26 April 2010

Trains,Taxis, Ferries and Apologies

Norwegian User Group

The week before last I went to Norway to present two papers at a new user group. Well, the Norwegian Oracle User Group is not new, but has been running for a few years now. The fun thing is that it's growing each year and so there is now a steady audience. Interestingly enough it's a pretty focused audience of DBAs and Database developers, with the application developers noticeably absent. I think a new stream has potential, JDeveloper? Oracle APEX developers? perhaps you need to look into this event and suggest an application developer addition.

Anyway the novel thing about this event is that it's held on a boat (huge cruise liner /ferry that runs between Oslo and Kiel), so the audience does not wander off to play golf or swim on the sea, as they can do at some events. (Fine for the organizers who have the registrations, not so fine for those of us hoping to talk to a nice big audience.) Anyway, this was good. I had a nice crowd for SQL Developer 2.1 Overview and New features and a nice crowd for SQL Developer Data Modeler. The downside with the latter talk was that I tried to fit in why you should model, how you should model and all the features of the Data Modeler in a single session. I should know better!!

I must apologize to those waiting on the phone or trying to attend last week's SQL Developer 2.1 web cast - to no avail. Kris stood in for me, but he had to use his dial in and conference details and we were unable to get the new details to everyone before the event. The reason I was stuck was because I had been out in Norway when the airports were closed. The web cast was not recorded, but I'll do a cut down recoding and add that to the web cast site later this week.

Following the conference and back in Oslo we had the news that there were no flights out that day and possibly the next. I didn't think much of it. How bad can it be, I'd had my lost suitcase found, so I could stay on a little and fly back on the next available flight. The rest is history... By Sunday there was talk that this might be weeks and by that stage the ferries and various channel crossings were fully booked at least until Wednesday. So we decided the best decision was to make our way home. Here is where the Internet is so powerful and the world a truly amazingly connected place. I sat down and started to plan and book a train journey home. With lots of suggestions offered by friends and passers by, between two of us traveling the same route, we planned and booked a route home.
Starting at 4am on Monday morning, we started on a bus and then a train to get to Oslo, where the journey really did start - then over to Goteborg (Sweden), then Copenhagen (Denmark), then, still by train, across to Germany (with the train ion the ferry) to Hamburg, across Germany to Cologne and then to Brussels and across to the UK London and home, arriving back here on Wednesday night. The time delay was due to some trains being full and having to wait for the later trains. It is the way to travel of course. Assuming you have a seat, this is a much calmer way of crossing continents, and you get a much stronger feel for the vast distances we cover when just hopping on a plane and swapping countries. In all, the journey was a good experience and most travelers in good spirit, with some tales more absurd than others.


Debra Lilley said...

See I knew the Danish Krone would come in handy somewhere

Ferry Angleterre said...

Paper presentation on ferry...:)

This is a good idea. People can't escape with boring lecture.

Anyways, I think that your paper presentation was successful. Congrats :)