Nov 15: UKOUG - Day 1
The trip down and hotel check-in was largely uneventful until I started to unpack. As I lifted a pair of jeans out, who should be stowed away in my case than Polly Piggy! The only Housemate who was supposed to be coming was The Rabbit, who won the election fair and square but I'd left my case open while I was packing and she must have sneaked in. I genuinely wasn't expecting to see her - thanks for that Madeleine!
Yes, I hit the bar straight away, but in my defence there were plenty who were in there before me - a real gaggle of geeks. A good time and interesting chat was had by all. I can't say it did much for my presentation preparation but then I could have taken the hint when all the next day presenters disappeared one by one for a little quiet preparation time. Note to self - must try harder.
Yesterday I attended plenty of presentations for a change, but didn't quite manage my full agenda. First up was Tom Kyte's keynote presentation 'What's Coming Next?' about the proposed features of Oracle 11g (?). I have to say I was a bit surprised by the sense of disappointment I picked up from various bloggers who were at the Openworld presentations. The way Tom told the story got me pretty excited about some of the change management features. Assuming they work as advertised then the businesses I work for are going to love them. It's not just about cool new features but about helping us with our day to day work of building test environments, software releases with minimal down-time and the rest. I found myself thinking - 'mmm, that would really help us with that problem at work'. I still can't get over seeing him presenting in collar and tie, though
Next it was onto Alexander Gorbachev's Extending Oracle 10g Grid Control presentation. The truth is that, although I was slightly interested in the subject, I really went to check out Alex himself and this was the most convenient of his three (!) presentations for my schedule. The presentation seemed pretty deep - too much for me to take in in the morning, so I'll pick up the slides and have a proper look later. Nice guy, though, despite the fact he has now taken over Lisa Dobson's position of infamy, after knocking almost a full pint of Guinness over his colleague, Babette Turner-Underwood! (Not during his presentation, I should add, but much later yesterday evening.)
Larry Carpenter's HA Best Practices talk was pretty high on my list of must-sees because I'm becoming more and more involved in availability and recovery issues at work at the moment. There was tons of useful information in here for me and that guy really knows his stuff. Thoroughly recommended should you get the chance to see it. I suppose the top message was on the importance of tuning your network when implementing Dataguard. To some extent, that's obvious, but the benefits were incredibly significant.
By now the final minor panic was beginning to kick in about my back-to-back presentations and I'd left myself a little work to do so I skipped both lunch and Dan Fink's 'Understanding Logical I/O' but I'll be sure to pick up the material and take a look later. One very important tip if you're ever planning to speak at a conference. Avoid Jonathan Lewis like the plague until *after* the presentation then he isn't likely to fill your head up with related material that you hadn't thought of
In the end I felt both presentations went fairly well although the first one, to steal a line from Dan Fink was perhaps 'over-optimised' (i.e. I finished early). The attendance was pretty low at both but the quality of the questions and contributions was pretty good and I had a good feeling that people enjoyed them. Not my best, but certainly not my worst either. Tip two - try to avoid having a room full of Oak Table types at your presentation because you know they probably know things you don't! It's very hard to try to claim any authority at all on a subject in that situation.
After the two presentations I was dead-beat so just popped my head into Lisa Dobson's DW for DBAs presentation. Apparently I missed the joke from the start with a photo of Jeff Moss and I in deep discussion in a bar in Manchester, but she still managed to make a show of me by claiming I had some sort of expertise on something or other. Strangely enough, Mr J. Lewis was sitting a couple of rows in front of me again and I couldn't help feeling embarassed!Last but not least was Peter Scott's introduction to analytic functions. By now I was virtually asleep and realised I hadn't eaten anything all day (I mean anything at all) so it was a struggle but suffice to say that Peter has kindly agreed to let me steal his slides so that I can give the same presentation to some of the developers back at work so I must have been impressed.
This blog is already too long, so I'll cover some of the fun stuff later and will try to get my blogging act in order now that I'm free of any responsibilities.
Well, the pint was almost empty anyway and... was it 5th or 6th that evening (I remeber that not last)?
will remember the tips if I plan to speak at a conference - especially because I have not done much of speaking at conferences in the past...if I do make it for Collaborate it will be good to see a few of the bloggers