Friday, November 4, 2011

NZOUG / ODTUG SP Sydney Wrapup

It is Friday afternoon and my busy week of speaking is over.   It started out in Auckland, New Zealand at the NZOUG conference.  It was a great conference and the special event, a dinner with an interactive mystery game, was excellent.  

Wednesday, we flew to Sydney for the ODTUG SP Conference.  The flight was on Qantas and, due to the airline shutdown earlier in the week, we had to check-in for the flight 2 hours ahead of time or risk losing our seats.  Qantas also enforces a weight limit of about 16 pounds per carry-on bag.  We didn't know that until we tried to go through security and we were sent back to check-in to check one of our carry-on bags.  Once airborne, however, the flight was great and I relaxed, watched the movie and enjoyed the meal service.  They even brought ice cream bars for dessert!  As we approached Sydney airport in the plane, we had a great view of the harbor, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the famous Sydney Opera House.

The SP Conference was well attended in both the BI and the EPM tracks.  I participated in the keynote where I got to tell everyone about the new version of Smart View.  I also had the honor of introducing the Oracle Fusion Accounting Hub.  This new product shows Oracle's deep commitment to Essbase and I will be doing a blog post with more details in the near future.   

My first session in Sydney covered Essbase techniques in Excel.  This session first discussed the new version of Smart View and I threw in some live demos.  The new Smart View brings near-parity to the classic Excel add-in and thus makes available a number of techniques that did not work with the older Smart View versions.  I also covered how Essbase 'Query-by-Example' grid layouts work and, based on the applause at the end, the session was very well received (or the attendees where very polite).

My final session was this afternoon and focused on Essbase API tips and tricks.  The SP conference is now complete and it is time to relax for a while.  I have been in Australia for 48 hours and haven't seen the famous Sydney Opera House yet.  It is only 2 or 3 blocks from our hotel, but I haven't really been outside at all.  We are headed out for dinner tonight and will be staying in Australia until next Wednesday, so I am sure I will see it soon.  

Tomorrow morning, we are doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb with Mark Rittman and Stewart Bryson from Rittman Mead.  We will certainly see it then.

Speaking of Mark Rittman, he tweeted about the dangerous animals featured on the wall displays leading to customs in Sydney Airport.  At lunch yesterday, he pulled up a 'Top 10' list of Australia's most deadly animals.  I guess there are some nasty creatures here; the Great White Shark is only the 9th most deadly animal on the list!   I will be sure not to let down my guard.

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