Sunday 30 September 2018

180925 SPOUG - Not so much Cloud - Lots of Wind

I am a very blessed person, speaking at conferences has given me the opportunity to see so many places and experience many things I would normally never have tried.

SPOUG - Spain was no exception. This was their first conference for some time and they had an amazing day at an indoor sky diving centre! And yes I did have a go.

Madrid is a beautiful city, and even at the end of September it was over 30'C. I wandered around for a little bit when I arrived before joining the speakers for the dinner in a beautiful restaurant.

The conference itself was a little out of the centre, and again I had some wifi issues but there is another post for that; wifi aside it was a great day. To be fair the wifi wasn't too bad, I just wanted to use lots of it.

There were 3 tracks covering most technology areas of Oracle. Less than 30% was in English. I was really pleased to see Nelson Calero there. He is from Uruguay and when I first went to Latin America with the ACE program the events were really small, but over the years they have really grown and n
ow they are exporting their presenters. What as great story! 

I spoke about VBCS to extend SaaS and chatbots. There was an ACE Rueben also talking about the same two topics. I was worried that we would overlap or rather following Rueben Rodriguez would make my sessions look too simple, but I shouldn't have worried we were actually very complimentary.  In both sessions I struggled to live demo as much as I wanted but with help from the audience and using their 4G we got through both. If nothing else I gave them lots of entertainment. 

It was a great day and a great opportunity for me to meet more Accenture people as they are a major sponsor of SPOUG.

As I said wifi was an issue, so a lack of Cloud, but in Europe's biggest indoor skydiving installation, wind was not lacking! Everyone at the event was invited to fly - free and 50% took up the opportunity.

I wanted to, I wanted to be brave, after all when else would I have this opportunity? However my brain over complicates these things and said 'don't be stupid!. I struggle all the time with these thoughts and once before I nearly gave up on an amazing opportunity. Belfast is known for its shipbuilding cranes known as Sampson & Goliath and many years ago I had the unusual opportunity to go to the top of their cranes which are now recognised as important historic buildings. I was petrified and even though I did actually do it, the picture shows I was still uncertain.

Anyway I went for the skydive, waiting was VERY scary but I did it, and actually enjoyed it.

Thank you again SPOUG for the invite.

Friday 21 September 2018

Announcing the EMEA ACES OOW Short Talks

We are back! For the forth year EOUC, the community of EMEA usergroups is hosting an ACE short talks session at OOW.

We decided on 18C database tips, but with OOW moving to a week earlier a lot of rework was required by the OOW organisers to get everything in and it hasn't been possible to have a User Group Sunday. They have however included a smaller number of user group sessions in the main agenda.

EOUC agreed we would have to limit this session to a single time slot and not the double we normally use and already submitted.

The ACEs who signed up to take part decided it would be better to have a more light hearted topic as we didn't know when in the week it would be and we normally use the talks on the Sunday to set you up for the full agenda.

Tim Hall suggested the topic be our mistakes and everyone was quickly onboard.

Then before I could update the session Oracle started marketing it and this was all over twitter. 

Sorry if you were excited by that, but this will be equally great. 

Lessons learnt the hard way are the ones you remember. Even I am going to take part this year, not just facilitate, after all you don't have to be technical to screw up!

I always say this session is the one that takes the most time to prepare. Herding ACEs is a very under rated skill. Jennifer and Lori I salute you. 

Once I got enough signed up, then I needed their topics. I asked for a short sentence and a single word heading. Difficult question? I didn't think so, but they seemed to think a hashtag type, concatenated title work; so I'll go with that.

The running order will be:

Each of the speakers will write a blog about their mistake which will be published on the day, and I'm thinking of asking all ACE Directors to contribute a blog and make them available in a pdf book - what do you think?

The session is on Tuesday afternoon, please come along and please add it too your schedules so you don't forget.

Conference: Oracle OpenWorld
Session Type: Tips and Tricks Session
Session ID: TIP1989
Session Title: Even the ACEs make Mistakes – What did they learn?” 
Room: Moscone West - Room 3001
Date: 10/23/18
Start Time: 03:45:00 PM
End Time: 04:30:00 PM

Sunday 16 September 2018

1809 POUG

Look at the label!
You would also be forgiven for thinking POUG stood for Polish Oracle User Group but the official name is Pint with Oracle User Group. 

I remember last year lots of speakers saying how much fun this event was, and later in the year Kamil, the brains behind this event and fellow ACE Director, asked me why I had not been part of it and I promised I would try this year. I did submit and luckily I was accepted to give my chatbots session and asked to be on a panel session.

Since this was earlier September and my daughter was still not back at University I asked her to come with me and we decided to make it a long weekend. The event was in Sopot, one of the 3 Cities, made up of GdaƄsk, Soport and Gdynia which make up the TRi-City.

We flew Ryanair, which also makes me nervous but the flight out was fine although I did pay for Fast Track at Stanstead we has made an industry out of creating record beating queues. 

We arrived late at night so stayed in the airport hotel. The next morning, we got a taxi to the venue which was also our hotel, right on the beach! We dumped our bags and walked into the town centre and caught a slow train to Gdansk city centre.

I am a great believer in City Hop on Hop off buses and it didn’t disappoint. I have to admit that whilst I had heard of Lech Walesa and Solidarity trade union and though I knew a little of Gdasnk I had no idea this is where World War 2 started!! I also learnt a lot more about the city and certainly was impressed at how beautiful it is.

Then we wandered around the city and around the estuary before meeting up with other speakers at the welcome dinner. 

The event was over two days, a Friday and Saturday, with a great agenda. Both my sessions were on the Saturday and I had lots of the day job to do on Friday but it started badly with not being able to connect to the internet. I am used to poor connections at conferences but the was a joke. I got really stressed but thanks to moral support from my daughter and IT support from Alex Nuijten and a lot of luck I got enough wifi to at least run through my demos and get on with my work.

I even went out to Starbucks (on the beach) to work for a while as their wifi was better!

I joined the event mid afternoon and then went to dinner with the dutch contingent, we went to a Ukrainian restaurant and the food was amazing. So much so we went again for lunch before leaving Sopot on the Sunday. We then went back to the hotel for the after party. I believe many delegates and speakers went on to a club after the after party finished at 2am and the last people finished about 4am.

However I was a good girl / am old, and went to bed early as my session was first up Saturday. Considering it was post after party my audience was quite good. I always panic at the last minute that my 'why do' something presentations are of little value to these hard core technical audiences, but they aren't. There is no point developing the best applications if they have no value and the end user can't get what they need.

This was my chatbot presentation and I would say it was straight forward but a cloud demo with really poor wifi is a recipe for disaster. I had tried a myfi connection with no success but luckily a delegate let me connect to his phone. We got there..........slowly

The audience were great, there were really good questions which is always my measure of success. Stress over, I relaxed a bit and then it was time for the Panel Session.

The panel session had a large contingent, very broad and we sat on two sofas, whilst drinking our POUG beer (note to self, if a panel session is going to be this good, don't drink the beer without ensuring you have an inconspicuous path out to the restrooms).

The discussion was led by Kamil, who was an excellent panel facilitator. The discussion was  based on a previous argument debate between Kamil and Bryn Llewellyn on whether Oracle should share the database internals or users simply trust that it works.

As well as Bryn the very technical group consisted of:

Joze Senegacnik, Roger McNichol, Michael Hichwa, Neil Chandler, Erik Van Room, Rob Lockhard, Heli Helskyaho and myself.

How can you work like this?
It was such fun. Again I thought it might be over my head but actually I had lots to say. I work with SaaS which is a closed box and it is so frustrating when with a bit more knowledge about what is going on we could help ourselves. I talked about talking to Oracle support where the user knows more than the support analyst. That isn't it a criticism it is a reflection of where we specialise and they have a lot to cover. Anyway I got an amazing reaction from the audience and my daughter sent me a picture to say she was proud of me. Not that she had any idea what we were talking about :)

Bryn was quite assertive in his position was Kamil held court well and ensured everyone had their say. I loved the banter, it was fun.

That evening we ate at the Grand Hotel overlooking the beach nd the pier and the next day after breakfast on the beach with those who stayed on, we spent the day wandering around the beautiful town of Sopot, before flying home to London.

Thank you Kamil and Luiza. I want to come back, it was such fun.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Congratulations Andy - Lucky UKOUG

UKOUG have just announced that Andy Nellis has won the user vote for Oracle Scene.

Congratulations Andy.

I did stand for this and I wanted to do so to continue my volunteering for UKOUG, but I'm not disappointed, Andy will make a great Editor and I hope he will go on to other roles in UKOUG.

Read his linked profile, UKOUG is very lucky. He has been an end user and had many roles within the user and partner community.

Andy l has been on the Apps Conference group for a few years and has a wide experience within the Oracle World and the big winner here is all of UKOUG.