Much the same as you all, I’ve seen the studies regarding how bad sitting at a desk for long periods is for your health – both physical and mental – such as:
- The Scary Side of Sitting
- 5+ hours of sitting is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes
- How Chairs Are Killing You (91% increase in diabetes, 40% higher risk of early death)
For those who’ve followed my blogs for a while, you may recall that I’ve been experimenting with a standing desk (by placing a large, sturdy card box on my desk that’s big enough for laptop, keyboard, mouse etc). It’s worked really well, however it was clearly only a temporary solution so I’ve been slowly accumulating the pieces for my desired setup (it would have been too expensive to do it all at once).
I get to work from home a lot more with Cedar than I did previously which means that I needed to get my home working environment in shape. I used the Christmas break to get everything that I needed in order and set-up.
An awful lot of research has gone into this, so I thought I’d share it in case someone else can benefit.
I use my laptop screen (for email, HipChat) plus 2 larger monitors for documents, applications etc. There are lots of studies that investigate productivity correlation with the number of monitors and it seems that for development tasks the optimum number is 3 (one for coding, one for documentation, one for the final app). I also went for the ‘old fashioned’ 4:3 aspect ratio rather than the newer 16:9 monitors. Wider screens are great for movies but I want these monitors for Word Documents, Application screens etc so appreciate a taller monitor.
I went for 2x IIYAMA 19 inch LED Monitor and 2x £10 monitor arms.
I also picked up an Anker docking station. It’s got the display ports to drive the multiple monitors, plus enough USB ports to drive my keyboard, mouse, headphones, external hard disks and a powered USB port to charge my mobile. A nice bonus is that I need just a single USB3 connection to my laptop (all the other peripherals plug in to the docking station) so when I need to go somewhere with my laptop I only need to unplug the USB cable, the laptop power cable and that’s it.
I use a cheap USB external keyboard (if I use anything fancy it messes up my typing when I need to use a regular keyboard on client site). I also use an Evoluent vertical mouse to prevent RSI. It gets a lot of comments if I take it with me to a client, but it looks a lot better than some of the other RSI-reducing mice. I also have a Microsoft LifeChat USB headset at the recommendation of the Wirecutter which gives excellent clarity on our team’s Google Hangouts/Skype calls.
Desk and Chair
After loving standing with my laptop on a cardboard box I decided to bite the bullet and buy a proper, variable height standing desk. I went for one with quite a small sized table top as big ones can be upwards of £1,000, whereas mine was £400. It’s been a real help, because I like to alternate between sitting and standing (during a normal day I’ll probably stand for 70% and sit for 30%).
The only downside that I encountered was that the floor in the room that I have the desk in is quite hard and I found that I’d get ache in my knee joints after a full day of mostly standing. I read that the floor hardness makes a difference, so bought a standing mat and things have been fine since (although it did make the room smell really rubbery for the first 2 weeks).
Finally, I went to a local back shop and tried out all of the kneeling chairs there. By far the best was this one which fits under the desk nicely when I’m standing. I managed to get it off of a wholesaler (in an unfashionable colour) for much less than the published price so was very happy.
The Final Result
Here’s what it all looks like when put together:
This is how it always looks, I definitely didn’t tidy it for the photo!
Today I was lucky enough to attend a pre-release workshop for OTBI-E (Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence for the Enterprise). The product is currently in controlled release but is going to be generally available very soon.
What is OTBI-E?
OTBI-E fills the gap between OTBI Standard (which is more operational in nature, reporting against the transactional database and for line managers to perform real-time BI) and the full OBIA (which is a fully-fledged data warehouse solution, delivered on-premises).
OTBI-E takes most of the power from the OBIA data warehouse solution and brings it to the cloud, allowing you to perform complex, strategic BI against your HCM and Talent Cloud apps, plus 3rd party apps (PeopleSoft, EBS, Siebel) and other external sources (i.e. public data). As it’s a DW solution you get full access to historical data to perform trend and predictive analysis (something which is apparently quite weak in some competing products).
Show me OTBI-E
There’s a video available here:
Which BI Solution is right for me?
The answer to this depends upon a number of factors, however here’s a quick decision tree to show some of the factors involved:
(click for bigger)
Five years ago the only training that we could get was the in-person, classroom kind. The only options were whether you went to a partner or Oracle University, and whether travelled to the trainer’s venue or they came to your office. This type of training had some drawbacks, in that you had to commit to a specific week or set of days – often a long time in advance – and you had to take the training all in one go. In the fast-changing world of project work it was often the case that the training couldn’t be organised at short enough notice, or by the time it came around it was no longer convenient to take the time away from the office.
There is now a solution to this … enter Oracle Learning Streams … Read the rest of this entry »
In my quest to become a rounded out and properly qualified Fusion / HCM Cloud consultant, I’ve been working my way through the certification exams. So far I’d completed these 7:
- Fusion HCM 2014 Sales Specialist
- Fusion HCM 2014 PreSales Specialist
- Fusion HCM 2014 Security Specialist (click for write-up)
- Fusion HCM 2014 Reporting Specialist (click for write-up)
- Fusion HCM 2014 Data Specialist (click for write-up)
- Fusion Applications 2014 User Experience Specialist (click for write-up)
- General Product Support Specialist v4.0
The final exam to check off was the Implementation Specialist exam. This was a little different to the others in that it is proctored, i.e. you have to book in to go to a testing centre and all the travel etc that entails.
The exam itself is tougher than the others, and if you fail there is a period of time before you can retake it. Therefore it made sense to make sure that I nailed it first time.
Handily, I’d just come off of the Fusion HCM workshop for partners which gave me a good grounding in the topics and all it took was a couple more nights of study using the materials from the workshop and some sample questions (there’s a 10 question study guide available from Oracle here).
I was very pleased to pass the exam, but it was close as there were some fairly niche questions. The ones that caught me were mostly about security, and not security within the application – which I knew pretty well – but with APM (Authorization Policy Manager) which I was less familiar with) and I had four questions on which business sub-processes are within each product family.
Of course, the questions given are most likely selected from a large bank so others taking the exam may see other questions instead.
At first reading, the wealth of reporting options available to Fusion customers is a little confusing. How do you know your OBI EE from your OTBI and your BIP from your OBIA? Hopefully this post will clear it up a little. Read the rest of this entry »
If you follow any number of those in the Partner community on LinkedIn you’ll have seen many of us asking that you vote for us in the UKOUG’s annual Partner of the Year competition. All of the partners are really grateful for your votes as winning an award selected by end-users carries significant prestige.
I’m delighted that the company which I now work for – Cedar Consulting – were awarded 2nd place (Silver) for Fusion Partner of the Year for 2014/2015. It’s a tight-fought and highly coveted category, Cedar were also thrilled to win Gold in the PeopleSoft Partner of the Year awards, further establishing our reputation as the go-to partner for Fusion/Taleo for all existing PeopleSoft customers.
Simon Boscoe, proudly displaying both of Cedar’s awards
Simon Wragg, Director at Cedar Consulting said, “We are honoured to receive both the Fusion and PeopleSoft Partner of the year awards amongst such a strong group of finalists. Cedar Consulting are delighted to be recognised as one of the leading partners within the UK Oracle User Group community. Winning these awards and knowing that so many votes were cast from Oracle customers is a real testament to the service we have provided over the last 12 months”
We’d like to thank all of you who took the time to vote for us, we’re very grateful for your support.