Diving in Iceland, June 2009

It seems to everyone that I travel a lot. I guess I do compared to most people, but I enjoy traveling, seeing new places, new people, and old friends about as much as I enjoy anything. It’s usually part of my job anyway. So, with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit a place I’ve never been and may not have much reason or opportunity to visit again plus do some scuba diving, I couldn’t pass it up.

That’s right, in June 2009, I will visit Iceland and willfully plunge into the +2 C water that is the clearest body of water in the world. The reasons it is so clear have something to do with the fact that the water is the runoff from melting glaciers, filtered by volcanic rocks, and is very, very cold. It supports no wildlife (another reason it’s so clear/clean). Rumor has it that visibility is over 300 feet–that is something I really do have to see to believe.

The trip is being arranged by my friend Mogens Nørgaard who may very well be completely crazy. If you ever get a chance to meet and engage in conversation with him (a.k.a. “Moans Nogood”), do it. You won’t regret it, guaranteed.

The trip is highlighted on DIVE.is, Iceland’s (probably only) dive shop website. Oh, I forgot to mention that the lake bottom is where two tectonic plates (the North American and Eurasian plates, to be precise) meet up (!), so you’re essentially diving on or in one of the continental divides.

Of course, I’m very excited about this trip and hope that Ice, land can continue to function as their economic issues seem to be a little worse than everyone else’s. In the small world department, I have made contact with an Iceland native that I worked with back at Tandem (acquired by Compaq -> HP) in the late 90s. Hopefully, I can meet up with Leifur while I’m in the country. There are only about 300,000 people in the whole country, so he shouldn’t be *that* hard to find. On the other hand, it is possible that Leifur is like “John” is in the US. We’ll see.

RMOUG, Day 1, +1

RMOUG Day 2 has started, but there was so much great content yesterday, I don’t know if I’ll remember it all unless I write a few notes here on my learning.

My first session of the day was Graham Wood’s session on adaptive thresholds for monitoring in 11g. I didn’t know very much about these new methods for setting alerts, but they are certain to be useful. Some of the methods for adaptive thresholds were available in 10g, but many enhancements were made in 11g. Most importantly, the cyclic nature of workload has periods that can be automatically determined in 11g whereas in 10g, they had to be specified manually. Graham talked briefly about using DB Time and Average Active Sessions as important metrics for tuning, but for alerting, adaptive thresholds make the most sense. Setting a hard limit means that you will likely miss many issues. If your system is normally 10% utilized overnight, but spends all night at 60% utilization, you would like to know about it. However, during the daytime, if the system normally operates at 75% utilization, a hard alert limit at 80% would have miss the 6x utilization increase from the overnight hours. Adaptive thresholds wouldn’t miss the aberration and would alert you of the 60% utilization in the overnight period. That would allow you time to attempt to resolve the problem before daytime hours start.

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RMOUG: You should be here

I arrived in Denver yesterday afternoon for the RMOUG Training Days event. As I’ve written before, this is the first conference I’ve attended (and paid for!) as an attendee in at least 6 years, maybe the only one ever. The coolest part was that the small amount I paid for an attendee registration ($285) has already been totally worth it, and the sessions haven’t even started yet. Many people would pay that amount just for an opportunity to visit with some of the people I got to talk with last evening.

After all, I know of no other conference where you can have meaningful, interesting conversations with all of these fine individuals in a single evening: Mogens Nørgaard, Debra Lilley, Graham Wood, Kevin Closson, Daniel Liu, Gaja Krishna Vaidyanatha, Jeff Needham, Christo Kutrovsky, Mike Ault, John King, Joze Senegacnik, Tim Gorman, Duncan Mills, Lynn Munsinger, and Peggy King. And those are just the people I got to talk to (there were many other well-respected technicians and sharers of knowledge around that I didn’t have time to speak with. I haven’t even gotten to see Cary Millsap, Robert Freeman, Craig Shallahamer, Riyaj Shamsudeen, Tanel Poder, Jeremiah Wilton, Tom Kyte, Iggy Fernandez, or Daniel Fink yet.

This is my first time to RMOUG and you may be thinking that this is some sort of fluke to have all these great researchers and presenters at one event, especially a relatively small event where there are ample opportunities to network with them directly. I’ve reviewed the RMOUG agenda for the last 3 years and this agenda is representative of the quality that they’ve managed to schedule for the event every year. Plus, unlike other conferences, the RMOUG attendee tuition is priced to help them break even, not make a large bankroll. My biggest regret is that I couldn’t manage to get here before this year!

I can haz conferences

I love attending technical conferences for Oracle. I guess that’s obvious since many of you have probably seen or met me at a conference. The best parts for me are meeting so many of those that I’ve connected with on mailing lists, forums, or other online communities. Of course, conferences are a place to share what you know and I find that especially rewarding too. To that end, here are some of the sessions I’ll be sharing in the 2009 conference agendas.
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