OTN Yathra 2014 : Hyderabad

I literally got no sleep last night before the Hyderabad event today. My hotel room overlooked what looked like the busiest road in the world and Indian drivers have a love affair with their car horns. Every time I was about to nod off, a different tone of horn would wake me. 🙂

So this morning, with a breakfast of coffee in me, we headed off to the huge Oracle campus in Hyderabad! The event was split into a technical track and an apps track. Not surprisingly, I spent the day in the technical track.

After introducing ourselves, we started with the first session by Satyendra Kumar talking about 12c New Features, which focussed mainly on the CDB/PDB functionality. As I’ve said previously, it’s interesting to see how different people approach this topic. We all have a slightly different angle on the same subject. The next session was by Chaitanya Koratamaddi, who talked about APEX. I’m trying to get my APEX mojo back so I’m happy to listen to as much as possible about APEX. 🙂

I avoided lunch as I didn’t want to have an afternoon slump. What with missing a nights sleep, I would probably have fallen into a coma if I had eaten anything. After a coffee lunch it was my first session, which was on PL/SQL performance. That was followed up by Hans Forbrich talking about Oracle Linux, a subject dear to my heart. 🙂 After that came Satyendra Kumar speaking about performance tuning in 12c, then lastly me speaking about Analytic Functions.

As usual I got chatting to people at the end and made us late. 🙂 Thanks to everyone for making this run smoothly. Thank you to all the attendees, who asked lots of great questions and helped make the event a success!

So that is 5 out of 7 cities done! I’m going to go down to hit the buffet hard, then pray for sleep tonight, before tomorrow’s flight to Bangalore.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I got back to my room to find my freshly washed clothes waiting for me. Happy days!

OTN Yathra 2014 : Mumbai

The Mumbai event took place in the local Oracle office and was attended by a straight technical crowd, which is much easier to present to than a mixed audience. 🙂

In addition to my own talks, I got to see some others too.

  • PS (Sai) Janakiram‘s session on Oracle VirtualBox was interesting. In addition to a general introduction to virtualisation, he did a live demo of VirtualBox, which seemed to capture the attention of the crowd. He also logged into HP’s Cloud service to show how many of the lessons learned from using VirtualBox apply equally well to using a large cloud provider’s service.
  • Aman Sharma‘s session on Oracle 12c Pluggable Databases, was pretty cool. I’ve written articles on the subject, but never presented on it, so it’s always good to see how people approach it. I’m glad he emphasised how the concept of CDB/PDB is fairly simple on the surface, but the impact on your average DBA is massive, which is very much my own feeling.
  • Vijay Sehgal’s session on SQL Tuning Basic was a good introduction to the subject. I find myself continually drawn to these types of sessions, hoping someone will show me “the magic button” that makes it all simpler. 🙂 Not surprisingly, that didn’t happen, but once again it was good to see how someone approaches presenting the subject matter. I’ve only presented this type of material at internal sessions at work.

I had a lot of interaction with the attendees and speakers outside of the sessions, which is actually my favourite bit. 🙂

Thanks to everyone at the Oracle office in Mumbai for making us welcome and thanks to all the attendees for coming to the event. It was a very vocal audience, which makes for really fun sessions.

We left the Oracle office and drove straight to Pune, ready for the next event…

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Yathra 2014 : Noida

I woke up today feeling a little dodgy and for a moment I thought it would be a repeat of my morning in Jalandhar. Fortunately, once we got moving and I drank some really sweet tea, everything was OK.

Today’s event was based at the Sharda University in Noida. We were introduced to the crowd, presented with some flowers and lit a ceremonial lamp to mark the start of the event.

I attended Aman Sharma’s presentation on Oracle Certification and the ACE Program. The students are very job-focused, so they were interested in certification and also what opportunities were available in the community.

My first session was quite tough. The audience was a mix of external delegates who were Oracle users, students who had some Oracle knowledge and some students who had little-to-no Oracle knowledge. That’s quite a tough audience to tackle with a PL/SQL presentation. I tried to simplify things for the non-Oracle people, but it still scared a few off. In trying to simply the content, I probably undersold it to the people who knew Oracle, so it wasn’t the best of starts for me.

Based on the response from the first session, I switched the second to a talk about virtualization, which was more general, so not so challenging for the non-Oracle people in the audience. That definitely seemed to go down better.

Outside of the sessions, I spent a lot of time chatting with the students and external delegates, answering questions on a number of topics related to Oracle, so it was really good fun.

My thanks go out to everyone at Sharda University for making us so welcome. I hope everyone who attended was happy with the event.

Tomorrow we fly to Mumbai.

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Yathra 2014 : Jalandhar

Day one did not start well. I woke up and couldn’t stop throwing up. I got to the Lovely Professional University, thinking it would stop, but it didn’t. The people at the University were really helpful and took me to the University doctor, who gave me an injection to stop the nausea. A few minutes later, things calmed down, just in time for my first session…

As soon as I hit the stage I felt fine and the session went well. Adrenalin is a wonderful thing! After the session I started to flag a little, but I was taken to get some food, which picked me up. India is a great place for a vegetarian. I was a little nervous about eating after the events of the morning, but the food was great and I felt much better after it.

In the afternoon I had two back-to-back sessions, which I got through without any incidents. After that, we spoke to a number of University staff members, including the Chancellor of the University, about the event and what we thought we achieved. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at the University for helping the event run smoothly and the much needed medical treatment!

From there it was off to get some food before our journey to Noida. Once again, the food was great. Thanks also to Aman Sharma for organising everything and for our presents. 🙂

After the food we got in our cab for the drive to Noida. We were told it would take 6-7 hours. By my estimate, it took about 10 hours. This included a couple of suspected tire problems and several breaks for the driver, who was falling asleep at the wheel. Towards the end of the journey, Raj Mattamal fell asleep, but I felt duty bound to stay awake, as I was having to stop the driver hitting curbs, launching headlong into barriers and missing our turnoffs. We eventually got to the hotel in Noida at about 03:30. By the time I had checked in and got to my room it was 04:00.

I was meant to be up this morning at 06:00 for a trip to the Taj Mahal, but after the events of the previous day I figured it would not be a great idea. Instead I slept until 14:00 and I’ve woken up feeling a little disorientated, but generally OK.

I’m going to try and do as little as possible today and hopefully be back to normal tomorrow for the next event. Fingers crossed!

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Yathra 2014 : The Journey Begins

It’s been a really tough lead up to this tour. I’ve already blogged about the panic over my visa and flights. Since that post my flights were cancelled, switched to some different flights, then switched back again. I only got the final confirmation on the Thursday night before leaving on the Sunday.

What with that and me stressing out about some stuff going on at work at the moment, I felt like cancelling so I could lock myself in my house for 2 weeks and not speak to anyone. I’m in definite need of a holiday!

Today started off with a last-minute shop for a new suitcase. I had forgotten mine was broken, so I rushed out and bought the first thing I saw. I got home, packed, then got a banging headache. I had a couple of hours before my taxi, so I went to bed to try and sleep it off.

The first flight was from Birmingham to Dubai at 20:30. Nothing too eventful there. I finally got to see “Gravity”, which was nice to look at, but not totally awe-inspiring like the trailers would have you believe. Unfortunately, no sleep during this flight.

After a 2 hour wait at Dubai, it was on to a 2 hour, plus change, flight to Delhi. I did a little bit of head-flopping during this flight, but nothing I would consider sleep.

It was my first time at Delhi airport, which feels spacious, bright and really clean. One of my flight combinations would have had me sitting there for 16 hours. I wouldn’t have fancied that, but spending a couple of hours there was fine. India does the “first port of entry” thing, so I had to get my bags, go through customs and check in for the internal flight. After a two hour wait at Delhi, it was a 1 hour flight to Amritsar. During the flight I asked the young man next to me about our destination. As we left the flight he was mobbed by admirers wanting photos with him. I said, “It seems you are really famous”, to which he replied, “I play cricket for India”. It turns out it was Harbhajan Singh. 🙂

It was a 2+ hour cab ride from Amritsar airport to Jalandhar. This was my first experience of driving in India. OMG! Lanes are irrelevant. The direction of the road is irrelevant. We were literally driving along a dual carriage way with cars and motorbikes coming towards us in our lane. All those photos you see of crazy things on the streets around the world are every day occurrences here. Multiple people on a single motorbike, including people holding children in bags etc. Few of the cars or lorries had working rear lights, so driving in the dark was an experience. Somehow, I managed to get to the hotel in one piece, but I think we did get hit by someone. The driver got out to check the back of the car, then carried on…

So that was about 16+ hours in transit after a full day in the UK. I’ve really got to learn how to sleep on these flights. The overnight things are killers…

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Yathra 2014

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog lately, mostly because I’ve been spending my time freaking out about the arrangements for the OTN Yathra 2014 tour of India. I had to apply for a visa, which in itself was not too bad, but I spent quite a long time without a passport, thanks to the courier not bothering to attempt a delivery. All that time I didn’t know if my visa application had been successful, so I wasn’t sure if I would have to submit it again. By the time that arrived, it was so late that booking the flights became interesting… At one point I wrote to Debra Lilley and said words to the effect of, I think this is just not meant to be!

Well tonight (Tuesday evening) I got my flights confirmed for my trip that I start on Sunday. 🙂

This is proving to be quite an expensive trip.

  • Visa: $130.00 – About £110 for the visa itself, and about £20 for the courier service.
  • Vaccinations: £250 – I feel like a human pincushion now. I had a bunch of boosters that were due, as well as stuff specifically for India.
  • Malaria Pills: £80 – We are in low risk areas (cities), but we are doing a couple of journeys between cities by bus, which travel through high-risk areas (countryside), so they advised me not to take any chances. I could have got the cheaper pills for about £8, but I decided to go for the ones with less side affects. I don’t see the point in travelling all that way to stand on a stage and feel like crap because of the anti-malaria pills. At least these should minimise the chances of that. If so, that’s worth a few extra quid.

For those that think this Oracle ACE thing is a free ride, you don’t get any of this money back!

I’ve still got stuff to get, like insect repellent. My pastey white skin seems to be very appetising to insects and I am not a stranger to infections when I do get bitten. Fingers crossed I can avoid the worst of it…

Getting to this point has been a bit of a trial. 🙂 Thanks to everyone who has helped. Murali put together a great pack to help the speakers plan the trip and Lillian and Vikki from the Oracle ACE Program have done a great job pushing through my last minute travel bookings!

Normally I’m doing the thanks when the events are over. 🙂

Let’s hope everything from now on goes a little smoother than it has up until now!

Cheers

Tim…

 

 

OUGN Vårseminar 2014

I’ve had some papers selected for the OUGN Vårseminar 2014 event in April, so I will be there representing OTN and the Oracle ACE Program. There is an impressive array of speakers lined up for this event already. Should be fun!

I’ve got a couple of months to practice my Captain Jack Sparrow impression. I wouldn’t want to look out of place on the boat!

Cheers

Tim…

 

OTN Yathra 2014 : See you there!

In November I wrote a post about my possible inclusion in the OTN Yathra 2014 tour. That has been confirmed now, so I’m representing OTN and the Oracle ACE Program at all the cities in the tour.

  • Jalandhar – 18th February
  • Noida – 20th February
  • Mumbai – 22nd February
  • Pune – 23rd February
  • Hyderabad – 25th February
  • Bangalore – 27th February
  • Chennai – 1st March

I’m a little bit scared by this trip. The OTN tours are good fun, but they are hard work. Doing seven conferences in 14 days seems like an awfully big task. I could have skipped some of the events to make my life easier, but that feels a little mean. At least when I get back from this tour I will have a week at work to rest before I go off to OUG Ireland… 🙂

So now I’ve got to get my visa sorted out…

Cheers

Tim…

OUG Ireland 2014 : I’m going to be there. Are you?

Earlier in the week I got confirmation I have two papers selected for OUG Ireland 2014.

  • PL/SQL : Stop Making The Same Performance Mistakes
  • An Oracle DBA’s Guide to WebLogic Server

You can see the full agenda here.

I got on the net to check flight prices and Ryanair were doing a round trip for £13. The booking fee on the travel site I used was more then the flight costs, so the total flight costs came to £30. 🙂 Needless to say I booked them straight away, so I will be there representing OTN and the Oracle ACE Program.

In addition to presenting, myself and some of the other ninjas have been speaking with the conference organisers to get RAC Attack included in the event. That’s sorted now. At last count there were 6 RAC Attack Ninjas coming to the event, but others may be lurking around in stealth mode. 🙂 If you are interested in RAC, come and speak to us. We are happy to help people do a full RAC installation on their laptop, but if you don’t want to commit that much time, you can just do part of the installation, like the Grid Infrastructure, and finish it off at home. A lot of people just want to come and ask questions about RAC. That’s fine too! 🙂

As if that wasn’t enough, there are Master Classes with Tom Kyte, Joel Goodman and Uwe Hesse!

Registration is now open, so get yourself sorted. See you there! 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

OTNYathra 2014 : India OTN Tour

Just a quick note to say the top-level approval for OTNYathra 2014 – India OTN Tour has been granted. Next, we’ve got to submit our individual travel approvals and see how that goes. If everything goes to plan, I will be representing the Oracle ACE Program on this tour in February, which visits the following locations.

  • Jalandhar – 18th February
  • Noida – 20th February
  • Mumbai – 22nd February
  • Pune – 23rd February
  • Hyderabad – 25th February
  • Bangalore – 27th February
  • Chennai – 1st March

Fingers crossed everything goes to plan. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…