Wednesday Sep 25, 2013

Belly Up to the Oracle Support Stars Bar

Technical Answers on Tap

By Tom Caldecott

The Oracle Support Stars Bar is designed to help Oracle OpenWorld attendees get answers to their toughest questions about Oracle software and hardware products. And the people who work the bar have the engineering expertise to answer most questions. And if they can't answer, they know who can.

This week, the bar has been busy, with the bartenders fielding technical questions. But, as is the case every year, a few of the Oracle OpenWorld 2013 questions have gone beyond what one can learn in engineering school.

Here’s a sampling of those questions presented at the bar:
“Where are the Oracle bags?”
 “Is this the way to the keynotes?” 
“How do I get to the pier?”
“Where are the restrooms?”
“What’s the WiFi password?” (there are signs everywhere that have that information)
“Do you have a pen?” (from an attendee who had just left the pen-filled Exhibition Hall)
“Can I get a drink?”

The Supports Stars baristas are good sports, and answer these misguided inquiries too.

But seriously, if you have tough technical questions that only the experts can answer, visit the Oracle Support Stars Bar at Moscone West, Lobby Level 2. They're open on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for technical questions…and directions.

Modern Customer Experience Keynote: Welcome to the Age of the Customer

Wednesday’s morning keynote covered one of Oracle’s most important initiatives: customer experience.[Read More]

All That's Fit to Print at the Oracle Store

New Books from Oracle Press—Only at Oracle OpenWorld

By Michael Kure

Riddle me this, Batman! Where can you find all that is fit to print on Oracle Database 12c, big data, cloud storage, BI, MySQL, Java WebSocket, PeopleSoft People Tools, and more, all in one location?  At the Oracle Store, of course.

The small store, tucked away in the east bridge of the Moscone South lobby, is somewhat Batcave-ish in its new location, but well-stocked with softcover technical reference books from Oracle Press.  

Among its catalog of titles, Oracle Press is debuting a handful of new books at this year’s conference. You can be among the first to buy and read Oracle Database 12c: The Complete Reference by Bob Bryla—not available anywhere else—or Oracle Big Data Handbook by Brian Macdonald, which is already flying off the store shelves.

Hot off the press is Hudson Continuous Integration in Practice by Winston Prakash. Also making their conference debut is Java WebSocket Programming by Danny Coward and MySQL Workbench by Michael McLaughlin.

Apart from these new releases, if you're looking for current titles, fret not. Popular titles such as Mark Rittman’s Oracle Business Intelligence 11g Developer’s Guide and PeopleSoft Developer’s Guide for PeopleTools and PeopleCode by Judi Dolittle are readily available. 

By the way, if you would like to meet the authors of some of these books, come on down to the Oracle Store for a book signing on Thursday at 1 p.m.

And if that isn’t enough to convert you into a bookworm, you can enter to win five Oracle Press books of your choice and two Oracle Press Teddy Bears! I only wish they had a Bat Signal out front to draw attention to their store and the impressive inventory of books.

Fans Seek Photo Ops with the Latest Celebs

A Look at the Hottest Stars at Oracle OpenWorld

By Tom Caldecott

It’s a busy scene outside Moscone North Hall D. In the center are the celebrities of Oracle OpenWorld. Pressing up against them are their enthusiastic fans, snapping photos, handing their cameras and smart phones to perfect strangers for the chance of a photo op standing next to their favorite stars.

“It's been like this throughout the show,” says a member of the celebrities’ entourage. “Larry Ellison talked about them in his keynote on Sunday and the people have been streaming in.”

Who are these celebrities? The new SPARC M6-32 and Oracle Database Backup Logging Recovery Appliance, as well as all the other Oracle Engineered Systems that can be found at the showcase in Moscone North.

This year, the showcase is filled from one end to the other with hardware—along with demo kiosks—that show how application issues can be solved with these Oracle solutions. In addition, the entourage—the technology experts—are available to answer questions.

According to the entourage, the systems are the best kind of celebrity. They bring in the crowds. They don’t take rest breaks. And they never ask for green M&M’s.

 To learn more about these new Oracle stars, start here.

The News from Oracle OpenWorld

There’s a lot going on at Oracle OpenWorld, and it’s impossible to see it all. Fear not! We've got you covered.[Read More]

Can You See What’s Missing from Howard Street?

It’s big and made of canvas. Or in this case, not.

By Tom Caldecott 

If you’re attending Oracle OpenWorld and have gone between Moscone South and North on Howard Street this year, you’ve noticed a difference from years past. No huge tent vaulting across the street. In its place is an open plaza of stages, monitors, couches, chairs, tables, water stations, and people—relaxing and enjoying themselves. 

Why no tent? In the words of one of the Oracle conference managers, we want to: 

· Give attendees a better experience, taking advantage of the nice weather in San Francisco this time of year and not being restricted to the footprint of a tent (good thing the huge rainstorm we just had was on Saturday and not during the conference itself!).
· Create a more comfortable experience for attendees while they’re watching the keynotes. We're broadcasting the keynotes in the plaza. So for those who do not want to spend an hour and a half or so in the dark in the keynote hall, they can be outdoors, sitting on a comfortable couch or chair, sipping a drink and learning about the latest innovations.
· Improve the utilization of the grounds. The open space can accommodate a wide variety of activities throughout the conference—not just lunch.

The reaction from attendees?
 “Much better!”
“I like the open area.”
 “It’s nice to be outside.”
“The tent was too hot.”
“Great weather for San Francisco.”
“Is it always sunny here?” 

Come explore Oracle Plaza @ Howard Street—uncovered. 

Tuesday Sep 24, 2013

Thomas Kurian Keynote: New Oracle Cloud Services

Thomas Kurian, Oracle executive vice president of Product Development, made three major announcements about the Oracle Cloud.[Read More]

Thomas Kurian/John Fowler Keynote: Transforming Business

Oracle Executive Vice Presidents Thomas Kurian and John Fowler talked about how Oracle's latest products simplify IT.[Read More]

You Deserve a Diversion

Take a break from all of the learning—there's plenty to divert your mind at Oracle OpenWorld.

By Tom Caldecott 

You’ve come to Oracle OpenWorld to work, work, work, yes? But this year, there are new and tempting experiences for fun, fun, fun—along with the traditional diversions of years past.

Feeling tired? Need a little exercise to help you through the keynotes, sessions, and hands-on labs? The Bocce Experience in Moscone West is the answer. Choose from two courts—perfect for players of all skill levels. “Some of our visitors know how to play, some of them think they know how to play, and some don’t know how to play at all. It’s a very simple sport, and it’s a very social sport,” says Patti Bassett. Patti and other instructors are on hand to teach the rules and techniques. And, judging from the response, it’s an extremely popular sport at Oracle OpenWorld. According to one of the people manning the booth, “We’ve been very busy. Last night, both courts were occupied until 7 p.m.” The courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fuel all that exercise with the gelato that's a complement to the bocce play.

Thirsty after your bocce game? Head over to the booth of the Australian winemaker Penfolds in Moscone South. Penfolds, a sponsor of Oracle Team USA, was invited by Oracle to share its wine with conference attendees. You can taste two types, “our Koonunga Hill Chardonnay and Bin 8, a cabernet shiraz blend, which is a brand new wine we just brought into the states about six months ago,” says Lisa Brown, public relations director of events for the winemaker. And best of all, the tasting is free.

But what about dessert? No problem. It’s off to the Sweet Shop at the Palace Hotel for a make-your-own cupcake. The pastry chef has made a choice of cupcakes and icings. Choose a vanilla, chocolate, or red velvet cupcake. Choose an icing or two: vanilla bean buttercream, dark chocolate ganache, cream cheese, raspberry buttercream, or coconut. Then, pick your toppings, including fresh fruit, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and pecans. As a pastry chef at the booth says, “It’s really interesting to see what people come up with in terms of their favorite combinations.” The Sweet Shop is open Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

And don’t forget to visit the other diversions scattered around Oracle OpenWorld venues and in the Exhibition Halls: Tap and Brew, Brew House, Golf Experience, Game Zone,  Juice Bar, and Tranquility Lounge.

That's how to have fun, fun, fun while you work, work, work.

In Search of Cool Stuff

The Quest to Find Unique Giveaways and Prizes

By Michael Kure 

I just finished reading The Lost City of Z by David Grann, and as I was navigating through the crowded aisles of the Exhibition Halls in search of cool stuff,  I could not help but feel a bit like the book’s protagonist, Sir Percy Fawcett, and his ill-fated quest to find the fabled lost city. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement.  The fact is, it doesn't take much perseverance to find some cool booths with hot giveaways and raffle prizes.

Let’s start in Moscone West. Walking through aisle 3300, you can find one booth offering, not one, but three giveaways—a t-shirt, mobile phone stand, and a unique mug. Over in 3400, a fully-loaded wine picnic basket is available via raffle, and down 3500, you can’t miss the glossy black Sym scooter on display and up for grabs to one lucky winner. Then, one aisle over, you will find a pair of flight attendants touting high-end merchandise such as their branded polo shirt and coffee mug, among others, all available through a prize draw at the end of the day.  

Exploring other aisles of Moscone West will reap more rewards such as pink and blue piggy banks, a remote-controlled Ferrari (toy version, of course), squeeze balls, and too much candy for your own good.

Not to be outdone, Moscone South is also dense with cool stuff.  In aisle 700, there is a poker table complete with dealer where two pairs will win you an attractive water bottle. A few aisles over in 300, a simple conversation will get you a classic brown coffee mug. And , as the San Francisco weather cools down, you can keep your head warm with a red baseball hat available in aisle 900.

Speaking of which, as you cruise down aisle 2500, you will discover an oasis of Oracle Team USA gear ready to buy and wear. There are additional treasures to be had if your poor feet can stand it, such as a squishy sushi shrimp from aisle 1500 or an SD card from aisle 2500.

As for me, I am looking forward to exploring more undiscovered territory at Oracle OpenWorld.  But I’ll wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 25 is the last day the Exhibition Halls are open, so be sure to spend time there learning from Oracle partners ... and getting some cool free stuff. 

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