My standard take on the two conferences is that OpenWorld is more fun but you learn more at the UKOUG. This is because OpenWorld is usually dominated by Oracle's marketing and placed presentations (there is no open Call For Papers). The UKOUG is independent of Oracle and casts its net wider. Consequently you generally get a better range of speakers and topics, and a more honest appraisal of Oracle's products. However, OpenWorld07 was a valuable learning experience for me and - compared to previous years - quite low key in the hype department. So the UKOUG Conference has a tougher challenge this year.
One thing I do know is Birmingham in December will not be T-Shirt weather.
For those of us on the committee the conference starts at 16:15 on Sunday with the Volunteers' meeting. Followed by a few sherbets at a local watering-hole.
Monday, 3rd December 2007
12:10-13:10 - "Avoiding Avoidable Disasters and Surviving Survivable Ones" : Hall Exec 8
I felt like easing myself into the conference, so I chose my first session for its potential entertainment value (which isn't to say it won't be useful too). The speaker is the Martin Widlake and it's got another one of his arresting titles. I'm chairing this one.
13:30-14:15 - "TimesTen: Anatomy of an In-Memory Database" : Hall 11a
Having attended Susan Cheung's session at OOW2K7 I now know something about TimesTen, and its capabilities. So I know right now it's not appropriate for my current project, but I want to find out more because I think it has some interesting potential for future projects.
14:10-15:10 - "Oracle right to reply on Oracle Licensing" : Hall 1
This is a roundtable facilitated by Mr UKOUG himself, Ronan Miles. I have only just noticed that this is Oracle's response, I guess to the earlier session by from Rocela. I thought it was going to be a chance for us, the customers, to have a therapeutic bitch about Oracle's licensing policies. Apparently not. Given that it is a round table the agenda can be seized by the attendees, so ....
15:20-16:05 - "An Industrial Engineer's Approach to Oracle Management and Performance" : Hall 11b
Like most conferences these days the UKOUG is dominated by features and functionality rather than process. This session from Cisco's Robyn Sands is one of the exceptions. I'm chairing this one.
17:35-18:35 - "11g new features for DBAs" : Hall 1
I didn't get to see Tom Kyte strutting his technical stuff at OOW2K7, because I knew I was going to catch him here.
Monday rounds off with the Bloggers' drinks. Once again the redoubtable Mark Rittman has organised this and arranged for a cash injection from the UKOUG team. Nice one, Mark.
Tuesday, 4th December 2007
09:00-10:00 - "Oracle SQL Developer Latest Features" : Hall 5
I've downloaded the recent SQL Developer patch but haven't really used it much. Sue Harper should provide some inspiration. I'm chairing this one.
10:20-11:05 - "Harvesting the Advantages of a Database Centric Development Approach" : Hall 8a
I haven't heard Toon Koppelaars talk before but I have heard of him. The topic is a key area for me. I'm chairing this one.
11:15-12:15 - "11g new features for DevelopersSs" : Hall 1
A mad dash over to the main hall to see Tom Kyte give expression to the other side of his personality. I'm chairing this one.
13:30-14:15 - "The Duplicity of Duplicate Rows" : Hall 9
For the third year running Dr Hugh Darwen will be giving us a bracing dose of database theory. I'm chairing this one (which is the end of my chairing duties).
14:25-15:25 - "Understanding Statspack" : Hall 1
It's always good to hear Jonathan Lewis talk about anything.
17:30 - 20:00 - "COMMUNITY FOCUS PUBS"
I'll be reprazentin' the Development Engineering SIG at wherever we get allocated. Probably lumped in with the MAD and App Server SIGs. These are birds-of-a-feather things where you can meet people who have the same Oracle interests as you, so do come along.
Wednesday, 5th December 2007
10:40-11:25 - "Every Performance Problem Is One Of Two Things" : Hall 5
James Morle with a promising title. If it was followed by "Discuss" it could fit nicely into a Philosophy exam paper.
12:30-13:15 - "Modelling on the cheap" :
As Mike Yarwood used to, "And this is me." At the time of writing I am still working on the words but I have met all the other deadlines (just!) so I should be alright. However I am open to taking this one off-piste, so if you have some opinions or suggestions about alternatives to expensive CASE tools please bring them along.
I am leaving UKOUG on the Wednesday afternoon. I might attend another session or so, it depends how I feel.