Sunday, December 06, 2009

MOS one week later, things are ???

Over the past week I have opened a number of Service Requests around the UI and had a large number of discussions with Richard Miller on his blog at and I've installed the Collector for a dummy system.

First and foremost, they got rid of the duplicated News region on MY dashboard. Thanks for getting that resolved. Turns out (from Richard) this was a known problem - if a second copy of a mandatory region is placed on a page the whole page needs to be 'reset'. However, through the SR process, it only took several screen shots and many hours of SR to get that out of the way, including several "we can't reproduce it" cycles with the dev team.

Second, I note the system performance is improving. Consistency of availability is a totally different issue, but when I can get in, it feels a bit faster. (Unfortunately the speed is wasted by extraneous activity. More on that later.)

Third, I sacrificed one of my Personal Edition licenses to the OCM collector and got rid of the nag screen telling me how good life will be with the collector. This was a pretty straight forward process:
  • create a GMail account so that I can monitor if any spam is generated
  • create an Oracle SSO account for the GMail account
  • get that account added to my CSI
  • find a spare box and install Windows 2003 SE (planning on doing that anyway)
  • install 11gR1 Personal Edition ( for Windows)
  • install latest Collector and configure it to tie to that new account
I do want to understand how to use this tool so I am looking at the stuff it'll do for me. I note that the 'recommendations' for my did NOT include patching to I also note that manually upgrading to somehow disabled the collector for the database, although it runs for the other products. (Thus another opportunity for wasting more time helping support make me effective ...)

(I note the collector also does a nifty job of monitoring XE - but that is another story. It does recommend patches. LOL!)

On my main login I now have a fairly simple dashboard - no nag screen and no recommendations stuff. Since it is optional, I can get rid of it and I'll use that only on the ID that is supposed to monitor the activity. The stuff remaining on the dashboard is 'Site Alerts', the 'News' and the 'Info Message' window that slithers on.

The "Site Alerts" region

"Site Alerts" region has a subtitle "Upcoming Outages that affect My Oracle Support". I think that means it is important. It certainly is important for me.

That region is capable of displaying 4 lines of important messages and if they use all 4 it'll be a sad day for My Oracle Support.

In the mean time, they are wasting my eyeball space with 2 useless messages - "Classic MetaLink ユーザーのMy Oracle Supportへの移行: よくある質問" (can anyone translate that and tell me why it is important ... which outages does it tell me about?) and "Migration of Classic MetaLink Users to My Oracle Support: Top Frequently Asked Questions" (ditto - which outages does this tell me about????)

Both of those titles take me to a new page that repeats the title and presents a link to a new page. Clicking on those links opens a new browser page (or tab in a multi-tab capable browser).

My thinking for an Alert region is
  • if it is important, and I click in it ... TAKE ME TO THE INFORMATION;
  • on an Alert 'page', make sure it is important;
  • you have my login settings, so extract my language preferences (get 'em if needed);
  • remove it when it not needed; and
  • don't display it if it is 'informational'.
As it is, the above two information messages have been there for over a week and can not be suppressed. After a week, I find myself ignoring it ... it has become just more visual noise.

In other words, MOS designers are training me to ignore alerts. (Make important information available, and train the reader to ignore that information. Good idea, what?)

If they want to provide information messages, and other infrequently accessed but generally useful links (according to someone) I suggest they take a page from Enterprise Manager and create a static 'Related Links' page footer. Make it static instead of a region so it is handled very very very quickly.

The "News" region

I've written about this already, so all I will do is reiterate: if I've seen it before, it is not NEWs. NEWs is not mandatory except in the dreams of the writer. Even then I have a choice between CNN, MSNBC, Fox, CBC, and so on. It is NOT Mandatory.

Either let me acknowledge that I have seen it, or make it totally optional.

Anyone respecting the time of the user community would make this optional. Or better yet - make access to the news available as a link in the static 'Related Links' footer.

As it stands, this is another case of training the user to ignore the information. (GUI designers should perhaps take a psych 101 course?)

The 'Info Message' window

I think someone suckered Larry into hiring the team that created Microsoft Clippy and assigned them to MOS.

We have a beautiful example. When you take an action affecting the look and feel of the portal, you are told that you took that action and then you have to acknowledge that you are told that you took that action.
  • I remove a region to my page.
  • I get a windows that slithers across the top right corner to tell me I removed a region.
  • And the only way to get rid of that message is to tell it to hide.
I am not sure whether the designers are at Sesame Street levels or whether they think their users are at that level.

Three distinct actions, two of which telling me what my eyes confirm. With apologies to the snakes around the world - yes, it slithers (like so many other regions in MOS) . (Snakes and MOS 'slither', military and good UIs 'snap'.)

If there is a reason for the extra activirty, such as help for the disabled, tell me how to set the parameter on the system saying that I am NOT in need of this.

The biggest difficulty with MOS

I am often called upon as an Oracle Trainer. I find myself standing in front of a class of JEE developers and explaining how and why to use JEE, SOA, ADF and other Oracle technologies.

The single biggest difficulty I have with MOS is that I have to give good reasons to give these (often hostile) professionals to use ADF. And with all the tools owned by Oracle - Oracle Support went outside and chose Adobe Flash.

Thanks Oracle Support for such a brilliant shot across the bow of my credibility. (And that of Frank Nimphius, Steve Muensch, and many others in the ADF blogroll of whom I stand in AWE.)



Anonymous said...

Good one..

Anonymous said...

Yes, definitely a good one.

thanks for doing what more of us should be doing.