Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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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While at the recent ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010 planning meeting in Washington, DC, I was able to fly in before anyone else arrived, and decided to take in some of the sights. I had not been to Washington, DC before, so I thought that I needed to find a unique way to see the city. Enter Capital Segway, billed as Washington DC’s only Segway Authorized Tours. While on the tour, you have an earpiece that allows you to hear the tour guide’s comments as you go along.

The tour was scheduled to last 2 hours, and includes a short time in a park to get acclimated to the Segway. While I thought I might have some trouble riding a Segway, it actually turned out to be a fun experience.

One of the first sights that we saw was where Abraham Lincoln was shot. While we only got to see the exterior (no stopping on the Segway Tour) Ford’s Theatre still brought a chill to my spine.

Ford's Theatre

Next up, we got to see Japanese Crane monument at the National Japanese American Memorial. This memorial is pretty new in Washington, being dedicated in 2002.

Japanese American Memorial

Next up, the Library of Congress…

Library of Congress

and the Supreme Court Building

US Supreme Court

These are right next to the US Capital. On my Segway tour, there were only three tourists. The other two gentlemen that I was with were both from my home state of Illinois, and while we drove around the Capital, we saw one of our Congressmen, Jerry Costello (second from right). I was able to get my picture taken with him in front of the Capital. Amazing, traveling to Washington just to meet up with three other Illinois residents…

US Capital

Next up, on the other side of the Capital, I got my picture taken while on the Segway in front of the National Mall. You can see the Washington Monument far in the background, and the national Christmas tree is being put up right behind me. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony was to be held that same evening.

National Mall - National Christmas Tree

Riding down Pennsylvania Avenue, we arrived at the White House. How many people do you know that get to have their picture taken while riding a Segway in front of one of the most recognizable residences in the world?

The White House

The last picture is of the steeple of the church that Abraham Lincoln announced the end of the Civil War in (per the tour guide). Five days after this announcement, Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre.

Church Steeple

We then returned to the shop at the end of our tour. A great way to spend two hours. I had a memorable time, and highly recommend this tour to anyone else visiting Washington, DC.

Wait a second, isn’t there a conference in Washington, DC from June 27 – July 1, 2010?

I welcome your thoughts and comments at any time. Feel free to contact me at mriley@odtug.com at any time.

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