Tag Archives: OUGF

The importance of meetup.com

The Oracle community convenes at the various events, SIG-meetings and gatherings that are organized by the national Oracle User Group organizations. This is, for my reckoning, one if the most important parts of the power of the Oracle user community.

During these events, local Oracle stars are joined by the travelling Rock Stars of the Oracle Tech community, together they share knowledge and experience to teach and learn about the tricks of the trace. As said many times before, by people much greater than me, this is truly a unique and powerful way to nurture and grow the combined knowledge about Oracle products and the best ways to use them. My favorite quote remains that of Monty Laitiolais: “This truly is a celebration of Tech!” where he obviously was referring to the yearly KScope happening, but which easily translates to many of the Oracle events around the globe.

Since quite a while now, the phenomenon meetup.com has emerged. It is an on-line place where people can initiate meet ups of like-minded people. Either being a small initiative with just a few people in a cafe up to bigger, or perhaps more commercially colored, happenings. Whatever the subject or idea, from travel to innovation and from hobby to profession, you can find a meet up to suit your needs.

Even though the richness and the broadness of the activities of the Oracle User Group organizations worldwide, recently I have seen more and more activities of Oracle aficionados on Meetup.com.
As far as I recall, the ever-vibrant APEX community started organizing these kinds of events under the flag of APEX-meet ups, using this platform. Gathering to share best practices and share experiences about APEX and all the various bit and pieces that adhere to this technology.
If you would look at the following list you would conclude that it even has quite a big list of meetups there… The adoption of meetup.com by the Oracle community is growing rapidly.

Is this a bad thing for the ‘regular’ Oracle user community?

I think not.

From my experiences participating in both “regular” Oracle user group events as well as in Oracle-related meet ups, I think they have a complimentary function.
The traditional user group events are usually more “speaker – audience” oriented, which is a very good format for educating and teaching. A format that is indispensable because it enables a larger group of people to gain knowledge and understanding quickly and effectively.
The meetups have a, let’s call it, more informal character, one where the interchange of information and knowledge is more of a group event. And, let’s face it, the social aspect of meetups is also a little more on the foreground, which in itself is a good thing too.
The need for this kind of contact already was there in the form of SIG’s. During the traditional events, with the emerging of the round-table phenomenon, this has been even more obvious.

Conclusive I would like to state: Let’s embrace meet ups. Go find or organize a meet up – preferably about our much-loved Oracle technology – in your neighborhood. Find and inspire people, share, learn and laugh! It is worth your time, I can tell from experience.

My Oracle 2014, what a blast…

Twenty-fourteen… What a year!

As the year draws to a close, I just wanted to take a few minutes to look back at the passed crazy 12 months… Crazy from a personal as well as a professional point of view!

ougfIn June things took off for the Oracle stuff with a visit to OUGF14. My second real talk after starting to speak in UKOUG-Tech13. Plus the bonus, the first ever Round Table on Oracle Standard Edition, together with my friend Philippe Fierens and the support of Ann Sjökvist. Always imagined, never experienced, the way technology binds people. For all the events happening in Haltia, Finland, please read this post.
OUFG14 was also where I met Gurcan Orhan for the first time. My partner in (hard) rockin’ Oracle stuff!! Together with my international peers, we have quite a team and this makes me super proud.

I owe an apology to the Scotts! I should have been in Linlithgow presenting. I was honored to be selected to travel to the beautiful city of Edinburgh in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, but there were to many things going on, so I had to cancel. I am so sorry!!Scotland

The next stop on the agenda was Oracle Open World. But before I could pack my bags, up and leave, there was A LOT of work to be done at VIR e-Care Solutions coordinating and rolling out a brand new Oracle infrastructure to all of their clients.
And not alone that, there was a trip to Hamburg for Dbvisit with a presentation at the DOAG Data Replication SIG meeting, organized by Johannes Ahrends. Of course, also Björn Rost was present, plus a number of the other representatives of the data replication scene in Germany.

Oracle Open World was not the high-point of 2014, which was somewhat surprising, actually… I cannot really put my finger on it, because the days were packed with good stuff, unexpected encounters and many more goodies… But somehow, the second time around, and with a lot more OUG-experience, it didn’t crack up to be event Numero Uno of 2014! I can safely say, looking back, that national Oracle User Group events are more interesting. You get to have more quality time with the people you just get to meet a few times a year.
Still, with all the content and with everything that happened… And especially the lunch with Martin NStretchedLimoash in the sun at the CCM as well as the unparalleled drive by Stretched Limo to Treasure Island, hosted by Portrix (Henning and Björn) with Yuri Velikanov, Ilmar Kerm and others. I am not complaining!!

Coming back from America there was a huge surprise and honor for me.

ACEAssociateNominated by my peers, Oracle Corp. saw it fit to award my efforts for the Oracle Community with the Oracle ACE Associate recognition. I had never thought or expected this to be a possibility for me, so this was a complete surprise which started a chain of events, ending at the end of this post.

The final event for 2014 was the DOAG Jahreskonferenz in Nuremberg. I guess the biggest event in Europe and the biggest even for me by means of contributions. I had my “Pre-APEX” talk, there was the second edition of the Standard Edition Round Table, co-hosted by Philippe and chaired by Johannes Ahrends!! What a shock 😉 There was the Data Replication forum and Dbvisit #RepAttack!
DOAG also, and again, brought a sheer endless list of new and re-encounters with Oracle Hero’s. My good friend Peter Raganitsch was also there…

At the end of the year, you would think that you would be “home free”, right?

Well 2014 had a last trick up it’s sleeve! The year ended with me saying goodbye at VIR e-Care Solutions BV. After 16 years we had to decide to break up. It’s like tearing off a band-aid. You do it quick and it hurts less, but still…

So, I am a free man!

With this last development, set in the light of everything I had the chance of doing this year, it has been a great deal to handle. The first visit to Oracle Open World, back in 2010 has started a chain of events that has invoked some quite unforeseen twists and turns. It all looks and feels like it has been worth it, but it has indeed taken it’s toll.
Currently I am enjoying some well deserved but also much needed time off with my wife and family and I will start thinking about new ventures in a bit.
Please take a look here and here for some more information!!

Rest assured, there are some new ideas and they are EXCITING!!!
One of them being that  I will be speaking at #OUGN15, better known as the boat conference, with a brand new talk.
But hey, we’re looking back here and I wouldn’t want to spoil too much of the surprise.

Stay tuned…

OUGF Harmony 2014 #ougf14


I flew out today to Finland. And I ended up having the opportunity to share my flight with Björn Rost.
The reason this time was to participate in the (meanwhile legendary) Oracle User Group Finland presentation.

After arriving I got picked up by Ann Sjökvist and we travelled to Oracle Finland HQ for a meeting in preparation for the World Premiere of the Oracle Standard Edition Round Table. After this meeting Ann dropped me of at GLO art Hotel, which looks like an ancient castle for her to proceed in the preparations for OUGF14.
A little later I went out on the town with Alex Nuijten to find the rest of the international crew, and we did! We joined forces with some of the biggest names in the Oracle community today like:

we took the legendary Helsinki City Sight Seeing tour by Heli which led us to the Speaker Dinner, where the crew was complete, adding:

and many more!!

Day two, the start of OUGF Harmony 2014, started with a nice stroll down to Helsinki City Center where we met up with all the speakers and participants of the convention to travel down to Haltia Finnish Nature Center.
At this greatest of all venues, you could be for a tech convention, we had breakfast to kickoff the convention by a keynote presentation by Heli Helskyaho.
And this day got to be even better than it started.
The keynote by James Morle  made it clear that opinions matter where IT is concerned. Arguably the best keynote seen in many years! Mindless following of Marketing-ized ideas, best practice and Google will turn you into an idiot instead of a genius.
There were a lot of good session, more than anyone could attend…

The sessions I attended (besides the keynotes) were:

  • Gurcan Orhan: How to handle DEV & TEST & PROD for ODI – with a perfect example of how quickly a smart implementation can become utterly intricated for nothing
  • Björn Rost: The Ins and Outs of Flashback Data archives – explaining the use of flashback even within a Standard Edition environment
  • Keynote: Bryn Llewellyn: PL/ SQL Enhancements in Oracle Database 12c

At 14:00 I had the opportunity to host my own talk on APEX for Electronic Patients Records (if you are interested in the slides, please drop me a line), having a good attendance. The day ended with a nice musical performance of a band formed by Oracle employees while some preferred the sauna experience and a dive in the lake near the venue.

SaunaJumpMost of the participants returned to Helsinki while a small group of heroes stayed on site for a camp close to the venue.

Day three, the second day of the convention started with a keynote by Graham Wood of the Real World Performance Group while the twitter-stream on #ougf14 was revived showing camping and jumping pictures (a tradition initiated by Yuri Velikanov) from the day before!
In preparation of the Oracle Standard Edition awareness campaign I followed the well attended session from Ann Sjökvist talking about the Standard Edition DBA, a different approach to the trade.

At 12:00 we kicked off the first ever Oracle Standard Edition Round Table which was quite a succes! In a very lively discussion we got to discuss CPU’s, sockets, tooling, investments, bridging gaps and creating awareness to leverage the #1 database in the world for even many more situations and projects as we are all used to!! We even got to launch a brand new three letter IT acronym “TCL” which represents the Total Cost of (data) Loss for an organization.

With many unique get togethers this day also slowly drawn to a close. On request of Björn Rost the entire remaining gathering of Oracle enthusiasts made The Jump which, for me, was a unique experience, captured by Philippe (we had to jump a few times, yes :-))

As often, the best is kept for last! By ways of being the cherry on the cake, during the “hunt for food” by The Pragmas, downtown Helsinki, we stumbled on the Helskyaho-company at Yume (or even Twitter), possibly the best restaurant of Helsinki and they were so good to invite us to join them. This way we got to spend a dinner in the company of the legendary Chris Date which will possibly be a once in a lifetime experience.

Legendary impomptu get togetherWith OUGF Harmony 2014, the standards for Oracle Usergroup conferences again was raised by a magnitude! A great job by our Finnish friends and a promise for next year.