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Oracle OpenWorld 2010 is over!  While I had to leave early Tuesday (the paying job takes precedence over the volunteer job), there are many things to talk about that happened while I was at OpenWorld this year.  I’ll attempt to cover a few of them in this posting.

Saturday Night, the ODTUG Board and YCC staff got together to discuss our plans and obligations for the week.  With Sunday User Forum, MySQL Sunday, and Oracle Develop to attend to during the week, along with many other meetings, this was an important start to the week.  It was nice for everyone to see everyone again, and to recharge and energize for the tasks ahead during the week.  Below is a picture of fellow Board Members Barbara Morris and Monty Latiolais at the dinner at Annabelle’s Bar and Bistro.

Saturday Evening Dinner before OpenWorld 2010

Sunday morning, I had a breakfast meeting with IOUG President Andy Flower, and IOUG Executive Vice President John Matelski.  Networking with other user group leaders is one of the prime benefits of attending Oracle OpenWorld.  Thanks for breakfast, gentlemen!  Sunday at OpenWorld, we were split between three different areas at OpenWorld.  As always, we occupied Moscone West for the Sunday User Forum Day, and had four different Symposia to choose from.  All of the sessions were well attended, and we tried to make sure someone was onhand at each session to hand out flyers and raffle entries (where we were giving out a free registration to Kscope11, to be held in Long Beach, CA June 26-30, 2011).  We also manned our booth on the second floor of Moscone West.  This is always a popular area, as attendees get to learn about many of the Oracle User Groups, not just ODTUG.  In fact, this may be the best place to find out information about user groups while attending Oracle OpenWorld.  I am confident that each and every user group is willing to talk with you about your interests, and if you are not a good fit for that user group, we are all willing to recommend each other to those in attendance.  There are many user groups, and we are all here for one reason and one reason only – to support the users in the best way possible.  If you were there, leave a comment on this blog posting to let us know what you thought of the day.

The second area that we supported was the MySQL Sunday program.  This program was new to OpenWorld this year, and was held in the Marriott Marquis hotel, just down the street from Moscone West.  Kathleen McCasland, ODTUG’s Executive Director, manned our area during this program, answering questions about ODTUG and providing information about our upcoming Kscope11 conference, mentioned above.  This event was well attended, and many of those in attendance were interested in learning more about ODTUG.

The last area that ODTUG Board Members supported was at the Java User Group Forum, which was held at Moscone South.  Since the Java User Groups are well established, this is a great opportunity to network with the other leaders of user groups.  We all have a lot to learn from each other, and would do well to take advantage the opportunities to do so.

Sunday was a busy day, and one that kept us hopping all day long.  My thanks to all those that spoke on behalf of ODTUG, those in attendance, and the ODTUG Board and YCC Staff that helped support the user group during this hectic day.  To wind things down in the evening, OpenWorld attendees got experience an Oktoberfest, Oracle OpenWorld style.  From what I hear, this was a fun time, with many different beers available for your consumption.

This was the first year that I was unable to attend the Welcome Reception.  Being named an Oracle ACE earlier this year, I was invited to attend my first ACE/ACE Director event.  Thanks to Oracle, OTN, and of course Justin Kestelyn, Vikki Lira and Lillian Buziak for putting on a first class event.  Having a large number of Oracle ACEs and ACE Directors in attendance, this was a great opportunity to network with the best of the best in the Oracle technology world.  I had a great time talking with many old friends, and making some new friends as well.  Fellow ODTUG Board Members Jerry Ireland and John King, newly minted Oracle ACEs as well, were at the event as well.

You may ask where the Oracle ACE/ACE Director event was held?  Well, this was quite a treat.  We were bused across town from the Hilton to the wharf, and took over the Commodore Chardonnay for the evening.  We had dinner aboard the boat, and cruised the San Francisco Bay for a wonderful evening.  The moon was close to full, and the fog held off long enough for us to enjoy the evening on the deck.  Thanks especially to my dinner mates at the table:  Edward Roske, Danielle White, Glenn Schwartzberg, Tim Tow, and Chis Bucchere.  I had a nice time talking with other ACE and ACE Directors including Cary Millsap, Debra Lilley, and Todd Sheetz.  I even (very briefly) finally got to say hello to Oraclenerd (Chet Justice).  I promise, we’ll talk longer the next time that we meet!  I also spent some of my time talking to both Lillian and Vikki, thanking them for putting on the event, and also starting discussions about the ACE/ACE Director Program and Kscope11.  Stay tuned for more details as the event gets closer.  I’ll put a couple of pictures of mine in this posting, and here is a link to Markus Eisele’s picture of the Bay Bridge from the boat.  Markus’s blog can be found here.

Alcatraz Island from the Bay

Ghirardelli Square from the Bay at Night

Bay Bridge and Downtown San Francisco

Monday at OpenWorld, ODTUG was split in two different ways (at least).  We manned our booth once again at Moscone West.  In addition, we had a table at Develop/JavaOne that we took care of.  This table was located at the tent outside the Hilton/Parc55/Nikko, about 6 blocks from Moscone West.  The tent acted like a hothouse, and until the air conditioning was figured out, was very uncomfortable.  We had a lot of traffic at this location, and for many in the Java Community, this was their first chance to learn a little bit about ODTUG.  The hottest giveaway though was our ODTUG “ODTUGGER” tug boat.  Many people wanted this for their kids, but this also got the traffic moving to our spot.  Here is a picture of our boat.

ODTUGger

Monday evening was capped off with the first ever ODTUG Meetup!  Held at the Thirsty Bear Brewing Company.  We hosted around 100 of our closest friends:  speakers, Oracle Product Managers, attendees, and other user group leaders.  We had a great time, good food, and good beer for everyone.  This was our little way of providing another networking opportunity for everyone.  Despite all of the other receptions going on, and OTN Night, we had a very good turnout for our event.  We will need to evaluate the success of this event to determine whether we’d like to do it again next year, but personally, I think this was a clear winner.  I hope that we can continue this tradition next year.

I had a mid-morning flight on Tuesday, so that is all of the coverage that I can provide you of OpenWorld.  I missed the Appreciation Event on Treasure Island, as I understand that the Black Eyed Peas, Steve Miller Band, and Don Henley all rocked the San Francisco Bay.  Maybe I’ll be able to attend next year

Thanks to Oracle for putting on a great event, to OTN, Vikki, Lillian and Justin for your hospitality, to the city of San Francisco for having such a great city, and to our attendees and speakers for your outstanding support and representation of ODTUG at this event!

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As I run through the days, I realize that Monday may have been the most nerve-wracking for me.  Starting off with the General Session, it is our chance to address the attendees by giving them updates on ODTUG activities, conference news, awards, etc…

One of the first pieces of news that I was able to talk about was the fact that our attendance and paid attendance grew by 50% from 2009.  This continues an upward trend for ODTUG Kaleidoscope.  In 2009, our attendance grew (not by this large amount) when the economy was in trouble and every other conference was down on attendance by 30% or more.  In 2010, most conferences that I have heard of are reporting gains on attendance from 2009 numbers.  While this is true (and congratulations to the other independent Oracle user groups for their growth numbers), I don’t believe that anyone has claimed the growth that we have experienced.  This is not the result of a single event or decision, a single person, or luck.  I believe that this is a result of the entire team responsible for the conference:  the conference committee, the content teams, the volunteers, speakers, Oracle ACE and ACE Directors, Oracle itself, and all of the rest of the vendors.  In addition, our management team at YCC, led by Kathleen McCasland, the ODTUG Executive Director, is the best in the business, and a true partner with ODTUG in every initiative.  Thanks to everyone that made this conference a success!

We announced our SP Conference was going international, planned for Brussels, Belgium.  I’ll talk more about this in an upcoming post.  Another special announcement was that we are hosting a second SP conference this fall, this one in Dallas, Texas.  Again, I’ll have more details in another post later on in the blog.

Next, co-conference chairs John Jeunnette and Jerry Ireland took the stage to talk about the conference, and hand out some awards.  Speaker awards from the 2009 conference went to Michael Rosenblum, Sten Vesterli, and Cameron Lackpour.  The Editor’s Choice Award for the best paper for the 2010 conference went to Cary Millsap.  Congratulations to all of our award winners.

The next announcement came in the form of announcing the 2011 Conference Chair.  Oracle ACE Director Edward Roske was named as the 2011 Conference Chair.  Edward then led the attendees through a fun, fast paced look at Kscope 11, and announced the location of Long Beach, California.  Our special event in 2011 will be held on the Queen Mary.  Edward also used text messaging for live polls of the audience in real-time during his talk at the general session.  The challenge is in front of Edward and his conference committee to make 2011 event better than 2010.  I’ll be working with them side by side to help make this happen.

Edward Roske, Kscope 11 Conference Chair

Then, I had the extreme privilege of introducing our keynote speaker, Lee Rainie.  Lee talked about the social impact of the internet, and the many surveys that  the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has conducted recently.  Lee was a very interesting keynote speaker, one that had broad appeal to our widely varied attendees.

After a full day of conference activities, we hosted the “Sundown Sessions with the Oracle ACE Directors”.  These sessions, all hosted by Oracle ACE Directors, is a big hit with our attendees.  After this was over, we welcomed the Java Bus for a stop on its Code to Coast Roadtrip.  This was a good event that supports Oracle and demonstrates their commitment to the Java Community.  To see a video of the Kaleidoscope stop, click here.

We also presented Vikki Lira and Lillian Buziak (unfortunately, Lillian was unable to attend Kaleidoscope) with the Oracle Contributor of the Year Award.  I can think of no one more deserving than these two ladies, due to their support of the entire user community, the Oracle ACEs and ACE Directors, and ODTUG specifically.  Congratulations once again, Vikki and Lillian.

Vikki Lira receives the Oracle Contributor of the Year Award for 2010

However, from a personal standpoint, the highlight of my evening was being presented with an Oracle ACE Award.  I am very proud of this accomplishment, and was surprised to receive it at the conference.  Thanks to all who made this happen!

My Oracle ACE Award

A busy day, one that had lots of learning opportunities for all attendees, and many meetings that I needed to attend behind the scenes.  Next, I’ll look at Tuesday’s happenings.  Maybe they’ll be a bit shorter.

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ODTUG Board Member John King contributes the following blog post on the first couple of days of ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010.

“Rah-rah Ron Brown Rockets! ODTUG Kaleidoscope‘s 2010 community project enhanced Ron Brown Middle School in the Deanwood section of Washington DC. Volunteers worked organizing the library (some books about computers were dated from the 1970’s!), landscaping (pretty flowers!), and painting the playground’s basketball and other game courts. It was a hot but satisfying day; plenty of water was on hand and we were rewarded at lunchtime with pizza! Finally, we mounted a custom ODTUG-volunteer created sign on the playground that spells out “Ron Brown Rockets” in bright colors that can be seen clearly from far away. Great job all! Many of us finished the afternoon watching the World Cup in the hotel bar after cooling off in a shower and changing clothes. ODTUG Kaleidoscope is international (33 countries represented this year) so the USA-Ghana match had vocal supporters on both sides; we had a great time!

Kaleidoscope’s FREE Sunday symposiums were busy with lots of interesting and entertaining discussions. ODTUGgers learned about APEX, Hyperion/Essbase, SOA, and Web architecture in a busy day of learning. Tonight’s opening reception offers a “battle of the bands” where ODTUGgers from around the world (33 countries represented at ODTUG Kaleidoscope this year) use the supplied instruments to demonstrate musical talents.

Monday’s keynote was  the “Future of the Internet and its Social Impact” keynote by Lee Rainie, Director of the PEW Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. We’ll also be looking forward to a visit from the Oracle “Java Bus” as it makes its journey around the US.”

Thanks for this, John!

More on Monday in  a later post.  Whew!  The week has just started…

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Several things to think about in the next 10 days leading up to Kaleidoscope.

1. The Marriott Wardman Park is out of rooms. If you’re attending and haven’t reserved a room yet, you may get lucky with a cancellation, but there are several hotels on the Metro line that should have openings. The conference and location is very popular, and while I wish we could accommodate everyone, it’s not going to be possible. Here’s a good suggestion: when next year’s conference dates and location are announced, register and reserve your room as soon as possible (hint – these announcements will be made at our general session on Monday, June 28 starting at 8:30 AM).

2. The Java Bus is coming! Monday afternoon/evening, June 28, the Java “Code to Coast” Road Trip will be making a stop at ODTUG Kaleidoscope. This is an added bonus for conference attendees to experience Oracle’s commitment to the Java community. However, this event is also open to ANYONE in the local Java Community. I hope that many Java community members in the DC area come out for the evening of fun, food, drinks, and networking.

3. Social Networking will once again be big. ODTUG is happy to have people use Twitter to spread the news about Kaleidoscope. If you are new to Twitter, we’ve put up a document on our website on how to get started. Our conference hashtag will be #odtug. Each presentation has its own ID, and Tweets about specific session can be done using #odtugSnnn (where nnn = Session ID). If you search Twitter for #odtug, you will be able to see Tweets about the conference and these individual sessions. We should have a couple of display monitors onsite to view the Tweets as they come in. Several people unable to attend last year got a lot out of the interactions possible with those attending ODTUG Kaleidoscope. It’s not just for those of you already in attendance.

If you are a blogger, let us know if you will be blogging about Kaleidoscope. We’d like to see what everyone has to say!

Foursquare may also be in use at the conference. Look for other users of Foursquare, become the mayor of a room, let us know where you’re at.  DC is a great place to explore, and Foursquare is a great way to enhance your experience.

Have fun with all of the social networking in use at the conference. If you’re using something that you think is really cool and we may not know about, let us know. We’re interested in participating as well.

4. The MySQL track looks excellent. A new article was posted here on the O’Reilly Community page about the track. Check out some of the sessions if you’re already registered, and if you haven’t registered, there is still time to be a part of the greatest developer conference around. We’re happy to welcome the MySQL community to Kaleidoscope, and look forward to a long future together.

That’s it for today. If you’re going to the conference, be involved and be active. It is the best way to get the most out of the conference.

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I got the opportunity to see the Oracle Java Road Trip Bus before it kicks off on its cross-country trip. Currently the fifth stop on the “Code to Coast” trip, ODTUG Kaleidoscope should be the most attended spot on the tour. Kaleidoscope attendees will get to experience the bus, which features two video displays with separate seating areas, and two interactive stations. I met with Michelle Kovac and Jeff Spicer of Oracle for a special sneak peak as the bus was preparing to hit the road.  These two “snuck” me in to see the bus, and one of the tents that will be set up on the stops as well.  The tents are intended to play host to some demo stations and refreshments.

The trip is being done to raise awareness across the country about Oracle’s commitment to Java and the Java Community.  The bus tour is a highly visible reinforcement of their commitment to Java, and should be jam-packed at every stop.  Oracle is reaching out to each of the local user communities that stops are scheduled in to engage the Java Users.  With ODTUG Kaleidoscope, we’ll bring a built in community to the bus.  Outreach has also been done with the Northern Virginia Java User Group to invite their members to participate in the event at Kaleidoscope.  As an added bonus, ODTUG is working hard to create a Sundown Session, to be led by the Java Champions, that will be open to the public to attend.  So, the local user community will be able to take in an hour of education ODTUG Kaleidoscope style, then experience the fun of the Oracle Java Bus.

You can follow the progress of the Java Bus on Twitter by searching for the hashtag of #javaroadtrip.  There is also a nice article in the July-August issue of Oracle Magazine, which can be found here.

If you live in the Washington, DC area, please plan on attending this unique opportunity on Monday evening, June 28, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.  I hope to see you there!

Oh, did I mention that the Oracle Java Bus Tour will be featuring a mechanical surfboard for everyone’s enjoyment?

Hang ten, everyone!

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