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AYTS 2008 - Are you the smartest ?

I had a subject for a next blog entry already picked out when this mail came along :

Finally found some time for finishing off my ayts-movies and write a trip report - here is the result :


Joris is a employee of Ordina Belgium (so I guess he must be an ex-collegue of Dimitri Gielis). And Joris won the Oracle AYTS competition representing Ordina.
Don't worry - AYTS is not another product in Oracle's portfolio or the latest mutation of some J2EE framework.

AYTS is a competition organised by Oracle Belgium for all their local partners.
I hear they are now extending the contest to other countries too, like The Netherlands (and I think also Germany and Switserland - but I might be wrong about that tho).
AYTS or 'Are You The Smartest?' is the brain child of Yves Van Looy, a belgian based (pre)sales consultant and is basically a clever incentive to get the partners up to speed with the latest Oracle developments/products/technologies

Here is how it goes down - 10 or so Oracle partners enroll a number of software engineers, dba's, consultants,...
There are 4 technical and 1 commercial session - each session takes about 1/2 day and covers one topic.
For those who know the workshops/masterclasses on the last day of the UKOUG - it's a bit like that ...
At the beginning of each session you need to take an exam covering the previous topic. The exams are multiple choice
and open book. This sounds easy but I can assure you, it's not. There have been cases were people got negative scores on exams Wink 
At the end of the competition, there is a graduation ceremony where the winner for each Oracle Partner is rewarded with a price.

This year's topics were :
- ADF & Coherence by Filip Huysmans
- Oracle Identity & Access Management (IAM) by Antonio Mata
- Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g by Filip Huysmans
- Oracle 11g new features
- Oracle pricing/licencing by Yves Van Looy

Last year's 2007 topics were OBI, SOA Suite, IAM, JDEV/ADF and also a sales/pricing session.

It's a broad range of topics - developers will be more interested in the ADF & Webcenter content but will also get a taste of new RDBMS features... while for people like me - who are more into architecture and rdbms technology - there's the other stuff. So I can finally talk about ADF without sounding stupid.

Anyway - how brilliant is that !
All parties win :
- Oracle, who gets the word out to hundreds of people in the field, lowering the threshold to jump on these new technologies
- those people in the field who gain more knowledge
- and the Oracle partners who get more motivated employees

Now what's the incentive - what does make people like me follow these sessions in my own time and in the evening ?
Well - first price is a 4day VIP trip to San Francisco & Las Vegas. This year 14 Oracle Partners entered - so there
were 14 winners.
For me it was the second time I've entered and the first time I've won for AXI.
I knew some other guys that won - like Jorgen Bosman - an ex-collegue from Ferranti and still a dear friend
since I've left Ferranti in '98. Jorgen is also one of those guys who likes to write code for fun...just have a look at this page.
(oh he's a 2 for 2'r - 2 times entered and 2 times a winner)
Needless to say he became my roommate.
Another winner was Geert De Paep. His name should ring a bell - he's the man behind DBA Village.

I've been to SF & Vegas many, many times but it was still awesome !
Here's a small agenda :
day 1 : staying at Hyatt hotel near Fisherman's Wharf - visit pier 39 - check out golden gate
day 2 : visit Oracle HQ,  ride segways through SF, fancy dinner
day 3 : Vegas - room at Bellagio, great seats at Cirque du Soleil 'O'
day 4 : Grand Canyon helicopter ride with champagne lunch in the canyon
day 5 : flight home

The Oracle HQ visit was great as we got to meet Wim Coeckaerts who talked about Oracle Enterprise Linux & Oracle VM.
In short OEL is basically RHEL with all the trade marked logo's stripped away. So you're basically running RHEL. The difference is the support which is through metalink.
This is how I understood OEL's history. Basically, Oracle has a couple of big whale customers (Amazon) running Oracle on RHEL. When bugs were discovered Oracle would actually fix the bugs in RHEL and send them to RedHat... sometimes RedHat included the patch, sometimes they didn't. I guess ,Oracle basically got fed up with that and released OEL and Unbreakable Linux support program.
He pretty much convinced me to switch OEL for our future production systems. And I definitely will have a go at Oracle VM.
In fact we - at AXI - have already ordered 2 new 1U servers to test the RAC/ASM/OEL and Oracle VM combo.

Oh - one juicy detail - see if you can find Wim in one of the youtube clips... he definitely has changed his apperance Wink
We also had a presentation about ADF 11g by Shay Shmeltzer. To be honest - I still write my own java programs in Ultraedit. When I see an
ADF guru like Shay jumping around JDeveloper, it all looks so simple. But every time I need to do something in JDev myself (that's about once a year)
I'm completely lost. I mean... even when opening a new project ... there's like a million choices Yell
The irony is that I used to be a be a beta tester of the first JDev release in '98 (it was called project Walhalla back then) - things were still
simple in the 'old' days. It was just Borland JBuilder with some extra Corba features build in and no xml whatsoever.

Anyway - have a look at Joris' blog entry at It's in dutch. If you don't understand it you can at least look at the dramatic edited youtube clips (also courtesy of Joris)

In fact, the dramatic undertone of the clips made me decided to put together a clip myself - it's a snippet of me and Jorgen
getting ready to play some black jack. For dramatic effect we placed a score by Hans Zimmer on it ... looks just like Rain Man Cool

(ps Jorgen and I did tripple our money within the hour playing black jack ... only I lost 2/3 the next day)


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