Sep 28: OOW 2014: ACE Director Briefing
Disclosure: I'm attending Openworld at the invitation of the OTN ACE Director program who are paying for my flights, hotel and conference fee. My employer has helpfully let me attend on work time, as well as sending other team mates because they recognise the educational value of attending. Despite that, all of the opinions expressed in these posts are, as usual, all my own.
The first day of the ACE D briefing was a bit of a wipe-out for me as I had so much catching up on bits and pieces of work and personal email to do, having arrived very late the previous night, although I still managed to spend some valuable time catching up with friends of the Oak and non-Oak variety as well as hearing some useful info from various Product Managers. I was gutted to have missed Thomas Kurian's briefing session because, as I heard later, it was as splendid as usual. I think some of the enjoyment comes from people's fascination with how on top of things he is, talking at all sorts of technical and non-technical levels over a very wide portfolio. That's pretty much how I remember the last few briefings.
Despite the inevitable arrival of jet lag screwing up my sleep, I've been able to enjoy day two much more (once I'd absorbed some light-hearted wind-ups about my disappearing act). Today was always going to be the most enjoyable for me anyway as the agenda was more database-centric.
It kicked off with a session on the current state of play of MySQL which I must admit I've almost forgotten about (conspiracy theorists will enjoy that) but seems to be ticking along quite nicely with incremental performance and functionality improvements although the presenters were keen to point out that MySQLs forte is not it's functionality so much as it's ubiquity in the web area, given it's part of the LAMP stack. Like a lot of the presentations, it might not have been about something I use day to day but was very enjoyable keeping in touch with other technologies.
Next was an informal conversation with Bob Evans, the Chief Communications Officer, which covered a wide variety of subjects with the usual direct and critical approach I've come to expect from the ACE Directors in attendance (you might be surprised!), raising concerns about the interface between Oracle Sales and their shared customers. I was disappointed to hear that there seems to be a pattern of scheduling local sales events at the same time as Oracle ACE tour events. Seems pretty daft to me. (Another one for the conspiracy theorists, I suppose.)
Then Gene Eun gave us an update on the Oracle Database Cloud Service. Although I still feel Oracle are way behind the curve on this, I don't think that necessarily means they can't make up ground, as they have in the past, but I think the most important message for me was a reinforcement of an answer to a question I asked last year. There's no reason why people can't use the same technology to run their own on-premise cloud and, working in Finance as I seem to have done for a while, the most realistic implementations I can imagine are hybrids of onsite and offsite infrastructure to cope with regulatory requirements whilst still gaining the benefits of offsite deployment where that makes most sense.
I didn't spend so much time drinking coffee in the Oracle canteens this year, but I did manage to have an enjoyable catch-up with Uri Shaft, a true development geek who always has interesting thoughts both on those technologies he is or has been involved with, but also other development areas that he has nothing to do with! Never a man short on opinions on software and a truly nice guy. Sadly, the regular JB catch-up no longer exists and that Maria Colgan moves in entirely different circles these days! (That would be a joke, folks, and I'm looking forward to light refreshments and chat when she's in Singapore soon.)
Speaking of Maria, she was part of the presentation team for the two hour Oracle Database Development Update, which is one of the key sessions for most attendees. Penny Avril and Maria Colgan kicked off with an all-too-short session discussing release plans and a little about In-Memory Option but I was left with the feeling that, having put so much work into getting the In-Memory stuff ready, it's now a case of consolidating the work and delivering product. i.e. I didn't notice any earth-shattering announcements in the database area but I suppose last year made up for that!
So most of the session was focused on two non-RDBMS areas. George Lumpkin on documents in the database and JSON stuff which was one of those - interesting but not something I'm likely to work with for a while presentations.
Dan McLary was almost certainly the speaker of the day as he delved into Oracle's BigData/Hadoop offering in good detail but with passion and a refreshing honesty about where Oracle fit into this field which still managed to be very positive about where Oracle are taking it. As he pointed out, the combination of being able to query anywhere (different data sources and technologies) with the functional richness of Oracle's SQL implementation is likely to be a pretty compelling offering.
It was an afternoon full of good presenters likely to keep the jet-lagged awake (although both Connor McDonald and I were struggling badly by this stage) like David Peake who covered Apex and a new website - Learning SQL - to help people, erm, learn SQL. I think we'll be hearing more about this in the upcoming week.
Wim Coekaerts is always popular with a small chunk of the ACED crowd and was again with his usual Linux and VM update, an informal conversation delivered without notes or slides which hit mainly on the areas that the attendees wanted to discuss. In a neat piece of agenda symmetry, he pointed out the presence of DTrace probes for MySQL running on OEL, as he discussed in his recent blog post.
By now we were running late and beers were beckoning, so Steve Feuerstein did a great job of just about keeping people going with his discussion of Oracle's attempts to reengage and energise the traditional Oracle SQL and PL/SQL technologies we know and love with a new (and quite possibly younger!) audience - YesSQL! Keep an eye out for what is likely to be a fun and different session with Steven and Tom Kyte and other special guests at 18:30 on Monday in Moscone South 103.
... and with that all wrapped up, it was time for beers and the bus into the city. The hotel check-in wasn't the car crash it usually is, but by the time it was all done and dusted there was just time for a few more drinks and since then it has been sleep, sleep, sleep for me
The usual thanks to the OTN team for putting together a varied and interesting briefing, which must be a really tough task when the Dev folks are all up to their eyebrows preparing for next week. Great work!
I'm hoping just an hour or two more and I'll be bright and breezy for Sunday, the first proper conference day. With my apparently new-found energy and dashing good looks (courtesy of Singapore), I'm expecting the week to be a good one!
Oct 16: OOW 2009 - Swag Round-up
As you can see, it's disgustingly sophisticated for this type of garment and has, on at least two occassions (Alex and I) passed the woman test. i.e. When our other halves have seen the garment they've both thought - 'hey, that one doesn't look too bad!'. However, I must admit that when I prepared to model it the other day, underneath it I wore the all time classic, best ever T-Shirt, to prove my heart is still in the right place
For those doubting it's status, you should have seen Marco Gralike practically begging me to swop it for one or more of his garments. No way, man! (although I might have a word with Kurt for you )
This year's annual ACE garment was another high-quality, reasonably sophisiticated affair and I can only assume hard lessons have been learned from the emergency flare red year ...
... and the ACEs also got this one, which I have ear-marked as a gift for Boneist when I get back to London.
The conference bag looked really nice too. Not the best quality, to be fair ....
It's a toss-up for the best T-Shirt of the conference, though, between the one I had the most fun with ....
... and the eventual winner - the OTN T-Shirt from the lounge. In fact, I tend to find the OTN shirt one of the best every year - always fits, always front and back designs, always black with a bit of red and white and always geeky. I actually wear these things occassionally during the year and Boneist would probably understand that I like this design with my semi-conductor obsession
... and all this without visiting the Exhibition Halls once. I really let the side down on that score this year.
Disclosure: I'm attending this year's Openworld Conference at the invitation of the Oracle ACE Director program, which is paying my travel and accommodation expenses.
Oct 16: OOW 2009 - A Step Up ...
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Oracle ACE Director, President and Commander-in-Chief Obama!
How do I know that Barak Obama is an ACE Director? Because we're staying in the same hotel! Sorry, but I find the whole thing quite exciting for some bizarre reason.
It's a monumental pain in the neck, too, of course as Tim Hall, Chris Muir and I were unable to get back to our hotel last night because all of the surrounding street had been blocked off (that warning letter the hotel left in the room makes sense now). Which was a killer and I'm using as my excuse for drinking at least 3 drinks too many. How embarassing, I could barely keep my eyes open by the time I got back last night.
When I went outside for a cigarette this morning, the place was awash with armed and armoured Secret Service, Police everywhere, dogs, army reservists, etc, etc, etc and more hotel staff hanging around than usual, too, presumably hoping to meet him Ear-pieces *everywhere*. (Oh, and I should take this opportunity to say hello to a short, speccy, balding ear-piece-wearer back home in Edinburgh who I know is following these posts and suggest that he asks his missus to put a sock in it. I'm running very quickly in the other direction, though!)
I've just been down again and everything has quietened down now so he must have gone.
P.S. I didn't tell The Boys who are here. All of the Cuddly Toys are big Obama fans, to say the least, and a) they would have wanted to meet him and probably died of shock if they actually did; b) There would have been a riot when we got home and the other Cuddly Toys found out!!!
Disclosure: I'm attending this year's Openworld Conference at the invitation of the Oracle ACE Director program, which is paying my travel and accommodation expenses. But next year, I'll be expecting the Obama Suite!
Oct 16: OOW 2009 - Wednesday
I kicked off Wednesday by attending "HA DBA Roundtable: How Do You Make DBA's Highly Available?" at the Unconference, hosted by Alex Gorbachev and Paul Vallee of Pythian. A bunch of DBAs sitting around trying to work out the good and the bad of organisational approaches to managing databases without being constantly on the pager. It was interesting stuff although the danger of having me and Tim Hall in the room is that you can't shut us up! I'll leave it to Paul and Alex to blog about it more. I'm not sure they will, but I think they should.
Next I'd ear-marked another visit to the OTN lounge where I knew I would be able to catch up with Tom Kyte before his OTN 'Heavy Hitters' Q & A session. Compared to other conferences, people are so busy at Openworld and particularly the Oracle employees that you have to grab every opportunity or you'll go through the whole week without seeing friends. Of course, as soon as I said hello and settled on the settee to start blogging, he berated me (I may be exaggerating a little) for walking out of people's presentations half-way through! I had no idea what he meant at first because I'd really enjoyed the Oracle Develop Keynote last Sunday. Then I remembered he was the host of the DBA 2.0 session too. Ooops! Must blog more carefully. It was fine and he was only kidding.
I was then torn between heading over to Oracle Closed World or staying for his OTN 'Heavy Hitters' Q & A session in the lounge. I stuck around and was glad I did. Unlike some of the Heavy Hitter sessions that I won't mention, his was full of people although, as usual, people were a little reticent to ask questions so I piped up with a few to keep things going and the interviewer (Tom Haunert?) was excellent.
One piece of news I was delighted to learn is that Oracle have been working on revamping the Concepts manual which has become unwieldy in the hope of getting it back down to a 400 page book that we might have seen in the past and could be read on a plane from New York to California. In the end, they managed to get it down to around 440 pages by removing some of the ancillary features and fixed some issues such as recommending seperating your tables and indexes into seperate tablespaces Tom's recommendation is to read the latest Concepts guide where possible, particularly as many of the most fundamental concepts haven't changed much over the years. I think I'm due a re-read of Concepts, so might dig out that 11.2 version. I think this is it, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. (Certainly looks like it, though, with "Primary Authors: Lance Ashdown, Tom Kyte".)
After lunch I had to decide where to watch Larry Ellison's keynote and took what turned out to be the very sensible option of watching it in bed on my laptop. That way I could try and move on my cold recovery by having an afternoon nap. I was glad there was some Exadata talk because I'd missed Sunday night's keynote, then Arnie came on. As I was saying to someone later (APC and Tim Hall, I think), you can spot the difference between an actor (yes, yes, I know. Let's stick to professional entertainer) and politician and IT leaders. They might *think* they're swish presenters, but very few seem at ease in the way the big guy did ... and, yes, he did say 'I'll be back'. The keynote went on and on and on and as soon as Larry mentioned Fusion Apps, I switched my laptop off and fell asleep. Before anyone thinks I'm on a anti-Fusion rap again, I was just waiting to hear if he would be talking about them as everyone predicted and, once he did, that was enough for me. Oracle didn't leave me much time for sleep, though!
Mmmm, enjoyed the sleep, though, and it set me up nicely for the Appreciation Event. It seemed really quiet this year which was a) a reflection of the far lower number of attendees and b) me not having the same intense desire to see Aerosmith as others.
The company was good. Here's Marco, Jacco and Tuomas
There was a little Whack-A-Mole this year but, after selecting my favourite Cuddly Toy prize, that determined the main activity which was darts!
You can decide for yourself whether we were successful or not here.
I was impressed by Roger Daltrey. On the one hand, I grew up in an era when the thought of a 65-year-old rock guy playing to sad IT
types for stack-loads of money would make the stomach churn, but I'm quite a big Who fan and it was better than the alternatives that might have been served up. He was good, too, and there were plenty of old Who numbers.
Back to the hotel at a reasonable time, though, to set up some demos for Thursday morning's presentation. Another late night
Disclosure: I'm attending this year's Openworld Conference at the invitation of the Oracle ACE Director program, which is paying my travel and accommodation expenses.
Oct 14: OOW 2009 - Blogger's Meetup
As for the Blogger Meetup, I think it was one of the best that I've been to, thanks to OTN fronting up for free drinks, Pythian supplying the T-Shirts and HP providing a Netbook as the competition prize! Alex came up with a great competition too, to keep people talking and mingling. On the front of the T-Shirt it said "I met more bloggers than you!" and people circulated the room, getting people to sign their T-shirts until, if you were a real blogger junkie, you could end up with a T-Shirt totally covered in signatures. Something like this ...
As the organiser, though, Alex was disqualified but the judging wasn't too difficult as someone had over 50 signatures! It was at that point, when they won an HP Netbook, that I realised that I should perhaps have put a little more effort in.
Regardless, it was a really enjoyable event so thanks to all those that made it happen and fellow bloggers for being good company. My only disappointment was that I kept seeing Jonah Harris, who I wanted to meet and compliment his work, and then I'd get side-tracked and that went on the whole night, even after we all adjourned to Chevy's for some Mexican food and beer.
Then Paul Vallee and Robyn Sands managed to convince me that we could use the two available wrist-bands for a private party in a night-club to get three of us in. Despite my protestations, they turned out to be right and, more to the point, it was the most lively party I've been to all week. Then again - there's Treasure Island to come tonight and the weather has improved dramatically!
Sigh. Alex G just did one of his crazy video interviews with me, so I guess that'll be turning up on a blog not too far away soon.
Updated - news just in from Edinburgh. (Why do they know about it there first?) Video is here. I'm dreading going to look at it
Disclosure: I'm attending this year's Openworld Conference at the invitation of the Oracle ACE Director program, which is paying my travel and accommodation expenses. I've also started wearing T-Shirts advertising companies I used to work for, but only after they absolutely *begged* me.