nlOUG Tech Experience 2018 : The Journey Home

The trip home from nlOUG Tech Experience 2018 started pretty early, so true to form I didn’t sleep properly, for fear of sleeping through my alarm. At about 04:00 I was in the bath watching YouTube videos. 🙁

A couple of hours later I was at the station in Amersfoort waiting for the train to the airport where I was joined by Sabine Heimsath. Pretty soon we were on the train, where I made use of the wifi, as witnessed by Sabine (see her photo). 🙂 It was about 40 minutes to the airport, which was just about enough time to get out a blog post about the previous day.

Once at the airport I had a total brain freeze looking at the departure boards, so Sabine gave me a reboot and pointed me in the right direction. We were leaving from different parts of the airport, so we said our goodbyes and I was off to security…

Security was really busy, with the queue for the passport scanners moving rather slowly. Luckily they opened the second half of the scanners, which made things move a bit faster… I made my way over to the boarding gate and parked until my flight…

Boarding time came and we were told the cabin crew were missing… They arrived and be boarded pretty quick, so I don’t think it delayed us drastically, even though I was personally having flashbacks to last week. I originally had a middle seat, but I was asked if I wanted to move to the empty exit row, and of course I said yes and got an aisle seat. The laptop came out as soon as we were in the air…

From the airport I decided to take the train into town as I wanted to pick something up. Unfortunately the shop didn’t have what I wanted, so I had to console myself with a giant burrito for breakfast. You win some, you lose some. 🙂 From the city centre is was a quick taxi ride home and the trip was complete.

What a difference a year makes. I was ill for the nlOUG Tech Experience 2017 event and just about made it through my sessions, then went back to bed. This year I was able to get involved in the whole conference and have fun.

Thanks very much to the folks in nlOUG for letting me come along to play. Thanks to the speakers and attendees that make this stuff possible. This was a self-funded event for me, but I’d still like to thank the Oracle ACE Program and the Oracle Developer Program for continuing to allow me to fly the flag.

Here are my posts related to this event.

Cheers

Tim…

nlOUG Tech Experience 2018 : Day 2

I had a rough start to day 2 of nlOUG Tech Experience 2018. The night before I was in bed and foolishly checked my email only to find some problems at work. I got out of bed, logged in and was checking out the impact of a storage fault. Some databases had been down and some app servers weren’t exactly happy. It was some time after midnight when things started to stabilise out. That meant the following morning I felt a little fuzzy…

Once I got to the conference the day started with a keynote about “Autonomous Data Management” by Penny Avril. Hopefully we will see Penny at UKOUG at the end of the year…

If you’ve followed the blog you will know I’m a fan of what Oracle is trying to achieve with this family of cloud services. To use my own words, it’s all about less time doing boring stuff, more time doing interesting stuff.

From there I went to see Ron Ekins talk about “DevOPS, Ansible and automation for the DBA”. Due to clashes I’ve managed to miss this session at each event where we’ve been together, although he did run through some of it with me in Ireland earlier in the year. Even though I was present during this session, I missed most of it as I was logged into work again. Sorry Ron. Someday I will actually see the full session. 🙂 Just in case you are curious, yes this was a train carriage.

The next session I went to was “All about linux memory usage by the Oracle database” by Frits Hoogland. If gaining knowledge is like peeling back the layers of an onion, Frits has got through a lot more layers than me. I was surprised at how little I knew about this subject before this session. Of course I will act all superior now like I always knew it, but seriously…

From there it was off to “Kicking the Tyres on Oracle Database 18c with Swingbench” by Dominic Giles. What’s not to love about Swingbench (and Dom)? I’ve been using SwingBench for years, long before I knew who Dom was. 🙂 Keep those releases coming Dom!

The last session of my day was my presentation called DBA Does Docker, which is about my journey so far with Docker. I’m a big fan, but I’ve not drunk the KoolAid… I think the session wet well, and all the demos worked. 🙂

After a quick closing ceremony, then some drinks and nibbles the conference was over.

A few of us went into town to get some food and then before I knew it the day was over.

I will do all the proper thank you messages in the closing post when I get home, but thanks everyone for a great conference. It’s been a tough year so far and this was the first conference where I felt things went OK for me. That’s not a criticism of the other events I’ve been to. It’s about something not clicking into position with me. I’m hoping this event has broken my run of bad luck…

Cheers

Tim…

nlOUG Tech Experience 2018 : Day 1

Day 1 of nlOUG Tech Experience 2018 started with me missing the opening keynote to spend time talking with Frits Hoogland about all things Vagrant, Ansible and Docker…

The first session I went to was Penny Avril & Dominic Giles with “What’s New from Oracle Database Development”. This was a quick run through some of the key features that have been introduced in 12.2 and 18c, which sets the scene well for some of the other talks happening over the two days.

Next up was “Database Design Thoughts” by Toon Koppelaars. I think this type of session appeals on several levels. To a beginner it is full of solid facts about basic database design. To someone with more experience it’s more about hearing things you know, but from a different angle. I spoke with Toon about the session when it was over and I’m pretty sure I would not be able to present this type of session.

From there I went to see “SQL Model Clause: A Gentle Introduction” by Alex Nuijten. What I really need to do is go home and write an article about this now I vaguely know what it is all about. Unfortunately I think I will leave it a couple of weeks and be clueless again. Alex did a really good job of explaining it, so it is up to me to get on the case soon!

From there it was two back-to-back sessions by me. First up was, “Cool New Features for Developers in 18c and 12c”, which was a collection of things I think are cool that were added in 12.1, 12.2 and 18c. There were live demonstrations too, which went well. I ran out of time, but I felt happy with the presentation. I had fun!

My next session was “Make the RDBMS Relevant Again with RESTful Web Services and JSON”. It was a struggle to fit this into 45 minutes, but I hope I got the main message across without rushing too much. The live demos went smooth too.

After the last session there was food and drinks and random chatting, with the odd rant, which you expect at tech events. All in all a great end to a great first day. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

PS. At last year’s event I was ill and spent most of my time in bed when I wasn’t presenting (similar to Riga this year). It was nice to actually participate properly in the conference this year!

nlOUG Tech Experience 2018 : The Journey Begins

The trip to nlOUG Tech Experience 2018 started at a pretty normal time. I left the house at 08:00, which was far too early really, but you never know about the traffic when you are in rush hour, so I thought it better to be safe than sorry. Rather than the normal 30 minutes, it took about an hour to get to the airport, but once there I breezed through security and had a full 2 hours before the flight, so out came the laptop.

The flight to Amsterdam was delayed by about 15 minutes due to the curse of Schiphol. Luckily I got moved to an exit row seat and had loads of space, so out came the laptop.

From Schiphol to Amersfoort was a train ride of about 50 minutes. The train had free wifi, so out came the laptop.

Last year my hotel was a bus ride away from the event, but this year I booked a hotel near to the station, so it was only a short walk then I was in my room, so out came the laptop.

Having a bit of space and wifi makes the day feel far less wasted. I was pretty productive in the end…

I spent the evening going through my talks and demos making sure everything was OK. As mentioned in a previous post I now have three sessions, so it takes quite a while to rehearse… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

nlOUG Tech Experience 2018

Just a quick post to say I’ll be at nlOUG Tech Experience 2018 later this week.

I was originally meant to be doing two sessions, but due to someone dropping out I’m now doing three. 🙂

See you there!

Cheers

Tim…

Riga Dev Days 2018 : The Journey Home

Cut to the end for the conference thank you messages if you can’t be bothered to read about my travel traumas. 🙂

It was a 04:30 start to get myself together, check out of the hotel and walk across to meet Chris and Ionut to share a taxi to the airport.

Chris used his magic credit card to sign us in as guests to business lounge for what was meant to be a quick pitstop. Pretty soon Chris and Ionut went to catch their planes, leaving me to wait another 3 hours for mine because it had been delayed. I think it’s a ripple effect from weather problems in the UK and Amsterdam…

I wasn’t so bothered about the delay to the first flight, because I’m in the business lounge, but I was concerned about the following flight, as I was due to leave on that before I was due to take off from Riga…

This post originally contained a really salty character assassination of the KLM staff on the transfer desk, but know I’m home I calmed down and revised it. During this trip I saw the best and worst of airport and KLM staff…

  • The KLM staff on the transfer desks in Schiphol were terrible. They thought they were helping, but because they didn’t understand customer service and basic queue management they failed terribly. Most people in the massive queues just required basic information. The most frequent question was, “Am I in the right queue?” Literally hundreds of people didn’t know this. All it took was for one member of staff to walk the queue every 10 minutes and explain what the queue was for and the vast majority of people would be fine, and many would have left the queue because they shouldn’t have been there.
  • Many of the Schiphol staff were hiding. Once I had sorted myself out I walked around the airport and noticed that most of the Schiphol staff were where the people weren’t. Of all days, this is when you need the staff to be helping, not hiding in groups away from the crowds.
  • I found one member of Schiphol staff who was really helpful, telling me to leave arrivals and come back in through departures as a “new passenger”. That saved me upwards of 2 hours of queuing. I only found him because I had to leave the queue because I needed the toilet.
  • Once I had a new ticket, for 6 hours later, I walked between departure gates for Birmingham flights looking to see if there were free seats. About 2+ hours before my scheduled departure I managed to sneak on to an earlier flight because someone didn’t turn up. Many thanks to the KLM guy that sorted this for me!

If you are listening KLM/Schiphol, most people don’t expect miracles, especially during exceptional times like this. They just want basic information and queue management. Any busy system needs some form of triage in place!

Once on the flight we were greeted with the news that we might have to wait for 2 hours in the plane due to runway congestion. Luckily this turned out to be 15 minutes. At this point I didn’t really care as I was on a plane…

After the 50 minute flight I was back in a warm and sunny Birmingham, which was a little disconcerting. I was hoping it would be cool and wet. Having suffered in the heat of Riga, I really wanted to moan about the cold of home. 🙂

So the trip home was not the best!

Back to the conference and some of the usual thanks.

  • Thanks to the folks at Riga Dev Days for inviting me. I’m sorry I was not well and couldn’t be more involved in the conference. Next time.
  • Thanks to the people who came to my sessions and who came to speak to me afterwards. Thanks for the evaluations too. I think my talks came 2nd and 6th (or something like that) in the speaker evaluations, which is pretty amazing considering how out of it I was. Maybe that’s the plan for the future. 🙂
  • Thanks to the other speakers. Despite me not seeing much of it, everyone I spoke to said it was a great event!

Hope to see you all soon!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. The posts for this trip, which were mostly about my illness were:

Riga Dev Days

In about a week I’ll be at Riga Dev Days 2018 in Latvia.

It’s a very diverse event, covering a whole bunch of technologies over the three days, which includes a workshop day and the two conference days.

There is an Oracle track, so if that’s your thing you will find it there, but there’s also a bunch of different technologies discussed too, so there’s something for everyone. Check out the schedule here.

See you there!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Code : Warsaw

Oracle Code : Warsaw started for me with my first presentation of the day as I was in the first block after the keynotes…

My first session was about Analytic Functions. It’s a little difficult to predict the makeup of the Oracle Code crowds. In some cities you get predominantly Oracle developers, while in others it’s the opposite. As a result, you never know how what you are doing will be received until you get there. I shouldn’t have been concerned as the room was full. I had a little glitch at the start, which was caused by my laptop switching between the hotel and event wifi. Once I sorted that the connection to my Oracle Cloud DBaaS service was fine, which meant I was able to run through my demos. 🙂

Next I watched “Database DevOps and Agile Development with Open-Source Utilities” by Susan Duncan, which was another standing room only session. This included a demo of Oracle Developer Cloud Service, a freebie when you buy other Oracle Cloud services, and it looked pretty good. The demo was of the full lifecycle of an incident from logging through to release of a fix, which included database changes managed by FlyWay, with a quick a mention of LiquiBase and utPL/SQL.

After lunch I went to watch “Graal: How to Use the New JVM JIT Compiler in Real Life” by Chris Thalinger. I finally got to see this presentation, having clashed with Chris’ session slot at all previous events. I’m trying to think of something to say to make it sound like I understood what he was talking about, but between you and me it was a complete mystery to me. He did some awesome “Jazz Hands” though! 🙂 The session was a live comparison of Graal with an unmodified JVM, showing examples of potential performance improvements, and examples of where performance is no better too. I guess the take-home message that will impress most people is Twitter run all their Scala microservices in production on Graal and it’s saving them a bundle of cash because of improved performance…

Next up was Ewan Slater with “Honey I Shrunk the Container”, who amongst other things talked about using Smith to produce microcontainers, which looks really interesting. In one example he was able to shrink a container from about 850 meg to about 85 meg, which is pretty darn impressive. It’s definitely more impressive than –squash.

After that it was me with my session on REST enabling the database. I think this was a case of preaching to the converted, but I did get some questions at the end. 🙂

After my session I got chatting to some folks, so I missed the last session of the day, which meant that Oracle Code : Warsaw was over for me. Thanks to everyone that supported the event, including the Oracle Code crew, the other speakers and of course the attendees!

In the evening we went into town to get some food and I was introduced to a drink called The Terminator, which tasted really nice, but was rather deadly. I think it contained more alcohol than I normally drink in about 2 years… I was also given a shot of some vodka which was incredibly smooth. Despite feeling rather inebriated, I was sensible enough to switch back to water and juice for the rest of the evening. The photos of me with the empty vodka bottle and some bison grass (from the bottle) in my mouth were staged. 🙂

I was intending to be in bed really early as I needed to be up in the morning at 04:45 for my flight. I got back to the hotel at about midnight, so that didn’t work out so well… Thanks to the POUG folks for taking us out for the evening. It was much appreciated!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Code : Warsaw – The Journey Begins

For a change it was a normal wake-up time for me. The advantage of flying late morning is you don’t have to get up so early. The disadvantage is the traffic. I left an hour earlier than usual, just to make sure, and it paid off. I missed some of the traffic, but there were some questionable decisions by my taxi driver. He seemed like a nice guy, but his SatNav was taking us on a rather strange route, and when he chose to ignore it, it seemed to be for all the wrong reasons, like he was speaking on his phone and missing the turn… Despite the long time and erratic route the price was the same as normal. Odd… 🙂

Having started off super early I arrived in plenty of time, so much so that the Brussels Airlines desk wasn’t open. Despite this delay, I managed to get through security pretty quickly, grabbed some food and a drink and parked at a table for about 90 minutes to do some work.

The first flight of the day was Birmingham to Brussels. We took off on time and it took about 55 minutes, so no drama there. The lady in the seat behind had a really shrill laugh, which I couldn’t block out with headphones. I noticed a number of people turning to look, so I wasn’t the only person this was annoying.

I had a 2.5 hour stop at Brussels, so not surprisingly I got the laptop out etc.

The 2 hour flight from Brussels to Warsaw was delayed a little, but it didn’t make much difference to our arrival time. I was meant to wait for Brendan to get a taxi, but instead Brendan was waiting for me. We got an Uber to the hotel, then it was pretty much time for the speaker dinner. I was going to duck out of this, but got persuaded. It was a good evening. 🙂

I mentioned in a previous post on the subject, I had agreed to do a second presentation to fill and empty slot. I went through that presentation a couple of days previously and wasn’t happy with it, so I spent the evening doing some work to tailor it more to the Oracle Code audience, who are not all Oracle techies…

Tomorrow (probably today when this gets released) is Oracle Code : Warsaw. See you there!

Cheers

Tim…