The Consulting Life

I'm back in Orlando for another week of Data Warehousing, ETL and SAP reporting.

Another week at the Hotel.

And eating out.

What did I do over the weekend?  Spoke at the IT Pro Camp.  Compressed a week's worth of chores into 2 days and spent time with the wife.

The consulting life.


Speaker at IT Pro Camp Tampa

This morning I presented at the Tampa IT Pro Camp .  Topic of conversation was - Intro to Business Intelligence.  Started at 9am.  The room was small to mid size.  Just about ever seat was full.

I thought it went well, one of my best presentations.  However, I did not use a Power Point deck.  I simply had a Word doc with the outline of topics of conversation. With each bullet point, expanded upon real life scenarios.

Also, the other interesting thing is I had absolutely no demos.  I've been bitten by the demo bug, while giving a presentation on Power BI at USF for SQL Saturday.  The Internet kept going out, which my demo was 100% dependent upon, and it was quite not so good.

This time, people asked questions along the way.  And of course I threw some jokes in as well.

It was a good crowd and I felt like it was more of a conversation than a speech, people seemed to be engaged.

I also co-presented Intro to SSIS with Jose Chinchilla at the 10am session.

And finally, I spoke with some of the other speakers, had a few donuts and coffee and thought the event was well run.  One of the event organizers asked if I'd like to present next year at the Sarasota IT Pro Camp.  Sure, sounds great.

See you then~!


I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Fireman.  Policeman.  Doctor.  Garbage truck driver.

The possibilities are endless.

During childhood, you learn at school and life.

You find your identity.

And then you do what you went to school for.

Perhaps get married.  Have kids.  Go through life.

Kids graduate.  Go to college.  Leave the nest.

Work some more.  Then retire.

That's the traditional path.

One which I did not choose.

I did not once, ever, envision myself as an adult.

Never did I look into the future and see myself working, married, with kids.

I lived in the present.  Playing sports.

When it was time for college, I was still undecided into my junior year.

The guidance councilor said I really needed to pick a major, quick.

He suggested Anthropology, as I had enough credits to graduate on time.

So I did.

After graduation, finding a job was difficult.

I landed an entry level job approving credit cards over the phone for Sears.

Then went into banking, approving loans.

Then into computer programming.


Because I grew up with computers.

Was dabbling with the IBM PC at age 14 in the mid 1980s.

I found that working in IT was a lot better than approving loans.

So I kept at it.  Worked hard.  Learned a lot.  Gradually climbed the ladder.

23 years later, I find consulting a good life.

Yet I didn't plan it.

It just happened.

As I look back over the years, nobody guided me.

Nobody walked up to me and said you should get into computers.

No one in the working world, the college world, public schools.

The one perplexing question I still think about is, what if someone did help me along the way.

What if one of my teachers realized my analytic skills and pushed me to excel.

What if my guidance councilor at college helped me pick a major earlier.

What if I was programming in the early 1990s.

I just can't help but wonder how much further I could have gone with the proper training, guidance and mentoring along the way.

What if I didn't have to scrap my way up the ladder.

How far could I have gone had the path been easier.

I've never asked for a handout.

Never asked for anything.

And never expected anything.

So what now.

Where do I go.

I believe my best days are still in front of me.

I'll continue to learn, to provide service, work to become a better person.

With that mantra, anythings possible.

I'll see you along the way.

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For


Were Dinosaurs Highly Advanced Aliens?

So whatever happened to the dinosaurs?

Apparently, 65 million years ago, a giant comet hit the planet earth, created a crater, which filled the sky with smoke and wiped them off the planet.

Is it me, or does that story seem to have a few holes.

Do you want to know what I think?  I think dinosaurs were really aliens.  We know from skeleton remains they had different body shapes and sizes, but they're always depicted as animals, usually ferocious.

I say this.  What if they weren't animals but highly evolved species from other planets.  What if they had social order and civilization.  Maybe they attended the theater on weekends.

Why do we assume they were reptile animals with no structure.  Could they not have been aliens, from other galaxy's, visiting this planet as their summer home, to get away from the stress for some good old rest and relaxation.

You probably think this is the most impossible theory in the world. But let me ask you this, can you prove me wrong?  What evidence do you have to prove the contrary?

I say they were aliens, highly intelligent, with social structure and hierarchy and they disappeared from this planet a while ago.  I don't believe they were animal like, low on the intelligence scale.  They could have been more advanced than humans.

Prove me wrong~!  Could Dinosaurs have been Highly Advanced Aliens?  I challenge the status quo story fed to us in school.  It doesn't make any sense.

And don't get me started about the pyramids in Egypt.

Do the Opposite of the Herd

You want my advice?  Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

Pure and simple.

Last decade, I watched the housing frenzy.  Everyone lined up to overpay for houses they couldn't afford.  Why?  Because everyone else was doing it.

What did I  do?  I sat back and watched.  And did the opposite.  I sold my house and rented.  Realtors tried to get me to buy, I didn't.  Because I did the opposite of the herd.  Now the herd is upside down.  I have 60 equity in my home, because I waited.

Here's another thing.  I eat my meals with a spoon.  Why not a fork?  Because I prefer a spoon.  That's why.  There's no golden rule saying I have to use a fork.  Traditions upon traditions.  Because that's the way we've always done it.  That's BS.

Don't just do the opposite.  Watch what the masses are doing and try to figure out the reasoning behind it.  If that doesn't make sense to you, don't do it.

Everyone watches television.  To keep up with the latest.  To kill time.  For enjoyment.  It actually pains me to watch.  I get agitated and sickened by it.  Because to me, it's an advertising agent, mixed with short spans of content, which lack substance.  At the same time, they are forming the foundation to what's acceptable in society, the underlying unwritten rules of social norms.  They are shaping your mind with television.  And that's not acceptable to me.  So I choose to do the opposite.  Even when that means I'm an outsider to the herd.

I choose not to watch television, I don't buy homes during frenzies and I eat my meals with a spoon.

Eccentric?  Odd?

I wouldn't have it any other way.


On the Road Again

Woke up, got out of bed, ran a comb across my head.

The time was 4am, I don't comb my hair, it's too short, but I was out the door at 4:30am.

Headed down the highway, I4 in fact, from Tampa to Orlando.  Stopped for some Starbucks 24 hour, arrived in Orlando 6:30am.  Problem was, client meeting was at 8:45.

So I found a Starbucks and sat for a while, sipping coffee and surfing the net.

Arrived at the client, met the team, nice building, nice office digs.  We started the new project discussing business rules, database tables and Business Objects configuration.  Broke for lunch, then back at it.  5pm, we called it a day, went out for dinner, got my room situated, and called it a day.

Not too shabby.  We'll be onsite for the next 9 business days.  So far so good.

I'll keep ya posted, even if you weren't interested.


Disney Weekend

Just got back from a Disney (work-free) weekend.  We  headed out Saturday morning, fueled the car with gas and Starbucks for the ride.  Arrived early to Animal Kingdom.  We wandered the park, went on the Safari, at lunch at our favorite Asian restaurant, and walked around some more.

Then we checked into the Disney Hotel, unpacked and went for a quick workout at the spa, showered and walked to Downtown Disney.  There we had dinner at Rainforest Cafe.  And then a brownie ice cream sunday at Ghirradi's.  Walked back to the hotel and hung out till bedtime.

Sunday, we awoke early, packed our stuff and headed to the spa for a 6:30am workout.  Then I treated my wife for a deep massage, then off to Disney.  Went on 3 rides, time for lunch, then walked around, got Starbucks and some popcorn, and took the monorail back to the car.  Home by 3pm.

What a great weekend.  Not stress, no work, just fun.

Which is good because I'm heading back to Orlando tomorrow morning 5am to begin a new contract.  Will be there all week as well as the following.  Things are picking up for sure~!


#SAP Project on the Horizon

I viewed the menu for next week.  It consists of SAP.  Some Webi, some Crystal Reports, some ETL and some spec gathering.

That's right.  A new project is starting up.

I've been working with Crystal Reports since about 1995 / 1996.  Version 5 was just being released.  Working for the bank, we had just aquired a bank in St. Louis and one of their consultants was onsite and I spent the entire day locked in a room asking him questions.  By the end of the day, I was fluent in Crystal.

Fast forward a couple of decades, man has the product evolved.  With Business Objects CMS, which I was a former admin working at the County, to WeBi to Universes and of course, trusty Crystal Reports, which hasn't changed much to be honest.

Universes are simply meta data layers in between the front end reports and the back end OLTP database.  It doesn't actually store a copy of the data like Microsoft SQL-Server Analysis Services OLAP does.  However, Universes allow end users to build ad-hoc reports without having to know about databases, SQL, joins, etc., which is a nice feature.  Except it's basically a pass-through to the OLTP database.  And you have to do some magic to handle date hierarchies, like build summary tables at each level.

There's two ways to work with Universes, as the product has evolved.  And there's an Explorer utility.  And Predictive Analytics.  And SAP Hana, an in memory database.

So the SAP offerings have all the bells and whistles.  And next week I'll be in the deep end of the pool.

Should be fun~!