UKOUG Tech18 : Day 3

The first session of the day for me was Alex Nuijten with “and from the chaos comes the perfect APEX application”. This session was focused on the organisation and structure of APEX applications. You could describe it as #SmartDB or #HardShell I guess. The emphasis was on a functional API layer, with APEX used as a skin over that API layer. I share this opinion, but Alex takes it further than me, and in a more structured manner. He was having some problems with the screen blinking, but he’s a pro and took it in his stride. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up was Amy Simpson-Grange with “Robotic Process Automation”. This was Amy’s first technical presentation, but you would never know it. There were some problems with the screen at the start of the session, and I’m sure she was freaking out inside, but she shrugged it off and did a great job switching between laptops. I’ve not really been involved in this type of automation before, so it was a learning experience for me, with a few light-bulb moments along the way. The content was great and the delivery was so relaxed and natural. I really hope she keeps on doing tech conferences in future!

After that I followed some of the analytic folks into a session by Abi Giles-Haigh called, “Open Source & Oracle Complementing not Competing”, which was focused on the AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning space. I freely admit to being clueless about this area, and Brendan seemed surprised to see me there. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was kind-of expecting to be totally lost, but Abi did a good job of making it noob-friendly for me, as well as giving the pros something to bicker over. ๐Ÿ™‚

Continuing the theme of watching stuff I knew nothing about, I went to Lonneke Dikmans presenting an “Introduction to Blockchain for Developers”. Over the years I’ve gained my first insights into the worlds of SOA, microservices and then serverless from Lonneke, and here I am learning about blockchain at one of her sessions. I wonder what next year will bring. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up in the same room was Roel Hartman with “Docker for Database Developers”. I’ve seen a number of Docker presentations for DBAs and developers, including my own, and they all bring something different to the table that make you think. I guess so much depends on your area of interest and the use cases you have in mind, as that will direct your attention. A hardcore DBA will see things differently to a developer, and a generalist like me will probably sit somewhere between the two. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s good to see things from a few angles, as it gives you a more rounded perspective.

From there I tagged along with Dawn and met up with a few folks at a local hotel bar for a quick drink before heading off to get the train home.ย I got a table on the train, but disappointingly there was no wifi, so I had to write this blog post in a text editor, to post later. ๐Ÿ™‚

Me looking pretty in Machu Picchu, Peru, wearing a Chile hat. Photo taken by Debra Lilley a few minutes before I was hospitalised. ๐Ÿ™‚

So that’s the last conference of the year for me! Thanks to everyone at UKOUG for making the event happen and inviting me to speak. Thanks to the attendees and speakers who came along and made the event what it is. Thanks also to all last year’s attendees who filled in the speaker evaluations, that resulted in me getting the “Prettiest Speaker Ever” award this year! To this year’s attendees, please fill out the evaluations. It gives UKOUG feedback that helps with speaker selection in future, and it’s a nice pat on the back for the speakers if they get a prize. Finally, thanks to the Oracle ACE Program and the Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassadors for letting me continue to fly the flag.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Previous posts in this series.

UKOUG Tech18 : Day 2

Day 2 started at 07:00. I hadn’t slept that great, so when the alarm went off I was thinking it would have been nice to stay in bed a little longer…

I got to the conference venue at about 08:00 and went straight to the “Women in IT – What has Changed?” session. Debra Lilley introduced the session and the speakers, then it was on to Daya Haines Haddockย and Amy Simpson-Grange telling their stories and speaking about their experiences and inspiration. Both were super-positive people and really inspirational. It was great to hear Amy is involved at the grass roots level at schools and colleges, spreading positive messages, letting people know they can be themselves and still succeed. The overriding message of the session was “Be brave. Be yourself. Take on challenges!” A good lesson for everyone.

I kind-of got lost for a while, chatting and catching up on the blog.

The next session I went to see was “Identifying Performance Problems in a Multitenant Environment” by Christian Antognini. It’s good to hear his thoughts on his approach and he pointed out a couple of things I had missed in the docs, so I’ve got them on my list to check out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pretty soon it was time for my session called DBA Does Docker. It’s a real struggle to get this done in 45 minutes and I failed again. ๐Ÿ™‚ Nobody was following on from me, so I didn’t ruin the next speakers life. I hope people found it useful.

I spent some time chatting to Pete Finniganย about life, the universe and everything. That was followed by his session calledย “User Rights & Least Privilege”. I would like to say my systems don’t suffer from loads of the stuff he mentioned, but… It’s always good to go to Pete’s sessions and remind myself I need to try harder…

After that it was Jeff Smith with “Oracle SQL Developer – Everything you Need to know About Tuning”. Not surprisingly, this was a tour of the features available in SQL Developer that relate to performance tuning. There’s a lot in there these days! ๐Ÿ™‚

After Jeff’s session I bumped intoย Amy Simpson-Grangeย and had a total fanboy moment over her talk in the morning.

I went to my hotel to drop off my bag, then went back to the venue for the social event. Carbs! I chatted to a bunch of people, who kind-of provided counselling for me. Thanks folks! Then it was back to the hotel to crash.

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech18 : Day 1

Day 1 started at 05:00. Normally I start trips with a 30 minute taxi ride to the airport, leaving about 2.5 hours before the flight. Today I left the house 30 minutes before my train was due to depart. Not needing that 2 hour buffer makes a big difference.

I had upgraded to first class, a whopping ยฃ10 extra, to get a set with a table and wifi. The wifi was a little slow and it restricted a whole bunch of sites, but I was still able to do some stuff. I got an Uber from the station to the venue. The driver was playing The Prodigy and Nirvana. Awesome.

On exiting the taxi I tweaked my back. I tried to put my coat into my case and noticed it was locked, and I couldn’t remember the combination. What a surprise. I’m at a conference and things are going wrong… ๐Ÿ™‚

The first session of the day for me was “Using Vagrant to Build, Test & Debug Ansible Scripts Easily” byย Martin Bach. Followers of the blog know I’m a meddler with Vagrant and I’m an Ansible wannabe.ย  Martin was extolling the virtues of reliable and repeatable builds, which I’m all for. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up was the keynote, which started with Martin Widlake doing the introduction to the event, and announcing the speaker awards based on last years evaluations.

Big shout out to all the winners in all the categories.

This year I picked up my third UKOUG speaker award, which means you are given the “Lifetime Achievement Award” and you are not included in “the race” in future years. I join an illustrious list of people who’ve been told to “get out and don’t come back!” ๐Ÿ™‚

Later on I had to pick up my award and get a photo opportunity. Thanks to everyone who filled in the speaker evaluations last year. It always surprises me when this type of thing happens, especially when I think how far I’ve come over the last 10 years of presenting. I still consider myself a “nervous speaker” and I watch other people present and think I’ve still got a lot to learn about presenting.

Next up was theย “Exadata – Roundtable Discussion with Development” hosted byย Gurmeet Goindi. I don’t work on Exadata, but I like to keep my ear to the ground, and get invited to a meetup later of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

After that I got lost in a whole bunch of conversations with a variety of people. I could lose a day doing this.

The next session I went to was “How Autonomous is the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse?” byย Christian Antogniniย and Dani Schnider. I have to admit I was a little distracted during this talk because I was logged into work looking at some stuff. I spoke to Christian later to fill in the gaps a little.

From there I went to a panel session about the ACE program. Unfortunately it had been put in the wrong track, in a room the other side of the building, and up against a load of really good speakers who were going to soak up the audience (Maria). The audience was compact and bijou. ๐Ÿ™‚

From there I went back to the hotel to drop off my stuff, then it was off for a brief visit to the Exadata meetup, followed by the ACE dinner.

Looking back it was a really random day, but I got to speak to a lot of people, which is the best thing about conferences for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech18 : See you there!

Next week is UKOUG Tech 18. It’s going to be an unusual event for me for a couple of reasons.

First up, I’m going to be in Liverpool from Mon-Wed. I can’t go on Sunday as it’s nephew #1’s birthday, but this is the first time I will be at the event for this long. Depending on who else from the company goes, I might have to work (from the hotel) on one of the days, but…

Next, it’s a pretty quiet conference for me, as I only submitted one presentation, but I’ve just been invited to a panel, so I can pretend I’ve got two sessions. ๐Ÿ™‚

Title : Understanding the ACE Program & itโ€™s Value
Time & Placeย : Room 20-21, Monday 3rd December 5:10 PM – 5:55 PM
Abstract :
Have you ever wondered what the ACE Program is about? What does it mean to those who are part of it and what is it’s value to Oracle? Have you wondered about being part of it? Come along to this session and we will answer your questions.

Title : DBA Does Docker
Time & Placeย : Database 2 – 1C, Tuesday 4th December 2:25 PM – 3:10 PM
Abstract : here

This will be my last event for the year, so I’m hoping it goes OK. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

OUG Ireland 2018 : Day 2

Day 2 was a mixed day for me. I mentioned in the previous post my preparation for this conference had not been the best because of circumstances, and that started to get the better of me. I’ve said it before, public speaking is not natural for me. This was the first conference I had done since UKOUG Tech17. Having nearly a 4 month break and coming in without the normal prep was a bad idea, because it felt very much like I was back to square one, doing my first ever presentation. I spent quite a while talking to Chris Saxon in the morning, where I had pretty much decided to give up presenting blah, blah, blah…

My first session was “Using PL/SQL and ORDS to Develop RESTful Web Services for APEX? Why?”. Even though it is an APEX talk, I am speaking mostly about the organisation of applications, the use of API-first development and web services, but all in the context of APEX. I’m the first to admit I’m not a great APEX developer, but I do know a bit about PL/SQL and I think I am pretty good at organising applications. I think the talk went OK. That calmed my nerves somewhat for the next session, which was the one I was really worried about.

My second session was “Cool New Features for Developers in 18c and 12c”, which was mostly live demos, connected to an 18c database running on the Oracle Database Cloud Service. I had recorded the demos in case the internet connection dropped, but I think if it had it would have been game over really. The internet connection was fine, which was a relief. I couldn’t switch between the slides and the demos as seamlessly as I would have liked, but it wasn’t terrible. I had picked a selection of things that I think are cool from 12.1, 12.2 and 18c. Some things were cool because they are useful. Some things are cool for geek factor, even though I might not use them much. I had a couple of timing issues with the demos and I ran out of time, but overall it felt OK. There was a bit of banter with the crowd, which always helps me relax.

Update: Someone asked for the list, so here it is. I didn’t get to demo them all because of time. ๐Ÿ™‚

From there it was off to the panel session I was meant to chair. So it turns out I’m bad on the panel, I’m bad in the audience and I’m bad as chair of a panel. I think the only way it’s going to work out is if I’m gagged or excluded. Dominic Giles got a grilling in part of the session, but he handled it admirably as always. As is always the case with panels, there’s a mixed bag of questions and a rather varied selection of answers… ๐Ÿ™‚

From there it was a few goodbyes, and I hung around with Chris, before leaving for the airport. We got some food and as Chris left for his plane Neil and Martin turned up. I spent a few minutes chatting with them, then it was off to get my plane.

Some of the guys at the back of the plane were “a little rowdy”, but it was a quick flight and we got back OK. It was then a short taxi ride home and it was all over…

The OUG Ireland 2018 conference felt busier this year. I’m not sure how the numbers stack up, but a couple of people commented the same. Just a little reminder, if you are using one of the cheap airline companies, it’s probably cheaper to get to the OUG Ireland conference than it is to get to some of the UK conferences. Just sayin’. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks to the folks at OUG Ireland for letting me come again. Thanks to the attendees and people who came to my sessions for helping me get through them. Thanks to the speakers also, especially those who did a bit of “counselling” for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ This was a self-funded trip, but thanks as always to the Oracle ACE Program and Developer Champion Program for letting me fly the flag. See you all again next year.

Cheers

Tim…

OUG Ireland 2018 : Day 1

When I originally posted about this event I was an attendee. Over the last week or so things have changed a lot. First I picked up a vacated speaker slot, then I was asked to chair a panel session, then I was asked if I could fill another speaker slot that had become free.ย Of the two presentations I agreed to give, one hadn’t been written yet and had live demos to prep. The other one was written, but needed some serious rehearsal. Needless to say, this last week has been a bit of a nightmare. My presenting skills are not natural, they’ve been learnt, and it takes me a lot of rehearsal to appear casual and relaxed. If you want to come and see if I manage to get through the demos without injury, my sessions are in the last three blocks on Friday. You can see the agenda here. ๐Ÿ™‚

So day one began at silly o’clock with a taxi ride to the airport. It’s a really short flight to Dublin, so it feels more like a bus ride. When you are flying on CheapAir for pennies there really is no messing about. A lady had her full baggage allocation, but wanted to bring a giant box of tea bags with her, which was going to cost her ยฃ50 as a checked item. That was an interesting discussion/fight… The flight itself was really quick, and once at Dublin airport is was a short bus ride to the Gresham Hotel and the conference started…

First up was Dominic Giles with a keynote called “Towards Autonomous Data Management”. I’ve written about using the Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Service before (here). I’ve also written about my opinions of this type of service going forward (here). I’m looking forward to see how these services develop. As I’ve said before, this is the beginning of a journey, not the destination…

After coffee and some chit-chat it was off to see “Tell us Your Plans, ask us Your Questions” with the wife and Tony Cassidy. This was a question and answer session about Oracle Cloud Apps and I just wanted to keep my ear to the ground.

Next up was Neil Chandler with “JSON in Oracle”, followed by Chris Saxon with “18(ish) Things Developers Will Love About Oracle Database 18c”. I enjoyed both sessions, but I think people in one of my sessions tomorrow might feel some deja vu, because they collectively covered a lot of the stuff I am speaking about tomorrow. I’ve got some live demos (if my internet connection works), which will hopefully make it feel different. ๐Ÿ™‚

From there I headed back to check in to my hotel and play catch-up on a couple of things, including checking out my demos again. ๐Ÿ™‚

I popped over to the social event, to catch some people I hadn’t spoken to during the day. I was going to duck out of the ACE dinner as it had been a long day, but Brendan persuaded me I should go, and I was glad I did because it was announced that Kiran Tailor is the latest person to be made an Oracle ACE Director.

Kiran is a super-nice guy, so I was pleased this happened.

Once we had eaten, I walkedย the wife back to her hotel, and bought her an ice cream, then headed off to mine to crash. What a long day!

Quite nervous about tomorrow…

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech17 : It’s a Wrap!

Just a quick reflection on the UKOUG Tech17 event…

Here are the posts I wrote over the event.

Things went pretty well for me this week. My timetable allowed me to come for two full days, which was nice. It’s a lot less stressful when you are not trying to rush in and out from work like I was on Tuesday.

It’s funny walking around the event as it feels like every couple of steps I see someone I want to stop and talk to. I could probably spend the whole event in the lobby just talking to people. ๐Ÿ™‚

As usual, some quick thanks:

  • Thanks to UKOUG for letting come to present again.
  • Thanks to all the people that came to my sessions, came to speak to me during the event and the folks thatย filled in the session evaluations last year, making my head swell even more. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Thanks to Oracle Academy and UKOUG for letting me come and present at the Oracle Academy sessions.
  • Thanks to the Oracle ACE Program for organising the briefing and for letting me continue to fly the flag at these events, as well the Developer Champion Program for dragging me into the new world. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Thanks to all the other speakers for sharing your knowledge and saving me a load of time Googling…

Next year’s event is in Liverpool, so I’m not sure how that will work out for me. If colleagues still want to come I will probably only be able to come for a single day. If they can’t face the journey I will be able to come for the whole event and stay in a hotel. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech17 : Wednesday

Wednesday started with a quick trip to the doctor, then I got a bus into town for the conference. I kept bumping into interesting people and chatting, so I didn’t manage to get to any of the early sessions.

I missed picking up my Best UK Speaker award and the group photo yesterday, so I picked it up today and did a photo withย Linda and Jennifer, two of the ladies that keep the Oracle ACE Program and the Developer Champion Programs running smoothly. While I was in the exhibition hall I got into a discussion about APEX, and rather than just talk I opened my laptop, headed to apex.oracle.com and did an impromptu demo. One APEX talk and it’s gone to my head. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then it was time for me to head up to the Oracle Academy sessions. UKOUG and Oracle Academy put on a program for students and Brendan Tierney and I agreed to help out and each do a short talk for them. Some of the students got “lost” in the conference (or at the German market), and of the ones that did turn up I recognised all of them from either the BCU talks I’ve done recently, or the UKOUG NextGen session I did in 2014. ๐Ÿ™‚

From there it was off to lunch, then I had a two hour Oracle ACE Director briefing. It was a mix of public and NDA stuff, so I’m not going to say anything about it (or the Oracle Games Console #OGC) for fear of getting disappeared…

That pretty much wrapped up the conference. I popped into Starbucks to chat to Mia, Debra and Fiona, then it was a bus home and that was that.

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech17 : Tuesday

Tuesday was a work day for me, so I was in work until the late afternoon, then left for the conference to do my APEX session. A little while later I was sitting in traffic thinking, “I’m not going to make it!” The traffic opened, I got a parking spot really quickly and I made it with 3 minutes to spare… ๐Ÿ™‚

The session was based around API first development for APEX. I was quite nervous about doing a talk in the APEX stream, because I have a long history of being bad at APEX and I know some of the things I say contradict the way some APEX developers like to work. The session was based around a number of things already on my website, but I might put them together to put out an article that aligns with this session, even if it just ends up as a glorified links page. I enjoyed giving the session and I spoke to a few people after it and got some nice feedback. Remember, it’s all just my opinion, not the law. ๐Ÿ™‚

After the session I spent some time speaking to Gert Poel. He had done a session in the APEX track the day before, which had a lot of crossover with mine. Great minds think alike. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then it was coffee, more talking, and the evening bash. Not surprisingly I spent a lot of time chatting to people, eating some food and had a couple of sneaky diet cokes. At about 22:00 I drove home and crashed for the night.

So Tuesday was a short day from a conference perspective for me, but I got to chat to a lot of people, which is the best bit about any conference. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech17 : Monday

I couldn’t face the traffic, so I walked to the station and got the train into town. I got to the event in time for the first sessions, but got waylaid meeting people, so the first session for me was the morning keynote, where I got my 30 seconds of fame as they announced the speaker awards.

After the keynote I grabbed a drink and went to watch “Flashback Features in Oracle Database” by Connor McDonald. Connor is always good to watch, although I felt a little cheated as he only used about 260 slides over the 50 minutes. It was practically sedate for him… ๐Ÿ™‚

Next I went to see Pete Finnigan with “GDPR for the Oracle DBA”, who had a full room. As a techie it’s really easy to focus on the tech aspect of GDPR, but it’s such an expansive subject, spanning all aspects of the business. After the session someone tweeted,

“So you could say the architecture that underpins Oracle technology is not GDPR compliant, or did I miss something”

My reply was,

“I think you missed something. I don’t think any app is GDPR compliant itself. It’s bigger than that.”

I’m struggling to see how companies will even scratch the surface of GDPR…

After lunch I had my session called Multitenant : What’s new in Oracle Database 12cย Release 2 (12.2). It was in the big auditorium, but most people sat towards the front of the room, so it didn’t feel like I was just presenting to chairs this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

After me came the community keynote “Solving the Most Common User Request …. Make it go Faster!”, which was a tag-team made up of Connor McDonald, Chris Saxon and my sister-in-law Maria Colgan. I think this format is fun, and the general message about us needing to be more user-driven is important. At one point Connor was talking about instrumentation and showed a screen with V$SESSION information on it, asking the audience how anyone could tell which row represented the problem session. I shouted out it was row three as a joke, and it turned out to be true. I am available for performance tuning work. I don’t need to see you’re system. I am data-sensitive… ๐Ÿ™‚

From there I went to see “Making the APEX Universal Theme Your own” by Marc Sewtz. I’m possibly the worst APEX developer in the world, so I have to keep throwing in APEX sessions, just so I feel a little less guilty… ๐Ÿ™‚

On the way out of the previous session I got talking to Stew Ashton, and we missed the last session of the day chatting, mostly talking about #SmartDB. From there we headed up for the drinks and mingling. A little before 20:00 I headed across to the Oracle ACE Dinner, where we had a family table. ๐Ÿ™‚ Having a large group of presenters in a room is not a good way to keep the volume down. ๐Ÿ™‚

A short taxi ride home and Monday was done for me. I’m at work on Tuesday, but I will be in to present my session called, “Using PL/SQL and ORDS to Develop RESTful Web Services for APEX? Why?”, in the APEX stream.ย  I understand the irony of me being a crap APEX developer and doing a session in the APEX stream, but if you see it I think it will make sense why. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…