Miracle database forum day 0

30 05 2007

Yesterday I arrived in Edinburgh. And a busy day it was. It started on the boat to England/Hull actually. I had decided to travel by motorbike to Edinburgh and after the conference make a little trip through Scotland before taking the boat home again. I checked in at about 7 pm and was immediately notified my passport had expired. Luckily it was just 1 week ago so there was not too much hassle, just the off chance that the English customs would not let me in. But they did, as seems clear, now that I am writing about Edinburgh.

I had some trouble finding a map for the northern part of England and ended up in a small seaside town before finding a shop that had one available. Just an extra 20 miles to ride for today. I was riding for fun, wasn’t I? The weather was not too bad, just some trickle now and then, but I had some dry roads. Nice. What I remember most from the trip are the hedges alongside the roads. They are all blooming currently and combined with the rain I could even smell that while driving by.

The trip along the coast was not too inspiring, but when I came into the North York National Park the scenery changed considerably. Much more rolling hills, well cultivated fields and lots of villages. And bends and blind summits in the roads. Those bends are one of the main reasons why I wanted to travel by bike in the first place, so they were nice. But I could do without the blind summits. Not knowing where the road is going is unnerving to me when driving at 80 km/h. Though it was not so much of a problem to the locals. They kept passing me with death-defying speed.

Anyway I survived the summits and had fun on the bends. When I entered Northumberland National Park the scenery changed again. Higher hills (mountains?) and summits with moor on top. Very beautiful. A pity the rain gained some strength there and the clouds where hanging rather low. But hey, that’s what they say about Scotland: “You don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes, it will have changed by then”. Not entirely true, but close. By the time I arrived in Edinburgh it was dry. Just in time to take a quick shower and then head quickly to the Whisky Heritage Center for registration.

The Scots do know how to make a show about a drink! Even a rollercoaster (at elderly people pace) to tell the history of the role of whisky in Scotland. And we got to drink a ‘wee dram’ of the stuff. Not too bad, not too bad 🙂

So much for the fun part. We had an introduction to the conference by Miracle Scotland President Thomas Presslie and a key note by Jonathan Lewis of which you can find more here and here. Something to do with an ironing board that was now improved upon. You can do the back of the shirt in half the time! But the marketing guys forgot to mention that there are 17 different steps to ironing a shirt and they improved upon only one of those. Does that ring a bell with the oracle features? Okay, the fun was not totally over, but there was a more serious tone in the evening.

Next we had Graham Wood talking about one of the features that is about to be included into the upcoming 11g version of Oracle (no garantuees it indeed will be included, of course). He promised that along the lines of sql trace and statspack there would be a possibility of tracing ‘contention’. This should give answers to questions like “Which process was holding what other process and what where they trying to do at the time?” Indeed one of the things that is not traceable right now and can be perceived as a performance problem. I think that for one, will be a usefull addition. And we got an open invitation to name this feature, just like YAPP, ADDM and ASH have been named by some of the people present in this conference.

Next, some more whisky tasting. And not just gulping it down! I believe we attended something of a University grade class in Whisky tasting, including a competition in ‘nosing’ and identifying some smells that can be present in whiskies. I did not do very well there, I recognized the smells, but could only name 4 of the 10. The whisky went down very well, by the way, thank you.

Last we had a representative from one of the sponsors of the conference. But since it was after the tasting and the representative did not catch on to the spirit of the conference, I only remember it was about IBM incorporating AMD processors in their hardware excellently. Oh well, they sponsored the drinks. I’ll not say a bad word about them.

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