Archive for the ‘Kaleidoscope’ Category

Guest Blogger: Ron Backmann

As I look back at all the conferences that I have been to and been involved with, ODTUG’s Kscope is by far the most informative and least sales orientated. We have been attending ODTUG’s Kscope conference for the last five years and have made great friends. I am a consistent advocate for this conference and bestow its virtues to all in our organization that will listen. The content of the sessions is in-depth and includes best known practices of the users of the products. The conference points out the “gotchas” that exist within the software and allows the “users” to affect future development and deployment of the software.

Okay that is the business portion of this post.

This conference is the most fun anyone should be allowed to have. The planned events by the ODTUG team have always been fun and great networking opportunities. Though I am partial to the APEX track, I have met and enjoyed the company of others at the conference as well. I have used these opportunities to pick the brains of all people involved with ODTUG and several APEX luminaries such as:

•         New Orleans: speaking with the late Carl Backstrom watching his beloved Lakers

•         Texas Hold’em games in Washington, D.C., Monterey, and Long Beach with Joel Kallman, David Peake, Jason Straub, and our Canadian friends Francis Mignault, Patrick Bonneville, and Martin Giffy D’Souza

•         Going out in Long Beach with our friends from across the pond John Scott, Dimitri Gielis, and Baby AE

•         Learning all about Apex Lib from Patrick Wolf

•         Learning everything about collections from Dan McGhan

•         Winning a bet against Scott Spendolini when the Packers beat the Steelers

•         Meeting the very calming persons of Doug Gault and Raj Mattamal

•         Hanging out with Monty

Do you notice a theme here?

And all the others that I have missed in this post, I have learned a great deal from all of you in sessions and afterwards. I have benefited from your openness and willingness to share your vast knowledge and enthusiasm with a person who was tasked to replace a couple of spreadsheets. Which has now grown into an infrastructure of several Terabytes of data supported by an APEX front-end that gets 3M+ page views a month and supports 1,500 concurrent users across the United States.

I consider all of you my friends. Thank you ODTUG and the APEX community.

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Community Service Day is and ODTUG/Kscope tradition of giving back to our host community.  Check out Serving Your Community by Mike Riley.

In 2008, our first Community Service Day was in New Orleans where we helped repair a school.  Lewis Cunningham wrote about it ODTUG Kaleidoscope: Day Of Service.

In 2009 we went to Monterey and helped the Big Sur Land Trust eradicate an invasive plant species.  Debra Lilly wrote about her experience: ODTUG Community Service Day.

In 2010 we coordinated with Greater DC Cares and helped improve a school.  Check out Tim Tow’s Kaleidoscope 2010 Community Service Day.

In 2011 we were in Long Beach and worked to improve the Boys and Girls Club. Developing a Better Community.

And this year we are working with the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio!  We want you to be a part of this tradition.  When you register for Kscope12, be sure to indicate that you are interested in participating in the Community Service Day.  If you are unable to attend but still would like to help our efforts you can become a sponsor.  NO DONATION IS TOO SMALL!

For more information on Kscope12’s Community Service Day please visit our website http://kscope12.com/events/community-service-day.

Here is a video from Kscope11 Community Service Day

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While attending ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010 in Washington DC, the most popular form of transportation around town was the DC Metro system.  After leaving Washington, I realized that I had a few Metro cards still in my pocket.  They weren’t very expensive, and lots of folks might have just torn them up and thrown them away.

Knowing that John Flack lives in the DC area, I contacted him about finding someone to use the cards.  I would have been happy if John would have been able to use them.  However, John knew of a better way to get rid of these cards.  He contacted a co-worker who gives her time at a charity.  Of course, she would be able to find a use for them.  I sent the cards to John in July, and received something back shortly thereafter noting the charitable donation.  I felt good that they would be put to good use.

This past week, I received a piece of mail that surprised me.  It was a handwritten letter from Sister Lawrence Marie Callahan with the Daughters of Charity in Washington.  Rather than relay exactly what was said, I’ve attached the letter to this blog post (click this link:  Letter from Sister Lawrence Marie Callahan).

It is nice to receive some small thanks for the things that you do.  And the things that you do really can make a difference.  I hope everyone reading this blog post will reach out and do some small bit of kindness for someone else today.

Thanks also to John Flack for helping find a good place to donate these cards.

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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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Sunday at Kaleidoscope 2010 – Symposia Sunday

The first official day of the conference started with four different Symposia to choose from:  APEX:  From A to Z, Oracle EPM and Essbase Symposium, Performance, Scalability and Security, and the SOA and BPM Symposium.  These full day Symposia started out several years ago as an add-on to the conference (thanks Dr. Paul Dorsey), and have evolved through the years to offer multiple different topic areas, and are now an integral part of the conference.

Sunday this year was a little different as we have moved the conference off of starting on Father’s Day.  The 2011 conference also avoids Father’s Day.  We did not announce this change, but I believe that many of the fathers in attendance had an easier choice to make this year.  I know that my kids were happy to celebrate Father’s Day with me this year, which hasn’t happened for a while.

My Kids

(The above is a picture of my kids in front of the White House in Washington, their first ODTUG experience!).

Our Speaker/Ambassador meeting this year was enhanced this year by providing refreshments.  Hint:  to get involved for the first time at ODTUG Kscope 11, a great way to start is to volunteer to ambassador a session.  This allows you to get a cool keepsake (this year, a nice beige ballcap with the ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010 logo on it), and meet the speaker one on one.  When I started out volunteering with ODTUG, this was one of the first things that I did.  It is the easiest way to get introduced to a speaker, and to help the conference run smoothly.

ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010 Ambassador Hat

Immediately afterwards, the Welcome Reception started.  This was the attendees first chance to mingle with the Vendors (thanks to all of the vendors that helped make ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010 such a huge success!)  As a special treat, we hosted a “Battle of the Rock Bands”.  This was a fun way to interact with the attendees, break the ice, and have some fun.  I hope that you got a chance to participate.  To see a video of one of the bands, you can check it out here.

There are several more days of the conference to run through.  I encourage the attendees that were there to comment on this blog about your experiences.  I also encourage those of you that took pictures while at the conference to tag them with ODTUG or ODTUG2010, and upload them to Flickr or another photo sharing site.  Leave me a comment as to where they are.  We’d like to share them with everyone that was there, and to show how much fun we had to those that were unable to attend.

Don’t miss out on Kscope 11 – Where the Cool Kids Are!  Registration is already open, and presentation abstract submission is also open.

If you attended Kaleidoscope 2010, you can access the presentations and papers via the Schedule Builder here.

See you in Long Beach!

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After a brief rest post-Kaleidoscope 2010, I’ve decided to start posting entries again to my blog. I’d like to relate some of the things that happened during that busy week.

Saturday, June 26, the day before the official start of ODTUG Kaleidoscope, many ODTUGgers took part in the third annual Community Service Day. This time, our warriors took on Ron Brown Middle School. Landscaping, library work, and painting a playground were among the tasks our team took on. Not only were they working on the school, but they were also fighting the heat of Washington, DC. June 2010 was one of the hottest on record. The team worked for a half day, and while I only have a picture showing the end result of their efforts on the playground, rest assured that ODTUG made a difference this day in DC.

Ron Brown Middle School

(Credit goes to Warren Capps for the preceding picture. I erroneously left out the credit on my original post. Warren is not only a long time ODTUG friend and presenter, but he also is our official photographer and has many memorable pictures from this as well as many other Kaleidoscope conferences in the past – Warren, you have my sincere apologies for not putting you in the credits in the original post!)

Also, Warren also created a wonderful video of the community service day. You can watch it here.

If you like Warren’s photo or video, drop him a line, or leave a comment on this blog. I’ll make sure and get word to Warren!

After having some pizza for lunch, the gang came back to the hotel via Metro, with just enough time to take a quick shower and head to the lobby to watch the US in the World Cup game. The World Cup ended up being just one of the many interesting networking opportunities to be found during the conference. Not only was the game shown in the lobby and bar of the hotel, ODTUG made sure we had games being shown in three different locations: our main registration desk, downstairs outside the Washington rooms, and then in the exhibit hall on large screens. The ODTUG Board sported light blue soccer jerseys, speakers got to wear dark blue soccer jerseys, and the conference committee had bright orange jerseys to wear.

ODTUG Soccer Jerseys

I’ll post more in the coming days about things that happened at ODTUG Kaleidoscope. However, with the success of this year’s conference, we’ve decided to open up registration for next year’s conference at this time. We already have several paid registrations, and paper submissions are already being submitted for presentations. I hope you’re making plans to be at Kscope 11, in Long Beach, California next June.

For some pictures from ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010, Markus Eisele took some great photos, and these are available on flickr with the following URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/myfear/sets/72157624362673042/

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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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John Flack (in blue shirt) receives 2008 Editor's Choice Award

June 9th is last day to register at Advance Registration rates for ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010. Save $300.00 off the Standard Registration rate.

I asked longtime ODTUG friend, speaker, attendee, volunteer, and 2008 Editor’s Choice Award winner John Flack to share some of his thoughts about ODTUG Kaleidoscope, and also about Washington, DC. So, without further ado, here we go!

MR: Who should Kaleidoscope attendees plan on seeing a session from, and why?

JF: “I’m glad to see Warren Capps back as a presenter, and I’m looking forward to his Data Modeling presentation.  I think so many problems can be solved early on if people will take the time to model their data first.  I see that Warren will be looking at features of the database that can make development easier.

I’m heavily into development with JDeveloper and ADF, so I’ll be going to many sessions in that area.  I’m always impressed by the number of people that Oracle sends to Kaleidoscope.  I’m glad to see that Peter Koletzke and Duncan Mills, are doing a presentation on the JDev/ADF deployment process.  They are both great presenters, and I really need this topic.”

MR: What differentiates Kaleidoscope as a conference from other conferences out there?

JF: “The focus on developers is unparalleled, and the number of people is just right.  There are enough great developers there to make sure that there will be at least one person that is doing the kind of things you are doing, and few enough that you will get to meet that person.  Just watch who’s attending the same sessions you are, and strike up a conversation.”

MR: Can you tell us what your best memory is from a Kaleidoscope conference that you’ve attended previously?

JF: “I’ve always appreciated the international contingent at Kaleidoscope.  One morning I had a lovely breakfast with some of our attendees from Denmark.   We didn’t talk shop, and I forget exactly what we did talk about, but I’ll remember the good feeling for a long time.”

Here’s a quote from John about ODTUG Kaleidoscope – “Great developers helping developers – how could you help learning something worth the price of admission?”

MR: If you’ve been to Washington before, can you recommend one thing that a first time visitor should take advantage of while visiting during Kaleidoscope?

JF: “I’m a native of the Washington area, born in Georgetown, raised in Springfield, live in Alexandria, and work in Arlington.  Take off early one evening and head to the Kennedy Center.  There is a free shuttle from the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro station.  Every evening at 6PM there is a free (yes, FREE) 45-60 minute performance on the Millennium stage in the foyer.  Performances range the entire gamut of musical styles, and occasionally theater and dance as well.  You can see the schedule of daily  performances at http://www.kennedycenter.com/programs/millennium/schedule.html

You may have heard bad things about our Metro system, and be worried about your safety on the system, especially after the accident that happened while we were in Monterey last year.  I ride Metro to work every day, and it has always been clean, comfortable and safe.  It is also far preferable to the horrors of our traffic.  Despite the problems, I still advise you, don’t rent a car, take Metro.  It goes everywhere you’ll want to go (except Georgetown, but there’s a bus shuttle for that) and will get you there more safely than by car.

Don’t rent a car, you won’t need one. The hotel is right next to a Metrorail stop on the red line. Most of the attractions you’ll want to see are accessible by Metro. Reagan National Airport is on the Metro.

If you’re on a budget, and don’t mind a little crowding, Metrobus’s 5A line goes from the L’Enfant Plaza and Rosslyn Metrorail stations to Dulles Airport for $3.10 and the B30 bus goes from Greenbelt station to BWI Airport for the same price. There is a more comfortable Washington Flyer bus that goes to Dulles from the West Falls Church station for $10.00 each way or $18.00 round trip.

Been here, done that? Here’s a suggestion for some attractions you probably haven’t seen: Go to the Brookland/Catholic University station. Walk toward Catholic University to see the magnificent Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in America. Nearby is the Pope John Paul II Center which houses a very good art collection. Or from the station go about half a mile in the opposite direction to the Franciscan Monastery. The monastery is like a one stop tour of religious sites from around the world – it has duplicates of such places as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Shrine of Lourdes, and Roman Catacombs.

If you bring your kids, take them to the zoo. It is a short walk from the hotel, *free*, and one of the best in the country.”

Thanks for all of the information John!  I’ll see you in a couple of weeks!

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