Monday was the first day of the main part of the UKOUG Tech 14 conference, after SuperSunday’s additional content. I had a great night’s sleep and woke at 7 am, much to the disgust of Richard Foote who had been up for four hours already and didn’t seem to appreciate my #NoJetLagHere hashtag replying to his lack of sleep tweet. 🙂 I managed to get to the conference relatively dry, but realized yet again that you don’t come to Liverpool in December for the weather. 🙂
The conference itself is at the Arena and Convention Centre in Liverpool. The conference and exhibition are spread over three floors of the conference centre, with the exhibition on floor 0 (it sounds better than the basement, I guess!) and most of the presentations and the speaker’s lounge on the 2nd floor. Some of the presentations are also held in rooms off the exhibition hall. The first session timeslot didn’t hold a lot to interest me specifically, so I went to the speaker lounge and caught up on a bit of email and the like. The second session included a presentation by Joze Senegacnik, a fellow Oak Table member that I had finally met in person the previous night at the Oracle ACE dinner. His presentation was titled “The Evolvement of Oracle Performance Troubleshooting”. When we met at the ACE dinner, he described his paper as a tour of performance since Oracle 2, so that sounded pretty interesting. Not many people have been around to use a lot of those early versions, so it’s always interesting to hear from someone who experienced just how limited some of that early stuff was!
Unfortunately, Joze’s presentation was in one of the rooms off the exhibition hall and was separated from another one of those rooms by a wall that didn’t reach the roof. The end result is that neither presenter could use a microphone (as they would have drowned out the presenter in the other room) and it was quite difficult to hear, particularly as my hearing isn’t the best anyway. Still, it gave me a heads-up of what it will be like for my two papers today, as both of them are in that same room. I think I’ll have a bit of an advantage over Joze as he is a fairly quietly spoken guy, whereas I’m much more of a “basso profundo”! 🙂
After Joze’s presentation I finally got to catch up with my lovely colleague Tania Le Voi. Tania and I had worked together in the group I was with in the Enterprise Manager product management team before I moved to the DBaaS team, so it was great to actually spend some together before sharing lunch with her, James Kao and Jeff Barber (also fellow product managers in the EM team. I also caught up with a customer who has been a reader of my blog, so that’s always fun! Thanks for the positive feedback, Jon! 🙂
Straight after lunch we had the EM Roundtable slot, which is particularly valuable to us as product managers as these sessions are where we get to hear directly from customers about what they’re doing with the EM product suite, what pain points they might still have and so on. Again, this session was in one of the rooms off the exhibition hall, and if there’s one piece of feedback I would offer the UKOUG Tech 14 organizers, it would be to definitely NOT use these rooms for roundtables, as I had a lot of difficulty hearing some of the issues customers were raising. In fact, it would be better to not use these rooms at all. Those of us who have a hearing loss will realize just how difficult it can be to hear in rooms with competing presenters! The other time when I had problems hearing were in sessions that were on the second floor. From time to time during the day, there were quite heavy periods of rainfall and even hail. I don’t know what sort of material the roof of the convention centre is made from, but the noise level when it was hailing was horrendous!
Unfortunately, I had to spend most of the rest of the afternoon working on my day job, which is one of the downsides of being at a conference. I managed to be finished in time for the exhibition drinks slot, which was held in the exhibition hall. Once again, I enjoyed catching up with a few people over drinks that I hadn’t had the chance to meet in person before. I had to leave after that, so I missed the community drinks session while I went off for dinner with some customers from Barclays, an event organized by Ian Carney, a colleague from my days back in the late 90’s / early 2000’s with Oracle in the US.
All in all, a fairly enjoyable day at UKOUG Tech 14. Looking forward to tomorrow when I have two presentations to do myself, as well as more time catching up with good friends old and new!