Having spent a couple of days with friends in Pukekohe, it seemed really hard contemplating resuming the tour. I always have a post-tour crash, where I have a massive adrenalin dump and just want to forget about the world for a while. By staying with friends I kind-of had this a bit early. 🙂
I got dropped off at the airport, went through check-in and security, then went off to the lounge. For some reason, I don’t know why, I had a business class ticket for the short Auckland to Sydney flight, so I had lounge access, which means food!
Having stuffed myself, I rolled myself onto the plane. It was a rather old one, so business class felt a little like economy plus in more modern planes. Beggars can’t be choosers though. It was a good job I stuff myself in the lounge as there was no vegetarian stuff on the menu in business class.
After about 3+ hours we were landing in a very wet Sydney Airport. I got the train from the airport to North Rhyde, then walked to the hotel dragging my bag. I foolishly got off the train a stop too early, so it was a bit of a trek in the rain dragging a bag.
Anyway, safely in the hotel I bedded down for the night, ready to start the Sydney event the next day. Here we go!
PS. There is a 7 Eleven next door to the hotel and large Slurpees are $1. I’m living the dream baby!
I woke up early and took a taxi to the event, got a chair and a coffee and played catch-up with my blogs and videos. After an hour it was time to start the NZOUG event in Auckland. It was a three track event with the same timetable as the Wellington event, so I will only be talking about the sessions I attended.
Next up was Francisco Munoz Alvarez with “Discovering Oracle Cloud, how it works and feels!“. This was a general introduction to the pros and cons of cloud services, then some specifics about Oracle Cloud.
The next session was “WebLogic 12c: What You Need to Know” by Frank Munz. I watched Frank present this session in Colombia earlier in the year. Such this the life of a regular conference goer. 🙂
I was up next with my cloud database session called “It’s raining data! Oracle databases in the cloud“. I sometimes come off a little negative in this session. It’s not that I’m a cloud hater. It’s just that certain aspects of the cloud are not where I want them to be yet. I always advise people to get free trials and try things out for themselves. My issues may not be the same as yours. 🙂
From there I moved on the “Oracle Database Event Streaming 101 – Unlock the value of your data” by Mike Donovan. Kafka is very cool and it is fast becoming part of the plumbing for loads of systems. If only there was more time in the day, so I could play with Kafka…
The last session I went to was Arup Nanda with “Big Data Simplified for Oracle Professionals“. This was an overview of the “history of” and “current state of play of” the technologies used in the big data world, with spin to help Oracle folks understand the concepts. Trying to even put a definition to “big data” is kind-of tough, so I think Arup did a great job of pulling it all together in 45 minutes. 🙂
That was the end of the event and the last of my conferences in New Zealand. 🙁
From there we headed off to a place called “Mexico” to eat. Not surprisingly it was Mexican food. 🙂 It was a really nice way to finish the day! I got a lift back to my hotel, did my washing and fell into a coma for about 8 hours. 🙂
Thanks to everyone at NZOUG for inviting me for another event. Thanks to everyone who came to my sessions. Thanks also to the ACE Program for letting me fly the flag once more!
I’ll be stopping with friends for the next couple of days, so I may drop off the map until the Sydney event. 🙂
Frank and I were on the same flight to Auckland, so we picked up our bags from the conference hotel, then got a taxi to the airport. It was after rush hour and the Wellington traffic seemed incredibly quiet, so there was no problem getting to the airport.
Check in and bag drop for New Zealand Air was all self service. It took me three attempts before it would recognise my flight details, but I got there in the end. From there it was off to the lounge, with me piggy-backing on Frank’s Star Alliance status. We had already eaten, which was a pity because they had a lot of food on offer. We were looking for a seat when we noticed the Dbvisit gang, some of which were on the same flight as us. Happy days!
The flight to Auckland was really quick and pretty uneventful. I barely had time to start my laptop before it was time to shut it down.
We landed and made our way to the baggage claim where we met Francisco, but not my luggage. One of the airport staff went off to see if he could find it, which he did. It had been loaded onto a cart to be sent across to the international terminal. Fortunately Auckland is a pretty small airport, so I got it back really quickly.
From there Francisco drove me to my hotel, then drove himself and Frank back to the conference hotel. I had to stay at a place in the city because all the rooms were taken in the conference hotel. I actually had an apartment in the city. Judging by the people walking in and out there seemed to be lots of workmen staying there. When I got into my place I had great harbour view and a washing machine and dryer. Awesome. 🙂
I went straight to bed, ready for an early start for the Auckland event the next day (today). See you there!
I slept for about 12 hours last night, which was really good news!
I met up with Frank in the hotel lobby, we checked out and took a taxi to the hotel for the NZOUG event in Wellington. Some quick hellos and a couple of coffees, then it was time to start. It was a three track event, so I will only be talking about the sessions I attended.
From there I moved on to “Docker in the Oracle Universe” by Frank Munz. I know virtually nothing about Docker, so this session was pitched perfectly for me. 🙂
The last session I went to was Anton Els with “The Oracle Database 12c Controlfile – A valuable source of information!” Anton was showing the link between the information in the controlfile and datafile headers and how they affected the recovery process. I learned a couple of things which I can now speak about like I always knew them. 🙂
And almost as soon as it started, it was over… 🙂
Thanks to everyone at NZOUG for inviting me and making my short stay fun. Thanks to everyone who came to my sessions. Thanks also to the ACE Program for making this happen for me.
After the event Frank and I went to get some food at The Crab Shack, who fortunately also do vegetarian stuff too, then it was off to the airport for the trip to Auckland…
I got to Birmingham Airport about 2.5 hours early, so I had no drama at the bag check or security. I’ve mentioned a couple of times I’ve been really nervous about this journey. As I waited the nerves started to take their toll and I puked before I got on the plane.
The flight to Dubai was unusually uncomfortable. I think part of that was because I was already really tired before getting on the plane. The more tired I get the more fidgety I get and it just feeds off itself. I didn’t sleep, but I did a little head nodding. I was wearing an Oracle T-shirt and an air steward asked me if I worked for Oracle. Rather than explain everything I just said yes, then sat there feeling annoyed for telling such a stupid lie.
I arrived at Dubai airport and as expected the upgrade didn’t include lounge access. I headed over to the C gates and waited for my flight. Dubai airport is all about shopping and there is very little provision for seating. This is especially true of the area around the C gates. For such a modern airport, the seating arrangements are pretty crappy. I was planning to sleep on the floor, but at the last minute I got a touch of shame and decided to wait until I got onto the plane. Oh yes, I puked again too…
Priority boarding and business class seats rule! I was the first person on the plane and I think I was first person to puke in the plane toilets on that trip. I changed into the joggers and a different T-shirt and managed to get some sleep, but not as much as I wanted.
The flight to Auckland was pretty good. I slept through the first lot of food. When I woke up I got some fruit and some nuts. By the time breakfast came I couldn’t be bothered to eat. The stewardess was freaked out about how little I had eaten during the flight. It’s not like it’s going to kill me. 🙂
I wasn’t issued a ticket to Wellington and I was told to check that my bags were sent straight through. My baggage tag said they would be, but the Emirates staff weren’t sure. I got to Auckland and the “first port of entry” thing meant my bags weren’t really checked through to Wellington. I picked them up and bumped into Frank Munz. We were on the same flight to Wellington, so we checked out bags and he signed me into the Air New Zealand (Star Alliance) lounge. 🙂
The flight to Wellington was really quick. Less than an hour. We picked up our bags and got a taxi to the hotel. I had planned to meet up with Frank to grab some food, but I fell asleep and woke up at midnight, local time. I was then awake for about 2 hours, then slept again for 4 hours until my alarm.
So that’s the trip from Brimingham > Dubai > Auckland > Wellington complete.
In a couple of hours I’ll be taking a taxi to the airport to start my journey to Wellington, New Zealand. The actual departure time is 21:20. The flight to Dubai takes about 7 hours usually, so if I’m true to form and can’t sleep sitting upright in economy, I’m going to be pretty miserable by the time I get to Dubai. I’ve then got 3 hours in Dubai airport, where I don’t think I qualify for lounge access, despite my upgrade for the next flight.
From Dubai it’s a 16 hour flight to Auckland, which I was really dreading until I got an option to upgrade to business class. If I can lie down I can sleep anywhere. On several occasions I’ve slept on tiled floors at airports with no problem. If I’m sitting upright, or with that slight tilt you get with an economy seat, I just don’t sleep. The best I get is some head nodding. It cost me a lot of money to upgrade this flight, but 16 hours is a long time to be in an economy seat if you can’t sleep. Having a business class seat should allow me to sleep, so even if I get on the plane in a bad mood, I should be able to sort myself out during this flight. The current plan is to try to sleep half and work half of the time. Let’s see how that works out. 🙂
When I get to Auckland it is a 2 hour wait before getting on a 1 hour flight to Wellington. I’m hoping by this time I will have had a lot of sleep and will feel OK for the conferences in Wellington and Auckland over the next couple of days.
Total flight time will be approximately 24+ hours, with total elapsed time from leaving home to arriving at the hotel being about 32+ hours. I feel a little sick just thinking about it…
I normally write blog posts about travelling as I go, but depending on how this one works out and how tired I am, I might drop offline for a couple of days, so I thought I would put something out preemptively to start the ball rolling. 🙂
I’m feeling pretty nervous about the travelling. The Dubai to Auckland flight alone is 16+ hours. It’s a long way to go for such a short visit, but I’m sure I will enjoy it when I’m there.
I did try to upgrade the flights to business class, but there were no seats left. I’ll keep trying. It will cost me a lot of money, but it will make the whole traveling process a lot more pleasant if I can sort it out.
Hopefully I’ll get to see you there. I’ll be the guy asleep on the floor with his tongue hanging out… 🙂
This morning, from nowhere, I just thought, “We should have an OTN Appreciation Day!”
Oracle Technology Network (OTN) has had a pretty big roll in my life for over a decade. I download most of the software I use from there. For years the OTN forums have been a great source of information, both directly or when Googling. There are loads of articles and whitepapers. It has an entry point for most products/features that bring together the relevant docs, whitepapers and downloads for that product/feature. Outside of the website, there is the promotion of the community through participation at events and of course the Oracle ACE Program. I’m probably missing out a load of stuff, but you get the idea.
So what’s my idea for this? Well, actually it’s not really my idea. At this years Oracle OpenWorld Debra arranged the “EOUC Database ACES Share Their Favorite Database Things” session. I thought it was pretty neat hearing people speak briefly about their favourite Oracle features, regardless of version. So taking that as the basis, and considering OTN is all about community, I figured it would be fun if we got as many people as possible to write a small blog post about their favourite Oracle feature and we all post them on the same day. The “rules” would be…
The blog post title should be “OTN Appreciation Day : <insert-feature-name-here>”.
It can be a feature related to any Oracle product, not just database.
The blog post content should be short, focusing more on why you like the feature, rather than technical content. This makes it more accessible for new people to join in. If you’ve written in detail about that feature before, then link to that post and/or the docs from your blog post.
Tweet out the blog post using the hashtag #ThanksOTN.
We should try to all do it on the same day. I would suggest in about two weeks, which would be Wednesday 12thTuesday 11th October *. That gives people enough time to put something together, especially first-timers.
It really doesn’t matter if you write about the same feature as someone else. It’s interesting hearing different perspectives.
Oracle employees are welcome to join in, but they should look deep into their souls and ask themselves if it is fair to pick their own product/feature as their favourite. 🙂
You are not allowed to call me a kiss-ass, then subsequently join in. 🙂
It would be really nice if we could get a bunch of first-timers involved. Signing up to WordPress or Blogger is free and really easy. It doesn’t matter if this is your first and only blog post. Maybe it will be the start of something new. If you’ve not posted much recently (Garth), this will be an easy way to get back on the horse. 🙂
I would be interested to know if people are up for this. Write a comment or tweet me if you think it is worth doing. Maybe it will just be me. 🙂
* Date altered to Tuesday 11th October to avoid clash with national holidays.
Clarification of rules for Oracle employees who shamelessly want to plug their own products/features. 🙂
The OTN Tour of Latin America (Northern Leg) is now over for another year.
Each tour comes with its own set of challenges. As the tour progresses you get increasingly more tired and less able to cope with those challenges. The journey from Guatemala to Pereira broke me. It was like my adrenal glands had burnt out and there was nothing left in the tank. When I get into that state I just want to be quiet and on my own until I feel normal again. Not exactly possible when you have a two day conference ahead of you.
These tours provide an unusual mixture of experiences and emotions. I love meeting new people and geeking out with them. I hate the travelling associated with the tours. Queues, airports, queues, plane rides, queues, taxis, queues and hotels get pretty old pretty quickly. I dislike the total helplessness you feel at times during the process. Unfortunately, until someone gets round to inventing a teleport system, that’s the way it is.
Despite all that I would still recommend people do them if they get the chance. They are hard work and you will spend a lot of your own cash, but they are also very rewarding and open your mind. Just don’t expect it to be glamorous. 🙂
Here’s a list of blog posts I made during the last couple of weeks.
So that’s it. Another tour in the bag. Thanks to the ACE Program for funding the flights and accommodation. Without you this would not be possible for me. Thanks to all the user groups for their help in organising their respective events and inviting me. Thanks also to all the attendees for coming to the events. I hope to see you all again!
PS. I’ll never do a tour again… Until the next time…
The day started quite normally. I met Debra at about 08:00 for breakfast. We had a chat, then said our goodbyes, as she was leaving a few hours before me.
The hotel kindly allowed me to check out at 14:00, so I went to the gym, then went back to my room to chill until it was time to leave. Whilst in my room I started to feel a little unwell. I had visions of a Machu Picchu incident on the flight home, which made me nervous, making me feel even worse.
I got to the airport about 2 hours before the flight. That’s about 90 minutes too early at Pereira as it’s a really small airport. Check in was fine, and I got my bags checked straight through to Birmingham, which was a result.
The airport was fine, but it was really hot, which made me feel even worse. I put my bag on my knees, then used my neck cushion as a pillow and tried to sleep. Not ideal, but better than being awake in that heat. At one point I saw Frank Munz. He had lounge access, but I was flying on a different airline so he couldn’t sign me in.
About 45 minutes before the flight I moved to the boarding gate. It was much cooler, which came as a relief. I got a drink from a vending machine, took some paracetamol and tried to relax. As I was drinking I realized I was probably dehydrated. I had sweat buckets in the gym during the morning and the night before and I doubt I had drunk enough to make up for it.
We boarded and the row opposite was empty, so I took that row, which allowed me to get some footage of the flight without feeling trapped. The drink, pills and distraction of filming made me feel a lot better.
I got to Bogota airport, walked out of domestic arrivals and straight over to international check-in and the Lufthansa gate. I don’t know who I was praying to, but I was literally praying my air miles upgrade had gone through. Fortunately it had, so I headed up to the lounge for the 2.5 hours before my next flight. The thought of being able to lie flat on the 11+ hour overnight flight to Frankfurt and the endless supply of peanuts in the lounge lifted my mood no end. 🙂
Having a business class upgrade made boarding really simple. I was in a window seat, which normally starts my, “I’m trapped in my seat”, reflex, but that wasn’t too much of a problem until about half way through the flight when my stomach went crazy. I was back and forward to the toilet about 6 times in the second half of the flight. I was able to step over the guy in the next seat, so I didn’t have to keep waking him.
At Frankfurt airport I rushed straight for my next plane, which was listed as boarding as I arrived. Fortunately it was a little late leaving so I got to it with time to spare, most of which was spent in the toilet.
The flight home was fine. I think it took about 80 minutes. Of course, by that time I was so sick of being on a plane the slightest things were bugging me. People talking too loud. Babies crying. The noise of the earphones on the guy next to me. People being nice to me. 🙂 I had to keep reminding myself tolerance was super-low because of the trip.
I arrived in Birmingham a little late and the queue at security was horrendous. Luckily it moved really fast in the automatic queue. My bag was one of the first on the conveyor, so I grabbed it and made a dash for the taxis, where I joined another queue. 🙂
Suffice to say I made it home in one piece. Headache, bad stomach, I think I have a temperature, but I’m home all the same…
Final travel video and wrap-up post tomorrow I guess. 🙂