ODC Latin America Tour : San José

Checking Google maps said it would take between 20-60 minutes to get to the event from the hotel, and it was somewhere in the middle of that, so we arrived about 30 minutes early.

After a few hellos to old friends, an introduction to the event, and Pablo with his introduction to the Oracle Developer Community, it was time for the event to start. This was a seven track event, with five speaker blocks in each track, of which I was presenting in three blocks, so I didn’t see much of the other speaker sessions.

I was up in the first block with Cool New Features for Developers in 18c and 12c. This session was mostly live demos using Oracle Cloud, so when the WiFi was a bit flaky at the start I got worried, but it came good and worked out fine. 🙂

Next I went to see my son Gerald Venzl speaking about “Oracle Database features every developer should know about!” I was just curious how much crossover there would be with our sessions, but as it happened, virtually none. We obviously think different things are cool and useful. 🙂

Photo by Gerald Venzl

Then it was back to me with DBA Does Docker. In addition to all usual stuff you would expect from an introduction to Docker, I also did some demos. I think it’s the demos that always raise eyebrows, when people see how quick and easy it is to do stuff in Docker. There are of course some gotchas, especially where running databases are concerned.

After that it was lunch, where I chatted to a bunch of people, including some of the other speakers and Oracle folks, who are paying me not to tell you what they said. 😉

After lunch it was me again with Make the RDBMS relevant again with RESTful web services and JSON. As I’ve been saying for years, if you use the database in a legacy way, people are going to think of it as legacy. I was doing this type of session a decade ago, but talking about XML web services from the database. Now it’s JSON and RESTful web services, but the message is still the same. Give developers access to your stuff in a way they want to receive it. Don’t force them into your world.

From there I went to see my son Gerald Venzl again, this time with “Dockerizing Oracle Database”. Once again, this was to see how much our sessions overlapped, and quite surprisingly, not that much, which was good.

The day went really quick for me, as I was presenting for a lot of it.

Photo by Pablo Ciccarello.

Thanks very much to everyone on San José for putting this event together and of course to the attendees for coming along to support the event. Having some of the conference outside is a nice touch and the weather was perfect. I hope to see you again soon!



OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 : Costa Rica

laotn16I left my air conditioned room and the heat hit me. It’s winter here in Costa Rica, and I think it was only 23 degrees, but it was so humid it felt like the mid 30s. Breakfast, then a taxi to the venue and the Costa Rica leg of the OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 began.

There was an introduction to the event, then an introduction to OTN and the Oracle ACE Program by Pablo Ciccarello. From there the conference split into six tracks, so I’ll talk about what I did.

We were assigned a student as a helper for the day. Mine was Ray, who was a fantastic and had awesome English! 🙂

Ray - Costa Rica

My first session was “It’s raining data! Oracle databases in the cloud.” I had a full room, which was nice, and I got some questions, which is always good. I was happy with the way the session went, so I hope everyone else was too. 🙂

After a short break it was Kamran Agayev with “Oracle 11gR2 RAC Best Practices. ‘What happens if …’ scenarios Oracle 11gR2 RAC”. As the name suggests, Kamran ran through a number of scenarios you might come across on a live system, using videos to demonstrate some of them. I think this method works really well. It’s hard to do live demos of Clusterware and RAC because some operations take a long time to complete. Having a video demo makes life easy as you can speed up bits where necessary, and you don’t have to worry about running lots of VMs on your laptop at once.

Next up was Alex Zaballa with “DBA Commands and Concepts That Every Developer Should Know”. His session started with an explanation of eDB360 and sqld360, which are pretty cool tools. From there he worked through a list of useful features that people may have missed. He included live demos for some of the features. 🙂

After lunch, I had back-to-back sessions to close the day, punctuated by really heavy rain, so it wasn’t just raining data! 🙂

  • Pluggable Databases – What they will break and why you should use them anyway!
  • Improving the Performance of PL/SQL Function Calls from SQL

Both sessions went really well. Full rooms again and people seemed happy with them, which is good. 🙂 People were a little shy about asking questions in front of the group, but were much less shy 1:1 after the sessions. I got asked one question about result caching I didn’t know the answer to, so I will investigate that and add it to my article once I know. It’s always good to be asked something you don’t know the answer to. It keeps you on your toes. 🙂

After the wrap-up session, the conference was over. The event went really smoothly, with good control over the schedule timings and the addition of the helpers was a really nice touch.

Once the event was over we went straight to dinner. Driving in Costa Rica during the rush hour is an experience, most of which does not involve moving. 🙂 It took about an hour to move 5km. It would be quicker to walk, but it was raining. As it was, we got a bit of a city tour and were schooled in the use of Waze. Watching the drivers crowd-sourcing information on traffic jams and clear routes is really interesting. We all arrived at the restaurant at about the same time, where we had great food, great conversation, with great people.

All round a fantastic day! Thanks very much ORAUG-CRC for inviting me and making the whole experience so enjoyable.

Next stop Mexico!



OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 : Panama to Costa Rica

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!



OTN Tour of Latin America: Costa Rica…

In my previous post I mentioned feeling like a class traitor by paying for someone to do my washing. Well it gets worse. Sheeri and I (but not Debra) got a random upgrade to business class for the 1 hour flight from Honduras to San Jose, Costa Rica. I think that was the first time I’ve ever flown business. So much room. Seats wide enough to fit my ample butt. Tray cleared as soon as you’ve finished eating… A little taste of the good life, before I go back to coach for my big trip home. 🙂

We got to San Jose in the afternoon and spent a little time by the hotel pool. Not being a sun lover, I spent that time sitting fully dressed on a sun lounger with a towel over my head.

In the evening we got a taxi to a local place to get some food. Unfortunately, we were dropped off at a location favoured by tourists, which gave us a choice of chain restaurants from every location in the world except Costa Rica. I wasn’t particularly proud that the first food I ate in Costa Rica came from an Outback Steakhouse. Added to that, it was extortionately expensive…

The next day was conference day. We arrived and were assigned individual helpers for the day, which was a nice touch. All the attendees were together for the introduction speech, then split up for the 5 conference tracks. My first session was in the main auditorium after the introduction speech, so I had to watch the packed room empty, leaving a few brave souls. 🙂 I tried to do before (awake) and after (sleeping) photos at the start of the session, but some of the acting left a lot to be desired. Check out Graham Wood’s “excited face” in the first shot.

He does a pretty good impression of sleeping in the second too…

I got some questions at the end of the session. One of the attendees sent this photo of me leaning forward while listening to a question.

I’ve leave it for you to decide what the caption should be. 🙂

Later, I went along to Graham’s session on ASH, which I’d seen before, but was worth watching again. The room was full, so I gave up my seat for one of the paying attendees (it seemed only fair) . As the presentation continued, the room got increasingly hot. By the end I thought I was going to keel over. 🙂

A little while later it was my second session. This one was in a smaller room, but pulled a bigger crowd, so people were standing up at the back and sitting on the floor. Being up close and personal with the audience is much better for me. I just feel like I connect better. After this presentation it dawned on me that it was the end of the tour, which came with very mixed emotions.

In the evening we went out to a place serving Costa Rican food, which was much cheaper than the tourist stuff we ate the day before. The lack of alcohol caused some discent amongst the ranks, but everyone survived. 🙂

Some of the gang are off out for a Jungle tour today, but unfortunately it is time for me to fly home, so I’m missing out on seeing yet another country. I must come back and do it properly next time. 🙂

Big thanks to Ronald Vargas for organising this leg of the tour and thanks to the Oracle ACE program for making this happen.



PS. When I get home I will write a wrap-up post to summarise the whole LA OTN Tour experience.

PPS. More photos here.