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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚
  • 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!



PS. The posts for this trip, which were mostly about my illness were:

Riga Dev Days 2018 : Day 2

Day 2 of Riga Dev Days 2018 was pretty much a repeat of day 1 for me. My mystery illness continues. I spent most of the day in bed, but went to the conference to present my session calledΒ Make the RDBMS Relevant Again with RESTful Web Services and JSON.

I think the session went OK, but my brain was on a go-slow and I was struggling for words a couple of times. Thanks to Chris for pointing out my “pistol fingers”, which I seem to be doing in every shot he took… Personally I think pistol fingers look better than Jazz Hands, which he does during his presentations… πŸ™‚

I got some questions at the end, one of which I have referred to the “ORDS Gods in the Sky” (see below for answer), and spent some time chatting outside the room after the session.

I headed upstairs to the balcony to discuss some stuff with Martin Bach and Neil Chandler before going back to the hotel to crash… Again…

It’s a bit disappointing that I didn’t get to see much of the conference this year, but the main thing was I made it to my sessions. I hope to be back again and in better health next time so I cab be a bit more involved and learn something myself! πŸ™‚



PS. Reply from theΒ “ORDS Gods in the Sky”…

Question: Does ORDS support HTTP2?

Answer: ORDS 18.1.1 Standalone Mode on JDK 9 or later supports HTTP/2 out of the box no additional configuration required. In the case of ORDS running under an application server, it comes down to whether the application server support HTTP/2. WebLogic does not support HTTP/2 yet. Tomcat recent versions with JDK 9 or later support HTTP/2…

Riga Dev Days 2018 : Day 1

I woke up at about 06:00 feeling pretty terrible. Not physically sick, but dizzy.

I lay in the bath for ages, hoping that it would bring me to life. It didn’t. I got out of the bath to find my case was locked. I must have somehow mixed up the combination the day before, and didn’t know what it was. After Googling how to break into the lock and failing, I started the process of trying every combination from 000-999. Luckily the number was only about a quarter of the way through…

With clean clothes I then noticed none of my stuff had charged overnight, so my laptop and phone were nearly dead. Are you starting to see why I think I have a conference curse this year? I charged them up for a bit, then headed off to the conference, grabbing some diet coke on the way, hoping the caffeine would help and it did a bit…

I bumped into the few people when I arrived at the conference, but pretty soon it was time to present my session on analytic functions. Once the adrenalin kicked in I felt fine, except for a couple of times when I turned my head too quickly and felt like I was going to fall over. I think the session went OK. All the usual problems you expect with a live demo, but I think I managed to roll with the punches. I even managed to accidentally out the post I’ve been writing about my current “midlife crisis”, which I wasn’t sure I was going to publish, but I guess I am now… πŸ™‚

The event is held at a cinema, so you are standing at the bottom corner of the room, with your slides on the cinema screen, which is really good when you have live demos. The room was pretty full, with a few people sitting on the stairs because they didn’t want to fight their way across the row. I got some questions at the end, including one about my midlife crisis. πŸ™‚

The conference seemed really busy. Excuse my shocking camera work, but here’s a shot of the main concourse.

After the session I sat down for a chat with Chris Thalinger. It’s kind-of scary how similar we are (not physically). Needless to say we will never meet or speak of this again… πŸ™‚ We were joined by Ted Neward, Kamil Stawiarski and Patrick Barel along the way. Despite sitting in the shade I managed to get sunburnt…

I had avoided food all day as I had the feeling as soon as I ate something I would feel dizzy again and want to sleep. When Chris went to do his session I grabbed some popcorn, and sure enough once I ate it I could feel my bed calling! I headed back to my hotel and crashed for the rest of the day…

So day 1 of Riga Dev Days 2018 was a very short day for me, which mostly involved sleeping… Sorry. Let’s hope tomorrow goes better.



PS. I figured out my charging issue. When I turn off the main light in my room all the power cuts out. That’s why none of my stuff charged…

Riga Dev Days 2018 : The Journey Begins

Having spent most of the previous day in bed with a headache, I woke up at 03:00 to get ready for my taxi at 03:00. Despite all the sleep I was not feeling too great.

The taxi driver was nice enough, but he didn’t have any receipts, which was annoying. I got to the airport just after 04:00 and it was really busy. Luckily the new queuing system at Birmingham Airport is really good and I got through security quickly.

The flight to Amsterdam took about an hour, followed by a couple of hours waiting for the next flight. Amsterdam airport was so incredibly hot, which made me feel terrible. It would have been a lot worse if I didn’t have an EU passport, as there was a massive queue at security. I guess I have that to look forward too. πŸ™

I got on the plane to Riga and managed to swap my window seat for an aisle, which was great. The flight took about 2 hours, but I was so tired it felt like a lot longer.

Once I arrived it was a quick taxi ride to hotel where I was greeted with a free upgrade to Debra Lilley status. Here’s a picture of my lounge. πŸ™‚

I have no idea why I got this upgrade because I booked the cheapest room they had and I have no status in this chain. I booked quite a long time ago, so maybe they ran out of cheap rooms and I was the first on the list to make way? πŸ™‚

It was only a little after midday when I arrived, so I did the obvious thing and went to bed for the rest of the day and night. I woke up at about 06:00 the following day, but that is a different story…



Riga Dev Days

In about a week I’ll be at Riga Dev Days 2018 in Latvia.

It’s a very diverse event, covering a whole bunch of technologies over the three days, which includes a workshop day and the two conference days.

There is an Oracle track, so if that’s your thing you will find it there, but there’s also a bunch of different technologies discussed too, so there’s something for everyone. Check out the schedule here.

See you there!



Riga Dev Days : 2018

Just a quick note to say I’ll be speaking at the 2018 Riga Dev Days conference in May next year. They’ve just released the first batch of speakers here. My flights and hotel are already booked!

It’s a multidisciplinary conference, rather than just a straight Oracle conference, which means there is something for everyone there. I was last there in 2015 and it was a really cool experience. I think I’m going to get even more from it this year as my interests have broadened substantially since then!

See you there!