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!

Cheers

Tim…

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!

Cheers

Tim…

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… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

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…

Cheers

Tim…

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…

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: