ODTUG: I’m in Washington D.C…


Well, I actually got on the first standby flight. It was delayed by over an hour, then we had to wait in a hot plane for an eternity for a runway slot, but at least I made it.

When I got to the hotel I met up with a few of the other Oracle ACEs and had a chat before bed. It is really hot over here, but fortunately the hotel has good air conditioning. Blow the environment, I wanna be cool. :)

I got up pretty early this morning and my back made some “interesting” noises while I was stretching. I guess spending 20 hours sitting in planes and airports is not the best thing for a spine.

Today is the Oracle ACE Director Product Briefing. Hopefully I’ll manage to stay focused during the day. These sessions can be a little tough because they cover a wide variety of topics, some of which I know very little about, so it sometimes feels like buzzword bingo. :)

I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone again. One of the best things about the ACE program is getting to these big events and hooking up with all the other ACEs. There are some really cool people.



Bulgarian Oracle User Group (BGOUG)…


I’m back home from the BGOUG event now, having had a great time in Bulgaria. It was really cool to hook up with everyone again. I’m not great with names, but I usually remember a face and there were lots of familair faces.

Dimitri Gielis and Patrick Wolf did some great presentations on APEX. I didn’t see many others as many of them were in Bulgarian. My presentations were back-to-back on the second day. I was almost expecting the room to be empty because it was the morning after the appreciation party and people did some serious partying. As it was I got a really good turn out and the presentations seemed to go down well. I’ve already had some follow up emails about it, which is nice.

It’s interesting to note that in these times of user groups struggling to get good conference attendance and struggling to get enough sponsorship to run events, the numbers were up at BGOUG this year and the event was done without the usual sponsorship and stands you see at other conferences. In addition to learning something, the social element of the conference is so good I think people would come back even if there were no speakers. :)

I may be back in Bulgaria later in the year to teach a class for Oracle University. I certainly hope I will be at future BGOUG events.

I’d like to send a big thank you to everyone at the BGOUG event for making me feel so welcome and also to the Oracle ACE program for getting me to Bulgaria. Even a Volcano can’t stop the ACE program. :)



BGOUG… I’m here…


I made it to Sofia, Bulgaria, without so much as a thin layer of volcanic ash on me.

I got to the airport and my flight was not listed on the departures board, even though it was on the airport and Lufthansa website. I asked at the desk and they said everything was fine. What’s more, all but one of yesterdays flights went out OK too. That seemed a little odd to me since they were all marked as canceled on both websites when I checked.

I really don’t understand what was going on there, but none of it matters now as I’m here. I came with extra clothes in case I’m not allowed to leave of course. :)



On my way to BGOUG…


I’m at the airport and checked in, so it all looks good so far for my trip to Bulgaria (BGOUG).

The ladies on the check in desk said that Lufthansa flights were running yesterday, but the website had them marked as canceled, which means all yesterdays fuss was about nothing…



Maybe I am going to BGOUG…


Since this morning the flight status has changed from canceled to OK, but the airport don’t seem to be committing to it either way.

Looks like I will be going to the airport at least.



I can’t go to the BGOUG event :(


Unfortunately I will not be at the Bulgarian Oracle User Group (BGOUG) event. That pesky volcanic ash cloud has put a stop to my flights. :(

As I’ve said before, the BGOUG event feels like a big family gathering, so I’m really annoyed at having to miss it.



NZOUG 2010 Day 2…


Day 2 started with an ACE panel session. There were more ACEs than attendees, but we all had fun chatting to each other. I guess one of the difficulties with this was it ran along side regular presentations, but such is life.

Straight after that it was the second part of my PL/SQL Presentation Layers session. Familiar faces from the day before and a couple of new people, although I think I did lose a few to Robert Freeman as I expected. I thought this session would finish early, but true to form I over ran and had to bolt through the last few slides. The blind panic at the end meant it didn’t feel as slick as I would have liked it to be, but that’s the price for trying to squeeze 120 minutes of content into 100 minutes.

I spent the rest of the day talking to people. I am blessed, or cursed depending on how you look at it, with the ability to talk to anyone and I just kept finding myself on conversations with various attendees and exhibitors about a whole variety of subjects. This is my favorite bit of going to conferences if I’m honest.

The day was wrapped up by an assortment of prizes from the sponsors, including a couple of people who got prizes for injuries sustained during the luge ride the night before. There was blood. :)

In the evening I went out for food with a few of the guys and we had a walk around the park, looking at all the thermal vents that spontaneous appear there. Lots of bubbling mud and water, along with a little cat sitting slap bang next to one. Cats are crazy.

So that’s the NZOUG conference over for another year. It was good fun and I hope I get to come back again, but with it being such a long way from home you never really know if it’s going to happen. Fingers crossed though.

Thanks to all the people on the NZOUG committee for making it happen and to all the attendees for coming. I hope to see you all again next time. Also, a big thank you to the Oracle ACE program for getting me down here. Without them this just wouldn’t happen.



NZOUG 2010 Day 1…


The day started in the normal way. First, an introduction by Francisco, the new president of NZOUG, then some keynotes, then on to the presentations…

One of the difficult things about being a speaker at so many conferences is you often struggle to see something on the agenda you have not already seen several times around the world (nice problem to have). As a result I side-stepped Dan Morgan’s first presentation because I had already seen it (or most of it) at OpenWorld. I’m sure it went down well because Dan is a natural speaker.

My first session of the day was Robert Freeman‘s. A quick romp through the Oracle features that have been around for ages, but you probably don’t know exist. You will struggle to find a nicer guy than Robert, so it’s always good to see him present. I kinda like this sort of presentation because because Oracle has such a lot of functionality, it’s easy to miss things. Robert has turned “to the dark side” and is now an Oracle employee. Come on Oracle. Stop poaching our ACEs. :)

I spent a lot of time during the day chatting to people (there’s a surprise). Plenty of familiar faces along with some new ones.

My session was the last time slot for the day. I’m doing a two-part session on PL/SQL presentation layers. I had a good turnout. It felt like it went well. I guess the real test will be how many people turn up for the second part, although I’ve just noticed I clash with Robert Freeman on my second slot, so when nobody turns up I can massage my ego by telling myself I was amazing, but Robert is famous. :)

In the evening we went over for the social event at the Skyline Skyrides. It was great fun going on the luge again. I learnt two lessons last year.

  1. You have to brake on the corners, or you die.
  2. You don’t enter the “carry a cup of water to the bottom” game unless you want to be ridiculed the whole evening for having a wet ass.

I remained alive and dry, so all was good.

After the luge rides came the dinner. Lots of food, lots of drinking (for those that do), comedian, party games and very little in the way of speeches. I think the NZ sponsors have got it right. Essentially it was, “Thanks for coming. Have a good night. Cheers”. Perfect. :)

This morning I’ve got a “Learn about the Oracle ACE Programme” session, followed by the second part of my PL/SQL presentation layers session. Then later in the afternoon I’ve got a “Meet the Experts” session. I’m interested to see what experts they’ve got for me to meet. :)