OTN APAC Tour 2016 : Birmingham to Wellington

otnapac16dI 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.

Cheers

Tim…

OTN APAC Tour 2016 : Waiting to Begin

stopwatch-25763_640In 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. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 : Birmingham to Panama

Where do I start with this day?

I arrived at Birmingham Airport about 2 hours and 20 minutes early. I was then presented with a huge queue to get to the queue for the bag drop. To be fair to the people at the desk, they seemed relatively efficient, but there were 2 floating staff who were chatting to each other and laughing, rather than handling the queue. There needed to be:

  • A specific “bag drop only” queue, which most people would have breezed through.
  • A “special cases” queue for those families that turn up with 45 cases and wonder why they can’t take them.
  • A “check in” queue, where people who have not already checked in can go.

Something simple like that would have meant the queue moved much quicker and the floating staff could have organised that easily if they could be bothered and weren’t morons. Of course, that couldn’t happen because we are talking about the Air France / KLM gate, so you know it’s going to be terrible. I sent a few tweets to both KLM and BHX that contained lots of expletives. Sorry if that offended anyone, but tough!

Eventually I got through the “queue to the queue” for bag drop, then I joined the “queue for the queue” for security. Yes, there was a queue to get to the place you normally queue! Once again, an obvious case for sorting your staff out. They know when they will be busy in advance, so they should staff accordingly.

I finally got to the boarding gate and could see the plane, but they were unloading for ages. Turns out there were a team of Para-Olympic athletes on the plane and the ground staff did not anticipate how long it would take to get them and their wheelchairs off. Once again, bad planning. We took off 40 minutes late, which was a worry since I had a very short connection at Amsterdam for the next flight. Just before we landed they announced some people had missed their connections, but mine was still possible if I legged it. Fortunately for me, the next flight was delayed also, so I made it!

I sat on the flight from Amsterdam to Panama, sighed with relief, then got a massive headache. I thought I was going to have one of my puking episodes, but I managed to down some paracetamol and sleep for a bout 10 minutes, which was enough to take the edge off.

I arrived in Panama, but my luggage didn’t. After a queue to deal with my lost luggage, I queued for about 40 minutes to get through the bag check, without my bags.

After a death-race taxi ride to the hotel and the travel was over. At that point, if I had the option to got straight home I would have done. The flights themselves were fine, as were the flight staff. It was the chaos on the ground that was the problem, which left me feeling like I never want to fly again. It was a terrible day!

I met up with Debra so she could watch me eat cheese and talk me down. Then it was bed and the hope that I would never remember this day!

Tomorrow is ORAUG PTY, the first event of the OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 (Northern Leg).

Cheers

Tim…

PS. The video is dedicated to Mark Rittman, who loves my travel videos, describing them as “boring” and saying, “nothing happens in them”, which is of course the whole point of doing them. 🙂

OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 : It’s Nearly Here

ace-directorIn a couple of days I will be setting off for this years OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 (Northern Leg). For me, the tour consists of the following locations:

  • Panama City, Panama:  01-Aug-2016
  • San Jose, Costa Rica:  03-Aug-2016
  • Mexico City, Mexico: 05-Aug-2016
  • Guatemala City, Guatemala: 08-Aug-2016
  • Pereira, Colombia: 11, 12-Aug-2016

I’ve had a last minute panic over hotels, but the main thing is I have flights. 🙂

If you’re coming to the events, it will be great to see you!

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : It’s a Wrap!

ace-director

I just realised I didn’t write a closing post for the OTN Tour of Latin America 2015, so here goes.

Here are the links to all the posts I wrote during the two weeks that related to the main body of the tour.

Here are the links to the posts I wrote during the little trip to Machu Picchu.

Overall it was a really fun tour. Ignoring my illness at Machu Picchu, I think I coped a lot better with it than I have the previous couple of tours, which was good news.

Big thanks to the organisers and attendees at all the events. I hope to see you all again soon! Thanks also to the ACE Program for giving me the opportunity to fly the flag! I must also say a thank you to my fellow speakers for putting up with me for all that time. I know I can be hard work, so you are all deserving of an “I survived a tour with Tim”, badge, if one existed. 🙂

Sorry for the delay in writing this post! See you soon!

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : PEOUG, Peru – Day 1

A quick taxi ride got us to the conference hotel really quickly, so we were nice and early for the PEOUG event.

After the introductions by Miguel Palacios, it was time for the first sessions of the event. Of the English speakers, first up were Debra Lilley and Dana Singleterry. Debra had some problems with her laptop, so she did her presentation using mine and all went well. Dana did his session over the net, so I sent a few Tweets to let him know how things looked and sounded from our end. I figured a bit of feedback would help reassure him there weren’t any technical issues.

My first session of the day came next. I had a good sized audience and some of the people were brave enough to ask questions at the end. 🙂 I had some in English and some in Spanish using the translation service to help me. 🙂

Debra fixed her laptop by the time her next session started, but her clicker died, so she borrowed mine. Dana’s second session was at the same time as Debra’s, so I flitted between the two, sending a few feedback Tweets to Dana about his session again.

After that session, Ronald, Debra, Pelinio, Enrique and myself ducked out to get some lunch in a place down the street.

After lunch, both Ronald and I each had back-to-back sessions. I did my Cloud Database and Analytic Functions talks. I feel like they went well. I hope the crowd did too. 🙂

There was one more set to talks, all from Spanish speakers, including a very full web session by Edelweiss from Uruguay. After that we got together for the closing session and some prize draws. I didn’t understand what was being said, but everyone seemed really happy and in good spirits, so I think the whole day was well received. Certainly all the feedback we got was very positive!

Big thanks to MiguelEnrique and everyone at PEOUG for inviting us and making us feel welcome. Thanks to the attendees for coming to the sessions and making us feel special by asking for photos. 🙂 Also, big thanks to the ACE Program for making this possible for us!

So that marks the end of this years OTN Tour of Latin America for me. Sorry to the countries in the northern leg. I hope I will be able to visit your folks soon!

Debra and I are going to visit Pikachu Machu Picchu over the next couple of days, then it’s back home to normal life for a while. 🙂

I’ll write a summary post to close off this little adventure when I get home. Once again, thank you all!

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : PEOUG, Peru – Day -1

After the CLOUG event, Francisco drove us to the airport, where Kerry, Ronald, Debra and I parked ourselves in the lounge for a while. Lots of eating then ensued! Kerry was flying back home, but the rest of us were on our way to Lima, Peru, for the PEOUG event. 🙂

The flight across to Lima was pretty straight forward, taking about 4 hours, if you include the time sitting and waiting to take off. I think the flight time was about 3 hours and 30 mins. We arrived at the airport at about 02:00 and we were all pretty beat up. It was an effort to even speak, which if you know me is a rather extreme state. 🙂

I had a complete brain fade and forgot we were being picked up by Enrique Orbegozo, but fortunately he caught us before we disappeared onto the shuttle, so it ended OK. I’m so sorry Enrique! 🙂

We arrived at the hotel at about 03:00. I can’t speak for the others, but I was feeling like the living dead. I got to my room and I don’t remember anything else until the morning! 🙂

Debra has Hilton Honors status, so I got signed into the lounge for the day, which meant free food. 🙂 We had a lazy day. Apart from a 10 minute walk down to the coast and back, it was a hotel day, trying to recharge the batteries. Some food, sitting in the pool and sitting in the lounge with our laptops, trying to catch up with the world.

This morning we are off to the PEOUG event. The last event of the southern leg of the OTN Tour of Latin America 2015. I’ve got three presentations to do, plus some backups in case speakers don’t show. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : CLOUG, Chile – Day 1

The morning was a little confusing. I got up and went to breakfast, but there was no Debra. Once I had finished I got the front desk to call her and found out her clock was an hour behind. Chile has changed its timezone to match Brazil, but some Apple devices don’t seem to realise this, even if they are set to auto-update. One of those devices being Debra’s phone. When we asked at the hotel, they said it’s been a problem for a number of people. 🙁

Francisco drove us to the venue and we moved straight into the auditorium. After an introduction by Francisco, it was time for the first session. It was a three track event, so I’m just going to talk about the sessions I was in. 🙂

  • Kerry had a different version of the agenda, which had him on at a later time, so he hadn’t arrived by the time his session was due to start. I was originally down as the second session, so we switched and I went first with my “Pluggable Databases : What they will break and why you should use them anyway!”. Being in a auditorium is always hard unless it is full, as people spread out and you feel like you are presenting to empty chairs. 🙂
  • Next up was Kerry Osborne, with his “In-Memory In Action” session. I had to duck out of this early to get to across to my next session, which was on the other side of the building.
  • My next session was “It’s raining data! Oracle Databases in the Cloud”. This was in a much smaller room, so it felt really full and much more personal. As a result, the audience interaction felt a lot better. I spent quite a bit of time talking to people after the session, which is my favourite bit of this conference thing.
  • I got over to see the tail end of Ronald Bradford‘s session on “Testing and verifying your MySQL backup strategy”. I’ve got a couple of things I need to check in my own MySQL backups now. 🙂
  • Next up was Kyle Hailey speaking about “SQL Performance Tuning”. Kyle has a very visual approach, which works for me!
  • After lunch it was back to me for “Oracle Database Consolidation : It’s not all about Oracle database 12c!”
  • Next up was Kyle Hailey with “Database performance tuning”, which focussed on using ASH to identify problems and was once again, very visual.
  • The final person up was Debra, with “Do Oracle Cloud Applications Add Up?”. The answer is yes, they do add up, to 42!

After the final session, we hung around for a prize giving and a quick photo opportunity, then had to say our goodbyes and go straight off to the airport to get our flight to Lima.

Thanks to Francisco and the folks at CLOUG for inviting me, as well as all the attendees that came to my sessions and spoke to me during the day. I love speaking directly to people about the technology, so when people come to ask questions I’m in my element. 🙂 Big thanks to OTN and the ACE Program for helping to make this happen for me.

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : GUOB, Brazil – Day 1

I woke up pretty early again, spent a bit of time working, then headed down to meet the wife at breakfast. I was gabbing away, when she mentioned it was time to register. I had a mad dash to get back to the room, shower and head down to the GUOB event. Thankfully, I am stopping in the conference hotel.

This was a three track event, so I tried to get to sessions that I hadn’t seen at other events.

  • The event opened up with Pablo Ciccarello discussing OTN and the ACE program.
  • My first session for the day was “Pluggable Databases : What they will break and why you should use them anyway!” talk. I was introduced by Alex Zaballa, Brazil’s latest Oracle ACE Director. Well done mate! I was incredibly nervous for this talk. I think it was because of the rushing around before the session. Once I got going I calmed down a lot. I think the session went well. People were a bit shy about questions during the session, but people came up to me after the session to say hello and ask questions without being in front of the audience. The questions you get are the best bit of doing these conferences. In answering questions, you learn a lot yourself.
  • After speaking to a few people I headed (a little late) into Kerry Osborne‘s session on “Controlling Execution Plans (without touching the code)” Part 1. The room was too full for me to get into this session in Argentina.
  • After lunch I headed on to see Dana Singleterry speaking about “Development Platform in the Cloud – Why, What and When”.
  • Next up it was me with my “It’s raining data! Oracle Databases in the Cloud” session. I really like doing this talk. It’s not a heavy technical session, but I like to think it brings a bit of sanity to the Database on the Cloud discussion.
  • After me came Alex Gorbachev speaking about “Benchmarking Oracle I/O Performance with ORION”.
  • After a short break, it was on to Kerry Osborne‘s session on “Controlling Execution Plans (without touching the code)” Part 2.
  • Next up was Alex Gorbachev speaking about “Big Data and Hadoop for Oracle Database Professionals”.

The last session was in Portuguese, so I ducked out and spoke to a few of the attendees instead.

After saying our goodbyes to some of the folks, we headed out to a Brazilian barbecue. Obviously, it was a meat-fest, but it was a good place to eat as a vegetarian too. Unfortunately, I drank one and a half drinks that were designed to injure humans. 🙂

It was a long, but fun day. Big thanks to the organisers and attendees at the GUOB event. I hope to see you again! Thanks also to the ACE Program for getting me here!

I’ve got a ridiculously early start for Chile tomorrow! 🙂 Goodbye Sau Paulo!

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : UYOUG, Uruguay – Day 1

After 15 hours of sleep I still managed to feel tired. 🙂 I went for breakfast at 6:30, then started to feel a little weird, so I took some headache pills and headed back to bed for a hour before meeting up with Debra and Mike to head down to the venue for the first day of the UYOUG leg of the tour…

The order of events went like this:

  • Pablo Ciccarelo started with an introduction OTN and the ACE program, which was in Spanish, so I ducked out of it. 🙂
  • Mike Dietrich speaking about “How Oracle Single/Multitenant will change a DBA’s life”.
  • Me with “Pluggable Databases : What they will break and why you should use them anyway!” There was some crossover with Mike’s session, but we both emphasised different things, which is interesting in itself. 🙂
  • Debra Lilley with “PaaS4SaaS”. The talk focused on a POC for using PaaS to extend the functionality of Fusion Apps, which is a SaaS product.
  • Me with “Oracle Database Consolidation : It’s not all about Oracle database 12c”. I think this is the least technical talk I’ve ever done and that makes me rather nervous. Technical content and demos are a reassuring safety blanket for me, so having them taken away feels a bit like being naked in public (why am I now thinking of Bjoern?). The session is a beginner session, so I hope people didn’t come expecting something more than I delivered. See, I’m paranoid already!
  • Mike Dietrich on “Simple Minimal Downtime Migration to Oracle 12c using Full Transportable Export/Import”. I think I’ve used every feature discussed in this session, but I’ve never used them all together in this manner. I think I may go back to the drawing board for one of the migrations I’ve got coming up in the next few months.
  • Debra Lilley with “Are cloud apps really ready?”. There was some similarity between the message Debra was putting out here and some of the stuff I spoke about in my final talk.
  • Me with “It’s raining data! Oracle Databases in the Cloud”. This was also not a heavy technical session, but because so few people have experience of running databases in the cloud at the moment, I think it has a wider appeal, so I’m not so paranoid about the limited technical content.

So that was the first day of the UYOUG conference done. Tomorrow is an easy day for me. I’ve got a panel session in the middle of the day, then I’m done. 🙂

Thanks to everyone who came to my sessions. I hope you found them useful.

Having slept through yesterday’s social event, I will be going out to get some food tonight. They eat really late here, so by the time we get some food I’ll probably be thinking about bed. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…