Friday, July 12, 2013

New endeavours

Just a quick post to say that I have started a blog detailing my experiences with a new project implementing Oracle Retail Analytics.

My first post is here: Introduction

I may return here for more random posts.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Oracle Analytics: How to report over non-conforming fact tables

A few months ago, I attended the inaugural 'Rittman Mead Training' course in London. It was a great chance to learn about the latest version of the Oracle BI tool set and to meet and discuss concepts - with some experts in their field.
During one of the discussions, the problem of reporting over multiple facts with non-conforming dimensions was brought up and I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss how we came up with a solution here.

The business wants to write an Answers request that has dimensions and measures from two different logical entities that share some but not all the same dimensions.
In addition, they want to have the ability to filter on some of the non-common dimensions.

We have a large logical star called 'Loan Account' which models accounts held by the business, that has a huge amount of dimensions:

In addition, we have a smaller star, that models the targets that the company has for loan accounts, used for bonuses for employees and budgeting:

As you can see from the two logical stars, they have some common dimensionality. However, the Loan account fact has dimensions that don't make sense in the targets fact.

If you wanted to write an Answers request that utilized measures from both facts, the BI server will not throw up an error.
The BI server will try to federate the queries but won't understand how to link the two - its solution is to 'Cast as Null' the non conforming measure. The request doesn't fail, it will issue two sql statements but as it can't determine the level for the non-confirming measures - it plays safe and nulls them.

We need to trick the BI server into assuming that the non-conforming dimension fact table is actually conforming.

The fact table that has the lowest dimensionality will have the measures usually fail - so the first consideration is to decide to modify all the measures or just those that are frequently used in requests. In addition, you need to know the dimensions that are going to be used in the requests.

In this example, as target measures are used in pre-built requests, the development team know which measures need to be modified; we know which ones will be used and the dimensions that will be used.

Assuming that all the 'normal' logical build has been done, for those measure that need to conform - go to the level tab within the logical column:

For each and every dimension, that the measure need to conform to, set the Logical Level to the highest level in the Dimensional Hierarchy (e.g Total or All).

Now, when you run the request. The BI server can work out how to federated the two sql statements.

This will work in Siebel Analytics (7.8.2) and should work in newer iterations of OBIEE. If anyone, how done something similar on OBIEE let me know.

....LiS wanders off!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Eyeing the escape route!

Eyeing the escape route!
Originally uploaded by Nitibob

We just bought the little tyke a door-bouncer type thing and this new found freedom has obviously inspired his desire to escape the mad house!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

What I have been trying recently....

As has probably become very apparent if you had visited my blog, I am a bit of a geek.

Nothing gives more satisfaction then to find a new extension for FireFox or a new way to waste some time on the Internet.

I have been aided in the past by my friends and colleagues (I do work in IT - it does tend to attract the upper strata of geeks) but more recently I have found a website that provides my choicest and most interesting new finds. It is called LifeHacker (LH).

Most recently, I have been steered to try 3 new things which I want to share with you now....

Firstly, I am really bad at organising my time - I find it hard to work out what to do and when to do it (the usually problem of just doing things as they come along (and not prioritising)).
I decided I needed to work smarter and, via LH, I found a site called Remember the Milk (RTM). It is a site for putting together a to-do list and setting priorities, time-frames and most importantly reminding me of when to do them!
It took a while to load my work tasks and personal to-dos into it and make sure I worked out which ones reoccurred and how long they would take me to do. The initial time spent has rewarded itself ten-fold, RTM will send me an email and/or a IM to my gtalk whenever a task is due and aiding new tasks is really simple!
It has made me more productive at work and I can now remember stuff - so its all good.
It has loads of kewl options, like tagging (a-la Gmail), adding locations, emailing tasks to people and a great search engine - it even allows me to postpone tasks!

Secondly, as a follow-on to remembering stuff I wanted a better way (or more fun) to look at my expenditure then just keeping a dull spreadsheet. Again LH came to my rescue with a piece on Buxfer. It allows me to make a note of all my expenses and see what I spend my cash on (always handy).
The reason why I like it is because I can tag all my expenses (as you can see I like the idea of tagging) and again it has a good search engine so I can find my entries. It has also got some obligatory expenditure analysis - very kewl (note: I know I'm sad - but I do work in MI).

Thirdly, I have found a really fun way to spend sometime on the internet and its called Twitter. Basically, this is a social-pseudo-blog. The premise is that you send msgs or Tweets (via IM, Txt or by the website) to all the world or just your friends with the answer to the question 'what are you doing?' - but you don't have to answer the question, instead you can post what you like when you like.
It is really addictive as I can send a quick Tweet (via Gtalk) in seconds and let poeple I know what I'm doing and how I'm feeling - and I have set it up to recieve all my tweets from my friends.
It is also quasi-voyeuristic as you can see all the msgs form people or all over the world (I'm not brave enough to have my tweets open to the public) and there are some very amusing people on like Darth Vader!

I have probably cemented my reputation as a geek but I have really got into using these sites and am having fun or being more productive as I result!

.....wanders of to read a book which is not at all geeky (even if it is a Fantasy book which I have archived here!).......


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Blog that goes like this...

This weekend I took my Papa LiS to see quite possibly the funniest musical I have ever been too!

We went to see Monty Python's Spamalot!

I have been a huge fan of the Python's since my dad allowed me to stay up late to watch the many re-runs that the BBC or C4 used to show. To a ten-year old some of the jokes went over my head but within a few tender years, I was a die hard fan!

The Holy Grail has always been a favourite of mine and when I heard that the musical version of it was finally coming to London, I thought it was time to pay my thanks to Papa LiS for getting me hooked on them!

The show really doesn't disappoint - it has all the comedic japes of the film with an excellent 'mickey-take' of the musical genre. As soon as King Arthur prances on to the stage to the sound of coconuts, the laughter begins and doesn't end til the curtain went down.

My favourite moment was the French Taunters: -

"Silly Engleesh Peepol" (Brilliant)

The only downside was that Papa LiS got a bit to carried away and I had to listen to his not so dulcet tones sing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"! - but still it was worth the temporary ear-pain.

I would definitely recommend to all fans of humour and tom-foolery to go and see this show....

.....Sir LiS bravely runs away.....


Monday, March 19, 2007

and it's Hallo from me!

Many thanks for Mr Ward for linking to my blog on his!

I found his excellent blog while searching the world-wide-web for help and advice on the piece of software that I use at work. Both of which I found in abundance - Thanks Mr Ward

I work for a Financial company in Nottingham. I work in the IT department on the MI team doing BI (I love acronyms - don't you ;) ).
The company is currently engaged in a multi-million pound project to update its IT system, using a product called Siebel.

I have spent the last year working with lots of people from my company and their strategic partners implementing this new system. Specifically, I have been working on producing the Management Information to the business (to tell them all the things they need to know and even some stuff they didn't know they needed to know!).

As this is my first major project - it's been a challenging time! I have learnt a lot about how things get done and how to get things done.

The new tool that we are using is called Siebel Analytics - now know as Oracle Analytics or Oracle BI or something. Coming from a background in Business Objects, it was quite an experience to learn a new system.
I can now say I'm an 'expert' (of 1 and 1/2 years) in my new tool of choice and we are getting close to delivering the final part of the project to the business.

That's enough about me and what I do - sure it will be dull for many people - sorry

....wanders off to plan a more random post....


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Doodles....from a galaxy far, far away......

..... I tend to be a bit of a manic doodler when I'm a pondering the questions of the universe (or work) and while usually I end up with non-recognisable shapes on my pad (amongst actual notes that maybe useful) when I looked at my pad this week I found that my sub-conscious had been hard at work!

I think I have discovered a new art form move over Stick-men, I have developed Stick-Starwars-Vehicles!!!

I have managed using the medium of sticks and circles to depict some well-known ships:


The Death Star

Star Destroyer


And Darth-Vader Advanced Tie!

Mrs LiS thinks that I need to work harder to ensure that I can afford all the therapy I need!

.....wanders off to see if my doodles can be interpreted.....


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dearly Beloved.... are gathered here to celebrate the times and lives affected by Star Wars... is almost a year since I hung up my bowcaster and had my last forlorn walk around my riverside home and said good-bye to StarWars Galaxies (SWG).

It ended a two year romp in the universe of Star Wars - the universe that has made a large part of my life; the films all came out during my formative years and I grew up with a figure of be-mudded Luke in one hand and a battered Darth Vader in the other (obviously making the obligatorily 'whoshing' sounds).

When I heard that a game was coming along that allowed me to 'live' in a Star Wars world - I thought there could be no better game concept and for a while there wasn't.

I met friends and enemies, explored all the familiar worlds and scenes of the films. I battled StormTroppers, met Luke and Leia, worked for 'Jabba the Hut' and became an exotic Dancer!

Saddly for many reasons I said goodbye to SWG and my life has been a shade more dull.

Fortunately, I still had all the films on DVD and I had the various LucasArts Star Wars games to play! AND I had my collection of Star Wars Lego!!!

But now in a new home, my Star Wars Lego is now under threat (cos I aint got no room to display them all) and with the anniversary of leaving SWG it has made ebaying (gulp) some of my sets that much easier to bear (I'm sure psychotherapists will read alot into this!).

So before I wonder off I will leave you with this - check out ebay if you want some Star Wars goodies!
And here is me in the SWG with some of my online (but also real-life) friends!

....LiS wanders off thinking of earning lots and about SWG2

Friday, January 05, 2007

I Can See My House From Here!

A New Year and I have decided to kick start 'There and Back Again' for 2007!

Unfortunately I'm going to subject you all to some more ramblings and I will get more codes out there for you to crack (still upset no-one managed to decode my last one !).

It has been a busy few months in the LiS household - we have moved said household and have just about got sorted things out.

Basking in the satisfaction that things are all in relatively good order (thanks to Mrs LiS - as everyone knows ordering stuff isn't my forte) - I decided to scope out the new house on the Internet thanks to the trusty Google Maps.
As usual, it found my postcode and showed me in satellitey goodness a picture of my house and its surroundings. Admittedly, not in high-res satellitey goodness as we seem to be in satellite black spot - but who cares as I could see my house-ish!

I tend to be a massive Google fan - think the products they produce are fun and simple to use and in my opinion the best out there!
While I was waxing lyrical at work about seeing my house on Google maps and how good the detail was - one of my colleagues said what about 'Live'.

'Pah! I'm not using some 2-bit Google copy-cat!' I said.
But my interest was aroused (I'm aware how sad this sounds) and so I took a deep breathe and tried it.

This is Microsoft Live's picture of my 'old' house and this is Googlemaps.

As you can see the images are much better in Live than Google, they have obviously done a better deal with a company that offers better images - however Google still has the superior search abilities linked to the maps.

So while for high-res satellitey goodness Live is far nice (in most cases), Google still redeems it self in finding stuff goodness!

As you can see, new year - same random ramblings!

...wanders off muttering about whether I can get away with 'satellitey' as a word...


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Which Wire?

Mrs LiS work me up yesterday at 5:30am:

the shower is broke - its not coming on, i have pulled the cord and the light isn't coming on.....look!
At which point Mrs LiS began to pull on the cord like a mini-church bell ringer. I dutifully got up and had a look and confirmed that the shower was indeed broken.

Being a DIY guru, I also tried the cord and ascertained that
  1. It wasn't working and
  2. I had no idea why
Having exhausted the vast knowledge that I possess (and having had a quick look at the fuse box (which looked okay to me)), I phoned for a very nice man to coming around to look at it for me.

He was in the house for exactly 5 mins - after which point I feel as intelligent as a small prawn destined for a special fried rice.
He shows me the fuse box and next to it looking all innocent is a small red little button (that I have never paid any attention to) - this button is the all powerful switch to the shower of hot water goodness, which had been tripped.

I listen to the electrician talk to me as if I was a simpleton (which is probably true) and reassured me that he has seen hundreds of these in his time (its very common apparently).

For all you people out that that need more tips, this is said fuse box and to the right is the switch that can get tripped accidentally -
all you need to do is depress the red switch...the shower should then work again......seems like magic to me!

I, again, place myself in the DIY inept category (oh well!!)

....wanders off to buy a book on basic DIY for Dummies......

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Scissors, Paper, Stone

I was just looking at some posts by other bloggers that I know when I stumbled over this one from my good friend 'Boost'.

Its brilliant to find that someone has going to the trouble of detailing the complex strategies of this noble game.
Some people think that chess is a difficult but the sheer nerves and anticipation that are required in a game of 'Scissors, Paper, Stone' puts it into a league of its own.

Mrs LiS and I often use this highly decisive method to determine who does those vital chores like pouring the tea or getting the remote control.
However, I must confess that I often find myself on the losing side - I think Mrs LiS must have some sixth sense, or she is just better than me.

Maybe I need to get Boost to send me a copy of this book over from Canada.

.....wanders off to practice in front of a mirror......



Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Thursday, September 14, 2006


Sorry for the lack of postings the last couple of days been a bit hectic at work - they even sent me to Hull to talk to some users......memo to self:

"Users are good.....Users are good......Users are...."

Anyway when I haven't been doing work type stuff I have been playing the best gaming concept.....EVER.

You can't get much better - its STARWARS (Yay-yay-yay), its LEGO (Yay-yay) and its a computer GAME (Yay).

This is the holy grail of all stuff! But its still kewl. Reminds me of my lego building days......

Its out on all major platforms so why delay get it today..........

......wanders of to find a cold drink and stop this mindless drivel...


Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Aqueduct?

All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Was watching the TV earlier today and I think that people can get so obsessed with bad stuff that they miss all the good stuff that has happened...

...while the Labour party seems to be imploding at high speed and they all need to calm down a bit and have a Kit-Kat...and have a thought for the country.

Just like the Romans, the current UK government seems to be loosing their way. However, they have introduced reforms into all major walks of life that have seen tangible results (both good and bad)....

Lets hope the Labour party doesn't also have an 'Etu Brutus' moment.


Monday, September 04, 2006

From There to Reading

I'm off on a week long course to learn more about stuff I don't know....whilst a deeply enriching process - it is in Reading.

Still can't complain the food is great - I have just finished a meal of Honey-glazed gamon on a bed of new potatoes and spinach with a fig sauce YuM.

My postings are going to be less frequent this week but I'm sure that there are few people who read this - but stay tunned those who do as I'm sure I will be back with new randomness and stuff - and I maybe I will get the chance to post again before the week is out....

....if you get really bored check out this blog by my good friend here!



Friday, September 01, 2006

If I was King....

I was having a conversation at work today which degenerated into 'If I was in charge.....' rant by one of my friends. Whilst it was a fun insight into his mind, it got me thinking what would you do if you were King (or Queen)......

Here are my 5 things I would do if I was King:

  1. I would scrap Mondays, they don't do anything worthwhile and just get in the way;
  2. The second one was tough, it was a toss up between 'Burberry' and 'Corrie', but Corrie won and will be banned wherever I hold sway (no more naff northern soaps - although Mrs LiS could be upset with me for this);
  3. I would instigate a National Day of Starwars appreciation, where the films would be watched and people could dress up as Darth Vader or be an Ewok without fear of mockery;
  4. Foreign Policy would involve world affairs disputes to be solved with a multi-player game of Buzz;
  5. I would give all hard working Computer techies a modest but fair pay increase - they need some love too
So what would you do if you were King or Queen? Answers on a comment please

......wanders off to avoid Mrs LiS spotting No.2 and making my kingdom a place of misery and woe.....


Thursday, August 31, 2006

There and Back on a Bus

I was wandering in the world-wide ether this afternoon when I came across this from one of those excellent people from the Radio 1 Breakfast Show (thanks Dom).

Buses are strange. Some of my most bizarre (and shocking) experiences have happened on a bus;

  • the girl who sat next to me and burst into tears (I hope it wasn't me), who repeated this at least twice more over the proceeding the months;
  • the chap who got onto a bus to have a violent argument with someone who wasn't there;
  • the individual who entertained his small child with a lighted cigarette-lighter inches from the child's face;
  • the mother who was helping her child learn how to spell expletives ('Mummy, how do you spell *@%$* ?' 'Well dear, its spelt *@%$*')
Now while I think buses are a very Eco-friendly way to travel and they allow people who can't get to places, get to them with relative ease; they can be disturbing places!
When I was a regular bus user I ended up arming myself with some tunes and a good read...the best plan of action was to immerse myself in my own world.

I'm sure I added to someone else's bizarre experiences for my unexpected laughter while reading a funny scene or my random toe tapping....oh well


Wednesday, August 30, 2006



Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Isn't Nature Great

I was on holiday a few weeks ago in the Lake District and while enjoying my time away from work I went a bit trigger happy with my camera.

Looking thru all my snaps, I have just realised how amazing nature can be!

Thought I would share the picture, above, taken around a lake called Buttermere.

Areas of beauty are rare indeed and I hope we can treasure all the wonderful sites around our excellent world.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

My Favourite Author

Its probably no surprise to you (based on the name of my blog) that my all time favourite author is Mr J.R.R Tolkien.

His excellent novels rescued me from a desolate existence and opened up new worlds and fantastic ideas.

Warning! Warning! LiS Flashback
Warning! Warning!

In my early teens I was going through a period of time where I hated to read books, the only things that I would consider were was getting bleak when I thought I had reached my literary peak with 'The Dandy'!!!
One day I was given a comic book called 'The Hobbit'; it didn't have any cow pies or such stuff but it had Dwarves and Wizards and Hobbits, I was hooked I think I read it in about 3-4hrs without stopping.
Once I had finished I was left wanting more....and then I found that it wasn't originally a comic (thanks David Wenzel) but it was an actual real-life book. I badgered my parents to get me the book and I was saved.....

Warning! Warning! LiS Flashback
Warning! Warning!

I went on to read all the fiction that he wrote (then went onto read all the stuff that his son wrote about what his father wrote) but more importantly my passion for reading was thanks Mr T!



Who is your favourite author and why? Let me know :)

I Want More Exposure

Technorati Profile

This is my lame attempt to get a few more viewers - but only briefly.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Um...Australia foundations...English speaking People???

Warning! - Warning! 'LiS Left wing hippy rant' Warning! - Warning!

Before I start I just want to say I think Australia is a great place, even more so as it is so multicultural. I have family over there who have friends from every possible walk of life. This is not a dig at Australia or its people but the use of inaccurate or misleading 'facts'.

There is a post circulating in the world-wide ether that is titled 'Three Cheers for Australia', which looks like the usually response to the unsettled times we all live in by people who feel threatened.

This time it seems to be the right wing fraternity who are voicing off and are using recent events and the political views and statements in Australia to make their opinions felt.

Now while I don't agree with the values of the poster, I believe everyone is entitled to their view. However, I think that if they want to use historical facts in their arguments - they should get them right.
In the middle of this post the writer states:

This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only
to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we
have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own

This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials
and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. We
speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese,
Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part
of our society, Learn the language!

Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right
wing, political push but a fact because Christian men and women, on Christian
principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.

Now I'm not an Australian (Sorry I'm a Limey) but at School in the UK we were taught that before the Europeans who founded the Australian nation there was a bunch of people (who were unlikely to speak English or be Christians) living there already.
I'm sure the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (who having been living in Australia for a few years before an Christan men and women) would be miffed to know that they had no part in the formation of the Australian nation.

Okay end of rant - sorry for going off on one.....

.....wanders off to find a quiet darkened room.....


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Vkliw Soxv Wkuhh

Frghv duh euloo!!!

L zdv wdonlqj wr d iulhqg dqg kh vdlg wkdw wklv zrxog pdnh d surshu udqgrp srvw ~ zkdw gr brx wklqn????


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Black Sheep of the Family

I always thought I was the funny (as in ha-ha) member of my family but it turns out that in a recent survey that the dubious honour goes to my sister.

Now with my familial position in tatters I guess that like my four legged friend above I must be the black sheep of the family....but I hope that I'm more Machiavellian than this chappy....

...wanders off to plot world conquest...