Where do you start with New York? Here are some quick-fire things…
Time Square : Totally mental! Definitely see it by night!
Empire State Building : I like to see city views by night because they remind me of Blade Runner. 🙂 I did the 86th floor and the 104th floor. I think the 104th floor is pointless. The views are no better than the 86th floor, you are behind glass and it’s packed. Save your money and buy a VIP pass for the 86th floor to avoid some of the queues. 🙂 Most of your time will be spent queuing!
Staten Island Ferry : One of my favourite things and it was free! Pretty good view of the Statue of Liberty, as well as great views of the Manhattan skyline on the way back.
Brooklyn Bridge : Loved this! Definintely walk or bike across it.
Central Park : I went on a Sunday. It was packed. If you prefer it quieter, go in the week. I thought it was really neat to see everyone there enjoying themselves.
Grand Central Terminal : Iconic. Had to go and see it.
9/11 Memorial : Water flowing into a great big hole scares the crap out of me. Very impressive and significant though!
Subways : I struggled with the subways at first. So much so I ended up walking most places, which took a long time, but made me feel a little more connected. Once I took some time to properly look at the subway map it was pretty simple. Lack of planning on my part again. 🙂
Photos/Videos : I started off using the camera a lot, but found I was missing out on seeing stuff because my head was behind the camera all the time. Added to that, most things in New York are really hard to photograph or video well. They are either too big or you are just too close to them. I got some photos and video clips, but I think it’s better to just look and experience things, then Google for some good photos when you get home. 🙂
People: At first I found interacting with people kind-of daunting. Most people looked miserable and stressed, but once you asked a question they were really animated and helpful. The police were super helpful too! I got some really good tourism advice from some policemen I spoke to.
Safety : I felt really safe. Like any large city, you have to avoid making yourself a victim by being sensible, but my time was drama-free.
For my last night I transferred to the Hilton at Newark Airport. This was just for convenience as my flight the next day was kind-of early!
For this year’s Oracle OpenWorld I decided to spend some money and take a trip to New York before the OOW craziness begins.
There is a direct flight from Birmingham International to Newark Airport, so it’s a pretty simple journey and cuts the journey to San Francisco in half. I don’t normally take this route as it makes Newark my first point of entry into the USA, so I would have to pick up my bags and go through security again, which is a major pain. Since this time I was planning to stop at Newark anyway it wasn’t a problem. When I say it wasn’t a problem, I am carefully omitting the huge queues for immigration and the extremely rude staff…
Once I got my bags I took the Airtrack to the Newark Liberty International Airport Station, then took a train to Penn Station in New York. From there I could have taken the subway three stops to my hotel for about $2.50, but I hadn’t thought too far ahead so I took a cab for about $20 that took much longer because of the traffic. 🙂
The plan was to stop the next two nights in the Hilton Garden Inn, Central Park South, before transferring to the Hilton at Newark Airport the night before my flight to San Francisco.
All in all, the trip was fine. I’ll write about my time in New York in a separate post.
I’ve been wanting to write this for a very long time, but each time I think it is safe to do so, something else crops up and I think someone is going to take this personally. Please don’t. This is just the way I feel. It’s general. It’s not about you. If you think it’s about you, maybe you have unresolved issues you need to deal with! 🙂
Followers of the blog will know I’m in the fortunate position of being able to speak at conferences around the world, typically organised by the local user group in that country. For one-off events, someone invites me and I say yes or no depending on my schedule and how many holidays I have left. 🙂 When I go on an OTN tour, I’m presented with a list of countries and will pick the tour or individual countries to fit in with my timetable. I try to do whole tours, or whole legs of tours for those that are split like Latin America, but that is not always possible. For example, this year I am only doing half the OTN APAC Tour as I’ve already committed to the BGOUG event and there is an overlap…
At no point in *my* decision process does politics become a factor. I never consider the politics of the country I’m visiting. I never consider the politics of the user group whose event I am speaking at. It’s just not what I do. I’m there because of the tech and the attendees! My presence in a country is not an endorsement of that country. My attendance at a user group event is not an endorsement of that user group. Regardless of the country or the user group, I’m at the event to meet the people. The people in most countries are remarkably similar and I enjoy meeting them!
My User Group Participation is NOT a Political Statement!
A few days ago we had a rather unproductive web session at work with an Oracle Linux Support sales team. They were obviously keen to sell us Oracle Linux support contracts and I was keen to only pay if we were getting something of value from the deal.
We already use Cloud Control for managing our Oracle Database and WebLogic installations. We are currently transitioning from Cloud Control 12c to Cloud Control 13c. Buying OS support brings nothing to the table here.
We have a company policy to use SCOM (and Squared Up) for monitoring, so at this point Cloud Control 13c is never going to be used as a general monitoring tool across the organisation.
We don’t really have a need for Ksplice. I’m not denying it’s a cool piece of kit, but at this point we really don’t need it.
We don’t want to rip out all our other tools to replace them with Cloud Control.
Although I predominantly work on UNIX and Linux systems, the vast majority of the servers in the company run Windows. As a result, products that suit Windows tend to take priority. 🙂
The piece of the puzzle we are really missing is management of Linux patching, repositories, channels etc. After asking several times for some information I got pretty angry and said something to the tune of, “Look, I’m throwing you a bone here. Give us some information on using Cloud Control 13c for Linux patch management and maybe you’ll be able to persuade us to spend some money.” The response was something to the tune of, “Yes. You can do Linux patch management.” What a well thought out response! Amazing!
I’ve held back on writing this post for a few days because the whole process was infuriating and I would have ended up calling those salespeople fuckwits and morons, which would be rather unproductive…
Anyway, as a response to that fiasco I decided to spend the weekend having a play with Spacewalk at home. Not the jazzed up Oracle version, but the open source and, more importantly, free version.
I’m not part of the Sys Admin team at work, but I like to play around with stuff and get an idea of what it brings to the table. I think Spacewalk will fit well into what we already have, and it won’t cost us any money. As a result of playing around with it I’ve decided to use Spacewalk at home to manage all my VMs. 🙂
I’m a fan of Oracle Linux and I’m a fan of Cloud Control. I’m not saying Cloud Control is not capable doing the stuff we need. It might even be better than what we have now. It’s just not an option for anything other than managing our Oracle databases and WebLogic servers at this time.
I’m not a fan of idiot sales people that don’t care to understand what the customer wants and repeatedly spout preplanned sentences that are meant mislead and to scare you into buying something you don’t need.