UKOUG 2012

The UKOUG 2012 conference was a rather short affair for me this year as I was only there for 1 day of it.

During the Sunday I was at my nephew’s birthday party. In the evening I returned to Birmingham in time to make it to the Oracle ACE dinner. Big thanks to Debra Lilley for organizing it and to the Oracle ACE program for sponsoring the event. I used the opportunity to ask a number of questions about ADF and WebLogic. I’m still a newbie and since I seem unable to distance myself from the subject, I figured I need to know a bit more. 🙂

Monday was my first and only day at the conference. The lineup was like this:

My presentation was a quick romp through a number of the big performance mistakes people make in PL/SQL. The presentation felt like it went well. I guess the evaluation results will reveal all. I’ve already got some good feedback from it and I spent the best part of an hour answering questions after it, so those people must have thought my opinions were worth something. 🙂 The link above points to a summary article of the presentation, with internal links to the details on all the sections I spoke about, plus a few more. There seems little point repeating the contents of those articles, so having this article as effectively a links page to them seems the most obvious solution.

In addition to the presentations, I got to hook up with lots of friends from the Oracle circuit. You sometimes feel like a social butterfly at these things, but that’s kinda nice. I also got to introduce some of my work colleagues to a number of influential people, which kinda made me feel important for a few minutes. 🙂

Then it was back home to shave off my Mo and cut my hair, then out to the Oak Table dinner. I got to the restaurant about 11 minutes late, but early compared to the rest of the Oakies. 🙂 During dinner we discussed a number of things including load balancing WebLogic, movies, novels and annoying people who push into queues. It was all dead technical. 🙂

And that was that. Short and sweet.



UKOUG 2011: Days 1 – 3…

I went to lots of good presentations over the three days.

Day 1:

  • SQL Tuning – Kyle Hailey
  • Clonedb – Me (not counting myself in the “good” list, just placing myself in the timetable)
  • OakTable Talks
  • Emerging Trends in RAC – Julian Dyke
  • Upgrading your Cluster to 11gR2 – Martin Bach
  • Learning about life through business and software – Cary Millsap

Day 2:

  • NFS Tuning – Kyle Hailey
  • OakTable Talks
  • RAC Attack – Organized by Jeremy Schneider (I spent the rest of the day helping out here)

Day 3:

  • About Multiblock reads – Frits Hoogland
  • OakTable Talks
  • Simulating workloads with RAT and Simora – James Morle
  • What shape is your data? – Niall Litchfield

There were of course many other talks, but when you do as many conferences as me you tend to have seen many of them already. 🙂 Added to that, I got into interesting conversations with people and ended missing sessions because of that.

I went to the OakTable lunchtime talks each day. I think these were my favorite presentations of all. Each day was made up of five 10 minute slots. Quick, casual and no slides. Very entertaining. I hope they happen every year.

The days were incredibly long, as proved by my parking bills. The first day battered me and it was a matter of survival from that point on.

Thanks very much to everyone involved in organization of the event. That’s my first UKOUG as a presenter. Let’s hope it’s not the last.



UKOUG 2011: When sessions attack…

Just finished my session. What a nightmare…

I was surprised anyone turned up as it was a late change to the schedule and there were some great sessions going on at the same time. Check out the photo.

It was kinda OK, until I got to the demo, which I screwed up. That was really disappointing because it really was the crux of the session. I thought I saw the issue and tried to salvage it, but it failed again so I gave up and moved on. I would like to say it was an OK recovery from a disastrous demo, but that would be a lie. Flipping crap.

Quite annoyed with myself because I know why it got screwed up. When I was in Bulgaria somebody asked me a question and I messed with the demo to prove a point, but forgot to repair it afterwards. Of course, it works again now that it’s too late. 🙁

There seemed to be some real interest in the technology and I assured people that the demo screwing up was noting to do with the tech, it was totally my fault.

So not the best showing I could have put in. I think it is summed up nicely by this tweet,

“session clone db is a mess”

Nuff said!

If anyone wants to see the running demo, drop me a line on twitter (@oraclebase) and I’ll meet you and show it working. If not, check out the article here.



UKOUG 2011: Day -1

I missed the OakTable day because it was the 10th birthday party of nephew number 1, but I did make it back to Birmingham in time for the ACE dinner. Mark Rittman provided evidence of my presence here. I was already full of cake and trifle before I arrived, but the waitress didn’t seem to understand, “I’m not eating”, so I was *forced* to stuff myself again. 🙂 Many thanks for the organizers of this event.

I mentioned in a previous post Oracle RAC was not for newbies. Although the commenters seemed to agree with me, a couple of people suggested I was being a bit elitist and if you read the manuals it is all fine. I found out last night that Connor McDonald is now presenting his “Year in Purgatory” talk at UKOUG. I saw this session in Perth and I can’t recommend it enough. As well a being a great show, it highlights just how difficult managing RAC can really be. If you have, do or plan to work with RAC you should see this session, then decide if I’m wrong about the complexity of RAC. Check out the changes to the agenda…

I better get off my ass and head down to the conference. It’s been a while since I’ve driven into the city center at this time in the morning. I hope the traffic is not as bad as it used to be. 🙂

Remember, I’ve got a session at 11.05 today. Once again, check the changes to the agenda.



UKOUG: I’m now speaking on Monday…

A couple of slots opened up in the UKOUG schedule due to cancellations and a message came through the OakTable mailing list asking if anyone could fill them. Alex Gorbachev and myself stepped up to the plate.

This means I’m now speaking about Clonedb on Monday at 11:05 in the Media Suite. See here.

The downsides to this are:

  • I’m now up against Connor McDonald who is always brilliant, so I won’t get to see his talk and he’ll soak up all the attendees.
  • I’m also up against Greg Rahn‘s session on Real-Time SQL Monitoring. I saw this at OOW and it’s well worth seeing.
  • One of my Brummie mates wants to come and watch me present, which will make me nervous as hell, especially if he is the only person in the audience.

On the positive side:

  • It will be my first presentation at the UKOUG conference. Long story… 🙂
  • My Brummie mate will actually go to see Connor, which means there will be nobody in the room, so I can blog about how awesome I was.
  • The adrenalin rush associated with presenting will help to delay the inevitable illness I get at the end of the year when all my presentations are over. Maybe I will actually make it to the end of UKOUG this year…

So if you fancy coming along to heckle me on Monday morning, you know where I am. 🙂



Missing UKOUG…

I’m a bit hacked off because I’m missing out on UKOUG…

I got a free pass to check out the conference this year and I can’t go because I’ve got a cold. I spent the whole of yesterday in bed and I think I’m going back there now. I’m bored out of my brain, but every time I try to do anything other than sleep I feel really dodgy and my joints hurt.

It’s my nephews birthday tomorrow. If I miss that I’m going to be in all sorts of trouble, but it’s not looking good at the moment…

I’m off to Sweden next week for a conference over there. I hope I’m feeling better by then!




I mentioned in a previous post I was speaking at the UKOUG DE SIG today. The talk itself went fine, but I had a bit of a scare before hand. I drove from work to the venue and managed to get lost, which is a little surprising as it was in Birmingham and I’ve lived in Birmingham for the last 20 years. Personally I blame my total reliance on SatNav… 🙂 It takes me about 10 minutes to get setup, including starting virtual machines, and I arrived 15 minutes before my talk was scheduled. Too close for comfort!

I’d like to send a big thank you to Andrew Clarke for organising the event and letting me speak. It’s just a pity I couldn’t get a day off work to attend the whole event.




A few months ago, Andrew Clarke invited me to speak about PL/SQL tuning at a UKOUG Special Interests Group (SIG). I accepted, and today was the day. I woke up ridiculously early this morning and set off for Slough. I was totally knackered by the time I got there, so I spent most of the first two presentations yawning, nothing to do with the content. Then it was my turn…

I started off feeling a little nervous, but nothing major. About 5 minutes into the presentation I was meant to start talking about baselines, but all I could think about was code instrumentation. This threw me completely and my mind went totally blank. I mean completely! I must have looked like a rabbit in the headlights, because a lady in the audience (Seema) tried to prompt me. Anyway, the batteries in my brain must have reconnected because I remembered who I was and what I was doing and continued with the rest of the talk. As usual, once I got going there was no shutting me up.

When I finished the presentation I closed down Powerpoint and revealed the note I left on my desktop that read, “Don’t Choke!”. 🙂

It’s quite difficult to know what level to pitch these talks at. After-all, 45 minutes is not long to talk about detecting and tuning PL/SQL performance problems. Fortunately, Andrew gave me some good advice on that point, and apart from the brain-fade incident, the presentation seemed to go down well.

I’m not sure I’m a natural presenter, but I do think it’s fun. Although the preparation side of it is a bit painful.

Anyway, thanks to Andrew for giving me this opportunity. Thanks to the audience for coming to hear me speak. And finally, thanks to Seema for helping to kickstart my brain. I’ll drop a book off at your office tomorrow morning!



UKOUG Bloggers Meetup…

It was cool to meet up with everyone again. Some people were at OpenWorld, some I’ve not seen since this time last year, and others were new faces. It’s good to meet-and-geek. 🙂

The subject of my blog post regarding forums came up a number of times. It seems everyone is suffering in the same way. One suggestion was that we, as a community, should try to get rid of as many Oracle forums as possible and encourage people to use the OTN forums. Effectively creating a single point of reference. I’m going to give this one some thought. Some days I really like having my forum, other days it’s the a right royal pain. I guess if the bad is out-weighing the good, closing it is an option.