Collaborate was a wonderful conference. Plus, it was in Vegas and since I had never spent time before in Las Vegas, a new experience for me as well! Here is where I stayed during the conference.
The conference was at the Mandalay Bay casino/resort center and also where I stayed for the week to make it convenient to get to and from the sessions and events. Besides, the Mandalay has probably one of the best pools/beaches in Vegas which made it pleasant for those scorching hot days while I was there.
The cool thing about the main pool was the concert stage above it with live shows in the evenings with bands playing good music and the waves to simulate surfing!
Of course the coolest looking hotel would be the Luxor fashioned after the pyramids of Egypt along with the Disneyland like Castles of the Excalibur.
Next door to the Luxor is the medieval themed Excalibur.
I had the chance to walk the strip a few times which was fun in spite of the heat and need to drink massive quantities of water and the pain of the blisters that I received- next time need to find better walking shoes! So I liked the lights on the strip as well as the cool view from the top of the Mandalay as well.
I am not much of a gambler but I did manage to break even and win $50 on blackjack, $30 on craps and lose $20 on slot machines. Met an older gentleman who won $11,000 that day on Craps! And saw a guy lose several thousand dollars in one hand of blackjack as well. The Oracle ACE dinner on Sunday night was fantastic and I give special thanks to folks at Oracle ACE program who planned a fun evening and dinner- Vikki and others, thanks! Rick Moonen's RM Seafood has excellent seafood and a hip decor as well. For the conference a nice snapshot of the event center.
Oracle Magazine had a party at Red Square in Vegas which was fun chance to meet new people and try some speciality vodkas. Ran into Steven Feuerstein of Quest and PL/SQL fame and he is a very nice guy.
I feel blessed to have met so many new friends and many of the top Oracle experts in the world there as well. I especially enjoyed meeting Ahmed Alomari, Mark Farnham, Rich Niemec and Brad Brown from TUSC, Ian Abramson, John Stoufer, Craig Shallahamer, Iggy Fernandez and many others at the conference. I also has a chance to meet founder and chairman of Pythian, Paul Vallee which was nice since Pythian is one of the most well known Oracle database consulting providers with many bright Oracle DBA folks working there.
Had chance to connect with Arup Nanda several times at the conference as well as meet John Garmany from Burleson Consulting. So how did my session go? It was ok, I did not have a lot of people in my session probably because it was on Thursday the last day of the conference and most of the attendees left on Wednesday evening.
So what was the highlight of the conference for me? I have to say that what made my day was when one of the senior Oracle Applications DBAs who attended my session on Thursday praised the quality and let me know she really enjoyed my session! Thank you! When a DBA tells you that he/she learned new tips and liked the presentation better than most at the conference that gives you a fantastic feeling that it was all worth it for the hard work you put into the paper and preparation!
Hope to see more folks at next conference. With the US and world economy in the worst shape since the Great Depression, my prayer is that things come back so I can have more folks attend to learn new things on Oracle technology.