Category: Non-replay

April 21st, 2016 by dbakevlar

No, you didn’t get a review of my Samsung Tab S2….I didn’t have it long enough to review it!  Actually, I had it just over six months and yes, it was beautiful and yes, I love it and no, it didn’t survive the fall on the tile, even in the protective cover at Denver International Airport.


Needless to say, I love my tablets and I’ve had a number of them.  I’ve had everything from the first 10.1 from Samsung to the iPad Air. My daily work machine is a Microsoft Surface Pro 4, but it’s a beautiful, lovely piece of hardware that I use for work and I just want something light to do social media, read articles, books, magazines and such on.  I did note that my Samsung Tab S2 was a little heavy to be held with one hand, but I loved the flawless screen and the impressive performance from the Octocore processor.

After last week’s “incident”, I was left with the question, “Do I replace it with another Samsung, (I’ve never broken anything other than keyboards in the past, so this was a new issue for me…) or is it time to reconsider the purpose of my having a tablet?”

At one time, I considered if it was possible to replace my work machine, outside of performing demos or housing virtuals on a tablet.  At this point, I’ve answered that with my Surface.  I still need a reading device that I can use and yes, going to admit this, when I’m lounging in the tub, on the couch or on a plane.  I want it to be light, but did I still need a large screen?

I tested this out on the way back from Las Vegas.  Tim loves his Kindle, so I picked up the standard, 7 inch Kindle Fire at the Best Buy vending machine.  I was impressed with the simplicity of the setup and I quickly was able to install the Play Store, (Kindle runs Amazon’s version of Android’s OS) and had everything I’d had on my Samsung tablet.

After the hour of setup and 1 1/2 hour flight home, I had my answer to the screen size question.  My eyes were thoroughly strained and I decided that I would need to upgrade.  I boxed up the unit and went to my neighborhood Best Buy.   I stand out a bit in a crowd, as one of the geek squad guys asked me how my Surface Pro 4 was handling my VMs and was glad to exchange the Kindle for me.

I checked out all the tablets, but I couldn’t justify what I was planning on using the tablet for and the cost of another high end Samsung or an iPad.  I checked out the Acer, Asus and other Android tablets, but was really unimpressed with the screen quality.  If you’re staring at a screen for a long time, the resolution quality can be a real deal-killer.

I also found that size was a consideration and wanted to stick to at least 9 inches on the screen size.  I did like a lot about the Kindle, so I came to the Kindle Fire 10 inch HD.  The screen resolution quality stuck out first as being much higher.  I also found the price point to be more in line, (less than 1/2 for what I’d paid for my Samsung) with what I would consider this time around.


If you are accustomed to Android devices and go the Kindle route, there are a few things I’d recommend.

1. Install the Play Store.

As this is a Kindle OS install and it will have the AppStore from Kindle.  I’m not real thrilled with the quality of software offered and I found a lot of bogus apps on the site.  Play Store is just more reliable.  To install it, simply install something like Texture or another app that requires the Play Store, then choose to install that.  It will then ask you to what device you wish to install it to.  You will see the “official” name of your Kindle fire, (matches what is set in the device settings) and choose to install to it.

2.  Install the GSam Battery Monitor

The battery monitor is pretty much non-existent in the settings for the Kindle and you’ll be surprised WHAT is using batter on the Kindle vs. other tablets or phones.  I was able to tune the screen brightness, (not an issue in newer phones these days…) and address apps, (darn iTracing app was eating up battery like crazy!) that you’d know nothing about with this handy little app.

3.  Install the Cisco Mobile VPN Client

Yes, I can get on the work VPN without issue and was able to verify a browser issue for an OTN question for EM on an Android tablet from my Kindle.  Pretty slick.

This is an actual picture of my EM13c running from my Silk Browser on my Kindle Fire.  It runs just fine on it and it responds well!

20160421_094758 (2)



Posted in Non-replay Tagged with: ,

December 16th, 2014 by dbakevlar

OK, Oracle EM hat off, RMOUG Training Days hat on! 🙂

So as many of you know, RMOUG Board of Directors made the smart move after I joined Oracle, instead of losing a valuable member of the board, they moved me to being a non-voting board member emeritus and realized that I could still serve as the Training Days Conference Director.  The conference is by far, the most demanding position on the board and its a role that I relish and have the skills for.  Oracle is happy.  RMOUG is happy.  Membership is happy.  Training Days is taken care of… 🙂

This year I’m taking it up a notch and I wanted to talk about why RMOUG Training Days 2015 is the one conference you DON’T want to miss!

Project O.W.L.

The OWL is not just our mascot, it stands for Oracle Without Limits and Project O.W.L. is a new event at Training Days that will offer the attendee some great, new opportunities to learn, to interact with those in the industry and to immerse in the technology we love.  The event will center behind our great exhibition area and will have the following:

RAC Attack

RAC Attack will be back this year and better than ever!  Learn all the ins and outs of an Oracle RAC by building on on your laptop!  Experts will be on hand from the ACE and Oracle community to help you with your questions and make you a RAC Attack ninja!

Clone Attack

Delphix is bringing Clone Attack for those who want to find out how quickly you can provision environments!  Find out how much space and time savings can be reached and do it all on a VM on your laptop!

Oracle Engineered System and Hardware Demo

Want to get up close and personal with some great Oracle hardware?  You’ll get the chance at Project O.W.L.  Oracle is going to be bringing some of the newest, coolest appliances and engineered systems so you can find out just how cool it really is!

Stump the Chump

Have a real technical conundrum?  Want to see if you have the tech question that our experts can’t answer?  We’ll have opportunities to ask the experts your tough questions and if they can’t get you an answer, you’ll get a “I stumped the chump” button to wear proudly at the conference!

New Attendee Recommendation Initiative

I was first introduced to Training Days by the recommendation of a Senior DBA I worked with back in 2004.  There is nothing more valuable than word of mouth and we are going to reward that at TD2015.  If you recommend someone new to Training Days and they list your name on their registration form as the one that recommended them, we’ll reward you with a $25 amazon gift card after the conference!

Special Interest Meetup Lunch

Our SIGs are an important part of our membership.  Show your support the first day by taking your box lunch and sitting in on one of the SIG meetups!  There are so many special interest groups to be a part of, so find out what you’ve been missing out on!

  • Hyperion
  • Big Data and Cloud
  • Enterprise Manager
  • Higher Education
  • Database 12c
  • APEX
  • and others!

ACE Lunches

We’re bringing back our ACE lunches both days again!  If you aren’t in on a SIG lunch, sit with your favorite ACE, ACE Associate or ACE Director and find out what got them where they are in the Oracle community.  Talk tech with the best in the industry!

Deep Dive and Hands on Lab

For those with a full registration pass, (we have single day passes for those that can’t get away for the full conference…)  the first 1/2 day is our gift to you!  From 1-5:15pm on the 17th, you will get to immerse yourself in hands on labs and deep dives from the best of the best in Oracle database, development ADF and APEX and even one of my favorites, Enterprise Manager Database as a Service!  This is a first come first serve sessions that day, (until we hit the room capacity limit, trust me, you do not want to tick off the fire marshal at the convention center… :)) so get there early and get the most out of your full registration!

Two Full Days, 100 Sessions!

Yes, you heard me right-  two days, 100 sessions, 9 tracks!  We have Steven Feuerstein, Jeff Smith, Iggy Fernandez, Kyle Hailey, David Peake, Scott Spendolini, Alex Gorbachev, Graham Wood, Bryn Llewellyn, Carlos Sierra and John King.  New speakers this year for RMOUG, (we work very hard to introduce new speakers into our schedule…) include Bjoern Rost, Rene Antunez, Werner De Gruyter, (Yoda!) and Wayne Van Sluys.

Professional Development and More!

I will be heading up our ever popular Women in Technology series on the first full day again this year!  The panel is starting to form and I look forward to everyone who attends getting the most out of the session and to further their love of their tech career.  This session is not just for women, but for father’s of daughters, husbands who want more for their wives, managers of women employees and even those that are hoping to hire more diversity in their departments!

Jeff Smith and I will be doing another year of Social Media for the Database Professional!  Come learn HOW to do Social Media instead of just the WHY.  We’ll teach you how to automate, find the easy button for social media and how to find your social media style to make it work for you and your career.

The schedule is set up so that there is something impressive all day every day for the 2015 conference and I’m excited to share it with everyone!  Registration is open, so don’t miss out on what is going to be the best Training Days yet!


Posted in Non-replay

October 3rd, 2014 by dbakevlar

Yes, this is for my RMOUG abstract reviewers, but it may help other conferences and user groups, too.  We have some incredible content at RMOUG, (Rocky Mtn. Oracle User Group) Training Days conference and its all due to a very highly controlled, thought out process that has evolved over time to ensure that we have an abstract selection process that is as fair as possible and offers new speakers opportunities as well.

I’m going to share my abstract scoring summary with the rest of the class to start, so you get an idea of how we score.  As a strong DBA who has done development and a bit of mobile development, I can go across a number of tracks to perform reviews, but you will definitely notice that I don’t review the following:

1.  Almost anything in the BI track.image

2.  Skip over any in development or other tracks that I’m unsure of.

3.  Never score on my own abstracts, (yes, I submit mine to go through the abstract process, but then pull my high scoring ones afterwards and retain them to add to the schedule if we have a last minute cancellation.  Tim does the same this last few years.)


You will also notice that I don’t just score whole numbers, but give me more variation in the results by adding more definitive scores.

I carefully inspect the “Review Summary by Rating” to verify that my percentage of scores are somewhere close to what we recommend at the top of the summary page, (seen in blue at the top of the screenshot.)

How to Review

Knowing what to look for and how to score it is important.  We are a tech conference, so if an abstract appears to be marketing anything, if you are not high tech, you may find a low score on the abstract.

Our reviewers are asked to look for great content, variety in content, new and interesting topics and they will score an abstract down if it is incomplete or has grammatical/spelling errors.  This may seem harsh, but if someone can’t take the time to fill out an abstract, it’s difficult to believe quality time will be put into the presentation.

Why It’s Important

Our reviewers and review scores are crucial to our selection process.  This next week, after we close reviews on the 6th of October, we will pull all of the abstracts with their overall average score.  We will arrange the track by highest to lowest and then pick out the top scoring abstracts for each track.

1.  The percentage of abtracts submitted for that track is the percentage of slots allotted of the available total.

2.  We then look for # of high scoring abstracts per speaker across ALL tracks and remove the lowest of theirs till they have two max each, (we only have 100 session slots available and we want everyone to have as much an opportunity to speak as possible!)

3.  I then have marked in comments for anyone I see as a new speaker.  We see how the abstract scored and see if we can add them freely to the schedule or if they may require mentoring from a senior speaker from the conference.  We add in these new speakers to the openings made by step#2.

4.  We build out the schedule into tracks, so that no matter what your specialty area, you should always have something incredible to attend.

5.  Those great scored abstracts I had to hold back as the speaker already had two accepted?  I retain those, along with mine and Tim’s to use as fillers if there is a last minute cancellation.

I’ve just finished my reviews and I’m incredibly impressed with the abstracts this year!  The quality of the abstracts and variety of impressive topics can only mean that its going to be the BEST RMOUG Training Days EVER!!


Posted in Non-replay, Oracle

September 18th, 2014 by dbakevlar

I will be in San Francisco a little early this year and as I’m not longer an ACE Director, it’s to attend the IOUC, (International Oracle User Conference) at Redwood Shores on Sept. 25th and 26th.  I’ll be representing RMOUG for the two day event that has representatives from user groups from all over the world.  Our lovely host, Mary Lou Dopart and her team, will ensure we have another great year learning how we can provide the best user group for our members in the Oracle community.

After the a lovely weekend in San Francisco with friends, I’ll be heading over with the rest of the ACE Directors to stay at the Hilton, (as this is the hotel with the worst Wi-Fi in town, I will be bringing signal flags to communicate with my fellow guests out the windows in the courtyard,which seemed successful last year… :))  As Tim is an ACED, I go where Tim goes and my coworkers have quickly called “unfair!”, but hey, being Tim Gorman’s partner has its serious perks… 🙂

The week will be filled with an incredible list of meetings, events, parties and dinners, but I will also be working my combat boots off for Oracle.

I have two sessions this year:

Zero to Manageability in One Hour: Build a Solid Foundation for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c [CON8134] — Wednesday, Oct. 1st 1:45pm, Moscone South 303m (with Courtney Llamas!)

Oracle Exadata Database Machine Administration and Monitoring Made Easy [CON7726] —  Wednesday, Oct. 1st 4:45pm, Moscone South 104, (with Mike Chaffin!)

I don’t have my AWR Warehouse talk for Oak Table World, (sorry folks, total mix up…) but I do have an OTN article on the topic coming out and I’ve sent my use cases to support Jagan Arthreya’s session, (Monday, Sept. 29th 1:30pm, Moscone South 104 [CON8449]).

When not presenting, I’ll be found at a number of demo grounds, hands on labs and AWR Warehouse Demo Grounds.  Scheduled times are:

Monday-  Afternoon, AWR Warehouse Demo Grounds, (SLD-111) Moscone South

Tuesday-  Morning, AWR Warehouse Demo Grounds, (SLD-111), Afternoon, DBaaS Demo Grounds, (SLD-102), Moscone South

Events I’ll be attending outside of Oracle company events:

Sunday:  IOUG Happy Hour, followed by the Oracle ACE Dinner.

Monday:  ODTUG Happy Hour, followed by Friends of Pythian

Tuesday: ODTUG Community Meetup


Morning: Recording of Exadata w/ EM12c Session for Oracle Database Learning Stream

Evening: OTN Bloggers Meetup, (Look forward to this every year!)

Then Tim, (Tim GORMAN,for all of those who keep congratulating Tim Hall on our upcoming nuptials…LOL)  and I fly back on Friday, met by any of our out of town family so we can get married on Sunday, Oct. 5th.  Yeah, you heard me right….we are going to get married right after Oracle Open World… 🙂


Posted in Non-replay

August 27th, 2014 by dbakevlar

I believe you do your best when you follow in what you believe.

Kellyn’s …. Hold the ice…:)

Posted in Non-replay

June 15th, 2014 by dbakevlar

I am a long time supporter of Samsung products- I’ve always had Samsung phones, (currently a Note 3 owner…) Samsung TVs, monitors and even have a Samsung microwave and refrigerator. I love Samsung products and this has included my tablets, recently deciding to upgrade my Samsung Note 10.1, (original) for a Samsung Note Pro 12.2.

I have nothing against Apple/Mac products. I think they are great, but I’m a long time user of Windows, (it really does what I need…) and I have always loved Android OS.

When it came to the Samsung Note Pro 12.2, I found the size and business apps appealing. The idea that I could have a full size keyboard, which seemed still out of reach with my 10.1 was frustrating for me, as I am a command line girl, so love my typing. The quad-core processor and LDRAMM looked impressive and the reviews were promising.

…So Friday I purchased one on my lunch break and brought it home. I’m a long time Android user, love it and set it up to start restoring, (which has always taken about an hour for the main iterations and a couple hours to restore my main apps…) We are about to switch over from Comcast, as some know, there is a lot of new homes being built out just west of our neighborhood and our connectivity started taking a hit about 5 weeks ago. With the slow recovery, I was sure it was the network, but later into the night and the next morning, I wasn’t able to log into most applications and the restore was only about a 1/3 along. I noted that 60% of the battery use was the screen even though I’d been sleeping. The more I used the tablet, the slower and slower it became to the point of unusable for anything requiring a connection to the internet.

I thought I would verify that everything was coming over correctly from my old tablet and that was when I was served the surprise of my life- my old tablet was putting the new one to shame! My old 10.1 with the dual-core processor was running like a champ and wasn’t impacted in anyway like the new one. I started to do some informal tests between the two and even after running Cleanmaster to remove any cache issues, etc., the old one left my brand, spanking new Samsung tablet 12.2 in the dust.

That was when I started to do some more googling, but this time I added the word, “slow” in the searches and sure enough, there was the info I needed. The 12.2 Pro, the TAB and NOTE versions are having issues with slow charging and slow performance when more than one application is open. For me, having more than three apps open resulted in such poor performance that the tablet was seriously unusable.

I returned it and went down the path that I always wondered when would arrive- Yes, I bought a iPad Air. I am pretty happy with it and the keyboard cover is really awesome. I’ll do another review in a couple weeks, but for those that were considering the 12.2 Pro, even the Note, (the Tab version has slower memory) skip it. Samsung needed more time with this one before it went to market and their choice to release it early has driven me from the product line and into the arms of Apple.


Posted in DBA Rants, Non-replay

June 11th, 2014 by dbakevlar

Just a blog post on the great conference coming up at the end of the month from ODTUG, KSCOPE 2014.  The conference will be held in Seattle, Washington this year, (yeah, look forward to cooler temperatures than last year in New Orleans KSCOPE 2013… :))

I’ll be heading up the Database Track and the Women in Technology, (WIT) luncheon this year again for the conference and I recommend you don’t miss out!

The Hands on Training for the Database Track is shaping up nicely thanks to some very hard work from Yury Velikanov, Michelle Malcher, Leighton Nelson, John Piwowar, Tim Gorman.  Don’t know what I would do without them!

The panel for WIT has done a great job as we’ve emailed fascinating and sometimes crazy discussions on the challenges of women in the tech industry and sometimes wandering off onto culture in general!  I don’t think many folks can say they’ve had the chance to educate Alex Gorbachev, but next time you see him, ask him what “thigh gap” is… 🙂  The women on the panel, Amy Caldwell, Sarah Zumbrum, Heli Helskyaho and this year’s brave guy to join us, Alex Gorbachev are ready to discuss some great topics with the attendees and we all look forward to your contributions!

I’ll also have two sessions, along with helping out with the Hands on Lab and support of the Oracle booths.  My two technical sessions will be Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Services and Self-Service Portal and Not Your Father’s Enterprise Manager.  I will be covering a ton of new features from Release 4 and can’t wait to dig in deep on all the new, cool stuff out!

Some of the great speakers this year for the Database Track include Melanie McCaffrey, Cary Millsap, Michelle Malcher, Yury Velikanov, Carlos Sierra and even Richard Foote is making a rare trip to the US to speak at the conference on what else?  Indexes, his favorite subject! 🙂

Every year KSCOPE has a FANTASTIC special event and this year is no different!  Everyone will be at the Experience Music Project for an evening of rocking out to one of the most unique places I’ve ever seen!  I’m dressing up as a famous rocker for the evening, (not saying what one!)  Will you?

There are still opportunities to register for this great conference that is less than two weeks away, so if interested check out their site and register!  See you in Seattle in just a couple weeks!



Posted in Non-replay

March 26th, 2014 by dbakevlar

Tim and I leave for Oslo on Monday for the OUGN, (Oracle User Group Norway) conference.  This is a great conference that many of my friends have talked about for the last couple years and I finally let Oyvind talk me into going.  The conference is on a cruise ship that leaves from Oslo and sails for three days.

We’ll be quite busy-  Tim and I will be doing a keynote, “Assumptions, Killer of First Dates and Databases Everywhere”, then I’ll be presenting “DBaaS in a DBAs World” and “Master EM12c Monitoring”.  I will also have the opportunity to host my first European WIT round table, which I’m looking forward to.  I’ve had the opportunity to discuss WIT issues with men and women from Europe in the last year, so I’m really excited about talking about the initiatives they are taking on in Europe and the challenges still to be addressed.

So, hide your vikings, I’m on my way to the great North and sorry Canada, not you this time… 🙂


Posted in Non-replay

March 24th, 2014 by dbakevlar

I was warned it would be difficult.  I was warned that it would be time-consuming and painful, but I survived without as much as a scratch on me.

This last week was my first week at Oracle and it was really, really great.  The on board process wasn’t difficult at all.

Maybe it was because I was told to be prepared for a difficult and challenging week, so I was prepared for something very difficult and it was much easier than I imagined.

Maybe it was because I had new challenges and interesting new environments to work in, which made the week go by fast and the on board tasks seem minimal.

Maybe it was because I have an excellent manager and peers who made sure I had everything I needed.

Maybe it was because I had excellent advisers and support inside so when I had a question, Tyler, Jeff, Courtney, Pete, Werner and others were there to quickly help me out.

Maybe it’s just that Oracle has a lot of processes, applications and good people in place that makes coming on board a pretty pleasant experience.

Onto week two! 🙂

Posted in Non-replay

March 6th, 2014 by dbakevlar

Yes, you heard that right-  DBA Goth Cowgirl is getting an upgrade to Enterprise Manager, (EM12c) Goth Cowgirl!  I will be starting as Oracle’s Consulting Member of the Technical Staff for the Strategic Customers Program, specializing in Enterprise Manager on March 17th.  The Strategic Customer Program is a group that rolls up under the Systems Management product line and is one of four primary product lines, (the other three being Database, Fusion Middleware and Applications.)  We comprise the whole of Enterprise Manager and OpsCenter.

This opportunity has been long in the making and I look forward to focusing on the Enterprise Manager product as both part of the development team and presenting at conferences.  Its been made quite clear to me that both my technical and marketing/presentation skills will be highly sought after in my new role and I’m looking forward to being a integral part of the EM team.  I will be primarily working remote, but will travel for short term technical engagements and marketing efforts whenever requested.

So for those of you who want to continue to master EM12c with me, EM12c Goth Cowgirl, continue to follow me as I’ll be offered invaluable expertise as I deep dive into the source of all that is EM12c with Oracle!

I want to thank all those that helped me in some way with this opportunity, including Dan Koloski, Pete Sharman, Tyler Muth, Mary Melgaard, Wendy Delmolino, Pramod Chowbey, Will Scelzo and Adilson Jardim.  These are all incredible folks within Oracle and their guidance and support is tremendously appreciated now and in the future.


Posted in Non-replay, Oracle

February 28th, 2014 by dbakevlar

Today is my last day at Enkitec and I look back on a whirlwind two years.  As many people know, I never seem to stop moving, (I hear my mother’s voice from when I was a small child saying, “Kellyn, sit down!  Kellyn, don’t climb!  Please, sit still!” :))  Nope, still doesn’t work, but I also never seem to stop growing and it’s time to take that next step in my career.

These last two years have been phenomenal, starting out as a new Oracle ACE and a flurry of conference appearances, it’s culminated to me speaking at 16 conferences, two challenging years as the conference director for RMOUG’s Training Days, database track lead for ODTUG’s ever popular, KSCOPE conference, earning my ACE Director and being inducted into the OAK Table Network.  Somewhere in all of this, I was able to co-author two books, (Pro SQLServer 2012 and Expert EM12c) and start a third, (The Enterprise Manager Command Line Interface, (EM CLI).

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed supporting my wonderful Enkitec clients and working with my peers who’ve been part of the Remote DBA team, (shout out to Mike M., Bobby N, Katy, Lance, Gary, Greg and those that have come and gone from the remote team….)  I wish the continued success for those that I’ve been friends with long before Enkitec and have recently been able to call coworkers-  Martin Bach, Bobby Curtis, Frits Hoogland, Karl Arao, Alex Fatkulin and Andy Klock, (poor Alex and Andy stuck with me a second time around! :))  I appreciate the support of my direct leads who in a place of very flat hierarchy, made sure I had what I needed to be successful with Enkitec clients the last two years-  Jon Adams, Andy Colvin, Mike Moehlman and Martin Paynter.

After a couple weeks of transitioning my clients over to the competent hands of my teammates, I will be taking the next couple weeks off to concentrate on the Enterprise Manager 12c CLI book.  Its rather amazing we’ve gotten as far as we have considering how busy Ray Smith, Seth Miller and I am with day jobs, user groups community and conference demands.  These guys rock to work with on a book and I’m very proud of how incredible this little project of ours has come together.  Ray and Seth are stand up guys.

You will be seeing me speak this next week at HotSos and then the beginning of April at Norway’s OUGN, (Tim and I will be doing a joint keynote, along with our own tech sessions and I believe Heli and I have the makings of a great WIT session!)  Tim and I will be flying back from Norway and then a couple days later, right back out to Las Vegas for Collaborate for a full schedule.  I have three speaker sessions, a number of panels and other opportunities to network and speak to everyone.  My tech sessions for each of these will be focused on master EM12c, DBaaS and effectively utilizing ASH and AWR.

Thank you everyone who has helped me get to where I am and have supported me in my next opportunity to shine.  A special thanks goes out to Tim Gorman, my partner, mentor and biggest supporter.  I will be announcing officially where you can find me very soon, so stay tuned!

Posted in Non-replay, Oracle

February 26th, 2014 by dbakevlar

A number of folks have told me how much they enjoy the content that I “buffer” out throughout a 24 hr automated period, but hate how much  they often miss vs. getting “spammed” with all of it at once and just being overwhelmed.  I’m trying to find the best of both worlds and have started to push this content out to my very own Flipboard magazine.

If you love Flipboard and would like to find the stories of interest I push out on Twitter, Facebook and Linked In, you can now subscribe to DBA Kevlar Ammo and get all the ammo you need… 🙂

There is also a link at the top of this blog that can take you to the Flipboard magazine to subscribe, too:  dbakevlar_ammo

Enjoy and I’ll keep the content up to date, pushing to my buffer as well as “flipping it” to my magazine! 🙂

Posted in Non-replay, Oracle

February 10th, 2014 by dbakevlar

So I survived one more year as the conference director for RMOUG Training Days 2014! 🙂  There was some question to my survival as we entered the week before the conference, but I can say, I’m surprisingly intact and once I finish this post, it’s onto the next challenge!

If you’re unfamiliar with the conference, Rocky Mountain Oracle User Group’s Training Days has been an incredibly well supported conference by many of the best Oracle speakers, Oak Table members and ACE/ACED in the world.  I’m very proud to be a member, a board of director, as well as the conference director for a different number of years, depending on the role… 🙂  This is my second year as conference director and I’ve really enjoyed the challenge.

This year there were a number of additions and enhancements to the conference.  These included and weren’t limited to…

1.  Exchanged the first half day  “University Sessions” which always were offered as a additional fee, with “deep dive sessions”  which were now included in all full registration passes.  The added benefit of these is that they decreased added electrical and AV costs from the convention center, saving us a lot of money in our budget.

2.  Single day passes were now available for those that were previously unable to take off two 1/2 days for a conference.  These passes were only good for the single, full day they were purchased for and no access to the deep dive sessions, but the percentage of registrations showed that they are something our members were thrilled to take advantage of.  The full registration was still the better value, but many had told us, it wasn’t the cost of our conference-  we have the best bang for the buck anywhere when it came to price-  it was getting the time away from work to attend.

3.  Extend the ACE lunches to both days and reserve a seat for the ACE/ACED that the table was for.  Yeah, yeah-  not fun to come to your table and not have a chair to sit down in.  I had wanted a red banner or napkin placed on the chair with a reserved sign, but hey, we’re getting there on how this RMOUG created opportunity for the attendees to speak with their favorite ACE/ACED!

4.  OTN and RAC Attack-  Laura Ramsey rocked the house with the help of RAC Attack SIG members Bjoern Rost, Bobby Curtis, Maaz Anjum,  Javier Ruiz and Leighton Nelson.  These guys made sure that the tables were manned at all times and folks had the help they needed to build a great DB12c RAC of their own! 🙂

5.  First Evening Welcome Reception-  We understood clearly that our members were often driving home and weren’t always interested in having drinks, so we added a coffee bar and will continue to enhance this event to give people the best experience.  I noted this year that  the new setup for the exhibitor area really seemed to keep the networking flowing and everyone had a great time.

6.  Speakers-  Our speakers are number 1 top knotch and we ensure this by using a large review team, close to 50 individuals, then use this rating system to score abstracts.  We do not limit any speaker opportunities by who they work for or how many are from what company, but we do limit how many top presentations are in per track and try to give new speakers a chance.  If we can’t at the regional user group level, how will you ever get a chance to hear these future great technical speakers elsewhere?

So if you’re curious how this works, we have trimmed down our conference after last year realizing that our days were simply too long and that we could either extend out another day, (not an option, remember, we’re having trouble with folks getting even 2 1/2 days off…) or could trim, so I went from 142 sessions down to 100 with shortened days and less rooms.

I build the conference by the percentage of each track that abstracts are submitted, so yes, our conference has the percentage of sessions you see for each of the tracks you view below in the spread sheet.  We had to choose 100 presentations from 343 abstracts submitted.

Type: PRESENTATIONAbstract Count: 343

Topic Count Percentage
Application Development       90   26.2
Business Intelligence       25    7.3
Database Administration       93   27.1
DBA Deep Dive       52   15.2
Database Tools of the Trade       30    8.7
Hyperion       24    7.0
Middleware        9    2.6
Professional Empowerment       12    3.5
Other        8    2.3

This ended up equating to most folks getting 1 accepted presentation each, with maybe a second one if they were considered a top speaker and had the scores to prove it.  With the ratings, you always know that speakers like Tom Kyte and Jonathan Lewis are going to have more that are in that top 5.0 rating, so you need to take their top 2 and simply understand, you can’t take more of their presentations or you won’t be able to give others a chance to speak.  I then come back in after the track leads have built their tracks out of the # of abstracts they are allowed that equate to the percentage you see above and “pepper” in the new speakers that we want to ensure to give a chance to.  Saying no is never easy and yet considering we are only able to say yes to less than one of every three abstracts, it still happens and it’s a difficult choice to decide who stays and who goes in the schedule.

7.  More Guidebook!  This mobile app was a hit last year and so we’ve enhanced some of the features and are still working on all the aspects we would like to see in the application.  The social media activity for this conference, especially on Twitter was incredible!  I had so may people emailing me and asking how they could ensure on attending next year just on the feedback via social media!

8.  Introduced RMOUG’s virtual WIT.  We now are going virtual with the WIT program as the first SIG to meet virtually.  We tried an onsite meeting each month or so and it was just too difficult for many to attend.  The Lean In and Mightbell site have offered us a great virtual location, along with Google Hangouts to have our monthly meetings!  If interested in signing up, just click here to check it out!

Ideas for Next Year

1.  A Virtual track or two that people can register for a lesser fee and attend.  This would take some planning, as anyone who works with virtual attendance software knows, it can have some surprising challenges.

2. Electronic evaluations.  I hate paper-  not sure about you, but I would love to “gamify” it and have it anonymously submit the evaluation, but register the attendee into a drawing for every session he does an evaluation for, (max of how many sessions per day…) towards a raffle for a great prize like an IPad or similar.  The amount of work this would eliminate would be fantastic.  Now I just need to find the folks that can build this for me into our conference app… 🙂

3.  More contests via Twitter and Facebook for during the conference.  Commonly I’m just toast by the time the conference comes around, so as it goes on, I’m unable to do these types of things, but I wanted to do a “picture with the convention center bear” contest and “best conference gif award” or “best conference lip sync” but never got to it….next year, next year… 🙂


I can’t share too much yet, as the conference just ended, but I can tell you that our numbers were up, attendees and speakers feedback has been fantastic so far!  I’m content that we are headed in the right direction to continue RMOUG Training Days as the conference that all others model themselves after!

A special thanks goes out to all the hard work and support to Team YCC and the Training Days Conference Committee.  I couldn’t do it without my peeps! 🙂


Posted in Non-replay

December 30th, 2013 by dbakevlar

I’ve been working a good number of hours this December between project/clients for Enkitec and co-author work on the EM CLI book with Seth Miller and Ray Smith, plus my additional responsibilities as the Training Days Conference Director for RMOUG’s big conference coming up in 6 weeks.  Due to all of this, going to take one more blog post off from technical and share what happens when you eat food outside of your normal diet just before going to bed…


Saturday evening we were returning home from a wonderful post-Christmas dinner at Tim’s Mother’s home.  We had quite a feast, but due to activities during the day and only a light lunch of sushi, I found myself a bit hungry again at 11pm and we stopped by McDonald’s, (only thing open in the area that late at night!) and had my second taste of McDonald’s in the time Tim and I have been together.  We arrived home and dropped, exhausted into bed for a lovely sleep while it snowed lightly outside.

In the early morning, deep in sleep, dream, dream, dream…

The cast of the TV show, West Wing has joined reality.  Here I was, accompanied by Will Bailey, (lesser known character later on in the series) who , in my dream, was running for president and my best friend, Kimberly, were walking up the “Church hill” in my childhood town of Garden, Michigan.  Why?  Will was campaigning and of course, all presidential campaigns go to a town of 240 people in the upper peninsula of Michigan to talk to voters.

We proceeded past the Catholic church my parents were married in, I was baptized in, had first communion in and for some, odd reason, headed for the small, white siding, traditional square style Baptist church across the street.  Now, even awake, I’ve never been in this church, but this is where we were heading in my dream.   I remember as a child I’d always wanted to go inside, (I still have a love of traditional and/or old churches.  They are always built with so much love and care…)  As we walked in through the front doors, the building in my dream became akin to the Tardis on Dr. Who and morphed to be large and round on the inside.

There were chairs lined up and there was some kind of circus like performance going on down the middle aisle.  Each performer was taking turns and there was even a trapeze suspended from the ceiling of the room. While standing in the back, Jay Leno, (yes, I said Jay Leno…) came up and shook hands with Will, then introduced himself to Kimberly and me.  I spent the next couple minutes explaining to Jay that we hadn’t met just once before, but twice and why couldn’t he remember, (hey, it made sense in the dream…)  Jay kept scratching his head and politely stated he couldn’t remember where we met and I became more and more insulted.   Insulted to the point that we then walked towards the door, where Ed Begley Jr. was the doorman, opened it for us and suddenly, this very, very small church that had been sitting on flat ground was now perched on a very steep set of rock carved steps and appeared to have been transformed into a large, round building.

At this point, Will and my best friend, Kimberly are no where to be seen, but I walk to the bottom of the stairs to find another West Wing character, Donna Moss,  searching for evidence in the dirt on the bottom of the rock stairs.  I remember now that I dropped an earring and kneel down to retrieve it, but instead find a ton of my jewelry just scattered about, including a number of pieces they’ve already identified and bagged as evidence.  When I ask her why she’s gathering evidence, she informs me that Will has been taken hostage and no one knows where he is.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any more of the plot, as I then woke up.  The moral of this dream?

1.  Don’t let your partner’s relatives make you “Nutty Irishmans”, (no, that is not a reference for Tim…) late at night.

2.  Don’t eat McDonald’s, especially anything off the Dollar menu, late at night.

3.  Quit watching shows on Netflix from 1st to last episode-  The shows will bury themselves into your sub-conscious.

4.  Can’t wait for the Dr. Martin dreams, those should be fantastic!

Posted in Non-replay

December 26th, 2013 by dbakevlar

Anyone who knows me, will also know that I’m an Android person.  I have nothing against Mac products and really do think they are cool, but I use what works for me and I am very content with my Samsung Android Galaxy S4 for my Smartphone and Galaxy Note 10.1 for my tablet.  With the innovation of wearable smart devices, one would think that I would have gone Galaxy Gear, but I didn’t.  Here are the initial reasons my letter to Santa had the Sony SmartWatch 2 instead:

  1. Play Store wise, the Sony had just as many and actually had more “functional” applications that I was interested in.
  2. I have a small wrist, (ring size is 4 1/4, so you can imagine, wrist is also very small…)  The Sony has a smaller face to the watch and a smaller circumference attainable with the wristband.
  3. You can switch out the band for the Sony with any 20mm watch band with the adapter kit.   I thought the Galaxy Gear to be aesthetically pleasing, but you are stuck with the one band.
  4. Wasn’t really interested in the camera that is the majority of the bulk on the wristband of the Galaxy Gear.
  5. Battery life was longer in the Sony.


Synchronizing the watch to my Galaxy S4 was simple.  It’s a blue tooth connection, so after installing the Smart Connect software and the Sony SmartWatch 2 communication software, (you can install this second app from the phone once the blue tooth sync is complete, but it was just much easier and faster to install and cycle the phone manually…)  It recognized it immediately and everything was ready to go, but to install additional software was not as straightforward.  Every website I searched, including Sony’s support site seemed to be referring to features that made absolutely no sense, (and I can commonly figure out anything.)  Due to this skill, I stopped reading and just picked up my phone and decided to try to figure it out on my own.

First thing I did was use my pull-down menu from my Galaxy S4 and clicked on the “SmartWatch 2 Connected” from the list.  This took me to the place I’d been searching the web to locate!  From the SmartWatch2 app on the phone, you can add default applications or search the Play store for other Sony SmartWatch compatible applications.


I quickly installed what I was searching for and tried out a few games and other apps that I was curious about.  As quickly as they installed on my phone, they then synchronized to the SmartWatch 2.

Once installed, you need to then, via your phone, configure the applications.  This is done from the same location as you performed the installations, but you will now note that the applications have moved from Recommended Applications or from one you chose from the Play Store to a list above called Installed Applications.  You can click on each one and set up access.  If you already have it authorized in your phone, a simple new plug-in authorization will be added to many of these apps, which you will then authorize and notifications will begin to your SmartWatch 2.


Now, one of the complaints most folks had about many of the wearable smart devices were the amount of notifications.  They felt they were being inundated with notifications, but either they’ve enhanced the applications since the initial reviews I read or folks didn’t realize how to update the settings for many applications to eliminate the noise.  I was able to choose, not only what notifications to get from Twitter and Facebook, (Twitter or New Feed vs. @DBAKevlar and My Notifications) but I could even click on individual followers or friends to show or hide posts from.  If you have someone who is posting constantly, (OK, listen carefully, this is how to block my noisy, constant social media posting ! :)) you can simply remove the check mark for their feed and silence them from the SmartWatch 2 notifications.

As you can receive text messages on the SmartWatch2 and send quick, pre-written auto-reply messages, I would update and create the ones you need to allow a quick one button reply that makes sense to your daily life.

There are multiple applications available for how and when to answer my phone.  And with a blue tooth hands-free device, I can place and answer calls without taking my phone from my purse or pocket.  My best friend would look at me quizzically as I would suddenly, without any indication to her, pick up my phone to answer a call that my SmartWatch2 alerted me to, including all called info.  The vibration is subtle enough that she wasn’t aware of it even when she was sitting right across from me at the table.  If a call came in from someone I wanted to call back later, I was able to refuse the call, which is another feature I really like on the SmartWatch2.  Being oncall for Enkitec on Christmas, this came in very handy, as I was able to cook Xmas dinner without any concern that I might miss a page, as the notification would come in clear and handsfree via a vibration and info at my wrist.

The application for instant messaging allows you to add as many auto-reply messages you want.  I would update and create the ones you need to allow a quick one button reply.  After 24hrs, the charge on the watch is still over 50%, so considering how much I’ve loaded on it, tested out, (much heavier than normal use…)  I’m thrilled with the battery life on it and the battery life with the blue tooth on all the time on my Galaxy S4.

Recommendations for anyone purchasing one?

  • The default band is kind of uncomfortable.  Plan on getting a better watch band, any 20mm watch band will work.
  • Invest in invisa-shields or some other clear shield for the face.  No matter how careful you are, you are going to be hitting the face against something when it’s on your wrist.
  • Take care when setting the quiet time settings for night time via the SmartWatch 2.  This actually shuts the phone’s mobile data settings off and you will NOT receive data during that time.
  • If you are already one that uses a blue tooth headset, then you will find the phone options just as functional in the Sony as the Samsung…plus save about $100…:)

All-in-all, I have to say, I’m very satisfied with the product and although I feel a bit like Dick Tracy with my futuristic device on my arm, it’s very functional and really does serve the purpose I had hoped for!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Posted in Non-replay

October 14th, 2013 by dbakevlar

So yes, I’ve been involved in a number of conferences and in a number of different roles.  I started out presenting, then volunteering  at conferences,  reviewing abstracts, then as a track lead and now as a conference director for RMOUG.  This year I also am the database track lead for ODTUG’s KSCOPE for a second year in a row.

A lot of folks have asked me recently what they need to know to submit a great abstract, how to get accepted and why they may not have been selected.  It’s often a lot more complicated than what it may first seem and I hope to shed some light here.

I’ll begin by recommending a post from Gwen Shapira on Pythian’s site, as it is an excellent blog post from a very established and gifted presenter.  I think the biggest change is to the opening line-  no longer is October the abstract writing month, as many conferences have started to push for earlier and earlier abstract submission windows hoping to capture the presenter before the others.  We opened RMOUG’s abstract submissions in early July and a number of conferences were right on our tails!

Like Gwen, I recommend starting with a sentence(s) to capture the reviewer/attendee’s interest, then dig into the subject deeper as to why they will want to attend.

Abstract Writers:


Find a main area that is of strong interest, but I recommend finding an interesting twist on it.  Something unique that makes your abstract stand out.  Try to stay in this area and don’t jump too much around or try to fit too much into one presentation.  The more features you are covering in one session, the higher level the session will have to be.


1.  Be clear about what the attendee will gain by coming to your session.  What value does this offer to their career and/or their day-to-day job?  If it’s not in the standard core knowledge for their jobs, why would they be interested in learning about your topic?

2.  Always list out at least three “take-away” items that the attendee will gain.  These should also offer the reviewer value to the score they submit for your abstract review.

3.  Do not write a “novel” regarding the topic in your abstract.  If your abstract is so long that it causes issues with the abstract review software, you have a problem.  Keep it to 175 words or less.  Most abstract review forms will tell you what the maximum word count is for a submission.  If you require more that what the maximum listed, then you are presenting at the wrong conference…:)


1.  Fill out all areas of the abstract submission form.  Do not be surprised if some reviewers score an abstract lower if the biography or other areas aren’t filled out by the submitter.  Remember, many would like to know a bit about the presenter, not just the abstract.

2.  Its alright to paste the abstract also in a summary area, but I would recommend taking the time to fill in a simple and clear “interest capture” statement that will look nice in the handout and/or mobile app to attract attendees to your session.  This is what most of the attendees will be seeing when they make that last minute decision of which session to go to.

3.  If you don’t get accepted for a conference, email and ask for any feedback/advice that might assist you in your next abstract submission.  Many conferences are more than happy to share overall score information and any comments about your abstract.

Recommendations for Reviewers

The reviewer is a valued volunteer.  Many conferences rely on their expertise and their time to gather valuable scores on abstracts to eliminate much wasted time when choosing the final abstracts to accept.  Being the best reviewer possible is knowing the needs of the conference and so you can offer the most educated reviews.

Questions to ask

1. How many overall sessions and what is the breakdown for each track?

2. What percentage do you commonly see for each score level?  (5-5%, 4-25%, 3-60%, etc…)

3.  What tracks are there and what ones should I be reviewing?

4.  What are the rules about reviewing my own abstract or those for my own company, etc.?

5.  Who do I contact if I have a question about a review?

6.  Are there any per company speaker limits?  Are there any per company minimum accepted slots?

One more recommendation:  If you aren’t [really] knowledgeable about a subject, DON’T REVIEW IT.  No one should ever ask you to review an abstract that you aren’t comfortable with the content for.

The Limitations of Conferences

Conferences, in general, often have different requirements that they have to fill.  Where one can offer an acceptance another can’t.  Why?

  • Limited session slots.
  • Limited number of compensated speakers per tracks vs. open slots.
  • Limited accepted per company speakers.
  • Low interest in topic caused low scoring on abstracts.
  • Too many abstract submissions for any one topic.

How to increase your chance for acceptance to a conference?

1.  Introduce yourself to the conference director.  For RMOUG, this will not improve your score of your abstracts, (we have around 50 reviewers) but if you are a new speaker, I’d like to be aware that you are interested in an introduction to present to our members.

2.  Offer to volunteer.  Help the conference out with abstract reviews, be an ambassador or find another way to volunteer and help out.

3.  Present at smaller venues, get your name out there and network with some of the better known speakers and introduce yourself to those that are involved in the bigger conferences.  If folks see someone who presents well, word will get around.

What You Shouldn’t Do

1.  Do NOT try to get your abstract in by coercion or continually attempting to go around the conference director or track/chair lead.  I have seen those that push to get things their way work for maybe one or two conferences before it starts to impact their reputation.

2.  Be impolite to the folks supporting the conference.  This means all the volunteers, conferences staff, etc.  A conference is hard work and these folks deserve all our support and courtesy.

Following these guidelines won’t guarantee you a slot at any conference, but it may help get you speaking opportunities at a few.

Good luck this conference year to all the great seasoned speakers, the new speakers and all the great content to come!

Posted in Non-replay, Oracle

September 24th, 2013 by dbakevlar

Great day today with a second WIT session and all the interviews and General Session for Enterprise Manager 12c.  If you are looking for the ebook,  you can download it from Oracle here.

A couple people caught on that I was tweeting while discussing the benefits of EM12c, even capturing me in a photo, (will never live it down… :))  They played the trailer for the new Cloud Odyssey movie Oracle has been working on to promote EM12c and cloud.  It’s been a lot of fun as they’ve talked about how they came up with the idea based off the original article and I think Leighton Nelson has even changed his profile picture to his doppelganger in the movie.  The android jokes have gotten a bit out of hand with some of the folks around the conference, but I and the rest of the authors are enjoying the great opportunity to be a small “part” of the movie.  If you are interested, here’s a link to the Facebook page and the 20 minute movie should be out at different Oracle events in a couple months.

I promised someone I would put the link to EMCLI verb documentation out on my blog and here it is!  Use it wisely, use it well… 🙂

I really appreciated all the positive feedback and collaboration at the WIT session.  I really appreciate the men and women who attended, considering the fantastic technical content going on at OOW and just in the other room at OTW!  For the women who have contacted me in regards to mentoring opportunities, I will be in touch with you soon.

Tomorrow are my technical sessions on ASH with JB and Exadata with ODI and Parallel before the Blogger’s Meetup.  If you are interested in attending these sessions, here’s the details!

Posted in Non-replay, Oracle

September 22nd, 2013 by dbakevlar

The ACE Director briefings are done and now we are onto Sunday sessions.  I’ve already had a couple meetings with folks today and wondering why I didn’t wear flats at 2pm in the afternoon, but there are the important necessities that must be taken care of, like when am I speaking this week, so here’s the schedule:

My Oracle Open World Schedule

My Oak Table Schedule

If you want to meet up to chat, best to hit me up on Twitter @DBAKevlar and loving Oracle Open World 2013 already!

Posted in DBA Life, Non-replay, Oracle

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