
Yeah, that's a bunch of spaces between "DLC" and the "-". Most likely the cause of the problem.

Took a look at the database and sure enough, it was defined as a CHAR(10).

This was already a "view" in that it was a stored SQL statement or Table Type of "Select".

I then added the TRIM function to both the code and the description. I didn't bother to test it because surely, this would work.

Later in the evening I went to the report to see if I could help with a different problem. No data was coming up. I opened it up to all time ranges and all lines of business...nothing.

I asked the dev if he had changed anything today. Nope.


I can "View Data" on the table (with the TRIM). I went ahead and removed it anyway. Now the report works. WTF?

Repeated this process a couple of times just to make sure and that was it. The TRIM function in the SELECT statement was causing issues. No warnings or errors though.

I guess the good news is I learned how the TrimTrailing function in OBIEE works now. It's not just:
TRIMTRAILING( column_name )
like I would have thought, it acts more like a substring:
TRIM( ' ' FROM column_name )
I just love these little things that can drive you nuts.