IOUG Live! 2004--Sunday, April 18, 2004

by Stephen Andert

Day One of the International Oracle Users Group (IOUG) conference started with registration and the full-day
"University" classes. At the airport yesterday, I ran into several people
that I knew from past conferences and other local User Group events.
Several of them were attending University events today and from talking to
them this evening, it sounds like they had a great time. I wish I had been
able to participate this year.

First impressions of Toronto as a venue are:

  • Location. The airport was great and all my luggage made it at about the
    same time as I did. It was easy to get through the airport and find the
    shuttle bus. Check-in at the hotel was painless. The conference center is
    not too far from the hotel, but without directions from another attendee, it
    would have been a bit longer of a walk. Fortunately, IOUG attendees are a
    friendly sort and I think everyone is trying to make sure that people know
    the easiest ways to get back and forth.

  • Kudos to the decision to have the Internet cafe open Sunday! It was nice
    to be able to check my e-mail when I went over to the convention center to

  • Having the bookstore open Sunday was also nice as it was easier to browse
    through before the crowds that will be there most of the rest of the week.

  • Registration was smooth - I don't know how it was during peak times, but
    based on my experiences in past years, things always seem to run pretty
    smooth and quick.

The speaker orientation is a great opportunity to give the speakers
information about the mechanics and procedures to ensure a successful
speaking experience. There are many new speakers this year. These new
speakers bring new excitement and experiences to all the attendees. There is
a speaker mentor program to help support new speakers. Last year as a new
IOUG speaker, I found the support provided very beneficial. Apparently,
others agreed as this program was continued and expanded this year.

I thought there was a great turnout at the general orientation where
attendees were provided some information about the conference, including the
fact that the general sessions will include shorter keynotes closer to 30
minutes that 60 minutes. They also talked about the shorter conference this
year (3 days instead of 4) and made note that sessions starting earlier and
running later combined with one less day balances out to the same amount of
education. This is beneficial to some people where it is easier to justify
the smaller cost of a shorter trip. It will be interesting to see how many
people attend the earlier and later sessions. One of my sessions starts at
4:45 in the afternoon, so I will get to see firsthand what turnout is like.

The selection of Toronto -- the location of Toronto allows many (most?) folks to
return home on Wed evening after closing sessions. With security and flight
schedules, I was not able to schedule my return until Thursday and would
like to hear from others whether they were able to return Wednesday evening.
The general orientation reminded people about the importance of feedback for
speakers and conference committee. The information gathered from the feedback
forms provide information that helps improve both speaker skills and future
conference planning.

After the orientation session, a bunch of DBA's (or would that be a flock, a
herd or maybe a thicket) went out to get a bite to eat and the chance to
chat. We ended up at a sports bar that was so crowded, that we ended up at
about 3 different tables and it was so loud due to a certain sporting event
that the only conversation took place on napkins. It was a fun place and it
was entertaining watching the fans get so excited about their team. Our
table got into the action with some chants and cheers of our own (D-B-A,
D-B-A, D-B-A and O-ra-cle, O-ra-cle, O-ra-cle).

Tomorrow is a full day with the opening session and keynote as well as a
great lineup of speakers. I will post again after tomorrow with the
highlights from the day, so stay tuned.

If you are not attending the IOUG conference this year, why not? Budget, location or schedule?