Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : ACE Director Briefing – Day 1

ace-directorThe day started at 03:00 local time. I was in denial for about 60 minutes before I threw in the towel and got up. A couple of new release blog posts (VirtualBox 5.0.8 and MySQL 5.7) later, it was off to the gym again. I told you, it’s the new me…

After the gym I spent ages chatting to people in the foyer, whilst still stinking of gym and drinking coffee++. After getting cleaned up, I met up with a bunch of folks at 08:00 to walk across to head office for the first day of the ACE Director Briefing.

As usual, this couple of days is all under NDA, so we can’t talk about specifics, for fear of leaking some of the big announcements for OOW 2015, or because we are being told future direction. As a result, the following is really an idea of the agenda, where that doesn’t imply the content of an announcement… 🙂

  • Vikki did some quick introductions and basically told us to behave. 🙂
  • Jeremy Ashley and co. : Spoke about Cloud User Experience. Jeremy’s UX team has a hand in the design of many Oracle products. I have a lot of time for the work they do, and I can think of a few Oracle products I wish they had more involvement in. 🙂
  • Thomas Kurian : Gave an executive address. I’m saying nothing more about this, for fear of getting “disappeared”. Lots of interesting things coming. Something for everyone. 🙂
  • Vikas Anand, Kaj Van De Loo, Greg Stachnick and Kuldip Oberoi : Cloud update, with each person speaking about their respective parts of the cloud.
  • Interjeet Singh : Oracle Fusion Middleware update. This was quite a “vibrant” session during the question and answer part. 🙂
  • Mike Lehman : This session focused on WebLogic.
  • Shay Shmeltzer and Joe Huang: Oracle Development Tools and Mobile Platform Update.

After the sessions were over, we had some refreshments, then headed back to the hotel. A few of the folks went out to eat, but I just headed to bed.

For a generalist like me, today contained lots of interesting and sometimes confusing stuff. Tomorrow is more focussed on Linux and database stuff, so it is like a fun day for me. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : The Journey Begins

The day started at 05:30, which was not much different to normal, so that was good. A quick taxi ride to the airport was followed by a 1 hour sleep on the floor next to the departure gate. It’s wonderful having no shame. 🙂

The first flight from Birmingham to Frankfurt was about 80 minutes and it was fairly straight forward. I had a 2 hour layover before the next flight, so there was no real drama there. I ended up boarding as the last person in the last boarding group. 🙂 I tried to buy a business upgrade, but it was going to cost $2500, so screw that.

The United flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco was about 11.5 hours and a little annoying.

  • The plane interior was a really old refit. It was pretty terrible compared almost every other airline I’ve been on in the last few years.
  • The “entertainment system” was one of those old shared screen things, not a personal system, so you had to watch the same thing as everyone else.
  • The shared screen froze for a few seconds every 5 minutes or so, which kind of ruins your suspended disbelief.
  • My special meal was “missing” again. I mean, come on!

It’s hard to believe it’s 2015 when you are on a United plane. 🙂 Luckily, the staff were really nice. There was one lady doing her last flight after 46 years of service. Awesome!

We landed a little late. Getting though US customs was actually pretty quick, which makes a change. I took the hotel shuttle with Osama, GurcanSimon, Cary and Arup, who all converged from different flights.

After getting to the hotel, I dumped my stuff and went to the gym. It’s the new me. 🙂 After getting changed, I went down to the bar for a few minutes to say hello to some people, then headed off to bed by about 22:00 local time.

Allowing for the time difference, I think that’s about 24 hours from bed to bed. 🙂 Tomorrow is the first day of the ACE Director Briefing!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Database Developer Choice Awards : Spread the Love!

You’ve probably already heard about the Oracle Database Developer Choice Awards, Steven Feuerstein wrote about them here, but this is just a quick reminder to get your votes in.

This year there are five categories to vote for:

I am always a little nervous about “popularity contests”, but I would suggest you look through the finalists for each category and vote for someone if they have made an impact on you personally. IMHO it shouldn’t be a, “vote for your mate”, thing.

You’ve got until 15th October to get your votes in! 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

SANGAM15 – See you there!

I mentioned my Oracle OpenWorld 2015 trip in a previous post. Yesterday evening I picked up my passport with my lovely new India visa in it!

The talks are written. The flights are booked. The hotel is booked. I have a visa. So that’s me sorted for SANGAM15 in November! 🙂

It’s going to be a rather hectic few days. I fly out, do the 2 day conference, then fly straight home. It looks like I will be in aeroplanes and airports longer than I will actually be in India. 🙂

If you are coming along to the conference, be sure to come and say hello. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : It’s a Wrap!

ace-director

I just realised I didn’t write a closing post for the OTN Tour of Latin America 2015, so here goes.

Here are the links to all the posts I wrote during the two weeks that related to the main body of the tour.

Here are the links to the posts I wrote during the little trip to Machu Picchu.

Overall it was a really fun tour. Ignoring my illness at Machu Picchu, I think I coped a lot better with it than I have the previous couple of tours, which was good news.

Big thanks to the organisers and attendees at all the events. I hope to see you all again soon! Thanks also to the ACE Program for giving me the opportunity to fly the flag! I must also say a thank you to my fellow speakers for putting up with me for all that time. I know I can be hard work, so you are all deserving of an “I survived a tour with Tim”, badge, if one existed. 🙂

Sorry for the delay in writing this post! See you soon!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld : It’s just around the corner…

The total insanity that is Oracle OpenWorld 2015 is just around the corner. I’ve got my flights and hotels booked, so I think I’m good to go!

The first couple of days will be ACE Director briefings. The big announcement this year will be the Oracle Games Cloud (#OGC), but as a beta program participant I’m under NDA so I’m not allowed to talk about it. It will be interesting to see what else is coming down the pipeline. I expect lots of hardware refreshes and standard stuff like that, but there is always something unexpected that makes you sit back…

Of course, the main event of the ACED briefing will be me gathering 100+ “dot com” YouTube cameos. Dress to impress and perfect diction please… 🙂

As far as presentations go:

  • Optimizing SQL for Performance and Maintainability—a Panel Discussion [CON8415] Moscone South Room 309 16:15 – 17:00 : I’ve been invited to join this panel session. I’m the token dumb-ass to help you relate to panel. My job is to nod, like I know what people are talking about and occasionally scratch myself. 🙂
  • More Than Another 12 on Oracle Database 12c [UGF3190] Moscone South Room 306 time 13:30 – 15:15: UKOUG are using their two user group sessions to host another multi-speaker extravaganza. I was involved in this last year, but submitted my entry too late to get in this year. There are so many good EMEA presenters! My slot will be called “12 Oracle 12c Data Pump enhancements in 7 minutes!” 🙂

Apart from these events, there are always loads of things to get involved in, so it’s going to be a busy few days!

If you are new to the OpenWorld experience, I suggest you check out Jeff Smith’s post called, How to Survive, no, Thrive at Oracle Open World. Making the most of OOW is a skill. It’s a pity if you get to the end of the event and feel like you missed out. Preparation is the key! 🙂

For those who are lucky enough to be going, I’ll see you there soon. If you can’t make it, many of the headlines will be streamed live and you have a blogsphere that will keep you updated on the fun bits!

Cheers

Tim…

Machu Picchu

At about 04:00 we were queuing for the bus ride to the base of Machu Picchu. I started to feel a bit ill again. A little after 05:00 we were on the bus driving up to the base of Machu Picchu. It took about 30 mins to get there, most of which I spent trying not to puke.

I was very dissapointed with the entrance to Machu Picchu. It felt like the entrance to a theme park. There was even Machu Picchu WiFi. We were there to witness wonder and spectacle, but seemed to be getting Disneyland. After being on the verge all morning, I puked and felt much better.

When we eventually got through the turnstyles, we started to walk up the hill. The stairs are quite steep, but nothing I would be worried about if it weren’t for the altitude. It makes it feel like hard work, so you have to take it slow. I used the turns to my advantage and mostly hid the fact I was repeatedly throwing up. After a few minutes we got to area that overlooks the former residential area of Machu Picchu. If you’ve ever seen a picture of Machu Picchu, chances are you’ve seen the one taken from this spot. A few levels up and we were at the guardhouse, which gives an even better view. I puked there too. 🙂 For me, this was all I wanted to do as far as Machu Picchu was concerned. I wanted to stand there and see this for myself. Everything else was a bonus. People visit several times and spend days there. This was really all I wanted. 🙂

After that we walked down towards the residential area. At that point, I really felt like I was done for. I told Debra to carry on and I walked down to the entrance to look for medical attention. I finally got to see the medic, and puke in her bin a few times. She injected me with a concoction of anti-nausea and electrolytes and left me to sleep for a while. By the time Debra returned I was feeling much better. Interestingly, it was nothing to do with the altitude. My blood O2 was fine. It was pretty similar to what happened to me in India. I’m starting to think it’s nausea caused by a type of migrane, induced by lack of sleep.

Anyway, after my rather brief visit to Machu Picchu, we were heading down the mountain in the bus. We got some food and chilled out before boarding the train to take us back to Cusco and the rest of our luggage.

The train journey back took about 3.5 hours. Lot’s of great sights, only marred by some intensely annoying children, who were complaining about being bored. Why do adults drag children along to this stuff? They don’t enjoy it and ruin it for everyone else!

Back at Cusco, it was a quick taxi ride to the hotel, where I puked and went to bed. We were hoping to have a brief look at Cusco, but it gets dark so early in Peru, there really wasn’t time.

I would like to say I got a good night’s sleep, but the hotel we stayed at was so noisey. I woke several times in the night because of fireworks, music and general noise in the town, which made the 03:30 start the next day even harder to cope with.

Now I know this all sounds really negative and bad, but it was worth it. Machu Picchu is one of those places I always hoped to see before I died. The fact it nearly killed me in the process is besides the point. 🙂 I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t been so beaten up by two weeks of travelling and presenting it would have been a breeze. Part of me thinks it would be nice to go back and see again, but part of me thinks I’ve done all I wanted to do. It is a very expensive experience, but worth it in my opinion.

I wasn’t really in a fit state to take photos, but fortunately Debra was and she let me have a copy of them, which you can see here. I especially like the ones of me looking like dreadful. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Update 1: I think it is great how much work they are doing to preserve the Machu Picchu site, but the amount of rebuilding is a bit of a concern. At the moment, about 30% of the site has been rebuilt and the work is continuing. If too much is done, it ceases to be an ancient site and becomes a modern site in the style of an ancient one. They need to tread very carefully, or risk taking the final step and completing the transition to Disneyland!

Update 2: At no point did I see Pikachu! Apparently, Machu Picchu and Pikachu are not the same thing. Who’da thunk it?

Lima to Cusco to Machu Picchu

With the tour over, Debra and I had arranged to spend a couple of days visiting Machu Picchu, before heading home.

We woke up early on Friday to get a flight from Lima to Cusco. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time, got to our gate and saw a list of delayed and cancelled flights to Cusco. The weather was too bad in Cusco for flights to take off and land. Luckily, after a while the weather apparently cleared in Cusco, allowing us to take a flight which arrived about 1 hour late.

We had arranged to drop our luggage off at a hotel in Cusco a day early, then continue on to Machu Picchu. The taxi ride to the hotel was interesting. Cusco has some very narrow streets that are barely wide enough for get a car through. It was quite hairy at times. We eventually got there, dropped our bags off and continued in the taxi to Ollantaytambo, which took about 90 mins. This allowed us to briefly see some of the sacred valley up close. During the drive I had a funny turn, which I put down to the high altitude. Debra said I looked green. By the time we got to Ollantaytambo and got some food I was feeling better.

While we were waiting for the train, I noticed the arrivals/departures screen on the wall had a session of TOAD running, doing some queries. By the time we had cameras ready, it was gone and the announcements screen was back. Debra went on the hunt and found a lady in an office that confirmed they (PeruRail) were using Oracle. 🙂 We got on the Vistadome train, which has lots of extra windows, including in the roof, which is essential if you want a good view of the mountains around you. The train has a rather narrow gauge, which is a little disconcerting at first. The train takes you to Aguas Calientes, now known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, which is the best place to stay if you plan an early visit to Machu Picchu.

Just a quick word of warning, I did not like Machu Picchu Pueblo at all. It is a great setting in the mountains with the river running through, but it is one giant tourist centre, full to the brim with restaurants, markets and tourist shops. Many of the write-ups about Machu Picchu talk about it being ruined by tourists. This town proves the point! We bought our bus tickets for the next day, grabbed some food and headed to bed for an early start.

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Here is a quick montage of the journey to Machu Picchu.

OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : PEOUG, Peru – Day 1

A quick taxi ride got us to the conference hotel really quickly, so we were nice and early for the PEOUG event.

After the introductions by Miguel Palacios, it was time for the first sessions of the event. Of the English speakers, first up were Debra Lilley and Dana Singleterry. Debra had some problems with her laptop, so she did her presentation using mine and all went well. Dana did his session over the net, so I sent a few Tweets to let him know how things looked and sounded from our end. I figured a bit of feedback would help reassure him there weren’t any technical issues.

My first session of the day came next. I had a good sized audience and some of the people were brave enough to ask questions at the end. 🙂 I had some in English and some in Spanish using the translation service to help me. 🙂

Debra fixed her laptop by the time her next session started, but her clicker died, so she borrowed mine. Dana’s second session was at the same time as Debra’s, so I flitted between the two, sending a few feedback Tweets to Dana about his session again.

After that session, Ronald, Debra, Pelinio, Enrique and myself ducked out to get some lunch in a place down the street.

After lunch, both Ronald and I each had back-to-back sessions. I did my Cloud Database and Analytic Functions talks. I feel like they went well. I hope the crowd did too. 🙂

There was one more set to talks, all from Spanish speakers, including a very full web session by Edelweiss from Uruguay. After that we got together for the closing session and some prize draws. I didn’t understand what was being said, but everyone seemed really happy and in good spirits, so I think the whole day was well received. Certainly all the feedback we got was very positive!

Big thanks to MiguelEnrique and everyone at PEOUG for inviting us and making us feel welcome. Thanks to the attendees for coming to the sessions and making us feel special by asking for photos. 🙂 Also, big thanks to the ACE Program for making this possible for us!

So that marks the end of this years OTN Tour of Latin America for me. Sorry to the countries in the northern leg. I hope I will be able to visit your folks soon!

Debra and I are going to visit Pikachu Machu Picchu over the next couple of days, then it’s back home to normal life for a while. 🙂

I’ll write a summary post to close off this little adventure when I get home. Once again, thank you all!

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : PEOUG, Peru – Day -1

After the CLOUG event, Francisco drove us to the airport, where Kerry, Ronald, Debra and I parked ourselves in the lounge for a while. Lots of eating then ensued! Kerry was flying back home, but the rest of us were on our way to Lima, Peru, for the PEOUG event. 🙂

The flight across to Lima was pretty straight forward, taking about 4 hours, if you include the time sitting and waiting to take off. I think the flight time was about 3 hours and 30 mins. We arrived at the airport at about 02:00 and we were all pretty beat up. It was an effort to even speak, which if you know me is a rather extreme state. 🙂

I had a complete brain fade and forgot we were being picked up by Enrique Orbegozo, but fortunately he caught us before we disappeared onto the shuttle, so it ended OK. I’m so sorry Enrique! 🙂

We arrived at the hotel at about 03:00. I can’t speak for the others, but I was feeling like the living dead. I got to my room and I don’t remember anything else until the morning! 🙂

Debra has Hilton Honors status, so I got signed into the lounge for the day, which meant free food. 🙂 We had a lazy day. Apart from a 10 minute walk down to the coast and back, it was a hotel day, trying to recharge the batteries. Some food, sitting in the pool and sitting in the lounge with our laptops, trying to catch up with the world.

This morning we are off to the PEOUG event. The last event of the southern leg of the OTN Tour of Latin America 2015. I’ve got three presentations to do, plus some backups in case speakers don’t show. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…