In this case I'll try to be even-handed and finish with the positives!
The whole point of this presentation is that it's about 50 minutes of demonstrations and about 10 of slides. For the first 30 minutes, the demonstrations would not work. If you think that's a success, there's something the matter with you and you should probably never give any presentations!
This is the killer. In retrospect I know what the problem was and have fixed it previously with the help of others but did not do the same on the new laptop! As I moved in and out of wireless range, the lack of a network connection at the Windows end completely threw VMWare and my demos. But, believe me, when your demos have been working for a couple of weeks, you don't have long until your presentation and they stop working intermittently, it's difficult to be cool and analytical. I was so distracted by other things that might go wrong, I missed one and, having missed it, I wasn't cool enough to recognise the symptoms. Fortunately, an old Hotsos friend in the room came up with the goods in the form of a little Sprint wireless box that got me hooked up. I kissed him, but there were no tongues involved.
With only 30 minutes left, there was very little I could show and it completely ruined the whole flow of the presentation, which I'd worked so hard to get right and which I know can be terrific, because I've done similar presentations before and had been looking forward to doing the best version yet. People took the time to come and see it, I let them down and I'm sorry about that. Nobody is likely to change my view on that.
This presentation is a big deal to me, never mind anyone else. I work hard on these things, try to cover all the angles, take time off work and all because I like teaching people new stuff. When I take a week off to attend a conference, but also to present, it's a bit of a blow when your one shot fails. If you're not passionate about your presentations (and I somehow doubt anyone isn't) again, you shouldn't be presenting.
Sh*t happens when you get involved with computers. Yes, folks, I know that, but that's also why you play around with demos for a long time to minimise the possibility that it will!
This might not sound like a positive and it's dangerously close to sounding like an excuse, but the fact is that I've had 2 out of 3 presentations go very wrong recently. One of the consistent factors in this is that I switched to VMWare because I had to to run 11gR2 on Windows. It's not the same as blaming VMWare to say that I've been having to deal with stuff I haven't for a long time. When everyone was talking about VMWare as the way to go for presentations, I remember thinking 'I don't know, just seems like more moving parts that might break to me.' and I kept reading blog posts about demos being broken and then fixed just in time, all of which were on some virtualisation platform or other, but didn't have the confidence to say something. All I know is, say what you like about Windows, but I've hardly ever had a problem in multiple 2-day course teaches of performance and OEM stuff! Still, it's down to me to get on top of what are some simple issues.
Listen, I know I can present. No false modesty round here. So, to wrap this up on a positive note, I'm well aware that there are few of the people who I see present who could have managed to get through that first half hour, make people laugh, keep thinking about the problem and manage to get a short demo of Swingbench into the bargain. I think I also managed to salvage something out of the last half of the presentation without completely collapsing into a heap. Sure, I was a bit brain-addled by then, but I would have liked to have seen how others might have coped Frankly, I kept waiting for the room to empty (I've seen it happen) but the vast majority stuck around to the end. Maybe they were sadists! LOL
I am not and will never manage to be happy with that presentation but lessons have been learned, it's just a presentation and there'll be lots of others. I know that.
Postive Solution 1 - If anyone wants to try to grab me while I'm at the conference, I'll show you the screens and demos. They're very cool
Positive Solution 2 - I think Alex Gorbachev might try to arrange for me to repeat the presentation properly as a webinar. I've already done this at my current customer site once (on the 10g stuff) and it went reasonably well. I'd also ... get this ... asked Marco to video it for me yesterday with his snazzy mini-setup because I thought I might post a few bits online if they were particularly good so those that can't make it to conferences could get a taste of it. Actually, it appeals to my cold, self-deprecating sense of humour to post some of it online soon. I promise I won't make it too self-flaggelating though!
P.S. For Paul Vallee. Paul it is not all good
Time Matters: Throughput vs. Response Time - Part 2
Hotsos 2010 - Summary
Hotsos 2010 - Day 5 - Training Day with Tanel Poder
Hotsos 2010 - Monique
Hotsos 2010 - What's THAT?
Hotsos 2010 - Day 4
Hotsos 2010 - Day 3 - An excellent one (part 1)
Hotsos 2010 - Congratulations, Marco!
Hotsos 2010 - Day 2 - The conference begins
Hotsos 2010 - Day 1.79 - Friends show up
I remember my first demo with VMware. I used bridged connections, which of course fail abysmally when you are not connected to a network. Every demo failed. Taught me to always use Host-Only connections for demo VMs.
Luckily, I always bring screen grabs or expected output for any demo, so if it fails I can fallback to Plan B.
Yeah, plan B would have been very effective in saving the presentation, but I wouldn't put that down to luck - that's good preparation.
However, one of my main points is for people to watch someone navigate around and get the feel of the whole thing rather than just looking at some static pictures.
Static pictures would have been much better than *no* pictures though!
I second that - I usually use host-only and NAT networks. The latter let you access the internet from your VM.
I too tend to use host only, but and I guess I'm sort of seconding Doug here, VMware (or any) networking can go horribly wrong and it tends not to be a core DBA skill. Windows networking is either rock solid or, very rarely these days, doesn't work at all. VMware does add complexity and it adds it in an area Oracle professionals are often not au fait with -- scan addresses will be hell is my prediction for 11gR2 for example.
anyway Doug, I feel your pain it's completely horrible when a demo doesn't work - let alone half of them. Still you've probably used up 3 years of bad experiences in 1 day so it'll go like a dream next time. Enjoy the rest of the conference,
used up 3 years of bad experiences in 1 day so it'll go like a dream next time.
Let's hope so
Can't wait for Marco's flipcam's shots!
Just drink a beer and you'll do better next time.
Mmm, maybe that was the problem? No beer
Feeling much better today. The sun is shining.