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Re-forming the Martin Cluster in Norway April 5, 2013

Posted by mwidlake in Friday Philosophy, Meeting notes, Presenting, Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,

Later this month, on April 17-20th, I am presenting again at the Norwegian Oracle user group (OUGN) spring conference {modern browsers will allow you to translate any Norwegian if you need to} . I loved it last year, as you can see from my third-day post on it. I’ve been lucky to attend some very good conferences over the last few years but those three days at the OUGN conference last year were, I think, my favourite single event to date. If you are within striking distance of Oslo and can negotiate the time out of the office, I would strongly recommend the event. If you can’t negotiate the time, heck, take a holiday and go anyway 🙂

Part of what I really enjoyed about the event was the fact that two of the days are spent on a ferry/cruise ship from Oslo to Kiel and back. And oddly enough, that is what initially put me off going to the conference – I am very susceptible to Sea Sickness. I had no problems though, partly due to the large quantities of travel calm pills I swallowed, partly due to the good weather, but mostly because the talks were excellent and the atmosphere was fantastic. I don’t mean “hey, it was a bit like a holiday” {though in some ways it was as it was such fun} but because the speakers and the attendees can’t escape, at least not without a long swim, everyone is around all day and all evening. It just adds to the whole event. I spoke to more “new” people during that conference than I ever have before.

At most conferences the presentations at the end of the day tend to be less well attended and there can be a feeling of wind-down, especially on the last day. A fair number of people feel the need to make an early exit to get home before the worst of the traffic or are under pressure to get back to the office and just sort out some issue that is pressing. The people around in the evening tend to be the presenters and the conference die-hards and so are usually the same sad old bunch of geezers and gals 🙂 . However, on the OUGN Boat this is not the case. All sessions tend to be well attended and in the evening nearly everyone is out having something to eat, a few drinks (those North Europeans sure do like the odd drink, but in a relaxed and affable way) and just being sociable.

Over the last few years the conference has developed a reputation for being technically strong too. This is of course partly due to the excellent atmosphere attracting good presenters and the good presenters in turn help make the conference better. popular and well attended – and that in turn attracts presenters. A nice positive feedback loop. I certainly learnt a lot of stuff last year and I cannot think of a poor presentation that I attended. Hmm, maybe one of mine was a little weak 😐 . The organisers do an excellent job of helping the presenters feel relaxed and appreciated too. For example, I was nervous about the boat part of the trip to they gave me one slot on the mainland the day before we sailed and suggested I could bail out at Kiel if I was suffering. As a presenter, that sort of consideration counts for a lot. I don’t want or expect to be treated like some minor celebrity and I was not, but for the whole conference I just felt like the organisers appreciated my taking time out from work and flying out to come and present.

The final reason I am looking forward to the event (and thus the odd title) is the re-forming of the Martin Oracle Cluster 🙂 – this is myself, Martin Nash and Martin Bach. We all do several conferences a year, we all used to go along to the London Oracle Beers and we have become good friends. Other Oracle Martin’s are welcome to join us – At the OUGN last year there was also Martin Büchi, who I had not met before, but this year I think we are the only Martins presenting. We just don’t seem to have managed to re-from the cluster for many months now, partly as Mr Bach returned to Germany.


Martin Nash – Martin Büchi – Martin Bach – Martin Widlake
Thanks to Øyvind Isene for the picture.

I suppose I should mention what I am presenting on? Well, as I mentioned in my last Friday Philosophy, I am concentrating more on introductory presentations. You can see my official agenda here. I am doing:

  • an introductory presentation on Row Level Security, VPD and hiding rows or columns of data {it will be interesting to see how large the audience is for that one!}
  • an introduction to SQL tuning where I cover the absolute basics, but hopefully in a way that allows those new to it (or maybe even not so new) to treat tuning as a logical and sensible process, as opposed to Black Magic of favourite hints and arcane practices
  • my disasters talk. I love giving my disasters talk. I’ve “been in the vicinity” of a lot of disasters and I only ever talk about things I have seen first hand, so no urban myths.


1. Dom Brooks - April 5, 2013

Is that photo in height order? You’d have thought they could have got your a box to stand on. Not fair.

mwidlake - April 5, 2013

Actually, yes, I think it is in height order – really it should be me nearest the camera lens, then Mr Bach, Mr Büchi and Mr Nash in the background. In that wasy we would all be about the same height without resorting to the old standing-on-a-box trick.

BTW, remind me to bite your ankles at the next LOB.

2. Martin Preiss - April 6, 2013

Hi Martin,

do you have a theory for the clustering? In Germany the first name “Martin” was more popular in the sixties than it has been in the following decades.



mwidlake - April 6, 2013

Hi Martin,

Well, I am named after Martin Luther King. He was assassinated only 16 days before I was born and my parents shifted my planned first name, David, to my second name as a result. However, when I was in the USA about 4,5 years ago I was in a “tourist” shop and they had name signs for your bedroom. They had many, many, many names, but no “Martin”. After that I kept looking at such things (key fobs, name plates for the garden, fridge magnets, other such tourist tat) and “Martin” was a very rare name in the USA. That struck me as odd.

It seems to have been a fairly popular name in the UK through the 60’s and 70’s but now I think it is becoming rarer.

All I know for sure is that the name “Martin” adds 10 IQ points to your character score, in the context of the computing world 🙂 .

3. jholesek - April 8, 2013

Hi Martin,

you totally missed the profession. You should be in marketing! Reading your post I felt really bad for not attending the conference … 🙂
Good luck with your presentations. It would really be interesting to watch the news about people jumping off the boat in Norway for no particular reason 🙂


4. OUGN Spring Seminar 2013 | ORAganism - April 21, 2013

[…] this year compared to last, but lucky for me I was pretty much unaffected. However, the “Martin Cluster” suffered some major node failures with outages from Bach and […]

5. The Three Tenners- OUGN 2013 | Martin Widlake's Yet Another Oracle Blog - April 26, 2013

[…] being home for those days. Part of the enjoyment was the reformation of the Martin Cluster as mentioned in my last blog. A small part of that was the slightly childish humour I found in those situations when people […]

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