Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Miracle Oracle Open World

My first trip to Denmark was most excellent. The good folks at Miracle were great hosts and the event was unique in many ways. I delivered two presentations and heard several others that were superb. Jonathan Lewis delivered an excellent session (well, 2 actually) on hints and Tanel Poder's presentation on advanced troubleshooting was top notch. My only regret is that I didn't get to see all the presentations. It never fails that when I speak at a conference there is a session being delivered that I want to see at the same time as my presentation. That was once again true. I missed Robyn Sands presentation on variance, but was lucky enough to be able to chat with her about it a bit over dinner.

One of the things that I found unique about the Miracle event was the amount of time available to network, meet new people and talk. Each evening dinner was a multi-hour affair fueled by excellent conversation. Oh, and the food and drink were excellent too and were made available in very large quantity! One thing that can be said for sure about Miracle is that they don't skimp on quality or quantity!

Besides the event itself, I had the opportunity for exposure to a new place. Since it was my first trip to Denmark, I thought I'd share a few things that I noted.
1. They have some seriously cool doors there. Yep, that's right...doors. Some of the doors don't have the traditional door lock/dead bolt combination that I'm used to. Instead, the doors lock closed by lifting the handle up and the door then vacuum seals or something like that. I was too impressed by it that I didn't even bother to look closely at how the mechanism works, but it is seriously cool. I want doors like that at my house.

2. The public water closets had doors that were about 8 feet tall starting about 1 inch off the ground. OK. This may seem silly for that to be something I noticed, but being 6'4, I almost always find the top and bottom 1/3 of my body is visible in most ladies rooms. Let's just say I liked not having my head waving over the door like a giraffe for once!

3. The traffic signals not only go Green-Yellow-Red, but Red-Yellow-Green as well. That way if you're stopped, you know when the light is about to change. I'd like that in the US. I often find myself leaning to see the other side of the light so I can tell when the change is coming. New traffic signals would eliminate much neck strain on my part.

4. Danish currency is cool. Of course, practically any country outside the US has cooler money than we do. US currency is so dull. Doing currency exchange math is a bit tedious, but I pretty much figured it out: 2 million Danish kroner used to equal 1 US dollar, but now it's the other way around (given our current financial state here in the US). On the first evening of the event, the Americans were offered a collection of US dollars from our Danish friends. They gave the half dozen of us about $14 total to split amongst ourselves to help us through the current tough times. :)

5. Denmark is flat. I was told the highest points in the whole country are only about 150 and 170 meters high. Heck, that wouldn't even qualify as a bump in the road in Tennessee where I grew up! Oh, and the funny thing is that they actually call one of those places "Sky Mountain".

6. Danes are quiet, thoughtful, and reserved. Not! I've never met a more party-hearty bunch! I will say that they're fairly quiet during the day, but as dusk comes, they gear up to a whole other level. Not a dull moment! To be fair, I have to say that perhaps not all Danes are of the same genre as those attending the Miracle event, but the good folks I met sure weight the average to the fun side. :)

7. Danish hot dogs look very odd (to my American eye), but taste yummy. We stopped in downtown Copenhagen and partook of a vendor stand hot dog on the day before our departure. I didn't watch how it was made, nor look at it closely before taking a bite. It's one of those things where it's just better not to know. I found this YouTube video that after watching it makes me glad I didn't look at what I was eating!

I know there's a lot more I could add but you get the idea. I loved my trip and hope to return before too long.


Kerry Osborne said...

Hi Karen. What were you're presentations on?

Karen said...


Guess I should've mentioned that huh?

They were:
Are You a Monkey or an Astronaut? The Oracle Advisors from a Different Perspective.
Zen and the Art of SQL Optimization


Kerry Osborne said...

How about a link to the materials???

By the way, I wish you post more often. I really enjoy reading your posts.

Karen said...

I'll be putting them up on the Method R web site shortly and will supply the link in another blog entry when I do.

And...thanks for the encouragement to blog more. :)


Anonymous said...

hi Karen,

Really enjoyed the presentation on PL/SQL instrumentation.
I downloaded the hostsos_ilo package sometime ago.

However, I have been reluctant to use it in the following scenario :

We have a pl/sql package procedure running in our prod environment.

The execution time of this is very small (0.03 seconds) if I use the figures from v$sqlarea (elapsed_time in micorseconds / executions).

However, these are aggregated over many millions of executions so this could hide skew in execution times.

Would you recommend instrumenting code such as this ?

Would the overhead of the instrumentation be excessive ?


Karen said...


On one hand, instrumentation "should" be included in your code for everything that you may ever care about its performance. However, if the procedure is so small and account for so little response time now, you may not need to instrument this one portion. If this procedure is called by a larger code block, you may likely be better served to instrument that one instead.

Just remember that you don't want your instrumentation to end up being your performance bottleneck. Place instrumentation calls wisely and appropriately in strategic areas where specific business tasks may need to be monitored more closely.