Since my pile of papers entitled “interesting bits of news you should write about” is growing to an ominous height, it’s time for me to whack it down to size. Here’s a rundown on the most newsworthy stories in my stack.

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If you did not make it to COLLABORATE 08 this year, you can still do a “virtual sit in” on many of the sessions held during the annual user conference. That is because Quest has posted the slides for many of the presentations on its web site. You can browse the sessions by subject and download to your heart’s content. However, don’t wait too long to do this. My sources at Quest say that the slides will only be posted until May 15.

One other thing…while you are downloading, consider becoming a Quest member if you have not yet done so. After all, it’s membership fees that make it possible for you to get all of this valuable content.

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Speaking of conferences, JavaOne is running this week and Oracle is a Platinum sponsor. For years, Oracle has been betting the house on the Java platform. The software giant is weaving its Java-based JDeveloper development environment into the toolkits of all of its applications, including JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and World. This is a key way in which Oracle is improving integration levels between its current products and its upcoming Fusion Applications.

If you want to get up to speed with where Oracle is taking your development toolkit, start working with JDeveloper. Recently, the vendor posted Technology Preview 4 of JDeveloper 11g on its web site. This new version features full support for Java Enterprise Edition 5, new tools for developing web services, and enhanced support for AJAX programming. The download is free, so why wait?

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While you’re visiting the Oracle web site, you may want to swing your browser over to a little tool that the company just posted. It’s the Oracle Roadmap Wizard, a “guided learning experience” developed by members of the International Oracle Users Group Community (IOUC). The wizard gathers information about your present applications and IT priorities, then generates recommendations on how you can synch up your software strategy with Oracle’s Fusion Architecture.

Before you try out the Roadmap Wizard, be aware that there is a healthy dose of marketing woven into it. That said, it could generate some useful insights for you. If you give the wizard a spin, please use the reply box below to let us all know whether you found the exercise worth your while.

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If you liked the review of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Tools 8.97 that we did back in January, I have news for you. Oracle has just released EnterpriseOne Tools 8.97 Update 1. This update extends support for Oracle Database 11g to additional operating systems, adds support for IBM WebSphere Portal Extend 6.0.1.1, and includes all the fixes that the software giant has released over the last five months.

I know that many of you hold off on deploying new tools releases until the first update, so now may be the time for you to give Tools 8.97 a try. You can download the release and the update from Oracle Customer Connection Update Center.

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Yesterday, I received news from IBM that will interest JD Edwards users who run their applications on Big Blue’s servers. Bill Zeitler, Senior Vice President and Group Executive for IBM’s Systems and Technology Group, has announced that he will retire on August 1 after 39 years with the company.

Many of you will remember Zeitler as the onetime General Manager of the AS/400 Division. Though he went on become IBM’s top hardware executive, I know from conversations with him that he always held a special place in his heart for the server that so many JD Edwards customers still rely upon.

It is interesting to note that Zeitler, who comes from a marketing background, is handing his seat over to someone with very different talents. His replacement is Robert Moffat, an executive who spearheaded the drive to optimize IBM’s manufacturing and supply chain operations. With his heavy operational focus, Moffat may leave much of the marketing of IBM’s servers to other executives. It will be interesting to see what Moffat does (or does not do) to cultivate ties with Oracle in general and the JD Edwards group in particular.

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Since I started this column with news about a conference, I’m going to end it with one as well. What the heck…I’ll end it with news about two conferences. The first one is the Quest Northeast Conference, which will be held this year from July 16 to 18. When it comes to the amount of JD Edwards training you get for your dollar, Quest Northeast is a tough event to beat. Registration has just opened, so head over to the Quest Northeast web site to sign up. By the way, Andrews Consulting Group and RapidDecision will be at there, so be sure to drop by our booths.

Believe it or not, Oracle OpenWorld is also showing up on our forward radar. Instead of holding this enormous conference in November as it did in 2007, Oracle is running OpenWorld this year from September 21 to 25. As a result, the vendor has opened its registration site for the event much earlier than usual. Early bird rates for the big show are available until July 18.

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Now that I’ve pared down my stack of short but interesting news items, I’m going to dive back in to some of the bigger stories that our team has been working on. In the meantime, feel free to use the reply box below to let us all know what is newsworthy in your neck of the JD Edwards neighborhood.