I’m coming at this year’s event from a different angle…
If you’ve ever been on the internet, you will have noticed negativity and drama get a lot of clicks. I try to keep the website, blog and my community contributions positive, but occasionally frustration gets the better of me and I launch into a tirade on the blog or on twitter. As soon as I do the hit rate shoots up. Drama draws attention.
In the short term this might feel good as you are getting more attention than you have previously, but it’s short lived and sometimes bridges get burned, leaving you in a worse position than you were before.
If you are in this for the long haul, you are far better trying to take the positive approach. This doesn’t mean keeping quiet about stuff you don’t like, but the way you frame it can make a big difference. Rather than this.
“Feature X is crap.”
You might be better placed to write.
“Feature X would be better if… “
It’s not always easy, and I have some history of doing the former, but from experience I can tell you constructive criticism goes down a lot better than insults. 🙂
It’s up to you to decide how you want to contribute to the community, but I would suggest you try to build a positive community around you, and distance yourself from those that draw you to the dark side. 🙂
The ODC Latin America Tour (Northern Leg) is now over for me. I still can’t really believe I get invited to these tours and actually do them.
I’m simultaneously excited and terrified by these tours. I have to admit I hate the travelling, but I love meeting people around the world who share a mutual interest. Give me an opportunity to geek out and I’m all over it.
After the year I’ve had so far (see here) I was more nervous about this tour than any previous one. My nightmare seemed to be coming true when I needed medical attention on the plane in Quito, but after that glitch it went really well, and I’m glad I didn’t chicken out!
Thanks to all the individual user groups for inviting me and making me welcome in your country. Thank to all the attendees for coming along and supporting the events. Meeting all of you is the best bit of doing this. Thanks as always to the Oracle ACE Program and Oracle Developer Champion program for making this possible for me, without ever expecting anything from me other than contributing to the community.
The posts that I put out related to this tour are listed here.
Unlike the previous events, I had to leave the Mexico event and go straight to the airport for my flight home, so once I finished my last talk I said my goodbyes and headed for the airport.
Just as I ordered my Uber the sky opened and it started to rain like crazy. I stood in the doorway of the university until the last moment, then made a dash for the car. I didn’t get too wet. 🙂 The journey to the airport took about 90 minutes. The traffic was really busy, what with the early Friday rush hour and the intermittent torrential rain.
I got to the airport terminal 2 and couldn’t find my bag drop-off point, so I checked my papers and realised I should have been at terminal 1. I took the monorail to the other terminal. Bag drop was quiet, as I was early. I checked at the desk and the price of business class upgrades for the 11 hour flight had dropped from £2500 to 499 euros, so I got me one of those bad boys! I know it’s a waste of money, but I’m old and fat and I can afford a big seat, so sod it. 🙂
Off I trotted to the business class lounge to drink “free” diet coke and eat “free” food and catch up with my blogging. 🙂
The flight from Mexico to Amsterdam was was originally down as an 11 hour flight, but it was delayed by about 90 minutes. When we got on the plane they said the flight time would be about 9.5 hours, so I guess they were getting their skates on to try and play catch up. As it happened, I don’t think we saved that much time. I managed to catch the last 15 minutes of Rampage, which I had missed on the previous flight. As I said before, it’s stupid, but fun. I watched Ready Player One, which was OK. After that I fell asleep and woke up feeling a little annoyed that I hadn’t slept, only to find I had slept for about 6 hours. You gotta love business class seats. I caught all but the last scene of A Quiet Place, but the guy next to me was further into the film than me, so I was multitasking to get through the whole film. If you watch the film you will know that not having sound is not a problem for this film. It was really good!
We landed in Amsterdam and I had about -10 minutes to get to my next flight, but fortunately it was delayed too, so I had time to walk to the gate and chill a bit before the next flight. Some flights had been cancelled, so I was a little nervous mine would get the chop too, but it was all good. I got on the plane, changed my smelly t-shirt and did the 50 minute flight home.
I arrived in Birmingham OK and mine was the first bag off at baggage claim. A quick check on Uber showed it was more expensive than a black cab, so it was a regular taxi home and then I was done. Long grass and lots of snail mail to open. 🙂
The order of events now is washing, bath and bed. I start back to work on Tuesday, so I’ve got a couple of days to recover.
I woke up today feeling super-nervous. It wasn’t the event making me nervous, but the day in general. Doing the Mexico City event, then having to going straight to the airport to fly home.
Because of my free hotel upgrade I got to have breakfast in the executive lounge. I don’t normally eat breakfast, and I try to eat very little on conference days because I don’t want to fall asleep in my own sessions. 🙂
Once I had checked out of the hotel I got an Uber to the venue and met up with everyone and got a few photos. There were the normal introductions to the event and the introduction to the Oracle Developer Community by Pablo, then the sessions began.
My first session was DBA Does Docker, which is what I wished I knew for the first 45-60 minutes of my time using Docker. The room was full and the session went well. I got some questions at the end, so I was happy with it. I took a few photos with people at the end as well, which is always good for my ego. 🙂
Most of the sessions were in Spanish, except for Gerald’s which I had seen multiple times, so I took some pictures and chatted to people rather than watching it again. Sorry son! 🙂
From there I had to say my goodbyes and head off to the airport for my flights home. Just as I ordered my Uber the sky opened and it started to rain like crazy. I stood in the doorway of the University until it subsided and made a dash for the meeting point. I got to the car OK, but the journey home is the subject of another post. 🙂
Thanks to everyone in Mexico for inviting me to the event and letting me geek-out with you all. I’m sorry my stay at the event, and in Mexico was rather brief. I hope to see you all again soon!
After the previous late night I was dreading the morning, but actually everything was OK. I woke up in plenty of time and felt fine. Pretty soon I got a message from Gerald saying he was down stairs waiting for me, and we got an Uber to the airport. We are both, “better early than late”, people when it comes to airports, so we arrived in plenty of time. Bag drop and security were fine, and with one little detour we quickly found ourselves having a drink and some breakfast, waiting for our flight.
The flight from Panama City to Mexico City was a little under 4 hours, but we taxied for what felt like forever before takeoff and after landing. It almost felt like we drove there. I watched a film called Morgan, which was sort-of about AI and quite predictable, but not bad. I also watched almost all of Rampage, which I thought was stupid, but fun. Anything with The Rock in makes me smile.
After landing in Mexico, the queue for security was huge, but luckily we were able to dodge it by using the automatic machines, but it just meant we were waiting for our bags for longer. 🙂
Bags in hand, Gerald let me piggy-back on his phone signal so I could order an Uber to my hotel. Initially the traffic was really heavy, but it soon opened up. I think it was about 45 minutes to my hotel.
I got into the hotel and once again I got another upgrade, and free access to the executive lounge. As I’m writing this I’m waiting to see what free food I can snipe from the lounge. Maybe I won’t have to pay for food tonight… 🙂
The plan is to go to bed early to try and make up for last night’s lack of sleep. Tomorrow will be a very long day because I go straight from the conference to the airport to fly home. I hope the first bit of the day is fun, because the second bit definitely won’t be…
I woke up really early and stared at my view for quite a while. I checked my personal email and saw there was something from work, so I logged in and did some work for a while. I looked at the clock and figured I had nearly an hour before I had to grab an Uber with Markus. My eyes drifted across the room and I saw a clock saying I was late. Panic! I had forgotten to change the time zone on my devices and it was an hour later than I thought. I grabbed a quick shower, picked up all my stuff and went down to reception. I had missed my lift, but a short Uber later and I was at the event…
The event started in a single room, then split later. The majority of the audience were students, so it meant a bit of a rethink of the content of the talks.
I arrived in time to see Markus Michalewicz doing his session on Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA). It’s quite a specific topic, but I think he did a good job of making it more accessible to the students.
Next up was Roy Salazar speaking about database security. He was presenting in Spanish, but his slides were in English, so I could follow along. During his session it started to rain cats & dogs, which made me feel like I was back home. 🙂
A really loud lorry went past the hotel at about 04:00 and woke me up, so sleep was a little fitful after that. My flight was scheduled for 12:44, so being there 2 hours before the flight, with a potential 1 hour drive to the airport meant leaving the hotel at 09:44, which was a pretty reasonable time.
The taxi ride went well. There were a couple of moments where I started to believe we might never move again, but they quickly past. Such is the mental state of a nervous traveller, who turns the slightest delay an opportunity for drama.
The airport was quite busy, but there weren’t really any hold-ups, so I got to the boarding gate with 2 hours to spare. There were some really loud and annoying people at my boarding gate, but before I was forced to go on a killing spree, my gate was changed and they didn’t follow on to the new boarding gate. The new gate had much better air conditioning and I had power, so great all round really.
The flight from San José to Panama took about an hour. The flight itself was fine, but there were some very loud kids near me. I can kind-of forgive kids for being loud and excitable…
I got off the plane in Panama to a wall of heat. Customs and baggage claim were fine. I barely even broke stride. I got on to the WiFi and got an Uber to the hotel. Half way there it started to rain hard and I thought to myself, I’ve brought the English weather with me. Your’re welcome Panama! 🙂 It stopped pretty quickly and before you knew it, it looked like it had never happened. 🙂
I got to the hotel and was given a free upgrade. I don’t have status or anything like that, but it’s booked under Oracle, so they sometimes do that sort of thing. Of course, if you are the wife, you get upgrades to a villa with helicopter pad, but I’m not as important as her. Anyway, I walked into the room and the curtains were drawn, which I thought was a bit odd. I opened them and literally said, “Wow!”, out loud. My view is bloody amazing. I’ve tried to take photos of it, but they look rubbish because I’m terrible with a camera, but it is a seriously impressive view.
It’s really hard to pull your eyes away from it.
I met up with Ricardo, Markus and Gerald to go out and get some food. On the way we were discussing how each of us got into the technology industry, and none of us had what I would consider a conventional entry into this game.
Tomorrow is the Panama event, which is fourth event in this five event tour for me. See you there!
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. 🙂
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.
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!
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 (@RealSigourney) or Milla Jovovich (@MillaJovovich) 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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.