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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚



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. ๐Ÿ™‚



BGOUG Day 2 and 3…

I started day 2 a little later than the previous two days. After two late nights it was pretty difficult to drag myself out of bed. The presentation seemed to go down well. I managed to talk a little slower this time. ๐Ÿ™‚ I spent a some time after talking with some of the attendees, about some topics raised in the presentation, which is always good.

In the evening we went out to dinner were I was educated in the intricacies of the Bulgarian language as well as some of the marriage customs. You never know when this type of information will come in handy.

Day 3 started with a little surprise… Snow…

So I got to see summer and winter in one visit. Cool! ๐Ÿ™‚

I would like to say a big thank you to Milena and the rest of the BGOUG team for inviting me and running such a great event. It was a lot of fun and felt more like a family get together (without the fights) than a conference. I’d also like to thank Sve and Maria who helped me every step of the way, acting as driver, translators, tour guides etc.

I’m in Frankfurt airport now on my way home. It will be nice to get back to normal for a week, before my OU course in Slovakia, but I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll visit Bulgaria.




I got a message from Johnย  Duncan the day before yesterday telling me I had goofed up with my FTP package. Turns out I had uploaded the correct package body, but still had the old package spec. I tried to correct this 5 minutes before we went out the restaurant and managed to lose every copy of the package spec. I frantically tryed to recreate it, but had to leave with that half done. ๐Ÿ™

We went out the a traditional Bulgarian restaurant and stayed until a little after midnight. When I got back to the hotel I spent about an hour sorting out the FTP package and I think it’s now back in working order. There are two morals to this story:

  1. Don’t make changes to the website the day before you leave the country.
  2. Don’t try and fix stuff on the fly when you only have 5 minutes. It’s gonna end in tears. ๐Ÿ™‚

So I guess I went to bed at about 01:00, which meant I felt pretty rough all day yesterday. We had an early start because we had to drive about 200 kilometres to the conference. My first presentation was after lunch. I think it went OK, but I still need to speak a little slower. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the evening we had some food in the hotel restaurant, then the lights were dimmed and a DJ played a combination of traditional Bulgarian music and modern tracks. Lots of people got up to dance, but I was firmly planted to my seat. Eventually I was persauded to join in with a traditional dance, which was fun, if a little embaressing. Just as I thought I was getting the hang of it the music started to speed up, then I was lost again. A number of people said I did OK, but I think they were just being charitable. ๐Ÿ™‚

So day 1 of the conference went well. It was a long day, but it was good fun.



BGOUG Day -1

I’m now in the hotel in Sofia, the day before the Bulgarian Oracle User Group (BGOUG) Spring conference.

The flight from Birmingham to Dusseldorf took a little over an hour and ended with the smoothest landing I think I’ve ever experienced. Makes a change from the sort of the landings I’ve experienced recently, most of which felt like marginally controlled crashes. ๐Ÿ™‚

The flight from Dusseldorf to Sofia was smooth until just before the landing. The plane started to rock just as we were going to touch down and I thought it was going to get messy, but the pilot pulled it out of the bag and it was a pretty good landing again. Two flights in a row with no problems. Looks like the trip home is going to be a nightmare to make up for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

First impressions of Sofia are very good. The city looks very green from overhead, with lots of trees and parks. There are also some big and interesting looking buildings. I had just under 2 hours to take a look round before I had to get back to the hotel so I did a very quick pass of the city centre. I got some photos which I will post later if they look OK.

The city is swarming with police as there is a big energy summit on at the moment. Makes you feel extremely safe seeing lots of the police around. ๐Ÿ™‚

I got a numpty tourist injury already. I was walking along looking at some building and didn’t notice the curb. I tripped and twisted my left ankle. Hopefully it amused the locals. ๐Ÿ™‚

Off out for some food now…