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!



ODC Latin America Tour : Barranquilla to San José

When your day starts with getting trapped in an elevator, you start to wonder how it’s going to turn out…

OK, that was putting it a little dramatically. In the morning I had to go out to get some cash and soft drinks. On the way down the power cut off in the elevator and the lights went out. Fortunately the power came on within a minute, so I wasn’t forced to eat the lady who was in the elevator with me… After the event I tweeted this.

“That feeling when the power goes off in the elevator and you don’t have Sigourney Weaver () or Milla Jovovich () to save your fat ass.”

Actually, the day went pretty well.

Since Barranquilla airport has a lot of building work going on I decided to leave the hotel a little later than I normally would. There were a couple of slow bits of traffic that made me think I might have made a mistake, but I got there in time, so it wasn’t a problem. As it turned out the departures section of the airport was in pretty good shape compared to arrivals. The queue for bag drop was in a big temporary hanger, which was super hot, but once I got through that it was fine.

When I got to my gate I bumped into Mercedes Wyss and Pablo Sainz who were on the same flight as me to Bogota. I would guess it took us a little over an hour to get from Barranquilla to Bogota. Once there we left domestic and moved through to international security. At that point Pablo left for a flight to Mexico and Mercedes and myself went to our boarding gate for the flight to San José.

The flight to San José took a little under 2 hours and was pretty smooth. There was one bit of turbulence just as I was in the toilet. I had visions of being shaken round like a pea in a tin can and coming out drenched, but fortunately it wasn’t that bad. 🙂

When we landed at San José we quickly moved through security, got our bags and got a taxi to the hotel.

I met up with Mercedes later to get some food in the hotel restaurant. That was pretty much it for the day. It’s surprising how tiring a day of taxis, planes and waiting around can be. 🙂



ODC Latin America Tour : Barranquilla

When I woke up the first thing I had to do was figure out how I was going to do a cloud demo when I didn’t have WiFi at the venue. The building was really new and they hadn’t sorted out the networking yet. I re-purposed a Docker container running Oracle 18.3 and got some of my demos working, that were meant to be running on Oracle Cloud DBaaS or Autonomous Transaction Processing. I was still working on this up until the point where the event started. 🙂

After the introductions, it was time for my first session on Cool New Features for Developers in 18c and 12c. I was the only English speaker on the agenda, so Ricardo Gonzalez became my translator for the day. I’ve worked with live translation before, but I had never worked using tag-team translation, where I say a couple of sentences, then the translator repeats them. It made me a little nervous at first, but it worked well and was really fun. The audience was made up of professional people and students, and Ricardo did a great job of adding a little extra context for the students, so they didn’t get left behind. I had to present a lot less information, but I don’t think that matters too much. These events are about the audience connection and sowing seeds in people’s minds about the functionality.

Photo by Pablo Ciccarello (@pablociccarello)

All sessions apart from mine were in Spanish, so I popped into most of them to take pictures. During the breaks between sessions I spoke to a number of the attendees, answering a combination of technical questions and more general questions about development and technology.

After lunch it was my second session called DBA Does Docker. Ricardo was my translator again. I feel like the session went well, and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as me.

Photo by Edelweiss Kammermann (@EdelweissK)

After a few goodbyes it was an Uber back to the hotel to drop off our stuff, then out to get some food. We went to a place called La Cueva, where we had great food and live Cuban music. I was really tired by the time we got back to the hotel, but it was a really good night out.

Thanks everyone in Colombia for inviting me and making me so welcome. Hopefully I’ll see you again soon. Thanks to all the other speaker for looking after me too.



ODC Latin America Tour : Quito to Barranquilla

There was about six of us all on the same flights from Quito to Barranquilla, so the original plan was to meet up at about 06:00 and head off for the airport, but our first flight was delayed, so we left the hotel at about 06:45. The traffic hadn’t started to pick up yet, so it only took about 30 minutes to get there.

Once checked in and through security it was just a case of waiting for our plane to arrive. We were originally meant to be delayed by about 1 hour, but it ended up a little longer.

The flight from Quito to Bogota took a little over an hour and was pretty straight forward. There was some turbulence at the start, but nothing too bad. More like a roller-coaster really.

We landed at Bogota and had to get out through international security and then in through domestic security in zero minutes. It was a bit of a panic, but fortunately the security lines moved quickly and we made it. There was some running involved, which must have been a right sight. We got to the check-in desk and got on to the plane, only to find it was delayed while they waited for a football team arrive, so we didn’t have to rush after all. Once they were on there was a delay loading their luggage. I can’t remember how long we were delaying in total, mostly sitting in the plane, but it didn’t matter. We made our connection. Once we got under way it was a pretty easy 90 minute flight between Bogota and Barranquilla.

The first thing you notice in Barranquilla is the humidity! The airport is under construction, so we had to take a bus round the new bits and pick up our bags from a hut. 🙂 I took a taxi with Pablo and Gustavo, as we were in the same hotel, and that was it for the journey.

To summarise, some delays, some panics, but we got there! 🙂

I did a quick stop at the hotel gym, mostly to do some stretching. Sitting on planes is not the best thing for your spine. A little later a group of us met up to get some food, then it was back to the hotel to sleep, ready for the next conference in the tour…



ODC Latin America Tour : Quito

The first event of the Oracle Developer Community Latin America Tour (Northern Leg) was in Quito, Ecuador. A group of us met in the hotel lobby at about 07:30 and went across to the conference venue. The event began with an introduction by Paola Pullas and Marco Galarza. This was followed by Pablo Ciccarello with an introduction to the Oracle Developer Community, the Oracle ACE program and Oracle Developer Champion program.

It was a three track event, with most of the speakers presenting in Spanish, so I’m only going to mention the sessions I attended.

The first technical presentation I attended was Alex Zaballa with “Let’s get started with Oracle Database Cloud Service”. Alex has done loads of migrations from on-prem to Oracle Cloud, so it was really interesting to hear his take on it, especially on the migration approach.

The next session was me with “Multitenant : What’s new in Oracle 12.2”. I feel like the session went well. It seems multitentant is still struggling to get acceptance. I see lots of people holding back and sticking with non-CDB at the moment. I hope this changes, as even lone-PDB is still a great solution.

The next block of sessions were all in Spanish, so I had to give them a miss.

After a coffee break it was me again with “DBA Does Docker”. Once again the session went well. One of my demos has been a little frustrating since I moved back to Windows. When I figure out the issue I’ll probably write a blog post about it. 🙂

And before you knew it the event was over! A group of us went out to get some food, then it was back early to the hotel to crash before a travel day tomorrow.

Thanks very much to Paola and the Ecuador gang for inviting us and making the event a fun day, especially considering how much trouble I caused the previous day. 🙂

Thanks as always to the Oracle ACE program and the Oracle Developer Champion program for making this possible for me.

Next stop Colombia…



ODC Latin America Tour : Birmingham to Quito

The day started at 03:00, which is a silly time to start the day. I got a taxi to the airport and after a short queue for bag drop, I was waiting for the gate to open.

The first flight from Birmingham to Amsterdam went well and we arrived ahead of schedule. After about 90 minutes I was on the plane for the journey from Amsterdam to Quito. I could see there were some free business class seats, so I asked for the price of the upgrade. At 540 euros I decided to upgrade so I could work and sleep during the 11-12 hour flight.

The first issue was my laptop charger wouldn’t work with the power from the plane. My phone charger was fine, but not the laptop charger. I was worried maybe the charger was broken, so I switched off the computer to save the battery in case I needed to look for a new charger in Quito. I decided to watch movies and sleep instead.

I watched Black Panther and Avengers : Infinity War, both of which were good. I think both were over-hyped, but still enjoyable. My main criticism of the later would be, more Hulk please!

Towards the end of the last film I started to get a headache, so I took some paracetamol, put my seat flat and slept for a short while. I woke feeling rather nauseous and that’s where the problems started. For the last few hours of the flight I was being sick every few minutes. By the time the flight was over I was in a bit of a bad way. So much so they brought medical staff on to the plane, who were giving me injections to stop the headache and nausea. I got wheeled off in a wheelchair to the medical centre, where I pretty much slept for the next 3 hours.

When I came out Diego and Paola were waiting for me. I did tell the medical centre people there was someone waiting for me, but nobody told the information desk, so the taxi driver left. Luckily my saviours were at hand! They drove me to the hotel and I slept a lot!

Big thanks to the KLM staff and the Quito medical staff for helping me. Also, many thanks to Diego and Paola for getting me from the airport to the hotel. That would have been a tough journey in a taxi.

So it seems like my mission to be sick in every country in the world is still on track.

The Ecuador event starts tomorrow (probably today by the time I publish this). Fingers crossed everything will go well.



ODC Latin America Tour (Northern Leg) 2018

Just a quick heads-up to say I’ll be taking part in most of the ODC Latin America Tour (Northern Leg) 2018. These are the events I’ll be speaking at.

  • Quito, Ecuador – 14th August
  • Barranquilla, Colombia – 16th – 17th August
  • San Jose, Costa Rica – 20th August
  • Panama City, Panama – 22nd August
  • Mexico City, Mexico – 24th August

There is also an event in Guatemala on the 28th August, but I can’t make that as it adds another 4 days on to the trip, which isn’t practical for me. Sorry folks!

I’m still in the process of booking flights and hotels, but I’ve got the travel approval now from the Oracle ACE Program & Oracle Developer Champions Program, I everything should be good now!

It’s great that people go to the trouble to organise these tours and that Oracle sponsor them, but they only work if attendees come and interact. Your stories are as important as our presentations. Please make the effort to come along, join in and make the Latin America tour as fun as usual! 🙂

See you soon!



Update. It seems some people think I’m doing some additional events on the ODC Latin America Tour. I don’t know if this is because of some mistakes on event agendas, or some other mistaken communication. Sorry to disappoint you, but these are the only events I’m doing on the tour this year. I didn’t agree to do any more and I don’t have time, approval or funding for any more. If you do notice something that contradicts this post, please inform the relevant user group, or drop me a line so I can clear it up. Really sorry if some communications have gone out to make you think differently…

Oracle Code : Paris – The Journey Home

I left Oracle Code : Paris a little after 5 PM. I got in the taxi, got a few miles down the road and realised I had left my phone charging in the speaker room. Doh! I got the taxi to turn round so I could pick it up. Phone in hand, I got back in the taxi and off we went…

The roads were a lot slower the second time round, but I kept drifting into sleep so I didn’t mind so much. I was awake when the motorbike hit us. It wasn’t bad and I get the impression it happens all the time judging by the taxi driver’s reaction. He just waved his hand and carried on…

There was a bit of a “misunderstanding” at the airport with the taxi driver. I was a bit out of it at this point, so I didn’t really notice how much I was actually charged. Let’s just say the cost of the detour was significantly more than I would consider reasonable, but by the time I noticed I was in the airport and he was off to start his retirement…

I got into the airport and went to the check-in desk, where the lady told me I had the wrong name on my ticket. It said “Tim” not “Timothy”. I showed her my boarding pass from the out-leg and it had the same mistake. I was sent off to the security desk for them to check it all out. I got the distinct impression if I hadn’t had the boarding pass for the out-leg they wouldn’t have let me check in, but since I had already flown out of Birmingham under the “wrong name”, I might as well fly back. I was sent back to the check-in desk and allowed through…

Boarding started unusually early. Once on board I got a free seat next to me, which was good, and an announcement that we would be held in the plane for 60 minutes because the air space above the airport was too busy for us to take off. That was not so good…

Once we did get under way the flight took about 50 minutes and was fine. Back in the UK it was a short taxi ride home, watching live messages of the penalty shoot-out. Well done England. Bad luck Colombia. We’ve lost on penalties so many times. It’s a bad way to go out. 🙁

And that was Oracle Code : Paris done!

Thanks to the Oracle Code folks for organising the event and letting me come along. Thanks to the attendees and other speakers at the event. Thanks also to all the people took pity on the sickly child that I was during the event. Thanks also to the Oracle ACE Program and Oracle Developer Champion Program for helping me be ill in every country in the world… 🙂

Please let this be the end of the curse!



Oracle Code : Paris 2018

Oracle Code : Paris started with a short walk from the hotel to the venue. After signing in it all began…

The first session of the day was a keynote by Lonneke Dikmans called “What Happened to My Order? The Need for Orchestration in Modern Architectures”, comparing BPEL orchestrations with orchestrations and choreography used in microservices and serverless architectures. It was a really good introduction to the concepts.

Next up was James Allerton-Austin with “Building a Chatbot Front-end for Blockchain Transactions and Serverless Functions APIs”, which included a description of the stack offered by Oracle and a demo of selling Larry’s car. During this session there were also brief stints by Karim Zein and JeanMarc Hui Bon Hoa.

From there I went to the speaker room and started to feel decidedly odd. I sometimes get migraines that don’t give me a headache, but make me feel dizzy and nauseous. The following couple of hours were mostly lying on the floor and going to the toilets to puke.

I did pop in to see “Build a Decentralized Blockchain Application with Hyperledger Fabric and Composer” by Robert van Mölken, hoping it would distract me.

I also popped my head in to Women in Technology (WIT) session to see what the turnout was like. It was very busy. It was in French, so I could understand what was going on. 🙂

After that I went back to the speaker room floor, then before I knew it, it was time for my session, but not before another conversation with the toilet bowl…

Adrenalin is a wonderful drug. I warned the audience I might have to leave suddenly, but I managed to get through my session without any major problems. I lost the internet connection a couple of times, and had to reconnect to my 18c DBaaS instance on Oracle Cloud. The new laptop behaved itself though. Once my talk was over the Adrenalin started to subside and I felt worse again, but not as bad as before. I was sitting still and chatting to some of the folks in the speaker room for the rest of the afternoon, and I only remember puking once more after my sessions, which was an improvement…

Pretty soon it was time to leave for the airport and Oracle Code : Paris was over for me. Thanks everyone for making it happen. Sorry I wasn’t able to participate more. This year’s conference curse seems to be continuing.

I’ll write about the journey home in a separate post as that is already proving “interesting”, in a conference curse style… 🙂



Oracle Code : Paris – The Journey Begins

It was a normal start to the day. I woke up with my regular work alarm, packed and got a taxi to the airport.

The drive was quick and the taxi driver was interesting, which helps. I couldn’t do online check-in because my ticket was with Air France, but the flight was Flybe. Neither website would let me check in online. I was dreading an epic queue, but fortunately the airport was quiet. Even so, I witnessed someone wearing ear-buds being asked the same question multiple times. Can’t we pass a law to make it legal to smack people that do this?

The flight to Paris was due to take off at 11:35, but it was about 11:50 when we finally departed. I got lucky with a free seat next to me, so I was able to get the laptop out and do some work. I was not so lucky with the folks on the other side of the aisle, who were far too loud.

I took a train from the airport to the city centre, then got a taxi from there to my hotel. It was about 5 minutes walk from the conference venue and 10 minutes from the Eiffel Tower, so I walked across to check them both out, then it was back to the hotel to run through my session and demo for tomorrow, then crash…