I had a broken nights sleep. My luggage turned up at midnight. At about 03:00 I did a blog post. Then at 05:00 I officially woke up to get ready for the taxi at 06:00. 🙂
There were no dramas at the airport. Debra and I got through bag drop and security with plenty of time, so we got some breakfast and chilled until the flight.
The boarding was a little chaotic, mostly because people heard one piece of hand luggage and one personal item, and understood that to mean four pieces of hand luggage and a donkey. Needless to say, the overhead lockers were short on space. 🙂
It was a 55 minute flight, with a rollercoaster landing. I actually got my luggage back this time as well, which was nice. 🙂 Another quick taxi ride and we were at the hotel.
I did a couple of hours of work, then headed off to the gym, which was great. The hotel gym is a small Golds Gym, so I was able to do proper weights. It was super hot, which made training really hard, but when I finished I did some stretching and it was awesome. I can’t remember the last time I’ve stretched in that temperature. I was super flexible.
I think I’m going to head off to the pool for a bit, then chill for the rest of the day.
The Costa Rica conferences starts tomorrow. See you there!
From there I presented three sessions back-to-back.
Improving the Performance of PL/SQL Function Calls from SQL
Pluggable Databases – What they will break and why you should use them anyway!
It’s raining data! Oracle databases in the cloud.
I think the sessions went well. People were a little shy at the start, but as the sessions progressed people got more confident about asking questions.
After lunch was Kamran Agayev speaking about “Oracle 11g Clusterware failure scenarios with practical demonstrations”. Kamran discussed lots of failure situations with video demos of them, which were pretty neat. He also discussed numerous test scenarios people should work through before they go live with a RAC system.
Next up was Debra Lilley presenting on “Pass4SaaS”. I’ve seen this presentation many times over the last couple of years, but it has evolved somewhat. This one had a live demonstration of Debra using the Application Builder Cloud Service, almost like she’s a developer! 🙂
Next up was Kamran again with “Oracle 12c ASM new features with practical demonstrations”. This was a quick run through the ASM new features, including a video demo of Flex ASM and ASM Disk Scrubbing.
That was the day done for me. There were other presenters speaking in Spanish, but after my three sessions and three others I was done for. 🙂
I was presenting for half of the day, so I didn’t get much time to film, which is why this video was so short.
Thanks to Edgardo and ORAUG PTY for inviting me to the event. I had a really good time and it cheered me up a lot after yesterday’s travel disaster. It reminded me why the travelling is worthwhile. 🙂
PS. All through the day I kept getting the hotel reception to ring the two numbers I was given for the KLM missing luggage service, but never got an answer. The online bag tracker they provide was useless. It just acknowledged your bag was marked as missing, with no idea of the location or ETA. Since I was planning to leave early the next day I was worried my luggage would arrive after I left, but had nobody to speak to about this. At about midnight there was a knock at my door and my luggage had arrived. Obviously I’m very happy about that, but the lack of communication was a nightmare! Judging by the tweets to KLM, I got lucky!
I arrived at Birmingham Airport about 2 hours and 20 minutes early. I was then presented with a huge queue to get to the queue for the bag drop. To be fair to the people at the desk, they seemed relatively efficient, but there were 2 floating staff who were chatting to each other and laughing, rather than handling the queue. There needed to be:
A specific “bag drop only” queue, which most people would have breezed through.
A “special cases” queue for those families that turn up with 45 cases and wonder why they can’t take them.
A “check in” queue, where people who have not already checked in can go.
Something simple like that would have meant the queue moved much quicker and the floating staff could have organised that easily if they could be bothered and weren’t morons. Of course, that couldn’t happen because we are talking about the Air France / KLM gate, so you know it’s going to be terrible. I sent a few tweets to both KLM and BHX that contained lots of expletives. Sorry if that offended anyone, but tough!
Eventually I got through the “queue to the queue” for bag drop, then I joined the “queue for the queue” for security. Yes, there was a queue to get to the place you normally queue! Once again, an obvious case for sorting your staff out. They know when they will be busy in advance, so they should staff accordingly.
I finally got to the boarding gate and could see the plane, but they were unloading for ages. Turns out there were a team of Para-Olympic athletes on the plane and the ground staff did not anticipate how long it would take to get them and their wheelchairs off. Once again, bad planning. We took off 40 minutes late, which was a worry since I had a very short connection at Amsterdam for the next flight. Just before we landed they announced some people had missed their connections, but mine was still possible if I legged it. Fortunately for me, the next flight was delayed also, so I made it!
I sat on the flight from Amsterdam to Panama, sighed with relief, then got a massive headache. I thought I was going to have one of my puking episodes, but I managed to down some paracetamol and sleep for a bout 10 minutes, which was enough to take the edge off.
I arrived in Panama, but my luggage didn’t. After a queue to deal with my lost luggage, I queued for about 40 minutes to get through the bag check, without my bags.
After a death-race taxi ride to the hotel and the travel was over. At that point, if I had the option to got straight home I would have done. The flights themselves were fine, as were the flight staff. It was the chaos on the ground that was the problem, which left me feeling like I never want to fly again. It was a terrible day!
I met up with Debra so she could watch me eat cheese and talk me down. Then it was bed and the hope that I would never remember this day!
Tomorrow is ORAUG PTY, the first event of the OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 (Northern Leg).
PS. The video is dedicated to Mark Rittman, who loves my travel videos, describing them as “boring” and saying, “nothing happens in them”, which is of course the whole point of doing them. 🙂
I had a lazy morning, then it was time to start the journey to Zeist. It was a pretty straight forward journey from Amsterdam Central, via Utrecht to Driebergen-Zeist station. I had planned to get a bus from Driebergen-Zeist station to the hotel, but looking on the map it was only a couple of miles so I walked it. It was a little annoying dragging my suitcase, but no big drama. You can check out the journey and the hotel in the video below.
I had a quick walk around part of the town, near the hotel, where I bumped into my new stepmom.
In the evening I got a message from Dad asking if I wanted to go out to a family dinner. It was just as you would expect. Me crying and screaming, “You can’t tell me what to do, you’re not my mother!” and her saying, “I’m not trying to replace your mother. I just want to be friends!” I got back to my hotel room to find some brochures for posh, but secluded boarding schools. I’m not sure what I should be thinking at this point…
Tomorrow I’m speaking at the OGH Oracle DBA and SQL Celebration Day. Dad is doing the keynote and my new stepmom is going to visit some relatives that live near. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be like “The Princess Diaries” and she will find she’s actually next in line to the Dutch Throne. Does that make me a step-prince?
My plan was to spend a long weekend in Amsterdam before heading off to the next conference…
I got off the train at Amsterdam Central and felt hot, very tired, sick and had the start of a headache. By the time I got to my hotel room I was feeling about 3/4 Machu Picchu. I took some Lemsip capsules and crashed out. I woke up about 20 minutes later still feeling bad, but knowing I would survive.
The next day came and went. I spent most of the day in bed. I ventured out of my room to film some bits of the hotel and get some food, which I promptly threw up, then went back to bed. If nothing else, I did manage to edit some videos between bouts of sleep. If you want to see where I spent Friday evening and all day Saturday, check out the video below.
Sunday morning was significantly better. After my Machu Picchu incident last year, a couple from the US gave me some electrolyte replacement sachets. I didn’t use them at the time, but found them in my bag and took one as soon as I got up. I decided to go and have a walk around, but it quickly became apparent I had zero energy. I didn’t feel ill, but just couldn’t walk any sort of distance. After about 2 miles I was totally done.
To make sure the day wasn’t a total right-off, I got onto a Sightseeing Boat and did one of the three possible loops (Green). I then picked up some food and headed back to the hotel. No puking this time, which was good. Once I was sure I wouldn’t be seeing lunch again, I headed back out and did another loop in the boat (Blue). You can see the photos and videos from the day here.
It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for the weekend, but what ya gonna do?
The Oracle ACE Program decided to tag an extra day on to the front of the AMIS 25 Beyond the Horizon conference for the “OTN Cloud Developer Challenge”. The idea was for teams of ACEs to get together and build applications using Oracle Cloud services. It was originally called a cloud hackathon, but got renamed to something that didn’t contain the word “hack”. 🙂
My team was made up of Debra, Heli, Gurcan and Osama (who couldn’t make it due to visa issues 🙁 ). The plan was to create a schema in a cloud database. Expose the tables as REST services using ORDS. These REST services would then be consumed to produce a mobile application using some of the mobile technologies on the Oracle cloud. Unfortunately, we were a group made up of database people, so the last bit of the puzzle proved rather tricky/impossible for us. 🙂 So that we could produce a POC, we cheated and used APEX to push out some screens. The work for this continued the following day. 🙂
Towards the end of the day we broke away from the challenge and joined the AMIS 25 Beyond the Horizon introductory drinks. At about 21:00 I headed back to the hotel, did some washing, then crashed out for the night.
The day started at a rather civilised time of 06:00, which makes a change. I usually book early flights, forgetting I have to get to the airport a couple of hours early, then regret the decision later. 🙂
The taxi driver didn’t have any receipts, then the lady “managing” the queue at the baggage drop left a lot to be desired. Fortunately the lady on the baggage drop desk was awesome and lifted my mood. The departures screen did its normal thing of saying “Gate opens in 5 mins” for 20+ minutes. I was one of the first on the plane and the flight was fine. A bit of a shaky landing, but that was probably down to the bad weather.
My original plan was to head into the city and have a look at the sites, but after I had got through airport security and made my way to the hotel, time was moving on.
The citizenM hotel is really cool. The rooms are quite small, but the lobby is great. Added to that the wifi is incredible. I uploaded the following video to YouTube in about 5 seconds. 🙂
I grabbed a coffee and headed off into the city. By the time i got there it was an hour before my session, so I parked myself at the AVNET office and wrote this blog post. 🙂
The session started with “Raiders of the Data Dictionary I: Indexing for the Workload” where Lothar discussed a project he worked on based around completely revamping the indexing of a system. I guess the best way I can describe it is to say it’s a more scientific approach to indexing, using the contents of the dictionary to provide information about columns and column groups used in queries to determine the indexes to create. In some ways the approach was quite extreme (throw everything away and start again), but I also admire the bravery of that approach!
Next up was “Raiders of the Data Dictionary II: The Curse of the Buffer Cache” where Lothar discussed the problems associated with trying to keep large, frequently used tables in the buffer cache. Once again, some interesting points made and some things that will definitely influence my approach in future.
It was great to meet Lothar in person for the first time. After being in the game for 20+ years many subjects can start to feel a little repetitive, so it’s nice when someone comes along with a different spin on a subject. I certainly found myself asking a lot of questions of him and myself, which surely must be what this knowledge spreading thing is all about!
Thanks to Lothar for taking the time to come and speak to us and to everyone that came along to listen. Thanks to Mike for doing a great job in keeping Oracle Midlands going and to Red Stack Tech for their continued support.
The day started at 05:00. I lay in the bath for 20 minutes in denial, wondering how I would manage to stay awake for the day. I’ve been ill for ages, so I felt like I was running on empty anyway. Once I had managed to drag myself out of the bath and get dressed, I picked up my laptop and took a taxi to the airport.
The taxi to the airport was smooth enough. I was already checked in and had no bags to drop off, so I went straight for the security and was greeted by the biggest queue I had ever seen at Birmingham airport. To all those people that laugh at me getting to the airport 2+ hours before a short flight like this I say, “Better to be safe than sorry!”
Despite the massive queue for security, populated by people who didn’t understand commands like, “Belts off!”, and, “All liquids out of your bags!”, the queue moved quite quickly and the departure area felt relatively quiet. I grabbed some food and logged into work to find one of the DW loads had failed. I cleaned stuff up and reset it. As I was boarding I passed one of my colleagues who was off to Glasgow for a product user group. I shouted across that his DW load had failed, then turned the corner to board before he could quiz me further. 🙂
The ChavAir flight was fine. They are a basic bitch airline, but you can’t really complain when you are paying £27 for a return flight. I overheard three people saying they paid £20 return. I was robbed. 🙂
When I arrived in Dublin, I got the AirLink Express into the city, which was 10 Euros for a return ticket and dropped me off about 100 yards from the Gresham Hotel. Bonus!
After signing in and saying hello to a couple of people, including the wife, it was off to the first session. My timetable for the day was:
Marcin Przepiorowski with “Looking for Performance Issue in Oracle SE. Check What OraSASH Can do for You”. I’m lucky enough to have Oracle EE with the Diagnotics and Tuning pack for all the databases I work with, so I get to use the real ASH and the performance pages in Cloud Control. Even so, it’s worth keeping your eye on what others are doing, as you never know when you will need it!
Carl Dudley with “SQL Tips, Techniques and Traps”. I really enjoyed this session. It was a quick pace with lots of little and interesting points. I’m sure everyone picked up something they had not heard before. I know I did.
Oren Nakdimon with “Write Less (Code) with More (Oracle 12c New Features)”. This was another quick paced session made up of lots of little pointers. As I watched it I found myself thinking, “Have I written about that?”, or, “Did I include that in my article?”. There were certainly a few things that had passed me by during my time with 12c, so I made a note about them and will be revisiting a couple of articles. It was a really neat session!
Keith Laker with “SQL Pattern Matching Deep Dive”. I’ve written some stuff on pattern matching, but this was another level. After watching this session I know enough to know I don’t know enough. 🙂 Definitely a subject I need to go back and revisit. I’m always a little nervous of deep dive sessions because often they don’t deserve that title. I think this one did! 🙂
Me with “Analytic Functions: An Oracle Developer’s Best Friend”. This was in the same room as Keith’s talk and had most of the same audience. I started by saying something to the tune of, if you understood the stuff from the previous session, you probably don’t need to watch this one. 🙂 My analytics session is quite different to ones I’ve seen others do. It is an entry level session, where I repeatedly reference non-analytics stuff to try and simplify the concepts and syntax. If you have done lots of analytics it’s probably not for you, but I always get some comments from people saying they use analytics, but didn’t realise what some of the stuff did.
Me with “Oracle Database Consolidation: It’s Not All About Oracle Database 12c!”. This is an overview session where I discuss the methods of database consolidation I use along with their pros and cons. I don’t dislike any individual method of database consolidation, but I do react harshly to anyone who claims one method is superior. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to database consolidation and anyone that tells you there is is a bloody liar! You will always need a combination of approaches and this is very much my message here. It’s a light and fluffy session, which probably fits quite well towards the end of the day when everyone is fried. 🙂
Cloud Q&A Panel Session. I mostly turned up to support the wife, but it was actually quite relevant to my current company, who are in the procurement phase of a replacement for many of our core business systems, with “the cloud” being an option. Added to that, I’ve been doing POCs of Azure, AWS and Oracle Cloud recently for IaaS and PaaS.
From there is was a quick chat with some folks at the social event, then the AirLink Express back to Dublin Airport.
The flight back was fine, but I was starting to feel really worse for wear. At one point I thought I was going to puke, but I managed not to. I was imagining everyone else thinking I had been for a day on the lash in Dublin. 🙂 We landed early and I got a taxi home and the day was done!
Big thanks to OUG Ireland for inviting me to the day. Sorry I couldn’t stay for the second day! Thanks to the other speakers and attendees, who are collectively the most important people there! Thanks to the Oracle ACE Program for letting me continue to fly the flag!
For anyone that is looking for a new conference to try out, you should give OUG Ireland 2017 a go. Just so you know, here is the breakdown of the travel costs for my day trip:
Taxi to airport: £25
Return flight between Birmingham and Dublin: £27
Return trip on AirLink Express into the city: 10 Euros
Taxi home: £35
Total: < £100
The costs have been similar for the last three years and it’s certainly something I’m happy to pay out of my own pocket!