Friday, September 30, 2011

Openworld 2011 (How to fill out your sessions)

I always put off signing up for my sessions...if you're the same way, and you're new to Openworld, maybe this will help you.

Sessions are often disappointing because...from the description you expect a "deep dive" into the technology, and they often end up being a marketing presentation, not at all technical.  Last year I was at a session whose subject included the phrase "deep dive"...and it was still very light.  I hate that...because there are always options for the session, and you don't know if you made the wrong choice until at least a few minutes in.  At that seems rude to get up and leave and try to find a better session...but do it anyway...this is your valuable time, don't waste it.

Another common pitfall to sessions that, from their description look like they'll be interesting, is when a non-technical manager gets up and speaks to the project, without knowing the technical details.  These are usually a waste of time, but not always, because usually his techy underlings are lurking in the audience, and at the end of the session, during question/answer, he'll defer all the questions to the techies.  At that point you start getting valuable information.

So, my strategy this year is to primarily pick the sessions based on the presenters.  Any of these presentations will be excellent:CLICK HERE  also HERE. After that, I populate the schedule with the database path, and then I go back and use search terms to find things like: "hadoop", "storage", "Exadata", "Backup", "Database Appliance", "RAC" etc.  Then go back and prioritize the ones that have time conflicts.

When you try to sign up for a session that's at the same time as a different session and you get a time conflict, it asks you if you want to move the "other" session to "your interests"...say yes...because that way if you're in a session that tricked you into thinking it was going to be interesting...and it turns out to either be a high level marketing session or a manager talking about what his techy team accomplished (I hate those) then while you're sitting there you can pull out your Droid/IPhone and use the Openworld 2011 app to see what your alternate session that gave you a time conflict was.  If it isn't filled up, you might be able to leave and go there...hopefully it'll be better.

I wish there was some kind of a rating scale for the sessions to give you guidance on how technical they are...but even if they had it, it would be subjective, and you'd still have the same problem.  I think if you follow the guidelines above you'll be in reasonably good shape.

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