I am in San Francisco now. I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and had a lovely family dinner with my Oracle family: my amazing and lovely Mom (Debra Lilley), my Dad Tim Hall who has a huge fan club (on tours my Mom keeps the line in order when people wants to get his autographs) and my ever-young and legendary grandfather Graham Wood (I call him Gram). I am so proud of my family and hope to have many, many family dinners with them in the future.

On Thursday my first two day Oracle ACE Director briefing started. If you want to hear it in short: wow! Biggest plus: Thomas Kurian. Biggest minus: not hearing enough Maria Colgan.

The ACED briefing was exactly what I expected but also much more than that. As a rookie I am still not quite aware what I am allowed to say and what not so I do not talk about details at all. I only tell you that cool things are coming and I am very convinced that Oracle knows what they are doing so keep on betting Oracle.

On Thursday we heard about Oracle Development Tools, all kinds of clouds, middleware, WebCenter, BPM, WLS, Coherence, Exalogic, OAUX, SOA and finally Thomas Kurian came in…
It was all interesting and I learned very much. The OAUX team was as amazing as can be and I was thinking this cannot get better…but it did. Before I say more I tell you I started Thomas Kurian fan club and it is already quite populated…
Thomas Kurian entered the room. He smiled and said hi to all. The whole entrance was quiet, polite and very modest. In that point I was already curious. I have seen his keynotes and presentations but I have never met him in this kind of event. Thomas started his presentation. Without slides, without notes. The way he told the whole story of Oracle products and product families now and in couple of years was facinating. He moved on logically, clear and peacefully giving us all the impression he knows everything about Oracle product, all of them. Because nobody really can people were asking him tough, deep technical questions, and he replied them all with pleasant voice and knowledge that made me speachless. He was not in a hurry. He had all the time in the world to answer every question people had. Larry, I hope you realize what a jewel you have!
So because of Thomas I cannot say much more about Thursday: I am still without words.

On Friday I was looking forward to the update in database and especially Maria Colgan. Unfortunately she was too busy and could not stay more than a few minutes (people were asking questions to keep her there longer). I understand that she was busy right before the OOW so I am not complaining;) but Maria just happens to be one of my favourite persons so I would have liked to hear more…
We heard about MySQL, met Bob Evans (chief communication officer), learnd about BI platform, APEX, Linux, virtualization and Steven Feuerstein’s inspiring YesSQL message. Stay tuned, this will be interesting!
I think the hightlight of the second day was Dan McClary explainig us Big Data and everything around that. He did a great job! I should have written about Data Modeler on my blog when 4.0.3 came out, I realized it on the briefing. Data Modeler supports (among others) Hive and people did not know that (external table of type Hive)!
I always think that if I know something everybody knows it. Not a very good feature for an expert:(

This experience was fantastic and I will remember it for a long time! Thank you OTN, the ACE Program and the organizing team!